Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rare and loving it

The first day of my rare long weekend break is about to end. And even though I'm counting my days, I'm happy to say that I'm loving every minute of it. I was able to sleep for more than eight hours and this is something I really savor. I've read a lot of articles emphasizing the beneficial effects of having adequate sleep. More often than not, professionals claim that sleeping hours can dictate our outlook for the entire day. True enough, I was in good mood this morning. Despite the pile of bills and errands to attend, I felt that everything is lighter this day. Sigh.. I hope this feeling will remain even on the next months.

Aside from the fact that I have more time with my family now, there's one thing that really made me happy this day.

Eight months after her death, I was able to finally visit the memorial site of my dearest friend Anna. Time really flies so fast my dear friend. When 2012 entered, you told me you were sad. I wanted to cheer you up so I visited you every weekend of February. March came, I received a text message and that was it. One more month to go and it will be our favorite time of the year again. I will miss those rare Christmas shopping, movies and lunches together with Anne. But don't worry my dear friend. I will remain true to my promise with you.

After visiting Anna, I was exchanging text messages with her mom. For some reason, those few messages gave me moments of priceless and indescribable happiness. It maybe awkward for some, but I'm close to Anna's mom. When she was planning Anna's 18th birthday, her mom considered me as one of her major accomplice haha I have other friends but it was only Anna's mom who made me feel like I'm a member of their family.

Tomorrow is All Saints Day and as part of our annual tradition, I will head out to the cemetery to visit another important mom in my life, my paternal grandmother. 

I hope everyone is having a great week too. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I'm finally on a break

I'm really going on a break now. Hooray!

The first and second days of November are holidays for us. I don't have to report for work and I just received my month-end pay. Who would not love getting paid without the need to report for work? And the best about everything, the first two days of November is followed by another weekend. I have more time to rest, read my pile of books and sleep without hitting the snooze button of my alarm clock. Hopefully, it will become a well spent weekend with my family and friends.

Despite my relaxed schedule, I still plan to accomplish a lot of things. I specifically want to

1. Visit the memorial site of my dear friend Anna and my grandparents 
2. Go back to jogging... my greatest struggle because I'd rather lounge in bed than tire myself
3. Have my much needed hair spa - hopefully, if budget permits
4. Visit the hair waxing salon
5. Eat healthy meals.. I badly needed it. I've been eating a lot of fastfood meals and Coke over the past weeks. I'm looking forward for fish and vegetable meals with my family.
6. Finish Postcards from the Heart by Ella Griffin - I've been reading this book for more than a month. I wanted to finish the book and finally blog about it.
7. Finish some freelance works *hopefully, I'll get paid before Christmas*
and more importantly,
8. pray and regain my healthy spiritual life

Before I finally doze off

Sharing my favorite Halloween treat!  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Beautiful Sunday # 27 Guilty Pleasures

The past week was all about chasing tickets and supporting our school's basketball team. Unfortunately, we failed to reclaim the 17th championship. However, the good news is, I've never seen a crowd of students, employees and alumni all united for that one great wish

All seats were occupied from the Patron to the General Admission areas. Days before the game, I witnessed another drama of outpouring support. As early as 7 am, supporters lined up in the school's Finance Office to purchase their most coveted tickets. When 11 am came, all tickets were already sold.

We didn't win but to witness the unexpected volume of support was priceless. My only wish now, the other sports and events will continue to receive the same level of love and support.  

Sad and disappointed, I ended up pouring my frustration to a long and deep sleep. haha Again, I overindulged myself with one of my favorite and unhealthiest hobby. I don't have plans of taking breakfast simply because I was so lazy to get up. What only forced me to finally move out of bed is this
The sun was all up contrary to the rainy afternoon we experienced the other day. While I always love the cold temperature of the rainy days, I'm more afraid and concerned with the threats of another disastrous flooding. My favorite time of the year is about to come in a few months. I wouldn't want another disaster to ruin my country again.

I spent the entire day reading my books and being blessed with healthy home cooked meals. I forgot to take pictures of our vegetable lunch, which I badly needed after being carnivorous haha over the past days to weeks.

As for our merienda, my mother prepared my favorite homemade potato chips. 

