Along with power interruption, the internet service also got disrupted in the aftermath of typhoon Milenyo (international codename: Xangsane).

When your business is dependent on internet service, a day without it is problematic. Two days without it gets to be “near critical”. Where does one get an internet connection when the whole city has no power?

Go to the nearest Starbucks or coffee shop with generator power and wireless internet

Not just any coffee shop. Earlier in the day, I went to Figaro branch at Salcedo Village to go online. After 3 hours, my battery was dying. Looking around the corners, I was disappointed to see power outlets taped over with a sign “do not plug in here”. Grr, I was willing to pay for the charge. Without electricity, how can I get online? A coffee shop must be generous enough to allow me to charge my macbook and avail internet wi-fi connection. I found a friendly Starbucks Coffee shop at the Walter Mart branch. Apparently, Makati residents also thought of the same idea as I did. The place was crowded. All 4 power outlets were occupied with cellphone and laptop charging. It took me 30 minutes to get a seat near a vacant power outlet. Great! The free Globequest internet wi-fi access (given to me by Globe-Innove last month) came in really handy as I got a fast internet connection.

My daughter and I took turns working on our sites while my patient husband read a book. It usually takes me 2 to 4 hours to work on my sites but I didn’t plan to stay that long. See, a lot of laptop users were eager to go online too and I didn’t want to hog even one precious power outlet. Look at these people huddled in the corner working feverishly on their laptops.

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Note: View My PHOTO GALLERY of Typhoon Milenyo (international codename [tag]Typhoon Xangsane[/tag])

At 8:30 am EDSA, on the way to pick up my daughters
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(Enlarge) The heavy rains woke me up and my thoughts turned to my daughters holed up in their dorm in Quezon City. Butch and I quickly turned on our TV sets and heard that “[tag]typhoon Milenyo[/tag]” would be the strongest to hit Manila in 11 years. The typhoon was expected to arrive at 12 noon. It was 6:00 AM and the perfect time pick to them up in Quezon City. Feeling worried over their safety, my main concern was to bring them over to our home in Makati City knowing they would be safe with us. On the way to my daughters’ dorm in Katipunan Avenue, the empty trusses along EDSA is a rare sight to behold. I thought, “good thing. it’ll prevent accidents“. On the way home, we passed along C-5. Ah, it’s an amazing treat to see the landscape devoid of the tarpaulins click here.

At 11:00 AM, at our house in Makati City just before Typhoon Milenyo
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(Enlarge) A few leaves are strewn all over the front lawn. We prepared for the inevitable wrath of [tag]Typhoon[/tag] Milenyo and shut all the doors and windows. The electricity had already been cut at 9:00 AM. Shortly after 12:00 noon, I heard metal screeching and crunching somewhere. I thought “uh-oh there goes my roof!” I expected a gush of water to pour down our ceiling. Looking out of the window, a gigantic branch from the tree outside suddenly looms outside our living room window. The branch broke from the tree outside , landed on the fence, broke it and ended up on the lawn.

The fallen tree branch in our front lawn
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(Enlarge ) It was a relief that it wasn’t our roof that got blown away. What could we do now? I knew there were more damage and injuries outside our village. We were grateful to God for the safety of our family, a strongly built home, ample food, fuel and water. The only other inconvenience was water dripping on L’s room. The strong winds blasted all the rain water towards the upper balcony, creating a pool of water which overflowed to L’s ceiling through a crack on the second floor balcony. Removing the flooded waters in the balcony was futile as the strong gust of wind literally blew us away to the wall. We ended up placing cardboards on the balcony floor so we could elevate the flood waters. I haven’t felt these strong winds in years. Although we had no power, we still had a gas range that would enable us to cook for a candle-lit dinner.

The aftermath at around 2:00 PM
The good old reliable radio was our only source of information and link to the outside world. No power. No internet. No TV. We heard that the southwest part of Metro Manila had a direct hit and sustained more damages. Makati City, our place of residence is one of these places. I immediately took photos of the typhoon Milenyo aftermath.

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I grew up in a family surrounded by music. Every morning, mom played her Bach or Chopin concert pieces to our delight. We often danced like awkward ballerinas or sat beside her, mesmerized by the melody of her piano pieces. Naturally, she wanted us to learn the piano. With 7 siblings taking up piano, organ and guitar lessons, our parents imposed nightly concerts after dinner. We actually had fun showing off our pieces. As we entered college, our passion for music diminished. Only a brother and a sister continued to hone their musical talent.

Then I got married and had 2 girls and a boy. In 1989, my dad surprised me with a piano . “It’s my Christmas gift to your girls. They should be playing the piano.”

