Sunday, June 23, 2013

Analyzing the Audience and Content

As a communication major, I know that audience is a key ingredient in the success of any business venture. You have to know their behavior and movement, follow them accordingly but in such a way that will not jeopardize your credibility. It's really a skill, but the be and all of writing on the net is to be heard. And to be heard, you have to be relevant.

But why do I have this feeling that I am not directing my blog contents properly? The data show it all- majority of my readers come from the US, topping the key searches in my blog are articles about spa, gym and health. Maybe I should zero in on topics like these- health and wellness in and out of the metro. 

But I also have to consider that this blog was put up to share my personal experiences. So the real challenge as a blogger is to reconcile the two. To make what I find interesting relevant to my readers.

Looking at the contents of other blogs with high rate of visits, I notice that these blogs are essentially focused. Meaning, they have a certain topic that they discuss and they become source of information for these specific topics.

If I for example would like to talk about entertainment, a lost surfer browses over the article and likes it; waits for other articles to come out; but gets disappointed because it's not exactly what he's waiting for. Loyalty disappears.

That's it! The challenge is how to capture the attention of a wary net surfer; make him stay and make him a loyal reader, commentator, etc. 

And this exercise actually applies to any newly established business. So there you have it- relevance, loyalty and consistency.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Habits of the Filipino Jerk (with Annotations)

Here's an article I found over the net, Top 8 Habits of the Filipino Jerk written by Anton Conejos. It discusses a few simple truths about the Filipino society. 

According to Conejos, other nationalities can be stereotyped as French-arrogant, British-stiff and Americans-I own the world. The Filipinos have their distinction however.

8. INSECURED | We get a cultural orgasm every time some white guy pats us on the back and says things like “we Westerners are rich but you are soulful.” Right, I bet that’s what they said to the Native Americans just before they stole their land. 
On the other hand, when some foreigner voices the teensiest little truth we get all riled up. Ban Claire Danes from Manila! Desperate Housewives made a joke about our diploma mill medical schools? Take the show off the air! Dan Brown should say sorry! Katherine Ryan made a joke about Filipino children (and we missed the part about it being a joke)! 
Relax, lighten up. Have some Jollibee. It’s recommended by Anthony Bourdain so it must be yummy!
This is one fact that we Filipinos have to contend with. There is that air of pride whenever we are praised by the westerners. As if we can't take pride from whatever we achieve from within our country. Thus, everytime there's a famous personality with any tinge of Filipino blood, we immediately claim it. And there's really nothing wrong with it. What I'm saying is that pride should be intrinsic.

