My Rags to Clothes Story - A Modern Rags to Riches Story

I grew up believing in fairy tales.

I always believed that someday my Prince Charming would come my way and that he just got lost, stumbled and is just too stubborn to ask directions that's why it's taking so long for him to come around at the outskirts of town. I grew up always wanting to have delicious foods during recess, always wanting to purchase if not the most expensive dress, at least one of them. 

When I was a kid, I always watch Maalaala Mo Kaya? (Will You Remember?) and always find motivation in the success stories of people that grew up wanting to be good at something or want to have something and eventually through hard work, patience, perseverance, humility and faith in God were able to achieve their goals in life and live as a living example that dreams do come true. There were thousands and probably millions of stories shown on the television through the said program (as they are still running the said program until now) and each success story has its own share in motivating, inspiring and helping me to keep dreaming and working towards its realization. 

I have always been fascinated with rags to riches stories and have always wanted to tell one of my own. However, I don't think I've reached the zenith of the my dreams yet hence the title rags to clothes because I feel that God has been so good in helping me gradually enjoy the blessing of my hard work and that He enables me to be strong daily and equipped me with the right attitude in chasing and making my dreams come true.

I always tell myself that someday all my fears will flee away and all my dreams will come my way. Dreams do not just come our way though. Only opportunities.

I have learned that the best way to get the right opportunity is to say no to the wrong ones so you can be ready when the right one comes. The same is true with guys. 

Try not to laugh so hard at this.

For twenty one years, I never had a boyfriend. At first it was a comforting because I felt empowered and free to do anything I want. However, as my friend puts it, "you will reach the point when you will seek to love and be loved". Perhaps I am still in that stage but this is about my rags to clothes story and love stories always need to have a separate page of their own. Let's keep it that way.

When I was a kid, I always wanted to have our own house. We used to live in our relatives house or rent a room in town since it's where I go to school to. We never owned any house. I always wondered why since my father is a welder in the KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). When you're a kid, you always have the wrong notion that OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers) are well off since they're earning with currencies higher than that of our own country. But I was wrong. Even if my father was earning Riyal, we were not rich. Now I am paying for a rent-to-own house in Calumpang. It's a townhouse and it's got 3 rooms, two bathrooms and two floors. I know it may not be the rags-to-riches but at least, rags-to-clothes. At least in 18 months, I would be able to have my mom live in a house we can call our own.

I remember walking because the tricycle driver wouldn't accept my P1.00 because I didn't know they already raised the fare to P2.00. I am grateful for those days when I had to walk because it helped me develop stronger legs that don't get easily tired with the walk of life and mountain that I have to climb in the stairs of success. 

I remembered the day when me and my friend, Richelle Ann Valencia, were looked down upon by a sales lady in Royal Supermart because we were merely looking at the items for sale. We didn't have extra money then to buy their expensive clothes. It's normal to be scoffed when you're wearing high school uniforms and all the sales ladies know that you're only dependent on your allowance. I remember that day so well that I promised myself that when I am well off, I would return and purchase their most expensive items and give the sales lady the biggest tip of her life--because after all, her actions motivated me. I may not have credit cards (I chose not to have one) to purchase whatever I may want but I am no longer the Jonha that could not afford to buy what she sees in the department store. 

I remember when I used to cry because I wanted to own a personal computer so I could watch the Harry Potter movies. I was so envious with my friend, Renz Malapit, because he has a computer at home and glad when he gave me a picture of Daniel Radcliffe. I was so desperate to own a personal computer that I thought of borrowing money from the bank or paluwagan only to realize that I wouldn't qualify. Now, I am grateful to God that I don't have to purchase anything (except our house of course) on credit. Perhaps the only thing I could be proud of to posterity is that I would never leave them any debt because I have developed a habit of paying for everything I want in cash. I don't have Macbook (because I chose to invest my money on other things than a single item) but I have Meagan, which I carry with me everywhere when I'm on vacation and the first item I picked when our apartment was almost on fire

Maybe I don't have the best things in life...yet. However, I am already grateful for every little things that God is giving me daily. I am grateful that I no longer have to walk because I have spare money on my pocket just in case the fares would increase unexpectedly. I would no longer have to be scorned and scoffed when I enter an establishment because every time I do, I would go out with shopping bags in my hands. I am grateful that I no longer need to fantasize of watching Harry Potter movies on PC but enjoy all the movies I would want to watch on big screens or download all I want.

Perhaps I may not have rags to riches story yet but I am already happy and contented with my own rags to clothes story. 

Below is a story of a man named Nick Vujicic. He has no arms, no legs and no worries.

He may lack a lot of things but he's still happy because real happiness doesn't depend on what you have but how you find pleasure or appreciate what's given to you.

What about you? Tell us your rags to clothes, if not rags to riches story and inspire millions of people.

5 Non-Financial Rewards People Care About by Bruce Tulgan

I'm not a huge fan of vlogging partly because I have long admitted to myself that I don't have much talent talking in front of a webcam or video camera with my forehead occupying most of the screen and how awkward my lips would move as I speak that people might focus more on my unsure gestures instead on the message that I am trying to impart. Of course like most people I like to watch videos on YouTube but it's just that I'm not a fan of making them. Most of the people I watch on YouTube are singers so it was pretty new to me to simply listen to a vlogger like Bruce Tulgan. His words were pretty much spot on and I love the punch line, "Ding! I'm the boss" as he explained that "It's Okay to be the Boss" and deal with the problems of being the manager to your peers. I think that's exactly what I need these days. I am managing my friends to work for an e-commerce company and as much as I don't want to have issues with the intersection of our friendship and work, sometimes I think every manager has to deal with that. 

