UPSTART, a Filipino board game is changing the way people learn business. As early adopters and backers, those who pledge through Kickstarter will get to own the game before its commercial release and below retail price. Back UPSTART today. Click here to preorder.

UPSTART Filipino board game

“Entrepreneurship is neither a science nor an art. It is a practice.” – Peter Drucker, management consultant, educator, and author.

Did you know that 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months? A whopping 80% crash and burn. When it comes to business, most people will tell you fail fast, and then learn. But the truth is… FAILING HURTS.

UPSTART Filipino board game

There is a new Pinoy board game that launched on October 15 on Kickstarter,  which is set to transform how people experience starting and sustaining a business without the risk. UPSTART, a table-top role playing game (RPG) by Richard Dacalos and Lorena Flores, was created to empower entrepreneurs and challenge the reality that 120,000 businesses fail every day. UPSTART is a board game that simulates the UPS and DOWNS of setting up and sustaining a business. It equips players with the tools & insights to have them take their business to the next level. Players learn lifelong lessons in an environment of fun, collaboration and play.

“You can’t grow a business in a silo so there’s bound to be failure, and it’s from failure that the best entrepreneurs learn to be successful.” adds Flores , a senior marketing strategist and head of creatives for UPSTART. “One reason we created UPSTART was to practice failure… without really failing. We wanted a safe and fun environment where we can uncover our blind spots, our decision-making biases, our strengths and

At an event with bloggers, Flores showed us how to play the board game.  Jane, my partner in Prep2Prime Digital and I teamed up to simulate the game.


Our character background is full-time entrepreneur. One round depicts weekly decisions and goals in real life . Each team was given 50 hours and 3000 cc (the currency in UPSTART).


You then roll and navigate through the board and make choices or deal with chance. Chance is dictated by various cards like life, breakdowns and breaks (opportunities).


The actions simulate real life : (1) Life and general actions, (2) General business conditions, (3) Revenue generation and (4) followers and reputation. Since Jane and I have followers and some reputation, we thought it best to focus on revenue generation and taking care of ourselves and family.


This game is an eye opener to me even if I have masteral units in Business Administration and was once a consultant for small and medium enterprises.  I realized that our consultancy has a long way to go in revenue generation and that our strategy should focus on it.


The UPSTART was initially a private board game played among colleagues, but it began getting noticed when players had success applying lessons they learned in the game to real life.
After two years of testing and product development, seven major game iterations, and more than four hundred players from different backgrounds – from aspiring entrepreneurs to business mavens, from students to corporate professionals, from the Philippines to South Africa – the game is ready to be shared with the world.


“The Kickstarter campaign will give us the ability to scale-up our production and ship worldwide,” says Dacalos.  They need to raise $35,000 though. Based on their calculations and conversations with the multiple suppliers, this is the bare minimum needed to mass produce the game and deliver worldwide.

Dacalos and Flores hope to empower entrepreneurs all over the world to beat the status quo, and shorten their business learning curve.

As early adopters and backers, those who pledge through Kickstarter will get to own the game before its commercial release and below retail price. Back UPSTART today. Click here to preorder.

virtual office
Remember what I wrote about the benefits of having a virtual office? Not just any virtual office, but this vOffice that I am registered as platinum member. One of the benefits is having a prestigious Bonifacio Global City (BGC) address at One Global Place which is my main vOffice. Not only do I have a virtual office in the Philippines, I can also use the virtual office spaces in MalaysiaIndonesia, Melbourne, Ho Chi Minh, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong and Bangkok. I can use meeting rooms in over 30 locations worldwide. A Virtual Office like offers mobile workers like myself the benefits of a serviced office environment but without actually renting physical space. With virtual office space, I pay a fraction of what I would to rent a physical location, pay for insurance and staff the office.

I like that vOffice has a portal for my use. I can reserve a meeting room in real time. There are 8 hours of meeting room every month  in my Platinum plan but I can unlimited use in the lobby  of One Global Place.

myvoffice portal

vOffice in Makati

The vOffice Boutique Center on the Penthouse of Mavenue Building does not offer unlimited use of their lobby unlike One Global Place in BGC. Even if Mavenue branch is smaller compared to One Global Place , I find their conference room adequate for my needs. One can fit 10-12 people in here. The best thing in having various vOffice location is the convenience. Sometimes, people prefer to go to Makati instead of BGC.

conference room at voffice makati

There is a whiteboard, a TV monitor and an outdoor view of the roofdeck.

conference room meeting room at voffice makati

The conference room faces an open balcony which can be used for event space that include the use of this room. I’ll get back to this later.

