Corporal Punishment or whatever it is …

In western countries, corporal punishment has long been restricted. The case of Asian countries, particularly in the Philippines, shares a different story. While there’s a law that protects children from any form of abuse, culture and tradition can overpower everything. Perhaps in American countries, the typical patting practiced in Filipino families is enough grounds for child abuse.

In our home, I admit growing from this type of disciplinary action. I have been hit by slippers many times. A few instances, I experienced having my earlobes or hair pulled by my mother.

While I don’t personally advocate inflicting any form of pain to inculcate discipline, I never blame my mother for adopting such approach. I believe my mother’s approach was effective to some extent. I grew up respecting and fearing my parents. The fear later contributed on instilling the much needed discipline.

I’m not a parent and maybe, I don’t have the right to talk anything about parenting principles. I know a number of my blog followers such as Jonalyn & Juan ,  Postsquared and Jen are parents. I would really appreciate if they can share their sentiments.

Setting aside my inexperience, allow me to share my opinion on corporal punishment as a tool on instilling discipline.

As I have said, I never believe in using pain to develop discipline. I’m an advocate of using teaching, learning and experience instead. When a child does something wrong, the parent should

Teach – Explain to the kid what makes everything wrong.

Learning – Let the kid speak. Let the kid explain why he did it. Let him process his own thoughts.

Experience – Make the kid see the possible outcomes of his mistake.

So why all of a sudden, I’m writing a topic out of my personality?  As always, this was prompted by some incident that happened at home, work or wherever.

Two days ago, I became a stupid witness to some corporal punishment inflicted to a poor kid… (I hate to admit it) within my family. Worst of the worst, it wasn’t a family member who inflicted the punishment. It was “someone who tries to become a family” who instigated. Let me baptize that person as the Antagonist.

The pathetic three-year old kid was slapped on her thighs many times by this antagonist. I rarely see the kid so most likely, there is a high chance that the kid was often maltreated. Yesterday, the kid did something naughty. If I’m not mistaken, the kid played with the faucet in the backyard. When another cousin reported the incident to the elders, the antagonist dragged the poor kid to the backyard. I knew what I was witnessing was a mistake. I tried to get the attention of the poor kid, but the antagonist prevailed.

The antagonist perhaps later realized that there were a lot of eyes around. She ended the scene by threatening to slap the kid with her hand towel.

If only I had the genes of Kris Aquino or Simon Cowell, the story of this blog post would have been different. The antagonist’s family will curse me to death in their bravest 63,206 character allocation in Facebook. But no, I prefer to take things on my own hands… in the most silent and deadliest way.

Some of you might be wondering, where are the parents of the poor kid? A surprising back story can explain why the poor kid has always been tagged as bad and naughty. Both parents of the poor kid are mentally delayed for their ages. The parents are in their late twenties to early thirties, but their mental ages are way younger. They are unfit to become parents, but destiny made other plans. This greatly explains why the kid turned out to be the naughtiest and often the cause of headache of the elders in the family.

There’s no way the antagonist can read my sentiments. I’m likewise not in the position to confront her. Should this happens, I will surely gain nothing but enemies from the antagonist’s children. (It will be raining hate status messages screaming with grammar violations Heehee) Yes, the antagonist is a mother in her 50s. It’s quite hard to believe that she has the age but the missing understanding, patience and maturity for a poor kid. Considering she has reared a number of kids, I doubt if she doesn’t know the hate arising when another stranger maltreats your own blood. Maybe the antagonist is used to this kind of discipline. Maybe she doesn’t mean it. (I doubt?!) Maybe she has to remember that she was never family. She was just given the privilege to live within the compounds of my paternal family. I really hope someone would have the courage to clarify her limits. My cousin’s family has been accommodating to the antagonist and her family…. but behind their backs they are most unwelcome to the family.

The least I can do know is to pray for the poor kid. Despite the absence of proper discipline, I hope the kid will grow up way different from her parents. Impossible, I still hope the Lord sends the Holy Spirit to protect the kid from the hands of the antagonist. I hope my late grandma and auntie will guard her in times of another danger. Maybe in the end, I just wish that the antagonist would leave and forever stay away from my family.

