The Five Best Christmas Gifts

best Christmas giftsAs we con­tin­ue to busy our­selves with shop­ping for the best presents, it’s inevitable to lose sight of the best Christ­mas gifts. They may be free,  can­not be wrapped and put under the tree, but they are more pre­cious and are guar­an­teed to be much more appreciated.

Top 1: Patience

How many times have we lost our patience with the ones we love over lit­tle things? It’s inter­est­ing how we react vehe­ment­ly to sto­ries of peo­ple who have lost their patience, but how many times have we respond­ed sim­i­lar­ly to even lit­tler things? How many times have we raised our voice at our fam­i­ly because things weren’t going our way? This hol­i­day sea­son, try to be more patient. Things can still go your way if you wait or ask nicely.

Top 2: Time

best Christmas giftsIt’s easy to be caught up in the bus­tle of the fes­tiv­i­ties and end-of-year work projects, but make sure to spend time with the peo­ple who tru­ly mat­ter to you. I’m not talk­ing about par­ty­ing and get­ting drunk, I’m talk­ing about a time to talk and lis­ten. (Get­ting drunk or eat­ing a lot are just a bonus.) If you can, meet up for a meal or cof­fee, or if gazil­lion miles stand between you and your loved ones, you always have tech­nol­o­gy to rely on.

Top 3: Understanding

Now if friends or fam­i­ly bail out on you last minute and say that they can’t meet up with you this sil­ly sea­son, relax — there’s no dead­line for this. You can still meet up in the new year. Los­ing your tem­per and burn­ing bridges over issues this like is an effec­tive way to make the sea­son less merrier.

Top 4: Charity

best Christmas giftsExchang­ing gifts with peo­ple we love is mar­vel­lous, but let’s not for­get the less for­tu­nate ones who deserve to expe­ri­ence the joy of Christ­mas, too. Give to char­i­ta­ble insti­tu­tions, join or organ­ise one Christ­mas out­reach pro­gram your­self, vis­it the sick, elder­ly or orphans and remem­ber them in your prayers.

Top 5: Something healthy

best Christmas giftsAlas, we have once again found an excuse to eat (every­thing) and drink (every­thing) to our heart’s con­tent, so some form of healthy present will cer­tain­ly be cher­ished. Your gift this Christ­mas will be the lead your loved ones need to get back on the well­ness horse with ease.

best Christmas giftHope this list helps. You can­not wrap most of what’s on this list, but these are far more impor­tant than any of the presents you can pur­chase in the shops. Hope you’re hav­ing the mer­ri­est of Christ­mases! Cheers!

Top 5 reasons why I love hanging out at airports

hanging out at airportsMany peo­ple arrive at the air­port just to give them­selves enough time to check in and get to their gate with­out giv­ing them­selves a heart attack and caus­ing any has­sle to the rest of the pas­sen­gers. I, on the oth­er hand, arrive at air­ports with over 2 hours to spare, not only because I’m para­noid that some­thing might go wrong. I just love hang­ing out at air­ports! Below are my top 5 reasons:

Top 1: I love watch­ing aero­planes take off and land.

There is some­thing com­fort­ing about watch­ing planes take off and land. They’re such mas­sive vehi­cles that it nev­er ceas­es to amaze me that they can move with so much grace. Of course, it helps that I can’t hear the engines roar­ing in the back­ground — that would def­i­nite­ly spoil the grace­ful­ness I can see!

hanging out at airportsTop 2: I love watching the behind-the-scenes.

Sit­ting just out­side the board­ing gates usu­al­ly pro­vide me with first-class seats to all the behind-the-scenes at the air­port. Watch­ing every inch of the plane checked, the load­ing and unload­ing of suit­cas­es, pilots get­ting on the plane and press­ing some but­tons, and hav­ing the plane ush­ered into posi­tion are extreme­ly entertaining.

Top 3: Window-shopping to the max.

