2015 “Philippines Guitar God” winner announced

This year has been one for the books when it comes to guitars and guitar players. Eric Clapton turned 70, we lost B.B. King & Eddie Van Halen removed any doubt to the rumors he was a major doush bag. Here at home in the Philippines we have the up and coming Paul Marney inking a deal with Gibson Guitars and dropping his first album with The Bleu Rascals. We have the legend Wally Gonzales writing new material and gigging with his band Bato. Then we have this years winner of the coveted PH Guitar God award. This years winner has put in over a quarter century honing his chops and sharpening his licks in multiple bands, stages all over the Philippines.

kowpie

This year has been a good one for Kowboy Santos, this years recipient of the Philippines Guitar God award. His latest project “Generation” has their first album out and it has spawned multiple singles including “Love is Killing Me”

There is a lot of buzz surrounding this south paw axe slinger so we wanted to take a few minutes and interview Kowboy about the award,the Lino scandal, the new band, the album and what the future holds for the virtuoso.

11412146_1453537604961295_3442669527101452545_n Interview date Monday July 27th 2015.
Kowboy: Hello?
LifesaPinas: Hey Kowboy! Life sa Pinas here
Kowboy: Life? Penis? What??
LP: Sir Kowboy
KB: How did you get this number?
LP: We wanted to ask (*Click*)

At this point the call was dropped and all subsequent redials went unanswered.

 

All of us here in the Life sa Pinas office wish Kowboy and the Generation band all the best in the future and extend our congratulations on the award. Long live the Philippines music scene!

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Bleu Rascals – Blues Legends in the Making

If you’ve ever wondered what it must have been like to see the band Cream in 1967 at the Fox theater in NYC or in 1963 caught a gig by the King Kasuals in Clarksville, Tennessee fronted by a young Jimi Hendrix you are in luck. The Bleu Rascals have been tearing up the local blues scene for close to half a decade, paying their dues and honing their chops. They play more nights than not, and their work ethic is quite remarkable. If the flier for the gig says “Show starts 9:30″ you can set your watch by it.

They self released their debut album this year “Badge of Courage” and features 12 original tracks.

BADGE OF COURAGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can grab a copy at any of their gigs and I recommend doing so. I also recommend going to see them live ASAP, there is no way you are going to see these guys next year without paying for a ticket. Seeing them play in a bar with no cover is something you will be telling people about a decade from now. I could go on and on and fill this page with adjectives trying to describe Paul’s wicked fret work or how John and Oliver play so deep in the pocket they’re finding lint but it is better to just show you.

For your enjoyment The Bleu Rascals – Live @ Handle Bar in Makati City, Manila July 9th 2015

The Bleu Rascals are Paul Marney “PML” Leobrera- Vocals/Lead, John Jayson Garcia- Drums & Oliver Salaysay- Bass

Like them on Facebook and keep up to date on upcoming shows! LINK

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How-To: Setup your own job board using Jobskee

JobskeeSetting up your own job board these days is now a breeze. Thanks to Jobskee, a simple open source job board that let’s you setup your own job board easily.

But first, why would you need your own job board? Because it’s expensive to post to commercial job boards! One ad can cost you between P2,500 to P5,000 and would only last you maybe 30 days. With this investment, you can setup your own job board that you can use again and again and your only additional cost is hosting it every year (cheaper that one job ad.)

What is Jobskee?

Jobskee is an open source job board simple enough that everyone can use it.

It was inspired by some of the best job boards online: We Work Remotely, Authentic Jobs and jobberBase.

Minimum requirements:

  • PHP5.3 and above
  • MySQL 5.0 and above
  • mod_rewrite enabled

How to install Jobskee:

  1. Download Jobskee here: http://jobskee.com/download.php
  2. Export sql file to your MySQL database
  3. Update admin table with your desired username and password (sha1)
  4. Upload all the files to your web server
  5. Update config.php with your preferred settings
  6. Change file permission of /assets/images and /assets/attachments to 777
  7. Check that all .htaccess files were uploaded
  8. Visit your site!

PHP stacks used:

  • Slim Microframework
  • RedBeanPHP
  • Bootstrap 3 UI

Functionality:

  • Browse jobs by city, category
  • Post new jobs without registration
  • Manage job posting
  • Option to highlight a job
  • Receive job applications
  • Send and receive notifications
  • Create dynamic pages and content blocks

Features:

  • Default responsive template
  • Company logo upload
  • Social media sharing
  • HTML job posting
  • Email subscription
  • Ban IP address or email domain
  • Bulk job posting using CSV
  • Admin panel to manage jobs and applications

What are you waiting for? Setup your own job board now!

