Pinoy hosts recognized among top Airbnb Hosts under 30 across Asia Pacific

While Airbnb Hosts span the age spectrum, Airbnb is celebrating International Youth Day (12 August) this year by shining a light on its most successful, innovative and tenacious Airbnb Hosts in Asia Pacific under 30. 

Airbnb is recognizing twelve outstanding young Airbnb Hosts across the APAC region* with an average rating of 4.9 and over 4,300 guest check-ins collectively, including two Hosts from the Philippines – Dwyane Yra Dinglasan, 23, and Deo Dia, 26.

“A new world of opportunities has been unlocked for the younger generation through their access to and adeptness with modern technology. We are seeing more young Filipinos discovering Airbnb and sharing about it with their families and friends. They are not only traveling with us domestically and overseas but also becoming tourism entrepreneurs by helping their families generate new streams of income through hosting,” shared Amanpreet Bajaj, Airbnb’s General Manager for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

More Hosts under 30 like Dwayne and Deo are now helping their families unlock new economic opportunities while spreading the Philippines’ tuloy ka hospitality with their guests and contributing to the tourism economy. As these two Hosts show, age is truly just a number. 

A standout Spanish-style summer home in Batangas

Airbnb hosts under 30
Image from Airbnb
Airbnb hosts under 30
Image from Airbnb
Airbnb hosts under 30
Image from Airbnb
Airbnb hosts under 30
Dwayne, host of Tali Vacation Home

At the young age of 23, Host Dwyane has been hosting her family’s vacation home in Nasugbu Tali Vacation Home on Airbnb for nearly four years. 

“I realized there was an interest in beach home vacations, and in 2018, my family and I decided to open up our vacation home on Airbnb for extra income,” Dwayne said. The property, a Spanish colonial summer home, sits in Batangas and is well loved by guests for its amenities and seaside and sunset views. Dwayne found their home’s unique architecture to be a compelling reason  to entice guests to book a stay. “There weren’t many homes in the area with the same architectural style and I figured it would be a great way to stand out,” she shared.

When asked what tips she would provide aspiring Hosts, Dwayne shared,  “Have a niche! It’s important to research the other properties in the same market so you can stand out. Do not be afraid to be different in your taste and style.”

A home away from home in Tagaytay 

Airbnb hosts under 30
Image from Airbnb
Airbnb hosts under 30
Image from Airbnb
Airbnb hosts under 30
Image from Airbnb
Airbnb hosts under 30
Deo, host of Spacious house near Breakfast at Antonio’s

Also situated in South Luzon is a home away from home that has welcomed many travellers, hosted by another young Pinoy. Deo Dia, 26, is the owner of Spacious house near Breakfast at Antonio’s guest house in Tagaytay that boasts a 4.93 overall rating.

Deo, a businessman, shared that through his local and international travels, he learned about Airbnb and the opportunity it provided for economic empowerment and guests who seek alternative accommodation. This led to him listing his vacation home on the platform.

“When my dad passed away, he left me with a vacation house which I barely got to use. To help me financially with its recurring maintenance costs, I decided to share this special place with others through the help of Airbnb,” shared Deo. “Today, I continue to host because of the joy and fulfillment it brings. I didn’t expect to enjoy hosting as I actually do — connecting with others, doing the little things to ensure a relaxing stay, and most of all, being a part of their precious moments.”

To learn more about hosting on Airbnb, visit airbnb.com/host.

* According to internal Airbnb data of Hosts under 30 in APAC with the best percentage of five-star reviews for Cleanliness, Communication and Check-in.

About Airbnb

Airbnb was born in 2007 when two Hosts welcomed three guests to their San Francisco home, and has since grown to 4 million Hosts who have welcomed more than 1 billion guest arrivals in almost every country across the globe. Every day, Hosts offer one-of-a-kind stays and unique Experiences that make it possible for guests to experience the world in a more authentic, connected way.

How small businesses can tap the power of micro-influencers

So now you’ve launched your own business, congratulations!

I’m sure you’re all excited to bring your particular brand of products and services to customers who need it.

The challenge is how to let them know that it exists, right?

As a small business owner, you might already find your hands full handling the day-to-day operations of your enterprise as well as coming up with long-term strategies to grow your business.

Promoting your business consistently and effectively may be quite beyond your bandwidth at the moment.

Also, while the proliferation of various social media platforms may provide a myriad of possibilities in increasing your business’ visibility, mastering how to use these digital outlets will entail a lot of time and effort that might be better used for your core business.

Man-Woman Pics on Freepik

Why not secure the help of people who are already adept at using these platforms?

Tapping top-tier social media influencers to promote your brand may not be within your budget, but take heart: you can opt to partner with a category of social media mavens who can bring the most bang for your bucks.

I’m referring to, of course, micro-influencers.

A 2021 Forbes article by Kelly Ehlers posits that brands who want to work with any level of influencers should consider several factors which include the following:

  • Cost. Influencers with high follower counts command hefty fees which may limit the actual output that can be negotiated with them but the number of followers who actually make purchase decisions based on their recommendations may not be as high as expected. This would bring your brand’s return on investment (ROI) into question when working with macro-influencers. In contrast, micro-influencers with a smaller follower base may be more affordable for brands to tap and may tend to bring more into the collaboration in terms of additional posts or other services as a way of building a long-term partnership.
  • Authenticity. Social media users follow influencers because the lifestyle and views depicted in the influencers’ content resonate with them. A seemingly off-brand collaboration may prove to be off-putting, not just to the influencers’ followers, but also to the brands’ existing customers. Micro-influencers, on the other hand, often reach out to brands that they actually love and want to support, or brands that they feel can resonate with their audience.
  • Reach. While an individual micro-influencer’s follower count may limit the reach of a single sponsored post, working with various micro-influencers of varying ages, geographic locations and other demographics can allow you to expand your brand’s reach across different market segments. Furthermore, micro-influencers also have the potential to engage with niche audiences, especially if they specialize in a particular topic or interest.
Man-Woman Pics on Freepik

So are you now ready to work with micro-influencers to grow your business?

The next challenge is how to go about finding and engaging them.

Intellifluence is an influencer marketing service that helps brands and influencers collaborate to achieve their respective goals.

Its roster of influencers include celebrities, niche authorities as well as peer-level micro-influencers which can be tapped for campaigns aimed at increasing social sales, pre-launch product testing, branding, amplification of communications and search engine optimization (SEO). Its covered platforms run the gamut of popular social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Tiktok, Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as custom marketplaces, Amazon, and blogs.

Sign up here for more details and to get 50% off your first month at Intellifluence.

Photo credits: Header and in-article photos by freepik on Freepik

DTI-CITEM’s Creative Futures 2022 to present what’s next for the Philippine creative economy

CREATEPhilippines once again gathers local and international creatives to discuss the future of the Philippine creative economy via the digital conference Creative Futures 2022. On its second run, the conference, to be staged using digital platform Hopin from July 28 to 29, 2022, includes an expo, knowledge sharing sessions, and business development and networking opportunities among creative professionals, policymakers, business leaders, and potential clients.

CREATEPhilippines, run by DTI’s export promotions agency Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), is the country’s flagship trade promotions program that champions the Philippines’ creative industries as a high-potential export sector and driver of economic growth. 

In 2021, the program first staged Creative Futures and launched CREATEPhilippines.com, the country’s first government-led digital content and community platform for Filipino creatives. The site features a directory where local talents can upload their portfolios for a global audience. 

This year, Creative Futures will highlight the immediate future of local creative industries. “Our lineup of speakers, resource persons, and partners will present what tomorrow could look like for the Filipino creative. The event is all about possibilities, not in the distant future, but now, like in the next 5 minutes,” said Erwin Romulo, CREATEPhilippines creative director, and Creative Futures Program Director. 

creative futures 2
creative futures 3
creative futures 4
creative futures 5

The theme of this year’s Creative Futures is “Tomorrow” and will include discussions on current developments and industry trends as well as projections for the creative sectors.

The two-day conference will include presentations on Creative Governance, Gastronomy, Advertising, Design, Film, Tourism, Dance, Game Development, Fashion, and Communication Design. 

“Creative Futures 2022 is particularly designed to take advantage of the latest opportunities brought about by recent developments in the local creative landscape, particularly the Congress approval of the consolidated version of Senate Bill 2455 and House Bill 10107, or the Creative Industries Development Act. To support the country’s thrust toward a robust creative economy, we’re putting forward practices, strategies, and programs that creatives can immediately capitalize on and incorporate into their respective fields in order to become more globally competitive,” said CITEM Executive Director Pauline Suaco-Juan.

Creative governance at the forefront 

Creative Futures puts the spotlight on creative governance after the pandemic hastened the need to institutionalize protection in the creative sectors. 

