Saturday, December 28, 2013

My DIY Christmas Gifts

After finishing 7 photobooks this year, I guess its safe to say that it became a full blown hobby =))

My 4 personal photobooks
So I've decided to give it as semi-DIY Christmas presents to my Tita Jinky who often "get" photos from our family album and Tita Anne who takes a lot of family photos but doesn't bother to print it! As usual, I bought a discounted online voucher and chose the one that will deliver before Christmas. I have to say that of all the Photobook makers that I've tried, I'm very happy with the quality of print of Fotosnaps!
Printed by Fotosnaps
My second DIY gifts project is for my friends. I'm a type of person who likes to give something but unfortunately, I'm on a tight budget so I had to be creative. Instead of buying them random stuff (like I usually do in the past), with the help of Pinterest, I had an idea of making rock chocolates/gummy bears on small jars.  Originally, I wanted to use Mason Jars but its too expensive here and will defeat my goal hahaha! 
I'm at my happiest when I'm creating =)
These choco rocks can be deceiving, its really yummy

Love, Hate: SMDC Light Condo

This is my long overdue rant post about my SMDC Light Condo. It turned out to be my biggest disappointment for 2013 and caused me a lot of stress!!! When they were pre-selling it, they said that the turnover will be on July 2013. When I got my "Contract to Sell", it specified 3rd quarter of 2013 so I expected the worse and conditioned myself that it will be by the end of September (the last month on 3rd quarter). Fast forward September, we're invited to the condo blessing but I wasn't able to see my actual unit. I was asking my agent to give me an exact turnover date because technically speaking, I already fully paid my unit. November passed quickly and still no word from them. 

Finally, they told me that it will be ready by December 26. It seems like a joke or a trick date because most people are on holiday or out of town during this time. Fortunately, my province is just 2 hours away so I said yes, we can do the unit turnover on that day. I already packed my stuff and I was ready to move in on 27th because 26th was supposed to be my first time to view my actual unit, final inspection and unit turnover.

snippet from my Contract to Sell
My parents, sister and my agent met with another SMDC representative on the lobby and she guided us to the 50th floor. She said that she'll warn us now that the built in cabinet is not yet ready. When we arrived on my floor, I already felt sad because there still an on going construction on the hallways and other units. There is no way that it is ready for moving in.  The lady then explained that we cannot move in yet and they cannot give a specific date. I was mad but I was also sad for my condo agent who was sick that day and wasn't informed by their office that the unit is not ready for turnover. It turned out that the "turnover" became an "actual unit viewing".  We traveled all the way from Caloocan for nothing.

Logically, I expected to be settled in by this time but they said they had issues with "Project Director replacement", "contractors" and "my unit was on the 50th floor". So many excuses and what's sadder is that 6 months of delay wasn't enough for them to finally deliver what I paid for! :(

Excitement is now replaced by Disappointment

This is my first investment and I've been paying for it for the last 2 years and there's 5 more years for my bank loan. They say that buying a house/condo is a leap of faith but in my case it was also a test of patience! 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Pay It Forward: Skills to Succeed Workshop

During my New Joiner Orientation at ACN, I was really interested in their "corporate citizenship" program which allows employees to serve in community out reach activities.  Two weeks ago, I finally signed up to be a volunteer for "Skills to Succeed: Values Formation Workshop."  Yes, for several reasons -  workload, schedule, workshop's venue - it took me 6 months to finally be on board! 

Two days before the event, I attended an online orientation where I virtually met my co volunteers and our supervisor. We discussed the "Tawid Pampamilya" program of DSWD, PSBA a legit, non Napoles NGO and ACN. It aims to equip the out of school youth by providing them with necessary training and skills to find a job. The first phase is "Skills to Succeed: Values formation" for 300 out of school youth, between 17-30 years old. They will be filtered to top 200 and undergo training for resume writing, job interview best practices and even proper grooming. Finally, sadly they will be cut to 100 and will proceed to TESDA training for the specific skills before they can finally apply for a proper job.

