Broadband service subscribers in the Philippines can again take stock in the power of consumer action against abuse and misinformation in the marketplace. I found this recent entry in (quoted below) about NTC's (National Telecommunications Commission) decision to require Telcos to indicate in their advertisements the minimum broadband connection speed that they can actually deliver:

"...Filipinos have been complaining about how misleading the advertisements are of broadband providers....billboards, commercials, and ads stating that you can get “up to 2 MBPS” but you rarely even hit 1.5 MBS on a good day. Thanks to all of the complaints flooding the Department of Trade and Industry the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) finally is working on a revised Memorandum Order that will force telcos to state the minimum speed of the connections they are offering. This should be included in all forms of advertising regardless if it’s on TV or in print."

This is something to celebrate. Although a small victory, it's a step towards better consumer protection in the Philippines. So for those who posted comments (rants) in my article comparing Globe WiMAX, SmartBro and PLDT MyDSL about how these telcos betrayed their trust by not delivering their advertised connection speed, your complaints somehow got to the right ears or at least embolden those who actually filed complaints with the NTC.

So perhaps my new article exhorting PLDT, Smart, Globe and other telcos to improve customer service first instead of focusing on marketing and hype would not be all in vain. The lesson, therefore, is instead of merely avoiding poor customer service, consumers must confront these companies who are supposed to provide quality products and services. As I mentioned in that article, customer is king.


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Welcome back to Laguna, Lolo Ben

Posted by Papa Sez | Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's been about eight months since we last saw Lolo Ben.  We are fortunate to have him here again in Laguna where we're having an extended vacation sort-of.  He stayed in Manila overnight with my brother and today was his first day in Laguna.  We immediately went to Jose Rizal's house in Calamba, Laguna.  Watch out for more photos of this historic place in Island Travel blog.

Lolo Ben proudly poses beside Jose Rizal's image.

Since he taught a course on Jose Rizal for many years, he got to show off his knowledge about the Philippine National Hero to the kids during the tour in the house, which is also known as Rizal Shrine.

Here's Nadine and Lolo Ben taking a break, while Rica, Leon, Zeki and the yayas are completing the tour.

Nadine and Lolo Ben taking a break.  Notice Lolo Ben's tired look and Nadine's playful mood.
Nadine trying to catch Lolo Ben's attention with her pa-cute smile.
Nadine got Lolo Ben's attention and brightened his mood again.

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My 10-year old daughter Rica was arranging the clothes and books in the cabinet and her younger brother Leon was trying to annoy her by taking out the books that have been arranged already. He was deliberately holding her up as she was set to go to the house of my parents and help my sister put up the Christmas tree after she is done with the cabinet.

Apparently he got jealous that his older sister gets to do more stuff than him and he is often just an assistant. It was explained to him later on that he just have to wait for his own time because work assignments are age and skill level-appropriate. I hope to expound more about this topic but for the meantime let’s go back to Rica’s mood.

I was astounded but at the same time so proud to hear Rica’s response to Leon’s mischief. A 10-year old girl was so aware and in control of her emotions to say that “Leon, you won’t succeed because I am too happy to be irritated.” It is true that she is always happy these days because there are lots of positive things going on in her life right now and of course it’s the Christmas season.

This state of true happiness is often enjoyed by kids without the recognition that they are in it while the adults wish for it but rarely achieve it. No amount of external stimuli will be enough to infuriate us if we are secured by our internal happiness. The same is true about stress management. If we acknowledge that we are truly blessed then there should be no reason to be stressed. As the Parenting Journey badge says…”I am too blessed to be stressed.”

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Have Sneakers, Will Walk

Posted by Papa Sez | Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My new Fila running shoes is just one compelling reason to have an early morning walk today. Papa Sez and I have been consciously aiming for regular exercise three times a week with variable successes in the past weeks. What's been working for us recently because of my interest in dance is aerodancing at UPLB Freedom Park every Saturday morning. You can also watch a video of one session in a previous post. This is much better than following the dance exercise videos we found in the internet inside the house.

We walked our way to the park, then finished 10 rounds of brisk walking (for me) and jogging (for Papa Sez) at the huge basketball court by the Laguna Bay. Since the public market is just across, we decided to pick up some food items on our way back and chanced upon bunches of young fern.  Fern salad, which is one of the family favorites was a hit at lunch time.  I was also attracted by the beautiful flowers sold along the street and came home with three red roses...What a lovely bonus!!!

Since there will be no aerodancing during the Christmas holidays (sessions will resume on January 8) and we are not ball sports enthusiasts, we will have to be content with brisk walking and jogging. Thanks to Papa Sez's insistence that I get a pair of comfortable shoes. 

I don't need a new year's resolution to follow-through with regular exercise for our goal of staying fit...all is needed is a new pair of nice shoes. LOL

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The whole family immediately felt Christmas in the air when we visited UPLB Christmas Park. The Giant Christmas Tree, The Manger and Santa’s Sleigh were all sights to behold!!!

