Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Automated queueing at BPI

In what I suspect to be a bid for efficient and paperless over-the-counter bank transactions, BPI has implemented an automated queueing system in their BPI-Philam Makati branch. I experienced this wonderful innovation today when I deposited to my account. I usually bank at the BPI branch at the KPMG building but when I got there shortly before lunch, the line was so long that I decided to have lunch first at Jollibee the Insular building. After lunch, I remembered that there was another BPI branch at the Philam building so I decided to go there instead of going back to KPMG. Getting inside the Philam building is like going through airport security; you have to pass through a metal detector doorway scanner and have your things go through the x-ray machine beside it. After subjecting myself to that tedious process, I went to BPI and found it odd that all the customers were seating. I asked the guard if there was a queueing system and he pointed me to the side of the entrance. I was expecting number tags hooked to door, or a ticketing device that prints numbers which will be called by the teller later; but I was not expecting to find touch-screen computer terminals. I gave it a try and I soon found out that before a number is issued to you, you have to input the transactions you are planning to do at the bank. But then, I thought, this would mean that there would be no more need to fill up deposit and withdrawal slips. I glanced at the counter where the forms are usually placed and sure enough, there were nowhere to be seen! I completed entering my account number and transaction amount, got my number and sat at the couch to wait for my number to be called. It still took 10 minutes before my number was called (I guess this is just because there were really a lot of customers), but when I got to the counter, I just handed my number and money to the teller and she already had all the transaction information in the system. She counted my money, gave me my receipt and I was off!

It would be really great if they could implement this in all of their branches and I do hope that all the other banks follow suit. It would take a bit of getting used to, especially for those who have aversions to technology but I'm thinking people can adapt. This would mean no more precious time wasted at lining up at banks. Now if only someone could apply this to doctor's offices and clinics, that would be sweet!

Sick birthday girl

I celebrated my birthday with the beginnings of a cough. A week later and I'm still hacking. At least it has subsided and has become less embarrassing. I'm starting to sleep better too. Good thing I was able to rest over the long weekend. But now that I'm back at the office, my coughing fits have started again; I think it's the cold air that's aggravating it. I even stopped running in the mornings because my coughing has left me weak. I do hope I regain my health soon so I can use the new shoes I gifted myself for my birthday.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Heavy feet

After several years of not working out, I started exercising again last Monday. I decided that I would jog around our neighborhood for 30 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of crunches and dumbell exercises in the mornings. I began my warm-up by walking for 10 minutes. This was going to be easy, I thought to myself. Then I decided that I would alternate jogging and walking every minute for 10 minutes. This was when my torture began. As I started to jog, I felt my feet become heavy. Even though I knew I was jogging, I felt I was going so slow that I thought I moved faster when I was just walking. It didn't help that my shoes are kinda old so I started feeling pain in my right foot. Then my shins started hurting. I wanted to stop but I didn't. I waited for my one minute to be up then I slowed down to a walk. That eased the pain for a bit, but then I had to do it all over again, jogging and walking and cursing until my 10 minutes was up. Then I just walked all the way back to my home for my cooldown.

At home, I laid out my mat and did some crunches. Then did some leg lifts and dumbell squats. I felt good afterwards and I would have gladly gone back to bed; but I had to go to work so I just took a shower instead.

It really perplexed me why I had such a difficult time jogging. Have I become so heavy that I can't even carry my own weight? Probably. Should I have stretched after my warm-up? I don't know. I don't recall my shins hurting when I run on the treadmill. So was I running incorrectly? Or is it really more difficult to run on the road than on the treadmill? Don't know the answers to those questions either. But I definitely need to replace my old shoes, that's for sure.

