10 Practical Tips in Visiting a Singapore Hawker Center (Newton Park)

If you’re in Singapore, one of the more accessible hawker places is the Newton Food Center. Located at the MRT Station Newton, the Newton Food Center is a mere 3 minutes walk from the subway.

Merely go out of the Newton MRT Station via the Newton Food Center Exit (There are signs), follow the shaded pathway, cross the street and you’re there.

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Newton Food Center is one of the most touristy hawker centers in Singapore. The prices are slightly more expensive than the rest, but some dishes are extra yummy, and I still think is worth a trip.

NewtonPhoto Credit: Smart Local

Here are 10 practical tips in visiting Newton Food Center and to get the authentic Singapore hawker experience:

1. It gets really hot so wear light clothing: Shorts, Cotton T-Shirts, Etc.

Going to a hawker center is not the same as going to an air-conditioned fashion show. Prepare to sweat, line up, and mill with crowds from all income levels.

This was the scene on a Saturday night:

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The place was full, full and FULL! It doesn’t help that Newton Food Center was featured in Crazy Rich Asians. Remember this?

Newton-Food-Center-Singapore.pngPhoto Credit: Crazy Rich Asians

It was hard to get a table especially with a bigger group (We were a group of 7-8 pax), but eventually we did if your eyes are keen and you’re willing to stand and wait for awhile:

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Eventually you will get seats, but once again, dress down instead of up. It’s harder to wait when you’re in a neoprene dress and sky high heels.

2. Seats are actually free for all. 

You actually DO NOT have to order from the food stall in front of your seat even though it’s ideal.

My husband was pressured to order from the hawker stall in front of our seat and was somewhat scammed because the vendor insisted he had to purchase a minimum order to seat on the table.

This is NOT true.

You are not obliged to order from any specific stall if you sit on a table. Vendors know this so don’t feel pressured if you want to order from other stores.

3. Before ordering, make a one round trip around the hawker center to get an idea about what to get and where.

There are so many stalls to choose from at the Newton Food Center. It’s so easy to get confused and to wonder what and where to order.

However, a quick trip around the center shows a lot of redundancy. For example, despite the sheer number of stalls, the most popular food stalls sell the same food as the following:

  • Chili Crab and Seafood with Baby Veggies
  • Oyster Cake & Carrot Cake
  • Chicken Wings and Satay
  • Indian Food
  • Noodles: Char Kway Teow, Prawn Mee, Fishball Noodle Soup
  • Juices and Drinks

This means that many of the stalls serve practically the same food, and every stall actually has a minimum standard to taste, so despite the confusion, just pick a stall. Any stall. Given that it’s Newton Food Center, you’ll still be okay regardless of which stall to choose.

4. Despite the redundancy, some food stalls are more popular than others. 

This is what my local friend said about ordering in hawker centers:

When I asked my friend what to get, she said that most locals usually order in the stalls where the lines are longer. Their sense is that the more delicious the food, the more popular it is, hence the lines.

You can also do some minimum research on what type of stalls are more popular. Stalls are numbered by numbers posted on the signboard as follows:

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5. Bring wet wipes.

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Yes, there’s a clean toilet at the end of the Newton Food Center. There are a lot of washing basins too. It is in this area that you can also refill your water.

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However, it’s safer to bring wet wipes with you especially when eating seafood. Better safe than sorry! 🙂

6. Stalls will deliver your paid ordered food to your seat, so REMEMBER YOUR TABLE NUMBER.

Every table has a number which you need to remember. It’s printed on the side of the table.

When ordering on multiple stalls, hawkers will deliver the cooked food to the table once you give them instructions on where your table is.

See? Check out the table number written on the plates that were delivered in our table #202:

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It’s a lot easier than carrying plates of food. Just let them do it for you.

7. Never order food that does NOT indicate a fixed price.

My husband didn’t know and ordered the grilled tiger prawn from the stall in front of our table. They charged him SGD13 (Php 500) PER PRAWN, with a minimum order of 4 tiger prawns.

This was what Php 2,000 looked like — not only was it dry, it was also freaking expensive.

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Locals will always tell you: Never order anything that’s not fixed price. The vendors may cheat on the weight of the food, and overcharge you on the order.

And of course, once the food is on time table, you have no choice but to pay it. Very important, only order fixed price items.