“CITEM consistently advocates for institutional support which we believe is crucial to the growth of our local talents and the creative economy at large. Through efforts like Creative Futures, under our signature program CREATEPhilippines, we aim to foster an environment where creatives can thrive, taking us closer to our vision of the Philippines as the leading creative hub in the ASEAN region,” added Suaco-Juan.

Returning as a guest speaker is Hon. Christopher “Toff” De Venecia, principal author of the House version of the Creative Industries Act, who will discuss the immediate impact of the law in a presentation. 

Creative Industries Act proponents and policymakers are also expected to attend. DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual and DTI-Trade Promotions Group Officer-in-Charge Glenn Peñaranda will discuss the role of the public sector in the advancement of the Philippine creative economy.

Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto and US-based design firm Alao Design will present a vision of how design can renew public spaces. Arch. Aya Maceda and designers Kristian Henson and Monica Ramos will discuss their design process, doing historical research, on-ground mapping, and immersion, and how they collaborated with the Pasig City LGU.

No creative left behind

A new documentary by Martika Ramirez Escobar will premiere at the event. A live Q & A with the director of Sundance-winning feature film Leonor Will Never Die will follow the screening. 

A new P-pop web series featuring Mon Abrea, Chairman and Chief Tax Advisor of Asian Consulting Group, is also set to premiere at Creative Futures 2022. Written and directed by Joel Ferrer, it stars Kat Galang and Jal Galang as local creatives dealing with life, love, and their taxes. In a related session, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) will tackle copyright and other intellectual property rights-related issues in a presentation.

The conference also has on-demand sessions streamed throughout the two days, including the Department of Tourism’s ASMR series featuring spots from across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao and the 360-degree interactive video series Across the Archipelago along the Pan-Philippine Highway. There will also be replays of the different presentations and sessions following the event.

To learn more about Creative Future’s growing list of presentations, including advertising and communication design, visit our registration page.

Digital expo of Philippine creatives and FAME+ e-tailers

Another key event component is the expo, which will showcase creatives from the CREATEPhilippines directory. Participants can also discover and shop Filipino home, fashion, and lifestyle products by e-tailers from digital sourcing and storytelling platform FAME+.

Creative Futures 2022 is organized by DTI-CITEM in partnership with the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), an attached agency of the Department of Tourism. 

Register at: https://hopin.com/events/creative-futures-2022/registration and take part in shaping the Philippine creative economy. To learn more about CREATEPhilippines, visit https://createphilippines.com/. Follow us on our social media platforms to get updates on Creative Futures 2022 and know the latest trends and news about local creative sectors.

About CITEM

The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) is the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) export promotions arm committed to nurturing the global competitiveness of Philippine micro, small, and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs), exporters, designers, and manufacturers. The agency aspires toward the highest standards of creativity and innovation, spanning industries including home, fashion, lifestyle, food, and creative sectors.

About CREATE Philippines

CREATEPhilippines is the country’s flagship trade promotions program that showcases the Philippines’ creative industries as a high-potential export sector and driver of economic growth.

It brings together the creative industries and champions local talent by organizing events that provide opportunities to learn, network, and seize opportunities in the Philippines and beyond.

As a content and community platform, it houses stories that promote Filipino creatives and offers a directory to help them expand their online presence and share their portfolio to a global audience.

CREATEPhilippines is led by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM).

Design studio photo created by DCStudio – www.freepik.com

13 Business books to fire up your inner spark at work

The first half of the year is already done, and if you’re doubting your effectiveness at your job or your impact to your work, maybe you should set aside some time for reading and re-motivating yourself.

Check out these books that will provide you with fresh knowledge and insights to get you all fired up and raring to work!

Developing the Leader Within You 2.0 by John C. Maxwell

Much of any business’ success depend upon its leaders. By outlining the principles for empowered and empowering leadership, John C. Maxwell’s book has changed the way leaders see themselves.

This thoroughly revised and updated edition packs in new leadership insights and best practices that he has gathered since the first edition was published in 1993 to help guide and inspire a new generation of leaders on their challenging but ultimately rewarding journey.

What Are Your Blind Spots? by Jim Haudan and Rich Berens

Even the most well-intentioned and competent leaders can be led astray by seemingly benign assumptions that can ultimately harm or derail the enterprise.

Authors Jim Haudan and Rich Berens refer to these old ways of thinking as “blind spots.” By identifying and overcoming blind spots identified in the book, leaders can learn to welcome and adopt new and forward-thinking practices that will propel their organizations towards growth.

Growing Influence by Ron Price and Stacey Ennis

This is a how-to book disguised as a fable.

In a series of transformative meetings between a career-driven young woman and her wise respectable mentor, mirroring and building on the interactions between the co-authors Ron Price and Stacey Ennis, arise lessons on cultivating influence fed by both character and competence.

Interestingly, the fable also tackles gender dynamics in the workplace.

Iterate by Ed Muzio

To keep up with today’s fast-changing and fast-charging world, companies must learn and adapt fast.

Central to this agile quality is the ability, whenever faced with a problem, to make the next most reasonable step from there, i.e, to iterate.

Author Ed Muzio lays down a research-based guide to help leaders equip their teams to do just that.

The Innovation Navigator by Tucker J. Marion and Sebastian Fixson

Business leaders agree that innovation is the key to survival and further growth and in many companies, it is a top strategic priority.

Tucker J. Marion and Sebastian Fixson showcases the different modes that innovation can take and guides readers on how to take advantage of each mode’s inherent pros and cons. The book also walks through ways to effectively shift between modes or employ multi-mode strategies to foster innovation.

Your Invisible Toolbox by Rowena Crosbie and Deborah Rinner

According to authors Rowena Crosbie and Deborah Rinner, we all have two sets of the tools: while the first toolbox contains the technical skills, devices and equipment necessary to perform our roles, the second one – the invisible toolbox – contains the tools necessary for human interactions.

The contents of the second toolbox figure prominently in many workplaces, especially now that the business environment is not only a global one, but a multi-generational one as well.

B State by Mark Samuel

Oftentimes, in business, the path from Point A to Point B is not as simple or straightforward as we would like.

To be able to move forward, Mark Samuel encourages readers to engage themselves in a true transformation, removing old mindsets and replacing inefficient behaviors with new ways of thinking and more desirable habits to bring about a highly productive culture that breeds business success.

Leading Loyalty by Sandy Rogers, Leena Rinne and Shawn Moone

Customer loyalty does oftentimes seem like an unreachable dream given today’s volatile market situation.

Authors Sandy Rogers, Leena Rinne and Shawn Moone dove into the results of the Franklin Covey studies that show how “campfire stores” achieve revenue and profitability goals thanks to fiercely loyal customers and the employees that prioritize the happiness of those customers.

Wise Guy by Guy Kawasaki

Technopreneur Guy Kawasaki reflects upon his life and his many adventures (or misadventures) in the a series of vignettes.

Some may be light-hearted, others may recall actions with lasting consequences, but all served to inspire and build him up to the person that he is today.

Scramble by Marty Neumeier

Marty Neumeier tells the story of a young CEO as he is faced with the demand to turn the company around, otherwise he loses his job.

As the story progresses, his journey illustrates the principles of agile strategy, a way of building business that is more collaborative and produces quicker results.

Built to Suck by Joseph Jaffe

We see it more and more often: large companies – behemoth enterprises – are crumbling to the ground in light of declining revenues and business growth.

In this book, Joseph Jaffe outlines the four key pillars that will transform ailing companies from ailing to thriving, from obsolescence to relevance.

The Art of Preventing Stupid by Matthew Neill Davis

Matthew Neill Davis’ Preventing Stupid Method is all about solving common problems before they become insurmountable roadblocks.

By quickly identifying, categorizing and prioritizing the business’ threats and weaknesses – forward-thinking risk management – business leaders can devote more energy towards maximizing opportunities as they appear.

Sticks and Stones by Nick Powills

Author Nick Powills showcases how his childhood experiences of struggling with his weight and getting bullied by his peers all propelled him towards being a successful entrepreneur later in life.

While the old wisdom is to keep personal and professional lives separate, the author instead proposes transforming painful memories, harsh lessons and old disappointment into motivation, coupled with the strong foundation of family and friends, into the strength and courage to pursue business success and personal fulfillment.

Enjoy reading with Kindle

With a wealth of enriching and informative books waiting for you, I’m sure you’re raring to get into reading them. However, if you are concerned about the space you will need to store your growing library, or being able to bring your books wherever you go, getting a Kindle just may be the perfect solution for you.

Kindle is a line of portable and wireless electronic reading devices (e-readers) produced by online retailer Amazon.com. They make use of a display technology called electronic paper which produces a sharp screen image that resembles text printed on paper, ensuring an easy and comfortable read.

It is advisable to have a Kindle, specifically for reading, instead of relying on your other personal mobile devices because:

  • It is purpose-built for reading with a glare-free display that reads real paper, even in direct sunlight. You can also adjust its brightness to let you read comfortably – indoors and outdoors, day and night.
  • A single battery charge lasts weeks, not hours.
  • You get less distractions as you can highlight passages, look up definitions, translate words, and adjust text size—without ever leaving the page.

