My Blunt Existence

The rhythm of my hand goes well with the drops of ink and with words floating in my brain. I do not have highfalutin words to speak of, instead, the way of my emotions and the labyrinth that my soul’s going through are the ones obliging me to put the significance of other’s life into scriptures.

Seven Money Saving Motivation

No one says no to a bulkier bank account, so say a big “hello!” to our list of money saving motivations. In the current economic climate many of us are feeling the pinch, so here are seven handy ways to boost your bank account:

Effect of Growing Population

I'm not an economist, so my knowledge on the effects of high population growth on economic development is solely based from the research I have done, and it clearly oppose the government's stand.

World Peace. Anyone?

Generally war is the result of a national entity wishing to improve the standard of living for its people. A major second cause is when a nation perceives a possible reduction in a current standard of living and fights to protect what it already has.

On My Way Back

They say, the only permanent thing in life is change. I have learned to cope with the changes. I have realize that I have to change in these changing times. But change does not mean that I have to change what I do or drop what I have. Change don't make me give-up my dreams. I just need to change my way. Can I be the best? Can I be a winner?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Masculine Wash For A Guy's Naughty Parts

What would you do when you feel itchy and you need to scratch down under? When you are alone, I think it's okay to scratch it like there's no tomorrow. But how about if you have company? If you are in a public place? Are you going to scratch it? That would be an embarrassing situation, right?
Well, that's what the video below is all about. It is a commercial of Freshman Masculine Wash directed by Marie Jamora way back in July 2010. I only chance upon this video today as I am surfing the net. (courtesy of a free wi-fi, lol)

As you may guess by now, I was intrigue by this product. Can you imagine, a specialize product just for washing a guy's naughty parts? Gone are the days when only ladies have those feminine wash as men also now have "masculine wash".
From what I was able to find on the net, Freshman Masculine Wash is a product of Elev8 Trading and Marketing Corp. They have two variant, regular and freeze. I bet, the freeze variant has menthol that's why they named as such. Cool, isn't it?
It also has tea tree oil, a natural antibacterial disinfectant, that makes it a popular natural agent for curing all types of infectious organisms.
Shall I try using it? I might give it a try to avoid "Dyahe move".

Disclaimer: This is not a paid post. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Yay! My Very First Blogger's Award

When you say versatile, you mean it has many uses. Well that is a versatile tool. But how about a blogger? A blogger can be called versatile when he/she embrace a wide variety of subjects or fields. A versatile blogger can turn with ease from one subject to another. At least, that's what I know about what versatile blogger is.
I'm talking about versatile blogger today because I received Versatile Blogger Award from Balut Manila.
I've seen this award around a few of the blogs I've been reading, and from what I notice they are awarded between bloggers as a way to recognize fellow blogger, to build networks and of course to gain precious back links.

The Versatile Blogger Award

This award has three rules that a nominee has to follow (otherwise I will not send to you the monetary prize that comes with this award) Did I just write that? Just kidding. But hey, I might be giving away some "gift" from my up coming sponsors. I am just waiting for the right time to do my very first give-away promo.
Enough of those ek-ek, here are the rules.

1. Thank the blogger who gave you this award. Don’t forget to link his/her blog.
2.  Post seven random things about you.
3. Give the award to 15 other bloggers you love and let them know you gave them this award.


Acceptance Speech

I have been blogging for about three months now, so I am very humbled that Balut Manila considered to include me in her nominations. Thank you so much. You are the first one who recognize me as blogger. And also, I got my very first give-away prize from you. I hope to meet you someday so that I can tell you personally how grateful I really am.
I would also like to thank everyone who has been reading and following my blog. It has been so much more successful than I imagined it would be this early in, and I am really enjoying blogging about almost everything that I am so passionate about, from my own opinions on politics up to my personal experiences and anything in between.
I know you've all seen this before tons of times and some of you aren't really into blog awards but seeing as this is my first ever award  I thought I would just go ahead and do it.
[You need to applause on this part]

Seven Random Things About Me 

1. I write with my left hand.
2. I eat with my right.
3. I'm a muslim.
4. I sleep till noon on weekends.
5. I always do movie marathon every Friday night. I can watch up to 10 movies in every movie marathon.
6. My favorite movie is Matrix Trilogy that's why I named my son Neo.
7. I love noodles that my mom says I can survive in evacuation centers.

That's all. I hope it doesn't sound like I'm signing an autograph.


And Finally....

Here are the versatile bloggers who must pass on the award to keep in going, and I expect to get a back link from them by doing what I have just done. lol (in no particular order)

1. bluedreamer27 of Top Five
3. Nurse Tina of When Writing Means Sharing
4. Rezki Nuarta of Rezkinuarta
5. Key of Noblesse Key
6. Allan of Allan is the Man
7. Charotero of Simple Tips for Beginners 
8. Rogie of The Ignored Genius
9. Tin of The Average Jane
10. Gene of Metered Words
11. Keatondrunk of The KeatoNDrunk's Journey
12. Gladys of  UntiedEscape
13. Chai of Ice GodHez
14. Mario of Mar Unplog
15. Jeatte of Learning to Compute

So there, congratulations to all of you guys. May this inspire you to write more meaningful blog post. Rest assure, I will always support you as you have supported me thru all this time.
To those who are not on the list, this doesn't mean that you are not versatile. Of course, you are. If I could only give it to all of you, I would've done that. But as you can see, I am only abiding the rules.
[edited: June 30, 2012]

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Filipino Olympians All Set for the London Olympics

Exactly one month from now before the start of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. This biennial games (Summer and Winter Olympic games alternating every two years) will be held in London, United Kingdom from July 27, 2012 to August 12, 2012.
The Philippines contingent for this Olympiad will be the smallest delegation in the history of Olympics since 1996. Out of 302 events, Filipino athletes only managed to get 11 slots. From the small Philippine Olympic delegation, three of them are qualifiers and the rest are wild card entries and token representatives.
Nevertheless, I fully support our Filipino Olympians. Our faith with them is all what they have to strive harder to win a medal. I salute them, win or lose, for bringing honor to this country.
It's just so sad that Filipino athletes are not getting full support from our national government. Most of them are sponsored by privates companies.
Anyhow, hurray to our Olympians!!!

Mark Pinili Javier
Mark will compete in the men's individual in archery. At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing Javier finished his ranking round with a total of 654 points. This gave him the 36th seed for the final competition bracket in which he faced Kuo Cheng Wei in the first round. Kuo won the match with 106-102 and advanced to the next round in which he was beaten by Park Kyung-Mo.
He finished 42nd in his event in the just-concluded World Archery Championships in Ogden, Utah where he gained his Olympic ticket.

Rachel Anne Cabral
She is our entry in the women's individual in archery. Cabral finished 37th out of more than a hundred participants in the World Archery Championships in Ogden, Utah where she gained her Olympic ticket together with her fellow archer Mark Javier. They both trained under Korean coach, Chun Jae-Hun.

Rene Herrera
Rene Gamarcha Herrera is a Gold Medalist in the 2011 South East Asian Games held at Palembang, Indonesia. He will compete in the 300m steeplechase.

Marestella Torres
She is also a Gold Medalist in the 2001 South East Asian Games and this is where she achieved her personal best jump of 6.71 meters, which is also a new SEA Games record. She is one of the Filipino qualifiers Olympian. She qualified after the Indonesia SEA Games. Torres’ 6.71-meter jump surpassed the 6.65m B-standard set for the London Games by the International Athletics Associations Federation. It was actually just 0.04m short of the A-standard of 6.75m.

