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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bloggers, freelancers and work at home ninjas vs. Typhoon, flood and long blackout–what should we do?

Hi everyone! It’s been a long time since I wrote an original article, but let me try again and hope this article and tip can help our fellow freelancers, bloggers and work at home ninjas during the aftermath of nature’s wrath and power failure, we experience this many times and it can paralyze our work and online activities for hours or days, The result is that we missed a lot of opportunities, money, projects and even get terminated from our job.

My long story
I’ve experienced this during the Typhoon Glenda last July 2014, the typhoon hit our area in Cavite and we felt like its doomsday overnight, During the aftermath of the typhoon, it was blackout for days….it crippled my work at home activities and also my blogging. Power is out for days, telephone lines are dead and we have the unreliable super slow mobile network signal.

My boss is already messaging me if I can finish the content calendar for their brand, I told them that its impossible for me to finish it because there’s no power, no telephone line and no way out of my area because its flooded. I decided to try going to SM and visit Starbucks for me to jack in my laptop and pocket wifi, but the mall runs on diesel powered generator for their electricity, giving minimal light and ventilation for the shoppers,

SM Mall opened its doors for everyone and they welcome us if you need to recharge your devices or flash lights. The mall is jam packed and Starbucks is also crowded, no space for me to work and I’ve check that my mobile network signal is also in LT—E, an inside joke of my blogger friends meaning “Long Term Edge”, its edge and not for evolution for LTE. I have no choice but to sit and relax at home, wait for the electricity to come out and clean the house and remove all debris cause by the typhoon. We worked together at home, like there’s someone in charge for cooking, cleaning and do entertainment. I monitor the news via my crank FM radio and I manage the charging of the gadgets and flash lights, we used our car’s battery to light us at night and I do “pamaypay” power to my son at night.

It’s like a horror story for me, because I’m so worried for the next message of my boss. We actually work together for months for this 6 month project, I called for a break before the arrival of the typhoon because I went to the doctor to ask cure for my “tennis elbow injury”, so its my fault for the delays.
The brand is rejuvenated to fit in this new age, and I understand that the big bosses are excited to launch their campaign, but I can’t do anything when we were hit by this Typhoon Glenda with wind power of 180-250 km/h that paralyzes the entire Cavite for days.

Normal connectivity and failure
Electricity went back to normal after 5 days, but the problem is the telephone line. My boss told me that they can let me go because I can no longer do my duty. I replied quickly and apologizes, they moved on and I am too..

I can’t do anything during that time….I was planning to travel to Manila on that week because I have some friends who offered their home as my temporary mobile office. But it was too late. I didn’t regret for not asking for a 2nd chance, because it might slow them down and it might add more stress to me because our city is not yet in full blast, but I think the project is not really for me,so I just let it go and I accept for my relieve. It was okay for both of us and we’re still friends and we still help each other.

I learned a lot after this experience, and I make sure that it will not happen again. I posted a big F—YOU to Typhoon Glenda after some hours on a private Facebook message with friends hahaha. But if someone closes a door, someone will open a new one for you, and yup.. After some hours, I got another project, 6 months project and I’m happy with it now.

So you read my story… badtrip di ba?
Last week, Typhoon Mario hit us again and it was like Typhoon Ondoy without warning. I’m glad that we Filipinos are prepared this time.

Here are some my suggested tip if you encountered the same scenario during and after the “disconnect” days

Black outs
Whenever there are black outs, the first time to come in my mind is that I should go out and stay in a coffee shop for me to continue my work. I can plug there my laptop and fire up my pocket wifi and then sip a nice hot coffee. You can do that if you are on a deadline and need a 2-3 hours of mobile office work.
Coffee price: PHP100-PHP180

For super deadlines, last thing I did was to check in for an overnight stay in a hotel with a good wifi strength. Make sure you ask for the wifi strength before checking in. Most hotels with good wifi are the 4-5 stars hotel.
Hotel stay price: PHP 3500-PHP4500