This morning, I was excited to be a part of something that can have a positive impact in someone's life and at the same time nervous because I don't know anyone, even my co volunteers.  I arrived 10 minutes before our call time, 20 minutes passed and I'm still alone at our meeting place. I sighed and was a little disappointed that maybe the team already left. I texted the assigned driver if he is already with the team, fortunately he's still in the parking lot with 1 volunteer. He drove the van in front of our meeting place and that's when 5 other volunteers popped and introduced themselves =))

When we arrived at the venue I was expecting to see the 57 students, who initially signed up, eagerly waiting for us but the baranggay's basketball court was empty. It turned out that they we're just fetched from a nearby baranggay but were already on the way. Our group took the free time to get to know each other then our supervisor divided our group of 7 volunteers into 2. We've gone over the program flow and distributed the activities among ourselves.

the Venue, Baranggay's Basketball Court
I'm lucky to be included in a group with 1 veteran volunteer and 2 other newbies. Our supervisor joined the team of 3 newbie volunteers, who were also project teammates. Anyway, the students arrived and I was a bit sad that only 14 out of 57 showed up. Most of them dont know the real purpose of the activity. We grouped them into 2 as well. The 7 students assigned on my team introduced themselves, they were all below 20 yrs old, high school graduates and notably 1 boy & 1 girl already has 1 child. When asked on what's their expectation about the program, one boy answered that he wants to go to college and another thought that we'll be hiring them. To manage their expectations, we said that our goal for that morning is to share our experience on the workplace. One replied that she's happy to meet people who has stable jobs and she would like to know how they achieved it.

After the introductions, the first activity was to answer the question 

'If you were given 1000 pesos, how would you spend it?'

I can think of many ways to spend that money. I can use it to either chop off  my credit card debt, buy a new top, have Starbucks frappe for 1 week or pay half of my monthly phone bill. But for the group that I've met earlier today, 1000 pesos can be used to buy their grocery for 2 weeks, to print resumes to be given out to different companies, it can serve as a starting capital for lugawan/rice porridge business or can buy a week's supply for an 18year-old-single-mother's baby.

1st and definitely won't be my last volunteer activity
Based on our program flow guide, we presented to them how their decision on how to spend 1000 pesos showed what they "value" or prioritize. We're happy that most answers are positive and geared towards family needs rather than personal pleasures. My veteran volunteer teammate said that in a previous workshop, there were honest but shocking answers splurging on shopping or vices

The "what is your 3 year plan" activity is where I realized that I'm too emotional to be an effective social worker. I had to fight back my tears when each of them discussed their simple goals and how they plan to achieve it. For me, it may sound simple but for them, it can be a suntok sa buwan dream. Each student wanted to pass the Pantawid Pamilya program and have a job, three years from now.  One even envisions himself as a businessman by that time. =)

Coincidentally, I had a conversation with my mother yesterday, about her having a 5/6 loan so that she can send me and 3 siblings to a good school. She recalled how her palengke colleagues scoffed her on why she worked double time to send us to exclusive schools. Mommy said, she's happy it payed off because we all have decent jobs and are self sufficient while her kumare's anaks cannot find a job or got married and stayed on the ancestral home.

During my closing remarks, I shared to them how I live in a far place and because traffic is part of our lives, I always wake up early and commute for a minimum of 2 hrs per day. Finding a job is just a first step, it takes a lot of hard work and determination to keep it. I told them that I'm a planner. I also have a 3-5 year plan which I divided into yearly, monthly, weekly and daily goals. It may sound absurd but these goals help me decide in small things that can affect my bigger goals. For example, why should I buy expensive iced coffee when I can get it for free on the office pantry. I can then use this savings for my travel fund. It's always a want versus need battle when I want to spend on anything. Its tedious but will be rewarding in the future, the delayed gratification mantra.