I don’t shop a lot because I just don’t, but win­dow-shop­ping is extra fun at air­ports. At nicer air­ports, you get a mix of the shops for the rich and the not-so-rich. Inter­est­ing finds are not a rar­i­ty either. If I find some­thing extreme­ly rare and I think I’d lose sleep for not buy­ing it, then I give in and strike out the ‘win­dow’ in window-shopping.

hanging out at airportsTop 4: I enjoy having my warm chai latte while reading a good book or immersing myself on my phone.

I live a life that doesn’t allow me a lot of time to just get into the groove of read­ing a book or immers­ing myself on my phone. When you’re at the air­port, you can only do so much — yay! This means I can for­get about work and just indulge myself in the sim­ple joys of read­ing or surf­ing while sip­ping my warm drink.

Top 5: I like people-watching.

Peo­ple have dif­fer­ent rea­sons for leav­ing a coun­try, which are list­ed on the depar­ture card or arrival card you have to fill out. When I’m in the mood, and I have that much time to kill, I watch peo­ple and come up with sto­ries as to why they’re leav­ing. The emo­tions are so vari­able and real, and the sto­ries are so mov­ing and thought-pro­vok­ing that I’d love to come up with a TV series about peo­ple at the airport.

The next time you leave a coun­try, go to the air­port a bit ear­li­er than usu­al and try to see things from my point of view. Maybe after doing this, you’ll become a con­vert and start hang­ing out at air­ports like me.

Top 5 unspoken etiquette rules

unspoken etiquette rulesThere are things peo­ple do that are rude and unrea­son­able. The prob­lem is, there are no laws, poli­cies or rules of eti­quette that pro­tect us from being sub­ject­ed to any of these. Here are the top 5 unspo­ken eti­quette rules every­one should know and respect.

unspoken etiquette rulesTop 1: When you get on the lift, face the door and keep it down.

It’s tempt­ing to car­ry on hap­pi­ly chat­ting with your friends on the lift, but doing so would be at the expense of oth­er peo­ple. When you get on a lift, stop talk­ing about some­thing exces­sive­ly fun­ny or if you need to con­tin­ue talk­ing (you real­ly don’t!), do so in real­ly hush tones. Not every­one may get the joke, let alone wants to hear one.

Top 2: Don’t use your mobile phone on public transport.

Peo­ple on a train, bus, fer­ry or tram are usu­al­ly busy play­ing, read­ing emails, mes­sag­ing or Face­book­ing on their phones or doing some­one pro­duc­tive. They don’t want to be drawn into anoth­er person’s phone con­ver­sa­tions, so it’s best to respect this. Some­times it’s inevitable to use your phone on pub­lic trans­port (sure!) but if you must, try to keep your con­ver­sa­tions short and less both­er­some. For more mobile phone eti­quette rules for com­muters, read this.

Top 3: Skip a step on the escalator.

unspoken etiquette rules

I see no signs that pro­mote this, but come on! No one wants to kiss anoth­er person’s arse or have their arse kissed by a com­plete stranger, so back off. If you, how­ev­er, find your­self too close for com­fort because some­one took a step back to respect the skip-a-step rule, you can either take a step back as well or just move to the side and walk up or down the esca­la­tor, depend­ing on its direction.

Top 4: Don’t smoke while walking.unspoken etiquette rules

One of my hat­est com­bi­na­tions is smok­ing and walk­ing. I’m not going to give a writ­ten lec­ture on how bad smok­ing is to one’s health. How­ev­er, keep your bad air to your­self. Walk­ing while smok­ing spreads the pol­lut­ing agents and affects the poor peo­ple around. If you’re in a rush, tough luck — plan your day bet­ter, so you don’t have to smoke and walk at the same time.

