Cebu City, Philippines – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

A tourist visiting Cebu City for the first time may well be turned off by some of the city sites. The city has several world class resorts, hotels, beaches and dive sites. It also has some areas of the world’s most devastating poverty. Cebu City is the capital city of the Cebu Province and it is the second largest city in the Philippines following Manila. I always feel at home in the city and lived in the city before building my home in the rural Cebu Province of Camotes Islands. Cebu City is a mix of the old and new, rich and poor, good and bad and pretty and ugly. There is also the mix of clean and really dirty or filthy. The rule for anyone going to Cebu for the first time is to not make a snap judgment.

My first trip to Cebu City was in February 2004. I went to the Philippines to meet a girl (Judith) now my wife. I flew into the Cebu-Mactan Airport and was met by Judith and one of here sisters. My flight started in Florida and the last leg of the flight was from Hong Kong. The Cebu International airport is just a little outdated, but very functional. Once outside of the airport doors I saw waves of people waiting to meet people coming off of the flight from Hong Kong. The airport was not all that busy when I arrived and I think my plane was the only arriving flight at the time. As people from my flight walk outside of the airport door they were bombarded with shuttle, taxi and V-hire greeters, all trying to get a fare. I met Judith just outside the airport doors. She, her sister and I all jumped into an old Kia Taxi and we were off to my hotel.

The taxi was old and not very well maintained. The Air conditioner didn’t work and the window wouldn’t go down. Of course that didn’t matter as I couldn’t close the door because the door latch was broken. So, I got lots of air. The hotel was about a 30 minute drive from the airport. As we traveled the city streets I saw crowded sidewalks made even more crowded by the many sidewalk vendors and street vendors. Some of the roads we traveled were moderately maintained while others were in very poor condition. The roads were crowded with many types of cars, but mostly Kia’s and Hyundais. There were also a lot of Jeepneys, a Philippine traditional method of travel. A jeepney looks like a stretched army jeep with a hardtop and a large cargo area used for two benches for passenger seating. Jeepneys are normally painted with several different colors and lots of chrome. Many of the jeepneys are poorly maintained and most have bald tires and the braking systems may be questionable. Also, there were lots of small motorcycles.

After traveling just a few minutes I decided that the most dangerous vehicle in …

Why Mentors Matter To Your Career

Mentoring is not a common business practice these days. That's too bad – whether you are looking for a job or simply managing a burgeoning career, a mentor can be of assistance.

A good mentor will provide impartial advice, coach you and answer questions, help prepare you for unfolding career challenges, and may teach you new skills. For example, he or she may use role playing to prepare you for tough interviews. A mentor may even be able to help open some doors, enabling you to land interviews with employers that you'd otherwise attempt to get into (more on this point to follow.) Mentoring is traditionally not something you pay for – generally, successful business people volunteer for this role because someone helped them in a similar way in the past. On a paid basis, similar assistance is available from career coaches.

For many of us, as we move through our practitioners, the closest we come to mentors is our supervisors. In rare cases, an exceptional supervisor may truly provide some of the benefits of a mentor. But mentors should be impartial, and a supervisor is anything but impartial. Here are more guidelines:

  • Do not necessarily include friendship on the list of criteria for a mentor. Mutual respect, candid, trust are all good – but if your mentor becomes your buddy, will she tell you need to dress differently? Will he tell you to stop feeling sorry for yourself? Look for friendship elsewhere – you need something entirely different from your mentor.
  • Remember that mentoring is a two way street. Perhaps there are skills you can offer to reciprocate -teaching them internet skills, maybe, or offering to house sit. Or depending something more in line with a small Christmas present, homemade cookies or just a heartfelt letter. You will hopefully come to know you mentor well enough to select the appropriate expression.
  • Your mentor may expect you to set the pace. Some protégés require assistance only periodically. You should clearly communicate your requirements – for example, monthly meetings or sometimes you only need to meet on an as-needed basis. If you do not establish and communicate your expectations, do not be surprised if they are not met.
  • Recognize the limits. Let's say you want a job at XYZ company, and you know that your mentor has a friend there. Understand that your mentor may not be able to (or want to) take advantage of that relationship in any way. Or, let's say they do take advantage of the relationship and manage to get you an interview. Should this occasion, recognize that you have asked your mentor to put his or her relationship with a valued college on the line. If you miss the interview, or get hired and perform poorly, your mentor is likely to feel that you have violated their trust. Bottom line: walk this path carefully!
  • > A mentor's assistance is more akin to that of an exercise coach than an emergency room physician. They can not work