Angelhouser | A Journal By Angelica Bautista Viloria

Monday, June 25, 2007

On Saying Thank You

I don't particularly like Ralph G. Recto. I have never even voted for him. I don't know why but I have an aversion for politicians whose wives are in showbiz and are super popular.

I didn't like it when Noli de Castro said that Ralph Recto was a true statesman when he conceded defeat in the last Senatorial elections early enough. What does being a statesman have to do with admitting that you were defeated? Is it because no Filipino politician admits that he lost the election? All Filipino politicians are just cheated?

I found it ridiculous when one of the election lawyers blamed a staple wire for Recto's loss. According to the lawyer, Recto's name may not have been visible enough to voters given the way the list of official candidates was put together (and stapled) and this may have caused Recto's defeat.

Yesterday, though, Ralph Recto put out a one page ad in a major newspaper and I liked it. It was to say thank you -- to all those who had voted for him; to all those who did not vote for him; and for all those who served in the last elections, including those who risked and lost their lives. I will not ask how much the ad may have cost Recto (and where the money is coming from to pay for the ad) but I thought that the ad was a good lesson in learning to express gratitude.

Anything that life throws our way is an opportunity for learning. Good or bad -- positive or negative, it is up to the individual to make use of any experience to improve himself/herself. We must always learn to say thank you. We must try hard never to burn our bridges for we never know when we shall meet again.

So, as I have heard it said: "There is always good in the worst and bad in the best." No one is ever perfect. It is a challenge to every person then to try to see beyond what is obvious and find something meaningful and something worth being grateful for.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Taxman Leaveth

I read the following article title in today's Manila Bulletin: "Hefti takes over from Bunag at BIR." I found it kind of funny. What's in a name? Or what's in names?

First, let's talk about the actual news. Mario Bunag (pronounced as bunyag as it is actually spelled with an enye), BIR commissioner, has been replaced by Lilian Hefti as head of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Bunag was said to have been let go of by the current administration due to the dismal collection performance of the agency.

News reports, however, also state that Bunag is being used as a scapegoat for the poor revenue performance of the government. It doesn't help his case too, that he is said not to see eye to eye with Teves who heads the Department of Finance.

And I thought the Philippine economy was on a roll. Back to the names though. Bunyag, which sounds like the ex-BIR chief's last name, is a Filipino word which means "to reveal" or "to squeal." Hefti, the incoming head's name, on the other hand sounds like an English word which means huge or substantial. Nakakatawa naman. Maybe the government hopes that with Hefti at the helm of BIR, tax collections will be heftier. As for the former commissioner, will he reveal more things in the coming days?


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Unemployment Statistic

Just last weekend, it hit the papers that the Philippines' unemployment rate fell to 7.4% in April 2007, from 8.2% in April last year. The government's economic managers (of course) were quick to say that this reflects the improvement in the economy and that a lot of new jobs were created.

Who is considered "unemployed"? If I remember my economics correctly, a person is considered unemployed if he/she is not working but is actively looking for a job. Thus, if you are not working but are perfectly happy to be staying at home and are not taking any step to look for employment, then you are not unemployed. Given that definition, we could say, that I contribute to the unemployment statistic in this country today.

Every Sunday, I go over the classified ads in the Manila Bulletin, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and the Philippine Star, only to be disappointed that most of the jobs out there are for call centers, telemarketers, and online English tutors. I have sent my resume to 5 or more headhunters since last year. I am subscribed to Jobstreet.

I retired at the age of 39 and took the opportunity to rest and spend more time with my family in late 2006. I took off for a vacation with the hubby and kids in April 2007 and since May, I have slowly been sending out my resumes to prospective employers. I am not yet close to joining any company to date and so I really doubt that the job market is improving and the economy is taking off. If you wish to find out what I do (or should it be, what I used to do) and what my credentials are, you can visit my other site

Even my resume is there.

Anyway, I was sort of complaining to a friend of mine some weeks ago that some of the companies I applied with did not even respond to my application. My friend goes: "Baka overqualified ka?" (Maybe you are overqualified?)

