How online stores can make their services better


Online shopping is undoubtedly one of the greatest comforts customers can have. Admittedly, many online stores do fall short of shoppers’ expectation at times. But considering the competition that constantly looms over the industry, owners would not be hurt if potential buyers help them improve their craft.

Shopping online saves me a lot of time. It spares me from traffic congestion and the agony of waiting in line at the store counters. Generally, I’m satisfied with the services these different online shops provide, particularly that of Lazada.

But just like any other service providers, Lazada is not perfect. There are instances that could have been done better. And I think I am not alone in having observed some common lapses in online services. Among the bad experiences I’ve had include

  • Frustration over a product that is not what the picture depicted
  • Receiving a defective product
  • Delayed delivery

Suggestions for online stores

Because I’m an advocate of online stores, I want my voice to be heard. I want my online shopping experience to be more convenient and customer-friendly. And I think my suggestions would not benefit only me, but will also satisfy many, if not all, online buyers.

Strengthen Content Marketing strategy. In internet marketing, it matters to receive the greater number of visitors. The more traffic to your site, the better your visibility and the greater is your chances of getting customers.

  • Create highly shareable content. Evoke reactions from your readers and potential customers. Let them interact with your product. And allow them to share their own experiences along the way. People love to share content that they can relate to. So, take this as an opportunity to widen your reach – through their respective network.
  • Make your content stand out. You can do this by providing value to your potential customers. Internet users want to learn new things. They are interested when you give them tips that would help them make better use of the product you offer. It would be truly rewarding when you create a content that is practical. This way, you can expect your customers to keep coming back to your site for more updates.
  • Apply a designated hashtag in your content. The purpose of which is to raise awareness about your products. Write a detailed description of each item. By doing so, you would eliminate frustrations among your customers of not getting what they expected.
  • Create or ask your sellers to provide a live video of their product. Ask for details about the video so you may incorporate it in your description text.
  • Make your focus be customer-centric. When you write your content, always put yourself in your customer’s shoes.
  • Optimize the power of social media influencers. For example, you want to promote a particular work-out equipment. You may integrate the “how-tos” elements of dieting that complement the exercise regimen.

Website. Make Lazada more user-friendly and easy to navigate. As much as possible avoid clutter.

  • Product presentation. Buyers don’t get to touch or see the actual product. Instead, they rely heavily on the photographs you display online. It is important, then, that you give full information about the listed products, including the sizes, dimensions, and all other aspects. It’s frustrating to receive an order that is short of your expectations.
  • Good listing. Present several high-quality photographs of the product. Take the photos from the different angles.

online stores

Efficient and quick customer service. Does anyone else experiences being put on hold before a Customer Service agent answers your call? I experience that more than a couple times. And, I’m not talking about a few seconds only – but long minutes!

It’s frustrating and a drain to your patience, indeed!

Again, because I am an advocate of electronic commerce, I’d like to shout out. Could online stores out there level up your customer service? I think it does not cost much to provide a chatbot. Something that does not only involve typing your queries. It rather matters if a customer can actually engage in a vocal conversation with a competent and helpful customer service representative. This way, the customer can express his complaints well and in details.

Competition is stiff. Online stores should apply a SPEED customer service strategy. I’m sure your patrons would love it, and they would be willing to pay more for it! You see, customers want fast. But if you can make it instant, that would be so much better!

Improved delivery service. I understand delivery service can take a crawling pace especially during peak seasons, like Christmas. Bad weather condition and road congestion are other factors that can also delay delivery schedule.  

Peak seasons, bad weather, and road congestion in highly urbanized centers are given factors. They are out of the online retailer’s control. But, at least, the electronic commerce industry can do something about these problematic situations.

