Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Aftermath...Earthquakes, Tornados and now Super Typhoon...

One thing is for sure, we will make it to the top ten list of countries that are most vulnerable to natural calamities next year. Earthquakes, Tornados, Thurderstorms and Super Typhoons which have claimed many lives have rocked the country the whole year round and that will definitely put us on that list. It is as if there is no end to these devastating events. One can only sometimes make conclusions that maybe it is no longer a safe place to live. But is that really the case? Would we allow ourselves to eventually become climate refugees or do we seriously start to learn from these experiences and adapt.

Through the centuries, countries like the Philippines have always been a haven for natural disasters. Don't forget our susceptibility to Tsunamis and Volcanic eruptions because of our proximity to the Pacific ring of fire. There are just so many natural conditions that puts as always at risk.

But come to think of it countries like the United States, the Islands in Caribbean, Taiwan, China and even in Europe, they are also susceptible to natural calamities. The question then is on how we deal which such calamities.

If only we try hard to implement the hundreds of laws we have created on environment and safety, we would be able to minimize the risk of lost to property and lives. I always believe in one thing, "never challenge the obvious".

I've been to Tacloban City several times and the only thing I can remember was water surrounded the commercial district of Tacloban. Every time I look out the window of the hotel, the sea was almost at every angle. It was a potential disaster waiting to happen. The low lying areas were just perfect conditions for disaster.

Under the law, no structures can be built within twenty meters from the edge of the sea. Unfortunately, everywhere you look, in any inhabitable place in the Philippines, this is not being followed. Same for the three meter legal easement and twenty meter buffer zone of rivers. So what do you think would happen if there is a storm or when there's heavy rains? Water will come running right into those structures and destroy everything in its path.

My grandfather used to tell me that water has its natural ways so he always never builds his hut were water used to pass. He said, "it may be dry now but when the rain comes water will pass through there, so don't expect you wouldn't be washed away." I guess he was right.

If only we can implement these laws more strictly, we would drastically minimize our loses and would be allowed to continue to live in these allowable spaces. In my opinion, the country is not too small for all of us. We still have a lot of open spaces. It its time government should look seriously into geo-hazard maps and start identify areas which has minimal susceptibility to these types of natural calamities and if ever areas are susceptible, then start implementing stricter rules on building codes and safety requirements. The vulnerability Index is a grim reminder that we live in volatile environment and that we should learn to adapt and learn from the lessons of the past.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Alibi... Nothing more but an excuse or a lie...

I don't know what is wrong with people nowadays but most always have an alibi for the things that they are supposed to do but doesn't want to do it for a reason I can never fathom. More than often they seem to be blaming their circumstances on others.

A classic line of "I work even on sundays and holidays and I don't need to follow the normal work time because my job is different." or "I'm doing this as a sacrifice". A job is a job and every job has a certain job description and a job responsibility and there are organizational rules. May I ask what's special about your job and how special are you that you're exempted from the rest?

"You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgement on someone else, for whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgement do the same thing" ~ Romans 2:1

I alway believe in taking responsibility for your actions and not blaming it on others. Simple, you're late for work because you were not up early or you were doing other unnecessary stuffs not related to work that is eating your time and then you can't come to the office on time. Don't blame it on the organization, your boss or your peers. The point is that you are late and you are the reason.

Truth of the matter is, that if you are required to report for work on an eight to five job, you can't do anything but follow the rules. If you don't like it, then be responsible enough and leave. Those are the rules and nobody is above that. I come to work early despite me having the option not too but I decided too come early and I take responsibility for that action. I will never ask the organization to praise me for that.

Another truth is working beyond the time required is always a sacrifice if the organization is not asking for it. You can only be compensated for something (overtime pay) if the organization itself is asking for it from you or is requiring you to go beyond the normal working hours. If you "volunteered", don't expect anything in return.

If you have to do something because you failed to do it before and then you have to work overtime to get the task done, then that is the same. Take responsibility for not finishing the task on time but don't take it out on the organization and the people by asking for an overtime for something you failed to finish on a given time.

I always remember the story of a friend of mine who had this very rude officemate. She does not go overtime but of course get things done always on time. One time while she was on her way out, she saw my friend was still on a meeting with his subordinates. She candidly passed by and said, "You're still not done? Very inefficient!" and then left with all of them numb-folded. Look at that, you can't blame her for finishing her job on time and for being very efficient. It may be rude but there was some truth in it and I'm sorry to say this but the truth always hurts.