That Facebook Page

I cannot remember the exact time when Facebook Pages was launched. My earliest recollection was when famous showbiz personalities started creating their own fan pages. The page enables fans or likers to receive updates and gain drops of access to the everyday lives of these people. Over time, businesses also started to take advantage of this feature. Likers are updated on product arrivals, store openings and promotional offers. The power of Facebook pages further evolved when informal organizations or groups started pages whose function exceeded what these famous personalities and businesses can offer. Eventually, there are hate pages for people and companies, tribute pages, gossip pages and so much more I couldn’t even imagine.

The company or the school where I’m working recognised the need to join this social media bandwagon. The school’s Communication Office maintains an official page whose main function is to showcase accomplishments, achievements and important announcements. As an employee, I felt obliged to “like” and become aware of the activities made in our official page.

As my number of “friends” or contacts increased, I later discovered unofficial Facebook pages that carry the name of our school. Among those I discovered was this page that carried the most number of fans or likers. Out of  sheer curiosity, I joined the group. I was expecting the unexpected. True enough,  the page led me to unearth cans of worms. Most information posted are gossips, hearsay and negative things about the school. Some are half-true, too good to be true, exaggeratedly true and only a few are hidden truths.

I don’t have means to track the moderator of the page. Though to be honest, I don’t see the point of knowing the perpetuator. If the management will discover, what for? The negative things have been said and documented. Punishing the criminal will not erase the crime. My firm opinion on this kind of issue remains the same. Suppressing the air that spreads the smoke is never the solution. Eliminate the fire that emits the smoke.

On the few months I’ve joined the group some common issues discussed evolve on the following, BASKETBALL, BASKETBALL, BASKETBALL, BASKETBALL, BASKETBALL and BASKETBALL!

Our school is a member of this famous collegiate league. We lost the chance to take home the championship title for two consecutive years.  Hours and days after the last game, everyone seem to have a brilliant explanation over everything. blah blah blah Heck, everyone suddenly becomes a seasoned basketball analyst.

While I have nothing against the overflow of stupid and useless thoughts (freedom of expression that is), I believe that everything has its own limitation. Most members are of legal age. Let’s not anymore debate the kind of relationship that exists between age and maturity.

One post I will never forget was when the entire coaching staff of the Basketball team posted their gratitude and appreciation for all the supportive fans.  In my mind, they should have coursed their words to the official Facebook page of the school. Better yet, they should have waited for an institutional event and requested seconds for their most awaited gratitude speech. I couldn’t blame them because the official Facebook page of the school is dormant anyway. In addition, the page unites both alumni and students. There’s more following and reach observed in the famous and unofficial Facebook page. I guess this is another example of how the “unofficial” takes over the role of the “official.” Oh well, let’s reserve this issue in another blog post.

This Facebook page usually becomes active during the heat of the basketball season. Months after, the page turns like a room of dust and old cobwebs 🙂  As a result, my curiosity hormones are deprived with its own supply of juicy facts or not.

I thought I was maintaining my usual inactive and boring Facebook account. Everything changed when I saw a significant number of my former students liking this controversial Facebook page. It perked my interest.  I ended up becoming another silent stalker of the page.  What I perceived as another unofficial page changed when I discovered the overflowing posts everyday.

Unlike the other pages I encountered, this account possesses a point of uniqueness. Only the page administrator can create posts in behalf of all the fans. However, there’s a twist behind the posts made. All information should be submitted by fans through Google documents. Why consider an external source in collecting information? This is to facilitate the element of anonymity. We all know how the absence of identity can change the rules and outcome of the game. Anonymity removes inhibitions and grants that barrels of bravery to anyone. I believe this is the main contributor to the popularity or call that success of the page. The juiciest untold stories are unearthed with anonymity. Everyone is given an endless feast of gossips keeping the messenger safe and protected.