Bless my body for the excessive fatty oil. But I guess, my only consolation for this is that I'm eating real potatoes.

Before the week ended, I also treated myself to this
Yay! California Maki will remain one of  my reliable comfort foods. While other women need chocolates to boost their sad self, I have my own set of unique and unexpected of guilty pleasures.

Another food, fruit to be specific that I overindulged myself
To my foreign blog friends, allow me to introduce you to Lanzones. The fruit looks like small potatoes from afar. They are clustered like grapes, but they grow from real trees. The inner part of the fruit contains a bitter seed, which is covered by sweet, clear and solid gel substance. In the Philippines, the southern provinces are best to grow this fruit. Aside from the Philippines, Lanzones also thrives in selected Asian countries such as India, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.

Oh and as always, my favorite guilty pleasure
 My overused silver pair of flats from Payless Shoesource keeps me happy.

How about you? What are your guilty pleasures?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Winning with unity

This day started with so much excitement and happiness. We were about to attend the championship game of my beloved school and employer.

We left home with this shot
The little girl wants to tag along. As much as we want to bring the little girl, we can't for safety reasons. Wait for three to five years, little girl. You will have your chance to watch a live basketball game too. 

And the most awaited Game 3 finally started
The players are being introduced.

I failed to take some photos during the game because... we lost the opportunity to bring home the championship ring. Sigh..

But I guess, real winning is best depicted in these pictures

I've never seen the school's crowd as big as this

And the best remedy for a heartbreaking loss

A cup of Dairy Queen ice cream!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

What I've been missing

Source here

In my attempt to fulfill all the tasks that kept me occupied over the past months, it's only now that I can see all the things that I've been missing out. These are the little yet important things that I unconsciously allowed to forget and sacrifice. Allow me to mention them here

1. Friends - When I had the need to report for work for 12 hours, I lost time with my commuting buddies. I miss those days when I have someone to exchange stories and gossips, while walking and waiting for the jeepney bound to the train station. For me, those rare talks with my friends are very valuable. It's the only time when I can finally unmask myself, rant away and later laugh about my complaints in life. While I have Friday that is free from teaching, I always end up feeling dead tired and sleepy on the last working day. In effect, I found myself rushing home for my much needed sleep. During weekends, I also avoided meeting Anne because I have to rush lectures and check tons of papers.

2. Cleaning my room - Thank God, mother is always there to save the day. Home became a workplace extension. After work, I check my email and prepare what needs to be undertaken for my classes on the succeeding day. When all the work is finally done by 1 to 2 am, I prepare my things and hit the bed for my much needed sleep. During weekends, all I did is to sleep and continue the work. I never found time to personally check and organize my things. 

3. Healthy Meals - I leave for work late and have to spent hours for commuting.  At the end of the day, all I wanted was a great and sumptuous meal. To console my stressed self, unhealthy fast food meals in Taco Bell became my "hell heavenly" blessing. Large cup of soda and cheese sauce for my nachos, I've been accumulating a lot of bad cholesterol. I miss those days when I can reach home early and I can still savor a great home cooked meal.  

4. Sunday Masses - Unfortunately, my spiritual life also suffered. As I have mentioned, I treated weekends as way to recover sleeping hours. Every weekend, I felt lazier to get up and head my way to my much needed Sunday masses.

5. Beauty Regimen - I haven't gotten a haircut and much needed hair spa over the past months. In effect, I've been carrying this thick, unruly and messy hair. Tidying up my eye brows, taking my Vitamin E, moisturizing my skin became alien to me over the past weeks.

6. Movies and books - Movies form part of my self treats. The little money left after every payday is sometimes devoted for movie dates with Anne. Again, time for movie dates was something I never found to squeeze in over the past months. As with books, I ended up just accumulating them. I purchase and download e-books and later allow them to sleep in their shelves.

7. Blogging - My posts for September and October can attest to this. My life has been full of work so I found nothing interesting to blog.

8. Jogging - Aside from feeling dreaded everyday, I felt heavier and heavier over the past weeks. The unhealthy meals and irregular sleeping hours are the culprits for this. As much as I wanted to exercise, I feel that my body needs more sleep and rest above anything else. As a result, I have a feeling that I gained another 5 lbs in a span of a month.

