Thursday, July 27, 2006

Few pregnant women in Italy?

Our daily game in our sojourn was count how many pregnant women we encounter. The most was 3. Where are all the pregnant women? Work? home? Hope so. For a society to survive, it must be replace in the womb.
Holy Mother protect all pregnant women especially the one close to our heart, ARK. Send the Holy Spirit to guide the growth and development of God's creation in the womb.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

$ diplomacy instead...

Did not encounter any anti-Americanism at all with our sojourn in Portugal and Italy. Not in the pizzeria, gelato and trains.
Even with Nor's insistence for an American coffee instead of expresso and flavored it with sweetened International Delight creamer she brought from Ca. Waiter probably just rolled his eyes upward and brought her what she wanted. Especially when at the end of our meal, she tip the usual American amount. Nobody else in the other table did.
The only sign we can be Americans is we spoke English all the time because of my apo and we were in group of three not a crowd of Asians.
The best anti-American program is benign assimilation of American culture in each individual, even non-Americans, by tourism economy.
'When in Rome, be a Roman' the mantra for tourism economy.
Anti-Americanism prompts push for "citizen diplomacy"
Wed Jul 26, 2006 8:11am ET
Parallel to the grassroots effort to spread the message that there is more to the United States than wars, superpower arrogance and tourists clad in shorts, a business-backed group called Business for Diplomatic Action (BDA) is lining up corporate support for public diplomacy by business travelers.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

US$ to Euro

$100 equals 76-80 Euros.
A 3 star hotel cost 160 euro. Euro 3 star hotel is not comparable to US 3 star hotel in amenities and service in a comparable US city.
History, ancient history and God's grace drive Americans to go to Europe.
For vacation respite, any US city and resort gives your money's worth.
Our cheapest dinner for 3 cost 25 euro and our most expensive 115.
A cup of capuccino or expresso coffee is cheaper than soda. However, coffee is served in small cup and soda is served in can or bottle.
Europe is expensive, especially for tourist with American taste. Yet, Rome is full of American tourist in the Vatican, Sistine museo, colosseum and other sites. In all our train travel, metro or eurostar and equivalent, there's always someone with an American accent.
I am not going to Italy anymore until someone assure me I will not be pickpocketed.

Rome, not pickpocket capital of the world but...

Pickpocketed in a crowded bus from Trevi Fountain Metro stop to Termini at 10pm on our way to a sleeper train for Milan.
Don't carry a wallet anymore since my pickpocket incident in 1996 on the train from Naples to Rome.
Skillful lady pickpocketer took my datebook with 3 different credit cards - amex, mc, visa - and an atm card. An envelope of 76 euros was with the datebook as well as my apo's birth certificate. Pickpocketer and male accomplish got off the last stop before Termini.
I text my hubby right away with my unlocked cellphone with Vodafone SIM card I bought at Lisbon airport, to block credit card accounts. He called my cell phone right away to check on us, his first and only time he phoned.
'It could have been worse', my apo says a few times waiting for the delayed train to Milan.
Our Lady protected us in our journey at all times.
Thank you, LORD.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Official website of Our Lady of Fatima Sanctuary

Fatima sanctuary website here.

It would have been nice if there's a cheaper and convenient public transportation from Lisbon Airport to Fatima besides expensive taxi or rent a car.

Hotel Fatima

is a few steps to the Fatima compound. Same hotel we use in 1996. No major change or improvement.
Restroom is labeled WC.
Nor and Jess were amazed at the many pilgrims especially at night Rosary procession and mass.

Pilgrims, we were to Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal

Nor, Jess and me.
Plane inside setup and space looks the same as the last time I rode the same airline in 1996. Every time the guy in front of Jess reclines his seat, Jess has to reposition her long legs. Airline served dinner and ham sandwich snack before landing in Lisbon. Unlike AA on Nor's flight from LA. Did not even served any snack in the 5 hour flight.
Bus ride from Lisbon airport to Fatima is 15 euro each. It was a walk from the airport and two bus ride. One from the airport to the main bus terminal then to Fatima.
Decided to take a taxi instead for 126 euros. Prepaid with credit card. The lady (Sandra) at the information booth accompanied us to the taxi and made sure we boarded safe. For peace of mind, it probably was worth the extra euros.
The scenery of the cab ride was modern. Many constructions, new buildings and housing development along the highway. Looks up to date than when I last came to Portugal.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Competition, a good thing!

Compete is to strive or contend with another (Am Heritage Dictionary '83ed). Voluntary natural selection process with several levels of intensity, visibility and effectiveness.