Customers are generally impatient. They want fast service – and fast means instant! And so, from my personal perspective, I offer a few suggestions that might help to improve your delivery service

  • Communicate. Honesty matters. It eases the customer’s anxiety over a delayed order. Do not wait for the customer to make a follow-up on his order. As soon as you discover that the delivery would be delayed, notify your buyer immediately. Be honest. Don’t give false promises. A good communication skill is a key here. You may send an SMS, e-mail update, or give him a call.
  • Accurate tracking. Provide a clear and accurate tracking of the products sent. This would help the customer follow the status of his order. It also saves you time answering unnecessary queries.
  • Provide assurance and greater support. When things get delayed, do not wash your hands off the responsibility and put the blame on the courier. After all, the buyer would not hold the courier responsible. Rather, they would chase after you. So, be proactive.
  • Set up your own delivery service. Having your own delivery service allows you full control of the delivery schedule and the staff manning it.
  • Delivery drones. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), commonly known as drones, are no longer limited to surveillance, farming, and agriculture. Drones can now be used in logistics and commerce, too. You may utilize these vehicles for express shipments especially to cities where vehicular traffic is heavy. They can also be an efficient delivery service to rural areas where infrastructure is not well established.

To sum these all up, online stores have still plenty of room to improve their craft. It’s a dog eats dog world in cyber marketing. If you are not keen on keeping up with the trend, you might as well lose them to your competitors. Listen to what your customers have to say. And gain more prospective buyers.

[This post is an entry for the iPrice E-Commerce Blogging Competition]

Verbal abuse: how far does it affect a child victim?


Verbal abuse is a specific type of emotional abuse. Most often, the aggression happens right at home. And victims are often not keen on reporting it because they think it’s the norm in their household. They rather keep the impact within themselves.

What is verbal abuse?

verbal abuseVerbal abuse, also known as name calling, exists in almost all societies. It occurs when words are used as weapons to attack another – where the victim is subjected to insults, racist or offensive remarks. Abuse also comes in the form of sexist or homophonic jokes and teasing using sexually suggestive or abusive language.

Sadly, it happens at the very place where you thought you are safest – at home! And the problem is that the victims are not keen on sharing their ordeal with outsiders for many varied reasons. One of which is that they view verbal aggression as a common thing in the household that everyone should accept. And so, they opt to keep the suffering within themselves.

Let’s take the case of Kate (not her real name).

Kate is a 12-year-old girl, whose mother left the family home when she was 4 years old. She stayed with her father, grandfather, and aunts. Her father and grandfather are foul-mouthed, cursing every now and then. Bad language is apparently part of their daily language.

At home, Kate constantly receives a lot of offensive remarks. She is scolded for every little mistake she makes. And even if those words were uttered matter-of-factly, they seemed to impact her in a negative way.

Over the years, Kate became withdrawn. The once cheerful and sociable kid that she was has turned into a loner. She has lost her self-esteem. Her teachers complained about her unwillingness to participate in class.

Kate’s deteriorating attitude started to become evident when she turned 9 years old.

Verbal abuse leaves scars

Clearly, those lashing out episodes at home takes a toll on the young Kate. She is just one of tens of thousands more who are suffering silently. Many victims of verbal abuse live in homes or environments where bad language is common. They have become accustomed to this kind of situation that they often consider it “normal”. They don’t see themselves as victims of abuse. Unfortunately, though, the impact runs deep into their subconscious.

Different studies have revealed that victims of verbal abuse are most likely to develop certain physical ailments in the long run, like chronic pain, migraine and frequent headaches, stammering, ulcers and several other stress-related heart problems.

verbal abuse

Not only these!

Verbal abuse eventually etches a psychological mark on the victims. Most likely, they become highly prone to

  • depression
  • fear and anxiety
  • stress and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • intrusive memories
  • memory gap disorder
  • sleep or eating problems
  • hypervigilance and exaggerated startle responses
  • irritability
  • anger issues
  • alcohol and drug abuse
  • suicide
  • self-mutilation
  • assaultive behaviours

Name-calling is not a common thing of the present generation only or in a particular culture. Even Scripture constantly warned the ancient people to be careful in their use of words. In the Books of Proverbs and Psalms, Sirach emphasized that verbal abuse is tantamount to physical aggression. It can even be more lethal at times.

Our responsibility

How does the verbal abuse issue concern you and me? Don’t say it’s none of your business, please! Since we belong to a community, you and I have the responsibility to help our neighbour and alleviate the victim’s situation. Here are some ways we can help the victims.

  • Ask if something is wrong. Most often, you will notice some major personality changes in the victim. Don’t wait for the victim to come to you.  He or she might be hesitant to speak up.
  • Express your concern. But do not readily judge or condemn the abuser.
  • Listen and validate the issue. But don’t pressure the victim to immediately speak up.
  • Offer help, but do not give advice.
  • Support the victim’s decision. Do not set conditions for your support.

