A manual for raising smart kids

Posted in learning, parenting on July 29, 2014 by gohelpyourself
We have to give our kids FEET.

We have to give our kids FEET.

By Anthony O. Alcantara

Let me be clear. I am not the only one who knows something about raising smart kids. What I know may not even be the best way to do it. But I think I share this universal desire of parents to raise a smarter child.

Hence, this short manual. That German genius Goethe once said that children should get two things from their parents: roots and wings. But I say we also give them FEET. Without feet we won’t get anywhere.

It’s an acronym that I just made up, and it succinctly captures what I think will help any child become smarter. Most parents probably know this, but this acronym can help us remember.

1. Food. Without food, we die. With little food, we survive but we still become miserable. With too much food, it’s the same. The right amount and the right kinds of food will help us raise smarter kids.

Then again, most parents don’t know what kinds of food to eat. Most rely on milk formula and vitamin supplements to feed their babies and young children. They think that since milk formula already contains all the vitamins and minerals known to man, and supplements give kids another extra dose, eating right is not a big deal. They can afford to feed their children with not-so-healthy food, right?

There is really no substitute for eating more fruits and vegetables. Eating right will make kids feel good. They become healthier. Healthier children are able to learn much more efficiently and effectively. So making an effort to eat well — and even perhaps spend a small fortune on healthy food rather than supplements, formula, and junk food — is a good idea.

2.Entertainment. We have to keep our kids happy and stimulated. I know that kids rarely get bored and they find joy in simple things such as a hairpin, dried leaves, or even a dead spider. But they also need us to direct them to the right kinds of entertainment.

I think it’s best to treat any form of teaching as entertainment. For a child to learn well, he needs to be interested in what he’s learning. He needs to be entertained. Why make learning a chore?

Here you see that the burden of making learning entertaining lies on the parents. Then again, it doesn’t have to be a chore, too. Parents can actually make teaching a form of entertainment. It’s where creativity comes in.

I lumped giving kids the opportunity to socialize with other kids their age under “entertainment”, too. In order to raise smart kids, this is very important. We all know that we also learn from other people.

3. Exercise. This is essential. Kids need to be physically active to strengthen their muscles and improve their health. That is why playing outside with other kids and even with adults should be part of the regimen.

Most of us know that exercise improves blood circulation in the brain. More oxygen reaches those young neurons. Kids will be better at learning if this happens often.

Exercise also makes children feel better. They feel more energetic and alive. Those feel good hormones called endorphins make children happy. And happy children simply learn better.

4. Technology. When Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type printing in the 15th century, it resulted in a technological revolution of epic proportions. It caused an explosion of learning and knowledge never seen before.

Since that time, there are many more innovations that led to big and small revolutions in learning. And today we have tools we can use to teach young kids. We have the computer and the iPad and other computer tablets. While there are studies that show that exposing young kids to TV, iPads, and other screens can result in diminished intelligence, I believe these gadgets, if used wisely, can be effective teaching tools.

And they’re simply much more fun to use. There are amazing and effective educational apps and software available out there. And add to that the availability of high-speed connections to the internet that make it easy for many people to have access to vast resources for learning.

Of course, parents have to see which of these tools actually work when teaching their children. Not every tool works the same way with everyone.

So we really have to give our children FEET — food, entertainment, exercise, and technology. It’s a simple mnemonic for helping our children become smart.

Give them FEET.

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Down with imperialist milk companies!

Posted in parenting on August 4, 2013 by gohelpyourself

By Anthony O. Alcantara

My wife Em is training Aria to be an activist for breastfeeding.

My wife Em is training Aria to be an activist for breastfeeding.

And that includes companies who make Promil. Promil won’t make your child a genius, contrary to what advertisements say. If it did, I would be gulping Promil right now as I write this.

The sad thing here is that many Filipinos think milk formula for infants and toddlers is the best for their kids. Yes, I know these milk formula  commercials always say, “Breastmilk is still best for babies up to two years of age,” but look at the commercials and how they enumerate the nutrients contained in their products — vitamins from A to Zinc, DHA, AHA, Omega 3, Omega 6, and many more.

