Friday, December 31, 2010

Ending 2010. Bland lacking in stimulation

How am I ending 2010 memorably? By all indications, it would end bland, lacking in stimulation.

The last Christmas party I attended was for another company function where the invitation came accidentally by chance in a short street chat with the leader hours before the party. It was a typical field office activity done in a warehouse under dim fluorescent light on the 30th. Highlights of the night were meals, karaoke bar and an exchange gift for 30 plus personnel that may have taken 2 hours to complete the rounds.

In between the program, I dropped by the warehouse office where I spotted 2 RTM engineers drafting an email of their report to their manager. They have been recently recruited 2 months ago for a new position that is technical in nature. They went through a rigid recruitment specified by no less than the Chief Executive. They are young, technically competent with an open and fertile mind, polite, articulate and inquisitive.

It started with a simple probing question, “Have you created the model output?” It took a while before they could answer “Yes” or “No” indicating they were processing the question until they said, “Not yet.” That led to more disclosures on the struggles they had to live with which tempted me to introduce spontaneously a mini module on Input-Process-Output and roles each one of us play-me, them, their internal suppliers and ultimate internal customers included. A high performing organization at the minimum requires that each player does their role well, very well.

Eagerly listening, approving and appreciating, they valued the short lecture giving them more resources on how faster they can deliver the model output. By the glow in their eyes, the 15 minute conversation must have unlocked fresh resource on how they will face their tasks the coming years.

The manner  they said “Thank you! Can we have more ? Will you give us an orientation?” has more than compensated the appreciation I received from hours of facilitation I handled this 2010. It was as if in a casual, spontaneous, unplanned moment, "Here comes a face (me)  bearing gift making us novice realize that we have untapped resources that can fill in the gaps and expedite the fulfillment of our task."
What they may have not realized is equally, I got affirmed that evening. I am seen as effective because of knowledge and confidence that is not threatening, sincere but provocative, assertive and sensitive. It was not only an affirmation for the moment but for the work that I have done in the past 12 months.

Noel, Clark and Carmela may have spotted greater hope that they can face their challenges in 2011. What they may have not seen is because of this conversation, I advanced the seed of my task for 2011 my personal mission which is "to inspire, enable and make the other party I converse with see the abundant possibilities."

This incidence summarized to me how my 2010 was. It gave me a foundation on how I should look at 2011 created just in a party that I was invited in and in a session that just transpired by chance.

Here's to a better year for all of us!

Posted at picked up at the Notes of FBook.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Brokenness . Shattered Dreams. Trapped Mindset. These are not appropriate recurring thoughts this holiday season but they keep on coming back especially at work.
  • I lost my voice for 2 days after Christmas.
  • There’s a spiking throb in my right foot that is getting to be bothersome.
  • There are the dreaded projects.
  • The 320 GB desktop keeps on rebooting in cycle.
  • The auto lock of the sedan has stopped fastening the locks.
I am a firm believer of the season of hope.

  • The company doctor says "it’s viral." Your resistance is strong. At an instance, the spray and a mucolytic powder started to bring back my talking voice without any medication.
  • The spiking pain would cease with the change of footwear.
  • Associates pledge full support to keep projects going.
  • Desktop and auto lock are now operational, in better conditions.
An uplifting moment on the day of Christmas is shopping for a hosted lunch at home. At the last minute, I decided to add additional fares and beverages to the set menu. Supermarkets which had operations that day open only at noon time leaving little time for preparation.
Shopwise in Araneta Center however opened an hour before the announced schedule which I accidentally spotted while at the parking lot. Shopper's traffic was light unlike the chaotic condition a day before as captured by the news coverage on TV. A seafood staff attended to my requests from selection to packing and weighing. As a walk in shopper, he would not even allow me to touch the crabs and the shrimps until he secured a cart for convenience.  Seafood and beverages were prepared ahead of the guests’ arrival. Their additional to the fare was surprisingly much appreciated as they were rated as fresh, sweet and “meaty.” Story on how they landed on the table for the feast was never disclosed until now.

I recall one Easter Sunday where Fr. Danny Huang, a Jesuit made a homily at the Cenacle Convert many years ago. I paraphrase, “Man is broken. It is inevitable as he committed sin and separated himself from God. Yet on Easter Sunday, the chance of redemption was completed which started from His birth on Christmas day."