Today was a humbling experience, not because I realized that I have more but because they have little but they don't lose hope. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

King Tigers @ PBA's 2014 Season

It's my yearly tradition to watch PBA's opening ceremonies because I root for Brgy. Ginebra Kings and as a loyal alumni, I look forward to seeing generations of UST king tigers! 
Coach Pido's parody account =))

Since there are only 10 teams on this pro league, every year is a "survival of the fittest". With the rise of Air21 DLSU Green Archers and Brgy Ginebra Blue Eagles (..not the official team names but yeah), I was surprised to know that there are only 6 Thomasians on the active players list. Traditionally speaking, king Tigers are often drafted by Barako Bull/Redbull before they get traded to another team. Don't ask me why. There was a full conference in 2011, when both Barako rookies Dylan Ababou and Allein Maliksi, played very well and were tagged as "Espanya Express". Fast forward to this season, they found themselves as rivals on Manila Classico.  

Please stay healthy!!!
The debut game of the 1st overall pick, Greg Slaughter, was overshadowed by Dylan Ababou's version of #theReturn. He proved that he fully recovered from torn ACL injury by scoring 16 points in 17 minutes on the crucial second half of Manila Classico. Its a great reminder of the potentials of the 2009 UAAP MVP, especially that he was almost traded during the off season. Welcome back, Dylan!

Meanwhile, Allein Maliksi's rise as an SMC Mixer was halted by an injury but he's no stranger to that and he'll surely bounce back!

The second game on the season's opening day, featured Alaska Aces and Rain Or Shine.

Circa 2002, Baguio is the other half of UST's dunking duo
Although in a losing effort, Alaska's quiet superstar, Cyrus Baguio, led in scoring. Baguio was also drafted by Barako Bull and played in several teams before finally finding a home in Alaska Aces. Why quiet superstar? Well, he's been in the league for 10 years now, 8x PBA All Star, served in the national and a member of last season's second mythical team but without much fanfare. Quiet but efficient, indeed.
Most recent king Tiger to join the PBA. UST connection on this play 
I just caught Jeric Teng's debut game on YouTube and its reassuring that ROS' Coach Yeng has given him good minutes, for a rookie. I feel that there's a lot of disappointments for Teng this year, UST settling to another runner up finish on his last playing year and ending up as a second round pick on the PBA rookie draft. He says that its fine with him, ok, I'll believe him. I hope that it will trigger him to work harder because he certainly deserves to play in the PBA! I'm just worried because the guard position in RainOrShine is loaded BUT his current coach is well known for bringing out the best in his players!

Jervy Cruz, still the cute monster!
Surprise! The best player of the second game is another former king Tiger! I'm happy to see that Jervy Cruz, 2007 UAAP MVP my daddy's gym buddy, continues to be a dominant big man for ROS and in the PBA. He just won the "Most Improved Player" award last season. He may not be the biggest in terms of height but he is very skilled mautak

Wednesday is the game day for Barako Bull and 6th active king Tiger on PBA, the rookie Jeric Fortuna. If he's given good minutes, I have no doubt that he can play along side veterans just like what he did on ABL. You can't put a good point guard down :)
Barako Bull picks Jeric Fortuna =)
Update =)

My only question now is, where is 2006 UAAP Finals MVP, Jojo Duncil? Update: Duncil is on Petron's bench. I hope to see Mariano, Ferrer and other UST King Tigers playing in the PBA soon!!

Photo credit:,, Fortuna's instagram =))

Meet the New Brgy Ginebra Kings

Suddenly, they're younger and taller!
Ellis 6'5, Slaughter 7', Reyes 6'7, Aguilar 6'9 
PG: Tenorio/Monfort/Helterband
SG: Caguioa/Baracael/Forrester/Urbiztondo
SF: Ellis/Ababou
PF: Aguilar/Faundo
C: Slaughter/Reyes/Mamaril

2 rookies, 3 acquisitions & 9 holdovers from past season
Last Sunday, during Manila Classico, we've seen a glimpse of what the kings can do. Oh, the possibilities! Its  an exciting time to be a Ginebra fan. Everybody, PLEASE stay healthy and hungry! Please, basketball gods!!!

