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The new era of radio breaks geographical barriers with JaygerFM

Online or Internet Radio has become a great platform for music lovers to listen to their favorite music genres beyond the limited mileage offered by traditional radio. Unlike traditional radio, online radio has a global reach and therefore can be accessed and heard anywhere in the world where there’s Internet connection. Friends, lovers, and families separated by geographical divides can listen to the same music stream at the same time sans timezone differences. One online radio that I listen to is JaygerFM which plays a smorgasbord of Top 40 and contemporary songs throughout the weekdays and a plethora of old and new songs during the weekends.

JaygerFM was founded by a young man named Claro just February 28 of this year. What started out as an idea spawned into a real deal, with JaygerFM attracting more listeners day after day. Their FB page started generating thousands of likes organically.

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DJ Claro and DJ Gabz (Photo from jaygerfm’s fb page)

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Deejays jamming on Jayger Jamz.

“I did not expect our Facebook page and listenership to grow into what it is today. I guess it was serendipitous but nevertheless I am thankful,” said DJ Claro. Most of JaygerFM’s listeners come from the Philippines, the US, Australia, Brazil, and the UAE.

What prompted DJ Claro to set up JaygerFM? “Actually it was an arbitrary decision,” he mused. ” I just wanted to try it out and see what it was like to own your own Internet station,” DJ Claro added.

JaygerFM does live broadcasts every Friday, 5pm Manila time, on Jayger Jamz  where the young and opinionated DJs Clarissa, Gabz, Jairo, Lejana, Leo, Martin, Nikki, and DJ Claro himself engage in wacky conversations that make their listeners glued to their headsets and speakers. Jayger Jamz, which DJ Claro said was a brainchild of his dad, gets replayed every Sunday.

I’m privileged to be part of JaygerFM as their weekend newscaster.  My newscasts are heard within Jayger Jamz’s timeslot. I started last June, a month after Jayger Jamz’ inception.  Though my stint has been sporadic due to my hectic schedules, doing newscasts for JaygerFM has always been a stress-buster for me. Like I’ve mentioned in my previous post My “secret” life as a voiceover talent, audio production is my secret love.

Me, doing what I love — voice recording.

Come to think of it, the global reach of online radio makes it a good avenue for international companies to market their products and services worldwide at a minimal cost.

Listen to JaygerFM by clicking on this link:  http://jaygerfm.com/ and get updated with the latest hits in music, fun conversations, interesting news bits, and a bit of the top tracks from the past.

Heads up, the guys are cooking up a fun radio show for tomorrow on Christmas Day!

 

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A Day with Kiwanis Club of Cainta Greenpark

IMG_20151212_103702I spent practically most of my entire day with Kiwanis Club of Cainta Greenpark last Saturday.  It didn’t matter that I wasn’t a member yet, the Kiwanians were surprisingly friendly and accommodating.  So how did I end up there? It all started with a choice — a choice to do something meaningful and productive that’s not about me, myself, and I…a choice to join an organization that makes valuable contributions to the community; an organization that positively impacts other people’s lives. I only had one club in mind — KIWANIS INTERNATIONAL. But which chapter should I approach and will they accept me as a member without a referral from a current member? I wouldn’t know until I tried.

With the help of my handy dandy buddy Mr. Google, I searched for Kiwanis Chapters near me. I looked into their meeting places and schedules and the one that appealed to me most, primarily on those grounds, was Kiwanis Club of Cainta Greenpark. I searched for their FB page and sent a message of inquiry and intent to join. Luckily, someone replied to my queries and informed me of their Feeding and Gift-Giving Activity which I could try to check out that Saturday.

To cut to the chase, I went to the event venue despite the nagging apprehension that I might be out-of-place since I didn’t know anyone from there. When I got to the place, I looked for the past president Jojo Figuracion who eventually greeted me with a warm welcome and introduced me to his fellow Kiwanians. All of them exuded positive vibes, notwithstanding that I was a stranger. Their warmth was overwhelming. There wasn’t a moment that I felt I made a wrong decision to go there. In fact, the longer I stayed, the more I loved it.

The said Feeding and Gift-Giving Project benefited the kids of Cainta Greenpark’s tricycle drivers. The Kiwanians distributed food, gifts, and prizes, much to the delight of the kids who also enjoyed the fun games and dancing. It was the club’s second year of organizing such an activity within Cainta Greenpark.

