(2020 v.1) Of new beginnings, music recommendation, and what’s going on

New beginnings

A sunny view from above.
A sunny view from above.

Summer is here.
Summer is here.

It’s exactly 30 days since I last physically reported for work. Everything has been virtual since 6 March 2020 and I tell you, it’s not always good times.

Despite saving a lot of gas money and time, I kind of miss my night drives going to the office. My drive wouldn’t be complete without my nice music playlist and a cup of coffee on the side. But, really, the main reason why I bring my car to work is because of the terrible commuting experience in Metro Manila. Ever since I started driving going to work and taking advantage of the free parking, my life has never been so easy. Since the pandemic began and the enhanced community quarantine took place, I haven’t been able to use my automobile. I’m not sure anymore if I still know how to drive (LOL!)

I haven’t mentioned I started with new work before 2020 began, have I?

It wasn’t the expectation I had in mind but I’m thankful I found a new home where my talents are not only valued but also taken to the next level. It was tough but here’s good learning that struck me: some things do not go as planned and that does not mean I failed.

One of the many things that I appreciate right now is how agile our work setup is. We are not seat-warmers. In fact, even before the pandemic, I’ve been taking advantage of this work-from-home set up a lot to look after my well-being more and to spend time doing my passion projects. What’s just quite odd is that I have to constantly meet with my colleagues almost every day to catch up on some things.

New passion project

Sums up my feelings.
Sums up my feelings.
Catching sunrise.
Catching the sunrise at the roof deck.
Catching sunrise.
Catching the sunrise at the roof deck.
Some weird statues over good food.
Some weird statues over good food. Somewhere in Angeles City, Pampanga.
Hi, it's me!
Hi, it’s me!

I have planned to read more books this year. Since I was able to finish more than 30 books last year, I want to finish more this 2020. However, with what’s going on lately, I can’t seem to find the rhythm to start reading something. My mind just couldn’t stay focused. I can’t help but worry about everyone who’s very much affected by this COVID-19 situation, most especially my grandmothers.

To keep my sanity intact and make sure I add fuel to my passion this year, I will be posting more of my random outtakes. I am nowhere near being a professional photographer but since I couldn’t find the exact words to explain most of my thoughts and ideas these days, I want to channel it through another medium. There will be moments when I might have to write things but expect that the future posts will most likely feature my photos.

New music recommendation

My cousins and I were supposed to head out of town by late April. It was supposed to be our annual getaway, sans our parents and other family members. Everything has already been booked and we’re extremely excited to finally hit the beach – then COVID-19 happened and so we had to reschedule this sometime August.

Anyway, this F*ck Im High playlist was supposed to be my road trip playlist this summer. I wish to share the vibe with everyone who will find their way to this playlist. Let me know your thoughts about it!

You can check this link if you’re a Spotify user and this link if you’re an Apple Music subscriber. For reference, the playlist contains 23 songs and plays for 1 hour and 18 minutes. Here are the songs and artists included in the playlist:

  • Sunday – Forrest, Biskwiq
  • Through and Through – khai dreams
  • Janet – Berhana
  • Sunday Candy – Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment
  • Belong to You (feat. 6LACK) – Sabrina Claudio
  • Somethin Tells Me – Bryson Tiller
  • Every Kind Of Way – H.E.R.
  • Sahara – crwn, August Wahh
  • After the Rain – Willow Stephens
  • Cos I Love You – Tom Misch
  • Say You Love Me – Patti Austin
  • Lover Boy – Phum Viphurit
  • Train in Vain (Remastered) – The Clash
  • Shake It Loose – Astronauts, etc.
  • Shine On Top – Surfaces
  • Scared Money – NxWorries, Anderson .Paak, Knwledge
  • Me & You – HONNE, Tom Misch
  • Younger – Ruel
  • Love Me Less (feat. Quinn XCII) – MAX
  • Good Day – Surfaces
  • Morning – Marc E. Bassy
  • Traffic In The Sky – Jack Johnson
  • Wait – crwn, Jess Connelly

New relationships

My 2019 was a disaster. It’s a difficult year for me, if not the worst one. I have to admit, I made lots of bad decisions last year which made me think twice about how I’d take on my 2020. I made up my mind: I will dedicate this year as my year of redemption. I want to focus on my professional development, to improve my well-being, and to find comfort in solitude. I knew I was ready to shut everything down and disappear. But then, somebody came and changed my mind.