The sun was still up when we got there. We had some corn on the cob, “kwek-kwek”, peanuts and “puto-bumbong” as we waited for the sun to set and for the lights to turn on. Finally, UPLB boasts off the magnificence of its decorations. All eyes looked with amazement, and I mean all, not just the kids’ but ours adults as well.

Apparently UPLB, which is known for academic excellence is also home to creative geniuses. The kids’ favorite was Santa in his Sleigh and my 3-year old son was smiling and very cooperative the whole time for he knew good kids receive good gifts from good old Santa.

In a few minutes, the crowd has become so huge because apparently, there were many of us scattered within the campus and nearby areas, all awaiting the moment.

I remembered UPLB Christmas decorations as symbolic but simple. After seven Christmases away, decorations remained symbolic but I don’t think what I saw qualifies as simplistic. Decorations have become more elaborate but generally have evolved beautifully.

UPLB Christmas Park, as I call it was definitely worth the family’s time. The campus is near from where we live, the park is free and is for everybody, so we will definitely come back a number of times more.

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Aero Dancing and Parenting

Posted by Mama Sez | Sunday, November 28, 2010

We find aero dancing as a fun way of exercising. Papa Sez and I have been dancing our way to fitness for several months now.  We do it in the comfort of our home using dance exercise videos or outdoors together with the UPLB community.  Since aero dance is becoming a regular activity, I tried to combine it with family bonding time by bringing along all our kids.  It’s a good opportunity for our kids to imbibe the health and fitness-conscious culture of the community segment that frequent the UPLB Freedom Park, I thought.  They may get enticed to dance with us or maybe not but they always look forward to running and playing on the wide open grass-covered ground and also, eating the hot pandesal we usually buy along the way…until the rains ruined the agenda. 

When it rains, aero dance sessions are done inside Baker Hall and playing in the field is no longer that enjoyable. The wet grasses is highly repulsive to most of my kids who do not want to wet their shoes when they play and they find the situation not worthy of waking up early on a weekend. Our eldest child, who ironically is a good dancer, spoke up and requested to extend her asleep instead of joining us. Though half-hearted, I gave in to the request and declared that only those who are willing to spend their early Saturday mornings with us, regardless of what awaits us at the UPLB Freedom Park, will be enjoined.

Last Saturday, we were not expecting a child companion, but our 3-year old son declared his interest and woke up early that day. We were lucky that the aero dance was done out in the open field, and our son who was well-behaved while we dance, was given a few minutes of running in the field before rain started to pour again. Though the rain cut it short, the three of us really had a great time. Next Saturday, our 8-year old son will be coming with us too. Who knows, headcount will be complete again before long.

Please view the video to see how diverse the community is but people were obviously united by love of dancing and physical fitness.

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When the need to temporarily move to a smaller house came about, every family member had to do his/her share of adjustment because everyone already got used to wide open spaces that our former residences generously offered.

Staying focused on the affirmative side of our situation allowed me to enumerate several positive outcomes or events that the small house offered.

In this small house,

…the atmosphere is very cozy; the situation promoted lots of interactions among family members. The fact that we do not have a television unit also helped. Physical closeness encouraged emotional intimacy as well.

…the value of resilience was taught to the kids among other things. As parents, we now know that they can easily adapt to changes, come what may.

…we get to live close to my parents and siblings whom we missed for almost seven years. Having an established support system/extended family, especially while the kids are younger, is priceless.

…we were able to make my parents happier. They now have the chance to spoil our kids :D

... our kid's Tita Tin gets to drop by very often and Tito Jay gets to teach them art lessons.  For this, I am very thankful.

... there's a safe open area for kids to play and a parking space for our car within the compound, both of which are relatively scarce in the area.

…the neighborhood is safe and friendly. Our normally socially inhibited daughter learned to make friends and the gregarious nature of our sons was fueled as they enjoy playing with other children.

…became a witness to Nadine’s developmental milestones. She learned to talk, run, dance, sing, comb her hair, brush her teeth and do lots of other things.

... everything is just a few steps away... from the beauty parlor to the barbershop; from the resort to the park; from the public foot spa (hot spring) to the public transport; from the wet market to a variety of name it.

…Immaculate Concepcion Parish is just a stone throw away. I got the chance to reflect more often and benefit from the serenity of the Perpetual Adoration Chapel that is a few steps away.

…we were protected from ravaging impacts of typhoon. We feel safe inside this small house.

Our stay in this small house is just temporary but wherever our next destination maybe, to this small house truly grateful we'll always be!!!

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We made a decision to try PLDT MyDSL broadband service about five months ago. This was after shopping around, comparing and attempting to subscribe to Globe WiMAX and SmartBro. Two months later, I complained about PLDT's poor customer service after a bad experience while attempting to pay our bill in one of its business centers, which then reminded me about past encounters with and inefficiencies of the PLDT system and its personnel.

