Friday, June 30, 2006

Pinoy Biz Online is 1 year old

I'll be opening a couple bottles of San Mig Light some time today as I celebrate my blog's first year anniversary.

Google Adsense earnings = $10.00
Visitors as measured by Bravenet : 1654

Torn between two blogs

I am currently in the process of moving this blog to my new blog at Wordpress called What's up Pinoy (click here to visit

I've been experimenting with the Wordpress interface and it seems to offer a number of possibilities which are currently not available in the free version of blogspot.

I love blogger and after a year of blogging here, I've gotten used this simple and direct interface. However, it offers little in ways of organizing my varied topics. People still keep getting lost.

I'll post updates on this transfer within the day.

"Turning fun hobbies into serious money”

Written by Paul Farol last year for Cut Unlimited

Some people actually fall in love with a hobby which later turns out to be a profitable business. It is in this mode of thinking that the idea of entrepreneurship comes serendipitously. The unusual ease with which things just come together, the first bouts of inspiration and a passion for doing or making things better has a way of grabbing people from out of the blue.

Searching the internet for articles on entrepreneurship, one comes across a notion of entrepreneurship as the capitalist equivalent of a guerilla led revolution. It points to the work of economist Joseph Schumpeter who says that an entrepreneur is a person who is willing and able to convert a new idea or invention into a successful innovation. Entrepreneurship forces "creative destruction" across markets and industries. In other words, it’s a situation where a small shop owner beats big business R & D with a product designed and manufactured from a small room at home. This may be very much truer in the fashion realm where small shops do better than corporations.

As a venue for the first forays into setting a fashion revolution, bazaars are among the friendliest seed beds for fomenting new movements in fine taste and scrumptious designs. It is in this sense that Cut Unlimited’s annual Noel Discovery Bazaar becomes quite an apt name for a bazaar because as far as fashion is concerned, if it’s new and absolutely to die for… you’ll discover it at Noel.

Beauty and the Beads proprietor Tess Carlos, one of the concessionaires in the upcoming Noel Discovery Bazaar on November 25 – 27 and December 21 - 23, confides that one of the best friends a new business can have is a good bazaar. Having paid her dues in the fashion business, her experience with a previous business venture allows her to compare the advantages of testing out business ideas at a bazaar rather than going whole hog with a shop at a mall.

“When we were still operating Pintura, where we sold hand-painted shirts and caps in a number of malls all over Metro Manila, we had to shell out as much as P2,000,000 just to get a shop up and running. Bazaars, on the other hand, involve substantially smaller costs that are more quickly recovered,” said Tess who opened up Beauty and the Beads about four years ago after deciding to close up Pintura.

From hand painted shirts, she has gone into jewelry making. Pearls and semi-precious stones strung out in handmade silver work and other materials make up her repertoire of wearable art. She confesses to thinking of herself as a couturier in the sense that all her jewelry are hand crafted and the designs are almost always one offs.

Joining just any bazaar won’t be enough to do the trick, though. There are certain things you have to look for.

“Among bazaars, Noel Discovery Bazaar is among the best organized and well attended with a good mixture of people. Maraming pakulo that’s why it attracts a huge crowd and another thing that got to me to join is the organizer’s good reputation, which is also quite important,” said Tess. She also explains that people who go to bazaars are more often in a buying mood.

Emily Fenix of Ala Mode, another concessionaire in the upcoming Noel Discovery Bazaar this year, also points out that choosing the World Trade Center near Roxas Boulevard as a venue is a big plus.

“People really go there and I know because I went there several times last year, there’s always a crowd,” said Emily a 23 year-old who had started out by designing and making bags way back when she was still a freshman at Ateneo.

There is also kind of freedom from knowing that you are truly working for yourself and doing what you love. In what seems like a snap of a finger, you find yourself being rewarded on several levels all at once.

Right after finishing interdisciplinary studies, Emily first got a job managing a store at a mall and confides feeling that her heart was not in what she was doing. Even while she was still working for the store, Emily and her friends were already designing, making, and selling bags as a hobby of sorts. With some money saved from her salary as store manager and some money borrowed from an Aunt, she came out with Ala Mode.

“I think of bags as amulets or talismans that make you feel good just by holding it. But what is even more important is not to lose sight of building in functionality and robust craftsmanship in your product,” says Emily who intimates that she owns between fifty and a hundred bags.

