August 26, 2013

Abolish Pork

Abolish Pork

We do not care as much as we want to believe we do. And because of that, we will get tired of participating in this movement. And we will get back to living our comfortable lives - complaining about the system or worse, not even caring about the system. We will think that it is someone else's duty to do the right thing- someone's son, mother, cousin, friend, but never ours- never ours, because we are too busy chasing our dreams or our family's good future.

We are so damn proud about knowing current events, participating in one day demonstrations, or sharing information in social media. Perhaps, our country is really too stupid and rotten for us? We are pathetic, aren't we?

But whatever, I still support the abolition of the pork barrel campaign, and I think, that in a way, the protest shows that the people (regardless of status) can take a stand against something or for something - albeit short-lived.

And for that, non believers should not be too quick to judge.

August 18, 2013

Lifehacks at Home, in the Office, and on the Road

Listed below are some of my most favorite lifehacks at home, in the office, or while travelling:

A. At Home

1. Organize the jumbled wires in your room

I have lots of ponytail wraps for my hair. I like it because it's waterproof, but it's not very durable - or maybe my hair is just too big for the poor ponytail to handle. Whenever I broke one, I use it to organize the wires in my room (laptop/wifi/modem/etc)

Wire ponytail wrap

2. Make sure you use all of your clothes in the closet

I have (relatively) a lot of clothes, but I tend to use only my favorite ones. I have solved this problem via folding my recently used clothes in reverse. Thus, I am forced to use only the clothes that are not yet folded in reverse until all of my clothes are folded in such manner. For hung clothes, I look at the direction of the hanger's hook. If it is facing the wall, then I haven't used it; if it is facing me, then I have used it.

Clothes that are folded with their tags showing are the clothes I've used recently

Hangers with hook facing me are the clothes I've used recently

Curiosity vs Fear

Lately, my news feed is filled with sentiments on "The Conjuring" or "The Purge." I dislike horror movies. I try to stay away from it as much as I can, since I get terrified and jumpy easily. In fact, I don't watch movies that have any hint of horror or psycho-thriller scenes - explains why I haven't watched Human Centipede, Silence of the Lambs, The Grudge, The Ring, Child's Play, etc.

I remember watching Kakaba-kaba (a local horror tv series) back in grade school; it was shown that tasty burger patties were made of humans - I didn't eat burgers for 2 years! Also, back in High School, I was forced to enter a horror house in Star City; I got so scared that I just sat in a fetal position - refused to move until one of the staff escorted me out. HAHAHAHAHAHA - of course I'm a bit braver now, but still, the fear is still there.

Sometimes, I can take horror movies during the film showing, albeit with a bit of shying away from the screen, screaming, or holding back tears. HAHAHA. What I cannot stomach is how it toys with my mind long after the film is finished - when I'm alone in the house, while taking a bath, while I'm brushing my hair in front of the mirror, while walking in a dark alley, when I shut my eyes off, or even when I just look at a blank space. It's making me paranoid.

It was making me very paranoid and jumpy that I stopped watching horror movies altogether.

Unfortunately for me, most of my friends enjoy watching horror/gory/or psychological thriller films. Hence, the discussion can inevitably lead to such. Of course, I do not contribute anything (unless I've already read the story online - I do that to make sure I can at least carry a conversation), but I still listen intently so as to (1) get a grasp of the story and the emotions it harbors and (2) keep mental reference in case I need to use the knowledge in the future. The scarier it sound, the more conviction I have in avoiding the film.

So far, that strategy has worked fine. However, recently, I'm getting very very very very curious in horror movies, especially the classics. I was actually thinking of hypnotizing myself into believing that I'm not scared of horror movies- but of course I don't know hot to do that. HAHAHA

I tried Googling for answers:

There have been a few cases where people have had such strong aversions to horror movies, in such a case, the only way that the psychologist found to treat the case was to expose the woman to over fifty hours of horror movies over a period of two weeks. She died of a heart attack two hours into the treatment (needs citation.)

