Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Is the Government Complaint Hotline 8888 really working?

The National Citizen's Complaints Hotline, also known as Hotline 8888 was launched last August 1, 2016. One will be able to access them via email or call using their home and mobile phones. It is free of charge for PLDT and Smart/ Sun subscribers while there is a Php 5 charge for Globe subscribers. Since I am a Globe subscriber and do not want to incur additional charges, I opted to contact them via email at email@contactcenterngbayan.gov.ph



If you are wondering if our complaints against the government have finally stopped from falling on deaf ears, let me share with you a personal experience with the Citizen's Complaints Hotline. 

This is not the first time I had encountered problems with Philpost or the Philippine Postal Service. In 2015, a friend from the US sent me an audio CD. I paid Php 100 for "taxes" but was surprised that my parcel was actually empty. My friend told me that she is 100% sure that she was able to send them but it has simply gone into thin air just like magic. I tried to raise my concern but they said they could not answer me. 

Early last year, I signed up but with Procter and Gamble's Everyday Me program - a sampling site for the latest P&G products. I was lucky to get some samples but most of the time the samples that they send do not reach me, I contacted customer support and was told that it was shipped via our local post office and we can simply get in touch with them to follow-up. I called my local post office and said they would check. Tried this multiple times but I just got tired and never got them. I simply gave up. 

Then, last July 22. AIP sent me GCs as a reward for participating in their surveys and to my dismay. It was not delivered to me again. It was sent last July 22 and should be delivered in 1-2 weeks. After the second week of waiting, I called our local post office and asked for the status. I provided them my reference number (since this is a registered mail) but they said they have no record of it. I was advised to call again when the delivery man is in the office to check the status only to be told that they do not have a record of it. I was advised to call back again after a few days to check if this mail has been forwarded to them. After multiple calls (more than 20), I was informed that nothing was forwarded to them and I need to check with the sender or the post office where the mail was sent. 

Since my mail was from Cebu and it would be really hard to follow-up with them, I decided to ask help from Hotline 8888. 

Here is the timeline of what happened: 

10.03.16 - I sent an email to Contact Center ng Bayan asking for their help. 
10.04.16 - They acknowledged my email and gave me a reference number. 

11.10.16 - I received an email from the Cebu Central Post Office asking for more details about my complaint. 
I had a series of email exchanges with Cebu PO. I was informed that my concern will be forwarded to a different post office in Cebu where my mail was processed. Honestly, by this time, I have lost interest in my missing parcel. It was not really that valuable that I can just let it go. Though inside of me, I feel that it is our right to have decent postal service in the country. With the rising age of e-commerce, it is about time that we have a reliable and trusted postal service from the government. 

12.29.16 - I was surprised to get an email with a very long attachment. As you can see, it has been 3 months since I sent my initial complaint. I thought they have forgotten about my complaint or my concern was never forwarded to the other post office. 

But I was wrong. During these times that I did not hear from them, I am so happy to say that my/ our government is working. Here are the other things that happened:

11.14.16 - This is the last day of my email exchange with the Cebu Central Post Office and Mr. Potian immediately sent a letter to Mandaue Central Post Office regarding my concern and sent them all the information that I have provided to them. 

11.17.16 - Mandaue PO sent an email that this has been forwarded to Bacolod PO and they provided waybill number and other proof that it was indeed forwarded to my local post office. 

11.29.16 - Civil Service Commission wrote to the Acting Postal Area Director regarding my complaint to follow-up and to ask them to act on this matter and requesting for feedback in 5 days after receipt. 

12.01.16 - A report to the Department Manager for Central and Eastern Visayas regarding my complaint including the results of their investigation was submitted. 

12.28.16 - A certification was issued about the status of my lost mail which I can use once I go to Bacolod PO. I need this because for the longest time they have been telling me that no mail reached them. 

12.29.16 - I receive all these updates about my complaint. 

- case closed - 

It may take a lot of time to get a resolution but I am glad someone is acting on these complaints no matter how small or big it is. After a few days, I was notified by the sender that they got a returned mail and that they would resend my missing mail.  

Coincidence? I do not think so. I think they have to do something about my missing mail because finally, the government has stopped being blind and deaf on all of these inefficiencies and complaints from ordinary citizens. These irregularities are no longer tolerated and it is about time that we are all treated as first-class Filipinos. 

