Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Trainings and Seminars this June

Check out these trainings and seminars scheduled this June 2007. First, Negoskwela continues to offer their regular offerings including Chocolate Molding and other Confectioners (June 1, P1,685), Thai Massage (June 1-2, P1,685), Perfume and Cologne Making (June 2, P1685), Hydrophonics Technology (June 2, P1,385), etc. For more, download Negoskwela schedule for June. To reserve, call 4330621, 4330637 and 9245111.

The Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC) also has interesting seminars scheduled in the coming month. Special mention of course is How to Start a Business (June 5, P75 only), Business Opportunities in Franchising (June 5, P75) and Chinese Mandarin Business Language Course (June 2-14, P2,500). For reservations, call 8319988 or 8341344 to 49 local 318, or email

On the other hand, the Technology Resource Center is also offering their regular seminars the cheapest among them include Food Cart Business (June 8, P1,375), Setting up a Travel Agency (June 9, P1,375), Operating and Managing a Drugstore (June 9-10, P2,959), Accounting and Record Keeping for Small Business (June 16-17 P2,959), and Catering Business Operation (June 30-July 1, P2,959). To reserve, call 7276205 loc. 208 0r 209.

Low Cost Housing in and around Metro Manila

We are presently renting a place with floor area of maybe more than a hundred square meters, with garage-like space in front (though we do not have a car), sala/kitchen, two bedrooms, one toilet/bathroom, and very strong 24-hours of tap water, for only P4,500. Quite a good deal really compared to the up-and-down apartment we previously rented for P7,500. Still, when you start thinking of how much you've paid for rent through all these years, you begin to think of getting our own house.

Of course, getting a house is not really a "good" investment. I remember that in his book Rich Dad Poor Dad, Mr. Kiyosaki insisted that your residential house is not really an asset. According to him, your house brings money out of your pocket and thus should be considered a liability rather than an asset. Perhaps the same reason why Money Smarts of advises us to buy our second house first, instead of buying our dream house and giving up all our savings in return.

Sound advise except that buying a low-cost house on installment with the amortization equal to or less than your monthly rentals now would be a better option. If you can find such a house, of course, which you can transfer to immediately, or within a bearable length of time from your first payment. You wouldn't want to be caught still renting your old house while at the same time already paying for the amortization of the new one.

After having gone to many of those free subdivision "open houses" and "trippings", I have decided to research and post here all information I can find on low cost houses. The goal of course is to find a nice but cheap residential property for my family as well as help others find their own. Any tips/information on the topic will of course be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


In 2005, I was fortunate to have stayed in Hongkong for three weeks on a study grant. There I had first hand experience at how efficient Hongkong's transportation system was. I was totally amazed seeing almost everyone using just one card to take a train, a bus, their good ol' tram, or even to buy things from groceries and convenience stores.

They called it the Octopus card, if I remember it correctly. It was so convenient that a friend of mine, then working as domestic helper there, got me one even before I arrived there. Using it was like having some electronic device you can wave to open entrances... of trains, buses, and trams. You didn't even have to bring it out of your wallet. It worked even if you simply placed your wallet near enough to the sensors. I thought then, if only we had such a thing in the Philippines.

A year after, in 2006, I heard about Globe's G-Pass. It is pretty much like the Octopus card of Hongkong except that it works only for the MRT. No buses, nor groceries for this one. Not yet anyway. For some reason I did not feel like giving the thing a try immediately. Maybe I was just skeptical. Until lately, when having to fall in long lines at MRT finally irked me. Now, I got myself a G-Pass.

Just for everyone's info, you can get the chip (Globe chose to package the thing as a plastic chip instead of a card) at G-Pass booths which are present in all MRT stations both north and south bound. You can get it for P100, P50 of which is consummable. Be ready with a Globe cell number because, for some reason, they are going to ask for it. Next time, when your initial P50 load runs out, you can just reload. Take note though that for every use of the chip at MRT, there is an additional charge of around a peso or so.