Studies further show that verbally abused children of today are likely to turn abusers in the future.

So, let’s stop the vicious cycle before it would be too late. The best way we can do it is to start with ourselves, the adults. After all, it’s us that children look up to. You see, our tongue is like a two-edged sword. It can either make or break a person. Mark Kinzer says in his book,

“Careless words are a problem because they reflect a careless heart.”

If you are prone to speaking bad words, perhaps you can start bridling your tongue now. Save your own family member from verbal abuse.

The Urban Boys: a book for all age groups


Book review

the urban boysThe Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses
By K.N. Smith

[I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review]

The story of K.N. Smith’s The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses’ is centered around five teenage friends. It is set in a remote location called Danville Heights, a town secluded by a thick forest. It has a population of fewer than 12,000 people. And so it’s no surprise that everyone knows everybody in the neighborhood.

Kinsu, Chase, Alex, Jordan, and Rhee attend Danville Heights High School. Three of whom are football players in the Danville Heights Chargers team. The boys’ otherwise typical teenage life started to change right after the Chargers won a football match against another school.

Instead of going straight home that evening, the boys decided to venture into a mysterious preserve, a place considered forbidden by the older folks of the town. That first visit to the forest became the turning point of their lives. Some strange energy force entered their bodies without them knowing it. They acquired special gifts of the senses. Since then, their meetings at the preserve became a nightly adventure as they seek answers to what had happened to them.

Their adventure led them farther to Sandry Lake in the north, a town that possesses a gravitational lure for the boys. This town was once a progressive community. But it has fast deteriorated into an isolated wasteland as a hoodlum dominates the place. An evil man, who calls himself Druth, and his goons rob and terrorize the citizens, forcing them to either desert Sandry Lake or live in constant fear.

With their newly-acquired powers, the five boys would come stealthily at night to fight Druth’s goons and save the people of Sandry Lake. But a sudden twist of events caught the boys in a dilemma when their respective families found out their nightly adventure.

‘The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses‘ displays K.N. Smith’s mastery in interweaving suspense and values through her poetic style of writing. The story is also well-paced. Not only does Smith tells a story. She imparts the importance of family, honesty, friendship, teamwork, and determination. She says, as spoken by the boys’ football coach:

“Let me tell you something about life. Sometimes, you’ll be down. You’ll be out. The help you thought you had vanishes, disappears, and you think your world has ended. Let me tell you that the only way you will survive is through faith and character.”
The author aptly chose the title of the book because the boys’ mission is not confined only in Danville Heights and Sandry Lake. K.N. Smith makes it clear that the vocation to help others is boundless.

Find out how the boys use their powers and what makes them stay together despite their own personal struggles. Read ‘The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses’. There is so much to learn from this action-adventure book. It’s a good read for all ages.

Coconut milk an effective home remedy for constipation


Constipation is an inconvenience that we experience at some points in our lives. Unless it is chronic, it can actually be eased with coconut milk.

coconut milk

Coconut is known to be the ‘tree of life’ for of its thousand uses. From the roots to the leaves, you will surely get something beneficial from a coconut.

Coconut milk alone has several uses. It is an effective home remedy for constipation. And, I can attest to this because I personally experienced it.

Coconut milk to the rescue

The first time I experienced a difficulty in defecating, I literally panicked. I did not know what to do. How could I have it when I drink a lot of water every day! I also made sure to eat enough fibers – or so I thought I had enough!

coconut milk

My first impulse then was to self-medicate. I bought a commercially-popular brand that was advertised on TV. Unfortunately, the product did not work for me. So, I tried another brand. And still, it was useless. I also tried gulping a small bottle of castor oil. Again, these did not ease my agony.

And then, as if on cue, I saw this coconut in our backyard. I took it and have it grated. Although I was a bit skeptical about it at first, I held on to the thought that since coconut is oily, it might help ease my problem. So, I went ahead. I squeezed out the coconut milk and drank a full glass of it!

After about an hour later, I found myself hurrying to the toilet. It was a success! My constipation problem was solved with the help of the “mighty coconut milk”.

From then on, I’ve been confidently advising friends and family who experience the same issue as mine. And they said coconut milk worked for them, too. You might as well try this effective home remedy for constipation.

You might as well try this effective home remedy for constipation.

