Searching for Something to do in Batac, Ilocos Norte?


 
Bangui Windfarm, Ilocos Norte, Philippines
Image via Wikipedia

“What will a tourist do here in Batac?  There’s nothing to do here!”

Joseph and I arrived yesterday after conducting a two-day Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation – Human Resource Development Seminar Program for the Adoption of Information Technology (or the APEC-IT Seminar) in Batac City, Ilocos Norte.  The APEC-IT Seminar aims to build the capacity of relevant personnel in using information technology (IT), specifically, the Internet

Joseph is my guest instructor.  I mostly handle all the technical stuff: IT terminologies, Training Planning, and trends in IT applications in business.  Joseph, being a corporate purchasing manager, handled the use of IT in buying and selling, and other online transactions.

We had our share of first experiences in Ilocos Norte:

  • It was our first time to ride a propeller plane. We usually ride the jet powered ones.
  • It was my first time to stay more than a day in Ilocos Norte.
  • My first time to eat authentic Bagnet and Ilocos Empanada.
  • My first time to go to the famous Bangui Wind Field.
  • My first time to go to the beaches of Pagudpud.
  • My first time to commute by public bus from Batac, Ilocos Norte to Vigan, Ilocos Sur.

(Please view my album in Batac, Ilocos Norte)

The APEC-IT Seminar is a team effort.

  • The Association for Overseas Training and Scholarships (AOTS) handles the government-to-government funding;
  • The Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industries in the Philippines, Inc. (JCCIPI) manages the execution of each run;
  • Marketing of this event is handled by the North-Luzon Growth Quadrangle Area (NorthQuad) and the regional Department of Trade and Industry (DTI); while,
  • Our company handles the Training Content Development and Onsite Instruction.

How About the Academicians?

The food was good, the venue was nice, our accommodation was huge, we have no reason to complain… but there seemed to be a problem with the audience.

Our motto for this program (reworded), as given by former Under Secretary of Education Hermie Dumlao, has always been: “Helping Filipino Micro-Small-and-Medium Enterprise (MSME) owners become millionaires”.  Different from other APEC-IT Seminar is that this was the first time we heard someone from the Academic sector the question: “How about us?” This question made us scratch our heads. Really!

Facts about Filipino entrepreneurs:

  1. Entrepreneurs are usually creative and have high self-confidence.
  2. In getting rich, these people choose to remain in the country rather than go abroad.
  3. The businesses these people create usually employs Filipino workers. (I would really love to see the time when majority of Filipinos are business owners and our country is in need to import other nationalities as our workers. I think it’s cool, right?)
  4. The businesses rich Filipino entrepreneurs usually invests in other Filipino businesses.

Benefits of having a lot of Filipino multi-millionaire entrepreneurs:

  1. These people will pay higher taxes for their business and big lifestyle.
    • Challenge: Some may argue that some rich people go around the law to pay lower taxes. Well, this is the challenge for the Bureau of Internal Revenue of course.
    • More people will be capable of paying for imported goods. This will generate government revenues through the Bureau of Customs.
    • More employees will be able to pay taxes.
    • By generating more revenues for taxes, the government will have more capabilities in supporting our country’s education sector. This means that all state owned schools, colleges, and universities will have better capabilities in paying their instructors with higher salaries.
  2. These people will send their children to Filipino schools.
    • Challenge: How will these schools attract and convince these Filipino entrepreneurs to send their children to their institution.
  3. More people will be capable of donating to schools and sponsor teachers for advanced studies.
    • Challenge: How to encourage people to donate to schools.
    • Challenge: How to encourage people to sponsor teachers for advanced studies.


According to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) in 2006 the Philippines has around 17 million families. Out of this number only about 20 thousand families or 0.1% are considered rich or high income earners (please see Dr. Romulo A. Virola’s article entitled: “How Rich is Rich?” in nscb.gov.ph). No wonder a lot of Filipinos are struggling to pay for their schooling.

I am a teacher by blood. Most of my family and family’s friends are teachers, so I believe I know the mindset of teachers. I believe that the reason for teaching is to alleviate a person’s condition of living, not just share information or increase intelligence. I believe that we should increase a persons wisdom, the ability to use knowledge and information for moral and economic improvement.  I am really disheartened to hear about towns, with schools boasting of academic achievements, but with high unemployment rate. It is like having builders who only know how to lay bricks rather than build beautiful cathedrals (I hope you’ve heard of the story about the three kinds of builders).

There’s Nothing To Do in Batac City, Ilocos Norte

Another comment from the audience that made us scratch our heads is that Batac has nothing to offer to tourists. Yeah, that really shocked us. Why? 

