How to track your Umac Express Balikbayan Box

It is no brainer, really. But I just want to share what I dug from my gazillion clicking of links. Balikbayan box, anyone? Yes, yes, it is a very popular term for Filipino overseas. Even old stuff we got from the thrift stores, we send it to the Philippines anyway. If you are using Umac Express Cargo, you are in luck!  This post is intended for that. Again, no brainer. Instead of waiting for the next business day or hour to call a Umac’s Office, use your computer and your Internet connection. It easy and convenient.

1. Visit this link – This works for Balikbayan boxes originating from Canada, USA, London, Italy, Bahrain, Hongkong, Korea, Macau, Greece, Spain, New Zealand and Singapore

2. Click the “Track Your Box” tab located at the top of the page.

3. Type the Invoice Tracking Number inside the (color grey) blank after the word “GO”.

4. Click “GO’.

5. The results will be displayed at the lower portion of the same page.  If you find any discrepancy in the information, especially the destination or consignee address, better call your local Umac’s Office (Read: not the agent).

Start sending some “love” to the Philippines.

Filipinos in the Medical Field vs Filipinos Who Are Married to Americans

Why is it that most (if not, some) Filipinos in the medical field are not enthusiastic in meeting or being in the same circle with other Filipinos who are married to Americans? Are they thinking that these Filipinos, particularly Pinays, are lesser than them? Or is it just me that thinks of this?

Most of the Filipinos employed in the medical industry came to the country based on a working visa. Having a medical-related degree like a 4-year degree nursing, physical therapy, medical technology, etc. as we all know is hard and expensive to get in the Philippines. It is either you can afford it or you are smart to pass it. Meanwhile, Pinays married to Americans do not need to have an impressive educational degree or money to spend on immigration fees to get stateside. You maybe the dumbest and the poorest in your barangay, you can still pass for a visa. All you need is a supportive US citizen spouse.

In my personal opinion, it boils down into one factor – common interest. Even if all Filipinos come from one nation, one culture and one heritage, everyone is unique.

If you are the type that likes intellectually stimulating conversation, then most likely, you will look for friends that are equally intelligent and educated. If you are the type that talks about other people’s business, then look for friends that like the same. Remember the sayings – birds of the same feather flock together.

I am back!

I must admit, this site drives quite a number of visits a day. I tried to let go, and just focus on my other blog (, but I can’t. From this day forward, I am maintaining two sites – this one and the other one. Okay, I am spinning your head right now? Sorry. I must have posted the same tone of topic in this blog, saying “I am back!” so many times. So many to count, my head aches! I am just glad that, my subscribers are still here.

See you ’round!

Burning Heart?

…not really!  My heart is not hurting or anything. It is a heartburn, which I learned after a rigid research on the Internet.  Man, I  have been suffering from a heartburn since this afternoon at work, but I am too stubborn to go home or to take a rest. I never experienced this kind of illness until now. It’s no fun at all. It’s like – I want to puke so bad, but I couldn’t. 

Looks like, somebody has to change her lifestyle. No more caffeine. No more sodas. No more fatty food. No more sugar. Gym.

So help me God.

Who’s Right? Who’s Wrong?

The conflict between the Philippine blogging world and the government agency, Dept. of Social Welfare and Development, is far from over. A controversy, that sparked from a feisty commentary post dated October 21, 2009 by a Filipina blogger, EllaGanda, has awaken the interest of the intrigue-hungry media.

Just to give you a background – around the later part of 2009, the Philippine experienced a curse of nature – Typhoon Ondoy. More than 1.8 million residence were affected and ended up homeless. The flash floods killed a number of people. It was a calamity that crippled a struggling nation. However, help and assistance from all over the world came and poured just like the rain relentlessly. Volunteers signed up, and they committed a huge part of their personal time to help people in need. Amidst the urgency to allocate the donations received in a timely manner, it looks like DSWD was not able to do it, according to EllaGanda, of which she was a volunteer herself. With the intention to help expedite the matter, she blogged about it and posted images of the said warehouse where the “rotten” donations were stored (I believe, the term “idle” is more appropriate). Then, the media did their part of sensationalizing it, and boom, before you knew it, DSWD was scrambling to regain their tarnished reputation to the extent of suing the said female blogger.

In my opinion — this is indeed a typical “a mountain out of a mole hill” scenario, obviously, fueled by the manipulating media. The interviews granted to DSWD by the giant TV stations on primetime news should be enough for them to state the facts and to verify information. Why not just resolve the issue and stop bickering. If the suit will push through, it is just a waste of time and money. I just hope, they are not getting it from the taxpayer’s money. 

