potpourri

Beautifully diversified.

Building Teams this 2018

This year was my very first time to organize a company team building. I was so stressed because of course I wanted to impress my boss as well as my staff. I was given just a month to find a place, organize activities, prizes, the program, the food and finances for this activity. Since my current company is just a small startup manufacturing firm, they never had a precedent team building. I wanted to make this first team building as memorable and epic as possible, and went ahead pressuring myself more. Haha!

After days of contacting prospective venues, I finally settled on The Grass Garden Resort and Villas in Plaridel Bulacan.  It was a three-hour ride from Novaliches, but it would’ve been just a 1-hour trip if we chose the NLEX route. Take a peek at the venue’s entrance:

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The walkway to our Pavillion looks and feels so refreshing:

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Grass 2

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When we got to the Pavillion, this was the view that mezmerized me:

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The Pavillion can fit up to 100 people. In our case, we got to occupy only half of the open-air room, and use the other half for games.

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What I love about this resort is their food and drinks. Our morning snack was Palabok. Kinda bland tasting, but nothing cannot be cured bu a little splash of calamansi. Haha! For lunch, we had Sinigang na Baka (Beef stew), Rellenong bangus and Mixed Vegetables. Afternoon snack was Macaroni spaghetti. Food serving was timely, and the staff were really accommodating and patient towards all our ruckus.

All resorts have corkage fees for alcoholic drinks. But only Grass has the best price for in-house alcohol. Only a 5 to 10-peso price markup was placed per bottle of alcohol, which made it very enjoyable for us. As responsible drinkers, we got to consume a measly 15 bottles of brandy (ahahahahaha) without causing a scene.

My favorite parts are mostly the ones were I feel my staff are really appreciating all our efforts in the preparations for this event. As a first time organizer, THIS was my biggest prize for the day:

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When your business invest in people, the people will invest in your business as well.

For more information please visit The Grass Garden Resort and Villas website or call +63915-193-1489.

 

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3rd Decade @ Noah’s Park Resort

So last week, I celebrated my 30th birthday with family and friends at Noah’s Park Resort in Rodriguez Rizal. It is about an hour away from our home. We left at around 8:00 AM and reached the resort before 9:00 AM. Overall, we had fun soaking for the whole day, with a few setbacks.

How to commute to get there?

From Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall:

Ride a jeep going to Montalban (fare: P30.00). Get off at MH Del Pilar Street. Ride a tricycle to the resort (fare: P60.00 for special trip, up to 5 people in one tricycle).

Entrance fee and Cottage:

Day swim entrance fee for adults is P200, kids is P150. Swim time if 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

It is best if you reserve a cottage at least a month before your scheduled event. The place can get jam packed, so expect a not-so-private celebration. There’s a total of 5 public pools and 1 private pool. Of the 5 public pools, 2 are for kids, 1 is the wave pool, 1 is the general pool and 1 rock pool. We reserved our cottage for 12 people for only P900.

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One of the shallow pools has a fun “pail shower” feature.

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The wave pool was packed already, even though it’s only about 10:00 AM! The green ball you see is the driving force that creates waves. Waves become  fun and wild and can carry you around the pool when this ball is agitated.

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The slide on the left leads to the other kiddie pool, while the other one leads to the 6 ft pool.

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If you’re planning on an overnight get away, you can choose from any of their fancy houses to be your home. There’s even a chapel inside.

Activities such as zip lining, overlooking bridge, rappelling and wall climbing (not available at our time of visit since it is under renovation) are available for just P50 each.

Highlights:

  • Very accessible from Cubao, Sta. Lucia mall and Commonwealth Ave.
  • Fun wave pool, pail pool and slide pool
  • Instagram worthy scenery
  • Perfect for team buildings and overnight stays
  • Has a separate grilling area to keep the smoke away from the cottages
  • Enormous number of cottages and efficient reservation system over the phone and on their Facebook page can ensure that your group will have a place to stay
  • Can bring your own food and food for cooking inside
  • Not very strict with the swimming attire. Customers are not required to wear swimsuits.
  • Free parking

Drawbacks

  • Water becomes quite dirty quickly
  • No bringing of alcoholic drinks and softdrink. However, you can buy these at sky high prices inside the resort
  • Shower room has difficulty in water supply

Highly recommended resort as their attendant Ms. Daisy was accommodating of my questions and is efficient in reserving a slot for us. There were also about 5 life guards per pool that ensure customer safety. The attendants at the zip line were a joy to talk with. My vision of how my 30th birthday is supposed to be was made complete by Noah’s Park Resort.

