Category: General Topics

10 - 24

Walang estudyante pag Linggo. A sign often found inside jeepneys and meant to say that students need to pay full fare rates during weekends.  As a sarcastic remark, students would murmur, Bakit, yumayaman ba kami pag Linggo? (Do we become rich during weekends?).

Students, senior citizens, and PWDs are entitled to a 20% discount on PUV fares; so that if the minimum fare is P8, a student should only be paying P6.40.  Sadly though, the discount is not automatically given by drivers even if the passenger is obviously a student (or a senior citizen, or a PWD – how do you even conceal these facts?).  They need to remind the driver that they are any one of the three and must be allowed to pay the discounted fare.  Sometimes, drivers will purposely “forget” to hand them their change; the passengers, not wanting to engage in an argument with the driver, will just shrug off the experience and hope that the next jeepney, bus, or UV Express driver is more considerate of the law.

This silent war between PUV drivers and students will finally be laid to rest beginning October 28, 2017.  Yesterday, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) announced that the 20% student discount on public transportation fare must be implemented even on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.  This means that even if classes are suspended or students are on vacation, they are still entitled to the government-mandated student discount on PUV fares.

This does not include students taking post-graduate studies, and those taking up medicine and law as such students are expected to already be gainfully employed and capable of paying the full fare amount.

This is good news for parents and students, but maybe not so for drivers and PUV operators who just recently staged a 2-day nationwide protest, as they sought a win-win solution for the government’s modernization of transport system program.  We are interested to hear what you think of this news from the LTFRB.

To view a copy of the Memorandum Circular released by the LTFRB, visit:


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Closet Queen




10 - 17

As part of Taiwan’s goodwill to the Filipinos and in observance of their “New Southbound Policy”, Pinoys may now visit and tour Taiwan for 14 days, without a visa!

In October of 2016, we released an article on the conditions that Pinoy tourists must meet in order to enjoy a visa-free entry to Taiwan.  Back then, you must have a valid visa to Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand or any of the Schengen countries before you are granted free entry to Taiwan.  With this new policy, Pinoys can do away without the above requirements and enjoy hassle-free vacations to the country.

Below are the details of the good news released just yesterday by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the Philippines.

  1. Pinoys who intend to visit Taiwan for purposes of tourism, business, or visiting relatives can enjoy visa-free entry for 14 days, beginning November 1, 2017.
  2. This initiative will undergo a nine-month trial period that will last until July 31, 2018.
  3. Pinoy visitors must have at least six months remaining validity in their passports, while diplomatic and official passport holders are not eligible for visa-free treatment.
  4. A return ticket or a ticket with visa if needed for the next destination must be presented upon entry.
  5. Tourist must have no criminal records in Taiwan.
  6. Tourist must be able to show proof of accommodation while in the country.


Those who intend to stay for more than 14 days to study, work, or are part of missionary activities are required to obtain the necessary visas before entering Taiwan.

Now is your chance to explore the sights and sounds of Taiwan!  Remember that the policy takes effect on November 1, so plan your trip accordingly.

Enjoy your vacation!



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Closet Queen


10 - 13

This year, we had two Fridays that fell on the 13th day of the month – once in January and the last one today, October 13th.  And once again, social media sites are peppered with trivia and memes about this supposedly unlucky day.

So why is Friday the 13th considered unlucky in most countries?  Although there are no written evidences to prove that this day is indeed wretched, the date has long been connected to unfavorable events in history.  So to quell our curiosity, we did a short research to find out how this day became so popularly unpopular.  We hope you’ll like today’s feature on what is believed to be the unluckiest day of the year.

Biblical History

If we trace back to biblical traditions, we will remember that there were 13 guests who attended the Last Supper: Jesus and His 12 disciples.  The dinner was held on Maundy Thursday, and on the following day, a Friday, Jesus was crucified.

It is believed that this started one of the most common superstitions related to the number 13: that it is bad luck to have 13 guests eating at a table.

