About jamesmapaye

Employee.Cook.Baller. Cynic.Critic.Writer.Yeah.

What’s changed after more than two years

The last time I posted on this personal blog was in January 7, 2013. I recently revisited all my entries and can’t help but smile. I realized how much has changed and how some have not.

I am still a Lakers fan and they’ve still been really bad. I am also still a very big Yankees fan and was fortunate enough to get to watch a game live in Yankee stadium just a few months after I wrote my last post in 2013. Yes, I was able to fly to NYC and got to spend 1 month working in wall street. I’m still in that company, and insurance company, but I’ve since transferred to a different team and is now a team leader (so I guess I’m still loyal?). Because of that I now have the luxury to buy at least one Starbucks drink per day. There is one store where I’m there so often that a barista will just ask me what size I’ll be getting and they’ll already prepare my drink, an Americano. Yes, I’ve changed my default drink. It’s not a latte with one pack of sugar anymore. It’s an Americano with no sweetener, as black as my soul.

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Oh yeah. I still love Starbucks but the coffee scene here in the Philippines has really blown up. When I just need a quick caffeine fix, I go to Starbucks. When I want to just chill, I’d probably be in Toby’s Estate or Satchmi store.

If you recognize this picture, then you know my main blog. Hello :)

If you recognize this picture, then you know my main blog. Hello ūüôā

I’m not mad at young parents anymore, just a little irked maybe. That former colleague that got pregnant young is now an awesome mom to an awesome kid who’ll be spending her birthday next week. The Philippine government still sucks. ‘Nuff said.

I still don’t like to travel just for the sake of travelling. I’d much rather go around Metro Manila which has been booming as ever. BGC is way bigger than it was in 01/07/13! The only time I’ve been out of the Philippines was when I went to NYC and that was paid for by the company. I fully enjoyed my time there because I’m a guy who really loves staring at buildings and NYC has a lot of them!

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The Queensboro Bridge, going from Queens to Manhattan!

I had an old entry where I was ranting about my old work sacrificing quality for quantity. This seems funny and sad to me since I’m also starting to feel this in my current work but now I have to impose it being the team leader.¬†But I will not succumb to the corporate machine!

I also posted on January 06, 2013 that I planned to put up two more blogs that year. I wasn’t able to do it because I became so busy with work. I also decided not to continue my MBA studies, but mostly this was because the school was so backdated that I felt it wasn’t worth it. I mean you’ll be asked to present your case study on manila papers you’ll be taping to the board! It’s the 2010’s and they still want us to do this! How the heck will that help me in the outside world?! So yeah I got to be a team leader without needing an advanced degree, just hard work.

But back to blogs. I was, however, able to put up a food blog and post my first entry there on August 30, 2014. It’s a food blog and I post once every week. I’m glad to say that in barely a year the blog already has 7,000 views. I also established two more blogs early 2015 and are my new babies.

I don’t want to make this post any longer. It was nice revisiting this old blog.

As always, peace ūüėČ

Testing one’s Loyalty

 

734936_564930960202099_1800640581_nMy beloved Lakers, as of the date of this posting, are on a funk.

 

I just watched them go down to the Denver Nuggets (with no actual superstar, maybe Andre Iguodala) 112 to 105, at home. Even with a monster 20-20 game from Dwight.

 

But you know what, they’re still my team. No matter what happens, I’m still a Laker fan. I’d like to say that I have been since I was a kid, but no. During the 90’s I was a Bulls kid. Guess that what you call growing-up, loyalty comes in the package.

 

So does that mean that if you’re not loyal, you’re not yet grown-up? I have mo definite idea.

