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

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Enchanted Return

It's been stressful and hectic these past two weeks, (well, what's new), and what better way to make up for lost time with the family is by spending the whole day at a theme park. It is our second trip to Enchanted Kingdom and I still didn't get a chance to ride all the park attractions. Despite being there when the gates opened, it was the long queue for each ride that ate up at least about 45 minutes before you can actually ride.
 
But then again, it gives us something to look forward to on our next visit. I really don't mind having these one-day vacation habits, as long as it brings smiles on the faces of my kids.

Flying Fiesta and The Petreefied playground

Up, Up and Away
 
Air Pterodactyl and Julia on the Flying Fiesta carousel
 
Dodgem and The Wheel of Fate
 
Ice Age at the Rialto (And it's snowing!)
 
We also got the chance to ride Anchor's Away and Bump N' Splash.
 
But the best part of this day was riding the Roller Skater with Kian and he actually insisted on riding it twice. How could I refuse when this is how the little kid enjoyed it so much...
 
video
 

First Visit: An Enchanted Afternoon

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Featured Clips of the Day: Girls with Skills

You would expect girls to play instruments such as the violin, flute or piano, but....
 
Big Bang


Bebop

 
Meytal Cohen

 
Juliana Vieira


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ilocos Revisited - Day 2 and 3

We started off early on Day 2 since the other destinations had at least 2 hours drive. On top of the agenda, was to reach the top of Cape Bojeador Lighthouse (Burgos Lighthouse) in Ilocos Norte. It was unfortunate that we were not allowed to climb the lighthouse since it was under restoration.
 
 
Next stop was tha Paoay Church; and of course lunch at Herencia Restaurant. I had to try the Pinakbet Pizza.
 
Our third and final destinations:
 
Bangui Wind Farm and Kapurpurawan Rock Formation
 
And finally, to cap off a tiring day of walking among the rocks...Kapuluan Vista Resort in Pagudpod. (Though it is more of a destination for surfers, this is one getaway place that I would love to go back to every now and then for three reasons; it's far from work, it's quiet and the food tastes great)

 
 Just one of the many reasons to travel within the Philippines...
 
 
For more information on Kapuluan Vista Resort: click here.

Ilocos Revisited - Day 1

The last time I was in Ilocos was the time I asked the family of my wife for her hand in marriage. Last Holy Week, the family decided to take a loooong trip to Ilocos Sur. (Though it was not that long anymore, since the super highways were built, SCTEX and TPLEX) If it weren't for my back injuries I would have driven all the way. (Maybe a few stops here and there would do the trick.)
 
But no matter how far the destination is, it was all worth it.
 
Our first stop was the Baluarte Zoo.
 
 
Pony Ride (Someone isn't too excited)
 
The Animal Show was a great attraction. (A wild boar that can paint?)
 
(No, you will not see me holding that thing.)
 
The controversial residence of the owner of the Zoo. (Claims that the interior walls are made of Mother of Pearl.)
 
The zoo kept us occupied the whole afternoon. After which it was time to head back home to catch some Z's before another round of sight-seeing and food-tripping. 
 




Tuesday, November 4, 2014

You're A Leader: Act Like One

Not too long ago, I came across a story that really annoyed me;
 
After being tasked to accomplish a project on short notice, this leader was told the good news that they met the deadline and that we should thank the team who completed it. And the epic response…”Why should I thank them for doing their jobs.”
 
I had to actually pause for a moment…
 
The leader said what?
 
So it was not in this leader’s nature to say, job well done, appreciate the help, good to hear that, or simply…thank you? It’s not really the most difficult phrase in this world. Is it? It’s not as if this leader was being asked to say it in other languages; Xie Xie, Merci, Danke, Grazie, Ariga tou gozai mas, Muchas Gracias, or we would have settled in our very own dialect, Salamat.
 