8. If you’re ordering a non-fixed price item — say, Chili Crab, make sure you determine the price first when making the order. 

Apparently, Chili Crab is worth SGD40-50 depending on kilo/size. While our tiger prawns was SGD 53 for four pieces, a Chili Crab will average around SGD 45-55 per order, which makes it very worthwhile to have:

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Photo Credit: GastronomicWanders Blog

Indicate the total price to pay before ordering and paying so there’s no misunderstandings once it’s cooked. Order some delicious mantou to wipe the sauce with.

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9. Almost everything was good: Here’s what we ordered from the best to the worst:

When you’re at the Newton Food Center, order the Cockles, Satay Sting Ray and Chicken Wings. They were the best dishes we had when we ate there.

This plates of Cockles (SGD 10/order) was cheap, and was the best dish we had along with the satay sting ray. It was best eaten with chili sauce:

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Another best dish was the Satay Sting Ray worth SGD10-15 depending on the size. It was tender, perfectly cooked and very flavorful. Apparently, this is one of Newton Food Park’s specialty. Please order it:

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The third best dish was the Chicken Wings, which was around SGD 1.4 each. Eaten with a dash of calamansi, the chicken feet rounded up the best three dishes at Newton Food Center:

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Here were the consolation prizes:

Satay — Pork, Chicken, Mutton, worth SGD0.70 each (Minimum of 10 pcs):

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Oyster cake worth either SGD6/8/10 depending on size:

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Fried Dark Carrot Cake worth SGD3-5:

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Char Kway Teow:

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And Hokkien Prawn Mee:

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For the drinks, the Soursop Juice is to die for. I would go over and over again for the Soursop Juice. My juice had bits and pieces of Soursop. Very authentic.

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10. Out of courtesy, especially on peak periods, vacate the table/seats when you’re finished eating.

The busy Hawker Center is not the best place to hang out and make tambay especially after finishing your meal. Especially during peak hours, so many other guests are standing by and waiting for the next available seat:

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If you want to talk to your friend, go to the coffee shop or the mall. But especially during peak hours, while it’s okay to eat leisurely, please vacate the table for the next guest to sit in once you’ve finished and somewhat digested your food.

It’s just the courteous thing to do.

Come and visit the Newton Food Center in Singapore when you visit Singapore. Start with this center first and go and visit the rest. It’s a great introduction to a hawker experience when you visit Singapore.

Newton Food Centre
Opens till 2:00am
Newton, Singapore

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10 Practical Tips when Visiting Universal Studios Singapore if you have Kids 3 Years Old and Above

If you’re in Singapore, the best attraction to go to if you have kids 3 years old and above is a day trip to Universal Studios. It’s fun, something different and definitely an experience to remember. In short, it’s a great reasonably priced way to spend time with the entire family.

Here’s my top 10 tips on making a trip to Universal Studios especially if you have kids:

1. Go on a weekday for best results.

Universal Studios Singapore get very crowded on the weekend. If you can, go on a weekday.

We went on a Friday, and it was still comfortable. Sure, some popular rides had lines that last an hour, but it’s still better than to line up on a Saturday or Sunday.

2. Take a taxi if you’re coming from the city. Not the subway or Grab Car.

Interesting fact: Since Grab utilizes private vehicles, kids are required to use car seats if you’re bringing little kids. If you ride a taxi, not only is it equally safe, but car seats are optional.

We took a taxi from Orchard Road and it cost us a reasonable SGD 10 from Orchard Road to Universal Studios. The taxi drops you right by Resorts World Sentosa, which is a short walk to Universal Studios.

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Given that we had one stroller, one naughty 3 year old kid and two adults, a taxi was a fine way to get around Singapore at an affordable price. No need for unnecessary transfers!

Added plus: Singaporean taxi drivers are a chatty bunch. I’ve had lovely conversations with all of the taxi drivers we engaged with this trip.

3. Take a souvenir photo at the Universal Studios Singapore globe.

Make sure that the globe spells “Univers” when you make that shot.

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Yes, it’s okay to ask the other visitors to take your photo.

They won’t run off with it because it’s Singapore. 🙂

4. Buy your tickets via Klook: Less Lines, Zero Hassle 

We bought the tickets via Klook, and it was a breeze.

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All you have to do is show your Electronic ticket by the door, and you’re in. No need to line up in the Singapore heat:

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The more you buy, the more you save. The price is a measely Php 150 cheaper, but with the added credits earned when you’re a Klook user helps. When we bought for example, I used the code and saved HKD10.