A word of caution

Some quarters claim that coconut milk may have negative effects on your health. Three of the problems they raised include fructose malabsorption, guar gum, and Bisphenol-A (BPA). But the thing is that if your purpose of taking coconut milk is only to ease constipation, you wouldn’t be consuming it on a regular basis anyway. Nevertheless, it’s still important to be prudent in everything that concerns your health. For chronic constipation problem, you need to seek professional advice from your physician.

Online shopping defines convenience


Thanks to the technology of online shopping. It makes life so much easier. It’s the radical way to save time, especially for busy working men and women.

For people who are perpetually preoccupied with tons of work, like me, it’s always a hassle to allocate a bit of time to go to the shops to buy the things we need.

The benefits of online shopping

online shopping

Well, that was before I discovered the better way to shop. Thanks to the people who initiated online shopping. They make our lives so much easier. Since I learned about this ‘radical’ way to shopping, I’ve seldom gone to the malls for my needs.

I started using international-based online shops many years ago. Until I tried the services of Lazada Philippines in 2013. I can still remember my first order from Lazada. Those were many pairs of Darlington crew socks, which I sent to a cousin abroad. I made a bulk order for him because he liked the first pair I gave him earlier. He wanted more pairs to give among his friends and colleagues.

Since then, I became a regular user of Lazada Philippines. 

What makes me a regular (read: loyal) user of Lazada is not much of the price. Rather, its prompt and excellent service make me a satisfied customer.

This year, I’m looking at buying some stuff that I’m going to use in my documentary projects. Particularly, I intend to purchase two new cameras. I need both a digital compact camera and a Point and Shoot type. I also require an efficient camcorder and a new laptop that can accommodate larger files. I’m also eyeing for a smartphone. Although, this last item can wait a bit longer until I secure a budget for one.

Online shopping is, indeed, one of the greatest innovations that career-oriented individuals can have. It allows me to shop at the convenience of my home, at my own time and pace. Here, I need not worry about the saleslady waiting for me to decide about what to purchase.

Perhaps, the only negative effect online shopping does for a home-based worker like me, is I don’t get to see much of the outside world anymore. But I have no regrets in choosing this profession, though.

[This post is an entry for the ShopCoupons X Lazada PH Blogger contest. Being hosted by ShopCoupons. lazada voucher sponsored by Lazada Philippines.]

Biking: how does it benefit you and the environment?


The benefits of biking go beyond physical fitness. It heals the environment and cuts your expenses, too. You just have to try it to prove it.

biking

Electronic entertainment has successfully kept children and teens sitting in one place for hours, developing in them a sense of sedentary lifestyle.

There is nothing wrong with electronic gaming for as long as it is done in moderation.  Young people should not be allowed to spend more than four hours before a television set or a computer screen. Otherwise, they run the risk of developing certain illnesses. Not to mention addiction.

As parent or guardian, you have the responsibility to regulate your child’s television watching or computer gaming habit. You can do this by devising activities that involve physical movements. Such activities should be fun, too. to motivate them more.

Biking is one activity that you may want to consider doing.

Biking is not just for the sports enthusiasts. It is for everybody. Now that obesity has become a serious problem among children and teens worldwide, we should all consider it imperative to bike regularly. Not just as a form of exercise, but also a way of life! Besides, biking is not only good for the young. It’s great for the entire family.

biking

Benefits of biking

Biking is fun. Let’s start with the fun side of it, instead of directly saying it as a form of exercise. You see, many people dread the term “exercise”, and so they would readily shy away from it. Biking is fun when you do it with your family or loved ones. It’s a perfect bonding activity.

It opens opportunities for meeting people. When you go out biking, you get the chance of meeting new faces. So, it’s a great opportunity to build new networks of friends and, potential associates. Isn’t it great to exchange ideas with people who share similar interest? Biking on weekends and holidays allows you to meet and greet your neighbours who you may not have noticed they existed right there.

Biking reduces stress and improves productivity at work. For how could you be stressed when you’re having fun! It can also help reduce your anxiety and depression – if these were issues for you. Pedalling slowly can be an opportunity to appreciate more of the nuances of your surroundings.