Top 5: Don’t sing-along to the song you’re listening to on your headphones.

unspoken etiquette rulesEven if you’re blessed with a fan­tas­tic voice, please don’t sing-along loud­ly to the song you’re lis­ten­ing to on your head­phones. First, we can’t hear the music. Sec­ond, you can’t hear your­self so it’s like­ly that you’re out of tune. There is a time and place for every­thing — if you must, sing when every­one can hear the music and not in pub­lic unless it’s karaoke or you were paid or asked to do so.

There may nev­er be rules or poli­cies draft­ed for my rants list­ed above, and I’m pret­ty sure there are more incon­sid­er­ate actions done by oth­er peo­ple due to igno­rance or plain rude­ness. I think if we just stopped to think and care more, many peo­ple like me will stop hop­ing that there would be laws to address the top 5 unspo­ken eti­quette rules.

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Top 5 reasons why having idle time isn’t always great

Many peo­ple talk and dream about tak­ing a Sab­bat­i­cal and imag­ine them­selves marooned on an island with noth­ing to do. That was prob­a­bly a bit over the top, but many peo­ple just wish they had noth­ing to do and they’re more than hap­py to do noth­ing for extend­ed peri­ods of time. Now, the idea on paper sounds great, but idle time in the wrong hands can be very destruc­tive. Below are five rea­sons why hav­ing idle time is not always ideal.

idle timeTop 1: Some peo­ple with idle time over­think things.

When you have a lot of time in your hands, it’s dif­fi­cult to take things at face val­ue. Why? Because you have time to think and rethink to the point of over­think­ing what just hap­pened or what was said. Let the words and the sit­u­a­tion go, my friend. If you have any con­cerns, instead of over­think­ing, get to the bot­tom of things by asking.

Top 2: Some peo­ple with idle time wor­ry excessively.

Over­think­ing and over­analysing are worry’s best bud­dies. Time spent on the for­mer will, lat­er on, be ded­i­cat­ed to wor­ry­ing. Idle minds, as they say, are the devil’s play­ground, so stop wor­ry­ing about every­thing. Wor­ry­ing is one of the most unpro­duc­tive activ­i­ties. Instead of wor­ry­ing, do something.

Top 3: Some peo­ple with idle time gos­sip a lot.

idle timeStop talk­ing about peo­ple neg­a­tive­ly. I under­stand that peo­ple in the lime­light are almost egging you on to talk about them, so I get it that peo­ple can’t stop gos­sip­ing about Trump or Brad Pitt. How­ev­er, if you have a beef with a friend or fam­i­ly mem­ber, polite­ly talk to that per­son. The prob­lem with gos­sip­ing is you invite anoth­er demon to feed more neg­a­tiv­i­ty into your thoughts.

Top 4: Some peo­ple with idle time com­pare them­selves with oth­er people.

When you gos­sip about oth­er peo­ple, you end up com­par­ing your­self to oth­ers. This harm­ful activ­i­ty will not result in any­thing good because your con­clu­sion might be that you’re bet­ter than them or they’re bet­ter than you. The point is there’s no point in doing this! Do some­thing more constructive!

Idle time in the wrong hands can be very destructive.

Top 5: Some peo­ple with idle time enjoy it too much that they become content.

I’m not sug­gest­ing you climb the Himalayas or go snor­kel­ing in the Pacif­ic Ocean — just do some­thing. Watch free TV, read, reflect, lis­ten to music and sing along, play games, go for a walk, jog or run, eat out, dance, write a card, binge-watch TV series, trav­el, gar­den, make friends, write your thoughts, clean and tidy up, pray, cook, bake, sew, see a movie, get into cal­lig­ra­phy, play an instru­ment, paint, plan your next trip, etc. There are a hun­dred things you’re bet­ter off doing than doing any of the top 4.

idle timeEnjoy your idle time as not every­one has this lux­u­ry. The goal is to find at least one or two things to do every day, so at the end of each day you feel more pos­i­tive about life and sleep with a smile on your face and in your heart.

