Thursday, June 30, 2011

Where I hibernated for three days

I'm back in the city! After three days, the out-of-town work is over and I am back at home with my family. I know there are lot of beautiful places outside the city waiting to be discovered. But nothing still beats sleeping in my own room and spending quality time with the family. Dinner and watching TV with the entire family, priceless!

I hibernated at Club Balai Isabel with the members of the management committee of my workplace. It was the strategic planning activity and I was tagged by my boss to join the other bosses. I am not a "boss" in the company by the way. If you have read my profile, I am a rank and file employee so my job is to provide assistance in terms of logistics. So you see I am only a quiet fly in the midst of the elephants. ;-)

Planning is supposedly a brain exhausting organizational task. The participants, which include the management team, are tasked to establish the company's goals and later on develop specific strategies on how to achieve them. Hence, a fresh, relaxing and different environment that is contributive in bringing out ideas is encouraged in strategic planning activities. This is the main reason why we went to Club Balai Isabel. The lush surroundings and the calm atmosphere away from the city is expected to lessen the overwhelming workload.

Here are some pictures I've taken from Club Balai Isabel. I hope you will appreciate the place as much as I did.
Reception Area of Club Balai Isabel
I have noticed that entire place was carrying a Filipino theme. Wooden furniture, colorful lamps and even the different areas were named after Filipino heroes and places.

The porch of our conference hall provides us with this view and pathway. Do you notice the tree in the right side of the picture? I like the idea of the attaching a circular wood that can function as a table.

One of the villas here served as our home for three days. I love the architecture and the terrace that provided us with this view
I love the lush greeneries that Club Balai Isabel offers

 I wish to have my own weekend getaway place like this.

Club Balai Isabel has three swimming pools. This one is the grandest and my digital camera can't even fit a perfect shot of the pool.

In another angle,

The pool side during night time

Club Balai Isabel is a resort that was built along the shores of the tranquil Taal Lake.

A swimming pool near the lake was also constructed

And we spent our meals in this place while enjoying the view

Club Balai Isabel is also becoming famous as a venue for beach and outdoor weddings. But Catholics can also have their wedding solemnized at Club Balai Isabel. The resort recently constructed this small but elegant chapel.

I love the effect of the colored glasses in a rustic and shabby wooden door in the chapel
 And from the middle of the lake, this is Club Balai Isabel

It's Thursday night and one more day to go before the weekend.  In case we share the same situation; sleepy or just relaxing after an exhausting day, I hope my shots were able to refresh and rekindle your tired spirits.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happiness was redefined

One thing I realized about happiness is that our own expectations and definitions change over time. When I was a kid, happiness meant being able to watch an episode of my favorite cartoon series, a cone of ice cream, acquiring scented stationery and Hello Kitty stickers,  receiving a canister of Pringles from Daddy, a Jollibee spaghetti; those simple things are more than enough to make me happy. 

When I went to school and found my own circle of friends, I wasn't aware that my definition of happiness changed and expanded. Happiness meant receiving good grades, submitting projects on time, sharing crush stories with friends, being finally allowed to go out with friends, counting saved pennies after a school year and being able to buy that dream bag equate to happiness. 

When I started working, my conditions for happiness increased and became more complicated. Happiness meant submitting expected output on time, receiving performance incentive, promotion, paid insurance premiums and bills, a fat savings account, shopping and night out with friends, a blooming love life, opportunity to travel abroad, maintaining the ideal weight and BMI, and I'm sure these requisites will continuously grow every year. 

The peculiar behavior of happiness was something my years of education never taught me. I have to learn the growing complexity of happiness as I age and venture in different things. There were days when I envy kids because they are spared from the complications of life. They are contended with simple things that life has to offer.

Though I often get exhausted with all those concerns, there are days when I found myself in bliss over priceless things. Words of appreciation from the boss, a text message from a long lost friend, receiving comments in my blog posts, an additional follower and more importantly, a new friend in the blogosphere.

When I started blogging, my only intention was to express myself through writing and possibly open the opportunity to earn money. More than my passion to write and earn, I realized that there are more priceless things that blogging offers. I never thought I would gain a family of friends in the vast world of the blogosphere. This alone is something I never realized is enough to make me happy. 

And speaking of friends in the blogosphere, today marks a memorable day in my seven months of blogging because I received my first gift from a fellow blogger 

Bird's Nest Necklace
A bird's necklace personally made by a fellow Filipina blogger named Janelle. 

Janelle of Of Pinks and Fairytales specializes in upcycling and transformation of clothes, accessories and home decors. I suggest you visit her site and explore her great artworks.

Thank you Janelle! This necklace would remind me that blogging meant more than placing my thoughts in writing. I have embarked myself to a world that counts endless opportunities of friendship and simple things that are enough to make me happy.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Twice the Fun with Food and Friends

I have to undertake one of the most major decisions in my life and I am not ready to relate everything at this point. Identifying and weighing the pros and cons are not my favorite things to do. I have weeks to finally render my decision and a lifetime to determine whether I made the right choice.