 

Look at the generations that came before us. People are retiring from companies they have been in since they graduated from college (or to some, since they had to work because they could not afford to attend college). Some of these people retired from that company without even becoming a supervisor. Loyalty, right there. But in one of those many network marketing (networking) sessions I have attended, one speaker brought another light to this scenario. He was a guy whose family owned one of the premiere department store/groceries here in the Philippines (think Nordstrom in the Philippine setting) and he was stating it to stress a point that we should all just leave our jobs and go into networking (yeah, right). He was alluding to their company’s recent awarding of loyalty awards to employees. There was one who had been with them for 30 years, and what did she get? Some cash and a damn watch. She spent her life serving their company, making them richer, and all they gave her for her loyalty was cash and a watch. Loyalty rewards.

 

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is the fastest growing industry in the Philippines, well according to my opinion at least (I work for a BPO company). It has helped corporations in the USA and Europe to keep themselves stable by cutting down on some expenses (particularly salaries). It has given Filipinos high consumable income (in the Philippines at least). It has also fueled the real estate boom in this country. The turnover rate for employees of these companies are also very high especially in the call centers. And it’s greatly accepted that some offer retirement benefits in as short as 10 or even 5 years. Here loyalty is not the mantra, but rather the money. I swear during the 4 years i stayed with my previous work (a local bank) people always told me that I was with that company a very long time. What loyalty?

 

I’m loyal to my sports teams. The Lakers, the Yankees, the Steelers, The Talk n’ Text Tropang texters, and the San Beda Red Lions. But what do I get from them really? Will they give me some cash and a watch? Will they give me a high salary? No, they just give me elation when they win.

 

Is loyalty just overrated nowadays? Or is it still a regal thing to do? All I know is that I’ll keep rooting for the Lakers this season and only stop if on the way to the championship they’ll get eliminated.

Peace ūüėČ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We omit level 13 in every building, should we just skip 2013 and go ahead with 2014?

 

It’s the year 2013, and if you’re reading this then congratulations! You’ve survived 12.21.12, the supposed end of days.

 

Anyone heard the radio edit of Swedish House Mafia’s Don’t You Worry Child (featuring John Martin)? With the lyrics¬†“Don’t you worry, worry child. See heaven’s got a plan for you.”,¬†yeah listening to it right now.

 

I have plenty of things planned for 2013. I plan to start two more blogs. I plan to visit relatives in a far-flung province here in the Philippines. If I don’t get a raise (or a promotion), I plan to work for another (more closer) company. Many things.

 

 

2012 has shown me just how much I have been holding back all these years. It has also humbled me countless times. 2012 has also shown me that there are a lot more places to have a good time near home, cheaper too. It has once again inculcated the importance of resting.

A lot of things is definitely uncertain this coming year (heck, guess I was expecting the world to end in 2012 and didn’t plan much for 2013) but like that song, no worries. It has all been planned ahead for me. You too. Happy new year.

 

 

 

Peace ūüėČ

Oh, yeah here in the Philippines you won’t find any building with a 13th floor. It’s either skipped (after 12 is 14) or 12A-12B. Is it 2014 already?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kids are cute, but…

 

Street Children in the PhilippinesI watched two very popular tv shows here in the Philippines, what we call “noontime variety shows”. These are It’s Showtime¬†and¬†Eat Bulaga.

 

A lot of things go on during these shows, but ultimately they address the number one reason for Filipinos to watch tv, to have fun. Various entertainment segments (dancing, singing, etc.) are what you get to see in these. Ratings war between the two biggest television networks in the Philippines (ABS-CBN and GMA) always involve these two shows. And I’m not about to rant about which I prefer or which one I detest.¬†

 

It just so happened that while I was watching these two shows, a recurring (disturbing) topic keep popping up. Young, teenage mothers who gave birth to their babies and now find themselves with no steady income to support their young family. I noticed this immediately because, well the topic sort-of pisses me off. 