Our first conversation had been about how fond I am with reading books. He said he couldn’t even finish a book. I get it – reading books is not really for everybody. I’m happy that he noticed that from me.

Anyway, we weren’t supposed to see each other until 29 March because we both like things when it’s planned down to the smallest detail. We wanted to go to this restaurant in Antipolo City but the COVID-19 situation got worst and we had to cancel that. One random weekend night, I asked him if he’s free to meet me. I wasn’t sure where to take him. Pampanga was clearly on top of my mind but thought it would already be too late for us since we left Metro Manila past 9pm already. We spent the night somewhere in Quezon City and Taguig over food, coffee, booze, and stories. It was probably one of the longest yet the best night I’ve ever had in my recent memory. We connected on so many levels and ways that I am actually lost for words to describe what I felt at that moment. 

I was afraid that he might be another case of hi-hello-goodbye. After a series of failed dating attempts and cheating incidents in the past, I couldn’t help but remain skeptical and guarded. However, he was a different story.

My worries and insecurities are out of this world, I tell you. Yet he gives me a sense of validation at the right time, without asking for any of it.

I have the tendency to think that I’m not enough. Without any hesitation, he makes me feel that I’m the best part of his life now.

I am apologetic for almost anything in life. Despite his lack of patience, he provides me assurance that my ‘sorry’ should be reserved for something more serious simply because he understands.

You know what? I’m honestly still scared that everything is happening too fast. But the thing is, I’m ready to grab whatever the universe throws my way. I never asked for something big but life has blessed me with so much more than what I have hoped for.

And if you ask me if I’m happy, I would gladly say no.

Why? Because what we have for each other is more than the feeling of happiness – it is that true sense of security that we know cannot be found everywhere.

You are the sunrise to my sunset.
You are the Yin to my Yang.
You are the warmth in my coldest night.
You are the cool breeze in my summer days.

Thank you. Padangat takang maray!

+++

What is Happy Hour and why is it important to our company culture?

Getting stamped to claim free food and booze.

According to a study, 79% of people who quit their jobs cite ‘lack of appreciation’ as their reason for leaving. This claim backs up our quarterly Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) surveys at TaskUs when we asked teammates about their reasons to leave the company and their top five (5) most common answers were: (a) unmanageable workload; (b) undefined metrics and goals; (c) incompetent salary and benefits, (d) lack of opportunities to grow, and; (e) change in the workplace culture.

This is where the idea of Happy Hour comes in.

The history of Happy Hour at TaskUs

Some lovely Mexican treat for everyone.

TaskUs started hosting Happy Hour in 2014 where we allow our colleagues to down a bottle or two of booze, serve some healthy snacks and encourage everyone to bring their ridiculously good self to work. A little caveat that TaskUs has other rewards schemes, such as the group-based and individual-based referral promos, and LizardBear Club for our top performers, but the goal for these Happy Hours is to extend gratitude to everyone who has been consistently performing and to recognise people who have significantly contributed to the development of their team and helped the company reach its goals for a particular timeline.

TaskUs’ 11th year x Fort Excellence’s 1st year

Last Friday, we celebrated two anniversaries at our office in Bulacan. We celebrated TaskUs’ 11th year and the 1st year anniversary of Fort Excellence, our Bulacan site’s moniker. It’s my first time attending Happy Hour in the office this year and I was able to witness and capture on photos how talented our teammates are!

