How to Give Good Advice
by Chris Delacruz and JT Tan
When we have problems, it’s so difficult to solve it ourselves. Sometimes, it is easier to help others with their problems. Giving advice to ourselves is much more difficult than giving advice to our friends or family members. We have learned some really good strategies on giving advice to others.
First, listen. Yeah, just shut up and listen. Do not talk. Just listen. Let the person who has a problem tell you everything first. Instead of giving feedback right away, just nod your head to let your friend know that you understand their situation. Sometimes, our friends just need someone who to be there for them, someone who will not judge, someone who tries to understand first.
Second, be patient. Don’t think that you can solve problems right away. Some problems do take time to be fixed. Some wounds just need time to heal. If you’re looking for a quick fix to some problems, then you’re on the wrong track when giving advice. Sometimes, the advice we give won’t take effect right away. Sometimes, our friends won’t even take the words of wisdom immediately. They become stubborn, and they continue to repeat the mistakes. Just be patient, and don’t give up on your friend.
Finally, ask your friend what solutions they have in mind. Sometimes, your friend may already have the solution. It’s better if you ask them for options. You might be surprised that they already know the answer to their own problems. They just have a hard time implementing it. And if they come up with no solutions, then you can offer your own solutions. Just don’t insist on it. Don’t force your friends to take it.
When we have problems, we want someone to help us. We want to hear our friends’ opinion or advice. It’s much better if we are prepared to give advice as well so that we don’t antagonize or make matters worse. Next time a friend or family member needs advice, just listen, be patient, and ask your friend for their own solutions. And if a friend doesn’t solve his problem right away, just remember, it is not your fault. You can lead the horse to the water, but you can’t force ’em to drink.
I have worked in Dubai for four years, and I just recently married and came home to the Philippines. I am now studying at the American Institute for English Proficiency, and I need to improve my English first before I migrate to Australia where my husband resides.
English is the international language and also the primary language of several countries where we Filipinos are seeking to be employed or migrate to. In fact, English is in the Constitution as the national language of the Philippines. English is the foundation in which we are able to communicate with everyone regardless of their national origin.
For us Filipinos, English is our second language, but our parents and teachers urge us to be as fluent as possible in English for various purposes. Fluency and knowledge in the English language could change our lifestyle; it is the key of success for our career.
Here are some tips on improving your English:
Read. Read. Read. Yes, I typed that word “read” thrice because I cannot emphasize enough how important reading is. Read anything from books to magazines and newspapers
Listen. And I really mean listen, not just hear. Listening requires the heart and the mind, not just the ear. Pay attention. Focus. Concentrate. Talk to English speakers and listen. When you have great listening skills, you improve.
Watch. If you don’t have anyone to converse with, watch movies as much as you can.
These could be the steps that can improve your English better. It will develop your thinking skills and expand your vocabulary. English is the great armor and weapon to bring all over the world. Enhance yourself and be a smart English speaker.
Migrating to Canada and Improving my English
by Sharon Regalado
Hello everyone. I am Sharon, and I am studying at the American Institute for English Proficiency because I am going to migrate to Canada very soon. My husband has already been living there for five years, and my papers will soon be completed this year. After five long years of having a long distance marriage, I am so excited to finally join him. My two kids can’t wait to see their father as well.
But before we go to Canada, my husband told me that I needed to improve my English and communication skills because he wants to make sure that we will adjust more easily and quickly to the environment there. I can easily adapt to things, but English is one of the things I don’t do so well. Now that I am studying at The American Institute, I feel a little more confident day by day.
I am writing here on my teacher’s blog as part of my assignments to improve my English and communication skills. I will be practicing my sentence structures, subject-verb agreement, and verb tenses.
First, I will focus on my verb tenses, especially the past tense, because during class, I had difficulty being in the right tense. When I talked about an event in the past, I always switched to the present tense. You may wonder why my writing is like this, but of course, my teacher has already corrected this.
So on to the past tense. I need to make sure that when I describe something in the past, I am writing in the past tense. My teacher, Chris Delacruz, taught me that there are four past tenses: simple, progressive, perfect, and perfect progressive. Here’s a quick explanation of the four past tenses:
I studied my English lessons, especially the verb tenses.