 

The Philippines is a 3rd world country. There is a very small portion of the society that are the “Rich”, a slightly bigger portion called the “Middle Class”, but majority of the people are those classified as the “Poor”. This equates, primarily, to the level of income a household earns. To get a feel for this, see the Philippine government’s suggested complete meal for every Filipino family and compare it to that of the USA and you’ll get how small incomes most of the families her in our country get.¬†

 

But that’s just it. These kids (well they are still) are part of those classified in the poor section of our society have no real means (currently) on how to improve their lives. They haven’t even gone to college yet. Yes high school graduates can get jobs here, as sales front liners in the many malls, service crew for the many fast food restaurants, but these are not steady jobs. These are contractual jobs wherein contracts expire within months and they have no assurance that their contracts would be renewed. I’m not entirely heartless, I feel the hardship that these kids are going through but the fact that they did that ¬†without thinking of what would happen in the future PISSES-ME-OFF!

 

Adding to this is the fact that they now have to ask help from their parents, who already found it hard to raise them in the first place, to take care of their children! But just does not apply to those who are deemed poor. A former colleague of mine, from my previous work, posted on her Facebook that she was pregnant. Both she and her boyfriend (yes they are not yet married) both work for the same company. One of the reasons I left that company was because I found the compensation to be too low for the work they were asking from me. At the time I left that company, I was earning more than my colleague and her boyfriend was just earning more than me by a small margin (I believe my current salary now is higher than his and he has been working way before I graduated from college).

 

Both of them are excited. They don’t care because despite having relatively small salaries, their parents (especially the boy) are well-to-do. Lucky. But these two have a very rocky relationship together, with numerous splits during the course of their relationship. One can only think of what would happen when the pressure of taking-care of a kid enters into the foray ¬†with the father’s notorious “philandering” ways. Also, the help of parents can only go so far.¬†

 

Yes, having babies can be very fun. Making them sure is. But at the end of the day, who will have a hard time? The parents, yes (especially the mother), but ultimately if they have not the proper means (be it money or maturity, or worse both) then the child would have a hard life. It pisses me off because they just thought of their own pleasure and themselves thinking that they can do this, but they never thought of what their kid would have to go through growing up. More often than not, these kids get to be idiots that would just continue ¬† ¬†their parent’s stupidity.¬†

 

 

You say the government needs to make a stand to improve this, government officials themselves go about their “philandering” ways. It’s a vicious cycle but what can we do? What can we do?

 

Peace ūüėČ

(I do not own the picture).

 

 

On a related note, I googled “Street Children” and the number one suggestion was “Street Children in the Philippines”. Oh my god! Really?! It’s that bad?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You CAN’T find me in da club

I do not fully enjoy clubbing.

Oh I drink alright. Give me anything, I’ll drink it. Rum, Whiskey, Vodka, Tequila, Gin, Beer (well not so much anymore), even alcomixes straight from a bottle! But I just don’t get clubs.

I ordered one bottle of beer, a San Miguel Light (popular here sunny Philippines), and had to pay 152 pesos for the one damn bottle. This only sells at about 30 pesos a bottle in regular stores or in a grocery! For those that cannot fully appreciate it, let me convert to dollars. 30 pesos, is not even a dollar yet. 152 pesos is more-or-less $3.5. See the difference? We also bought a bottle of Jim Beam White for about 3,000 pesos ($65 dollars or more), a pitcher of Coke for about 200 pesos ($4). Jim Beam is only about 1,500 pesos, maybe less and a friggin’¬†bottle of coke is only 40 pesos.

I like to listen to music, dance, but club music. Blaring, mixed to the core. Okay, I don’t care about the music in clubs. It’s one of the things I actually do like about them.

I’m sure the interior of the bar was very beautiful, well designed. But I couldn’t really see it. It was so dark. Why do these places charge so much, when they cannot even turn half of their lights on?

And I get why people prefer to stand around, and get next to each other super close. Because aside from the booze and the music, most people go to bars to get laid. Well, to meet someone. I guess I don’t enjoy clubs much because I don’t need to find anyone anymore. I’m already happy and content.

So, what’s a guy to do when his office mates carry him to the club? Drink the booze, sit down, and watch people at play. Two girls dancing in the bar then all of a sudden this dude grinds behind one of them and they end up dancing together (reminds me of an episode of How I Met Your Mother actually, yeah remember that time Barney was grinding with this girl in a club and it turned out to be his cousin? Yeah, that was Legen… Wait for it… Dary!), a guy and girl bump into each other and they spend the whole time dancing within each other’s arms as if they were childhood sweethearts. Yeah, I was just content drinking my whiskey with soda and ice.