penthouse voffice mavenue

vOffice Premier/desk (vWorkdesk)

The conference room was too spacious for me so I decided to use the vOffice Premier/desk (vWorkdesk) which still had some vacancies. The vWorkdesk is place to get some work done and at the same time having a premium business address, phone number, receptionist to answer your calls in your business name and meeting facilities when you need it.  The vWorkdesk is not for me since I am very mobile. This is quite useful for startups and the small entrepreneur that need an office space without placing huge investment cost on  the lease.

virtual office

vWorkdesk can be leased for a minimum of 1 month but you can avail of discount for longer term lease.


table at voffice makatiSo what is included in the vWorkdesk?

1. Quality working desk and ergonomic chair

2. Fast wired or wireless internet for you to plug in

3. Backup internet service provider

4. Professional office setup. Not a call center environment

5. Unlimited light snacks, coffee, tea, filtered water and occasional beer

voffice makati pantry

There are even drawers beside each vOfficeWorkdesk for storage of files.

voffice workstation desk in makati

There is an ongoing promotion of 9,500 pesos a month for long term lease. Check the vOffice website for more details. It is nice to know that  there is real time chat with a service representative.

voffice mavenue makati

Event space at vOffice Boutique center in Makati

Like I said earlier, there is an event space outside the meeting room. One has an amazing skyline with plentiful parking space and centrally located right on Makati Avenue. It costs 20,000 pesos for 4 hours use,  inclusive of roof deck area and meeting room. Additional hours is at 5,000 pesos an hour.

voffice makati event space


The event space is 66 square meters. The lease includes a sound system, PA system, Smart TV for presentation, couch seatings, electricity, and great view of buzzing Makati Avenue.

voffice makati event space penthouse

For other needs, vOffice can offer assistance and recommendations in food and drinks catering service, cocktail bar setup, mobile lighting, DH, sound system solution setup, additional tables, chairs rentals, and PR agencies

roof deck in voffice makati


New branches in Cebu and Makati for 2015

I am excited with the opening of their second Makati branch in Rufino Pacific tower on February 2015. You might want to check the rates offered. I love that there is a Cebu branch in the Cebu Business Park, opening this first quarter of 2015. That now makes a total of six branches (two in the Fort, two in Makati and one in Cebu). The best part is you can have a meeting room in all of these branches, depending on your plan and number of hours per plan.

voffice in rufino tower

There is so much benefit for start-ups and entrepreneurs that need to keep operating costs low while developing a professional corporate image. Read again the benefits of a virtual office. If you do need a virtual office or vOffice Premier/desk within minutes,  check out the website of for their limited time offer for discounted rates. Now as low as 500 pesos a month for their lowest plans.

It’s a new year and there are new goals for whatever work you do.  Depending on your needs, now is the time to consider a virtual office or Voffice work desk.

If you do need an office within minutes,  check out the website of for the plans you want to avail then use my referral page or call +632 2242 000 and tell them that I referred you.

Remember my small office home office? This is in the second level of my home.


Before the move to my current residence, my home office was beside the kitchen.

virtual office at home

I called it either Home-office, Business-office (HOBO) or Small-office Home-office (SOHO) . Whatever you call it, I’ve been a work-at-home-mom since my second daughter was born in 1987. I like that my home office is a small nook that allows me to be in touch with kitchen activities and family members hovering behind me. Everyone was yelling distance away except for my kids if they are in their bedrooms. That’s because the walls of their rooms are almost sound-proof.

Now that I got even busier as a social business consultant and blogger, meetings took place in coffee shops. Meeting at my SOHO was not ideal because of the distance and secondly I wanted my privacy. Having to meet at coffee shops has its space limitation during meetings. The solution was a virtual office space .


I discovered,. vOffice in short for Virtual Office, gives you everything you need to efficiently run your business less the cost of maintaining a physical office. It gives you a prestigious business address, telephone & fax number, professional receptionist to answer your call, working space, full equipped meeting facilities, on-demand secretary and more. I got their Platinum plan.  Let me tell you about the benefits of using vOffice, my virtual office.


