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  • Staying Fit after the Holiday Season

    By:  Leandro Manuel C. Antazo “Papa Bear”   The indulgences have come to a screeching stop as the holidays have drawn their inevitable conclusion and you look down to see a little bulge that’s roughly your tummy up two to three times its regular size.  You might be wondering “where did that come from?”.  Well if you weren’t paying attention to all that binging you’ve done during Christmas and New Year, no one can help you.  On the other hand, a little holiday weight is regularly expected to drop by in the form of additional fat centering around one’s abdominal area.  With all the beer and fatty foods one can expect to consume during Noche Buena and all the New Year’s Eve parties one can attend, it’s sort of a tradition to welcome a bigger belly after the holidays.  The question that’s looming is “what to do, what to do?”  For some people, it’s pretty much a moot point since the belly is there already and they might feel okay about it staying for the rest of the year.  This goes along with the predetermined acceptance of weight gain due to certain factors that would prevent them to do otherwise.  For some people though, the possibility of gaining and keeping the weight from the holidays is absolutely unacceptable as they make it a point to lose it in any way possible.  They even take it as a challenge so as to keep one’s overall physique healthy throughout the entire year despite the holiday break and merrymaking.  So how do they do it?  Since not everyone is a fitness buff and there really is no one right way to lose weight, here are a couple of things to consider should you want to lose that extra poundage and stay fit right after the holiday season.      RESOLVE Staying fit should be a commitment not taken lightly.  If you really want to succeed in the things you set out for, better make the resolve to do so.  One way is to start such is to make it a part of your New Year’s resolutions.  It may seem like any other new fad but if you can start to make it happen along with the introduction of the New Year, good things are certainly looking to come your way once the months roll by.  Everything starts with one’s mindset as it is mainly the mental battles that will take its toll and not the physical aspect of working out to lose weight.  Why? Because the decision to get up off the couch is fraught with thoughts of comfort and relaxation which is the predecessor towards procrastination.  Our mental faculties are most important when determining what we want to do as well as what we’re supposed to do.  Whether or not it’s all about following up with commitments and / or resolutions, we won’t be able to do anything unless we decide and eventually stick to following through with those decisions.  Simply put, the key to staying physically fit is to stay

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  • How to Respond in an Interview

    By:  Kevin Manalo   A lot of people have gone through this dilemma, and some have gone through it over and over again in search of the perfect job. Many times, people have failed job interviews without having a deeper understanding as to the reason why they failed. Let’s take not of some of the common reasons why: 1.        - You’re too nervous and you can’t control your nerves. Most cases you lost control of what you have to say during the interview 2.       - You have a lot of thoughts running in your head that you end up either saying everything and be all over the place; or you can't articulate and say why you're the perfect fit for the job. 3.       - You're unprepared so you can't give the right answers to tough behavioral questions. There could be more reasons than this. But basically, you end up being rejected and start looking for another job opening hoping that you won’t make the same mistakes. Let’s face it, you don’t want to be stuck in that rut forever. Here are some suggested steps in preparing for a job interview so that you would know how to respond to one:   1.       Ask a friend – Seek a friend’s assistance to help you by having them interview you. Have a friend ask you random questions (ie: “what’s your favorite band?”, “What do you do during weekends?”, “Which one went first, the chicken or the egg?”, etc) to help you exercise your train of thought. After that, have your friend ask you common interview questions so you can prepare and practice your responses when these questions are asked.   2.       Be Authentic – When you research for common interview questions, there are common interview responses found online. I do not recommend you using these responses online as these are “generalized” or “scripted’ statements. I suggest that you use responses based on your actual experience. These responses show your authenticity and make the interviewer be impressed with your honesty 3.                      Strength + Weakness + Correction – People always have a problem responding to this question “what is your greatest weakness?”. As a norm, what we think is that by simply stating our weakness, the interviewer will be impressed with the response. That’s wrong. By following this formula “Strength + Weakness + Correction”, it would give the interviewer the opportunity to identify your strength, your weakness and what you did to overcome that weakness. Here’s an example: “(Strength) I always take the initiative in taking on a new project that we would always meet our productivity metric. (Weakness) However, because of the number of tasks I take on I tend to overlook deadlines and communications from peers. (Correction) To overcome this, I created a system where in I get to see what current projects I have and identify if I can take on an additional task. This helps me organize my tasks and meet deadlines accordingly.”   4.       Understand that “You are not the perfect candidate” -

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  • TO BPO OR NOT TO BPO: The Ultimate BPO Checklist Guide for Newbies