So, if you think you have issues or suggestions, don't hesitate to contact hotline 8888. They are very helpful and they are really working. 

Do you have similar stories? Please feel free to share below. :) 







Where can I apply for online jobs aside from Upwork?

If you have been following my blog, then you might be aware that one of my personal advocacies is to promote freelancing and working from home opportunities especially in areas where there are limited employment opportunities are available. This is also the same reason why we started the Negros Online Workers here in Bacolod.

Anyway, let me share with you one of the newest freelancing platforms which I really love.  


In fact, we consider this as one of the best yet unsaturated markets for online workers. 


How does it work? 

FreeeUp helps thousands of businesses from all over the world hire top talent for their business projects. As a freelancer, you can offer over 85 different skill sets at the hourly or fixed rate that you set yourself.

The most in-demand skills are as follows: 
  • Ecommerce 
  • Amazon and Shopify
  • SEO
  • Facebook Ads
  • Graphic Design
  • Video Editing
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Web Development and Design
  • Content Writing and Copywriting 
  • Accounting
  • Chatbot Creation and Management
  • Customer Service
  • Social Media Management
  • Product Sourcing and Product Listing

Here are the top 3 reasons why you should join FreeeUp as a freelancer: 

1. Above-Industry Rates - You get to find high-paying clients in FreeeUp. The platform takes pride in providing high-quality service where only the top 1% of virtual professionals are accepted. Given this promise, clients are willing to pay a premium to get top-notch service. 

2. No Service Fee - Yes, you read that right. Unlike other platforms, FreeeUp does not charge and extra 10-20% service fee. If you are wondering how do they earn if they do not charge a service fee, they bill the clients an additional amount on top the rate that you specified. In this way, it is the clients who shoulder the extra charges and not the freelancer. 

3. Excellent Support Team - The FreeeUp team is readily available to assist you should you have any concerns or questions. They are available to chat via email, skype, and WhatsApp. You can even reach out directly to the owners, Nathan and Connor if you have any concerns. 

So, the big question is ---- how to start?

1. Create a FreeeUp account via this link: http://bit.ly/FreeeupRegistration 

2. Choose "Apply as a Freelancer" and fill out the form. 

**You can also write my name, Ma. Clarice Lao, as your referrer.

3. Wait for the results of your application. If you pass the initial screening, you will be scheduled for an interview which will be conducted via Skype chat. 

Click here to view the full hiring process.

IMPORTANT TIPS WHEN APPLYING: 

1. Mention the jobs and projects that you have completed including all the certifications that you have. Be specific. 

2. Include the link to your portfolio and sample work 

So, what are you waiting for? Be part of the Top 1% of the freelancers worldwide and start growing your VA and freelancing business. Sign-up today via this link: http://bit.ly/FreeeupRegistration  

Do you have any questions, message us at www.facebook.com/mymetrolifestyle

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Why Freelancers Need to Start a Blog?


Here are TOP 4 reasons why freelancers or online workers should start a blog: 

1. INCOME - You can earn from blogging through sponsored posts, ads like Google Adsense, and affiliate marketing. 

2. INDUSTRY - It gives you a better insight into the blogging industry. From there you can be creative on what services you can offer as a Virtual Assistant. Currently, I handle reader engagement for an Australian client who's a blogger. I got accepted because I told them I also have a blog and I am familiar and knowledgeable of what they need because I personally do it for my own blog. 


3. PORTFOLIO - 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. EXPERIENCE AND PRACTICE - 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? 

Monday, August 12, 2019

The Downside of Freelancing - Are you Guilty?

I love working at home. If you have been following my blog, you may have read my story on why we took the leap from the corporate world to freelancing. However, despite the good things and perks of working at home, one cannot deny that there is also a downside to our story. 

One of the common health problems of freelancers is brought about by our sedentary life. Without the need of a daily commute, one may just jump out of his/her bed and directly to his/her workstation. Exercise may easily be neglected where walking has been very minimal.


Aside from the lack of exercise, having a regular and healthy diet has been challenging. With no fixed schedule, skipping meals then binge on snacks after the shift has been a part of many freelancers' daily routine. 

And guess what? I am 100% guilty. 

After getting sick and realizing that health is indeed wealth. One must never too busy for a healthy lifestyle. We should never forget that our body needs regular exercise and a balanced diet. After all, it takes time and commitment to stay healthy. Here are some tips on how we can have a healthier life as freelancers. 

