The Mind of an Executive

13 Minutes with the VP for Operations

As a part-time freelance blogger and a full-time corporate employee, I soundly believe that no one goes to work with the hopes of doing a bad job. Everyone wants to unlock an achievement. Everyone wants to go home by the end of the day feeling like they achieved great things without expending their time. Everyone also wants to be promoted, and one day, one generation of leaders will soon be replaced by another, a phenomenon known by everyone since ancient histories.

I am also a docile millennial with tons of questions and fervor to learn. Hence, coming up with this idea to interview Executives from divergent industries to know their thinking and simultaneously preserve their leadership stratagem so the next generation can be well guided. Who knows one day, you and me can be the next generations of Executive too.  

The interview is strictly only for 13 minutes for a lot of people demands the Executives’ time and attention. Questions are spontaneous (or not sent in advance) to keep it real and heartfelt. Here, we are launching our first ever 13-minute interview with one of the Senior Executives from Cebu Landmasters Inc – Jess M. Kabigting. Jess is currently the Vice- President for Operations, who directly works hand-in-hand with the C-Level Executives of the company, and with span of control over Business Development Department, Leasing Department, Property Management, and Construction Group.

One of the poignant statements I always hear from Senior Execs is that they always feel lonely being on top. Is this true? What makes it lonely?

Yes, for 2 reasons. First, a Senior Exec makes decision that will impact people. Some of them are not going to be popular. Quiet often he becomes alienated from people, simply because, he has to make the hard choices for the good of the company.

Second, the Senior Exec doesn’t have the support system which is easily available for rank and file. Our circle of friends are normally the people at our calibre and it’s hard to surround oneself with such people when you’re on top. It is the price you have to pay because you are after friendship and those beneath you simply deal with you out of difference and respect, not friendship.  

Speaking of friendship, do you have friends in the company?

Yes,mostly the ones at my level.

How do you know they are your friends and not someone covertly destroying or competing with you?

To look at friendship in a general term is to basically have good dealings with them, but real friendship is much deeper. It takes time to discover real ones. Friends are those who sympathise with you and your situation. To understand that, you must be in that level. It’s hard to explain to lower management or middle management something they haven’t experienced firsthand.

How about you, are you trying to compete with someone beneath or at your level?

No. Competition is never my goal. As a Senior Exec, the more you focus on contributing to the success of the company and less on competition, the easier the job becomes. You don’t think about competing with anyone. You think about working with them in order to achieve the greater goals of the company. You don’t really think about who gets the merit. The sooner you get that thinking straight, the easier it becomes for you.

How do you keep up and handle everything in your hand?

I pray. I reflect about what is essential, on what are the important things to be done. Then, I just focus on that.

Do you still have a luxury time? What do you do when you get one?

I don’t get that a lot but when I do, I spend it with my family.

How do you handle reproach, especially when you know you are not at fault?

It’s part of the training on how to become a real Exec. Work on the top comprises mainly of making hard decisions and these decisions are both right or wrong. As a leader, it is but to be expected things will not run perfectly and because of this you get a flak every now and then. If you take it personally, then, the problem is not the system. It is you, because you are bringing in your personal emotions to judge the objective reality being conveyed to you.

Your span of control is quite massive, how do you show your trust to your team? Can you share us your strategy in empowering them?

There is a strategy in shaping people. In order to train people, you must let them make decisions while at the same time guiding them along the way. A leader cannot be a playing coach. A leader is a mentor. You cannot play the game and at the same time coach effectively. You have to be more of a mentor and a mentor is someone who knows and sees the big picture while not missing the details. A mentor also guides his team towards what needs to be done and his team members are being asked to step and to deliver.

Are you more of a sharer or a keeper of your talents and skills? Are you not afraid that someone might surpass you in the company?

What’s the purpose of keeping knowledge? The executive who feels that people will surpass him is an executive who has stopped learning. The challenge for the executive is not NOT TO SHARE. That is why he is there.

What is the greatest challenge of an Executive?

One of the greatest challenges of an executive is to keep on learning. He has to learn more than the others because as a leader he sets the base for the entire team. It’s not a question of not sharing. You have to share. The people beneath you would always need clarity of vision and direction; and an executive can only give that when he is continuously learning and improving his craft.

Are you open to  ideas from the millennials? How do you handle them when they become annoying?

As a generation X, there is big gap between Xs, Ys and millennials. A Senior Exec just needs to learn how to deal with millennials and accepts their limitations because that is where the future is.

