Double Posts: Give Me That Half A Billion Pesos! – Plus My Lamentation As An Online Lottery Merchant

marilyn monroeMy needs and wants are not many. I’ve always thought I have not really been financially ambitious. Ok, that may not be an absolute certainty. But I irrefutably wouldn’t choose to do dealings business-wise relating to any form of gambling. I even rarely bet on a game of chance myself. Then how did I get to become a middleman for the Philippine Charity Lottery Office? A more critical question: Why am I still holding a franchise to operate this type of retail after all those tough years? How could I have let it box me in for too long?

Long story from a long time ago.

The first, original stall for its operation was originally set-up by my ex-husband – through the assistance of my elder sister who had connections inside the government agency. He decided to go for it despite the fact any connection to gambling matters is forbidden by his religion. He badly wanted to invest the money he had saved from working as an Overseas Contract Worker on a sure business that would give him a return on his capital. So he, or rather we, ended up as among the pioneers of online lottery-ticket generators of this nation some 13 years ago. Then something happened along the way. We were held up helplessly at gun point just barely outside our booth during a closing time one night. We lost the entire day’s sales which had to be remitted to PCSO (government agency). The misfortune discouraged him severely. As a consequence, he came to the conclusion I might do a better job of managing everything – due to my commerce background and more structured conceptions – thereby passing on to me his minuscule business; with all the responsibilities holding such a franchise entails. It turned out, as time went on, I could manage things more effectively than him. Until resentments ensued and ramifications of changes that occurred started playing a part in the dissolution of our relationship and – in the end – our marriage. The earnings coming from the business had proved insufficient, too, to support the three of us – him, my son, and me. He finally proceeded in converting all the franchise documents to my name so he’d completely be free from all legal commitments to the main office. A few months later, he left us and never came back.

The course of maintaining and operating such a franchise are far from uncomplicated. I am seriously thinking of giving it up – now that my son has already completed college. The red tape, daily remittance, prompt submission of reports which take too much work weigh heavily against the minimal income the franchise is currently generating. The low return has been compounded by the numerous other outlets the Main Office had approved to sprout within the vicinity of my lottery booth. I often ruminate these days on how operating it isn’t worth the troubles anymore. The feeling of being stuck with the system, with all those accompanying demands, has added to my growing indifference, too. For now, I’m in the dark as to how all this will end.

Funny how lottery mimics some major parts of our lives. Anything can happen. There are no guarantees. Life can be a game of chance.


In this country, winning that much amount of a jackpot prize means you have been stamped “DEAD” on your forehead or scheduled for extinction very very soon.

If you think keenly about it – given the circumstance of our cash-strapped society – who can you trust aside from your immediate family while in possession of that much amount of dough?

Scary, isn’t it? Yet I bet nobody can stop you from falling in long line to grab even the slimmest chance of winning the sum above.

You should know: The chance of getting struck by lightning thrice (yep, that’s 3X, baby) is higher than getting all the numbers right in any of the 6/45, 6/49, or 6/55 lotto game. It is that hard to hit a fortune through lottery. But my countrymen are incessantly fond of indulging in inexpensive games of chance. Proof of which are the millions of filipinos who visit lottery stores to purchase those tiny tickets everyday of their lives, hoping to get lucky and strike it rich. We most often feel it’s our only hope – in spite of the fact we’re simply buying the dream; allowing us a (rather quixotic?) differential mode of optimism. For the longest time, frolicking in Wishland where life is easier and cash-abundant has long been a national pastime in our country.  It’s free to dream anyway (except when procuring a lottery ticket), isn’t it?

When the pot prize gets to rise to half a billion pesos, there’s no doubt I’ll fall in line, as well, no matter how long it is – joining my fellow citizens here – in buying the dream.

Who knows?   

But first, I’d better make sure lightning doesn’t strike me first.


A few days ago, a younger blogger pal mentioned he was listening to songs of the Eagles and I went, “Why, I adore the Eagles!” Yes, the band remains to be my all-time favourite so I got busy looking for two of my most favourites from them: “One of These Nights” and “New Kid in Town” from You Tube. Lovely lyrics; rich and exquisite melodies. And I thought Don Henley and Glen Frey have the coolest voices ever.

Lady from Manila is a bona fide fan of the Eagles for infinity.

The full moon is calling

The fever is high and the wicked wind whispers and moans

You got your demons, you got desires

Well I got a few of my own.

Someone to be kind to in between the dark and the light

Loneliness will find you in between the wrong and the right.

I’ve been searching for the daughter of the devil himself

I’ve been searching for an angel in white

I’ve been waiting for a woman who’s a little of both

And I can feel her but she’s nowhere in sight.