After attending Penelope Trunk's webcast last April 16th, Friday, 1:00 PM (which happens to be 1:00 AM in my area), I started searching through her archives for vlogs and that's when I learned about Bruce and so I kept on watching his vlogs and the one that I really like is when he talked about the 5 non-financial rewards that people care about and "they also happen to be the things that managers have the most control of".

People love it when they have...

1. More control over their own schedule
"A lot of people will work more hours if they have some control over when they actually have to work", says  Tulgan.I tend to give longer hours on tasks that I could go over just about anytime or anywhere I want because it gives me a more sense of fulfillment once I accomplish it not just on time but on time that I want. Giving me time to be creative is like giving me more time to be really productive.

2. Relationships
We all have our dream jobs and that usually includes a dream team or set of people that we would like to work with and working with the right people is usually more important than working with the bright or best people. Sometimes it's not just about the capability but the people's eagerness, eyes single to the vision and availability that gets the tasks done instead of the ability. 

3. Tasks
I really like this. "I wanna do a really choice task. You should give the choice tasks to the best people as rewards". What could be more clever than putting together aces on their places! 

4. Training
Managers oftentimes underestimate the power and value of how trainings. Employees attentions may be caught by the tempting salary offer but it's the value of trainings and experiences that they value the most.

5. Location
People are more likely to accept a job offer that is closer to home or more convenient to travel. We want to work in a place where we would be comfortable spending 8 hours of our day and the reason why I stayed with my work for almost 3 years now is because I want to stay where my mom wants to stay and since there's only two of us, being together is much more important than any salaries that bigger cities and bigger companies may offer. 

Bruce ended with a question, "are you using those non-financial rewards you have control over to drive performance every step of the way?"

I think most start-up companies may be limited with the budget but little did they realize that there are still 5 non-financial rewards that people care about that they should put into their advantage. 

The Au Pair Visa for Filipinos to Go to UK Has Been Long Been Abolished Since 26 November 2008

The Philippine Embassy Labor Office issued their latest warning last 22nd of  January 2010 on fake online job offers for Filipinos wanting to immigrate in the United Kingdom. The bogus online job offers that are rampantly circulating through emails and even Facebook.

Among the UK jobs which have been offered to Filipino applicants lately include positions like Nannies, Au Pair, Hotel staff, Store Manager, Salesmen, Engineers, and many others.

It should be noted, though, by Filipinos that the Au Pair visa scheme had already been abolished effective last 26 November 2008 and has been replaced by the Youth Mobility Scheme under the new UK Points-Based System.

It is therefore in no way a host family from UK could pay for all your travel cost or give you the promised salary and almost luxury life that they're promising, in exchange of you paying for their barrister's fee or whatsoever. 

I've just received a message through Facebook 7 hours ago from "Christopher Mullen" (don't be surprised when the link gets broken as I am sure that in a week or so, this account will be deleted or inactive because this was just made up by some Nigerian scammers to fool people who wants to be an au pair) so I tried to add him to my friend's list so I could check and verify the account's authenticity but I guess he know's better now and became wary that he could be exposed just like what I did with "Nicole Edwards". I've noticed that this Christopher Mullen has just recently signed up with Facebook and he's done a good job in making his profile semi-private. 

Here's what he said:


Am Christopher Mullen, a widower for three years. I got your name from the nanny website need a person to serve as my awesome kids Nanny and i liked what i read from your profile. My former nanny was Asian and she served us well but she had to leave after completion of her contract and get settled with her Hubby. I reside in London,United Kingdom with my two lovely kids am seeking for the services of a nanny to come and work for me in the U.K.Their mom is Late and its such an heavy task taking care of the kids alone besides i would be traveling for a project soon. I am willing to offer Eight Hundred and Fifty GBP (£850) per week and will provide monthly shopping allowances as well as accommodation.
If interested do reply to my email at and i would send you more details of the job. Please respond promptly if you have an international passport,if you are interested in the job.


Christopher Mullen.

5 Signs That The Au Pair Offer Is A Scam

1. Grammar
The letter above is much better when compared to other au pair scam emails that I've received but if you carefully read their letters, you will see what they all have in common. These letters are poorly drafted and constructed.

2. High Salary
Let's face it, au pairs are like much more sophisticated domestic helpers (DH) and the latter do not make much money (at least it is quite a huge amount when sent in the Philippines). It is therefore suspicious when they try to offer you pretty high salaries and benefits. 

3. Contact Person
Most of the letters would only address you with "Hi" and goes on telling about their family, their kids, their job and their need for an au pair. It was designed to have a generic "hi" because they blast or send it to thousands of people wanting so bad to be an au pair in another country. 

If you look at the e-mail address, it is different from the e-mail address. Well some may say that maybe the person used his spouse email. Well, it couldn't be always the case. Here are some of the samples:

Mrs Anita Collinson Family Cares
Jessica Jenifer

4. Wrong Documents
With so much people that they're corresponding with, they could get caught with their responses and the documents that they're sending. Here's one sent from alias "Julie Ann Lawrence" or Ann. Notice that the letter was sent in attention to Loreta G. Alalim and not my name. 

Attn: Loreta G. Alalim

We acknowledge with thanks the receipt of your mail and the content well noted.

