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March 31, 2011

16 Tips on Passing the Berlitz Test

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Last week, from March 21-25, 2011, we had our Center Of Learning refresher course that aims to assist us in passing the Berlitz. We listened to previous Berlitz recordings, both passed and failed assessments. We also practiced with the members of the Recruitment Team and we got some tips on How to Pass the Berlitz Test. Each one of us was asked to write the tips we got on a piece of Cartolina.

1. Choose words carefully.

2. Speak at a normal pace. Not too slow, not too fast.

3. Take a deep breathe, relax, and be yourself.

4. Proper use of articles and don’t use a monotone voice.

5. Organize your thoughts first.

6. Use simple words and work on prepositions.

7. Don’t overuse an article.

8. Learn how to pause. In that way, you’ll have more time to organize additional information.

9. Converse in a neutral accent.

10. Don’t go into too much details.

11. Don’t hold your thoughts and speak out.

12. Be a bit slang.

13. Don’t rush yourself to answer the question.

14. Use proper tenses.

15. Instead of using “person”, use “people”. This is when you are describing a group of people.

16. Try to sound more enthusiastic.

Are you also a callboy? Do you have a first hand experience with Berlitz? Please do share some other tips on how to pass it.

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March 30, 2011

My 3rd Berlitz Test

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Berlitz is the most popular language assessment test in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) business a.k.a. Call Center Industry. It’s a way to gauge an applicant whether his English is understandable to a native speaker of the language, like the Americans.

Berlitz is required by a lot of American companies, mostly Internet Service Providers (ISP). It’s a common requirement among voice accounts.

It works this way. An applicant/agent would dial the Berlitz Testing Center and speaks with a Berlitz Assessor. The Berlitz Assessor would read the disclaimer, which includes the statement: “You are free to agree or disagree to be tested. If you disagree, you won’t be tested. Do you agree or disagree to be tested?”. Of course, it’s always a “yes, I agree” since you won’t be tested if you disagree. And you won’t be admitted to the account that requested for the Berlitz assessment.

The Assessor would begin a conversation and usually, he ask the question “How are you doing?”. From the answers of the applicant, the next set of questions would be derived. It usually last 10-15 minutes.

The results are being emailed to the immediate supervisor of the applicant. The highest grade is C2, followed by C1, B2, B1, A2 and A1. The last 3 grades are failing grades and B2 is the usual score.

I first encountered the Berlitz language test at Sykes Asia for a US DSL account. I got a rating of B2 then.

My next Berlitz test was with Convergys, for another US DSL account. Out of 20+ persons in our batch (or wave), I was one of 3 agents who got a rating of C1.

My 3rd Berlitz test was with my current employer, for the same US company I had with Convergys. Yesterday, they already announced that 9 out of 17 in our wave passed the Berlitz assessment. I’m one of the passers (I should be! Because I already passed it twice before).

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My Most Visited Websites

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1. Yahoo! Philippines – for local news.

2. BBC – my source of international news, from a British point of view.

3. Photobucket – for my online album. The best online storage of pictures.

4. YouTube – for watching videos.

5. Facebook – for keeping in touch with friends via Social Media.

6. torrents.to – the site for all my torrent needs. Movies, music, software, PDF. Everything.

7. gay-torrents.net – for my adult entertainment needs.

8. Yugatech – contains the latest gadgets and reviews.

9. GM Tristan – for gaming news.

10. Pinoy Guy Guide – the best forum for straight guys. Gays are welcome to mingle.

11. Just Jared – the best site for Hollywood news.

12. Level Up Games – the Philippine Publisher of Ragnarok Online, my favorite online game of all times.

13. ABS-CBN – I’m a certified “Kapamilya” and this is my source of news from local channel 2.

14. Manila Gay Guy – the best gay site for me. Lots of inspirational letters and stories.

15. Wikipedia – reference website. For all my encyclopedia needs.

16. Hot Men in the Philippines – premiere site that features gorgeous Filipinos.

17. Gorgeous Men in Undies – features International models in underwear.

18. Homotrophy – has International male models.

I also love to visit other blogs like Calvin’s Hub (straight blogger), Boys in Pixels, The Skinrag, Tiggah’s Life in Random and Discreet Magazine.