    By: David Christopher Hizon   Zombies.  Gravediggers. Nightwalkers. Avaya slaves. Phone junkies. Call center agents. We know them by a lot of names. We know them by their lifestyle. We even know them by stereotypes. Hip. High-class. Foreign accents. Party people. Social butterflies.  But what is it really to be a call center agent? Why is it such a booming trend?  Business process outsourcing, or BPO, is a fast growing industry in the Philippines. In 2011, the Philippines was the country with the highest number of employees at call centers – with about 400,000 people! Outsourcing – short for outside resourcing – involves the contracting or the use of outside resources and experts to handle specific processes and services within a business organization. It has become a very important tool for reducing costs and improving quality. If an organization does one or all of its work by itself, it may be a lot more taxing to the company’s pockets. Sometimes, it’s a lot cheaper to import resources, materials and goods from other countries than to make them – the same goes with manpower.  So how does it all work? Simple. A foreign company, usually called an account, signs a contract with a vendor, a contact center in the Philippines, to provide a service to either the account or to its customers – be it payroll, accounting, human resources, or the most common, customer service. Based on the contract, the vendor hires and provides the required number of heads needed, and the account provides skilled trainers to train the agents and to train more trainers locally to keep the business growing.  What then is it about this booming industry that everybody’s so attracted to? Literally hundreds and thousands of employees are interviewed everyday by call centers all over the Philippines. What makes this industry so irresistible? Is it something suited for just anybody? What skills do they usually look for? Is this line of business the best for somebody like you?  Let’s a have a quick look as to what this trade is all about – the works, the perks, the irks.   Competitive Salaries and Benefits Most call centers offer very high pay. This is a fact. A newbie in the business, without any work experience at all, may easily get P15,000.00 net on top of benefits and other awesome perks. Most call centers also offer loads of allowances and freebies to entice more applicants to join their company.  Perks: No matter what your previous work experience is, getting hired as a customer service representative usually entails higher-than-normal basic pay, allowances for rice, clothing, transportation or food, and guaranteed benefits such as night-differential and hazard pay for night-shift employees. Companies also usually offer free food and drinks such as free lunches and flowing coffee and drinks all-day everyday. Some accounts even provide free transportation to those nearby. Gift certificates are also a common sight in call center agent pockets as these are usually given out for free by their accounts as perks for doing an awesome job

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  • Planning the Year Ahead

    By:  Leandro Manuel C. Antazo “Papa Bear”   Since it’s officially 2015 and the future has never looked so good, it might be a good time to start making preparations for the year ahead.  Granted that we’re still not flying around in hover-cars nor are we able to zip by on hover-boards as depicted in the 1980’s hit movie “Back to the Future 2”, there are still a ton of things to look forward to.  It may not be the generation where we could end up in a civilization as depicted by futuristic movies like “Minority Report”, “I Am Robot”, or ‘Total Recall”, but we’re still within our own generation where fun and exciting times are just in front of us.  Though some of us go through our years without looking too far into the future and would rely on “spur of the moment” tactics where we just drop everything in order to be spontaneous, it would also be a wise choice to make sure things can go smoothly as you would want them to be.  This is done through planning ahead and making do with the time you have in order for the year to be much more fruitful with fun and exciting things waiting for you in the months to come.  As Filipinos, we are usually caught up in what’s up for tomorrow instead of what’s going to happen in the months afterwards.  By making sure that we take into consideration the near future, we can definitely do a lot more in regard to what we plan to do and how we plan on doing so.   In terms of planning ahead, we could be looking at different perspectives as we all have different personalities, goals, and opinions on what to do and how to do it.  As it could be something you’d be seriously putting a lot of effort and a committed mindset on, it could also be a part of your new year’s resolutions if not THE resolution you can set for yourself.  These are the different facets of our lives that we can focus on depending on what you would like to set for yourself.  So in terms of planning ahead, let’s take a look at certain things we can accomplish.    CAREER Probably one of things that may remain at the forefront of every working person’s mind, your career is certainly something viable to focus your efforts into.  Not that it’s just a job or a way to make a living, it’s also how you carry yourself as a productive member of society.  Depending on where you work like the food and beverage industry, customer service, the media or film industry, in the field of medicine, the transportation industry, or the government, you are not only entitled towards receiving monetary compensation, but the chance to do more and become more as time passes.  This can be in the form of growth like a promotion where you get to do something new, exciting, and where a lot of other people could benefit from your