I ate with my kids at the mall.
According to my teacher, the simple past tense is used to describe an event that happened in the past. It is used to generally describe a completed event or situation.
Progressive: was/were + verb + ing (was/were eating)
I was eating when you called me.
They were eating when I called them.
According to my teacher, the past progressive tense is used to describe an event that started in the past and continued. It was ongoing. The action was moving. It was not completed yet. In Filipino, we say, “tuloy, tuloy.”
Perfect: had + past participle (had eaten)
I had eaten my breakfast before I went to school.
I had eaten my breakfast with my kids at 8 a.m. before I went to school at 9 a.m..
I went to school at 9 a.m. after I had eaten my breakfast with my kids at 8 a.m..
After I had eaten my breakfast with my kids at 8 a.m., I went to school at 9 a.m..
According to my teacher, the past perfect tense is used when we have at least two events or situations that were completed in the past. For example, in this case, “eat breakfast” and “go to school.” So instead of saying it with two simple past tenses like, “I ate breakfast. Then I went to school,” we can also use the past perfect form like, “I had eaten breakfast before I went to school.” This would make the speaker sound more sophisticated.
In Filipino, the past perfect tense is equivalent to “naka,” as in “Nakapagluto ako ng tanghalian bago ako pumunta sa eskwelahan.” I had cooked lunch before I went to school.
Perfect Progressive: had + been + verb + ing (had been eating)
I had been eating when you called.
My kids had been watching TV when I talked to my husband.
They had been listening to the teacher when it started to rain outside.
I had been cooking lunch when doorbell rang.
According to my teacher, it is similar to the past perfect form, except that the first event or situation is still ongoing when the second event happened. The activity is still moving when the second event completed.
My assignment is to write more examples in the comment section of this article. My teacher will be monitoring my progress here. Please feel free to practice here with me, so that we can learn from each other. I am still learning, and I know that I have a lot to learn.
The Impact and Preliminary Interview with Philippine Airlines (PAL)
by Ralph Jason Buenaventura
Are you looking to be an FA or flight attendant? Do you have difficulties answering some of the questions? Ralph and I are working on making it easier for you. Ralph signed up for a 10-hour private class and a 50-hour group class at the American Institute for English Proficiency so we can help him prepare for his career as a flight attendant, preferably with Philippine Airlines. We are working on helping him answer his interview questions as well as developing his grammar, American accent, and public speaking skills.
I advised him not to memorize it, but he can start practicing because when we have written down the answers and practiced it, it’s much easier for the words and ideas to roll off your tongue. Here are our preliminary answers to some of the questions he may encounter during his Impact and Prelim interview.
Tell me about yourself:
Let me start by describing my personality. I am outgoing, friendly, and responsible. For example, I love sports, and I was a varsity basketball player at Fatima University on full scholarship. Also, I love music, and I sung in different school activities. I love being around friends, and most people say that I am very easy-going and fun to be with. I tend to focus on being positive when I’m with my friends. In addition, I was able to manage being an athlete and worker while I was a student. As a responsible person, when I have a problem, I tend to focus on the solutions and not the problem itself. That helps me to be able to manage my situations very well.
Another thing about me is my professionalism. I have always wanted to achieve something greater for myself and not settle for the average. As a student, I had very good attendance because I almost had perfect attendance and hardly any tardiness. And when I was playing basketball, I attended all of my practices on time. Actually, I wasn’t as good as the others in basketball, but because I treated it with professionalism, I was a part of the team for three years. And when I worked as a promoter, I was able to treat my guests as VIP’s no matter their social status.
Lastly, I would like to describe my career goals. Ever since I entered the university, I have always wanted to be a flight attendant. I majored in travel management so that I could find out more about the travel and airline industry. I realized that it was exactly what I wanted because I love to travel and deal with people. I love talking about culture and places, and the airline industry is the perfect place for it. I have already completed an OJT with Macro Asia Airport Service, and I was able to observe another aspect of the airline and travel industry. I know that this is what I really want to do because every time I was at the airport, I felt so close to achieving my dream.