Mark Anthony Barriga
Philippines is a home for many great boxer with the likes of Onyok Velasco and Manny Pacquiao among others. But Philippines will only send a lone Olympian in boxing.
Mark Anthony Barriga is the first Filipino to qualify for the Olympics. He qualified after competing at the 2011 World Amateur Boxing Championships. He will compete in the flyweight division.

Daniel Caluag
Daniel Caluag, a Fil-Am BMX rider, figured prominently in three tough qualifying tournaments to get the needed high-ranking points and emerge as the only Asian to make it to the BMX event in the quadrennial games.

Tomohiko Hoshina (in whites)
Veteran judoka Tomohiko Hoshina qualified in the men’s plus-100 kilogram category through a worldwide ranking by the International Judo Federation. He secured an Olympic berth after ranking 28th out of the 32 qualifiers for the weight category.

Brian Rosario
Brian Rosario  is a wild card entry. Brian got his Olympic ticket when the Philippine National Shooting Association (PNSA) leadership formally declared him to be the Philippines representative in the skeet shooting by the invitation of the International Shooting Sports Federation. 
Notwithstanding the wild card tag, Rosario is a legitimate qualifier, according to the PNSA. 

Jessie Lacuna
Jessie Khing Lacuna won silver in the men's 200 m freestyle in the 2011 South East Asian Games. He also won bronze both  in the men's 4 x 100m and 4 x 200m Freestyle. He will compete in the 200m freestyle.

Jasmine Alkhadi
Fil-Am swimmer Jasmine Alkhaldi, is a 3-time gold medalist in the  2011 Southeast Asian Age Group. She qualified to the olympics by universality through her participation and best time in the world championships. She will compete in the 100m freestyle.

Hidilyn Diaz
She is ranked 9th in the world. Hidilyn Diaz is a wild card holder and the youngest participant in the last Beijing Olympics, made it as qualifier this time on the strength of her topnotch showing in the 58-kg class of the IWF World Championships last year in Paris, where she placed seventh and the Asian championships last month in Korea, where she wound up fourth. She will compete in the 58 kg division in weightlifting.

Monday, June 25, 2012

House Bill 6195: Withdrawn by Rep. Trisha Bonoan-David

A copy of Rep. Bonoan-David's letter to the Committee on Rules.

Trisha Bonoan-David submitted a letter last June 18, 2012 to the office of Committee on Rules headed by Cong. Neptali Gonzales II, indicating that she is withdrawing sponsorship of the House Bill 6195 which she files last May 17, 2012.
On her letter, Rep. Bonoan-David says she withdraws the bill "after some careful considerations on the provisions of the bill".
The bill has received wide criticism in the social media, and a strong opposition from Migrante-Middle East. John Leonard Monterona, M-ME regional coordinator, says that Rep. Bonoan-David’s proposal is ill-advised.


My Verdict

Nice move from this lady solon. It's a win-win solution here. Our OFW's was saved from paying $50 OWWA contribution hike and Rep. Bonoan-David gains her constituents trust by playing that she hears what the masses says.
But I think, by filling this House Bill 6195 in the first place, only demonstrates how incensitive and detached she is from the common Filipino.

Related post:

House Bill 6195: $50 Contribution From Every OFW Leaving The Country

On ILO Convention 189

For the first time ever, there’s a global standard to protect domestic workers. If the Philippines follows Uruguay, the first country to ratify ILO C189, the standard will go into effect globally, protecting millions of women and girls. 
ILO Convention 189 is the manifesto that every domestic worker deserves. It lays down basic rights and principles, and requires States to take a series of measures with a view to making decent work a reality for domestic workers. This Convention unveils the universal rights of the domestic worker including those working overseas. Most of all, it was the Philippines that championed its entry from committee to the floor of the 100th Session of the International Labour Conference on June 16, 2011, when history was made with 396 affirmative votes of Conference delegates.

(Read the full ILO Convention 189 text here.)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Firmoo: Creating Buzz Around The World

Bloggers Can Get Eyewear Totally Free from!

PRNewswire-Asia/ -- Recently,, the world's most popular online eyeglasses store, tried a new tack by offering totally free eyewear to bloggers. is currently the most popular online glasses store in the world. They have over 482k fans on facebook, and the number is still increasing rapidly. Why are so many people fond of It owes not only to their quality & fashionable frames, accurate prescription and excellent service, but also to their providing opportunities for new customers to get their first pair of eyewear FREE without risk. So far, over 100k customers have claimed their free eyewear from Most of them are quite satisfied with their free pairs, which can be reflected in the numerous positive testimonials and the huge number of Frimoo fans on Facebook.
Even so, there are still many people who are hesitating to choose In order to assure them and enable more people to try Firmoo's eyewear, cooperates with a great majority of bloggers to achieve this goal. Any blogger can fill in a free eyewear application form. Once his application is approved, he will get the eyewear as he requested in his application form totally free. The only thing he needs to do as for an appreciation is to write a real and objective review for his free eyewear or his experience in getting it and post it to his blog(s).
Up till now, thousands of bloggers from all over the world have joined in this program. Most of them have got their free eyewear and written numerous reviews on their blogs. Such reviews undoubtedly can be a reliable reference for other customers in choosing Firmoo.
"The main purpose that we launch this program is to strengthen the confidence of people who're hesitating to choose us in trying our products and service by using the real and objective reviews provided by the bloggers because we deeply know people would rather believe a real & objective customer review than trust 100 good words of the suppliers," Patrick Li, CEO of, said.
If you're a blogger and interested in this program, check out

First Time May Not Always Hurt

Who says first time always hurts? Base on my experience, it isn't. I even feel elated.
You will only be hurt on your first time if you expect to much. That is the mantra I follow so as not to get hurt on my first time.
But hey, I think I'm lucky enough to win a prize on my first time joining a giveaway promo from a blogger friend. Yeah, it's my first time ever to join such, that's why I keep telling myself not to expect to win so that  I won't be disappointed when I didn't.
I won a cool sunglass from Balut Manila sponsored by Firmoo last June 8. I received my prize last June 18. Imagine how happy I am when I got it. It was delivered right into my doorstep by Express Mail Service.

You may check out their site here.

or like their Facebook fan page

or follow their Twitter account

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pre-employment Requirements Will Soon Be Less a Burden

Free barangay clearance, free National Bureau of Investigation clearance, free police clearance and free medical certificates from government hospitals, clinics or health centers. Who don't want free now a days?  But hey, this is only for indigent job-seeker.
Rep. Anthony G. Del Rosario
This is what Rep. Anthony G. Del Rosario of Davao del Norte is aiming for authoring House Bill 6178. According to Del Rosario, there is still a large segment of the population who cannot liberate themselves from the bondage of poverty because of the lack of employment opportunities. 
The Mindanao solon said that while these poor people are capable of work, there are limited jobs available for them thus preventing them from escaping poverty.
Under House Bill 6178, indigent persons are exempted from paying fees in securing or processing documents for employments purposes. Del Rosario said exempting indigents once a year from paying any fees when securing clearances and certifications from government offices will lessen the financial burden on the less fortunate but still capable-of-work people. 
Under the bill, it defines the indigent as a person who has no visible means of income or whose income is insufficient for the subsistence of his family based on the criteria set under the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction as certified by the barangay and validated by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).


