Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Oh the woes of keeping home! I cannot believe we had to endure that leaky tub for weeks when it only took the hubby less than an hour to work on it! As true as maintaining a home is, it is always best to have your own rather than keeping house that is not yours, right? If you are still not convinced, you might want to head over to Schumacher Homes Press and read about all the numerous awards that this popular custom building company has bagged.

Whoever said that quality and practicality cannot go together? You can actually have your very own dream home built to reality by no less than the best.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I Finally Had Our Bath Tub Faucet Replaced!


Whew! Finally, after weeks of putting up with the leak in the bath tub's faucet, I got a chance today to replace the faucet. That leak has gotten much of our time. We had to mop the bathroom floor once in a while and even around 1-2 AM, I or my wife had to get up to mop the bathroom floor dry. So, now, after a few minutes of observing the faucet replacement, we're glad that our bathroom floor remains dry.

The sad thing about this whole plumbing experience is the cost of the faucet. Imagine a faucet that costs more than a thousand pesos. We were blessed to find a faucet that cost 1,300++. In other stores, the price ranged from P2,500 to P4,500. It isn't a common faucet, that's why. It's a faucet for the bathtub, installed on the wall and had to be connected to two pipes. It's the faucet with the hot and cold feature - we chose that when we had our bathroom made, even though we didn't have hot water, for aesthetic reasons. I guess, that's the price we pay for choosing that kind of faucet.

But, right now I am just happy that our bathroom floor is still dry after a few minutes of typing this blog entry. I guess this adds on to my plumbing experiences around the house.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Memory Upgrade for my Laptop

I have made inquiries about the price for my laptop memory upgrade and it would cost me P2,600 to maximize the slots and possible memory of my MSI EX400. I am glad that the store who sold me is also authorized to open the laptop I bought so its warranty won’t be voided when I purchase an additional 2GB memory. I am not getting it soon, however, because my wife and I have decided to pursue being debt free this year. So, we have agreed to not use our credit cards until we have paid off existing debts.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Epson EB-S6 and Acer X1160Z Specifications

This week, I started searching for a multimedia projector for our church and, with the allotted budget, was left to choose among two projectors which have the same price - P29,995.

I am blogging about this so it will be easier for me to compare their specifications:

1. Epson EB-S6 3LCD Multimedia Projector specifications:

Projection system (3LCD) 0.56-inch with MLA

Native resolution SVGA (800x600)
Aspect ratio 4:3
Resolution supported VGA up to SXGA
Brightness High/Low: 2200 ANSI lumens/1750 lumens

Projection lens
Throw ratio 1.45 - 1.96:1
Type Digital zoom/Manual focus
F Number 1.44
Focal Length 16.6 mm
Zoom type Manual focus /1.35 x digital zoom
Offset 9.6:1
Lens protection A/V mute slide

Type 170W UHE - E-TORL
Life 4000 hours/3000 hours (Low/High brightness mode)
Colour Reproduction Full-Colour (16.77 million colours)
Fan noise 28 dB/35 dB (Low/High brightness mode)
Contrast ratio 2000:1
Screen size Projection distance
30" to 350" [0.87 to 10.5 m]
60" screen 1.77 - 2.4 m
Keystone correction Vertical: ± 30°

Computer 1xD-sub 15-pin (RGB)
Video 1xD-sub 15-pin (component),1xRCA,1xS-Video
Audio 2xRCA (red/white)
USB Display/Control 1xUSB B

Built-in speaker 1 Watt monaural
Other functions
Direct Power On/Off Yes
Security Kensington lock Padlock & Security Cable Hole Kensington lock
Other functions 2-in-1 USB Display Auto Source Search, A/V Mute slide, Auto Detection of RGB, Password Protected Function, 8 Colour Modes, High Altitude Mode, User logo, Freeze, E-Zoom, Help, Test Pattern

Power requirements
Power supply wattage 100 - 240 V AC ±10%, 50/60 Hz
Power consumption lamp on 231 Watts
Power consumption stand-by 4.3 Watts
Weight 2.7Kg

Operating temperature (High Altitude Mode over 1500m) 5°C to 35°C / 0 to 2286m
Dimension (D x W x H) 245x327x92mm (excluding feet)
On-screen menu 33 Languages :
English / French / German / Italian / Spanish / Catalan / Portuguese / Dutch / Danish / Polish / Hungarian / Czech / Romanian / Slovenian / Norwegian / Swedish / Finnish / Russian / Ukrainian / Greek / Turkish / Arabic / Thai / Indonesian / Croatian / Slovak / Bulgarian / Malay / Vietnamese / Japanese / simplified Chinese / traditional Chinese / Korean

Power Cable 1.8 m
Computer Cable 1.8m D-Sub 15-pin (Male/Male)
USB Cable 1.8m USB A/USB B
Remote Control With 2xAA type batteries
Password Protect Sticker Included
User Manual Included

2. Acer X1160Z Multimedia Projector specifications

Model X1160
Specifications Display DLP™
Resolution (Native) Native SVGA (800 x 600)
Resolution (Maximum) Maximum SXGA (1280 x 1024), WXGA (1,440 x 900)
Contrast Ratio 2000:1
Brightness 2,000 ANSI Lumens (Standard)
Weight 2.3 Kg
Dimension 267 x 187 x 80 mm (10.5" x 7.4" x 3.1")
Lamp Type Osram 160W User Replaceable P-VIP Lamp
Lamp life 4,000 Hours (Eco)
Scan Rate 50 - 85 Hz (Vertical); 31k – 69k Hz (Horizontal)

Digital Zoom 2x
Projection Screen Size (Diagonal) 0.64cm (25") to 7.62 m (300")
Projection Distance 3.3’ (1.0m) ~ 39' (11.4m)
Throw Ratio 50.4"@2m
Aspect Ratio 4:3/16:9 Compatible
Keystone Correction +/-40 Degrees (Vertical)
Noise Level (in Normal Operation) 33 dBA (Standard mode)

I/O Connectors
Computer Input Analog RGB/Component Video (D-sub) x 1,
Composite Video (RCA) x 1, S-Video (Mini DIN) x1,
USB (Type B) x 1

Video Compatibility NTSC (3.58/4.43), PAL (B/D/G/H/I/M/N), SECAM (B/D/G/K/K1/L), HDTV (720p, 1080i), EDTV (480p, 576p), SDTV (480i, 576i)

Power Consumption 255Watts (operation). <8 Watts (Standby)

Accessories AC power cord, VGA cable, Composite video cable, Remote control, Battery for remote control, Lens cap, User's guide (CD-ROM), Quick start guide, Security card

I hope that when the check is released i would be able to decide which one we will be getting for our church.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Shortcuts Usually Come with Higher Risks

I recently read an article about Leptovox, a supplement that aids in losing weight and burning fat. The article is implying that probably, this supplement is the best fat burner of 2009.