7. NOT FOLLOWING RULES | We all think we’re special. That guy who just beat a red light or went down the wrong direction of a one way street? Dapat ipako yan sa krus. But surely it’s different if it’s youdriving late at night and since there’s no one around you do a u-turn where you’re not supposed to. Rules apply to lesser beings, not to you. And if you do get caught, instead of being contrite for breaking the law you get extra angry at those who don’t know that the rules don’t apply to you.
I have first hand experience with this. The so called palakasan value is at play. If a Filipino knows somebody in position, expect that he'll bent the rules. The padrino system and utang na loob also can be a reason. But yes, Filipinos have this penchant in bending the rules.
6. MAKING STUPID RULES | That section of your passport that says it’s good up to a certain date? It’s a lie. Take that date, lessen it by six months and that’s the real expiration of your passport. No official receipt along with your driver’s license? Sorry Sir, then your license is not valid. 
These are every day examples of how we take a simple thing and heap on stupid, arbitrary rules that have no basis in common sense. The expiry date of your passport should be the printed expiry date. A Driver’s License should be valid without needing to wave around any additional paper.
I also can't fathom why Filipinos make this stupid rules. Nobody bothered to ask why anyhow.
5. USING RELIGION TO JUSTIFY EVERYTHING | We had a President who said God told her to run again, even though she had promised before that she would not. And we re-elected her. Our Bishops tell us that priests who abuse children should not be exposed and we get angry at anyone for even suggesting that those priests deserve hell (which is what the penal system is in our country). Our Pastors preach that women should submit to their men and we happily go around beating our wives and cheating on our girlfriends. 
The Devil can cite scripture for his own purpose, but no one ever tells you that.
We usually associate this religion thing to the double standard of morality. Filipinos are brought up to be religious, but in the process was made to think in a particular way without  questioning the validity of religious teachings. This is because questioning will put you in hell. For Roman Catholics, faith is more important than reason.
4. POWER TRIPPING | Anyone who has had to deal with the guards of Ayala Alabang Village knows those guys take this rule seriously.
I'd say that Filipinos do not know how to handle power. This is probably why we say that power begets power. It's like when you give a Filipino certain amount of power, chances are he'll abuse it. But the abusing part is not just brought about by personal desires. Sometimes this is caused by the environment or the people around him; the people he is trying to protect. Personalism and Kinship plays an important role here.
3. INCONSIDERATE | This behavior can fall into two broad categories, we don’t care if people are waiting or we love making people wait. 
In the we-don’t-care category are all the jerks who cut lines—I don’t care if you’ve been waiting an hour, I’m getting in before you. In this category too are jeepney and taxi drivers. I don’t care if I block traffic, I’m going to pick up or let off people in the middle of the street.
In the we-love-making-people-wait are all the government officials who refuse to sign documents even though they've been sitting on their desk for more than a year or politicians who love giving nonsensical speeches that end up delaying all sorts of proceedings, trials, weddings, graduations and birthday parties.
Oh my, I have issues with this as well. Filipinos do not seem to have correct sense of time, thus the term Filipino Time. Filipino time is loosely defined as one hour late from the agreed time. From what I gather, this stemmed from the VIP status that the spaniards associated with lateness. I just hate waiting.
2. HAVING AN OPINION ABOUT EVERYTHING | Refuse to read and learn more about the issues of the day. Accept conventional knowledge you learnfrom the barber, the kumare or the radio broadcaster. Now exercise your freedom of speech by rilingoff about every topic under the sun even if you have no idea what you're talking about. Exercise your voice, not your mind.
Well, I must agree to this.

1. REFUSING CRITICISM | We are prickly when someone suggests we can do better. Every well-intentioned comment is branded as unpatriotic or elitist and morphs into an assault on Filipino values, tradition, heritage, legacy, etc, etc.
Filipinos are naturally sensitive to criticisms. It's not easy for Filipinos to take in criticisms because it diminishes the self esteem, like the criticism is construed to be an attack to the personal side when in fact the person criticizing would only like to point out the negative traits that should be changed. Face saving is an important concept in this area. Filipinos value reputation and face because this is all they have. Reputation is a ticket when borrowing money, when applying for a job, when courting somebody, etc.

As for Conejos' recommendation " if this article made you angry, I say good. But instead of flaming the comments section below why don't you think about which characteristic you embody the most and try to change it. Be a Filipino. Don't be a Filipino jerk.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

FOOD | Gastro Trip in Cambodia and Thailand 2013

And just because I have plenty of time to upload photos and weave my stories, here comes the gastro part of my trip.

Let me just say that Pinoy and Thai food are totally different. There is no resemblance at all. If anything, it might be the penchant for using too much oil. Yes, Thai food is sort of greasy as much as Pinoy dishes are. And no, Thai food is not necessarily spicy. They have this distinctive Thai flavor into their food. I think it comes from a certain plant. I don't know. 

I still prefer Korean food though. :)

TRAVEL | Bangkok, Thailand Photos

I am not the shopper type of traveler. I prefer to do sightseeing than spend on some clothes, shoes, etc. But Bangkok really lures a visitor with all the cheap but great buys you can find. So, in the end I found myself buying this and that. I even told myself that I will go back to Bangkok to do some shopping. I love this place. It is even cheaper than Divisoria. And the merchandise are, how can I say this, uhm- updated? Well, compared to the things you'll find in 168 Mall I think Bangkok has more to offer and more bargains that is. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pattaya, Thailand Photoshoot

Arrival in Pattaya, Thailand. Some of the best shots I had during my stay in Pattaya, Thailand.

Oh and by the way a lot of my friends are wondering how much I have spent in Thailand. So I must say that I spent a little around USD 150.00 (excluding the airfare). I'd say that it's really not so expensive to stay in Thailand if you live within your means. I am on really tight budget so I had to avoid too much spending like hiring local guides or going on a daytour. But in any case, it all depends on you how much you're willing to shell out.