1. Prestigious Bonifacio Global City address at One Global Place (5th Avenue & 25th Street)

virtual office one global

I am always at the Global City so I liked that there are offices there at the Fort Legend and One Global. My Fitness First Gym is just across One Global Place so that is quite convenient for me. They also have a Makati address at Mavenue building. The best part of the voffice experience is I can also use the facilities of the Fort Legend (open 24/7) and Mavenue in Makati. . I like the idea of the Makati office with an open space, fresh air, roof deck area, fresh plants and a cup of hot tea to accompany you while you work.

mavenue makati v office

I have only experienced One Global Place so far but in the next few months, I will be visiting the two others. I can also use the virtual office at Melbourne, Singapore , London, Hongkong, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur Jakarta Selatan ,Jakarta Pusat, Shanghai , Beijing and Bangkok.

2. Affordable rates.

For the platinum plan, it costs 3,600 pesos a month. If you divide that by 25 working days, that is only 144 pesos a day, pretty much the cost of a large sized coffee mug order. One can get more out of the 144 pesos a day.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 5.46.24 PM

Here is what I can get:

1. Receive Mails & Parcels on my behalf.
2. SMS or Email notification.
3. Local & International Mail Forwarding.
4. Scan & Email service is available upon
5. Elegant Reception Service.
6. Calls Handling
7. Dedicated Local Telephone Number.
8. Professional Call Answering.
10. SMS or Email notification.
11. Call Screening and Transfer.
12. Personalized Voicemail.
13. Fax Services
14. Dedicated Local Fax Number.
15. Instant Fax Forwarding to your email

and comes with an unlimited use of a fully WIFI-ed business lounge and

– 8 hours per month worth PHP 7,200 per month
– 2 teleconference at 20 hours per month
– Executive Office Suite at 3 hours a month

I will expand on this more.

3.  Flexibility of using meeting rooms at 8 hours a month in over 25 locations

virtual office

I log on to to reserve a meeting room in real time. The voffice was quite useful when I needed to power my gagdets after a storm. My home did not have power for three days.

virtual office meeting room

4. Unlimited use of the fully WIFI-ed Business lounge

virtual office lobby

if you have used up your meeting room hours and are not willing to pay for additional, using the business lounge or pantry is an option. Those nifty white chairs are quite functional. There are power outlets within reach unlike a coffee shop where it is “first come first served”. It can get noisy though since this is the main lobby and there are many people coming in and out.

virtual office chair

5. Unlimited coffee at the pantry

How I love the pantry. There is a ref, a microwave, water dispenser , spoon , fork , glasses and mug.

virtual office kitchen

The best part is unlimited quality coffee . Now that is worth the 144 a day cost of a virtual office, right?

voffice coffee

6. Close to my gym

This is the “The Fort Strip” , a view from the pantry and where my Fitness First gym is located.

virtual office view

Physical activity can’t just be limited to tapping on my macbook finger exercises . My daily routine entails a two-hour gym workout in between my work After a workout, I can just walk towards One Global Place.

7. Receive calls and parcels

The ability to receive small parcels is an advantage. Having been stalked for over seven years now, I do not relish giving out my address or phone number to anyone. In fact, I had to change my landline and mobile phone numbers last year . With a dedicated phone number, the receptionist receives calls for me and then forwards it to my mobile number

virtual office mail box


8. An Elite Card Advantage

Having this Elite Card gives me discounted rates from their partner hotels, restaurants and boutiques with as much as 15% discount on selected partners. Click here to see the list.

voffice card

I can see the benefits of a virtual work space for start-ups and small sized entrepreneurs. One does not need to invest in a lease for office space or get a mortgage for a building. My business operates well in a virtual environment. Technically, my office is wherever I am . With the current technology , I can conduct my business anywhere but having an address in my business card is more professional. First impressions mean a lot. I don’t want to use my home address as the business address. With a virtual office, there is relief from the stresses of a traditional one.

If you do need an office within minutes,  check out the website of for the plans you want to avail then use my referral page or call +632 2242 000 and tell them that I referred you.

How time flies. The year 2014 is my eighth year as a blogger. When I look back at my grief journey, the turning point is the day I became a blogger on February 25, 2006. It must have been my angel that touched me that one night. I embraced twitter a year after including facebook and other social media networks.

Never in my wildest dream did it occur to me that this new life without my son would open doors to an even more meaningful life. Three years after in 2009, an opportunity presented itself to me to be part of the Automated elections in a PCIJ training. I grabbed the chance. I felt sad that the democracy that we fought so hard in 1986 was getting fragile. I felt the same heaviness in my heart as I saw the corruption slowly destroying our country. What will happen to the country that my children will inherit one day? I wanted take an active role in advocating social change.

jane and myself 3

My good friend Jane Uymatiao (@philippinebeat) together with other citizen advocates in Blog Watch are committed to make a difference in the lives of the Filipino people by helping them make more informed decisions. We help make things happen , one blog post at a time, one tweet at a time , to advocate social change as well as serve as a nonpartisan citizens’ watchdog and collective conscience for transparency and good governance. Being part of that positive change is a meaningful life to me. Blog Watch Citizen media, an emerging media is so much a part of my life aside from this blog.

