Good morning from Cebu. Today the weather is not so sunny. But it’s not rainy either. We often this have weather once in a while and I like it this way.  😛

Anyway, today I will be explaining about the pre-paid loading system in the Philippines. I often experience our students having problems understanding and adapting our loading pre-paid system. They sometimes ask me for assistance and I do explain them but because of language barrier, the explanation can also be confusing. I hope this post would help those who wants to understand.

First, for prepaid users we can load in two ways:

ELECTRONIC LOADING

Electronic loading is done through, of course, electronic automatic transmission. How do you do this? Simply, you go to a store that sells E-LOAD. You can buy this in retail prices such as 30 pesos, 60 pesos and etc.or small portions, not  (Because our culture likes buying things in sachet not in bulk). All you have to do is pay and the seller would ask for your number, input it and send the load to your number. Done!

Confirmation Message from SMART

Confirmation Message from SMART

(Picture Above: I bought a 60 peso E-load and that is the confirmation message certifying that I already receive the load.)

After which, you also receive a notification via text message confirming your e-load purchase. Then it’s ready to use. E-Load credit is available is sari-sari stores (small stores) and in convenient stores like 7/11 and cellphone shops.  Also, some private individual are also selling this. Like my office mate before. E-load system is more popular here in Philippines because consumers can buy load in cheaper portions/amount unlike in cards.

Special Note: E-load has several promos like unlimited text for 10 pesos, unlimited call for 20 pesos and etc. There are several distinctions for e-load credits. My advice: when you buy e-load you have SPECIFY clearly what type of load you want. If you are not sure you can just say REGULAR LOAD. That means you have to pay 1 php each for each text. Unlimited load promos is only good especially if you often call or text like chatting. Yes, most of Filipinos enjoy texting each other like chatting. We even have a “textmate” friend. (hahaha…)

CARD LOADING

Card Loading is loading through the use of card. This is more familiar to foreigners than the E-load system. E-load cards are available in cellphone shops, malls and many stores as well. The card loading has limited amount to buy from and it is not retailed in cheaper form. The cheapest card cost 100 pesos while the cheapest e-load cost 10 pesos. However, if you have 100 pesos it is more convenient to buy in bulk.

All you have to do is follow the instructions stated in the card. It’s easy as 1-2-3.

As much as I want to take pictures of a card, to my own dismay, I already throw it all. 😦 Perhaps, next time I should take a photo first before I trash it.

Thanks for reading,

Miss D

FEA – Mactan First Graduation and Barbecue Party

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FEA MACTAN IS FINALLY OPEN!

Firstwellness English Academy – Mactan Branch opened Feb. 4.  So one school week after that on Feb. 8 was their first graduation. There was also barbecue party. As the entire school director, I was invited of course. So I finished what I had to do last Friday so I can go there in the afternoon. It was a good decision, I did not regret going there. They prepare barbecue — hotdogs, chicken, pork, and rice and soft drinks.

FEA Mactan graduation is quite unique. They had it near the poolside which is “cool”. You can hear the water splashing! It was very relaxing. Right now, FEA Mactan only has 5 students. The population is few but in the coming months, there will be more because the are many available rooms.  Their accommodation rooms are bigger and nicer than that of Verbena and the scenery is also very relaxing — you can see the horizon. Moreover, the air is fresher to breathe. But maybe you will get darker because the sun-tanning is tempting. 🙂

ACADEMIC SYSTEM

FEA Mactan solely follows the Academic System I develop in Verbena. This way, if students want to transfer from either each campuses, it would be easier to continue the lesson. The same tests are given and so the same way of assessing the students’s level is also conducted. The teaching resources are almost identical from books to cd’s and others. Practically, it’s the same. Some of the teacher in Mactan are also from Verbena which lives nearer the place so they requested to be transferred. This is ensure from the management side that the transition would be smoother as possible. And true enough, for the Academic department, the system went well starting from day one.  There only just minor adjustments in terms of familiarization of the resources and adaptation of the system to the new setting, but other than that — it is ready to sail away! The entire FEA Mactan Team is ready to serve you. The Japanase Manager there is Yuto and the Academic Coordinator is Karissa.