Why do you want to work for the airline industry?
I mentioned earlier that I studied travel management and completed my OJT in the airline industry. Furthermore, I have traveled to Singapore and throughout the Philippines. I also have friends who are working in the industry, such as flight attendants, passenger service agents, customer service agents, and the like. With all these, I am even more excited to be a part of the industry. As a flight attendant, I will be able to enjoy two of my passions, which is travel and meeting people from different places and cultures. I also know that those who work hard and those who continue to grow would be given an opportunity to travel not only within the Philippines, but also internationally since PAL is international. For me, the airline industry is just very exciting.
Why do you want to work for Philippine Airline (PAL)?
Philippine Airlines is a highly reputable organization, and it is the leading carrier in Asia. The brand is very strong because of its customer service, compared to other airlines. Furthermore, working for Philippine Airlines would be very patriotic for me, since it’s very Filipino. The motto, after all, is “Fly your flag.” For me, I would prefer to be affiliated with a brand that prides itself in nationalism and customer service at the same time. Another reason why I would want to work for PAL is because of the different stories I have heard from my friends who are already working for the company. They told me that the company treated them very well, that the people they work with were like family, and that they really enjoyed what they do. Of course, I’d get some of the employee benefits that PAL offers. The last reason I want to work for PAL is because they look and act truly professional. I would agree with my teacher from The American Institute when he said that he would rather pay more at PAL than another carrier just so he can get more professional service. At the end of the day, the company that pays attention to their customers wins.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
My top three strengths are problem-solving, customer service, and professionalism. As a problem-solver, I know how to look at the the different angles to a problem, like how it started, who was involved, and why it did it start. After probing, I focus on looking for creative solutions rather than being stuck with the problem. (Give specific example here.) When it comes to customer service, I understand the customer is king. In fact, when I worked as a promoter, I always had to make sure that my guests enjoyed their night out, and that if they had any problems, they can always call or talk to me. I can definitely relate this to working here at Philippine Airline. I see every customer as VIP. And as I said, professionalism is my other strength. I do manage my time well when it comes to reporting to work. I treat my colleagues with respect. And I am very loyal to the company I work for since it is my source of passion and income. (Give example here).
Weaknesses: (to be completed)
As you see, this article is still incomplete. If you’d like to learn more about interviewing as a flight attendant for Philippine Airlines, please come back here soon. Thank you, Ralph, for sharing your answers with everyone. I’m sure you have inspired others.
A Philippine colorful, old, slow, beautiful, passenger boxy jeepney. A what??? That’s right. What happens when you have several adjectives to describe something? Do you know how to correctly put them in order? It’s so much easier when you only have a two adjectives, but it gets very confusing when you have more than that. Here’s your guide on how to put the adjective in order:
Qualifier – Purpose Adjective, Limits the Noun such as basketball player, sleeping bag, birthday party
Noun – What you are describing
Here are some examples:
I met a beautiful, petite, young, tanned Filipino woman at the birthday party.
I would like to buy a fast, big, red, Italian sports car for my birthday next year.
I ate a delicious, round, white, Filipino, street food they call squid or chicken ball.
Now let’s try describing the jeepney again using the royal order of adjectives. Can you do it now? One easy way to memorize the order is to put it into an acronym or initialism: DOSSACOMQ. Can you create a sentence out of that? Hmmm. Let me try making one. I’ll be back to update this blog when I come up with one. In the meantime, keep practicing and you’ll eventually get it without using a cheat sheet.
Travel can become a nightmare if you are not careful. There are many travel and tour operators who could promise you the world but deliver you nothing but grief. I just want to Puerto Galera this past weekend, and I’m glad to say that my vacation wasn’t a nightmare at all. No, it wasn’t one of the best either because we experienced some unexpected twists and turns.
For example, our tour operator told us that we would go directly from the port in Batangas to the shores of White Beach. However, we were taken to another port where we had to ride a very small vehicle (much smaller than a jeepney) for another 30 to 45 minutes to get to White Beach. On top of that, we had our meals catered, and the operator got the meals wrong: served tanigue sinigang instead of milkfish and scrambled eggs instead of omelette.