 

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It’s the end where I begin

Maybe you’ll recognize the song where my title came from. Yes, it’s the end where I begin, because every beginning is something else’s end. Sorry for the long post but this is my story.

Last Friday, June 23, 2017, a chapter of my life ended. I graduated from my Masters degree program. Yey! As I attended the morning meeting with my family, classmates and mentors/ tormentors, I remembered the past three and a half years of adventures and roadblocks I have come to surpass. This is it! Another chance to show people that everyone can actually achieve their dreams.

 

Naturally, I wouldn’t have done this alone. My family has always been there for me, letting me live the life I wanted to have. They did not judge me, or demand from me, as I was taking the journey towards achieving greater knowledge. As supportive as my family was, there were inescapable losses that accompanied the elation I was feeling. Let me tell you now a story of a simpleton who braved her way through rough waters for the love of achieving her dream.

It all started in 2013, when one of my co-workers in the manufacturing firm I was working at enticed me to apply for the Masters of Management (MM) program. I have been fantasizing for quite a while back then how I can pursue a higher degree, since I have been involved in business development where I have no background or proper experience. I’m a Biochemist after all. I talk to chemicals, glassware and laboratory equipment. I am not used to talking with humans, let alone planning for the operations of a manufacturing company. I was browsing through several graduate degree programs when my friend asked me to attend the MM Summer Program.

And so it all began. I was astounded as to the breadth and depth of knowledge I have never known before. I admit to being a sapiosexual. I love learning through reading and watching documentaries. I rarely talk to humans to gain their insight. And that is what I wanted to improve in myself. The Summer Program lasted about 2 months. Me and my friend had to leave work every Saturday at 6AM to attend the 8AM program. The learnings and exercises we did is the very tip of a very wide and deep iceberg, which is what we were about to experience after the Summer Program. Sadly, my friend did not pursue the formal classes since she had to move to the US. I felt like I was alone back then, but since I loved being alone, I didn’t mind.

Classes for the first 2 1/2 years was every Saturday. I had to forgo of my work schedule every Saturday and ask for a compressed schedule every Monday to Friday to compensate for the hours I will not be able to attend work. Every Saturday, I had to leave at 6AM to come at 8AM at school. Then classes would end at 5PM. After class activities sometimes go on as late as 9PM, of which I reach my rented home at 11PM. Sundays were spent watching Youtube videos of how financial statements work, how to solve that management case, creating marketing plans, knowing how to handle human behavior conflicts in the workplace, calculating how many counters must a bank have to accommodate all customers, scheduling production personnel, planning shipment deliveries and stock management, reading up on the latest world news, and digging up historical data on companies for the basis of a management decision.

The hardest part came to me when I was in my 3rd year. I had to quit my job altogether, and take up a teaching job at a university. My manufacturing job asked me to be a consultant two days a week in San Pedro Laguna, while I was working as a part-time Instructor at a University in Malabon, Metro Manila three days a week. It was a 3 hour ride from manufacturing to teaching…which I endured for 3 months. I had to eventually give up my manufacturing job and focus on teaching due to the distance. After 3 months, I also had to give up my teaching load due to the workload at school. I went jobless, tired and broke from too much work. I never thought for once that I would be jobless ever. So there…I was just a student for a month.

Come January 2016, a former colleague offered me a part time job as a Chemist for her chemical importation business. Coincidentally, my class was every Friday night and Saturday morning. My new boss agreed to a two-day work week for me. Isn’t she the greatest? So my strategy was, work from Monday to Thursday (I had another part-time job every Wednesday and Friday), school every Friday and Saturday.

I had to leave my house in QC at around 9AM every Friday. I arrive at school around 3PM, class starts at 4 and ends at 7. I arrive at my friend’s boarding house around 9 to 10PM. The following day I leave at 6AM and arrive at school by 8AM. Class again from 8 to 10. Then I go back to QC. This routine passed on for 6 months. It was excruciatingly tiresome, sometimes unbearable for me. But I endured…with the help of the people who chose to stay with me I made it. Some people chose to leave, but I thank them still for coming along.