Historical Events

Friday the 13th could not be tackled without remembering the events on October 13, 1307 – yes, a Friday.  It was on this day when hundreds of Knights Templar were arrested and burnt across France.  The Knights were a powerful religious and military order formed in the 12th century for the defense of the Holy Land.

Bad Luck Friday and Unlucky 13

  1. In traditional decks of Tarot Cards, the 13th card bears a skeleton with a sickle. Numerologists consider the number 13 as a symbol of fear and disorder.
  2. Modern skyscrapers do not have a 13th floor, going straight from 12 to 14. Airlines also avoid the number for seat rows and arrival gates.
  3. Weddings, drafting of contracts, business launching, trips, and other important events are usually planned to avoid the 13 day of the month, especially if the date falls on a Friday.

General Superstitions

  1. Contrary to popular belief, it is lucky to meet a black cat on Friday the 13th.
  2. It is lucky to touch wood if you want to make something come true.  “Knock on wood!”
  3. It is lucky to find a clover plant with four leaves.
  4. A horseshoe over the door brings good luck.  It just needs to be the right way up, making a U sign on the door or wall.  Luck runs out of the horseshoe if it is upside down.

Bad Luck

  1. It is unlucky to walk underneath a ladder.
  2. Seven years of bad luck awaits anyone who breaks a mirror.
  3. It is unlucky to see one magpie; lucky to see two.
  4. It is unlucky to spill salt.  If you do, you must throw it over your shoulder to counteract the bad luck.
  5. Unlucky to open an umbrella indoors.

Do you believe that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day?  What specific superstitious beliefs do you still observe until today?


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Closet Queen


09 - 29 (2)

There are over a thousand slang terms used to avoid saying the “M” word, especially when talking about it in public places.  Weed, pot, dope, Mary Jane, and jutes are just among the more popular terms used by young and old alike (depends on your generation).  Truth be told, it is never easy nor simple to be talking about something prohibited and, up to a certain extent, scandalous as marijuana and its use.  It is simply, especially in a predominantly Christian country such as ours, taboo.

Marijuana is the second most used drug in the Philippines, after shabu.  It is listed as prohibited by the Dangerous Drugs Board and has a detailed list of punishment for anyone caught importing, selling, manufacturing, cultivating, or merely having it in one’s possession.  Ironically, the plant is grown in various areas in the country, with locals claiming that it is basically part of their culture to cultivate and consume the plant to keep them from getting sick.

Interestingly, the House Committee has already approved the use of marijuana in our country for medicinal purposes.  Because while marijuana, or cannabis, is extremely addictive, it also has the ability to cure certain types of diseases.

The Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act

This rather controversial act will allow qualified patients to use cannabis (or marijuana) as a medicine.  To make it easier for us to understand this interesting piece of news, we summarized the details and listed them below, as lifted from the reports of CNN and statements from the House Committee that authored the bill:

  • The bill disallows marijuana to be administered in its raw form, as a plant, or as a hash which would be smoked.
  • It seeks to legalize and regulate the medical use of cannabis, or marijuana, which is known to have therapeutic purposes in the treatment of chronic or debilitating medical conditions such as arthritis, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis.
  • Centers dedicated to cannabis’ medical use and sale will be established in hospitals. These will be licensed by the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.
  • The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency will regulate the dispensation of medical marijuana in these hospitals.
  • Patients certified by physicians to qualify for the marijuana-based treatment will be issued identification cards, and doctors will be trained to specialize in the medical use of the drug.
  • The bill also plans to create a research facility dedicated to studying the controversial drug’s medical benefits.

The bill does not make the use of marijuana legal in the Philippines.  Anybody caught possessing or using marijuana, even for medical purposes, may be sentenced to years in jail.  The plant is still considered a dangerous drug and all the laws pertaining to its use is not decriminalized.

We are interested to know what you think of this news.  Comment your insights, reactions, and maybe even suggestions below.