I was so touched by his generosity. My father at that time was disabled and unable to work but he had significant savings to tide him over. He mumbled “One of your girls might have your mom’s music genes”. I remembered that my sister, B started piano lessons at the age of 4. Maybe L, my four year old daughter might be interested to study the piano.

I was amazed at L’s chubby fingers as she nimbly played complicated piano pieces at the age 4. Maybe she will be a concert pianist one day, the stage mother in me mused. She continued playing the piano and cultivating her other artistic talents during her growing up years. Then on her sixteenth year, she asked for an electric guitar.

My husband coughed ” I imagine you wearing a beautiful gown sitting on a stool while you play the cello

My daughter laughed “That will not happen dad. I want to be a “rock star”“.

My concert pianist wants to be a rock star. I grimaced. Pooof, she’s not going to be a concert pianist after all. As a mother , it’s natural to have dreams for our children but I would never impose my own unfulfilled dreams on them. I decided I’d be supportive.

I remembered that Butch’ family had a 1960 red vintage Eko guitar stashed away somewhere that belonged to his grandmother. She bought it from a garage sale of an American leaving the Philippines and used it to attract crowds during her husband’s campaign for Congressman in the sixties. With a few repairs from a Raon st. shop, the guitar sprang back to “life” as L strummed the night away in her sound-proofed bedroom.

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I am an early bird at the First Philippine Blogcon 2006 here at the National Sports Grill, Greenbelt 3 Makati. The reason I am early is because I have to fix my powerpoint for my talk “Content is King”.

5:20 P.M.- The Globe-Innove Group, our gracious sponsors for this event are here busy fixing the place. As you register, they hand out out 100 pesos worth of Globequest internet wifi access. It looks like they are giving out other prizes in their game portion.

6:54 P.M.– Abe and Jayvee are busy fixing their visual presentation. Abe Olandres will talk on “History of Blogging in the Philippines & Professional Blogging” , Jayvee Fernandez on Blogging as New Media vis-a-vis MSM

And Marc Macalua on “SEO and Blog Make-Over”. I had to end my live blogging when dinner started. Just View the Photo Gallery for the highlights of the event.

At the meet, I met new and old faces like:

Abe Olandres; J Angelo Racoma; Marc Macalua; Kevin Codamon ; Jayvee Fernandez; Rico Mossesgeld; Jennifer Velasco (Globe Innove) ; Mike Abundo ; Bimbo Isidro ; Gail de La Cruz; Marc Villanueva; Gloria Gamat; Annalyn Jusay; Markku Seguerra; Jun Asis; Dominique Cimafranca; Ade Magnaye. Sorry if I missed out on anyone. My memory fails me nowadays. Hehe, blame it on old age.

The photos show the events as it unfolded ( I still have to label them soon). Since I took these photos, I am not in the gallery but thanks to Annalyn, here is a photo with both of us posing. Another photo here, thanks to Mimi and Karl and from Eugene.

All I can say about the meet is that it was so much fun. Being the oldest among the bloggers made me feel younger and completely at home. I thought I’d feel out-of-place but no…it shows that the internet knows no “age” boundaries. Maybe we can continue this meet on a regular basis? Now what does Globe Innove think about this?

Other Bloggers who wrote about this event

  • Abe Olandres on “Blogcon aftermath”
  • J. Angelo Racoma on “Back Home from the Philippine BlogCon 2006”
  • Gail Villanueva on “The first Philippine BlogCon”
  • Bimbo Isidro on O6 BlogCon Roundup
  • Annalyn Jusay on Seen and heard in the 1st Philippine BlogCon
  • Chris Lagman on Pinoy Bloggers Face-to-Face
  • Sonnie on BlogCon 2006– Field Report
  • Kiven at Blogcon 2006
  • Penoi on 1st Philippine Blogcon 2006
  • Ka Edong on Philippine Blogcon 2006
  • Juned on 1st Philippine BlogCon and 1 Internet Day
  • Kukote in a Jar on 1st philippine blogcon
  • Mike Abundo on PICS Book Launch and BlogCon
  • Markku Seguerra on After the Blogcon 200
  • Mimi and Karl on Blogcon 2006 (with lots of photos)
  • Janep @ Blogcon (
  • Blog Con 2006: Shoulda; Coulda’s (Me and my Delusions of Grandeur)
  • To the Blogcon (Morofilm)
  • What Happened at BlogCon 2006? (Fool for Five)
  • The Flash Drive that Blogging Won (vaes9)
  • Teh BlogCon is the Shizzle! (The Parody)
  • Marc Macalua Philippine Blogcon 2006
  • Jayvee Fernandez on Back from BlogCon 2006
  • Jun Asis on 1st Philippine BlogCon
  • Noel Bautista on the 1st Philippine BlogCon
  • Gloria Gamat on BlogCon 2006 was a blast
  • Christine Ocampo on First BlogCon 2006
  • and Blog-o-rama mention.

