How to reduce acads-related stress with Evernote

You've probably heard about Evernote, arguably the most popular note-taking app today. Thousands of professionals have praised the app's ubiquity, simplicity, and sophistication. And the app's slogan -- "Remember everything" -- seems to be less an ideal than a description of reality.

But Evernote is a perfect tool for students, too. Below are some of the ways Evernote can make your life at university less stressful:

Take crisp, high-contrast photos of library materials. 

Xerox is dead. The time of the photocopying machine is gone. If you can't take home particular books from the university library (e.g. The Book of Forbidden Potions and Curses), save money instead by using Evernote's "document camera". Just aim the camera at the document, wait for about three seconds, and the app will automatically capture the page with amazing fidelity. Use tags to make future searches much, much easier.

Write multimedia lecture notes. 

If you happen to be a digital note-taker -- as opposed to an analog note-taker -- (either, by the way, has its own set of advantages and disadvantages), you can use Evernote to record your instructor's main points. AND you can take photos of the whiteboard or slides using Evernote's hi-res document camera. Plus, you can voice-record the lecture as well (ask for your prof's permission, though, before doing this).

Search -- including images! 

Say you took pictures of a city map which, of course, includes street names. If you search for a particular street name, the portion of the map with that particular street name will also appear -- with that street name highlighted!

I can add another one -- use Evernote for your research papers -- but that deserves a post (or series of posts) of its own.

So, yeah, bring Evernote to school -- and remember everything.

Text and illustration: Daryl Zamora
Disclaimer: This post is (unfortunately) not sponsored by Evernote.

3 tips to find more sources for your research paper

A modern Sherlock -- that's you!

Can't find enough library resources for your research paper? Ugh. I know how you feel.  *a tear fell*

I mean, you can't force your library to hire an expert to write the book you are looking for. Much less can you compel the library personnel to be actually useful by politely suggesting other archives which might be helpful.

But the good news is: You can mine your preliminary sources for MORE sources! 

Here are some tips (but note that this assumes you can no longer visit libraries off campus because of time and financial constraints):

1. Browse your current sources' bibliographies.

"Hmm. This guy has sources with nice-sounding names...Petrodenokovich..."

Your current sources -- if they're good enough, such as academic journals and the like -- have reference pages or bibliographies which can lead you to other sources. You'll be quite sure the references listed there are credible enough (although it's also good to actually know your source's opinion about them; it just might turn out that your source cited them only to debunk their ideas).

Then Google them. Input them in your library's electronic portal. Maybe your library even has them in some obscure shelf.

2. Contact "stakeholder organizations".

Members of the Society for the Protection of Teachers Against Hyperactive Students and Other Creatures 

For example, if you're doing research on hot-button issues like divorce, try emailing or tweeting or sending Facebook messages to organizations advocating either side of the debate. Ask them to send you some resources, or at least refer you to websites or institutions that might have the information you need.

Be extra prudent, though, when selecting information from advocacy organizations. They can be very biased sometimes.

3. Contact your preliminary sources themselves!

"Oh, yes, dear, we can have a chat with her all the way from the Afterlife. Unlicall."

Say, you have a recent unpublished master's thesis among your current sources. Use your digitally-inclined inner Sherlock and contact the thesis writer. Ask if she can recommend other sources, or if she has some tip about where to look for information. And compliment her about her awesome thesis.

That's it. Good luck and onward with the research paper!

Text and illustrations: Daryl Zamora

Win the war against procrastination

The dreaded accounting exam is in three days. So is that position paper. And that group project which -- after looking at your groupmates' "contributions" -- is actually individual in nature.

It's time to go to war -- Sparta style -- against procrastination. Three apps can help:

1. Wunderlist

It's the simplest yet most amazing listing app out there. A stunning eyecandy, Wunderlist also draws its beauty from its sync-to-all-your-gadgets-in-real-time capability. And last but not least, you'll be thrilled by the cute "ding!" it makes when you check another to-do out of the list.

Wunderlist is perfect when you are still figuring out the things you need to do. List everything there, and then proceed to...