Ready to get this new nifty reading device for yourself? Check out your various options below!

Kindle
Kindle Paperwhite
Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition
Kindle Oasis

Take advantage of Amazon Prime Day deals

Ready to shop for your books and Kindle devices? The good news is that you can enjoy great discounts on your Amazon.com purchases during Amazon Prime Day!

On July 12 and 13, 2022, Amazon.com will hold a mega summer sale offering lots of deals on its myriad of products, exclusively to Amazon Prime members.

To take advantage of the awesome deals that await you during Amazon Prime Day, you need to be an Amazon Prime member.

You can also enjoy these exclusive benefits:

  • Fast and free delivery. Get two-day, next-day or same-day delivery to a US address for millions of items.
  • Prime Video. Get access to fresh movies releases and original award-winning Amazon productions.
  • Prime Reading. Get access to a rotating catalogue of e-books and audio books including one free pre-release book every month from editor’s picks.
  • and more!

Header photo by cottonbro on Pexels

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers Level C Media, Penguin Group Portfolio, Harper Collins, Business Publications Corporation, Inc., Ideapress Publishing, Greenleaf Book Group, University of Toronto Press and McGraw Hill Education for the advanced copies of the books mentioned here.

This post contains affiliate links.

Working your way to a better posture is easy with Curble Chair

Back pain does have a way of preventing you from getting up and about, as well as derailing your activities for the day, right?

While back pain my be caused by sports injuries, accidents, hormonal imbalances, or congenital conditions, oftentimes, back pains are the result of our day-to-day actions. Repetitive activities such as sitting all day in front of the computer, slouching as you drive your car and hunching over as you use your mobile phone may produce tightness and tension in your back muscles which result to backaches.

One way to prevent this kind of back pain is to improve your posture, making sure that the bones of your spine are correctly aligned and the spinal curves are balanced as you perform your daily tasks.

Curble Chair
Curble Chair
Curble Chair
Curble Chair

Maintaining a good posture requires less effort from your body than maintaining a bad one but, especially for those working with computers, you might still need some help correcting what years of getting used to the wrong posture has done.

Fortunately, there’s Curble Chair.

Did you know that sitting puts more pressure on our spine than any other action, and having a bad posture further exacerbates this effect?

While ergonomic and posture-correcting furniture have been around for quite some time, they do tend to be pricey, way beyond the means of typical office workers and stufents.

Curble Chair
Curble Chair
Curble Chair
Curble Chair

Not so with Curble Chair. This nifty posture-correcting support helps you maintain correct posture while sitting through the leverage effect of its backrest naturally pushing against your back as your weight pushes its bottom surface downward. Its design helps create a hip rise and distributes the pressure on the waist, thereby preventing strain on the rest of the body. Its air hallway system and fabric pattern also helps to disperse body heat so that you can stay cool as you use it.

Check out various Curble Chair models and see which one suits you best.

Curble Chair
Curble Comfy. Has a flexible backrest and helps lift the tailbone as you sit. Suitable for correcting posture when sitting for long periods.
Curble Chair
Curble Wider. Has a more rigid backrest that supports the waist, and wider chair body and bottom surface that hugs user’s sides and lifts pelvis.
Curble Chair
Curble Grand. Increased support capacity and increased thickness of separated upper and lower cushions for improved dispersion of body pressure and stability while sitting.
Curble Chair
Curble Kids. Posture correcting chair developed for children 12 years old and younger. Recommended for kids who have difficulty concentrating or show growth delay.

Curble Chair is recommended for the following:

  • those with little flexibility due to lack of exercise
  • office workers and students who spend most of their day sitting at a desk with few breaks
  • those who play computer games for long periods of time while in an incorrect posture
  • those who enjoy reading or meditating while sitting
  • patients who need to correct their posture because they are experiencing signs of herniated cervical or lumbar disc
  • those who want to maintain their corrected posture after receiving spinal manipulation
Curble Chair
Curble Chair
Curble Chair
Curble Chair

You will find many uses for your Curble Chair as it’s quite handy and portable so it helps you correct your sitting posture when you are:

  • at your desk, studying, working in front of your computer or doing arts and crafts
  • in the living room, whether you’re on the couch watching TV or on the floor while meditating
  • in your car while driving or riding as a passenger
  • outdoors while camping, watching sports events or on picnics
Curble Chair
Curble Chair

Grab your Curble Chair at its kiosk at 2nd Floor, Main Building, SM North EDSA, North Avenue corner EDSA, Quezon City or order online at The Laptop Lifestyle (use my code JELLYB to get 5% off upon checkout).

Disclosure: A product sample was provided to facilitate this feature.

#AmazonPrimeDay finds for your home office

One of the few positive outcomes brought about by the global pandemic is the realization that working from home is a viable option for many office workers.

Aside from allowing you to keep yourself safe by practicing social distancing, it also eliminated the costs and stresses of the daily commute, maintaining a work wardrobe and office meals. This setup also made for a smoother integration of your work life into your home life and vice versa.

As you may have already discovered, having a suitable work space at home is crucial to making a success of your WFH arrangement. Setting up your home office as a space for productivity and efficiency, while still imbuing your space with your personality, will help you perform in this kind of system.

In setting up your home office, you might want to keep these tips in mind:

  • Optimize your workspace. Your work area at home may not be as spacious as the one you had back in your office, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be as hardworking. This can be achieved by ensuing that all you need for the day’s tasks are within easy reach and then neatly stored when not in use.
  • Plan to be mobile. The best part of working from home is the flexibility, right? Who says you can’t work on that report while still in bed, or attend that meeting while also meeting your daily steps in the treadmill? Try to envision what you will need to be able to work anywhere in your home.
  • Consider your comfort and ergonomics. Your comfort level can greatly affect your concentration and creativity. Maintaining proper posture and having appropriate lighting as you work will help you get your work done more efficiently.

Excited to furnish your home office with items to spur your productivity? Take advantage of Amazon Prime Day!

What is Amazon Prime Day?

On July 12 and 13, 2022, e-commerce giant Amazon.com will hold a mega summer sale offering lots of deals on its myriad of products, exclusively to Amazon Prime members.

Whether you’re transitioning from an on-site arrangement or upgrading your existing work-from-home setup, shopping on Amazon Prime Day will let you score a haul that get you ready and raring to work!

Add these must-have home office accessories to your cart in preparation for the big sale:

Standing Desk. Also called a “stand-up desk,” this home office furniture allow for greater movement and circulation for your lower body, thus easing aches and pains. You may opt for one that can be adjusted if you do want to take a sitting position.

Klvied Mobile Standing Desk
Urban Deco Adjustable Standing Desk

Side Table Laptop Desk. Hunching over your laptop while on your bed is a no-no so if your home office is your bedroom, get a desk that can be slid into place when you need it and stowed to the side when not in use.

LASZOLA Side Table
Micoe Side Table

Lap Desk. If you don’t have space for a table or if you prefer to work while sitting on the couch, bed or rug, then a lap desk should be just right for you. Aside from helping you maintain a good posture and supporting your wrists as you type, a lap desk could also minimize the heat coming from the laptop towards you.

HUANUO Lap Desk
Gimars Home Office Lap Desk

Laptop Stand. If you do have a desk at home, it may be positioned too low for you to work on your laptop comfortably for extended periods of time. Something to raise your laptop screen to eye level will prevent strain on your back and neck muscles.

LIFELONG Portable Laptop Stand
SOUNDANCE Adjustable Laptop Stand

Desk Organizer. You do need other things for work aside from your laptop. However, if these knick-knacks are cluttered around your desk, they could hamper your focus. Tidying them up into a desk organizer will give you a neater work space that will do wonders for your concentration.

VEDETT Office Supplies Desk Organizer Caddy
AUPSEN Mesh Office Supplies Desk Organizer

Desk Pad. Far from being just a cosmetic touch to your workspace, a desk pad will prevent damages to your table surface from imprints by pen marks and also provides a non-slip surface for papers and small items.

Gallaway Leather Desk Pad
ITZELYICHAN Leather Desk Pad

So, are you now excited to shop for these items on Amazon Prime Day? Be sure to mark July 12 and 13 on your calendars!

Not yet an Amazon Prime member?

To take advantage of the awesome deals that await you during Amazon Prime Day, you need to be an Amazon Prime member.

You can also enjoy these exclusive benefits:

  • Fast and free delivery. Get two-day, next-day or same-day delivery to a US address for millions of items.
  • Prime Video. Get access to fresh movies releases and original award-winning Amazon productions.
  • Prime Reading. Get access to a rotating catalogue of e-books and audio books including one free pre-release book every month from editor’s picks.
  • and more!