Map of Ilocos Norte

1. We visited the Marcos Mansion and Marcos’ glass coffin in Batac. The town is known as the “Home of Great Leaders”, as it is the hometown of many significant figures in the history of the Philippines. Among them is the former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos. It is also the birthplace of Gregorio Aglipay, the founder of the Philippine Independent Church, better known as the Aglipayan Church, and Gen. Artemio Ricarte, the “Father of the Philippine Army”. 

2. The main campus of Mariano Marcos State University is in Batac.  I think the school needs some facelift. Although the university has a lot to show, it was not geared to accept tourists. Unlike, for example, the University of the Philippines in Los Baños Laguna where tourists may seek accommodation in the Pook ni Maria Makiling resort, view Museum of Natural History, and visit the historical buildings like the Main Library and the Bell Tower.

3. We enjoyed eating the famous Ilocos Empanada with vinegar. It’s a specialty stuffed with egg and Ilocos Longganisa.

4. Batac is bounded by municipalities of Banna, Currimao, Paoay, Pinili and San Nicolas. Paoay Church situated in the town of Paoay, is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Church is a unique combination of Gothic, Baroque and Oriental designs. Its facade reveals Gothic affinity, its gables show Chinese elements, while the niches topping the walls suggest Javanese influence (reminiscent of the famous Boroboudur Temple). Currimao is home to many beach resorts.

4. It is easy to travel to and from Laoag City and access the airport, Fort Ilocandia, and the Sand Dunes. It only takes around to hours to travel to the famous light house in Burgos, the Wind Field in Bangui, and the Beaches of Pagudpud.

The town really has a lot to offer. Although, maybe, there is a substance to what the training participant said.  There are a lot of things they can improve on.

These are the problems we encountered during our Seminar preparations:

  1. It was hard for us to find a suitable accommodation. We found suggested places to stay complete with address, price and contact information but no pictures and no street maps telling us how to go to them.
  2. Limited access to information. Some sites intended for tourists are inaccessible.
  3. No available detailed map of the town indicating important sites for tourists, like: places to stay, places to eat, places to shop, places to go, places to ask information, and places to find transportation.

A lot of the towns potential are lost due to these minor concerns.

In Conclussion

Batac is a great place to go.  Although, some things should be improved. The people should think bigger, change their mindsets. There are a lot of opportunities in earning big business income in both trade and tourism, but it seems that people are no keen on taking advantage of these opportunities.

I hope to return to Batac, not as a trainer, but an investor investing in businesses build by Ilocanos. Then, I will heed their call: “Intayon Ilocos.”

Why Change Your Money Mindset?


Cover of "Mindset: The New Psychology of ...

Cover of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Have you experienced deciding to “tame” your spending-habits, but ended with higher credit card balances and more personal loans? Have you ever wondered why despite all the self-control, several days of no breakfast or no lunch or no dinner; despite starving of oneself of “gimiks” and “inumans”, still you end up not having enough funds nor savings?

I have this friend, again. Let’s call him B. B is an office staff with an average salary, a little higher than the minimum wage for NCR. He’s family is not really well-off, but his father’s family was once a wealthy clan in their province. B is the youngest among his siblings.

B’s spending habits:

  • Prefers to ride a taxi to and from the office.
  • Prefers to live in an apartment building near Makati City.
  • He likes bar-hopping and parties.
  • He likes downloading movies and TV series form his Internet connection.
  • He also likes travelling to nice places (such as Boracay and Pagudpud), a lot.

He’s really having fun most of the time. He can’t imagine himself not having that kind of a lifestyle.

But… there is a problem. His lifestyle is bigger than his monthly income. There are times when he’s not able to buy his own pack of cigarrettes. He passes lunch without eating. You’ll know when he’s already out of funds. Asks for a spare change for transportation. He’s nearing 40, but still fears raising his own wife and children.

He’s does not want getting a higher position. This will indeed give him more money to spend, but he knows he’ll have a hard time scheduling his personal events. He prefers having more time to spend his money.

Do you know someone with the same story? I don’t think B’s situation is isolated. A lot of Filipinos have this kind of spending habit.

 

Sources of Our Current Money Mindset:

So, how did he acquire this type of spending habit? Our spending habits, our wants and cravings, are largely dictated by our sub-conscious programming. There are four sources of this Money Mindset Program:

  • Verbal Programming

Verbal Programming is the intirety of all the words you’ve heard which stuck into your subconscious mind. These are simple words, phrases, or simple sentences you hear a lot, repeated either by the same person or by different individuals.

Can we try to find-out what Verbal Money Mindset Programming you have acquired? Please write your answers to these questions on a piece of paper:

  •  
    • How far into your childhood can you recall?
    • Growing up, what do you hear your parents or grand parents say about Money?
    • What do your neighbors or other people close to you say about Money?
    • Growing up, what do you hear your parents or grand parents say about Financially Rich People?
    • What do your neighbors or other people close to you say about Financially Rich People?
    • Growing up, what do you hear your parents or grand parents say about Becoming Financially Rich?
    • What do your neighbors or other people close to you say about Becoming Financially Rich?

