Now Playing at the Music Bar below:

Selfish (Chillout Version) - Sunset Daze

Don't Fear the Reaper (Cover) - The Beautiful South

Clarity (Neon Sky Remix) - Zedd ft. Foxes

Alive in Paradise - Tiesto & Dyro feat. Krewella

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas 2012

This Christmas was special since the family basically spent the holidays with a complete cast.

We kicked it off by having a Christmas Eve brunch at my Dad's house, with all my brother and sisters there.
Noche Buena was at our house with our special guest from Hawaii, my father-in-law.
Ham!! Cochinillo!! Prawns!! Highblood!!
And the best part of course, is seeing the smile on the kids' faces during opening of the gifts.
Kian opening his Fire Station Garage

Julia with her boots and vanity table.

New Year's Eve here we come!
Happy Holidays!!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Birthday Weekend 2012

Despite the busy schedule, my wife still managed to arrange a wonderful Birthday weekend for me. Kicking it off with a delicious dinner at Beso - Cucina Vinoteka.
Bread with Marinated Manchego Cheese
Gambas sauteed in Chorizo,garlic, white wine and parsley.
Spiced Red Lentil, bacon and Chorizo Soup
Pot Roasted Pork shoulder with Peppers and Sherry.
Dulce De Leche Pie with Banana and Ice cream
The day after, the family checked in at The Manila Peninsula; to treat the kids to the light show at the Ayala Triangle and to have a relaxing overnight stay.
(Light Show with some 4 Cheese Pizza from MoMo)
Birthday Cheesecake!!
An unforgettable birthday celebration now in the books.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Ocean Park Adventure II

Around the same time last year, we had our first Ocean Park Adventure with our kids Kyle and Kian; this year we treated our baby girl Julia to her first Ocean Park experience.

Sea Lions' Show


Crazy little Kian following the shark that was swimming above us.
Although the adventure was shorter this year, these moments are always to be cherished.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pacman Philosophy vs. Marquez Methodology

The whole Filipino nation was held the very last second of the 6th round in the Pacquiao versus Marquez fight IV, "Dinamita" landed a vicious right hand counter punch that knocked out cold the Pambansang Kamao.

I sat on my chair literally stunned. We thought it was a hard low blow, but the way Pacman was not moving, it was a legit K.O.

But I will not share my opinions and insights on the fight itself or how Pacman should have won it. I am not a sports analyst...I am not a professional boxer...I am not in the position to say that he should have done this, he should have done that. (Yes, I may have joked that he should have gotten Chuck Norris rather than Steven Seagal at his corner; or probably all of the 80's bad-asses just like the Expendables.) And I will not judge him for choosing which faith he believes in.

The realization that dawned unto me is this;

Pacman Philosophy:

I am a multi-tasker. I am gifted, I can do many things at the same time. I am a jack-of-all-trades. I am at the top.

Marquez Methodology:

I am focused. I set one goal and I shut the whole world out and channel all my energy to accomplishing this one mission no matter how long the preparation may take. I am a counter-puncher, that means I am simply reactive to your actions no matter what the consequences are. I am the underdog.

What does the Pacman Philosophy tell me?

Having more than one skill set can really be an edge. Take for example a customer service representative in a BPO industry. Most call centers nowadays employ and train CSRs to have at least 2 skill sets. Usually that would be Customer Service and Tech Support. Some even have 3, when you pitch in Sales or Upselling. If you look at it on paper, you would say great, you can do all these tasks, your value just went up.

But before you know it, you tend to focus more on one aspect and neglect the others. This would now affect the CSR's metrics. If the CSR concentrates on making a Sale or Upselling, that would mean staying longer on the phone, which would affect the Average Handling Time of the employee. Indeed it is easy to say that all you need to do is maintain the balance between the metrics. But can it be sustained?

Multi-tasking can make you indispensable. But take away a percentage of attention from any one of those task, can lead to disaster. Even if you are confident that you can do things with your eyes closed because you have been doing it for a long time, it doesn't hurt keeping your eyes open for the unexpected. We have to learn that in Life, there are so many uncertainties and probabilities on things happening for a reason. Giving our undivided attention to one task will result to having completed those to perfection.