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5. Make sure your child avails most of the rides if allowed by height requirement. 

My daughter is 3 and she was able to ride most of the rides. The rides can be ridden based on height requirement, and my daughter was able to ride most of the rides except for Cyclone, The Mummy, and Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure.

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Here were some of the rides that she partook as a 3-year old. My niece who was 6 months old pretty much stayed in the stroller, but a 3-year old girl can already enjoy most of the park.

6. Bring your own stroller. 

Save money from renting and simply bring your own stroller. You can hang your shopping on the side, or have your child nap when he/she gets tired.

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There’s a designated stroller parking beside every attraction, and it’s perfectly safe to just leave most of your things unattended while you go on the rides. Just make sure to bring your money bag with you.

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7. Take advantage of the SINGLE RIDER option especially with popular rides. 

Popular rides like Transformers The Ride (Sci-Fi City, F4), Revenge of the Mummy (Ancient Egypt, E2), and Jurassic Park Rapids Adventue (D5, The Lost World), and Canopy Flyer (The Lost World, D2) have the Single Rider option you can fully take advantage of.

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If you go in via the Single Rider option, you are what we call the “Panakip butas.”
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The Single Riders ride in USS is almost always surprisingly empty. Hence, it’s a great way to ride the attraction faster since everyone always takes the regular attraction line since they want to sit with their companions.

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While most groups would want to ride together, Single Riders can be inserted in any group whenever there’s a seating gap in a ride. That’s why, this line is so fast.

At the peak hour, it only took us a brief 10-15 minute wait for Transformers. Whereas riding the Mummy on peak hour took us 70 minutes for the regular line.

No point with sitting together with your companions. Take the Single Rider line instead.

8. Make time for the shows, even though they’re a bit disappointing. 

Here’s the list of shows available at Universal Studios Singapore. Many of them run short — the Madagascar Boogie lasts only 10-15 minutes before proceeding to picture taking, but it’s worthwhile to catch them if you can.

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Catch the Waterworld Show (1:30pm, 5:00pm and 8:30pm): It’s a classic and fun to watch, complete with fire and water special effects.

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Is Shrek 4D considered a show? Please don’t miss it. It was really fun. The Donkey Live Show however was a bit boring and can be missed if you’re out of time.

9. Position yourself in New York by the Diner for the Parade at 7:30pm. 

We sat in front of the Spaghetti Space Chase Theatre (Close to the Diner) and was able to get an amazing view. of the parade which started on 7:30pm.

This position already signals the end of the line, which is most likely why this is the best position to watch the parade.

The parade only lasts till 8:00pm so it was super short. There were only a handful of floats that were presented, but if you are already there, might as well go. Selected Saturdays include fireworks, but going on a Saturday may not be worth it especially given longer lines.

10. BEST TIP EVER: Ride all the rides from 8pm!

After the parade, everyone was keen to go home and eat especially since many of the restaurants were already closed by that time. Hence, there were literally ZERO or minimal lines after 8pm. This was the BEST time to go around the park.

We left all our bags with our relatives by the Diner (Remember the 6 month old baby?), and ran all the way through all the rides.

From 8pm to 9pm, we were able to ride the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure, Canopy Flyer, Revenge of the Mummy, the Puss in Boots Giant Journey, the Cyclone Roller Coaster twice, and the Transformers.

Given this new information, if you visit, go on a weekday, start late afternoon, and end at 9pm when the park officially closes. Ride what you can, but if the line is too long, wait until the parade finishes and ride the popular attraction twice or three times.

In summary, come and visit the Universal Studios Singapore if you visit Sentosa. It is a worthwhile place to go to for the day especially if you have toddlers in tow. The price is also reasonable given the quality of the rides, and if you live in Singapore, it may be worthwhile to get the Annual Pass.

Regular ticket prices is only SGD79. If you go to USS 2.5 times more, then it’s well worth your money already.

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Universal Studios Singapore
8 Sentosa Gateway, Singapore 098269
Operating Hours: 10am to 9pm
https://www.rwsentosa.com/en/attractions/universal-studios-singapore/explore

Posted in Advice, Baby Stuff, children, Family, Kid Problems, Lists, Practical Tips, Travels, vacation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I let Kids Play by Herself

My heart drops a bit whenever my 3-year old strives to be more adventurous for my liking.