Hopefully, I will be able to catch up with my needed work-life balance. Next semester will be so much different because my teaching assignment will be lessened. As much as I welcome the additional pay, I believe that maintaining the work-life balance is still better. Never mind the additional money if it means building the unhealthy lifestyle that I have to pay as I age. I should bear in mind that I work to live and not the other way around.

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!

P.S. The last game of the championship for our school will be tomorrow. Yay! Hopefully, we'll be able to bring home that championship ring. Send us all the luck and prayers :D  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Beautiful Sunday # 26 - Victorious

This week was so different from my past usual working schedule. The first semester is over so I finally bid goodbye to working for 12 hours every Monday and Wednesday. Gone are the days when I have to report for 7 am to 7 pm and report the next day for 7 am again. Hooray! I have three weeks to savor my relatively relaxed work life.

Everything seems to be stable not until our school surprisingly made it to the championship of the oldest collegiate league in the Philippines. Our basketball team became the underdogs during the elimination. We never expected them to reach the most coveted championship. So over the past days, almost half of the week was spent waiting and watching every game of the best of three championship.

The first two games were over and I was present in both, even though it meant leaving away some office work. haha Good thing, my own boss is a great supporter of our team too.

We lost game 1 and though it was heart breaking, I'm left with smiles because watching the game meant bonding and eating out with great friends and seeing my students on a lighter and happier environment
Game 1 @ MOA Arena

First game was held in the newly opened Mall of Asia Arena. It was my first time to see the humongous place. I was excited even though I heard from some friends that the venue does not help those with fear of heights. Unfortunately, I have personally experienced their negative feedback. I was seated in the upper box section and whew! The area was so steep and frightening. To those who will be watching basketball games or any other event, I advice purchasing the lower box, patron or the premiere section for better and safer experience.

Game 2 is ours, hooray!
Game 2 @ Araneta

Thank God the game was transferred to Araneta. We arrived early and I was given a huge surprise. The ticket I purchased was located in the side of the opposing team. How about that? Watching an exciting ball game while being seated on your opponent's side. While the entire school is cheering and shouting for victory, we were left like frightened kids. My only consolation is that we won game 2. The sacrifice became worth it.

We still have Game 3 on Friday. I really hope that our team could take home the championship ring that left us since 2005.

So far this has been keeping me occupied over the last days. I would love to read your beautiful posts too.

Monday, October 15, 2012

I finally met the Master Burger

It's been a while since I made a food post or reviewed a restaurant. I can't even recall last time I visited a new restaurant and blogged about it. As always, my overused excuse is the bulk of workload over the past months. Though I have my usual food trip and stress eating over the past months, such wouldn't qualify as a decent post. You will surely get bored looking at my Coke upsizes, potato chips, chicken wings and Taco Bell indulgences.

Good thing this Sunday came. After joining the annual Our Lady of La Naval procession, I was able to try a new restaurant with my ever adventurous friends at the workplace. Tinee and Tara brought me to Tomas Morato to try this unique Japanese restaurant. The restaurant where we spent hours of eating and exchanging stories is

So what does Sango offers?

It tags itself as the Japanese Burger Master and a look at its menu will prove that it is indeed
Burger overload! You will be overwhelmed with chicken, beef and fish burgers. 

The black font indicates the prizes for the regular size while the red is obviously intended for those with greater burger appetite.

Being a burger addict, I tried their specialty and best seller
 I finally met the real Master Burger himself!

The Sango Master Burger is oozing with beef patty, special burger sauce, onion, tomato and cheese. This is what I call my own  heaven of sinful happiness.

On the side, I ordered the master's perfect match
Another sinful favorite! Huge cut fries with Heinz tomato ketchup is love, love love!

The perfect way to end a great burger meal
Bottomless Ice cold Pepsi!

My friend ordered a healthier yet carbo loaded meal

Partnered with a relatively healthier drink

Vanilla and Green tea shake

Japanese restaurants are known to have simple, minimalistic and clutter free interiors. Sango burgers remained true to this traditional Japanese architecture, except for these cute paper decors.

A closer look at the tiny colorful papers would reveal the classic Japanese origami

Who doesn't appreciate these intricate artworks?