I rested yesterday then I tortured myself again this morning. I plan to exercise M-W-F to allow my body to recuperate in between workout days. I feel I could keep this schedule better than trying to exercise everyday and failing. I just hope I could control my food intake so I can lose weight faster. I'll buy some groceries over the weekend so I can prepare my own food. Until then, I'll stick to sandwiches and salads for lunch.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Crappy Weekend

I just had the crappiest weekend, literally. At first I couldn't figure out what could have caused my diarrhea but after careful review of what I ate last Friday, I was able to determine the culprit -- mushroom soup! I suddenly remembered that my stomach does not agree with shiitake mushrooms; but I have never had it this bad before. I was going to the bathroom almost every hour on the first day, and night! I was totally drained and dehydrated but still I didn't take any medication, thinking I would get better the next day. But I didn't. At least the interval lengthened from one to three, giving me a chance to catch some decent enough sleep. But I still had to keep my food intake at a very minimal amount because by this time, my bottom could not take the battering anymore. Good thing I woke up feeling a bit better this morning. My bowel is still loose but at least I didn't have a compelling urge to go running to the toilet all day. And I'm still watching what I eat, just in case.

So let this be a lesson to all. Know thy enemy, and avoid it :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

That hippie show

I recently finished watching the whole series of That 70's Show. It took me a couple of months to go through every hilarious episode, all two hundred of it! When it was first shown in the Philippines several years back, I was instantly fascinated because I would spot some home decors and appliances that were similar or exactly the same as what we had from the 70's. We had the glass fruits, framed hanging painted tiles on the kitchen wall, that brown refrigerator, orange and green-colored ceramic jugs and even the garden set. Then when I got to know more about the characters, that's when I got hooked. Unfortunately, the local TV network airing the show did not complete the entire series so it took me until now to find out everything that happened in the show.

I'm an 80's/90's kid but if I were to choose, I would choose the 70's. Maybe that era wasn't so great in this country because of martial law, but generally speaking, the 70's was groovy! Life was simpler then; as long as you have a decent job, you would be able to provide for your family comfortably. Families spent more time together because they have breakfast and supper together and watch TV at the living room together. Since there were not too many things to do, the neighborhood kids hung out together and found creative ways to entertain themselves. Contrast all these with what we have now. Sure, everything is high-tech, convenient and available in an instant but somehow, the family values and quality of life have been sacrificed.

Now if only Kelso was indeed able to invent a time machine so we can visit the glorious days of the past! But since this is not so, I'll just content myself with visiting Nostalgia Manila so I can go back and reminisce my childhood days. :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

On the road to fabulosity!

Since I am not getting any younger, I decided to start paying attention to and doing something about my looks. Just like what happened to my weight and metabolism, age has caught up with my skin. The sun's damaging rays and other external factors contributed as well. So, armed with a Slimmer's World gift certificate, I called their Trafalgar Plaza branch to have me scheduled for a free facial treatment. On the day of my appointment, I went and got my facial and felt wonderfully refreshed. I knew that this was not enough though so when the beauty consultant asked me if I would be willing to stay for a short while for a beauty discussion, I willingly obliged.

Ellen, my beauty consultant, walked me through the beauty package that would be most appropriate for me and would address my concerns. She prescribed 12 sessions of facial, 12 Diamond Ultrapeel, 12 Nutracell and 3 Glycolic Acid Peel, all spread throughout a period of one year (for more info, click here). This got me all excited until I heard the price. Good thing that they're having a buy one treatment, get one treatment promo so I can avail of the package with 50% discount. Still, I was not prepared to make the commitment because it would not fit my budget, even if I get it on 0% interest for 6 months on my credit card. I told Ellen that I will just have to wait for my salary increase this year before I can start on my face and skin program. However, I did sign-up for electrocautery to get rid of my warts so that's a start.

I had my first electrocautery session yesterday. Initially it was supposed to be the face and neck only but it turned out I also had a lot of skin tags in other areas so I upgraded my enrollment from face and skin only to full body. The first session covered the face, neck and chest so the assistant applied topical anesthesia only on those areas. After that, she put masking tape where the topical anesthesia was applied so that my skin could absorb it better. Then she left me for 30-45 minutes so that the anesthesia could take effect; I think I was able to sleep during that time. After that, the dermatologist removed the masking tapes on me and started cauterizing my warts. Thank God for the topical anesthesia, I wasn't able to feel any pain. There were maybe two or three times when I felt it (the assistant may have missed applying anesthesia on some warts); the pain was like being pinched, but with heat. I did smell the burnt skin and it wasn't pleasant. I must have more than a hundred cauterizations so the procedure took almost an hour. When it was all done, antibiotic cream was applied on the cauterized areas and I'm supposed to do this morning and evening for the next 7 to 10 days until the scabs vanish. I'll be returning to Slimmer's after two weeks for a followup session on the same areas then I'll start electrocautery sessions on the abdomen and back. Hopefully by that time I would have my merit increase already so I can sign up for other beauty treatments :-)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