Download Jobskee

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How-To: Outsource Your Business Process to the Philippines

Why should I consider outsourcing?

Outsourcing your business processes can help:

  • free up your schedule
  • lower your operating cost
  • multiply your productivity

Instead of doing everything by yourself, you will have someone who works for you (full-time if need be), doing the stuff that you need to get done for less than your operating cost (if you are doing it yourself) with the same or more than the productivity you produce (because of the availability of highly-skilled workforce for significantly less than what you would pay for, if you hire locally.)

This reality is one of the main reason why any small business operator should look into leveraging this powerful platform of outsourcing that was previously unavailable to everyone.

Why the Philippines?

According to Business Processing Association of the Philippines, here are some of the compelling reasons why you should outsource to the Philippines:

  • Global leader in voice BPO
  • No. 2 destination for non-voice IT-BPO services
  • Low infrastructure and labor costs (up to 80% less than in developed countries)
  • Large pool of college graduates each year
  • Good English-speaking skills (over 70% of college graduates speak English)
  • Young and fresh talent pool (one of the youngest and fastest growing workforces in the world)
  • Large developed Central Business Districts and suitable for BPOs
  • Customer-centric, warm, and hospitable culture
  • Strong government and academe support

Should I go home-based or office-based when I outsource?

Spoiler: This is a very biased opinion and is my own opinion on this matter based on my personal experience.

Recently, there is a growing popularity of hiring virtual assistants that work out of their own homes for employers abroad. While one may think they are saving some by simply hiring virtual assistants that are home-based, business operators do not understand how this can be a major disadvantage to their business operations versus hiring a virtual staff that is located at an office facility.

Home-based virtual staff

If you hire a home-based staff, first you need to find that person. And it’s not that easy. People sometimes can talk about their skills, but unless you are able to prove that skill, you are at the mercy of their “sales pitch.” Imagine you are in a middle of a busy campaign and you find that the home-based staff you hired could not stand to the test? You will have to spend weeks if not months finding a replacement, and what will happen to your business while you wait and find your next virtual staff?

In Filipino culture, families are closely knit that you may find children that are already married and with children of their own, still living in their parent’s house. This means that there is a very little chance that a person working from home will have a quiet, conducive work space in a house that is already overcrowded.

Internet connectivity on residential areas is also another major disadvantage. If your business is based majority on the internet, you may find that the person you hired working from home, while they may have the skills, will have more problems with the internet connection’s reliability more often than not. Not to mention, almost all residential internet connections are capped at a certain upload/download bandwidth that unless your staff is paying for the more expensive plans, he or she will get maybe an 1/8th of the bandwidth that was subscribed to. From a first hand experience, even making a decent Skype call is a challenge.

Office-based virtual staff

Now compare this to a virtual staff located at an office or BPO facility. While you might be paying a bit more premium by hiring a virtual staff this way, the advantages is enough to compensate for this premium.

BPO facilities will have the infrastructure and internet connectivity that can handle large amount of data exchanged at any point in your business very consistently. Backups and redundancies are setup to ensure that there will be a very minimal downtime to disrupt your business.

Hiring virtual staff located at a BPO facility will give you more options as to choosing and screening your staff. These BPOs have a large pool of talents, from the different campaigns they run, that you can choose from (readily available to you for your selection.) And if the staff you hired is not working out for you, they can be immediately replaced by the facility (or as agreed in your contract.) Either way, you have much more flexibility as to retaining or replacing your staff, with minimal business disruption.

A virtual staff located at an office facility will conduct their work more professionally. They would have to prepare to go to work, come to work on time, submit a time and status  report and have a work desk with the right infrastructure where they can perform their duties appropriately with little distractions. This is also another very good reason why you should hire a virtual staff located on a business facility.

Where to begin?

You’ve read all the above and now you are thinking of considering outsourcing. But you don’t know where to start. You’ve heard about outsourcing and how business giants are cashing in on this platform and you say to yourself, “I am a small business owner, I don’t know if outsourcing is for me.”