Now, how to get your goodies home…

You might be getting worried about how much your Amazon Prime Day haul will set you back when it comes to shipping.

One way to minimize your shipping costs is by consolidating your packages via ShippingCart. It allows you to have your orders from e-commerce sites based in the US, UK, Australia and Japan delivered to a single shipping address in those countries where they are consolidated, then carefully packed into one parcel before shipping to your home address in the Philippines.

This also means that you can also purchase items that are not eligible for shipping to the Philippines!

Know more about ShippingCart and sign up for the service here. Indicate the US address provided by ShippingCart when you checkout your purchases on Amazon.com. Plus, use my code JELLYB to enjoy 15% off when you ship your consolidated parcels to the Philippines. (Discount will apply to first-time Shipping Cart users only. Code is valid until December 31, 2022.)

Happy shopping!

This post contains affiliate links.

Header photo by tirachardz on freepik

Great Reads for Working Moms

We working moms have quite a lot on our plate, don’t we?

Juggling our myriad of responsibilities at work and at home does not leave us with so much free time for some well-deserved rest, much less for reading.

However, we should always make the effort to improve ourselves, especially in how we manage our careers and our family life, and taking in well-formulated advice from the experts will surely help us in being more effective in both important spheres in our lives.

So check out these books and see what insights they can impart to your work and parenting styles.

Books for Rocking It at Work

Bring Your Human to Work by Erica Keswin

Since the start of our careers, we have been taught to maintain a clear separation between our work and our personal lives.

Workplace strategist and business coach Erica Keswin debunks this myth by emphasizing the importance of relationships in the workplace and citing examples of leaders who embody human qualities of authenticity, openness and empathy, who still manage to be successful in their respective fields.

Bring Your Human to Work shows us how to break away from our idea of a cold and impersonal work environment and instead foster a sense of joy and loyalty to the workplace.

Kick Some Glass: 10 Ways Women Succeed at Work on Their Own Terms by Jennifer Martineau and Portia Mount

It’s one of the most dreaded concepts for many career women: the glass ceiling. Its the concept that, despite all your natural talent, all the skills that you’ve developed and all the work you have done and will ever do, you can only go so far in your career.

In Kick Some Glass, authors Jennifer Martineau and Portia Mount dissects the barriers that women face during their climb up the corporate ladder -from both past and present perspectives as well as external and internal orientations – to enable budding women leaders to break through and make their mark in their fields.

Don’t Pay for Your MBA: The Faster, Cheaper, Better Way to Get the Business Education You Need by Laurie Pickard

Sometimes, in the corporate world, having an MBA can open a lot of doors and move a lot of careers forward.

However, getting your graduate business degree can be a very expensive endeavor.

Businesswoman Laurie Pickard enjoins readers of Don’t Pay for Your MBA to skip this costly step and instead shares practical advice on how to take advantage of online education to obtain the knowledge they need to get ahead.

Cowgirl Power: How to Kick Ass in Business and Life by Gail Gaddis

For many women, getting ahead in the workplace can be a very daunting task.

However, advertising CEO Gay Gaddis takes inspiration from other trailblazing women, risk takers who developed their power through knowledge, hard work, excellence and good will, and owned their power to face their challenges as leaders in their families, workplace and communities.

She also shares her own experiences and recommends an action plan for more women to attain that same Cowgirl Power and showcase their mettle in both their work and personal lives.

Glambition: Knocking Down Walls in Heels by Dee Rivera

It’s an uncomfortable truth that women tend to settle at work: they accept responsibilities that are not exciting for them or acquiesce to situations that may not be to their advantage. Glambition author and entrepreneur Dee Rivera refers to this behavior of settling for less than what you’re worth as “shrinking to fit.”

In her book, Rivera shares her personal journey towards self-empowerment as well as real-world advice in order to achieve this.

The book also contains real-life testimonies of women leaders to serve as examples for women int heir journey towards self-confidence and competency.

Lunching with Lions: Strategies for the Networking-Averse by Katherine McGraw Patterson

There are times in business wherein success is not so much a matter of what you know but of who you know.

Networking – interacting with others to exchange information or to form connections with people who can help in your profession – is one of the most hated business activities.

Author Katherine McGraw Patterson puts this down to people not being taught how to network. To remedy this, she shares a Four-Step Beginner’s Guide for the Networking-Averse that will help professionals learn to love and harness the power of networking, and not feel like they are, she calls it, Lunching with Lions.

Books for Rocking it at Home

The Kindness Advantage: Cultivating Compassion and Connected Children by Dale Atkins and Amanda Salzhauer

We hear it more and more these days: if you can be anything, start by being kind.

More and more, the calls for unity, respect and compassion in our daily lives is growing while research shows that being connected and engaged socially are keys to successful and fulfilling lives.

Authors Dale Atkins and Amanda Salzhauer recognize that equipping children with the skills they need to have a positive in the world starts at home. In their book, they outline ways to guide children towards the value of kindness as well as share stories of people who achieved fulfillment through living The Kindness Advantage.

You Can Stay Home with Your Kids!: 100 Tips, Tricks, and Ways to Make It Work on a Budget by Erin Odom

As a working mom, you may find much fulfillment in your career. However, you might also be considering leaving the corporate world in order to be more present in your kids’ lives.

The Humbled Homemaker Erin Odom sheds some light on how You Can Stay Home with Your Kids by dispelling fears on being able to give your children while living on a single income. This may involve sticking to a budget, getting some side hustles, being creative on how to enrich and supplement your kids lives and connect with your spouse without breaking the bank, and more.

For career women who want get out of the rat race and into a more family-centered existence, this is an essential read.

Understanding your Child’s and Teen’s Behavior: Simple Steps and Resources to Guide You Through the Journey by Angie Rumaldo

Adolescence is a rite of passage. For children, it is a time to test their boundaries. For us parents, it is a time to guide them towards being responsible and productive adults.

However, the period of your child’s adolescence is rife with struggle and misunderstanding.

Licensed clinical psychologist and psychiatric nurse practitioner Dr. Angie Rumaldo presents readers with a series of action plans to help correct common behavioral problems and sheds light on typical issues that children face at different phases in their growth and development.

With Dr. Rumaldo’s groundbreaking resource, you will have the essential help you need in Understanding Your Child’s and Teen’s Behavior.

Answering Why: Unleashing Passion, Purpose and Performance in Younger Generations by Mark C. Perna

As parents, we may be at our wits’ end in trying to bring out the best in our kids and preparing them to become productive members of society.

However, this Why Generation is inundated with a lot of challenges: from the gap between the skills they developed over the years through their education and the ones that employers are actually looking for, their lack of knowledge on the rewarding career opportunities they can take or their disengagement from the modes of learning available to them.

Mark C. Perna illustrates how Answering Why can help engage, motivate and inspire the younger generation to achieve.

Enjoy reading with Kindle

With a wealth of enriching and informative books waiting for you, I’m sure you’re raring to get into reading them. However, if you are concerned about the space you will need to store your growing library, or being able to bring your books wherever you go, getting a Kindle just may be the perfect solution for you.

Kindle is a line of portable and wireless electronic reading devices (e-readers) produced by online retailer Amazon.com. They make use of a display technology called electronic paper which produces a sharp screen image that resembles text printed on paper, ensuring an easy and comfortable read.

It is advisable to have a Kindle, specifically for reading, instead of relying on your other personal mobile devices because:

  • It is purpose-built for reading with a glare-free display that reads real paper, even in direct sunlight. You can also adjust its brightness to let you read comfortably – indoors and outdoors, day and night.
  • A single battery charge lasts weeks, not hours.
  • You get less distractions as you can highlight passages, look up definitions, translate words, and adjust text size—without ever leaving the page.

Ready to get this new nifty reading device for yourself. Check out your various options below!

Kindle
Kindle Paperwhite
Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition
Kindle Oasis

Take advantage of Amazon Prime Day deals

Ready to shop for your books and Kindle devices? The good news is that you can enjoy great discounts on your Amazon.com purchases during Amazon Prime Day!

On July 12 and 13, 2022, Amazon.com will hold a mega summer sale offering lots of deals on its myriad of products, exclusively to Amazon Prime members.

To take advantage of the awesome deals that await you during Amazon Prime Day, you need to be an Amazon Prime member.

You can also enjoy these exclusive benefits:

  • Fast and free delivery. Get two-day, next-day or same-day delivery to a US address for millions of items.
  • Prime Video. Get access to fresh movies releases and original award-winning Amazon productions.
  • Prime Reading. Get access to a rotating catalogue of e-books and audio books including one free pre-release book every month from editor’s picks.
  • and more!

Header photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers McGraw-Hill Education, HarperCollins Leadership, CenterStreet, Two Chickens Press, HCI Books, Zondervan GIFT and BooksGoSocial for the advanced copies of the books mentioned here.

This post contains affiliate links.

Will debt consolidation ease your money worries?