Top 5 signs you’re addicted to your mobile phone

addicted to your mobile phoneIt’s com­mon and sen­si­ble to own a smart­phone nowa­days as it is very much inte­gral to our way of life. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, with the func­tions and attrac­tions it pro­vides us, it’s easy to fall into the trap of addic­tion. If you’re not sure if you’re one of these peo­ple, check out the list to con­firm if you’re addict­ed to your mobile phone.

Top 1 sign you’re addicted to your mobile phone: You accidentally leave your phone at home, so you can’t concentrate at work or school.

How many times has this hap­pened to you? You know exact­ly where your phone is so there’s no rea­son to wor­ry, but still, you can’t con­cen­trate. You can’t help but think that maybe a hun­dred and one peo­ple are try­ing to con­tact you and you can’t wait to final­ly get your phone back. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, some­times, you get home to find that no one has sent you a text or phoned you. So, relax!

Top 2 sign you’re addicted to your mobile phone: When you want to know something — whatever it is, you automatically look it up on your phone.
addicted to your mobile phone

You are extreme­ly depen­dent on your mobile phone. It is your cam­era, mp3 play­er, news­pa­per, pri­ma­ry means to con­tact the world, favourite game, cal­en­dar, list of things to do, TV, inter­net, map, and so much more. For you, your mobile phone is the most reli­able gad­get in the world, and you can’t imag­ine life with­out it.

Top 3 sign you’re addicted to your mobile phone: You constantly check your phone for updates or notifications.

Your fin­ger just can’t stop touch­ing your smart­phone to check for updates or noti­fi­ca­tions. The moment you see one, even if you’re in the mid­dle of some­thing impor­tant or your hav­ing lunch with your friends or fam­i­ly, your hands will car­ry on click­ing until you see or read the com­plete post or message.

Top 4 sign you’re addicted to your mobile phone: You have a headache, and yet you still read articles, look at photos and watch videos on your phone.
addicted to your mobile phone

Your eyes are telling you that you’ve had enough screen time for the day, which may have been caused by exces­sive com­put­er use or TV view­ing, but still, you can’t put your phone away. You asso­ciate using your phone to some­thing relax­ing, so even if its bright­ness isn’t help­ing your eyes and head to recov­er, you’re still on your phone.

Top 5 sign you’re addicted to your mobile phone: When you need to take note of something, you either add a note on your phone, take a photo of the words, or leave a voice reminder by recording your voice.

addicted to your mobile phoneYou think writ­ing is so passé now. When you are shown some infor­ma­tion you need to take note, you add a note on your phone. If the infor­ma­tion has over five words, you take a pho­to of it. If you need to remind your­self to do some­thing and adding a note would take over 3 min­utes, you would rather record your voice and lis­ten to it after.

If you got at least 3 of the five signs, you are addict­ed to your mobile phone — and I bet you know it. 🙂

Top 5 things to bring overseas if you’re emigrating

bring overseas if emigratingYou have at least a 30-kg bag­gage allowance, and although all your friends and fam­i­ly would like you to take some­thing that will remind you of your life in your home coun­try, you need to be prac­ti­cal and not take every­thing with you. The key thing to remem­ber is you may be emi­grat­ing, but this doesn’t mean you’ll nev­er come back. Plus, with tech­nol­o­gy as your best friend, there’s no rea­son why you can’t con­stant­ly be in touch with your friends and fam­i­ly. Here are the top 5 things to bring over­seas if you’re emigrating.

Top 1 thing to bring overseas if you’re emigrating: Identity documents plus evidence of qualifications, certificates and training

Aside from your pass­port which you will need at the air­port, make sure you have orig­i­nal copies of all your oth­er iden­ti­ty doc­u­ments, and evi­dence of qual­i­fi­ca­tions, cer­tifi­cates and tran­scripts, as well as tran­scripts. Scan all of them and keep them on your lap­top. Save these doc­u­ments as PDF files, not as JPEGs as the for­mer is eas­i­er to open from any computer.