I enjoy drinking, but in a bar or a “watering hole” where you just drink, eat bar food, listen to music, and you virtually stay seated. That’s perfect for me.

But you know what, seeing the money that people just let fly inside them clubs, I’m actually thinking that is a lucrative business venture. Maybe I’ll own one someday. Who knows?

Again, I do not own the picture.

Peace ūüėČ

My love affair with a mermaid

 

After several months hiatus from blog, I am finally able to post a new entry in my blog. Working evenings really took a lot from me physically the first couple of months and I found myself just wanting to sleep whenever I got home. Also, I have once again rekindled my love for Starbucks coffee.

 

We have free coffee at the workplace. You can get as many as you want, need, or allowed to by your doctor. Thing is, it’s really not good and strong coffee. I get caffeine alright, but it doesn’t taste good. So one faithful day (or night to be exact) I passed by a Starbucks on my way to work. I think to myself, “Hey, why not? I work pretty hard, I deserve a treat. Plus, I need a good coffee fix.”¬†And so I find myself ordering my favorite basic espresso drink, a tall latte with 1 pack of brown sugar. I pay for the drink, wait for it at the bar, small talk with the barista, and get that steaming drink on their signature, white to go cup.

 

I take sips of my latte as I was walking to the bus stop which I would ride to Alabang and immediately feel warm and contented. I realized how much I missed that drink of steaming milk with an espresso dropped into it. I intended to take the drink all the way to work, but it was so good that I finished it in the bus, halfway to my destination. I was energized when I got to work, didn’t even approach the free coffee machine.

 

I always get crass comments from people about why I would pay a heaping amount for just coffee and milk. But to me, it’s worth it. It’s also a very comfy place, well most of them. ¬† It’s a place where you can relax after a busy day, to while away the time, a good meeting place, rekindle old-time friendships, do some reading, write. The short talk I had with the barista, I found someone who felt for me and my very long commute to work. And please, those that they say they prefer Seattle’s best (just to be different)! It’s a subsidiary of Starbucks people! It’s basically the same!

 

The Starbucks that are heaping with people, those stores I do not like. Two immediately come in mind, the one along Ayala Avenue (Security Bank building) and the one located in Smart Araneta Coliseum. The former I dislike because it is basically a venue for networking (which in my first post in this blog, I do not condone). My favorite spots are: Molito Complex (Alabang), Glorietta 5, Greenbelt 1, Dela Rosa Avenue (Makati), and Robinson’s Galleria Veranda. Especially the one in Molito, I really find that one relaxing.

 

 

Also, I’m not sure it this is only in the Philippines, every Christmas time is a good time to buy drinks from Starbucks. That because they have the limited edition planner promo. They give you a card where stickers would be, well, sticked. Each drink equals one sticker. Half are for the basic drinks (my latte included, yes), and half are for their Special “Christmas Blends”. This year¬†they are the past favorites, Toffee Nut Latte, Peppermint Mocha, and my favorite the Dark Cherry Mocha. Once the card is full of stickers, you exchange it for your planner which comes in three different colors this year namely black, white, and light green. I’m eyeing the black one. A total of 17 stickers are needed this year. Nice huh?

 

Again, people tell me, why would you buy expensive coffee just to get a planner? You can get one cheaper in a bookstore or you can use your damn blackberry! I want it, okay. I want my planner to have the Starbucks name on it, and it doesn’t emit harmful rays like my blackberry.

I’m not saying I can afford Starbucks coffee everyday. But every once in a while, to comfort myself or as a reward, is good. Sort-of. In any case, green mermaid and the coffee named after a character in Moby Dick will always hold a special place in my heart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hear you

I’m taking up graduate school, pursuing a Master’s degree in Business Administration and classes are during Saturdays.