Perhaps, this is the reason why so many people still choose to line up for those MRT cards. Or perhaps, they simply still do not understand how G-Pass works. As for me, I plan to use the chip more and more, even if I really don't understand why there is an additional charge or mark-up over regular MRT fares, and why every chip has to be tied with a Globe cell number. Do we need a cellphone to ride a train?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Masigasig, Go Negosyo on TV

For people trying to start their own businesses, I suggest you set an alarm in your cellphones to sound at 6:30 pm of every Saturday to remind you of Masigasig, a television show on entrepreneurship at QTV Channel 11. The show, sponsored by Globe, provides advice from leading business experts, money-make overs, and the latest on Globe products and services. Not sure, but I think the show is sometimes hosted by Arnel Ignacio, sometimes by Jolina Magdangal, both entrepreneurs themselves.

Although I haven't watched the show at full length, I have seen some pretty interesting stuff so far. I remember one segment about an upcoming meat-processing business in Pampanga named "Royal Deli". The owner/entrepreneur who wanted to enter the Metro Manila market got some useful advice from the owner (I think) of Mekeni Food Corporation, a more accomplished meat-processing company also from Pampanga. That's something considering they are to certain extent competitors.

Another segment I remember was the one on Fruits in Ice Cream, a company which has set its eyes at producing ice cream for such discriminating markets like Japan. And the people behind a company, a small group who knows exactly what they are doing, have been successful so far. They now supply ice cream for Japan Airlines, really good models for new entrepreneurs.

Of course, you should also take note of the Joey Concepcion's Go Negosyo television show which runs from 11:00 to 11:30 pm every Monday and replays at 3:00 to 3:30 pm every Saturday at RPN 9. The show also showcases very inspiring stories of the most successful entrepreneurs in our country. Happy watching, happy learning.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Negoskwela, found finally

For some reason, they don't have a website. So, even though you read a lot about their short courses, it is difficult to find their contact information online. Hopefully, that ends now. I am posting here all information contained in Negoskwela's flyer which I got during the Go Negosyo Go Gobyerno seminar.

Negoskwela offers short courses and and invites us to start our own businesses now. It is owned and operated by Skill-Power Institute, a livelihood and technology training center. It has garnered various awards including the No. 1 Technical and Livelihood Training School (National Category), the National Shoppers' Choice 2003-2006, and Philippine Marketing Excellence 2004.

Negoskwela is located along North Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, just across Gate 1 of the Philippine Veterans Memorial Hospital). Its telephone nos. include 4330637, 4330621, 4267940, and 9245111. Its fascimile no. is 4267952. It may also be reached through the mobile nos. 0917831447 and 09209058940, and the email address

Negoskwela offerings include arts and crafts courses, business skills management courses, food technology and culinary courses, fashion arts courses, chemical and industrial courses, agricultural and aquatic courses, computer, information technology and electronic courses, and some comprehensive and complete courses. Download Negoskwela's latest schedule (updated).

Registration fees ranges from P1385 to P4975 depending on the type of the course and the number of training days. Schedules normally starts at 9:30 am and ends at 5:00 pm. Weekly and monthly schedules are published in the Manila Bulletin Sunday Edition and the Women's Journal. Phone and text reservation is required.

Negoskwela offers a 15% discount for payments 5 or 4 days before schedule, 10% for 3 or 2 days before schedule, and 5% for 1 day before schedule. They also offer an escalating loyalty discount from 10% to as much as 50%.

Quite appropriately, Negoskwela banners the following saying in their flyer: "Give man a fish and he will eat for a day, but teach a man how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime." Indeed we need to learn the how tos to last a lifetime.

Maybe next time

I bet, the main reason why we Filipinos find Pacquiao's victories in boxing exciting is because, when everything is on the line, he is able to do what needs to be done in the grandest of ways. And he has done that several times already. It is so unlike our attempts at getting that ever elusive gold in the Olympics, or our attempts at regaining basketball glory in Asia.

Indeed, there is joy in being able to do things in the best of ways. And there is great frustration when, even though we all want not to, we mess up. I have a feeling that pretty much describes our frustration with our elections. A lot of us want it clean, honest, peaceful, and orderly. We all want it to be conducted in the most efficient way. But alas, over and over we see the opposite.

Every election day, we wake up to news report detailing the woes of teachers in getting election paraphernalia. And when we go to our polling places, we have to go through this exercise of surviving the chaos at the school entrance just to know what is your precinct and where is it located. There is no shortage of people who couldn't find their names.

