Monday, February 28, 2011

Will be on a break...

Hello everyone! I will be out of work before the week ends. I'm having a spiritual break with Tinee (bestest friend) and my other workplace friends...

We will all go to this place


I will blog about the place and my experience soon..
In the mean time please wish me luck and pray with me that someday, my silent wish would soon come true.. 

Thank you for dropping by. Have a great day ahead everyone! :-)

Friday, February 25, 2011

I prefer silence and stillness

Summer is getting nearer in the Philippines. The months of April and May usually mark the start of the summer season here. Summer also is when trip to resorts and beaches is at its peak. In my workplace, one of the benefits we enjoy is having a free summer outing with the rest of my colleagues. I look forward on this activity because this is our rare chance to take time off from work, bond with my few workplace friends and take pictures of happy memories.

Last year, we went to Club Balai Isabel. The place is located in Talisay, Batangas. Batangas is a town in the Philippines known for beaches. However, Talisay, Batangas is far different from the beaches in the other areas of Batangas such as San Juan, Calatagan, etc. Talisay is surrounded by the still waters of Taal Lake.

I am not actually a fan of populated and congested beaches. If I would define vacation, that would be a place where there are less people, quiet and peaceful place to rest and sleep, scenic and breathtaking views, closer to nature, well cooked, healthy and delicious food. These are what I found at Club Balai Isabel.

Here are some of the few pictures at Club Balai Isabel I have captured..

The Lake
This is the main attraction at Club Balai Isabel. The shore of the still waters of Taal Lake.


Another view of the Taal Lake from the dining area. Can you see the white boat? That boat can give you a tour to Taal Lake while being served your preferred meals.

Floating Restaurant by the Lake
This area is very ideal for those who want to have breakfast or dinner by the lake.
Bahay Kubo
Bahay Kubo or houses made from bamboo and other types of wood. Bahay Kubo is known as the primitive houses in the Philippines.
Reception Area
This is what will front you at Club Balai Isabel. This is how the reception and waiting area were constructed.  Wooden furniture, plants and a man made falls.
Reception Area


Floating Swimming Pools
You read it right! The picture shows floating swimming pools. Though Taal Lake has still waters, it is unfortunately not ideal for swimming. But if you are really in the mood for swimming, you can try the floating pools.

Photo Source here
A view of the floating pools from afar

A closer view of the floating pools

Who wants to have breakfast or dinner by the lake?

Sorry for the blurred shot, I forgot to bring my camera here. Club Balai Isabel has two swimming pools and this one of them.

For some unknown reason, I felt something magical and enchanting in this spot. I uttered a prayer and made a silent wish. If it would not be too much to ask, please pray with me that someday that silent wish would come true...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

This is the other side of me

If you read my profile and other posts, my job as a part time educator is not new to you. Aside from my normal 8am to 5pm office job, I am humbled and grateful because I was given the opportunity to teach and mold the minds of these young people. I particularly teach college students. So what I exactly impart to my students are depicted in these pictures...


In house Campus Trade Show
  



External Trade Show at SMX Convention Center
  

Some Organic Dishwashing Liquid

Still at the SMX Trade Show


In house Campus Trade Show at the Food Section
 

At last, they made it at the SMX Trade Show!
 

Spot me! Do I look as young as them? ;-)
 The pictures show only the best parts of my teaching experiences. Before my students reached this point, they underwent a lot of lectures, writing, editing, cramming and facing the big D or we call it the Defense.

I handle research related subjects. I have an undergraduate degree in Economics, but my career brought me to research. I started as a researcher in an academic institution where I conduct studies as reference for management planning and decision making. After earning my MBA, I was given a teaching opportunity and that started everything. I initially taught Thesis Writing. But after a semester, my teaching assignment was converted to Business Plan Writing and Business Plan Implementation.