Top 2 thing to bring overseas if you’re emigrating: Suitable clothes and shoes for every season

bring overseas if emigratingThe quan­ti­ty of cloth­ing isn’t all that’s rel­e­vant due to the chang­ing sea­sons. Make sure that you have the appro­pri­ate kinds of clothes that will help you sur­vive the cold win­ters and hot sum­mers. I packed some clothes, but they weren’t the right ones. Even when I wore lay­ers of clothes in win­ter, I still felt cold to the bone. If I had invest­ed in a good coat and ther­mals before mov­ing to Aus­tralia, I would not have suf­fered as much. It’s the same for shoes and acces­sories. I don’t care much for fash­ion, but feel­ing com­fort­able in every sea­son is some­thing I value.

Top 3 thing to bring overseas if you’re emigrating: Mobile phone and laptop

If you have a spare phone, take it with you so can use it for your Aussie SIM and you can still main­tain your Fil­ipino line for a month or so. Even­tu­al­ly, you’ll give up your Fil­ipino SIM and just use Skype or Face­time to con­tact your fam­i­ly. If you have a lap­top, bring it with you because many things are done online in Aus­tralia, for exam­ple, apply­ing for some jobs, keep­ing in touch with employ­ers, apply­ing for police checks, pay­ing for toll fees, trans­fer­ring mon­ey, pay­ing bills, etc. Just a gen­tle reminder: Don’t for­get the pow­er cable and charg­er of these gadgets.

Top 4 thing to bring overseas if you’re emigrating: Something that will help you get over homesickness

bring if you're emigratingYou can go through a chal­leng­ing first few months. Some peo­ple get home­sick as soon as their plane lands, oth­ers enjoy the new­ness of the expe­ri­ence before get­ting lone­ly, while oth­ers just man­age to plod on with­out extreme­ly miss­ing any­thing from their home­land. To play it safe, bring some­thing that might help you com­bat home­sick­ness. You can bring some pho­tos, some Fil­ipino music saved on your lap­top or phone, some ted­dies and if you fan­cy cook­ing, some Fil­ipino mix­es so you can cook sini­gang, pal­abok and caldereta.

Top 5 thing to bring overseas if you’re emigraing: Credit card and some cash

Make sure to bring a cred­it card that has a VISA or Mas­ter­card logo on it, just in case you run out of cash and you haven’t received your Aus­tralian deb­it or cred­it card. Please note: Bring only some cash. There is a max­i­mum lim­it of AUD$10,000 that you can bring into Aus­tralia. Oth­er­wise, you’ll have to declare it. More­over, I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s not safe to car­ry that much mon­ey in your trav­el­ing bags.

bring overseas if emigratingWhen I moved to Aus­tralia, I unfor­tu­nate­ly brought more than these top 5 things — I had a pil­low, bed­sheets and pil­low­cas­es, a saucepan and skil­let, cut­lery, two plates, a glass, heaps of cos­met­ics and toi­letries, books, etc. Don’t make the same mis­take. Pack wise­ly and enjoy the adventure!

Top 5 reasons why you should complain

I don’t com­plain when I’m in the wrong. I only com­plain when I know I’m in the right or if I feel anoth­er per­son was treat­ed badly.

ComplainI com­plain. I’m a squeaky wheel, and I usu­al­ly get the grease. I com­plain about the ser­vice I’m giv­en and what oth­ers are giv­en. I take some time out to write a respect­ful email to the com­pa­ny or even the CEO if there’s a need to esca­late the issue. I’ve com­plained to two air­lines, a cou­ple of med­ical prac­tices, a cof­fee shop and a drug­store. My suc­cess rate is quite high. I’ve received favourable results and perks on most occasions.

Top 1 reason why you should complain: You might get your way.