An Affidavit of guarantee is a legal approve document by the Immigration authorities of United Kingdom. The affidavit is an immunity which covers the aupair and employee; it is duly process and signed by the immigration authorities.

To process a dully legalized/signed Affidavit of Guaranty will cost you 500 GBP all together with attorney fee.

On acceptance, we shall forward to you all the required information needed from you.


Barr Buchy Iwu
Attorney at Law

Even if they're already corresponding with you, they would still misspell your name. Here's an almost believable story from since they looked for a "common ground" and almost made me believe they were indeed LDS. 

Hi Junha

it was same spirit that advice me to contact you, since i have been contacted by several aupair's but i decided to choose you as the spirit of church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints advice me to do, wonderful..!!! the spirit works together you can believe that.
So far i have stop searching since i have finally gotten you as one, There's a Mormon temple close to my area where we worship and we believe we both will worship the same temple.

Regrding your visa, I will advice you to contact one of the leading traveling agent in UK named TAMACO TRAVELING AGENCY, they will help you in securing your traveling documents within 4 working days, they are license traveling agent, contact them through their email address: I will forward a letter of invitation copy to the traveling agent for a quick processing of your traveling document so that you will be here on or before 10th February 2010.

As for your flight, i will book flight through Euro Star just let me know the date of your arrival and furnish me with your passport information.


5. Money
Everything that requires you to send money online especially through Western Union should tip you off that it is a fake job. Here's a copy of an email from a "John Lloyd" (funny that his name sounds like that of a famous actor here in the Philippines)

John Lloyde  


Dear Jonha,

Hope your doing fine? We are fine here as well. I received your resume and i have forwarded to the immigration attorney. Concerning the issue of the processing cost of your immigrant visa, which comes with a work permit. I can only help by taking up to 80% of the cost while you handle the remaining 20%. Am working on a very tight budget am a single parent i have bills to pay every week. Talking about salary deduction is out of the case because i applied for a bank loan for your one year salary which the bank have approved but the cannot release any part of it till you start up work here. The attorney requires the processing fees to secure the immigrant visa i don't want to be wasting time. If that's okay for you then send the required documents to the immigration lawyer he explained to me that his going to need the following to be able to process the immigrant visa from the British home office here in London. He will be drafting the worker's agreement for us in line with United Kingdom labor laws. Below are the documents  the attorney need. So let me know your position urgently because i don't have much time the month is almost coming to an end.

(1) Photocopy of your international passport.

(2) Police clearance certificate.

(3) Reference letter.

Kindly scan and send the required documents to him for further directive.

Attn: Mr. Andrew Moore
Solicitors and legal practitioners 
Add: Suite 112 Rover building, 626 Chiswick High Road, Chiswick, London W4 5RY
Tel: +44-7045721372. 

I hope to hear from you.

Thanks and God Bless,

As I was checking my database (haha, I've received a lot of these au pair scam emails that I almost accumulated a database!), I saw that one of them was online so I decided to chat. I almost got teary eyed laughing at how the scammer reacted! lol Please note that this is the same person that claimed that she's LDS and talked about spirit, haha.

Do not easily believe in whatever the scammer are saying because first and foremost, there are no au pair visa for Filipinos to go to UK. Second, if they will provide you with such an opportunity, they shouldn't ask you for any money. If you've received any of these au pair letters, feel free to post their email addresses and their letters to help prevent these au pair scammers from fooling many people who might have not been aware of this au pair scam program.

Below are just some of the email addresses of scammers that I have encountered. Feel free to add from those that you've received au pair scam emails from.

My Celebrity Blog Has Just Reached PR4 and is DoFollow Now!

Last week I announced that I will be abandoning my celebrity blog so I could focus on some other things like this blog, my social life and many other priorities. Looks like I'm going to leave it with some good record as it just reached PR4 this month!

Today I've been blog hopping so I could read tips on guest blogging and I've learned that doing so will not only boost my authority but will also help me earn 5 figures. You've read it right, 5 figures baby!  I also found a good list of DoFollow blogs with high Page Rank then I stumbled upon how Page Ranking is such a cunning points system by Google to attract internet marketers and bloggers to be obsessed with their PR and do all the efforts to increase and fail to realize that they're spending much more than they ought to be in the long run. I've learned so much today about other ways of promoting your blog that I wanted to implement them and share some love to my readers by turning the nofollow attribute of my blog to dofollow instead.

From 3/10 last month, the page rank of my celebrity blog became 4/10 that I almost jumped in surprise when I realized that all the efforts that I've done in the past didn't go unnoticed with Google's Page Rank system.

What is a Page Rank? 

PageRank is a numeric value that represents how important a page is on the web. Google figures that when one page links to another page, it is effectively casting a vote for the other page. The more votes that are cast for a page, the more important the page must be. Also, the importance of the page that is casting the vote determines how important the vote itself is. Google calculates a page's importance from the votes cast for it. How important each vote is is taken into account when a page's PageRank is calculated. 
PageRank is Google's way of deciding a page's importance. It matters because it is one of the factors that determines a page's ranking in the search results. It isn't the only factor that Google uses to rank pages, but it is an important one. From here on in, we'll occasionally refer to PageRank as "PR".

In short, it's an icing to the cake that most bloggers and internet marketers are vying for since it sets a standard as to whose site has the most votes (relevant inbound links) and could therefore present many advantages to the blog with high page rank.

With so much excitement, I decided to turn this blog into DoFollow. 

What is a DoFollow Blog?