It is a fairly large class, an average headcount of about 30 for the 3 classes. 5 of my colleagues are also (or were) my co-workers in the bank. We all compared our results in the qualifying exam (hey, they started it), wherein I got the highest mark and this irked one of them (hey, they started it, why the hate?) and she then arrogantly declared¬†“Tignan na lang natin sa school mismo”¬†(let’s just see when the actual classes begin). The malice in those words was screaming, she downplayed my (almost perfect) exam score suggesting that when classes start I shall surely fizzle.

Her words have some basis. I am not really the most productive in my former work. Another colleague actually told me “Pumapasok ka ba talaga dito, minsan kasi parang naglalaro ka lang eh” (Do you actually work here? Sometimes it seems to me you’re just playing.) I can understand where their coming from, compared to them I’ve had a fairly comfortable life. The fact is this, I was not motivated in that work (even though¬†I lasted there for four years). I guess the privilege of being a financial analyst specializing in credit risk (credit analyst) was what kept me there. The work is supposed to be stunning, you get to know information about the many blue-chip companies in the country that other people salivate to know but cannot. But the way they ask us to handle it, really got me frustrated.

Think of a factory. According to dictionary.com, a factory is “any¬†place¬†producing¬†a¬†uniform¬†product,¬†without¬†concern¬†for individuality”.¬†As the years have gone by, the concern to produce more reports to cover the increasing bank’s loan portfolio have led to the department revamping the way we made our reports. I cannot really discuss procedure here, but let’s say the changes have sacrificed quality for speed.

What do I mean by that? I asked one of the newer members of the group (she’s been there for more than a year already and can easily make reports quickly) about what she does as her job¬†to which I expected her to answer something in the range of “We interpret data necessary for us to come up with the credit risk rating which quantifies the degree of risk the bank will assume when it releases the commercial loan to the client”. She answered¬†“Gumawa ng report”¬†(To make reports). I followed by asking her for what will her report be used to which she deftly replies “Para sa office”¬†(For the office). To make reports for the office, she’s still correct really but it just shows how little of the actual importance of the job she understands. This can be traced to our lack of proper training, but still. The one that told me that I was just playing? Our boss commented on one her reports, on the part of the industry analysis about why she used some figures in US Dollars to which she spent a huge chunk of the afternoon poring over the problem when she could have simply omitted it (I read her report, it wasn’t really relevant to it) and¬†submitted¬†the final draft.

Back to graduate school. During the first day of every course, the professors explain that participation in the discussion among the class was an integral part of the learning process in MBA. It readies us not only for the eventual case analysis which is the final requirement to get the degree but also for the world after MBA where you expect a revamp of your professional life. Hearing this, I get encouraged about sharing some of my views about the presentations and discussions in the class. I am an opinionated guy (I have a blog) and I believe that my ideas may only be validated or¬†disproved if I let other people, especially professionals who understand my views, know about them. The same girl who said I shall fizzle in class chose to just discuss her ideas to her seat mate. After the professor sided with one of my ideas, saying it was the proper way to construct a statement, she then blurts out “Yun yung sinasabi ko kay Jen kanina”¬†(That was what I was telling Jen, her seat mate, earlier). Whatever woman, your seat mate won’t be the one noting your participation in class. It’s almost the same as when she lifted (read, copied) technical terms in her report once because I was known to use outlandish (well for them) terms in my reports.

Maybe, in retrospect, part of my decision to leave my former work was because of people like these. Insecure. The fact that a guy from a well to-do middle class family who had more talent and potential than them which makes the holes in their “armors” stand out rubs them the wrong way thus they need to make themselves feel that they are better than me to validate their own ego. I don’t care. I’m content to know about what I can do and what I can learn still. I am irritated or intimidated by them, I pity them. If they can make better of their lives so far then good for them, but I surely hope they can outgrow their insecurities. I have left them already, they can continue to live in their own bubble of mediocrity for as long as they like.

Peace ūüėČ