Category Archives: Business

Bioengineering

I’m glad to have stumbled upon this photo posted by DPWH Secretary Mark Villar in his Facebook page in July. The photo showed segment of Tarlac Pangasinan La Union Expressway (TPLEX). According to Sec. Villar, coco net and vertiber grass are being utilized in the 11-km segment of TPLEX to prevent soil erosion. The photo also carries hashtags #BuildBuildBuild and #Bioengineering.

DPWH Sec. Mark Villar photo

According to Wikipedia, bioengineering means the application of principles of biology and the tools of engineering to create usable, tangible, economically-viable products.

Sun-dried coconut halves

In 2012, I (with other bloggers) was able to observe how coco net are made — from drying coconut halves to decorticating the husks, twining the fibers, and finally weaving the net – during a tour at the green social enterprises in Las Piñas organized by the Villar Foundation. 

Decorticating machine separates coco fibers from coconut husk

Twining and weaving nets from coconut husks is just one of the social enterprises of the foundation. The other livelihood projects include handloom weaving, house waste composting, vermin composting, producing hollow blocks from trash, and crafting baskets from water hyacinths.

Worker separates fiber for twining

The development of these livelihood projects was an offshoot of an endeavor to clean and revive the Las Pinas-Zapote River.

The husks not thrown on the river were left on the sidewalks and the city had to spend more to haul the garbage. Trash collectors failed to collect sacks of coconut husk so they end up polluting the river.

Twining the coconut fibers to create ropes

To address the growing problem with coconut husks that were left on the sidewalks, Mrs. (now Senator) Cynthia Villar , managing director of the Villar Foundation, initiated and met with experts from Bicol University for the Coco Coir technology.

Twines are weaved in the loom to create nets

Dr. Justino Arboleda, an agricultural engineer, designed the machinery to make the coco-net. Coco Coir Enterprise utilizes coconut husk and convert them into coco net.

Finished coco nets are used for slope protection and control soil erosion. Coco nets are being used by Las Piñas City and private developers.

Congratulations, Sec. Villar for supporting #bioengineering techniques to complete government projects under the #BuildBuildBuild program. This sure saves a lot of government fundings.

Tips for Stay-at-Home Moms: Home-Based Jobs

“Stay-at-home mom” is a title that has significantly evolved in the past decade — in large part because “stay at home,” thanks to the digital revolution, no longer means “non-working.” A home computer with an internet connection is the portal to innumerable flexible options, and if you’re a stay-at-homer looking to add part- or full-time work to your home-based schedule, there are many paths you can pursue. Earning an income for your family while simultaneously caring for your family (and being present) has recently become much easier — you just have to determine what type of work is best for you.

Know Thyself, Skillset and Schedule

First, you must ask yourself these questions: What are you looking to get out of home-based employment? Would you sacrifice a higher salary for something personally rewarding? Or would you rather be earning at a higher rate for work that isn’t necessarily fulfilling? Whatever your goals, keep in mind the schedule in which you can achieve them. Do you have a solid seven hours of time when your children are at school, or is your free time scattered throughout the day as you tend to a toddler, or your home? And does your environment allow for the quiet necessary for phone-heavy jobs, or is it louder and more chaotic — requiring most communication to occur via email? Know the answers to these questions, and you’re on your way to exploring the following employment options.

Learn a High-Demand Skill

If decent pay is high on your list of priorities, it wouldn’t hurt to invest your time or money in learning a high-demand skill. Computer coders and programmers, for instance, are often needed across all industries. On a small scale, any company that maintains a functioning website requires an employee with some degree of code familiarity. On a large scale, startups and digitally-based companies are always often in search of reliable programmers and developers to add to their team. These opportunities are both freelance and permanent hires that work remotely, so you’d be able to fit your own work schedule around your established lifestyle.

Similarly, many companies (particularly smaller companies) hire freelance clients to do web-design — the actual site graphics — that has nothing to do with coding. Learning Photoshop skills or taking a graphic design class could be a fantastic investment that will allow you to start freelancing on your own as a visual designer.