To sustain an advocacy requires time and money that could have otherwise gone to saving up for our senior years. This is where Jane and I talked about developing our income channels yet doing what we are passionate about: advocating for social change.

Why not offer our services? Though, Jane and I are invited as social media resource speakers, we don’t actively promote ourselves. For 2014, we have moved to a new direction: expanding our services to include social business consultancy, and more topics for social media and pro-active parenting with a new category on “Reinventing One’s Life”. Jane writes about this new chapter in her life.

Here is a general background of the services Jane and I are offering:

1. Social Business Consultancy

Social media presence is no longer a “nice to have” feature of your business. It is a “must have” to be present on social media and give personality and better customer service to your customers and clients. We can help you align your business goals with social media engagement. Applying a new philosophy and methodology to your digital approach will naturally make your business and your overall strategy…meaningful and social.

2. Social Media Resource Speaker

Speaking topics include:

a) Personal branding
b) Brand advocacy- effectively turning customers into brand advocates is a company wide effort
c) Social media content
d) Developing a crisis communication plan
e) How to develop social-media enabled leaders in their spheres of influence
f) Using social media to advocate for social good (company advocacy work, disaster risk reduction)

3. Pro-active Parenting

Speaking topics:
– A safe school program to prevent bullying, abuses and discrimination
– How to establish a digital trust fund for your children
– Teenagers: Why they Should Care About their Digital Footprint
– Parenting in a digital landscape

4. Reinventing One’s Life

Speaking topics:
– Rediscovering Passion in One’s Prime
– Learn the power of forgiving and letting go
– Loving and taking care of yourself
– Finding purpose and meaning in one’s prime
– Developing a wellness mindset

With this new thrust, we will be able to achieve a better work balance, as we continue to earn adequately to sustain our advocacy and boost our retirement savings.

For more details about how Jane and I can work with you, please send me an Email at noemidado @ or the form below

I am a firm believer that one of the solutions to our country’s economic woes is that more of us should start a small business and be self-sustaining. With the advent of the internet, business can even start online.

Women entrepreneurs are an ever-growing part of the economy, and one of the best opportunities to start is through online selling on your own platform or using one like eBay. I had the opportunity to talk to eBay Philippines a few weeks back. I discovered that eBay Philippines provided our women to run successful businesses right in the comfort of their own homes.

Read More →

Let me interpret regular programming to shamelessly promote my daughter’s online ukay ukay store.

If her Ukay Manila blog is a showcase of amazing ukay finds from places in Manila, the Ukay Manila Store brings the best of the ukay-ukays to you in a dust-free, convenient, and professional environment.

You will be surprised at the lovely finds she discovered all over Manila.

So check the Ukay Manila Store or its mirror site at Ukay Multiply

dollarsNormally, I just let my dollar earnings sit in the bank because I am lazy to visit the bank and have them converted to pesos. Banks also have silly rules on dollar withdrawals. Anyway, the good side on all this is I am able to save for a rainy day. However, the strong peso got me thinking. I started to convert my dollars on “what could have been” at the old exchange rate and the current rates. I refuse to think of “what could have beens” because I should be grateful that I am still liquid. After reading Abe Olandres’ Weakening Dollar hurts Probloggers, I started to think that maybe I need to spend a little more.

That’s a net loss of Php13.13 for every dollar that I have in the bank. That loss closely amounts to a brand new car or a down payment for a house and lot.

Ugh, I did lose a lot on the conversion.

So what did I do? Oh yeah, I went on a mad shopping spree for Christmas presents.

Read More →

A virtual office was in the pipeline while I was still residing at Makati City. But I’ve never gotten around to getting one since I’ve moved homes now. Remember I showed you my Small-Office Home-Office (SOHO) at my old home? Well I’m going to give you a sneak preview of my SOHO over at our cozy home in Pasig City. I don’t know which sounds better. Home-office, Business-office (HOBO) or Small-office Home-office (SOHO) ?

I still have a lot of work to do in the house. I want more decors , furniture here and there. Unfortunately, furnishings, home accessories and other decors are quite expensive so they will have to wait. Right now I just have the bare essentials.

Wi-fi reception was poor in our old home because of the thick concrete walls. I’m quite happy that the Globe Broadband was bundled with a wi-fi router and the reception is pretty strong.