My Verdict

This bill has its positive and negative impact. I agree that this will be a great help to our less fortunate countrymen because they will not have to spend anything that an employer requires them to submit before they will be hired. 
If I remembered it right, an NBI Clearance cost about 150 pesos and a police clearance is about 100 pesos. Medical certificate cost about 500 to 700 pesos. Barangay certificate cost something like 60 pesos. Some employers even requires Mayor's permit that may cost about 300. This means that a job-seeker have to spend more than 1000 pesos before landing a job. But if House Bill 6178 will pass into law, securing pre-employment requirement will be less a burden.
On the other side, I hope  Del Rosario has a ready answer on where and how to offset the lose income coming from this government issued certificates and clearances.

U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report 2012: Full Text on the Philippines Narrative

Philippines (Tier 2)

The Philippines is a source country and, to a much lesser extent, a destination and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. A significant number of Filipino men and women who migrate abroad for work are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude worldwide. Men, women, and children are subjected to conditions of forced labor in factories, at construction sites, on fishing vessels, on agricultural plantations, and as domestic workers in Asia and increasingly throughout the Middle East. A significant number of Filipino women working in domestic service in foreign countries also face rape, physical violence, and sexual abuse. Skilled Filipino migrant workers, such as engineers and nurses, are also subjected to conditions of forced labor abroad. Women were subjected to sex trafficking in countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, and Japan and in various Middle Eastern countries. For example, from January to March 2012, the government repatriated 514 Filipina domestic workers from Syria; over 90 percent were identified as trafficking victims who had suffered physical, psychological, and verbal abuse from employers in Syria.
Trafficking of men, women, and children within the country also remains a significant problem in the Philippines. People are trafficked from rural areas to urban centers including Manila, Cebu, the city of Angeles, and increasingly cities in Mindanao, as well as within other urban areas. Men are subjected to forced labor and debt bondage in the agriculture, fishing, and maritime industries. Women and children were trafficked within the country for forced labor as domestic workers and small-scale factory workers, for forced begging, and for exploitation in the commercial sex industry. Hundreds of victims are subjected to forced prostitution each day in well-known and highly visible business establishments that cater to both domestic and foreign demand for commercial sex acts. Filipino migrant workers, both domestically and abroad, who became trafficking victims were often subject to violence, threats, inhumane living conditions, nonpayment of salaries, and withholding of travel and identity documents.
Traffickers, in partnership with organized crime syndicates and corrupt law enforcement officers, regularly recruit family and friends from villages and urban neighborhoods, often masquerading as representatives of government-registered employment agencies. Fraudulent recruitment practices and the institutionalized practice of paying recruitment fees often leave workers vulnerable to forced labor, debt bondage, and commercial sexual exploitation. Reports that illicit recruiters increased their use of student, intern, and exchange program visas to circumvent the Philippines government and receiving countries’ regulatory frameworks for foreign workers are not uncommon. Recruiters adopted new methods in attempts to avoid government-run victim detection units at airports and seaports. Traffickers utilized budget airlines, inter-island ferries and barges, buses, and even chartered flights to transport their victims domestically and internationally.
Child sex tourism remained a serious problem in the Philippines, with sex tourists coming from Northeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and North America to engage in the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Increasingly, Filipino children are coerced to perform sex acts for Internet broadcast to paying foreign viewers.
Children in conflict-afflicted areas faced increased vulnerability to trafficking. One NGO estimated that over 900,000 Filipinos, most of whom are based in Mindanao, lack identity documents; the lack of birth registrations or other official documentation is widely recognized as contributing to this population’s vulnerability to trafficking. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a separatist group, and the New People’s Army were identified by the United Nations as among the world’s persistent perpetrators of violations against children in armed conflict, including forcing children into service. During the year, the UN reported on the Abu Sayyaf Group’s continued targeting of children for conscription as both combatants and noncombatants.
The Government of the Philippines does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government significantly increased funding of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) from the equivalent of approximately $230,000 in 2010 to the equivalent of $1.5 million in 2011. The government continued to prosecute and convict trafficking offenders and implemented a new program to protect and rehabilitate victims. Additionally, authorities continued to make efforts to address trafficking-related corruption, filing criminal cases against 18 officials during the year. The government made notable efforts to prevent trafficking, including through training public officials, strengthening and expanding structures to screen for trafficking indicators before Filipino migrant workers’ departure overseas, and negotiating bilateral agreements to protect its workers employed in foreign countries. The government did not, however, make progress on efforts to criminally prosecute labor recruitment companies involved in the trafficking of migrant workers abroad, and overall victim identification and protection efforts remained inadequate. Rampant corruption at all levels continues to enable traffickers and undermines efforts to combat trafficking.

Recommendations for the Philippines
Sustain the intensified effort to investigate, prosecute, and convict an increased number of both labor and sex trafficking offenders in the trafficking of Filipinos within the country and abroad; increase funding for anti-trafficking programs within IACAT member agencies; address the significant backlog of trafficking cases by developing mechanisms to track and monitor the status of cases filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and those under trial in the courts; conduct immediate and rigorous investigations of complaints of trafficking complicity by government officials and ensure accountability for leaders that fail to address trafficking-related corruption within their areas of jurisdiction; strengthen anti-trafficking training for police recruits, front-line officers, and police investigators; improve collaboration between victim service organizations and law enforcement authorities with regard to law enforcement operations; make efforts to expand the use of victim processing centers to additional localities to improve identification of adult victims and allow for victims to be processed and assisted in a safe environment after a rescue operation; increase victim shelter resources and expand the government shelter system to assist a greater number of trafficking victims, including male victims of both sex and labor trafficking; increase funding for the DOJ’s program for the protection of witnesses and entry of trafficking victims into the program; increase efforts to identify trafficking victims in destination countries and to pursue criminal investigation and prosecution of their traffickers; and develop and implement programs aimed at reducing the demand for commercial sex acts.

The government continued to prosecute and convict sex and labor trafficking offenders at a rate similar to the previous year. The Philippines criminally prohibits both sex and labor trafficking through its 2003 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, which prescribes penalties that are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. During the reporting period, the government convicted 29 trafficking offenders, compared with 28 traffickers convicted during the previous year. Two of the 29 traffickers were convicted of labor trafficking. Sentences for the convicted offenders ranged from one year to life imprisonment, with the majority of offenders sentenced to life imprisonment. The government reported that it concurrently pursued civil cases on behalf of victims, unless the victims opted to pursue such a case independently. Nevertheless, hundreds of victims continue to be trafficked each day in well-known, highly visible establishments, many of which have never been the target of anti-trafficking law enforcement action. Five of the 29 convictions were the results of cases filed and prosecuted by an NGO on behalf of victims, as the Philippines justice system allows private attorneys to prosecute cases under the direction and control of public prosecutors.
Although the DOJ continued to encourage courts’ expedited processing of trafficking cases, inefficiencies in the judicial system continue to pose serious challenges to the successful prosecution of some trafficking cases. Philippine courts have over 680 pending or ongoing trafficking cases and an additional 129 cases remained pending at the DOJ. In 2011, the DOJ increased its number of designated trafficking prosecutors from 36 to 58 individuals in various national, regional, and airport task forces to work on anti-trafficking cases. In this task force model, prosecutors are assigned to assist law enforcement in building cases against suspected trafficking offenders, a notable difference from the normal practice in which prosecutors wait until an investigation is complete to review a case.
The government increased its efforts to provide anti-trafficking training to law enforcement officials: IACAT conducted 81 training sessions for 3,000 government and NGO stakeholders, police trained 2,105 officers, including nearly half of the officers working on women and children’s desks, and NGOs and foreign donors provided additional training to law enforcement officers. Nevertheless, NGOs continue to report a lack of understanding of trafficking and the country’s anti-trafficking legal framework among many judges, prosecutors, social service workers, and law enforcement officials – a significant impediment to successful prosecutions. Prosecutors continue to have difficulty distinguishing labor trafficking crimes from labor contract violations, which may be one reason more criminal forced labor cases are not filed.
Law enforcement officials’ complicity in human trafficking remains a pervasive problem in the Philippines, and corruption at all levels of government enables traffickers to prosper. Officials in government units and agencies assigned to enforce laws against human trafficking reportedly permitted trafficking offenders to conduct illegal activities, allowed traffickers to escape during raids, extorted bribes, and accepted payments or sexual services from establishments known for trafficking women and children. Allegations continued that police officers at times conducted indiscriminate or fake raids on commercial sex establishments to extort bribes from managers, clients, and women in the sex industry, sometimes threatening women with imprisonment for solicitation.
During the last year, the government continued to take some steps to identify and prosecute officials complicit in trafficking and it dismissed officials who may have facilitated trafficking for administrative violations, but no public officials were convicted for trafficking or trafficking-related corruption during the reporting period. The DOJ filed criminal cases against 18 officials for trafficking-related offenses, but none of the cases had been concluded as of the end of the reporting period. While the government began a partnership in 2009 with three NGOs to jointly prosecute corrupt officials, and several investigations have resulted in this partnership, no criminal cases have been filed under this program. Cases against six officials accused of trafficking-related corruption were dismissed during the year.