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  • New Year’s Resolutions

    By:  Leandro Manuel C. Antazo “Papa Bear”   So the fireworks have finally run out and there are obvious burn marks all over the streets and in some houses.  The hospitals have their hands full with some injured merrymakers and a lot of debris can be seen around the metro hailing a wonderful start of the New Year.  All that’s left is for the smog that is still permeating in the air to clear and we can officially call it a wonderful turn of events that has heralded another awesome party welcoming 2015.  The obvious question on everyone’s mind is “What’s Next?”  To state the obvious, it’s probably the time to make a couple of changes since every year is seen as a new beginning much like a Phoenix rising from the ashes.  If the past year wasn’t as great as you may have hoped, maybe it’s time to step it up a notch and do something different this time around.  Much like a relationship that’s just starting out, perhaps a committed effort to stay on a certain path can do wonders for you.  I’m talking about your “NEW YEAR’s RESOLUTION”.   Believe it or now, New Year’s resolutions can be traced as far back to ancient Babylon where they made promises to their gods at the start of each year.  Not that we’re talking about worshipping other gods and so on but it’s actually good to know that history has given us an insight towards accomplishing things in light of the year ahead.  Bear in mind though that a serious resolution should not be taken lightly and although we may have high hopes to accomplish our goals, we would still have to set realistic expectations towards what we would want to attain / gain.  Having mentioned this, here are a couple of things to keep in mind when setting your New Year’s resolutions.    EXPECTATIONS As previously mentioned, you don’t have to start off with something big.  Making little changes can still pay off in huge dividends in the end.  Something simple like “be more polite to my officemates”, “visit my parents once a week”, “say ‘I love you’ to my wife at least once a day”, “cut down on my rice to one cup per meal”, “read more books”, “jog for 1 hour every Sunday”, or “save 500php every cut-off”.  As simple as these commitments look now, you’ll be surprised when you start following through as little changes can pave the way towards a better you in the near future.  If you’ve done this before and / or looking for a new challenge that you feel that you’re able to accomplish, setting up bigger and more daring resolutions can also be feasible.  Something big and or life changing can be “find my soul-mate”, “buy a new car”, “buy a house / apartment”, “finish my master’s degree”, “obtain a VISA”, “earn my first million”, “travel to Europe”, “lose 50 pounds”, “work abroad”, or “get promoted”.  These are a little more daunting for some people however these are also

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  • How to Enjoy the Rainy Season

    By:  Reginald Caceres     WHEN YOU CAN’T TELL THE RAIN TO GO AWAY The cold and wet rainy season is here! Going to the mall will be trouble. Long awaited meetings with old friends will be cancelled. Family outings will have to be rescheduled. Even the little time you’ve been sparing from your over-the-top, deadly schedule to take a walk in the park would just have to wait. That is right! Everything just has to be ruined! Now, the next thing you will do is sing your blues to fit well with the weather. Congratulations! Nature has just defeated you. If you are the type to just recline, rest and go crazy-sentimental during a rainy day, stop now, don’t waste any time reading further, go back to bed and be the potato that you are supposed to be.  However, if you really want to be productive and score against the weather, here are some tips to put shades of color on a bland, blue, rainy day.   STAY ACTIVE, STAY HEALTHY I am not kidding! The first way to enjoy the rainy season is to keep yourself healthy. The rain doesn’t only bring the cold but also the colds, the flu and other diseases. How will you enjoy if you will be too busy sneezing and shivering under the covers? The rainy season can be a great time to catch up on some exercise and give the immune system a boost.     ENJOYING THE GREAT INDOORS You might already be thinking of surfing the web or going on a movie marathon to spend the rainy days. But put that remote down and don’t open that computer just yet. When was the last time you, your friends and family quarreled over monopoly? Do you still have a complete set of UNO cards? How about Jengga blocks? Go ahead and open that old, dusty toy chest of yours and find something that everyone can play together. Physical games can also be a good option. Your choices can go from the very petty games like hide and seek and blind tag to indoor sports like balloon baseball and table tennis. Just make sure that you don’t break anything.   GETTING ARTSY AND CRAFTY Kill the boredom and try something new. Do crafts at home without even spending money for materials. Take the old scrap materials you have stored in the basement and let your imagination create new things. Make chimes from old bottles, decorate old pots or old lamps, make cute little bird houses from scrap wood and leftover paint, and if you’re good you can even make money by selling them. Go ahead, your imagination is the only limit.   WARM THE TUMMY . . .AND THE HEART OF COURSE Beat the cold by stuffing yourself full with hearty home-made meals. What would be better than staying warm with a steaming bowl of soup? Chicken soup, macaroni soup, vegetable soup, it’s you call. If you’re not up for it and you want something sweet but just as filling for an afternoon snack, go and whip up some “champorado”

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  • Fresh Grads, These Tips For Your First Job Are What You Need In Life