When coming up with designs for her bags, she always makes it a point to go people watching, keeping an eye out for what bags people are using and how they use their bags. With that in mind, one would guess that her two in one bag was probably inspired by a trip to Boracay. Roomy with lots of pockets, the overnighter number also features a detachable mini-bag.

Emily plans to debut her two in one bag and other creations at Noel Discovery Bazaar as will Tess Carlos who, apart from featuring her hand crafted fashion jewelry, will also showcase the next sure-fire rave – cell phone bracelets.

When comparing Tess and Emily, obvious differences in circumstances are the easiest to spot. One is a veteran businesswoman who caters to the exacting tastes in jewelry of strong women types and the other is a relative newbie to the world of business with an eye for coming up with designs for real life. However, what one gets a sense of and can’t ignore is the smile in their voices as they talk of being rewarded for doing what they love. (END)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Pinoy Biz Online: Shifting focus

For the past several months, I've been using this blog to promote Slipstream and the Philippine Touring Car Championship races. It was a good run, by certain accounts.

Nevertheless, that bit of my life is over and done. It had been a painful parting.

Before I go on and tell you guys about my plans for this blog, I have to extend my apologies to my friends at Naughty Pinay Scandals who may have been visiting this blog quite regularly to look at the photos of the babes at the Batangas Racing Circuit and the Subic International Racing Circuit. There will still be hot pictures of babes posted now and then, but less regularly so -- if at all. More likely, I will post pics of babes from car shows and I don't know when the next big car show will be.

Instead of Slipstream and the PTCC, I will be focusing on writing about successful Pinoy enterprises, political issues, film reviews, and other topics of general interest.


Certainly, there is more to learn from these things than from the conspicuous hobby spending that goes on in Philippine Motorsports.


(this piece was written last year)

Building an empire on better mangoes

Buying a mango in the Philippines is almost like ordering a cup of coffee at Starbucks, there is such a wide variety to choose from and surveying the luscious yellow skinned fruit has been known to cause some people to shiver with delight just by merely anticipating the taste of its nectar oozing from its lush canary colored flesh.

While most Pinoys can easily spot the difference between an Indian mango and a mangang kalabaw, there are a very few people who can actually tell you what kind of mango tree bore the fruit and in which town in which province it came from with just a cursory glance.

Roberto “Bobby” C. Amores, the President of HI-LAS Marketing Corporation, is one of those people and he has made it his business to know just about everything there is to know about mangoes. Knowing which varieties bear the sweetest fruit and keep best while in transit had translated into realizing tidy profits almost regardless of the economic conditions prevailing in the country.

He started in the mango exporting business 29 years ago with a couple of friends during their graduating year at the University of the Philippines.

“What struck me and got me into the food business is its necessity, meaning there will always be a demand for food. I naturally gravitated towards agri-business because of my love of farming and my fondness for the countryside,” said Amores who also explained that since setting up his company, mangoes had been his first and only business.

You may call it beginners luck, but during the first year of operating his fresh mango exporting business, Bobby and his friends made about a million pesos in gross sales and that was at a time when even one percent of that would have been enough to build a decent house in Metro Manila.
However, in the succeeding months, it soon dawned on him that running a business based on entirely on the production and sale mangoes would soon test his commitment and passion for the business. Dealing in fresh mangoes meant dealing with perishable commodities and as often is the case, spoilage or even failing to pass strict quality standards overseas can sometimes mean rejected shipments and a major loss of revenue as well as capital. The friends who had started the business with him soon found their interest and commitment flagging after a few setbacks, eventually leaving Bobby alone to keep the business running.

Rather than dwelling on his losses, he stuck with the business and in the succeeding years gross annual sales improving to tens of millions.

“More than anything else, it our commitment to delivering quality that has allowed us to endure all manner of setbacks whether it is political, economic, or even natural. This has led us at HI LAS to equate quality with survival,” said Bobby.

He explained that it was his company’s reputation for delivering the highest quality of fresh and processed fruits that enabled him to make a comeback after every setback.

“There was a time when everything seemed bound for disaster. This was when the Asian Financial Crisis exploded into the scene, hiking up interest rates on our backing credit which we were hard pressed to service. As if this was not enough, this was followed by a natural calamity which damaged the fruit crop for a season, leading to increased costs and all manner of business losses,” said Amores.

He explained that because of his good standing among his buyers in the United States, Europe, Japan, and South Korea he was able to weather the pitfalls of the fruit export industry and recoup his losses.