Photo credits:

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Twist Resto PH: Comfort Food Overload

To celebrate my mommy's birthday, my ever updated brother recommended the newly opened "Twist Resto PH" in Tomas Morato. It was a good decision to arrive at 6pm because by 7pm onward, there's a long line of guests without reservation.
2nd Flr POS Building Sct Madrinan, Tomas Morato

For appetizers
Smoked Salmon with Caviar and Truffle fries

I like the containers of Lemon iced tea =) 
Green Apple juice and Lemon Iced Tea

For main dish
Bacon Scampi Pasta & Mac and Cheese
USDA steak and Pork belly

Even though, we brought our own cake, we can't help but try their desserts!
They allowed us to eat our own cake, no corkage fee =)
Flourless Nutella and Xocolat with goat milk
For night cap, we experienced a different way to drink coffee! But make sure you're not in a hurry because the entire process takes about 10-15 minutes.

I would love to come back and try their all day breakfast meals! =)

Rising Above The Impossible: #YolandaPH

"Don't watch it on the it in your room and lock the door!"

Those were the disclaimers that I got before watching the most heartbreaking movie, where I've shed buckets of tears. "The Impossible" was shown in 2012 and  was based on a true story of a tourist family, who went to Thailand for a vacation, but was caught in the 2004 Tsunami.

A year later, a "when-life-imitates-art" moment happened when super typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda), hit the Visayas region of the Philippines. It was tagged by international weather groups as the strongest typhoon this year and resulted to thousands in death toll and billions in destroyed properties.  Just like in the movie, I'm praying for a "happy ending."

For me, 'watching' and 'praying' are certainly not enough because there are a lot of means to provide concrete actions. If you want to help on the relief effort, you can start here, no effort is too small :)
My team's "skip the latte and help Yolanda victims" campaign

Bangon, Pilipinas!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

I (used to) Take Halloween Seriously

Darn it, I should have asked "do you have Halloween parties?" during the job offer! Seriously, I've attended a company costume party for 3 straight years and it became a tradition so I'm sorta bummed to break it ..and I'm even blogging about it. This year, I have to settle in giving candies to kids who visited my office.
Trick or treat!
Halloween became one of my favorite holidays ever since I joined FunGuy! My first taste was on 2010, I was lucky that Tyni had a geisha set somewhere in her closet. I rented it and the set even came with socks, slippers and a BLADE! I was once a geisha and chilled with a cowgirl, Minnie Mouse, Pebbles, Katy Perry, Chun Li and a gangster boss!
My girls!
Almost everyone was on competitive mode. I think the cash prize was just secondary, we're just a creative and fun bunch who weren't shy to dress up  and then gets drunk! One of my ex-officemate is a professional cos player. She actually wins every year but that didn't stop us from trying! 
All time favorites =))
The following year, we had to dress up by group! Our all female group became the black angels, it was fun making our DIY wings and makeup!  I was feeling artsy with my face paint but my officemate, Brian, blurted that it's similar to Mike Tyson's face tattoo! Beach!! Hahahaha
Black angels <3
Last year, I was excited to dress up again and I found a black leather overall on my stylist brother's stash, I tried it on and voila, GI Joe's Baroness! Fortunately, I  did not push through with it because on the same day, mars Romz and I were forced to be the party host. 
For Instagram only =))
I just showed up in my Lil Red Riding hood costume :)
I would never pass a chance to let them play the "talong game". Its a modified "Trip to Jerusalem", instead of fighting to survive by sitting on the nearest chair, you'll grab the nearest "talong/eggplant" being held preferably by a guy. :))
Talong game in 2010
Talong game in 2012, never gets old =))

Good times!! I miss my friends :(

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Taste of Seoul: Yoogane

Truth be told, I haven't gotten over my Seoul vacation and if only there's no friction between the 2 Korea, I would love to work and live there!

Since going back there would take a lot of work and money, I'll just relive the experience through Korean food trip! My sister discovered Yoogane via a blog post and it also prompted me to read reviews about it. Yoogane is actually a popular food chain from Seoul and is dubbed as "one of the best chicken galbi restaurant in Myeongdong".  Honestly, I didn't notice it unlike other local franchise like Etude, Face Shop or Cafe Benne which are all over Seoul.