If I were in Ella’s shoes, I would probably do the same – blog about it. However, I would definitely exclude the pictures in the publication. It was prohibited to take pictures within the perimeter, by doing so, I already break a policy. Well, I would take pictures, but only as proof when SHIT happens – like this.

I commend EllaGanda for being so brave. I really hope that, this issue will simmer down and DSWD will not sue her anymore. It is just too much drama for a country which is already experiencing an agonizing bruhahas of the next Presidential election.

Peace everyone!


What A Fast Life!

Life is so fast these days. I miss the laid back Florida life.  The adjustment of the time last autumn contributes to this fast-phase days. It gets darker earlier at night. I hate it. It affects one important activity that I had – going to the gym after office hours. 

After work, I just want to go get my daughter from the extended day care, home, dinner, and sleep. I do not surf the Internet that much anymore. I prefer watching a little bit of any Food Network show. 

Is this procrastination? Who knows…

Here I Come 2010!

Be forewarned. This post is lame, because no images are posted here. It is already the 3rd day of January 2010, and this is my very first entry for this year.

I was supposed to post entries for the entire holiday period from Christmas to New Year, but my computer did not cooperate. The week of Christmas, I was offline due to some virus and Trojans that invaded my system. It went nonfunctional, and I had no option but to reformat my hard drive. It was a sad moment for me. I discreetly cried. The pictures and videos, all went to the drain. I did not have any back-up at all. My drive carried the memories of our Disney World trip, Thanksgiving with my husband’s family, and some random events, which I truly cherished. The only hope that I got right now – the pictures that I posted in my Friendster and Facebook accounts. I need to copy them somehow in my drive. But how? As for the Facebook, I have no problem. But Friendster, ehhhhh, it is scary. This site is infested by gazillion of adware and viruses. Even if I already have the Spy Sweeper and anti-virus software embedded in my system, I am still wary.

Anyway, when it comes to this problem, my husband’s skills comes handy. He did everything from reformatting the drive, buying the Spy Sweeper, and setting up my all the software in my system again. Actually, I could not count anymore on how many times he had rescued me in the same predicament. He is, indeed, my knight in shining armor.

I was back online by New Year’s week, but I was too busy coping with my other online stuff, and too absorbed in checking out my Facebook friends’ pictures. Hence, my long absence.

Today is the last day of my long weekend. Tomorrow, I will be back to work. Well, it does not make a difference for me though. I still check my work email at home on weekends and at night-time. It is a sign that, I am really enjoying my work. Wink.

Right now, I (with help of my husband) am brewing a project. I asked him to help me transfer this blog to a paid web host. I tried it a long time ago, but I failed. I did not understand the language of Internet and web hosting. This time, I am tapping with my husband’s brilliant mind. Anyway, I will be posting more as it progresses. For now, sayonara. Happy new year to you all!

By the way, have you noticed something? My mind seems to be in a clutter state right now. Oh well, it is 3.45am…

Starting The Holiday Week

As usual, I started my day almost noontime. That means, I was not able to savor the wondrous scent and taste  of brewed coffee while enjoying the early morning light. Well, this I what I got for sleeping too late – 4:00am. Though, I did wake up at about 8:00am to check on Amber, and went back to bed. The weekends give me the license to splurge on staying all night, and consequently, sleeping the next day. Before I do this, I always make sure that Amber has something to eat in the fridge. She is quite independent for her age. I guess, that’s part of being gifted. There is one rule though that, she can not break – no cooking or using of the microwave. So far, so good. She likes cold cuts, fruits, cereal and milk in the morning anyway. By the way, she has no more fever. Looks like, she has already recuperated.

In the afternoon, it was nothing but idle. My husband was at work, and Amber was using my computer. To kill the boredom, I watched the Food Channel. The scene of cooking delicious-looking cuisines tickles my palate. I love food, but I dot not know on how to cook it. At one point, my husband asked me, “Do you know anything else aside from cooking pork?”. He was braved enough to tell me that pork is not really his thing. He is a steak kind of guy.  Thanks to the greatest kitchen appliance there is – the electric oven (not the microwave oven, okay). Just throw some piece of meat inside for 15 minutes, and voila, dinner is done. By the way, who loves Iron Chef America? Man, this show rocks! I love it when the challenger beats the iron chef. I always go for the underdogs. Just for the sake of mentioning it – I do not get the rationale behind the character The Chairman in the show. It’s pretty annoying – the way he talks and whenever he does his somersault (in the kitchen). I believe that, he is a celebrity, but I do not know his name.