1. Exercise for at least 10 minutes a day - Ten minutes of push-ups, squats and lunges a day can help. Consistency is very important so do it on a daily basis. 

2. Eat small meals - Instead of skipping meals, try to eat five (5) small meals divided throughout the day. 

3. Have healthier food choices - Eat more fruits and vegetables. Replace processed white bread and pasta for whole wheat bread to increase fiber intake. 

4. Get more dietary fiber daily - As recommended by the Philippine Food and Nutrition Research Institute, adults need 20-25 grams of dietary fiber daily. Since I have very limited access to fiber-rich food, we can also take dietary fiber supplements. 



So, no matter how comfortable we are at home, don't forget to choose a healthier lifestyle. 

BPI opens biggest flagship branch in Northern Metro Manila

BPI marks its 168th anniversary with the opening of its biggest flagship branch in Northern Metro Manila. 

From left, BPI COO Ramon Jocson, BPI President and CEO Cezar Consing, Head of Sales and Service Channels An-an King and Division Head for Northern Metro Manila Branches Rally Jereza. 

The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) today formally opened its biggest flagship branch in Norther Metro Manila to date—the BPI Shangrila-Shaw branch and Preferred Center in Mandaluyong City, as it marks 168 years of building a better Philippines.

The new flagship branch follows the design of BPI’s other flagship branches in Ayala Insular and Makati Stock Exchange. BPI Shangri-la Shaw showcases the most modern and innovative designs that will complement the Bank’s aim to provide trusted financial advice, and seamless and convenient client experience. “This new flagship branch, like similar ones in Metro Manila, represents how technology and brick and mortar can be combined to enhance the customer experience. Today’s Filipino customer wants and deserves more, and a modern branch like this one is one way that we can respond,” said President and CEO Cezar P. Consing. 

Shangri-la Plaza is a prime spot located in the heart of Mandaluyong and Ortigas, which is why it was chosen as the location of Northern Metro Manila’s first and biggest flagship branch. Mandaluyong and Ortigas are two of the biggest central business districts in the country. The St. Francis Shaw branch was relocated and named BPI Shangri-la Shaw when the site of the old branch was sold to Shangri-la. The branch is the first in Metro Manila to stay open seven days a week, from Mondays to Sundays. Enhanced customer experience BPI Shangri-la Shaw houses the first multi-purpose Preferred Center, a venue for client engagement activities with facilities that enhance experience and deliver convenience and value to clients. 

With this latest branch feature, BPI reinforces its commitment to enhance overall customer experience, both online and offline by providing easy access to relevant financial solutions for every Filipino. “The two-floor multi-purpose events venue located in the branch’s Preferred Center is what makes BPI Shangri-la Shaw unique compared to the other flagship branches,” said Rally Jereza, Division Head for Northern Metro Manila Branches. 

In line with its digitalization efforts, BPI also added an interactive self-service screen in the new branch. A large video wall also displays informational videos for clients. “Digitalization is about enhancing the client experience. This requires that we make the experience of our clients seamless as they move from physical branches to our digital channels, such as the mobile app and website. Our digital transformation journey allows for an omni-channel experience, with clients being able to start a transaction in one channel, and complete it in another,” explained Jereza.

As for the overall branch design, the Bank drew inspiration from the map of the Philippines. The irregularly shaped ottoman seats at the center of the room represent the Philippine archipelago. The swirling lights in the ceiling evoke images of the Philippine climate and the ever-changing winds that sweep over the country. BPI hopes to build a better Philippines by providing easy and convenient access to relevant financial and enhance the overall customer experience in both online and offline channels.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Reminders to all Online Workers and Freelancers

Some realizations about life, work, and sickness. :)



  • Do not overwork yourself. Health is wealth. The money that you worked for will just go down the drain once you get hospitalized.
  • Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep weakens your immune system. If you have a weak immune system, everything else follows.
  • Have PHILHEALTH coverage, it helps with the hospital bills. If you can get an HMO, then it's much better.
  • Inform your client, let them know your situation. They will understand. 
  • Be prompt with your tasks, make sure you don't have backlogs. So that in cases that you have a bit of "downtime," it's still manageable.
  • Lastly, build your passive income streams. Find a way to earn even if you're not really "working." There are a lot of options such as financial investments, affiliate marketing, blogging, etc.
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