Typically, a restaurant will serve you with water, spoon and fork or soup if you're lucky. One of the amazing things about Korean food trip is the numerous banchan or side dishes that you can chew on even before getting your real order. You will also notice that their chopsticks are made of metal, its heavier compared to Japanese and Chinese chopsticks.
Kimchi, Lettuce, Radish, Fish, Potato Balls, Yum!
We're lucky that Yoogane is a one stop Korean food trip stop because we got to satisfy my cravings. First on my list is Galbi, reminiscent of the one I had in Gangnam. We ordered the "Assorted Meat Fried Rice" and requested for Mozzarella cheese and Dokbokki (rice cake) add ons.

Mozarella + meat + rice cake +butter + chili paste
The waitress mixed and cooked the Galbi for us and here's the result: Don't ever doubt Mozzarella cheese on rice <3
Sooo good!

Of course, you can't pass up on Korean BBQ! We ordered Samgyeopsal which translates to grilled pork belly. I really love "sandwiching" the meat between crunchy lettuce wraps! I'm not sure if that word exists but its really yummy!
Lettuce is <3
The after taste of kimchi and the spicy nature of Korean food would really prompt you to make room for dessert! I'm not complaining, especially since my all time favorite Melona ice cream is available. Melona is pretty straightforward because it tastes like Melon duh.=))

Korean ice cream, yay!
Brunch is too early for Soju or rice wine so my sister and I opted for this refreshing rice drink instead.
Morning Rice drink
Aside from the K pop-ish interior, good food and wide selection of Korean dishes, I appreciate that they have an exhaust system similar to BBQ restaurants in Seoul. Aside from completing the look and feel, its essential in keeping the smoke away from our face or from the entire restaurant.
Must try: Yooogane @ Il Terrazo, Tomas Morato

Sunday, September 29, 2013

UST Tigers: UAAP's Never Say Die Team

I always think that UST Tigers are the UAAP's Ginebra, the good and the bad. They have a former Ginebra player in coach Pido, who at some point regardless of the odds, just rallies his team to work and play hard! At the same time they also have the tendency to be in the most "Ginebra" situation.

In season 75, UST Tigers were 1st runner up to Ateneo Blue Eagles but won the PCCL national championship during the off season.The team had the same core line up in Teng, Mariano, Ferrer, Abdul and Bautista, that's a solid first five, but their major loss was their leader Jeric Fortuna. In the first round, it was evident that they are weak on point guard position. There were games that one player had to takeover, there's no fluidity on the team offense. On top of that, they also lost king Tiger Jeric Teng after he suffered an injury against NU. The tigers managed to string a couple of wins but the turning point in the second round was their double overtime win against FEU tamaraws.

Yet again, the UST Tigers found themselves in the most Ginebra situation, after losing to the Green Archers they found themselves tied with the Blue Eagles. It was actually a game that was rescheduled because of bad weather and it turned out to be a fitting last eliminations round game. The tigers faced a different Ateneo team this year, they had a lot of changes in their line up and coaching staff but you cannot discount their championship experience. In the end, UST Tigers outlasted the Blue Eagles to book the last Final Four slot!

Credit: UST Facebook Page
The tigers entered the Final Four with a twice to win disadvantage over the number one team, NU Bulldogs. In their first game, the Tigers showed composure because they have been together in the same situation. Last year, they also faced NU but they we're the one with the twice to beat advantage. The key for game 1 was stopping Ray Parks and you can say whatever you want but Kevin Ferrer delivered in both stopping Parks and scoring for UST. 

As they say, the twice to beat advantage is only an advantage if you use it on the first game. The second game is fair game and I believe that the pressure was on NU's side. I only managed to watch the replay of the second half and it was a close fight until the last 4 minutes. Both teams had to manage without their imports, UST's Abdul and NU's Mbe were in early foul troubles. Kudos to UST's Paulo Pe for fighting for rebounds and giving UST second chance possessions while Abdul was on the bench. It was still a Kevin Ferrer show on the fourth quarter with traces of Miley Cyrus, SERIOUSLY drop those tongue antics but Ray Parks was nowhere to be found. He barely touched the ball on the last quarter and when he did, it was everything but the shot. I feel for him, that's not how you imagine to play your last UAAP game. 

