I'm cowriting in another blog

Thursday, July 21, 2011



DTI Application Form Requirement

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Just a short tip for those people who used or are planning to use the BNRS/WebRNS (the electronic business name registration system) on DTI.GOV.PH's website. When you go through this application process instead of manually filling up forms, you will only be given the printed certificate when you claim the registration at the DTI office. Which is as expected, because hey, it's all electronic.

Unfortunately, some establishments, more notably the guys at the city hall and at the bank (BPI in my experience) tend to look for the signed application form that goes with the certificate, which can only exist if you're doing things manually. All explanations that the BNRS makes this unavailable has so far been troublesome at best and useless at worst.

To workaround this, after registering and obtaining a certificate number just go to http://bnrs.dti.gov.ph and then click on the "Request for Certification" link. Input your certificate number and the year that you registered and then wait for the application information to appear.

Click on "Download in PDF" and then open and print using any PDF reader.

For the case of the bank, they agreed to using this copy provided I sign in their presence. For what purpose, I have no idea, but whatever works works.

So there.

Meralco Time of Use (TOU) Meter Worth It? Theoretical Computations

Monday, July 11, 2011

Late last year, Meralco quietly rolled out a program where industrial and residential accounts that qualify for the requirements can equip a new meter that is similar to what they use in other countries, wherein the rate at certain times (off peak) is different from the regular (peak) rates for the rest of the day. How's the system faring? Let's have a look see.

This is the timetable set out on Meralco's Website:

Peak Periods

Monday to Saturday 8:00:01 a.m. to 9 p.m. (13 hours)
Sunday 6:00:01 p.m. to 8 p.m. (2 hours)

Off-Peak Periods (where electric rates are lowest)

Monday to Saturday 12:00:01 a.m. to 8 a.m. & 9:00:01 p.m. to 12 midnight (11 hours)
Sunday 12:00:01 a.m. to 6 p.m. & 8:00:01 p.m. to 12 midnight (22 hours)

If you're a working person like me who's only around usually at night, or are with people who are, this sounds like a blessing in disguise. 70% of my monthly consumption comes from air conditioning and water heating, which are both active mostly during the Offpeak hours.

Fucking brilliant? Not so fast.

Now that thing about this whole scheme is that you are going to be using a different pricing scheme that is only seasonally varying compared to the usual meter rates. This is a bit strange, but we'll get into that more in a while. For now, the facts.

This is the time table provided in the Meralco Website.

Now to translate that into pesosesoses, this is what I have in my bill last month using a normal meter:

 Generation Charge (PhP/kWh)            216     5.5265           1,193.72

On the assumption that I will be using a new meter and my Peak/Offpeak ratio is 3:7, here is the new computation:

Offpeak: 151.2 x 3.0925 = 467.57 pesos
Peak: 64.8 x 6.4852 = 420.24pesos

New total: 887.81 pesos

Total savings: 305.91 pesos

That's more than 30% savings right there. And this is talking about a load of 216 KWH, which is very low for a household. There's a catch of course.

To avail of the new system, there are fees to be paid, as indicated here:

On my account, I am using a 1-phase meter as this is what's commonly used in small-medium households. I need not make any additional computations, but let's do it anyway.

The supply charge amounts to about 2.35 pesos but the metering charge practically wipes out a good chunk of savings you may get. In my example,

305.1 - 2.35 - 117.20 = 185.5 pesos net savings per month.

Given the one time application fee of 2,720 pesos and dividing that with the savings per month (ceteris paribus), you will only be able to pay off the installation fee and really start benefiting after 15 months.

To keep this simple, in order to beat the system and save decent money off the new meters, you will have to consume a whole block of kilowatts only at night, because it's 2 pesos cheaper during that time (since the average actual generation cost is 5.5 pesos) as compared to the regular rate of the new meter which is 0.6 more expensive.

Now, in the other countries, this system is also in place, and unlike ours, theirs is mandatory. I will not go on to question the price of the generation charges in our country because we are largely dependent on two very volatile energy sources - coal and hydro, but I will question why in the world did ERC approve flat rating the regular and offpeak rates, where the regular rate is a lot higher than the fix-meter prescribed rate, and have a provision that Meralco can raise the bar if they so wish.