2. Google Calendar

Google's built-in calendar seems to be the most sophisticated and convenient in the digital world. Its click-and-drag ease and omnipresence in the Google realm are its finest features.

So when you begin your day to finish all those school requirements, make sure you convert your Wunderlist to-dos into Google Calendar's 'activity boxes'. Just click and extend the box to the period you want to spend on a task (say, "Write draft of the @%#$& position paper") -- and that's it.

The best thing about calendaring your day's activities is, of course, seeing how orderly your day is going to be. Now, really, you have a battle plan.

And, trust me, Google Calendar is user-friendly: explaining here how it works is a waste of time, yours and mine. Try it now. But first, you have to download...

3. Pomodoro Keeper

I use its iOS app, and it's just awesome.

Pomodoro Keeper takes its name from Francesco Cirillo's "Pomodoro Technique", a time management method which allocates 25 minutes of focused work and five minutes of rest every half hour (or pomodoro session); the break stretches to 20 minutes every after four sessions.

Many people found the technique effective. I have, too. And I think its success lies in its emphasis on focus and leisure in every working period. It keeps you awake!

And yes, Pomodo Keeper seems to be the best tool in following the Pomodoro technique. It has a neat interface and very discreet audio prompts (to signal break-time or back-to-work). The ticking clock is also a great help to keep you on your toes (or fingertips) and finish the job on time.


But then, apps can only do so much. The ultimate factor to winning our war against sloth is a firm will and -- if things didn't turn out well -- the Spartan mettle to cry, "Ahoo! Ahoo! Ahoo!" not "Huhuhu!"

Text and illustration: Daryl Zamora

To read or not to read? Pocket it

"There is a time for everything." Ecclesiastes 3:1

Ever caught yourself stumbling upon an exciting article, and you know you shouldn't read it...yet? 

Like, when you're doing serious research on climate change for a class the next day, and you find an article on the making of Avengers: Age of Ultron, or a new teaser for Star Wars: Episode VII...

Common sense dictates you shouldn't browse that article or video right now. Maybe next time. But then, you say, I'll surely forget about it if I don't do it now. What dilemma! If only there's an app to deposit all the articles you want to peruse some other time...

The good news is, there's indeed an app for that. And it does its job beautifully.

Pocket works in all smart gadgets | Image by Pocket

Pocket can help students and pros alike to save time online. Just download the app on your mobile gadget and the extension on your browser.

So every time you encounter an interesting article -- and it's not yet the best time to read it -- just click the Pocket extension button. It will instantly save the webpage's text and images into your Pocket account.

And when you finally get the time to read -- say, during commute or in the loo -- you open the Pocket app in your tablet or smartphone -- and voila, it's there, in gloriously clean format. It works even while you're offline.

Pocket's seamless interface on a browser | Image by Pocket

Try it for a week or two. We at iCPA have done it. You'll be amazed how much time you can save and use in the proper way.

Text and illustration: Daryl Zamora

How to NOT waste time on Facebook

You know how it goes.

You log into Facebook…and then get lost in an endless stream of singing cats, beaches, selfies, celeb news, and your friends’ emo posts. Before your know it, three hours have passed. (And you haven’t even done your iCPA mock exam!)

Now you wonder: there’s got to be a way to avoid the news stream — yet without abandoning Facebook altogether!

Well, consider this your lucky day — the Chrome extension Kill News Feed does precisely that. It frees you from the feed, and instead gives you a sobering piece of wisdom: “Don’t get distracted by Facebook!”

All other functionalities — private messages, notification, groups, etc. — are retained. So you can still look forward to something new whenever you log in. After all, it’s really just the news feed that’s a time-waster.

And the best part of Kill News Feed? You can disable it anytime — but preferably only on weekends and holidays. ;)

Text and illustration: Daryl Zamora

Get fit this summer -- at Rizal Park

Who is his right mind would go to Rizal Park this summer?

The concrete esplanade is a giant frying pan. Winds are on vacation. And Rizal’s very bones must be sizzling inside their kiln — er — monument.

But I disagree.