It took the UST Tigers 3 consecutive do or die games to barge in the finals against the Green Archers. From an inconsistent regular season performance, they finally have a chance to avenge their unfinished business from last season. I feel that its destiny and I'll just wait for it to unfold. Go USTe!!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I've Got Your Number

Honestly, "I've Got Your Number" has been in my reading list for a long time. I hesitated to read it because I have an issue with relationship wreckers, that's the vibe I got from the book excerpt. So the lesson learned is 
"don't judge a book by its cover and plot summary." :))

A surefire laugh out loud Sophie Kinsella book have a heroine who's on the verge of being arrested for a crime. Remember Becky Bloomwood's credit card issues and lies on the Shopaholic series? IGYN introduces Poppy Wyatt who lost her engagement ring, a family heirloom by the way, few weeks before her wedding. One minute her friends were trying it on during her hen dinner, next minute they needed to evacuate immediately because of a security threat on the hotel. Poppy panicked and lost both her ring and cellphone along the way. One of the worst thing that can happen to a bride to be is losing her ring and one of the worst thing to happen to anyone is losing their cellphone. I mean, I totally feel for Poppy because I'm also dependent on my phone for my personal life and work.

Luckily for Poppy, amidst all chaos, she found a phone on a bin! She knew its wrong but she also needs to give a contact number to the hotel personnel who might find her missing ring! Eventually, the owner of the phone, Sam Roxton, found out that his PA abandoned him and the company phone, which is now on Poppy's possession.

Poppy didn't want to give up the phone, her only connection to hotel personnel and her contacts. Yup, she already sent a message blast about her new cellphone number. Of course Sam doesnt want anyone reading the confidential company emails sent through his former PA's phone. Finally, they agreed on a compromise that Poppy will forward all the work and personal text or emails to Sam. It feels intimate to share a cellphone with someone else, I don't know about you but people should keep off their hands from my phone! From this inconvenience, an unlikely relationship and a lot of hilarity ensues.

I seriously had my real LOL experience while reading IGYN. Poppy's on the spot "Mr Yamasaki" song in the tune of Beyonce's "Single Ladies" was funny and annoying because its LSS worthy. Certainly, Sophie Kinsella's books and white chocolate Magnum were both made to lighten up one's day.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Confessions of a Shopaholic: Kitchen Edition

My mother has been telling me that I shouldn't buy anything before I move in because it will be hard to pack and transfer those stuff. Prior to this month, I only bought 2 items, a red ottoman chair and a red funky clock. Ironically, my mom was also the one who told me to start buying kitchen items. We spent 2 consecutive Sundays shopping on the department store's home section.
What's under my bed?

With the assumption that I will cook for myself, I listed the basic and must have kitchen tools

* Can opener :))
* plates
* spoon, fork, teaspoon and knives
* drinking glasses
* rice cooker
* rice container
* seasonings container
* non stick frying pan - hello, fried meals
* non stick saucepan (both from my generous aunt )
* Peach colored cooking pot ( how kikay can you get, from my Mom)
* vegetable peeler
* spatula ( 1 for frying, 1 for soup )
* thong - I chose the longest thong possible
* ref
* microwave oven
update: thanks to Landmark's payday sale
- chopping board
- drainer ..for pasta
- cheese grater .. Noticed a pattern?
- kitchen scissor

(To follow)
- kitchen knife
- measuring spoon & cups
- pot holder
- mixing bowl
- kitchen towel
- dishwashing bin and liquid

After completing these, I would love to buy baking tools and a nice coffee maker :)

The Birth of Shopaholic, Home Edition


I always believed in planning ahead because it can lead to discovering better deals and saving money.. In my case, saving money and spending it on other stuff :))

The month of August breezed easily because I've been busy obsessing over my expected condo turnover. Hopefully, its next month *crossing fingers. Its safe to say that I've went through every site and Pinterest pins using my search keywords "small space interior ideas" and "1 bedroom interior design". I even downloaded "Houzz" app as additional reference, my mind was blown away with the thousands of design ideas! Initially, I wanted an Asian themed home using shades of red, black and white. Then I realized that I need to be practical and focus on the ultimate condo problem-->how to make the unit look bigger. I ended up researching for 1 bedroom model units. If you're running on a tight budget like me, its important to consider needs vs wants before making a decision.