These kinds of claims make me want to investigate more. I feel the same with easy money schemes because they may turn out to be scams.

When confronted with shortcuts to losing weight and getting rich, it is best to do unbiased research and investigation because usually, shortcuts come with higher risks. Now, after investigating and you find that the claims are true, then that’s when you can decide to trust the new method. Otherwise, don’t fall for it even though the quick route is very tempting.

SmartBro, PLDT MyDSL or SKY Broadband: My Comparison


This internet connection speed test was taken at exactly 9:14 PM. I have been getting the habit of testing speeds whenever and wherever I am connected to the internet since we shifted from SmartBro Wireless to PLDT MyDSL. The increase in speed was so significant that I now have become so conscious and particular about the internet connection I am using each time I surf, even outside the house. So far, the promise of SmartBro's "up to 384kbps" is not usually being delivered, based on the speed tests I have made from our office which uses a SmartBro connection. It actually seldom reaches 300kbps which is not actually wrond because SmartBro does not guarantee a speed - they only give a range or a limit which is always a just a possibility. So far, we are very much content with the connection speed provided by PLDT MyDSL. But jsut to make you aware, there are greater speed available from SKY Cable. They have a P6,000 plan that gives upt to 12mbps and that includes a certain number of minutes of calls to the US and Canada every month and a 15% discount on the cable connection. They have lower deals and you can see the SKY Broadband plans or packages below.

So if it's speed you're looking for and you don't mind paying a lot, go for SKY Broadband, if it's money well spent, try PLDT MyDSL. About SmartBro, use it if the other two are not available in your are, it's still better than dial-up.

Working With Volunteers

As I was preparing the stuff for Breaking Point this afternoon, I noticed that the props and costumes for the two YWAM (Youth With A Mission) dramas, The King of Hearts and The Redeemer, which are part of the Breaking Point program, were not in Breaking Point's containers. I remembered that the costumes were used for a recent missions trip so I contacted the drama team leader and asked him about it through a text message. He immediately replied and told me that it was in a luggage in the church auditorium and everything is ready for tomorrow's program. Working with other volunteers who make sure that all things needed are ready is really a big help to our organization. We hope that tomorrow, all the volunteers' sacrifices would be rewarded with decisions for Christ.

Busy Preparing for Another Breaking Point Outreach Program

As a full-time minister, I have Mondays to enjoy as my day-off. But today, I wasn't able to use my rest day because of some preparations I needed to make for tomorrow's Breaking Point program at Manggahan High School. We are scheduled for two programs, one at 7:00 AM and another one at 1:00 PM. The Breaking Point program is a violence and substance abuse prevention program that we present to high schools nationwide. It is also a way to reach out to the students and share the gospel to them because the philosophy of Breaking Point is that effective prevention happens when a person decides to admit helplessness to change and turn to Jesus and commit his/her life to Him. We ask for our fellow bothers and sisters in Christ to pray for us tomorrow as we present the gospel to at least 3,000 students in Manggahan High School (about 1,500 per program). We will be working with about 50 volunteers, half of which are from the Unted States and the other half, volunteers from different churches around the area.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My Son's Sympathy

Princess and her bone

My son Jed has been sympathetic towards his Tita and Ninong's dog, Princess. The 'bone' that they once bought her, as Jed describes, is already destroyed and he usually asks me if Princess is sad because of her destroyed bone. But, my cute son lovingly assures Princess that she doesn't have to worry because he will buy her a new bone and get pet supplies from the pet store. Funny how my son would say that. He is just so sincere in wanting to buy a new bone for Princess.

"Princess is sad, Papa? Because her bone is destroyed?", is what Jed would say about Princess.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Google Adsense and Click Fraud


If you have an account with Google AdSense you probably have heard about an emerging practice in the underworld of the virtual community called "click fraud". But what exactly is this click fraud and how is it accomplished or how does this happen?

Google AdSense uses a payment method that awards a certain amount of money to a publisher (someone who holds an AdSense banner or ad on their page) every time a person clicks on the said ad or banner. Therefore, click fraud is the attempt to have people clicking the ads just so that they can earn more income.

There are people building web sites for the sole purpose of fraudulently generating revenue through Google's AdSense program. These users get an incredible number of clicks through many methods, some complex and sophisticated and some rudimentary and very simple.

One of the most complex is through the use of so called "hitbots". These are automated programs or robots who emulate clicking the links in AdSense banners (there are some that actually click the banners as well).

Google's AdSense protection or security scheme is by no means perfect and nearly anyone can find the loopholes around the protection mechanism, ironically just by doing a Google search.

Another, more rudimentary method is hiring a lot of people in a poor country to click the links on your site. This means these people will actually sit all day and just click and click links so their employers can earn a fortune. They come from very poor countries like and they are prepared to do so for as low as 50 cents an hour.

But, there is a problem with this. Once Google receives a large number of clicks from a single IP address, the address and the site that had the AdSense ads will be banned, and the illicit behavior might even get the fraudster sued.

To keep this from happening, many people utilize a large number of proxy servers for clicking. purposes. These are basically called trojans, located on computers around the world but mostly in the United States). What's even more daunting is that these clicks will appear to come from an actual computer so such scams are really difficult to detect.

And do not think that this happens only in isolated cases. In fact, there is so much that if search engine companies do not increase their security with such advertising programs as Google AdSense, such criminal behavior could become more become even more damaging.

Big G has a very strict policy regarding click fraud, and it has sued or banned those using such techniques in the past. But while the search engine giant tries its best to minimize the risk of click fraud there's certainly room for a lot of growth and improvement.

It is estimated that more then 20% of the clicks that follow a Google AdSense link are just done in order to make money from the person paying for the ad. Some people believe the number of fraudulent clicks to be even double.

There are a great number of schemes involving click fraud, such as groups of AdSense publishers clicking each other's banners (which is also known as "clicking rings", or spamming people so that they click such links).

Despite Google's strictness on click fraud, the phenomenon is certainly raising concerns for the advertisers on AdWords, but despite this, advertising with AdSense still remains more profitable for advertisers, as opposed to traditional untargeted advertising schemes.

There are some means of protection against such schemes and all advertisers should be prepared enough to use them. Many advertisers choose to avoid the content network at all for fear of this issue called click fraud.

Chatting With a Friend Based in Indonesia

I chatted through Yahoo Messenger with a member of our church who is now based in Indonesia. He is part of a peace keeping mission there, an international police and we did some catching up on each other's lives.

He mentioned to me that he has a house in Bali and invited me to come and visit him on March and told us to stay at his house. I thought, "Wow!" I sure was interested to accept his offer, Lord willing and if my wife and I would be able to raise air fare until then. At least we wouldn't need to look for vacation rentals in Bali, Indonesia because of the offer he gave.