June Gloom

For many various reasons and a particularly major one, the month of June makes me sad. During this time, I turn to music to keep me sane. Current on my playlist is Rob Thomas' album, Cradlesong and The Script's self-titled album. I dunno why but I seem inclined towards songs that have, to borrow from Paul Doucette's words, "more uplifting melodies with really downer lyrics" (see Matchbox Twenty, my favorite band). I guess maybe because it allows me to cry and sing my heart out at the same time. Just like The Man Who Can't Be Moved:

Lyrics | The Script lyrics - The Man Who Can't Be Moved lyrics

Monday, May 10, 2010

Suffering in Suffrage

Today marks a very important event in Philippine Elections. This is the first time that we had nationwide automated voting and the experience was very promising and very horrible at the same time. What used to take 30 minutes took 3 hours for most. My sister and I were less fortunate, it took us 6 hours just to cast our vote!

The polling centers opened at 7am but we came at around 9am. We went straight to the voter's assistance desk to confirm that our names are still in the active list and to get our room assignments. We had to do this because even though we already know our precinct numbers, the room assignments would be different because five precincts were grouped into one cluster, and therefore one classroom. Our room was on the first floor of the public elementary school and that's where we spent 6 agonizing hours standing in line. What happened was there were a lot of individuals cutting the line in front so those of us at the back were not moving. There were not much volunteers to marshall the lines and no numbers were issued, like what they implemented on the other floors. Another thing that contributed to the slow lines was the time it took for the teachers to look for the voter's information sheet in the voter's book. It seems that the voter's info sheets were not arranged alphabetically so looking through them took quite a considerable time. Also since there were five precincts lumped into one classroom, you would expect that there should be one teacher assigned to each voter's book per precinct but there were only two. After finding my info sheet and affixing my signature and thumbmark, I was given my ballot and it was a breeze from thereon. I shaded my choices, fed my ballot into the PCOS machine and had a drop of indelible ink on my index finger. I guess we were still lucky because other polling centers had it worse. Some had brownouts in their area while some had PCOS machines that did not work. Also there were reports of violence in some areas, most especially in the provinces.

Hopefully things will run smoothly in the next elections. More PCOS machines should be added (provided we still use the same automated system) and something should really be done regarding the voter's information sheets. I believe this part of the voting process should be automated as well. Either they start encoding whose voter's information sheets into electronic format, or have everyone register again electronically in order to capture everyone's biometrics as well.

Now that the voting process is over, we move on to the more exciting and critical part of the election, the tallying of the votes and eventual proclamation of the winning candidates. I just hope and pray that the no padding of the vote occurs and that the results would be truly reflective of the people's choice of leaders for our nation. Then all of our suffering in casting our votes would have been all worth it. God bless the Philippines.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Start Spark

I joined SparkPeople last year but it's only now that I'm using it. I wasn't motivated to lose weight before but now I'm more decided than ever to be fit and healthy. I guess the biggest factor which contributed to my decision is my age. I've reached 30 yrs old and they say that once you reach this age, your body starts to decline. And boy, have I began to see the signs of aging! My joints are always aching, I easily get tired and I run out of breath whenever I take the stairs. I don't want want to feel like this anymore; I want to feel light and energetic. I want to be able to do the things I want to do, and look good doing them!

So far, I've set my fitness goals, tracked my calorie intake and joined a SparkTeam. I plan to follow the exercise videos as well and I'm going to do that tonight. Later on, I would like to learn to prepare nutritious meals with the help of their SparkRecipes. I've made a commitment to myself to stick to Spark at least until I've reached my goal weight. This is a big commitment for me because I really don't have the luxury of time, especially when there are project deadlines to meet. But for my sake, I am willing and determined to visit the site everyday and track my progress to a perfectly healthy and sexy me!

