Monday, July 29, 2013


sample lang. pero hindi yung eksena kanina
Kung hindi lang ako naka split off at hindi nagmamadaling pumunta ako ng Quiapo, ninamnam ko na lang sana ang lamig ng panahon sa bahay.

Wala na nga palang mga bus na makakapasok sa Maynila dahil sa bagong ordinansa. Tapos, wala pang dalawang linggo, biglang bawi na naman sila na may "sticker" na daw na kailangan bago payagan muli.

Pagkababa ko ng Avenida sa LRT, tulad ng inaasahan, may mga bahagi ng kalsada na matubig dahil barado na naman ang kanal. 

Nakita kong may iilang tao na pinagkakitaan ito. Ayaw mong mabasa? Heto, meron kaming maliit na tulay, magbayad ka nga lang.

Minarapat kong kumuha na lang ng tricycle.

50 ho minimum. (akala ko pwede na 2 tao dun)

Ginawan naman nya ng paraan. Nakarating naman ako sa kailangan kong puntahan at dahil sasaglit lang naman talaga ako, hindi ko na siya pinaalis at nagpahatid na lang ako pabalik sa LRT pagkatapos. 

Inabutan ko siya ng 120, tip ba, 50 minimum, eh di 100 balikan, may kaunti pang dagdag.

Kulang po ito?

Ha? Akala ko ba 50 minimum? Eh di 100 balikan, may pasobra pa nga.

50 po minimum eh 2 ulo kayo.

Napabayad ako ng 200 nang di oras.

Putang ina lang mas mahal pa siya sa taxi, hindi pa aircon?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Seth and the Selfies

As it turns out, there was already an invented word for the unusual phenomenon I have been observing on Facebook which is the influx of self portraits taken by people on a DAILY basis on almost every single activity of their lives, the selfie - a new term for the self portrait.

While it is quite easy to associate this behavior as self absorbed and narcissistic, I decided to do a little research online if there are other souls like I am who personally think this is fucking annoying or is there really a scientifically valid explanation for it. Bring it on.

Digital cameras on phones are not new. Websites that allow sharing of photos isn't new. Online profiles and sharing content isn't new either. So where in the world did it get into the water or the wind that it is now perfectly acceptable to show in photos your cat, your dog, what you ate/drank, and a million or so selfies?! 

I have yet to understand why this concept was mass produced.

According to some authors, this idea even dates back centuries ago when portraits were done through paint, charcoal, or any other medium. I could only imagine how expensive and exhausting that would be, especially to hold a position for so long so that the artist can simply capture the moment. 

Fast forward to the invention of the camera and film, as a child born in the 80's, pictures were only saved for special occasions and trips. The actual context created by the background is just as important as your position in the photo. The expense might have been cheaper compared to a painter, but the cost of film, developing, printing to size cannot be overlooked. In addition, you have to wait for days and rush will cost you extra. Back then, there was no way to tell if you were indeed successful in capturing the moment until the last two phases were completed. Of course, no fancy camera and expensive film is immune to one minor defect, the actual user or the availability of another person to take that snapshot of you.

Enter the internet. Back then, it was already expensive to actually own a personal computer, let alone the cost to maintain a landline service plus the cost of a prepaid dial up card (ahhh... off peak hours flashbacks coming in... and the scratchy sound of the modem attempting to connect?).

Even when there were websites before, people had to hurdle yet another obstacle. You either need an excellent scanner, image resolution, finding the correct cables to sync, and storage/card reading devices. People were also quite conscious then how much personal stuff they wish to post in fear of stolen identities. 

The millenial year. Digital cameras get cheaper with higher resolutions. More wireless transfer and share options. Free wifi and cheap home internet. Smart phones and tablets with free apps for instant sharing. We are now living in hyper-connected, over-shared times.