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Closet Queen


09 - 26

Private car owners and drivers are being warned of the unscrupulous bundol-bundol gang: people who pretend to be crossing your lane during slow moving traffic and then would suddenly drop on the pavement, acting like you hit them with your vehicle.  They will cause a scene and demand that you compensate them for the injuries you caused them.

If you haven’t heard of this modus that’s quickly spreading in Metro Manila streets yet, then this article is for you.

Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, we observed how our parents would incessantly beep their horns when passing through thickly populated streets and villages.  They would also make an effort to drop their speed to 20kph, or even less, when driving through such areas to avoid hurting small children who may be playing in the streets.  It was widely known then that children were taught to hurl themselves before a slow-moving vehicle and pretend to have been hit by the car.  Scenes like those could get pretty scary because once the kid cries foul, you will be surrounded by bystanders, all demanding that you step out of your vehicle and cough up some cash to pay for the child’s injuries.

A lot of unsuspecting drivers fell victim to this modus operandi back then.  The bad news is, these guys are doing it again and in more dangerous areas such as EDSA and McArthur Hi-way!

They are now more popularly known as the Bundol-bundol Gang, and they are causing as much mayhem in our streets now as they did back then.  They have also upgraded their act with props and more drama because it’s grown up men who do the acting now, instead of kids (that part is good news!).

To help you get acquainted with the modus, without experiencing it first hand, here’s how they carry the act out:

  • They usually attack during slow-moving traffic when vehicles are running at minimum speeds (20kph or less).
  • A guy suddenly appears on your left and pretends to cross your our lane like a regular pedestrian.  He will suddenly drop on the road like a dry leaf, right in front of your car.
  • Other times, they will hurl themselves on the hood of your car to make it look like you hit them while they’re walking.
  • In both cases, they will be armed with props to make the situation look realistic:
    • Sometimes they carry a red liquid that is supposed to look like blood and would smear this on the hood of your car.  They would have the same bloodstains on their temples, legs, arms, and parts of their clothes.
    • Or they would have a small plastic of rice to spill on the road when you hit them; this adds to the drama of bumili lang ako ng isang salop na bigas dahil yun lang ang nakayanan namin… tapos nabundol na ako ng rumaragasang kotse…

What hasn’t changed is their purpose for doing such sordid, morbid acts: to get money from people.  The person will stand up from his fall, limp his way to your car window, or create a scene on the road, accusing you of being a heartless, reckless driver who ran over poor old him.  He will of course demand that you compensate him for his injuries and for nearly killing him because of your carelessness.

What to do when this happens to you on the road?

  • Under no circumstance should you step out of your vehicle, especially lady drivers who easily get emotional with such commotion.
  • Call for help by beeping your horn; if you can, call 911 for police assistance.
  • Only when you are with the authorities should you begin communicating with the injured person.  Offer to take him to the hospital if he should insist that he is hurt and needs help.  Do not offer money.
  • Remaining calm and collected will help you think clearer and communicate smarter.  Do not let yourself get carried away by the scenario; expect to see more people coming out of nowhere the moment the injured person starts making a scene: the man’s wife, his kids, his kumpares, etc.  Don’t get intimidated; instead, continue asking for help while safely locked inside your vehicle.

Always stay on the safe side when faced with a situation on the road.  Keep your phone within arm’s reach so you can call for help easily.  A dash-camera will also help you document incidences without prejudice, so invest on a good unit the soonest you can.

And always, never leave home (or school, or the office) without letting others know where you’re headed or who you’ll be with.  Leave someone accountable of your whereabouts, all the time.

Drive safely and defensively.

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Closet Queen


09 - 21

Good news to minimum wage earners in the private sectors in Metro Manila!  Yesterday, the government announced that minimum wage earners are set to receive an additional Php 21.00 per day in their basic wage beginning October 5, 2017.  In the same manner, workers in the agriculture, retail/service establishments employing 15 workers or less, and manufacturing establishments regularly employing less than 10 workers are also set to receive a minimum wage rate of Php 475.00, from the previous basic wage rate of Php 444.00.