Click here to watch an inspirational news story about SparkPeople.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My personal finance journey

Back when I was experiencing quarter-life crisis, I started to become interested in personal finance management. It all began, as most stories like this goes, with "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki. Reading this book woke me up from the zombie-like state I've accustomed my self to just to able to survive the daily grind of going to work. It made me realize that I owe it to myself to do something about my situation because I'll never be able to afford to do all the things I want to do, just by being employed. From RDPD, I moved on to "Pwede na! The Complete Pinoy Guide to Personal Finance" by Efren Ll. Cruz. Since this book was written by a Filipino for Filipinos, the content was more relevant to my case and I learned quite a lot more. It taught me how to assess my current financial situation, encouraged me to think about my financial goals, and prompted me to map out a plan on how to go about achieving them. I've read a couple of personal finance books since then and to update myself with money trends and to further supplement my financial IQ, I subscribed to MoneySense, a local personal finance magazine.

Based on what I've learned so far, I was able to start building my investment portfolio. I've recently acquired a new condo together with my boyfriend and I've also started buying old pension plans. I still have lots of debts but I'm proud to say that these are not consumer debts. Let's just say I'm using them for leverage and as soon as I get my bonus/merit increase this year, I'll be able to pay off a significant part of it. Also, I'm still thinking of other ways to increase my income. Hopefully more opportunities to earn will come my way before the year ends :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Humpty Dumpty

Just as my left foot was starting to heal from a fall I've taken during the not-so-recent typhoon Ondoy, I slipped once again this morning and hurt my right foot. There's no swelling nor fractured bone, but there is definitely some mild pain. I've already applied Voltaren Gel (this was prescribed to me by my doctor way before and I keep it handy for cases like this, which happens too often for my comfort) and I hope that pain does not progress anymore or I won't be able to drive home later. Gulp!

In case you were wondering why it took so long for my left foot to heal, it was because I didn't have it treated. I didn't go to the doctor because I knew I didn't fracture it and I knew that it would take more than Voltaren to reduce the swelling. I needed a "manghihilot" to massage the misplaced blood vessel in my foot back into place. I dreaded going to one because as much as the pain in my left foot gave me discomfort, I knew it wouldn't be as torturous as having my foot injury corrected. I know this for a fact because I went to a "manghihilot" when I was a child and tears actually streamed down my cheeks as she was massaging my foot that was "natapilok". The pain in my foot immediately disappeared after the massage but I guess the process traumatized me so much that I didn't want to undergo it, even now that I'm already an adult. Fortunately my boyfriend's househelp had previous training as a massage therapist so I finally obliged to have my foot massaged.

I did almost cry and it took three massage sessions to get it completely right but it was worth it. I just don't know if I can do it all over again for my right foot but I'll try. In the meantime, I think I need to shop me some new footwear, or a new pair of limbs :p

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Vision Boarding

I believe that my dreams are beginning to unfold into reality so to reinforce this further, I visualized what I want my life to be using the O Dream Board. This is a great tool for vision boarding, especially if you don't have the time and inclination to cut pictures from magazines and tack or paste them on a board to be hung on your bedroom wall. You just have to download and install the software on your computer then you can start forming a picture collage from the images found in its library or from the internet. You can save as many snapshots as you want, and you can look at them whenever and wherever you have your laptop with you. Isn't it great or what? I'm even thinking of setting my dream board snapshot as my desktop wallpaper. But before I do that, I'm going to post it here first:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Yes, this is what I've been cooking up. I wanted to cancel my web hosting plan but keep my domain so I set about migrating my blog entries to my original blog site. It was not an easy task migrating content from Xoops Xpress to Blogger I tell you. I even lost the comments and my post dates were delayed by a day. After migrating the blog content, I had to work on redirecting my domain to point to my blogspot. Thank goodness I managed to do all these. Now I can get back to blogging :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!

I'm terribly sorry I've been amiss in my postings. I guess I have no excuse for it except work. But don't worry, I have plans for this site. Though I'm not sure how I'm going to get around executing those plans. Never mind ... new year, new start, new hope :-)