Like it or not, the state of your finances can and will affect your physical and mental well-being.

If you are experiencing chronic financial anxiety – the near-constant state of worry, stress or emotional disturbance over the state of your financial affairs – you might also be prone to disorders and behaviors that can negatively affect your body and mind.

Sufferers of financial anxiety are also likely exhibiting sleep disorders, weight fluctuations and disruptions from normal eating habits, unexplained aches and pains, as well as physical health concerns such as headaches, heart and blood pressure problems, and stomach issues.

Financial anxiety can also affect mental health. Feeling burdened by money worries could lead to the waning of self-confidence or sense of competence, as well as exacerbating the feeling of isolation.

With such worrying effects arising from financial anxiety, it is clearly a condition that needs to be avoided or immediately addressed if one is a afflicted by it.

Debt Consolidation Pics from Pexels

A recent CNBC article cites the aside from job loss, the continually rising cost of living and the lack of knowledge regarding personal finance, financial anxiety is also commonly caused by money missteps.

One such misstep is getting into quite a lot of debt. Whether this situation came about due to abusing your credit card, falling back on your payments to previous financial obligations, or other actions or lack thereof to put yourself in a better financial state, knowing that you owe a big sum of money can feel quite stressful.

If you find yourself in this situation, experts advise not to beat yourself up about it. The best recourse is to clear your mind and make a sound plan of action.

A step that you can take is to consider debt consolidation. As discussed in this 2021 Forbes.com article, combining multiple debts into one with a single monthly payment and usually with a lower interest rate through a personal loan or a balance transfer credit card helps to streamline your finances and speed up paying off your obligations, thereby getting you closer to being debt-free.

Debt Consolidation Pics from Pexels

With that said, you would still need to think carefully on whether debt consolidation is the best option for you. The same article posits that debt consolidation may come with added costs – such as origination fees, balance transfer fees, closing costs and annual fees – and does not resolve underlying financial issues such as lousy spending habits which may lead you to getting into more debt.

Debt consolidation may be your best bet if your total debt amount is high enough to justify the additional fees and efforts involved in getting a new loan, if you are set on working to improve your finances through positive changes in your money habits and if your current cash flow is sufficient cover the new monthly payments. Having a credit score high enough to qualify for a lower interest rate will also go a long way towards making debt consolidation work for you.

Debt Consolidation Pics from Pexels

At the heart of this issue is the need to have a thorough understanding of yourself and your financial habits, your current financial standing and your future financial prospects to be able to gauge whether debt consolidation is the right course of action for you.

It also helps to read more about debt consolidation so you can take the first important steps towards your financial freedom and, hopefully, to a better physical and mental state.

Photo credits:

4 things to expect at the #PMC2MillionStrong celebration

Power Mac Center (PMC) recently hit another milestone after its online community on Facebook reached two million followers. To celebrate, the premier Apple partner is hosting a fun shopping weekend in gratitude to its patrons and loyal Apple enthusiasts in the country.

“The community we’ve built on Facebook has been instrumental in helping Power Mac Center grow into what it is today. With every engagement and interaction that we get on our social media pages, we are inspired to push harder in our mission of bringing world-class technology to Filipinos. This celebration is also our way of letting our patrons know how we’re thankful for our online community, as they help us improve how we serve their Apple needs. We look forward to more years of touching lives, sharing joy, and connecting with more people through technology and innovation,” said Joey Alvarez, PMC Director of Product Management, Marketing, and Space Planning.

PMC’s Facebook community serves as an avenue to inspire Apple users to showcase their creativity, simply have fun, and also work together for worthy causes. To celebrate its monumental growth, PMC prepared special surprises for customers and lucky fans.

…but first, a trip down memory lane

PMC joined Facebook on January 4, 2009. Back then, it was cool to “poke” your friends and status updates can only begin with “is.”

Over the years, it has built a lot of moments that led to the 2-million-strong PMC online community today. Among the most notable memories are the 20th anniversary celebration, which also coincided with the launch of 1 Infinite Access (then 1 Infinite Card) – PMC’s loyalty program; the successful blasting off into cyberspace of the Power Mac Center Web Store in 2019; and the much-anticipated annual launch of the latest iPhone series, particularly the “Journey to iPhone 13” livestream last year – PMC’s first-ever full online iPhone launch event. In all of these initiatives, fans generously shared their thoughts and their time to connect with fellow Apple lovers.

See some of PMC’s monumental Facebook memories at Power Mac Center’s official Facebook page.

Let’s take 5 (percent off)

Now, this is the fun part! As a simple treat to all customers and Facebook followers, ALL devices and accessories can be purchased at any Power Mac Center store nationwide at 5% off from May 27 to 29, 2022. Take home the latest iPhone 13 in 256GB for only P56,990.50 from the original price of P59,990, or get as much as P10,000 off on the 16-inch MacBook Pro Apple M1 max chip 1TB Space Gray.

Power Mac Center 2M Strong
Power Mac Center 2M Strong

The promotion is valid for cash and straight transactions, including straight credit card, debit card, bank transfer, check, HomeCredit, GCash, GrabPay, WeChat, AliPay, PayMaya, Hello Money, UnionPay, BDO Pay, ShopeePay, QRPH, Power Mac Center gift certificate, and trade-in value. No vaccination card or 1 Infinite Access membership required, but other terms and conditions will apply.

That shipping has sailed

Should you prefer to do your shopping online, PMC is also offering FREE shipping nationwide for a minimum purchase worth P2,500 on its official Web Store and Viber Store from May 27 to 29, 2022. Choose from a wide variety of devices and accessories, including iPhone, iPad, Watch, and Mac in a few clicks or taps on your device.

Join the fun online!

Stay updated on the latest announcements on deals, discounts, promos, and keep on visiting Power Mac Center’s Facebook page for more surprises in the coming weeks! Invite your family and friends to also like and follow PMC on Facebook so they can join the #PMC2MillionStrong celebration.

Established in 1994, PMC was born at a time when people didn’t think it was wise to invest in the Apple business. PMC’s founders embraced Steve Jobs’ “Think Different” mentality and built today’s largest network of Apple authorized retail stores, repair and service centers, and education resellers in the Philippines. It carries the entire Apple line in its stores, as well as a variety of premium products from partner brands.

Even better, PMC allows payments via installments with zero interest and no down payment to partner major banks and non-credit card installment options such as Home Credit to cater to all customers and enable them to invest in the quality of Apple devices that are easy on the pocket.

Join the growing community and be updated on the latest announcements, deals, and discounts! Follow Power Mac Center on Facebook,Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.

DTI Fair Trade Permit No. FTEB-143655 Series of 2022

About Power Mac Center

Power Mac Center is a recognized Apple Premium Reseller, Apple Authorized Education Reseller, Apple Authorized Training Provider, and Apple Authorized Service Provider in the Philippines. Power Mac Center has become a reliable retail shop and service provider of Apple products to the Filipino consumer.

The company has grown to over 80 branches nationwide, with stores located in Greenbelt 3, Glorietta 5, The Annex at SM City North EDSA, SM City Fairview, TriNoma, Robinsons Magnolia,  SM Megamall, The Podium, SM Mall of Asia, SM Aura Premier, Festival Supermall, Cash and Carry Mall, Abreeza Mall, SM Lanang Premier, SM City Marikina, Power Plant Mall, SM City BF Parañaque, Harbor Point, SM City Southmall, SM City Pampanga, SM City Bacoor, SM City Lipa, SM City Sta. Rosa, SM City Batangas, SM City Dasmariñas, Circuit Makati, Vista Mall Sta. Rosa, SM East Ortigas,  KCC Mall de Zamboanga, Vista Mall Bataan, SM City San Pablo, SM City Trece Martires, Robinsons Galleria Cebu, Ayala Malls Cloverleaf, Ayala Malls Vertis North, SM City Urdaneta Central, SM City Clark, SM City Puerto Princesa, SM City Telabastagan, SM CDO Downtown Premier, SM City Legazpi, Fora Tagaytay, Festive Walk Mall Iloilo, Robinsons Place Butuan, SM City Lucena, SM City San Lazaro, SM City Olongapo Central, Ayala Malls Manila Bay, Robinsons Place Tuguegarao, Eastwood City, Neo Plaza Bldg. Ongpin, SM City Grand Central, and SM City Butuan.

The Loop by Power Mac Center stores are located in Ayala Malls Feliz, U.P. Town Center, Ayala Malls the 30th, Uptown Mall, Venice Grand Canal Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde, SM Mall of Asia, Xentro Mall Vigan, SM Center Dagupan, Southwoods Mall, SM City Calamba, SM City San Mateo, D’Mall Boracay, Ayala Center Cebu, Ayala Malls Capitol Central, SM City CDO, SM City Davao, and SM City General Santos.