Typical morning at Rizal Park

Rizal Park is among the best places you can visit this season(!) — especially if you’re into fitness. Just be at the park by sunrise. You’ll be amazed at how the place can awaken with life, music, and colors as fitness enthusiasts of all types converge in the area. Here are some of what you -- dear accountants and iCPA friends -- can do when you’re there:

1. RUN

The distance around the park and the Quirino Grandstand is about 3 km! So it’s easy to track your progress. No wonder the place has become a favorite among runners casual and pro. And since it’s still early in the morning, you need not worry about vehicle smoke. Besides, the upbeat, wake-me-up music playing at the park’s central fountain will be your loudest cheerer.



Not the running type? Another option can be the aerobics “marathon” held around 6 am at the park’s “pocket court” beside the National Library; or the one at the Quirino Grandstand, between the carabao statues along Roxas Boulevard. People there are hyper, singing “let’s get loud” along with JLo.

Raise the roof!


Somewhere near the Inang Bayan statue on the south side of the park is a group of tai chi enthusiasts. Some of them are Chinoy senior citizens. Their moves have always captivated me. Reminds you of Kung Fu Hustle in slow motion. And, yes, you’re free to imitate them! They won’t kick you out. And if they do, it’ll be in painless slow-mo.

Too bad, the tai chi peeps were already done when I arrived.

And when you’re too tired to do any of the above, you always can feed the pigeons near the Maria Orosa St. part of the park. Feed them — or chase them.

Rizal Park on a Monday morning
Skyline pigeons
Text and photos: Daryl Zamora

Forget the beach: Remember the past at the National Museum

And so we’re back with more destinations where accountants and iCPA fans can actually enjoy the summer as if in a sparsely-populated beach (a mythical place while summer lasts).

Today we recommend...the National Museum!

The National Museum | Photo from the Official Gazette

With excellent air conditioning system, awesome lighting, and exhibits that will leave you starstruck (“I used to read about Juan Luna’s Spoliarium in high school -- and now it’s right in front of me! Am I dreaming? AM -- I -- DREAMING?”), the Museum is definitely a must-see.

The Museum’s facade feels like a stage, because it is a stage of sorts: in 1935 Manuel Quezon was sworn in here as the President of the Commonwealth in front of hundreds of Filipinos and some American colonists. Other important state events were also held here.

At that time, the building was called the Legislative Building. The upper floors housed the Senate, while the lower ones the House of Representatives.

What used to be the Senate session hall | Photo by the foodietraveller

But the building was almost levelled to the ground during World War II. Heavy shelling destroyed its ceilings and walls; it was nearly impossible to rebuild it. But the government did rebuild it, thank God. It returned to being Legislative Building, until the House of Representatives moved to its new site in Quezon City in 1977 and the Senate to Pasay City in 1996.

The Old Legislative Building (now the National Museum) was bombed during the Battle of Manila, 1945 | Photo from the Official Gazette

Oh, about the Museum.

Its obra maestra is, of course, Juan Luna’s Spoliarium, which is located in the old session hall of the House of Representatives. It is HUGE -- four-by-seven meters. I once thought it’s something hung on a wall. You’ll need to stand a few feet from it to get a decent, capture-the-entire-thing selfie.

Juan Luna’s Spoliarium | Screengrab of photo by Kristine

There’s also a gallery of old religious artifacts from different parts of the country. Mostly you’ll find intricately yet coarsely sculptured santos and altarpieces. The gallery is a beautiful look at how native Filipinos adopted Christianity and expressed their faith through art.

Santos and retablos | Photo by the Weekend Sightseer

As for paintings -- you’ll swoon and drown. Lunas, Resurreccion Hidalgos, Franciscos, Edadeses, Lorenzos, Manansalas, de la Rosas, Amorsolos, and Zobels. You’ll see them hung dignified in various galleries.

Botong Francisco’s Progress of Medicine in the Philippines | Image by Pammy

And, of course, sculptures of various materials and subjects by some of the greatest Filipino sculptors, among them Tolentino, Tampinco, Abueva, and no less than Jose Rizal!

Jose Rizal’s Mother’s Revenge | Photo by Rouella Christina

You think museum-lounging is boring? Think again.

And entrance is free on Sundays. ;) Learn more about the National Museum here.

- Daryl Zamora