Benefits to your health. Among the many advantages you can get from regular bike commuting include:

  • an increase in your blood circulation and joint mobility
  • a boost on your energy level
  • it increases your cardiovascular fitness
  • strengthens your bones and muscles, and improves its flexibility
  • improves your posture and coordination
  • reduces your body fat levels
  • helps you manage your ailment
  • increases your metabolic rate

It allows you to save on health care expenses. Since biking helps you manage your health condition, you can save a lot on medication expenses.

Biking helps you reduce weight because it burns your body fat and builds your muscles.

Frees you from traffic congestion. You will not get stuck in traffic because you are going to use the bike lanes. This is advantageous especially if you bike to work.

It saves you travel money. When you switch from car use to bike commute, you will cut a considerable amount on these aspects:

  • petrol – we all know too well how petrol prices can fluctuate anytime
  • tires
  • fluids
  • maintenance
  • washing
  • parking – this can be very frustrating and time-consuming

Biking helps minimize deforestation. Advocating a cycling culture allows you to help reduce deforestation of rubber plantations and biofuel crops. A bicycle requires only a little amount of rubber and lubricant compared with motor vehicles or cars do.

Biking is low impact on the environment. When it comes to air and noise pollution, cycling produces zero-emission.

By accurate calculations, however, biking does emit carbon dioxide. But at only 21 grams per kilometre, its emission is still way lower than that of cars and other modes of transport. An average car emits 271 grams and a bus 101 grams. This calculation includes emissions related to production, maintenance, and fuel¹.

These are but few of the many benefits of biking. You’ll realize its effects only when you have started making it a habit. So let’s start biking now to good health and a cleaner environment!

____________

¹“CO2 emissions from cycling revealed”. https://www.eta.co.uk/2011/12/13/co2-emissions-from-cycling-revealed/. 13 December 2011. Web. 7 October 2014.

Obesity in children and teens


Many cases of obesity in children and teens are actually preventable – by living a healthy lifestyle.

Junk food 2

Obesity in children and teens has dramatically increased at an alarming rate in the past few years. The World Health Organization(WHO) has identified that the greatest numbers of overweight among these age groups live in South Central Asia. While obesity cases in developed countries also doubled in recent years.

How obesity swells out

Gaining a few extra pounds does not readily makes a person obese. But once his body mass index, or BMI, is more than 30 kilograms/m², he is considered obese. BMI is computed this way: weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in metres (kg/m²). Simply put, a child can be called obese when his weight is already at least 10% higher than normal for his height and body type.

Unless the problem is genetic, obesity in children and teens are due to unhealthy lifestyle.

Unhealthy eating habits. One of the contributing factors why many poor families in developing countries have unhealthy eating habits is that they are not aware or they lack proper knowledge regarding sound approaches to nutrition. They are passive targets of aggressive marketing of high-fat, energy-dense, high salt and sugar foods, and laboratory-concocted beverages.

Affordability and scarcity of healthy foods in their locality are other major issues that these families have to deal with, leaving them with no choice but to resort to cheap ‘junk’ foods. Likewise, it’s a common cultural belief in many rural areas that ‘a fat baby is a healthy baby’. That’s why they are inclined to overfeed their children.

Junk foods

Sedentary lifestyle or lack of physical activity. Electronic games and a wide selection of television shows have efficiently kept children and teens glued to their seats before a screen for long hours. And this is a common problem in both developed and developing countries. Many children in highly urbanized centres, where space at home is limited, tend to just resort to passive television viewing and video games play than go out and get involved in active games.

How to manage weight  

Unless these two glaring issues were addressed properly, we will continue counting more overweight and obese in the next generations.

First and foremost, you have to consult with your family doctor to determine the cause of obesity in you child. If genetics is not an issue, then the next thing to do is to find ways to improve your child’s weight problem.

Of course, the obvious resolution is to minimize intake (not starve) of high-calorie foods, and to be conscious about nutrition content in the food your child takes. It’s important that your child or teen has the moral support of the entire family as he goes through the process of getting rid of obesity.

You should also encourage your child to play with other children outdoors. Or, you can go out together as a family and get involved in some physical activities like biking, or bouncing at public trampoline park.

Obesity in children and teens is indeed a major problem that needs to be addressed before complications and serious health conditions occur.


There is power in unity! The People’s Climate March has initially won. Thousand of Earth advocates came and responded to our call.

Soon after the September 21 mobilization, countries from across the globe have started making plans and executing concrete actions that are easier on the environment.