You look in her eyes the music begins to play…

23 thoughts on “Double Posts: Give Me That Half A Billion Pesos! – Plus My Lamentation As An Online Lottery Merchant

  1. Hi five on the eagles but before I can comment let me quote something:

    Like all men in Babylon I have been a proconsul; like all, a slave; I have also known omnipotence, opprobrium, jail. Look: the index finger of my right hand is missing. Look again: through this rent in my cape you can see a ruddy tatoo on my belly. It is the second symbol, Beth. This letter, on nights of full moon, gives me power over men whose mark is Ghimel; but it also subordinates me to those marked Aleph, who on moonless nights owe obedience to those marked Ghimel. In a cellar at dawn, I have severed the jugular vein of sacred bulls against a black rock. During one lunar year, I have been declared invisible: I shrieked and was not heard, I stole my bread and was not decapitated. I have known what the Greeks did not: uncertainty. In a bronze chamber, faced with the silent handkerchief of a strangler, hope has been faithful to me; in the river of delights, panic has not failed me. Heraclitus of Pontica admiringly relates that Pythagoras recalled having been Pyrrho, and before that Euphorbus, and before that some other mortal. In order to recall analogous vicissitudes I do not need to have recourse to death, nor even to imposture.

    I owe this almost atrocious variety to an institution which other republics know nothing about, or which operates among them imperfectly and in secret: the lottery. I have not delved into its history; I do know that the wizards have been unable to come to any agreement; of its powerful designs I know what a man not versed in astrology might know of the moon. I come from a vertiginous country where the lottery forms a principal part of reality: until this very day I have thought about all this as little as I have about the behavior of the indecipherable gods or about the beating of my own heart. Now, far from Babylon and its beloved customs, I think of the lottery with some astonishment and ponder the blasphemous conjectures murmured by men in the shadows at twilight.

    • My dear pal, er..can you please give me some time to digest what you just wrote above? I’ll bring this to work with me today and think of an appropriate response. If I could. 🙂
      Let me get back to you a little later…

      Yeah, the two YTvideos from the Eagles are for you. The band has always been quite awesome. Just so you’ll get to know them better, too.

      Thank you for dropping by. See ya later. 🙂

  2. Rumi has this one line in his poem, which i will paraphrase for ya, he says: yes, the fish at the end of your line is worth 50 -60 gold pieces but is it really worth your freedom in the ocean ? This lottery thing from how you describe it sounds like that fish.

    I have a thing called the death bed test. Basically if you were on your death bed: would you regret that you didn’t work hard enough at the lottery job? Is this going to be the big regret as you slowly pass away? If not, then ….

    Also btw, frolicking in Wishland is how babies are made and there is nothing wrong with that.


    • I love that you use the fish in Rumi’s poem as a metaphor for my dilemma. Is it worth my freedom in the ocean? You can just fathom how much I’ve longed for the achievement of such freedom I even romanticized about it through the words in my gravatar profile.

      The death bed test is another confirmation how the job doesn’t weigh significantly on my happiness scale. Yet I’m also vague as to how to proceed with my life if I decide to give it up. It simply reflects a decision that I keep on postponing to make is looming on the horizon.

      Thank you very much for your cerebral comments, my dear friend. I hope you’ll like the songs, too.

      • It sounds like a conundrum. I couldnt see myself pushing for something I didnt want to be deep in, unless its drunken sex, but then short term gratification always wins.

        Seriously now. I think there is merit to playing things safe like keeping a business or staying in school. But I feel that the question is: do you see yourself growing the business, expanding it, reinvesting more money time and energy into it? Do you have a 5 year plan, 10 year plan? Or on the other hand, can you see yourself not missing it much if it were gone? Would it leave a gaping hole in your life if it were absent ? how much would you miss it? If You sold it, reinvesting the money you got from the profit and used it to do the things you wanted like travel or devote more time to writing, or dancing, or being an Eagles groupie (I’m just playing)

        I think the lottery business thing isn’t the main issue. The issue I feel from where I can see, and i might be wrong or full of shit, is that how do you want to live now that your son is in college and you are a bit freer. What do you want from life?

        This was never your dream. It is hard to create or envision a future for something that started out as someone else’s dream that got grafted onto the reality of your day to day.

        Man, this is a long comment. I hope i didn’t cross the boundary with just talking. Mrmary was a business man once in another life and after the first two failed, I had to take a moment and ask myself the same questions.

        Hope ur ok


    • Wonderful comment, MrMary.
      “This was never your dream. It is hard to create or envision a future for something which started out as someone else’s dream that got grafted onto the reality of your day to day.” You couldn’t have said it better. It actually feels like a nightmare on occasions when I get overwhelmed by the profusion of responsibilities and demands.

