Author Archive

Aloha XIII – Asian Invasion Part III (2015)

June 8th, 2020 No comments

After six years of trying to find time to work on Aloha videos, the COVID19 lockdown of 2020 has given me a jumpstart to get caught up! Over the past 4 weeks I finally completed Aloha XIII.

Watch here:

Categories: Family Tags:

Better late than never: Aloha XII – Asian Invasion Part II (2014)

April 11th, 2020 No comments

After six years of trying to find time to work on Aloha videos, the COVID19 lockdown of 2020 has given me a jumpstart to get caught up! Over the past 3 weeks I finally completed Aloha XII (it was ~30-40% done). Hopefully I can complete Aloha XIII (2015) in the coming weeks…

Watch here:

Categories: Family Tags: , ,

Letter of Recommendation: Helen & Marilyn

December 21st, 2015 No comments

For the past three years we have employed Helen & Marliyn as our live-in household kasambahay and would like to now advertise a very strong recommendation for their services.

Why should you hire them?

  • 100% Trustworthy – in 38 months we have never once experienced an issue with honesty. After the first year we were comfortable leaving our kids with them overnight. You could even say they’ve played a large role in raising our 18 month old baby.
  • Safety – they have always kept our kids safe and exhibit a strong sense of safety.
  • Work Ethic – both H&M have a very strong work ethic and do not shy away from hard labor; they’ve kept our condo spotless. When we wakeup Monday morning after they’ve been off over the weekend, the condo is already clean. They’re also very willing to go above and beyond their job description with miscellaneous tasks we delegate their way.
  • Temperament – we’ve often heard of “maids with mood-swings”, but can honestly say we’ve never seen anything but a steady positive attitude from these two.
  • Local Knowledge – if you’re new to the Philippines, they know the ropes so you don’t have to. One has handymen brothers who can help out as well.
  • Stability – I haven’t met any other expats who have kept the same house help for 38 consecutive months. That says a lot about H&M.
  • Self-Starters – We never have to tell either one of them what to do around the house.

Why should you hire Marilyn specifically?

  • Marilyn’s primary responsibility is cooking and cleaning. She backs up Helen in regards to taking care of the kids as a secondary responsibility.
  • Her cooking is amazing. See photos below. We’re often disappointed when we eat out because the food isn’t as good as what Marilyn cooks at home.
  • She is 100% self-led in the kitchen: we never tell her what to make or how to make it. We’re just treated to a delightfully surprising variety of dishes every time we sit down to eat.
  • She teaches herself new dishes on a regular basis. She watches YouTube videos and gets recipes on the internet and tries them out. Nine times out of ten they turn out great.
  • Parties parties parties. We’re fond of hosting dinner parties with 10..15..20..+ guests of varying nationalities and tastes. All we have to do is give Marilyn a headcount and she does the rest. Photos of some of the spreads she’s put on are below. With Helen’s help, the two of them can facilitate an entire dinner party and we don’t lift a finger or manage anything.
  • Weekly grocery shopping is done with little supervision from my wife. Marilyn finds the ingredients we need, and my wife just meets her at the cash register to pay the bill. (Warning: having a restaurant-quality chef in your kitchen can lead to restaurant-level food bills, but it’s worth it)
  • Again, Marilyn is a very hard worker and does a great job cleaning and doing laundry in addition to cooking.

Why should you hire Helen specifically?

  • Helen’s primary responsibility is childcare and cleaning. She will backup Marilyn in the kitchen as a secondary responsibility.
  • Helen takes excellent care of our three children. Catering to the needs of an 11 year old, 6 year old, and 18 month old.
  • She is familiar with the International School of Manila and helps make sure the kids are prepared each day and get to / from school.
  • She takes great care of the baby, and has done so since he was born. Her level of safety and rigor is so high we do not worry in the least bit when she’s out with him. And as mentioned earlier, we’ve left all three kids with them for 2-3 consecutive nights.
  • She is always present when workers are in our condo, and because of that we have never had any issues of damage goods or money stolen.
  • Like Marilyn, Helen keeps the condo clean and tidy when the kids don’t need her. Zero hesitation when it comes to hard chores.

