Monday, March 29, 2021

Vermicompost for Sale in Metro Manila

Hi all. I am now selling vermicompost to the public. Price = 35php per kilo. You can buy the vermicompost at 5 kilos per shipment. You will also shoulder the courier fee from my Paranaque City location to your place. For inquiries, please text 0917-676698 or email me at You may also leave a PM at my FB Messenger "Eleanore Hatta". Looking forward to hearing from you soon. Thanks!

Thursday, November 19, 2020

The New Name of My Company

My company is now named Quill Writing, Copyediting and Proofreading Services. I decided to rename my company to reflect the reality that I'm not yet eligible to call myself a language translator. What has worked though is that I realized I could still do some editing jobs for my clients, aside from writing for them. Hence, the name.

I chose to rename my company yet retained the Quill part in the name because I'm not sure if I will be able to train as a language translator again. So what remains constant is the writing aspect. I hope to find more clients in 2021 by advertising in Facebook, since I already have a page with this new company name in my account.

You might be wondering: why the sudden change? Well, I was working for this blog writing company this year for around 10 months and I thought I'd be with them forever. But I was abruptly let go since the company was changing its content focus and they didn't need me there anymore. So I realized I'd been jogging peacefully in my teeny tiny bubble, thinking that the good times would be there forever too. That explains the shock of learning that I was expendable after all.

I guess putting up my own company will help me to assert my independence even though it can be scary being on my own. But in the end, this new development will allow me to declare my income to the BIR so that they can charge me the right taxes for this industry. I hope clients will come regularly to give me writing and editing tasks then, for my long term survival.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Growing Vegetables in my Backyard

It's been more than six months since I formally finished the Organic Agriculture course at the UP Open University. Did I learn anything from the course? Yes but this kind of knowledge is not something you can teach online. Instead, it requires hands-on learning so I found myself trying to grow vegetables in my teeny tiny garden. Some plants are easier to raise than others though.

So far, my ampalaya vines are growing slowly but surely. I also planted tomatoes, calamansi and siling labuyo (chili) in small pots. I'm not sure if I need to devote that much attention to them because the seeds do take their sweet time sprouting shoots and leaves. Still, I am hopeful to see the day when I can do my first harvest.

Right now, I was wondering where I could get pechay seeds. My sister said the stalk of the pechay we use for cooking can sprout roots if immersed in a small container of water. Not sure if this is true. I would be more confident about it if I had the growing solution that my older brother uses for orchids. But beggars can't be choosers so I am sticking to the water container practice for now.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Secret to Being a Good Teacher

This year one of my part-time jobs was being a tutor to a middle-aged mom in the same condo complex where I used to live. It was actually my first time to teach an adult learner but not my first try at tutoring. I had also taught this young boy years ago but that was a short gig because I quit after just a few sessions.

The reason I lasted longer with this adult learner was that I finally unearthed the secret to being a good teacher (or tutor). The secret is that most students fail in school not because they’re stupid or feel like they know it all, and not even that they dislike the teacher. No, my experience told me that most students fail at school because they are AFRAID.

Students are afraid of school and learning because they don’t want other people to know that they don’t know the answers to the questions being asked. Students are afraid of their teachers humiliating them in front of the class. Students are also afraid that their fellow students (especially those who perform well in school) will make fun of them for not knowing the answers to the questions too. This is the root of juvenile delinquency – the fear of the unknown. Once I had realized this fundamental truth, it became easier for me to adjust to my student.

“Wait” you might be saying. “Shouldn’t the student be the one to adjust to you? You’re the teacher.” Well, the reality is that both sides have to adjust to each other. I had to adjust to my student by acknowledging that she is afraid that I will make her feel stupid. She had to adjust to me by acknowledging her fear and telling me what she was afraid of. Once we got past that stage, it became easier for me to teach her.

