Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Why Freelancers Need to Start a Blog?

Let me share 4 reasons why freelancers should start a blog.

1. Obviously, you can earn from blogging e.g. sponsored posts, ads, and affiliates.

2. It gives you a better insight into the industry and from there you can be creative on what services you can offer as a Virtual Assistant. Currently, I handle reader engagement for an AUS client. I got accepted because I told them I also have a blog and I know what I need to do.

3. If you want to add content writing to your list of services, then your own blog is the perfect portfolio for you to showcase your skill and writing style. When applying for writing jobs, I simply send them the link to my blog.

4. Not yet an expert? Blogging is a multi-faceted activity. It is the perfect place for you to practice not just your writing skills but also your SEO, social media marketing, graphic design and a lot more. It's the best hands-on experience you can ever have to improve your craft. :)

How about you? Can you share what other reasons why freelancers should have a blog? 

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And in case you are in Bacolod City or in nearby areas, the Negros Online Workers, a local community of freelancers is inviting you to join the Blogging 101 and Influencer Marketing + Introduction to Google Analytics Seminar on February 23, 2019 at the Dojo 8 Coliving Space, 21st Lacson Street, Bacolod City. 


The resource speakers are Award-winning Lifestyle and Mommy Blogger, Maria Sigrid Lo of Sigrid Says Blog, Mommy Sigrid - Lovingly Mama and Marriage Markers and  Cellconversions Lead SEM Consultant, Juanito Cell Jacela. 

Registration is Php 750 per person and that includes snacks, materials, and e-certificate but you can also get the Early Bird Rate of Php 500 if you register on or before February 10, 2019. 

For details and registration, you may email negrosworkshops@gmail.com. Also feel free to join the Negros Online Workers FB group for more updates. 

Friday, January 25, 2019

Bacolod's Freelancers Hub: Dojo 8 Coliving Space

Coworking spaces are very important to freelancers like me. If you are not so sure what I am talking about, a coworking space is a place with a shared working environment like an office or something like a study area at home. The only difference is that the people using it are usually not employed by the same company or organization. 


Though there are a lot of variations in terms of the ambiance or atmosphere, a strong and fast internet connection, as well as a reliable generator (in case of power outages), are constant in coworking spaces.

I was still in Manila when I started using coworking spaces. There is no doubt that the availability of these work areas has saved me every time there are power outages or internet failure and I cannot afford to miss work. Thus, when we moved to Bacolod, it was one of the things I looked for ASAP. 

Luckily, we were able to find Dojo 8 Coworking Spaces. It is located at Lacson Street, Bacolod near Starbucks Lacson. The place is very accessible and rates are really cheap. Not to mention they offer unlimited coffee. Then earlier this year, they opened their second branch at the back of Bar 21 named Dojo 8 Coliving Spaces.  By the way, this is not a sponsored post.

Dojo 8 Coliving Spaces is not your typical coworking space. So, let me share with you the top 5 things why it is so popular among freelancers and students. 

1. Overnight Accommodation - Dojo 8 have rooms available in case you need to stay overnight. They are very spacious, clean and affordable. It is also very ideal for travelers who still need to work and can't really rely on their hotel's wifi service. My friends from Dumaguete stayed at Dojo 8 for quite a number of times and they love it. 

2. Location - They are located in the heart of Bacolod City. As mentioned, they are at the back of Bar 21, a restaurant that provides a fusion of Filipino delicacies combined with Italian and American favorites (You can read about our Bar 21 Review here) and Bob's Cafe just across the street. There is also a Japanese restaurant a few steps away. 

3. Recreational  Facilities and Fun Environment - Dojo 8 provides ping pong tables and other outdoor games. They also have the garden area and some chairs outside which means that you have options on where you want to stay. You're not just limited to an air-conditioned room sitting on a chair. 

4. Pet-Friendly - As a fur parent, this meant a lot to me. At Dojo 8, you can work while your dogs play on the lawn. No need to leave our furbabies alone at home. Thus, I am looking forward to bring Crumpy, Cheesecake, and Cinderella soon. (I am thinking if we would be allowed to visit together or there is a limit on the number of dogs one can bring.) 

5. Events - Dojo 8 Coliving Spaces is now central to freelancer events here in Bacolod. They hold both free and paid seminars and workshops. Last January 2016, they had the HOW TO START A HOME-BASED CAREER SEMINAR organized by The Purple Secretary and last May 12, the Freelancer Meet-up organized by the Digital Career Advocates of the Philippines. 


And aside from all of these, I love working at Dojo 8 because you get to be surrounded by like-minded people who want to be productive.


So, don't forget to follow Dojo 8 Coliving Spaces on Facebook for event updates and promotions. How about you? Do you have your own favorite freelancer spot? 


Why Do We Need to Take a Break and Recharge?


This is one of my favorite quotes from Anne Lamott. Whether we are living a fast-paced life or a routinary and boring one, it is very important that we get out of the circle and take a break. Everyone is believed to function and perform better after getting a recharge. 