When you get to there, there are many barkers, you know, the ones, mostly men, who hold their laminated pictures of the different beach activities. I don’t mind if 10 of them come up to me to ask me if I want do their activities for a certain price. I don’t mind if some of them have different prices. Sometimes, bargaining is fun. However, when almost everyone of them come to you within a span of an hour, you spend your hours conversing with them instead of enjoying the beach, the water, the sun, and the half-naked bodies.
There must be a way to simply your trip to Puerto Galera so that it becomes more enjoyable. So here’s a step-by-step guide on simplifying your trip.
Decide if you’re going to do it as a tour package or on your own. If you do it as a tour package, there are many tour operators who are willing to set your itinerary for you at an additional price. Of course, the disadvantage to this is that you have to pay extra for their services. Here’s an example, we went to Puerto Galera this past weekend (March 8 and 9, 2014), and the travel package was almost Php 3,000 per person, inclusive of roundtrip bus transportation from Manila to the port, boat and Puerto-Galera-related fees, two days and one night of basic hotel accommodation at White Beach Lodge (quad-sharing with two full-size beds good for four), and three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
If you’re going to do it on your own, it would be a little bit cheaper, depending on the price of the accommodation. Here’s an example:
Php 100 – Taxi to Bus Terminal
Php 340 – Roundtrip Bus Transportation
Php 500 – Roundtrip Boat Transportation
Php 060 – Miscellaneous Puerto Galera Fees
Php 600 – Accommodation (Quad Sharing) Php 1,600 – TOTAL
The meals are around Php 100 per meal. But if you are really on vacation, I would highly recommend at least Php 150 per meal.
If you’re going the DO-IT-YOURSELF way, looking for an accommodation would be the next thing you must do. As we all know, the price is much higher during the peak season, which is in the summer (March to July and sometimes August). In March, you can get a quad-sharing (good for four) accommodation with hot water for Php 2,500. If you divide this by four people, that’s roughly Php 600 per person.If you go this way, you have to call around. Here are some of the more known places:
White Beach Hotel
White Beach Resort
White Beach Lodge
Yes, the more popular ones have “White Beach” in the name, for the name of Puerto Galera’s is beach is, yup, you guessed it, “White Beach.” I am hoping to put a list of hotels and accommodation here soon. We stayed at White Beach Lodge, and it was about Php 2,500 per quad-sharing room. I tried calling my contact there, and he told me that they are already booked for the month of March. The Holy Week is coming up in April, and I’m sure the prices are just going to go higher and higher.
Next, decide what activities you’re going to do. There are many activities to do in Puerto Galera. They give different prices, so try asking around. Here’s what we got for our activity: There were 15 of us, and we paid Php 370 per person for snorkeling and fish feeding. After our activity, we decided we would still want to do more activities, so we decided to go to the underwater cave for an additional Php 200 per person.
TIP: It’s better to negotiate before you go on your activity because the boatmen would want to negotiate with you anymore. According to the woman who got us the Php 370 deal, they could have gotten it for us for an extra Php 100 only. It used to be cheaper to go snorkeling, but according to our vendor, there are new taxes, and even the locals don’t know where these new taxes were going since Puerto Galera hasn’t really improved in terms of economy and environment.
Another surprise we got was stopping over another part of Puerto Galera, a port called Muelle, where we had to be driven to White Beach. We were expecting to arrive at White Beach so that it would be more of a “grand entrance,” but our tour organizer lied to us. I believe it is the Molina Lines that takes you to that port, so if you want to go straight to White Beach, take another one instead. They are the same price.
So planning a trip to White Beach in Puerto Galera? It should be so much simpler, right? When you go with the right people, your best friends or your family, the trip gets better. I’ve been there numerous times, and it has always been different because of the company I was with. I have a lot of photos, and as soon as I edit them, I will post them here. Have a safe and happy trip!
Ten Reasons You Need to Learn English Now by Sanaz Raeisi
I have been living here in the Philippines for the last four years, and I must say that my English has improved dramatically. I have better speaking skills, and my confidence is stronger than ever when it comes to talking to all kinds of people, especially Filipinos who speak very well and native English speakers.