When your student tells you what she is afraid of, you learn to create lessons out of the academic topics that you can explain to her in terms that she will understand. So instead of acting like a professor in college who would talk using big words that people in the academic world seem to like to use, I had to scale down my language and explain the lessons in terms that she could grasp and that didn’t seem like they were obscure or difficult to understand. When necessary, we would repeat the lesson day after day until finally a light switched on in her head and she got the core of the lesson.

I had to learn patience and humility through this process, because she already knew that she didn’t understand the topics so I didn’t feel the need to point that out. Rather, I had to observe the way she would go through the lesson, waiting for the times when she would pause (puzzled by a part in the lesson) then I would explain that part again to her. I had to build up her confidence by staggering the lessons into small steps for her to go through so that she could see that big lessons are just small lessons summed up into a whole. I also had to acknowledge that some lessons were vague to me or that I had forgotten them so I had to go through those lessons again just to know how to teach them to my adult student.

The point to all this is that (in this age of soaring tuition fees and schools that are ineffective at educating due to overcrowding) we teachers must realize that our “business” is more of an advocacy and a lifestyle than a business. Yes, it does cost money to train teachers and it does cost money to educate students. But once we realize that the key to educating is to acknowledge that our students are afraid then more students would be able to overcome their fears because their teachers now know what the root of the problem is. And that would mean more students will excel in school and our country would have a brighter future because our human capital will be ready for the challenges of the labor force. So if you are planning to become a teacher, you should practice now how to get the trust of your students – and you will be surprised how they will bloom under your tutelage. That is what I know for sure.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Why I Won’t Hire Employees for My Company

When I was still a regularly-employed employee at my first job, I encountered co-workers who were not ideal employees. And that’s putting it mildly. Some of them would deliberately try to hack into and change the settings of the Local Area Network (LAN) just for fun. Others would destroy the company office equipment like the office chairs, also for fun. Some were also kind of weird because they would apply for employment at the company then resent it when they were asked to work already.

Needless to say, my experience working with such people simply convinced me that working alone is sometimes really preferable to working with a host of strangers. True, some people might enjoy the company of their co-workers (and yes, even at that job I mentioned I did have some friends among my co-workers) but the odds that you will have to work beside a weirdo in the same office are quite high nowadays. That’s one reason I decided to become a freelance writer and that is also the motivation behind my setting up my own company named Quill Writing and Translation Services.

So obviously, I won’t be hiring any people to work at Quill. I have gotten used to the pace and the peace of working alone as a freelancer. At Quill, I am only answerable to myself and to my client. I can work as fast or as slow as necessary. I can adjust and make changes when necessary. And of course, I can turn down work also when necessary. The decisions are all up to me and the consequences are fully absorbed only by me. True, it can be terrifying sometimes being alone in your own company especially when you encounter a new writing topic that is outside your comfort zone. It can also be uncomfortable especially when you are approaching a deadline and you think that you aren’t working fast enough to meet that due date. And of course, when you make mistakes, you only have yourself to blame and no one else.

But hiring people brings with it its own set of difficulties – and I don’t want that in my life. My job is complicated enough without hiring strangers to do certain tasks for me. And the good news is that there aren’t really that many tasks that I would need to hire for. So life for me has become much easier ever since I decided never to hire any employees for my company, regardless of who those people might be.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

What is Quill Writing and Translation Services?

I formed my company Quill Writing and Translation Services last year upon the advice of my sister. Like the name suggests, my company is all about writing services and translation services. At first, I concentrated mainly on writing but I have also been able to do some translation jobs too (mainly English-Tagalog translation work).

The value of having my own company is that it helps me form my own business identity that is independent of any one else’s. Of course, there are also some hardships that come with having your own company. For example, I have to pay for the registration of my company by myself. It cost me 2000 pesos just to get a national registration at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – national because my clients are mostly foreign individuals and corporations. I also have to pay for a bookkeeper and to have official receipts printed out of my own pocket. In addition, I will need to figure out which clauses in taxation laws and procedures in the Philippines apply to my company.

