Reah's Blog | Education, Language, Technology

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

By on Jan 17, 2013 in English Language | 3 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 | 1 comment

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 | 0 comments

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...

A Language Barrier

By on Mar 23, 2012 in English Language | 5 comments

I was in a famous fastfood branch waiting for my cashier to serve the meal I ordered, when I overheard the old traveling Japanese man by the next cashier asking her “Is it OLD?”, referring to the coffee she was serving. His cashier, misunderstood OLD with COLD, and answered the Japanese, “HOT sir”. It wasn’t quiet at all by the counter and the cashier was away from her cash register getting a cup under the cabinet, so, the miscommunication was acceptable. The Japanese repeated himself, “NO, is it OLD?” and the Filipina answered back “HOT sir.” This second time was less acceptable. The Japanese asked again, so the Filipina moved back to her register and told the Japanese the coffee would be HOT. Frustrated with the cashier’s answer, the Japanese rephrased his question, “No, how long? WHEN?”. The cashier got more confused, and asked back, “WHEN?”. This time, I couldn’t kept watching and wanted to help the Japanese, so I told my cashier who was at that time trying to help her coworker, “Bago daw ba ung kape? (Is the coffee new?)”. Since this was an opposite odd translation, I corrected myself immediately, “Luma daw ba ang kape, matagal na daw ba? (Is the coffee old? Was it made a long time ago?)”, which were not the best translations either because I was trying to be literal and these weren’t how Filipinos would describe it in that context. So, the two Filipina cashiers got more confused with my translation. My cashier totally ignored me and started talking with her friend “Ano daw? When?”. Then just a few seconds later, we saw the Japanese customer retreating from the situation and walking out with his luggage but no hot coffee, while the two Filipina cashiers were mocking him as they thought his English wasn’t good. Unlike the Japanese customer, I walked away from the counter with my order on a tray, but walked away like him feeling frustrated with the situation. I could have helped sooner, translated better to my fellow Filipinas, and prevented them from mocking the Japanese. Witnessing this whole scene reminded me of what my American husband told me, “It’s amusing to see two non-native English speakers talk to each other in English.” But this one was the...

The Freemason Filipinos

By on Nov 26, 2011 in Philippines | 5 comments

I learned about Freemasonry and Knights Templar from reading Dan Brown’s books. So, when I saw a show running in the History Channel about the Holy Grail, I sat and watched it. The show’s conclusion led me to re-dig more information about the Freemasons and find out who were the famous people known to be Freemasons. The Wikipedia’s list of Freemasons surprised me as I recognize the Filipino names listed there. It amazed me how these Filipinos shaped the Philippines history. I might had overlooked the fact of their membership of this mysterious organization before but it’s harder for me to ignore it this time. So, let’s take a look at those notable Filipinos who were members of Freemasonry, a fraternal organization, and let’s wonder what had they taken from their membership and brought to the Filipinos. José Abad Santos, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. Gregorio Aglipay, Supreme Bishop of the Philippine Independent Church. José P. Laurel, President of the Japanese-Sponsored Republic of the Philippines during World War II, from 1943 to 1945. Camilo Osías, President of the Senate of the Philippines. Rafael Palma, Filipino politician, writer, and educator. Fourth President of the University of the Philippines. Reynato Puno, Chief Justice of the Philippines. Manuel L. Quezon, First president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines under U.S. occupation rule in the early period of the 20th century. Jose Rizal, Polymath and National Hero of the Philippines. Manuel Roxas, was the first president of the independent Republic of the Philippines. Lope K. Santos, Tagalog language writer from the...