What are your most visited sites?

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March 29, 2011

The Perks and Drawbacks of Being a Callboy

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Let me start with the perks, of being a Callboy (a.k.a. Call Center Agent):

1. Above average salary.

2. Spare from heavy traffic by being in the night shift.

3. Go places by having Team Buildings.

4. The work environment is okay. Includes pantry, smoking area, gym, game rooms, Internet kiosks, etc.

5. Having co-workers from all walks of life.

6. Exposure to new technology.

7. Free grammar and speech lessons.

8. Company visits from Credit Card companies and other promotions.

9. Lots of gimmicks and food trips with team mates.

10. Medical benefits (Medicard, Maxicare, etc.)

And now, the drawbacks:

1. Sleep-deprived.

2. High cost of transportation due to taxi fare.

3. Prone to termination due to excessive late and absences.

4. Pressure from Team Leaders, Quality Analysts, Managers and Clients.

5. Time-bound statistics and metrics.

6. Shifting schedules.

7. Fast-paced lifestyle.

8. Being a callboy is a main contributor of stress.

9. Immune system weakens.

10. Have the tendency of being a heavy smoker.

Do you still want to be a callboy?

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DC versus Marvel

There are 3 movies I’m eager to watch this year. One is from DC and the other two are from Marvel.
Let’s start with the upcoming Marvel movies. First, we have X-Men: First Class. Judging from the trailer, this would be a prequel to the first X-Men movie. This takes place when Professor X and Magneto are still the best of friends.
Next we have Captain America: The First Avenger. I love watching the trailer since Chris Evans will be playing the role of Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America. I first saw Chris Evans as The Human Torch before and I would definitely watch him, this time, with the indestructible shield.
Lastly, coming from the DC Universe, we have Ryan Reynolds holding the ring of a Green Lantern. I’ve seen the animated film Green Lantern: First Flight and it was wonderful. I believe the movie would revolve on the same story, how Hal Jordan was chosen by Abin Sur as the next Green Lantern.
Let me add here a video where in Ryan Reynolds recited the Green Lantern Oath during the Comic Con.
Which one of the 3 do you think would be a certified blockbuster?

March 28, 2011

Saudi Riyal

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That’s my lover Oreo, counting money for his Saudi employer. I wonder how much money is in the pictures. The last time I check, 1 Saudi Riyal (SAR) =  11.58 Philippine Pesos (PHP).

He’s been working there as a commissioning secretary since 2009. He’s due to return in the country in October this year.

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March 27, 2011

Elma’s Videoke Restaurant

It’s properly known as Elma’s Videoke Restaurant, but we prefer to call it “The Pokpok House”. Pokpok is the vernacular of female prostitute, and we suspect that there are some Pokpok in this famous videoke restaurant, along Kalayaan Avenue, in front of our building, the PhilPlans Corporate Center.

If I’m not having my lunch at at The Sandwich Guy, I’m definitely having it at “The Pokpok House”. What I love about their menu is the Pansit Bihon. Although they had a price increase from P80 to P100, I can still say that it’s affordable and that the serving of their Pansit Bihon could be ideal for 3-4 persons.

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I also like their Tapsilog at P50 only. The Tapa (Beef) is tender and delicious.

March 26, 2011

Earth Hour Tonight!

Hi Guys!

Let’s not forgot to switch off our lights tonight, at 8:30 PM - 9:30 PM, for Earth Hour.

Here’s another Earth Hour video:

Let’s do our share for Climate Change awareness. Please visit the Earth Hour website for more information.

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March 25, 2011

My New HSBC Credit Card

Back in 2001, I used to work for the Honk Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) as a marketing associate. I’m one of those guys who’s asking the mall goers of SM Megamall if they want to have a new HSBC Credit Card. It was March 2001 and there was an Income Tax Filing Booth nearby. I was wearing a white shirt with the letters “HSBC” and denim jeans. I never imagined back then that I would own one.

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Yesterday, my new HSBC Credit Card arrived and I was very happy. It’s my second credit card and it’s a Visa. The first credit card I have was a BPI Express Credit (MasterCard). It has a P24,000 credit limit compared to the P30,000 credit limit of my new HSBC card.