Visit a Power Mac Center store near you and find more online: 

powermaccenter.com Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube TikTok

The Loop Ph Facebook The Loop Ph Instagram

Profile: Manila Ocean Park’s Francis Low

At 8.30 am on Saturday, April 9, while many top executives would be enjoying a leisurely start to their holiday weekend, Francis Low, Manila Ocean Park’s EVP and COO, was already with his team of animal trainers and park staff, getting ready for the day’s activities. After all, weekends are the busiest days for the country’s first world-class marine theme park and premiere educational entertainment destination.

Animal lover

It’s hardly surprising that Low would be hands-on when it comes to park operations, especially animal training and handling, being a certified professional animal trainer himself.

In fact, before eventually taking on the leadership role in Manila Ocean Park, he was first hired as a consultant by the holding company, China Oceanis Philippines, Inc., to conceptualize and set up its Birds of Prey Exhibit and All-Star Bird Show in a bid to expand the park’s attractions.

Manila Ocean Park's Francis Low
Mr Low is a Certified Professional Animal Trainer in birds, birds of prey, mammals, marine mammals, etc
Manila Ocean Park's Francis Low
Mr. Low joins MOP VP for Sales & Marketing Joyce Tarroza in welcoming bloggers

When he started to helm the MOP team, he set about designing the park experience in a way that encourages the same love for animals that he and his team have.

“We designed our attractions in line with three key pillars,” he reveals. “They have to be educational, interactive and experiential.”

With today’s more well-traveled and knowledgeable market for entertainment facilities such as theme parks, Low feels that these pillars help to differentiate Manila Ocean Park from similar establishments. “We try to give park visitors experiences that they can only have here, so they have something to bring home and tell others about.”

One such attraction is the Sea Lion Encounter. While there are similar sea lion shows in other countries, Manila Ocean Park enables guests to interact with its highly trained sea lions as they perform stunts or exhibit their skills. “When guests get up close and personal with the sea lions, they realize they aren’t scary and can be quite fun. These are moments… memories that they will remember for a long time.”

MOP Summer
Yeni, one of MOP’s smartest sea lions
MOP Summer
Yeni going through hoops
MOP Summer
Water Ballet with Yeni
MOP Summer
Getting up close and personal with Yeni

Advocates conservation awareness

Manila Ocean Park’s attractions are also geared to promote animal conservation.

“In the Philippines, conservation awareness is very high,” Low observes. “People’s efforts in saving certain species, protecting marine life and saving the trees, some with the help of LGUs and international organizations, are very noticeable.”

He also notes that since conservation is not a one-off thing but requires continuous effort and resources over many years before results can be seen, a lot of people may not choose to commit to it. “What is important is to make people understand that conservation has long-term benefits for many generations down the line.”

MOP Bamboo Sharks
Photo credit: manilaoceanpark.com
MOP Bamboo Sharks 2
Photo credit: manilaoceanpark.com

One of the park’s conservation activities is its “Back to the Wild” program wherein juvenile white-spotted bamboo sharks are bred and raised safely in the park’s facilities, and then released back to the coasts in cooperation with government agencies such as the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, National Fisheries Research and Development Institute, and local government units.

“With the help of NGOs, we scope out areas and ensure that these are ideal for the bambo sharks to thrive, then we release them. We also tagged them to see how they are faring. We hope to hold another releasing this year.” shares Low.

Leads with heart

Low’s first few months after he took over the management of Manila Ocean Park in 2011 was all about getting a feel for the local culture. He shares, “I did not do a lot major changes. I blended in: I tried to understand Filipinos, Filipino culture and the way things are done here. By understanding these, it’s easier to put in certain ideas to my team and get them to support the strategies.”

He is proud of the park’s employees and the concern they demonstrated for the park and its animal charges during the height of the pandemic when the park was closed down and he was away in his home country of Singapore. “There was a time when two of the sea lions got sick but we couldn’t get medicine because all the pharmacies are closed. It was a very scary moment for us. I’m so glad that staff proved to be very caring: they went to the canals, sat beside the sea lions to coax them to eat. Because of their care, the two sea lions recovered.”

This care extended throughout the time when the park was closed down due to the community quarantine, but the trainers and staff simulated shows, despite the absence of audiences, so as not to stress the animals from the break from their routine.

Manila Ocean Park's Francis Low
Manila Ocean Park's Francis Low

He even boasts of how Manila Ocean Park’s security guards expanded their role beyond ensuring safety within the park by familiarizing themselves with the park’s various packages and pricing so that they can recommend attractions to the park visitors.

“I consider myself blessed that I have key leaders and key staff who go all out to make very good experiences for the guests, care for the park and the animals. These are things that money can not buy.”

By 6pm, activities within the park wind down but Mr. Low and his team are still seen up and about, assisting guests or overseeing operations. This routine plays out for six days every week as the park slowly but surely reopens attractions and dining establishments to cater to the public who are ready for new experiences after a long time spent indoors during quarantine.

Manila Ocean Park is located within Rizal Park, Ermita, Manila, open from 10am to 6pm, Tuesdays to Sundays (even during Public Holidays). For more details about the park or to book your tickets, visit its website.

Check out my previous posts about Manila Ocean Park:

#TechVocInThePhilippines: Why not?

Tech-voc professionals should be regarded as graduates with equal opportunity, job security, professional status, and recognition in our society that professionals of four-year higher education programs currently enjoy.

It’s around that time of the year again when a fresh batch of new college graduates join the workforce.

For many of these graduates, after studying and struggling for years to earn their degree, a tough road lies ahead before they land their first job. If they’re lucky, they will be able to find work that aligns with their interests and the degree they worked so hard to attain. If they are not so lucky, they may find themselves in jobs that are not related to their degree, are underpaid for the jobs that they do have, or worse, have no job at all.

In a recent report on in-demand jobs in the country, IT/Computer Software, Clerical/Administrative Support, IT/Network/System/Database and General Work are among the top specializations that are being hired. In a separate salary survey, on the other hand, Computer/IT, Services, Manufacturing and Building/Construction are among those with the highest salaries for entry-level positions.

These are jobs that the new members of the workforce could have been prepared for by a technical-vocational education.

An unpopular choice

Unfortunately, tech-voc education has rarely been a first choice among high school graduates in the country. This may be due to the perceived lack of glamor or prestige of pursuing further education in the tech-voc sphere compared to a university degree, or the erroneous impression that workers in this field lack of job security or professional status compared to their peers who took university courses. Also coming into play may be the existing bias that only the ‘bobo’ enroll in these courses.

pexels-mikhail-nilov-student

Whatever the reason, many members of our workforce are being denied employment opportunities and productive careers simply because they did not opt to pursue education in the tech-voc field.

This is such as shame because our technical-vocational institutes (TVI), if managed and monitored well, are fully capable of producing world-class and skilled graduates at par with those of our neighboring countries. Tech-voc graduates perform key roles in various industries both local and abroad. A job-ready and globally competitive batch of tech-voc graduates joining the workforce can also greatly contribute to the national income and economy.

To get to this stage, we as a country need to place importance in the possibilities offered by the technical field in providing a decent and productive life to our citizens.

TECH VOC blog images
Existing Philippine Qualification Framework and Ladderized Program Law

A need to revise our framework

You will notice that our highly-industrialized Asian neighbors like Japan, Singapore, and Korea have made necessary adjustments in their educational system, with particular focus on academic excellence and technology innovation. By placing emphasis on citizens becoming productive and contributing members to their national economy, these heavily invested in technical training.

A local proponent for tech-voc education is Ayala Corporation CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala. According to him, a vocational or technical degree should be given a prominent position in our country’s educational framework. Expanding its curriculum and significantly improving its accreditation status will help produce young graduates equipped with the specific skills that match the requirements of the job market.

TECH VOC blog images
The TVET PQF NC’s is in need of a specific title for learners’ perspective to the industry or employers for clear and better recognition.

The Philippines has two main government agencies tasked in providing basic education in the country: DepEd (Department of Education) for the academics and TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) which is in charge facilitating quality technical education and skills development. Ideally, these two should complement each other, with no overlapping of roles that could result in conflicts during the implementation of their programs.

However, with the implementation of the K-12 curriculum, some of TESDA’s resources have been acquired by DepEd due to the need for technical experts to handle the tech-voc curriculum.

Both esteemed educators such as University of the Philippines professor, Clarita Carlos and government administrators like Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia have cited the sorry state of tech-voc education in the Philippines and made appeals to DepEd and TESDA to focus on their respective mandates, namely basic education and in the students’ academic performances for DEPED and technical skills formation for TESDA.

An expanded role for TESDA

TESDA needs to take on the complete responsibility for technical and vocational training as a distinct and separate agency from DOLE, DTI and DepEd, with a scope beyond merely providing technical instructions and training. Its purview should include thorough skills assessment to meet globally-competitive criteria, and granting professional license to successful graduates to elevate their status to professional practitioners of their chosen skill.