They are raised in a modern environment so they need more time to accept reality to what it is, which the generations X and Y have. So, how do I deal with them? One word – Patience! Millennials are like that because it’s not their fault. Millennials grow in an environment where everything is provided for, where everything is quite easy to get, where everything is technology driven, yet, life is not like that.

Any exhorts to make Monday a little bit more exciting?

Any day of the week is exciting for me when I know that I am about to do something good for people and when I know that I will be challenged to use my skills and talents to the fullest. You should think it that way too. 

As a senior exec in real estate, what is that biggest dream you wanted to achieve still? Or have you achieved it already?

My biggest dream is not the top position of the company. I am not after presidency or being the owner.  My biggest dream and aspiration in real estate industry is TO BUILD and the greatest thing that you can build is a CITY. At a certain point in life, money won’t matter essentially. What drives the person forward is the innate fire – what is that something you want to give. For someone in my industry, we build things from scratch.  When the time comes and I am already building an entire city from scratch, then, you can say that I have accomplished my life goal.

End of 13 minutes yet I felt like asking and hearing more. One hat an Executive wears is GREAT PASSION, and this was seen by the way he lucidly answers all my questions- very candour in everything to his heart’s content. Indeed, with passion at work, one can fashion wonderful things, help others, be productive, be successful, and most of all be genuinely happy with the results. Without passion, one will just simply wither and not grow –sitting in a desk every day, dull and bored and just waiting for the payday. 

Look forward to the next article as we unearth the mind of another executive.

Crazy beautiful ride to Osmena Peak and Kawasan Falls

I was hobbling for few days due to swollen joints. Yet, today, I am sitting on this precipice that is 1042 meters above sea level. It’s early morning so click looks so foggy. You cannot see what’s really down there. I tell you it’s deep and the strong wind sporadically makes you off balance.  Who would’ve thought I could make this journey. 

Osmena Peak. Being our first ever trail trip, my friends and I left Cebu at 12 midnight journeying to Dalaguete where Osmena Peak springs. Osmena Peak is Cebu’s highest summit I describe as having clumped green grotesque hills clutching the shorelines of Badian .A lot of tourist flock to this trail spot to behold the spectacular beauty of Mother Earth.

To enjoy a 360 view, it is best to trail in the afternoon as early morning can be too foggy with zero visibility – – which was not our case! We left too early and started moving from Dalaguete junction to Osmena Peak at 4am (Landmark: Seven Eleven and Julie’s Bakeshop). By the time we reached the peak, the anticipated view was impeded with mist, fog and haze (they’re synonyms so whatever you call it anyway).

Good to note:

At the entranceway to Osmena Peak, you’ll have to sign up at the Osmena Peak Hikers’ Center and pay an entrance fee of 30 pesos. Local guides may also approach you and you pay their service at a courtesy rate. Normally 150-200 pesos per guide will do.

Entranceway to Hikers’ Center. 

Hikers’ Center is open 24 hours, therefore, you can trek any time you want. By midway of the journey, you will find campsites and cabins. You can bring your own tent and set it up at the campsites or rent a cabin. For cabin reservation, you can contact Manang Willy at 09332887208 or 09226801623. Cabin is good for 2-3 person with water, lights and free use of restroom. 

It is advisable to get support from a stick or pole for the track can be too slippery. You can rent one at the entranceway at 10 pesos per stick or pole.  

The Magic Stick.

You will also meet these captures below making the trip even more entertaining.

Congratulate thyself for reaching the top, and don’t forget to photo-record such success. 

Couldn’t be any prouder. 
He is one of the best tour guides in town. He also takes good care of capturing good angles of me. Those are some bird whistles by the way. 

Dalaguete. On the the way back to Dalaguete proper, make time to pass by Mantalongon Public Market. You will lament if you don’t do so as this is the kernel to finding very affordable fresh goods (such a steal!). I was even surprised that cannon ball cabbages only cost 3 pesos a kilo.

These are same vegetables brought to Carbon Market and to some of our supermarkets. By the time it gets to those stores, prices are already doubled even tripled. 

I bought quiet a lot so I need some reinforcement. A little thank you paper bill will do. Look how stuffed my car is. 

Kawasan Falls. You can also make a side trip to Kawasan Falls, Badian. Kawasan Falls is one of the famous waterfalls in Cebu where you can swim and relax around turquoise-azure waters.

Using a private car, it would take around an hour drive to reach San Vicente Church where you can park your car. From the church, you gait for 20 minutes to reach Kawasan Falls. Entrance Fee is 30 pesos per head and Life Vest rental is at 50 pesos per piece.

Varied food stalls will greet you along the way. I tried everything. 

