Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Memory on My Wall

It is a simple yet elegant item that portrays a memory that I hold dear. A day of the year that is forever in my mind.  A presence of what I have longed for in my years.  A gift of commitment as it was shared then.

This memory is more than just what it seems, it brought me happiness, joy, a new chance of life, and contentment.  Although the great things that this memory provides, a sacrifice on my part is necessary to maintain this glee.  Unequivocally, I need to ensure my sacrifice is seen and appreciated.

Overall, I see this item, this memory on my wall, a token, a symbol of what it is I have today and what I could lose should I not look at things differently and effect change.  

"Nothing so much enhances a good as to make sacrifices for it". 
George Santayana

Monday, November 24, 2008

What's your new past time?

I could be wrong, but since Facebook hit the CNMI and elsewhere, I hardly see new post placed by the avid bloggers around (or at least the ones on my blog roll). I too was taken by this and wanted to figure out how to use it, therefore, much time was spent on navigating the FB.

So now that we have FB and the stories on blogs are not updated, I am sure that we will all have many things to write about on our shared opinions, ideas, etc.

What about Thanksgiving? How's your bird looking? Here is a version I am considering, if Boni will allow it! Uh...donnow??? I am sure Ed, Glenn and maybe Justin just might appreciate something this beautiful, Lol!

I'm not a boy, not yet a Man!

Donovan, is now 14 years old!  November 23, 1994 is his birthday and this past Sunday, marked his day and another year older.  He asked that I take him to several places for a few hours I had with them.  It was a very nice get together and I hope that he enjoyed just as much as I did.

Here are the four, where I wanted a nice photo opportunity! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My AMP Treasures...The memories that are mine are worth more that money cannot buy!

Fuel Price UP-date 2

One week later, the news comes out on lowering prices....hmmm.

Shell's fuel 30 cents cheaper

Due to the continuing decrease in market costs, Shell Marianas Inc. has once again lowered its prices for regular unleaded, V Power and diesel fuel by 30 cents. 

“Shell's average market cost of regular unleaded, V Power and diesel fuel products continued to decline and Shell will pass these savings on to our customers,” company president Eloy Lizama said in a statement yesterday. 

The new prices will go into effect at midnight Tuesday. Shell last cut its prices Nov. 7, also by 30 cents.  There was no immediate word if Mobil Oil Marianas will also lower its prices but the two companies have traditionally mirrored each other’s price movements. Mobil does not usually issue media statements about price adjustments.

Light sweet crude oil was trading for $55.44 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday.


Self-service $3.43
Full service $3.56

Self-service $3.60
Full service $3.72

Diesel $4.20

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fuel Prices UP-date

In response to my recent comment on Lil' Hammerhead post on the slight decrease in fuel price here in the CNMI as compared to the rest of the world, I made the attempt to speak to Commerce Secretary Michael Ada.

Issues to be considerate of- Fact or Fiction?

1. Mobil and Shell no longer order fuel together, each company order their fuel on their own and is responsible for overall landed cost to the CNMI.

2. Landed cost in the CNMI before fuel price decrease does not make any significant change due to shipment cost of fuel on old supply, therefore it is passed on to consumers.

3. Adjustments are made at least a week after the price decreases to make up profit margin off the fuel arriving earlier than when it was decreased. (my comment, not Mr. Ada) Is that so?

Basically, we are still at the mercy of tariff imposed on the fuel arriving Saipan, does this not constitute the government interjection? Did we have to see Blockbuster, Carmen Safeway, Ming Palace Restaurant and who knows who else closes their doors on cost of utilities because of the high fuel prices, oops sorry, in better terms "surcharge"? What is the rate pegged now at CUC and at our pumps? I don't recall and it is more sad when I feel it being a norm to me... Oh no!

Mr. Michael Ada shared his comments and I posted them as I heard, well paraphrased to be exact. However, I do admire Mr. Ada as he is a person that is looking beyond his time. I know some would disagree, but I do see him differently, a local boy with an MBA striving to effect change that is needed for the whole CNMI business and community alike.

Illegal Gambling - Cockfighting!

Kudos to Maryann Calvo for standing up at this illegal gambling activity. It is sad to see an appointed member of the cockfight gaming board as well a former politician seen at this activity enjoying and spurring every moment of what he could possibly win, this is Mr. Pedro Castro. I take it there is no trying to run again given the circumstances in today's paper....Only in the Islands...


Remember the posted article in the papers a couple of years ago about a certain politician, elected leader, trusted community servant, lawmaker, who was off to the Northern Islands on his accord, only to return with illegal poaching of animal species (I cannot fully remember what species or who this person was, but nevertheless) ... Does our elected officials, politicians, trusted community servants, lawmakers, in their own respect and title, have the right to be above the law? Whereas, others who are caught would be punishable by law to it's extreme?