We had a great time chatting and shared pictures of our families and we are hoping to get our sons together (his son is just a few months younger than mine). Being brothers in Christ is what really kept us close and I am blessed to have him as one of our members at church and as a friend. His generous and caring attitude toward full-time ministers is such a blessing. I do hope we get to see each other again, whether here or in another part of the world.

LTO Vehicle Registration, Change Color and Lost OR/CR

I went to LTO Diliman to start the process of having our car registered before expiration. I lost all my documents so aside from the usual requirements for car registration, I had to secure an affidavit of loss of OR and CR, and since we had a major car body repair november of last year and had the car's color changed from white to brown, I also had to secure an affidavit of change color. On Wednesday, I'll be continuing the the process of registration. I will need to get the car inspected, and have it smoke emmission tested and then I would need to get a PNP clearance from Camp Karingal for the change color. I hope I finish everything before the registration expires.

Looking for Exit Signs?

For your exit sign needs visit ExitSignWarehouse.com. This is your best source exit signs as this website features high quality signs and a wide variety of designs that can be used in offices, factories, hotels, houses, hospitals, malls and any other establishment that need exit signs. A builder’s focus on these signs shows how safety is made a priority, so have no second thoughts about investing on beautiful exit signs that match your particular establishment.

Watching "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"

Two night ago, my wife and I watched Brad Pitt's movie entitled "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." It is a unique love story and life story of a man who was born with a unique medical case told from Benjamin Button's diary. He movie is quite long, about 2 hours and 19 minutes. It is very interesting and a bit dramatic, a story spanning the different decades of 20th century, giving a peek of the different highlights of the century. The best scenes for me were the times that Benjamin brought important people in his life to watch the sunset which allowed them to view life in a more positive point of view in the midst of life's imperfections. The movie also features actress Kate Blanchet.

Ways to Lose Weight

There are many ways to lose weight. One of the most basic is through dieting and regular exercise. Other people use different methods. Some use artificial methods but for those who prefer the natural methods, they use natural food supplements like acai berry and many others. Some use natural detoxification procedures. Anyone can use any method as long as what is chosen is safe and is recommended by a professional.

A New Blogging Experience: Hosting Transfer

Yahoo! It's the middle of the night and I am happy because I just finished migrating our other site, Marriage and Beyond, which is managed by my wife. Thanks our mentor, Neil, we were able to transfer to a new hosting. He used to host our site but as part of our growth as blog owners, we need to get our own paid hosting and learn the ins and outs of blogging. Tonight I earned another experience in blogging and I am so glad it didn't turn out difficult as I though it would be.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Quality and Affordable Military Gears

Having been a Corps Commander in my middle school years and now a chaplain in training for our country’s armed forces, I know the importance of quality military gears and accessories. It is no easy thing to be geared up the whole day in a less than comfortable combat boots. You will surely end up with sore feet at the end of the day.

You are sure to get the best military gear and accessories from BrigadeQM.com. Having been in this business for thirty years, they really know what they are doing. Their design and production of their merchandise are only of quality ones. They have made a name for themselves even when it comes to the service that they give in maintaining guns and even in repair of gears and other accessories by no less than Tapco.

BrigadeQM makes sure they stand by their mission to be able to protect those who are in service of the country. You can browse their items from different catalogs and retails stores and all over the world wide web. It can be a comfort to know that a company like this exists to make these kinds of quality military products available at the most affordable prices.

Our Manga Faces

The wifey created these manga faces for our family. I naturally appealed that I should be a little lighter than this one, but there wasn't a lot of options when it comes to skin tones. I should say that I love my Mii character from Wii. I sure hope I could also post it here as well. Let me figure that out. The Wii can also be connected via WiFi, there should be a way somehow. I :-)

Custom Dream Houses by Schumacher Homes

Have you heard about Schumacher Homes? This is the company that custom builds homes all across America. Their team has been doing this for years and have developed their creativity in building homes that are otherwise unaffordable for people to live their dream homes in a given budget.

Truth to tell, in this day and age it takes a lot of money to be able to build a decent home let alone a dream house. If you would check out the Schumacher Homes Press you will learn about the name that Schumacher has built in this industry. It is not surprising anymore that they bag one award after another. One of which is that which was given to them by Greater Akron Chamber’s Small Business Council as the 2008 Excellence in Business Award winner.

The reasonable price they offer for the quality of work they deliver is matchless. Why would you want to settle for low cost housing when you end up fixing almost everything even before the year ends. Schumacher homes prides itself with quality construction, to say the least. Building a home is one the major decisions of a family. This is the precise reason why you should really go for the best that your money can buy.

Family Picture

This shot was taken last month during our church's Christmas celebration. All the families who attended got to have their photos taken. We had them printed and gave them away the following Sunday. :-)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

You Don't Have To Juggle Many Things

Dealing with so many things can be really difficult. Usually, learning how to prioritize is what can help people who encounter this situation. But, sometimes things just don’t work out the way we want them to and even our efforts to manage multiple things can fail to accomplish what we set out to do.

That’s a very likely thing to happen to people who are managing many debt payments. Dealing with many different obligations like rental debt, utility debts, credit card debts and many others can be too much to juggle. A way to handle all these is debt consolidation. MyDebtConsolidationAdvice.com is a web site that can help people who are facing this situation in their lives. They also offer medical debt consolidation and the benefits of using their services are a possible reduction in interest rates, removal of fees, lowering the amount being paid for the monthly payments, a three-to-five-year plan to get their clients out of debt and an assurance to stop the collection calls they receive.

Those in multiple debts should consider this as an alternative to managing many monthly payments and dealing with many lending services. This can really help them in a big way and lead them on their way to becoming debt free.

Backing Up Data

Looking at statistics regarding the information that has been lost in regards to laptop computers, you would find yourself amazed. Even though this information can be astounding, many of us still don’t take the time to back up the information on our notebooks or netbooks.

We need to be reminded that nothing in the computer industry is fool proof. Hard drives can crash, the notebooks can get stolen, or it can even be dropped and rendered useless. To ensure that we are never left without our precious data, we should always create a backup of our information.

The fact is over a million laptops have been stolen over the years in the United States alone. Anytime a laptop is stolen, chances are that it won’t be recovered. If the information wasn’t backed up, then the owner will be left with no notebook - but more importantly - no backed up data either.

Just like you can with a desktop, you can also create a backup of the data on your laptop as well. You can use online services, back it up remotely, or use several other methods to ensure that you keep all of your data. Preserving your data is something you should really look into, especially if you have business material on your laptop.

What I use is an external hard drive where all my important files are. I started doing this when our old desktop computer used to always get a virus and we always had to reformat its hard drive. Another way to go about backing up your data and files is to burn them to a data CD. Data CDs can hold up to 700 MB (Mega Bytes) of data, which means a lot of files. A DVD, on the other hand, can store up tp 4.7 GB (Giga Bytes). Now there is even a dual layer DVD available which stores twice the size of a regular DVD. To back things up this way, all you need is a CD/RW or DVD/W burner in your laptop, which most of the newer ones come with.