Thus, here are some simple tips on how we can recharge our energy and improve our personal well-being: 

1. Be Active and Exercise

When you exercise, happy chemicals called Dopamine are released into our brain. It is a neurotransmitter in the brain that's necessary for feelings of pleasure and happiness making one feel good. It is also known to help one feel less stressed. So, sweat all your worries out of your system. 




2. Be with Nature

Whether you opt for the mountains and lush greenery or the beach, spending time in nature is an effective way to de-stress. Take time to appreciate the natural beauty of the surroundings, enjoy the fresh air and listen to the calming sound of the waves or the chirping of the birds. 




3. Go Offline

This is actually a bit of a challenge for online workers like me. It is hard since most of us are so used to checking our mobile devices out of a habit. However, according to studies, one can find himself more productive after taking an offline break. It is suggested to set our phone on airplane mode so that we can still use its other functions like the camera. 

4. Get Pampered 

A simple manicure, foot massage or a trip to the spa can make a huge difference. This is the main reason why Nailaholics Nail Salon and Spa celebrates the National Pampering Day annually where customers were treated to a FREE manicure, foot spa or foot massage. 



According to Arvin Amaro, Marketing Head of Nailaholics Nail Salon and Spa, “Filipinos are very hardworking in any given aspect of our lives and a nation of energetic and industrious people best deserves real pampering once in a while. This year, as Nailaholics celebrates the 2nd National Pampering Day, we go deeper and dedicate this to everyone and remind them to take it slow, take it easy, zone out and relax for a while."

Luckily, Val and I were able to join this year's celebration since there was no work due to the transport strike. Val opted to get a foot massage while I opted for a manicure. It was indeed a good way to recharge under the care of Nailaholic's friendly nail technicians.



In case you are wondering, Nailaholics is located at the 3rd Floor, SM City Bacolod Northwing. For the complete list of their branches, click here.

How about you? Were you able to join the National Pampering Day celebration?

Trying to Conceive? A Woman's Overall Well-Being is the Key.

If you are following our story, you would know that Val and I have been trying to conceive for the past four years. With various treatments, medications and different doctors consulted, we have learned this lesson the hard way -- a woman's overall well-being is a key to a successful pregnancy. 


Women have the tendency to shrug off minor health problems and just see a medical practitioner when things go bad. We should stop doing this and instead we make sure that we are taken cared of. Keep in mind that prevention will always be better than cure. It is very important that our health should be a top priority and that women need superior medical service. 

Thus, we are happy to share that ManilaMed's Center for Women’s Health champions this advocacy where every women’s health issues are not left behind. As one of the institution’s Center of Excellence, it provides top medical offerings from experienced medical professionals to cater women in all their life stages---from child-bearing age, pregnancy, and to adulthood possessing any health-related concerns.

The center has five major units to make patients feel better about being a woman; the OB-GYN Ultrasound and Maternal and Fetal Medicine units are aimed to care for pregnant women and their newborns while the Breast Diagnostic Center and Colposcopy and Cryotherapy Center are for patients to safeguard their health from common illnesses among women.


Staying true to the commitment of holistic care, the center also offers other innovative surgeries and procedures such as Routine Pap Smear, Acupuncture for Infertility, Reproductive Urology, Pediatric Cardiology, Breast Surgery, and even Cosmetic Surgery.






In addition, the center knows the true essence of motherhood with its Fertility Enhancement unit that gives medical attention for women who would like to have higher chances of conception. 

Thus, if you are trying to conceive, visit the Center for Women’s Health every Monday to Saturday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM. For more details, you may contact (02) 523 8131 loc 3100 /3101 or (+63)917 831 4892 or visit the website for more details.


ManilaMed is located at ​850 United Nations Avenue, Ermita, Manila, Philippines. Click here to view map. 

HOME RELOCATION: How to transport your things efficiently and safely?

When we moved from Metro Manila to Bacolod in 2015, one of the major concerns that we had was transporting our things. It was during this time that I realized that I have too much stuff. Aside from our clothes, shoes, bags and other personal things, I had my Starbucks tumbler collection as well as my miniatures which I started collecting when I was young. We also had a home complete with furniture and fixtures made of hardwood like narra that we cannot simply discard because these are actually given to us by my parents as "pamana." 



Thus, we had no choice but to transport them all to Bacolod. Based on our experience, here are some tips on how to transport your things efficiently and safely:  

1. Mode of Transportation 

Use the right the mode of transport depending on the items' size, weight and nature. 

Air Cargo is recommended for smaller and not-so-heavy items. It is ideal for important items since it arrives at the destination faster or you can bring it with you as checked-in baggage during your flight. It is a bit expensive thus, it is recommended that you maximize the prepaid baggage allowance. In the Philippines, most domestic flights can allow up to 40 kilos of check-in baggage per passenger.

Sea Cargo, on the other hand, is recommended for bulky and really heavy items like furnitures and fixtures. Though it would be nice to get a full 20-footer container van to put all your stuff, it is also impractical if you cannot really fill the whole container. Thus, you can try to opt for loose cargo and just pay for its actual weight. Just keep in mind, that sea cargo can take a few days to arrive at the destination and may even have delays at the port so, make sure not to include items that you might need immediately in your new home. 