I have to visit Mactan branch regularly, at least once a week to check out the operation of the Academic System and other stuff. The last time I visited there was Friday. I asked our previous student from Verbena-Cebu Branch how he is and he was smiling saying “No Problem”. It is also very fun to go there and meet new students!

I hope to see all of you in either one of our branches. You can choose which branch you would like to study — or if you want to enjoy both, you can stay at both places! See you all!

Thanks for reading,

Miss D

FEA Students’ and Teachers’ Dinner Party

Once in while student together with teachers go out to have fun! After studying and working hard, what we all need is a time to relax and let it loose!

In the  picture below, it this was a dinner celebrating a goodbye. In Firstwellness English Academy, we often have farewell parties usually in the form or dinner. And yes it is usually buffet so everybody can pig out and become bloated. After all, that is what buffet is for.

PINO RESTAURANT

On this night, we went to PINO RESTAURANT. Pino restaurant is a Filipino Restaurant which serves authentic Filipino food. Recently, it ranked no. 8 the Best Restaurant in Cebu . They have wide choices of beef, pork, fish, vegetables,  and oysters. Their desserts are  also delicious but maybe for Japanese it might be something they have not tasted! They serve “maja” which is a sweet jelly-like cake made from coconut’s milk and flour, “kunchinta” which is also made from coconut’s milk, flour and sugar; and they also serve fresh fruits and cakes.  So… yummy! (I kept going back to the dessert area. hahaha)

The restaurants facilities are also very clean. The service is fast and the waiters are very accommodating here. (By the way, the GM is my brother so that’s why. hahaha) But its honestly clean and the staff is prompt to give you what you asked. They are also very polite from the moment we entered ’till we left. They were always smiling. (I guess my brother trained them to do that all the time. hahahah Smile all the time!)

AFTER DINNER ACTIVITIES

After eating and eating and eating, we continued to eat. Hahaha! Until our stomach asked our mouth “Are you crazy?”. But our mouths remained chewing. So after all the eating, talking, and picture taking, we went to a Karaoke. We stayed up late that night. We partied and sang like there is no tomorrow. Teachers and students were drinking and laughing and singing. It was a lot of fun! FEA people went crazy over dancing with outrageous steps from modern to very old traditional Japanese steps – like planting rice or something like that.

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(I only have few picture because I took most of the pictures here. Next time, I wont take pictures anymore. 🙂

The good thing about with FEA students and teachers is that no matter how hard we party, respect and decency is always intact. This is something other schools do not possess. 🙂

Perhaps next week there will be another dinner-party again with students and teachers. So it is really difficult to be on diet. But I guess that best way is to dance non-stop for 3 hours after eating.  Why not?

Thanks for reading,

Miss D

The Disadvantage of Staying Out

The Disadvantages of Staying Out

As promised I will post, according to my opinion, the disadvantages of staying out while studying English in Cebu.

ACCOMMODATION

Looking a nice and safe accommodation might take much of your time. There are many apartments available but going to many houses to check the place personally might take at least one whole day or even more than that.

LOCATION

Cebu is a small city. You can view the main area of the city in less than one day but looking for an accessible place to stay can be also be tiring.

TEACHERS

If you plan to stay out and study with a private tutor, the quality and teaching of skills of tutor is not guaranteed to be effective unlike when you study in a school where teachers are trained and goes through a formal hiring process.

CLASSROOM

If you rent in an apartment, the tendency is for you study in your own bedroom or own living room. As a teacher, I do not think is the best place to learn. Bed, TV and food can really be an irresistible distraction. You might feel easily sleepy and you might slack off easily.

BOOKS AND OTHER RESOURCES

Obviously, your books and other learning materials are limited. Although your learning won’t be entirely be affected.  But it does have an impact.

CLASSMATES AND PEERS

Having somebody that you share the goal with is good for you in order to sustain. Living and studying alone can make you feel bored and there is a higher tendency for you to lose your focus and be distracted.