Little by little, we are heading forward…

The invitation…

Let’s make our voices heard!  On Sunday, September 21, let’s  go out of our comfort zone and join the People’s Climate March.  Let’s demand action for a cleaner planet and an economy that works for people.

PCM

This is not an invitation to change everything.  But at least, we, the citizens of planet Earth can make an impact that could swerve the course of history.

As heads of state from around the world meet for a historic summit on climate change, let us also seize the moment to demand action.  Action that may deliver us from the damaging effects of climate change.  UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon even exhorts governments to participate in a global agreement to minimize global warming pollution.

We are aware, however, that a single summit cannot “solve climate change”. But, as a unified and vigilant community, we have the power to organize and confront the power of fossil fuels.

The People’s Climate March is a worldwide activity with the primary purpose of urging heads of governments from all over the world to take concrete action to reduce the impact of climate change.  As these heads of state hold the climate change summit in September 2014, in New York City, we can organize a synchronized movement wherever we may be.

Check the schedule of events in your region or community and sign up.  You may even want to organize an event in your locality, if there is none yet.

Let’s make this weekend a historic event for all mankind.  Our future is on the line here.

By the way, have you ever wondered how much climate change has already claimed of our planet Earth?  Let Kelly Nyks and Jared P. Scott show you the extent of damage and its potential threat in their film, DISRUPTION.   

After the September 21 People’s March…..

We made the largest mobilization ever!

Hundred of thousands join the People’s Climate March in New York and in more than 2,000 communities all over the world to call to action on the threats of climate change.  It’s the largest mobilization ever!

Our concerted effort and solidarity is our initial victory towards building a sustainable society. We have put forward our message of making the governments of the world know that we, the citizens of planet Earth, are seriously concerned about the growing threats of climate change.

As heads of states gather for a summit on the issue, we hope that they come up with concrete and workable plans to resolve the problem of climate change, so that we may translate our initial victory into pursuing concrete actions to save the world by creating a community powered by 100% clean energy.

We shall continue the march towards a sustainable path by building better and healthier climate along the way.

Thank you all for your active participation in the September 21 historic event. Scroll down to see the evidence of our solidarity.

New York, USA
New York, USA
New York, USA
New York, USA
Honolulu, USA
Honolulu, USA
Rio, Brazil
Rio, Brazil
Athens, Greece
Athens, Greece
Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona, Spain
Genoa, Italy
Genoa, Italy
Rome, Italy
Rome, Italy
Berlin, Germany
Berlin, Germany
Munich, Germany
Munich, Germany
Bristol, United Kingdom
Bristol, United Kingdom
London, United Kingdon
London, United Kingdom
London, United Kingdom
London, United Kingdom
Ottawa, Canada
Ottawa, Canada
Paris, France
Paris, France
Paris, France
Paris, France
Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, Australia
Sydney, Australia
Sydney, Australia
Bogota, Colombia
Bogota, Colombia
Bogota, Colombia
Bogota, Colombia
Bujumbura, Burundi
Bujumbura, Burundi
Loliondo, Tanzania
Loliondo, Tanzania
Lome, Togo
Lome, Togo
Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi, Kenya
Wilderness, South Africa
Wilderness, South Africa
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Delhi, India
Delhi, India
Delhi, India
Delhi, India
Delhi, India
Delhi, India
Kathmandu, Nepal
Kathmandu, Nepal
Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul, Turkey
Jakarta, Indonesia
Jakarta, Indonesia
Avaaz Executive Director, Ricken Patel, presents the 2 million-strong petition to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the People's Climate March, New York
Avaaz Executive Director, Ricken Patel, presents the 2 million-strong petition to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the People’s Climate March, New York

The results of the summit and the People’s Climate March…..

Our efforts paid off… and we’re moving on!

After the historic September 21 event, we are now beginning to see some progress on Climate Change.  The people power and the summit of leaders have initially produced some victories.  For one, climate change is now in the European agenda.

Meanwhile, one of the most popular malls in the Philippines has launched the world’s largest solar power on its facility.

The SM Supermalls has installed 5,700 solar panels on its North EDSA branch on November 24, 2014.  The system is said to generate 1.5 megawatts of solar energy, covering five percent of the store’s average daily electricity consumption.  This translates to a two million pesos savings per month on the part of the retail giant.