The government increased its efforts to protect trafficking victims during the year. In 2011, the government allocated the equivalent of approximately $577,000 to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to fund the Recovery and Reintegration Program for Trafficked Persons, which it began implementing in June 2011. Over 1,000 victims received skills training, shelter, and legal assistance under this program, and almost half of those received financial assistance to seek employment or start their own businesses. The DSWD continued to operate 42 temporary shelters for victims of all types of abuse, and some victims continued to receive support through its residential and community-based services. The government referred victims to both government and private short- and long-term care facilities and provided a small amount of funding to NGOs to provide victim care, although the government did not provide reliable statistics for the total number of victims identified and assisted during the year. Government shelters did not detain victims against their will, although victims who chose to reside in shelters were not permitted to leave the premises unattended. Identification of adult trafficking victims remained inadequate, which left victims vulnerable to being charged, fined, and imprisoned for vagrancy. Three children reportedly were detained by the government’s armed forces for alleged association with armed groups. No foreign trafficking victims were identified during the year. IACAT operated an anti-trafficking hotline; during the year, the line received 68 trafficking-related calls leading to the identification of 17 trafficking cases. The government encouraged victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers, but the government’s serious lack of victim and witness protection, exacerbated by a lengthy trial process and fear of retaliation by traffickers, caused many victims to decline or withdraw cooperation. The DOJ’s witness protection program assisted 18 victims, including nine children, during the year. However, this program lacked funding, and inadequate witness protection and shelter remained a significant deficiency in the government’s response to victims’ need for protection and assistance. The DSWD conducted training for 552 government and non-governmental social workers on recovery and reintegration of victims, and IACAT, with support from an international organization, trained 3,000 police officers on trafficking victim identification. Most local social welfare officers, however, remain inadequately trained on how to properly assist rescued trafficking victims, particularly children and victims of labor trafficking.
In 2011, the government significantly increased its budget allocation to the Assistance-to-Nationals program, administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), to the equivalent of $9.86 million to assist Filipinos in situations of distress overseas, including trafficking. The DSWD and the DFA coordinated with NGOs in other countries to provide temporary shelter, counseling, and medical assistance to 1,469 victims of trafficking and illegal recruitment abroad, largely in Malaysia, Lebanon, the United States, and Palau. From January to March 2012, the government repatriated and provided shelter to 514 trafficking victims evacuated from Syria. The government continued to operate multi-agency Filipino workers resource centers overseas to assist Filipino migrant workers in 21 countries with 20,000 or more Filipino workers.

The government demonstrated increased efforts to prevent human trafficking during the reporting period. Senior government officials regularly spoke publicly about the importance of combating human trafficking, and the IACAT developed and disseminated a three-hour television show on trafficking awareness.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) conducted 1,539 pre-deployment orientation seminars and 583 pre-employment seminars for over 100,000 prospective and outbound Filipino overseas workers. The POEA and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) also conducted seminars on recruitment and trafficking in the country, attended by local prosecutors, law enforcement personnel, local government units, NGOs, recruitment agencies, and community members. The POEA distributed nearly 100,000 pieces of printed material about trafficking and illegal recruitment and the community education programs of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) reached over 50,000 people. In 2011, POEA opened a community center to offer legal assistance to trafficking victims in partnership with civil society representatives and a labor assistance center to verify overseas workers’ documents before departure; the latter identified 101 suspected victims and prevented them from departing for situations of suspected exploitation.
In 2011, the government significantly increased the IACAT Secretariat’s full-time staff from eight to 37; it also employed 115 part-time staff members. In December 2011, the government launched its National Strategic Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons 2011 – 2016. The government continued to operate its Overseas Passenger Assistance Center (OPAC) to screen passengers for signs of trafficking; in August 2011, it opened a second OPAC in a region in which the seaports are known to be a departure point for many trafficking victims. CFO assisted 40 adults working overseas in labor and employment cases during the year, five of whom were identified as trafficking victims and referred to the DFA. CFO conducted anti-trafficking training sessions for 201 government, NGO, and community stakeholders.
In October 2011, the government implemented a provision in its amended law on migrant workers and overseas Filipinos, banning deployment of Filipinos to 41 countries deemed to lack adequate legal protections for workers. The following month, however, this list was recalled for further review. At the close of the reporting year, the deployment ban remained suspended pending the issuance of a new POEA resolution. During the year, the government signed a new MOU with Jordan on the employment of Filipino domestic workers, and it reported ongoing negotiations for similar agreements with other noncompliant countries.
In January 2012, the Bureau of Immigration began implementing the “New Guidelines on Departure Formalities for International Bound Passengers in all Airports and Seaports” to screen for potential possible trafficking victims. This intensified effort to detect potential trafficking victims and “off-load” them for interviews – in essence blocking their travel from the Philippines – raised concerns that Filipinos’ right to travel out of the country might be unduly restricted. The guidelines were enacted to systematize the process and ensure consistent norms were applied. From January – March 2012, 66 potential victims were identified through this process.
In 2011, the government canceled licenses of 153 recruitment companies for violations of overseas employment laws, closed two unlicensed staffing agencies, and convicted five individuals for illegal recruitment. As a result of 22 DOLE-led rescue operations, 125 children were rescued from the sex trade and six businesses accused of sex trafficking were permanently closed. Despite significant local demand in the country’s thriving commercial sex industry, the government’s efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts in the Philippines were limited, as were the government’s efforts to address the demand for forced labor. Although the government acknowledges the problem of child sex tourism, it did not prosecute or convict any foreign pedophiles, instead deporting suspects without pursuing criminal charges. The government provided training, including a module on human trafficking, to Philippine troops prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Join The Online Petition to End Modern Day Slavery