With the help of our HR team and operations leaders, we commended those who joined and represented Fort Excellence at the LizardBear Cup, TaskUs’ annual sports fest, last month. Everyone who participated was recognised and applauded by the team, whether they made a podium finish or not. They all got exclusive TaskUs merchandises and the winners received more.

Special thanks to our lovely hosts that day, Barbie and Daisy, for making sure everyone’s engaged and welcomed throughout the program! We look forward to many more Happy Hours with you. Thanks for sharing your time and hosting skills!

Some more photos from the event…

Why Happy Hour?

The good thing about hiring outstanding people is we could always expect high performance from them. In order for colleagues to stay engaged at work, the business should help colleagues unlock their true potential and never see them as dispensable resources of the company, and this is where I’m proud of TaskUs.

I like how Jaspar Weir, the President and Co-Founder of TaskUs, explained our greatest commitment on this article. By promoting a good employee experience journey, we uphold the People-First culture of TaskUs. Hence, we are rewarded by over-the-top performance from our colleagues and we are confident that our clients are in good hands. By creating a culture of collaboration, we are encouraged to treat everyone with respect and to listen to crazy but amazing ideas which will help us disrupt our current processes and discover new ways to do things.

We do not see the ideas of working hard and having fun as mutually exclusive from each other. Through Happy Hour – a simple, cost-efficient and engaging way of recognising people – we’re able to keep our employee satisfaction high, our attendance have drastically improved and voluntary attrition has went down. In turn, more teammates are producing more quality outputs through increased productivity at work.

There is no hidden formula and no perfect way to do employee engagement. The thing that sets TaskUs apart from the competition is how our team was able to realise what works best for the business and how the leaders pushed the limits and boundaries for us to remain a ridiculously good place to work at.

Travel Notes: 25 November 2018

Intramuros-Binondo, Manila, Philippines


My mum used to bring me with her to their office in Intramuros so it’s easy to say that I’m very much familiar with the area. Last Sunday, I went here with my brother to visit some of the old-but-reused buildings for their assignment. I’m delighted that I was able to go with him because it made me remember how happy my childhood was. It’s good to see that despite major developments here and there, the ambiance stays the same and that everything could still be reached easily by walking.

Head over to my Instagram and check out my new IGTV upload here featuring my weekend shenanigan with my brother!

Travel Notes: 1 November 2018

Cainta, Rizal, Philippines

On this day, when we remember what a great man my grandfather was, I’ve had the chance to be with my cousins, aunts and grandma. Finally, our busy schedules have aligned today, and as a bonus: I was able to speak to my dad on the phone albeit short. He’s travelling to France as of writing. I’m wondering what Tatay has been doing up there and whether he’s proud of what I’ve become today. I mean, who knows? X

Travel Notes: 26 October 2018

Pasay City, Philippines

The sun is setting

And you’re right here by my side

And the movie’s playing

But we won’t be watching tonight

I have no words to describe this week, but let me tell you than I am happy. I don’t think I am in the position to complain about anything, even though I feel empty; consciously know that there is something lacking in me. I am tired—beyond exhausted—but happy and content. To remind you how beautiful life could be, here are some photos I took on our way to the City of Dreams Manila in Pasay City for the #PFIP2018 5th Gala Night.

Have a good weekend, people! x

Travel Notes: 20 October 2018

Quezon City, Philippines

It was Becs’s idea to meet up here at Marindo, a newly opened restaurant located at the heart of Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City. Conveniently located at the G/F of Manhattan Garden, it’s not that hard to find but caveat that there are no parking space available except the open parking outside.

They were operational since 6 October and serves Indonesian-Malay menu. I MUST try their Laksa, even if it meant skipping my diet for the night, and boy, it did not disappoint for something worth PHP195 ($3.61). I’ve also ordered Vegetable Fritters for PHP90 ($1.67) for everyone (not in the photos) which was surprisingly good and it reminded Japan’s Okonomiyaki but less savoury which is what I like. ($1 = PHP54)

The first I’ve noticed was probably the clean vibe that Marindo exuded and I have to give it to those white walls, clean utensils and Instagram-worthy lighting which only some restaurants have. They operate on a self-service set up and you have to pay as you order, so please do not expect this to have a fine-dining set up.

