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Saturday, September 27, 2008

AXA, AIG, and all the other A's

A number of people have asked me whether AXA is affected by "what happened to its mother company in the US." Apparently, these guys misconstrued AXA as AIG.  

These firms are really clever, using the letter A, intentionally or not, as the first letter of their corporate name or acronym, so that wherever there is an alphabetical listing, their name would be listed on top.  

For everyone to know: AXA is not AIG.  

And even if you have an AIG or PhilamLife investment, you should not worry too much. Being listed in the world's top corporations, AIG is not an entity that 
will just disappear just like that. PhilamLife, Philam Plans, Philam Insurance, Philam Asset Management, AIG-Philam Savings Bank and all the other businesses and funds handled by Philam are also separate entities from the AIG in the US. They remain safe and sound, just like the Philam we knew years and years ago, when these local units still didn't emphasize their relation to AIG.  

On the other hand, AXA is a global company whose headquarters is in Paris, France. Here in the Philippines, AXA partnered with Metrobank to bring life insurance and investment management products to Filipinos. AXA Philippines is no. 2 among life insurance companies in the country, based on premium income, next only to PhilamLife. For the variable life (with investment) category, AXA Philippines has consistently been no. 1 in the country, with a market share of close to 50%.  

The Global AXA Group is again no. 1 in Fortune 500's listing for the "insurance: life, health (stock)" category. It has consistently ranked either no. 1 or no. 2 globally throughout the past decade. Among the Fortune 500 companies, AXA is no. 15 among all companies worldwide, in terms of revenues. Others in the top 15 list include global oil companies and car manufacturers.  

BDO, Metrobank, RCBC, Sunlife and some other financial institutions have also been unjustly dragged to the recent Lehman Brothers trouble. Metrobank has gained the upper hand when it submitted to the courts its petitions for Philippine Investment One, Inc. and Philippine Investment Two, Inc. to be placed under corporate rehabilitation. The said companies are subsidiaries of Singaporean unit of Lehman Brothers.  

That was a proactive, preemptive move to protect Metrobank against possible dissipation of assets by foreign claimants. Even if the bank's indirect exposure to 
Lehman is relatively small as compared to its huge and diverse portfolio,
Metrobank made that move to ensure that the assets of both companies are properly preserved for the benefit of all the creditors if and when there is a need for a rehabilitation.  

It doesn't matter whether the economy or business environment is gloomy or bright. There will always be good times and tough times. That's a cycle. What matters is what you do, how you strategize and make decisions in different circumstances. Clearly, Metrobank displayed its knack in making decisions, not only for itself, but also for its depositors, investors, and for all the other local creditors who have interests in the Lehman units.  

AXA and Metrobank remain to be the leaders in their respective industries, and there is nothing to worry about, despite of some noise that is hovering around the banking, investment and insurance industries.

[Note: The above article is an independent analysis/insight by the Investment Advisor, and is NOT an official statement from AXA, Metrobank, or any of the financial institutions mentioned.]  

Dexter C. Lim, MBA 
Investment Advisor - AXA Philippines 
Analyst - Bayan Telecommunications

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Monday, May 19, 2008

RCBC Massacre

The months of May and June signal the start of the rainy season for most of us, but others who are more observant would know that it also is the season of bank robberies, kidnapping, carnapping and all sorts of theft. And why are they stealing specifically at this time of the year? Answer is simple: to pay for the exorbitant tuition fees for their children and to combat hunger amid the rising prices of commodities.  

The recent robbery-massacre at RCBC Cabuyao was a horrible case that shocked the nation. We, including you and me, have, in one way or another, stepped into the premises of banks which also serve as pillars of our economy. 

Some of us probably are employed by financial institutions, or may have loved ones and friends who are bank employees. Our hearts bleed for the innocent lives that were unjustly taken in that RCBC branch, in pursuit of money.

Killing all the bank employees may have wiped out the people who could have served as witnesses to the heinous crime, but in no way would the criminals have peace of mind, as truth and justice will find its way through.

The challenge now is how to ensure the safety and security of bank employees and clients. CCTV cameras have been helpful in solving crimes in most cases, but unfortunately, in that bank branch, there was none of them working. We have seen in the past, security guards being gunned down or disarmed by bank robbers who carried much more powerful weapons, and bank tellers giving up their cash at gun point.

What is it that we can do to overcome all these criminal acts? Life is getting difficult. People are getting hungry, and more and more now belong under the poverty line.

Let us pray for the victims and their families. Let us help rebuild our society. And let us take time to pray for the culprits as well.