Being on top means there is no other place to go but down. So you have to ensure that you don't misstep and fall down that ladder. Having to many things on hand, you will have nothing to use to grab the ladder and hang on; you will literally come crashing down...face on the ground.

What I have learned from the Marquez Methodology?

Focusing on one goal before moving to the next. In Human Resources, I try to be as well-rounded as I can. Right now, being more employee engaged is on my task list. With the help of Head Office, I managed to launch a couple of wonderful clubs at the office. But what was my mistake? I tried to multi-task and became greedy. I wanted to spearhead all the clubs that I had in mind. End result, I have now conflicting schedules with the club events and is unable to launch the other clubs, have lost my footing in my general tasks, and is now gathering the pieces on how to get back on track.

When in the process of accomplishing something, some of us would want to have that peace and quiet to be able to concentrate. While during training, it is best to focus on the agenda, rather than having many distractions on the side. If it means shutting the world out, just to achieve that one goal, it is justified. Distractions are simply...destructive. It destroys whatever you have accomplished so far, and you may have to start from scratch. (Try interrupting someone who is counting money; if they get distracted, they have to start over.)

Preparing ahead of time is something that we must turn into a habit. Cramming has never been proven effective. If the meeting is at 10:00AM, then you should be there at least 15 minutes before so you can prepare your notes, brainstorm on possible questions, and simply relax. You're scrambling to get things done quickly because you either need to attend to something else or you weren't fully prepared because you were late achieving your last task. Buildings are not constructed overnight. It takes a couple of years to ensure that the foundations and architecture are precisely the way it should be. If you stack those bricks hurriedly, it will definitely collapse.

Being the undergo means you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Even if it does not grant a victory, the underdog's effort does not remain unnoticed.

Most mentors and leaders would say that you definitely have to take initiative and never be reactive. You must be one step ahead. Being reactive does not entirely mean that you are a step behind or you were caught off-guard. What if you wanted it to happen? What if you wanted your opponent to make that mistake to rush in headstrong? Isn't there a bit of truth in it that sometimes, something has to fail for you to be able to implement a contingency or revision in the process? Take for example an Anti-Virus software. In order for it to be an effective anti-virus, you have to attack it with several unknown viruses. Then you build up a protective shield to prevent that virus from attacking again. Because now you know your enemy, now you know what the problem is.

Issues and problems are often unforeseen and being reactive is not always a bad thing. You just have to make sure that you have a massive "counter-punch" to knock that problem down and put it out of it's misery.

Practicing a Pacman Philosophy definitely has it's advantages, as long as you can sustain living by it's principles. But for a person who is thorough and does not mind taking a hit, a Marquez Methodology is a habit you don't want to break.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sta.Elena: Balik Bukid Experience

It's been a long and busy November for me, and what better way to relax and enjoy the weekend, by going back to the basics, nature tripping. The family took a short drive to Sta. Elena Golf & Country Estate where they were hosting the Balik Bukid Country Fair.
It was definitely something new and refreshing for me. And the kids really enjoyed the farm animals. Lots of food, mini bazaar, great entertainment and we stayed there till the early evening to cap the day off with an anticipated Sunday mass.
Organic Lechon and Pure Grass-Fed Beef Hamburger with Mozzarella Cheese and Bacon!!
The kids with their Buko Juice.
Though Kian was really disappointed that he was not able to catch any fish, he was still a very happy kid that day.
Finally a real horse ride for Kian and not just a carousel in a mall.
Even the yayas were having fun; taking their pictures with actress G Toengi.
Having a siesta.
Kyle on the Zip Line.
Back to nature. Balik bukid. Till next year...