As the final “quality control” check before graduation and the practice of their profession, passing the licensure exam becomes a mark of pride and achievement for the graduates, a basis for demanding a higher salary and compensation for their services and an undeniable proof of their parity with the technical graduates of progressive countries.

pexels-mikhail-nilov-youngmen

Licensure examination is but one wheel in the big cog of Philippine Qualifications Framework which supposedly sets multiple criteria to measure the quality assurance principles and standards of the Filipino professional, technician and craftsman.

TECH VOC blog images
Trifocal education system with the implementation of K-12 has totally diminished the quality skills training for TVET.

Performing this mandate would require TESDA to review and rescan its current services and offers in order to attract enrollees and be an effective government agency for manpower development.

To do this, it is proposed that TESDA curriculum be organized in two tracks that serve different purposes and will be monitored accordingly:

Product-Oriented TrackService-Oriented Track
No pre-requisitePre-requisite: HS graduate
Only product quality controlCustomer and Practitioner’s Protection Service
Do not require higher academic achievementService-Oriented professions are measured by quality of service thru
customer satisfaction
This is measured only through quality controlIt promotes respect, prestige and protection to the client and also the
practitioner

Product-oriented tracks may be in the form of cottage industries and are designed to provide livelihood opportunities at the barangay level to folks such as stay-at-home moms, out-of-school youths, drug dependents, seniors/retirees, jobless folks, and surrenderees, with TESDA providing the necessary tools and materials as well as equipment for this skill training. Some of these are:

PTV Tracks
Livelihood tracks aims to provide skills training to its target beneficiaries, to engage them in livelihood projects that are income generating

The Service Oriented Sector/Industry, on the other hand, are professional tracks that go beyond a simple trade, and are identified by specific specialization based on the industry qualification. These will require a high school diploma as a basic requirement. These include the following:

PTV Tracks
Only by professionalizing all Service Oriented Tech-Voc Courses will uplift the image of techvoc students, graduates and practitioners in the country.

Giving TESDA a free rein as well as an expanded role will help it perform its main mandate faster and more efficiently to address current joblessness and lack of experts in vocational and technical skills and to uplift the status of tech-voc in the Philippines.

Now that the country is entering the COVID-19 recovery phase, opportunities abound for smart investment in tech-voc education and training to “build back better” programs and systems. These may also cater to students who dropped out during school closures and reskill or upskill those who have become unemployed.

To greatly improve employability and professional development of tech-voc students, focus must be given to developing their foundational cognitive and socioemotional skills, such as empathy and resilience, while investing in learning technology and digital skills of tech-voc instructors.

TECH VOC blog images
TECH VOC blog images

In conclusion, if TVETs are compliant with global standards and are at par with similar institutions of our Asian neighbors, the “Filipino Diaspora” will be minimized because tech-voc graduates are capable of getting better-paying jobs locally or establish their own enterprises without leaving the country.

TECH VOC blog images
The state of tech-voc in the Philippines must be reshaped in such a way that the skills and training competencies are given priorities to attain job-readiness of workers as well as uplift our skilled workers as licensed professionals.

To this end, while TESDA should be independent from other government agencies in providing technical-vocational training and education, it can be greatly helped by agencies like DepEd with its focus on the basic education of children, as well as DOLE and DTI in providing employment assistance and livelihood programs to tech-voc graduates.

Young Filipinos who wish to lead productive lives can look forward to brighter and more productive futures with the tech-voc track, provided they are given the proper incentives, multisectoral support and a supportive policy environment.

With the government, industry and the academe working together in strengthening the country’s tech-voc ecosystem and reinforcing the knowledge that the “Pinoy tech-voc ay hindi bobo,” a career in this field will become a promising path for our future graduates.

Student photos by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

4 tips to setup your home office for WFH success

One of the few bright spots in the midst of the global pandemic is the realization that we can work -productively and efficiently – at home.

The concept of Work-from-Home (or WFH) has been around for quite some time but it took the necessity for isolation and limited physical or social contact to make it as widely accepted as it is now.

Aside from ensuring your safety from infection by COVID-19, working from home has allowed you greater freedom and flexibility with your time, saved your the costs of travel, office wardrobe and lunches, as well as provided you with improved work-life balance, hasn’t it?

AllHome Home Officr
AllHome Home Officr

Hopefully, for many of us, WFH is here to stay.

However, this setup is not without some disadvantages, with discomforts and distractions being among the chief complaints among WFH setups.

The good news is that, with a little bit of forethought, these disadvantages can be minimized or eliminated.

All Home Libis Store Tour
All Home Libis Store Tour

Here are some rules of thumb in setting up your home office:

Define the space.

If, after two years of working from home, you haven’t set aside a defined and dedicated space for your home office, I laud your discipline (or pity you for the suffering you put yourself through).

A dedicated (ideally enclosed) area separate from the rest of the household to house your work equipment and provide you with a quiet space for concentration and work meetings will help you work a lot more effectively at home.

Illuminate.

Good lighting is something most people take for granted, but do remember that you need to be able to be able to read from your monitor or notebooks for hours on end. Dealing with glares or shadows while working not only makes it harder to focus on the tasks at hand, it may also cause eye fatigue and headaches, as accidents from momentary blindness as your eyes adjust to sudden changes in lighting conditions.

In these days of Zoom meetings, having enough light to illuminate your face (as opposed to being in shadow in a seemingly dark dungeon) goes a long towards coming across as professional to your colleagues.

If you can’t find a space with good indirect natural light, equip your space with overhead, task and ambient light sources to help your eyes as you do your various activities.

All Home Libis Store Tour
All Home Libis Store Tour

Take a (good) seat.

Your future self will thank you for investing in a good ergonomic chair today as it is designed to support your body as you work while considering your posture, comfort and health.

Sitting in the wrong kind of chair may cause pain in the neck, back and hip areas, as well as distractions due to discomforts caused by poor circulation and posture.

Get organized.

All you need to be able to work should be within easy reach but you also need to keep workspace spic-and-span to reduce distractions and improve your productivity.

This is why using smart storage solutions is a must. If floor space is limited, consider storing vertically through the use of stacking drawers, floating shelves, rolling carts or even pegboards.

So get to work on setting up your workspace. And you can get all you need for your home office at your nearest All Home branch.

AllHome Home Officr
AllHome Home Officr

AllHome is the Pinoy’s one-stop shop for all home needs. It offers an extensive range of top-quality home-improvement products such as construction supplies, hardware, appliances, indoor and outdoor furniture, homeware, décor, and even electronic gadgets all under one roof.

Its Metro Manila branches include:

  • Vista Place (Wil Tower), Eugenio Lopez Drive, Brgy. South Triangle, Quezon City
  • E. Rodriguez Jr. Brgy. Bagumbayan, Quezon City
  • Starmall EDSA-Shaw, Ground, Epifanio de los Santos Ave, Mandaluyong
  • Worldwide Corporate Center, Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong
  • Vista Mall Taguig, Levi Mariano Ave., Taguig City
  • Vista Mall C5 Extension Road, Quirino Ave. Pulang Lupa Uno, Las Piñas City
  • Vista Mall Las Pinas, CV Starr Ave., Philam Village, Pamplona, Las Pinas

You may also shop conveniently online at allhome.com.ph to take advantage of AllHome’s wide array of original and top-quality items, easy payment methods and fast delivery timelines.

In-store photos taken at AllHome WCC and Libis. Used with permission.

Meet my new bestie: KYLA of SKY!

One of my new besties is a bot and I ain‘t afraid to say it!

It’s not that I’m giving up on humanity; it’s just that she makes my life so much easier.

She’s KYLA, a 24/7 messaging bot designed to provide real-time answers to SKY product or service inquiries by both existing and non-subscribers.

KYLA of SKY
KYLA of SKY

Being a closet introvert, I sometimes get some form of apprehension every time I’m forced into social situations. Yes, that includes interacting with sales associates, retail staff and customer service agents.

Being able to interact with a bot affords me that feeling of ease of not having to worry about how I’m coming across or gauge non-verbal cues as I set about having my questions answered.

KYLA of SKY
KYLA of SKY

If you think that you would not want to transact with a machine and much prefer the “human” touch, guess again. You’ve been doing it for quite some time. Whenever you opted to withdraw cash from an ATM rather than get in line to wait for an actual bank teller to get to you, you have opted to conduct your business with a machine. And why not? It’s so much easier, isn’t it?

That‘s what KYLA does: she eliminates a lot of the hassle and waiting time to get answers or help I need with regards to my SKY service. She answers in real-time, providing me with the info I need right when I need them.

KYLA of SKY
KYLA of SKY

Here are some of the instances when KYLA helps me out:

  • When I had trouble with my cable TV or broadband signal, KYLA provided me with self-help guides so I can troubleshoot
  • When my neighborhood had signal issues, KYLA informed me of when it was expected to be resolved
  • When I wanted to check my bill, KYLA provided me with my account status, due date and payment balance, as well as a list of convenient ways to pay for my SKY bill

If my service concern is a bit more complex, I don’t worry. KYLA can connect me to a live agent with access to my conversation history. So no need to answer the same questions again.