Broken things get fixed in due time. Shattered dreams can be reconstructed. Trapped mindset is work in progress.

For the coming new year full of hopes and aspirations, Sacred space reminds me of the 1 January message, “I exist in a web of relationships - links to nature, people, God. I trace out these links, giving thanks for the life that flows through them. Some links are twisted or broken: I may feel regret, anger, disappointment. I pray for the gift of acceptance and forgiveness.” 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Simbang Gabi 2010. Say Yes!

I took a closer look at the marquee outside the Ateneo gate last Sunday 19 Dec to check on the Simbang Gabi schedule this year. As I slowed down driving, it read 8:30 PM 16-23 December.

That information made me plan to attend the Monday mass. Through the years, I’ve always attended masses in the sprawling campus to remind me of the Christian message of Christmas. I usually take particular attention not just to the choir but to the homily said by  the celebrating Jesuit priests.

However, due to a social activity, I failed to catch the mass. Nevertheless, I proceeded even just to genuflect and offer my thanks and requests accepting I failed to listen to the homily. Traditionally, I would also stroll at the mini bazaar for food and memorabilia which I did tonight. I spotted a trekking friend and a social network associate. Casually I asked Edsel R.amirez, “What was the message of today’s mass?”

It was an instance of serendipity as the valuable information I failed to catch was rattled to me extemporaneously and summarized articulately at the football field as if I was listening to the homily for the missed 5 days. I tried recalling the messages without losing its interpretation to reach a wider audience through this written site.

What this instance relayed to me was also what Edsel repeated crediting the priest for the message; “salvation is made possible through invitation.” But one must accept and prepare himself. We are reminded through Joseph that "happiness belongs to the humble and the hopeful.” These are the traits that can better prepare us for salvation. “Mary’s state symbolizes acceptance and faith.” Apply to day to day living, "saying Yes to God every day is a Yes to Mary at the Anunciation."  All these stories build up until Christmas day.

These messages came at the right moment as I continue to be tested with easy to challenging situations at work and other moments in this fast paced life needing reminders like the insights of salvation, invitation, humility, hopefulness, acceptance and faith.

Tonight, I was reminded by this simple yet marvelous incidence that Christmas is a joyous moment. Experiences like these is a testimony to why it is one.

Simbanggabi Homily of Fr. A.N. Dacanay, S.J. (December 15, 2010)

Quote from Ed's Wall:

"In his somewhat pleading voice he said, be reminded ... be reminded always of the meaning of Christmas & of the crib.  It is that act of faith in God (as shown to us by Mary and Joseph).  For it is in that act of faith when we allow an opening for Christ to enter in our lives -- the Christ of compassion, of sacrifice, of humility and of love."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wagyu in Christmas

Christmas this 2010 started with a grand bang.

A generous benefactor treated us to wagyu steak served in a hot stone in Eastwood City. It is a choice premium beef sourced from Australia grilled in stone. Food tasted as claimed, texture as described.

But somehow, food alone does not make an outlet. Restaurants are service institutions. Without extraordinary service, the experience is not fully satisfying.

While the basic services are fairly good, you’d wish that you get the extra ordinary service you are accorded with beyond what other low profile restaurants provide.

Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable relaxing Sunday lunch as the company, food and attention provided that special moment.

Thank you sponsor.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Exploring a Concept Beachfront Complex

Exploring a Concept Beachfront Complex

Work brought me to a spot in South Luzon 4 hours away from Manila, 5 for those who got trapped in the traffic.

It was a place I have not heard of although I have been in the town of Mabini in Batangas several times in the recent years.

Preparing the servings
Armed with a little knowledge from the internet hours before arriving, I looked forward to appreciating Vivere Azure, a view of the sea and the comfortable facilities.

The sojourn surprised me. What I have experienced in my several days’ stay did not match my initial outlook.

Staging to welcome guests
There was service that distracted the main attraction, good food that provided the nutrition desperately needed from the exhausting walks to several facilities.

The staff made sure we, the guests were satisfied, needs taken care of and forthcoming ones anticipated in advance.
Was it because we were the only guests? Or was it because the service orientation has been imbedded in their disposition?

I did not ask Aries, Edison, Ariel, Joven, Rose and the rest of the crew anymore.

It was enough that through their manifested behavior, they were already saying they have a strong ownership to delighting customer.