I wanted to temporarily escape from my complicated situation. As much as I wanted to just enjoy the night away, I have to face reality and discuss that part of my life. But at the end of the day, regardless of what decision I made,  I know I can count on them. With or without an achievement, they will forever remain my true friends.

To lighten up things, I went out with my colleague and friend, Abigail. I opened up my situation and discussed my sentiments over a sumptuous meal

 Mexican rice and chicken wings from Abigail

Mexican rice, taco and ground beef for me

The place
I think I haven't mentioned in any of my posts that I love Mexican dishes. Nachos, burritos, quesadilla, they are my comfort foods. I really try every Mexican restaurant here in the Philippines.

It's long weekend here in the Philippines because Monday was declared as a non-working holiday. Yahoo! I was able to went out with my friend Lani too.
This picture was taken a year ago, back when I was 15 lbs lighter. Seriously, I am out of shape today and I wanted at the very least shed off the 10 unnecessary lbs. 

We had dinner and strolled the mall until closing time, that's me and Lani always. We would disregard time and the pain of our legs and feet. Lani bought a new cardigan while I was contemplating on whether to buy the button down long sleeves blouse from Benetton. (Update: I was able to buy the blouse today. The beautiful blouse didn't make me sleep Lani hahahaha!)

Aside from purchasing a new top, I am getting addicted to these kind of bracelets.
Belt Bracelets
I got this from People are People and I'm planning to buy the other styles not tomorrow .... I have to wait for the next payday! (Life of a rank and file employee ;-)

We're still on vacay mode tomorrow so I might spend the night away reading books or watching a nice movie.

Have a great weekend everyone! 

To the greatest man I've ever met

He was with me during my first tooth extraction. God knows how I was so afraid of Mr. Dentist. He never mentioned any comforting words, but his presence was enough to assure me that everything will be fine. 

He indulged me with my favorite foods. He would take home Pringles and my favorite Jollibee spaghetti whenever I want. 

Ever since I was studying, he would ensure that my school shoes are clean and well polished. He continues this practice until today. 

He never showed any form of disappointment when I was not performing well in school. He never blamed me for not doing well. When I started receiving good grades and recognition, he never said anything. I never heard any words of appreciation but something tells me that he was so proud of me.

He never told me that he was proud of me. But a lot of our relatives would tell me how he was so proud and happy with my accomplishments. 

He would wait for me every night. He never sleeps unless I am home. When I started to develop the habit of coming home late, he never reprimanded me and complained of sleeping too late. He patiently waited and ensured that I have dinner to eat. 

He struggled in financing my education. He never told me, but I can tell. He exhausted all means to ensure that I have allowance and money to support my studies. He wanted the best education for me.

How could I ever say thank you to the person who gave up his life and gave me my life. 

You are the greatest man I've ever met. 

Thank you Daddy.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I'm broke but I'm happy

This is a late post. I have been going out with some friends over the past Fridays to weekends. Malling, dinner and some shopping, I got so broke. ;-)  I almost wanted to pull payday! But as Alanis Morisette said, 

I'm broke but I'm happy. 
I'm poor but I'm kind. 
I'm short but I'm healthy yeah! 
I'm high but I'm grounded. 
I'm sane but I'm overwhelmed. 
I'm lost but I'm hopeful
And when it all comes down to 
Is that everything's gonna be fine fine fine
I've got one hand in my pocket 
And the other one is giving a high five

There are a lot of interpretations made for this song. But for me, its message is simple, we can all be happy even with the absence of material things. Our friends and family are the real determinants of our happiness.

Here are pictures of some of my friends and family members who never fail to make me happy. 
Abigail and Clara

Clara and the Shopaholic me!
 We all ordered the same meals from Burger King. (weight gain!)
Over the weekends, I went out with my family. Remember my niece in my previous post? We brought her to the mall as her birthday treat.
We bought her a toy and ate at her favorite KFC.
Nope, Alexia doesn't have a twin sister! ;-) It was just the mirror inside the fitting room.

My country was celebrating its independence day last Sunday too. Allow me to pay honor to my country by showcasing some of our locally made products.
Since the Philippines is an archipelago, surrounded by seas and oceans, pearls are one of the best products we are producing. We culture fresh sea water pearls to the priciest South Sea pearls.

My country is also producing fabrics made from Piña (pineapple) leaves. The fibers of the Piña leaves are carefully extracted and converted to threads. The threads are later on weaved to form these beautiful Pina clothes.

Some miniature items

The item in the left mimics the traditional Filipino ice cream cart. The cart circulates in the residential streets by a man we termed as the Mamang Sorbetero (literally translated as the ice cream man). I grew up in a place regularly routed by the Mamang Sorbetero. My cousins and I would patiently wait for Mamang Sorbetero every morning and enjoy the ice cream while watching local morning cartoons.

The other item depicts a Pedicab (a bike with a mounted sidecar that accommodates the passenger) is a common form of public transportation.

Tomorrow will be Friday and I still don't know if I will find myself going out with a friend. My wish is that I will be able to prevent myself shopping. Seriously!