Elements Bits: Puncture

Chris Evans– Mike Weiss
Mark Kassen– Paul Danziger
Brett Cullen – Nathaniel Price
Mike Weiss and Paul Danziger have a small time firm and yet are considered very good lawyers. The challenge is that Mike needs his fix of drugs and women, which in his defense actually help him break a case. After having won a case recently, they are scheduled to handle another one that involves a nurse that acquired AIDS by accidentally pricking herself with a needle when they were trying to inject a sedative from a patient three years ago.
What the nurse wants to happen is that the hospitals acquire a syringe with a safety needle that was invented by another nurse, but the hospitals wouldn’t take it into consideration. Suppliers had to go through GPOs, group purchasing organizations, so that they can bring in their products into the hospitals. GPOs then take commissions from these medical providers.
Mike and Paul are now facing a case that pits them against 300 attorneys and over two dozen anti trust experts in the US. How do you win against that? They try to get the support of a senator from Washington, but the senator has issue with Mike’s cocaine addiction, and does not want to get involved.
With their firm’s funds dwindling down the drain, they have to come up with something to keep the fight on.
(Based on a true story)
Elements Bits number 1:
David and Goliath. It is very difficult to go up against a very formidable opponent, the battle usually is lopsided. When we are faced with an insurmountable task, we also tend to just give up and say that we are but just human and one person can only do so much. Sometimes the smallest and simplest solution that is acted upon swiftly is the best option.
Elements Bits number 2:
Is it really all about winning? Whether you win or lose its how you play it? Isn't that you have to lose some time in order for you to learn how to better succeed? Or failure is never an option? As much as we want to become perfectionists or make claims that we never lost in anything we did, losing actually helps build character and works the mind to conceptualize alternatives or contingencies that would ensure we never make the same mistake again and improves our winning streak.


Memorable Quotes:

Nurse: “Sometimes the brightest light comes from the darkest places.”

Paul: “You just wanna win, that is all you’ve ever cared about.”
Mike: “At least I have the courage to lose for what’s right.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Elements Bits: Trespass

Nicholas Cage – Kyle Miller
Nicole Kidman – Sarah Miller
Liana Liberato – Avery Miller
Wealthy business man Kyle Miller has things going for him, as one of the top diamond brokers in the business..The huge house and the flashy cars are but a simple taste of how life is for him. But when thieves break into his estate, he may lose everything he has including the lives of his family and of his own.
The thieves already know how much they are taking home from this heist. But to their surprise, there is nothing inside Kyle’s safe. No millions of dollars, no diamonds, nothing. What now seems to be owned may all be aesthetics? And how do they actually know how much was there?
The burglary now turns into a web of deceit as Kyle tries to negotiate his life and the lives of his family, and Avery and Sarah trying to manipulate the burglars so they could escape. Will the Millers be able to reclaim what was lost?
Elements Bits number 1:
Material World. I will admit that I live in my world where I have this need for material things. From electronic gadgets to literature and comics, including collectibles, it’s like a part of me is not complete if I don’t get to satisfy my urge with these items. Of course I will not sacrifice the basic necessities for these, but you tend to spend beyond what the pay check can sustain. We have to understand that there is something greater than this. We don’t need the flashy cars or the mansions to be happy; we just have to learn the simpler joys of life. Besides, having so much money may pose bigger problems down the line.
Memorable Quotes:
Sarah: “Open it so we can all die.”

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bitterest Truth or Sweetest Lie