A lot of webmasters and bloggers have been so obsessed with this attribute because it tells the search engines to "do follow" the link to the comments section. Most blogger sites have been set to the nofollow attribute just to combat with the spamming. 

To remove nofollow attribute just follow the simple steps :

Login to your Blogspot dashboard
Click on Layout then go to  Edit HTML
Check mark Expand widget templates
Find this code

From the code remove “ rel=’nofollow’ “
new code will look like this
Click on save and refresh your blog.

You blog will no longer contain the no follow attribute.

I decided to share some love to my avid readers who likes to comment and hope not to attract spammers instead. haha

Feel free to share on the comments box below on how you've been optimizing your blog, guest blogging or any other forms of promotions and how these methods have become successful.

My Passive Income Through Blogging

I started blogging since October 2008 when my friend Janice Busil encouraged me to put my ideas into a platform wherein I could express my thoughts and get paid. Every time I hear someone telling me that I could get paid online, I would automatically become skeptic as I am the type of person who do not easily believe in everything that people say.

Mary Jane Cabrera started having her own blog so I was a little motivated to start one. My first attempt to blogging was my celebrity blog, of which I just abandoned last week even if I've already reached PR 3. I decided to start something new that even if my topics wouldn't be trending on Twitter, people would still listen to what I'm going to say because this blog represents me and my thoughts on various things.

When I checked my Adsense earnings today, I was excited to see that I am now eligible to get paid by Google Adsense by the end of the month as I've reached their minimum pay-out balance. I have been thinking as to how I could constantly get a stable income from blogging as like almost every blogger, I have also been dreaming for the day when the words I type would enable me to pay the bills or buy the groceries. Of course we shouldn't expect too much income from blogging but if the blogging gurus like Darenn Rowse have done it, it only proves that anyone could also do it by exercising the following:

People who have established their names through blogging have done constantly written informative articles that are worthy to be read and re-read again and again. These are the people who have passionately shared their ideas, tips and thoughts on various things that people find relevant and of great value. These people did not just establish or put up a blog overnight then expect to make money the next day. Blogging requires passion and constant updates. People would go back to your blog or even subscribe to your feed if they like what you've been writing and will look forward for what you will soon be writing. Abandoned blogs do not look appealing to readers so be sure to post at least a single post per week.

2. Build a community

Probably one of the main reasons why Facebook has become so successful was because Mark Zuckerberg didn't just build a networking site wherein friends, relatives and acquaintances could meet and reconnect but rather a community wherein all these people could interact with each other in an almost real-time manner and get to share things that they enjoy through various applications such as games, chat and groups. Through interaction, people are encouraged to share and keep on sticking around. It is every blogger's dream to have a flock of avid and loyal readers just like Facebook has millions of avid users that logs in to the site more than they visit their relatives in person. Interact with people of similar interests by visiting their blogs, commenting on their posts and genuinely commending them on their excellent posts and sharing your ideas. The people that you will get to know through these efforts will appreciate your interest in them and will gain you the same interest and even respect.

Those were just a couple of the many things that you can do to keep yourself motivated with your passion in blogging and eventually get paid doing it. The hopes that someday the words you type will pay the rent is not impossible if you stick to that goal and constantly working towards it.

How about you, what steps have you done to help make your dreams a reality? Do you have any blogging tips that you'd like to share? Let me know by leaving your comments below.

Be Sure to Lock the Door!

Trust me, there's bazillion of ideas for blog posts running into my mind for the past few days such as "How Many Bottles of Shampoo Do You Use in a Month?" (as a lot of people have been asking me that and I think it's worthy of a post to try and answer such a normal question and talk about how the hair should be well taken cared of. I also wanted to make a blog post about "What If There's No America?" I'm sure not a lot of people have thought about that. We've been so used to having such a powerful country around that we may have failed to ponder upon such a random question but I'd like to discuss about what impact will it create if there was no country like America today. What countries could be as powerful as they are now. Could it be China, Russia or a small island like Cayman Islands? We never know but I thought it's worth a blog post to answer such an almost thoughtless question.

I also wanted to post about the "7 Things I Hate About Mormon Guys". Don't get me wrong, I'm no Heather Armstrong of Dooce. I am an active member of the LDS Church but sometimes there are things about LDS guys that I simply hate. I am toying on the idea of actually posting it so might as well check back on this post sometime next week for links.

Yet above all things, I decided to post about "Be Sure to Lock the Door".

Earlier today, I was in a hurry to pee that I wasn't sure if I locked the door in the ladies room when Emy Eslabra opened the door and we were both surprised!

The encounter wasn't as grossed as what's depicted in the picture, but almost. (*blush) At least I have zipped my pants and was about to pull it up when Emy opened the door. I thought it was one of the most awkward times of the life. I've never been into so much awkward moments so I would remember. The experience taught me to be sure to lock the door. Not only when you're in the ladies room or any private room but also I think it's important to lock up when...

1. Going on a full-time mission

Latter day Saints around the world are familiar with the phrase "lock up your heart" as they're about to serve their mission. Single men age 19 and women age 21 are encouraged to go on mission and be a part of one of the most active service around the world. During this time, these men and women are not allowed to have a relationship in the field while others choose to cool off their relationship for 18 months (for women) or 24 months (for men), or at least if they don't want to receive a Dear John letter while in the field.