Below are detailed information on the new wage rates, who are covered of the adjustments, and exemptions from the wage order:

  1. RATES
NON-AGRICULTURE Php 502.00 Php 10.00 Php 512.00
AGRICULTURE (Plantation and Non-plantation) Php 465.00 Php 10.00 Php 475.00


The following workers are covered by the rate adjustment:

All minimum wage earners in the private sector in the National Capital Region, regardless of their position, designation, or status of employment and irrespective of the method by which they are paid.

The following workers are NOT covered by the rate adjustment:

  • Kasambahay/Domestic Workers
  • Persons in the personal service of another
  • Workers of duly registered Barangay Micro Business Enterprises (BMBEs) with Certificates of Authority pursuant to Republic Act No. 10644.


The following are exempted from the applicability of the wage order:

  • Distressed Establishments
  • Retail/Service establishments regularly employing not more than 10 workers
  • Establishments adversely affected by calamities such as natural and human-induced disasters.


If you are covered by the rate adjustment and your employer refuses to comply, you may file a complaint at the Regional Office of the Department of Labor and Employment in your area.


Take note that the New Wage Order NCR-21 is effective on October 5, 2017. You may download the order at

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Closet Queen


09 - 19

For three years now, the government has been hosting earthquake drills all over the country to spread awareness and encourage defensive responses in the event of an earthquake.  The drill is headed by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center (NDRRMC) and this year, it will be held at the Strike Gymnasium in Bacoor City, Cavite.  Although the activities are focused in Metro Manila and nearby areas, the entire country is encouraged to participate whether they are in their offices, homes, and even while on the road.

For most of us, our response during the earthquake drill (and during an earthquake!) should be to “duck, cover, and hold”.  But how about if you are driving a vehicle when an earthquake strikes?  How do you protect yourself from the damaging effects of this anticipated disaster while inside a moving car?

We are sharing the following article below to help drivers and commuters be aware of the safest, most defensive response when caught on the road by an earthquake.  Share this to all your friends and families whose jobs require them to be behind the wheel most of the time.

Step 1: Be aware of the intensity of the earthquake.

Drivers will not feel tremors as fast as people in buildings would.  A good indicator that an earthquake is happening is when you feel your vehicle wobble like it has a flat tire.  Pay attention to hanging streetlights and road signs too; any unusual swinging and shaking could mean a strong quake is happening.

Step 2: Pull to the side of the road.

Do not just stop in the middle of the street to avoid getting in other drivers’ way.  Do your best to pull to the side of the road, avoiding tall structures, poles, and lamp posts.  This means that even in the middle of the emergency, you have to remain calm and composed to make sure you and your car are secured and safe.

Step 3: Switch off your engine and put your handbrake on.

This gives you a bit of time to collect your belongings in case you’d need to flee from your car (which is most likely if the quake is at intensity 5 or higher).  Be prepared to exit and leave your vehicle.

Step 4: Proceed to the nearest open area you can find.

When it is safe to leave your car, head to an open area.  Avoid seeking refuge under flyovers, footbridges, and near lamp posts or hanging streetlights as these structures could give way anytime.

Step 5: Check for internet access to get the latest news on situations on the road, your destination, and nearby areas. 

After a strong quake, people are most likely to conjure up the worst scenarios through hearsays and well, superstitious beliefs.  These are the last things you need to hear as it will waste your time and may cause you to panic.  If you have your mobile phone with you, check for internet access and get the latest news from reliable sources.  Call your family at home, locate your children, and ensure everyone’s safety while you still have batteries on your phone.  Plan a meeting place that is accessible to your family and start moving.