Now that’s like the alpha and the omega of the big book of nutrition. Who would not be convinced about giving milk formula to babies? It’s a subtle game of brainwashing.

These milk companies have only one motive: humongous profits. They earn big bucks from selling their products to third world countries like the Philippines. And why? Well, it’s where the babies are. Most people in these third world countries are often too easily persuaded because of ignorance, and probably because they are dazzled by the marketing campaigns, which are often done in collusion with doctors, too. Even poor people, who can ill afford milk formula, and educated people, who will do everything to give the best for their babies, are sadly deceived.

Fortunately, there are an increasing number of sufficiently incredulous people who are able to see through the lies and misleading information.

And many of them converged yesterday for the “Hakab Na! A Breastfeeding Mob” at the Aristocrat restaurant across Rajah Sulayman Park in Manila. It’s an event where breastfeeding moms sat down in one place and breastfed their babies. My wife Em, our toddler Aria, and I went there to show our support.

Aria has been breastfeeding for two years and 11 months now. We think breastfeeding is the best thing that we can give her.

If you want to know more about the real benefits of breastfeeding, check out this site of Jenny Ong: http://www.chroniclesofanursingmom.com/

I’m sure there are other informative and reliable sites, but you can start with that one. And if you know someone who is expecting a baby, please beg her to breastfeed. The collective future of our youth and our nation depends on having the right ideas and knowledge about breastfeeding.

Aria sings and dances before the start of the event.

Aria sings and dances before the start of the event.

As usual, Aria shouts the loudest when the event ended and everybody was clapping.

As usual, Aria shouts the loudest when the event ended and everybody was clapping.

These moms are the ambassadors of breastfeeding in the country.

These moms are the ambassadors of breastfeeding in the country. Let’s give them our support.

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Do politicians care about the BPO industry?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on May 11, 2013 by gohelpyourself

By Anthony O. Alcantara

Of course they do. They wouldn’t want to antagonize anybody at this point.

In a recent panel discussion during a general membership meeting of the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP), they shared their ideas about how to catapult the industry into greater heights of success.

Congressman Mitos Magsaysay, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, and former Councilor of Manila Greco Belgica, all senatorial candidates, displayed a supernatural ability for engaging rhetoric, humorous anecdotes, and perhaps a few intriguing ideas.

Cong. Magsaysay said the first thing to do is to build better infrastructure – better telecommunications facilities, good roads and bridges, cheap and stable electricity.

For her, since BPO companies need “a lot of land”, enticing investors to the provinces is a good idea. Everything is cheaper there – land, labor, cost of living. It certainly makes good sense if the manpower supply is adequate.

She also emphasized the need for consistency in policies. Which was a nice segue to her barb against the present administration which, she says, suffers from a poverty of consistency. For example, the abolishment of the Department of ICT, which Mitos wants to resurrect.

Unusual ideas

Greco Belgica, who, if elected, will be the youngest senator at 35, proffered some unusual ideas.

He wants to abolish the pork barrel fund. And he plans to turn this porcine source of corruption into a potentially liberating tuition fee voucher fund. Any student can get his voucher, bring it to any university in the country, and say, “I want to study here.”

Of course, passing the entrance exam is probably the hard part. Anyway, more educated students means more warm bodies for BPO companies.

Flat rate tax?

Belgica is also for a “non-interventionist” government, believing that it will encourage BPO companies to flourish. He’s proposing a flat rate tax, too. Tax breaks and tax incentives will still be there. But after five years, there will be a flat rate tax of 10 percent. No other taxes will be levied whatsoever. Indeed, Belgica, who is a pastor and businessman, made it sound so simple and elegant.

Cayetano, for his part, wants BPO companies to “go up the value chain”. He makes a comparison with manufacturing.

