About Helena

I have been balancing technical and creative skills since 2004.

* Freelance Article Writer, Editor, and Blogger *Β Bookworm *Β Geodetic Engineer *
* Geospatial Geek * Project Manager *Β Web Development Enthusiast *
* Data Engineer * Lawfully Wedded Wife *
* Wannabe Novelist *
* Open Source Advocate * Occasional Traveler *
*Digital Information Junkie*


Connect by commenting below,
click on the live links above for my professional profile,
or lurk inΒ my blog. πŸ™‚

last edited:
(09/23/2019 08:00pm)

72 thoughts on “About Helena

  1. Hi helen, im very proud of you and want to be like you. Im a graduate of Bachelor in science in Civil Engineering from one of the University in Cebu. Im having my review this coming June and to take the board exam this Nov. 2012. Im very inspired because of ur tips. Thanks for it and hope to get a lot of tips from you. Thank you.

  2. Hi Helen!
    I’m glad you have joined us in our company. And thank God for your talent! I, too, is an aspiring writer. Though my passion is more on novels and short stories. You’ve inspired me to go back to my writing. I miss it and I know it’s never too late to start over again. Thanks for your blog!!

  3. You can definitely see your expertise in the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.

  4. I emailed you but it bounced back – I replied to one of your mail in my yahoo account way back Nov 2012 (na niw ko lang nabasa)..

  5. Hi, Helen!:-) Just wanna ask who’s hosting this site? May downtime ba or ok ang service? How many months mo na pala sya ginagamit? Sorry daming tanong.

    Thank you very much:-)

    1. Hi Ma’am Van, this blog is hosted by a shared server of a good friend of mine. Actually, I don’t maintain it as much, I just write on WordPress blogging interface. Try Cavhost, I heard it’s good, local, and reliable. I’ve been using this since November 2010. πŸ˜‰

  6. Ate helen, sorry for not contacting you ha.. Super salamat sa tips mo. Ayun, success! Super thanks talaga. I’ll share ur blog sa fb if u dont mind.

    1. Oh wow congratulations! Engineer ka naaaa! hahahaha. πŸ™‚ Sure sure, do share. Take care. Mwah! See you sa next family reunion. Yey!

    1. Hi Arc! This blogging thing is a lifestyle and I have to maintain it because even way before we started working I was doing this. I cannot really imagine journeying otherwise. πŸ˜‰

  7. Hi ate elen. Im a civil engineering student. This is my 2nd sem. Can you give me some advice for the board exam? Thank you ? please email me. πŸ™‚

  8. Helen! Still remember me? From college? We lost connection but somehow I managed to find you again, 2010 GE Topnotchers. πŸ™‚ let’s catch up, e-mail me soon!

  9. Hi. I like your blog posts on wheninmanila. I have a lot of thoughts to share on ebooks and wonderful things to read. One such book is Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon. Looking to share inspiration with all kinds of creative people. If you want to share your thoughts as well, my email is available. Happy Reading!

  10. Hi, engr! πŸ™‚ Im a 3rd year student from Bicol University, taking up, well Geodetic engineering πŸ™‚ as early as this time, im getting very excited for the board and a little bit nervous. Our school just offered this course last 2010 or 2011 i think. so, there are no passers yet. Our pioneer batch will take the board this year. Seeing you as a top notcher and a UP graduate inspire me to be a GE also, but im worried about the topics that will show up on the day of exam.Please Please give me an advice or tips in preparing for the board, the topics and etc. THANK YOU THANK YOU VERY MUCH Eng.Helen πŸ™‚ im looking forward for your reply πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Kim! Thank you for visiting Helena! Wow! I am happy that I am helping you get motivated for the board exam. To be quite honest, I haven’t really practiced since last year. My life took unexpected turns and I ended up deciding not to pursue it for my career. Pero I am grateful pa rin na I took the board exam and got the license at the time. Plus it’s a gift that keeps on giving because I still get messages from people na natutulungan sila nung blog post series ko on how to top the board exam.

      It’s good to know Bicol University is now offering GE. Medyo kaunti lang ang schools offering this e; I still get the “Ano yun? Genetic engineering?” question from people when they ask me anong tinapos kong course. HAHA. πŸ˜€ I always have to explain and the most basic traditional explanation is the one about mojons and subdividing properties, though it’s not really just that these days. Good ice breaker though. Haha. Are you planning to do field work like our ancestors or are you into practicing geomatics and the exciting world of web development with GIS mapping?