It took almost 2 months before I got my card. One month for the processing, and another month for the delivery. It should have taken only 8 days before it got delivered, but our house is a bit hard to find, specially for couriers.

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I got the number of the courier agency from the HSBC representative. Then I got the number of the courier himself from the courier agency. I talked to the courier twice and gave instructions on where on Earth our house is.

I was very happy that it was finally delivered. Do you want to know the first item that I purchased using my new card?

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March 23, 2011

I’m a Sandwich & Pasta Gay

Our building, PhilPlans Corporate Center, is located along Kalayaan Avenue, in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. It’s the only high-rise building that you’ll find along that street and we don’t have any fast food chains nearby. The nearest I believe is at Market! Market! which is McDonalds.

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Our usual dining places are the cafeterias nearby, our pantry at the 12th floor, and the food chains within our building: Starbucks, 7-11, Don Ken (which is quite expensive), and The Sandwich Guy.

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If I’m not eating at The Pokpok House, I’m eating at The Sandwich Guy (TSG). It’s my choice for lunch. Here are their pastas that I love:

  • Spaghetti La Tomato (75 bucks) is the classic spaghetti with ground beef and peppers.
  • Pesto (also 75 bucks) is pasta with basil, garlic and nuts, in extra virgin olive oil.

I also crave for their Potatoes:

  • Cheesy Bacon Baked Potato (75 bucks), which is bacon and melted cheese over thick potato slices.
  • Chili Con Carne Baked Potato (75 bucks) is spicy ground beef in tomato sauce over thick potato slices.
  • Mushy Potato (75 bucks), which is Mushroom & Melted Cheese over the same, thick potato slices.

For sandwiches, I enjoy their:

  • Grilled Cheese is the cheapest sandwich they have at 55 bucks. It has 3 slices of cheese, with garlic.
  • Veggie Delight (65 bucks) has lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and cheese). My last favorite is the
  • English Egg (65 bucks) is egg salad with special mayonnaise sauce.

I don’t bother with their other sandwiches since it’s quite expensive. I’m a loyal TSG customer.

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I hope Oreo’s into sandwiches and pasta too.

Firefox 4 Has Arrived

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I was surprised when I opened my emails today, via Thunderbird, because Mozilla Firefox 4 was just released. I was expecting a count-down to the release date like they did with version 3.5.

I head over to the Official Firefox Download site and there it is, Firefox 4 ready for download.

pRO’s New Server: New Loki

Level-Up Games, the country’s official publisher of Ragnarok Online, will be releasing it’s newest server before the end of the month. It will be called New Loki.

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Ragnarok Online is the first Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) in the country. It’s been around since 2003 and will be celebrating it’s 8th Year Anniversary in the country this year. I’ve been a Ragnarok Online player since December 2003, during the time that there were only 3 servers: Chaos, Loki, Iris.

In the span of almost 8 years, new servers were born and then merged. After the original 3 servers, several new servers were added: Fenrir, Odin, Sarah, Urdr, Thor and Valkyrie. Then, the servers were merged into Baldur, Freya, and Tyr. Thor was renamed Valhalla. Then, the servers were again merged, thus we have the current servers New Chaos, Valhalla and Valkyrie.

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I’m hoping that new players will be added to the current population of Philippine Ragnarok Online of more than 9,000 players. I’m also hoping that former pRO players would find renewed interest in the game because of new contents like the 3rd Jobs.

I will definitely play in the new server.

Here are the other promotional screensavers of the upcoming server.

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Please visit the New Loki micro-site here.

March 21, 2011

More Pasig City Pictures

Here are more pictures of Pasig City, where I live. These were taken last year, when I just purchased my Canon A495 PowerShot digicam. I forgot to publish these pictures last year when I begun blogging.

These pictures were the buildings near the Pasig City Hall. We have here the Mutya ng Pasig Complex (the old revolving restaurant), Tanghalang Pasigueno, the Post Office, the newly-created Kape de Pasig (former NBI-Pasig site) and the park besides it, the new Jollibee-Pasig, Pasig City Mega Market, Old Houses near the Pasig Plaza, and also the Pasig River.

I am actually thinking of creating a separate photo blog wherein I could post the pictures I’ve taken. Could you give me a unique name for my soon-to-be photo blog?

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