      I don’t think you’ll ever be happy becoming a hardcore businessman. Your ideals are way up high for a numbers man.

      I wouldn’t mind becoming an Eagles’ groupie, though. 🙂

      • There are many sides to MrMary , If there is a reason if it makes sense and involves something IM passionate about then I can do it, but I could never be a hard coure business dude. Too opinionated and hate selling shit

  3. Wow an ESL teacher and Lottery merchant! You certainly maintain a diverse portfolio Marj! Small Kiosk based businesses can be rough, do you carry other lottery based merchandise to support sales and potentially increase profits? You certain seem to be in a good location, high visibility, good looking location, you in a mall? But enough of the business babble (I have 20 years retail management experience on top of all the other stuff I’ve done) Great post! The Eagles are a great band… And your right, the only real people making on the lottery in the government….

    • I have something to tell you, Marty. It’s the job I’m not at all proud of, because it basically touches on gambling – something I’ve never been fond of. If not for my previous circumstances, I wouldn’t dare concern myself with it. Yet I am currently trapped :-(. Everybody around me advises me to hold on to it considering how difficult it is to secure a franchise, and that makes it harder for me to let go. So sometimes, I figure it might be better if I let fate decide on the matter.
      No, my booth isn’t inside a mall although I’m situated in a commercial area – and my more than mild apathy towards it is one of the reasons I’m not interested to carry any other lottery-based merchandise for variation or additional support.
      It’s great to learn you’ve had considerable experience in retail management. You, a rich guy now, most probably :-). Some people are cut out for business. Maybe I’m not.
      You’re right. The government gets the bulk of the profits. We agents get a mere 5% in which rent, operator salary, taxes, huge annual fees have yet to be deducted. Ugh.
      Now I’m the one who’s babbling. 🙂

      Thank you, dear Marty, for coming over and sharing your thoughts. I’m quite glad you like The Eagles as well. Awesome band.

      • I wish I was rich, if I were I’d be traveling out your way. I have friends through my current job that live in Cebu City that keep telling me I should come out and visit them and one day if I can afford it I will. The Philippines are on my list of travel destinations should I ever become wealthy enough to travel. I agree with you about gambling on a personal level, I’m not beyond playing cards with friends for money but I don’t normally play the lottery or go to casinos (enough though there are a bunch within a short drive of me).

    • It’s good to know the Philippines is on your list of places to visit if someday you will have the means to travel more. I am surprised many bloggers know of Cebu city – which is one of the loveliest tourist spots we’ve got here. I hope the opportunity for you comes sooner.

      I commend you for being able to resist the temptation of dropping by the casinos that proliferated around your area. I have never been to one myself, Thank heavens! I don’t even buy a lottery ticket from my own stall. I’d rather use the money to buy the tiny Coke in bottle which is of the same price. 🙂

  4. Chance, the riddle of cloaked opportunity with Murphy by your side. Do you think you might still be tethered to the lottery booth next year, where do you see the balance in your life going? Since you teach ESL, would offering tutoring in the fields of knowledge/education (to say elementary/high school) you have, be more financially viable than running a lottery booth? Just think maybe work towards something you like, and move away from what you see as not having a future in what you want to plan. Just thoughts…

    • In spite of my aversion to operating such a legal gambling franchise, it had given me financial aid during the times I seriously needed some. Now, I’m a little relieved my son has already finished college – so in case I lose one job, he won’t get affected anymore. I am an Accounting graduate and that doesn’t grant me the right or privilege to impart other fields of knowledge. Thinking about it, becoming an ESL instructor might be the only right course I’ve taken in my life.
      If I had my way, I’d do nothing but write and read blogs – including yours – all the time. 🙂
      Your every visit here engenders gladness in my heart. Thank you, Sean.

      • Always good to have a backup plan 🙂 Reading and writing, fun to work with when it’s what you want to do 🙂 It always interesting visiting your world, Marj, always a story to find…

    • This blog is serving as my memoir, Sean. Got no choice but to write every story I can pull from my past and present. I could only be shameless in doing so. 🙂
      Warmest Regards…Marj

      • Have you worked out how to write the stories from the future 🙂 if you have, please let me know… How’s the other writing going?

      • lol. Stories from the future? You just gave me a brilliant idea. Or maybe I’ll collaborate with you on that. he he..
        Meanwhile, my other blog has been stagnant for weeks. -sigh- I guess I’m a hopeless, broken poet… 🙂
        I like the latest one from you and your co-blogger. I hope you’ll come up with more love poems like that.

      • The future, you’ll have to let me know, I’m not able to get there yet to see how we collaborate on that one 😉

        Probably not broken, just read more than you write 🙂

        That one started out as a comment on a poem of hers, and then just morphed from there. Still plenty more poems in me yet 😉


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