Although slavery may be illegal in almost every country, determined offenders continue to find many loopholes. As news media uncover shocking stories of modern day slavery, more and more people are waking up to the need to take action.
The reasons why slavery still exists are complex. In many countries the fight against slavery is not a priority. In some countries, existing laws are not being enforced. In some countries, certain forms of slavery are so common that they are almost considered normal.
Walk Free is determined to change this. Walk Free's goal is to be the generation that ends modern slavery.
There are many groups around the world working on the front line against slavery. Walk Free aims to amplify and extend their efforts. By gathering a global membership, using social networks and new technologies, and organizing campaigns and communities online and on the ground, we can make the fight against slavery a real priority across the world.
Slavery has no place in the modern world. Together, we can build a world without it. A world where it is unthinkable to be treated like someone else's property. A world where those who steal other people's freedoms are brought to justice. A world where everyone can walk free. (Source: Walk Free)

Sign-up The Petition Now

Filipinos are the face of domestic work all around the world. More girls and women leave from the Philippines to find jobs as maids or nannies than from any other country.
But when they show up for their first day of work, many find out they’ve been deceived. Locked inside the homes of strangers, their passports taken away, often beaten and sexually abused, Filipino girls as young as 9 years old are caught in the nightmare of modern slavery.
For the first time ever, there’s a global standard to protect domestic workers. If the Philippines becomes the second country to ratify it, the standard will go into effect globally, protecting millions of women and girls.
Right now, the Philippines Senate is considering a vote on this new standard.
Ask the Philippines Senate to support the legislation and Walk will deliver our letters of support from all over the world.  

Click HERE to sign-up the petition now.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Monetizing a Blog

I was not a blogger at all, but now I am a blogger. Or should I say, I am trying be like one. Not three months ago, I started blogging. Though this is not my first time to blog, this is really the time that I started blogging seriously. At first, I just write irrelevant stuffs that makes no sense. It was kinda personal sharing.
I'm not saying that I blog more than as hobby because in fact it's not. I blog to have a venue expressing my humble opinions on my personal take on subjects as diverse as "Filipino Clam Mentality" (I'm allergic on crabs) and "Why makahiya has a good reflex?".
When I started blogging, I also immediately monetize my blog. Its not the money that motivates me to put ads. Monetizing a new blog means not having to bother with redesigning it later to accommodate the banner ads and other forms of moneymaking strategies that may affect the overall look and feel of my blog when traffic started pouring in. Though it is a risky move, it can pay off later on as you are introducing your blog to the world already monetized. This way, readers will not be surprised or upset that you have added some forms of advertising to your blog later on down the road.
So I signed up on Nuffnang for my ads and to see the effect and feel on my template and I kinda like it. Imagine my surprise when I started getting campaign ads after only a month of blogging. 

In this world, we all need money. Who says he doesn't? I believe that if you monetize your blog, you will not only make money from it but you take it as your business too.
That's all I can about monetizing a blog. I blog because I love it and this way I have a voice on this deafening world of opinions, and I monetize my blog because I need it.
So go ahead mate, monetize your blog and make your life a little bit easier.

Monday, June 18, 2012

House Bill 6195: $50 Contribution From Every OFW Leaving The Country

The News

Manila Representative Ma. Theresa Bonoan-David authored House Bill 6195 seeking to amend Republic Act (RA) 8042 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995. The House measure provides that for every worker recruited or deployed overseas, the recruitment agency or its employer shall be required to pay $50 or around P2,100 as contribution to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) Emergency Repatriation Fund before leaving the country.
"The bill intends to provide the necessary measures for the government to carry out its responsibilities to assist distressed OFWs in cases of war, epidemic, disaster or calamities, natural or man-made, and other similar events, and promote their general welfare," Bonoan-David said.
RA 8042 has already created and established an Emergency Repatriation Fund under the administration, control and supervision of Owwa with an initial funding of P1 million.
"There are millions of OFWs all over the world which the Philippine government is mandated to protect and safeguard under RA 8042 but it seems incapable to efficiently help distressed OFWs due to financial constraints," Bonoan-David said.

The Opposition

Overseas Filipino workers (OFW) group Migrante-Middle East (M-ME) voiced out its strong opposition against the bill proposed by a Manila congresswoman that imposes an additional fee of $50 to sustain the government’s emergency repatriation funds.
“Rep. Bonoan-David’s proposal is ill-advised. She may be misinformed because the issue is not about lack of fund,” said John Leonard Monterona, M-ME regional coordinator.
Monterona said that OFW funds held in trust by OWWA is now about P13 billion. “And yet the OWWA does not have enough programs and welfare services for OFWs and their dependents,” he said.
Monterona also questioned whether the OWWA is using the Emergency Repatriation Fund properly. “The OWWA has not been transparent on the real status of the OFWs trust fund and where it is being spent,” he said.
He said David’s proposal is clearly anti-OFW.
“For one, it is just an added burden to the already overburdened OFWs. The proposal is also against the mandate of the Migrant Workers Act of 2010 or R.A. 10022,” he said.
Instead of imposing additional fees or charges on Filipino migrant workers, Bonoan-David should channel her “pork barrel” to OWWA’s Emergency Repatriation Fund, said Monterona said.
“Pro-OFW lawmakers should do the same,” Monterona said.
“We, through our Migrante International leaders in Manila might seek a dialog with Rep. Bonoan-David to hear our side and position. If she will insist, then we have no choice but to intensify our campaign against her proposal. We are not milking cows. We will campaign against her anti-OFW bill,” he said.
M-ME likewise underscored the OFW’s huge contribution to the government in terms of cash remittance, which for April alone reached $1.7 billion.

My Verdict

Filipinos applying for a work abroad are being buried in debts even before they flew out of the country for seeking a greener pasture or just because of the lack of job opportunities in the Philippines. Most of them are applying for a loan from lending companies to pay for their placement fees which could amount up to $1,700.
And now, a member of the congress filed a bill requiring our OFW's to pay an additional of $50. I know, it was specifically stipulated on that bill that the additional payment will not be shouldered by OFW themselves but will be paid by recruitment agencies or their employer.
How would she plan to enforce it? I'm 100% sure that that additional payment will be pass on to our OFW. Another burden for our already burdened "heroes".
According to POEA, there are 4,500 OFW leaving the country every day. And if we do the math, the government could collect $225,000 a day or $82,125,000 in a year.
I have to agree with the proposal of the Migrante for our congressmen to channel a portion [or at least 5%] of their Php 70 million pork barrel to OWWA’s Emergency Repatriation Fund. The government could easily get $23,800,000 additional funding from 286 congressmen.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Araw ng Pahinga