The more challenging one
The flowers don't look like origami works from afar.

If I will rate the restaurant, I'll give 4 out of 5 stars. I haven't tasted their entire line up of burgers but their specialty of the house impressed me well. The full beef patty with the unique and tasty Japanese sauce captured my ever hungry taste buds. Prices are fairly reasonable considering the taste and the size of the burgers. On the weak side, they have limited branches as of the moment. If I'm not mistaken, they only operate around two to three branches. Their space in Tomas Morato, where we dine in, was quite small but very clean and organized. As I have said, it's very Japanese.

For those who love burgers, I highly recommend Sango. It's another unique burger experience to try.

For more information about Sango, visit their website here

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Beautiful Sunday # 25 - Learning

I've been neglecting my blog life over the past weeks. My decreasing number of posts over the past months is a major proof to this. The first semester of teaching is over and I should have more time to write now. Problem is, there are still more papers to check, grades to encode and kids to pray for :D Added to it the fact that I caught bad colds and fever over the past week. Getting sick is the last thing I ever wanted to happen. It affects my efficiency and I hate the fact that I have to bring tons of tissue for all the sneezes.

While I'm nursing a bad cold, I don't have a choice but to go on with life, I mean work :) After the administering the final exams, I was scheduled to attend a two-day convention with my boss. As much as I wanted to pass on the event, my employer has already paid for my registration fee. I also wouldn't like to miss the learning opportunity.  Even though my body was demanding for its much needed rest, I fought the temptation and I must say, it was a decision I will never regret. The little sacrifice was worth the entire learning experience.

The convention I attended gathered executives and department heads of companies from countries around the globe. There were speakers from USA, India and Singapore and they represent multinational companies such as Kraft, Coca Cola and Singtel. They were smart and I also found a rare girl crush to the Singaporean executive haha!  All of the speakers never failed to mesmerize me. For the first time, I finally met former senatorial candidate Atty. Adel Tamano (Hello Abigail!) and I must say that he is indeed one perfect man. Brains, looks and the eloquence, perfect!

As much as I wanted to share everything I learned in this post, this might look like a post-seminar/training report I have to submit. I'm instead sharing two wonderful videos shown to us during the convention.

Warning: this almost got me teary eyed

I think this is one of the greatest and brilliant  Corporate Social Responsibility programs I've ever seen

And lastly, this picture summarizes what I have learned over the past week

Thank you Ralph Waldo Emerson for the reminder. So starting next week (hopefully I'm physically well) I will start the week right with a renewed enthusiasm and energy to work.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Beautiful Sunday # 24 - The world's greatest teacher

will never forget how she made her students feel

Friday, October 5, 2012

Life's greatest blessing to me

The way you value your parents will change once you become a parent yourself. Same goes with how we perceive other people. We tend to give others a higher level of respect, once we experienced how it is to be in their shoes. This was exactly happened to me when I ventured to teaching. 

For those who have been reading my blog, you are more or less familiar on how I landed in this field.  I began to develop my interest in teaching during my third year in college. Graduation came and I wanted to pursue a teaching career in the university that honed me for four years. To my biggest surprise, I received my first taste of job rejection. I was advised to pursue a masteral degree and reapply when I finally have that diploma in my resume. The rejection affected me the most because it felt like part of my dream was taken away and among all organizations, it came from my alma mater.

I decided to let go of my dream to teach. I ventured to another career that interests me the most. I wanted to write. Being a major in Economics and Statistics, I told myself that I’m fitted for research. I was hired as an Academic Researcher and my first assignments required me to conduct and write studies for the upper management. While I was already enjoying my writing job, I forgot everything about teaching. I also started to pursue my MBA and the dream to become an educator was not anymore thriving in me. 

Years later, a teaching opportunity came. My employer who happens to be a school offered me a teaching stint in the collegiate department. Four years and counting, I never stopped teaching.

In the span of five years, I gained my own share of happiness and heartaches in this profession. Harsh words, disrespectful kids, bottomless paper works, name it all. Such experiences are so priceless. No amount of money or material wealth could ever equate.