Whether the stories and experiences posted are true, most are tainting the reputation and image of the school. As much as I want to feel sad for the school, I’m more concerned on how some colleagues are addressing the issues shared on the page. Some of my colleagues are counterattacking the accusations by rendering comments. Seriously? This is not the mature and professional way to treat accusations made by kiddies. If they see the page as an immature attempt made by college kiddies, why waste time fueling a non-sense online debate?

If I may use the Filipino-gay lingo, why make patola over a very childish destabilizing attempt?

Of the many comments made by a few colleagues, I can never forget this colleague who challenged the college kids to transfer school. He told the kid to leave school if he is unsatisfied with the kind of services rendered.

Oh Dear God! This is a testament that feeding my fellow employees with countless customer service seminars does not actually breed customer service. Oh well, I personally think that you don’t need advanced degrees to understand the right and wrong in Customer Service 101.

All the while, I thought that this would be the last stupid and lame behavior from a colleague. Days after, I learned a colleague who vehemently reacted to a post directed at her. Her name was never mentioned but clues tend to point at her. And just like that, I was given a living case example that age, educational attainment, and parenthood do not in any way correlate with maturity and professionalism. In the end, she obviously appeared defensive and guilty. Worst of the worst, the lowest of the low, she threatened of filling legal charges. Libel, seriously? How can you file charges to a person hiding under a pseudo name? If her objective is to discipline the kid, I don’t see legal action as the right approach. The legal charge will simply threaten the kid.  It will not prevent the attacks made against the achool.

This rant post is getting longer. I’m afraid I’m becoming useless and annoying. Let me end by leaving three points

I was never against the page which they now tag as the freedom wall. In my line of work, we show appreciation for rants and complaints. We even treat complaint as a gift. Through complaints, we are able to discover areas of weaknesses straight from the client’s voice.

Hunting the page administrator is useless and a waste of time. Due process, Facebook terms and conditions and bureaucracy, how many years and legal fees do we have to incur to close the page? As I have said, nothing can be undone. Efforts, resources and time should rather be directed to discuss and address the  complaints.

Lastly, I have one request to my colleagues .. Please don’t make another patola.

Mutual Funds : What I know that you might need to know

Mutual funds are my newest source of happiness! I wanted to share the happiness to everyone so this explains this post. Allow me to relate my short but long written journey about Mutual Funds. 

This is not a sponsored post by the way.

I started investing in Mutual Funds last year and as of date, I’m amazed on the achievement of my little and hard worked money. I’d like to share this chance to earn to my local blog friends. As much as I want to speak for my foreign blog friends, I’m not sure with the differences in the governing laws across countries. However, I’m sure that every country, especially in the US, offer more and mutual fund investment opportunities. Nevertheless, I hope this post will give you an idea of how this promising investment opportunity works.

What are Mutual Funds in the first place?

I admit that I’m not a financial expert. I’m an ordinary investor. So my definition and understanding of Mutual Funds is good as what I absorbed from my constant internet research and the lectures of my Financial Advisor.

The easiest way to define Mutual Funds, go to Wikipedia. LOL Seriously, in my level of understanding, this is how I define Mutual Funds. Using the word “mutual,” these are joint funds between an investor and the investment company. Since these are joint funds, both parties become beneficiaries of the funds’ earnings.

So how does the earning system works? The investment company offers mutual fund opportunities to investors. The interested investor enrolls his money as mutual fund investment. In return, the company treats the investment as an asset to manage and improve. The company may invest in the stock market and other means of earning. The system may look easy but in reality, the execution entails more processes and decision making. What complicates the situation is the way the company manages its investment. A wise and secured investment company doesn’t simply purchase stocks to another company. They have a pool of Financial and Risk Managers. They rigorously monitor the economy’s outlook and analyze to which companies they will purchase stocks.  As my Financial Advisor mentioned, the role of these managers is to maximize our earnings and reduce the risks of loses.