Nakakabingi ang katahimikan. Ako na lang yata ang gising. Ilang oras na lang at magbubukang-liwayway na. Napapagod na akong basta na lang nakahiga sa aking kama. Gusto kong bumangon ngunit naisip ko, wala naman akong gagawin. Manuod na nga lang ako ng dvd. Ngunit anong panunuorin ko? Kung ilang ulit ko na rin kasing napanuod mga cd ko. Sa katunayan nga, puro gasgas na at tumatalon na kung pinapanuod ko. Palibhasa kasi, pinirata lng na dvd movies ang binibili ko. Yun bang tatlo singkwenta sa Quiapo. Magpapatugtog na nga lang ako. Love songs na mga Malaysian singers ang kumanta. Lintek naman o, di pa natapos ung unang kanta, namatay na mp3 player ko. Lowbat na pala. Hinanap ko yung charger. Sa bag ko, sa kabinet, sa ilalim ng kama, sa sala, sa kusina, sa banyo. Haist, wala. Halos nahalughog ko na ang bawat sulok ng bahay namin, hindi ko talaga makita. Nakakabwiset, ang liit ng bahay namin, charger lng hndi ko pa makita. Nang bigla kong maalala, iniiwan ko pala sa opisina dahil dun ako nagchacharge para makatipid sa kuryente. Wala tuloy ako magawa. Makahiga na nga lang, ipikit ko na lang mga mata ko baka sakaling makatulog ako at mapahinga naman ng kaunti. Ayan, pakiramdam ko tulog na ako. Wala na akong maramdaman sa paligid ko. Yung mga tilaok ng manok ng kapit-bahay namin ay hindi ko na marinig. Pati yung huni ng mga kuliglig na nakapugad sa punong mangga na katabi lang ng kwarto ko, wala na rin. Siguro nakatulog na nga ako. O baka naman napagud na sila sa pakikiramay nila sa akin na magpuyat kaya tinulugan na nila ako. Pero mas gusto kong isipin na nakatulog na nga ako.Bigla akong napabalikwas dahil tumunog na ang alarm ng celphone ko. Umaga na pala. Kelangan ko ng bumangon para makapaghanda sa pagpasok.Dumiretso ako sa banyo para magsipilyo. Asan yung toothbrush ko? Nawawala na naman! Malamang itinakbo na naman ng daga na sinlaki ng pusa. Pati ba naman daga kasi eh nagsisipilyo na? Kaysa hanapin ko pa at bawiin, bili na lang ako ng bago. Meron namang tigsampu sa tindahan ni Vermon, yung dating girlfriend ko.Pagkatapos ko maligo, diretso ako sa kusina para magkape. Kopiko brown ang paborito ko. Halos isang minuto ko nang hinahalo ayaw pa ring matunaw yung kape. Nakalutang lng. Yun pala malamig na yung tubig sa thermos. Hindi na namang natakpang mabuti kaya lumamig. Ano pa nga ba, napilitan akong magkape ng malamig. Isang lagok lng, ubos ko na. Diretso na ako sa kwarto para magbihis. Naks naman, bagong plantsa ung polo ko na black at slacks n kulay gray. Plinantsa ng ermats ko kagabi gamit ung deuling na plantsa. Pati medyas ko, plinantsa din. Hahaha. Pagkabihis ko, dali-dali akong bumaba ng bahay. Muntik pa akong mahulog sa hagdanan namin dahil sa pagmamadali at late na naman ako. Nauntog pa nga ako sa nakasabit na kaldero sa may hagdanan. Haist, naku naman. Ang swerte ng araw ko ngaun. Paglabas ko ng bahay, nandun na naman yung mga tambay na adik. Binati ako ng isang tambay sabay tanong kung saan ako pupunta at ang aga pa eh nakabihis na ako. Pak! Linggo pala ngaun. Wala akong pasok.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Public-Private Partnership to Combat Dengue

Marking the second Asean Dengue Day, the World Health Organization on Friday  urged its member countries to curb the prevalence of dengue fever by boosting partnership with the private and public sector, saying that the disease continues to be a public health threat.
The organization said the Asia Pacific Region accounted for 75 percent of the current global disease burden. Globally, the mosquito-borne disease claims about 20,000 deaths every year.
“Dengue cannot be defeated by the health sector alone. It needs the involvement of both private and public sector stakeholders. Member states need to work together as one community to fight it,” said the WHO in a statement.
June 15 was declared Asean Dengue Day during the 10th Asean Health Ministers Meeting in Singapore on July 22, 2010. The event is supported by a community of experts calling for a shift from reactionary strategies to forward planning and long-term prevention programs.
The Department of Health also joined its Asean neighboring countries Friday in commemorating the event as nationwide dengue cases increased over the last six months.
From January to June 2, the health agency monitored 32,193 cases. The figure is 3.89 percent higher compared to the same period last year. Most of the cases were attributed to Metro Manila, which registered 7,670 incidents.
Central Luzon accounted for the second highest number of incidents (5,552 cases) followed by Calabarzon (4,508 cases). So far, 195 deaths due to the disease have been recorded in the last six months.
Health Secretary Enrique Ona said his office was looking at boosting community action against dengue by tapping information technology to implement “specific targeting” of the disease in communities.
This process would allow real-time reporting of dengue cases from rural health units and hospitals, he said.
Under the system, rural health units or hospitals are expected to immediately report suspected dengue cases to a dengue coordinator, who would forward the message to the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) and to the barangay-based health team.
The health team will then conduct investigation to the affected area and visit the patient on the same day while the PIA will conduct a “text blast” about dengue prevention, according to the DOH. The team will also be responsible for identifying other possible patients in the neighborhood.
The new tack in curbing the incidence of dengue cases will be pilot-tested in San Fernando, Pampanga, which registered a high number of dengue incidents last year, the DOH said. 

Related Post:

Dengue Awareness Month

Story of Appreciation

(Photo courtesy of Arts Desire)
One young academically excellent person went to apply for a managerial position in a big company.
He passed the first interview, the director did the last interview, made the last decision. The director discovered from the CV that the youth's academic achievements were excellent all the way, from the secondary school until the postgraduate research, never had a year when he did not score.
The director asked, "Did you obtain any scholarships in school?" the youth answered "none".
The director asked, " Was it your father who paid for your school fees?"
The youth answered, "My father passed away when I was one year old, it was my mother who paid for my school fees.
The director asked, " Where did your mother work?"
The youth answered, "My mother worked as clothes cleaner.
The director requested the youth to show his hands. The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and perfect.
The director asked, " Have you ever helped your mother wash the clothes before?"
The youth answered, "Never, my mother always wanted me to study and read more books. Furthermore, my mother can wash clothes faster than me."
The director said, "I have a request. When you go back today, go and clean your mother's hands, and then see me tomorrow morning."
The youth felt that his chance of landing the job was high. When he went back, he happily requested his mother to let him clean her hands. His mother felt strange, happy but with mixed feelings, she showed her hands to the kid.
The youth cleaned his mother's hands slowly. His tear fell as he did that. It was the first time he noticed that his mother's hands were so wrinkled, and there were so many bruises in her hands. Some bruises were so painful that his mother shivered when they were cleaned with water.
This was the first time the youth realized that it was this pair of hands that washed the clothes everyday to enable him to pay the school fee. The bruises in the mother's hands were the price that the mother had to pay
for his graduation, academic excellence and his future.
After finishing the cleaning of his mother hands, the youth quietly washed all the remaining clothes for his mother.
That night, mother and son talked for a very long time. Next morning, the youth went to the director's office. The Director noticed the tears in the youth's eyes, asked: " Can you tell me what have you done and learned yesterday in your house?"
The youth answered, " I cleaned my mother's hand, and also finished cleaning all the remaining clothes."
The Director asked, " Please tell me your feelings."
The youth said, Number 1, I know now what is appreciation. Without my mother, there would not be the successful me today. Number 2, by working together and helping my mother, only I now realize how difficult and tough it is to get something done. Number 3, I have come to appreciate the importance and value of family relationship.
The director said, " This is what I am looking for to be my manager.I want to recruit a person who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the sufferings of others to get things done, and a person who would not put money as his only goal in life. You are hired.
Later on, this young person worked very hard, and received the respect of his subordinates. Every employee worked diligently and as a team. The company's performance improved tremendously.
A child, who has been protected and habitually given whatever he wanted, would develop "entitlement mentality" and would always put himself first. He would be ignorant of his parent's efforts. When he starts work, he assumes that every person must listen to him, and when he becomes a manager, he would never know the sufferings of his employees and would always blame others. For this kind of people, who may be good academically, may be successful for a while, but eventually would not feel sense of achievement. He will grumble and be full of hatred and fight for more. If we are this kind of protective parents, are we really showing love or are we destroying the kid instead?
You can let your kid live in a big house, eat a good meal, learn piano, watch a big screen TV. But when you are cutting grass, please let them experience it. After a meal, let them wash their plates and bowls together with their brothers and sisters. It is not because you do not have money to hire a maid, but it is because you want to love them in a right way. You want them to understand, no matter how rich their parents are, one day their hair will grow grey, same as the mother of that young person. The most important thing is your kid learns how to appreciate the effort and experience the difficulty and learns the ability to work with others to get things done.