Now it’s the end of the 6 hour rides for that 3 hour class. The end of sleeping on the bus to stay awake all night. It’s the start of another chapter, one I did not see coming. As my professor always said, the lessons are not supposed to be applicable at all times, but all the time we can look back to the life lessons we learned inside and outside the classroom and pick one to apply to the situation we are in at the  moment. It’s like a tool box. You don’t use all the tools at the same time. But anytime, you can choose which tool to use to make your situation work. Everyone can achieve their dreams if you can end something for a new beginning.

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Start up!

The most successful business people that I know all went from being a stable, self sufficient employee to a dynamic, opportunity-grabbing entrepreneur. As 2014 begins, I am also beginning to feel the urge to free myself from myself.

 

I have always dreamed about having my own personal laboratory at my home. Hmmm… guess I should write down what needs to be done for this to come true:

Things to buy:

1. Beakers

2. Stainless steel spatula

3. Stainless kettles

4. Non-mercurial thermometers

5. Mixer

6. pH meter

7. Viscometer

8. Pycnometer

9. Incubators (for stability testing and microbial incubations)

10. Microbial kit

 

Will be back for updates on which items I have acquired within the year 🙂

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iVote 2013

Here comes another day in the life of a “responsible” Filipino. Really?

It has been said that once you decide to vote, you have already fulfilled half of what is expected of you. Once you walk towards your precinct and actually shaded the circles beside the names of the candidates you want to vote for, you have fulfilled another quarter of your duties. And when the PCOS machine finally accepts and transmits your ballot, you are now a full-fledged responsible Filipino.

But then, this is just a very small picture of what is really happening. Ideally, voting should be as easy as the government can make it for the voters. Bumoto ka na nga eh, so dapat hindi ka na nahihirapan. But no…what really happens is this.

You go to your precinct at 1444F. Bee line starts at the gate of the school. I really wish I brought my camera so I could have taken pictures.

You try to find the end of the line that leads to your room number.

You wait….wait….wait……………

You become impatient. You then look at the start of the line to check  if someone is already cutting the cue.

You wait…..wait…..wait…. Someone shoves you. You get mad and curse at him/her. He/she curses back.

You swelter in the damning heat. You get dizzy, you get shoved again and you get mad.

You finally reach the door assigned to you. You see that the room accommodates 1444A to E only. You ask the guide where is the right room for 1444F. He points you to the other room.

You curse silently, thinking you’re such a fool for not knowing you’re standing in line for 2 hours only to be led to a wrong room!

You go to the right room, trying your best to fight back the curses forming inside your mind.

You finally get to vote. After shading the circles representing your candidate, you submit the ballot for PCOS scanning.

The PCOS machine breaks down…..

Somebody will then open the machine, to try salvaging it. After a while, the machine gets to function again. Your vote will be accepted. Now you can go home.

At night, you’ll be watching the news to see who wins. You see the chairman stating on national television that canvassing is postponed until tomorrow.

You frown >;(

Then, the news anchor projects a “partial, unofficial count.” And the list consists of the undeserving….

WTF was that all about????

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Balai Katerina Resort Villa

Just arrived from Balai Katerina Resort Villa, where our company Team building and outing was held. I’m sore all over! Probably from excessive physical activity, since I’m not a very physically active person. (–,) This is actually my first time to experience a team building activity in my five years of working.

Our company has collaborated with the Department of Trade and Industry to conduct the training. Our speakers,Ms. Marina and Ms. Jenny, have very interesting, wonderful and true-to-life experiences and insights. The activity was held in a newly opened private pool in Binan, Laguna. The place was exquisite and roomy. The training room was spacious. The pool is a little bit too shallow, at only 4 feet.

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The activity that really made a mark on me was the part where a few symbols were given to us by the facilitator, for us to give to one person in the group.

First symbol was the Apple. We were told to write down a personal pledge from you to LEAN. As I was thinking of something to write, I realized I want to do so much for the company. My view of work was very simple: you get up in the morning, go to work, go back home, sleep, then after 15 days, you get you salary. Something inside me changed as I made a promise to the company. It made me feel like I HAVE to fulfill this promise, that I cannot simply betray the company.