Dexter C. Lim, M.B.A.
Analyst, Bayan Telecommunications
Financial Advisor, AXA Philippines

Friday, August 10, 2007

Grad Pic!

My first time to set foot on green grass, underneath the blue sky.
Ano pa ang hinihintay mo? Lipad na!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Autograph Book

I chanced upon an old man while walking along the streets of Salcedo, and I asked him to sign in my slum book. I was surprised to see that he also brought his own, which has been filled out by his friends since the 80's. Here is a sample page in his slum book:

Favorite Magazine: Pambata Magazine

Favorite Sport: sipa

Favorite TV Show: Champoy, with Tessie Tomas, Subas Herrero, and Noel Trinidad

Favorite Pastime: reading comic books

Favorite Department Store: Gaisano, sa tabi ng C.O.D. Cubao

Favorite Shoe Store: Syvell's

Favorite Home Store: Ideal Home

Favorite Actor: Tony Ferrer

Favorite Actress: Jean Saburit

Favorite Male Singer: Bert Nievera

Favorite Female Singer: Imelda Papin

Favorite Bank: Pacific Bank

Favorite Supermarket: Jopson's, sa may Earnshaw, Sampaloc

Favorite T-shirt: Crispa

Favorite Basketball Team: Uratex

Favorite News Anchor: Helen Vela and Mike Lacanilao

Favorite Weatherman: Amado Pineda

Presyo ng 8 oz. Coke ngayon: 25 centavos

Favorite Candy: yung cola-flavored na hard candy, nakabalot ng dark blue

Favorite Movie: Kambal Tuko

Monday, July 09, 2007

Mga Samu't Saring Litrato sa kung Saan-saan

Sa Art Gallery... How many Sams can you spot in this picture?

On board the kalesa... going to Divisoria...

Sa bentahan ng carpet... ayun... si Aladdin!

Sa kama... join me in bed!...

Huy!... wag kang malikot!...

Sa Palengke... si Mr. Palengke for senator

Sa ice cream house...

Eto ang mahaba, mataba, at masikip... talagang nakakainip...
ang mahabang biyahe sa masikip na limousine!

Hayyy.. ayos talaga itong limousine... buti na lng presko, may window openings sa likod.

Laki... laki! Jumbo!

Hello, tubero? May tumutulo na naman dito sa opis!

Sa mall, shopping shopping with best pren Beatriz.

Grabe, di ko akalain... ikaw nga ba talaga si Bea Bianca?

Aba, aba... bagay sila!

Haaayyyy.. kakapagod magshopping... palamig muna!

Thanks for viewing us. Hope to see you again in this site!

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Trinoma, the would-be-awarded Best Mall in the Country

I am just counting 2 months and I expect millions of Filipinos will agree with my statement that Trinoma, the new mall located just across SM North Edsa, is the best mall in the country.

Situated in the North Triangle "peninsula", the mall is linked to the Edsa MRT North Avenue Station. It will house the second Landmark outlet. Barely a month after it opened its doors to the public, around 50% of the establishments are still closed, but a glimpse inside the mall will tell you how fabulous it would be when it is fully operational.

Unlike Glorietta and Greenbelt which traces their roots in the 1980's and just expanded and integrated with other small commercial centers through the years, Trinoma is a world-class mall that had careful planning and architecture, built from scratch. Shoppers will not have any inconvenience crossing bridges or passing through narrow alleys as everything has been well-designed. An entirely new and refreshing mall indeed!

Looking at it from Mindanao Avenue, it looks like a giant Greenbelt complex. Inside, it looks more of a Glorietta-Shangrila Plaza-Alabang Town Center-MarketMarket-Festival Mall hybrid. It houses a uniquely elegant Crossings Department Store, trendy bars and coffee shops, a cool and cozy Food Choices lane, the Handyman Store, wide-aisled Mercury Drug and National Bookstore, a Marks and Spencer boutique, ample (and affordable) parking spaces, and an activity area at the heart of the mall similar to Glorietta's.

This really made SM consider redeveloping its first supermall, the SM City North Edsa, which has been around since the mid-80's. Its newest building, The Block, has been constructed quite similar to the the Mall of Asia; I personally coined a name for it: "A Taste of Mall of Asia", rather than calling it by such a dull name "The Block". Now, the SM City Annex has been torn down and SM Prime Holdings plan to put up a condo-mall complex on it, similar to what it is constructing diagonally across SM Sta. Mesa.

