A month sojourn in Incredible India

I am taking a vacation for a month.

“Where are you going?”

I N D I A!

In a split of milliseconds, people appeared whammy as if a thunderbolt just flashed before their eyes. Myriad of cynical reactions are blabbed out.

“It’s dirty there.”

“You might get rape.”

“You are going to call home and regret it.”

“You won’t survive the food.”

Even some mainstream news remarked it as one of the worst go-to countries of the world.

For some reason, I did not listen to the claptrap. I was stalwart with my plans and I was ready to prove them wrong.

I left for India and wore my windbreaker of valor. The courage came from the thought that my Spiritual Father and Reverend Sister were waiting for my visit. The truth is… India is idiosyncratic. It’s one of a kind like other countries and it takes an ardent eye to see that. To flaunt fairness, here are my candid scrutiny:

  1. India is a beautiful country rich with terra firma and crowds of people.
  2. It’s a very big country that it takes at least an 8-hour drive to go from one state to another (Kerala to Bangalore).
  3. Indians are beguiling and it’s pleasantly amusing how devoted they are to their religion. I was staying in a foster loving Indian family and they were all just so hospitable.
  4. You see monkeys, swines and elephants not on cage. There was this incident that a monkey was peeping on my window. Little monkey wanted to come inside and mug my food.
  5. People are just good singers. In Kerala, the catholic masses go for 2 hours with all the croons and chants.
  6. Their doctors are first-rated. Exceptional! I had my diagnostic there at St. John Hospital and I got scolded for being stubborn with my medicines.
  7. I love their food. I love eating with hands, and now I suddenly miss eating biryani and hummus.
  8. For a shoe-girl like me, you will love Bata and Moochi.
  9. Wearing Saree will make you feel like a princess.
  10. They speak good English so it’s easy to ask for directions when lost.

It was a ravishing one-month stay. I enjoyed farming, the monastery visit, the short stay in the hospice, the long travel, the weather… EVERYTHING. Perhaps, because I have a heart that finds pleasure in simple things and a mind that is not shaken with anything. Huge caveat though, always bring skinnies or pants with you. Never show off your legs since Indians find it repugnant.

There is no bruise in exploring new places even being terror-stricken by friends before you could pack your luggage. Just be careful.Traveling can be a life’s greatest teacher. You will never know the veracity of people’s assertions if you will not check it yourself. Go and make a discovery!

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Truly an Incredible India!

Townhall Meeting with the Masters

Townhall meeting is one of the most important and notable events of Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI). CLI holds this meeting bi-annually and is attended by each and every family member of the organisation. It is that auspicious moment when the heads of the family present what has been happening to the lineage for the past months or what will happen in the next months. Today is the first townhall meeting of CLI for Y2018 and surprisingly a bucketload of good news has been echoed to everyone.

The meeting formally started with EVP for Operations, Jose Franco Soberano, sharing the company’s significant milestones for the first 6 months of 2018:

  1. 5.8 Billion sales in less than 6 months (compared to 1.1B biggest sales in 2012)
  2. 51 Projects in Key Cities, in different stages of development
  3. No. 1 Local developer in Cebu with 18% share of all active projects; No. 1 fastest selling condo in Davao and Cagayan; On track to be the No. 1 Developer in Visayas and Mindanao (VisMin).
  4. Publicly listed company and had attended the annual shareholders meeting
  5. Received prestigious awards (the only VisMin awardee for BCI Asia)
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    Jose Franco Soberano narrating the record breaking milestones of CLI for the first half of 2018.

    We are really sustaining our momentum and I am confident we can exceed the target this year. We are taking CLI at a greater scale. Trajectory is stable and the journey continues. What we are doing now is not enough and there is still much we can do”, reverberated by Franco as he advanced his disquisition to the next pace: What’s next for CLI?

  1. 23 projects launching this 2018
  2. New expansion cities in 2019: General Santos, Ormoc, Butuan and Roxas
  3. Landbank – 1, 079 542 sqm

He also highlighted Davao Matina Business District project juxtaposing it to Fort Bonifacio in Manila. The project’s intent is to help the city and its dwellers. He also made mentioned each team and its accomplishments contributing to the success of the company, starting off with Accounting and Finance, Business Development, Customer Care, Engineering, HR and Admin, Documentation, Legal, Licenses, Property Management, Purchasing and wrapping it off with Sales. It was a well-applauded presentation making each member feeling proud of its ancestry.

Supervening Franco’s yarn is the visionary CEO of CLI, Joe Soberano. Everyone was sharply listening to the Father of the family speaking with illumine wisdom and shrewdness the moment he took the center stage. He encapsulated the whole schmear in this phrase, “It only boils down to one reason for having been able to do it… it’s because basically of the people behind the organisation. This is important for us to realise that this is the key and focal point of our organisation. How valuable the company is or has become is because of the people behind the organisation. We have to always bear in mind that you are the extension of the company. Its not just working hard within the office but even when you go outside the office; how you will carry yourself; how you will impart the message to the different people you will be interacting outside; even the matter of having to share your time and the things that go around in the office with your family…something that you have to bring forth in a very positive way because this is the company that will continue to strive to bring more not just for the people or the market that we are serving  but also for us.”