Second was the Tree. We were told to write “Ang galing mo!” (“You are appreciated!”) and give it to one person we want to show appreciation to. I admit I also have some people who I don’t necessarily dislike, but I don’t have a rhythmic relationship with one person in our company. I thought of giving the Tree to her. I just felt that she was acting the way she does because she feels unappreciated. The good part is, I got a lot of Trees from my colleagues!

Third was the Anchor. We were told to write down “Susuportahan kita.” (“I will support you.”). I gave my Anchor to my friend, Ate Berna. She’s our new Pharmacist. Since she does not have a background on how things are done in a cosmetic manufacturing plant, I am very much willing to teach her and support her in whatever she wants to do.

Fourth was the Shake Hands. This serves as a “Thank you” symbol. I gave this to my bosses, since they were the first ones who trusted in my capabilities, and who accept my weaknesses. They were the main reason why I am so inspired to create cosmetic products, for they made me see just how many lives rely on my job. And I’m very thankful to them.

Last was the Smiley icon and Gift giving. We were told to give this to the person immediately to our right. I do not really know the person sitting beside me, which made me feel uneasy. So I tried to lighten things up by asking his name and making silly jokes. When I gave him my Smiley and Gift, he was uneasy at first. Then he spoke up and asked me if he could give my gift to the one sitting beside him, since he did not bring a gift. I said it’s okay, since my gift was a wall clock which doesn’t have the sex limitation.

All in all,th experience was wonderful. I hope working and human relationships within the company can be better than ever after this activity.

Kudos to the people behind this wonderful activity!

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Post Valentines Day

It’s out third Valentines day together! (Yey!) I can still recall how we celebrated the past two Valentines day that we shared.

On our first year together, he gave me one long stem red rose. And we had dinner together at one local mall. I can say this is still an awkward moment for both of us, since we were just getting to know each other.

On our second year together, we had a tough time. D lost his job two months before that. It was a difficult time for me too, since we can’t go out anymore and go to places we wanted to go. But still, we held on. Our second year together is the most difficult as of today. Instead on letting this drag us down, we worked together to achieve our dreams. We had a home-cooked meal at his house.

This year, we weren’t able to go out on the actual V-day, since it fell on a Thursday. Sir D now reached his dream job. I am a bit perplexed though, since he is now a police officer. I never knew that so much would change in the way D views the world around him. Somehow I feel more secure, but a little, since it’s so hard to be around him! I don’t know just how to react… The good thing is, even though he’s all “astig” and tough-looking now, he’s still the same soft, funny and loving guy I knew. He treated me to a movie, Upside Down (see separate blog). Who says police officers are scary people?

Cheers to more V-days to us Sir D:)

 

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in-cosmetics Asia 2012: manila to bangkok

The day has come! Me and my boss are going to Bangkok, Thailand for this year’s in-cosmetics Asia. Every year, cosmetic ingredient innovators gather and showcase their innovations and market trends from every region around the world. This year, LEAN Processes, Inc will be visit their booths in search of exciting new ingredients and concepts.

I am soooo excited about this trip! I finished my list of to-dos for my friend last week. I’ll be leaving the laboratory to her for the whole of this week.

As this will be my first time to leave the country, I am all eyes and ears on what my boss is saying and doing. As we made our way to the airport, I was frantically writing down every new experience!

November 5,

11:15

We arrived at NAIA terminal 1. We are scheduled for a flight via Thai Airways leaving at 13:10 for Bangkok. First, we got a cart where we put our luggage. Then there was the beeline for the passenger and luggage check in. The interior of the airport is a little bit dim, maybe due to the dark brown finish of the ceiling and walls. It took us about 30 minutes to check our luggage.

If it weren’t too embarrassing, I would’ve taken pictures here! While we were making our way into the holding area, my boss and I discussed how inferior NAIA looks compared to other airports in Southeast asia. As I have no point of comparison for this one, I just referred to an article I once read about NAIA being one of the top ten worst airports in SEA.

12:15

Arrived at the holding area of the hotel. Boarding time is set at 12:40. Boss and I sat and watched NBA. It hit me like a slap of cold water… I do not understand basketball anymore… This made me kinda sad. When I was younger I memorize each player’s stats. Now, I don’t even know who they are…

An attendant then announced flight will be delayed for 20 minutes. Just then, I noticed my previous bosses sitting at the aisle opposite us. A wave of relief washed over me, knowing that I will have someone to talk to when I get to our destination. I have always been that way… I hate being alone. But I hate being with noisy people.