Some of the best people I’ve known for roughly 9 years, albeit my first time to meet Marvz with Kiefer today. Thanks for Jeric, too, for still going all the way to Cubao from Cogeo even if it was already late. If it wasn’t for Becs‘s business (go check @powercasesmnl!), this wouldn’t be possible. Look at what I’ve ordered from them too, and it costs way cheaper than your Starbucks Venti drink! It was seeing everyone last night, and I think I should do this more often now. X

Travel Notes: 19 October 2018

Makati City, Philippines

Let’s all admit it – we never like how bad the traffic could get on Fridays and how humid it could be in the afternoon, but there is something about Makati Central Business District (CBD) which makes you love it as it is.

I visited Makati today after attending some brotherly duties at home. I had this sudden itch to feel the city vibe that only Makati CBD exudes. Although I weren’t able to roam that much, I still found myself in awe whilst at the elevated walkway near Paseo de Roxas and Greenbelt. I think it was just a great timing as there were few to almost no passers-by when I took these shots.

I didn’t bring my camera with me because I want to test the camera of my new phone – and it did not disappoint at all! For edits and colour play, I have created this new orangey preset from Lightroom. I’m sure this will work on natural lighting and I will continue using this until my eyes could not take it anymore.

Indeed, it’s a good way to get my weekend started and to end a busy work week! X

Can You Survive Metro Manila for 1 Week in 1,000 Pesos ($19) or Less?

Where are you headed to?
Where are you headed to? Photo taken in Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati City, Philippines using Nikon D3200.

What if everyone could take the public transportation because you know it’s efficient? We’re confident that our trains wouldn’t break down because it’s been maintained well. We’re happy to take the major roads and never worry about getting late for school or work – but that’s in a parallel universe where we don’t live in.

I had this ‘Eureka!’ moment last weekend when my mum and brother got stuck at UP Town Center because of heavy raining. While having some sumptuous late lunch at KOS Greek Ouzeri, I wondered, what if my job don’t pay as much as I get now? Will I survive an entire week of not being able to buy what I want and just stick to only those what I need? For this week, I’ve challenged myself to limit my work week budget to 1,000 Pesos ($19).

In a hot Friday afternoon, I’ve decided to ride an ordinary bus from Bulacan to Makati – I didn’t regret that moment. Photo taken in Valenzuela City, Philippines using Nikon D3200.

Cost breakdown

What’s a good way to prove an idea and to tell a story? Experience it, and so did I! It wasn’t easy to start the week in a morning schedule whilst half of Metro Manila is ‘submerged’ because of the heavy raining for the past 48 hours. I do not know what’s with mornings but it wasn’t easy to course through the traffic. Gladly, I was able to manage this – I rode ordinary buses in broad daylight whilst exposed in dirt and pollution; to get to my destination, I walked for more than a mile or two to save money; I even have to ask for mum to drive and take me to the train station to cut my expenses down. I am very lucky to have supportive parents, but what about those who don’t have such luxury?

Total transportation cost sums up to 741 Pesos ($13.72).

I was lucky for my 2 days training at the Ateneo Center for Continuing Education, they served free food – morning and afternoon snacks, and full-course lunch meal, all in a managed buffet style – (Shout out to Villa Salud!) During the remaining days of the week, I’ve brought packed dinner with me and some biscuits, crackers to save money. Moreover, I used the Starbucks stars I’ve accumulated in exchange for free drinks. The only two instances I bought food this challenge week were last Monday when I met my best friend and ate lunch other and last Friday when I bought turon and pancit on my way to the office.