I just explored a place and discovered a lot more, an attitude.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Adarna in QC

How else do you spice up a Filipino cuisine? Fusion restaurants put in additional ingredients to radically change the taste. Minimalists reduce to extract the core flavor. Adarna, a Filipino cuisine restaurant along Kalayaan Avenue in QC modifies the process.

What you get is the same food flavor but with an enhanced punch. Adobo has a crackling feel as the meat appeared to have been pressurized longer. The green salad had a tangy taste as a result of an unidentified step. Mixed rice had an aroma that is neither Chinese nor Pinoy which is tasty and filing.

Adarna has been rated favorably in and in the book Manila by Day. The setting is an added complement. Food + Setting = Premium. But it is not. That’s what’s spicy about this QC’s kept restaurant of Giney and Beth.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mailing in November

This November I mailed several books to different destinations.
  1. First package dispatched contained 2 books weighing over 600 grams to Singapore via DHL costing P 1,230 last 15 November before noon. It was acknowledged by the recipient after noon the following day. Transaction was tracked in detail online. Impressive!
  2. On the same day I also mailed the same number of books to New York via Phil Postal Corporation or PhilPost. I paid P 1,630 via snail pace. It was received 29 November about 2 weeks after sending. Recipient confirmed receipt via email. Rate was at a premium rated according to the longer delivery time. Lags behind in rating!
  3. Last 24 November, I mailed a 700 gram parcel bearing 4 books to the East Coast via EMS of the PhilPost which was costed out at P 2,100. I am still tracking its whereabouts via its tracking site. Good Value ! compared to the Phil Postal regular mail, if eventually received on the 8th day as projected.
  4. Other mailing services are LBC with comparable DHL rates (P2,060 for parcels within 50 grams) and with more accessible receiving counters in Metro Manila. Also has a website which tracks and confirms receipt online. A poor man's version of LBC is JR Express at a comparatively lower cost at P 1,900 for the 1st 500 grams. Fewer outlets though in the city but a reliable provider internationally especially locally.

The Philippine Postal Office has served me well decades ago. Now with fewer and older frontliners, it still is there delivering  reliable service. While the more modern commercial distribution centers and mailing outlets  are providing competitive rates and superior service, the post office is still a force to reckon with. It is an institution you've associated with pleasant memories, letters, postcards and stamps. Call it emotional involvement. Thrill-wise, it promises suspense not knowing when the mail will arrive.

Happy Thanksgiving Day, even if slightly delayed.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thoughts from a transformational leadership session 

Thoughts from a transformational leadership session 
At which level does your relationship operate on? Superficial, functional or essence?

Are you coming from scarcity or abundance?

To be a high performing individual contributing to a high performing organization, are you guided by:

  • Abundance rather than scarcity?
  • Welcoming or resisting change?
  • Delivering results in quantum leaps and bounds or in incremental growths?
  • Ownership rather than compliance?

Choice is yours, always yours.
When you do decide, commit yourself to it.
Ask support to make it easy. 
Celebrate the success!
Meet you at the next level.


Friday, November 26, 2010


Pinoy Mountaineer wrote an article on snakes making me recall my own experience.

What vivid recollection of the snake experience from the previous posts. Encounters with the reptile are unforgettable, thus easy to recall even if they happened years and decades ago. This invitation from the blogger made me recall just three which for now remained hanging because I have yet to identify the snake type.

While trekking on a flat bushy trail trailing a fellow trekker with backpack about meters away in Batanes in the 90’s, a green thin snake from the elevated ridge jumped to the female’s backpack and slid down quickly to the dirt trail. The backpacker did not even sense the threat to her life.

Another recurrence was in Pico de Loro at about the same decade in an elevated bushy trail which we converted to a campsite for the day. Cooking near the tent late afternoon, a big snake suddenly crawled near the make shift kitchen. It eventually moved away but made us speculate, how many more were out there. What species it was is still a question until now.

There was a repeat at Pico de Loro in another climb. While trekking in the open field going towards the mountain under the hot sun, a big snake popped up in the trail. It turned out it was just passing through but it made us stop

The fear for snakes is more pronounced as I have viewed more features in both the Discovery Channel and NatGeo. Not until I can learn to identify and tag the snakes as poisonous and fatal, I will continue to avoid them.