    Fresh grads have to be sponges during their first job. Don’t know what that means? To be awesome at your job, you probably should. After a well-deserved and long-awaited finish to your (insert fitting adjective here) college career, you, fresh graduate, are about to take a sizable leap into the next phase of your life: being a working professional. Remember when freshman year felt like having to make a million adjustments on the fly? Well, brace yourself for a similar kind of experience in a bigger stage. But fear not, it will be all good plus it’s high time to step into unfamiliar but more rewarding territory.   1. Absorb actively – and contribute  The world of work, especially for newbies, is an opportune time to embrace and make the most out of many learning opportunities that will present themselves on a daily basis. The multitude of lessons – ranging from getting familiar with your role, interacting with teammates of diverse backgrounds, and what your company is all about, among others – to pick up will be valuable. It is best to have the mindset of a sponge (“absorb everything you can”) because by doing so, this whole new experience can provide great insight that cannot be learned in the four walls of a classroom. This is the time to learn from anyone and any situation while keeping the goal of becoming an expert and contributor to your team and the organization in mind.   2. Find your mentor  Get ready for some Star Wars references in honor of the recently concluded “May the 4th Be With You” day. Find yourself a Yoda or Obi-Wan Kenobi. This could be your boss or a senior or a more experienced teammate, a figure who can help shower guidance for you to become the best version of yourself at work. You know you have a good mentor in your midst when they look after you, and are always open for a dialogue. Hopefully, you won’t have a mentor that comes from the Dark Side (think Darth Sidious or Emperor Palpatine).   3. Your own take on work-life balance  As you embark on setting your career into motion, it is important to set a healthy work-life balance. Each of us can have our own definitions of this concept. Decide on what your optimal work-life balance would be, one that helps optimize your performance and keeps you happy and focused on more important things outside of work. It is not a rule that being a newbie in your office necessitates making your cubicle your living quarters. Work, in case you might not have heard, is just a part of your life, not your whole life.   4. It’s okay not to know exactly how your future will turn out  The ultimate knowledge – and this may be a hard lesson to grasp at first – is not knowing. Be comfortable with the unknown. It is definitely ok to feel anxious or worried sometimes because work is not as structured as the academic life. It’s part of the process. Instead of over-thinking

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  • Weekend Getaway

    By:  Jennifer Jamandri   I open my eyes for another day - kill the snooze button a million times over not wanting to get up. It’s half past four in the morning as I catch a glimpse on my phone – I do not want to get up. Metro Manila traffic, here we go again. I find myself standing under my hot shower – it burned a bit but, I cared less - the water running for a good ten minutes while I go through so many thoughts in my head thinking about having a break.  It’s been three years since I graduated college, I have my family to support, I also have needs – you can say wants. I take a deep breath and snap myself out of my oblivion. The weekend is fast approaching and I need a quick getaway. Typically, one would see it as a venture with the family like going to the beach or head up to high places for a more chilling weather, see the new found caves in the nearby cities, or just simply get away from Metro Manila.  I see it as simply a welcome change to the routine that is befuddled with work and trivial activities during rest days.  I take a pencil and a piece of scratch paper from one of the million across my desk – time for a little brainstorming – time to indulge in my impulses. I know I need this and without further interruptions, my mind wanders and my hand starts to write.   1.        RELAX: SPA IT OUT! Reason why? I was stressing too much on everything I needed a personal retreat. A.)     Luljetta's Hanging Gardens and Spa (Up North) “Set in a mountain resort in Antipolo City, Rizal Province, Luljetta’s has a commanding view of the majestic Laguna De Bay and Manila skyline.” I remember I came across a blog one time from “the easy traveler” stating that it was “set in a garden-terraces-like-feel with flowering plants linked with a maze of stairs.” They offer spa sets that include being within the vicinity of this serene place - massages, at an additional cost. They have three infinity pools, one of which gives you the breathtaking view of the Laguna de Bay and Manila’s soothing sunset. LOCATION: Luljetta's Hanging Gardens and Spa Loreland Farm Resort Brgy. San Roque,  Antipolo City, Philippines 1870 Source: http://www.bienvenidotours.com/luljettas-hanging-gardens-and-spa.htmlc   B.)     T House Tagaytay (Down South) “T House is about tranquility. Leave all your worries behind, relax and awaken your senses in this hideaway.” More on the middle costly side of things however, the price would only mean it is worth it. This IS Tagaytay we are talking about. They have 15 Zen inspired bed and breakfast hotel rooms, towered by mahogany trees circulating the location. A good walk in the compound at night would also be lovely knowing they have dimly lit lights and circle fountains.  As this IS Tagaytay, I could do a side trip to my favorite Ukay-Ukay spots before heading home as well. Tempting offer. LOCATION: 3195 Calamba Road, Tagaytay City, Philippines Source: http://thousetagaytay.com   C.)     