There are many interpretations and traits of what a good leader is; leading by example, showing the way, nurturing others to become leaders, decisiveness, integrity, humility, just to name a few. And it was General Douglas MacArthur who claimed that, “A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.”
 
Even though the general was a tough S.O.B., he knew about compassion and equality among ranks and how it affects the morale of his troops.
 
Employees are not robots; so as leaders, it’s not about pushing the right buttons, it’s about getting to know the people that actually run the business and ensuring that they remain happy working with the company. In my opinion, the simple gesture of recognizing the efforts of employees can already boost their morale. (It does not even entail any operation cost.) Letting people know that they are indeed doing good in their jobs and thanking them for doing so, will encourage them to be more efficient and eager to take more responsibilities. This is already a primer in breeding future leaders.
 
(If leaders are arrogant, disrespectful and condescending, and instills fear among the ranks, what kind of culture would that company have? What type of leaders would rise through these ranks? This particular leader should probably watch the Godfather, in order to understand that Respect is earned not given.)
 
So going back to the story, even if the task given was part of this team’s job description, I am totally lost as to where this leader’s compassion compass is pointing or maybe this leader’s gratitude GPS has a connection error.
(Get your bearings straight comrade.)
 
And to answer the question, why should you thank people for doing their jobs?
 
Let me ask you this, if they don’t do it…will you?
 
 
Thank you Great Leader
 
 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Featured Clips of the Day: Driving Nuts

 
 
If you had a choice...

Morgan Freeman GPS


 
 
Arnold Schwarzenegger Driving
 
 

Elements Bits: Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol


 
Cast:
 
Tom Cruise - Ethan Hunt
Jeremy Renner – William Brandt
Michael Nyqvist - Kurt Hendricks
Paula Patton - Jane Carter
Lea Seydoux - Sabine Moreau
 
A plan to bolt out Ethan from a Russian jail only means that things are worse outside prison, and the IMF needs him badly to complete a mission.
 
When an IMF agent was assassinated while intercepting a classified file from a courier, its now Ethan’s mission to retrieve the file and locate an extremist named Cobalt, as this is considered a top priority, since the file contains Russian nuclear launch codes. But to find Cobalt they need his personal file which is stored inside the Kremlin. But when the mission suspiciously failed and the Kremlin is devasted by a bomb, the US president initiated Ghost Protocol and has disavowed the whole IMF Team.
 
It is now Ethan’s mission to travel the world and find out who set them up and ensure that the launch codes are not used to start a nuclear war.
 
-----------------------
 
Elements Bits number 1:
 
Not all things are what they seem to be. More often than not, intentions have hidden agendas or coincidentally a blessing in disguise. I’m a very gullible person, and I tend to give my trust too much and too often. When faced with a situation, we must remind ourselves of Murphy’s Law, which we must anticipate that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Either you’re prepared for it, or you have an effective recovery plan. (When Things Go Wrong - Blame Murphy’s Law)
 
----------------------
 
Memorable Quotes:
 
Ethan: "You mind telling me why you broke me out?"
Jane: "This wasn't a rescue mission?"
Ethan: "Let me put it this way. If the Secretary wanted me out of there, it must be pretty bad out here."
 
---------------------
 
Sabine: "How good is your backup?"
William: "The best."
Sabine: "I've killed the best."
 
 
Babe Battle
 
Lea Seydoux vs Paula Patton

Saturday, July 19, 2014

SPi Global - Magic the Gathering Club

Magic the Gathering is a trading card game that has been around for 20 years. It has over 6 million participants around the globe. People usually travel to the U.S., Moscow, Costa Rica, Japan, Singapore and even Rome to compete in the Grand Prix and World Championships.
 
 
Yes, some say it’s a geek’s game, and if I compare it to poker, it’s even more complex than just bluffing your way all throughout the game. You have about 20,000 cards you can choose from to create a 60-card deck and it is played in several formats.