Get­ting your way is the best result you can ever get. Just recent­ly I com­plained about the inflex­i­bil­i­ty and unfair­ness of a famous trav­el agency. It was a strug­gle, and I didn’t think I’d win, but after a few exchanges of emails and copy­ing in the CEO, I final­ly got my way. Oooh! There’s noth­ing like win­ning a bat­tle against a giant company.

Top 2 reason why you should complain: You can help a company improve their service.Complain

Com­pa­nies need to get feed­back from cus­tomers to improve their ser­vice. Being tol­er­ant all the time doesn’t help the com­pa­ny at all. They need to know that they’ve done some­thing wrong and how it’s affect­ed you. Think of it this way — some­times, you need to tell peo­ple that you’re offend­ed by what they’ve done for them to apol­o­gise and make it up to you. If you keep mum about it, they’ll think everything’s okay. As they say, igno­rance is bliss.

Top 3 reason why you should complain: You can help other people.

When you com­plain, you may be com­plain­ing for the many hun­dreds of indi­vid­u­als who are in the same unfor­tu­nate sit­u­a­tion as you but haven’t done any­thing. Their lack of action may be because they’re too busy, too polite, too lazy or not as assertive as you. Con­se­quent­ly, your win is a win for many peo­ple as well.

Top 4 reason why you should complain: You can protect other people who might get hurt.


Think of the future. If it’s hap­pened to you, there’s a huge chance it can hap­pen to some­one else in the future. Think of a para­sol that near­ly hit you because the cafe staff didn’t plant it secure­ly on the ground. If you say some­thing about it, the staff might find a way to fix the prob­lem. If you don’t say some­thing about it, some­one might get injured when the next gust of wind comes.

Top 5 reason why you should complain: You can get some perks.

complainTo be hon­est, I get sat­is­fac­tion from know­ing that some­one from a big com­pa­ny lis­tened to me and solved my prob­lem. If they throw in some perks, e.g. dis­counts, gift cards or some free­bies, who am I to complain?

Com­plain­ing should not be just seen as an act of inso­lence that’s done just to cause dis­rup­tion and has­sle cus­tomer ser­vice peo­ple. With the best inten­tions and if done with cour­tesy, a com­plaint can be trans­for­ma­tive — not only for the com­plainant but also for the com­pa­ny and cus­tomers as well. So, yes, it’s more than okay to complain.

Top 5 Confusing Filipino-English phrases

Confusing Filipino-English phrasesYou’ve moved to Aus­tralia and you’re thank­ful that Eng­lish is your sec­ond lan­guage or your oth­er first lan­guage. You, how­ev­er, have noticed that there are some words that, even if they’re in Eng­lish, aren’t under­stood by native Eng­lish speak­ers. (I used to say ‘open line’ until I found out that it’s not a term used in Aus­tralia. Ha!) Read the list of con­fus­ing Fil­ipino-Eng­lish phras­es that Aussies may not under­stand, so you’ll know what I’m talk­ing about.

Confusing Filipino-English phrasesTop 1 Confusing Filipino-English phrase: Comfort room, more specifically C.R.

In oth­er coun­tries, a com­fort room or C.R. is called pub­lic toi­let, restroom, bath­room, or wash­room. If you say ‘C.R.’, there’s a 1% chance Aussies will under­stand you. You have a bet­ter chance of get­ting direc­tions to the near­est toi­lets if you say ‘com­fort room’.

Top 2 Confusing Filipino-English phrase: Open the light or open the computer

Instead of ‘open’, say ‘turn on’ or ‘switch on’ the light or the com­put­er. I under­stand that the con­fu­sion stems from the trans­la­tion into Taga­log or Fil­ipino of ‘turn on’, ‘switch on’ and ‘open’ which is ‘bukas’. Because ‘open’ is a more com­mon word, it’s so easy for us Fil­ipinos to make the mis­take of say­ing ‘open’ even if we mean ‘turn on’ or ‘switch on’. If you say ‘open the light or com­put­er’, you’ll be under­stood any­where in the world, but it’s best to use the cor­rect verb phrase to be a bet­ter communicator.