The Kiwanis Club of Cainta Greenpark has been initiating fellowship and outreach projects for 30 years since its inception.  The exciting part is that the club is brewing more service-focused activities up ahead, apparently in keeping with what Kiwanis International is known for — serving communities with its motto “Serving the Children of the World.”

I only spent one Saturday with them but the Kiwanians at Cainta Greenpark showed me the value of camaraderie, friendship, charity, humility, and service, among other things.  I felt their strong bond as if they’re all brothers and sisters. Looks like I’ve found myself a new family.

And oh, my induction will be next Saturday. Just the thought of it makes me feel like a child anticipating Christmas.

Kiwanis Club of Cainta Greenpark
Kiwanis Club of Cainta Greenpark IMG_20151212_111030 IMG_20151212_141032

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Getting fit for less around Marikina

A lot of fitness gyms in the country require skyrocketing membership fees that could ruin your monthly budget, you’d lose pounds not from working out but from the lack of livable funds left in your wallet.  For fitness-conscious individuals who don’t have the financial capacity to enroll in expensive fitness centers (or simply don’t want to include preposterous gym fees in their monthly budget), there are other options to stay fit and healthy for less.

Fortunately for residents of Marikina, the city has a number of public places where one can jog, run, brisk walk, play outdoor and indoor sports with friends and family, or even join free zumba sessions like in our community every weekend.

Fitness Places in Marikina:

Marikina Sports Center

Photo courtesy of Marikina Sports Park’s FB page

1. Marikina Sports Center (Complex) — Built in 1969, it was renamed to Marikina Sports Park in 1995 and is situated in Sumulong Highway corner Shoe Avenue, Marikina also known as Bayan for locals.

Marikina Sports Center is one of Metro Manila’s cleanest and well-maintained public sports facilities. It is equipped with an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a 400-meter track oval.  It also has a sports building that houses indoor game facilities for boxing, sepak takraw, arnis, and martial arts. It has an indoor gym with basketball,  volleyball, and event centers.

Entrance to Marikina Sports Center is only P10. Some of the facilities may have separate charges which are several folds lower than those charged by exclusive fitness gyms in the Metro.

Marikina Sports Center has two grandstands with a total seating capacity of 15,000. Practically almost everything you need for your fitness regimen is here.

Photos courtesy of Marikina Sports Center's FB page

Photo courtesy of Marikina Sports Center’s FB page

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Photo courtesy of Marikina Sports Center’s FB page   

2. Marikina River Park –  Right outside Riverbanks Center in Barangka, Marikina, the Marikina River Park is a sprawling open space ideal for brisk walking, jogging, and running early in the morning or late afternoon. This part of Marikina River is usually clean unless during or after a heavy rain which pollutes the river with tons of trash from other places. On most days, it’s a perfect spot for your fitness routine.

Marikina River Park

Photo courtesy of Riverbanks Center’s FB page

3. Feetness Pad – (NOTE: This isn’t a public park like the other two mentioned but a low-cost fitness center with no monthly fees.)

Just this month, my friends and I agreed to take on a challenge to lose weight before our rendevouz in Cebu City this January. It’s our own version of The Biggest Loser, with bragging rights up for grabs. I figured I could use a fitness gym where I could be motivated to workout and lose more pounds than when I do it without a coach. I searched online for female-friendly gyms around Marikina and it led me to Feetness Pad located in Concepcion. Interestingly, their sessions are as low as P99 and up plus their programs looked inviting so I gave them a try. Feetness Pad’s Coach Ryya assured me that I wouldn’t feel left out even if I’d go there alone. And she was right. The atmosphere was warm and friendly at Feetness Pad.

feetness pad

Photo courtesy of Feetness Pad’s FB page.  The pole is calling!

I went there on their first anniversary where they hosted a free zumba session. My first visit was primarily just to check out the place but while watching the zumba class, I couldn’t help but give in to the beat. I left the gym feeling happy, energized, and all worked out.  The next day, I went back for their Circuit Training which was also a blast. I have to say all the fitness coaches I met at Feetness Pad were accommodating, nice, and really good at their craft.