She likes to play on the slide. Have the swing pushed stronger than what is fitting for her age.

I imagine her falling and breaking a leg, and it takes some effort not to shout, “Be careful!” whenever she starts a new activity.

Here she is playing on the slide alone. She goes up…

And up on her own…

Cheekily waves when she reaches the top:

Then slides down down down:

Laughing with delight.

As a three year old, my daughter is still full of fun. She doesn’t think about falling down or breaking bones like her mom. For her, she just goes and goes and goes.

I think there’s a lot of things to learn from our kids — Genuinely having fun is one of them.

Letting go and taking some controlled risk is another.

I think the world’s too preoccupied with parenthood nowadays too. There’s too much expectation on out kids and perfection on ourselves that’s going on.

Don’t touch that!” We would exclaim. “It’s dirty!!!!”

“Don’t go on the floor,” we would shout. “Yuuuucckkkky germs!”

“Be careful,” we would warn. “You might hurt yourself!”

But the thing is, being overly careful removes a lot of the fun. How many kids are raised in a sanitized state that they never really let go and be kids?

But they’ll get dirty!” We say.

Well, that’s why we bathe them later when they’re madungis (unclean).

But they might get hurt!”

Well, not if you’re in close proximity and control the environment so they won’t get hurt too badly.

Kids bones also recover faster.

As long as it’s not too high and too fast, some bruises will last only a few days.

What’s more, letting them learn on their own what is safe and dangerous does wonders in improving their decision making skills.

Besides, it’s a better bonding experience than giving them an iPad to pass the time.

Please note, I said, let them play by themselves with supervision. Not to leave them in the playground area alone. That’s just sheer negligence.

But let them play.

Let them be kids, exert some healthy energy and play.

It’s good for the heart, good for some family bonding, and it’s good for developing some skills.

Happy week everyone!

Posted in children, Early Learning, Education, Parenting, Personal opinion, Updates | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Restaurant Review: Gulliver’s of San Francisco Restaurant ❤️❤️❤️

I have always seen my friends post photos of them eating at Gulliver’s, so we went to try it out last Friday.

Located at the 8th floor of Great Eastern Hotel along Quezon Avenue, Gulliver’s in an institution, serving reasonably priced prime ribs in a dated hotel restaurant that can still be interesting as a date place.

There were at least seven tables full when we arrived. But the restaurant was so big, it was still very comfortable and spacious, albeit dated.

The servers were costumed and courteous. There was even a man playing oldies on the piano the entire time we had dinner.

Apparently, such romanticism is not lost yet. Gulliver’s seem to have it every night.

I like it. ❤️❤️❤️

The menu was simple but had a lot of choices.

Order the steaks as Gulliver’s is known for it. A friend ordered the prawns but had regrets. Their steaks are so much better!

We started the meal with a caesar salad (php 300) to share:

Delicious!” Hubby said as he munched on the crunchy greens. The sauce was not store bought and was tossed evenly. “So much better than the ones we eat in Pancake House!”

We also ordered the Fisherman’s Spaghetti(php380) to share.

I am familiar with this sauce as it tastes like what I would cook at home. Very creamy and slightly nakakaumay. But it has a lot of seafood to make it worthwhile.

I would order other dishes though the next time I visit.

Their Gulliver’s cut prime rib (php1,200) was very impressive though. Check out Hubby’s slice:

This was mine, slightly more feminine:

The prime rib was served with baked potatoes, a dallop of creamed spinach, bread, and a cup of delicious creamed corn.

This was delicious!

Served with its own juice, the Gulliver’s prime rib was oh so yummy! Many steak comes with gravy to give it flavor, but Gulliver’s prime rib can stand well on its own without salt or gravy.

“Okay, we can really come back here!” exclaims hubby as he devoured his slice. And as an act of ultimate approval, “We can even bring my family.”

His dad has expensive food tastes so it’s a high compliment.

Sulit for the price!” He finishes.

Mind you, the steak was nicely done our 3 year old daughter also ate a big slice. It was soft and tender, just the way she likes it.

We finished the evening with some dessert. The trifle (php160) tastes weird, order something else next time:

But their warm cinnamon apple pie ala mode (php185) was to die for:

My hubby ordered two iced teas so our total bill came out to php3,300. Pretty decent as there was at least three of us dining, with the baby and yaya.