Sure, the 117 peso surcharge is okay. Maybe the extra CPU power to crunch the already computerized billing is that expensive. I'll accept that. But what does the new meter have to do with generation costs? These costs are sent to meralco from the power suppliers. And the ERC has already given them the go signal.

What does that mean? The ERC has forced the producers to sell electricity at varying costs during varying times of the day. That means Meralco is already operating on the variable cost system for everybody, except the customer (us). That means if your meter is old, but you're using a lot of offpeak KWH compared to the regular KWH, all the savings that you should be getting is being accepted by Meralco instead. If this is the case, it's no longer surprising that the cost of generating power in the country could be so high while Meralco is still racking up record incomes in the recent years.

In other words, the less people who buy into this program, the better. They need some people to benefit, because it will give the ERC Meralco's justification for the program, but they also need to minimize the people buying in, and it seems to me they are doing it by keeping the savings marginal and the process convoluted. Less savings for us = more profit for them.

As a conclusion, the new meter can be good for you - eventually, and depending on your lifestyle. I won't claim I am sure that I did not make false assumptions here. I have not tried the system for myself but I am considering it. And it's also possible that the fixed-rates in their website is incorrect, which I'll try to clarify soon.

If you have any corrections or previous experience on this matter, feel free to comment.

Dish Is Wash Cooking

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Ask me the one house chore that I do best aside from sitting down in front of the TV and I'd happily say it's washing the dishes. I understand why a lot of people hate washing the dishes. It's like half of the things you'll be washing has gone through, at some point, both directly and indirectly, into some other person's filthy slobbering mouth - while the other half may or may not contain rotten stuff. It's messy, definitely but I like it for the following reason:

1. I'm in contact to water so it's cool.

2. I have a perfectly good excuse to play with soap bubbles.

I started washing dishes when I was about eight, and at that age I still had to use some sort of stepladder or chair just to reach the sink. My dad always had this "earn-your-keep" way of running things and so when we came to live with him in Saudi, he figured if he's going to give us allowance, we might as well earn it through chores. Of course, Saudi is Saudi and the house we lived in wasn't exactly large so the two main chores that could be delegated was washing the dishes and ironing clothes.
Since nobody would let a 7 year old touch heated appliance any more than a gun shop would issue a license to an insane criminal, I got the dish washing gig.

At first I thought it was a bitch to do. You iron clothes a few times a week, but dirty dishes always have to done everyday, lest you turn your kitchen sink into a miniature primordial soup of bacterial life. Like for example, I remember forgetting to wash the rice cooker the other day for a grand total of four days and when I lifted the lid, it seemed like the fungus had evolved into the Renaissance period. Washing dishes everyday was bad, but on vacations, it turned into a three-times-a-day ordeal. Okay, maybe my sister and mom helped out, but still, it was a pretty shitty deal to me back then. I felt like it was eating into my vacation.

Later on in my life, I finally got to appreciate it more, for during school season, I always have an excuse to put off having to do homework in, so I got enough time to watch TV (Daimos, Voltes V, and La Traydora - the first mexicanovela in the Philippines) while washing the dishes, granted that I do the dishes really slowly.

I'd like to also think that my constant exposure to running water and cool temperatures is what enabled me to have the longest coughless streak - from 3rd grade of gradeschool to college, which is when I stopped washing the dishes because I was already driving and using the computer - and I might get the so called "pasma".

And to those bitching about how hard it is to wash the sebo/grease off the dishes now, as somebody who's been washing dishes for 20 years, we've already come a long way as far as dishwashing technology goes. Those commercials by Joy about they cut grease like a boss? It's all true. Because back then you had two options - a bar of soap, or dishwashing paste. A bar of soap is a bitch to get into the sponge. After a few uses, the powder washes off and you have to reload again. The other option is to drown it in water first so you can use the concentrate - same banana. It's just as bad in washing, and it's hard to get the soapy smell off.

Now the DISHWASHING PASTE. Now that's an improvement. You got it to stick to your sponge - and that's about it. It's terribly shitty at removing stains, grease, and odor - and for some reason it has a nasty habit of leaving behind, well, paste. Everytime my mom sees that a piece of rice or paste was left in a single fork, plate, or glass -she'd be more than glad to empty out the entire dish rack into the sink to repeat the arguably shitty process of washing all over again. This is probably why, even as an adult, I have the same sort of disdain at dishwashing paste as I would, for example, rapists.