There are also rooms where you could stay overnight. Room rate ranges from  1500-2500 depending on the amenities. If you choose to stay only for a short while, you can rent table and chairs at 300 per day.

There are more packages to avail from. You can go for canyoneering at 1500 per head, trekking to see all 9 falls (you would need a guide at 200 service fee for 4 hours), or simply just have a free back massage from the surging water. 

I chose the hindmost. 

Ready, set, dive

Molave Milk Station, Barili. En route back to Cebu City via Barili,you can make a pit stop at Milk Station where you can buy fresh cow and goat’s milk. The place looks like a romantic resto go-to for lovers to enjoy a glass of fresh milk . There are also ice cream gelatos and some candies made available for tourist bon vivants.

A trip is never fun without your crazy friends and I’m glad I made this journey with these two long-time love birds. Shall we go for another crazy ride? Yes, crazy indeed because from Dalaguete en route to Osmena Peak (traveling at 2am), environs suddenly became too dark and hazy because of heavy rains. We were all so scared yet we still continued moving. However, when we only need to travel at about 2KM, we unanimously and suddenly decided to turn back due to our eerie imaginations (what if we’ll fall on the cliff; what if terrorist attacks us or a white lady will just appear). By 4am, we went up again and found ourselves laughing at our own foolishness. Crowd of tourist awaits had we chosen to conquer the remaining 2KM travel. Nonetheless, it was a crazy beautiful adventure. Thank you lovies. 🙂

The P.H.A.T of Pho

Pretty Hot and Tasty: They always say ‘look up’ to find answers above. I’m not in quest for answers. I am sincerely asking high heavens to make me belch. Oh, definitely gasping for air and is feeling frozen due to overeating.  How can I spurn Pho’s classic aromatic vegetable and beef broth? Definitely, harder to say NO especially when paired with rice rolls and peanut sauce.

No victual pictures to keep you titillated but only a tease of my satiated face.

You may visit all their branches at:

Cebu

  1. Crossroad Mall, Banilad – +6332 416 2442
  2. Robinson’s Cybergate  – +6332 238 6825
  3. Ayala Terraces, – +6332 410 9687
  4. Skyrise 2, IT Park – +6332 416 2442
  5. SM Northwing
  6. SM Seaside

Manila

  1. Serendra, Bonifacio Global City – +632 843 0820
  2. Power Plant Mall, Rockwell – +632 750 6613

I heart you Nonki

It’s been 8 years and and up until now I’m still enamored by you. Your certain oomph always lingers as if telling me I’m fixated of you.  How much I wish I could be with you daily but I am only a bourgeoisie.

So, seeing you once a month already makes me perky. A sip of your aromatic tea with my all-time favourite, California Maki echoes authenticity – one and only in the City.

It’s great to have you. It’s even greater to see you today. You always totally satisfy me and my yearning belly. You are worth my recommendation and I wish you gain more patrons. Just like me, 8 years of being together is quiet a journey. I just heart you Nonki!

My usual order has always been california maki and  house tea. Today, belly yearns for more variety. Totally pleasurable piquancy!
Ready for round 2?

You may visit all branches of Nonki at:

  1. Main Branch -219 A. S. Fortuna Street, Bakilid, Mandaue City, Cebu – +6332 344 5837
  2. Ground Floor, One Pavilion Mall, Banawa – +6322 505 7638
  3. UpperGround Floor, Sm City Cebu – +6332 232 7712

How to bathe a stuffed bear

Two years ago, I was given a Pink Bear by a friend. We named the bear Giorgio – cute and stuffed like him (friend). Since then, I became fascinated with stuffed toys. I love having them around spending cuddly moments with each one. I have six so far… and counting.

However, it’s inevitable they get marred sporadically.  So, here’s my little way of bathing them:

1. Prepare your Bear, a pair of scissors, needle & thread, and a plastic bag.

IMG_3394
I am starting with my first ever Bear – Giorgio!

2. Make a small slit exactly where the stuffed bear was originally sewn. Pull out the fiber and place it inside the plastic bag. 

IMG_3408
As for Giorgio, the original stitches were located near his butt. I did a small slit enough for my hand to get through. Now, what’s left is his head so I’m still not through.

3. Wash the outer fabric with soap and water. Hang to dry.

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I applied fabric conditioner to soften. 

4. Stuff it in and hand-stitch to close.

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No need for nimble. Pretty easy stitch to do. 

5. Groom and Hug!

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Lovely family! Giorgio here is good as new, with his Brother Little Xavy. 

Hope this helps. Have fun bathing your Bears!