In conclusion, Gulliver’s of San Franciso is a great restaurant to visit especially as many shiny new restaurants come and go.

They have free parking, spacious dining area, awesome food and reasonable prices.

Just bewarned, the place is old.

The elevator took a long time to get from the parking to the 8th floor (we found that highly amusing), and it felt somewhat like a haunted hotel with dated interiors, but hey, we came there for the food and experience and we got more than we bargained for!

Come visit and order their prime rib! Then please let me know what you think. Can’t let this place die. We plan to make repeat visits in the near future!

Gulliver’s of San Francisco

1403 Great Eastern Hotel, Quezon Avenue, QC

Telephone: 371-8282

Posted in First Experiences, Food, Highly Recommended, Restaurant reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I let my Mother Spoil my Daughter

My mother is in her 70s, and boasts of only two grandchildren — one by me, and the other is my brother’s 5 month old daughter.

Much to her annoyance, we married quite late, and while all her siblings has had numerous apos, many of which were sons, she’s just stuck with two.

However, despite not having that many grandkids, my mother showers my daughter with much unconditional love, toys and gifts.

After my daughter was born, my mom who lived elsewhere, would make a trek to my house at least twice a week to gawk and stare at my daughter. When daughter was older, she became more demanding, and the gifts from her loving grandmother kept on coming.

Mothers who believe in the Montessori method will shake their heads in disbelief. My house is full of my daughter’s toys, all bought by my mother for my daughter. She buys from 168 so it’s not that expensive, but since my mom buys ALL THE TIME, it all adds up.

The Marie Kondo method does not work on us, as everything for my daughter sparks joy.

Just last week for example, my mom took my daughter to Toy Kingdom.

After scouring the shelves and playing with the toys for free, my daughter managed to sucker her grandmother in buying the following:

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It’s only Php 1,200 a set,” my mom claimed. “Cheaper than 168!”

The problem was not that it was cheaper, or whether it was affordable for her. The issue was that I already have two kitchen sets at home — one wooden, and the other one plastic.

But this has a different design!” the insistent grandmother exclaimed. “A small price for happiness!”

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I let my mom buy my daughter a toy. This is them with their haul:

I only have one important reason in letting my mom buy this toy for my daughter —

My mom is happy to be a good grandmother to my daughter. Buying for my kid SPARKS JOY to my mom.

My mom is now 70+ years old.

Through the many years, she and my dad worked hard, made sacrifices, and held back on their purchases to ensure that my brother and I have a bright future.

The first time she bought something for herself was 6 years ago, when she asked me whether she should buy sports shoes as she never had a pair. It broke my heart to see my mom never having to buy anything for herself, as she has showered us kids with what should have been hers.

My daughter is just three. She will live longer than my mother.

Hence, my mom only has a few decades to live vs. my daughter. If my mom passes away earlier, my daughter will only have remnants on what type of grandmother she had. If that is the case, one of the best gifts I can give my daughter is that she is unconditionally loved by her grandmother.

My mom has a few years to spoil my child.

Twice a week visits will NOT spoil her as my child lives in our stricter household.

But I do not want to deprive my mom from the joys of grandparenthood. 

At the end of the day, our children is ours. My mom is merely borrowing my daughter for a few hours and together, they make each other feel good.

I let her spoil my child now and then. That’s one of the best things of being a grandkid, and a grandmother. It will NOT kill me to let them have their fun.

Here is my mom and my daughter with their haul, walking hand in hand, happily back to the carpark:

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I will not be annoyed because she spoiled my child for Php 1,200. It’s just money. And I don’t want to be the killjoy to them both by muttering and complaining to her that she’s spoiling my child.

Instead, I will bask at these photos, seeing them walk hand in hand, knowing that my mom loves my daughter, and my daughter loves her back:

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It’s heartwarming and well within my control to give. And this is why I let my mom spoil my child, and let my child sucker my mom.

It won’t be forever, and it’s best to leave your kid with fond loving memories of the grandmother who loves her to death. Because that’s one best gift we can give to our children — the love of the grandparents.

Have a great week ahead!

Posted in Advice, baby, children, Family, Kid Problems, Life lessons, Mom's advice, Motherhood, Parenting | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Business Series: Working with Integrity

Many businesses take their sweet time in paying their suppliers.