Decades ago, it was the US who produced original electronic products and Japan produced the copycats. But then Japan eventually came up with Sony and Sanyo. Then Taiwan used to copy Japan. Now they have Acer and Asus.

He cited animation and software engineering as part of this “moving up the value chain”. Perhaps foreign languages are next for call centers, he mused.

Preventing brain drain

No doubt, Cayetano believes in the importance of the BPO industry and its role in stopping people from leaving the country.

With statistics carefully memorized and calculated for effect, Cayetano blurted out the dismal state of education: for every 100 children who go to Grade 1, only 86 go to grade 2, and then only 23 eventually go to college, and a mere 15 percent of this number graduate with a degree.

Aside from education, he also sees the need for the revival of “Buy Filipino”. During the discussion, he showed the BPAP members his shiny, elegant, and expensive-looking shoes made in Marikina. For most of the people in attendance, they could pass for a Louis Vuitton at 20 feet away.

Raising Filipino quality

Indeed, Cayetano believes there is a need to change how Filipinos think about locally made products. Starting with shoes.

His parting message consists of a story. To paraphrase, 30 religious leaders gathered together to bring about change in their city. So they prayed and prayed and fasted and fasted. Eventually, they found their perfect candidate – righteous, incorruptible, honest, incapable of wrongdoing and stupidity.

Unfortunately, the candidate lost by 30 votes. All because the religious leaders did not vote.

For the audience, the point was understood, and they’ll remember not to pray too much. They will probably be praying, too, that these candidates will keep their word if they win.

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Bloggers are people who blog

Posted in entrepreneurship, technology, writing on July 7, 2012 by gohelpyourself

Everyone could and should have a blog. (Photo by Svilen Milev, taken from http://www.sxc.hu)

By Anthony O. Alcantara

Do you have a brain? Does it have a few functioning neurons? Can you figure out how to use a blogging website or software?

Then congratulations! You can now become a blogger. I can’t guarantee that you will become a good or popular blogger, but I’m pretty sure that you can be a blogger.

It’s that simple. If there is one thing that I learned from bloggers recently, it’s this: they are a bunch of people who can type and have something to say. At first I thought they had special abilities, like mind control and telekinesis.

Anyway, it’s now obvious that despite my few years of sporadic blogging, I still belong to the uninitiated group. When I attended the iBlog8 Summit at the University of the Philippines, I met some awesome bloggers.

Some were very young, some not so young. Some wrote about technology, some wrote about skateboards, some wrote about makeup. In my attempt to figure out what makes a successful blogger, two qualities stood out in my preliminary examination: useful content and online charisma.

Bloggers blog, writers write

Bloggers are people who blog. It’s pretty much the same way when I say that writers are people who write. Talkers are people who talk. Walkers are people who walk. It’s Aristotle who said that we are what we repeatedly do, right? That’s why I try to be careful of what I do. If I surf the web, then I become a web surfer. And if I make stupid comments on Facebook and other social networking sites, I become a stupid commenter.

Most of the time, I try my best to pretend that I’m smart. Maybe some of you know about that cartoon of Peter Steiner in the New Yorker in 1993. The caption says, “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” That cartoon is eerily prescient, considering that dogs today post status updates using their Facebook accounts. The funny thing is, people actually love it if you’re a dog.

During iBlog 8, the first blog summit I attended, I enjoyed Carlo Ople’s talk. He’s the man behind the TV5 Facebook community, which now has 1.5 million fans, and www.thenewmedia.com. His talk was titled “Unboxing the true potential of your blog”.

Sweetspot

He showed us a nice Venn diagram showing the intersection of what you love, what you’re good at, and what makes money. It’s very much similar to the messages of serial entrepreneurs Barbara Winter, Jonathan Fields, and Chris Guillebeau.

Carlo said bloggers who want to make money out of their blogs should prepare media kits that contain info about the blog, traffic, rates, etc.

One of his key messages is this: “Walang basagan ng trip.” Ople wants to make money, tons of money, from his blog and website. But some people don’t like it. “Walang basagan ng trip” is just a way of telling them to mind their own business. Fair enough.