I think this was the most difficult part of my challenge. I cannot simply win over a battle against hunger, and I realized – what if I didn’t have those stars, where could I’ve ended up to? What if I didn’t have time to prepare for my packed meals each day, would I be able to survive? What if I didn’t have those 2 days training, would I be able to eat decent meals?

Total food cost sums up to 184 Pesos ($3).

I usually have my hair cut every 2nd or 3rd week of each month. Coincidentally, my hair cut is scheduled during the course of this challenge week. I felt torn between sacrificing 200 Pesos ($3.70) with my preferred shop and going for this newly opened hair salon for only 40 Pesos ($0.74). I ended up choosing the latter despite the bad service. My hair cut was fine, but I wouldn’t date to go back there.

Total miscellaneous cost sums up to 40 Pesos ($0.74).

There’s a missing 30 Pesos ($0.56) which I couldn’t remember where I placed/spent on but I as of writing, I’ve managed to save 5 Pesos (less than 1 centavos in US $) the entire week.

The first time I felt helpless was when it suddenly started to rain heavily and I wanted to take a cab going home but couldn’t because I simply can’t afford one. Photo taken in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig using Nikon D3200.

About budgeting

I thought I was just too confident to ask people favour. I always believe that desperate times call of desperate measures. I also have instilled to value of walking instead of taking public transportation. With how the Metro Manila traffic is going, especially when it’s raining and the roads are impassable due to flooding, the only best option left sometimes is to walk. I have also skipped meals when possible and I could. This wasn’t something I’ve done before because I usually eat when I want to and when I have to.

If you’re wondering what’s the secret, really, there’s none. I don’t think that’s budgeting that I did because it felt like I didn’t have much to budget in the first place. Now I suddenly felt envious with those people who would just walk going to work from their residence. I wish it was fast, easy to commute from Bulacan to BGC, Taguig. But here’s what I have realized:

  • One battle you cannot easily win over is hunger. This is one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult, problem to deal with. If only my level of discipline was heavens high, I could easily do this, but I have a body of a mortal that needs feeding.
  • 1,000 Pesos per week is not applicable to everyone. As a disclaimer from the video teaser I made, I implicitly mentioned there that there is no ideal budget each week. Some people would spend more than 1,000 Pesos (like me), whilst others could spend less, but that doesn’t mean that we, who spend more than 1,000 Pesos each week, have inferior budgeting skills than those who spend for 1,000 Pesos or less every week.
  • The thing that will differentiate us from each other would be our expenses. If you’d have a look at your expenses, you’d easily notice that your weekly expenses would differ from each other – and that is okay.
  • Always think twice, thrice before purchasing anything. The first question you should always ask yourself is if you really need this thing you want to buy. Definitely, if you can afford and have extra money, go ahead. Otherwise, don’t. Don’t even dare to think about using your credit card, if you have one, to meet your ends. It’s not healthy for you and your financial credit, most especially if you can’t pay off the credit right away and/or not familiar with the ins and outs of credit cards.
  • Find alternative options… only if you can afford it. I hate to break this, but most people these days wouldn’t trade comfort and convenience for anything that’s practical. I felt that a lot of people do not patronize carinderia anymore and we all have our reasons – sanitary issues, proximity, availability in the area, laziness to walk around… I am guilty of this and should never use my time as an excuse since my work has a very flexible schedule.

In Metro Manila, you can’t afford to walk slowly, most especially when it’s rush hour. You’ll get bumped, people will push you… you simply can’t. Photo taken along EDSA corner Shaw Boulevard using Nikon D3200.

What I’m trying to say is…

Open your eyes.
Notice what’s happening around you.
Remain vigilant.

I have a renewed and now a never-ending respect for those people who are able to stick with their budget, especially to those who have a family to support, those who need to pay for their rent/housing, those who can afford to save even if there are tons of expenses each month. I am definitely not alienating anyone or any group here, but to those people who have the sheer determination and the ability to provide for their needs – the inspiration to do better and to keep a good financial standing moving forward is simply overflowing.