For them, the longer they pay, the better it is. If possible, they will try to delay for as long as possible, hoping against hope that you may actually forget that they owe you money.

Last year, we rented out a parking space in our building to one of the largest businesses in the Philippines. They owed us Php 11,435.94.

Now, this company has acquired around 50+ sites for its community malls. Ten of their malls have already started operations since 2017. They are one of the hottest companies in the PSE.

And yet, it took me ONE WHOLE YEAR of sending multiple emails, calls, legal threats etc. to finally get their accounting to pay us.

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And for the meager amount of Php 11,435.94!!!

Compare this to a small parenting shop in New Manila, The Parenting Emporium.

They were very easy to talk to, and after talking to the co-owner, we then delivered our soft plushy rocking horses to them.

Imagine our surprise when during the time for payment, their billing actually took the initiative to call and text me to followup on the bank details so they can transfer the money to us.

They then texted me to follow up the next day on the bank details.

I have done business with many suppliers throughout the years, and many businesses are NOT like the Parenting Emporium. Their accounting is incompetent, the boss is not on top of operations, and they shy away with everything that’s related to collections.

Such effort for me is noteworthy. Given just this small example, it shows that The Parenting Emporium is a company of integrity, and I think many businesses should love transacting with them.

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When you have a business, it is critical that you operate WITH INTEGRITY.

You always pay people whom you owe timely. You do not cheat them on the terms. And you try your best effort to act in good faith in all your transactions.

My parents were in the business of exporting coffee beans when I was young.

Some suppliers would jack up the prices when the current prices went higher than the future price. Other suppliers would refuse to sell their beans when the price is too low.

But my parents?

They sold the beans at the price to what was stated for the day, even though they bought the beans at a loss. Their clients saw them as a businessman that’s good as their word, and do not hesitate to buy from them, as they knew that my parents would sell them the beans at the agreed price, and can reliably supply even when the bean prices fell.

My parents are my hero, and I look up to them. 

As I manage our small business, it is a source of pride for me to always fulfill my obligations in the timeliest ways possible.

I try my best to pay my people on time. Many businesses delay the salaries either because they’re assholes or because they cannot get the capital on time.

I pay my suppliers and don’t change the prices especially when our suppliers deliver the goods.

People know our credit is good, and we will pay the amount that was agreed with. I don’t try to shortchange my suppliers even after their work is done. This is because some companies in the Philippines re-negotiate the terms after the service is delivered, which is a very assholic thing to do.

Integrity.

Word of honor.

Hindi malabong kausap.

These are the tenents of owning a managing a business long term.

Especially given that the Philippines community is small, how you manage a business is as important as how much money you make.

You may be like this big shot real estate/retail/restaurateur company,  but if you try to escape from paying your Lessor Php 11,435.94, one day the bricks will fall, and people will see what a whack you really are. How can a blue chip company operate in such a manner? Sure, blame your accounting, but I think it’s irresponsible for a business owner to let their Accounting take the fall, when they should be on top of their operations.

Everyone should be like The Parenting Emporium, who manage their business with a responsible heart. I know they’re not yet as big, but if you operate with integrity, I think it’s just a matter of time.

Really appreciate you being a good payer. I’m glad that despite the challenges of working in the Philippines, there’s still many businesses that are very lovely to work with.

Have a great week ahead!

Posted in Business, entrepreneurship, Ethics, Personal opinion, Philippines, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Big Bad Wolf Haul this Year!

We went to The Big Bad Wolf book sale last night at The World Trade Center. The book sale runs from February 22 to March 4, and is open 24 hours a day.

Admission is FREE and the crowds have significantly thinned when we went, which made for a comfortable shopping experience.

This year, I only bought this for myself — The Innovators by Walter Isaacson (₱290) and The Elephant and the Dragon by Robyn Meredith (₱350):

But I went crazy for my daughter since the BBW booksale is a great place to buy hard bound books for the Little ones. Here were my best picks for the price:

My daughter really loved this, The My Little Pony Metal Case Set (₱390)

The Paw Patrol Pup Pals Storybook and DVD (₱350)

Louise and Andie: The Art of Friendship by Kelly Light (₱230) and The Best Book of Fairy Tales by Miles Kelly (₱350). My brother also bought another book by Miles Kelly for Nursery Rhymes:

Bully: A Lift-the-Flap book illustrated by Naomi Tipping (₱190). Never too late to learn about bullying.

