Sunday, March 29, 2015

Palm Sunday at the Holy Family Church in BF Homes, Las Pinas

The Holy Week in the Philippines starts with Palm Sunday that is celebrated in all churches of the country. Catholics observe this solemn holiday, by fasting and self-reflection, on the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. Our little community in Las Pinas, is no exception. Masses were held from early morning to late at night. Devotees buy coconut palms, creatively intertwined together for P20 each outside of our Parish Church. I was there to hear the mass in the late afternoon and saw entire families --- from the toddlers to grandma and grandpa attending Mass together. The toddlers, were running around, singing and yelling, to the consternation of their parents. The elders, who can barely walk, have caregivers attend to their needs. It was like a town fiesta, minus the food, and the church was the center of the celebration. 

The entry of the priest and the lay ministers signaled the start of the mass. It was an awesome sight, with parishioners waving their palms as the parish priest walked by. It is ingrained among the faithful, that during the holy mass, the priest becomes a personification of Christ. That within the august halls of the church, angels and all the saints, are within our midst. For the faithful, the mass can be a solemn celebration, where they can partake of the body of Christ during communion. Looking around, I felt the solemnity of the occasion, but was also aware of the commerce outside of the confines of the church. A few meters away, was a plastic sheet (trapal) covered structure that sold beauty products --- makeup, perfumes, lotions, hair brushes, make-ups, and many others. I never understood this, and would have understood it better if the items sold were religious artifacts or donations to charities. 

Fifty meters away, are the stalls of Mang Raul and Krom, that sells barbeques and Isaw. Counting the cars that were parked in the area, I would have guessed that around one fourth of church goers were in those places ---gobbling beer while partaking of the sumptuous fare of barbequed isaw. I was not an exception, though. As I bought a hundred pesos worth of isaw and pancit bihon from the stalls. So much for Pinoy religiosity, I am ready by the start of Holy Week up till Easter Sunday! A pious week ahead, everyone!




Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Review: BPI Family Bank, Pamplona Tres, Las Pinas

The BPI Family Bank in BFB Building, is situated along Real Street right across the Lozada Market in Las Pinas City. It is a small branch with an amiable staff headed by the Bank Manager, Ms. Ana Marie Lim. I was there this morning to open a UITF (Unit Investment Trust Fund) in High Yield Dividend Investment.

It was nothing grand, just an initial salvo on the equities market by way of a UITF investment. Ms. Lim was ever solicitous and tried to explain to me the intricacies of this financial instrument. She showed me other types of instruments and the graphs of price trends in the last one year.

She must have been worried that I may not have the financial savvy of a wannabe investor. I assured her that I know my numbers and I am familiar with stock trading. I informed her further that I am a freelance writer who writes about the financial markets, so I know what I am getting into.

Ms. Lim is a friendly person who epitomizes trustworthiness in banking institutions. She looks kind, the type whom you wouldn't mind putting your hard-earned money into. Like the BPI Group, she represents an institution that is reliable, trustworthy, and stable. I am quite certain that whatever little money that I may have with them, will be in safe hands.

Photo credit:  Soldier's Investment:UITF


Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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Monday, March 23, 2015

Review: Big B Burgers of Maginhawa Street in UP Diliman

Big Burgers
I bet that anyone who is asked to have a hamburger, will not refuse the offer. Hamburgers have become a food-on-the-run by a majority of Filipinos, which fits everybody's lifestyle.
At the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City, is where you can find many burger stands. Among the most popular, is the hole-in-the-wall, Big B Burger, situated in the iconic food strip of Maginhawa Street at UP.
It is nothing fancy, a table and chair thing, with no air conditioning, limited seating capacity, and nothing to boast of by way of ambiance, except good delicious hamburgers!
My daughter and I went to the place a few days ago. We ordered the house specialty, the famous Big B Burger Special. It was not really big, but it looks bulky and heavy.
The bulkiness comes from the meat patty with a generous splash of spicy mayo, that gives the bun an added tang. A sprig of lettuce makes for the crunch with every bite.
Our verdict? It's cheap for P90+ a piece and the taste is different from the burgers of McDo, Jollibee, and Cindy's. We love the weighty look and the myriad of flavors, despite us sitting at a very basic store structure.
Like any other burger, this goes well with very cold soda drinks, on the rocks. It is good for brunch as it is very filling as well as heavy on the stomach. One thing is certain though, we will be back for more.
Big B Burgers, anyone?
Photo credit: Zomato/Big B Burgers
#UP-Diliman #Big-B-Burgers #Maginhawa-Review #Food Review
Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Procrastination In Freelance Writing

Looking at a Blank Wall

Procrastination in Freelance writing spells ---disaster. It is when you have a deadline to meet, but your mind does no go along with your body. You just stare at the blank screen and do nothing. It is not because you don't know what to write about; it is the body that does not follow the commands of the brain. I have a 2,000 word report that was due yesterday. I am still looking at it and not doing anything. I started to write the 1st two paragraphs, and it was ok. I have no difficulty doing it. This is something that I am familiar with, but why am I just staring at it now?