Other FYI’s:

  • Their preference is to stay together at their next job, they work really well with one another.
  • They both live with us, and probably prefer live-in jobs, but it wouldn’t be a deal breaker. Marilyn lives in Cavite, Helen in Pasig.
  • Their schedule with us is Monday morning through Saturday afternoon.
  • We started them at 12,000 PHP each / month, and have increased it 1000 each year. So 2016 would have been to 15,000 (includes SSS, Pag-Ibig, Phil-Health for their portion and our portion).
  • We give them the standard Filipino non-working holidays.
  • English skills are adequate, but not above average

We will be out of town Dec 23-Dec 27, so they will both be available for interviews during that window. Otherwise, we leave Jan 8 and they’ll be available to work full-time after that.

Helen can be reached at: 0905 678 1494

and Marilyn: 0915 670 4453


One of Marilyn's more "simple" dinner spreads

One of Marilyn’s more “simple” dinner spreads

Helen taking good care of Baby Blake

Helen taking good care of our baby

Helen playing with the baby

Helen playing with the baby

Helen playing video games with Mason

Helen playing video games with our middle child

Marilyn front-row left, Helen far right

Marilyn front-row left, Helen far right

Marilyn learned how to bake on her own and these cookies are good I told her to make me a batch every Saturday! They're a hit with my friends too.

Marilyn learned how to bake on her own and these cookies are good I told her to make me a batch every Saturday! They’re a hit with my friends too.

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Announcing AutoPager – An Android SMS Tool

November 4th, 2014 No comments


Last month I published my first Android app to the Google Play Store: Duly Noted. Which was something I had created for myself long ago and finally got around to publishing. Today, I’m publishing another app that I wrote for our family about two years ago and has proven very handy.

AutoPager, originally called “Page My Driver”, allows a user to specify 1-2 phone numbers as recipients of predefined custom SMS texts; which are sent by simply touching the launcher icon (no other user action is required).

Two icons are shown in your launcher: [5] and [0]. The [5] icon is used to send a custom message which normally gives a heads up about something 5-10 minutes in advance.

The second icon [0] would be used to send a different custom message regarding a more immediate notification.

For example, Tia and I set the 2 phone number recipients as the 2 phones of our family driver.

When a pickup / departure will be needed in 5-10 minutes, the [5] icon is pressed to page the driver on both phone numbers to give him a heads up and prepare for pickup. Later, the [0] icon is pressed to page the driver (again on both phone numbers) that a pickup is now required in the next 0-1 minutes.

This app was designed to page two phone numbers at once because in many countries people carry two phones or have dual-SIM phones. Paging them on both phones helps ensure they get the message.

AutoPager could also be used to provide heads up canned messages to significant others / children / co-workers, etc.

The custom text messages sent by the [0] and [5] icons can be changed in the settings.

This application has the potential to save a significant amount of time for anyone employing a personal driver or has a similar need of sending the same SMS to the same person multiple times a day.



Categories: Android Tags: ,

Announcing Duly Noted – An Android Productivity Tool

October 6th, 2014 No comments


Do you find yourself constantly getting out your phone to write a quick email reminder? If so, Duly Noted is a simple application that can save you a lot of time and hassle by automating the process to 1-touch!

Duly Noted allows you to configure 1-2 shortcut buttons that instantly send notes to pre-configured email addresses using a Google account on your phone to deliver the message.

Using a traditional email client, you must navigate the interface and type out a “To:”, “Subject:”, “Body:”, etc. With Duly Noted you can quickly focus on your note and then just tap the shortcut and you’re done! (greatly reducing the time it takes you to send the note) Watch the video above!

* Fire-and-forget 1 touch email sending!
* One or two configurable email shortcut buttons
* Supports “Share” Android native functionality for sending links and webpages
* Very informative notifications on the status of your outgoing email
* Successful notifications auto-timeout, while errors stay in the notification bar as an FYI
* Set it as a lockscreen shortcut for super fast notes!
* Free! No ads!

While the app must use and access a Google Account on your phone to send the outgoing message, rest assured that the application does not attempt to access your data or track anything you do.

Matt’s Endorsement:
I wrote this app for myself a few years ago, and to this day it continues to be on of the most-used apps on my phone. At the end of some days I’ll have sent 5-10 messages to myself via Duly Noted. I’m now releasing it for free for others to benefit from the productivity it provides!


Duly Noted

Categories: Android Tags: ,