Students who are enrolled under Business Plan Writing are obviously required to produce a viable Business Plan. As their professor, I screen and develop my students' business ideas and organize them to a comprehensive Business Plan. I lecture all the chapters and procedures of  writing a Business Plan. The stressful part comes in the editing and improving their papers. On the average, I handle 11 Business Plans that I have to read, edit and monitor every week. I have to ensure that my students are progressing with their paper. It is usually at this point where my strength and patience are exhausted to the highest level. If I have 35 students, I have to deal with 35 different personalities. I have cooperative and obedient students though and I thank them for making things a bit easier for me. The troubles and problems arise from those students who don't submit output on deadlines, skip my lectures ending them unknowledgeable on the paper, too conceited and hard headed to accept corrections, submit low quality papers just to comply with the submission dates, and those who love to complain first, blah! blah! blah!, than to do the actual work. If I would enumerate all those uniquely stressing cases, I might end up building another blog for them. ;-)

Once my students are done with the full text of their Business Plan, they are required to undergo the big D. They have to present and defend their Business Plan to a three-man panel. If they passed the defense, they can proceed and enroll to the next course, Business Plan Implementation.

When I first handled Business Plan Writing and Implementation, it was also the first time the school implemented this curricula. We were all in the trial and learning stage. I am proud to have worked and learned a lot from this first hand experience. There was even a point when a not-so-pleasing student challenged the management of the school for implementing this curricula. The kid claimed that the school is doing something unnecessary. The kid even started a protest through a signature campaign. I chose not to find out who among my students supported the protest. But honestly, I felt betrayed knowing that some of my well trusted students supported an immature destabilizing attempt.

I see nothing wrong with voicing out your concerns and complaints to the school's management. But you also have to bear in mind that life also entails the need to follow rules and accepting the fact that things would not always happen the way you always wanted them.
Sorry for my side story. ;-)

During the Business Plan Implementation stage, my job as a teacher doesn't stop. At this point, I verify and monitor whether my students are really doing their businesses. My students by the way do real and legitimate businesses. They aren't those that are included in the informal sector. They have business permits and they are regisetred to government offices.

Aside from ensuring the smooth flow of their business operations, their participation both in the in house and external trade shows serve as their main project. The school organizes a trade show where my student entrepreneurs are given the chance to showcase and sell their products. They join trade shows that are participated by other businesses, which are managed by older and more experienced entrepreneurs. They may not know it, but seeing them there gives me more than happiness.

Handling Business Plan subjects is a serious and tough job. I have to endure the exhaustion of speaking for more than an hour, explaining every part of the paper to its tiniest detail, reading and correcting papers, and deal with all those unique personalities. I used to have a relatively healthy life before I became a part time educator. I get enough sleep and rest well during weekends. I miss those days. But when teaching came, it's like experiencing a 360 degrees turn.          

I do not know what is waiting for me over the next years. Will I be given another teaching job? Will I be brought to another job? One thing will however remain certain, my love and passion for teaching will always thrive in my heart.
 
Photo Credit: Thanks to my former student, Manilyn Gemoto, for allowing me to grab and use some of her pictures at Facebook

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Date at Cafe Lidia

Though I have a lot to do over the weekends, I still managed to squezeed in a Valentine's date with my girlfriend, Anne. I requested that we dine in my one of my favorite restaurants in my hometown.


Cafe Lidia is situated at Calederon Street of Calumpang Marikina City. Cafe Lidia is found in an area where business establishments are unlikely to be constructed. Calderon Street is comprised of houses, school and some small factory warehouses. Though it looks a misfit in the area, Cafe Lidia managed to establish the typical ambiance of an Italian restaurant.







Cafe Lidia gives me an impression of a typical Italian restaurant. Clay bricks, wooden interiors and tables decorate the area.

Pizzas, pasta, finger foods, cakes, hot and cold coffee drinks are its best sellers. If I were to compare it with other restaurants, its direct competitors include Shakeys Pizza, Don Henrico's and Italiannis. However, food prices differentiate and strengthen Cafe Lidia. The taste and quality of their food can be equated to such restaurants. But their prices are way lower and better.



Here's what Anne and I had for our date

House Speciality Pizza
 

Buffalo Wings
 


Mocha Sansrival Slice
We paid only Php 525 ($13)  for our meals, including the two cans of Coca Cola.
For those who want to try Cafe Lidia, you can take a tricycle from the City Proper of Markina  (those tricycles bound to Sta. Elena or Calumpang). An alternative is a tricycle ride from the Robinsons Metroeast Overpass.

Happy Hearts Day to all!

One World One Heart Winners!

As promised, I will announce the winners of my One World One Heart contest on this day, February 14, 2011 (Philippine Time).