Mark Joseph Delgado is a young and energetic man who is very much into social media campaigns. He talked about “Creating a Blog Activation Campaign” and did it by finding parallels  in the movie Hunger Games, which is based on a book by Suzanne Collins.

He had five tips: 1) Have a purpose, 2) Connect with identity, 3) Choose your weapons, 4) Create alliances, and 5) Make sure they remember you.

Relationships and networks

I’m not going to talk about the movie because I thought it was lousy. What I got from Mark’s talk is that relationships and networks are always important. And you have to find out how to build these relationships and networks using online tools. Same principles, different tools. By the way, you can check out his site at http://www.mediactiv8.com/.

Jason Acidre is another young man who is still a puzzle to me. He is an SEO (search engine optimization) expert. And he’s a professional Counterstrike gamer too! He earns money just playing a game.

He talked about “Inbound Marketing”, which, according to him, can only be successful if we “continuously build more useful content and promote like hell”. I like that, “promote like hell”. I know some people who are shameless self-promoters. And they generally get the breaks even with zero talent. That’s the reality folks. With the little talent most of us have, shameless self-promotion is a good talent to have, provided we exert a little restraint and do it with taste.

Danilo Arao, professor of UP, also gave an excellent talk. His topic was “Blogging, social media, journalism: The use, misuse and abuse of freedom of expression”. It sounded like a thesis title. Nevertheless, the talk was learned and well-researched.

“i” for intelligent

Since many bloggers in the audience didn’t have a clue about responsible blogging, he presented a “Bloggers Code of Ethics” taken from cyberjournalist.net: 1) Be honest and fair, 2) Minimize harm, 3) Be accountable.

The letter “i” in iBlog, he said, should stand for “intelligent”. And one way to be intelligent about blogging is to have the “same standards for blogging and journalism.” Some bloggers, unfortunately, remain to be more obtuse than enlightened on the matter.

Tonyo Cruz, who talked about “Social Media for Social Good”, believes that blogging can be used for helping people and for promoting causes. He cited Typhoon Ondoy in 2009, the disasters in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan in 2011, and the Arab Spring in 2011 as events that triggered the compassion and activism of bloggers.

He exhorted bloggers to be good citizens, to teach others, to do it for a better future.

Deciphering the youth

From Lloyd Salas, a teenage blogger, I learned about “Youth and Blogging: The Next Generation of Bloggers Are Here”. Well, he certainly made me realize that there are many of them out there.

Have you heard about David Guison, Lissa Kahayon, and Kimpoy Feliciano? I don’t know them, and I’m not sure if knowing them will enrich my life. Now this one maybe is a matter of age. Oh well.

Boris Joaquin, Chief Marketing Officer of All Famous Asia Integrated Marketing, revealed what PR companies are looking for in a blog. They want four things: 1) Focus, 2) Activity and Engagement, 3) Strong Readership, 4) Originality.

I have problems with the first one. I don’t want to focus on one thing on my blog. It’s boring. It’s a matter of taste, I guess, and it’s a matter of what I want to do with my blog. In any case, this blog is still an experiment, and I don’t want PR companies meddling with my blog for now.

How important is grammar?

Interestingly, Boris talked about watching your grammar and language. I’ve seen popular blogs with terrible grammar. I also once came across the blog of one intelligent actor. Quite an interesting blog, but for some reason, the blogger actor refuses to use capital letters at the beginning of sentences. It’s irritating. It isn’t cute. I stopped reading the blog after two articles.

I just find what Boris said ironic. If PR companies look for engagement and eyeballs, then why bother with grammar at all? Grammar is not a problem with the readers of some popular bloggers. I think bloggers should worry more about engagement than grammar.

And if you must know the magic numbers that PR companies are looking for, Boris suggests: 100 unique daily visitors, 10,000 viewers a month, and 10,000 to 20,000 hits a month.