The third most frequently used hashtag on Instagram is #me. Under it, you'll find more than 90 million self-portraits taken primarily by younger users, very few of them with any irony, or even much creativity. The practice of freezing and sharing our thinnest slices of life has become so popular that the granddaddy of dictionaries, the Oxford, is monitoring the term selfie as a possible addition. Time magazine included the selfie in its Top 10 buzzwords of 2012 (at No. 9) and New York magazine's The Cut blog declared in April: "Ugly Is the New Pretty: How Unattractive Selfies Took Over the Internet."On Instagram alone, there's #selfiesunday, along with related tags where millions of selfies land daily. 

OK... So there is indeed data to show that selfies are not just happening locally, as the infamous "jejemon" language did, and it has become a global trend.

Does the fact that so many people are doing it makes it right? There has to be a law regulating the number of selfies!? Charot.

Let me get this straight, there is nothing inherently wrong with publishing self portraits. However, the effort exerted on scrolling down my newsfeed and seeing someone's face on a regular basis with no significant change from the day before, just feels like being smothered. In an age of hyper sharing and high engagement, how has social media affected our self image?

One author argued that, one way to understand selfies is that you might have to consider the life the person has gone through. There must be a story behind it. As a kid, he must've struggled with weight loss and now he can't stop himself flaunting his abs? Maybe someone used to dream about being a model? It could be that this time he can afford better clothes or travel and that is an upgrade in his former lifestyle?

... and it hit me. I too was flaunting my figure at the time when I did felt good about how I looked and how many guys were actually lining up to meet me? Hmmmm...

So is it all about getting validation and approval from people? 

Krista Peck, M.S., says, “Compliments are one of the most extraordinary components of social life. People like compliments; that’s not rocket science. Compliments help increase self-esteem — and who isn’t looking to feel better about themselves?” Hell, the fashion, beauty, and lifestyle industries are marketed on desires to look and feel better. So to have several hundreds or even thousands of people comment, share, or like what you’re posting, creating, or featuring is extremely validating (thus explaining online celebrities). Also, when we see others exhibiting certain behaviors, they can become tempting to try as a way of being accepted by the group; a form of peer pressure, which makes sense, since we’re social beings.

But far from being just about human connection, selfies can be a competitive request for approval, according to psychologist Bill Campos. Campos, who specialises in teen and relationship issues, likens selfies to beauty pageants, “a drive to get feedback to validate ourselves....and provide mass meaning to what used to be in smaller contained mediums”.  The psychologist has likened the behavior with online gambling, noting the instant access can be habit forming with each hit of validation feeding the poser in record time. Feel low? Post a picture – each supportive click will boost the subject’s mood. The posers can end up not learning how to boost their confidence by themselves, instead placing their happiness in the clicks of others.

While selfies have become the digital cultural phenomenon of the moment, they are fleeting. As with platforms, memes, and trending topics, one would hope the selfie phenomenon would die, being replaced by something more meaningful.

I still haven't changed my mind about hating overdone selfies. Perhaps what I learned is how to tolerate them, and how to control them from bombarding my screen.

... and besides, since they willingly post it online, I am equally free to like, comment, and share as much as they do, especially when I am in a bitchy mood.



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

You have the right to choose...

My own meme: How I look at people who tend to hassle me. 

You can choose your attitude, same goes with your weapon ^^

Friday, July 5, 2013

My MLM experiences

Long before I even started my own online business of health products, I used to be the Best in Economics in my senior class in high school. While there were several subjects we were competing for, I made sure that I always landed that award as much as possible, and as I recall, I did perhaps 2/4 quarters in that year.

For me, aside from the language subjects, it was the only thing that had practical application, something I readily see and observe all around me. In almost everything that deals with money and business, I try to apply the principles I learned no matter how basic they are.

This is why when I heard the likes of Network Marketing or MLM, I was very much cautious because until now it sounded too good to be true. 