Bordering on safety, I always carry a snake bite kit, but in actuality have with no confidence and know how in using it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Email Blog Posting on To Do

In my Thoughts
  1. Meeting Beth Angsioco and Giney Villar of Adarna Food and Culture Restaurant after a satisfying meal
  2. Learning to say "No" to filter out unnecessary tasks
  3. Recalling encounter with snakes triggered by contributions to pinoymountaineer's article
  4. Building a collection of Philippine culinary books
  5. Comparing rates and speed of sending out packages abroad via DHL, LBC, Johnny Air Cargo and Phil Post Office
  6. Reestablishing ties with climbing groups
  7. Sourcing and collecting reserva and rated wines
Sent via email

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mastering the Landscape Feature of Nikon S70

Mastering the Landscape Feature of Nikon S70

Photo read out on the LED screen says 1,504 fotos. That's an average of 79 JPEGs per week since I purchased this handy alternative point and  shoot camera; quite high relative to my usage a year ago on other cameras. While it promised simplicity of operation, so far the only feature I mastered after several weeks is the landscape scene taken outdoors under sufficient lighting.

At times, the JPEG viewed at the my computer screen elicits awe, a few times though in wonder.  "I wonder how that happened?" View with me a coverage of old structures taken recently in an old town in South Luzon, in Taal Batangas.

Subject on doors and windows is timely as annually during these closing
months of the year, I never failed to ask myself what is in store for
next year for me. 
At least with the camera, I know I need to master next the portrait and close up features.

Posted from Laguna, sent via mobile phone

Monday, November 08, 2010

NG's Great Migration

National Geographic's Great Migrations which premiered on Philippine cable 46 (Sky Cable) last 7 November at 9PM dramatically narrated the story of animal mass movement.

Tagging the global activity with the slogan "Move as Millions. Survive as One." the scene on predators preying on the moving animals was provocative and eventually disturbing.

The premiere episode aptly ended with the sign off line "Move . . . move . . . move . . . and survive." visually recapping how a young wildebeest failed to cross the river as she was eaten by a hungry crocodile. Mother was looking helplessness while her baby was crying until her last voice was drowned out by the fierce reptile.

Track the movement of million of red crabs as they face the struggle of surviving against a million of ants, zebra against leopards and th stunning flight of butterflies.

Watch this documentary. In the forthcoming series, different sets of animals will be featured. Only stones will not be moved by the Great Migrations.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Act of Kindness

I assisted a blind grandma in selecting a bar of Safeguard at a price, size and offer acceptable to her.

As I was wandering at the toiletry aisle of Hi Top Supermarket in Aurora Boulevard, I spotted an old short pleasant woman reaching out for a bar of soap with difficulty. Initially I thought it was the height of the shelf. 

As I went closer, it turned out she could not
Striking a conversation, lola knew what she wanted but could not check the price, promo pack and the 3 varying pack sizes.

Instinctively, I gathered the packs for her to touch and read aloud the prices. After a a 10-minute selection process, she finally decided to get 3 medium sized white for over a hundred.

She was happy with her choice, I even happier for the chance to do an act of kindness, fulfilled that I made a contribution.

Via mobile phone

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Enderan book’s Manila’s Best Kept Secret

The Enderan book’s Manila’s Best Kept Secret lists it as of the top 60 restaurants in Metro Manila. It is also included in Manila by Day, a practical guidebook on where to find "premium alternative" services and outlets in the city.

Barcino Gourmet, a Spanish restaurant along Julia Vargas Ortigas featuring Spanish wines is a cut above mainstream restaurants. It specializes in a particular cuisine that is not inihaw.  It is not beer centric.

In the company of friends who wanted to get away from it all, we discovered our linkage to a colonizer. Willingly, it was through the stomach that we surrendered ourselves.

Via email

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Personal Victory on a Conflicting Schedule

I was tested on the 1st habit of the 7 Habit to win my personal victory. I needed to improve on being proactive.

There were 2 conflicting work related schedules to happen in one day both of which I wanted to attend.
  1. One is preferred as I got involved designing its pilot and is due for observation at the South of Luzon.
  2. The other is a second preference as it involved a replication of an already executed program but in a start up location North of Luzon.
I committed to handle the 2nd preference 1st but I wanted to defer the activity so I can handle it leisurely on another date while completing the South Luzon activity. Dates were not changed which made me decide on a compromised position: Attend to North Luzon in the AM then travel 140 kms. to South Luzon in the PM for the other activity.