Bitterest Truth…
“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.” – George Washington
Sweetest Lie…
“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” – Adolf Hitler
In one of my Elements Bits I gave a brief opinion that telling the truth will not set one free, and that telling a lie will not hurt the other party either. If telling a truth would lead to one’s death, would you still speak up? If telling a lie would mean a harmless and painless way of bringing light during one’s darkest moment, would you remain silent?
At any given time, our conscience is put to the test. We dig deep into our soul to see whether we choose the path of righteousness or the virtue of honesty. What is the difference between the two? Righteousness does not always mean good things. For me it is simply doing the right thing at that very moment, even it means doing something bad. Honesty may indeed be the best policy, but it may not be the appropriate one on certain occasions.
I will not be a hypocrite and say that I am an honest man and that I have never lied. I believe that I am a righteous man and that I will tell the truth as much as needed, and will suppress the same if the situations calls for it. I will also not hesitate to choose between two lesser evil lies, because I know that the truth hurts, and if it causes more damage then I will not risk it to the point that I can no longer repair it.
The truth is not also always what it seems. Facts can be delivered in bad faith. If the intent of telling the truth is to enact revenge or cause chaos, then what good will this bring?
On some hilarious instances, our actions and responses are even magnified and scrutinized whether you are providing the truth or not. And sometimes it yields the same repercussions. If you offer no excuse for you shortcomings and claim accountability all the time, they say you are negligent and didn’t change a damn thing. If you tell a tale and say it was not you and is able to convince them that you had no idea, they will say you are incompetent and you were oblivious to every damn thing. Either way, you’re screwed.
Finding out the bitter truth has never been easy. I have been a recipient of so many heartbreaking revelations and it does leave a mark, especially if you found out about the truth on your own. But is seeing really believing? Or is it merely our point of view and how we interpret the facts if there is any truth to it or not. Because when faced with the truth, surprisingly we still deny it, and on these times that we cannot accept the truth, we convince ourselves to believe in something else. (Who are we kidding here??)
So do we sugar coat things and serve the sweetest lies?
I am not saying that it is good to tell lies. I just tend to frequently wonder if a lie that bears good intentions still be considered grave, malicious and deceitful. Simply put yourself in a situation where a girl asks a guy if the model they saw was pretty. What would be the guy’s response;
A. Hell yeah, she’s pretty and hot
B. Hell no, you’re prettier than she is
C. I don’t dig skinny girls
D. It doesn’t matter coz I have you
Even if the guy truthfully answers B & D, the girl would think you’re just being cheesy and really think the model is pretty. If you lie and go with C it opens up another series of questions, that if you don’t dig skinny girls then what do you like. Obviously if you answer A you will get an ass-whupping. Again, regardless of what your answer will be, she has your back on the wall. So what do you do? You say, “Which model are you talking about, didn’t see any.”
It doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings and it doesn’t put you in a compromising situation. What do you think?
Bottom Line…
"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth." – Marcus Aurelius

Monday, October 15, 2012

Elements Bits: Johnny English Reborn


Rowan Atkinson – Johnny English
Rosamund Pike – Dr. Kate Sumner
Dominic West – Simon Ambrose

After being dismissed from MI7 for failing to protect the newly elected president of Mozambique, Johnny English has sought solace and refuge with the monks. But when MI7 encounters a mission where an MI7 asset claims that he will only speak to English about information regarding a plot to assassinate the Chinese premier, they track English down and MI7 has no choice but to reactivate him.

English finds out that a group named Vortex is behind all this, and they plan to use a mind control weapon that was disapproved 10 years ago by the CIA. According to the asset, the vault that holds the formula for this weapon requires three keys.

The plot thickens when English finds out that these three keys are being safe kept by agents of the CIA, KGB and MI7. English’s mission is to either retrieve all three keys or prevent the keys to fall into the wrong hands, at the same time prevent from falling in love with a colleague; nothing that English can’t definitely handle.


Elements Bits number 1:

Do you think it is true that governments are really run by private contractors? Whether they are there to preserve peace or to dominate, they can pull strings and make things happen to their bidding. Certain superpowers even have the capability to control governments in other countries; swing the tide to their favor. The worst case scenario would actually be to eliminate any threat or hindrance to achieving their goals. And this is where the “wet-works” come in.


Memorable Quote:

Dr. Sumner: “Why do you always think he is better than you?”
English: “Well, the man is a God.”
Dr. Sumner: “Well I prefer mortals. Pure, complicated, maddening mortals.”
Featured Destination:
Le Bastion
Although the “Le Bastion” which is the base of MI7 in the movie is fictional, there stands a glorious structure atop the Aiguille-du-Midi mountain, which is simply breathtaking.
(Photos courtesy of the Internet)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Featured Clips of the Day: MB C-63 AMG

Aside from the vehicles, and it's not about the woman either...the location is just wonderful...
C63 Coupe
C63 Coupe 2

Julia’s 1st Bday Celebration

My little princess turns one! Days before the party itself we were worried because Julia was really ill as she was suffering from a really bad case of colds and cough; we even had to rush her to the hospital. Fortunately enough, on the day of the celebration she was up and well already.
We had a simple Carnival theme, got some cotton candy and sno-cone vendors, hired a magician and of course the usual games for the kids and adults.
The next day we went to Swensen’s ice cream parlor for a sweet afternoon delight. My daughter saw these dancing waiters and waitresses at Johnny Rockets, to the beat of Gangnam Style and little Julia joined them.

You’re a real bundle of joy Julianna Kassandra. Happy Birthday!!
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