I have to force myself to finish this work or I will have an angry employer to contend with. I cannot let this "despicable thing" defeat me. I have to work and put words on that blank screen. If I need to bleed my brains dry just to do it, I will do it. It is my body that is acting up again. I have to do it....I need to do it.... no buts. This is work. This is not an ego trip. I need to work to retain this client. I need to work to earn my keep. I need to work, because this is what I do ---write. Just yapping about when my mind seems to go nowhere. So here I am staring on a blank wall...

Would this be a case of a Writer's Block?

Looking at the clean computer slate, Things start gnashing with your brain grunting, The deadline puts severe strain like a piercing blade, You want to move, but is left wanting. There is a need to act but you're very late, The brain is dead and the body is panting, Unable to move, like being stuck in a cave, Let me soar into the skies as I go flying. Unlock you fool! Unwind if necessary, This is an ailment, and sounds like a cacophony, The zealot in you can crank this up in no time, It's just your bed that beckons you to lie. To think of clouds with a mind that wanders in flight, A deep resolve to survive through this putrid night, So, move those nimble fingers to touch the keys, And let this mighty task be finish at ease!



Photo credit:

Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Union Bank Eon Card for Paypal Payment in the Philippines

Union Bank Logo
Photo credit: Domain

Online writers get paid through PayPal either weekly or monthly. There has to be a local intermediary bank, and the least expensive choice is getting an Eon Card from Union Bank. It is rather easy and you can do it online. The initial payment is about P500 and the card is released in a weeks' time.

I didn't know that it was time to renew, until I got an e-mail from PayPay that my card was expiring. Since my daughter is an online writer, I did not renew the card immediately as I can send the paypal payment to her, and she can withdraw the amount for me.

I thought all along that I need to shell out money for the payment of bank fee, but was surprised that I didn't have to pay anything. The only downside, is there is a five day waiting period. Since I submitted it on a Friday, I will get the new card the next Friday. Well, not bad as I can wait.

My daughter uses BPI as her intermediary bank. But most writers that I know, uses the Union Bank Eon Card. Since I used the card solely for online work, I was ashamed to show it to the bank since there is little money left in the account. That will improve next time, when I get to do more freelance work again.

Union Bank's Eon Card
Photo credit:
  • Easy to apply at minimal bank fee charges of around P500;
  • No need for a maintaining balance;
  • 3 to 4 days of waiting time;

  • Delays happen, where money is withdrawal on the 5th or 6th day;
  • Banking charges of US$5 for every transaction below P7,000

Bottom Line

Union Bank's Eon Card, is a decent intermediary bank that can be used for online payment through PayPal. There are several branches in Metro Manila, that you can go to open an account. Whenther you are a new online writer, or  a trader who expects to be paid through PayPal, it would be wise to open up an Eon Card through Union Bank immediately.



Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My Reflections on the Death of Jam Fernando Sebastian

Rest in Peace, Jam Fernando Sebastian

Jam Fernando Sebastian, half of the online tandem, Jamich, passed away at 10:30 am, today, March 4 at the St. Luke's Medical Center in Taguig City. He was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer about a year ago when he underwent routine medical check up. The pain became unbearable January this year that Jam requested for all medications be stopped and he be allowed to die in peace.

However, the family did not accede to this request, and continued with the medication. He was placed under life support last week and his health deteriorated after that. It was just a matter of time, before his body succumbed to the ailment --- and it happened today.

Jam, was part of the tandem of Jamish, a You Tube sensation about Love and Relationships, which boasts of one hundred million views. His partner, Michelle Liggayu, was his real life girlfriend. The couple got engaged last year and their partnership was followed by many, as their online fame shot to a meteoric high.

By Chance, Jamich video that catapulted the duo to fame

Who is Jam Fernando Sebastian

Jam was a You Tube Filipino celebrity, who was born on March 20, 1986. He was half of the Jamish tandem, with Michelle Liggayu, his girlfriend of seven years. His parents were Vilmo Sebastian and Maria Carmen Fernando who are  residents of Las Pinas City, Metro Manila

Jamich became a You Tube sensation with their video, By Chance, which gained seven million views and about half a million subscribers. The couple became officially engaged March last year, when Michelle Liggayu proposed to Jam at the Philippine Internation Convetion Center, in front of hundreds of thousand of fans and supporters.

Mitch marriage proposal to Jam

Jam was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer on the first quarter of 2014. He underwent integrative treatment as a matter of choice. On February 2015, he was placed on life support. He succumbed to lung cancer at 10:30am on  March 4, 2015.

Isaiah 57:1-2 

The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace; they rest in their beds who walk in their uprightness.

My Reflection

Jam Fernando Sebastian's death came as a surprise to many. He died of lung cancer, though he is a non smoker. He alleged that he must have inhaled the smoke from friends. Dying at a young age of 28 years old, and at he peak of his personal and professional career, can be devastating to one's friends and family. How can somebody so young and successful, die so soon?

But we do not know the ways of the Lord. We also don't know on when our time on earth is upped. It is always a good thing to wake up in the morning and be at peace with everyone, including those that we love. We cannot tell, if we will still see them again, or that moment will be their last.

God works in mysterious ways. It is always wise to be ready, that when  He calls, we can easily pack up our bags and be with Him to kingdom come --- just like Jam Fernando Sebastian.

Photo credit:  Photo grab from the FB account of Jam Fernando Sebastian



Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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