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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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.