Oh well. Time will come that the whole of Metro Manila will be housed under giant malls, just like when Ayala integrated all the small business establishments of the 1980's (Quad 1,2,3 Arcades, Park Square, Gold Crest, etc.) and housed them into the Glorietta.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Commercial muna...

Go and open an ATM account with Citibank Savings Bank!

No maintaining balance required.

No transaction fees when using any ATM worldwide!

Visit them at the corner of Ayala and Paseo.


Friday, June 01, 2007

i lost in the infinit idol contest

So, the decision has been made. I lost the Infinit Idol Contest. But I am happy, coz my friend and team mate Kim won.

For those who laughed at me upon learning that I joined the contest, well, let me explain:

I joined the contest in order to show my participation and support for the programs launched by the company, nothing more, nothing less.

Wow! Such good intentions! Naks!

So, with this, if you were the judge, wouldn't you consider me as your ultimate idol?


(just an ultimate joke! Enjoy your infinite laughter!)


Monday, May 28, 2007

Thank You from Dr. Martin Bautista


The election is over. It is time to examine, and to both skeptics and sympathizers alike, explain my participation in it.

I gave up a flourishing medical practice in America, joined Kapatiran and ran for the Senate because I wanted not merely to prove a point, but to live by it.

And the point is this: we can change our country, help our people, not by talking or theorizing but by actually doing something about it. One cannot simply make a statement. He must apply it in his life, by example, by involvement, by action. Our political campaign was such a statement.

Did we succeed? We did not get enough votes for a seat in the senate. But we did get the attention of the electorate and, more importantly, we made people aware of alternative solutions, better political options.

We demonstrated that it is possible to conduct an open, honest, vigorous campaign on programs, not personalities.

We showed that there is no need for false promises, political gimmickry, immoderate spending; but that there is a need for continuing communication, defending and justifying our positions and priorities.

Our fundamental premise is this: Politics is not a means of livelihood. It is not an economic investment that will pay off in future material gain.

Politics is a way of giving, of sharing, of helping. It is not soliciting support but providing it. It is not about rendering service in the senate when elected, but rendering service now, in the present, in this time and place, in one's capacity as a candidate, a citizen, a Filipino of compassion.

If we have, even in a small, tentative way, we have redefined politics in the Philippines, then we have been fully recompensed for our efforts. The accomplishments of our greatest heroes cannot be judged in the simplistic terms of triumph or defeat. Like Burgos, Gomez and Zamora, the Kapatiran candidates won no instant victory. But they achieved a beginning, advanced the cause for reform, and awakened a hope that such reform is possible.

A personal note of accountability. We received donations from many sectors of society. Added to our own private contribution to the campaign, the total amount exceeded our modest campaign expenses. The balance we shall turn over to Gawad Kalinga in accordance with our conviction that politics is not an enterprise for profit.

Finally I wish to extend my sincere appreciation to all the men and women of goodwill who stand with us in the common belief in a Filipino future. Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.

Martin D. Bautista, MD


I voted for this guy! Will watch out for him in the next political exercise.
- Dexter

Friday, May 04, 2007

Looking back, 10 years ago

It has been 10 years since my letter to the Philippine Star was published in the said broadsheet. It was the first time that a written work of mine was seen in a widely circulated print medium. I know I kept a clipping of this article, inserting it in our huge, antique Merriam-Webster Dictionary, but unfortunately, I couldn't find it anymore.

As a young teenager then, I wrote about being open about accepting money, specifically P500.00, in exchange for voting for a presidential candidate in 1998. "Of course I will accept the money!", I wrote. "Anyway, no one will know if I really voted for that candidate."

Today, at age 28, I ask myself the same question of whether or not to vote for a candidate in exchange for 500 bucks. I could not answer with the same conviction as before. Yes, I can still get away with the money while having the freedom to vote for my chosen bets, but thinking again, if I keep on accepting these bribes, I am not contributing to putting a stop on this vote-buying culture we have in Philippine politics.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Pumipichay ka na ba?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Shakey's Buy 2 Take 8 Free!!!

The numbers 7-7-7-7-7 was dialled and Shakeys' phone rang. I ordered for 2 party-size thin crust belly busters and 2 giant bottles of Coke and got 2 pepperonis of the same crust and size for free, courtesy of Rick, "Mr. Cool Guy of New York".

You thought we got a good deal? Hmmm... let me walk you through the whole story.
My Shakey's Pizzanatic Card enables us to purchase pizzas on a "buy-one-take-one" deal, just like how Pizza Hut's Palm Card works. However, Shakey's limits the usage of the card. We can only avail of up to 3 paid and 3 free pizzas in a transaction.