Then she reassures me: "Ok lang yan. Hindi pa siguro time. Pag tama na ang oras, magugulat ka na lang, ibibigay na sa iyo ng Diyos." (That's just fine. It's probably not yet time. When the time is right, God will surprise you with the right job.)

I then say: "Oo nga ano, magugulat na lang ako, nandyan na yung aking P1 million a month job?" (Yes, I'll be so surprised. Out of the blue, I'll get a job which will pay me P1 million a month.)

My friend quickly retorts: "Magsho-showbiz ka?" (Will you be joining showbiz?)

I smile knowing that I shall never join showbiz. =)

Not that I could. Then again, as I wait for that perfect job (I may wait forever), I really wonder if the people in government really believe what they are saying. If the economy is doing so well and jobs are aplenty, why are more people bent on leaving this country?

I am reminded of an old Economics joke I heard way back in college in UP Diliman and which I never forgot:

Person 1: When I grow up, I want to be an economist.

Person 2: Why? So you'll be rich and have lots of money?

Person 1: No, so I'll understand why I'm poor and unemployed.

Don't get me wrong though, I may be without work but I realize that I am truly rich. =)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Teaching Kids to be Filipino

I read about Raya School in the June 10, 2007 issue of the Sunday Inquirer Magazine and I was quite happy to hear that such a school existed. I have no personal knowledge of how happy the parents or students of the school are but I thought that having a pre-school that injects Filipino culture and a sense of country into its curriculum is truly worth lauding.

The Raya School, Inc. is located at 73-A Scout Limbaga St. Quezon City. At present, they accept kids aged 3-7 who attend Nursery to Grade 1 classes. Tuition fees are quite reasonable, shown in their website to be in the vicinity of P40,000 a year.

Raya School is run by Ani Almario (of Adarna House and daughter of Virgilio Almario), CP David, Basil Wuson, and Melvin Rillo. Kids attending Raya School will be exposed to Filipino culture by way of their daily lessons, songs, and field trips.

Do you attend or do you know of anyone attending Raya School? Please share your experience with us. It is easy to be born Filipino but with all the things going around us, it may be quite difficult to feel Filipino or be genuinely happy about being Filipino. I'm glad that there is a school that trains kids to look within and appreciate their Filipino-ness. For when we are secure with what we have and where we came from, true greatness blooms. Who knows, someday, someone from Raya School may yet be the ideal Filipino leader that we are looking for.

Too bad my kids are done with pre-school. I'm done with having more kids too. If you have pre-school age children though, it wouldn't hurt to check out the Raya School. I don't know them personally but am just a 40-year old mom who is just so glad to have been born Pinoy. Should Raya School put up a school for adult Filipinos too? Just a thought.

Here is their website:

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Did the Philippine Economy Really Grow by 6.9%?

Business headlines yesterday stated that the Philippine economy grew by 6.9% in the first quarter of 2007. This, they say, is the best performance of the economy in the last 17 years. Did you or your family feel that growth? I didn't.

I'll probably believe all these economic growth stories when I find myself not trying too hard to stick to my grocery list so I can save a few pesos. When I go back to my usual "watching a movie in the movie house" habit instead of staying home and watching out for it on VCD since watching a movie now costs too much (P131 per head, at the least?). When I go back to dining out in new restaurants any time I please instead of saving such for special occasions.

Those are just the little things which affect me. What about the bigger picture? There are so many homeless people out there that it takes a Gawad Kalinga to help them build suitable houses. There are countless hungry Filipino children that it takes a Pondo ng Pinoy to pool our 25 centavos together to feed them a few meals. True, the Bible says that "the poor will always be with you" but can we really say that the Philippine economy is on a roll when there are so many poor people around?

The elections had a lot to do with consumption spending and money going around in the last few months. The strong peso these days is probably due to OFWs sending their relatives money for school opening.

Philippine government officials can rejoice, if they wish, given these numbers. What about you? Did you feel the growth personally? Do you have more money in your pocket today compared to say, six months ago? Do you lead a better, more comfortable life?