Perhaps the first time I heard about such were brands such as Amway, Forever Living, and Avon being the most popular. It was perhaps around 2006-2008 when I was at the peak of business where I was invited several times to "seminars" until I finally saw a pattern. Long before I even knew that MLM was somewhat a "legal" version of pyramiding (for the mere presence of a product) I never had a good impression of them at all.

My first encounter was with Herbalife. I was a fresh graduate then and I was desperately seeking for a job. I told myself I should not be responding to miniature advertisements, I took one shot anyway since it was taking Medical City months to respond to my application already. I called the landphone, an impatient sounding man answered:

Stranger: Yes?

Me: I saw the ad about this opportunity for health professionals...

Stranger: Name?

Me: Seth

Stranger: Age? Background?

Me: 21, Nursing Graduate

Stranger: Ok, go to this place on this date at this time....

(call ended)

It baffled me why he sounded like such with no additional details of what company I was applying for at all even when I called twice.

On the actual day itself, I was there at a lobby, signed the guestbook at the reception. There were a lot of people. The man who answered the phone didn't even left his name at all. Almost all of the people were in business attire so I figured I might be at the right place after all? I asked the lady behind the table as to how do we go about the interviews. She simply rolled her eyes at me and said " How will you get qualified if you can't even read the instructions?". Shutangina. Where the hell are those instructions anyway?

It was around 3PM when we were all gathered into a room, and the door was locked. There were men guarding the doors and all of a sudden there was music and cheering everywhere!? WTF!? What the hell am I doing here? I opted to leave but they wouldn't let me until the presentation was over. I honestly felt it was illegal detention but there were no security staff present. The next hour or so was spent on these "frustrated and failed people" in their chosen careers and yet here they brag about photos of their trips and cheques amounting to thousands of pesos.

What followed next was a feature of the product, how wonderful it is and the patents from some foreign lands you can never verify the authenticity anyway. Moving on, came the "business part" and the 8 or more ways of earning.

I don't know what got into me, but I somehow got tricked into attending such "seminars" by friends, friends of friends, someone I just met that wanted to share this "opportunity". 

I remember even attending Fern C where they ultimately bragged about mega dosing on Vitamins and if the representative could explain how the Acid-Base principle works, which he claims is too simple it is a sure shot at convincing people. I was like huh? There is an entire chapter almost 10 pages long in font size 9 before I understood that topic in college? Then came the part where the speaker placed a pill on water, dipped a lightbulb and it glowed. Whatevs. A reasonably prudent science student should know what the body cannot retain extra vitamins that what it needs. Everything in excess is excreted through urine. We're talking about a thousand pesos worth of Vitamin C, supposedly in the alkaline form of Sodium Ascorbate but the box still states the generic name "Ascorbic Acid". WTF is that about? To top it all off, they even had a dose table that depending on your condition, you should take about 3-8 pills 2-3 times a day. No wonder the box that comes in 100s wouldn't last very long?

A client of mine also invited me to try their "Galvanizing machine" that was supposed to make skin look younger, worth 15 fucking thousand pesos. The company was NuSkin in a floor somewhere in Octagon Building in Ortigas. More people in fancy business attire. Red flag waving. So I was given a demonstration. A little clear lotion massaged onto the skin while the small cheap plastic machine is used like a flat iron to even out the wrinkles. End of story, I was not impressed. The "machine" is about less than 100g in weight and runs on 2 AA batteries. The end point touching the skin is made of shiny plastic, similar to the material of robot toys sold in the streets. I feel sorry for my contact person. She bought me a frappe and paid for taxi just to get me there only to face my question: "If I had 15k with me (which I do then), why would I spend it and do it myself when I can seek professionals like Belo and be certain to get results?". Her hopes for a sale died on the spot, or so I thought...

She bargained, I could use my credit card or pay her cash in installments.

Honey, how would I know it even works? Do you personally own and use one?


Ok, here's what, I actually have several clients who may be interested and can afford such, and I can refer you to them, however, since I am placing my own reputation with these people at risk, may I borrow this device, use it for a period of time, and if I am convinced I'll pay for it?