Today, after two billing cycles since and about five months of generally good broadband connection, I am writing this "how to" advice so others may also lessen the chances of encounter with PLDT's poor customer service as I thankfully have so far and instead just focus on their reliable internet connection (cross my fingers).

First is to altogether avoid any relationship with PLDT if you can.  This company is well-known for its inefficiency and poor customer service ever since I can remember.  There's no other surefire way to avoid frustrations and headaches than to not establish any relationship at all.  Back in Davao City, we went for the alternative telephone and broadband service provider, Bayantel, and this newcomer lived up to its promise of good service.  However, here in Laguna and after the failed attempts to connect to wireless broadband services of Globe WiMAX and SmartBro in our location, we had no choice but to go for PLDT MyDSL and to wait for weeks for installation when the wireless broadband providers can hook us up within a couple of days!

Second, when you cannot help but subscribe to PLDT broadband service (i.e. you don't have any choice like what happened to us), lower your expectations! You might then be pleasantly surprised just like we were that unlike earlier customers that waited for two to three months for installation, it was ONLY two to three that's progress! (just don't compare this with installation time of Globe and Smart, which is only one to two days).  Also, lower expectations when you call or personally go to PLDT business centers for assistance. Who knows, you might also chance upon the very few (most likely the young and well-trained ones) who'd surprise you with courteous and efficient service.

Third, hope and pray that something like a typhoon will not cause any interruption to your good broadband connection. Response time is known to be less than desirable, so refer to the second tip above just in case something bad happens to your broadband connection.

Fourth, pay your PLDT bill online. I have done it through BPI Express Online, which saved me a lot of hassles. I enrolled our PLDT, SMART and Meralco accounts through our friendly local BPI branch. With this arrangement, I avoided unnecessary contacts with PLDT personnel, thus sparing me from needless vexations.

We must learn to adjust to things we have no control over... learn to live with them and be happy despite of them. In the end, I am grateful for small favors like finding ways to avoid aggravations and freeing myself to appreciate the bright side of life.

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Go Out and Vote

Posted by Papa Sez | Sunday, October 24, 2010

I made the same plea in May and I am going to do it again today- GO OUT AND VOTE! This 2010 Barangay and SK Elections is a continuation of the process of change the Philippines is undergoing, i.e. towards political maturity and economic prosperity.

Regardless of one's political affiliation and preference, your right to vote is a moral obligation to yourself and your children and their future. Some of us have heard of or even witnessed the old practices and dirty tricks of money politics in our own locale. Some of us were repulsed and disgusted, while others had to bear with it because of poverty and similar reasons. It's easy to get frustrated and discouraged because of the shameless acts of vote-buying and underhanded tactics, an obvious backslide to the progress made during the May 2010 elections.

Others may be angered, while many more may just clam up and refrain from participating in a tainted exercise. However, I believe that it is not in our interest to abstain or boycott the elections ("walang kwenta yan...wala ring mangyayari"). It is also not in our best interest to be cynical ("pare-pareho lang yan sila" or "basta kumita ako").

I hope we go out today to vote not because of fear, of frustration, of despair, of cynicism. Let's vote today because of hope...hope that it's an important step towards a better future of our community. Let's all be hopeful and see our dreams and aspirations unfold...not immediately but the right time.

P. S. You only have until 2pm today to cast your vote.

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There's some clamor for the lyrics of Daddy's catchy campaign jingle when the community heard it for the first time yesterday. So we came up with another video incorporating the lyrics.

Here it is and please play and share to friends, especially residents of Barangay Bambang, Los Banos, Laguna.

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We have never been involved in any of my Father's political moves. His triumphs meant sorrow for us his children because it felt like losing him for the rest of the community. He may have shortcomings as a father like everyone else...he is not perfect but I admired him dearly for his leadership, his dedication to serve and his truthful governance. The projects he spearheaded and the respect he earned from people speak for what he had become as a public servant.

He served for more than a decade as Councilor and Barangay Chairman. We were younger then so we wanted more of him and therefore grudgingly shared him with the rest of the community. Now that we are, well, a bit older and wiser or shall we say more forgiving and accepting, we can now willingly share him and therefore freely express our support for his candidacy as Chairman of Barangay Bambang in Los Baños, Laguna.

With confidence, we are campaigning for our father who's passion is to serve others and lead people to the best of his ability.

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Related Posts with Thumbnails

About Us (circa 2009)

Our journey led us to this place. A little more than 10 years ago we began our journey as husband and wife. Three years later, we found ourselves with two bundles of joy- a daughter and then a son. They're the children we've dreamed of having.

About five years since the birth of our son, an unexpected gift came- a younger brother to our school-age kids. And soon enough, a baby girl arrived to round the family membership.

Brave was a term used by a friend to describe us. Challenging... and loving it -- yeah, this journey is not for the faint of heart.