Cool... the restriction is not that bad.

We intended to order 5 pizzas and get another 5 for free. Since the limit is only 3+3 in a single order, I asked whether we can still avail of the privilege if we call again. Just like in Pizza Hut, Shakey's gives that go signal to anyone.

Ok, so after the hanging up the phone for that first order, I picked it up again and ordered for a Shakey's special, a manager's choice, and a pepperoni crunch, this time all thick crust. And as a cardholder, we will be getting 3 hawaiians for free.

The first set of order came on time. ONE FULL HOUR. Yup, that was quite a long wait, but at least, hunger made the pizzas a lot yummier.

For the second set of pizzas, ha ha! They were no where to be found! They came more than TWO FULL HOURS later, while fafa Rick was talking with the team, after 4 phoned-in follow-ups, and only on the third visit of the same delivery rider! (he brought the charge slips and plastic cups on the second). My Gus Abelgas!

Of course we had to insist on implementing their marketing promise: If it's late, it's FREE! It is Shakey's who dictate how much time it would take to deliver on a case-to-case basis, unlike Jollibee, Greenwich or Pizza Hut who promise a fixed 30-minute delivery guarantee.

The real reason why it took that long is that the call center wasn't able to endorse the second order to the branch. For technical reasons or human error, I really don't know. The fact that I made 4 phoned-in follow ups, that should have sent a signal that something went wrong and had to be solved. But the call center wasn't able to do much help. It was the delivery rider who I found to possibly be the key to solving this crime. On his second visit, I gave him our second order on a scratch paper, and 40 minutes later, the pizzas came. And as I have insisted (to the call center, the branch officer, and the rider) FOR FREE.

The long wait ended and we got 10 pizzas for the price of 2.

Now is that a great deal? I'm still not impressed. Shakey's should sack its call center and contact Infinit-O for their back office needs.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

PSE Roadshow! Ortigas Abelgas!

Brownout sa PSE, kaya pa-picture muna para lumiwanag! FLASH!

Young love, sweet love circa 80's.

This way to the toilet (arrow up)

Remember the dynamic duo in Sesame Street?

Ahahaha!!! Nakakatuwa naman itong horoscope ko!

Another Sesame Street character.. this time going solo.

'Sang Linggo nAPO Sila!

Gegegegehh!!! Bell na! Recess na!

Ary: hehehe.. pagkakataon ko na... di naman siguro ako mapapansin...
natatakpan naman ng baso.

Teka, teka.. may hidden cam ata sa baso!

Reflector ako.. ingat, baka mauntog kayo sa salamin.

Last supper with Fr. Dundee

O ha! gusto nyong turuan ko kayo ng cha-cha?

Newest love team: Dennis Padilla and Chin Chin Gutierrez

Time out!!!! tama na ang picture taking! back to lunch!

Aba, aba! another leading lady for Dennis!

How I wish I could be seated in the comfy couch at the back.

Ary: Mga pare, may chick sa kanan!... hehhe joke!

Ang hirap namang kunan ang sarili. Centered na ba?

Richard: Sarap ng food
Ryan: Oo nga, kuha pa tayo.
Ary: Tangn@ tagal ng picture picture!

Hello... isang pancit, dalawang crispy pusit, at pahingi ng Mang Tomas ha!

Hmm... I think I love mining companies!

Kami na.

Ary: Here, kuchi-kuchi!...
Kim txting: nababaliw na ata si Ary
Dondon: sana magpasa-load sa kin si Kim

Ryan: Eto po ang Dekada '70
Ary: Oo nga! year 1870!

Ang cute ng kuya mo!


Lockness Monster

Press conference with Sam Milby and Richard Gutierrez

Ate Vi and Ralph?

Ok po. We'll deliver the pansit and pusit in no time!

Ain't Anito without the mystery...

Anna: Uuwiin ko yung teaspoon, ang cute kasi
Cris: ah ok.. paki tago rin itong sa 'kin sa bag mo

Hmm... the Anitokid blog... did it ring a bell?

Smile lang ako... pero sa totoo lng.. naiinis ako!
No trading policy!!! so what am i doing here?

Sesame Steet's Ernie and Bert pag off-cam, nagkakamot

I object, Mr. Gentleman from Sorsogon!
Kim: Ako sa gitna!
Les: Ako ang bida!
Ary: Kami naman ni Anna!

Richard: Uhaw na ko! Gusto kong kunin yung baso!

Hmm... a taste of PSE... more here.