I knew it was a reactive behavior because I felt helplessness against the decisions I made. I was executing the activity half attentively. The consequence to the behavior was the feeling of stress, irritability. Had it been a proactive, I would have received the activity with excitement.

The action step I took was a stretch as it required me to travel 6 hours on a rainy Friday afternoon crossing from North Luzon Expressway to South Expressway which could be physically exhausting.

While completing the day, I had to internally psyche myself with my personal values that I have the drive to succeed, to make things happen with the optimism that I will still get maximum results from the experience.

I survived that Friday and Saturday. What helped was the internalized processing the young cadets of a training group I was exposed to taught me: 1.) Make a proactive choice 2.) Acknowledge the feelings of the choice 3.) Project the behavior 4.) Identify personal values to drive the step 5.) Project the consequences. 5.) Accept.

I learned too from them that 1.) to win your personal victory, practice the 1st habit of pro-activeness initially. 2.) to win-win, have the balance of courage and consideration.
There will be more tests like these in the future. I am more determined to handle them better.
Leading to a cross road

Monday, October 25, 2010

Maculot Revisited from another Perspective

This 2010, I had a chance to view Mt. Maculot from another perspective, that of a traveller. Maculot was seen from 2 angles, Mataas na Kahoy from the North Alitagtag from the South.
13 years after, the mountain looked solid and lush from a distance still bringing thrills to those who climb it. Seen from afar, it is only those with a curious mind who will ask, what’s in there. Only those with a sense of adventure will explore it further.

2 post climb activies can now cap a Maculot climb: a swim at a private resort in Alitagtag, about 5 kms. away from the town or a 300 meter zipline cross in a resort at Mataas na Kahoy

Mt. Maculot is All Geared Up For The Holidays Dec 1 1997, 4:00 pm
Newsgroups: soc.culture.filipino, Date: 1997/12/01
  • Climbing Mt. Maculot last 29-30 November, you can say Christmas has come upon this place. At night, you'll drive through several kilometers of Christmas lights in San Jose lined up against darkness in the main road. The lights are punctuated with Christmas decors, sometimes giant wreath, at times bells. It's like entering a tunnel of lined lights continuously for about 10 minutes.
  • Upon registering at Barangay Siete, the new registration desk that is just meters away from the Mountaineers Store, you'll immediately sense the cold strong breeze coming from the mountain.
  • When you reach the shoulder, prepare your windbreaker. Support your tadpole or geo-dome type tents with guy line and complete sets of pegs. It's as if there's a storm coming. Temperature without the wind factor was surprisingly just below 20 degrees Celsius.
  • I have never seen that many campers in the peak, counted at about 380 plus by the Barangay volunteers. Bulk was composed of the Mapuan climbers celebrating their anniversary. The group I was with at the trail (Cebu Pacific and the Greenmeadows group) had to contend with the flat ground between the shoulder and the water source.
  • With all the dining, the drinking and the socials that night complemented by the cold weather and the strong winds, you can say Christmas has really come upon this mountain. The smell of latrine though brings you back to your reality that there is still the descend and work that waits for you this Monday.
  • Mt. Maculot is in Cuenca Batangas Philippines, a small town 2 hours from South Expressway. It is considered as a minor, weekend climb and a favorite among novice trekkers. Summit is about 700 meters ASL. Trek time from the foot to the shoulder is about 1 1/2 hours. Add another hour to the summit.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cesar and Gideon

Long before Gideon Lasco ( dominated the information highway, my source of narratives for climbs and the extreme sports has been Cesar "Gigit" Sulit ( He writes about situations, lifestyles and places that interest me.  Like Gideon, he provides info and references to better prepare and appreciate a destination. The lonerider has expanded his site beyond adventures: mountaineering/mountain biking and reviews to misc. It is still the adventure and review groupings that I look forward to reading and most recently, at more frequent intervals.

Pinoymountainer is practical-"your guide to hiking in the Philippines," loneride is philosophical-"a nomad in search of . . ." Deep dive into his site to discover if what he is in search for is also what you are looking for.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Balimbing the fruit

A Philippine fruit unfamiliar to today’s generation is the balimbing.

Decades ago, it just grows at the backyard for picking when one fancies for a sour fruit. Because of its several faces, it is more known as a symbol of turncoats.

In rare moments when it is served at the table, fun comes from cutting because of its shape and the distinct taste. Catch it at your local market while it is still around.