The one answer would be: outsourcing is for you. Whether you own a small business with just you working on it or you have a handful of staff located with you locally, there is always an opportunity to outsource part if not all of your business processes offshore.

Here is a short guide how you can start:

  1. Identify the business processes you would like to outsource
  2. Describe in detail how you want this business process to operate
  3. Enumerate specific tools or software you need in order to execute these processes
  4. Determine how many virtual staff you think you need to perform this business process
  5. Estimate how long (duration) you think performing this business process should take
  6. Select a date when you want to get started on this
  7. Put down a realistic (monthly) budget that you are willing to invest in order to get this going
  8. Send this information to a reputable BPO facility and ask for a quote regarding your requirements.

Normally, BPOs offer seat-leasing that does not include the staff. In those cases, they will offer the facility and infrastructure but you will still be responsible for recruiting and hiring your own virtual staff. So look for BPOs that offer all-inclusive rates where you just get billed on a monthly basis for everything related to your campaign or project instead of having to manage HR related concerns for your virtual staff.

Are you ready to outsource? If you would like help regarding outsourcing right now, send your requirements to:

http://outsourcemanila.info/inquire.html

And the folks at Outsource Manila will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Review: Cosmo Hotel Mongkok Hong Kong

First off the price was a main factor choosing this hotel. Second was the location. We checked the reviews on here before booking and looked at their website. We knew it was going to be small, but as we just wanted a safe clean place to sleep that was okay. We came in via Macau by Ferry. We took the shuttle bus from the parking garage where the Ferry drops off. We were told the Shuttle would be there at 4:40pm by a security guard. Well we waited until 5:30 before it showed up. Not a huge deal but it was extremely hot in the parking garage and we have a 2 year old who was very irritable.

Once we arrived check in was smooth and fast, though we had to carry all of our bags to the elevator and find the room on our own. We booked a standard room for 4 nights and were given room 2307 on the 23rd floor. The room is small, that being said they have really used every space to the fullest. They also use mirrors, lighting and the huge windows to make it feel bigger. The room was well appointed with a refrigerator, safe, good sized closet, airpot, several drawers, a desk and a nice sized flat screen TV. A downside to me was the TV’s lack of an accessible HDMI port. There was no way to plug in our laptop to enjoy a movie at night.

There was also a ipod/iphone dock-alarm clock with remote a nice touch in a budget hotel. The bathroom was a decent size for one person. The rain maker style shower head in the shower was amazing with great pressure and had ample hot water. They also supply all the toiletries you’d expect.
The view from our room was great, we weren’t facing the bay but still had a great view of buildings and mountains. Housekeeping service was great too, we came back every night to a clean fresh room and nothing turned up missing.

view from room 2307 daytime

view from room 2307 daytime

Hotel staff is very courteous and helpful from the front desk staff to the concierge. We did have a medical emergency while staying there with our 2 year old daughter, we called the front desk to get us a cab and let us know what hospital to go to. We ended up having to go to three different hospitals until we found one that would treat her. We had bought tickets to Ocean Park from the hotel and they kindly and promptly reimbursed us for the tickets.

All in all Cosmo is a great hotel and I will recommend it to family and friends. It’s very clean and the location is excellent. There are some excellent restaurants right down the street. We had the BEST thin crust pizza and HUGE ribs at Smart Pizza. Across from there is Kebab & Curry Corner also has amazing kebabs. Theres a Sushi/Sashimi place on the same street thats more of a take out joint though they do have a couple table and chairs, their rolls were great and the Sashimi was so fresh! Also check out Dumpling Kitchen. There are pharmacies and 7/11′s you can see 2 7-11s from the entrance of the hotel and a Watson’s drug and there is a grocery store right across the street.

view from room 2307 night time

view from room 2307 night time

We never got the chance to check out the hotel restaurant so I can’t comment on that. If you book this hotel do it from their website, they guarantee the lowest rate and you get free wifi (which is pretty fast, I was seeing 1-2mbps on youtube and other streaming media).

The hotels manager emailed us before our stay with the weather report and emailed us after to make sure we enjoyed our stay. It’s the little things like those that put this hotel at the top of the price point.

Room Tip: stay on higher floor, ask for a view.

88 Tai Kok Tsui Road,
Kowloon, Hong Kong
www.cosmomongkok.com.hk
Tel:+ 852 3987 2288  Fax: +852 3987 2299

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