How about this, a former congressman who was pulled over for speeding by an officer of the law a few years back (as it was published in the papers) , his comment was "I am late for house hearing and besides, I make the law, so you cannot give me a ticket!" (Paraphrased to the best of my knowledge)

How does that make you feel? Is it fair to use such power and authority?

Leave your thoughts ....

Friday, November 14, 2008

Wade is 4 today!

Now you see me and I'm 4 years old...My Wade is in this photo enjoying himself at Pizza hut.

Time does fly, birthdays, special events, holidays, a year of 365 days or 525,600 seems like such a large number but that is the breakdown of how many minutes in one year. Time is precious as it cannot ever stand still.

He sings along on his birthday wishing himself a happy birthday!

That afternoon, Boni and I purchased a cake at Herman's Bakery, the oreo cookie cake that is a favorite of the kids. Of course this was all slated for the evening hours when we get home to be with everyone in celebration of Wade's birthday. Following our closure of a hectic Friday workday, Boni proceeds to get some Dreyers ice cream and I got some cream soda for an ice cream float. I know, we know, too much sugar! Well, we had a nice celebration aside from Peyton, Sommer and Tony not around (it would have been nice to have everyone), we sang the borthday song and Wade sang along.

It's hard to be parenting without the children's presence at all times. I am truly adjusting to this new life I chose for myself, one person told me I have a replacement family, I despise that as I have a wonderful family that is larger than most these days. I have no regrets and only look for more loving times with the children altogether. M wife to be, Boni, I am sure sees the differences in this life we live today. Its challenging, but at the same time very rewarding.

Thank you honey for making this simple birthday celebration something to remember. However simple it is, I am forever grateful.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Saipanda - Stay or Go?

The lack of understanding could be very detrimental to such a wonderful campaign that continues to work for the CNMI.  I've heard many comments about the use of Saipanda from a variety of people and rightly so their own opinion in this matter.  I don't judge what people think about the icon used, but let me share with you my opinion to Saipanda.

As most of you would know, I served with MVA for many years and I continue today but in a different capacity.  Most of you know as well that Saipanda is just a play of words to target the Japanese travelers.  However, what you did not know was how this character was admired and enjoyed not only from the Japanese, but Koreans, Chinese, Russian and other guest who see this odd looking panda bear that is unique in its own respect.

You see, the logic behind Saipanda was to lure interest by developing an icon that does not necessarily state representation of the destination as most of you think, but to be used as a hook.  Once the bait and hook is thrown, while reeling it in, the character becomes smaller and placed in  a variety of advertisement images of the destination for recognition.  Saipanda served its purpose and continues to do just that. I've heard why not a coconut crab, or a deer, or a bird, or even a dolphin, an eagle ray.  All great ideas, but not catchy, not odd looking enough, weird, or simply outrageously funny looking.

At first, even myself as I was with the MVA did not understand the concept, but as I learned its uses and its positive functions to build recognition, today it has become the CNMI's most successful campaign stemming since 2000. Remember, this Saipanda was designed and created by one of Japan's largest and most successful advertising firms, how would you say their creativity does not fit the category we are pursuing-Tourism.

I speak of my own voice in this and no one elses's.  You may disagree and that is perfecty fine as I do have my own say in this matter as well.  Saipanda has allowed us to generate sufficient global recognition, it has won awards on a global scale, our $60K marketing scheme beat that of major countries globally at the PATA Gold Awards who have invested hundreds of thousands if not millions in marketing schemes like Saipanda, but yet we won.  How can you say we need to change, or throw out the concept? I think we need to reinvent Saipanda to be  more out there, more presence, and visibility in tandem with destination images, because we are using what is already instilled in the minds.

Its easy to criticize as I do it at times, and when you do,  at least look at the facts.  This marketing scheme is well recognized in Japan and Korea and in some areas of China. Guam looked at our concept and tried their own weird character called barefoot, but failed.  These are marketing gimmicks that stick to one persons head, that means we have SUCCEEDED. Take your head out of thinking its for the islands, its not, its for capturing visibility and recognition on a global scale.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I have always been an optimist, I believe people can change no matter what they are today. I believe the CNMI can change for the betterment for everyone, but if there is one thing that needs change, that is the attitude of the government personnel who do not care much for the business community or for that matter new investors.

As most of you know, I came back into the private sector 10 month ago.  During this time, headaches and problematic issues that could have been avoided were not avoided due to indians in the government who do not care as much as leaving a roadkill to rot in its place of death for weeks.  Granted, I am still an optmist, I remain that way as I know there are so many talented people in the Commonwelath that want to effect change, but would rather sit on the sidelines and watch first being cautious.  That is admirable to prevent any confrontations, but at the same time it is a  slow death not for you, but for your offspring and others who are the so called heirs to the land our forefathers leave us to manage, occupy, and develop for prosperity.