And why I am suddenly blogging about my teaching profession? My Twitter timeline has been bombarded with retweets and words of gratitude for teachers. Hence, I was encouraged to make my own appreciation  to all my teachers and to the few who left me with traces of inspiration. Allow me to mention some of my well cherished teachers here

Teacher Lolly Tiamzon - I struggled a lot in my early years of schooling. I was almost in the brink of repeating first grade, if Teacher Lolly didn't come to our lives. As much as my mother wanted to tutor me, she has to attend to the needs of my special brother. Teacher Lolly was our life saver. She tutored me from grades 1 to 3. More than assisting me in my assignments, Teacher Lolly taught me to become independent and responsible. She also opened my eyes to the wonderful world of reading. She encouraged me to regularly visit the library and borrow any reading material that would interest me. Unfortunately, Teacher Lolly already passed away before I graduated from Elementary. Wherever Teacher Lolly is, I'm grateful for all her patience and encouragement.  

Teacher Elvira "Elvie" Austero - I survived my remaining years in Elementary without a tutor. I was able to graduate and reach the required grade to enter High School. Since then, my parents never thought that they have to incur additional expenditure for a tutor in Algebra. I failed my Algebra subject in two quarters. I used to have another tutor whom I never got adjusted with his teaching styles. I confided the situation to my Mom and she exhausted all means to search for the best Math tutor. I don't know how my Nanay found Teacher Elvie. All I know is that Teacher Elvie would remain as one of the few and talented teachers who removed by phobia in Math subjects.

Ms. Alma Regaspi - Gorospe - How could I forget Miss Regaspi's pretty face and great command of the English language. She is the best English and Literature teacher I ever had.  My greatest memory with Miss Regaspi was when she recommended me to become a possible representative for an essay writing contest. Despite getting C's in my papers to her class, she trusted in my ability. She made me realize that I can write. 

Sir Abet Guillo - I hated him the most, but remembered him the most after graduation. I hated him for those lectures and examinations in Economic Statistics and Econometrics. My lowest grades in my majors came from his subjects and I hated him for messing my records. haha When I started working in the field of research I unfortunately ate my words. I found all his lectures useful to my career.
Sir Zosimo Villa - Sir Villa is my professor in those deadly major subjects in college. He was my professor in Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and Mathematical Economics. The subjects he handled are difficult but I was able to learn a lot from him. In fact, I'm still using my notes from his subjects to my classes. He is the only professor who can teach Economics with just a whiteboard marker and eraser. He only brings himself to the class and could last more than 3 hours of lecture. I often tell myself that if only I could be half as good as Sir Villa, I would be more than fulfilled as an educator.

The profession taught me to respect and appreciate my own teachers better. Now that I'm in their shoes, I realized that teaching is one of life's greatest blessings to me. 

Happy Teacher's Day!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Beauty, love and happiness

My previous post is something I wouldn't want to blog on a regular basis. I really pray that I would never again write an almost near-to-death experience. At some point, I know that I needed to be awakened. Despite of everything, I'm keeping my faith and trust with the Lord. To my blog friends and readers who sent heart warming messages, thank you very much.
On the lighter side, allow me to share pictures from the event I recently attended. Remember my post about pain and vanity? I mentioned that I need to attend a rare event that requires me to dress up. I was actually referring to the recent wedding of a colleague and friend.

I showed some pictures of her wedding in this Beautiful Sunday series post. The two pictures were not enough to showcase all the happiness on that day. Allow me to share more pictures from her day.

The wedding ceremonies was held at the historic San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila. The church has been existing for hundreds of years. It has survived a number of wars and natural calamities. The architecture and the paintings on the ceilings perfectly define the words, work of art.

My friend chose violet as her color motiff so that explains our dress, venue, flowers and all the details.
To be honest, violet is not one of my favorite colors. My skin just don't complement this dark shade. But since it's my friend's day, who am I to complain? ;-)  On the left with the huge face is yours truly :-)

This has to be my favorite shot at the reception
I made the photo look more ridiculous. I hid some faces because I'm not personally close with the other girls and I haven't asked their permission for this post.

At the end of the day though, all I can see are faces of love, beauty and happiness.

Hope you enjoyed my short and quick post.

Happy Wednesday!