Which of these are the words, phrases, or sentences do you believe are True? Which of them do you feel are Correct?

  • Modeling
    • Choose two persons in your life who have affected your childhood the most.
    • Describe how they manage their money?
    • Describe how other people (in general) manage their money?

Between them, who were you able to copy the most?

  •  Specific Emotional Experience
    • What is the most memorable experience (happy, sad, disappointing, etc.) about money can you recall? Can you remember, in detail, what happened?

What changed in you after having this experience?

 

Nothing Has Meaning Except for the Meaning We Give It.

Either we control money or money controls us. We buy things, such as from Jollibee or Mc Donalds, not because the food they serve are so delicious, but because they appeal to our emotions, a result of our sub-conscious processes. We buy new bags or branded clothings, because we just feel like buying them, not because we

Our attitude towards money, our spending habit, is an influence by the effect of the words we repeatedly hear from people that became embedded in our sub-conscious mind.

We give meaning to money in such a way that if we see other people do it, it must be correct. Or we see money as good or bad depending on our interpretation or misinterpretation of our own Emotional Experiences.

So, how can we program our Money Mindset in such a way that it will make us financially successful?

We have created two Training Modules that will help change our current Money Mindset.

Wealth Course Module 1: Awareness

  • This course is a pre-requisite for Module 2. This course will help you uncover details of your current money mindset. As an addition, it will give you advice on how to best manage your money.

Wealth Course Module 2: Understanding

  • This course will help you understand the effects of Verbal Programming, Modeling, and Specific Experiences. Then, it will guide you in removing all your Limiting Money Beliefs, beliefs that are hindering you from achieving financial comfortability or financial abundance.

If you are interested to attend our gatherings, please email me your name, cellphone no, and location: florenz.sotelo@gmail.com, or text me: (0921) 774-6757.

APEC-IT Seminar in Davao City


Big Men Take Big Risks


Hop, Step & The Jump !

Image by nanda_uforians via Flickr

I was glad I had the chance to add new friends, invite others, comment on walls, and chat with some old time friends. The company I am currently working for has allowed us to access Facebook until all technical securities have already been placed. It was fun!

A friend of mine, a classmate in highschool sent a chat message. Saying our “Hi’s”, “Hello’s”, and “How are you doing?”, I found out that he had already finished putting up his Software Company. I sense his excitement. This company is his first. He was challenged by the fact that his younger brother had already put up two companies: the first one failed, and his second had just started.  This is why my friend decided to create one himself.

“Big Men Take Big Risks.”

My friend’s family came from the province in Bohol, and even though his father was a native of our town, settled as squatters in the lots of their relatives. He enrolled during our second year.

After graduation, we were the only two in the class to be accepted in the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, Laguna. He, in BS Forestry, me in BS Agricultural Engineering. He struggled finishing his course due to financial problems. He joined an activist group, I joined a Christian organization. Although, later, I was able to lead him to our Bible-based faith.

His younger brother became an assistant of our student Pastor, whom has influenced us alot.

After several years (I think it was ten years), I was able to land a job as a Technical Trainer in a Multinational Company in Makati after taking-up my Masters in UP Open University. My friend’s younger brother contacted me saying that he has put up his own Software Company and, knowing my expertise in business, was seeking my help.

I was shocked! Once a squatter, now a Company President? And he was still 26 years old!

I met my friend in Japan when I attended a training in Yokohama-prefecture. I learned that he was working in a factory Gumba. He related to me his relationship with his brother during that time, and how he was supporting his brother financially.

Although the younger brother is very talented, the company lasted for three years, when the partners had some management problems. Still, there is lack of maturity.

After having experienced all the legal problems, death threats and hunger, the younger brother was able to create another company.  This is after two years when the first company failed.  Before, this younger brother was able to purchase a car and rent a two-bedroom condo unit, now he was able to buy three cars and buy a large house. Awesome, right?

That experience lead my friend to a conclussion that Men, if dared to take Huge Risks, will have Big Success.

“Big Men Manage Risks… at a Lower Cost”

I said to him, achieving Big Success does not mean that the Risks one must take should be Big. Risks are manageable. They can be chopped into tiny manageable chunk, and the ability to manage risks comes from proper learning. But this means he should give himself some time for studying and accumulating Financial and Business Literacy.

My friend was able to familiarize himself with Business Planning, but stil he was not literate enough about Accounting, Marketing, Selling, and Business Administration.  When we were trying to fix his younger brother’s first company, before it failed, we found that this brother is good in Marketing and Selling, but does not know about Business Planning, Accounting, and Business Adminstration. I am afraid I will be seeing a company crumble again. 