At present, Amores as well as other mango exporters are hyped up about emerging opportunities for greater growth. At present, the Philippines can only address 2.5 percent of the global demand because of the lack in exportable supply. Significantly, the 2.5 percent serviced by Philippine mango exporters represents export earnings pegged at around P15 billion a year.
With the Philippines being virtually just next door neighbors with China, it would not be difficult to figure that capturing just 10% of its 1.2 billion consumers might mean shipping out more than 40 million kilos of mangoes a year which would be a sizeable boon for our country’s mango farmers and traders.

It is because of this that Bobby, apart from running his business, has many times and in countless ways involved itself in promoting the interest of both fruit exporters and farmers. Beyond advocating modern farm practices and compliance with international food standards, he is currently lending a hand in giving food manufacturers and exporters a venue for much needed exposure to international buyers.

As the current President of the Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization Inc. (Philfoodex), Bobby Amores has set about to making the upcoming 5th Philippine Food Expo 2006 stand out from the first four.

Next year, Philfoodex will bring together makes of the best in Philippine food products with over 270 food entrepreneurs and industry-partners from all over the country participating. It is in this trade event where we will see a wide display of food products yet to be seen in supermarkets and groceries.

Apart from playing to an international crowd, one of the largest food expos next year also supports the BUY PINOY Movement and aims to help strengthen the country’s locally bred SMEs which account for over 90 percent of the Philippine GDP.

“We’re not in business just for money because businesses that value profit to the great neglect of social responsibility will eventually run out of business. We have to give back and in giving back, we are rewarded many times in return,” says Bobby.

Racing cars in the Philippines

In a recent interview with Mr. Pochollo "Tito Poch" Ramirez on the history of motorsports in the Philippines, he had told me about the greatness that was the Manila Grand Prix and touched briefly on the idea of building a race track at the reclamation area near where the SM Mall of Asia is.

It was quite interesting to learn from one of the country's foremost car racing legends that the Manila Grand Prix (which ran the length of Roxas Blvd. to Del Pan Bridge on A. Bonifacio) had been one of the events signalling that the Philippines had shined a beacon as a power in motorsports. (You can get a fuller account of the Manila Grand Prix in Fast Lane, the first coffee table book on Philippine Motorsports and is written by my former boss, Junep Ocampo.)

Tito Poch said that it gathered a crowd of about 50,000 spectators and at that time, this was a huge number. That's like the entire crowd at the Araneta coliseum during a major PBA game and people watched the Manila Grand Prix under the glaring heat of the tropical sun. The Manila City Government, then led by my Dad's beloved boss, Mayor 'Yeba' Villegas, had given his full support to the race despite opposition from certain quarters.

In anycase, I felt I had to ask Tito Poch if this could still be achieved today. He pointed out that government support would be crucial to creating and promoting the Philippines as a car racing capital. Currently, his own race track (the Subic International Raceway) is thoroughly being buggered by Fedex and because of changes in the area where the race track is, the SIR lost its FIA accreditation -- an accreditation that would enable it to host international racing events such as the AF3. Subic, rather than the Batangas Racing Circuit, would be a better venue for hosting international racing events -- even F-1 or maybe even just the World Tourinc Car Championships -- because of its proximity to hotels and resorts that could accomodate thousands of foreign tourists who flock to these events.

Junep Ocampo, still did one better by saying that a racing circuit was in the works and that it would be built at the reclamation area near where the SM Mall of Asia is right now. The plan was to make use of the existing road system but with the addition of bleachers and other amenities. Hotels and casinos could be built up around the area, pretty much like Macau.


That certainly would be the answer to the current latent crisis affecting the motorsporting industry where there are few sponsors willing to funnel in the millions of pesos that it requires to develop into a major crowd and tourist draw.

Even Race Fans Inc., organizer and promoter of the Philippine Touring Car championships, is having a heck of a time convincing companies to fork over part of their advertising budget to help support the sport.


Then again, I really have to ask, if I were an advertiser and my company was engaged in either the sale or manufacture of automotive products, would I really benefit from supporting the PTCC?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Moving on

I can't say that my confidence has not been shaken by the recent turn of events.

However, thinking about it over and over again leads me to believe that I'd probably have acted the same way under the same circumstances. I don't take kindly to crap and I am really vocal whenever I come across things that I find disagreeable. I just don't want to be part of any group that thinks too little of what I have to offer.