The only drawback to laptops is the fact that they don’t offer near as much storage or security measures as a desktop PC. Desktop computers have a lot more power, and they can also do things (including backups) in a fraction of the time.

The laptop computer was designed for on the go use, which is the main reason why people don’t really think about backing up their data. When the thought finally does come to mind, it is normally too late to do anything about it.

Another easy and quick way to backup your data is to use an online backup service. Depending on your connection to the Internet, it can take anywhere from several minutes to several hours. Although it may take you a little bit of time, you’ll have the satisfaction in knowing that your data is there if something should happen. There are online services that give free services like these. But for greater security, you can use a paid service.

Whether it’s for your business or personal use, you can’t go wrong backing up your data. You should always create a backup of your data at least once a month, even more than that if you have a lot of important information that you add to your laptop regularly.

For Home Investors

There is nothing like having a house of your own, no matter what the size and design of it is. Our family is blessed to have our own house now after more than five years of moving around and renting apartments. Since my wife and I got married in 2001, we have rented four apartments. But after experiencing the high rental rates in Makati City, our country’s main business district, we finally prayed and purposed to move to our own house on our next transfer. And we did even though we never thought it would be possible, all by the grace of God. Our financial situation did not become a hindrance, thank God.

With the current global financial crisis, many families are probably having second thoughts about getting their own homes because of the future’s uncertainty. But, some investors say that the best time to invest is when the market is down. There are many housing areas in the U.S. that deserve a look from families thinking about getting their own property. The different housing areas are Louisiana, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Shreveport. For louisiana real estate , visit Remax-Louisiana.com. This web site is a great source of agents, properties that are foreclosed, luxury properties and other resources for home investors. Visit this web site now for more information.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Our New Multimedia/Video Projector: Sharp Notevision M10S

Today, after many months of prayer, our church got a used video projector from our mother church. It is a Sharp Notevision M10S (PG-M10S) Projector. It was passed on to our church because its lamp needed replacement and our mother church opted to buy a new projector with higher brightness or lumens. The specifications of the projector we got are:

Brightness (Lumens) : 800 ANSI
Contrast (Full On/Off) : 800:1
Variable Iris: No
Audible Noise: 39.0 dB
Weight: 1.4 kg
Size (cm) (HxWxD) : 4.8 x 23.1 x 17.8
Std. Lens:
Focus: Manual
Zoom: No
Throw Dist (m) : 1.2 - 6.8
Image Size (cm) : 91.4 - 508.0
Optional Lenses: No
Digital Zoom: Yes
Digital Keystone: Vertical
Lens Shift: No
Warranty: 3 Years
H-Sync Range: 15.0 - 91.0kHz
V-Sync Range: 50 - 85Hz

After searching online for the lamp, it dawned on me why our mother church decided to purchase a new multimedia projector - because the cost of the 130W UHP projector lamp of the Sharp Notevision M10S (PG-M10S) Projector is close to price of the brand new one they bought. So, buying a new one was more practical. The price of the lamp in the U.S. is $469.95, converted in Philippine Peso, that's almost P25,000. A new projector with 2000ANSI (brightness/lumens)is available at P29,000++.

Well, still, we are thankful that it was given to us and I hope when our church is financially able, we would be able to get its lamp replaced or purchase a new projector, whichever comes first.

Camp Kresge

With the major event of summer camp coming up real soon, the team has been joining heads since late last year cooking up theme and programs for this year’s youth camp. We are probably going to stick with the camp site that we have been last year. The facilities and accommodation that they have are just right for the size of campers that we have.

Incidentally, Camp Kresge, the Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA’s camping facility and retreat/conference center is also having a NY Summer Camp. You might want to check out their site. The camp site is a huge 1,100 acre property located in Pennsylvania’s scenic Pocono mountains. A perfect place for a retreat, to say the least. This site is able to accommodate large number of groups with their 12 cabins that are able to house 10 people each.

It is interesting that such camp has been in the same location since 1953 and still properly managed and maintained. Keeping its tradition of camping with staff that’s beyond reproach. You see most of them have been with the place and are practically family. This camp site is a place you wouldn’t have second thoughts of sending your child to in summer.

Jive is Five!

Jesus Inspired, Valuing Eternity or JIVE is turning 5 years old this coming Saturday! They are holding a special program and are have been out promoting these past weeks. We hope to post pictures of the event early next week via JiveYouth.blogspot.com.

IT Training at QuickCert

With the current global financial crisis, the best way to protect yourself from being severely affected is to arm yourself with proper training and certification. Despite the truth that a lot of companies are closing up, there are still a lot out there who are in the look out for the best , especially in the industry of information technology.

QuickCert provides learning methodologies of the most current technologies which guarantees that you are always amongst the topnotch. IT Training is the way to go these days. The advanced self-study format that they have proves to be an advantage to the students. QuickCert is also a Microsoft Certified Partner, which guarantees students the best quality education and will definitely land you to good companies.

A lot of college members in our church are into this. Some who have finished their courses have found the best paying jobs across the globe – transcending the current crisis. IT is here to stay and as true as there is an economic trouble that is currently happening, the more IT is needed to boost whatever is left of the world’s capabilities and help it stand back to its feet. Head over to the site and check with their certification trainings available.

Holidays with the Family

One of our days out with our extended family during the holidays. This was taken last January 1 when we were suppose to dine in Hot Rocks but found out it was closed, we ended up with the rubbery beef specialties in Rufo's.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The 32" LCD is Perfect for the Wii

Our new Wii is just perfect for the wedding anniversary gift my wife and I got for ourselves last November. The size of the LCD screen is right for the size of our living room where our Wii is located. We are glad that we chose a 32” LCD over other sizes of TVs. If we got a smaller size it would be hard to enjoy the Wii with it. If we got a bigger-sized screen it would have been too big for our small living room.

32" is really great for watching videos on DVD, but for some people, using that size for just for watching HD videos is just too much. But one reason why we chose that size is for its Wii use. Using the TV for Wii Sports and Wii Fit, we just feel grateful that we bought it for us. We can play tennis or golf together and the LCD isn’t too small for us. Our son, who learned how to use the Wii remote in two days, is also enjoying his time with the Wii and the 32’ screen. He enjoys playing the Wii, but aside from that, he also enjoys watching the balance training exercises in the Wii Fit.

