Reah's Blog | Education, Language, Technology

Improving Your English Tip #3: Write Photo and Drawing Captions

By on Jan 17, 2013 in English Language | 4 comments

It has been proven many times that photos and illustrations help people remember things quickly and easily. So why not use the power of visuals in improving your English communication skills? How? Write English captions on photos and drawings you have! Start with your treasure box of old printed photos. You can write your captions lightly at the back of the photos. If it’s an event, try to remember when it was, what happened, and why that photo was taken. Who are in the photos? What are they doing? What are interesting objects did you notice in the photos? Answer these questions of course in English and write at the back of the photo paper. Other sources of photos are your family photo albums. The good thing about photo albums is the space provided to put descriptions on. If you don’t have many photos or drawings to write captions on, scour the internet for millions of them that other people have taken and drawn. Use these available masterpieces to practice on, which might actually turn out better as you don’t have emotional attachment to the work and your can write the English caption for the piece more objectively or creatively. Some sites where you can browse images are Flickr, Picasa Web Albums’ public photos, iStockphoto, and shutterstock. If you like to keep up with news worthy events, you will appreciate the editorial photos at gettyimages and describing these in English may really become a challenge for a non-native speaker. What about illustrations? Drawings? Of course you can also use these in this type of learning activity. Photos and illustrations represent real world objects, events, or thoughts. So it does not matter if you are practicing your English language with a photo or a drawing as long as you can describe what it represents in your own words in English. Check out devianART for artworks other people have created and describe how the artworks captivate you . Lastly, turn this English writing activity to a speech activity by finding a partner whom you can describe the photos and drawings...

Congratulations to the New Professional Teachers!

By on Nov 27, 2012 in Education | 2 comments

Congratulations September 2012 LET passers! The more teachers the Philippines have the merrier! And I want to thank you for letting me be part of your journey to achieve your dreams. It is a heartwarming experience. Now, let’s take this road together in educating fellow Filipinos!    

The Death of Link Building and Its Impact on SEO

By on Oct 21, 2012 in Search Engine Optimization, Uncategorized | 1 comment

With Google’s Penguin and Exact Match Domain (EMD) updates this year, many SEO professionals and small business owners are scratching their heads as the “fast and easy” SEO strategies are now old-school tactics that will not work anymore. These “fast and easy” SEO strategies are the low-quality backlinks that are easy to acquire and replicate when you have diligent link builders working on the links, or you have acquired automated link building tools. Low quality SEO strategies include article directory publishing, link wheeling, blog commenting, forum posting, social bookmarking, and profile linking. To make matters worse, the EMD update came in a few weeks ago pushing the rankings of most EMD webpages lower in the search results, and pushing the rankings of branded non-EMD webpages higher. Imagine the impact on the organic traffic and sales if you have a small business website, which has low quality backlinks, has an exact match domain and has backlinks from exact match domains. It is terrible. But if you have a quality website throughout these updates, then you are probably celebrating. Link Building is Dead As Rand Fishkin pointed out, the 2012 Google updates mean the end of building links. It is the time to earn backlinks by creating quality content, by building a brand, by building people’s trust. This sound like hard work, don’t they? But c’mon, these ideas are not new. Many small businesses became successful even before the internet technology came in because of these old concepts. We are just moving and implementing these ideas online. What many SEO professionals frown upon these Google updates is the reality that they are NOT ready for the challenge Google has given them. They are not ready to be creative for their clients business. They are not ready to build a brand for their clients. Worse, their clients are also not ready. Business Sense + Creativity + Social Sense + Tech Skills = Quality SEO When you look at the equation above, the four attributes are an odd mix. However, SEO professionals must possess these qualities now to stay in the game. Without one, you and your client will forever be gone in the search results. Business Sense – Clients want to make money. That is given. However, you have to start looking at the big picture in your client’s business. Understand the client’s business model, their competitors, their vendors, their target market, and down to services and products that can supplement their business. Understand what makes money for your clients. Especially spend a lot of time understanding the target customers and their interaction with your client’s services or products. When you understand your client’s business better, you will be able to find solutions on how to brand them and connect that brand to their customers. Creativity – Become a publisher for your clients business. Understand what your target audience want and produce content that they will find resourceful, informative, or entertaining. Find ideas through your client’s customers or from the employees themselves. Become a researcher. Follow the news. Act like a journalist. There is nothing wrong if you have to go to the library to get inspired for your client’s website content. Social Sense – Actors need an audience. Businesses need customers. Socialize online or offline to attract the right people to your clients business. Start following industry leaders. Befriend vendors. Talk to salespeople. Attend tradeshows. Trigger word of mouth marketing. Tech Skills – The SEO industry has many technical concepts. It is a must for anyone doing SEO to learn these technical details and ensure these details are implemented on the websites. Stay updated with the latest industry news. With all these four qualities in mind and the direction Google is taking, are you ready to become an SEO professional that help clients build quality websites? Can you help your client build a...