Well, that wasn't very encouraging, was it? HAHAHA I was thinking of watching a horror movie once a week during daytime, but I'm worried that it might affect my productivity afterwards. And that is just not practical at all.

Now I'm back to that phase of I wanna watch it so bad to see what the fuss is all about, and how brilliant the film might be, but I don't want to watch it, because that will not give me peace of mind for at least a week or two - the scary scenes will just play over and over again in my brain.

Curiosity vs fear, I wonder which will win in the next few days.

I don't know. What do you think? Did you ever experience a similar fear? And how did you address it?

Miyazaki Films: "It's good to be alive."

"I would like to make films that tell children, it's good to be alive." 
- Hayao Miyazaki
And that's exactly what he does. I'm not sure if I can be included in his definition of children, but I'm certain that I always feel positive about life and the world after watching his films. Perhaps, this is why Hayao Miyazaki is the 2nd person I admire the most in this lifetime (the 1st being my father.) He made possible the likes of Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Lupin III, My Neighbor Totoro, and a lot of other noteworthy films. Just recently, I found out that a new title, under his wing, was released - The Wind Rises.

But this post is not a review for The Wind Rises, rather this post is a review of all Hayao Miyazaki films that I've watched - or at least remember (from the ones I like the most to the ones I like the least.)

1. Spirited Away

Spirited Away's Chihiro and No Face

August 10, 2013

First Attempt at Ice Skating

I have rode a bike only once, it was roughly four months ago (when I first learned how to ride a bike.) Learning to cycle just kept getting pushed back in my priority list. And just yesterday, it got pushed back some more :)

Yesterday was a non-working holiday (Eid ul Fitr) so I easily gave in when my friends invited me to go skating with them (but I was mostly just, falling and standing still, HAHAHAHA.) It was my first time to go skating and at first I was so embarrassed to try it, but once I was inside the rink, all my embarrassment disappeared into thin air. All I could think of was, why in the world did I wear shorts and ankle socks and not bring gloves.

Since I can stand and walk on ice without problems, I started with gliding small distances. And toe pick proved to be a problem. I kept on tripping on ice because majority of my weight rests on my toe instead of my heels. Good thing, I was pretty good with balancing (said my mentor, NUUKKSS Prin! HAHAHAHA) so I avoided falling down. As for me, there was no other way to avoid toe pick but by keeping on practicing and letting my muscle memory do the job.

Princess (the mentor) on ice

Once I significantly lessened my toe pick accounts, I prepared myself for longer glides. It was all okay, and I was learning relatively fast. And I was enjoying myself a lot... until I had my first fall.

My first fall took all my previous learning. Suddenly, I was scared to glide, scared to move, scared to get hurt, and just plain disoriented. HAHAHAHA well it hurt! It was when my learning curve plummeted.

After the first fall

After the first fall, I was unable to relax. I tried hard to not think of falling, but the burning sensation in my knees and hands kept on reminding me not to fall. Thinking of not falling resulted in me thinking of not trying at all. Thus, I did not try. The end.


I kept trying, but this time I was taking more steps and less glide - safer in my vocabulary. And then, there came my next and final fall.

After the 2nd fall

That did it. I stopped gliding and just rested my mind and body in the corner. HAHAHAHAHAHA that said, ice skating is one of my top priorities for weekends. This is because I did not get what I want. I just want to learn how to glide calmly and continuously. I wasn't asking for much, was I HAHAHAHAHAHA. 

I'll guess I'll see you guys on ice when my knees and arms don't hurt anymore! (And hopefully we're both wearing long socks, gloves, and knee-covering garment by then.)

Knees apart, guys!

I don't know. HAHAHAHA


The Rookie Among the Honchos

I was tasked to deliver a presentation about our company, but I never expected to be speaking next to the COO of AXA Philippines.