Other than Zumba and Circuit Training, they also have Pole Dancing Lessons (which I am so tempted to try), Yoga, and Boxing. Check them out on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/FeetnessPad, for more information about their fitness programs.

These are some of the fitness places in Marikina that you can visit without paying a fortune. Given that facilities like them indeed exist, excuses about high gym membership fees no longer hold water. At the end of the day, it’s your motivation to get fit and healthy that will drive you to your goal.

Tara na, kilos na! 🙂

 

 

 

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Trip up north: Manila to Sagada

Sagada is one of the best and most popular tourist destinations in the Mountain Province. Before it even took the spotlight due to the widely-celebrated film “That Thing Called Tadhana,” Sagada has been a favorite destination of choice by people seeking breath-taking panoramic views, cold weather, nice people, and tranquil environment where one could feel like he/she is on top of the world some 275 kilometers away from the urban jungle of Metro Manila.

Sagada

We had our trip up North to Sagada summer of last year and even though it was the longest land travel of our lives, it was arguably one of the best.

We rented a 12-seater van that accommodated all of us comfortably. It certainly wasn’t cheap but the convenience was priceless.  We took a Manila-Baguio-Sagada route which took us two days to reach Sagada from Manila (just because we stopped by Baguio for some sight-seeing and stayed there overnight).

Ways to get there other than through private transport:

By Bus

  • Western route (Victory Liner, Partas, Genesis, Dagupan  Bus Line) — Manila to Baguio

Fare (Manila to Baguio City): P455-P750 (around $10-$17)
Estimated travel time: 6 hours

Baguio City to Sagada (GL Trans, Lizard Transit)
Fare: P220 non-aircon (roughly $4.90)
Estimated travel time: 6 hours

Manila-Bontoc-Sagada
Bus ride from Manila to Bontoc, the capital of Mountain Province.
Estimated travel time: 12 hours. A jeepney ride from Bontoc to Sagada takes another 45 minutes.

  • Eastern route (Ohayami Trans) — This bus line passes through Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya and Ifugao. It doesn’t take you straight to Sagada but gets you close – at least up to the eastern edge of the Cordilleras.
    Manila Terminal: Lacson Avenue cor. Fajardo Street, Sampaloc
    Contact number: 09276493055, 02-5160501 (Manila); 09175617344 (Ifugao)

Fare (Manila to Banaue): P450 (around $10)
Estimated travel time: 10-12 hours

 

WHAT TO EXPECT IN SAGADA:

  • Picturesque winding roads worthy of cinematic exposure
  • Colder weather compared to most parts of the country
  • Caves, lots of caves to explore! One of the the caves we visited was an ancient burial cave of Sumaguing (Sumaguing Cave)
  • Clean, sparkling rivers and waterfalls
  • The famous hanging coffin and other historical sites
  • Smaller versions of the famous Rice Terraces in Banaue
  • Dining areas with lots of good food and some of them can only be found in Sagada! I would love to go back just because of Sagada Lemon Pie House which serves the best (lemon) pie I ever tasted.
  • Warm, friendly people
  • Clean, safe streets

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Sagada

My niece and daughter enjoying the serenity of Sagada.

Sagada map

 

When you get there, it is best to go to Sagada’s Tourist Office and register as a tourist. Local guides are there on stand by to give tourists a hand in exploring the main attractions and provide local information about Sagada for a minimal fee. Highly recommended to get a local guide from there to maximize your Sagada experience. There are caves and other tourist spots there that are hard to explore without a guide.

On off-peak season, accommodation should be easy to find even if you don’t have any prior reservations. There are a lot of affordable houses and hostels for rent around the area.

My pictures could never give justice to the beauty of Sagada. I failed to capture a lot of panoramic views when I got consumed by the vast green slopes, tourist attractions, exciting trekking trails, and lots of good food and company but that’s the thing — Sagada is a place where you can be one with nature, or reflect on the things that happened in your life, release all your pains and shout all your angst to the clouds like in the flick “Tadhana,” or frolic around it with the people you love.  If you haven’t been to Sagada, you might want to include it in your bucket list and make new unforgettable memories of your own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Malagos Garden Resort, Davao City

I often get asked by friends where to go and what to do when visiting Davao City. There are plenty of choices actually, depending on your kind of high. Here’s one of the go-to places for those wanting to bask in the beauty of nature when in Davao: Malagos Garden Resort.