I have been a collector and a player of the game since 1994. But it was just 3 years ago that I got the chance to really enjoy it, when my company supported me to create a Magic the Gathering club. And maybe other companies have their clubs, but for me, this is the only company that I have worked for and know, that would even shell out thousands of pesos for the club members to do a booster draft and give out prizes for the tournaments.

So far, we had 4 tournaments already hosted by our company, and the winners actually get a chance to compete in the commercial tournaments of their choice around the metro, and the entry fee is sponsored by the company. (And take note, this is just one of the several clubs that the company supports; I am also part of the Tactical Airsoft Club.)
 
 
(Booster Draft)
 
 
You see, it’s not all about the money…it is how the company takes care of its employees in several fun ways.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Elements Bits: The Divide


Cast:

Mickey - Michael Biehn
Eva – Lauren German

New York City has been struck by several nuclear missiles, and nine strangers were able to seek refuge in a basement of an apartment building. Days have passed and what they thought was a rescue team, turns out to be a retrieval unit that took into custody a little girl from the group.

The group then manages to fight of the remaining soldiers, and was able to intercept a radio message about completing the sweep of the city. They then decide to use one of the hazard suits of the soldiers to find out what’s happening on the surface. What you would expect in a holocaust are friendly soldiers helping out, but in retaliation, the soldiers kept them in solitary and welded shut the basement entrance.

Now the group has nowhere else to go and the worst that can happen now is that they turn against each other and it has now become a survival of the fittest.

---------------------------

Elements Bits number 1:

Reaching our breaking point. What do we do when we suddenly snap? When one reaches its threshold, some actions tend to be reckless, ill-advised or generally evil. One who is not prepared for the worst normally breaks and is unable to maintain its composure. Of course I will not say that when the end of days would come, I will be able to cope with it easily. I will surely panic; but the crucial thing would be how I will manage to recover and make a just decision with a clear conscience moving forward.

Elements Bits number 2:

Taking from the context of the movie Batman the Dark Knight, would you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become a villain? If we are talking survival, would you sacrifice yourself for the others to survive? Doesn’t necessarily mean that you will sacrifice your life, but are you willing to do whatever it takes if it meant saving others.

-----------------------------

Psychopathy Checklist

To determine if one is a psychopath, a checklist is used to rate an individual in several facets and factors that may contribute to this behaviour. These are scored on a rating of zero to 2. Zero being not evident, 1 being if there are partial symptoms, and 2 if it perfectly matches the individual. Out of the 20 items, if the individual scores 30 to 40, they may be already considers as psychopaths. Dare to take the test?

Below are the 20 items that are in the checklist,
according to the Hare Psychopathy Checklist – Revised. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hare_Psychopathy_Checklist)
 
Interpersonal:
Glibness/superficial charm
Grandiose sense of self-worth
Pathological lying
Cunning/manipulative
 
Affective:
Lack of remorse or guilt
Emotionally shallow
Callous/lack of empathy
Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
 
Lifestyle:
Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
Parasitic lifestyle
Lack of realistic, long-term goals
Impulsiveness
Irresponsibility
 
Anti-Social:
Poor behavioral controls
Early behavioral problems
Juvenile delinquency
Revocation of conditional release
Criminal versatility
 
Others:
Many short-term marital relationships
Promiscuous sexual behavior

Monday, July 14, 2014

Drawing the Line

Do you sometimes question yourself, how much is enough? When you are like me who hardly says no, where do you draw that line and say, I can’t do this anymore.

In our universe, there seems to be a limit to everything. No matter how boundless one thing seems, it has to end somewhere, somehow and sometime soon. We’ve heard most of it already, “we can’t live forever”, “I’ve had it up to here.”, “the fat lady has sung.” and you simply “ran out of luck.” I’m pretty sure each and every one of knows someone who can push it and yet still, there is a limit. (Or you are being pushed beyond your free will. I hope not.)

There are several things that no matter how hard you want to keep going, you can’t simply move on with it; whether the body or mind is no longer willing, or there is just too much conflict, resistance and hate, that compels you to simply put a stop to things.

