Category Archives: career

On Project Management and Kitchen Experiments

It’s a public holiday today and instead of going to the city for a little bit of shopping and/or simply wandering around looking for the best place to have a nice cup of coffee and some sweets, I decided to just stay home to recharge my batteries which apparently are wearing out due to so much stress.

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My favorite Marco Polo ensaimada

Having a big project approved, on top of the existing ones, and setting up a small business is really draining. Being a project manager may sound cool but I’m telling you it’s far from that. The mere project approval process can get very tedious and the amount of responsibilities that comes with the role is comparable to the total project cost. I know this is an exaggeration but if you have managed several projects at the same time, which in fact makes you a program manager, then you will understand what I’m babbling about here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, I’m simply stating a fact.

Setting up the business on top of my already stressful job is entirely my choice. I always say that I prefer getting really stressed and busy doing several things at the same time over getting stressed and busy doing just one thing. I like variety ūüôā This business thingy gives me the chance to relax a bit and take my mind off work. It gives time to cook and experiment on several meal types that we plan to serve at the cafe. I find cooking very relaxing and it is also rewarding when people tell me they love my experiment and ask for the recipe. I’m not a cook and I don’t get to cook more often but whenever there is a chance, I take advantage of it. For me, imagination and common sense play a big role in cooking. You just need to imagine the kind of meal that you want to cook and then find the ingredients. There’s no need to strictly follow the recipe book, you can always make some adjustments here and there based on your preferences.

20140409-182454.jpgGreens, cheese and cherries

20140409-182811.jpgPork steak with cheesy tomato dipping sauce

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Baked fusilli in cheesy white sauce with hungarian sausage and bacon. This is not for the calorie conscious ones ūüôā

20140409-183729.jpgGrilled tomato and mushroom sandwich with mozzarella and quick melt cheese

20140409-183954.jpgWhite asparagus and hungarian sausage with herbs and spices

20140409-184144.jpgSpiced pasta salad with sliced olives

I Made It… Three Years and Counting!

How time flies… I almost didn’t notice that it’s been three years now since I decided to pack my bags and leave the big city life behind. I must admit I didn’t plan on staying here this long but hey, I’m still here and not planning on leaving soon.

I can still remember the look on my friends’ faces when I told them about my decision. They know that I love to travel and I love the occasional adventures in life but what they couldn’t seem to understand was the fact that I decided to move to a secluded place knowing the kind of lifestyle I had in the city. I still remember how my parents, especially my mother, disapproved of the idea but everything was already set and there was no backing out anymore. My friends even had a bet that I wouldn’t last for more than six months but I told them I wouldn’t take that bet because I didn’t want them to lose… but now I wish did, it could have bought me a new handbag ūüôā

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The view from my [old] 18F condo unit. I kind of miss this place now

It was the biggest decision I’ve made so far. Moving to a new place, where I didn’t know anybody, didn’t speak and understand the language, literally and figuratively far from the modern civilization, was such a challenge. The first few weeks experiences were a mixture of culture shock and homesickness. I’m a Filipina and lived in the Philippines practically my whole life, except for that¬† two-month work assignment in the US years ago and the holidays outside the country, but the culture here is just so different from what I’m used to.

The work itself is really challenging and I like it… but the place is not so appealing especially for someone like me who used to work in the business districts and used to come to work in business attire, well-groomed hair, make up and high heels with matching handbag. My work demanded more and more of my time¬† each day and I almost didn’t notice the days and weeks passing by during the first six months. I slowly learned to speak and understand Visayan language, learned how to deal with people especially co-workers who are not used to my pace, learned to like and appreciate my surroundings. I was aware that some people didn’t like my presence for reasons I can’t seem to comprehend but it didn’t¬† discourage me a bit. There will always be those people who would wish for our failure but there’s no use wasting our precious time dealing with them and it is entirely up to us if we would succumb to it. Being tough is really tough but at the end of the day, it’s us who really know who we are, what we are capable of and what we are made of. So I say get tougher each day and enjoy the adventures of life every single day.

¬†I tried to recall some of the small and funny things I’ve learned and experienced here in Cebu, in no particular order…

¬†1. I learned how to walk gracefully and confidently in flats. In fact I own nearly a dozen pair of flats now. High heels were my best friends¬† and I couldn’t walk¬† gracefully and comfortably in flats three years ago.¬†I really miss wearing heels to work now, at least I still get to wear them whenever I go to the head office in Manila.

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i guess one of the secrets of being happy in life is learning to adapt without really sacrificing the more important things

2. I twisted my ankles more than three times as i was really trying to wear heels. I decided that I should stop trying before I seriously hurt myself. The worst part is that it will have a really negative impact on the company in case of a ¬†serious injury due to wearing high heels.¬† Declaring a lost time accident due to a heels-related injury is really embarrassing and I will surely be reprimanded for that. So, I told myself… Get used to wearing flats.. period!

3. Learned how to eat rice meal for breakfast 2 to 3 times a week. I’m not a big fan of rice but sometimes i just couldn’t resist it when it’s already in front of me and I didn’t have time to throw two slices of bread into the toaster. I prefer coffee and toasts with butter and marmalade for breakfast.

4. ¬†Learned to appreciate the small things that I wouldn’t normally ¬†get interested in or¬†take notice of in Manila such as eating fried chicken and sweet spaghetti at Jollibee, having coffee in a dodgy-looking place because there is no other place to get a not-so-nice cup of cappuccino, planting roses and enjoying the afternoon in the garden watering plants.