There are 4 learnings from countless hours spent on "researching"

- Mirrors can magically transform a small room. I'll be investing on a top to floor mirror on my sala/kitchen!
- Choose space saving and flexible furnitures like wood panel shelves.
- Organize using storage solutions
- Light paint can make a small space appear larger then use pop of color from decors. This made me cross out my dream of red walls, I'll just use red accents instead.

My parents actually wanted me to contact an interior designer but the problem ( aside from limited budget) is that I already know what I want. I ended up looking for a contractor to execute my DIY designs. I'm hoping for the best :)

Don't Let Anyone Steal Your Sunshine

Happiness is contagious, be a carrier

We all have that one friend or acquaintance who complains all the time BUT doesn't do anything to change his/her situation. If I'm just mean enough, I would say upfront that "hey,  you're not a tree! You can move your a$$ somewhere if you don't like where you are right now!" But unfortunately/fortunately, I'm a coward  so the best thing that I can do is to break away from these "negastars".

What I like about working at ACN is that they provide mentors for work, career and even for life. Sir Alvin is like my modern pen pal :)) He's one of the speakers during the New Joiner's Orientation and since then he's been sending inspirational emails to our batch. Let me share my favorite email conversation with him.

Sir Alvin: Another work week done. Its always a good feeling to be rewarded after delivering great work. Does it make you happy? Maybe a better question is..are you happy with what you are doing? Are there really "rules" for a happier life?In my team, I try to over emphasize the value of being happy with work and also highlight the importance to be better at one's skills. I think this is important.

Mei: Thanks, sir Alvin.

I know that I have a positive attitude about work but negativity is contagious so we really should choose the company that we'll keep.

Sometimes the attitude of "negastars" can easily dampen one's mood.

Sir Alvin: agree. Continue to be positive :)

I know its a cliche but sincerely, happiness is a choice so choose to be happy.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Witnessed History: Gilas Pilipinas!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, I cant think of a more appropriate blog post title so I'll let the exclamation points describe the overwhelming feeling that I have now. I've actually calmed down, a bit, I think. The adrenaline from the FIBA Asia semifinals game between Philippines and Korea  wont let me sleep so I might as well use the energy to blog about it.

You see, I'm a local basketball fan. I've been a Ginebra Kings die hard fan for 20 years and UST Tigers faithful for 10 years. Its a different experience to follow the national team, some say we should give up on basketball because we're too short for that sport. There are a lot of "experts' from player selection, a lot of "negastars" because of the disappointments from previous years. I have a different emotional investment for the national team since Gilas Pilipinas is should be every Filipino's team, regardless of the PBA or UAAP/NCAA teams that you root for. 

From August 1 until today, I had to be at home by 8:30PM TV5 shoved Misibis Bay on my throat along the way. I've watched Gilas' sluggish first game against Saudi Arabia then the next day they won convincingly against Jordan. Their last assignment on the first round was against Chinese Taipei, Gilas was leading in the 3rd quarter but their opponents caught up and gave them their first loss. 

The team moved on to the second round where they had a convincing bounce back win against Japan, Qatar and some anxious moments before finally beating HongKong. By virtue of the quotient system, Gilas found themselves #1 in Group E number 1 sa distrito. On the quarterfinals, the Philippine team won convincingly against Kazakhstan with feelings kase 20 point lead! It was their best game so far, they had a great start and strong finish!
Credit: Nuki Sabio
Tonight, I witnessed history. It is one of the most important games for Philippine basketball because winning gave us a shot at FIBA Asia championship along with an automatic ticket for 2014 FIBA World Championship in Spain! While watching the game with my siblings, I explained to them that its been 34 years since we're included on the World Cup, that's why their sister is jumping, screaming and nervously drinking water especially on the 4th quarter. The Philippines, a basketball crazy country, is finally back on the basketball map and will compete with the other 23 best teams in the world! Its, like hitting 3 birds with one stone because the win also gave us a chance for redemption from ALL the international basketball heartbreaks from South Korea. The "Korean curse" a.k.a. close game losses against SoKor team hurt more than any Koreanovela that I've watched. I remember the missed free throws in 2002, the almost won ball game in 2011 FIBA Asia and those freaking comebacks by Korea!! That's why advancing to the finals AGAINST this team was so emotional, for me, all those losses were erased with this one game.