      Okay, tips… Here in this blog, I had an entire series here of board exam tips. I wrote them a month after I passed the board exam para fresh na fresh pa sa memory ko yung mga techniques ko in reviewing when I share them with you. Five years ago is already half a decade and it’s really a loooong time ago. As you’ve seen, very specific ang mga tips na naibigay ko kasi fresh pa talaga from memory yan. In summary, it’s all a combination of time management, industrious practice, sacrifices, synergy with my board exam bestfriends, prayers, and sa totoo lang may luck factor din sa actual exam kung lalabas yung inaral mo. πŸ™‚ May mga inaral ako na hindi lumabas. Pero mga 80% lumabas kasi inaral ko lahat. You increase your luck by covering more topics.

      Basta kung afford mo na ma-review ang entire coverage of your exam at least three times, you’re good to go. First pass during review class, second pass during refresher classes, and third pass during your personal study time. If you can do a fourth, you’ve done more than I have during my time haha. And it’s always good to do that. You need to manage your time talaga. Make sacrifices with your time and social life because it’s temporary and for a good cause. I switched off my Facebook that time, masyadong distracting kasi for me. I did not particularly enjoy staying with competitive classmates or people from other schools. You don’t need that kind of extra pressure or negative energy when you are focusing on your goals lang. I made friends and we shared our review materials to each other pero I had my own thing going din pag nagre-review ako. May kakilala ako na nagdo-DOTA lang pero nag-top pa sa board exam pero ako kasi, I did not want to take any chances. Maigi na napaghandaan ko at hindi ko pagsisihan kasi binigay ko talaga lahat ng effort ko to achieve it. Yung iba siyempre ayaw nila i-reveal na nag-effort sila to top the exam or get their license as part of their bragging rights. I respect their beliefs but ako, I really worked it out.

      Also, take into account your particular learning style. I naturally like reading books. I used that to my advantage and got as many books as humanely possible at nag-solve ako ng nag-solve. Dapat kakambal mo na yung calculator mo, tipong kabisado mo na yung buttons kahit nakapikit ka. Haha. Some of my other besties, visual learners sila so may drawing drawing yung index cards nila at cartolina sa wall. Yung iba since grupo nag-stay sa apartment tapos nagrereview together, may mga mnemonic device kung saan-saan like sa fridge, sa CR, sa dingding, sa ceiling. Haha. Sobrang effective talaga nung mga nilagay ko sa manila paper sa dingding; talagang hindi ko nalimutan yung mga formula doon. May nakalagay pa sa tuktok na “Good morning, topnotch Engr. Helen Mary Labao” to motivate me daily sa umaga. Overkill talaga yung preparations ko, parang lulusob sa giyera. Haha. Ako na nga yung inaawat ng mga friends ko sa sobrang intense ko nung time na yun.

      In hindsight, medyo intense yung ginawa ko to get my license. In fact, pati nanay ko nagagalit kasi kapag nanonood sila ng TV sa tanghali nagagalit ako kasi ang ingay. I ended up moving out. People’s lives will not stop just because I have a goal. I had to make those adjustments because only I can understand the extent of my reviewing needs.

      Just keep it creative and fun habang inaaral mo. In my experience, the more fun you have during the review, the easier it is to remember the concepts especially yung mga RA at PD sa land laws! πŸ˜€ Tsaka magdasal ka rin. Nasa Quiapo ako nun then nagdasal talaga ako ng sobra. I had friends in the convent praying for me rin while I do the work. Nakatulong din yun na mabawasan yung kaba ko. Nag-iiyakan na nga sa Mass yung mga ka-review namin kasi pressured na pressured sila. Ako nun, parang chill na lang ako a week before the exam kasi ang aga kong nag-review. I stopped reviewing a week before. I think nagpa-spa yata ako nun or nanood ako ng movies at basically hindi na talaga ako sumisilip sa reviewers ko. Pinahinga ko talaga utak ko. Kinakabahan pa rin ako at nag-LBM pa ako during the first day of the exam, pero sobrang nakatulong yung aking early preparation and the idea na ginawa ko na lahat ng posible. Pati pagsuot ng red underwear na pamahiin ginawa ko. At tsaka naglagay ako ng coin sa medyas ko. Haha. Wala talaga akong pinalampas na preparations. Nakakatawa lang talaga yung ginawa kong iba hahahahaha.

      Sana ma-enjoy mo. Yung mga naging ka-close ko during board exam, a few of them are still my bestfriends at ninong at ninang sa magiging baby ko. <3 Yung iba nga dun pa nakakapag-asawa. πŸ™‚ Iba talaga ang bonding ng board exam.