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The visionary father of CLI family, Joe Soberano, veiled with wisdom and shrewdness.

Joe also emphasised the weight of refining and boosting the well-being of every CLI employee. He encouraged small group activities, excursions, even the spiritual side of things in order to create camaraderie and goodwill. He also imparted how he values work -life- family-balance, the rationale why CLI working hours was tapered down from 6 to 5 days. As quoted, “We want you to be with your family and enjoy the weekend with them. While work is very important, it is also equally important to share the fruit of our work to those who are close to us.”

He further alluded how things can be of convenience for employees who cannot afford to acquire a private vehicle yet. He also remarked the activation of corporate social responsibility programs and the promotion of goodwill by constantly being able to develop quality products.

Newly-promoted employees were also broadcasted during the event. Some faces bolt from the blue when they heard their names called upon.  An open forum also took place where few employees aired out their humble suggestions and which were well-received by the management.

The EVP for Finance, Marose Soberano, has also made a short note. She was underlining the importance of being a family helping each other. “Help us. Help you. Help us take care of every family members” as she zealously raised to everyone.

The Townhall meeting curtained with a photo op and a sumptuous dinner everyone shared.  It was indeed a moment with and for the family connecting and reconnecting with one another — a creme de la creme working with the masters.

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The blackjacket story: I have always been proud wearing this identity whether I am in a client meeting or traveling back to home town. I am proud Cebuana working with the masters.

3 of 10: Leyte getaway to amble Philippines longest bridge – San Juanico

I woke up one morning and decided to go to Leyte. I phoned J right away and informed her of the unpremeditated getaway. Without uncertainty, she agreed to my impetuosity. Our intent on the journey is merely to walk on Philippines longest bridge –San Juanico Bridge – as we often read this coinage in history books back in grade school.

While I was at work, I asked J to buy the tickets. We rode Roble Shipping, 10pm schedule. Arrived in Ormoc 4am the following day. Attended the 6:15 am mass at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish where we were amused with its Architecture and ID. It was a perfect blend of old and modern art.

We stayed in Travelers Suite, an affordable hotel located at the downtown of Ormoc. We took a brisk nap and washed up. By afternoon, we were bestirred to conquer the City of Beautiful People.

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The most hospitable steward of Roble Shipping. Salute to you, John. Until our next trip. 
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Right here. Sts. Peter and Paul Parish Church
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C’mon gents, follow me. 
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Made it to the longest bridge of the Philippines – San Juanico Bridge. 

Item #3 unlocked.

2 of 10: Music and Don Moen Concert

J and I are both melomaniac. In a mall, in a street, in my car or anywhere where music is played, we always end up shaking our booties or singing to the tune. Music stimulates our brain and it speaks to our soul. It connects us and puts us in a world of harmony and movements.

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Don Moen Concert in Cebu. 08 July 2018

Don Moen Concert in Cebu is a prayer granted. We have been looking forward to this day for so long. We wanted to see up-close the person behind such heavenly voice we hear every morning from the downloaded ‘God Will Make A Way’ playlist in our phone. His music plus our praises to the Heavenly King just make the start of our day extra blissful.

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Don Moen on black Suit singing the overture song.  Lenny LeBlanc on blue hue sleeves with a guitar strapped on his shoulder. 

Our fledgling plan was to take the VVIP seats. However, since J has some charitable obligation to her kin and next of kin, we decided to reserve Gold seats instead. Still, we enjoyed the moment and felt God’s blessings from heaven poured on both of us.

This day’s also a discovery of new additional playlist we would soon be hearing every am. Lenny LeBlanc, Don’s guest performer  has this melodious voice that goes deep to the soul. I was literally moved by his music. Powerful yet calm. Among my favourite is his rendition on Above All and Treat Her Right. (One day, someone is going to treat me right.)

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The concert ran for 2 hours but seems like sparse. We were shouting for MORE. We did not want to end the language music was conversing to us. 

Item #2 unlocked and friendship up a notch.

1 of 10: Divine Mercy Shrine, Del Monte Plantation, Ma. Christina Falls, Tinago Falls

J and I are celebrating our 10 years of being besties this year so we made a promise to each other to do 10 things we haven’t done together. It could be doing a pilgrimage, beach combing, visiting historical places, traveling abroad, trekking, attending concerts, dancing… the list goes on, whatever kooky ideas we can think of. Old stuffs, antiquated ones, also attract us. Yeah, we’re both antediluvian and seeing archaic places is pretty much part of the list we haven’t finished figuring out.

