Monday, December 21, 2009

Collectively caring about population and development

Do we need to bring our population size down?

Is a reduced population growth, at least in the next two generations, the answer to a progressive Philippine economy?

I say yes to the first question. An overshooting population will always be the first to suffer from poverty, depleted environment resources and poor land use planning (storm Ondoy and typhoon Pepeng showed us that).  My answer to the second is, let’s hear it from those running for leadership roles in the May 2010 national elections.

The launch last December 19 of the Mulat Pinoy website deserves close watching in the run-up to May 2010.

Mulat Pinoy brings a promise of  familiarizing and broadening our views, especially the youth, on PopDev or population and development. It is a joint project of the Probe Media Foundation Inc. and the Philippine Center for Population and Development.

The website will be the central platform of information on anything related to PopDev like fertility, migration, mortality, health and nutrition, employment, environmental resources depletion, consumption of goods and services, congestion, and other life-related processes.

The exchange of information will be through posting of contributed news, blogs, videos, and forum discussions. Taking their advocacy along the social networking path, according to the organizers, is a sure-fire formula for connecting to the youth who are not familiar with the issue. Almost half of today's 92 million Filipinos are young, aged 20 and below. There are 27 million young Internet users in the country, according to latest statistics.  Making them aware of population and sustainable development issues is the first step to making them think and later on, recommend how they, their elders and government leaders can move towards sustainable lifestyles.

Speakers from the Philippine Center for Population and Development said the Philippines' 92 million population makes it the 12th highest populated country worldwide. The projected 2010 population is 94 million. And in 2050, we will rank 10th among the most populated countries.

But this is what made sense to me --two in five Filipinos are poor, with incomes less than $2 a day (below PhP100). That budget hardly gives them any access to education, health, and a better quality of life. Born poor, die poor.

It makes perfect sense that the Mulat Pinoy campaign is also taking aim at the government leadership and the Presidentiables to present their roadmap on balancing population and development, before they leave Office or assume Office, whichever applies.

Bloggers, journalists, candidates for elective positions, and anyone seeking enlightenment on PopDev, can join Mulat Pinoy offline sessions in 2010 at its “Kapihans”, 2 - 4 pm, Bo’s Coffee, Glorietta 5 (Makati City).

Topics have been laid out already:

January 16 – Population and environment
January 23 – Government resources and population dynamics
January 30 – Population and housing
February 13 – Population and food supply
February 27 – Population and education
March 13 – Population and health
March 27 – Urbanization / Migration
April 10 – Mulat Pinoy synthesis

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gifts at a Click -, Philippine News for Filipinos

This is a more complete account on the e-commerce success of, a gift portal.
Print version was published in Sunday Inquirer Magazine on 13 December 2009.

Gifts at a Click -, Philippine News for Filipinos

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Common-sense e-commerce tips from a mum-trepreneur

Useful lessons learned from a thriving SME entrepreneur who put up a full-service gift shop on the Internet in 2006 and is now blazing a trail.

Reggie Bundang of was one of the speakers at the e-Commerce Summit 2009 organized by, held last November 12 and 13.

Reggie turned into a goldmine her familiarity with the public's buying and saving habits gained from her previous product management and business development experience with banks and telcos that required her to travel all over the country.

Going e-commerce was a good move because an internet enterprise meant flexibility (she can work from home) and did not require stiff capitalization (she had no millions).

Professionalism and a technology focus are essential when putting a business on the virtual world, she said. She plonked money (her first major outlay) on building a website hewed closely to the basic functions of what it should be and do - - simple to understand and navigate, and making it easy for the public to contact them. Sourcing merchant partners, couriers and secure payment gateways came next. She summed up the whole experience as challenging but productive lessons on starting an e-commerce store.

Three years ago, had five merchant partners. That has now expanded to 45 partners offering more than 300 product lines. Shoppers can order stuff not available on the online store. In 2007, it was voted best website in the gifts category by the DigitalFilipino Club Awards.

There are still hiccups like meeting delivery deadlines here and abroad. But Reggie's no-nonsense advice is honesty with customers, because it will put you in their higher esteem. Managing their merchandise inventory is a continuing aim-for-perfection process between her staff and their partners. "We continue to have great focus on professionalism and good customer service," she said.

Inspired by her success on the e-commerce platform, she will launch her second business (will be up by next month), a one-stop party food portal where busy professionals, companies, schools and OFWs can order food for their parties.

To quote her, 'I have reached the point of no return.'

Friday, October 30, 2009

'Blogging from Home', in a class all by itself

This book review is a year overdue.

Rereading my friend Janette Toral's book became urgent when I was invited by the info team of a local government official to comment on the value of blogging in keeping constituents up to date with community projects and motivating them, especially the young into becoming action-oriented.

Most of the members of the info team admitted their lack of knowledge of information sharing on the Internet, apart from some of them having Facebook accounts. My familiarity with web collaboration tools is only a notch higher than theirs and so seized the occasion to have another look at "Blogging from Home".

Rereading the book took on a deeper dimension. The mindmap, blog registration and set up, blog performance, links, keywords, podcasts, vlogs, blog ethics, RSS are neatly sectioned and explained in simple English that there is simply no way to get muddled in the 92-page instructional guide.

It made it easy for me to prepare my talking points and turning them into weighty ones.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Boomers still in the spending game

Savvy marketers and communicators are those who do not overlook the baby boomers as a lucrative market for their products and services. The boomers have fat wallets that enable them to brand-shop like their progeny, to pamper themselves now that the children are grown ups and have flown the nest.

For the 50-somethings who have retired or have been retired, they will start their own businesses and therefore, get more committed in their social networking – even better than when they were still on a company payroll.

Because they grew up in the era of print, radio/TV advertising, Boomies want to stay connected. Hence Facebook is populated with ‘friends’ commenting on how they miss fellow baby boomer Michael Jackson whose music they grew up with, are posting photo albums of their college days and videos of their children and the new grandchild. They are very much part of the interactive media.

So how to engage them and make them spend? Give them information on what they need - - wellness, personal financial planning, adventure holidays, entertainment, products that youngsters (like their grandchildren) would use and like to have.

Not very smart to look the other way if you want to increase your market share.

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