I have four workstations with three Internet Service Providers (Globe Broadband, PLDT MyDSL and Smart Bro) for connection redundancy. I like the idea of variety in my work place. Each of my working space has a purpose. Perhaps I want to blog, work on some papers , websites or just go blog hopping. My mood of the day determines the location of my work.

1. Writing Table at the First Level

This writing table sits at the foot of the stairs . Originally I planned to put a console table here. But see, a console’s purpose in life is decorative . I decided that that every furniture I buy should have functionality.

Working here at my antique narra writing table is best at around 7:00 AM after my dear husband leaves for office . Country angels adorn my table. Hearing the chirping Maya birds and gazing at the greenery of the pocket garden is a good start for the day. This nook works best for me when I am in a calm mood.

I usually stay here until 9:00 AM , checking emails, working on webhosting orders or tickets. Then I get up to check household work for the day. When I come back, the cats decide to invade my table.

Kylee thinks the window view is lovely.

Kylee peeks at my Twitter while Lady naps on my chair.

2. Workstation at the second level

Going up the stairs, the workstation aka mini library greets me at the landing. I want to shield the sunlight with beige Roman Shades but ugh, I still need to save money for that.


Updated (June 28, 2007)

This is my custom-built workstation (built by Connie’s carpenter) where my PLDT mydsl connection is. This is where I stay most of my mornings if I need to pay bills, call people or just do paperwork. As you can see I avoid papers on my desk. They are all inside the drawers . Instead of ugly looking Filing cabinets I had drawers built in the bottom. I use a temporary monobloc chair because I haven’t found the perfect working chair. If I can’t find a white swivel chair then I might as well buy a colored chair. My workaholic mood works best in this working area.

Behind me are Butch books. I keep telling him to sort out his books since it just accumulates dust. It’s one reason I shut the windows in this part of the house.


Usually I go the gym in the late morning once I’ve settled all the work to be done for the day.

3. The couch at the Dining room

The dining room is the favorite part of our home. It’s the soul of the house, a place of conversation. When the kids or my husband are having a snack, I am sometimes found lounging on the couch. If work piles up, I can multitask with my macbook while supervising the food preparation, cooking or house cleaning. Most of the time, I am just doing menial work online while seated here.

4. My bed.

During extremely hot weather, I stay in my bedroom. Turning the airconditioning of the whole house is not a good idea so I prefer to stay in a smaller room where electricity cost won’t be as much. I plan to put a writing table by the bay window as soon as I can save enough for this. I have this thing about windows. I like to pause in between my work hours then look as far as I can .

At night , Butch and I read websites or blog hop before we call it a night. You can see his laptop on his side table.

In the rare occasion that PLDT MyDSL or Globe Broadband is down, I still have one more ISP (SMART BRO) found at the kids’ bedrooms.
Lauren’s blue room and M’s Green room

Now if all three ISP’s are down, I will just sleep, right?

So there you have it. In my ecommerce business , do I really need to lease an office space when I can easily work at my home office? The flexibility of my SOHO allows me to move around as I work . Sitting down in one area stiffles my creativity. I like to work and enjoy the view at the same time.

Now tell me, what part of your house is a favorite spot for blogging or surfing sites?

working momI was 42 years old and reading the “Working Mom” magazine. I wanted to get back to the corporate world or do research work like I used to do or so I thought. Armed with an MBA, it shouldn’t be a problem, right? Reality sank in that Filipino employers never or rarely hire women past thirty five years old. Look at the classified ads…”not more than 30 years old”…or “not more than 40 years old” as if age diminishes our mental faculties. The problem was I quit the workforce at the age of 30 years old to devote the full time homemaker role to my three children. Those lost years deprived my exposure to business trends and development. I had a part time job though. During those 10 years, I devoted my brains to my husband’s family properties as he could not attend to it. He was a budding lawyer tied down to a law firm. He literally dropped his property management role to me. I had no choice but support his wishes as we derived substantial income from it too.

To add to my credentials, I acquired a license in real estate brokerage in 1989. Things didn’t work out in the end because of misunderstandings which I’d rather not explain further. I resigned in 1998 much to the disappointment of my father-in-law.

I knew I needed something else. A job?

I could get a job through network of friends but what was my specialty? The past years saw me dabbling with the internet and web site development. I was out of the loop in the corporate world.

On that fateful day , I read this article about moms who quit their jobs and went into business. There were 3 women who started a business because they were tired of working

So that was it! Start a business. But what kind of business?

Read More →

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.