      Good luck and I hope to hear from you next time as Engr. Kim. πŸ™‚

  11. i saw and read your blog about a Discalced Carmelite Novice. It was touching, beautiful, and inspiring.

    i am well versed on anything about cloistered nun/monks and if you have questions about Carmel, please feel free to email me.

    i am currently doing research on monastic life

  12. Hi Engr Helen! Good day πŸ™‚ Recently, my boyfriend and I have been going over your page for the past weeks. We just want to tell you how much we appreciate your tips for the board exam. Reading your articles, we got tons of ideas which did not easily occur on us.

    We will be taking the board exam next year. Just like you did, we are taking vast measures from the past few months to prepare us for the board. We have plotted schedules and take our review time seriously. We are also trying to read and gather every book that we think would help us for the board exam.

    We just want to know if our methods are practical and sufficient. Can you email us po so you can comment or suggest on them? :)Thank you! Wishing you the best in your career and family.

    1. Hi Chase! I am so sorry for the late reply. This pregnancy has gotten me bedridden , waddling like a penguin and slow like a turtle. Good to know you have your boyfriend as a study buddy. πŸ™‚ Sure, I can take a look at your review plan. Better to email me before I give birth kasi I’ll be offline by then haha. I’ll email you in a bit.

      1. Congratulations on your baby πŸ™‚ I’m so happy for you πŸ˜€ Thank your for making the effort of acknowledging our request even though you’re bedridden. We really appreciate this πŸ™‚ We already emailed you ate Helen, thanks!

        1. Hi Chase! Naku may atraso sa inyo ng boyfriend mo. A lot of tragedies happened to me. My son came out okay. But both my parents died 6.5 months apart. My mom last July lang. I am still picking up the pieces. It’s hard to work or even do extracurricular activities when you are grieving for two loved ones in less than a year. But I hope that even with the litle tidbits you got from my blog posts noon, you managed. Sorry again if I was not able to assist. I hope you guys are okay.

  13. Good Day Engr. Helen. It was my first time stumbling upon your blog and wow. I like the way you write and at the same time put ice breakers in between. You should write a book about motivation πŸ™‚

    Anyway Ma’am. I’am here to ask a very serious question. Actually right now I’am a 5th year Mechanical Engineering Student of DLSU-Dasma. Currently i’m on a hot streak in college and my parents expecting me to top the board exams in which I think is very hard. Right now I only have two choices. To take the September Board Exam or the March Board exam for Mech Engg. Due to the calendar shift of our university I’ll be graduating on June 2017. If I’ll be taking the September Board exam I only have 3 months in preparing. While march gives me 8-9 months of preparations. If you were on my shoes, what would you do? I feel very pressured now that the university wants me to take september boards πŸ™ . Thanks. I hope you reply as soon as possible. I’ll be checking this blog everyday hoping you do reply. Thanks Ma’am. God bless you always and Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.

    1. Hi Phillip! You added me on Facebook (good job finding me there haha!) already and we already talked in detail about your review plan there. Reiterate ko lang yung sinagot ko for the benefit of readers who might bump into this page.

      To be quite honest, you will never feel 100% ready for the boards whether you review for 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months… Ako nun, even until the very last minute, I still feel na I could have done more during my review.

      I advised you to trust your instinct.Other people can pressure you pero you know yourself and the level of preparation that you require.. Based on my experience, I benefited from a longer preparation time because it’s not rushed. πŸ™‚

  14. Hello and Good Day Engr.Helen πŸ™‚ It`s me!! Kim!! from Bicol! a Geodetic Engineering Student, im here again to bother you, joke haha I would like to seek some help Engr.Helen its about GE laws,contracts and Land Registration Laws, im seeking for references and adding to it is about Theory of Errors and Adjustments, thanks for opening again your busy door for a GE Student like me πŸ™‚ Thank you in advance Engr! πŸ™‚

  15. Hi Helen. I’m a geodetic engineering can you give me same advice for the board exam.?my last na nag take ako 2009.ndi pinalad kaya nag abroad. Gaun Plano ko mgtake ng board exam sa 2018.thank you.please email me.sanidadsasa@gmail.com

    1. Hi Salvador, medyo matagal na rin since nagpost ako about board exam. I think may lima or anim akong board exam tips dito sa blog ko. Enroll ka sa RI for review tapos tutukan mo. Then wag lang mag-rely sa tinuturo ng review center. Kelangan mo rin mag-solve sa sarili mong oras.