Malagos Garden is a 12-hectare nature theme park located in Calinan, Davao City — about an hour away from the city’s downtown area. One may choose to stay overnight as there are cottages available. The nature park is a sprawling beauty of greenery, such a welcoming and relaxing respite from the noise, smog, and heavy traffic of urban living.

I brought my family there to unwind and dine last August in time for the Kadayawan Festival, and it didn’t disappoint.

What we enjoyed the most:

1.  The Interactive Bird Show – Imagine different species of eagles, owls, and other birds suddenly flying over you from nowhere to converge at the center to join the veterinarian-host; or a bird swooping over you to take the P100 bill you’re flashing and then returning it to you towards the end of the show (yes, it will remember you); or birds segregating trash and putting them in the right trash bins; best of all, ducklings, ducks, geese, and lastly a beautiful ostrich going out in throngs from the little ones to the biggest to manifest an animal evacuation when there’s a looming vulcanic eruption (which should serve as a warning to us humans). Very impressive! We never expected it to be as entertaining and informative as it was.

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2. The Lunch Buffet – A sumptuous lunch buffet for only P275 per person. Yes dear, P275 and you get awesome food choices from appetizers to desserts (drinks not included) while a talented pianist plays on the background. Worth trying are their fresh vegetable salads!

3. The Attractions – It was a vast area to cover on foot but the attractions where we stayed the longest were the View Deck Cafe and Grill, Koi Cafe (it was so windy and cool out there), Gardens of Malagos, the Butterfly Sanctuary, and the Bird Park. We also saw the Abueva Sculptures and visited the poolside. I would’ve wanted my parents to ride the Kalesa but we couldn’t find its station.

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Malagos Garden Resort is definitely one of Davao City’s tourist destinations. More than anything, it’s an awesome place to bond with your family where you can dine, play, talk, laugh, swim, learn, take pictures, and enjoy nature at the same time. To me, that’s priceless.

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The Harshest Things You’ll Ever Learn About Love

I’m a sucker for romance. I love happy endings and stories that give me butterflies in my stomach. I like reading books that transcend me into a different dimension such as romantic comedy and fantasy. These kinds of books were my addiction of choice during my high school days and early on in College. Mills and Boon and other thicker romantic paperback novels were my bedtime companions, and probably the culprits why my eyesight got screwed to negative 200.

Fast forward, I’m now more into non-fiction books. The ones that appeal to me now are more about self-help, leadership, and business books…but I’m still a sucker for romance.  I like the spot-on love quotes by Bob Ong, and the witty and funny lines by Sen. Miriam Santiago in her book “Stupid is Forever” like “Ang crush parang math problem, kung hindi mo makuha, titigan mo na lang” and “Miss, kutsara ka ba? Kasi papalapit ka pa lang, napanganga na ako.”

Bob Ong

 

Bob Ong

Recently my attention is on a freshly-published book authored by my friend from High School, Christopher Ryan Maboloc. His book, “The Harshest Things You’ll Ever Learn About Love” is a plethora of original love quotes, essays, short stories, poems, and letters.

Ryan, a Philosophy educator at Ateneo de Davao University and regular contributor/commentator at the Philippine Daily Inquirer, is a talented writer who loves posting catchy love lines on social media. I noticed that he has hundreds of readers responding very well to his posts so one time I sent him a message that perhaps he should consider compiling all his popular posts and make them into a book. And the rest is history.

I had the cover designed by my niece Angel, under the supervision of my youngest brother Ray An who is also a skilled graphic designer, while Ryan completed his book’s contents.  After months of several revisions which I lost count of, Ryan finally decided the book was ready.

I managed to get the book on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing and got it live on Amazon store last September 5. And with the help of Ryan’s friends in the local publishing industry, “The Harshest Things You’ll Ever Learn About Love” is also out now at Jade Bookstore in Davao City, close to Ateneo.

What could be the harshest things we’ll ever learn about love, if we ever learn at all? Check out the book’s Kindle version on Amazon or the paperback at Jade Bookstore.  Soon to be available on Amazon’s print-on-demand.

