Bullied for the right reasons

I guess I’m lucky to have not experienced getting bullied at school. It must be because I have been in the company of good classmates that turned into good friends. But I couldn’t say the same for work. When I was a young student, I was an introvert but talkative, soft-spoken yet loud, studious and equally naughty, and jumping from one classroom to another in the hopes of being everyone’s friend. Because my family moved several places, from elementary to high school and up until college I would find myself adjusting to new environments and meeting new faces, but thankfully worked my up to the best classes. But nothing can prepare me when it was time to join the workforce and get a taste of what it’s like to earn a living.

continue reading »

How to win interviews during the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought us the new normal. And companies are adapting to keep business as usual. If you’re having a hard time acing your interviews and landing your next job in this pandemic, perhaps you’ll need to change how you prepare and anticipate questions that may sound too easy but are asked to reveal what most recruiters and hiring managers take as signals to flunk candidates.

Most interviews these days, if not all, are done remotely through video calls. Which is both challenging for the interviewer, who now has a bigger pool but will want to save time with speedier screening in gauging suitability for a position, and the applicant who’s weighing options if it’s the ideal company to work for but will have a tough time without the opportunity to dazzle through the interview in person.

continue reading »

Getting by

It’s getting tougher each passing day. As in the photo, it’s like praying for the heavy rainfall to stop and urging the sun to come out because the rusty, leaking roof can’t take it anymore and will break your house anytime. The irony that is life. We’ve been dealing with the pandemic for over a year now. How many times have you heard somebody say “COVID is real!” Perhaps they got sick and hospitalized and lost a loved one, or among those who believed the virus and the vaccines to be a hoax or scam. You’d think you’re lucky you haven’t caught it yet and still alive. Unfortunate that the new variants of the COVID-19 virus are now widespread, causing the health statistics to get broken again and lockdowns becoming the usual, vicious remedy. And our social feeds becoming an online obituary is not exactly helping.

continue reading »

Vax on the rush

Pasig's vaccination card you'll be proud to show off.

On the day my wife and kids and others in our compound are getting their 2nd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Caloocan, I finally also got mine in Pasig. It’s only my first jab and had to sign up in the city where my work is located because I just couldn’t miss work and probably won’t last if I line up at 4:00 am and spend more than 8 hours waiting in too long a queue. Because that’s what my family had to endure, and many others in our barangay and perhaps in other cities as well, just to get vaccinated. Everyone seems to be rushing to get vaccinated now because of news that vaccines are scarce and running out of supply. And that some establishments are now requiring proof of vaccination before you’re allowed entry.

continue reading »

Plantita wife, happy life

My wife's plant garden in and out of our house.

If there’s anything good this pandemic has ever given us, it’s that we now have more time on our hands at home, thus the opportunity to become our own chef or baker, craftsman or DIY guy, online seller or next-door tutor, and plantita or plantito who can turn any humble dwellings into green sanctuaries. My wife’s one and has turned our home into her own garden or what I jokingly call Jumanji. No, our house doesn’t look anywhere near that messy jungle from the movie, but almost every room or corner of our house now has a pot or two of her plants. I’m not complaining, of course, I’m just as happy to see her happy with her plants.

continue reading »

Empty sala and word puzzles

An empty sala filled with family memories

Whenever I see an empty sala, just like the photo above of a resort’s lobby where I was billeted for a cable convention a few years back, it reminds me of the day I lost my father. I may have had a love and hate relationship with my tatay, but I can’t help but miss the strictest and OC person I know in my entire life. Being the youngest, I would walk at least two kilometers to buy him three newspapers almost every morning, a broadsheet and tabloids. He reads them while in the toilet for hours and solves all the word puzzles, English and Tagalog. Word puzzles that still puzzle me that I couldn’t solve or finish as he did, but I’m lucky to have been influenced by his smarts, especially my interest in reading. My father’s not perfect, he wasn’t trying, but he always made our family his priority, and as we celebrate Father’s Day, I’d like to honor him as the best and smartest in his own right.

continue reading »

Sunset of motivation

The beautiful sunset of Marinduque by CC Lozano

The morning alarm, be it your watch, phone, or the neighbor’s rooster crowing loudly in anticipation of sunrise, seems to be your first motivation of the day. Albeit annoying, while you can snooze it, not the rooster, and get a few more minutes of sleep, the next more incessant alarm will be like a commanding sound that will have you getting up quickly. But even when you’ve gotten enough sleep, how many times have you struggled to shake that feeling of sluggishness. And as soon as you rush out of bed, you stop and think about how your day will end even when it hasn’t started yet. Overwhelmed by the sunset versus the sunrise, we just can’t help but worry about how our normal lives have forever changed and continue to be disrupted because of the pandemic.

If waking up every day is starting to feel like a chore, don’t worry you’re not alone. It’s been over a year of lockdown which made it difficult for pretty much everyone, as we’re forced to stay home without seeing most of our friends and relatives, with social media and video calls not making the reality of distance less stressful at all.

continue reading »

Alexa on the dot

The Amazon Echo Dot by CC Lozano

I actually got this Echo Dot last year as a holiday gift to myself, the only unit left at a local store where I queued supposedly to buy the collectible Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. by Nintendo, but my curiosity as to how it compares to Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant got the best of me. This awesome find and “it” here is of course Alexa, Amazon’s own version of the intelligent personal assistant. Well, let’s just say I’ve had really good convo with Alexa especially when it comes to history, news updates, and trivia. This 4th generation smart speaker, available in three colors and costs around Php 3,000 here, now sports a spherical design and smaller than the previous model. There’s another version with an LED display that costs a bit more, but makes it a more appropriate bedside toy as it shows time or outside temperature when asked.

While this cute little ball of a speaker sounds surprisingly good given its size, it lacks the thumpy bass and volume vibes you’d want to hear when playing music. But it’s really Alexa and the amazing AI behind it that got me talking to it like it’s my personal secretary.

continue reading »