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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Why you should try Cebu’s famous Pungko-Pungko

One will never be regarded as truly Cebuana if she hasn’t experienced Cebu’s famous gastronomic food – Pungko Pungko. Pungko is a Visayan term which means to crouch or squat. I remember few years back, Pungko-Pungko vendors used to peddle basketful fried viands from one place to another. Then, at a corner or street where they see customers, they will do a momentary stop and start vending. My brother, James must be a fan of this stuff since he was the one who introduced this to me at a young age. Thereupon, when we’re in the downtown area of Cebu, we would try to snag Pungko Pungko vendors near Cebu Doctor’s Hospital in the hope to satisfy our cravings. That time, wooden stools weren’t promptly available, so we would just squat or crouch in the pavement after we don a transparent plastic in our hands and seize food from the makeshift table.

Today, Pungko-Pungko has evolved gregariously. Patrons no longer eat in crouching position but are comfortably settling in wooden pews. Pungko-Pungko stalls have also sprang everywhere. You usually find them in places near schools/universities, churches, or in places with high populace.

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Current setup of Pungko-Pungko in Fuente Osmena. The lady in pale blue couldn’t just hide her full bite (she happens to be my colleague). Can you spot a foreign fellow trying it out too?

One of the most popular and accessible Pungko-Pungko places in Cebu is located in Fuente Osmena. There are about 20+ stalls in this stretch. Vendors lease a stall for a monthly low-fixed-rent and their spot is constantly reeled to have a fair share of revenue (since strategic location greatly impacts their sales level). Today, they may occupy the front most stall and tomorrow at the rearmost. Operating hours starts at 6am and ends at 9pm.

The way to enjoy Pungko-Pungko is to eat with pride. Although this may not be advisable for people with sensitive stomach, Pungko-Pungko remains the go-to place for frugal Cebuanas. With a fifty-peso budget, you can already relish a great meal. The basket is normally filled with these enslaving fried nom noms:

  • Ngohiong (Chinese Spring Rolls)- Php 10.00
  • Longganisa (Sausage) – Php 12.00
  • Pinakupsan (a fatty part of pork deeply fried using its own oil until it shrinks) – Php 15.00
  • Utok (swine’s brain) – Php 15.00
  • Ginabot (intestine) – Php 15.00
  • Lumpia Tague (spring roll bean sprouts) – Php 5.00
  • Crab meat – Php 20.00
  • Pasayan (Shrimps) – Php 20.00
  • Porkchop -Php 45.00
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  • A basketful addictive nom nom.

It is best to pair them with puso (hanging rice) which only cost Php 4.00.

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Then soak them in vinegar-filled bowl packed with white onions and peppers, given for free by Kuya.

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You can either choose water or soft drinks (normal offerings are pepsi products) as your refreshments.

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Photo op with Kuya Jhonmar and Kuya Jione, the vendors of this stall. Today’s lunch with colleague costed us Php 198.00. Not a bad number for 2 people with severely gigantic appetite.

I’m glad this kind of gastronomy is gaining popularity. I hope you get to try this too. Certified nom nom from head to toe!

A tanga na boss and a sipsip na employee in a corporate ring

Before we enter into the ring, let’s lay down all the definitions first. Sipsip – is a Tagalog term for brown nosing, boot licking, ingratiating – to catalyze one’s advancement. Literally, it means to “suck up to” using an unrestrained and artificial flattering. Sipsips are ubiquitous in the workplace setting – and that doesn’t’ exempt Philippines. In fact, we, Pinoys came up with a meritorious full-form of it as Severely Insecure People Seeking for Instant Promotion (SIPSIP).

Tanga, on the other hand, is a person who makes imprudent and unwise decisions. Literally, it means a “fool”. Tangas are quiet pervasive in the workplace setting too.

Now, we are entering the ring. You are the main character of course, and I would like you to ideate an amateur boxing bout (actual match) to which you’ve already gained judges favour. Why? Because you have had your game-plan and did your pre-fight preparation well. No – months before the event, you didn’t really hit the road, lift heavy bags and mitts or have had rounds of sparring. You’re not even ready to get hit.  Yes –months before the event, you did consistent flatteries with the judges. You simply drowned them with bags of wishes and large sum of hypocritical compliments. How fool the judges are to not read that.

During the bout, you missed a number of notable overhand and corkscrew punches in some rounds, yet you kept on releasing rabbit punches even when you know it’s illegal. You were also unable to dodge a quick southpaw blow. You kept on clinching and sometimes you rope-a-dope or fall hardly into the canvass. By the end of the match, your face is wreaked havoc with remarkable bruises and cuts and a cauliflower ear, yet you were still duked as winner. Your opponent on this tall tale, though how much deserving for the title failed to bag it. His painstaking preparation and exhibition of rapid bolo,and bob-and-weave just didn’t seem to buy out. He never even had an eight-count. Deym! Was there something?