The product is far too expensive...

Alright, how about this then, the product sells for 15k but the seller price is actually 10k right? What if I refer you to my contacts, then when you make a sale, you set aside around 2k for me in virtual commission? What I mean is you get to keep all the money until I earn enough to reach 15k and then you provide me with my own machine and I sign up as your downline? If I don't make it to 15k, you get to keep everything, I don't get a single peso and you also get to keep my contacts as your loyal customers.

She thought about it and then offered to mark up the price instead to 17k.

You can't do that? The price is standard. Even if they bought it at 17k and learned later on they were ripped off wouldn't that make you and I look bad?

She offered me 300 only in commission for every unit sold.

Goodluck dearie.

....and the list goes on, I heard of Goji juice and the silly "Goji morning" dance and greeting. There was another company who hold's office along Quezon Avenue whose products like toothpaste sell for 700. They had this skin moisture testing, and if the perfect score is 150, I was confident enough to come first and be tested, and I faired 120. The speaker applied their lotion to someone who got a 40, and voila! 160 in an instant. Yeah, even Lander Cocoa Butter which sells a dollar per liter can achieve that. ALL LOTIONS CONTAIN WATER. Duh.

Probably the best and the weirdest with the most dramatic photos would be Anion. The blue strip inside the sanitary napkin can decontaminate water and kill germs on contact. Didn't they know the vagina is not supposed to be sterile in the first place?

The worst would probably be Load Extreme. I wanted to sign up not because I wanted to make extra money. I did so because I kept 3 numbers from different networks and it would be better if I could get extra freebies just by reloading myself. So I chose this sponsor who instructed me to deposit 200 pesos to her bank account and let her know the details. She told me then to text a format code to a number. I did.

Me: Ok, so what's next?

Sponsor: Now you're a retailer as well.

Me: How can I tell? Nothing changed on my SIM card menu or anything? What changed? What did I pay for?

Sponsor: The membership. If you want you can also sell the retail opportunity and you're entitled up to 4, you can make as much as 800.

Me: WTF. You tricked me!?

End of story, I was 200 pesos poorer and how I wish I loaded that amount to  my number directly.

As my contribution to Filipinos and mankind in general who have not been duped yet, this is my mini checklist of the usual things all these companies have in common:

WHO: someone will offer you a "business opportunity"

WHERE: venue is usually their own building or they'll make a reservation in a function hall somewhere

WHAT: an overpriced product or something sounding too good to be true

WHEN: sometimes scheduled, some have it daily, the UNO company used to flock daily it's crazy how many people are outside the Podium would not have as much visitors inside.

HOW: they'd smother you with awesomeness, brag about their gadgets, their new cars, new houses, and the large checks they earned.

Now on the other side....

OK. So there maybe a handful of people who are indeed successful in such and they might be really making such large amounts of money. However, what I think what is wrong here at least in the context of the Philippine setting according to my experience is: People are drawn to such investments because of the fantasy of earning large, passive, effortless income.

Selling the product is just one way, or perhaps the most humble way of earning. However, it also happens to be the slowest and in order to "maintain" your membership, some companies require you to purchase products at a particular amount on a regular basis. Some sellers barely break even and some who do, don't get the checks they dream of having... not until you build your network and you'd get almost 10x in returns.

Recruit people and upon their payment of the memership fee you get a commission.

For every sale they make, you also get a percentage of that.

For every recruit they make and the sales your downlines make, you also get some from that.

and it goes on, sit back, relax, wait for the money to knock on your door.

This sounds totally ingenious however, most people who get too excited and jump in fail to consider these:

95% of those who join such never recover their investments.

You may have 100+ contacts on social networking sites, but your networks are  never the same.

Among those people who are possibly capable of purchasing your product will not be interested at all.

There is such a thing as saturation in the market.