I go back to the insolent indians in the government, I speak vaguely of this isue as in every office I visit to take care of matters pertaining to keeping a business alive, our prestigious government indians who are there to serve the community, seem to have or believe they are on top of the world and treat everyone else as secondary to them.  I think its is forgotten that the private pay for the salaries, the private suffer harsh conditions to stay in business, but at the same time provide the necessities to everyone else to live comfortably.  Where is the support?  I guess you can feel my frustration.  

Look at Blockbuster, look at Carmen Safeway...Who's next?  I heard through the grapevine that KFC/Taco Bell may go under as well? look at La Fiesta, a run down dilapadated beautiful structure in ruins, our ghost town.  Look at Ming Palace restaurant, shoots, look at Esco's, all closed.  The real culprits behind all this closure is the power issues, labor requirements and wages, lack of tourist to support the economy, the loss of uncle sam's generous capital improvement funds, the fly-by night business who come for a quick money making non-taxable cash basis scheme, and the list can go on.  Frustrated, yes I am.

"Attitude reflects leadership", if everyone in the public sector aside from educators go into a hospitality training, ethics training on how to deal with business, I can see a change.  a simple smile and follow up in the professional manner could result to improvements and security for businesses in the CNMI.  If our leaders who hold prestigipous titles in their respective departments can take that extra effort to show the indians how to work and lead by example, I can see a shift.  But hey, I am the 7:30-4:30 time card employee who basically puts in about 4 hours of work in the 8 hour day.  Frustrated, yes I am! Although, I remain an optimist...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Audacious People

Audac-ity(ious) has both the good and demeanor meanings of decribing the person and their attitude, their persona.  I for one look at audacity always on the positive side, but with this post, I will state the demeaning aspects of audacious people and their behavior that surround me from time to time.

Has it ever occured to you that no matter how giving, how supportive, how much help you provide to people who need help seem to turn around at the end and screw you?  I was taken aback when a relative of mine, who I have helped considerably gave me a stink eye after I pulled away my support that was provided for over 2 months... I couldn't believe the selfishness she had and yet not even a thank you for helping, giving, and supporting when in need.

Yup, I have been screwed too many times in this life and maybe, just maybe, it's beacuse I cannot say no in most occassions. Is this a bad way to live a life? Is it an expectation for those who have received help and support over time expect to continue receiving without doing anything for themselves?  Almost sounds like the welfare issues on food stamp, liheap (subsidized utility cost), housing  assistance, and more.  These benefits, however great they are to help people get back on their feet have become erroneously abused for the simple fact of laziness, don't you think?

Food stamps for example, they tell the applicant, "you must find a job, but for the meantime, you will receive these stipends to help you survive".  Many don't even bother to look for jobs, they become accustomed to the system and know all full well, they will receive their check each month.  Wow! Now I hear that Guam offers a much more greater benefit to those who qualify, I was told by some people that when living on Guam with all these benefits, you would 
not even have to lift a finger on finding a JOB.  It's all subsidized and you can live like a king or queen. Being spoiled this way will not help the community, we become increasingly dependant on a system, just like those people who take advantage of people like me who are always helping, giving and supporting.  It does not end...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Road Blocks Ahead

Today was not no ordinary day.  It was a day of much not needed stress.  Unfortuntately the brunt of the stress came from wide spectrum, I did not expect.  The road blocks ahead were or may not be as bad as some others would experience today, but it had me questioning is it worth it?  

Road blocks sample;

1. CUC, burdened with the Agrekko, now needs to collect, I just received a call that I was going to get disconnected even after I filed my complaint about ridiculous power rates and faulty meters or unread meters from the meter readers, may I add, this was back in May 2008.  Only last week, I had 9 meters changed and then they call me today to say that if I don't pay, they will disconnect.  The understanding was made earlier on that we will assess the new utility cost over time from that of previous billings I contested with the new meters.  One week is not enough time.  Oh, we did pay for average services each month, but I guess CUC had it and said "Your on the list of disconnection noctices.  Pay up or be cut out", was the comment from one executive at CUC.  I was pissed!

2. Heavy workload in the office attributes to the neverending stress free environment we all wish to have.  Imagine a day of trying to get multiple things done, while your phone continues to ring, the fax goes off, your staff come in unannounced to settle issues and concerns, your disciplining someone for michief and poor conduct, your business partner is needing your immediate attention on grave issues, a government official wants to speak to you for projects being done on the premises and to top it off, you get subpeona from a lwyers office on something you have no recollection of. Whew.. That is exhausting.

However, the day usually works it way out perfectly despite the road blocks.  Do I dare say it was a terrible day?...No, I say it was a productive day.

About Me

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Just a simple man who loves and cares for his family. Personal views with life in general, business and challenges in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Sharing what we have through publications BISON Relations push out for everyone to keep abreast of what's happening in our beloved island home, Saipan.