Confusing Filipino-English phrasesTop 3 Confusing Filipino-English phrase: Open line

I remem­ber going to a mobile phone and acces­sories shop telling a sales assis­tant I’d like to get an ‘open line’ phone, so I can change telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions ser­vice providers and not wor­ry. I’ll nev­er for­get the look of con­fu­sion on the poor guy’s face. Thank­ful­ly, my friend man­aged to deci­pher the code and feed me the cor­rect ter­mi­nol­o­gy — unlocked phone. Haha! She said the guy prob­a­bly thought I want­ed help set­ting up a phone dat­ing account.

Top 4 Confusing Filipino-English phrase: Copy furnish

Copy fur­nish sounds so pro­fes­sion­al but archa­ic. Aussies will under­stand you, but you’ll be noticed in a way that peo­ple who come in with a portable CD play­er get noticed. Instead of say­ing ‘copy fur­nish me’, say ‘car­bon copy or CC me’ or ‘copy me in’.

Confusing Filipino-English phrasesTop 5 Confusing Filipino-English phrase: State of calamity

Accord­ing to The Lawyers Post, a State of Calami­ty is defined under Sec­tion 3 of RA 10121, known as the “Philip­pine Dis­as­ter Risk Reduc­tion and Man­age­ment Act of 2010,” as “a con­di­tion involv­ing mass casu­al­ty and/or major dam­ages to prop­er­ty, dis­rup­tion of means of liveli­hoods, roads and nor­mal way of life of peo­ple in the affect­ed areas as a result of the occur­rence of nat­ur­al or human-induced haz­ard.” Only Fil­ipinos use this term, so don’t be sur­prised if Aussies give you a ques­tion­ing look if this term slips out. The rest of the world refers to a state of a coun­try after being struck by a nat­ur­al or human-trig­gered dis­as­ter as a state of emer­gency, no mat­ter how extreme­ly calami­tous it is.

The longer you live in Aus­tralia or any coun­try with Eng­lish as its native lan­guage, the bet­ter you’ll be at pick­ing up real world Eng­lish, and this will help you avoid using Eng­lish terms that are only under­stood by Fil­ipinos. I hope this list of con­fus­ing Fil­ipino-Eng­lish phras­es will help you adapt quick­er in the Land Down Under. Oi! Oi!


If you know a con­fus­ing Fil­ipino-Eng­lish term sim­i­lar to the words above, please share it here. Thanks! 🙂

Top 5 Small Talk Topics

small talkIt’s Mon­day again, and there’s a chance you’ll bump into your boss on your way to work, share a lift with him or her, or queue up to buy cof­fee along­side him or her. If you’re friends with your boss, it isn’t prob­lem. How­ev­er, if your rela­tion­ship with your boss is one that’s extreme­ly hier­ar­chi­cal, the thought of being with­in a metre from him or her is extreme­ly uncom­fort­able and daunt­ing. The key is to go to work loaded with small talk topics.

Small talk topic 1: Weekend activities

small talkAfter the usu­al pleas­antries, you can launch the ques­tion “How was your week­end?”. Make sure you have an answer to this your­self because if your boss isn’t in the mood to share about his or her week­end, then you’ll have to do most of the talk­ing. Remem­ber that the week­end activ­i­ties don’t need to be excit­ing or inter­est­ing. As long as you can remem­ber what you did and hope­ful­ly be able to cite a high­light, you should be okay.

Small talk topic 2: Weather

It’s great if you live in Mel­bourne as this is a fan­tas­tic talk­ing point in this city. Don’t wor­ry, though, as talk­ing about the weath­er is a sav­ing top­ic any­where in the world. Hot, cold, just right, cool, warm, change­able, freez­ing, windy, snow­ing, rain­ing, name it. You can talk about the cur­rent weath­er, the weath­er over the week­end and the effects on your life, or the weath­er forecast.