MLMs especially those not too popular, are sometimes "fly by night"

Nobody in their right minds will be spending 700 for a tube of toothpaste even if they won the lottery

I am not totally against the idea of MLM. The fact that until now some Avon and Natasha or maybe MSE agents are thriving because they do offer a good honest solid product.

How I wish tricking people into signing up and investing their savings unnecessarily is taken out of the strategy, including the idea of "passive income".

Juan Tamad can never build a business empire.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


I consider myself a voracious reader. I may still be trying to catch up with the classical novels and a few iconic books in history but there are a couple of things that no matter how much I try to read and observe about, I couldn't seem to understand?

Music. Forget the fact that I could neither sing or play any instrument or even try to read notes if my life depended on it. Contrary to the common Filipino idea that a good singer is someone who not only can carry a tune, but someone who can almost mimic the original artist himself, I can appreciate an individual's own take or rendition of any piece. I am not familiar with terminologies related to voice quality, but when I hear someone sing, my only gauge is the question: "how did that song made me feel?". Shallow as it may seem, I can sense passion and talent through that. I apologize in advance but Boyce Avenue isn't that "awesome". Sure they sound good with a song or two, but after listening to a CD compilation for an hour, there isn't really no change in the pace, tone, or pitch althroughout? It gets even more predictable as to when the vocalist would be putting his sex face on the lyrics. I see the same trend with MYMP. OK, I did used to like them when Mark and I were dating way back in college and we saw them at a bar long before they became popular. Look where they are now? Juris, the sole member trying to make a name despite the number of anonymous talents we've been witnessing on TV.

For a change, I would like to learn how to appreciate opera. At face value, it hardly makes sense to me how a singer would belt out a piece whose lyrics seem unintelligible even though I'm guessing it could be Italian perhaps but most of the time I'm just hearing screams/screeching/something close to a horn being blown? What makes such an event so special people dress up fancily to watch a performance? I just don't get it and I haven't been able to find an online forum that dissects this in small pieces for me to chew.

Avante Garde Fashion. Every now and then, designers tend to introduce something new. They picture than men should be wearing lace shirts and underwear soon and children as young as 8 should start being comfortable in heeled shoes. Avante garde to me is just something bordering to a costume. It doesn't look very wearable or comfortable at all? 

Gourmet food. Well, I enjoy watching the chefs craft their masterpieces in as much as the judges describe the intricate taste with a sophisticated palate. How come most of the time the serving seems far too small on a large plate? :P

How I wish I have known more people who could perhaps walk me through into getting exposed to such disciplines. 

Like I said, I am yearning for more content in my life.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

I need more content

Is it just me or are we getting too bombarded with too much "sharing"?

Before, the only time I get to see pictures of food is when I view magazines and newspapers featuring a particular restaurant. Today, open your social website and you'll sure see what people ate/drank/half eaten/vomited throughout their day.

There was a time that if you wanted to share photos of your trip, you literally have to meet that person to view their albums. The time came when film slowly became obsolete and memory cards became the next big thing, people took photos only when the moment was truly special. Now in almost any angle, any moment, anywhere, any time, styled or not, ready or not, there are selfies everywhere?!

We have reached a pedestal wherein smartphones are aplenty and wifi has gotten so cheap already and we have this enormous amount of content we all wish to share. However, I am desperately needing for serious content. Until now, I really can't tell the difference between a chat log and a tweet especially when the latter I find to hard to catch up and read? Some users have already given up blogging altogether and decided to tweet it instead. Gone are the times when one really had to sit down and think and compose his thoughts not paying much attention to character usage. It feels to me that ideas have become volatile, I have to share it, it's out there, who cares what happens afterwards. 

In addition, it also came to a point where I see and hear of horrible things happening to the world that I can't do anything about. What does a like and a comment got to do with a praise/salute/ignore or whatever arbitrary value people tend to make on what they post at all?

I try my best to get back into books, focus into language, and perhaps find more fellow bloggers to follow and even websites with insightful articles and videos, very much worth paying attention to.