For me, one of these things would be…Work.

The challenge in my profession is that, your problem is my problem, and I am tasked to resolve it. In my personal opinion, HR is perceived to be like the walking, talking, Book of Answers, a 24-hour convenience store and the ultimate house cleaner. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. Every day I learn something new. On some days, the tasks are quite daunting, but achievable…if given the time.

On being the Book of Answers; I greatly appreciate it when people come up to HR and seek counsel. There is that level of fulfillment when the employee walks away satisfied with your answers, knowing that you have helped them resolve their issues. It feels good that HR practitioners are often dubbed as a shoulder to cry on, defender of the oppressed and a provider of resolution. But the one perception that I would like to change and I do admit, is that HR is not an omnipotent oracle that knows everything. (Well how I wish I had these powers as I shared in my other article, I’m no Superhero.)

In fact, as Albert Einstein said, “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.”

Being in HR is also a test of endurance. There are some beliefs that HR never closes. (Or maybe HR practitioners are like doctors, who should be on call 24/7…but do we dare ask if the matters are that of life and death?) Nowadays, I’m lucky if I get any sleep for 3 straight hours during the work week. Calls and messages comes in almost every 30 minutes. But I think of it this way though, as one mentor put it:
  • It is better that people reach out to you rather than not;
  • But you must take heed because it could mean that if they continuously reach out to you because no resolution or action has been done, then you may deemed neglectful. Or if they don’t reach out to you at all, it could mean you have no credibility.
Now the real trials of the job are cleaning up the mess of others or getting things organized. Thus, being the ultimate house cleaner. Yes, I understand that we all live under the same roof and we all have our own roles and you have the heads of the family take lead, but maybe some residents should take accountability and own up. Or better yet, at the onset, get things organized. Again, I hardly say no and will offer whatever help I can; it’s my nature and not just the profession. But it does get quite irritating though when some say that, “we did something wrong, you have to fix this right now.” As if I have a magic wand and could simply chant bibbidi-bobbidi-boo.

Unfortunately I can’t just pick up a chalk and draw that line in front of me, as I have to accept the fact that this is indeed the nature of my work, and I signed up for it 11 years ago.

Taking cue from a Nike commercial...So maybe I brought this upon myself for not learning to say No. Maybe it was my fault for making myself very accessible and available for each and every need. Maybe it was not a good decision on my part to intervene in every little incident. Maybe it was my eagerness to prove my worth?
 
Or maybe, just maybe…as Michael Jordan put it…”Maybe you’re just making excuses.”

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Featured Clips of the Day: 2014 Super Bowl

I'm not really a huge fan of American Football (But I do love watching football movies such as Any Given Sunday, Rudy, The Replacements, The Longest Yard, Varsity Blues, to name a few.) Aside from the game itself, there's probably two other things you would really look forward to in Super Bowl; the halftime show and the commercials...
 
(Here are some of them from Youtube)
 
M&Ms

 
Axe
 
RadioShack

 
Jaguar
 
Ford
 
Kia


An Enchanted Afternoon

The last time I went to Enchanted Kingdom was back in 2004, if my memory serves me right. So when we got some complimentary tickets I didn't think twice since I was curious as to how the place would look like now; I wondered, is the place still clean, how is the crowd, are there any new rides...

My feeling when we got there? Surprised is an understatement.

The environment was clean, a lot of new rides, and by the way, I didn't even get a chance to ride half of what the park has to offer. I made a mistake with my itinerary; we went there at 4:00PM, thinking that 4 and a half hours would be enough for the rides till the fireworks, which starts at 8:30PM. There are added attractions such as performers and dancers for every park zone, which keeps those in line entertained.

"Lead the way kid!"
 