All right! Maybe I do come off a bit too brash and too forward for the common Filipino who some times places too much emphasis over 'pakikisama' and 'pakiki-isa'. But, then again, what does pakikisama and pakikiisa have to offer in terms of discerning the right path to take in any situation? If we followed this non-logic, we'd all more likely troup over cliffs and into the sea like lemmings.

Perhaps, the only mistake I made with regard to Slipstream was that I should've resigned before this crap exploded all over the place.


Production Managers do not, in any other other set-up outside of Slipstream, decide on content. That is the job of the producer, writer, and director.

It's even funny, hilariously so, for the Producer to establish a hierarchical relationship among a group of 5 or 6 people where by the Production Manager calls the shots and has the final say over content and execution.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Race Fans Inc's Slipstream

It had been both fun and infuriating to work on Race Fans Incorporated's TV project, Slipstream.

However, there comes a time when it becomes very clear that the show is being led in a direction which I believe it shouldn't go and some of the signs that this was happening kept cropping up like a rash during the last few weeks.

Things finally boiled over on Thursday when the production assistant or 'production manager' started dictating the editorial direction for one of the show's segment and the 'producer' informed me that the 'production manager' had been given 'authority' to do this.

I got fired for disagreeing with this kind of set up.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Dealing with people

If you find yourself surrounded by assholes and jerks at work or any other place where social interaction is required, take it as an unmistakeable sign that you better brush up on your social skills and brush your teeth or take a bath.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Looking for hot babes?


Are you looking for my babe pictures?

You can try clicking here to view previous posts containing pictures of the babes at the Batangas Racing Circuit and Subic International Raceway.

In a few weeks, we'll be featuring a cars and babes segment on Slipstream (shown on Studio 23 every Sunday at 12:00 noon). I promise to give you the steamiest clips ever. Watch out for it!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

PTCC Drivers' Meeting

Pretty much all of the drivers of the Philippine Touring Car Championships (PTCC) met up at the Valle Verde Club on Thursday June 15 to sort out what -- as in, 'what more' -- should be done after the smash up at the Subic International Raceway during the June 4 morning race.

I had been blogging about the incident days after it happened and I had been saying that Miguel Lazaro had caused the smash up.

I had a chance to hear Miguel's side of the matter and for one reason or another, I just didn't buy his side of the story. You better just watch Round 3 of Group three which will be showing soon on Studio 23 next Sunday June 25. The show is on at 12 noon.

This is, of course, not to pass judgement on his character as a person and as a race driver. He is among the nicest guys on the track and he is a darned good race driver, fiery and fearless.

Then again, others had passed judgement on him and first among them had been the racing stewards who already meted a fine and other penalties. Miguel has since made moves to appeal the decision but I have no idea about how this is faring right now.

The other drivers, (Peewee Mendiola and Niko Montinola) had their piece to say about the incident and the way it seemed to be going, it seemed as if they wanted the organizers of the PTCC to stop Miguel from racing. I am not sure if they were or are part of the group of drivers who were petitioning for the organizers to either stop Miguel from running, threatening to stop racing with the PTCC if their demands were not met.

The organizers explained that under AAP and FIA rules, Miguel had already been penalized and barring any further incidents, that would be that.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Pinoy Business Stories: Anti-Car Jacking Device (Part 2)

Last year, Quezon City (particularly the Timog - Tomas Morato area) had earned the unsavory reputation of being ground zero for car jacking and car theft.

The demand for anti-car theft and other security devices continues to surge.

One of the more promising devices is a product developed by JBMP enterprises and is simply called LJM ANTI-Carnapping and ANTI-Carjacking Device.

Above is a shot of the Anti-Car Jacking device held by its inventor.

Since its introduction last year, it has thwarted the efforts of 9 out of every ten 10 car jacking and carnapping attempts on various vehicles.

All the vehicle owner has to do is to arm the device through a very discrete procedure upon leaving his or her vehicle. If anyone other than the owner manages to start the vehicle and begin to drive it away, they'll get the surprise of their life one minute later as the car alarm suddenly turns on and the car's engine stops dead.

In cases where the owner of the vehicle is forced to hand over their vehicle, all the vehicle owner has to do is to arm the device and let the car robbers drive the vehicle off. One minute later the car will automatically shut off and sound its alarm, putting enough safe distance between the car owner and the robbers.