Now regardless if that sacrifice is recognized on not, its was a decision you made. Nobody told you to work beyond the required time, you decided to work beyond that and you volunteered. The organizations decision to recognize that or can never in your control sphere so deal with it.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Getting Ready for IOS 7

Well it's September folks and I've been scanning the web for a clear date of when iOS 7 will be release for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. So far rumors has it, its going to be on the 10th of September. Its also rumored that Apple's September 10th event will also debut their new iPhone 5s. Something that I am looking forward to.

I hope this new iOS release (which is available starting from iPad 2 and iPhone 4) will not be a big disappointment compared to when they released IOS 6 September last year. Hey, I didn't even notice it's already a year since they released iOS 6. :-)

To all my fellow Apple fans out there (iPhone 5 and iPad owners alike), September 10, 2013 is just around the corner so keep your devices close and get ready for those updates.

iOS 7, we're waiting for you! ;-)

Sunday, May 5, 2013


I normally go for a swim after office hours three times a week minimum and usually alternate between days but for now I think I had enough of the swimming thing. I will let one week pass and then get back on the routine again.

I spent the last weekend whale watching with some friends south of Cebu and then swallow diving the next day at Shangrila Mactan. It was a worthwhile experience and I enjoyed it a lot.

The part I enjoyed the most was watching the school of small fish swimming around you and getting curious. You can literally touch them if you do slow movement. Then there was the typical clown fish going in and out of an anemone and when we got to close it was trying to ward us off as if it was trying to protect its territory or trying to protect something inside. That experience reminded me of the movie "Finding Nemo"... ;-)

I do swallow dives before but I never realized how nice it was and how much some areas have been well protected. I never imagined the beauty of watching live corals and watching schools of fish would be an awesome sight. It was like you're in a city of fish and everyone is busy getting around and doing stuffs. I should try to do this more often if time permits with friends and family. For me, it was just simply awesome...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Trade-off: Efficiency and Innovation

I forgot to tell you that the conference I attended last week which I mentioned in my previous entry in this blog was that in the afternoon there was a great debate whether there is a "trade-off" between innovation and efficiency. Before I begin, let us try to define what innovation and efficiency are.

By definition in Merriam-Webster dictionary, innovation is the introduction of something new and is synonymous to creation, invention and coinage to name a few. Efficiency on the other hand coming from the same source is the quality or degree of being efficient. There is not much there, don't you think? :-)

Now let's look at this on an organizational stand point. Innovation in my opinion is the ability of an organization to create something new, something that can affect or change an organization internally and externally. As an example, the creation of a new product like a new software application or a new service like offering text messaging services to followup on a particular document are considered as innovations.

Efficiency on the other hand in my opinion is maximizing the organizations resources and making things run smoothly. It is something measurable and is always tied to input versus output.

On the question if there is a trade-off in anyway? I say "YES". If you do innovation, then you will always risk affecting existing processes, policies and procedure to accommodate such an innovation. Over-all organizational efficiency will suffer. That is the greatest trade-off when you have innovation. Which goes to the next question on whether an organization should go for innovation. The answer depends on how ready the organization is for change. Depending on how flexible and mature an organization is for change will determine the success of an innovation being introduced. YES, we need to innovate. Innovation brings new blood, new life to an organization. If IBM remained as a company making typewriters, do you think they will still be here with the advent of new technologies available? The answer is too obvious.

In one famous case about a big industry before on ice cuting and on how none of the ice cutters eventually evolved into ice makers and eventually none of the ice maker evolved into companies that makes home freezers and refrigerators is a classic example of companies without innovation at all. Which brings me to the term organizational ambidexterity.

Organizational ambidexterity is the ability on an organization to efficiently manage change in the organization and be able to adapt to change in the business environment which affects its survival and growth. Meaning just like a person who is ambidextrous, one should be able to use the left and the right hand with the same level of efficiency. In my opinion, efficiency and innovation are both on the opposite ends of an organization's operation.