2. Working with an attractive boss

If you want to keep your job, or at least if you want to focus on the task at hand, be sure to lock the door to your heart! I don't think it's possible to focus and fancy your boss at the same time. For some it may work but trust me, it's almost impossible! If you're serious about keeping your job, lock your heart especially if you're of the same age. Now I don't say that you can't both fall in love but better be safe than sorry, for the third time around I'd say it, lock your heart.

3. Dreams first

When you're a career-minded woman, you wouldn't want marriage to get in the way of achieving your goals in life so I suggest you locking up your heart till you reach all of your dreams and turn them into reality before settling down. I know a lot of women who suffer from regrets for not pursuing their dreams when they were single and were guilty that they're neglecting their family especially their kids because they're too busy hoping to make their dreams come true even if their attention needs to be divided. I believe that if you really want something, be sure to do it now and get things done while you still can, especially when you're single, so that by the time that you decided to settle down, you can.

Those are just some of the most important situations when you need to be sure to lock the door (to your heart) so that there will be no distractions and much obstacles in whatever you are pursuing. Remember, be sure to lock the door when you don't want to be disturbed!

Also, feel free to share some of the most awkward moments you've ever had.

Counting My Blessings Through Eating

Helen Keller described eating as "the best pleasure on Earth". I dare to concur that her statement is true especially with someone who has always been deprived with sumptuous foods in the world. When I was a kid, I always wanted to eat in Jollibee. I guess every five-year-old would threaten their parents a whole evening of crying if they wouldn't bring his or her favorite Chicken joy, french fries or burger. Try not to laugh a lot but that's basically what every Filipino children has grown up with. Not for me.

I grew up with my father in Saudi Arabia as an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) in Saudi Arabia. People would always expect us to be well off since my father is out of the country and I am an only daughter. Tell you what, I wish it was true. But it isn't. I grew up always wanting what the my playmates would normally enjoy such as cute Barbie dolls, bountiful foods during Christmas. I would always watch commercials on television and would only be left wanting them. Those were the times when the only thing I could do were to look at the good food and simply look because we couldn't buy them.

Now I think God must have heard my prayers when I was a kid and piled up all the blessings and showered them altogether, literally. Well maybe it's a lot for someone who hasn't got much when she was a kid. For some it may be just--well, just like my playmates--normal.

Every time I feel a little down or uneasy, I would ask my mom that we would stroll in the mall just to forget what bothers me. Yesterday we went to Mary Mart and looked for a pair of slippers as she has been complaining about her old pair of slippers hurting her feet. I bought her a pair of brown slippers since she doesn't like pastel colors as they easily get dirty. It's probably one of the traits that I would never forget about my mom. She's always very practical about what she buys. The typical Ilocana as my friends would say. As we stroll in Marymart and looked at the Greenwich pizzas, I remember at how I used to envy the people that eat in those places. You know the kind of envy that a fastfood employee that's earning merely P26/hour has. I gotta thank God those days were over and now I could buy just about any food I want. Only if I would easily give in, but I strive to keep on reminding myself that I need to refrain from eating because I got a figure to maintain (haha, I know, as if I have a good one!)

We then went to Jo's Inato to buy halo halo since I got sick with the usual ice cream that we buy every Saturday. We ordered the Buko Halo since my friend, Amy Santiago, replied on my text message that they've got a great tasting buko halo there. It's like the usual halo halo only that it's contained in buko. I was so excited since it looked so sweet only to discover that is was almost tasteless! I had to fill almost the whole jar of sugar provided just to compensate the looks that deceived me! I told myself I would simply go back there just to take a picture of their good looking buko halo but not to ever eat one again! My P70.00 per serving wasn't really worth it. I laughed when my mom used their ladies

room and she complained about how it was infested with mosquitoes. Our only goal was to chill since it is too hot this summer, only to be disappointed. When we were on our way to Lapaz LDS chapel, I saw ads of Green Mango, JD Bakeshop and Mang Inasal that they're selling Halo halo. I might consider buying there instead the next time.

While walking, I think about a lot of things to share with you all. You know the kind of thoughts that almost every blogger has. I remember how my friend and co-Iloilo blogger, Mary Jane Cabrera, would always share her exciting experiences and count our blessings by sharing it through blogging.

Today we went for lunch on a little topsy corner in Lapaz. They've got surprisingly really great tasting food. Mom ordered their spaghetti (P38.00) while I got their Chiz burger (P35.00). It was such a good deal that I promise myself to stop by every time I would come their way.

Right after the conference, we bought halo halo again! I just love halo halo on summer. This time we bought it from one of the many the stalls in Lapaz. It was filled with a lot of mangga, sago, buko, pakwan and many other sweet ingredients, and we only paid P60.00 for two servings! How cool is that?!

Hellen Keller was right when she said that eating is the best pleasure. I guess the fulfilling feeling that a daughter or son feels when she/he's able to provide for her/his parents is the next best thing. Every time I eat, I remember how blessed I am to be enjoying the food I am munching on and forget about all the worries that I have.

How about you? How do you spend your summer?

Note: I didn't have my cam handy yesterday so I just snatched the photos of Buko Halo from Flavors of Iloilo (I'm sure my co-Iloilo Blogger wouldn't mind, haha)

Get Ready To Be Amazed by Lin Yu Chun and Susan Boyle

Susan Boyle has become an international singing sensation through Britain's Got Talent the moment she sang so gracefully the song entitled "I Dreamed a Dream". In a world where the society mocks and judges people through their physical appearance, Susan Boyle amazed the world with her brilliant singing skills and her magnificent voice. I could still remember vividly how I almost trembled in amazement when I first heard her sing. She may not be very pretty like most contestants, she's such a rare gem because of her voice and humility. She proved to the world that Britain Really Has Got Talent, not just looks.