For inquiries, you may get in touch with me at 09204014313

Pinoy Business Stories: Anti-Car Jacking Device

Second time around for carjackers in QC
First posted 01:12am (Mla time) Dec 21, 2005 By DJ YapInquirer

Editor's Note: Published on Page A19 of the December 21, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

CAR thieves struck anew in Quezon City the other night, taking at gunpoint the sports utility vehicle of a bank executive—the second reported case in the city this month.

Two armed men aboard a silver sedan blocked a dark gray Toyota Fortuner being driven by Godofredo Fuego, 47, along Congressional near corner Visayas Avenues in Barangay Bahay Toro on Monday at 9:45 p.m.

The police said the suspects acted as though the SUV had bumped them, cursing at the driver who was with an unidentified housemaid.

Armed with a .45-caliber handgun, one of the suspects boarded the SUV, with license plate ZBY-166, and sped away, with Fuego and the housemaid inside.

The suspects headed for Valenzuela City, where they dropped off the driver and the housemaid, said Quezon City Police District anticarnapping (Ancar) unit head Chief Insp. Rudy Jaraza.
The SUV was owned by a bank manager who asked not to be named.

Jaraza said the owner had asked his housemaid and driver buy medicine. But on their way back to Violago Homes III, the sedan, with no car plates, blocked their path.

The incident was the second case of carjacking in the city.

On Dec. 17, a Nissan X-trail, with license plate XSL-318, was taken forcibly from John Michael Cusi on Palanan Street corner Retiro by two unidentified gunmen, according to Ancar records.
The victim was also dropped off somewhere in Valenzuela City, prompting police to believe that the same group of carjackers was responsible for both cases.

Jaraza said Ancar had already identified the suspects and was just waiting for the opportunity to catch them.

Only four members of the criminal group still operate in Quezon City and Valenzuela City, he added.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

PTCC, turning into a demolition derby?

The smash up at the Subic International Raceway figured in by Group 3 during their morning race has prompted Race Fans Inc and AAP to hold a drivers meeting to sort out what was termed as ethical issues.

According to Lory Uy -- a member of the Race Fans organizing staff -- they are concerned that the Philippine Touring Car Championships might gain a reputation for being a demolition derby because of the incident and they are keen on hammering out a solution to prevent such incidents in the future.

During the morning race on June 5, Miguel Lazaro attempted to overtake Peewee Mendiola near the last turn before the straightaway leading to the start/finish line. Some say Lazaro intentionally nudged or bumped into Mendiola's rear bumper, causing it to spin out and slam into the concrete barrier, knocking the barrier out of its place -- one observer saying that this was the first time in 12 years that a smash up caused this to happen. When Mendiola's car finally rested, he got T-boned by Niko Montinola which caused his car to move backwards into the track where it was hit again by JP Carino in the rear.

Race officials, another observer revealed, had reviewed the tapes of the incident and concluded that Lazaro was at fault for wreckless driving. However, the decision had come in the afternoon, after Lazaro had already run the second race for that day.

At least six drivers have reportedly signed a petition saying that they will refuse to race in the next round if Race Fans and AAP allows Miguel Lazaro to race again.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

PTCC Rounds 3 and 4

Well, it was a smash. Literally.

Group 3's morning race wound up with at least two cars put out of commission as Miguel Lazaro of Team Shift made a disastrous bid for first, bumping into Doc Peewee Mendiola's car causing it to turn and smash into one of the concrete barrier leading out of the Subic International Raceway's hairpin just a few hundred meters from the last turn into the straightaway before the start/finish line. Big Chill's Mendiola, from various accounts, got the worst of the collission, with the right side of his body and head probably slamming on his car's dashboard after his seat came loose from the force of the impact -- which also knocked one of the thousand pound concrete blocks serving as part of the barrier. In the afternoon, Mendiola was seen with a swollen right arm and the right side of his face was badly bruised. The other car that figured in the collision was that of Akula Racing's Niko Montinola, who went through the incident with out a scratch but his car took the brunt of it. Lazaro was said to have been fined some P30,000 for wreckless driving. An observer, having watched several angles of video footage, said that it seemed there was no evidence that Lazaro made an attempt to avoid collission with Mendiola's car -- no brake lights went on. Montinola had remarked that Lazaro shouldn't even have tried anything in that area, specially when rookies -- referring to himself, probably -- were close by. "He should know better."

(more later)
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