Some of my observations include:

  • Our traffic has gone from bad to worse. When I was in college, sometime in 2013, to get to my university, I used to take the same McArthur route from Malanday bus stop in Valenzuela City to Muñoz, Quezon City for only 1 hour. Now, it would take me 2 hours to do the same, and 3 hours at most if the traffic is really awful. How come, despite tons of road widening, improvements, that this has been the case?
  • If living within your means is fine, how about those who couldn’t even afford basic needs? I’ve always been told by my parents to never live beyond what I could pay for, and that’s true. I’m very lucky to land a good paying job to support my needs and wants and to, basically, live independently. I just feel for those who couldn’t even support their basic necessities in life. I wish the world isn’t that unfair but who am I to complain? I’m just a tiny voice out of the vast jungle full of predators ready to swallow me whole.
  • The basic burger with fries and drinks now cost at least 80 Pesos ($1.48). It used to 50 Pesos ($0.92) but now, your 50 Pesos can only buy an à la carte – without fries and drinks.
  • The commute to work or school kills us. This is a reflection of how bad really our traffic and transportation system is. We haven’t even reached our destination and yet we’re already tired. It’s exhausting – imagine allotting 5-6 hours each day on road, this could have been spent on other more productive things.
  • Our transportation system couldn’t support the volume of commuters each day. I wish to find options was as easy as changing socks. Could you imagine what kind of life we would’ve had only if our mode of transportation is more convenient?

This challenge also brought me to another level of understanding of how our supposedly basic needs are easily affected because of the changes in the tax scheme, the worsening inflation of the country, and the surging prices of goods and services. Why am I saying this?

My point is simple – my 1,000 Pesos ($19) last year could already last for a week and a half. Now, it barely lasted for a week. Had I not taken desperate measures, I would’ve gone overboard. Last year, my daily budget for commuting was just amounting to 165 Pesos ($3). This year, it has gone up to 180 Pesos ($3.33). Whilst some of you would think that it’s only 15 Pesos ($0.28) difference, it’s still a big amount of money – multiply 15 by 22 days (average no. of work days in a month), that’s still 330 Pesos ($6.11). I could’ve spent my 330 Pesos to paying for our water bill which don’t normally go above 400 Pesos ($7.41) per month.

Is this what we deserve after working hard, trying to provide for our families, in the hopes of being a law-abiding citizen by duly paying their taxes and contributing to the country’s supposedly booming economy?

I don’t know, but what I know is that I survived 1 week with 1,000 Pesos – if have to grade this, then my grade would’ve been “Barely Passed.”

*$1 = 54 Pesos

Weekly Update: Week 32

Work Life

Some of the former Sourcing Team. From left to right: Mama Nica, Jylla, and Louise, who were all from the Offsite Team and are now part of the Selection Team; Clarize, who were originally from the Call Outs Team and is now part of the Management of Information System Team; Blue, my former supervisor in Sourcing; Rich, former Leads Generation for Online; Gian, former Digital and Marketing Specialist for Recruitment and Site; and myself, former Leads Generation for Employee and Applicant Referrals, and is now calling it off. 🙂

After midnight dinner/bonding/chikahan. I’ll miss everyone for sure.

While the earth is getting blessed by the rain and the cool wind from the North, I am grateful to have survived yet another busy but fulfilling week. I reward myself with a good 16 hour sleep today, coming from a late night out with my team mates at Mercato Centrale BGC.

We were grateful to have Miss C’s presence last night and boy, her stories and her kindness never fail to amaze and inspire us! She’s been our mentor, our dearest friend, and our biggest supporter ever when we’re all still in the Sourcing Team.

Yes, I’m confirming it here—I’m resigning from my company due to health reasons and because I’ll be moving out. It has been couple of weeks—exactly a month from the time I’m writing this—when I’ve had my Urinary Track Infection, kidney stones, and high uric acid count and I haven’t been well since then. I literally had to fake it till I make it, but unfortunately didn’t pull it off. I couldn’t walk properly because of the pain and all my savings were gone in a snap to support my medication. I tried my best to take care of my body better but just failed at addressing the real problem.