(This post was send to me by one of my loyal readers. Credits goes to the writer who wishes to remain anonymous.)

Friday, June 15, 2012

God is Closer to Beggars Than to Kings

"Thank you, Sir. Praise the Lord!" the old beggar exclaimed in clear English as I shove a five-peso coin into his hand. 
I was on my way to meet a friend at a restaurant near Raja Solaiman park one rainy October day couple of years ago when I chance upon the kindly old man, charming passers-by for alms with his tooth-less smile and sunny disposition. 
Minutes later, as I sat comfortably in the restaurant with my friend, the memory of the old man lingered in my mind. After our meal, we go to the spot where I left him, but he was gone. About to give up, I saw him a few metres away, drying himself under a tree. I asked my friend that we sit with him for a while before we go to the mall as we've plan earlier. 
A group of passing teenagers stared at us, no doubt wondering why a well-dressed men would be chatting with an old dirty derelict. We learned that his name was Max Mercado and that he was 85 years old. He's been here since Mt. Pinatubo erupted. It is the generous hearts that keeps him alive. Owning nothing more than the shirt on his back and a few mementos from his past, he roamed the park every day. When it rained, he would take shelter under the trees and concrete structures that dotted the park. 
When Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991, torrents of lahar covered their entire town. He tried to save his wife and children, but they all died. In the end he could save only himself. Having nowhere to go, he moved to Manila and ended up begging. 
He told us that he used to entertain American GI's as a cabaret singer in Olongapo City. And as if on cue, he begun crooning a song, that gathered a crowd around us. My friend, took off his cap and pass around the crowd and was able to raised 40 pesos. The teenagers who had stared at us minutes earlier were now smiling at us, eager to hear what we were talking about. 
"God sent you to me," Max said. 
"See, most of the time people don't even mind me, but because of you they're noticing me.Always give thanks. Appreciate what you have."
As dusk was about to settle, I bought a buy 1 take 1 burger nearby for his dinner. Before long, my friend flag a taxi to take us to the mall. We left Max sitting contently on a park bench, begun eating his burger.
It amazes me how someone who has suffered so much can have a grateful heart. I guess it is true what I once read in a book: God is closer to beggars than to kings. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Are You OK?

“It will be okay…” says the old mantra that plays over and over again when someone is experiencing heartbreaks. 
But you know it won’t. And that’s the truth, it won’t.
It's never okay to lose someone important to you. You can never really let someone go but all you can do, and in fact, what you should do, is move on. You, after all, are the master of your own life. Therefore, you are responsible for your own happiness. And the only way you can be happy again is if you recognize this fact. God, after all, gave you free will. In life, we can never have everything we want but I believe that we will always have everything we need.
And in response, genuine Love is always a decision to be made, a choice.
What you speak of as "love" here isn't really love, but rather, attachment. Attachment to the person, and of course, you can always choose to detach. It's hard yes, but like a bad habit, it is never impossible to break.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Nicotine Withdrawal: On my 7th Day Without Cigarette

When someone gives up smoking, it is normal to experience nicotine withdrawal as their body learns to adjust to living without the constant influx of nicotine into their system. Smoking fosters a situation of nicotine dependence that usually occurs over a number of years. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms can include headaches, irritability, nicotine cravings, anxiety, fatigue, depression, and weight gain. If you experience these symptoms after you stop smoking, it can be helpful to understand that you are not alone. 
Nearly everyone, including me, experiences at least some of these symptoms and you should try to remember that, unpleasant as they may be, for most people they are only temporary. 
Smoking creates a chemical dependency in the smoker for nicotine. Nicotine can either act as a stimulant or a sedative, depending on the amount taken. The smoker's body finds an acceptable amount of nicotine in order to experience the pleasurable sensations associated with smoking. The first cigarette of the day is particularly effective at stimulating the dopamine-sensitive neurons in the brain, which is why smokers often find the first cigarette of the day the most satisfying. During the rest of the day, the nerve cells become desensitised to the effects of nicotine, which is a microcosm of the long-term smoker's tendency to develop a tolerance to nicotine that requires increasingly higher levels of nicotine to be used over time to achieve the same benefits. As time goes by, even more nicotine is required to maintain this level of satisfaction. The body, and the nervous system in particular, adjusts to constantly receiving this expected level of nicotine and will typically exhibit symptoms of withdrawal without it. Generally speaking, the "heaviness" of ones smoking will have the most impact on the severity of the withdrawal once they quit. Heavy smokers are more likely to experience pronounced withdrawal symptoms than light smokers. The more nicotine you have learned to tolerate in your blood, then the more likely you are to miss it when you stop. This is why a smoker can still experience a mild form of nicotine withdrawal if they cut down on the amount of cigarettes they smoke rather than quitting completely because the body is responding to the reduced amount of nicotine it is receiving. The nicotine in cigarettes produces pleasurable feelings while at the same time acting as a depressant by interfering with the flow of information between the nerve cells. 
Nicotine withdrawal entails both a physiological and psychological dimension. The physiological effects are actually the result of your body returning to normal and attempting to purge itself of the harmful chemicals left behind by smoking. The symptoms of this adjustment may be stressful but they do signify an improvement in your health. The other aspects of the withdrawal dynamic are psychological. The smoker is faced with giving up a habit that has become a compulsive part of their behaviour. Sometimes it is the withdrawal symptoms related to mood and emotion that are the most difficult to overcome. They may also be difficult to differentiate from the other stresses of life. Withdrawal as an emotional reaction has been compared to a period of mourning or grieving where your body misses a stimulus, in this case nicotine, that was considered highly important but was abruptly taken away.
Normally, nicotine, which is its metabolite, remain present in the system of a regular smoker for about three to four days. Diet can help remove the remaining nicotine from your system. For example, drinking lots of water and fruit juices will help rehydrate the body and flush the residue nicotine for the system. Nicotine is a water-soluble drug and will be rapidly excreted from the body once it is no longer introduced into your system. Nicotine will begin to leave your system within two hours of you stopping smoking.The symptoms of nicotine withdraw are usually most pronounced within 48 hours of stopping smoking. It is during this time, when nicotine leaves the body, that these symptoms will be at their most unpleasant. Some people experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms to a point where they find it difficult to function normally during this period. The worst of the withdrawal symptoms are, however, only temporary and you should feel better if you can get through these first few tough days of nicotine withdrawal. These symptoms would usually begin to lessen in three to four days before gradually abating after a few weeks or months. The first two weeks after someone ceases smoking are the often considered the most critical to their success. How long the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal persist depends on the individual and how much they used to smoke because this is what conditioned their body to expect the level of nicotine that is now absent from their system. For most people, any these unpleasant symptoms will no longer be apparent after six months. In extreme circumstances, however, people may find that these symptoms can come and go for years after they stop smoking. The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal can include any or all of the following:

Headaches may be caused by increased tension due to the stress of giving up. It can also be due to the body now receiving more oxygen and less carbon monoxide, with an increased blood flow to the back of the brain. Taking a warm shower or bath can help relieve muscle tension, as can doing anything that helps you relax. Some degree of physical activity may provide an outlet for built up tension. The typical duration for this symptom is 1 to 2 weeks.