 

The Harshest Things You'll Ever Learn About Love

About the Book: “You don’t actually choose the right man. You choose love, and for this reason, the right man,” the author writes in this book which proposes falling in love as a universal therapy. Perhaps, it will require nothing short of magic to be able to bridge that huge divide between real life and fiction when it comes to love, a task that the author will try to accomplish in this book by carefully putting together a collection of short pieces, literary essays and letters, poems, and sharp aphorisms on love, life and philosophy.

About the Author: Christopher Ryan B. Maboloc has been teaching philosophy for almost twenty years. He has been to Germany, Italy, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, and Thailand as a young scholar. He finished his master’s degree in applied ethics in Scandinavia under a generous scholarship from the European Commission (Erasmus Mundus). He also contributes social and political commentaries to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

 

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Kadayawan Sa Dabaw 2015

The biggest festival in Davao City — Kadayawan sa Dabaw — culminates today with the highly-anticipated Floral Float Competition! Ironically I left yesterday after witnessing one entry at the Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan, which is one of the highlights of the festival.

Kadayawan sa Dabaw 2015 is the 30th Kadayawan celebration and as usual, it attracted thousands of local and foreign tourists to Davao City.

kadayawan sa dabawkadayawan sa dabawIndak_Indak Kadayawan 2015kadayawan_indak-indak

 

kadayawan sa dabaw

Prices of fruits drop at this season of bountiful harvest. I only spent a total of P200 for 3 kilos of mangosteen and 2 big pieces of marang.

Kadayawan is an annual festival in Davao City celebrating its bountiful harvests. You will find fruits that are fresh from the farms being sold on the streets and in public markets (the most popular and probably the biggest fruit market you could find is the Bankerohan Public Market) at very low prices: Mangosteen from P40-P50 per kilo, Marang and Rambutan at P20-P30 per kilo, Durian from P35-P65 per kilo, etc. If you buy directly from farmers themselves, you will get even cheaper deals. But as for myself, I don’t normally bargain with farmers because I can only imagine their tiny mark up. They need to earn too, you know.

Next time you plan your trip to Davao, be sure to be there during the Kadayawan week.  With fruits this cheap, you have no excuse not to eat fruits when in Davao.

Madayaw, Dabaw!

 

 

August Sight Saving Month

(George Optical Press Release)

With most Filipinos taking their eyes for granted and failing to see the importance of having routine eye checkups, until there is already a problem, possibly a critical one at that. Eye experts urge the public to have their eyes thoroughly checked regularly.

Every August our country celebrates “Sight Saving Month”. The objective is to promote better awareness for eye health and encourage Filipinos to have their eyes checked. It aims to strengthen public awareness of the importance of proper eye care and the prevention of avoidable blindness and eye diseases.

cataract

Avoidable blindness and visual impairment is a serious global health issue. It imposes a significant health, social, and economic burden on individuals and communities. With the aim of eliminating the main causes of avoidable blindness by the year 2020, the global initiative ‘VISION 2020: The Right to Sight’ was launched in 1999 by the World Health Organization in partnership with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, which promoted the development of sustainable eye care programs based on the three core strategies of disease control, human resource development and infrastructure and technology, incorporating the principles of primary health care.

Globally, uncorrected refractive errors are the main cause of visual impairment, while cataract remains the leading cause of blindness. Furthermore, 65% of visually-impaired and 82% of blind people are over 50 years old.

George Optical1

The top three causes of visual impairment are uncorrected refractive errors, cataract, and glaucoma. On the other hand, the top three causes of blindness are cataract, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration.

In the Philippines, the current estimated number of persons who are bilaterally blind is 569,072, of which 62.1% is due to cataract, 10.3% due to uncorrected refractive errors, 8% due to glaucoma, and 4% due to retinopathies.

George Optical supports this celebration and promotion of public awareness by offering a free comprehensive eye examination and initial contact lens assessment for the entire month of August, discounts will also be given on selected frames on all its twenty five (25) branches nationwide.

George Optical 2

Patients can also give back by donating their old wearable eyeglasses, which in turn will be given to the less fortunate through the Dr. George Co, Sr. Foundation, in honor of George Optical’s founder.

Dr. George Co Sr.

Dr. George Co Sr.

For more than fifty years running, George Optical has a strong commitment to quality, and its success story is simply of a company with a heart and a simple vision: to make lives better through healthy vision.

Truly, George Optical with its Chief Optometrist and President, Dr. Geoffrey Co, together with a team of licensed Optometrists and in-house ophthalmologist ensure that the founder’s philosophy lives on today.