At some point over the years, AXION, specifically, thought it would be cool to change the paste into GEL, which made the paste look like gelatin. I loved it. It smelled nice, and looked fun to play with. I loved it, at least until I got to use it for the first time and realized that because it IS gelatin, it will not stick to pretty much any sponge, and just end up fragmenting into smaller pieces and get stuck into the utensils and get me, of course, a healthy dose of "WASH ALL OF THEM AGAIN UNTIL YOU GET IT RIGHT" treatment. Thankfully, after a few tubs, a few months, and probably a stroke of sobering for the people in AXION, they decided that the gel thing is bullshitting nobody anymore.

Joy, on the other hand, now joy just made life a whole lot easier. It's syrupy so the sponge will easily lap it up. When diluted, it acts as a natural grease-remover, and when concentrated, it becomes the Jovito Palparan of sebo, the type of substance grease tells their kids to always pray they'll never encounter. The moment Joy became a staple washing substance, dishwashing was a breeze.

Even nowadays, I still find dishwashing a good way to relax. There's something about the way water interacts with the dishes and utensils that calms my head. I know it sounds quirky but I'll admit it does. When life is bad, and there's no good news in sight, I switch on the faucet and tell myself "ah at least there's running water, a good sponge, and dishwashing liquid thats neither GEL OR PASTE."

All That And A Bag Of Chips

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Ever wondered why junk food containers seem so easy to open and yet can be a bitch to open without having to use your teeth, thereby making you look like you're an ugandan refugee desperate for food? How hard is it to make packaging that doesn't require cold hard steel to open up? I have no idea but that's just the case for every other junk food I eat. We should start considering putting our valuables inside potato chip packs. We'd catch robbers cold, with them still at the scene of the crime trying to bite the shit out of the container.

Still on the topic of chips, VCut and Potato Chips are fucking con jobs. Thirty seconds after opening the bag and you're already down to those shitty potato crumbs. How does that happen? How do you eat so fast? After exhaustive research and cloak-and-dagger journalism, I have found the answer. The trick of the magic is that [SPOILER ALERT] the bag was never full. The guys who pack the potato chips actually places just three chips, seals the damn bag with enough air for a lunar landing mission so you'd think there's a lot inside, and then punches the fuck out of bag so that only crumbs are left. That way, the makers of VCut can sustain their factory operations with just three pieces of potato per month.

How about Piattos? What's the driving force that made people think "You know what would be a fun snack? A hexagon." Why not a triangle? Why not an octagon? We can call it UFC snacks - the snack fighters crunch on when their bones get crunched up. Available in dried blood barbecue and what-the-fuck-is-coming-out-of-his-mouth yellow cheese. Fortified with steroids and adolescent stereotyping!

Humpy Dumpy is a really fast way to lose friends. Open a bag up and you'll never have to wonder what abandonment issues mean ever again. I don't know a lot about gastronomy but I do believe that you can increase product sales by something as simple as NOT MAKING YOUR CHIPS SMELL LIKE A HUNDRED DRUNK RATS SNUCK INTO YOUR FACTOR AND TOOK A PISS ON YOUR FLAVORING VAT. I had a bag in gradeschool where a bag of Humpy Dumpy unfortunately spilled. 20 years later, IT STILL SMELLS LIKE RAT PISS.

Lastly, stay away from Chocolate flavored Cheese Curls. ITS CHEESE. CHEESE CURLS. WHY WOULD YOU PUT CHOCOLATE INTO THE EQUATION? CHEESE AND CHOCOLATE DONT MIX. Here's an open letter to the manufacturers:

Dear Jack and Jill,

Please stay the fuck away from the guys who made Humpy Dumpy. They are a bad influence for you and the substances they make you inhale deteriorate your sense of taste.


Thank you,

Chips lover.

10 Year Fucking Saga

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Harry Potter first came out 10 years ago, at a time when the hottest thing online was mailing groups, mobile phones could be operated with one hand, the fastest way to watch a movie is through VCDs, the PS2 cost 35k pesos, the iPod did not have a USB interface, and a burger-and-fries meal cost 30 bucks. The tweens you saw at the cinema back then have graduated from highschool, college, and are probably working with you at the office. That is what 10 years means. Now are you going to tell me the story's ending only just now?


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