New Series for January 2009

For the next six weeks I will be teaching on a series entitled "A New You for a New Year". This series of messages is focused on the fruits of a personal relationship with God - specifically, the six character traits God wants us to build in our lives - gratefulness, courage, integrity, self-control, discernment and love. It is a topical and practical message series and I hope to nail a few of the important stuff down for this start of the year. Visit our church's site, sbcmakati.org for more information.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Plan Your Vacation Early

It’s almost halfway to the first month of the year and pretty soon, summer will be here. It’s not too early to plan your summer vacation and if you are thinking about going to the US, specifically in North Carolina. CarolinaDesigns.com is a reliable source for Outer Banks rentals. This site is also licensed to sell and lease property in the area of North Carolina. Visit this site for more details. Planning your vacation is one of the wisest things you can do at the start of the year.

Our Wii Experience

This morning, I experienced my first work out using the Wii Fit. The Wii console was brought home by our in-laws when they returned from the United States. Wifey and I asked them to buy it for us. I was actually happy that my wife wanted the Wii too, knowing that she is not into gaming stuff like the play station or even PC gaming. She said that Wii is played differently than the other game entertainment systems because with the Wii, the whole body has to move. It is sort of an exercise with entertainment.

Last night, my brother-in-law and I did three rounds in boxing and three best-of-five matches iin tennis - all through the Wii Sports. When we both woke up this morning, we all felt the aches in our bodies because of the muscles that were worked while we played the Wii. We really are enjoying our Wii experience, so far!

Plan Your Way Out of Debt

Are you deep in debt? Are you feeling like you are not in control of your finances anymore? Are you starting to cry out, “Please help lower my bills!”

The thing is, if you do not create or devise a plan to become debt free, rest assured you are under the influence of someone else’s plan to remain in debt. Anytime purchases are involved, nothing just happens by itself. That’s the truth. There is always a strategy at work - one that will either force money into your hands or force money out of your hands. The credit businesses invest a lot of money to study consumers – how they think and how they respond to money and credit.

If you are to be successful in the realm of finance, you need a well-formed plan and some money saving tips to keep you out of the control of credit. No matter how bad your credit standing is - no matter how deep in debt you are and how hopeless things may seem, rest in the knowledge that by creating a plan, you can get out of debt. By doing that, you do not have to be a clay pigeon in a shooting gallery of debt.

Choosing a Blogging Platform

In my experience as a blogger, choosing which blogging platform to use is one of the most important decisions that you can make. The right platform can make blogging a breeze, and the wrong platform can make blogging a burden. Because the program that you use to blog with is such a powerful part of your blogging experience, it is well worth putting in the time to find a platform that provides your ideal balance between a user-friendly interface and a flexible framework that allows you to make your blog look and feel unique. Finding the right platform isn't always easy, but with a little bit of contemplation and a little bit of research, you will be on your way to finding the perfect blogging platform.

Deciding what your priorities are in terms of ease of use versus customization. Most highly customizable blogging platforms, like moveable type, are a bit more difficult to use than very automated platforms like Wordpress. If you are new to blogs and to internet technology, you might want to sacrifice the ability to create a custom background design or to integrate a unique font into your template in order to find a program that will be easy for you to use. On the other hand, if you are a veteran web designer with knowledge of html or javascript, you will probably find the limitations of a user-friendly platform to be frustrating.

There is no such thing as a blogging platform that is objectively the best platform, because every blogger has unique needs. The blogging movement is very much about individuality, so it makes plenty of sense that there would be many different platforms available that are designed to meet the needs of different kinds of individuals undertaking different kinds of projects. This diversity is a good thing, because it means that you will almost certainly be able to find a program that suits your level of technical aptitude.

However, the fact that no two bloggers need the same thing from a blogging platform can make your search for the right platform a bit tricky. When you are reading reviews of different platforms, try to keep your priorities in mind and do your best to take into account the position that the reviewer is coming from. For example, a negative review written by an accomplished software designer who complains that a popular platform is too limited may tell you that the platform in question is ideal for a beginning blogger. There is no such thing as the perfect platform for everybody, so instead of looking for the "best" platform, look for the best platform for your specific criteria.

So far. I have used three blogging platforms - blogger or blogspot, Wordpress and blogengine. For a live demo of the different platforms visit these sites:

1) This site, aspacio.net is an example of a blog that uses blogger/blogspot as a platform on a custom domain. The hosting is free because the blogging platform provides that.

2) Rapid-DebtReduction.com is an example of a blog that uses Wordpress as a platform and it is not free hosted.

3) TotalDetox.net is an example of a blog that uses blogengine as a platform. It's not free hosted, too. My say on this platform is that in terms of the widgets, this is very limited.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

On Being an Athlete and MYA

As an athlete, I always get some apprehensive comments from my wife about my being in a rough sport. I always insist that it is no rough sport, but she thinks otherwise. Honestly, I only get a couple of sprains, but that’s just about it. Lately, after the last practice I had with my team, there has been nagging pain at the back my left leg that I know I need to get checked very soon.

As for dangers of getting kicked on the nose or having some injuries that may cause deformation (which I believe it’s likelihood being very slim), you have Mya.co.uk to take care of that. Cosmetic surgery for men are getting more popular by the day. Metro men choose it just because they need some nose reshaping or even for fat removal procedures. But this procedure can also help a lot of athletes who gets caught in an accident between games. Practically nothing is impossible anymore in this age of technology.

The surgical team of MYA are experts in their field and have built a good reputation over their years of experience. You might want to head over MYA.co.uk, they currently offer free consultations with no obligations.

Time Flies

This shot was taken when our son was three months old. Time flies so fast. Lately, I have been asking my wife if I am like babying our son too much. I cannot help but indulge him whenever he nudges me to play even if I am busy with some things. He's not gonna be a baby for long and it will all be too soon that he would want to have a time to be on his own.

And this is Jed at three years old.

A Sweet Valentine's Day Gift

I have always known myself as someone who rises best under pressure. As true as it may be, I believe the virtue of preparing early on, like my wife is notorious for, can be very beneficial. Like looking for the best gift for my wife for next month’s Heart’s Day, for instance.

I have always know that she does not like roses or flowers for gifts. I also know she cannot have any more perfumes to add to her collection. Chances are, with all the scents she has, a couple or more are to go stale before the bottles are emptied. If there are two things that don’t fail as gifts they are perfumes and chocolates. I am left with one other thing that my wife loves – chocolates!

There are a lot of Valentines day gifts suggestion available online and even in our local stores, but I’m sure that Gertrude Hawk chocolates will be a hit as a perfect gift for heart’s day. If you have tried any of their chocolates, you will understand why this will be so. Their chocolates are classic, mouth pleasing, satisfying and creative. Definitely one of a kind! I am thinking of getting her the truffles. A couple of packages probably, with the hope that she would willingly share with both me and our son.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

WW: Buko Pandan

One of my favorites that my wife makes to perfection is her delectable Buko Pandan.
I can finish the whole serving bowl if I fail to stop myself. It is also our son's favorite too. :-)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Build Your Shumacher Home

Our family is blessed to have been gifted by my in laws, a land of our own. Fact is, for a handful of years, we have looked into getting a place to settle in but it is really hard to get a land that is just the right one for you. With the location and every other factor to consider.