We hope the NDRRMC and the MMDA would also conduct earthquake drills that are designed for motorists, private, and public vehicle drivers.  This will help save a lot of commuters’ lives when an earthquake strikes while they are in major thoroughfares such as EDSA, Commonwealth Avenue, NLEX, SLEX, and the like.

Most people take earthquake drills for granted; this is sad news.  We all know that earthquakes are unpredictable disasters, unlike typhoons and volcanic eruptions, and the only way you can get a fighting chance to survive is to be aware of what must be done while the ground is shaking and causing damages and panic all around you.  If your company is participating in the drill, take it as a chance to be familiar with your building’s entry and exit points, safe hiding places, and escape routes.  If you are at home during the drill, encourage all family members to join in as well.

If you are joining the earthquake drill on Thursday (and we hope you will!), you can share your stories with us right here at the Master Citizen blog page!


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Closet Queen


09 - 14

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is mandated by the government to investigate all forms of human rights violation in our country, whether civil or political in nature.  It is headed by a Chairperson and four members; majority of the members must be lawyers.

The CHR was created under the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines.

But what exactly does the CHR do and when do we seek their assistance?  How different is their role from that of a police who responds during crimes and other types of emergencies?

We are sharing the following information from the CHR Facebook page to help us understand and appreciate the role of the CHR.  This should also help us determine whether a violation is considered against human rights, or if it should already be considered a crime.

1. If the abuser is art of the government such as the Police, Military, Trial Courts, and other similar branches of the government.




2. If the abuser is a private individual or civilian who raped, murdered, robbed, and other similar acts.                NO



3. Government offices, elected officials, employed staff, abusing their position and violating the International Humanitarian Law (IHL), committing crimes against humanity.



Police and CHR

4. Non-state actors or armed groups during armed conflicts or wars



Police and CHR

If the victim is a woman, a child, a member of the LGBTQIA, a senior citizen, or a member of the vulnerable sector (marginalized, disadvantaged)



Police and CHR

If a government agency’s act (or failed to act on) resulted to the violation of an individual’s human rights, it is considered a crime and human rights’ violation.



Police and CHR

Notice that in all of the cases mentioned above, the CHR must always be involved.  It is best that you and your family are made familiar with the address and contact information of the CHR in your area.

You may visit the CHR’s website at


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Closet Queen


09 - 05

Filipinos who wish to tour the beautiful city-state of Dubai now have the option to apply for their visas online.  The process is really simple and offers so much convenience especially to DIY (do-it-yourself) travelers, or those who opt not to hire the services of a travel agency.

If you are planning to visit Dubai soon, read and save this blog.  The following is a summary of the steps and processes when applying for a Dubai visa online via

Step 1: Know your visa type.

There are 7 kinds of visas offered online by and it is important that you know the type of visa you would like to apply for:

  1. 30-day Tourist Visa

Visa validity is 58 days from the date of issue and the duration of stay is limited to 300 days from the date of entry.

  1. 96-hour Transit Visa

Visa validity is 30 days from the date of issue and the duration of stay is limited to 96 hours from the time of entry.

  1. 90-day Visit Visa

Visa validity is 58 days from the date of issue and the duration of stay is 90 days from the date of entry.

  1. Multi-entry long-term visa: 90 days

Visa validity is 58 days from the date of issue and the duration of stay is limited to 90 days from the date of first entry into the UAE.

  1. Multi-entry short-term visa: 30 days

Visa validity is 58 days from the date of issue and the duration of stay is limited to 30 days from the date of first entry into the UAE.

  1. 30-day GCC Resident Visa

GCC Residents Entry Permit can be used for entry within 60 days from the date the visa is issued.  The stay period is 30 days from date of entry, and the visa can be extended for a further 30 days.

  1. 30-day GCC Accompanied Visa

GCC Accompanied Entry Permit can be used for entry within 60 days from the date the visa is issued.  The stay period is 60 days from date of entry, and the visa can be extended once for a further 60 days.