At this point, I would like to believe that you see Mutual Funds as a deep well that emits earnings from every piece of money thrown to it. If the economy is at its good times, this will work to everyone’s favor. However, we all know that every economy contains a cycle of peaks and troughs. In times of trough, both the investor and the investment company will suffer. There could be zero earnings for both parties. But before that happens, we should remember that every investment company has Risk Managers whose job is to anticipate and lessen the degree of loses. Investment companies wouldn’t want to experience loses as well. Your investment’s loss is the company’s loss. You see, that’s why it’s called mutual funds.

Since I’ve been mentioning risks and loses, it’s important for every Filipino investor to remember that mutual fund investors are not protected by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC). Unfortunately, this is the risk that every investor should pray for. When the investment company declares bankruptcy, the chance of retrieving your invested money is quite impossible. Some of you might be disheartened by this fact. But as I have said, every investment entails a level of risk. In order to avoid this misfortune, choose a reputable, trusted and stable investment company.

Now that I have laid down the definition of mutual funds, let me discuss the requirements and amount you need to raise.

As of date, I have only invested in one company, Sun Life Asset Management Corporation (SLAMC). So the succeeding information I will be relaying will be good for this company. Although after some internet research and inquiries, I could say that there are relatively few differences in the requirements and application system among other companies.

For the application requirements, you need to prepare valid government IDs, a 1×1 picture, money for the initial investment and an agent or a Financial Advisor. You cannot directly apply for investment in the company. More often than not, the company will refer you to their Financial Advisors. In my case, my Financial Advisor was a former employee of Sun Life Philippines.  

The Financial Advisor’s job is to fully explain the benefits you can gain from investing in mutual funds. He should know better and he should explain it to your ability. The role of the Financial Advisor is to orient you on both the positive and negative sides of the mutual funds, please remember that. Your Financial Advisor should educate you, than offer you with other products and services.

Mutual fund investment features and offerings may vary across companies. In my case with Sun Life, I was presented with three types of mutual investments. This includes the Low Risk, High Risk and Balanced.

 You can choose where to place your mutual fund investment. In my case, I played it safe. I availed of the Balanced Investment. Though during my last meet up with my Financial Advisor, I decided to diversify and place my additional investment to the high risk group.

Now that I’m getting specific with the requirements, I will answer the question that is bugging everyone. How much is the minimum requirement for investment? In my case with Sun Life, it’s Php 5,000 (around $ 128).

Did the figure surprise you? For as low as Php 5,000, you can become a Mutual Fund Investor! Perhaps, you can set aside some money for shopping, midyear bonus or save up for some months for this amount.

Now that you are oriented on the requirements, allow me to answer the most awaited question. How much can you earn from investing in mutual funds?

When I started working, local banks offer an annual interest rate of 1% to savings account. Years after joining the workforce, I was disheartened by the annual interest rate of most banks. Who will be happy with 0.375% to 0.5% interest rate? With mutual funds investment, the earning interest rates are fluctuating depending on the performance of the economy. The rates are way higher than 1%. In like manner that the earning rates are not too-good-to-be-true. Pyramid scamming and those fly by night investment houses? Mutual funds are way different than these fiascos because as I have said, the entire system is supported by a core of Risk Managers, Researchers and a reputable company to begin with.

Happy at Il Mercanti

One of my constant goals in life is to visit new places. At the very least, one new place for each year. 2011 has been very good to me in fulfilling this objective. I was able to see other places in my homeland and I was able to finally set foot to another country for the first time, ON MY OWN. If only my time and resources will permit, I am highly willing to venture and invest in traveling. I now realize the different value of experiences than shopping and malling. LOL The happiness in being able to reach new places is indeed priceless.

Before the much awaited Christmas break at work, I had this practice of inviting my small group of friends to see a new place or attraction in the city. Last year, I invited my colleagues turned friends, Abigail, Ate Weng and Terry to experience Banchetto in Ortigas. Banchetto is the pioneer in the trending food night market in Manila. After my trip to Taiwan, tons of teaching works were waiting for me so I forgot to organize an annual mini escapade for us. However, another friend was kind enough to invite me to try another food night market. A day after my birthday, we went to Il Mercanti.