Incidentally, if you want to have your very own home built in Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Lousiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia, you seriously have to look into getting one of those on your lot custom builder master – Shumacher Homes. If you would read through the Schumacher Homes Press, you will see that they have built such an outstanding reputation in this industry.

Buying a home of your own is really a major decision, which makes it wise for you to consider getting the services of Shumacher Homes. After having bagged several awards and the reputation of second to none quality construction, you will understand why the business sector have all praises for this company. It sure has come a long way since Paul Shumacher started it in 1992 with just a single model unit to more than 800 houses to date. Make sure you check out SchumacherHomes.com for your free custom design.

Some of Our Hot Rocks Moments

Aspacio family at Hot Rocks 2009 Getting ready to feast

Hot Rocks service our favorite server, Ching, laying out the condiments. Wait, check out my shot -
wifey must have unintentionally captured me salivating. :-)

Porterhouse Steak by Hot Rocks Porterhouse Steak, served well done

running around Hot RocksAfter the hearty meal, while waiting for the check

fulfilled after eating a porterhouse steak at Hot RocksBusog!

Undeniably our family's current favorite. Until we find a steak house that will top Hot Rock's Porterhouse steak, we'll stick with this food place. We've tried Outback, but it did not come close. Forget the ambiance, who eats the ambiance anyways. lol! :-)

Have I mentioned they give out 20% discount on the steaks during Sundays (Libis branch) and Mondays (Ortigas branch).

Consolidating is Smart

Consolidating your debts is actually one of the smartest things you can do to eliminate debt. Credit card consolidation is ideal for anyone who is looking to have better credit now, and in the future. Consolidation is very common these days, and it is actually a sure way to combine your debt and make sure that you never get yourself too far in credit card debt.

There are many reasons why to consolidate your debt, one of the better reasons is to get a lower interest rate. If there is a way to get lower rates on a current consolidation, then you’ll have no reason to consolidate your debt. Anytime you are able to consolidate your debt and save yourself a bit of money - you should never hesitate to do so and making this decision is important if you are serious about eliminating debts.

Those who give advice on how to eliminate debt say that consolidating your credit card debt will also save you a lot of money. If you have managed to get yourself in debt, chances are that you owe a lot of money on your credit card, or possibly several different credit cards. Consolidation will put everything into one bill, making it easier for you to manage your payments. Paying just one bill can help you save a lot of time, as well as prevent stress.

My 4th Blog Got Approved at PayU2Blog!

Yahoo! I sent in an application for my fourth blog at PayU2Blog and I got accepted. I praise God! After a few days of migrating autorepairprinciples.com from free hosting at blogger to a paid host using the Wordpress blog platform, the blog got reviewed by my account supervisor and it got approved.

Some skills that I have learned this past year were getting a domain name, editing its name servers to point to the hosting I purchased and uploading files I need to set up a Wordpress blog. These were all I needed to migrate from blogger. I appreciate the import option at Wordpress, migration is so easy. The only downside was I had to change my Wordpress theme because the same theme from blogger supported widgets but the one from Wordpress supported only one sidebar and I wanted a template with two sidebars.

Doing all these was worth it because of the PayU2Blog approval. The next thing I will be working on is the 5th and final blog. Probably in more than a month i will be submitting a 5th blog. To God be the glory!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Information and Tips to Eliminate Debt

Are you deep in debt? Are you looking for tips on how to eliminate debt completely this year? If you are then let me suggest some places online where you can learn about debt elimination or rapid debt reduction strategies.

Let me suggest two sites that can help you. If you are looking for information and tips, you can visit rapid-debtreduction.com. If you are looking for more than information but practical steps and financial backing to help you towards debt settlement, you can visit debtelimination.net.

This web site represents a non-profit debt consolidation company. This organization assists people in consolidating their us debt. If you are considering sending in an application, you can avail of the free services from your own certified credit counselor who can give you free professional advice on how to go about with getting rid of debt in your life.

If you are serious about taking control of your finances and eliminating debt this year, I highly recommend reading through the tips that these two sites give. They both have articles that can help individuals and families clean up their credit. This January is the best time to start doing this so that when this year ends, you can look back and see how debt is being dealt with in your life.

Government Offices Flooded With People On First Office Day of 2009

During this first office day of the year, I was confronted with the many people who flooded to government offices as transactions for year 2009 resumed.

During the holidays, I lost my wallet which contained my important IDs and credit cards, it was a good thing I was able to have the credit cards stopped before anyone could have used it.

So, this afternoon I set out to get a replacement for my driver's license and went to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) renewal center at Robinson's Metro East. There were so many people that I had a hard time making my way in front of the customer service representative to ask about the procedure and requirements for the replacement of my lost driver's license. First, the CSR asked me where I last renewed my driver's license and told me that I would have to go to the renewal center where I last renewed so they can direct me to the LTO office where the renewal center falls under.

So I went to the renewal center at Farmers, Cubao and was directed to the LTO office at P. Tuazon, Cubao, Quezon City. Sadly, all the LTO offices I went to were offline so I was only able to get an affidavit of loss and fill out an application and will need to come back. I tried waiting at the office in case they went online but eventually decided to postpone the processing of my license replacement tomorrow. When I got home, I saw the news about the different government offices that were flooded with people. I guess everything was a rresult of the long holiday. I am hopeful that, eventually, government offices will be able to adjust soon and everything will go back to normal.

Plan Prayerfully

What a better way to start the year than to be on the way to cleaning up personal debt. If you are like most people, you probably have a desire to make your life better this year. Perhaps you even clarified your life purpose before 2008 ended so that you would be reminded of what really mattered to you as 2009 begins. Or, probably, you have set goals in different areas of your lives, including the area of debt settlement.

A way to reach this goals is through prayerful planning. The Bible says in Proverbs 16:9, “in his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” It is very important to seek guidance from God as we make plans for the year.

The best way is to seek what God is already doing and blessing and to join Him. This requires being sensitive to God’s leading which is confirmed by the peace that His Holy Spirit provides. This guidance is available to those who have a personal relationship with Him. Thos who have the Holy Spirit can be assured of His guidance in every area. Even in financial matters like deciding on a loan modification, He can be counted on.

Start seeking God and ask his guidance. You won’t regret it.

A Reunion With An Old Friend

Last night, after arriving home from our church service at SBC Makati, I received a text from may 'kumpare' for an invitation to meet with a pastor, an old friend, visiting in Manila from Bohol.

I invited them to come over so see our home and they gladly accepted the invitation. We had a great time catching up on each other's lives and encouraging each other, sharing and exchanging updates on each other's lives. It has been about 10 years since I last saw my pastor friend and I was glad to see him still serving the Lord faithfully.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Playing Plumber During the Holidays

During the holidays I was forced to play plumber at home with two leaks in our bath room. The first, caused by a broken faucet and the second, a broken fill valve. Their was actually another leak in one of our kitchen sinks but I decided to just deal with the ones in our bath room first.

