Limpya Bota Series 1: How to Shine Shoes

How to Shine Shoes

Limpya Bota is how we call the chore of shining shoes in our dialect.  It is a tedious job, and you get your hands dirty while doing it. If you are not lucky, you may even have to endure the nasty smell of any or all the following: the customer’s shoes, his socks, or his feet.

I am an expert at shining shoes. After all, I spent four years of my life doing this for a living, albeit only during weekends, school breaks and on holidays.

The first step is to remove accumulated dirt and grime from the shoes. More often, you do this with a brush. But for dirtier jobs, you first use a toothbrush and water to remove the accumulated mud, soil or whatever dirt is stuck in the leather, the soles or any other part of the shoe. You use your cotton rug to wipe the shoe dry. But if it is still wet,  you set it out under the sun to dry.

The second step is to apply “dyobos” on the shoes. Dyobos is a mixture of a shoe dye and water. It brings back the color of the shoes.  You have to apply the right color of the dye to the shoes. And with only two colors available in the market – black and red, one has to get the proper combination of black and red to get to the correct shade of brown needed for a particular shoe.

When the shoe is already dry, you brush it again, after which you start applying the show polish. We either use our fingers or the soft cotton cloth to put on the polish.  You apply polish to the shoe in a small circular movement. The key is not to put too much polish on the shoe–but to build the polish and shine up in thin layers.  You also have to make sure that polish reaches the inside of the creases on the shoe if they have any.

Next let the polish “go off” on the shoe (preferably in the sun, or somewhere warm for 2 to 3 minutes. This will help the leather absorb the polish and help thin layer of polish melt across the shoe.  Then we polish the shoe dry with the same bristle brush, or another one if you prefer.

The customer has two choices on the type of shoe shine finish he wants: pagakpak or charol.

Pagakpak is the most popular type of shine. One applies  the shoe polish as many times as you want (once or twice depending on how much the customer pays) brushing if off and then, finishing the run by rubbing a cotton cloth on the shoes. But there is an art to doing this. You fold the cotton cloth into a rectangle of approximately 24 inches by 4 inches. After that you place it on top of the shoes and move your hands from side to side. As you do this you make sure that you produce a certain sound that goes like this: tsak–tsalak-tsak–tsalak-tsak.   Once you are through, you tap your shoeshine box with your brush as a signal to the customer that job is done.

Charol is what we call the shine that results in a mirror like finish for the shoes. We wrap the cotton cloth on our forefinger and middle finger. Then, we add a bit of dyobos to the cotton cloth, put polish and spread it to the shoes. We repeat the process until we have coated all the leather parts with the shoe polish. Then we begin the process of gently massaging the shoe with the damp cloth fixed in our two fingers, doing it in a circular manner. We do this evenly and repeat the process until we shall get a mirror like shine of the shoes.  Be sure to be gentle and patient, otherwise, you will never get the polish that deserves to be called a charol.

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How to encourage a young child to do well in school

The Bike Story

The boy was six years old and the following day would be his first day in school.  He was watching his father clean the bike — the bike his father rides when he goes to work.  He imagined the places he can go if he will learn how to ride one.  He will go to the barrio and race with his cousins; to the sea to swim and to watch the ships and the boats pass by;  to the market to see what new goods the vendors from the city are selling.  The bike will bring him to so many places.

He asked his father, “When can we buy another bike?”

The father looked at him and said ” Not immediately. Probably after we shall have paid for the sewing machine your mama got on installment ”

That was not the answer the boy wanted to hear. So, he went straight to the point , ” Is there a way I could own a bike?”

To which his father immediately retorted: “Oh yes, there is. But that is something you will have to work on.”

The boy got excited, looked at his father and asked: ” How?

And this was  the father’s answer:

“Tomorrow is your first day in school. All you have to do is to study well, listen to your teachers, and do your homework. If you are able to do this, then you will most likely be the top student in your class.  And you know what? Every year that you will get the first honors ribbon you will earn as prize a certain part of the bike.