It's 12:10 am here in the Philippines, I'm still awake and have to report for work tomorrow or I mean later. I accepted a freelance research job and I want to finish everything tonight. Hopefully, I'll earn enough money to fatten my savings account, treat my family to a fancy meal over the weekends and no more shopping please. ;-)  

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tagaytay is love

I was out of town last Friday because of a work related activity. We made an ocular visit at Club Balai Isabel and settled some transactions for an upcoming work. Being confined in the office and handling my classes comprise my everyday schedule. Work out of town and explore new places are rare opportunities for me.  

I have already blogged about Club Balai Isabel. So for this post, I will show you pictures and stories of another equally beautiful place in my country. 

Our route to Club Balai Isabel gave us an opportunity to see one of my favorite places in the Philippines, Tagaytay City. The Philippines is a tropical country so most of the places here exhibit a summer weather. So if you plan to visit my country, don't bother to bring those thick and bulky clothes. Shorts, sun dresses and cotton shirts will be the perfect outfit here. 

Tagaytay is one of the few places in the Philippines that registers a different weather condition. The place is characterized by hills, mountains and open grasslands. Tagaytay also offers the best view of the famous Taal Lake and Taal Volcano. The lake, lush greeneries and the low temperature are what I love about Tagaytay. The place is also only an hour and a half drive from Manila. In effect, the trip itself is not exhausting and expensive. 

We didn't have much time to enjoy Tagaytay. We just had lunch in a Bulalo (Soup made of Beef  Stock, Bone Marrow and Vegetables ) restaurant and coffee at Bag of Beans. I've been to Tagaytay many times but I confess, I haven't fully explored the place. So it was my first time to experience both activities. I failed to take pictures of the famous Bulalo soup. I will instead share pictures of a unique coffee shop.

Bag of Beans is a local coffee shop in Tagaytay. The place however goes beyond the traditional coffee shop. It offers breakfast meals, pasta, cakes, breads and even some organic products. Aside from their sumptous menu, the place offers a unique and enchanting ambiance. 
I took these pictures using my defunct camera phone. I will definitely plan another visit with my friends or family to Tagaytay. I will go back to this place and explore more of Tagaytay.

I hope you enjoyed the beautiful place too. Have a great weekend everyone!

And as always I have another happy reason to end the day. My niece, who happens to be the birthday girl, is having a sleep over!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Off from the City On for Work

My job does not require me to travel places. I am most of the time confined inside the classroom or doing my regular office work. So those rare instances that we go out for work is something I really look forward. Tomorrow and on the succeeding week, I will revisit this place. Hopefully, I'll take home happy stories to blog :)

P.S Some of you may have read of my part time job as a teacher. In this blog, I provide some details of my current and previous office job. Just in case you are interested ;-)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Thank you!

This is my 100th post in my seven months of blogging. This post would not have been possible without my followers and readers. I owe everything to all of you! You all inspired and encouraged me to pursue blogging.

I also like to acknowledge my beautiful friends who never doubted my capability in so many ways.

All I could say is THANK YOU and I am looking forward for writing hundreds and hundreds of blog posts!

Yours truly, 
 The blogger who never wears heels ;-)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I chose an underpaid but powerful career

My previous post made some of my followers sad. Please don't worry, this is not another sad and tragic story. The video clip relates a story of inspiration, love and success. Please take time to watch this video.

Not everyone knows that I am a part time educator. Aside from my eight hour office job, I teach Economics subjects to college students. Teaching was one of my silent dreams. When I finished college, I wanted to pursue a career in teaching. My alma mater rejected my application and advised me to pursue my graduate studies first. I set aside that dream and pursued a career in the field of research. When I earned a stable job, I immediately pursued my graduate studies. My waiting paid off because right after I earned my MBA, I was given a part time teaching stint.

I learned a lot from my three years of teaching. Dealing with different personalities, talking while no one is listening, pushing my students to comply with my requirements and even being disrespected by conceited kids in front of the class. I in fact learned the art of becoming immune from these negativities.

Teaching is not a financially rewarding job. At least in my country, I can attest that teaching is the most stressful yet underpaid careers. But come to think of it, there are still a lot of Filipinos who are willing to teach. There are still Filipinos who are willing to take the risk of stress in an underrated career.

I guess the honor, respect and prestige of being an educator is more than enough wealth. Respect is way more valuable than money. It is earned way different and difficult than money.  This I feel is the main reason why there are still teachers. There are still people who believe that a real career is not measured by all those monetary returns. 

To see your students succeed and knowing the fact that you are part of such achievement is a priceless reward for a teacher. But for me the best reward I could receive from teaching is the lifelong respect and warm words of appreciation from a student. 

A teacher would always remain as a teacher. Regardless if you were the most hated or loved, your students will bear that respect. They will call you Ma'am and Teacher forever and that for me is a lifelong and priceless reward. Whenever a student utter words of gratitude and appreciation, that became music to my ears and heart. Seriously. A warm and genuine "thank you" makes me feel I have worth and I have done something good and right in my life.