I worked on the broken fill valve first. I went to the hardware and bought a new fill valve, two new tank bolts, PVC pipe glue and the rubber placed between the tank and the seat. The tools I used were common tools – a flat-head screw driver, pliers, an adjustable wrench and a small improvised brush. After three attempts I was able to stop the leak under the toilet tank.
The next one I replaced was the faucet on our lavatory. This was easier because I only made one attempt at it and I experienced immediate success.

It felt good being able to do this instead of hiring other people to do it. It not only saved us money but it also helped me learn how to deal with those things so next time it happens, I already know what to do.

Rick Warren, Chosen for Invocation by Obama on Inaugural Ceremony

Last night, as I was visiting blogs or what many call blog hopping, I ran into this news about Pastor Rick Warren, head of Saddleback Church in California, being chosen by the US President Barack Obama to give the prayer or invocation during the inaugural ceremony that will be held on January 20, 2009.
It made me stop and read the news and I read how protests from non-Christian and non-believer sectors arose. It also mentioned that protests may be drawn if he prays in the name of Jesus, and disappointment will be expresses if he does not.

As a fellow minister of the gospel, I feel for Rick Warren and I feel led to pray for him as He chooses the words he would use for the invocation. May the Holy Spirit lead him and give him wisdom as pressure from different groups is arise knowing that he is being requested to modify his prayer to represent the beliefs of Americans. May God be glorified through all this.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Download Free, Unique Wordpress Themes

During my migration of my other blog entitled Know Auto Repair Principles from free hosting at blogger to a paid host using the Wordpress platform, one of the things I needed to do was to search for free wordpress themes that are unique and those that fit best for my blog and downloaded them.

That’s right, I said them. Because I usually download more than one theme so I can select from more than one and I can easily change my blog’s look when I want to.

After downloading, I uploaded the themes so I can access them in my blog. I use Core FTP lite for uploading. Actually, my host has a file manager but I feel more comfortable using the other one.

I download from many sites but one site I recently stumbled upon is FreeThemeLayouts.com. They have a variety of Worpress themes, Joomla templates available in their web site. The Wordpress themes they have are quite unique because most of them are not the usual themes seen in many theme download sites. You can also find uncommon magazine style themes that are easy to customize.

I tried downloading some themes from their site and really enjoyed my selection. Try the web site and visit it, too.

Hoping to Get Approval at PayU2Blog for the Fourth Time

I submitted a fourth blog to PayU2Blog, autorepairprinciples.com and I was sent an email which said...

"Hi Jeff - thanks for submitting this informative blog. Any chance you'd want to move it to a paid-hosted server. We are at our quota for the number of free-hosted blogs we can have in our system (Blogger, Blogspot, Wordpress). I'm sorry to say we are not even able to add for our existing bloggers. If you want to move it over, please let me know, and I'll review again."

So these past few days, I have been busy migrating my Know Auto Repair Principles from free hosting at blogger to a paid host but with the Wordpress platform. I sent another email to inform my account manager at PayU2Blog about the migration and I am hoping that I would get a positive response.

For those who are not aware, PayU2Blog allows a person with an existing account as a blogger to submit one blog every 30 days up to 5 total, according to my account manager. Since I found that out from her I have purposed to submit 5 blogs and maximize that. I currently have three blogs approved by PayU2Blog and now, am waiting for approval for the fourth one. I hope it gets approved.

Answering the Call to Ministry

Before finally deciding to answer the call to full time ministry, there were a lot of things that held me back. The first thing that kept me from fully surrendering was the degree I took up in college which is a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. I had dreams of working for a large company like a Hoist Manufacturer, or a company in the line of HVAC, or even a construction firm. I knew that the life of a full time minster was not financially rewarding.

So, as a student who also struggled financially through college, I worked different jobs. I experienced working in a prominent bank. I also landed a job in the country’s business district as a forex trader - a job that made me experience the corporate world with a very high pay.

But even though I was earning a great amount of money, I didn’t have peace in my heart. I was serving God as a volunteer in our church, taking on as much responsibility as I can handle, thinking that if I can serve God while I worked at another job God would grant me peace. But I wasn’t called to do that. I really felt God calling me to full time ministry.

When I surrendered in the summer of 2000, I felt the peace that passes all understanding that the Bible promised. This was something a good job with a good salary couldn’t give me. Since then, I have been on this faith journey and I can testify right now how God has been faithful this past 9 years of my life. And I am excited about what God has in store this next few years.

Great Improvement for Markina United FC

Our football club's 2008 campaign ended with our team earning the 8th position out of 16 teams competing in the Third Division of the NCRFA Terry Razon Copa Filipina tournament. This is, so far, a better result than that of the last season ans we are glad that there has been much improvement in our club knowing that this is just our club's second season.

Marikina United FC's next match is rumored to have its next match on January 12 but other details like where the competition will be held and who the other team we'll be playing are not confirmed yet.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Maximizing Time During Travel

Travelling is something that I find exciting. Exploring cities that I have never been to, visiting beautiful man made structures and tourist destinations. But sometimes it can also be inconvenient especially if you have gotten used to driving your own car.

When you are in New York City you can try out GO Airlink Shuttle which is has a web site that offers very affordable, punctual and safe ground transportation services allo over New York City and the surrounding suburbs. They have private vans and airport shuttles that provides access between JFK, Newark and LaGuardia. Their LaGuardia Airport Car Service and in other airports also provides transfers between hotels, residences and businesses in areas like Battery Park and 125th Street. This web site provides transportation to New York City, Westchester, Connecticut and JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Airports.

Availing of their services can cut the hassle and inconvenience from travelling. It can cut the travelling time which can allow travellers to maximize the time they spend in a particular place – making use of their time to enjoy places and sceneries rather than spending it being transported from one place to another. Of course, with local drivers who know their way around cities, taking routes that don’t have much traffic can also be added to the advantages of hiring local shuttle services.

A New Year, A New Page Rank!

This new year ushered in another good thing for our blogging endeavor as Google gave a nice Page Rank update for this blog - from PR1 to PR2. Now, I know that is not much of an improvement but I still am grateful for the development. The update will immediately be taken advantaged of as opportunities from PPP immediately came flooding today. We have this mind set of striking while the iron is hot when it comes to sponsored opportunities, one of the reasons why we have so many blogs. We hope that this PR update would bring in more income as we continue in this business of blogging.

An additional goal for the year in this area is learning SEO and I am thankful for my friends at SEO Philippines for the inspiration and encouragement. I am looking forward to this new learning experience.