To jump-start our 10 bestie activities, we decided to journey to Cagayan De Oro. The only goal is to see and attend mass in the Divine Mercy Shrine. The rest, we kept the spontaneity. June 02, 2018, we’ve finally laid a check mark on item 1.

We left Cebu 8pm on a Friday night via TranAsia Shipping. Cruised the ocean for almost 12 hours. Arrived in Cagayan at 7 on a Saturday morning. We believed it was too early yet. On the spur of the moment, we decided to go to Del Monte Plantation, Bukidon.  Riding a Motorela (Four-wheeled trike), we headed to Agora Bus Terminal. This bus terminal has two kinds of buses: The Super 5 and Rural Transit Mindanao Inc (RTMI). The Super 5 comes in different colors while RTMI in red. You can ask a native which bus is passing through Manolo Fortrich. Fare is around P145.00. As for me, I was equally dependent to J and her mobile map app.

Once we reached Manolo Fortrich downtown, we rode habal-habal going to the plantation. Fare was around P100 one way. That’s a haggled price already. We asked the drivers to wait for us since we won’t take long. In between, we made quick stops to take good clicks of the sceneries along the way. It’s breathtaking.

J and I haven’t really gotten the chance to enter the building when we reach the field since we didn’t know anyone there. However, we found ourselves in love with the ravishing beauty of pineapples sold by merchants-on-trucks outside. There was already an add-on to the price. I didn’t mind. I just wanted to take home some for my loved ones in Cebu. I bought a dozen. Oh boy! It was hefty but thanks to Kuya habal habal driver for being kind in helping us out.

After Bukidnon, we went to our hotel to drop our heavy loads. Then, straight to Divine Mercy to attend the 3pm Mass and confession afterwards (By far, I had the best confession moments here).

From Cagayan proper, we rode Motorela going to Gaisano Mall. Got a ride with route going to Bulua Terminal. From Bulua Terminal, we mounted on a jeep going to El Salvador. We were just dropped off at the corner road going to El Salvador Divine Mercy. From there, we took habal habal going to the Shrine. (Normally, habal habal drivers would give their contacts and you can just text them whenever you wanted them to pick you up already).

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Taken right after mass and confession. Reason for the bulgy eyes. 

Huge Caveat: Since the Shrine is the House of our Lord, no one is allowed to wear revealing clothes.  It is encouraged to wear long skirts and shirt with sleeves while inside the shrine premises.

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You can wear something like this. 

The following day, our brain cells had again made an impulse that we check out Maria Christina Falls and Tinago Falls prior to going home. We went to the trip unprepared. We even had bamboo rafting on our undies and collared-shirt. Who cares! Seize the moment.

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Fun Fun Fun. Not in suit but who cares?

It was short but sweet journey. I am just exuberant we started our 10 years with a Pilgrimage (with side trips). We left Cagayan on the evening of Sunday, 8PM. We reached Cebu 9pm the following day. I went straight to work while J went to her first day of TESOL Class, bringing all memories from Cagayan.

PMS: Emotional whirlwind

All of a sudden eyes in mist

As if wet from flowing streamlet.

Bleeding heart all throughout waking hours

Pierced by pin pricks of varied kinds.

Looseness jerks in mind

Hard to dominate but has to die.

Yesterday a princess of smile and laughter

Today a white rose withering.

How could a woman be like this?

Happy- sad, cheerful- depressed

Alone in the suite pouring it in verses

Couldn’t help but weep hitting the letters.

Scared to reach out and be misread

Should I send a message or keep?

Mo, Bro are you there?

Nah! Keep writing here until slumber.

Tonight be a very sweet dream

Looking forward to a beautiful nightmare

Wake up tomorrow and start all over.

I pray this PMS to end.

Editors Note: Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS attributes to the emotional and physical symptoms experienced by a woman a week before her period. The magnitude of symptoms differs from person to person and most common of all is the change of mood. Normally, this wanes after the first day of bleeding.

A footprint of love

There are days I crave the sands, waves and sunsets.

Gritty sands of black and white;

Deep waves of royal blue;

Bold sunsets of saffron hue.

When in distress I look for these

To encrust worn-out feet;

Calm cluttered mind;

Rest jaded eyes.

Today, I’ve had time

Nonattachment and weightlessness

Subtle and sweet

Such a stress relief.

Stared the water,

“Why just now?”, I soliloquized

Perhaps scared of the sunrays?

Or unable to make time?

I know, I should have done this a long time

At least today it’s ratified.

Should there be a next time?

I will try.

But I want him by my side

Walking in the shoreline

Hum hum hum I sing

A footprint of love stapled on the scene.

Then, I made a little prayer.

Just as the ocean takes cue from the wind

I take mine from the Creator of wonders

An unimaginable depth…

Should I revere or fear?

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