A path to success can be taken if you are able to see where you are walking at. Literacy, in this case Financial and Business Literacy, are the light that can guide a person aspiring to succeed. Whithout these knowledge, with business acquity and financial literacy, making business is more of a gamble than a manageable risk.

We Need More Filipino Stock Market Investors


Philippine Stock Exchange Makati Tower at Ayal...

Image via Wikipedia

I have recently read about the students from the University of the Philippines winning the Global Investment Research Challenge (IRC) (click here for the complete article).  Sponsored by CFA Institute, the Global IRC is the worldwide competition that provides university students with unparalleled real world experience in equity research and company analysis.  The contest plays a significant role in enhancing the investment profession.  All participants will have gained much knowledge and experience through their involvement.

Although the contest was about Stock Market investing, not all of the participating UP students have prior stock market investing experience.  This goes to show that Filipinos are very risk averse in terms of Stock Market.  I have also read from Kendrick Chua (thepoc.net) “…of 90 million Filipinos, only 450,000 invested in the stock market (0.5%). The survey presented 430,681 accounts being maintained for Filipino investors. Of this, only 90,000 actively traded in the stock market. Compared to our Asian counterparts: Singapore (33 percent), Japan (25 percent), Malaysia (18 percent), Hong Kong (17 percent) and Korea (10 percent), ours was the smallest in the region.”

This is so sad because a lot of Filipinos are not directly benefitting  from the country’s economic growth. It is forecasted that the PSE index can climb up to 5600 pts, but less than 0.5% of Filipinos will be able to take advantage of that.

I hope with the Philippine Government’s thrust to raise up more Filipino investors will really win! We need less and less foreign investors, but more and more Filipino investors.

I have listed some Stock Market seminars for October 2010 (click here).

List of Philippine Online Brokers:

 

How to Invest in Stock Market Seminars (Oct 2010)


Ortigas Center

Image via Wikipedia

Here are some Seminars for those who are interested in Stock Market Investing. I have attended seminars by Citiseconline twice and their very helpful.

SEMINAR TITLE: How to Invest in Stock Market

  • DATE: October 19, 2010
  • VENUE: unit 201 Richbelt Tower, 17 Annapolis Street, Greenhills, San Juan City
  • ORGANIZER: BusinessCoach, Inc.
  • For registration: 727-5628;727-8860; 496-6949
  • Course fee: Php3,000 (inclusive of seminar kit, food, handout, and certificate)
  • Please call 6887537 to 39 or email marketeducation@pse.com.ph for the seminar outline, speakers’ profile and other information about the seminar. 

SEMINAR TITLE: Stock Market Investing for Beginners: A Comprehensive 2-Day Seminar

  • DATE: October 27-28, 2010
  • VENUE: PSE Boardroom, Ayala Tower One and Exchange Plaza, Ayala Ave., Makati City
  • ORGANIZER: BizWhiz Consultancy
  • Course fee: Php2,200
  • Please call 6887537 to 39 or email marketeducation@pse.com.ph for the seminar outline, speakers’ profile and other information about the seminar.

SEMINAR TITLE: Investing in the Stock Market Today (FREE)

  • Date: October 14, 21, 28, Nov. 4, 18 and 25, 2010
  • Time: 2:00pm to 5:00pm
  • Venue: COL Training Center, 24F East Tower, PSE Centre, Exchange Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
  • Organizer: Citisec Online
  • For details, call (632) 6-333-777 today or log on to www.citiseconline.com 

SEMINAR TITLE: COL Easy Investment Program Briefing (FREE)

  • Date: October 18, 25, Nov. 8, 15, 22 and 29, 2010
  • Time: 5:30pm to 6:30pm
  • Venue: COL Training Center, 24F East Tower, PSE Centre, Exchange Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
  • Organizer: Citisec Online
  • For details, call (632) 6-333-777 today or log on to www.citiseconline.com 

 

I Changed The Title of This Blogsite


gif for avatar used on Webpages/Weblogs

Image via Wikipedia

Old site title:

  • Pinoy Cash Flow

 

New site title:

  • Financially Rich, Financially Free

 

Problem:

  • I was not able to “connect” with the first blog title effectively.
  • I was not able to write blogs on a daily basis.

I thought maybe its because I have more things to do in the past weeks? Nah, blogging should only take 15 to 30 minutes of my time, and blogging now until January will be part of the lecture I will give in the APEC-IT Training in Davao City this October, Ilocos Norte this November, and Pangasinan this December.

Luckily, I browsed wordpress.com’s tips on how to start-up a blogsite. I found that the old title does not represent my real passion and the real reason why I started blogging.

I hope with this new title, I may be able to maximize my blogging time.

My target: 1,000 blogs by the end of the year. I hope I can do this!

Thanks wordpress for the tips!

Wish me luck!