Chatting for Support

Parenting is the hardest job in the world. There are no schools that provide degrees in parenting and the usual training received in this job is on-the-job. Any mistakes made can have a lasting impact and can change the future of an individual. Being a single parent is, of course, harder because the job of two individuals with different but complementing roles is shouldered by one person. The lack of loving companionship and support from a husband or a wife can also add to the needs of a single parent.

There is a web site that can be a support for single parents. SingleParentChatCity.com is an online location where many single parents from different parts of the world come together to chat for free. Single parents can share their internet cam and let other people see them and their kids while they view other video cams.

Single parents should also be wise as they engage in a Single Parent Chat Room for this can sometimes be distracting if not handled responsibly. A single parent’s vulnerability towards relationships should also be considered. But, with a proper and mature approach to chatting, single parents can benefit from the friends and relationships built with those in their chat community.

My Son Learns To Pedal a Bike

Here is a video of my son as he learned to pedal a bike at three years old. The bicycle was given as a Christmas gift by his Tita Rose and Ninong Ted. At first I thought it would take a long time for him to learn how to pedal because he got used to riding a twist car, where he only had to move the stirring wheel to make the twist car move, but I was surprised to see that after only a day of riding the bike he learned how to pedal.

You see, earlier in December, when we were in Tagaytay, we took our son to a place where they rented out bicycles and we spent almost an hour tthere but my son was not able to enjoy biking because he didn't know how to pedal. I though then that he was too young to learn to coordinate his legs to pedal.

But, this video above shows how he learned to do so. So, I am really very happy for him. When he is ready we'll remove the small wheels on both sides of the rear wheel of the bicycle so he can learn to balance. I am truly excited for him because he is learning this early in his life. I learned how to ride a bike when I was about 9-10 years old. But he is doing it at three. That's exciting!

Common New Year Practices

As this new year starts, wishes and hopes for a joyful and prosperous year are heard all around. Different cultures engage in different practices to ward off bad luck. Actually, the practice of lighting firecrackers came from ancient cultures and it was done to ward off evil spirits that were believed to cause bad luck and evil disasters. But nowadays, the lighting of firecrackers has just become common practice and its purpose has become entertainment.

B ut of course, the expectation of keeping disasters away and becoming prosperous is still there. And many people do not want to experience disaster clean up and Black Mold Removal. Those who do can contact WaterRestoration911 which is an industry leader in this matter.

Many Filipinos have other practices to become prosperous, some of which are the wearing of clothes that have circles or what they call ‘polka dots’, others prepare spherically shaped fruits like oranges, apples, ‘chico’ and grapes, with the mindset that these round objects or pictures of circles could bring money for the coming year.

These common practices, however, are all superstitious beliefs. What is important is to merit the blessing of God who is the ultimate source of everything, the One who is in control.

My Experience at Rufo's, Libis

Last night we went out to have dinner at HotRocks in Libis Quezon City but was disappointed to see the restaurant closed when we arrived there. We ended up going to another place called Rufo's Famous Tapa also located in the same area. Their famous tapa made us curious so we decided to order it plus one order of sisig and liempo - we were really craving for some meat because we were expecting some from the previous restaurant we intended to go to.

Rufo's Famous Tapa, sisig and liempo

The logo of Rufo's was so nice that it looked like a foreign company which made our expectations for the taste of their food higher. Sadly, we didn't enjoy what we ordered. The taste of the tapa and the other viands we ordered made me wonder what it became famous for. Eating the meats was like being involved in a rubber match.

In fairness to the restaurant, they have a nice ambience and the price is not that expensive. But, overall, we would have preferred paying more for a more delicious meal.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Hoping to Get a Visa This Year

My in-laws will be back from the United States in a few days after a long stay at Houston, Texas. They have also finished their Vegas vacations and their visit to Canada so now they are ready to go back to the Philippines to take carre of important matters here. I am hoping that I would be able to go with them next time they go back to the U.S. so one of my objectives this year is to apply for a U.S. visa. Lord willing, I would be able to visit my friends and relatives this year.

Budgeting Tips for 2009

For some, the idea of a budget is impossible. It is frustrating to see how hard it is to do a budget and realizing that with one wrong purchase, you can actually ruin the entire thing. And this has been a common problem for many homes.

It is about time to redo the way people look at budgeting. It can actually be a great way to keep track of your family's expenditures and help you evaluate the things that you spend the lion's share of the family's earnings on.

What is a budget? A budget is a tool for handling your finances by controlling the family's expenditures in a way that money is enough for paying up bills, and still ensuring that savings are set aside for future expenses - vacations, or children's education, or even for retirement.

Here are some helpful suggestions in preparing a family budget. See the benefits of intelligent spending.

1. Gather three months of your receipts and get your average monthly earnings. Try to be as detailed as you can.

2. Get out three months of your monthly bills. Do this for the fixed expenses like the rent, phone bill, car payments and other loans that come monthly. Add them up and get the average. Do the same for other expenses like groceries, and credit card bills.

3. Evaluate the results of your computations. Looking at your average monthly earnings against your monthly fixed expenses and other monthly expenses, think of some ways to economize. Cut back on some items that are somehow unnecessary. You can identify specific details from a list of expenses made.

4. Knowing the facts of your income and expenses, develop a family budget and try to stick to this monthly budget.

5. Now that you have a monthly budget, set up a savings account. Save up by making regular deposits to this account.

6. Keep track of this monthly family budget just to see if it is working for you. Try to fine-tune the "rough edges" of this budget as you go along.

7. If you can get hold of a personal budgeting software or spreadsheet application to keep record of your budget, the better. This will make organizing your expenses very easy. For example, Microsoft Office Excel is a simple but helpful software that many families and individuals use for this.

These are the basic steps in developing and implementing an easy to stick to monthly family budget. Of course each family has diverse needs and wants. You have the freedom to develop your own monthly family budget, depending on your family’s financial background and needs. No matter how you do it, just focus on the end result, which is building a savings that leads to a bright and financially stable future for your family.

An Online Jewelry Store

Are you looking for an online source of engagement rings? SolomonBrothers.com is a web site to go to for diamond rings and fine jewelry. They have a wide range of designs that you can choose from and you can do your online shooping through their site and find the product you want whether they are bracelets, necklaces, watches, rings or any type of jewelry. Visit this site for more information.

My Son's New Year Celebration

About 20 minutes before 2009, me and my son took out the sparklers I bought from a local market and lighted them. This was another first for my son and I was so glad to see him excited about the new year celebration we had. He was enjoying himself as he watched videos of Wall-e and a portion of Chicken Little with the 3 nieces of his Ninong Ted.

He enjoyed blowing on the trumpet I bought him and made noise with it while firecrackers all over our community filled the air with smoke and explosions.

I was glad to see that my son, who usually is afraid of fireworks and firecrackers, overcame his fear and tried holding the sparklers.

2009 is the year that he will be starting school and we hope that he continues to grow and learn. It really is enjoyable to see kids grow and right now we just want to enjoy him knowing that time can fly so fast.