The Expectation Gap

Curious to see one of the most instagrammable sights in Toledo, Mo and I plummeted on a trip to South to also share our own version of the famous Labyrinth snaps. Pretty much enlivened, we used Waze to ensure not to miss the beauty spot. After a 2-hour odyssey, we finally reached our destination–only to find out that our expectation didn’t match with the reality.

Our funny tête-à-tête:

“Where is the Labyrinth?”

“This is the Labyrinth.”

“No, this isn’t the Labyrinth”.

“Ian, this is the Labyrinth. Look up!” I looked up and saw labyrinth inscribe on wood.

“This is it?”

“This is it!”

While Mo was taking candid shots of me, I cannot help but laugh out loud on the milieu. Both of us were expecting an elaborate, confusing green structure we see in Greek movies (or as we imagined from reading novels). We were even ready to get lost and then find each other under a gigantic tree.  But reality sank in. The Labyrinth is just a small garden of green plants constructed next to a private catholic chapel.  Then, we learnt that it was actually designed for meditation or praying the Holy Rosary– a symbolic form of pilgrimage which one can walk the path ascending towards salvation or enlightenment – NOT A MAZE TO GET LOST. Hence, the expectation gap.

Just like LIFE.  We paint our lives with too many colours and write lofty goals only to uncover the epilogues are nothing like what we expect them to be  – either we lament on how unfair life is  or we  rejoice for such pleasant turn out of events. How often did we cry over bad investments in stock market, fiasco relationships, or even birthdays un-celebrated with loved ones? How many times did we jump for joy for every hard work recognised, successful project proposals or even just when Mr. Crush finally says its sweet “hello”.

If only we can predict every outcome, right? Yet, we can’t. We do not have the ability to see in full accuracy what the future holds for us. We can only make decisions based on knowledge, information, sometimes intuition but we can’t control life’s unknowns and detours. Perception is not the reality.

So it was not a maze to get lost, and like me, you may have exclaimed this-is-it-! twice or more (at some point in your life) but it is how you enjoy this kind of life’s fireworks and hiccups. Mo and I had our share of an epic fail expectation-vs-reality moments but it didn’t stop us from from having fun learning that perception and reality don’t always match up. Live the adventure and be resilient in taking on life’s beautiful strides.

 

The door to Labyrinth. Prep your hundred peso to enter. 
Bombshell: Look Up! you have finally reached the Labyrinth.
Passionate paparazzo: To get this shot, Mo has to climb a makeshift steel ladder.
All embracing.
A drop curtain we didn’t expect. This is the private chapel beside the Labyrinth. It showcases all religious collections from EU. A total holy moley. 
Taken aback. Surely adorable antiquated miniature. 
Pardon me. I only wanted a click next to the Pieta. Didn’t have any idea I was sitting on the tomb of the owner. However, he has my sincere obeisance upon knowing the story of why the Labyrinth was open to public. Every hundred-peso entrance fee to see the Labyrinth goes to the schooling of the less fortunate children in the community. In same building, there’s a dedicated room where children attend classes.

How will you write a literary piece using Accounting Terms in 20 minutes?

Tired from work I wanted to sleep

Been a long day – meetings and signing checks

Cold and eerie, where’s my duvet?

Up in a closet folded neatly.

***

Thug Thug Thug suddenly drowning in tears

Anybody care to notice?

Looked around, there’s no one.

Except a shadow of a man.

***

Real Estate Business at stake

A corporation I can no longer keep

Disordered with all Liabilities

Loans, Bonds…. Oh No, the company is in bad debts

***

Debauchery enveloped the mind

Expenses of some kind

Salaries, Utilities, Supplies, Insurance

How then can my people survive?

***

Assets all exhausted.

No more cash and equivalents.

Financial statements read red

Can someone offer help?

***

Scared but has to try

Knocking at door’s friend for a bullion or in-kind

Embarrassing, I know

A CEO begging for dough

***

Lamenting in verses, couldn’t take

Weeping hard as I hit the letters

I am sorry investors, creditors, suppliers

Bankruptcy, today I declare.

***

Now, what to do, send this letter-to-all for info?

Or keep in an email draft to buy time or two

High heavens I’m begging you

Either Liquidity or Solvency will do.

***

Dag, dag, dag, I awoke

Called the office and speak to the CFO

“Steph, is the company balance and up?”

“Joe, relax! Everything is up and about.”

***

Editor’s Note: Cebu Landmasters Inc sent us for a 2-day training in Basic Accounting Workshop for Non-Accountants. Earlier, we were given a task to write a literary piece using accounting terms.  We were given only 20 minutes to finish the activity. Above prose was our entry and Choco Bar below was our prize.