And the winners are

LuLuliz of United Kingdom
You won yourself the notebook and the bag charm!

and


Deborah of USA
You won the two blouses!

Please email me on how to claim your prizes.

To the 83 people who took time to drop by my rarely visited blog and join my contest,

THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

My grattitude also goes to Lissa of A Whimsical Bohemian for starting this event.

Happy Heart's Day to all!

Diane

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

One World One Heart 2011


CONTEST IS CLOSED

Hello everyone! My name is Diane and I am a proud Filipina. I came from a country with 7,107 wonderful islands and almost 90 million hospitable and accommodating people.

I have an undergraduate degree in Economics and I recently earned my MBA. I work at the Corporate Planning Department in one of the oldest educational institutions in my country and at the same time, I teach research related subjects to college students. Aside from my everyday job, I love eating out, shopping with my girlfriends, collecting different stuff (notebooks, accessories, movie DVDs) and of course blogging. I love to write and chronicle my everyday and simple memorable experiences in life.

Sorry for the long and boring introduction. I just need to do this because I am proudly joining the
One World One Heart 2011

5th One World One Heart (OWOH) activity initiated and headed by a wonderful blogger, Lissa of A Whimsical Bohemian.

Tha main objective the OWOH is to provide a venue for bloggers to meet, mingle, form connections and lasting frienships from people all over the world. This event takes every blogger to a carpet ride to different places around the world. By just clicking the links of other bloggers, everyone is led to a magical doorway of connections and friendship.

As an added bonus, every blogger is given the chance to share and make another blogger happy. Every blogger who participates will be giving away a special prize to those who will be making comments in their OWOH blog post. Since I am a proud participant, these are what I will be giving away...

Prize number 1: A Notebook and a bag charm
This could be yours my friend!
The notebook comes with a mini-envelope plus a key to my heart bag charm. The heart shaped lock is real by the way. It can be used to secure anything. 


Prize 2. Unused Blouses from Kashieca and Meg
This could be yours too!
I bought these two blouses from Kashieca and Meg, both local brands from the Philippines. I never had the opportunity to wear them. They were just kept in my closet. The black blouse is size Small while the blue blouse is Medium. And since I have this opportunity, I am giving them away to you.

How to win any of these prizes?

1. My first requirement is to comment on this blog post. You can also make comments related to my other posts. But the thing is, you have to place your comments in this post to make you qualified for the prizes. All comments shall be screened to prevent the inclusion of spammers.
2. Winners will be chosen randomly through random.org.
3. One comment is equivalent to one entry.
4. All comments should be in by February 13, 2011.
5. All winners shall be posted in this site any time on February 14, 2011 (Philippine Time).
6. Prizes shall be shipped to the winners at no cost, anywhere in the world!

Please take time to write a comment and get a chance to win any of my modest prizes.

Thank you for dropping by my blog. :)

Diane

Thank you Hedgren Philippines

Hedgren recently sponsored a contest through their Twitter account, @HedgrenPH. Followers were asked to submit their personal photo with their Hedgren bag. I tried my luck and guess what, I was proclaimed as the winner.




I won this belt bag.
 
Hedgren Belt Bag
Thank you Hedgren!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

SSS! - Sick but Still Shopaholic

Though I have been feeling weak over the weekends, I still managed to do my stress busting activity... shopping!

Last Friday, I was able to buy my first blouse from Kamiseta in 2011. ;-) Kamiseta, for those who really know me, is one of my favorite brands in the Philippines. I love their blouses. I purchased this peasant blouse that comes in my favorite color.

Kamiseta Peasant Blouse

I have been hiding this blouse in my cabinet because I'm sure that my Nanay (mother) would again nag me for buying this. Typical mom would always remind her daughter to stop spending. That's me and my Nanay all the time.

I was surprised that Kamiseta shifted from their traditional paper bags. They now place your purchases in this bubble wrap envelope like bag. It's cute and unique, but I feel it will be less useful after.


During the weekends, I told my Nanay that I need to go to the mall to have several pages of a book photocopied. Even at this point that I am earning, I don't usually purchase books for my teaching. I opt to use the school library. But borrowing books sometimes even cost me more. It's because of the lame reason that I often forget to return my borrowed books on time. I always suffer in effect from book fines.