  16. Hello and Good Day Engr.Helen dati na akong nag comment dito πŸ˜€ I’m Neru GE din would like to seek help, its about GE laws,contracts and Land Registration Laws, at Geodesy papatulong sana kung saan ako makahahanap ng mga reference ko especially sa Geodesy manghihingi sana kung meron ka pang mga lecture notes/powerpoints nito na ginamit mo noon sa pag review kailangan na kailangan ko kasi sorry po sa pangungulit.

    1. Hi Neru, naku February pa pala ito. Did you get the materials you need? I already gave all of mine away, it’s been 8 YEARS since I took the exam so I think some of the materials are too old already hahaha. I hope I was still able to help you with my board exam tips even if I was not able to give you any more notes. πŸ˜€

  17. Hello, I`m Crystal Roman.

    I`ve just looked through your website and I wanted to say it`s great!

    How do you feel about collaborating? Would you consider accepting guest posts? If so, I’d love to discuss this with you.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    1. Hi Crystal, sorry for replying 3 months late. I hardly update the blog but sure what partnership do you have in mind? Reply again if it’s still open. πŸ™‚

  18. Hello Engr. Helen! Thank you dahil sa posts and tips mo ay motivated na akong magreview for the exam. Nainspire din po ako sa journey mo sa pagpprepare sa exam at sa inyong personal life stories and life lessons. Ako po kasi ay magttake ng Civil Engineering board exam this November at nabasa ko yung mga posts/tips nyo about passing and topping the board examination. Gusto ko lang po malaman kung anong review strategy sa bawat subject ang dapat kong gawin sa araw araw. Kung tama lang po ba na halimbawa sa Monday ay puro Math lang, then Tuesday ay Surveying, Wednesday naman ay Structural, etc. Gusto ko pong magreview pero dumadating sa point na habang nagrereview ako ay nacconfused ako and overwhelmed sa kung ano ba ang dapat unahin or iprioritize for a day, (or dapat ba lahat ng subjects ay mareview ko for a day?). Thank you po ulit, Im looking forward for your reply πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Ara, usually ako noon I had all subjects touched per day of review. I don’t do puro math lang or puro structural lang in a day nung regular review. So I divide my time. If there are 5 subjects, each subject gets 1.5 hours from me every single day. I was able to do that kasi our review classes were only 4 hours long. I believe CE review classes are whole day yata so you might need to manage the time element.

      BUT when I was already simulating answering board exam style around 1 month before the real exam, I followed the board exam schedule. I worked on Math problems from 10am to 2pm because the board exam time for Math was 10am to 2pm. I really conditioned myself to go on “Math mode” at the very specific time slot allotted for math during our exam.

      I hope this helps and thanks for your kind words. I am usually humbled and overwhelmed when people visit my site since I hardly update it these days.

      1. Thank you so much po sa advice ate Helen.. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ God Bless you always and to your family. More power!

  19. Ay si Bunso… I am so very proud of you Helen Maria!!! Im not sure kung naaalala mo pa, ang Kuya kuyahan mo dati from Laco… πŸ™‚ im just beginning to discover your blog. And i am delighted reading everything here. Nakakaproud ka bunso.

  20. Hi Helen. May tanong sana ako regarding sa birth certificate. Mali kasi ang spelling ng father’s name ko dun sa tor na ipapasa ko sa prc requirements. But na correctionan ko na yung birth certificate. Makaka affect ba yun sa records ko if ever makakapasa ako sa board?

    1. Hi Christy I think okay naman na yun, although para sure maybe ayusin mo rin. Hassle pa kasi intindihin yan in the middle of review. Hangga’t maaari if you can fix it and save yourself any additional hassle, go fix the typo or spelling error na sa school. Altho mas higpit sila sa spelling ng name mo in reality.

  21. Hi Helen Mary! I read your post regarding the alteration of your name on the birth certificate and it helped me acquire more information regarding this topic because I would also like to change my name but unfortunately, my parents did not allow me :-(( However, I’m still eager to change my name so may I ask what documents are required for a student to change his/her name in the birth certificate?

    1. Hi Gwen I am not sure at this point if there were changes but in 2010 I had to submit my birth certificate and justification for changing the name. In my case, my school records and baptismal certificate all had Helen Mary in it. The birth cert was the only one that only has Helen in it. So it made more sense to change Helen to Helen Mary there than change all my Helen Mary IDs and documentation to Helen only. I did not have to get anything from my parents at the time; all I needed was the paperwork for changing my name.

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