1001 Things to Find: Stage School and Cheeky Monkey (₱190 each)

The Hippo Magic’s Augmented Reality Books that cost ₱290 each. We got The Three Little Pigs, Velveteen Rabbit and Goldilocks. My brother got the Little Red Riding Hood and Counting Numbers.

Interesting concept and easy to read. Please note though that not all pages are interactive. You still need to read most of the pages to your toddler.

Don’t worry, there’s a lot of stock of these babies at the booksale. I don’t think you’ll really run out.

And some activity books ranging from ₱100 to ₱290 each:

The Now, No and Why Book by Tracey Corderoy cost ₱160 each. The sticker books were cheap at ₱100 to ₱120 each.

To be perfectly honest, I saw better finds last year than this year. They had a full row of Young Adult and Fiction books this year, but less of what interests me, Business & Economics and Cooking.

No matter, booksales are always a treat and the Big Bad Wolf is always an event. Regardless of your interests, you WILL still find some great steals that will be enough for the entire year.

We went last night, Monday, Feb 25, and there weren’t any lines anymore. I heard they’re restocking so there’s more to go around.

Here’s daughter and father going for their midnight snack. Have a good evening everyone!

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When a Critical Employee Resigns

It’s always a big blow to the self when a staff resigns. 

Two of my critical staff resigned last Saturday. One was a probationary employee who was already on the way out, and the other was my trusty lieutenant, who resigned because she needed to get pregnant.

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And even though I was prepared for any departures —- As my husband says, The Success of a Company should not lie on the hands of any one person — it’s still a big blow to the self when a staff member resigns.

For one, it makes you question if you could have done any better. That if you were a better boss, would they have stayed?

However, as I reflected back to how I treated them, I can honestly say I do not have any regrets. They were very much well compensated for the job position that they had, and I had just given my lieutenant a very big bonus for a job well done in 2018.

So it’s really not the money. Even our sister company head was surprised on how well we pay our supervisors.

But sometimes, family really trumps first.

At the age of 33, when your biological clock is ticking, how can you stop your husband from forcing you to end your employment?

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The key thing when a staff resigns is to GRIEVE FIRST.

Some doubt and reflection are necessary. Immediately, you will wonder what will happen to the organization after they leave?

You may panic.

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I worried about all the other employees who were left behind. How could I break the news to them? How will they take it? Will any follow?

But grieving and panicking are NOT healthy things to do especially when a person gives you a 30-day notice that they are leaving.

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Then, prayer is next.

The Lord is wise, and knows what is in our hearts. He knew that I was becoming very confident and optimistic for this year since the team that I’ve been building is starting to come together.

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Then He throws me this curveball.

To show me that no matter what, He is still in control, and He will do what is necessary to steer me towards His path, whatever it may be.

I honestly think it’s a bit unfair. I have worked hard over the last 4 or 5 years to build the team to what I want the organization to be, and is now fine-tuning the culture.

I loved the fact that everyone was so sales oriented, and exerted much of their effort. If anyone refused to follow my disciplined way of working, they can always resign and go somewhere else. Likewise, if people worked hard, they will be rewarded handsomely as well.

My lieutenant got in trouble last year for pushing her people too hard, and for being too arrogant. While she was correct in following the rules, her people thought her to be cold, uncaring and heartless. I chose my lieutenant because she was harder to replace and I saw her point.

Well, God has other plans for me.

This is what you call, A teachable moment.

At the end of the day, we cannot control our people’s hearts, thoughts and feelings. Nobody should be indispensable.

NOBODY.

So the Lord is training me to be flexible. To not be dependent on a single person. To still build the organization to a softer, more holistic one.

And while my lieutenant is wonderful in her own way, she had a few behaviors that people found grating and unacceptable.

Her departure would be another phase of development on what type of culture I would like my organization to have. A less dramatic, calmer organization where people would work, but don’t need to make too big a fuss about.

Regardless on what happens, I know that the Lord never gives us challenges that we cannot handle.

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“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation” (Isaiah 12:2).

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Afterwards, the next thing to do is to find and train their replacement.

I scour through the job wanted ads. I will put an ad out on the paper. Tomorrow, I will look for agency referrals.

So in short, as the clock ticks, I need to exert much effort to ensure that I can find a replacement immediately, as my supervisors are still here to train them.

You only need one, I tell myself. You only need one. 