 My Final Advice:

The decision is always yours. Choose what you think is best for you and which way you think is suitable for you in learning English. What matters is your own determination! Study Smartly.

Thanks for reading,

Miss D

Stay in School or Stay Out and Study

There has been many  questions to foreigners who wishes to study in Cebu to either stay in a school or rent a house and hire a private tutor. For me, both has its own advantages and disadvantages. Also, timing must also be considered as well. If you are fresh student in Cebu, I do suggest to enroll in real English academy. Why? It is simply because the school can help you a lot.

Studying in a school helps you in many ways. First, your processes of papers such as SSP (Student Study Permit). Second, schools have organized structure for learning. They have Placement Test which assess your English Proficiency. This is important because you need to know which point of learning you are going to start working on. If you do this on your own without proper test, you might not fully sort out what you need to study and what you do not need to study. It could be a waste of time on your part. Third, safety and convenience. If you study in a school, you are safe because the administrator has surely look into that already. Unlike renting your own, you need to personally check how safe the place is. School and dormitories have security guards and other peace and order personnel. If,you also get sick, the school also has their own contact of doctors. Unlike when you stay alone, you need to go to hospital and ask for recommendation. In addition to all of this, studying in an English school can give you instant peer support. You automatically will have classmates, room mates and teachers. Your interaction with them is essential to keep you going. Social relationships does encourage you to study more. You can join group classes, school tours and other activities. All of these are absent if you decide to rent a house and student alone. 😦

These are just some disadvantages I see.  On my next post, to be neutral, I would also post the disadvantages of staying out. This way you could judge on your own which you prefer.

 

Thanks for reading,

Miss D

Study Tip: Be good student

For the past ten years of teaching career, until now it is hard to label and recognize what a good student is. Some teachers say a good student makes her home work, a good student is someone who goes to the class even if it is against her will or some say a good student is someone who participates in class. All of these can be a basis of what a good student is.

But in my opinion, especially in learning an English language, a good basis to identify a good student should be focused on the result. By result, I mean the ability to use the newly learned English language.  Result should also not be focused on the speaking alone but rather on all aspects including reading, writing and listening as well.

The common mistakes of students assume is when they solely judge their English level skills on the way they speak – only the way they speak. So, if they can’t speak, they would regard themselves poorly. While a student who speaks fast, regardless of grammatical errors, as long as the student is able to utter in English, they an EFL student naturally assumes the student possess a greater English level.  Although, speaking is the easiest way the knowledge of language is quickly available, this is not so. All skills must be considered because they go hand in hand in learning English.

If you are a Japanese or Korean learning the English language, do be frustrated if your English speaking skills is quite low but try to look into your other skills which you have a high level on and use this to support your weaker skills.

 

Thanks for reading,

Miss D

What Cellular Phone to Use for Temporary Stay

As a student who wants to study English in the Philippines, having your own local mobile phone is necessary for communication for your new friends and to keep in touch with your family abroad. Cebu is also a modern city who loves technology and gadgets. But if you plan to stay here temporarily, it is ideal to buy a cheap phone just to call and to send SMS.

In the Philippines, there are still many practical mobile phones for sale which function is just to simply call and send text message. These practical mobile phones are rather cheap and easy to use.  These cheap phones are not only for temporary users but permanent residents also use this. It is common to see locals having two mobile phones – one main phone, usually a high-end one and one cheap mobile phone mostly for SUN CELLULAR. (As I mentioned in my other post, SUN CELLULAR has the cheapest rate – free text and free call to SUN to SUN numbers that is why it is relatively cheaper to have SUN mobile phone).  You can save a lot if use SUN CELLLULAR since most people use SUN CELLULAR, every time you send text or call them, it’s free.

One popular practical phone is Nokia (picture above).  I personally use this for my SUN number. The battery lasts really long and the casing is very sturdy. I personally use this. I dropped this phone many times and it still works just the same. This is not a colored-screened phone, no Wi-Fi, nothing else grand but this will serve the purpose if straightforward communication. The price is only 900 pesos around 22 USD only. Also, just in case you lose this mobile phone, it does not hurt you wallet much!

Thanks for reading,

Miss D