Before I left, Nanay requested me to buy her a new pair of sandals. I suggested that she come with me so that she could choose for herself. She went with me at SM Marikina, one of my favorite malls. Sorry, I forgot to take pictures of the mall. Regretful! I could have shown you some greenery in the city and some nice landscape architectures.

I was able to treat my Nanay to a pair of World Balance slippers and a merienda. Before we went home, we dropped by Bayo and as expected, I was able to make a purchase. Bayo by the way is another brand favorite. ;-) Money down! The shopaholic me attacked again.

I was able to buy this military inspired jacket.

Bayo Jacket
Thanks to my Belle de Jour coupon because I was able to get a 10% discount. Yehey!

As I am writing this, I still feel very weak, light headed and dizzy. But I still have a lot of work to do. Check the papers of my students and finish my free lance job assignment.

I have a lot of things to be thankful today. I had a bonding moment with my mother. I have a lot of job to do. This means I have opportunities to use and share my abilities. But my fervent and sincerest wish is good health. Give me a sound mind, happy heart and a healthy body. I want to accomplish my responsibilities and help those people who need me. Please Lord, please.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Burgers Served in a Time Machine

Do you love hamburgers? Do you love vintage or antique stuff? If your answers are yes, then you should visit Mama Chit's Coffee House.
Mama Chit's is a small restaurant that sells the best homemade burgers I've ever tasted in my entire life. The burgers that Mama Chit's sell come in three sizes, the baby burgers, the regular sized burgers and the largest is equal to the size of a normal dining plate.

The smallest burger costs Php 50 ($1), the regular sized burgers is around Php 85 ($2.1). I haven't tried their plate sized burgers, but I'm pretty sure that it taste well with the regular sized burgers. The prices of their burgers are a bit expensive than those sold in the typical local burger stands. But as compared to the fastfood burgers of Mc Donalds and Wendy's, they are way cheaper and better in my opinion.

If my assessment is correct, the burger patties of Mama Chit's are specially formulated by the owners. The meat doesn't take like flour and those articifical extenders. The meat of the burger tastes genuinely meaty. The burger also has a special sauce mixture that complements with the vegetables. All in all, the rich ingredients provide a blend of a heavenly burger!

If I were to rate Mama Chit's Coffee House (in terms of food and place), I would definitely give 5 out of  5 stars. However, some people have pointed out weak points of the place. Common criticisms include the limited space, absence of airconditioning units and wifi services.

The place is truly small. It has only around six tables and less than 30 chairs. However, the decorative antique pieces displayed in the shop compensate the small area. I also feel that the owners did not design the place to accommodate a high volume of customers. Hence, they intentionally constructed the business in a limited space.

The place can survive without an airconditioning unit because the place is small and it's properly ventilated. The absence of wifi services is a true weakness. But the thing is, you can survive in the place without an internet connection. The vintage and antique stuff displayed in the coffee house is more than enough to kill your boredom.

Here's a picture of the regular sized Mama Chit's burger.
I know it's not deliciously photogenic. But I can assure you that it's real taste is way better than the picture.

Here are some pictures of the place,

Mama Chit's Counter
Another shot of the counter,

No items here are new.

Who says old metal signages are a waste?

Even the ceiling of the counter area is decorated with vintage stuff.

Mama Chit's Dining Area
The tables and chairs and look at the black and white floor!


Even empty softdrink cans are used as decorative pieces.


The wall of the coffee house is filled with old pictures of the owner and I think some members of the family.

Old Slot Machine

Look what do we have here! An old slot machine from the US!


Remember the old black telephone? The phone without the redial function and would require you minutes just to dial a number.

Aside from burgers, Mama Chit's also offers pasta, sandwiches and finger foods such as nachos, french fries and onion rings. It's a coffee house by name but ironically it's not known for the best tasting coffee. Although they also sell a few hot drinks and frappuccino.

Aside from burgers, I also tried their one of a kind nachos. Their nachos are not served with the typical beef and cheese. Their nachos are served with beef, carrot strips, pineapple chunks, apple slices and some vegetables. It's healthy nachos with a twist. 

Mama Chit's Coffee House is located at San Roque, Marikina City. It's a few steps away from the Marikina's Doll Museum and the Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish Church. If you are commuting, take a jeepney ride bound to Calumpang Marikina City from Katipunan LRT station or at Gateway Mall, Cubao.

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