I didn’t want to blame my work because I love Sourcing but because I’m handling everything in Sourcing now—without a supervisor and team mates—the work load is taking its toll on me. Up to yesterday, I was responsible in handling Leads Generation for online postings  for both Facebook and Jobstreet, Leads Generation for Employee and Applicant Referrals, Job Fair leads consolidation, school coordination and tie ups, and online/digital marketing. At the same time, I was responsible, too, in doing call outs and invites to all the leads that I’ve encoded. I couldn’t fit everything in the 9 hours shift (including lunch, or working lunch if I may add) so I would normally be in the office for more than 13 hours in a day. I would come in at exactly 8 AM and would go home around 11 PM, 12 in the midnight.

I love my job and everything about Sourcing but my company does not love me back.

A simple reminder yet something difficult to keep in mind and do. Photo taken at Serenitea at Bonifacio One Technology Tower, 31st Street.

Food Discoveries!

Recently, I’ve been discovering good places to dine in with my friends and team mates around Bonifacio Global City. I always consider the place and the proximity. Scrap price from the equation! When we talk about food, I believe you cannot compromise quality over anything else. First on my list is Passion by Gerard Dubois.

Passion by Gerard Dubois

A little piece of heaven on Earth.

Passion by Gerard Dubois (or the awesome French bakery according to Ms C. Haha!) is at Shop C2 of the NetPark, 5th Ave, Taguig, 1634 Metro Manila. From its website, I quote, “…patrons seeking a traditional French café experience can sit back to savour a crispy oven-to-plate baguette with a rich chocolat chaud, in a homey country cottage décor and the aroma of freshly baked bread.” 

A slice of Framboisier from Passion by Gerard Dubois is something you need in your life when things aren’t going your way. See more at Kimmy’s Instagram.

Passion makes you feel that you are in that place in Paris, France where you enjoy a peaceful, laid-back, sunny day by a plate of French goodies and a cup of good coffee. I’m not the type of person who is particular with the interiors and whatnot but Passion amazes you with its concept and upbeat vibe.

A platter full of Royal Potato Salad to share with your family and friends, best when served cold. If you’re a big fan of salad, then this is a must try! See more photos at Kimmy’s Instagram.

Food and quality wise, Passion by Gerard Dubois serves only the best. From good pastries, freshly baked goodies, mouth-watering pasta, and delicious flat bread, to awesome sandwiches, thirst-quenching beverages, and delightful desserts, Passion is a good definition of a little piece of heaven on Earth.

Passion is open daily from 8 AM to 11 PM.

A cup full of Strawberry Gelato for only Php98! Why strawberry? I don’t think I need to answer this as I’m clearly stating the obvious. Ha! See more photos at Kimmy’s Instagram.

A fix of a good cappuccino in this gloomy, rainy weather is something we all need, even if I don’t drink coffee these days anymore.

Chicken & Beer

Passion, indeed, was a runaway winner this week but I can never forget my experience in Chicken & Beer with—who else?—my team mates.

Sourcing Team almost complete! Missed Em and Kim that night.

All smiles because food has arrived! From left to right: Me, Clarize, Blue, Rich, Louisa, Mama Nics, Chef, Louise, Gian, Jylla, and Jann.

I really have a love and hate relationship with spicy food. I was never a fan of any spicy food but I keep eating it anyway. We ordered Paris Chicken (8 pcs for Php 325), Hot Wings* (8 pcs for Php 325), Honey Garlic Chicken (6 pcs for Php 335), and Original Chicken (6 pcs for Php 295), 1 rice per person, and tons of water!!!

*It’s really, really, really, really, really spicy!

Plates full of assorted chicken wings. How can that get any better? See more photos at Kimmy’s Instagram.