For  grade 1, you will earn  the complete  frame including all its components: the top tube, the down tube, the seat tube, the seat stay and the chain stay;

For grade 2, you will get the saddle area comprising the saddle and the saddle posts;

For grade 3, you will get the front set –which includes the handle bar grip, the head tube and the fork;

For grade 4 , you will get the pedal, the crank arm, the chain and the chain rings;

For grade 5, you will get the front wheel — spokes, hub, rim, tire and valve;

And by grade 6: you will get the back wheel — spokes, hub, rim, tire and valve.

So, if you will be first honors from grade 1 to grade 6, you will have earned all the parts needed  to assemble a  bike! “

Every year, the boy reminded his father about the bike parts he has earned. And every year,  the father  told him how many more parts he  has to earn to complete the bike. There are days when they passed by a bike store or watched other people’s bike and talked about how better the boy’s bike will be, when fully assembled.

Every year from grade 1 to grade 6  the boy got  the first honors of his class.   He graduated valedictorian from elementary. But he never got the bike he wanted. His father met an accident and was bedridden for the next 3 years. In fact, he had to work after school hours to help earn money for the family.

But by this time, the boy had already learned the proper study habits.  The bike was no longer his motivation for topping his class. Rather, it was to maintain an academic scholarship  in order to finish his  studies. He graduated valedictorian in high school.  He got a full college scholarship with board and lodging allowance and eventually, graduated valedictorian in college.

He got a good job and could have bought for himself  the best bike his money can buy. But he did not.  Instead, he bought his father a good bike, and a pick-up.

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Success is doing what one desires

What is success? Somebody forwarded to me this account and I thought it offers a fresh insight on the topic.

This is the story of Ruben, an independent business man in a coastal town in Southern Philippines.

Ruben came into the shore early one morning with his small boat full of lovely fish; one for his family, others to sell. Freddie, a top executive from Manila on vacation, saw Ruben return while  the other fishermen were still out with a few catch.

When Freddie asked around about Ruben, everyone told him that Ruben was the best fisherman on the coast.

Freddie walked down to Ruben and asked how he spent his days. Ruben said he fished a bit in the morning, went home to spend some time with his wife and play with his kids, then in the evening he would meet his friends at a local restaurant for songs and games.

Freddie got excited and proposed a business partnership. Together they would build a fleet of ships that would benefit from Ruben’s knowledge. They would move to a big city, and later run offices and fleets around the world.

Ruben asked about the future beyond the world-wide ventures. Freddie expounded on the glories of the great cities and high society, He also stated that after earning so much money they could to retire, go anywhere and do anything they wanted.  Ruben asked Freddie what he wants to do when he retires.

Freddie replied, “I would buy a place near the shore, fish a bit in the morning, go home to spend time with my wife and play with the kids, then in the evening I would meet my friends at a local restaurant for songs and games.”

And Ruben laughed, and walked away.

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The Missing Peso

Lets check how fast you can solve this:

You wanted to buy a T-shirt worth Php97.

Because you have no money, you borrowed Php50 from your sister and another Php50 from your brother.  You now have in your pocket  a total cash of Php100.

Since the shirt  was only worth Php97, you still got a change of Php3. You returned the Php1 to your sister and the other Php1.00 to your brother. That leaves you  with Php1. And you still owe your sister Php49 and your brother Php 49.

Now here is the question:

PhpP49+Php49.00 = Php98 plus Php1 in your hands equals Php99.
The total money is Php100.
Where is the missing peso?

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My take of P-noy’s Year 1 in office

Pres Benigno Aquino III
President Aquino delivering his 2011 SONA

Daang Matuwid” and “Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap” were two prominent campaign slogans of P-noy.  And now that he is the president, we expect him, his cabinet and other functionaries to  live up to these promises.

One year after P-noy’s  inauguration as  president of the country, I could say with confidence  that there is a conscious effort to fight corruption, although, efforts at the national level are yet to trickle down to the local levels.

And while there were black eyes  (the most prominent of which are the handling of the Luneta park hostage-taking incident;  the Leviste “escape” from Bilibid Prisons;   and, P-noy’s purchase of a Porsche), I have three first person experiences of change under this new administration that impresses me and provides a glimmer of hope for the future:

WANGWANGS:  In less than a month after the “no more wang-wang” statement of the president, I could only hear wangs-wangs when an ambulance or a fire truck pass by. Before the “no more wang wang” declaration, even barangay vehicles ran around with wang-wangs on. You can only curse and shout expletives as everybody and his mother who can claim connection to the powers that be  either counterflows or crosses red lights with sirens wailing.