Dr. Geoffery Co

Dr. Geoffery Co

Dr. George Co Sr. and Wife

Dr. George Co Sr. and Wife

Around Pilipinas supports George Optical’s cause in donating wearable eyeglasses to the less fortunate. If you happen to have a pair of eyeglasses you no longer use, you can help save someone’s vision by donating it through Dr. George Co, Sr. Foundation.  One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

This month of August, get huge discounts and a free comprehensive eye examination or an initial contact lens fitting at George Optical. Check out their facebook page for more information:  https://www.facebook.com/georgeoptical 

Phone Numbers: +632 834 8742 / 834 7663; 832 8679

Official Website: http://www.george-optical.com

Branches: http://www.george-optical.com/locations.html

Online Shopping in the Philippines

Online shopping is fast becoming popular in the Philippines.  Even without a credit card, one may purchase online using other payment channels like PayPal, Bayad Centers, banks (over the counter or ATM deposits), Western Union, and other options.

I myself is an online shopper. What, with the heavy traffic around Metro Manila, it’s more convenient to shop online especially if you’re looking for gift items that aren’t too common.  So instead of hopping from mall to mall which could practically eat up your entire day on the road, you can stay home and surf online for items that you need or want.

Of course there are items that you’d rather see and feel first instead of just look at the pictures, so you prefer to visit the actual stores. I do that for clothes, shoes, and bags.

What I buy online are mostly beauty products I trust and only from online shops that I trust.  Like a couple of weeks ago, I purchased Olay Regenerist from Lazada and last week I paid for dental services online at MetroDeal. Lazada and MetroDeal are two of my trusted online shops in the Philippines. I never had any problems nor have I been scammed by shopping from those sites.

Lazada_Olay1

Lazada_Olay

Customized gift items

For gift items that are customized, I doubt if you can find them on Lazada but you can definitely find them on Heart Press.  They turn ordinary items into extraordinary as they personalize practical gift ideas like ceramic plates, mugs, specialty items, linen, keychains, even cellphone cases.

How it works:

1. On their website, you choose an item that you want to personalize.

2. Upload the image that you want to be printed on your chosen item and then press “Add to Bag.”

3. Proceed to checkout using your preferred payment. Heart Press accepts PayPal, debit and credit cards, and other money centers.

personalized clock

Glass square clock you can customize at Heartpress.ph

I believe they’re awesome for corporate giveaways, wedding souvenirs, or even as gifts to ourselves and the special people in our lives.

They also have a physical store in Cavite.

My favorite is their glass square personalized clock.

I’d like to have one on our wall with a nice picture of our family so that everytime I look at the time, I’d be reminded about just how lucky I am to be able to spend quality time with them by working (and shopping) from the comfort of our own home.  🙂

 

 

 

Around Pilipinas has migrated to www.aroundpilipinas.com

Hi Guys!

Finally, I’m able to use my domain www.aroundpilipinas.com.  Thanks to Michael of Coffeemags who facilitated the migration for me with excellent customer service.

It was from fellow blogger Mark Villar of Yolomoments that I first heard about Coffeemags. I took the liberty to google the company and I was glad to find out that it’s a Filipino hosting company based in Cebu. I sent them a message of inquiry and I got an immediate response.

It was their affordable rate of $1 a month that initially drew me to them but when I engaged their services, I found their customer service so admirable and rewarding.   Unlike other big hosting companies, you get personalized customer service at Coffeemags.

Being non-technical, I had little to no knowledge in terms of migration and hosting. I only know how to customize and update my site — install and update themes, widgets, plugins, the works. But the tedious  jobs involving hosting and migration, nah! Michael educated me on some technical aspects, which was awesome.

No, I don’t get anything from talking about Coffeemags but I feel that other bloggers like me deserve to know better options when it comes to hosting their blogs and websites.

Again, please know that I won’t be updating the old blog anymore (https://aroundpilipinas.wordpress.com).

Welcome to my new home!

 

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My “secret” life as a voiceover talent

Okay, so my secret is out. I’m an independent voice over artist.  My voice has been used in numerous radio commercials, corporate audio-video presentations, newscasts, telephone response system, voice overs, and narrations since 1994. Fine, now I just gave away my age.