It was ASPLI's 2nd Learning Session for 2013. ASPLI or the Association of Service Professionals in Life Insurance is composed of different life insurance companies such as AXA Life, Sunlife, Cocolife, Manulife, BPI Philamlife, Prulife, Asianlife, Insular life, and others. It is dedicated in uplifting customer service here in the Philippines. 

Before entering the conference center of Asian Institute of Management, I was expecting to see a small crowd of young professionals, but as I opened the door, I saw a big crowd of old(er) people in suits and dresses. I saw a photo of me in a pull up banner next to photos of the other speakers: the COO of AXA life, the president of SmartQ System Corporation, and a senior manager of Eastwest Bank Corporation. I felt like running away from the building. HAHAHAHAHAHA.

I tried to compose myself by thinking about my past encounters with different people: the head honchos that I have negotiated with, the demanding business owners that I have closed a deal with, the big names that I have been given the chance to discuss matters on business expansions, and even the old owners who frown upon seeing how young I look. (cue in the Phineas and Ferb's "aren't you a bit young to be doing x?") In a way, I was able to calm down.

My peace didn't last long; when Sir Ariel "Ton" Magtoto (COO of AXA Life Philippines) started his speech, I was swept to my feet. He was so good, and the very specific best practices that he was sharing were things that only someone who has dedicated his whole life for his craft can share. I actually had a whole page for all his pieces of advice and at that brief moment, I was so engulfed in thinking that IF I stay in the corporate world, then this is the kind of person that I would like to aspire for.

Sir Ton finished his speech, and there I was - rattled. I mean how could I match that?! There was no way. I drank a glass of water and gave myself a goal:

"Arlet, your only goal now is to not trip, not puke, not swear, and deliver your point about your company. Absolutely no one is expecting anything from you, no one is expecting for you to match a COO's speech. Don't fret, Arlet. Don't fret."

Well, that worked. And I was so thankful that I didn't do anything that would be disgraceful for myself or for the company that I was representing (or did I? HAHAHA). The audience were also very gracious. And it's true, "The audience almost always want you to succeed. Unless you're a politician, chances are, you are facing a nice crowd."

They were answering my questions, laughing at my jokes, and participating in the discussion. Sir Ton was even so nice to congratulate me after the event, while Sir Jim (senior manager of Eastwest bank) talked with me regarding how we might be able to help each other in the industry.

It was a very insightful event and an inspiring experience for me. In the future, however, I know I will not get away with only humor. I need to have more substance as I grow older. For that, I have to learn KPIs, finance, a bit of how systems and technology works, etc. There's just so much to improve on that it becomes very exciting!

"Even if you are the youngest person at the table, you're at the table. Don't be afraid to make your voice heard. Just make it count"


August 4, 2013


I know that this is not a valid excuse, but I am terribly sorry for my improper behavior last Friday night; I ran out of mefenamic acid. Hoping for your kind understanding :) 

The Non-Sexist Filipino

I don't remember how I came across Google's Endangered Language Project, but I remember planning to research on Alibata (pre-Hispanic way of writing in the Philippines) to contribute in the project. Unfortunately, I wasn't really that interested in Alibata so I never got started.

I still haven't prioritized learning Alibata just yet, but since it's Linggo ng Wika (National Language Week of the Philippines), I'd like to share my favorite aspect of the Filipino language:

I'm not sure for other countries, but at least in the states they have the gender specific "he" and "she" to refer to a singular person. In the Philippines, we only have a gender neutral pronoun "siya". We don't have any Filipino pronouns that specify if the person is male or female. And I prefer it that way, because my gender has very little, if not nothing, to do with my decisions and actions.

I'd like to think that ancient Filipinos didn't care enough to distinguish males from females in their language because they cared more for people's functions and abilities rather than their vaginas or penises (unless of course they want to reproduce.) I cannot prove this theory as of the moment though.

By the way, in the Philippines, we celebrate our national language (Filipino) every first week of August; we call this Linggo ng Wika which can be literally translated as "week of language". In schools, we used to celebrate it by having competition and presentation of sorts - ranging from monologues to speech choirs.