Flattery is all powerful and this mojo never goes out of style. Though up in the boxing ring you looked incompetent- lacking the skill set, the judges still favour you because of your prowess to fawn over them. Your hard work has paid off in bagging the belt-of-fame but spectators see you as ne’er-do-well. Way to go sucker!

As an employee in a corporate ring, we all have vested interest in winning a promotion for a fat pay check or fame. Nothing wrong with that. However, the problem arises when you do it out of selfish desires. Instead of working on competencies and performing efficiently at work, you end up brown nosing. Sipsip jud! Another problem is, when an employer  fails to recognize a brown noser. Tanga-tanga sad.

I know. I definitely know. We all like compliments. In fact, there is this article posted in Harvard Business Review site that can support my statement, and I quote, “You don’t believe me. You couldn’t possibly — after all, I’ve never seen you. But, chances are, on an unconscious level you really do believe me, and my compliment makes you feel warm and gooey inside. And your positive feelings predispose you to do something nice for me, so if I were a salesman or your subordinate or your colleague, that nice something, whatever it is, could definitely make my day.”

Uh-Uh! True but NOT WHEN THEY’RE FAKE.  Huge caveat: As an employer, be prudent in detecting brown nosers. Should you feel compliments are getting insincere and faux, that’s already code red. Talk to the referee and ask for a time-out immediately.

There are no shortcuts to winning a boxing match or coveting that long dream promotion. Preparation matters. Brown nosing may take you up but won’t keep you up. Competency speaks for itself. Efficiency reflects results. When judges or your bosses are already awaken from apathy and finally detect you’re sucking up for personal advancement, you’re then susceptible to TKO- technical knockout punch and you may be declared as loser.

Do you want to get a boo or a hoh hoh? You decide!

How to tame your Boss’ strong, dominant personality

Six months ago, I started a new job in a Real Estate Industry under the management of a Senior Executive with strong, dominant personality. Although this attribute is expected from a top-ranked leader, I was feeling like in a constant battle dealing with him. His four-walled office has been our battleground where our ideas and thoughts clashed vehemently. Most often, I always insist mine.

Such strong personality agitates me for I possess them too. Only difference, the big difference rather is I AM STILL SOUR and UNREADY. Does a very feisty mid-management millennial with less experience but think she’s a know-it-all GI needless of any direction from an experienced commander sound familiar to you?

He is armored with vigorous experience and shield with cogent knowledge I don’t want to concede. Until such time, I was maimed by him almost had no chance of surviving the mental combat. It took me a while to realise my stratagem was defective. With humility, I surrendered.

Today, we are now on truce and each day I work industriously on becoming his greatest ally. Here’s how I did it:

1. Listen first. As millennial, we normally have tendencies cutting off a conversation because we want to say something precipitously. Listen intently for listening is the key to all effective communication. Let the Exec finish his discourse and wait until he opens the floor for your stance or opinion. Once you developed your listening skills, you can easily underpin any positive human relationship – one of your building blocks to success.

2. Obey. Even if you find the direction antithetical or contradictory to your judgment, take heed and follow without disputing. Predominantly, when Execs make decisions or try to solve crises, they don’t refer to books studied page-by-page back in college. They normally take it from their years of experience. You’ll be surprised how their seemingly awkward accord can save an entire organization/negotiation. What’s the shot? Simply say, “Yes Sir”.

3. Have confidence towards. Believe that Executives are brought in such position because they are veritably good at their craft. It is not easy reaching the loftiest position in an organization if one does not elicit the needed skill set – both soft and hard.

4. Know your boss credential and/or back story. Should you not be that convinced with point 3, then do your research. It will help you understand where they are coming from or where to place yourself.

5. Don’t take it personally. Do not retaliate or feel acrimonious when your ideas are rejected or not heard. Often, Senior Execs are looking into a much wider horizon to ensure all aspects are given due consideration. Your ideas may just be fragmentary. However, should you feel like it’s the best solution to the conundrum, come back later bringing out-and-out supporting documents.

6. Respect. For one, he deserves this as your senior. You can respectfully follow orders even if you don’t always agree with them.   Second, as they say “respect begets respect” – so let your respect illumines and hope he reciprocates it too.

7. Come back with humor. Humor, not sarcasm, always ease tensions. It makes discussions lighter.

If it still feels like you’re in an office skirmish, just at least ward yourself off with Point 1. Simply because it’s the basic yet a cardinal rule in creating a harmonious relationship whether in your workplace, home or everywhere.

Good luck and hoping you could tame your boss’s dominant personality too!