Thursday, May 31, 2007

Site Meter

I was blog-hopping last week when I found out about Site Meter, a free service that tracks the number of audience viewing a particular web site. If you own a blog, for instance, and you’re subscribed to Site Meter’s services, you could see how many people viewed your site in a day or week, their specific locations, types of web browsers, pages they checked out, duration of visit, among other vital information that could surely give you a crystal-clear vision of who your readers or viewers are and what interest them.

Sounds cool, right? That same day, I took advantage of this service by encoding it to this site. In one week time, the actual views, including mine, totaled 230. I only added 2,000 with the assumption that Simply Manila was viewed that much prior to last week when I signed up for Site Meter.

Of the 230 views, almost half of Simply Manila’s visitors are located in the Philippines. Thanks for the appreciation. I promise to post more cool and exciting places and events as soon as I get my own professional camera.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Riyo Mori of Japan wins Miss Universe 2007

Riyo Mori (born December 24, 1986 in Shizuoka, Japan) is the winner of the Miss Universe 2007 held in Mexico City, Mexico. Beating out Miss Brazil, Miss Venezuela, Miss Korea and Miss USA, Mori became the second Japanese contender to win the popular beauty contest in 48 years. Kurara Chibana, her predecessor, almost made it last year but eventually lost to Miss Puerto Rico.

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The right and wrong choices we make in life

It sounds like a big cliché and it really is. We can hear this from everywhere and we’re pretty tired of it. Life is a journey – it starts when one is born and ends when one dies. But for me the real story begins whenever one starts making his own choices, with or without full understanding of the logic behind it. I made thousands of choices already; from the foods I prefer to eat to the friends I love to hang out with, from the movies I prefer to watch to the life I want to live, among others. Most of the time, I am happy about the choices that I make and laugh at the wrong ones. I understand life as a journey, too, and that DEATH is the final destination.

But the greatest challenges always lie along the way, and this is where we should spend all our energies continuously making wise decisions. It is perfectly OK if we find ourselves struggling to sail along or get lost in the dark once in a while; as long as we are learning and becoming a better person each time we come again. Because, trust me, no one knows the perfect route. There are times where we have to come up with a big decision, which may just involve losing someone or something of great importance. It may not be a matter of life and death situation but regardless, it will greatly impact the rest of your life.

I have been working as a Tele-Service Representative (TSR) for almost 11 months now and I would love to say that for a first job, call center is the industry to be. A typical call center agent in Manila enjoys a high compensation package; deals with Americans, Canadians, British, Australians, etc. over the phone; works at night; partly viewed as intelligent individuals doing a not so intelligent stuff; among others. While some opinions are true about call center agents, there are a lot of misconceptions associated to them when all they want to do is just to see a clearer career path, earn and survive.

I started in a technical account with limited knowledge on technical stuffs. It was during those days when I see yet another instance where I learned to learn new things in a short span of time – troubleshooting devices for wired and wireless networks. I enjoyed the new experience and thought it’s something I would love to do for the next few years. Not until I realized, after only 2 months, that “troubleshooting devices” is not really an enjoyable thing to do.

The removal of that campaign from our company was somehow a good riddance for me. Unfortunately, I was transferred to an even boring and easier account. The great thing about it was meeting new people and creating a wider range of friends. While I may seem to be enjoying the corporate life, a big part of me is screaming to stop working for a moment and think about what I have become in the whole 11 months of going out at night and talking over the phone to several faceless individuals at the other side of the world. Then, I realized that I was just holding on for something that I always wanted to let go of.

There are times where we have to really think about something before coming up with a final decision. We are sometimes afraid to have regrets about the choices that we take. We are afraid to lose something and accomplish less in the future. But taking risks is just part of the journey … and finding out that you made the right choice is just one of the greatest rewards you’ll ever get in life.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Filipinos in Miss Universe 2007

Vanessa Minnillo moved around all over the world while she was growing up, from the Philippines and the U.S. to Germany and Turkey. Her family finally settled down in South Carolina, where, only a few years later, she won the Miss Teen South Carolina pageant. Vanessa then went on to be crowned Miss Teen USA in 1998. Along with Mario Lopez, Vanessa will be hosting this year's Miss Universe, which will be held on 28 May 2007 in Mexico City, Mexico.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

On American Idol: Jordin Sparks wins American Idol

With over 70 million votes tallied, Jordin Sparks emerged as the newest American IDOL. Sparks joined Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood and Taylor Hicks as winners of American Idol, the most popular talent search in the history of television.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Who will become the sixth American Idol?