Also, I did plan of finishing of putting up the Christmas lights outside, but I chickened out. I could handle climbing a (short) ladder to reach the edge of the roof – too much risk for a scaredy-cat like me. My husband and I managed to put up some already last weekend. It was already half-way done, when the sky turned pitch black. Hopefully, we will complete it tomorrow. Christmas day is already six days away. No more time to doodle.

When my husband arrived from work, and was hungry, I fed him the left-over from the steak, smoked ham and green salad that I prepared for his lunch today. He did not mind at all. He cringes at the thought of wasting food. Good. We are on the same boat. Well, Amber ended up eating the steak, and I ate triscuit and cheese for dinner. I tell you, this was just a trickle effect. I intended to prepare Sloppy Joe for dinner, but the ground beef that I thawed was still frozen when dinner time came. So, my husband just said, the left-overs would be fine. My bad. 

Anyway, this is all for this day. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a happy Sunday. We will probably do some gift shopping, if our sched will permit. Should I say, if we will wake up early enough to finish all stuff not yet done, and have some time for the shopping.

The Resurrection of A Lazy Blogger

When’s the last time that I logged in here? A month ago? It seems like a lifetime. I have been so bad and irresponsible for keeping this out of my daily schedule. In fact, just logging in here now, I am in total oblivion as to what my password is. I have to concentrate and ponder on it deeply. Sad, isn’t it? For the nth time, I am blogging again about my “return” in blogosphere. Tsk, tsk.

Honestly, there is not much that is going on with my life right now, which could be the reason on why I am speechless. Life is always a routine – home, work, school, home, work, school. Wait. I almost forgot to mention, the three of us (me, husband and my daughter) went to Disney World Orlando and South Miami these past few weeks. Let me blog about it separately. I just feel that, I need to catch up.

Let me start by sharing to you my new great find. It’s a book series for 2nd graders. It’s called “Diary of A Wimpy Kid” by Jeff Kinney. As you may have guessed, it’s a book that I bought for my 8-year old daughter. I believe that, the whole collection is consist of only four or five books. Sad. On a lighter note, I have read somewhere that sometime next year the movie version will be shown. Yepey!

You see, sleeping early at night has always been a problem with me. I am lucky enough to snooze at about midnight. Most of the time, I hit the pillow around 1:00 to 2:00am, even on week nights. There was even a day when I went to work without snoozing for the whole 24 hours. The weird thing about it — I was not sleepy or sloppy the whole day at all.  I do not count sheeps to fall asleep. So what I usually do, I dig into my daughter’s file of books and began reading some. Hence, the Wimpy Kid series discovery. I am hooked and have always been entertained. I am down to the last book, and it will be the end of the obsession. I hope (and pray) that, the author will come up with more Wimpy Kid series.

By the way, have I told you that I finally have my own workstation at home?  My husband gave it to me on my birthday.  We only do computer stuff in our home office, and nowhere else. Part of his OCD, I guess. We used to share the same work area.  He is a computer freak too, so just imagine the constant bickering on who uses the area first. With the sum of the money he spent, he could have bought me a laptop, but I told him not to. A desk top is better for me, because it is easy to upgrade and the parts are cheap. I used to work for a computer company in the Philippines, so pretty much I know the pros and cons between a desktop and a laptop. Besides, I do all home management and budgeting duties, so a desktop works perfectly fine.   He knows that, I am always into organizing our files and gazing at my computer screen whenever I am at home. It’s not just the Internet, I play PC games too. Red Alert, Rise of Nations, my faves. Yes, fella. I am never enticed with the hundreds of channels that our Dish Network subscription is offering. I leave that part of the house (the TV area) to my husband and Amber. Anyway, up until now, my workstation is still a mess. I can not seem to organize it with all these daily junkmails in our mailbox. I only throw it in the trash when I am done reading them. Who knows, some may have good news.

But really, its entirety looks like this. I hate the wires below the desk, but there is nothing that I can really do about it. I like my computer. It’s friggin fast. I am not techie at all when it comes to gadgets. I do not even have a cellphone. Well, I once had but I decided to dispose it. I am just being practical. When I am at home, we have the home phone. When I am at the office, I have my work phone. Besides, I do not have any callers at all aside from my husband and some friends, who usually call me at home at nightime.  I do not drive, so I am pretty much at home or at work. Well, there is a  must for me — a hand lotion beside the monitor. Touching paper with my dry hands is not my idea of a happy moment.

What else? Oh, my poor little girl is sick. She has strep throat and is running a fever. I am stationed at home for two days to take care of her. She could not be around other kids in school and in day care in this condition. Hopefully, she’ll get better for the Christmas week–that’s already next week. So many things to think, so many things to do. The year ends too fast. Sometimes, my mind just want to blow. Anyway, that’s life. So, it’s fine.