KYLA of SKY
KYLA of SKY

I have started forwarding my family and friends to KYLA for their own service concerns or subscription inquiries, knowing that they’re in very good hands already.

And since KYLA is available 24/7, I don’t have to worry about the time of the day or night when I message her.

Isn’t that the kind of accommodating and helpful bestie you want for yourself?

Well, I’m not selfish, I’ll gladly share my bestie with you so she can help you with your SKY service concerns too!

KYLA of SKY
KYLA of SKY

Here’s how to reach her:

Then select the category of your query. Or you can type in a question in English and KYLA will answer you right away!

It’s so easy, right?

So, are you ready to meet your new bestie? Grab your mobile device and start messaging!

SKYBiz guarantees reliable speeds and reliable partnerships to small business owners

The start of the year has been great so far for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as they have continuously served their customers virtually, and some entrepreneurs have finally re-opened its doors physically to their loyal patrons.

While businesses gradually pick up its pace, it is still a challenge for some MSMEs to fully accommodate their day-to-day activities like logistics, marketing, and customer servicing experience as their chosen service provider becomes unreliable and eventually ends up costly for their business set-up.

With SKYBiz as a partner, decision makers can now have business-grade enterprise solutions that are fully reliable and will keep businesses running — even in these challenging times.

Reliable and Upgraded Speeds

For as low as P2,299 monthly, budding entrepreneurs can enjoy speeds up to 100Mbps with BIZBB PRO which comes with 2 FREE WiFi Mesh units to complete the seamless wireless office setup. Valuing its customer’s trust, SKYBIZ injects Value-Added Services on each subscription with a starter tool kit, personalized account management, and assured 24/7 Technical Support so that businesses can be online and on track even when it’s the weekend or off-hours.

SKYbiz Reliable Speeds, Reliable Partnerships

Just starting to grow? The 50Mbps plan at P1,799 monthly fits Micro and Small businesses perfectly, as they can also enjoy the freebies and perks of having a faster plan with SKYBIZ.

Reliable Partnerships with the Industry Greats

As part of the vision to create a seamless end-to-end enterprise solution to its customers, SKYBiz has partnered with high-value industry partners to make each SKYBiz subscription the best business decision for every entrepreneur.

SKYbiz Reliable Speeds, Reliable Partnerships

Best Customer Servicing Experience with Microsoft 365

Each plan comes with FREE 3 months Microsoft 365 Business Basic for 5 users. This productivity cloud designed to help run your business smoothly is more than just the apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

It brings together these best-in-class productivity apps with powerful cloud services, device management and advanced security in one, giving you a seamless, connected experience.

Best Advertising Solution for Small Businesses with ABS-CBN Dash

Reach your customers and grow your business with ABS-CBN Dash’s digital advertising solution. Get a P1,000 voucher that you can use to advertise on ABS-CBN’s top digital platforms.

Best Logistics Solution with Grab

Have your parcels arrive on time and make customers happy with a P1,000 voucher from Grab.

About SKYbiz

SKYBIZ is the corporate arm of SKY Cable Corporation under the partnership between the Lopez Holdings Corp. and STTelemedia. SKYBIZ started in 2013 and has managed to become a 2-Billion business that serves major Hospitality, BPO, Banking, Real Estate and major Corporations in the country. For more information check out SKYBIZ’s official website: https://www.skybiz.com.ph/

Photo Credit: Header photo created by rawpixel.com – www.freepik.com

La Germania shares local food-preneurs’ secrets to success

These small food businesses share their biggest advice for surviving and thriving in the pandemic.

For the past two years, Filipinos have seen the rise of home based food businesses. From sweet pastries to hearty dishes, comfort food to artisanal beverages, numerous Filipinos have ventured into the world of entrepreneurship. But what does it take for a food business to succeed amid a global pandemic?

To inspire more Filipinos to build their food businesses, La Germania is launching a video project called Food Babies. Starting this February, La Germania will be releasing special features on food businesses that survived and thrived amid all the challenges thrown their way. This video project will be exclusively available on their Youtube channel and Facebook page. As a preview of the upcoming project, these food businesses spilled some of their secrets to success with La Germania.

Use social media to stand out against competition

Claudia’s (@claudias.ph) is a passion project turned popular online bakeshop that offers chunky and gooey baked cookies and blondies. According to Founder and Owner, Claudia Tagle, business owners must focus on their social media content to stand out against competitors, especially since customers “eat with their eyes”.

La Germania Small Food Businesses
La Germania Small Food Businesses

“It’s important for you to get those really good shots of your food or the products that you’re selling,” Tagle explained, which involves investing in food photography and social media content. “I do have slower days or slower months, and I think that consistency is key. You just need to learn how to market or promote your products more because your loyal customers will come back.”

She also shared how valuable it is to engage and build relationships with one’s customers. “What really keeps me going is my customer’s feedback, and when they tell me they really enjoy the cookies or the blondies. Getting feedback about what they like and don’t like about your products can help you improve further.”

Believe in your product

Butterboy Bakehouse (@butterboyph) focuses on different kinds of croissants and baked goods to make pastries more affordable and accessible for everyday Filipinos.

Head baker and owner Hilder Demeterio credits his businesses’ wins to two key ingredients. “You should seek knowledge from everywhere, like YouTube videos or classes. You should just try to absorb whatever you can,” he said.

La Germania Small Food Businesses
La Germania Small Food Businesses

Growing up, Hilder was always a lover of food from a distance. It wasn’t until 2018 that he finally began to experiment with baking after meeting his boyfriend, Jason. An architect by profession, Hilder took lessons from his relatives and sought knowledge online, beating the misconception that you need to be a professional cook to start a successful food business.

Moreover, he believes that it’s important for aspiring foodpreneurs to believe in their products as if they’re the brand’s number one fan. “In the middle of the pandemic, I was 6 months unemployed. I borrowed money from my parents, and I emptied pretty much all of my savings. Pati sa boyfriend ko. So during that time, I took a leap of faith and I bought all my own equipment, tapos ayun, we jumped into the unknown with only the knowledge na ‘I think we have something good here’.”

To aspiring foodpreneurs, it is your faith and confidence in the uniqueness of your products that will help your business survive all the ups and downs of the current landscape!

Cook with passion

For restaurateurs Wendel and Portia Habaluyas, The Purple Wok (@thepurplewok) began as a way to support their loyal kitchen staff who were laid-off due to the pandemic. “These people have been loyal to us for many years now, so it was very painful for us to see them feeling hopeless,” said Portia.

For the power couple behind The Purple Wok, it’s all about following your passion. “The most fun part in running a food business is doing what I love to do. Our recipes were created out of passion. They were made out of love. We’ve perfected the recipes, and we do not compromise the quality of our food,” the couple told La Germania.

La Germania Small Food Businesses
La Germania Small Food Businesses

As for what advice they would give aspiring entrepreneurs, Wendel says: “Never create a recipe just for a business and just to create money. Especially nowadays, we noticed that Filipinos are willing to pay a premium or extra for good and quality food. If there’s one advice we can give to people who want to start a food business, it is for you to cook with passion and prepare your food with passion.”

These tidbits of wisdom are only some of the valuable lessons viewers can learn from the La Germania Food Babies series. While each featured business owner may have their specialty and recipe for success, what they all have in common is that the most important aspect to your brand’s success is investing in high quality kitchen equipment like La Germania!

Built according to the highest European standards in terms of construction and design, La Germania appliances allow you to prepare a multitude of dishes in an efficient and easy way. With guaranteed durability and superior quality, they’re a good investment for you to bring out your inner foodpreneur and climb the ladder to culinary success.

La Germania products are available online through La Germania’s official e-commerce website www.lagermaniaph.com and e-commerce platforms on Shopee and Lazada. You may follow the trusted kitchen and appliance brand’s official Facebook and Instagram accounts for more information on La Germania and its products.

ABOUT LA GERMANIA

Italian-heritage brand La Germania has been the preferred kitchen companion of Filipino homemakers for 53 years and counting. Its wide array of ovens, cooktops, and stoves is made of high-grade materials and designed to stand the test of time and extensive use. La Germania’s current line of products continues to serve the cooking needs and lifestyle of this generation and the next. To know more about La Germania and its products, visit http://www.lagermaniaph.com. The trusted kitchen partner of Filipinos also has its official stores on Shopee and Lazada.

Details and images provided by La Germania in a recent press release.

Gear up for cooking.

La Germania Electric Thermostat Oven
La Germania Electric Thermostat Oven
La Germania Range FS5031 21XR oven
La Germania Range FS5031 21XR oven

Header Photo by Daria Shetsova of Pexels

This post contains affiliate links.