    More links at the Blogcon wiki

    uh , where’s the radiator cap?” my husband’s irritated eyes glared at me.

    I followed him to the car. “Look you have been driving the car without a radiator cap.

    Ugh, I was dumbstruck and felt stupid. I normally let the service guys over at Shell Station check my radiator and the usual engine fluids. I hate soiling my hands with black soot or yet breaking a nail whenever I have to check under the car hood. The guy must have forgotten to put it back or just placed it loosely on the radiator. Maybe he was multi-tasking and had totally forgotten he was checking my car. It pays to carefully watch these guys as they fiddle with your car parts.

    Now how was my husband going to Baguio without the cap? It was 7:00 on a sunday morning.

    A quick look at my gas receipt showed that the last time I had loaded gas was on September 13. Imagine for 11 days, I was driving to and fro Quezon City without a radiator cap?

    By this time, my husband was livid with rage. I went about ignoring his dark mood knowing it was completely my fault.

    Where in the world will I get a radiator cap at this time of the morning?
    He yelled.

    What can I say? In my mind “I don’t know. How should I know?” I know better than to be a smart ass in time like this.

    My husband left in a huff. Thirty minutes later, I heard him arrive but still I avoided him .

    He was in a better mood when I showed up in the garage a few minutes later. What do you know? He found a surplus radiator cap in Evangelista St.

    A car junk shop saved the day.

    customerI believe that customer service and satisfaction is critical in my webhosting business. In fact, I offer money-back guarantee and refunds for unused months. That’s how confident I am with my services. Happy customers are loyal and even refer you to potential customers. Word of mouth referrals is a more effective advertising medium in the initial stages of business growth. I make sure that valid customer complaints are addressed to immediately. But we in the service industry are just human. What if the customer is rude and cursing at you?

    You people must be stupid. I have had nothing but problems with you idiots. I have asked for information on this account. can’t get it. I tell you I need to pay for the year. Cant’t get it. and you keep turning my shit off. Who do I FUCKING talk to in person to settle this.

    Ugh, receiving an email like that makes me want to combust spontaneously. This is an actual query from an irate customer in another business. He’s not from the Philippines. I can’t imagine a local talking like that. So far , Filipino customers are patient and whenever they have a complaint, it’s in a polite tone. When I received the above email, I thought about replying “Um, I’m sorry I can’t help you”. However, I placed myself in his shoes. What did he really mean to say if he wasn’t so angry? Most likely this customer was ignorant and impatient with the steps to take in filing a support request. He didn’t even submit a helpdesk ticket (the standard method of support) and got frustrated when he didn’t receive any reply through emails. I chose the peaceful manner of settling this issue and released an invoice of $100.00. If he wasn’t happy with my service , he can choose to ignore the invoice. What do you know? He paid it. He hasn’t bothered me in months. In fact , he ordered another plan.

    Can you imagine if I spoke to this person? Pity the poor call center workers who have to deal with irate customer complaints. It’s alright if the customer is angry but cursing and name calling is a no-no. And then one can be more rude in emails since there is no direct confrontation. That’s so much better than dealing with their ire over the phone.

    Is a customer still king? Customer is king as long as they don’t curse and call you idiots.

    mydestiny_flyer2.jpgMy family is moving to our new home in the Pasig-Markina sometime next year. It’s an exciting move and something to look forward to. One of the things that I will miss in Makati are the array of Cable Broadband Internet providers and free wi-fi hotspots. I just realized how fortunate Makati residents are when it comes to broadband providers. I have been spoiled by Destiny Cable my primary broadband provider since 1999 which provides us with no speed limit at a reasonable rate of 1688 pesos a month. And this includes TV cable as well. In fact the speed falls to 386 kbps, the support service is sent to the house. Now, I also have Smart Bro which is incredibly slow. If you are spoled with 2MBPs internet speed by Destiny Cable, you will scoff at Smart Bro’s dismal less than 200 kbps speed. It’s supposed to be 386 kbps. Speed and reliability are important to me because I am a netrepreneur and derive income from my e-commerce sites.

    When I started to ask around the area of our future home, disappointment overcame me when I found out that my trusty cable provider did not have any service there. I need 2 cable broadband internet providers for redundancy measures. What choices did that leave me?