Step 2: How to Apply

All clients who wish to use this facility to apply for their UAE visas need to follow the steps below:

  1. Visit
  2. Retrieve your booking using the “Manage an existing booking” link.
  3. Click on the “Apply for UAE visa” link.
  4. You will be directed to the VFS Page.
  5. Read and agree to the “terms and conditions” and proceed.
  6. You will be asked to select the itinerary for which you require the visa for and the names of the passengers who require the visa. Other information needed are passport details, your current nationality, and current country of residence.
  7. On the next page you need to enter an email ID along with the relationship of the applicants. Please ensure that the email ID is correct and accessible because all correspondence with regards to the application will be sent to this email, including a copy of the visa.
  8. The applicant will receive an email with the hyperlink to the visa application form.
  9. Fill out the electronic form and submit together with scanned copies of required documents. If there are more than one client applying for a visa, uploading and submission of documents must be done one name at a time. Do not send all documents in one go under one name.
  10. After documents have been uploaded, you may now proceed with the online payment through VISA and MasterCard debit and credit card, whichever is applicable.
  11. After payment has been confirmed by the system, the applicant will receive an email advising that the payment went through successfully.

Step 3: After Submission

You have the option to track your application after you have submitted all documents and paid for your application.

  1. Visit
  2. Retrieve your booking using the “Manage an existing booking” link.
  3. Click on the “Apply for UAE visa” link.
  4. You will be directed to the VFS Page where you have to enter your Emirates booking reference and your visa application number to know the current status of your application.

Easy and convenient, isn’t it?  Of course, you still have the option to have your travel agent do everything for you but keep in mind that they may also be using the same site to accomplish your application.  Save yourself some travel agent talent fees and try applying for a Dubai visa online!

Have a safe and happy trip!


Chips And Nibblers (1)

Closet Queen


08 - 31

They say the greatest gift your father can give you is his name.  However for women, their father’s names get replaced with their husband’s when they marry.  They embrace the heritage that comes with their new last name and become associated with the husbands’ family tree.

Do women have the option to keep their father’s names after they get married?

The answer is yes.  In reality, marriage only requires a woman to change her civil status, not her name.

You can find the answer in Article 370 of the Civil Code, where a married woman’s options regarding using her husband’s last name are enumerated:

A married woman may use:

  1. Her maiden first name and surname and add her husband’s surname, or
  2. Her maiden first name and her husband’s surname or
  3. Her husband’s full name, but prefixing a word indicating that she is his wife, such as “Mrs.”

The law does not mandate women to change their last name to their husband’s after getting married.  She just has to be consistent with the choice she makes, whether to keep her maiden name, her husband’s last name, or as a Mrs. Husband’s First and Last Name.

Updating your civil status is a different matter and is something you have to accomplish a few weeks or months after your wedding.  Most women prefer to wait until they have a copy of their marriage certificate, which is released by the PSA (formerly NSO) three to six months after the wedding.  Nonetheless, it is an errand that every newly married lady must accomplish.

The government IDs and forms that you need to update with your married civil status are:

  1. BIR Records
    • Secure a BIR Form 2305 – If there’s one document that you need to update, it is your tax documents because then, you get to enjoy certain incentives that are available only to married citizens.
  2. Social Security System
    1. Go to the SSS website and download a copy of the Member’s Data Change Request.
    2. Fill out the downloaded document and submit this personally at any SSS office.
    3. You may also update your list of beneficiaries.
  3. Philhealth
  4. Pag-IBIG
    • Click on Update Registration Information using the Pag-IBIG Membership ID Number (MID Number).

Passports, Voter’s IDs, and Postal IDs may be updated at a later time as these do not require you to declare your civil status.  Just be consistent with the name that you use in all of your IDs to avoid confusion and ineligibility in your future claims from these government agencies.

Again remember, changing your name after getting married is an option, not a requirement.  Only your civil status has to be updated.

Sources and References:

Chips And Nibblers (1)

Closet Queen


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