This development will significantly help ease the looming problem that the country’s energy sector has foreseen.  The Energy Department has projected earlier that if the country does not adjust accordingly, the northern part of the Philippines might experience energy shortage of around 300 megawatts to 1,000 megawatts in the summer months of 2015.

Moreover, SM Prime Holdings also promised to launch two similar solar power projects at its SM Dasmarinas and Mall of Asia branches soon.


Senile coconut trees are still economically sound even beyond their fruit-bearing years. It only takes ingenuity to make them useful. Locals in the Asia-Pacific region turn these waste into items that generate extra income for them.

Coconut trees are productive up to 80 years of its life.  Beyond this period, they have to be cut down to make way for high yielding varieties. But instead of leaving them in the fields to rot, the locals in the coconut-growing countries convert them into some useful items.

senile coconut trees

Commercial products from senile coconut trees

Coconut farmers in the Asia-Pacific region know too well that rotten coconut trees are a breeding ground for pests, rodents, and insects – intruders that are unwanted in their farms and homes! And so, to minimize the waste from fallen coconut trees, the locals convert them into some commercially-viable products. Some of the items they have developed include:

Coconut lumber. Coco lumber is now considered a viable alternative to hardwood. Several suppliers and manufacturers are already making this a profitable business as demand for this type of wood continues to grow. It costs much less than the conventional hardwood.

Coconut fiberboard. The spathe, coir, and fronds of a coconut are major components of the coconut fiberboard (CFB). Manufacturers mix these fiber components with shredded wood and Portland cement to come up with some basic construction materials. Particularly, they make bricks, tiles, asbestos, cement hollow blocks, and plywood out of these components.

Charcoal. The coconut trunk and other sawmill residues are found to be a good source of charcoal and for energy. In the Philippines, particularly, the agriculture sector converts the coconut trunk charcoal into briquettes for greater strength and density. There’s now an increasing demand for these briquettes abroad.

senile coconut trees

Broomsticks. The central vein that holds the coconut leaves together is by no means the least useful part of the coconut tree. It’s an efficient cleaning tool. In most Asian households, broomsticks are used to sweep and collect the dried leaves on their yard. It’s also used to remove the cobwebs and other dross. Broomsticks are called by different names in southeast Asia. Indonesians call it sapu lidi. While in the Philippines, it is called walis tingting in Tagalog or silhig in Cebuano.

Usually, the locals make one or two sets of broomsticks for their own use at home. Or, they may produce several bunches of it to sell at the market for additional income.

And with a bit of ingenuity, broomsticks make good Christmas tree, too. In some rural homes in the Philippines, the locals would turn a bunch of broomstick upside down. They meticulously decorate it with whatever comes up to their fancy. And… voila! You’ll be surprised at how the humble broomsticks transform into a beautiful Christmas tree.

senile coconut trees

Palm Sunday fronds. Coconut fronds are most in-demand on Palm Sunday. Catholic believers, particularly in the Philippines, use them for palaspas or decorated palm fronds.

Firewood. Bundles of dried coconut palms are a common sight in rural Philippine markets. The locals use them for firewood.

Food wraps. Aside from its seasonal demand during Lent, the palm fronds are also used to wrap foods. Some regional delicacies in the Philippines are contained in coconut leaves. In the Visayas and Mindanao regions, it’s common to see ready-to-go steamed rice in the market or at the barbecue stands. Locally called puso, this meal is the best match for barbecue and roasted pig (lechon). The locals informally call puso ‘hanging rice’ because they are displayed in the market exactly that way – hanging in bunches!  

Toothpicks and other uses. Did you know that some of the toothpick brands in the market are made of coconut midribs? Not only that! Midribs have also been used as barbecue skewers and brushes. They make beautiful home decors, too.

Novelty items. The brown fiber (guinit or ginit) that wraps around the coconut palms makes a strong material for some novelty items. The locals recycle them into fans, handbags, wooden bakya slipper straps, and many other home decors. In the olden times, helmets and caps were made out of guinit too. Although, these items are rarely seen now, if there is still any, at all.

With a bit of ingenuity, senile coconut trees can still be recycled into some income-generating products. By doing so, we reduce a few carbon footprints.

Would you consider patronizing recycled products from senile coconut trees?

 

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