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    Yesterday , I celebrated One Internet Day which coincided with the Digital Filipino Club’s 7th anniversary through the invitation of Janette Toral . I caught sight of J. Angelo live blogging during the event and Adrian.

    This year’s theme is E-Commerce Build-up for SMEs with topics on:

    1. E-Commerce for National Competitiveness
    2. Data Privacy and E-Commerce
    3. Building Buzz with Blogs
    4. State of E-Payment in the Philippines
    5. New E-Commerce Opportunities
    6. Making E-Commerce Work

    But what caught my attention was Maoi Arroyo’s talk on Buzz Marketing with Blogs. Take a look at this latest Blogosphere report (available only to Digital Filipino members which you should join if you’re into e-commerce), there’s an untapped way of talking to the young and upwardly mobile segment of Manilenyos:

    18% of internet users read blogs
    55% of bloggers are < 20 years old 20% of bloggers are between 20 to 29 years old 71% are male 84% are single 48% are students 97% have their own computers at home

    So that means I belong to the 25% bracket of 30 years old and above bloggers and the 29% female blogger? Hey, that doesn’t mean I have nothing better to do. It just means we , female oldie-bloggers know how to maximize the internet’s capability other than just emailing or chatting.

    Another aspect in building buzz with blogs is to pay attention to “long tail” influentials like Connie’s Connie is so popular that her blog was mentioned twice by Maoi. I know that Connie cannot be easily influenced by PR practioners. Watching her on the Cheche Lazaro’s ““Media in Focus”, she mentioned that she will not compromise her blog having ads that are contrary to her food blog’s theme. Corporations now realize that bloggers can create a buzz. Remember the Globe-Innove sponsored meet in Temple Bar? And there is blogcon sponsored by them for September 25. These corporations should be prepared for favorable and non-favorable feedback from bloggers. I even mentioned to Globe-Innove that you can learn a lot from your most difficult customer. Tomorrow, I got invited to an intimate gathering with them. I wonder what they have to say about their products and services this time. I do hope they offer superior services not available from other telecom providers.

    Read related blogs on One Internet Day- Manila celebration:

    The J Spot
    Philippine Internet Review

    Calling all bloggers in Metro Manila. There will be a BlogCon event on Monday, September 25, 2006. Here are the details from Abe and Pinoy Tech Blog

    What: Philippine BlogCon (Meet the Bloggers)
    When: September 25, 2006 7PM to 10PM
    Where: National Sports Grill, Greenbelt 3, Makati
    Who: Bloggers from all over!

    Read more?

    There will free food (snack) and drinks, thanks to Globe Innove through Jayvee’s intervention. Abe added that there will be “No formal program, just meet and greet fellow bloggers. We might do some informal QA though for those interested in some topics like problogging, podcasting, legal, etc.”

    Jayvee mentioned that

    If you are a shy blogger and think you won’t fit in, then that’s absolutely preposterous because all of us are actually very shy too.

    National Sports Grill is covered by the wireless net of Globe so we might be able to do some liveblogging with great pics during the event.

    So what are you waiting for? Register on the wiki if you’re attending the event. Spread the word!

    I will be there too. I will talk on “Content is Still King” along with other topics from Jayvee, Abe and Marc. Also, My daughter might attend if she doesn’t have thesis defense the following day. It’s an opportunity for her to meet other bloggers. I can actually bring my husband along since he has a blog but he stopped writing after 2 entries. I don’t think one is called a blogger if there are only 2 entries in your blog. Hehe . Hopefully he can blog more since he’s a gifted writer. He hasn’t gotten into the groove of blogging yet. When I talked to Connie in the last Globe-Innove sponsored meet, she hoped my husband would blog since a male lawyer-blogger might bring a different perspective to certain issues. (Connie and my husband were schoolmates in Law school.) I said that he did have a blog but died on it after only 2 entries. Maybe, he hasn’t gotten inspired yet. Hmm.

    I can still feel my heart pounding–kabog-bog-bog. My husband and I were seated at the left side of the spectacular [tag]Philippine Idol[/tag] stage, just below Mel Villena and his band. Gosh, the bass sounds made my heart go thumpity-thump after the show and my throat searing with thirst. As a live audience we are constantly reminded to continue the rooting, raving and cheering throughout the show. I don’t think we have to be reminded as the fans were screaming their heads off. The Wildcard performance photos will explain more on the inside story of the live show as I am already sleepy and tired.

    My favorites are for the girls:
    IRA and MAU while for the guys, it’s GIAN and ONYX


    View the behind the scenes Philippine Idol Wildcard Performance photos and if you missed watching it, here are some youtube videos

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