Follow Your Passions

If the search for a home-based job is centered more around self-fulfillment than finance, the first thing to ask yourself is: “What do I love to do?” If your passion is making art or crafting, check out sites like Etsy.com. Individuals can set up their own digital store and sell their unique homemade products. If you’ve wanted to make and sell your own ceramics for years but have put it on hold as a stay-at-home-mom, you should know that there are many ways to sell your products online from your own living room.

If you’re passionate about teaching, you can start your own tutoring business from home. Or, if you’d like to stay digital, you can seek out jobs on sites like TutorVista.com that hire individuals to tutor students online.

And if you’re passionate about an organization or charity, seek out jobs in their marketing department that can be performed remotely. Many smaller organizations may not even have a centralized office, but rather hire individuals who can work from home. Charities and non-profits are often in need of marketing employees, and while the pay may not be the highest, knowing you’re helping spread the word about your passion can be incredibly rewarding.

Know Where You’re Needed

If you can’t find a field that appeals to you and are more concerned with a consistent paycheck, look for positions that aren’t necessarily glamorous, but are necessary. Data entry, for example, exists throughout all industries and can often be operated remotely. Companies will hire employees to manage their databases and upkeep their systems. And although tedious, these types of jobs allow you assignments that are finite and accomplishable so you can go on to do other things at home. Learn software like Excel, Oracle, SQL Server, and Amazon’s SimpleDB. Data management isn’t going away anytime soon. Just be careful—there are a lot of ads out there that promote home-based jobs, and they are often scams. Before you sign up or submit anything, be sure to do your research.

Writing content for websites is also a niche position that many people making a living off of. If you’re better with words than number data, you might want to consider checking out freelancing sites like upwork.com. Oftentimes you’ll start with very low rates, but after gaining some experience you can charge higher numbers in exchange for guaranteed quality content. In addition, learn how SEO works; much of the content purchased by companies for their digital sites take SEO into consideration when publishing.

There are also phone-based positions offered by many companies. Think telemarketing, but the caller calls you. This can include IT help, sales, and customer service lines. And many of these jobs are also shifting to home-based work — the image you might have of a large call center is becoming less and less accurate as corporations save office lease costs by keeping their employees at home.

No matter what job you decide to pursue, don’t be discouraged by the vastness of choice. Sometimes jobs will be right in front of your nose, and other times you’ll feel like you’re stumbling around in the dark. Keep looking, pursuing leads, and evaluating what it is exactly that you’d like to get out of home-based employment, and how you can achieve these goals.

4 Types of Inspections to Have Done Before You Buy a House

Your home is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make. Finding the right home can be a process. You want to make sure that it’s the right size, has the right features, and fits the needs of you and your family.

Before you close the deal on a new house, a home inspection is needed to make sure that there are no significant underlying issues. While the home inspection can tell you a lot, it can’t tell you everything. If you’re looking to buy a home in Houston, here are four other types of inspections you should have done.

Pest Inspection

Having your home inspected by pest control specialists houston tx will help to detect the smallest signs of an infestation. They can also check for issues that can attract potential pests, eliminate pests, and help homeowners to take steps to keep pests from coming back.

Septic Inspection

If the home you’re looking at has a septic tank, you should consider a septic inspection. This type of inspection is done to determine when the tank was last pumped, how close the tank is to wells and streams, and if the tank is the appropriate size for the house.

HVAC Inspection

The HVAC system is vital for keeping the air in your comfortable home all year round. A dirty, poorly-maintained system is more likely to break down or fail, which could then lead to a very expensive repair bill. During an HVAC inspection, a professional will check all components of the system, which will tell you what kind of shape the system is in and how well it’s been maintained.

Buying a home is a major investment. Having the right kinds of inspections done will help to ensure that the home you choose is in good shape and will keep you and your family safe, secure, and comfortable.