The same prejudice was experienced by the Taiwanese young singer Lin Yu Chun until he sang a rendition of Whitney Houston's “I Will Always Love You.” Everyone seem to mock him because of his homely appearance and considered “the next Susan Boyle” because like the Britain’s Got Talent sensation, the people were amazed at how great he sang since most people were expecting him to embarass himself because of his appearance just like how everyone used to expect Susan Boyle to become a laughing stock.

The 24-year-old blew the judges away during his audition for the Taiwanese, American Idol-esque talent show Super Star Avenue .

Chun revealed that his appearance is what drove him to pursue music. “Being fat draws a lot of mockery in our society,” Chun said, who suffered from low self-esteem and would spend hours alone in his room, listening to pop divas such as Mariah Carey and Celine Dion. After his performance, Chun said he’d gained more confidence as a vocalist. “You don’t have to be a good-looking man or woman to succeed,” he said. “Just be yourself and try your best.”

These two amazing talents are trying to teach us a lesson not to be overly judgmental and not just rely on looks. God made us all unique and that He loves each one of us because of that exact uniqueness. We should not in any way, condemn or mock anyone just because they look different.

Below is the video of Li Yun Chun as he amazed the people with his talents and teach us a very important lesson, that is not to judge people by their appearance.

Embedding Susan Boyle's video has been disabled but you can listen to her sing I Dreamed a Dream on YouTube.

I could watch their videos over and over again and still feel the same amazement and feel the same power in the possibility that our dreams could come true despite at times we could be against all odds or naysayers may look down to us.


Filipina Au Pairs Are Needed In Switzerland

In an article from the, a news that a lot of Filipinos would delight over has just been recently published. Filipino au pairs are now legally accepted in Switzerland. This means that all Filipinos that would like to take part of the au pair program could now legally go to the said country and enjoy of the au pair benefits when the Swiss government agreed to give what is due to Filipino au pairs.

Here's a copy of the said article:

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines has lifted the ban on deploying au pairs to Switzerland, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration said Monday.

In a phone interview, POEA Administrator Jennifer Manalili said the ban, which has been effective since the late 1990s following reports of abuses, has been lifted after the Swiss government passed laws that protect the rights and welfare of au pairs.

Au pairs are usually young foreign visitors who take care of children and do light house chores in exchange for room and board.

Manalili said the POEA governing board approved the resolution in February, with the guidelines becoming effective March 24.

“The lifting was done upon consultation and recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs,” she said.

Swiss delegates were in the country last week to finalize the lifting.

Asked how many au pairs may now be deployed, Manalili said, “It depends on the demands.”

To protect Filipino au pairs who wish to work in Switzerland, the POEA has a standard au pair contract and a verification process, she said.

Manalili said there are similar requests for au pair deployments to Norway and Denmark.

Raymond M. Kristiansen, a vlogger and advocate to the cause of looking after the welfare of Filipinos in Scandinivian countries commented: "Well this is actually very good news, Jonha. It is important because it shows that there Can be progress made. That is, that the PH government and a European government can come to agreement which results in a lifting of the au pair ban. Psychologically, there is a big difference in needing to smuggle yourself out of your country using escort at airport, or to travel openly as an au pair."

Raymond maintains a blog for Au Pinoy or Filipino au pairs mainly in Denmark but the contents thereof are beneficial for anyone wanting to be an au pair in Scandinivian countries.

Since the Philippine government has already lifted the ban for Filipino au pairs to go to Switzerland, we can expect an influx of Filipinos wanting to go to Switzerland. The number of fake and pernicious agencies will also double as they will try to take advantage of this opportunity. If you are a Filipino wanting to be an au pair in Switzerland, Denmark or Norway, be sure to visit the official websites of the embassies of the said countries and carefully read their rules regarding the program. Do not deal with anyone online asking for money because after all, going to Switzerland has been already legalized so there's no need to bribe anyone just to get to where you want to go.

How to Change the Name of Your Facebook Page

So you have a Facebook page for your business and you would like to promote it on your blog. However, Facebook gives you a predefined page URL or web address that you can't simply give out to someone and expect them to remember it right away.

Let's take one of the most popular pages in Facebook named I hate waking up during a good dream and it won't come back! If you look at it, it has a long name with random numbers that you can't just memorize all at once! Well if you're an admin of a page like that, you could simply change it to AnAmazingDream, which is much easier to remember.

Below is a screencast on how you could change the URL or personalize the name of your Facebook Fan page. Also, you can change your personal profile's username into something much more personal and easier to remember

3 Sure Ways to Make Money Online With Your Blog

There's so much on the web that has been written about making money online that it becomes pretty scary to try each one of them. There are some posts that claims to help you get rich in a matter for few days while others require you to just pay some amount of money then promises to give you with such a high ROI (return of investment) that it's almost impossible to believe them. Well here's the thing, if it's something unbelievable, then most likely it isn't.

Making money is not something you can work on overnight and then you wake up in the morning with loads of cash on your bank account. In order for you to have a stable stream of income online, you have to really know what you're doing. I know someone who has just recently retired and told me he wants to make money online and wants to see a quick ROI. Get rich quick schemes simply isn't the name of the game, because in that game I assure you, you're the only one who'll lose.

Now with such a warning given, this post is not about making money overnight. It's about how I actually and really made money online.