Voice acting/recording is not my bread and butter though. But while I have other regular sources of income, the voiceover craft has always been an essential spice in my life.  It’s been my passion since I joined the radio industry two decades ago and stayed there for seven fun years.

Long after I left radio, up until now, I still do it. It’s a special part of me that I can’t let go, no matter how hectic and serious my life has become. I’m not as young and carefree anymore and I have more responsibilities now than ever before. While perhaps for some people, voice recording is considered just an odd job, it’s more than that to me. It’s my love, my stress buster.

I love giving life to an otherwise humdrum script. Sometimes I help in formulating the script too. I love being a voice to a faceless character.

Is it lucrative? It depends on one’s skills. Is it in demand? Recently, I see a surge in demand for audiobooks so I believe if you know where to find clients and you’re good at what you do, you can make a killing out of it, regularly.

Working with ABS-CBN Davao Director Beling Rodriguez.

Lots of Filipino voice talents can compete with native English speakers due to our neutral accent (some can even mimic American and British accents). Plus, Filipino talents charge lower rates compared to their American counterparts so those clients who work on a budget, they outsource the job to Filipinos.

To give you an idea about the business side of it, here are sample rate cards (Filipino rates):

30-second Radio Commercial – $100 minimum

Corporate Presentations, tutorial/training modules – $100 (5 minutes audio)

Audio book – $100-$300 per hour of finished audio

All rates above are for raw files only, no music beds included. For complete audio production, the rates are higher depending on client requirements.

Some people don’t understand why a 30-seconder would cost that much and even higher on some cases. The output may sound like a breezy job but the truth is, there’s a lot of work behind a single 30-seconder commercial or audio file.

Behind the scenes of a 30 seconder voice file:

  1. Pre-production reading, rehearsing –   5-10 minutes
  2. Recording  –   5-15 minutes (depending on skills, it could take 30 minutes)
  3. Editing      – 1 hour or more, depending on client requirements

Ergo, a 30-second audio file takes more than an hour to do.

For longer audio files, it would include lots of research. One word or name could mean 15 minutes of researching and calling several people just to make sure your pronunciation is correct.  No, not all the time Google has the answers.  Some words and names may not be on YouTube and other sites where you could verify proper pronunciation. Not even native speakers know all the answers. What I’m saying is, it’s tougher than one might think.

My latest audio projects:

  • Game of Thrones Season Finale Spoiler Alert
  • True Detective Review
  • NBA Draft Confidential
  • Newscasting on weekends

How I do it:

I have set up my own recording system at home just this year, which makes it more convenient and cost-effective compared to doing it in a professional recording studio or in a radio station (which I’ve been doing since the beginning of my voiceover career).

Sometimes clients work on a tight budget so negotiation is part of the business. But I make it a point not to sell myself too short. Like I illustrated in the kind of work that a 30-seconder audio file would entail, imagine a 300-page audio book.

One time, a client said my rate was too high so he tried to haggle. I gave in, considering that I really wanted to do that project. After the recording, he took back his word and said I deserved to get paid in full. Ending, he added more payment before I left the recording studio.

If you have the same passion, pursue it.  It can definitely put food on the table and the great part is that you’re enjoying it.

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As Coco Martin's voice coach in a TV commercial.

Worked as a voice coach to multi-awarded young actor Coco Martin in a TV commercial.

I put it this way: It’s my recreation that actually puts good money in my pocket. That’s exactly the reason why I can’t let go of this craft — I love it and I earn from it.

To others in the business world, I’m a budding entrepreneur, a marketing person, a trainer, a struggling writer. Little do they know, I’m a voice talent by heart.

It completes me.

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Beautiful Bataan

Bataan: One of the country’s last stands before succumbing to Japanese forces during the World War 2.

So much have been said about this place in Philippine history, yet more of its beauty can be unraveled when you visit it yourself.

Perhaps most of us remember Bataan for the dreadful Bataan Death March where our Filipino fighters and American allies were forced to walk by the Japanese Imperial Army for 102 kilometers from Bagac and Mariveles to San Fernando then to Camp O’Donnell in Tarlac. They were beaten, starved, and some were summarily executed. Most survived, but many didn’t.

With Bataan’s important role in our country’s history, I found it imperative to be one of the places to visit in the Philippines. For me, it’s a symbol of our forefathers’ valor and their heroic fight for freedom.