All American Idol fanatics are now speculating on who will win the sixth installment of the show. After the final two’s performances tonight, the judges unanimously agreed that the 17-year old Jordin Sparks of Glendale, Arizona brushed off the competition against the beatboxer Blake Lewis of Bothell, Washington. Yet again, America came up with two unique contenders to compete for the title this year. But there could only be one. Who will America choose to be this year’s American Idol?

Jordin Sparks has always been a favorite contestant of mine since she gave out that solid performance of Christina Aguilera’s (and let us not forget, Lea Salonga’s) Reflection in the semi-final round. Blake Lewis, on the other hand, has always impressed me with his dancing and beatboxing abilities but seeing him in the finale somehow surprised me.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Let's all meet Isko Moreno

Isko Moreno was a film actor who starred in several sexy films in the 1990s and is best known as one of Manila’s most promising young politicians. His unique success story was featured in ABS-CBN’s Maalala Mo Kaya, with Danilo Barrios playing his character. Once a street child and a cart-pushing scavenger of old newspapers and bottles, Isko entered the glittery life of Philippine show business that brought him wealth and fame. He left acting to penetrate the even more complicated world of politics as a councilor of the 1st District of Manila. In this year’s mid-term elections, Isko is vying for the vice mayoral post and (as far as I know) is the most likely to win. No wonder why his opponents would even play dirty (as usual) by making campaign paraphernalia out of his old pictures – a desperate attempt to defame the young politician.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Splash Island

I was invited by a close friend to join her high school friends (barkada) in a whole day summer outing last Sunday at the largest water park in the Philippines. They have been to this place before and I heard a lot of exciting stories that I was more than grateful to adhere to the invitation. Our destination for the day is Splash Island, an ultimate manmade recreational area and perhaps the most celebrated water commons located at the Southwoods Ecocentrum in Biñan, Laguna.

It has been a while since I set foot to the southern part of the metropolis and I could see nothing changed in the atmosphere, except perhaps for the fenced part of the South Luzon Expressway where a renovation is ongoing. I could still see a greener side of this part of the city (not really part) with few home subdivisions from one point to another.

Splash Island was packed that day but it’s big enough to accommodate all the guests. There are a handful of slides available which surely added excitement to everybody. Minus the sunburn, it's the coolest one day summer adventure I had in my entire life ... so far!

If I had my druthers, I would tell you everything that I could with regards to what I experienced that day. But time is rather rare to find now. Storytelling? It ain’t really my bag; it’s killing too much time.

Monday, May 14, 2007

First-time voter in the Philippines

It’s my first time to vote in a national election today. I voted at around 2pm when the crowd’s gone and when all other stressful elements in view at the polling area are gone.

How the experience went for a virgin voter like me?

I was not home last night because I slept over at a friend’s house in Obando, Bulacan as part of the exhausting summer outing last Sunday. I also spent the whole morning there, listening to her dad’s frustrations while finishing off her nephew’s chocolates.

Though I was suffering from sunburn pains, I headed home with great memoirs and a heavy workout bag in my shoulder. It was a hot afternoon and there was no sign of politically-motivated tension whatsoever.

However, we passed through several crowded schools (particularly in Obando area) blocking the already narrow roads for the few motorists passing by. But other than that, it was a smooth ride.

I arrived at the covered court and multi-purpose hall of Goodwill Homes just in time.

In less than 3 minutes, a friend found my name listed at one of the precincts.

After signing several papers and writing down all 16 names on the ballot, I dropped that small parchment in the box hoping it will be counted accordingly and will not fall into devil’s hands.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

The talented Mr. Mika Penniman

While waiting for the telecast of American Idol last Thursday, I glued to MTV Philippines to keep track on the latest happenings in the world of music. It was that fateful day when I happened to know Mika’s Love Today video. Mika Penniman (born 18 August 1983) is a Lebanon-born, London-based singer whose music style completely aroused my curiosity. After watching American Idol, I hastened upstairs to listen and download Love Today and the rest of his songs. I don’t know what else to say but I definitely loved the songs that I just put it in my iPod without hesitation.

Mika’s album, Life in Cartoon Motion, has been described as a fushion of Beck, Prince, the Scissor Sisters and T-Rex. But according to BBC.co.uk, there’s one artist almost everyone compares his voice to – Freddie Mercury. Mika said it’s a compliment. But whoever the legend is, it really doesn’t matter to me. Hmmm, I guess I just found a new addiction.

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