Small talk topic 3: Traffic
small talk

In a city where the flow of traf­fic affects people’s lives, this can be a good top­ic for small talk. You can also talk about road­works, acci­dents, or track works as this can affect the increase in vehi­cles on the roads, too.

Small talk topic 4: Children

If you’re ready to share a bit of your life, you can talk about your chil­dren. This works extreme­ly well if your boss has a child as well. A bit of infor­ma­tion from your end can be used a spring­board to push your boss to talk about his or her kids. With a bit of encour­age­ment, all you’ll need to do is ask what, where, when, why, who and why in response to every bit of sto­ry, and you’re off the hook.

small talkSmall talk top­ic 5: Pets

If your boss has a pet, ask about it. You can steer the con­ver­sa­tion to this sub­ject by men­tion­ing about your pet, a friend’s pet or an imag­i­nary pet. If your boss is a pri­vate per­son and not every­one knows about his or her pet, don’t just men­tion it out of the blue as this might creep him or her out.

Take a deep breath. There’s only a 50% chance you’ll be in this awk­ward sit­u­a­tion with your boss, and if ever the oth­er 50% emerged vic­to­ri­ous, with these five small talk top­ics up your sleeve, you’ll be alright.

Top 5 things I miss about the Philippines

I’ve lived in Aus­tralia for eight years now, and I’ve got used to the dai­ly grind. How­ev­er, there are still moments when I’m remind­ed of what I’m miss­ing for emi­grat­ing to the Land Down Under. Here are my top 5 things I miss about the Philip­pines apart, of course, from my dear fam­i­ly and friends.

miss about the PhilippinesTop 1: Cheap and relatively good quality clothes and shoes

Many peo­ple who go to the Philip­pines say that the price of brand­ed items is as high in oth­er coun­tries. Well, yeah, but who said you should buy them there? The Philip­pines has its local brands, and a good num­ber of them are good buys — not just because they’re much cheap­er, but because the qual­i­ty you get for that afford­able price is sur­pris­ing­ly good.

Top 2: Distinctly Filipino foodmiss about the Philippines

I miss our stinky, salty, sweet and fat­ty food. I also miss the street food that I remem­ber set­ting aside mon­ey for. Pic­ture these: mang­gang hilaw with ala­mang o asin (green man­go with shrimp paste or salt), fish balls and squid balls with its tasty but most like­ly dirty dip, banana cue (deep fried bananas coat­ed in caramelised brown sug­ar), chicharon (pork crack­ling), dirty ice cream (It’s not dirty, or is it?) and many more.

Top 3: Overstaffed shopping malls

When­ev­er I go to Myer and David Jones, I find myself miss­ing the swarms of staff in The Land­mark and SM Malls. Tills are not always manned in these big Aussie depart­ment stores as the staff also assist cus­tomers around. It’s not rare that I had to ask a sales assis­tant far from the cashier to help me process a purchase.

miss about the PhilippinesTop 4: Malls open during my shopping hours

Aus­tralia is quite odd as its mall hours are very sim­i­lar to the com­mon 9 to 5 employee’s work hours. This means that on those rare occa­sions I had time to do some shop­ping, I was greet­ed with the announce­ment that the store’s about to close in 15 min­utes. I don’t under­stand this! Shop­ping on week­days is an impos­si­bil­i­ty for peo­ple like me. Week­ends are bet­ter for shop­ping, but the stores still close at 5 or 6.

miss about the PhilippinesTop 5: The word ‘po

I miss hear­ing ‘po’ in con­ver­sa­tions. The word ‘po’ is used to show peo­ple old­er than you respect. The word makes me proud to be Fil­ipino. In this fast-paced and con­stant­ly chang­ing world, it’s good to know that Fil­ipinos still recog­nise respect to be an impor­tant val­ue to have.

If you’re a Fil­ipino liv­ing over­seas, I invite you to share your top 5 things you miss about the Philippines.


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