13:15

Finally we’re boarding! As we make our way into the airbus, I realized that we are are actually walking through a “tunnel” that connects the waiting area to the plane’s door. My seat is by the window side, but I was a little bit disappointed that the wing of the plane covers almost everything… I had no choice but to watch the wing’s mechanism. The wing actually moves! It has moving parts that change angle every time the plane is to turn a certain direction. It’s like a real bird’s wing that flaps to bring the bird higher up the air.

13:34

The plane’s engines roar as we speed through the runway. I was waiting for my ears to hurt, because a lot of people tell me that the pressure of take off and landing will make you feel like your head and ears are about to pop. But I didn’t feel anything… I was actually chewing a gum, but when we were about to take off I stopped chewing and observed. I guess I was born to fly? Hehe.

In less than 5 minutes, we were soaring. At first I saw the buildings getting smaller, until a fog of clouds blurred my window. After the haze, cotton-looking cloud surrounded us, until everything I see becomes a very light shade of blue. We were flying among the clouds. The feeling is elating. Like anytime I could see an angel fly by. I couldn’t sleep the whole trip. All I could do was stare at the heavens around me, looking at the clouds.

14:45

Refreshments and food are served on our seats. Chose to have a beef stew and red wine. The beef stew was a little bit too salty when you eat it alone, but when mixed with rice, it becomes delicious! The overall character of Thai food is spicy, and I love spicy food. I think I will enjoy the authentic Thai cuisine. I’ll be posting photos as we go along.

As we were eating, cabin crew played Step Up Revolution. One thing I love about traveling is you get to watch movies you want while doing your work. I admit, I am a workaholic. I may be uptight and serious all the time, but when I work, I usually play simultaneously.

16:42

Landed at Suvarnabhumi Airport. Landings were supposed to be as painful as take off. But for me, I don’t know if the pilot is just too good, or I can’t feel pain at all. Suvarnabhumi looks nothing like NAIA. The floor is made of shiny material, one that I can’t really describe. The ambiance is very international, since a very diverse mixture of people walk the corridors. What I loved the most is the walkalator. We do not have anything like that in the Philippines. As a very ignorant little brat, I can’t help but gape at everything I see.

The experience is quite breath taking, especially while we were flying among the clouds. Now I am here at the hotel, feet burning from the long walk, sweat dripping from the too warm temperature. The Thai people look a lot like Filipinos. When they don’t speak, I feel like I’m just at home. I can’t wait for the opening tomorrow.

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Uri taking a nap

My boyfriend gave me a pet turtle on December 11, 2012. I name her Uri, meaning “God’s light”.

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I assumed its birthday to be on November 11, 2010. Which makes it approximately 1 month old when I receive it!

My boyfriend told me that he always wanted to give me a pet. But since my family has a history of asthma, he cannot give me pets with lots of hair (no cats or dogs). And since my mom and I are afraid of crawling things, he cannot give us animals with leathery skin! (not snakes or iguanas!!!) When suddenly….tadah! He gave me a turtle instead.

At first I was hesitant, since I cannot bring the turtle with me to my house in Laguna. I had to leave it to my mother in Quezon City. My mom loves water pets, since she already has an aquarium full of fish. Now she got an additional “grand child” 😀

My mom first put Uri into an aquarium together with her one gold fish (Let’s call it Goldie). We thought this arrangement will work just fine, since Uri doesn’t seem to mind Goldie’s presence. But just after one week of cohabiting, one morning when my mom woke up, half of Goldie’s body went missing! We then figured out that Uri might have gotten hungry, and chose to devour Goldie… 😥

My mom was upset for some time. What she did was she bought a new aquarium for Uri. She’s been taking good care of her for almost a year now. From a small baby turtle, Uri is now about a third of a basin big!

I’m actually planning for a birthday party for Uri this November. Watch out for updates:)

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My Best friend’s Wedding

Met with my best friend today. It’s been a long while since we last saw each other. We’ve known each other since 2008. Her name is as unique as her personality. Jubenelin Ais, born September 27, is getting married!

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PHOTOS FROM 2010

I am soooo thrilled to see my B walk down the aisle!

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PHOTO FROM 2012

I was thinking of having a wedding shower for her, but I’m running out of time! The wedding’s on December already… You think I can still pull it off?

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