8 Reasons Why We Bought a Light Residences Unit

By on May 13, 2012 in Condominiums, Philippines | 9 comments

During our 2-month vacation in the Philippines early this year, my husband and I had an unplanned condominium purchase, which we do not regret (so far). We bought a one-bedroom condo unit in Light Residences on one of its towers that will be completed in 2014, two years from now. Light Residences are one of those pre-selling condominium projects that are popular in the Philippines nowadays. The units are sold/reserved before they are actually built. You give your trust to the company’s name when you involve yourself in this type of project and SM, the developer of Light, is a Philippine company you can trust. Pre-selling is a set up that worked for my husband and I since we do not plan to go back to the Philippines anytime soon. So, the two year building time for Tower 3, where our unit is located, is not bad of a waiting period. And we look at this as a sort of investing in an SM project currently in development. One of the three towers of Light though, which is Tower 1, will be turned over soon to their respective buyers. Either late this year or early next year.  So, among the condo projects in Metro Manila that we saw, why did we choose Light Residences? Light Residences is in Mandaluyong City, situated in the middle of Ortigas, Makati business district, and Fort Bonifacio-Global City. Built next to the MRT’s Boni station and along EDSA, commuting will not be a problem for my husband and I, as we do not plan to get a car while staying in the Philippines. My family would not have a hard time traveling to our place when they visit us. Closer turnover date for one of its towers. It’s 2014. Great amenities and access to many malls. Many condo developments are around the area as well, one of which will have a public garden near Shaw Boulevard. Traveling to the airport would not be a problem as the towers are next to EDSA. We checked the noise coming from the busy highway. It wouldn’t be that of a problem as they are building the place “sound proof”. SM, a trustworthy Philippine company. Business networking possibilities with well-to-do neighbors....

SM Residences, Avida Towers, and other Condominium Projects

By on May 13, 2012 in Condominiums, Philippines | 9 comments

A condominium is my husband and I’s biggest purchase to date as a married couple. This is actually unplanned, but since we are currently on a vacation in the Philippines, we decided to give condominium-shopping a try. Chateau Residences near SM Bicutan We frequented Mall of Asia during our stay and passed multiple SM Residences booths, thus; the first unit we checked out was developed by the SM Development Corporation (SMDC), the Chateau Elysee in Parañaque. It just happened one day that one of their agents, whose assignment was Chateau Elysee, approached us and gave us a flyer. He told us the location of the project is near the airport, and that selling point caught our attention. My husband and I looked at each other, and I asked him, “why don’t we check it out?”. The next day, we found ourselves riding a taxi from Pasay Taft to SM Bicutan, and riding a tricycle from SM with the agent. (I really had no idea where Bicutan is and how far it would be.) After signing on the visitor registration, the agent gave us a tour in their showrooms, walked with us to see the beautiful outside view and the condo amenities, and finally evaluated the available units. Honestly, my husband and I think it is a good deal with its price, its good management, and well-maintained amenities and buildings. What we just didn’t like was the location, and of course it was our first time seeing a condo unit for sale so we couldn’t decide on the spot. I believe this condominium is for owners who have their own transportation or who are willing to study the public transportation options and whose work is in or near Parañaque City. My husband and I are not those people. It is also interesting to note that this is the first project of SMDC and the first of their project we saw. Light Residences in Mandaluyong The same day, we walked in to the Light Residences showroom Mandaluyong, after visiting a friend in a nearby hospital (after seeing Chateau). We could not pass the opportunity that the showroom was still open at 7PM and so curious what the project is about. We were assisted by one of the site’s agents and his manager. Honestly, we were in love with the location from the start that’s why we decided to walk in. Light Residences has a direct entrance and exit to the MRT Boni station, a big plus for my husband and I, as we plan to commute rather than taking a car. The units in Light Residences are more expensive because of its prime location, in the middle of Ortigas, Fort Bonifacio, and Makati business district, and of course just by the MRT Boni station. The one bedroom unit’s size is comparable to a studio unit’s (around 23-24 square meters), except you have a room and an optional balcony for a bigger space. Also, there is an option to buy multiple one-bedroom units to combine them as one big condo unit. Avida Towers San Lorenzo in Makati City Yes, call this condo-shopping. Right after checking out Light Residences, we headed to Greenbelt for dinner and noticed one of the booths for Avida Towers, owned by Ayala. We stopped by it and had the agent schedule us for a site-visit. Well, a showroom visit on the actual building site, as the project, Avida Towers San Lorenzo, is another pre-selling project like Light Residences. However, the location is better for mall lovers as it is a walking distance (around 15 minutes) to Greenbelt, Makati. So Monday, two days after, our Avida Tower’s agent gave us a tour of the studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom showrooms for San Lorenzo. The studio’s size is actually a good livable space, and the layouts for the units with bedrooms are pretty good as the ventilation is planned well. The price for the units are pretty steep though considering there are no appliances and kitchen cupboards that come with the unit. This can be a plus though for people who want to customize the unit with their own style. For my husband and I, we listed this place as our second option next to Light. The only downside was the later date of turnover for the second tower, since the first tower units were almost out the time we came to visit. * Note: We checked another preselling condo showroom in the Global City the same day we saw San Lorenzo. But at the time I was writing this post, I forgot the name of the project. It was the most expensive one among all the condo projects we saw. We might get one when we can afford it, who knows. Field Residences in Sucat, Parañaque In one of our later strolls in MOA, we decided to check another condominium project of SM Residences. This time, it was Field Residences. The agent was quick to tell us that there was a showroom in Mall of Asia. So we walked through the main building to go to the opposite site where the showroom was. When I saw the model, I immediately noticed the long road that goes around the eight towers of the compound. This was exciting to me as I can go biking safely there! Also, I can tell the compound is huge as if it is a...