Now I don’t have that many relatives. So you may want to help me out here.

There are many other speakers I haven’t included because I only attended day one of the summit. But I guess this is enough for now.

Let’s party

Let me end with an analogy for social media by David Meerman Scott, a marketing expert.

“If you follow my metaphor of the web as a city, then think of social media and the ways that people interact on blogs, forums, and social networking sites as the bars, private clubs, and cocktail parties of the city,” he said in his book The New Rules of PR and Marketing.

He goes on to say that “Viewing the web as a sprawling city where social media are the places people congregate to have fun helps us make sense of how marketers can best use the tools of social media.”

No wonder we find all sorts of people in blogs. And that’s why we stay to read their thoughts or go somewhere else.

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Death Avoidance

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2012 by gohelpyourself

Will we be there when we die? (Photo courtesy of Darren MacLean, http://www.madonionsdesign.co.uk)

By Anthony O. Alcantara

Exercising is one of the best ways I know to delay the onset of death.

That’s what I thought. It turned out that it could also quicken the process. Just after my Aikido practice recently, I felt some very strong and prolonged palpitations. I was just waiting to drop dead anytime, especially since no relaxation or visualization technique slowed down my heart.

Fortunately, I managed to get myself to a hospital while clutching my chest. I later learned it was atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes fast and chaotic heart beats.

In any case, I survived. The doctor said it’s curable, and that it can be controlled so I can go on with my usual activities. But at that time when I was at the emergency room, I thought death was so close to me. What if my heart, out of frustration and confusion, just said, “OK, I give up. I’m getting tired of this chaotic pumping. I’ll just stop, OK?”

As I lay there at the hospital, I also thought about my wife and daughter. It was my first time to be confined in a hospital. Eventually, after three hours of palpitations and a little rest, I began to read on my Kindle.

And, of all topics, I read about immortality. Immortality! There I was close to death and reading about how to live forever. It was an e-book titled Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilization by Stephen Cave, a philosopher and writer.

Cave’s thesis is this: Mankind’s quest for immortality made civilization possible. In other words, our quest for immortality is the main impetus for progress.

Cave outlines four main immortality narratives that most people follow as they go about doing their business of living. Most of us are quite familiar with them.

  1. “Staying Alive” narrative. We all dream of living forever physically. A century ago, life expectancy was at 40. Now people in developed countries can expect to reach 80. Maybe it’s just an engineering problem. Soon enough, with advancements in nutrition and biotechnology, we can evolve into a planarian flatworm, which I learned can live indefinitely under certain conditions.
  2. “Resurrection” narrative. This is the narrative supported by Christians. We all die physically, but we will also live again using the same old bodies, but much improved and imperishable.
  3. “Soul” narrative. It was first espoused by the Greeks. Plato believed in the soul, that immaterial, spiritual stuff that survives after our death. Christians came to believe in this, too, when the “Resurrection” narrative didn’t pan out as quickly as they hoped.
  4. “Legacy” narrative. This involves fame, glory, cultural artefacts, children. Think about Achilles and Alexander the Great. They sought to live forever by seeking glory and, unfortunately, much bloodshed.

But aside from these seemingly inadequate narratives, Cave has another important point to make: that there is a fifth narrative popping in and out of history. He calls it the “Wisdom” narrative. He believes it’s becoming more popular these days.

Of course, it’s his own concoction. And if I were to put a name to my own narrative, I would have called it something like that, too. That’s how to market your ideas – give it a good, even if seemingly self-serving, name.

Cave laid out a list of well-thought arguments against the four narratives. For example, even if we find the secret to remain physically alive forever, we may still get ourselves killed by a falling coconut. Our bodies would still be ugly and sickly if we rise from the dead. Not a comforting thought. The soul may lack the consciousness of the person to which it belongs. Our legacy may not have any meaning at all if we consider eternity. Most people don’t even know the names of their great grandparents.

The arguments, of course, don’t lend themselves to exhaustive explanation in a short blog post. And yet, Cave fails to consider the possibilities of human progress. There are mysteries that, with time and effort and luck, can be solved.