The “no wang-wang” is a good example of how a simple act delivers a message so strong and so symbolic of what change means under the Aquino administration. It  defines every citizen’s expectation of other government officials. It sets the tone of how those in power should handle themselves, at least, in public.

LOG BAN:   At least in Quezon province, hardwood and other timber are getting scarcer.  Logs brought by the rivers to the sea during heavy rains and swollen rivers are now few and far between. A supplier of timber and cut logs from the mountains of Sierra Madre recently went to me to ask for advice on other types of businesses he can venture into.  He told me that it is now very difficult to get timber from his usual sources in Sierra Madre.  A year ago, his clients can simply tell him the quality and quantity of timber they want to order. With the right price, he will even deliver these to Metro Manila.

BUSINESS CONFIDENCE :   I have several business contacts and consulting clients who have either increased their current exposure in the country or have invested for the first time in the country.  Most of them are Filipinos. This is consistent with the official statistics which shows that investments rose 76% to Php162B in the first quarter of 2011.versus the same period of 2010. Moreover, Php140B of that amount came from Filipino investors — a leap of  211% from Php45B in the first quarter of 2010.

The business sentiment is one of optimism that the playing field will be more level in this administration. Bureaucratic red tapes at the national levels appears to have abated, although in some towns and cities in the country getting business permits still takes forever to finish.

To me,  the past 12 months were mostly foundation work, cleaning up, and reviewing. I hope that we will soon see  a Comprehensive Development Plan – something that puts in writing the socio-economic targets we will work at achieving in the coming years.  Definitely, we expect more action in the coming years, as the cleaning up and reviewing should give way to more action. Then we can judge whether he had become the type of leader we want him to become.

 

 

 

 

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What I Want from a Restaurant: How Kanin Club at UP-Ayaland Technohub Scores

Two tries before I finally got a table at this resto.  My first try was to get a table for two for a dinner meeting with a technical person who will give me pointers for this new hobby called blogging. I got into the place at 6:30pm, and  the tables inside and outside the restaurant were all taken. I was number 7 in the waiting list. I waited for an hour, but no luck.

The second time I went there was for a Sunday lunch with my family. We were there at 11:15am and got our desired table for five. A few minutes later, the place was already full.

I tried Kanin Club because of  word of mouth.  A number of friends said the restaurant offers a different take on some of the familiar pinoy fare, although I was warned that it is not for those who are seriously watching their cholesterol levels.  Live a little, I told myself.

So how do I rate the place?

On the whether the restaurant served  great food: I give it a rating of 3 out of 5. At Kanin club we tried out the following:

  1. Kinilaw na Blue Marlin – ceviche in a refreshing salad bed of radish and cucumber, with bits of deep-fried pork bits
  2. Itsi Bitsi –  sitaw, bitsuelas and sigarilyas sauteed with beef.
  3. Crispy Dinuguan— allegedly, their most copied signature dish. Its pork deep-fried to a crisp then set in a semi stew of pork blood.
  4. Crispy Tadyang –crispy and lightly seasoned beef spare ribs
  5. Plain rice

We liked the Kinilaw na Blue Marlin, although we would have preferred to have grilled bits of pork rather that the deep-fried pork bits.  The Itsi Bitsi was a bit overcooked.  The crispy dinuguan and tadyang, lived up to their promise.  We suspected that the kitchen was using MSG, as one of us got dizzy after the lunch – something that normally happens when she eats food with MSG*.

On service, my score is 4 out of 5. I can forgive bad food but I cannot forgive bad service.    Kanin Club @UP-Ayaland Technohub, obviously has trained persons for the job. They were polite and welcoming, and knowledgeable about the menu.  I  particularly like that we  barely noticed the waiters as they put down the plates and refilled our water glasses. They seemed to anticipate what we need next. Moreover, this is one of those restaurants where getting the bill and having our credit card swiped and charged is the fastest, at less than ten minutes.

On other things such  cleanliness, ambiance and the price, the score is 4 out of 5.


*Apparently MSG was the culprit. She came back a few weeks later and had lunch with friends. She did experience dizziness.

 

 

 

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