The place also plays and features Korean music videos, a good addition to the upbeat ambiance that it parades. And how else can you enjoy it? They serve ice-cold beers and tons of other liquor choices. It’s also allowed to smoke inside the premises, although my friends went out to smoke as a courtesy to others who dined in there, too.

Anyway, we had fun during the team’s open forum a.k.a. chikahan session while enjoying the good customer service provided by the crew of Chicken & Beer. What makes it more interesting is its fast service. All of our orders were complete in less than 15 minutes and that’s plus points to someone who values service and food quality over anything else.

Our food share per person: Php 170 + Php 70 for the booze I drank. My share: Php 240!

Personal Updates

I’ve been sick, lately, but it should never be an excuse not to dress up well and look good. It isn’t cheap to support your medication, take care of your skin, and to update your wardrobe from time to time—who said it’s going to be easy anyway? However, this isn’t about vanity but lifestyle.

You may look well outside—dressed up fine and dandy, living a good life—but dying inside, and I talk about this literally.

To those who’s asking why and how I’m losing weight, the only secret I have is to cut down my food intake. From my regular rice meals to my beloved soda, I had to give it all up and change it with fruits-oatmeal diet plan and water. Before, my calories intake would normally shoot up to 2000 to 2500 calories in a day and that’s without any exercise. I was tagged overweight for my height and age. Now, my calories intake is down to 1400 calories in a day—sometimes 1200 calories if the diet plan asks for it.

Not that I’m afraid to gain weight but it’s really about maintaining a healthier lifestyle now. My uric acid count is too high for my age and I couldn’t do anything but to eat healthier, live healthier, and be in medication maintenance.

Here’s to a healthier self! I’m doing the best that I can to fully recover ASAP and get started with my plans for the rest of the year.

Preppy and dressed down on a Sunday at Immaculate Conception Seminary when we visited my brother. Shirt from American Eagle, shorts from Uniqlo, shoes from Sperry, foot socks from Burlington. See more photos at Kimmy’s Instagram.

Rainy day essentials: boots from Caterpillar shoes, jogger jeans from Jag Jeans, pullover from my grandpa’s closet. See more photos at Kimmy’s Instagram.

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I am Independent and This is What Love Means to Me

 

“We accept the love we think we deserve.” – Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

I came from a family where my parents have trusted me enough to do things on my own even when I was still a kid. Back then, when I was still 5 years old, I had to learn things by myself. Not because my parents didn’t love me, but because I understand that they’re both busy with their professions back then. I needed to have that initiative to get things done at school and at home.

When I studied in the University, I didn’t ask that much money from my parents. I found a way to support myself, even to get some of my wants in life. I was not only independent at that time but I was also brave enough to discover many ways to get things done without others’ help.

I can definitely say that –

I am independent
I am free
I am capable of doing things on my own.

No, I don’t need someone who will take me out for fancy dates in an expensive restaurant. No, I don’t want someone who will give me gifts when it’s our anniversary or when it’s my birthday. No, it’s not okay to me when you think I am an accessory that you can bring to any party or occasion. No, it will never be okay with me when you think I am someone who is under you or anyone else.

I deserve love for who I am and not for who that person wants me to be. I should be loved based on my capabilities and not on whatever I cannot do in life because that’s being pitiful but not loving.

I am kind and vulnerable at times but that doesn’t give anyone the right to hurt me. I am strong and no one can take that away from me. Nobody deserves unjust treatment and I deserve to be treated right. I am not just an option for anyone to neglect.

I deserve that kind of love which empowers me as a person. I long for that person who will not down me but complement me as we move forward in this life. I don’t look if that person is strong or weak and it isn’t about that. What I look for in a person is the ability to appreciate what I can give and whatever I would be.

I don’t think I need a romantic partner to complete my life, but I need someone who will me realize that despite being strong, independent, and capable,  I am still capable of growing and learning; that there are still lots of things to learn and look forward to in this life. +++