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  • Ace that Interview

    By: Gabrielle Angeles-Abad   After months of sleepless nights, excitement and anticipation, you finally are graduating from college. You want to put yourself out there and start exploring the world. But just when you were planning for it, you realized you needed to save some money to make things happen. Determined, you started looking for job openings, found some, and sent your résumé to these companies.  A few days later, you received some messages about job vacancies. Unsure about what’s going to happen next, you decided you should try it out. A day before the set date, you realized you had to practice for that interview but don’t know where to start. You started asking around and searching the internet for some questions that could potentially be asked, and came up with/across these: 1. Can you tell me something about yourself? - This maybe a very simple question but it gauges how you’re fit for the job. You may want to start off with 2-3 specific accomplishments that you’d want the interviewer to know about, then relate it to how it has prepared you for the position you’re applying for. 2. Why should we hire you? - This question could be intimidating but it gives you the opportunity to showcase your skills. You may highlight the ff things: That you can get the job done and deliver great results, that you are flexible and can blend with the team/culture, and that you’d be a better hire than any of the other candidates. 3. What do you consider to be your strengths/weaknesses? - Your interviewer is gauging your self-awareness and honesty. You may highlight the strengths that you have and how you can use it to your advantage. For weaknesses, think of something that you’re struggling with but that you’re working on to improve. 4. How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations? - Your answer should focus on how you can still deliver despite having hiccups along the way. You may also share an example of a stressful situation that you were able to navigate with ease. 5. Where do you see yourself in five years time? - Your interviewer wants to find out about your specific goals. Remember to be honest as he wants to know whether you have ambition, your expectations for your career, and if the position aligns with your goals and growth. Going through these questions hopefully would help you in acing your job interview. Not only would you be able to establish a career you once dreamt of, but also, be financially stable to finally start exploring the world.    

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  • Helpful Tips in a Phone Interview

     By:  Gale Ayers   Days or weeks of waiting…suddenly the phone rings.  The person on the other line went like  “Hi.  My name is so and so.  Please consider this as your initial interview and answer in straight English.”  Two reactions.  Euphoria or you will just freeze!  No words may came out of your mouth!  Your heart suddenly went pitter patter.  This usually happens when you’ve been scheduled for a phone interview.   A plethora of mixed emotions.  This is it!  Don’t fret.  This can turn out to be a great opportunity to showcase your skills. We have a few tips up our sleeves and hopefully will help you land that much-awaited job.   PREPARATION PRIOR TO THE INTERVIEW Do the groundwork.  Research on the company a bit.  Connect the company’s goals with your skills.  Check out their website.  You do not have to memorize all details but get just enough information to get a general sense of what they’re all about.  It can also include a little bit about their competitors.  List down your strengths and opportunities.  Write down your work experience including your on-the-job training pertinent to the job you’re applying for.  Don’t get flustered when thinking of answers to possible recruitment questions.  We call it the BIG FOUR.  It will usually come up in most interviews one way or another.  “Tell me about yourself. Tell me about your biggest strength/weakness. What are your salary expectations? And where do you expect to be in five years?” Review your job description especially the job transitions.  You should be able to explain adequately without going into specific details. Control your environment.  Let your family members or roommates know that you are expecting a call.  Turn off the tv, radio or go inside a room quiet enough for the conversation. Practice before the interview.  With a simple recorder or apps you can download, record your voice while you practice.  Listen to the recording to judge your clarity and speed.   DURING THE INTERVIEW Keep your weapons handy.  An updated resumé should be in clear view and within reach of your phone so you can refer to it every now and then. Always have a pen and paper ready to take down notes.  Write instead of typing your notes which can create unnecessary noise.  A good table is ideal for this setting. Avoid multi-tasking.  Resist the urge to answer emails, text or chat, check your social media accounts, make lunch, etc.  Turn off your mobile phone or put it in silent mode.  Focus only on the person talking to you on the other line. Smile when you talk.  This promotes a positive image to the listener because on the change of tone.  Speak and enunciate clearly.  Manage your pace to avoid slurring or eating of words.  Try to be succint. Be professional at all times.  Do not be overfamiliar as if you’re talking to a casual friend.  Don’t talk when your mouth is full.  This shows unprofessionalism and disrespect on the process.  Have a glass of water nearby just in case your mouth gets dry mid-call but never munch or slurp or even smoke while taking

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