For some odd reason though, many Filipinos, despite living in a country where English is the national language, they have not improved much. Maybe it’s because they don’t see the importance of learning English. For those who are still not sure if English is important, here are 10 reasons why you should really learn English now:
POPULARITY. English is the most popular language in the world. About 400 million people speak English and 500 million people use English as a second language . The total estimated is one billion people worldwide will understand this language. When you learn English, you have access to all these people.
COMPUTER. Approximately 80% of computer information can be processed in English. When it comes to learning computer skills and using the computer in general, it becomes easier when you know English very well. In this age of information, you always access the computer. You must as well get comfortable by knowing English.
PRINT MEDIA. English is the official language of exchanged media and press. About half of the worldwide papers are published in English. Only in India, three thousand magazines are published in English. So, If you always want to be updated with the latest news and information, English is the language you must know.
TRENDING. English is the language that most people in the world are learning. Currently, about a billion people are learning the language. Two hundred fifty thousand people in China learn English only through television. Learn English now; you don’t want to get left behind.
TEXT MESSAGES. Seventy-five percent of the worldwide text messages sent around the world are in English. Philippines is actually the “texting capital of the world.” I believe, however, the most Filipinos do not text well in English and use “jejemon” instead.
INTERNET INFORMATION. More than 80% of websites are written in English. So if you want to have more information from the web, learn English. Furthermore, about 70% of emails sent around the world are in English.
BROADCAST MEDIA. Six of some of the largest information networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, BBC, CBC, CNN) are broadcasted in English. You get better, more trusted information.
EASY TO SPEAK. There are more than 600 thousand words in English, but it is estimated that by learning only 1,500 to 2,000 words , you can already converse internationally. Of course, you want to speak well, so you should really be learning more. The point is, you actually don’t need that much English to start conversing.
TRAVEL. Travel is easier, more comfortable, and more fun if you know English! You can travel to 45 English speaking countries without a guide or translator. Most people in the Philippines are English speakers. In fact, some of the best English schools like the American Institute for English Proficiency is located right here in the Philippines.
WORK. Learning English can be an advantage to migrate or to find work in even non-English-speaking countries . Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the US are all looking for migrant workers.
With all these reasons, why aren’t you learning or trying to improve your English yet? Learning any language will open your vision towards life and you will have a more mature character and even you will strengthen your mind. You will become more dynamic and your personality becomes better and brighter. Start today. It’s never too late.
To master English, one must have a very good foundation of the English language, which begins with understanding the categories the different words belong to. These categories are called “Parts of Speech,” which are the building blocks of forming sentences. Each word in the English language belongs to eight different categories:
Noun. Person (Chris, that’s me), place (American Institute for English Proficiency, that’s where I teach), thing (English, that’s what I teach), or an idea (freedom, that’s what I want to have). You can proper nouns (specific names of people like Chris and places like Makati or Quezon City) or improper nouns (general names like mom or places like school).
To make it easier for you to remember, look at it as an acronym:
VAN (Automobile), CAP (Hat), PI (In math, it’s roughly equal to 3.14. For Filipinos, it’s the Philippine Islands). To make it even easier to remember, create a sentence out of it. I drove my VAN, put on my CAP, and thought about the PI. Trying playing around with it.
Okay, I know this post is not complete. I will come back to give definitions to the rest of the parts of speech. Let the picture above guide you for now. In any case, this should be very basic for you. Come back often because I will soon be posting intermediate to advanced writing and grammar tips.
Philippine University Professors Give the Philippines a Bad Image
by Sanaz Raeisi
First and foremost, let me say that just like in any country or university, not all professors are bad. I am friends with some university professors here in the Philippines, and they are some of the best professors in the world. This story is about the professors behaving badly.
There are so many reasons why many young students leave their country to study in another country. Some study abroad because of the quality of education, others for adventure, while others travel to learn new culture, new language, and to experience a new lifestyle.
In my country, Iran, it is very difficult to get admitted to the top 10 public universities. And in order to get to private universities, you have to pay a lot. As a result, many Iranian students decide to leave their country to spend the same amount of money in other countries where they don’t have to score very high in entrance examinations.