2.  Packaging

It is very important that we package our things properly prior to shipping. Use bubble wraps for breakables and plastics for items that should be kept dry. Make sure not to mix liquids, aerosol sprays with paper or documents since leaks might happen. Furniture, fixtures and appliances must be put into wooden crates. Boxes are also recommended to be cling-wrapped to avoid getting wet. 

3. Insurance

Make sure that you declare the correct value of your belongings and get appropriate insurance. We must accept the fact that despite all the safety precautions, accidents or natural calamities may occur that can pose significant damage or loss to our belongings. Thus, the least that we can do is minimize these risks since our things are exposed during shipping. 

Marine Insurance can protect your items shipped via sea cargo against the possible damage and loss because of bad weather, sinking, fire, typhoon, collision even piracy and jettison. Since most of our stuff is shipped via sea cargo, we got our Marine Insurance from Malayan Insurance. The small payment we made gave me the peace of mind that in case something happens to our things while on the voyage, at least we could afford to get new ones.  


How about you? Are you planning to relocate soon? Feel free to send us a message if you have any questions. 

Random Thoughts about staying AHEAD in Life: Schools and the Future

I am here at Bacolod - Silay International Airport waiting for my flight. If you are wondering where I am going, I am flying back to Cebu again to spend more time with my family.This is actually my 3rd trip to the Queen of the South within a month and I am very thankful that my current job allows me to travel anytime I want. 

For the past few weeks, Val and I are working on one of our passion projects. Since we have been very blessed, it's about time that we pay it forward. We want to help graduating students find their dream jobs. As we were discussing on how to address the gap that hinders them from having gainful employment, we found out that there are actually several factors affecting their success. 


Based on a study conducted by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), graduates of the top 3 educational institutions in the Philippines are hired faster and paid more by employers.

Most corporate recruiters and HR professionals will deny this but this is actually the hard truth. According to one of my favorite bloggers, Tina Perez of www.mrswise.tk, "We are living in a third-world country. And whether we like it or not, where our children graduated from matters a lot." (You can read more about her blog post, here.)

Luckily, I studied at Ateneo from kindergarten to college. So, based on my personal experience, finding a job was quite easy. I got invited to more interviews and got hired faster. Though HR professionals or recruiters won't really say it, I believe that my school has something to do with it and it was one of my advantages. I remember too when I applied to one of the biggest consumer brands here in the country, we were filling out an online application form and there was a dropdown of the list of schools. If you can't find your school on the list, you have no way to proceed with your application. We believed that was their discreet way of shortlisting applicants.When I was working as an online recruiter, I have clients who preferred and prioritized the graduates of the "big" schools for an interview. 

I realized that education is a huge investment but worth it. It is the best gift of a parent to his or her children. (So, Papa and Mama - if you are reading this, THANK YOU!) 




However, have you thought about what happens if one fails their college entrance exam? How will it affect a person's life? I had a friend who had the money but unfortunately, did not pass the exam in Ateneo. Thus, he was forced to enroll in another school. This detour has definitely changed the next 4 years or more of his life. 


Not getting in the "big" school does not necessarily mean doomsday. However, this means that at this crucial point of their lives, right before college, we should readily support our child's future by ensuring that they get accepted in a reputable school. Why take the risk when we can give them more? Enrolling them in a review center is one of the things that we can do for them.

Based on my research, one of the leading and most awarded tutorial and review center in the country is AHEAD TUTORIAL AND REVIEW. They are the first to offer Test-Based Reviews for the country’s most competitive admission exams, namely the University of the Philippines College Admission Test (UPCAT), the Ateneo College Entrance Test (ACET), and the De La Salle University College Entrance Test (DLSUCET). They have been in the business since 1995 and have several branches in Metro Manila as well as in Baguio and Tuguegarao. 

AHEAD TUTORIAL AND REVIEW take pride in their learning programs where students not only prepare for academic excellence, they have also come to embrace their role as future leaders of the global community.

Their services include the following: 
  • Review Programs - These are designed to help students get into the university of their dreams. Their programs help students focus on their lessons, guide them towards topics to be studied, provide them with the right reference materials, and motivate them to study harder.
  • Tutorial Programs - These are one-on-one and small-group tutorial programs where students get undivided attention and care. Students are assigned tutors who match their personality and requirements. With the right support, children become all that they can possibly be.  
  • Online Programs - AHEAD Tutorial & Review Center has developed an online learning platform designed to help learners work through their everyday academic concerns. Through AHEAD Online, students can review for their exams, finish their homework, and study their lessons in advance in the comfort of their own home. Students will have one-on-one reviews with expert tutors through video-conferencing platforms in a clear and seamless manner. This is actually my favorite among their offerings. 
What I like about this center is that they have very good feedback from their students plus, their online programs is one of a kind. Making you maximize the sessions without being affected by external factors like traffic which will either get you so tired or lazy.

Anyway, I will be boarding the plane in a bit. Just share your thoughts in the comments section below. If you have more questions, you may email AHEAD directly at info@ahead.edu.ph or call them at (02) 426-0034 to 36 or 0917-89 (AHEAD) 24323. 
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