Relatives and friends
If you have a relative who lives in a different city, try ask them if they can adopt you for days til you finish your deadline or if you don’t have any relative, try asking your friends if they can lend you some hours to use their wifi at home. Reward them a pasalubong like a Lechon Manok or a Cake from Goldilocks.
Lechon manok price: PHP 180
Cake price: PHP 200

I’ve encountered the disconnection of our telephone lines and the slow mobile signal. If your client’s HQ is out of the country, you can still try the “E” connection, but limited only in sending emails for 5-10minutes. Let them be informed about your situation and email them right away and tell them you are absent. If you are stranded in a flood, just send a SMS to a friend and tell them to email it for you OR post a Facebook message---tag mentioning your situation.
SMS price: PHP 1


Coffee shops as the new co-working space
I observed that coffee shops are turning into a co-working space. I noticed a lot of freelancers do mobile office here, above is my photo in Tully’s Coffee in Ortigas, its one of my favorite mobile office spot, and I stay there for hours while waiting for my wife finish her meeting with their clients. Feel free to approach and ask the people there, you might win a friend, or maybe future client or a collaborative team mate for your project. If you are hunting for projects and co-workers, feel free to ask them or us, we don’t bite, although that we don’t want to be disturbed, but we love talking to new people who do the same job.

(btw the guy looking at the photo is Mike Villar, I didn’t noticed him when I took this photo, but he approached me afterwards in my table and he said hi and hello, hahaha..Thanks Mike! welcome to the freelancers world!)

I remember back in the days we do this collaborative work in a café, we call it Jelly in Manila


Fast food and convenience store

When a typhoon is scheduled to approach your area, just make sure you stock lots of food and drinks to your home. Its hard to be stranded in your home and left nothing to eat. If you failed to do the shopping during the aftermath of the typhoon, just go to the nearest convenience store and stock up your food supplies, instant noodles and those microwaveable are easy to prepare. If you will travel and will stay in a coffee shop, hotel or a friend’s condo to finish your work, make sure you brought some instant food with you to fuel up your soul, its better to work with a full stomach.


Virtual office and co-working space
Me and my team of bloggers at PBNet rented a virtual office in BGC, we got a year rent at VOffice, they have two office in BGC and one in Makati. Renting a space that you can use twice or thrice per week for your meetings, unlimited mobile office station, there’s free wifi, free coffee, free massages and you have your own office staff to help you. Just visit their website and learn more about their offerings as low as PHP1k per month, visit

In Mandaluyong City, my friend Ron of Sagabay Outsourcing is now running a co-working space office, just check out his blog post at , you can rent a table with computer and internet connection in a monthly basis, also you can get a chance to work with other table tenants.

I’m glad that we have virtual office and co-working space that offers low rates, in the past the pricing is like renting your own apartment in Manila. For those who don’t want to get stuck at home with no power and internet, I suggest that you explore the benefits of virtual offices and co-working space.

If ever it fails
If ever these tip failed you….try it again, don’t quit and let them show we are immortal too

I hope this tip helps….if you have any other tips…feel free to share it via my comments board below.

Let’s go work at home ninjas!!!

Azrael Coladilla is the blogger and founder of Azrael's Merryland Blog. This blog started as a personal blog in 2003, and then converted the blog into a lifeblog about his interest and reporting about pop culture, lifestyle, entertainment, technology, food, travel, toys, outdoor adventure, internet and social media. Awarded as the 2009 Most Influential Blogger for Luzon, Philippines, awarded by the Philippine Blog Awards. He is the founder of several online communities - Manila Bloggers Network, Philippine Bloggers Network, Oh My Food! community, Cavite Bloggers, Travel and Blog Community, and Philippine ToyCon. Azrael's Merryland Blog is included in a list of top 50 Blogs in the Philippines , ranked 65th in Top 100 Blogs that Matter , 49 must read lifestyle blog in the Philippines. and rank 40th in 100 Top Philippine Blogs by Feedspot.
He loves to travel, explore, discover, eat new food, document and record his life, meet new people, do photography and collects Transformers toys.
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