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5. Learned how to stretch my patience to the highest possible limit.

6. Learned how to toughen up each day.

7. Experienced swimming with the whale sharks.

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one summer morning at Oslob, Cebu

8. Learned and enjoyed the culture… ¬†for me, being in a new place means actually “experiencing” the place.

9. Experienced riding a motorcycle (as public transpo.. I was with my friend then, it happened only once I don’t plan on doing it again)

10. Experienced the beauty and adventure of the famous Sinulog festival.

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finally found the parade after long hours of walking and getting lost

11. Had my share of durian flavored latte at Waterfront hotel. I don’t like durian but the coffee was not so bad, it was an experience after all. It’s better than eating balut.

Durain flavored coffee at Waterfornt Hotel
Durain flavored coffee at Waterfornt Hotel

12. Experienced the barbecue food culture in Larsian. I’m not into that kind of place, but I still tried it for culture/experience sake. I’m not adventurous when it comes to food unless I personally cooked/prepared it.

13. Traveling over the fog-covered mountains of Transcentral high way and picking up veggies, fruits and eating boiled sweetcorn along the way.

14. I guess I should stop here for now, the list is really long and it still gets longer everyday… but the most important of all, I had ¬†new experiences that taught me how to deal with life and enjoy it to the fullest inspite of all the challenges that came with it . I met new people and made new friends.. some of them will be my good friends for life no matter which part of the world we may be in the future.

So I say, explore while you can and give in to the adventurous side of you. Don’t look back one day wondering and asking too many “WHAT IFs”…. don’t stop wandering!

Someday Soon

A few years back, I decided to pack all of my stuff and head somewhere far away from all the good memories that I wanted to bury deep enough that nobody could ever unearth. Life was not exciting anymore; going to work was a struggle every day and it seemed like frustrations were all over me. So, one morning I decided to finally do something.

First thing on the list: find a new job somewhere far.

It didn’t take long before an irresistible opportunity landed before my eyes. I knew instantly this was what I wanted, the one that I’ve been waiting for so long. After some not-so-thorough thinking, the green light was on and I was on my journey to yet another big challenge.

These days, whenever that feeling of being alone hits me, I just tell myself that this is one of the consequences of getting what I wanted. Maybe this is the price I have to pay for getting the kind of career success I’m enjoying now. Whenever I feel like being stabbed in the back by those people who want to see me fail; I tell myself to be still, to be strong, to keep moving forward but turn and fight back if necessary.

Sometimes I think that if it was not for a failed relationship and an extremely broken heart, I wouldn’t be where I am right now, physically and professionally. I may not have someone to cuddle up with at the end of a stressful day, I may not have someone to cheer me up and tell me “don’t stress yourself too much darling, everything’s gonna be alright” when things go beyond my control, I may not have someone to go on holidays with or someone who would cook my favorite red sauce pasta when he’s home and I’m working, someone to have coffee with after a long walk at the mall, and most of all, someone to enjoy life with… yes I don’t have it all now…. but at the end of the day, I’m still thankful and happy for all that I have now.

When the L word hits me, I just tell myself… “Maybe one day, it will land before your eyes unexpectedly.” For now, I have accepted the fact that I can’t have everything and maybe he is still too focused on his career as well that’s why we haven’t had the chance of meeting yet.

Someday soon… I know we will meet each other, whoever you are and wherever you are right now. I just don’t know how soon is soon… see you ūüėČ

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New Job for the New Year

Shopping.. it really is a good therapy for stressful and/or gloomy days ūüôā

About two months ago, I was planning to change my wardrobe [including shoes, bags and even wallets] as I wanted to have a fresh set for the 2013. Before I even started executing this plan,I received a very good news about my job… something way above my expectations.

Now, I’m on the course of acquiring new sets of wardrobe not just because I want to but because I need to. This is because I am now reporting to two different office locations. The new one requires a [fashionably] corporate/business attire while the existing one has a minimum requirement only. Of course, I intentionally inserted the [fashionably] bit ūüôā

What I missed the most, for nearly two years, are my high heels. These are my number one items on the list. Don’t you just love adding four inches up to your height? ūüôā

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I know most of us complain about how stressful and tiring our jobs are. I myself ¬†have a very stressful job but ¬†I have learned how to¬†neutralize¬†the stress and be productive without completely compromising my health and the simple happiness in life. With the nature of my job, I tend to work beyond the regular working hours, even on Sundays and holidays. I may not be physically present in the office beyond office hours but I can still work wherever I am. I can work while sitting at the backseat of the car, sipping coffee at Starbucks, standing ¬†in the long queue at the airport’s check in counter or even while in the shower. ¬†Given this opportunity to work anywhere possible, I can still have a little time for the non-work related things I want to do. Multitasking really works for me.

If I want to leave work ¬†early [meaning at least at the end of working hours] for a¬†little¬†shopping or dinner with friends; I can still finish my work at home when I return or while waiting for the food to be served. ¬†Of course, it is not like this every day as there are days when I need to be present at the meetings even beyond 6 PM but at least there is flexibility. For me, it’s just a matter of managing ¬†and¬†prioritizing¬†the tasks. In my case, I’m fortunate to have this kind of job.