From Foxnews, SmartMoney article - Competitive Edge by D. Luskin
According to the research of William Lewis, a retired partner at business consultant McKinsey & Co., the most important element is competition.
For a nation's economy to succeed, competition among domestic companies, and between domestic companies and foreign rivals, must be both fierce and fair. Lewis thinks that from the bloody battlefield of competition comes productivity and growth.
Lewis's book "The Power of Productivity" documents over a decade of painstakingly detailed country-by-country and sector-by-sector research by McKinsey's business analysts. The work proves definitively that, when a nation exposes itself to the rigors and risks of competition, it forces itself to adopt world-class business practices and achieve world-class productivity. It's simple, then: to compete is to grow.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Essay Competition at IFC/World Bank

First Annual Private Sector Development Research Competition
Entry to the First Annual Research Essay competition is now closed. We are very pleased with the response we received this year. Applicants from over 80 countries applied.
The winners will be informed via email sometime before September 1, 2006 and a select group of winning essays will be published on the Web site after September 17, 2006.
We invite you to visit us again for the next round of the competition that will be announced in November - December 2006. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email us at

next year, am in.
Click here for competition Terms and Conditions. International Finance Corporation, World Bank Group website here.
2005-06 Competition announcement here

Kristelle, busy reporter for Albuquerque Tribune

Summer intern reporter for Tribune, experiencing journalism first hand, take a break and splash at the Y, my beloved neice.
YMCA's pool makes a splash with young and old
By Kristelle Siarza
Tribune Reporter
July 6, 2006

For all of Kristelle's articles at The Albuquerque Tribune, click this.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Lola's Child

Children too are a gift frOm the LORD, the fruit of the womb, a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in one's youth.
Psalm 127:3-4

In womb, she floated through freshman yearend in college, a summer office temp job and first Europe trip; Paris then Annecy, France specifically, then back to US soil to hello world an American citizen.
No other citizenship in the world equal in worth. A citizenship cherished, aspired for and shed blood with to hold, behold and uphold.
Jessica was popular baby girl name that year.
Statistics posited more Filipinos, male and female, involve themselves outside their ethnicity than any group in America.
United States of America is THE nation model, freedom and democracy the atmosphere, immigrants and natives the clay.
Model definition is
'a miniature representation of an existing object. A preliminary pattern. A tentative description of a theory or system that accounts for all of its known properties. A type or design. An example to be emulated. One who poses for an artist or photographer

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Freedom is the Keyword !!!

'Filipino CPA's, lawyers, engineers, computer programmers, mathematicians, statisticians, teachers, biologists, soldiers, journalists, and bankers taking up nursing' is a market force. Any government regulation to curb or slow it down are additional curtailment of Filipino freedoms - economic freedom, political freedom, freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
(hat tip:beyond borders) Read the blog

Dinesh D’Souza wrote in What's So Great About America that
America’s founders solved two great problems which are a source of perennial misery and conflict in many other societies—the problem of scarcity, and the problem of religious and tribal conflict. They invented a new regime in which citizens would enjoy a wide range of freedoms—economic freedom, political freedom, and freedom of speech and religion—in order to shape their own lives and pursue happiness. By protecting religion and government from each other, and by directing the energies of the citizens toward trade and commerce, the American founders created a rich, dynamic, and peaceful society. It is now the hope of countless millions all across the world.

Click here for article in The American Enterprise. (hat tip:

SWIFT, Western Union & small foreign money remittance business

Thank you, SWIFT and Western Union for your cooperation.
I am a tiny Western Union competitor in a specific remittance market (US & Philippines). I am licensed (NJ) foreign money remitter. My clients funds are transferred from a NJ bank to a Philippine bank through SWIFT.
After 9/11, foreign money remittance businesses are scrutinize minutely in the War on Terror by federal and state regulators under USA Patriot Act, BSA and AML laws. Commercial banks, unable to establish monitoring system for foreign money remittance accounts close or do not accept remittance accounts.
Maybe exposure by NY Times on this previously secret monitoring will illucidate banks that FBI have other ways and means to tract terrorist finances and reinstate my business account as a small foreign money remitter.
BoA are you paying attention?
The F.B.I. began acquiring financial records from Western Union and its parent company, the First Data Corporation. Using what officials described as individual, narrowly framed subpoenas and warrants, the F.B.I. has obtained records from First Data, which processes credit and debit card transactions, to track financial activity and try to locate suspects.
Similar subpoenas for the Western Union data allowed the F.B.I. to trace wire transfers, mainly outside the United States, and to help Israel disrupt about a half-dozen possible terrorist plots there by unraveling the financing, an official said.

NY Times article here. (registration required)

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Speedy Action, I hope so !!!

Press release from Philippine government website say so.
Investors assured of speedy action on investment proposals
MADRID (via PLDT) – Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila has assured European investors that delays in the processing of investment proposals, a common complaint of people doing business in the Philippines, will soon be a thing of the past.
Upon her return from her investment mission to Italy and Spain, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will issue an Executive Order eliminating kinks in the processing of investment proposals, Favila said.

Took us 11 months to process our corporation papers, Dollar to Peso Money Remittance & Exchange Corp in Paranaque with minimum 5 investors. Required TIN number, birth & marriage certificate, citizenship papers of all parties of our corporation took 4 months to complete.
We paid a gopher to stay in line each time we need to be in a line in a government office. Refused entry at BSP for inappropriate outfit. Many annoying stuff which saps our capital but we will persevere for we love the Philippines and we are Filipinos at heart, even if we've been overseas many decades ago.
Click here for article.