The Philippines is one of the target countries for dentistry and medical majors from Iran. The cost of education here is much cheaper compared other countries like Japan, Singapore, or Hong Kong. In fact, there are almost 3000 students who study dentistry in Manila. In addition, the quality of education in medicine here in the Philippines is one of the best since Filipino nurses and doctors are respected all over the world.
For the most part, I have observed that many foreigners enjoy studying in the Philippines, as the country offers much more than education. The Philippines is full of life and energy with beautiful beaches, friendly locals, and a great traditional culture. However, having lived here for over four years now (my husband is half Iranian half Filipino who studied for his bachelor’s and master’s degree here), I have also met many new Iranian friends who told me horror stories:
NAME CALLING. Generally, Iranian girls like to look their best all the time or as they say in the Philippines, “kikay.” They dye their hair, polish their nails, and always make sure they have nice make up. It’s part of our culture to look beautiful everywhere we go. Recently, one of the university teachers insulted my friend by calling her “a prostitute ” because her hair was dyed as blond. To add insult to injury, the teacher argued with Sara during an exam, and Sara was unable to concentrate and finish it. As a result, Sara failed her exam because she could not answer all the exam questions on time.Professors should not be insulting and berating their students. Who cares if a student’s nail polish is bright pink or yellow. That is their own individuality, and they should be allowed to express themselves as long as they are not hurting others. Furthermore, no teacher should ever call their students names. That demoralizes the student from learning and achieving their goals.
ASKING FOR RIDICULOUS FAVORS. In another case, another the professor texted my friend Baran that she had to treat her for kebab if she wanted to get a good grade in one of her exams. This is very unprofessional and unbecoming of a professor. That is very unethical. That incident is very symbolic for me because I know that many of my Filipinos friends continue to complain about the corruption here in the Philippines. I can’t believe that there is also a certain kind of corruption in the university where in order to get a good grade, we should be paying our teachers, and in this case, treating them for food.I have another friend, Pouya, who had a similar incident when he had his thesis defense. A few hours before his defense, he received a text from his group leader that he had to order pizza from Yellow Cab for all of the professors and also to give Parker Bold Pen as a gift! Wow! They even requested for a specific restaurant and specific brand of a gift. That is amazing.
MORE FAVORS. Iranians have to bring pasalubong from Iran if they want to have a good impression on their teachers. In one case, one of my friends even had to give a gold necklace in order to let the student take the exam again because he wasn’t able to take the exam on time because of his illness. Yeah, my friend sounds like he was bribing the teacher, but I assure you, he really was sick. I was there.
These are just a few example of the horror stories I have heard from my friends regarding how Filipino professors treat them at their school. To protect their identity, I changed their names and will not disclose the name of the universities. They all study in some of the famous universities in Manila. I don’t know all the Iranians here in the Philippines, but if my own friends are going through these ridiculous things, what about the thousands of others? I’m sure then that there many others who may be going more unfortunate situations.
And what happened to my friends? Well, they do their best to avoid these kinds of situations. As long as they can meet the demands of their professors, they are fine. They would rather not cause any trouble in a country that is unfamiliar to them. After all, they are just visitors.
I wish those professors would know how difficult it is to for some students to pay for all those high school and travel fees. I wish they knew how difficult it is to live far from your family. I love the Philippines, and I have many Filipino friends, and I always tell my family and friends back home how wonderful this country is. However, my friends may not say the same thing about the Filipinos because of their horrific experiences. It is unfortunate that a few unprofessional Filipino professors have to give the country a very bad image.
Makati can claim another title: The Selfiest City in the World. According to TIME, Makati (along with Pasig) is the selfie capital of the world based on the number of selfie per capita. Makati beat Manhattan, Miami, and even Los Angeles and New York. According to Times’ study, Makati has a data of 258 selfies per 100,000 people.
So what does this mean? Does this mean that people in Makati are the most vain? Does this mean that people in Makati have the most smartphones? Does this mean that people in Makati have the most time in the world? Or does this mean that we simply like taking pictures of ourselves?