Innovation is exploratory in nature while efficiency is exploiting to the least. YES there will always be trade-offs between efficiency and innovation but if the organization is willing to take up the challenge and is ready, trade-offs can be contained or minimized. If an organization is flexible enough and is ready for the change then innovation should explored every time an opportunity comes.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Big Data and Business Intelligance

I was in an important government conference last week which was attended by key ICT Officers coming from both the National and Local Government Organization. I was one of the lead presenter to an Interactive Discussion Table (IDT) together with a former high ranking ICT Officer from the Australian Government. Our topic was on big data and the advantage of having to use Business Intelligence. Although it maybe something new to some, what most of them didn't realize was that in one way or another some have already started making some sort of analysis on information that has been collected for many years.

From simple analysis on gender and age demographics to as complex cross referencing of data across organizations related to spatial information, business analytics is slowly gaining a lot of attention lately. With budgets shrinking year on year and government service delivery exponentially growing due to an ever growing clientele which is very much tied to population by the way, business intelligence will play a key role in analyzing how to rationalize delivery of services to the public.

As a example, imagine being able to cross reference GIS information on road specification and condition to information on traffic, interactively. You will now have a new thought process on what to advise the public and on how to plan and design roads better in the future and what policies to implement and not by just simply guessing but making an intelligent decision backed by real live data. The whole concept on traffic management would be totally be different. Automated data collection coming from crowd sourcing will suddenly make sense and planning would even be more flexible and dynamic.

So going back to big data and business intelligence, of course one has to consider one very key important element here. A person who asks the right questions. Asking the right questions ultimately makes sense on why we collect such information and how we process such information. Until one person asks the right questions and see a clear direction where the organization is going and why, we could be collection petabytes and yottabytes of information with it ending in storage facilities inside the organization or on a cloud facility somewhere and not make sense at all. Well for one, the vendors would love that because the more you collect and store information the more money for them. I'm seeing business intelligence will be one hot topic that will come out from time to time and getting into the mainstream of our country's governance and will be here to stay...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Google Glass

I guess most of you wonder what this is all about but I sure most of you have already started seeing the video clips of a new thing called google glass.

I hope this product is as good as the video as in the real world. It seems too science fiction to me at the first. In my opinion this has a potential but its always very amazing how one company can do product hype.

For those who haven't seen the video here it is:

Voice recognition they say is the next thing and they have been doing this for quite some time now. Today most smart phones already made this as a standard feature. But so far in my opinion voice recognition still has a long way to go.

I mean, I tried Siri on my new iPhone 5 but it's decades away from being perfect compared to what was advertised on TV. It still has a difficulty recognizing voice commands and most of the time annoys me to a point the I would rather use search myself.

I hope this google glass would be different or this would be another very big disappointment. Will try to get one and try it myself soon and give you guys some product feedback.

Thats all for now. Until next time... ;-)

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Six months into this current assignment is turning out to be one of the best so far and I would say not bad at all. I guess maybe I'm just this lucky I get the best assignments which I believe are difficult but very rewarding because it gives me a lot of opportunities for growth because of the new challenges and learnings. ;-)

I also earned new and better friends in the process and in the company of the old friends, I always get positive remarks and words of encouragement. New learnings, new channels, new opportunities. Despite my rigid personally, this is an eye-opener for me.

Time flies so fast and it is as if I was just reassigned recently to the center. I believe I have accomplished so much and have learned a lot about children and how to deal with them.

Yesterday, I learned humility and patience in handling one of the kids. He was having tantrums because he was being labeled by one of the kids. His violent nature surprised me a lot. It was as if he was ready to kill the other kid. With one swift and tight hug, I was abe to comfort him. He felt my love and I felt the connection between him and me and he calmed down realizing I was just there to care and love him. We had a long chat and I let him play my cellphone. A few minutes after, I called the other kid and told him to apologize and they we friends again. That was something priceless and that experience showed a lot.

These are just some of the few experiences that I have and that we as parents, biological or not, have the moral responsibility to love, care and understand their needs. It is our moral obligation not hurt them but to show them our love. And for the first time, I realized and was convinced that corporal punishment is totally wrong. We need to understand their needs, their wants, their challenges. We need to be patient and get pass through our biases and look into their hearts. We need to care more.

Love is simply not just a feeling but it is also a decision and I chose and decided to love these kids like they were my own. Let us end the cycle of violence and let us start with them, our future.