Take for example the brain. Recent findings about the connectome – a new scientific term that refers to the connections between the billions of neurons in the brain – can shed light on consciousness, intelligence, personality, perhaps even the soul. It opens up a new field of mysteries. And that’s only one area of unconquered intellectual terrain.

If Cave doesn’t have all the answers to the mysteries and the unknowns in our world, then dismissing all the four narratives as hogwash is not convincing at all. I know there are limits to the four narratives. For sure, some have caused unspeakable evil. But still, there is good that can emanate from them.

To illustrate the “Wisdom” narrative, let me quote from the Epic of Gilgamesh, just as Cave did in his book. This is what the barmaid told Gilgamesh, who wandered aimlessly, looking for the secret to immortality:

“The life that you seek you never will find:
when the gods created mankind,
death they dispensed to mankind,
life they kept for themselves.
 
But you, Gilgamesh, let your belly be full,
enjoy yourself always by day and by night!
make merry each day,
dance and play day and night!
 
Let your clothes be clean,
let your head be washed, may you bathe in water!
gaze on the child who holds your hand,
let your wife enjoy your repeated embrace!”
 

Cave said, “Wisdom, therefore, meant finding a way to accept and live with mortality.”

Imagine living forever. Imagine eternity right in front of you. Would you be able to act sensibly if you knew that no matter what you did, you would go on and on and on?

That’s just one thing to consider.

Like Cave, I admire the wisdom contained in some of the books of the Old Testament. My favorite is Ecclesiastes. Here’s a particular passage I like:

“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” – Ecclesiastes 9:11

I like Ecclesiastes even more than the Gospels.

Epicurus, one of my favourite Stoics and which Cave quotes in his book, also has some interesting thoughts:

“While we are, death is not; when death is come, we are not. Death is thus of no concern either to the living or to the dead. For it is not with the living, and the dead do not exist.”

Cave proposes three virtues that will help us cope with the seeming gloom of mortality: selflessness, living in the present moment or mindfulness, and gratitude.

These are all ideas we know and practice to some extent. They also blend well with the other narratives. And we don’t have to cling to one particular narrative, or even the “Wisdom” narrative, just to benefit from these virtues.

While I don’t agree with Cave about branding the four narratives as “unnecessary”, I like the research and the skilful weaving of a coherent story of this quest for immortality.

I highly recommend his book, if only to open your minds to ideas about immortality that you may not have considered before.

I believe we should all avoid death as much as possible. But not to the extent that we avoid life as well.

So here’s a big high five for life!

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Freedom at Ace Water Spa

Posted in Uncategorized on June 20, 2012 by gohelpyourself

Thumbs up for Ace Water Spa.

By Anthony O. Alcantara

To celebrate Independence Day and express our undying patriotism, we went to Ace Water Spa to get a taste of freedom.

While some people waved flags to celebrate, we made waves at the relaxing heated pools at the spa. Besides, Aria, for the past several days, has been religiously waving a small Philippine flag every morning on our bed as my wife Em and I sang the national anthem.

Aria quickly learned how to put her right hand on her belly with patriotic fervor as she sang along with us, albeit with garbled words that sounded like chanting.

But back to Ace Water Spa, if you haven’t gone there, I highly recommend that you try it. We visited the Pasig branch, which is nearer to our place in Pasay.