At the precinct, we have to again look at another list to know your number. Chances are the list is not in alphabetical order. Then we get our ballot and get ready to vote behind a folder masquerading as a mini-booth. Then you drop your vote in the ballot box and hope that come night time when teachers start counting, the school's power fuses will not overload and plunge everyone into total darkness. With ballots all in the open.

We await the results and the declaration of the winners weeks, maybe a month, after. Then, we hope that in the next election, things will be better. There is a big chance it will not be. But we will still vote. Just like we did today. See the various tallies at and

Friday, May 11, 2007

Trial and error photography

I went home to the province last weekend to attend an important family event. I flew to Cebu on a Cebu Pacific flight, then rode a taxi to the Port of Cebu where I took a Supercat to Tagbilaran City, Bohol. At the Port of Tagbilaran, I contracted a good ol' tricycle to bring me home to our house in San Isidro, the second to the last barangay of the city going east.

As is always said, there is no place like home. Our place is a marriage of the urban and rural, a part of the city but which does not look anywhere like downtown. It is almost a kilometer away from the highway accessible only through a rough rocky road and with nearest neighbor maybe a hundred meters away. You can almost call the place a farm except that it is not. It is just our house.

Before we flew back to Manila, we took time to enjoy two of the popular tourist destinations in Bohol. First, we went to Loboc to take one more time the famed river cruise. At one point in the cruise, we were entertained by children singing and dancing in the tradition of the Loboc Children's Choir. Then, we spent a day at the Dumaluan Beach Resort in Panglao where the sand is white, the water calm, the beach perfect.

All in all, I would say it was a fun four-day break, fun which I tried to capture using my Sony DSC90 digital camera and my elementary, trial and error, photography skills. Well, at least I have already mastered the "half press" trick which I learned somewhere from the net and now am able to capture quick moments like the pool jump above. For those who want to see a bit of Bohol, check out my pics at Flickr and tell me what you think.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Negosyo, booths, instant franchise, free ice cream

Aside from getting a glimpse of our President at the Go Negosyo Go Gobyerno event, government employees like me also got to hear some of the country's most successful entrepreneurs featured in the book Go Negosyo: Joey Concepcion's 50 Most Inspiring Stories. We also had several lessons on entrepreneurship conceptualization, product design, financing, among others.

On the side, we had wonderful entertainment most memorable of which was that by former PBB housemate Roxanne Barcelo who talked a bit about facing your "demons" before taking on the dream of your life. The whole day, government and private company booths were also busy handing out information on business opportunities and livelihood trainings. I was particularly impressed with Negoskwela's exhibit showing lettuce and cabage growing full size on plastic cups using what is called hydrophonics. Great idea for urban dwellers like most of us.

At the end of the day, 5 unexpecting game participants got a 15 thousand pesos worth franchise from Kettle Corn, courtesy from Go Negosyo's Joey Concepcion, and thus instantly moving them into the world of business. "Lucky" me only got free ice cream like everyone else. Check out my Go Negosyo Go Gobyerno pictures here.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Talk about negosyo

I attended today the Go Negosyo, Go Gobyerno event at PTTC where the President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo announced the launch of a livelihood lending facility for government employees. In her keynote speech, she explained that amounts will be made available by government financial institutions (GFIs) to qualified cooperatives and employee associations (should have been in existence for at least 2 years) who will be the ones to lend to individual regular/permanent government employees.

The President said that the maximum loanable amount is P150,000 and that the loan will be subject to interest rates at market level (likely to be more than 12% as the cooperatives and the employee associations will be getting the money from GFIs at this rate) payable in 2 years. It will be available only to regular permanent employees.

Too bad. First, almost everyone at our office is a contractual employee. Second, there is no employee association nor a cooperative existing there. Well, at least we are not going to be subject to the temptation of borrowing in the pretense of business. :) As one cooperative president correctly pointed out, the typical government employee usually borrows every where he can borrow. "Kung saan pwede umutang, uutang."

I for one felt that Go Negosyo should have focused first on informing government employees of the various types of micro-business that they can go into, as well as the trainings being provided by various government agencies. In fact, from the questions raised during the whole-day event, it was quite clear that government employees were craving for affordable livelihood trainings.

Now, if only the concerned agencies can provide weekend trainings for government employees at discounted fees, then probably this lending facility set up by the President will be put to good use.