1. Turning Passion into Monetization

You must have heard a lot of people making money with their blogs such as Abe Olandres of Yugatech, Carl Ocab of (yes, the kidblogger who dominated the keyword "make money online" for awhile until he started spending more time updating his Facebook status than updating his blog).

I wouldn't be surprised if he'd unfriend me on Facebook with this post, haha. Seriously, this kid has made more money than any other adult bloggers could! And yeah, his last update of his blog was last February 19th, 2010 while Facebook status update was "Today at 9:56pm" But this might also tell us that he has made more than enough money on his blog that he could spend all of his spare time social networking, eh?

Other bloggers that are constantly making money with their blogs (actually their niches are more of a community to me) are Pete Cashmore of Mashable and Penelope Trunk of Brazen Careerist. These people didn't decide to make money and then got millions of money from their blogs (yes, Penelope Trunk actually said she's making millions with her blog) the day after. These people knew what they wanted to do, knowledgeable about what they do and keep on doing it. They didn't just wrote a post then abandoned their blogs a week after (though Penelope admitted she's guilty of not being able to post as often as she'd want and expected to). In order for one to make money out of their blogs, they need to gain readers and establish some authority on their niches. Yaro Starak, Seth Godin, Jeremy Shoemaker and many other bloggers and actually internet marketers are known to be the gurus or experts in their chosen niches and that's the secret to their stable online income. Darren Rowse of shared that he and his wife agreed that if he will not make money out if his blogging, he would have to get a real job. Luckily a few months after, or should I say as fruits of his persistence in his passion, he became one of the most trusted "ProBlogger" and is now making tons of cash through blogging.

Now, think of something you're really passionate about. Assess as to how much knowledge you know about the subject and if you think you don't have more than enough, extend your current knowledge by researching and visiting existing blogs about your interest. Once you think you have more than enough to share that people would deem relevant, that's when you can start a blog and blog and blog. I am not asking you to write everyday of your life, just make sure that people who visit your blog would see constant relevant updates.

2. Advertisements

Most of the blogs that I have mentioned would have an ad or two posted on their sidebars or within their posts. Through affiliate links and advertisements that they incorporate to their niches, they could direct potential clients to their sponsors or buyers of their ads. This is where the money goes in. Everybody wants to get a link or two in an authoritative blog, right?

But if you're like me who is just starting (yeah when compared to them who has been writing for who-knows-since-when while I just started almost a couple of years ago), you can start by looking for sites that helps bloggers to post pay-per-click ads like Google Adsense (that means every time someone clicks on the funky little "ads by Google" within this blog, I get paid for each click). Another program that I found to be reliable is Ben Spark's SocialSpark. During the time that #nickjonassideboob was a trending topic on Twitter, I had PPC ads from Socialspark on my blog that earned me $23.00. I know, it may not sound too much but why, I love blogging about Miley Cyrus and it's a passive income that people gave me when almost 25,000 people visited my blog that day!

Be careful not to clutter your blog with too much advertisements as this could annoy your readers. Accept only advertisements that are relevant to your blog's niche and something that your visitors would find useful or putting advertisements in your blog would only lose you avid readers.

3. Resume

Penelope Trunk often discussed in her blog about how everyone should use their blogs as a resume. Hiring managers would have a better idea of how you think and respond to daily challenges in your life. Penelope even quoted Jason Warner, head of North America recruiting for Starbucks and author of the blog, "Blogging has given me an outlet to think about things differently," says Warner, "and I am convinced that blogging makes people smarter."

Many times in my blogging life did I meet people that has helped me in myriad of ways. These people have become my mentors. There are also people that email me about how my posts have helped them in some ways.

Did I mention that I got my first online VA job through my blog? You see, if you direct a hiring manager to your blog and he likes it, then he'd most likely like working with you.

Treat your blog as your investment. Write interesting and useful tips or things that others would find beneficial. Don't clutter it with too much rantings and ramblings. Let me ask you, when someone Google's your name, do they find someone they'd like to work with?

Do you find the post informative, fun and helpful? Then what about buying me a drink?

Don't Panic When Your Apartment is on Fire!

At around 5:14 in the afternoon today while the Catholics are having their usual Maundy or Holy Thursday mass, I felt a bit distracted when almost everyone were looking at our direction and screaming. I've heard crackling. I thought it was their usual fireworks display so I continued watching the YouTube video that I was viewing. The screaming became louder that I got annoyed. I looked at what type of fireworks would they be displaying as they would only be parading. It took me 5 seconds before it could register. The house that is like 10 feet (I may not be good at figures but it's no brainer to figure that it was too close!) from our apartment was on fire!

The first thing that came into my mind was scream and tell my mom that hey the house nearby is burning! The fire was so huge and it scattered way fast that I almost did not know how to react. I couldn't believe it was happening. I always hear people screaming when someone's house is burning. My automatic response would always be, "Oh that's too far to worry". But this time, it isn't too far. The fire was actually right before my very eyes. It's not April fools baby. We were on fire! Really it took me a few seconds before the realization would sink in. I felt like I don't wanna leave. I simply couldn't just believe it.