Now here’s what I liked about the place:

  1. The heated pools. There are seven of them. There are not too many places inManila where you can find heated pools, at least to my knowledge. The pools are so soothing and relaxing. If I were rich, I’d have a heated pool right in my bedroom.
  2. The hydro massage systems. There are 25 hydro massage systems there. I like the “hard” massages. There is one that will massage your back like a water canon. There is also a water fall for kneading your shoulders and back. Another one will massage your boobs so hard that they become so relaxed and will sag afterwards. I like the rainfall massage, too. You just lie face down and let the rain massage your back, arms and legs. You should try the different massage systems and see what you like.
  3. The medicated heated pools. There is one pool with rose extracts at 34 degrees Celsius, another pool with mint at 36 degrees, another with jasmine at 38 degrees, and one with lavender at 40 degrees. I dipped in the jasmine pool first. The heat was tolerable enough, but it took me 2 minutes to get used to the temperature and submerge my whole body. Then I tried the rose pool then the mint pool. I tried the lavender pool last. My feet immediately recoiled from the lavender pool when I tried to get in. It took me 5 minutes before I finally submerged my whole body. I felt as if my precious eggs were being hard-boiled. And speaking of eggs, there is a suggested length of time for submerging yourself in each pool. For men, it’s easy to remember – rose and mint, 3-5 minute eggs; jasmine and lavender, 1-2 minute eggs.
  4. The cold pool. After the hot pools, the cold pool provides a refreshing jolt in your body. I later learned from a friend that I should have dipped in the cold pool first before going into the very warm pools. That would have helped me tolerate the heat.

This is a view of the pool with the massage systems. I took this picture from the waiting area.

So what’s not to like at Ace Water Spa? I have three:

  1. The artificial trees and plants. They look terrible. For me, they detract from the beauty of the place. It could have been designed much better. But maybe it’s just me.
  2. The Eleven Tables restaurant there is closed on Tuesdays. I don’t know why they chose Tuesday. Obviously, we went there on a Tuesday. But why not Monday? Or Wednesday? Anyway, it was highly recommended by Our Awesome Planet.
  3. No picture-taking. I would have wanted to take before-and-after pictures inside the spa. I imagine myself vaporizing some adipose tissue after my sauna and hot steam. I also would have liked to take pictures of Aria trying to drink the pool dry.

These are just minor dislikes, though. We’ll be back. And if you’re also looking for a place to swim, have a massage, and relax, Ace Water Spa should be on your list.

For more info, just check their website http://www.acewaterspa.com.ph/ and Anton Diaz’s review at http://www.ourawesomeplanet.com/awesome/2012/04/eleven-tables-and-ace-water-spa.html

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Taxi drivers weigh in on Pacquiao-Bradley fight

Posted in miscellaneous on June 11, 2012 by gohelpyourself

By Anthony O. Alcantara

Do you want penetrating and insightful analysis of any boxing match?

Just ask taxi drivers. You’d be surprised. I confirmed this theory about boxing expertise again yesterday just after the much-awaited Manny Pacquiao – Tim Bradley fight.

Na-mafia ang laban (It was influenced by the mafia),” said one driver.

Niluto! (It was fixed!),” said another.

My survey was done just after the fight as I rode taxis from one place to another. I was out the whole day yesterday. I didn’t care about the fight. To be sure, I’m not the one getting $50 million, and the event won’t exactly make the Philippine economy jump like a gazelle.

But with the nimbleness of a gazelle, the drivers spryly explained to me why the fight was probably rigged. There was no way Pacquiao could have lost, they say.

It was all a farce, a travesty. There really was a date set for the November rematch. Manny wants the rematch because it will make him richer, millions of dollars richer. There is no one left interesting or profitable enough for Manny to fight. Floyd Mayweather is in jail, probably shadowboxing with an imaginary Manny. Bradley, by showing a mock-up ticket for a November rematch, couldn’t help keeping the “planned” rematch to himself. Bob Arum wants this rematch, too. He wants all the moola he can squeeze out of Pacquiao. Manny was unscathed. Bradley had to be brought out in a wheelchair. Manny won at least eight of the rounds. Etcetera.

It’s interesting to see how many of these views were repeated in the next day’s papers and in many other news sites. I learned all I needed to know by talking to these experts.

Of course, they may just be echoing the views of radio commentators or other people. But still, you get the same insights and views.

So the next time you want boxing insights and analysis, just hop on some taxis and talk to the drivers. You’ll get expert opinions at no cost.

Just remember to pay the fare.

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