Il Mercanti joins the bandwagon of the well loved food night market which was organized by a group of friends who are all food enthusiasts. It is located in the heart of Metrowalk in Pasig.  

Il Mercanti starts at 7 pm, earlier and better than other food night markets that make you wait until midnight.

The food selection at Il Mercanti may be not as extensive with that of other night markets such as Mercato and Banchetto. However, Il Mercanti compensates by providing more seats and wider dining area for the customers. Tables and seats are adequately provided. The dining atmopshere is also more relaxed and comfortable.

Some food exhibitors in Banchetto and Mercato are also found in Il Mercanti. Monster Burgers,  MedChef and Sweet Tums are among the few concessionaires I’ve found in other food night markets.

My personal favorite…..kill me now 😉

The only disadvantage I see in Il Mercanti is its location. Metrowalk is an area not favorable for commuters. The easiest mode of transportation is a cab or an FX taxi that routes to Ortigas Center. Although recently, I learned that the management  provides free shuttle services from the Raffles Corporate Center.

Il Mercanti targets mostly the group of young working professionals. However, since Il Mercanti is situated in a wider area, children can also enjoy the dining experience. It also operates as early as 7 pm so waiting long hours is not a problem.

I wasn’t by the way paid by Il Mercanti to write this post. My words here all resonate from my personal experience 😀

Have a great weekend to everyone. First weekend for 2012!

Sincerity Chicken Reviewed

It has been months since I last reviewed a restaurant. My schedule and lack of friends to tag along are among the few reasons why I fail to write some food posts.  To break my long hiatus, I’m reviewing one of the many inexpensive restaurants in my favorite Binondo.

I have to thank my friend Anna for insisting to try this restaurant.

This was one of Anna’s birthday wishes. She told me she wanted to try this restaurant on her birthday. Being the dutiful friend, I agreed to locate this restaurant in Binondo.

Sincerity Restaurant is located in the heart of the Yuchengco St. (formerly Calle Nueva). Yuchengo street is an area in Binondo where most businesses offering office supplies and machines are located.  The entire street is about wholesalers of office supplies. As we were locating the restaurant, I began to have doubts of its real location. But after a 5-minute walk from the original branch of Savory Restaurant, we found it. Hooray! Thank you Google Maps. 🙂 Turns out, it was the only restaurant in the entire stretch of the Yunchengco street.

Anna was fascinated over the popular reviews for Sinecrity Chicken. We don’t want to miss the speciality of the house so here it is.

We ordered the famous Sincerity Chicken good for 4 persons at around Php 200 to Php 300. (Can’t remember the exact price)

If I would rate the chicken, I’ll give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Price – It’s reasonable enough for Php 200 to 300.

Servings – If you are really in for a food trip this serving might not be enough for 4 persons. The pieces of the chicken are relatively small.

Taste – To be honest, nothing really distinct and spectacular about the chicken. Though it tastes good enough, the taste was not highly appealing. Not bad, but not so excellent either. An average rating will do for the chicken.

Aside from chicken, we also ordered this stuffed Kikiam. (Not really sure of the exact name.) I’ll give this dish 4 out of 5 stars. It’s unique and the taste combines different flavors.

Kiampong rice which tastes like brown rice. It has peanuts and some vegetable slices.

We also ordered Lumpiang Shanghai. But just the same, it’s cheap for a few pieces and nothing unique and appealing to remember.

Binondo occupies a smaller section of Manila’s land area. Abundant space is a rare find in Binondo. All business establishments are challenged to maximize their share of limited space. Sincerity Restaurant is one of the many restaurants that occupies a limited space but it has managed to maintain a clean and conducive place to dine. The ambiance of the fancy elegant Chinese restaurants is not something that Sincerity Restaurant has. However, the restaurant compensates for its fast and efficient service. Food is served hot, fresh in a little span of time.

Overall, I would give Sincerity Restaurant 3.5 out of 5 stars.