The very first things that I took were Meagan (my laptop) and my quadro-scriptures (Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price)I wasn't panicking, I was actually mentally blocked. Those were the only important things for me. I didn't care about my accessories. I didn't even bother to take a few clothes with me had it not been for my mom who told me. So I packed a few t-shirts. Later did I realize that I only brought t-shirts and failed to pack shorts, undies, and mom's garments. When we saw that the fire was almost reaching the "fire wall" (as our neighbors put it), mom cried. She was worried that all her garments were left in the house. She didn't care about anything else. Only her garments mattered to her. She didn't care about the one sack of rice stored for emergencies. She didn't care about any furnitures in the house. Oh well, I just realized there weren't much. We didn't have much worldly riches so it wasn't difficult for us to leave the apartment. Later did I realize that if the firefighters weren't fast in responding to the situation, we would have to start from the very beginning. That's when the worry started to creep in my senses. I had to buy new clothes. I never wanted to buy new clothes. I wasn't a fan of trendy clothes. I would have to explain to all the people I know that I lost everything I worked for and that I would need their donations. I never wanted to be in such a situation. We survived the typhoon Frank without asking for any help from anyone. While the fire continued to scatter, I was thinking at how the world is currently enjoying playing pranks on other people and simply say, "April fools". I think we were played some prank on. Some real fire for April fools? How's that?

Below is the video of the house nearby that was burning. Notice the man in red. I think it's funny that he tried to run and the stepped back realizing that he couldn't help at all. haha

There were like 4 or so fire trucks that parked in what used to be a peaceful streets of Miramar Subdivision. The sound of their sirens were deafening but I love it. I love the fact that they responded so fast and saved our flat. I couldn't thank them enough. I've heard one heroic firefighter incurred a few cuts in his hands. Bless him, our neighbors said he was cute. It's funny how we just laughed at everything. I know I know, but we were glad that we were safe.

At exactly 5:40 PM, the fire has gradually stopped. Thank God, mom's garments were spared. Thank God I don't have to spend the next few months buying new clothes. Thank God I don't have to beg for some donation. I only had one plea from God at the moment that the fire was almost reaching our apartment. I told him that if I can't get the things I want, at least He'd let me keep what I already have. God is so good, He let me.

Things that I've Learned from the Fire

1. Be Grateful
Keep a grateful heart always. Happy are the people that appreciate what they have as they will eventually have more things to be grateful for. I have been lacking such an attitude lately. I always want something more, something that sometimes I couldn't almost have. The fire helped me realize that in just a blink of an eye, I could have lost everything I currently have if I don't know how to be grateful for them. Thank God we survived and I am still able to tell you about this. I guess that's one of the many things I could be grateful of at the moment.

2. Be Alert
Perhaps the people were screaming for like 5 minutes before I noticed them. I was too drawn to what I was watching and writing that I failed to notice them at their first attempt to warn us that there's a big fire in the neighborhood. I've been a little apathetic lately that even if the world may be fussing about something, I wouldn't care. And then it hit me, they wouldn't care if we'd lose things because of my apathy.

3. Be Ready
We have a 72-hour kit in place. Mom has been so faithful in heeding the counsel of the leaders in our Church to keep one. The funny thing is, we left it when we were "evacuating". Pack essential things in a backpack so that in emergencies like fire, flood, hurricane, earthquake or anything like unto it, you are ready and won't panic.

4. Where Your Heart Is
When you are evacuating, the very things that matters to you are the things that you will bring with you. Mom brought with her her television while I brought with me Meagan. Mom was watching television while I was surfing the net when the fire was burning. I have also brought some documents and believe it or not, I didn't care about my cellphone. I actually have brought with me my pink mirror. haha I don't know, I just snatched it with me while I was in the state of "panic".

Things that You Need for Prepare In Case of Emergency

1. Documents
Now I appreciate floods. Once a fire catch your papers and other important documents, you would be left with nothing but ashes. Place all your important documents like birth certificate, diploma, clearances and other certifications in a single envelope that you could easily snatch with you in case of emergency. Once the calamity is over, you can't simply start over without your credentials. Your future will surely be affected once you lose your important documents, so keep it in one envelope and be sure to bring it with you. You may earn money but you can't easily obtain those documents again. The local NSO, NBI, Police Department and many other government agencies wouldn't care much if you lost it due to some accident, it is your obligation to keep it with you.

2. Money
I am the type of person who doesn't face a situation with just what's in front of me. I always think about the consequences. I am too obsessed with consequences that I often fail to think about the strategies instead. I was thinking that most people would only look at what happened to us, offer some comfort and that's pretty much about it. At the end of the day, you only have to rely on yourself. Put your money in a bag wherein you could easily bring with you during evacuation.

3. Food
Maybe my gluttony has overcome me or something but trust me, pack a bag of food that you could bring with you. In times of emergencies, it always helps if you packed some goodies that you can munch on. Mom has an acute ulcer problem and it would have caused me more problem if she was hungry.

As of the moment, I couldn't think much of any other essential things that you can bring with you in case of emergencies. When faced with situations like what we've just experienced, stay calm. Trust me, things will only get worse if you panic.

4. Pray
I couldn't think of anything else while the fire was raging. I simply hum my favorite hymn which is "I am a Child of God" and prayed to my Heavenly Father that He would spare our flat. I prayed that the firefighters would have the strength to stop the fire. I know anything and everything is possible with God's help.

So I guess April Fools us.

It wasn't cool (it was actually hot!) but I've learned the real essence of the Holy Week. Always be grateful for everything that you have because you may lose it anytime. Also, I told mom that if ever we lost our meager possessions, these are just little things that we could actually acquire again in due time and it's important that we do not set our hearts in worldly riches because they would rot. We should focus on riches that this world could not offer, and that could only be obtain if we keep our faith in God.

How about you? How would you respond if your apartment was almost burned like this?