The benefit of having my own company is that it looks so cool being able to put my digital signature at the end of my gmail emails. I feel a sense of pride in being associated with the name of my company and knowing that this company is mine and no one else’s. When I think of my company I automatically think “How can I make my company better today?” When you work for someone else’s company you may feel that somehow there is a lack of fulfillment because you know that that company will never be yours. On the other hand, when you work for your own company you are motivated to make it better than it was yesterday all the time.

Of course, having my own company also means having to look for my own clients which also means working for other people. That part hasn’t changed – you will always need to find people to serve with your company. But because my company is my brand I know that I stand to benefit over time if I can sustain my work momentum every day.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

How to Survive the Competition Faced by Your Business

I have a close friend right now who has way more experience in business than I do and whenever we get together I like to listen to her business experiences closely because I learn more from her by listening than by talking.

One day she told me about her experience setting up a food cart at the MRT. The MRT food cart sold siomai which is actually very easy to prepare and cook and lends itself well to the fast food business model. Nowadays there are so many siomai food carts all over Manila but back then her family was the first to do so at that MRT station.

Everything was okay for some time. The siomai product was a bestseller and they were making profits from the business. However, problems arose when five (yes, you read that right – FIVE) other siomai food carts set up shop at the same MRT station. Having that many competitors meant that my friend had to share the same market with her rivals, which cut into her own profits. Even though MRT stations are usually crowded with passengers, apparently the smaller profits of my friend meant that she could not sustain the business anymore. So she had to give up the siomai food cart business and her business folded.

In any business (not just siomai sales) you have to contend with competitors. However, it doesn’t mean automatically that you would have to shut down your business just because competitors are raring to enter the same market you are in. There are some ways you can protect yourself so that your business has a fighting chance of surviving a highly competitive market and even attaining a high degree of profitability. Let’s check out these ways, shall we?

1) Make sure your product and/or service adheres to 100% quality standards. Just because you have competitors breathing down your neck doesn’t mean they offer the same quality product and/or service that you do. Although you cannot be sure what kind of quality your competitors are offering, you can be sure of yours. So always set high quality standards for your business to follow so that customers will be pleased with you.

2) Try to locate your business in a market where the management won’t let too many competitors enter. Some places, like schools for example, make sure that their area will not get saturated by businesses that are all alike or too similar to each other. You may need to look a bit further than usual to find such a market but this is important for your long-term survival. Such places often stipulate in their contract that they will not let rival companies/businesses set up shop in the location you have chosen – this is good for them as the landlord because it means the rent/lease you have to pay them will be uninterrupted because your business will survive and thrive. It guarantees a long term business relationship between you and the landlord and naturally you want that.

3) Be prepared for dirty tricks by the competition. Business can be a cut-throat competitive world so don’t assume that your rivals are angels. Some dirty tricks that you might come to expect are a) badmouthing of your business by the staff of your competitor; b) annoyances like garbage dumped right beside your location; and even c) downright sabotage like cockroaches released in the vicinity of your food cart. Yes, such things do happen and it’s not all in my imagination. So if your rivals resort to such dirty tricks, your best action plan is to approach the management of your landlord and ask them to correct the situation. Be sure to document these dirty tricks so that you have grounds for a complaint if your rivals resort to worse things.

4) Be sure that your pricing is fair and that your ideal customers can afford it. In the case of my friend, they did price their siomai fairly and they were pretty sure that their customers could afford it. So at first, this business strategy worked. However, their five other rivals seemed to have resorted to the same pricing tier which then meant that they were all offering the same siomai at the same price. So this leads us to number 5 which is…

5) Have something special to offer to your customers that your rivals can’t offer. In the siomai business this could mean offering an extra piece of siomai for every order of regular siomai or offering a free drink maybe per order. Or you could create an extra special type of siomai that your competitors could only dream of creating themselves. In the world of business it is very important to have something unique to offer because customers like variety and offering variety means that your competitors have to work extra hard to offer something unique also.

Naturally, the winner in all this is actually the customer because your target customer will have something great to buy from you or your rivals at any given time. But if you follow these tips your business may last for a longer time than it would if you simply sit back complacently. So look forward to the survival of your business if you keep innovating this way.