Jomtien Beach Road

Cost | Guest House : USD 15.00/night
Food : USD 7.00 (average)
Transpo : USD 0.50/ride

Sanctuary of Truth

Cost | Entrance Fee to Sanctuary of Truth :  USD 25.00

TRAVEL | The Poi Pet Encounter : Crossing from Cambodia to Thailand Through Poi Pet-Aranyaprathet

Crossing the border from Cambodia to Thailand was pretty smooth for me. I just called the receptionist to book a ticket for the minivan, which will will take me to Poi Pet. This is the entry to Thailand.

I chose the 11:30am trip (the last trip of the day). At 11am I was already waiting at the lobby. At 11:45 the minivan arrived. The driver was helpful enough to carry my luggage to the back. When I stepped in, there was only this New Zealand guy. I sat at the back and kept quiet the whole trip.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

PHOTOGRAPHY | Siem Reap, Cambodia Photoshoot

Some of my best shots in Siem Reap, Cambodia are below. Frankly, I had difficulty with landscape photography. For some reason, finding the best mode of my Canon EOS1100D in an outdoor setting kept giving me so much trouble. One minute it's okay, then a little change in the lighting changes the quality of the photo. Then the movement also determines the shots. But at least I got some decent shots.

Monday, June 17, 2013

TRAVEL | Siem Reap, Cambodia : Memoirs

Pre-Arrival in Siem Reap, Cambodia

So I got through the Philippine Immigration, although this officer named Carlo told me that he'll put my name on watch list because I need to come back to the Philippines. It just so happens that a lot of Filipinos jump from one country to another not minding to come back. 

Inside the airplane, I accidentally met some fellow UP alumni. The weird thing though was that all of us were batch 2004. Coli from Archaeological Studies Program and Harold from College of Engineering. There was also Claire from Engineering but she's 2006. And since all of us didn't have itinerary in Siem Reap, we agreed to just stick together (see photo below).

TRAVEL | Backpacking 101 : Prologue to Cambodia-Thailand Trip

This article discusses the whole nine yard of backpacking in Cambodia including details of my expenses, itinerary and some personal tips in going around Siem Reap, Cambodia.

For backpackers like me (and I hope you are too), the most critical part of the trip is the PLANNING STAGE. This will help you save money and effort 100% guaranteed.

In the Philippines for example, airlines such as CEBU PACIFIC and TIGER AIRWAYS usually have promos- cheaper airfares that is. Catch is, you need to get ahead of everybody to get the best deal. Price and date are critical. You need to contend with the budget and some factors like weather or local holiday (you don't want to get shoulder to shoulder with so many people on your vacation). You may want to subscribe to these airline websites for their automatic promo updates.

SPA REVIEW | Amistad Spa (Quezon Avenue)

Amistad Spa is located along Quezon Avenue in Quezon City. The location itself is not so easy to spot if you have some trouble figuring out small signs on the road, especially at night. If you're coming from Diliman area, it will be on your right. If you're from Manila area, it will be on the left. But they will transfer to Tomas Morato quite soon. Details of the complete address has not been disclosed as of this writing.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Cambodia and Thailand Backpacking

Just returned home from my backpacking trip in Cambodia and Thailand. And there are so many stories to tell, which I will write in a bit. Just preparing the photos.

Friday, June 7, 2013

JOURNAL | Nice to See You Again My Old Pal- UP!

It feels so refreshing to go back to UP Diliman. As I have told my friend when I was there to visit after two long years- I felt like I was back in my comfort zone.

Yes, this University certainly made me feel like this is the safest place in the world. Inside, trees sheltered me from all the worries outside the real world. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

SPA REVIEW | New York Spa (Timog, QC)

New York Spa

Price.................... 8/10
Massage............... 9/10
Facilities............... 6/10
Service.................. 8/10

For all you peeps out there who are looking for some relaxing spa, you need to check out NEW YORK SPA. It's not a fancy spa, but their staff are very skillful and know what they are doing. Just a caution however, don't expect too much with their facilities. But then again, you came for the massage and not for the facilities right.

6th Level, Penthouse, CTTM Bldg., Morato, Cor. Timog Ave., Quezon City 1100
Contact details: (02)441-0651, (02)441-0650
Website (if any):

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