Maybe the Lord planned their exit to make way for someone better, who is now available at this point in time.

At the end of the day, my lieutenant was great but had some weaknesses to overcome to replace me as position of general manager. For the last four years, I have been looking for my replacement so I can focus on other more important tasks in growing the business.

Her departure showed that she is not yet the one to replace me.

Maybe her replacement would.

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At the end of the day, the key word here is to TRUST IN THE LORD.

I knew that after bonus season, I would get some resignations. People were cashing out on their hard earned work, and it was practical to do so after the checks had been cleared and the money was deposited to their account.

I was gobsmacked to see someone I trust turn in her resignation, even though I understand that it was for an important personal reason.

I don’t know yet what will happen, or how it would shape the organization. But inactivity (not doing anything about it), or doubt (questioning yourself about it) are the two most dangerous things that you can allow to happen when people resign.

Instead, you have to be strong for those who are left. And to quickly find a replacement so that there won’t be a lot of long term downsides to the organization.

As I’ve mentioned, trust in Him. Our company has always been protected by Him, and I know He would not have let this happen unless He had a grander plan for us.

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In my weakness, all I can do is TRUST. Be strong. Know that someone else is in control, and He has greater plans for us.

Happy week ahead!

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I deleted Fallout Shelter last week.

Fallout Shelter is a free game that I downloaded to the iPad, and requires you to enough resources to sustain your people inside a fallout shelter.

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There’s the basics — Food, Electricity and Water, to keep your people alive.

There’s also the Bedroom and Storage Room to ensure that your people and inventory can grow.

The game engrossed me for HOURS.

To the point that I would leave my daughter with my older iPad so I can play with Fallout Shelter.

Much to my annoyance, my shelter kept on being attacked by mole rats, raiders and fire accidents, leaving many of my survivors dead, unless I generate enough coins to bring them back alive.

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After a week of continuous playing on my free time, I decided to delete the game once and for all.

I was spending too much time on it, and I wasn’t being a great mother or wife because of it. I realized that I was growing a gaming addiction, and it wasn’t a good example to show my kid.

After I deleted the game, I read my daughter a book.

Yes, this was much better than playing a senseless game. I was learning nothing, spending a lot of time on it, and I gained nothing from the entire experience except that I was so excited to come home to see if my pregnant survivors has given birth.

Priorities, my friends. Sometimes, you gotta hit yourself hard to re-prioritize.

Especially if you’re in your late 30s. 🙁

 

 

 

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Business Chronicles: 15 Steps on How to Register your Company at the Philippines Securities & Exchange Commission Online

A lot of people are asking whether it is easy for a person to register a company at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

You may be happy to know that the SEC has modernized, and registration of a company can be done usually online. Here are the 15 steps on how to do it from your home, with minimum fuss:

  1. To register your business online,  log on to the Securities & Exchange Commission Website: http://www.sec.gov.ph/

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2. Move your cursor to Online Services. Click on SEC Company Registration System.

3. Create an Account. Here’s a short clip on how to create an account:

4. After creating account, please log in using your account.
5. Check the name of company if it is available. If it is available, you can continue with the registration process. If unavailable, choose another name.
6. Make sure all fill up is 100% complete. Here’s how to add the company details:
7. When it is 100% complete, you can now print the downloadable forms of Cover Sheet, Articles of Incorporation, By Laws & Treasurer’s Certificate.
8. After printing it out in A4 document size, have the documents notarized. Notarization cost Php 50 to Php 200 per document.
9. Upload the notarized documents into the SEC Account.
10. Wait for the SEC to notify and email you when it is ready for payment. This usually takes around 2 weeks. For our company, it cost less than Php 10,000.00.
11. If you received the order of payment thru email, you can now pay it to SEC directly. Bring a 4 copies of each of the documents.
Office of SEC HEAD OFFICE
Secretariat Building, PICC Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, 1307
Trunk Line No.: 818-0921
12. After payment at the cashier, deliver the hard copy of documents to the receiving area.
13. After the SEC received your documents, upload the Official Receipt to your SEC account.
14. Follow up and call them after 2 weeks.
15. If the SEC Certificate is ready for pick up, you can pick it up and the other received documents from the SEC office using your Official Receipt in the releasing area.
Here’s the details of the Security & Exchange Commission:
http://www.sec.gov.ph/contact-us/
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