A few amateur snapshots I took while marching around: Bataan bataan2 bataan3 bataan5 bataan6 bataan capitolUpdate: Bataan at night. Photos courtesy of UNDP’s Ryan Cuanan.

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Sunset in Balanga, Bataan.

 

 

 

 

Around Pilipinas to have its own domain

I just bought the domain aroundpilipinas.com to finally give this wordpress blog a sense of ownership.

Three months after I jump-started this blog as a diversion from work and everything else, I decided to keep it and give it a name without WordPress as its last name.

I’ll be using the domain soon so I thought I might as well give you a heads-up.

This is actually my 4th since I started blogging in 2009 but I’ve killed the other two a few years ago. Time and again, I miss writing. I guess some old habits really die hard.

Rescued cats draw cattraction for new café

Cattention: all paws on deck!

There’s a purr-fect haven for cat lovers just within Quezon City where one can enjoy good food and drinks and the precious company of their feline friends — Cat Café Manila.

Partnered with CARA Welfare Philippines, a non-profit and non-government organization advocating animal welfare, Cat Café Manila provides shelter for cats while looking for a fur-ever home for them.  Such a brilliant  ‘CATtraction’ that allows animal advocates to help give these furry fellows a better life and at the same time enjoy their company. The good eats are a plus.

Mama Cat and Shelly lounging while waiting for customers.

Mama Cat and Shelly lounging while waiting for customers.

Basu was found and rescued from a garbage bin (basurahan), thus the name

Basu was found and rescued from a trash bin (basurahan), thus the name “Basu.”

For only P200 per person (half of which goes to the cats’ welfare and half goes to your food/drinks), you get to enjoy a good serving of either pasta, cupcakes, cookies, or drinks. The invaluable side of it is that you help Cat Café in its noble ‘CATvocacy’ of caring for these rescued cats.

Yes, those are rescued cats by CARA, and most of them were found in the streets and garbage cans in horrible conditions. Now, you wouldn’t even think they had a sad past. They’re obviously well taken care of, neutered, spayed, and vaccinated.

The cafe is manned by two friendly people (forgive me for forgetting their names) but trust me that they’ll give you excellent customer service and loads of interesting information about the cats when you visit.

If you’re not a cat person, I would still recommend that you try visiting it.  The sociable and cuddly cats there like Ling Ling, Chaka, Bicco, Mama Cat, Basu, and all the others just as adorable might give you a change of heart.

You may even adopt one of the furfriends there.

My namesake Shelly was rescued from a Shell gas station, hence her name. Cat Cafe recently announced that Shelly is their first cat to be sent for adoption. Sad to hear that we won't see her again at the cafe but glad to know she has found a new family.

My namesake Shelly was rescued from a Shell gas station, hence her name. Cat Cafe recently announced that Shelly is their first cat to be sent for adoption. Sad to hear that we won’t be seeing her again at the cafe but glad to know she has found a new family.

Many years ago, I didn’t like cats. It was because my first encounters with them were unpleasant — some strays would sneak into our kitchen and steal our food; one of them ate the helpless bird I tried to rescue after it broke one of its wings; and the worst thing happened when we woke up one day to see all our hamsters gone, with no other suspect but that same stray cat we previously saw trying a few times to get to the hamsters in their cage (apparently the cat succeeded while we were sleeping).

Frustrated about that particular cat, my uncle opted to feed it to his pet snake. My younger brothers told me about it and without hesitation, I rushed to the snake’s pit and took out the poor cat. Though I hated that it wasn’t a tame cat, I thought it didn’t deserve to be a snake’s hearty meal.

Fast forward, I noticed that cats grew tame on me and I started to like them.

Check out Cat Café Manila at 2nd Floor, 189 Maginhawa St. corner Makadios St., Sikatuna Village, Quezon City.

To avoid stressing the cats, Cat Café Manila limits the number of customers to 15 at a time so it helps to book ahead. Send them a message through their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/catcafemanila?fref=ts. Don’t worry, your curiosity would benefit, not kill the cats.

Good food plus feline friends are a purr-fect combination not only to bust stress but also to show that you care for those rescued cats.

Nuff said.  Meow. Cat Cafe_FoodCat Cafe_Glass