Nausea, Dizziness 
Feelings of nausea may be connected to dizziness that is actually the result of your bloodstream adjusting to carrying more oxygen and less carbon monoxide. The drop in blood pressure once you stop smoking can also result in dizziness. Try to take it easy and not over exert yourself while experiencing these symptoms. The typical duration for this symptom is 1 to 2 days.

Nicotine Cravings 
Some smokers quit and never feel compelled to smoke again, while others feel they need constant vigilance to prevent resuming their smoking habit years after they quit. Usually tobacco cravings will often begin within the first 6 to 12 hours after you quit smoking. Those people who have to fight the strong urge to smoke again are comparable to the alcoholic who lives from day-to-day fighting their addiction. In these instances, cravings can continue for a while after you stop smoking. Otherwise, individual cravings may only last a matter of seconds before the urge passes. If you smoked at a particular time each day or in certain social situations then you are more likely to have cravings exacerbated by these factors.

Nicotine has antidepressant qualities, although smokers may not realise it, and when you stop smoking, depression can be a symptom of nicotine withdrawal. This is why some types of antidepressants are used to treat nicotine dependence. People who have a pre-existing history of depression are more likely to have difficulty in quitting. Nicotine can actually act as both a stimulant and a depressant depending on your mood and the level of nicotine intake. Try to remain positive through the tough times and keep your self-esteem up. Keep in mind how much better off you will be in the long-run for having quit smoking.

Weight Gain, Increased Appetite 
Weight gain can occur once an individual's metabolism returns to normal. Smoking actually increases the amount of calories that your system burns. Smoking also works as an appetite suppressant so once you quit, it is normal for your appetite to increase. Each time nicotine was taken into the body, it caused your body to release stored sugars into the bloodstream. This process may have helped you stave off the natural signals of hunger and suppress appetite. What is more, this process occurs a lot quicker because of smoking than it does naturally by eating, hence the tendency to eat more over a period of time to achieve the same effect. Otherwise it can take as long as twenty minutes to break food down into energy. Mild hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can contribute to symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, including an increased sweet tooth. Drinking fruit juices will help stabilise your blood sugar levels. Some people find that eating replaces the hand to mouth action of smoking and fulfils the desire to do something with their hands. Others find that they eat more because, after about two days from having quit smoking, they can actually taste food again as their sense of smell and taste return. It is also possible that the craving for cigarettes may be mistaken for hunger pangs. The important thing to remember that this weight gain is usually marginal and need only be temporary. A low-calorie and low-fat diet will help will help you remove it. It is actually the result of your body returning to normal so remember to look at the "big picture". It is less of a health risk to gain a little weight than it is to keep smoking. You can exercise and work off any excess weight but the same cannot be said about a cancerous lung.

Irritability, Frustration 
This is quite a common symptom of nicotine withdrawal and almost everybody gets a little cranky when they stop smoking. This is usually an offshoot of your craving for nicotine and an inability to stop thinking about smoking. The best thing to do is to find something else to preoccupy your mind, especially activities that you enjoy. This could be work related, exercise, or a hobby and, if possible, should be an activity that gets you away from situations where you used to smoke. Do not undertake anything too strenuous in the first few days. Get plenty of rest and give your body a chance to adjust. Make an effort to drink less coffee and drinks containing caffeine. If you are used to drinking large amounts of caffeine be aware that stopping may entail some withdrawal symptoms of its own. The typical duration for this symptom is 2 to 4 weeks.

Constipation, Flatulence or Diarrhoea 
As a stimulant, nicotine can increase intestinal movement and suddenly removing nicotine can temporary slow the system as it returns to a normal state. Flatulence may also become a problem. Drinking plenty of liquids, eating a diet that contains roughage and getting plenty of exercise will help. The typical duration for this symptom is 1 to 2 weeks.

Anxiety, Tension 
Anxiety is another common symptom of nicotine withdrawal. Nervousness is actually an indicator of the nervous system returning to normal. When you stop supplying your body with nicotine, you are putting your system under stress. Anxiety is a common trigger for when people would smoke and this only worsens the cycle of anxiety and depression because they invariable focus on the one thing that they cannot have - a cigarette. You need to recognise this and take time out to relax at various times during the day. Periodically taking deep breaths can also be useful if you feel a rising tide of anxiety is about to wash over you. Any activity that releases the build up tension will help you overcome this.

Coughing, Shortness of Breath 
This is less of a symptom of nicotine withdrawal and is more an indicator of the lungs returning to normal and it may be associated with a tightness of the chest. Repeated coughing can cause the chest muscles to become sore. Lung function will increase over time and the body will attempt to loosen the debris of smoking. As your heart and lungs improve, you should be able to notice an increase in your energy levels over time. Drinking plenty of fluids, deep breathing, getting plenty of rest and exercise will assist the restorative process. The typical duration for this symptom is 1 week.

Dry mouth, sore throat 
This is another symptom that has more to do with the body's attempt to recover from years of smoking. Your body is ridding itself of the mucus that clogged airways and restricted breathing. Both a dry mouth and a sore throat can be brought on by the stress of stopping smoking. Drinking plenty of water or fruit juice will help to relieve these and, in the case of a sore throat, throat lozenges will help. The typical duration for this symptom is 1 week.

Fatigue, Drowsiness or Insomnia 
Your body needs to adjust to no longer receiving the stimulant nicotine. Without it, your body's metabolism returns to normal, including a decreased heart rate that may cause feelings of fatigue. Try to combat fatigue by taking frequent, quick power naps. Also, because nicotine affects brain wave function, it can disrupt sleep patterns. Some people even find themselves dreaming about smoking. If you are having trouble sleeping, which is often related to feeling of anxiety, try taking a shower or bath to relax you before going to bed. Do not drink coffee, tea or any other caffeine drink before you go to bed as this may keep you awake. The typical duration for this symptom is 2 to 4 weeks. 

Difficulty Concentrating 
Some people find it difficult to concentrate after quitting smoking. Nicotine is a stimulant that increases alertness, which was one of the reasons why the use of cigarettes was popular amongst soldiers. Difficulty concentrating is also related to other withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, depression, irritability, and fatigue, each of which does little to aid ones attentiveness. As the body recovers, quitting may appear to have slowed the activity of certain brain chemicals but this is actually a result of the brain no longer being artificially stimulated by nicotine. Efforts to relax may help one to refocus when they find their concentration waning. The typical duration for this symptom is 2 to 4 weeks.

Many of the symptoms listed above mention a typical duration but keep in mind that these can be highly variable. There are many statistics available that estimate how many people will experience a particular withdrawal symptom and how long it will last. They maintain, for example that about half of all people who quit smoking will experience symptoms of irritability that last less than four weeks, while 60% of people who stop smoking will experience symptoms of depression for less than a month. 
Unfortunately, these statistics are not particularly helpful in indicating which symptoms a specific individual will actually experience once he or she quits smoking. Some people may only suffer from a few of these symptoms while others will encounter the full spectrum of symptoms. It has been estimated that about 90% of all young people who use tobacco daily and stop will experience at least one symptom of nicotine withdrawal. The only way to truly find out how much you will be affected is to stop smoking.