Tomorrow is the 2013 FIBA Asia finals game versus the unbeaten Iran and Gilas will be playing without the injured center, Marcus. It will be tough, can we just fast forward to FIBA World? Or replay the semis game? Hahaha kidding, this is the best time to be a Gilas supporter because win or lose, its the team we choose we're Spain bound and guaranteed to have at least a Silver medal!!!!! I hope that Gilas can string a good run against Iran, its their best chance to be number 1 in Asia!

Honestly, I really think that this is the best national team assembled! Thank you Mark Caguioa for declining to join after coach Chot offered you a slot when you won the MVP award, you're right about not risking the chemistry of this special group. Everyone knows their roles. Jimmy, LA and Jason should bring the ball. Gary, Jeff, Larry should score. Pingris, Gabe, Ranidel should take care of defense. Marcus, Japeth and JunMar should man the center! Hats off to Coach Chot and MVP for building and believing in this team! As a Ginebra fan, I never imagined that I would cheer for Jimmy, Jason and Ranidel but seriously when everyone is off, this combo kept Gilas on track. I love that every night, a new batch will step up to score or provide hustle plays. No hero ball for Gilas! Wow, I know that when they all come back to their PBA teams, it will be hard to not root for them. On that note, I'm excited to see LA and Japeth play for Ginebra! =) I really hope that they will keep this line up intact for the 2014 World Cup!!! Go Gilas!!

My only regret is that I wasn't able to watch the game live. The website, where you can buy tickets online, wont even load on my end 0.0. AT sorry naman sa first name basis =))

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Jdrama: Osozaki no Himawari - Late Blooming Sunflower

I'll start by coming clean that I watched Osozaki for Toma Ikuta, its about time that he got a lead role!! Now that its out of the way, I can say that I really enjoyed this drama because of the well written story that hits the spot hello, quarter life crisis and its awesome supporting characters.

Osozaki no Himawari is a drama based on the life of  7 main characters who found themselves in Shimanto, by chance and by choice. Jotaro was a resident of Tokyo who decided to accept a 3 year contract to join Shimanto's revitalization team that aims to improve the area. Kahori studied and worked in Tokyo as a doctor but circumstances led her to go back and work on the local hospital. Then there's her sister, Sayori, the former golden girl who's in an unhappy marriage. Ayaka, is a nurse who moved to Shimanto to forget her former lover’s death. She's living with Hiroki, a former hometown baseball hero. Haruna, is the sheltered daughter while Junichi has no other dream than taking over his family's business.

I enjoyed this drama because it took place and featured another unexplored area in Japan. The beautiful scenery of this countryside area is amazing and the problems presented in the storyline are simple yet very real. Who and how will they take care of Shimanto and their aging population? It's common for younger generations to choose to live in the bustling cities, so it was a great concept to tackle what happens to those who decided to stay.

In 10 episodes, each character's struggle was tackled and resolved.  In the end, each person can have a different way of having a life in ‘full bloom’. Its about finding what can make you happy, being with people that you love and doing your best, on small and big steps, in whatever path that you decided to take.

Each character was able to take a step forward with the help of each other. Good thing that they did not focus on the romance part the dorky kiss scene of Jotaro and Kahori was cute though and dwell on slice of life scenarios. I always wondered how is it for doctors when their patients die. Who could have thought that a sunflower blooming can give such joy and hope? And even the leap of faith when you finally made your choice was cleverly presented. I liked the open ended ending but I'm wishing for an SP or season 2 that's a stretch, I know.

P.S. - The opening credit where the main characters sang the OST was a cool idea :)