Air Pterodactyl - Boulderville
(Kian actually rode this 3 times)
 
Up, Up and Away for Julia

 Bump N' Splash
 
Bumper Boat
 
We also rode the Boulderville Express and the Rio Grande Rapids, which the kids did not enjoy at all and they were crying their hearts out (Wrong move). Another wrong move, before we left, I knew that we could get wet if we decided to ride the Rapids or Log Jam, and how smart of me to just bring an extra shirt and a face towel.
 
I don't mind spending that much for the entrance fee next time, because it is really worth it and the best part of this afternoon...we got to spend it with the kids. The way their eyes lit up was just priceless.
 
 
For more information, Kindly click this link:
 


Friday, January 3, 2014

Toastmasters International

I've finally done it!
 
I've been dreaming of becoming a member since I first heard about the organization back in 2005.
 
 
 
 
To learn more about Toastmasters International, check out their website: Toastmasters International
 


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Getting Things Done in 2014

For the past 6 months, I haven’t done that much activity in my blog. Primarily due to work, but the trade off was that my company has blessed me with additional responsibilities and benefits, an upshot of all those work rendered and goals being achieved. In what I can humbly claim as over a decade of honorable HR service, I have been promoted 5 times in the industry that I work in. That’s why no matter what, it’s really hard to say no to an employer and mentor that supports and believes in what I can do.

Office is not all about work in my company and I am not hard selling them, but this is the only company that I have worked for that has shown no restraint when it comes to employee engagement and activities. They even gave me a free hand in launching a Magic the Gathering Club and Network Gaming Club. (They even paid for the cards and PC games.) It may seem easy on paper to be the chairperson of these clubs, but it’s actually very time consuming. As much as I can, I really try to exert much effort to sustain their activities. I am also in the middle of reviving our Writer’s Guild. Aside from this, there are so many clubs in our company that I dream of joining such as the Toastmasters and the Epic Runners…but I can’t do it all.
I’m semi retired in the one sport that I love. I used to play in no less than 3 leagues every weekend, but now, I painfully turn them down because I just have too many items on my hands. I try hard to still be involved in the sport by helping the company’s basketball program in scouting recruits and coaching the men’s team. I am also assessing my resources if I could divert some effort towards the company’s women’s basketball and volleyball teams. So office work for me is like a hobby if you look at it in a different perspective with the clubs and sports advocacy…but I can’t do it all.
There are so many things I love doing…but so little time to do it.
I love watching DVDs and TV series, both old and new. CSI, Spartacus, Walking Dead, Boardwalk Empire, Friends, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, and the list goes on. I have boxes and shelves of unwatched DVDs, from all movie genres. I love playing video games. Call of Duty, Battlefield, Diablo, NBA, Gran Turismo, Tekken, Borderlands, and the list goes on as well. I love reading comics, Marvel, DC, IDW, and the list never ends. I even bought a 1-Terabyte external hard drive to store all my e-comics….but I can’t watch them all, play them all or read them all.
I love taking trips with my family, Balik Bukid, Boracay, Palawan, Ocean Park, anywhere that can take my mind off work for a moment. (Despite the rare occasions that my office phone would ring, it’s still a getaway for me.) So no matter how much I want to run away to these destinations…I just can’t go to them all.
And this is but the tip of the iceberg of the other things in life that one can do.
So how do I get things done?
It’s not impossible to do it all. Challenging, yes, but doable. Can’t do it doesn’t mean you won’t do it or never will. It’s a “can’t” at the moment. And when that moment passes, you’re pretty much on your way to doing whatever you want.
For me, it’s simply managing or prioritizing what must be done at that moment; such as when I do get the chance to watch DVDs, how can I ever turn down the request of my 4-year old Kian to watch Oggy and the Cockroaches on Cartoon Network, or to watch Barney on Youtube with my 2-year old Julia. These moments are priceless for me, and there is no doubt that this is definitely something I can do all the time.
So as the year 2014 dawned on me, my one and only resolution is getting things done. Regardless of what it is. When people would now ask me if it’s doable, my answer would be…
It’s not doable…consider it done.
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