Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Texts Gone Crazy

I used to have my own company phone back in C-cubed. I get in touch with applicants and colleagues using that phone. And boy, these applicants sent texts that are just out of this world! You've read my entries about how the grammatical errors of people I interview keep me sane at work. I followed it up with "Confessions of a Recruitment Assistant", then I finally concluded that we need new english teachers. Now before my entries here turn British, let me share the text messages from different applicants that I have received during the year that I had a company cellphone. (I am writing the texts exactly as I have received it.)

  1. I was trying to call one applicant, but he wasn't picking up. He sent me a text a few minutes later: "i cnt answer d fone,cra ung earfist.hus calling?" (I can't aswer the phone, my earPIECE is busted. Who's calling?)

  2. "gudpm! mom elaine, dis is ______ u just interviewed me a while ago about da call center, its just i found out dat i lost da brochure, mom is it ok if i ask da complete address of the company..? sorry to disturb u mom elain. Tnx. God bless!" Not only did this guy mispell my name, he also made me his mom! After reading his text, I can't believe I invited him over for a second interview. Me sleeping on the job eh? Haha.

  3. I keep getting disconnected everytime I try to call this applicant. She texted back to explain: "Im sory my pone turns of."

  4. After the phone interview, this guy texted me: "gud afternun mam,just wnt 2 thnk u 4d tym, im rily sori but it rily kip me nervouse wen sme1 wud interview me in fluent-english,i admit im not gud in oral-eng.-commun."

  5. "Gud pm ma'am..diz iz _________ d1 wu talkd 2 u awhle ago..is it ok if u txt me ol d inf0. Coz ac2ly im runing out of bery..im intrstd ma'am..tnx"

  6. "Ma'am, can u please re-sched my interview.. Something just g0t happened to my grandmother.. I was here at the h0spital right n0w.. If its okay?" Argh. Me sleeping on the job again.

  7. I was interviewing this guy but then we were cut off. I tried to call him again but he's not picking up. I sent him a text message the next day asking him if he's still interested. He replied, "Oh! U'r fr HTMT! Our interview was cut yesterday. & when u called me again, i didnt g0t d chance 2 answer c0z im traveling.."

  8. "Ms. I just want 2 ask about the words u've told me, if its ok w u, am i going to hear a cal frm you again or am i going 2 ur company nxt." He sent me this tear-jerking message right after I told him that he needs to work on some areas before I can endorse him for the 2nd interview.

  9. "This ________,i just wnt to knw for what call cnter are you from?"

  10. "Im sorry if i was not really good at answering your questions but i really appreciate you have called..." Talk about transliterating.

  11. "Gud pm Mam Ellaine dis is Jeremiah Santos. Mam sori if advice u 4 not reporting 4 my 2nd interview 2day at your office. D reason i hvnt report 2day bcoz i jst got home and read ur txt and my couzin has got into labor lst nyt and gave birth 2 a baby boy. I hve come 2 her aid coz she in custody whyl her husband in aboard. Hope u understand and give me another chance 4 my 2nd interview by 2m. Coz im stil very interested in that position. Thank you very much." Aaahhh me sleeping on the job caught the third time!

  12. I was trying to conduct a phone interview with this lady, but i can hear her daughter going ballistic in the background so I told her I'll just call her the next day. She sent me a text saying: "Sori ma'm i can't understand u'r call l8ly, it is because of my daughter..if u would gve me a chance,i can go 2m for an interview..Thnx 4 undrstandng!"

  13. And this is the bestseller, all my friends and family members can't seem to get over this text: "Hi dis s _______! I'm rily rily sory! I was not able 2 atend my appointment 2 u n myt not b ds coming days dis wik bcoz my tempry tit kip falling all d tym. Dis Fri. wil b my lst sesion w d dent. nd he'l b plcing my tit permntly after my rut cana. Sory n many tnx! Hope I cud stil merit and intrvw w/u nxt wik!" So, what do you say?
I don't know if it's just the text language. I don't mind if words are misspelled or shortened as long as it's still said/written correctly. Remember, call center recruiters look first at how well you speak in English. If they see you can't write, they will assume you can't speak either. I hope we all learned a lesson here--if we are to text our future employers, let's make it professional. It wouldn't hurt us if we do.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Hello to New Things

This is me at my new job, sitting on my new chair, in front of my new desk. Hehe. I started working here two weeks ago, and though I had to sacrifice the family dinners and night outs with friends (who has a normal life--errr--schedule), I find this job worth all the pains.

After all the goodbyes I've said this year, I've made quite a number of hello's as well. Other than my recruitment assistant job, I also said to goodbye to my first and only co-ed dance group. Of course, I wouldn't quit dancing so my friends and I decided that we put up an all-girl dance group and named it Stylettoes (sti-let-toes).

(I'm not in this picture.)

We are all gradutes from Miriam College, but from two different dance groups in school --Company of ONE and C*CATT. Whoever thought we'd all dance together? (Our groups were sort of rivals at school before.) We were also the same people who established both groups at school. Because of God's grace, now they're a bunch I can call family as well.

I'm so looking forward to this new year. I can't wait to see what more plans God has for me!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

CUBISTS

Just let me be sentimental today. I realized I said goodbye a lot of times this year. This time, I am saying goodbye to the HR Recruitment team of C-cubed. Tomorrow is that last day that I will be working at my messy desk.


Which is no different from my desk (or should I say space?) at the old site.


I had such a fun and worthwile year. I'll cherish the things that I learned and the people who I've built relationships with. Here are snapshots of my year at HTMT.

Halloween 2005

Our song number at the HR Christmas Party 2005 (photo op with the managers)
When I am sleepy... (Can you spot me in this pic?)
Our Summer 2006 trip to 9Waves
Labor Day 2005 at Puerto Galera (Taking advantage of the long weekend!)
Halloween 2006 at the new site

I will miss them.

Monday, December 04, 2006

My 2007 Starbucks Planner


After drowning myself with coffee, I finally got my Starbucks planner for 2007. I'm feelin' lazy to describe how it looks (and how I feel), so here are snapshots of me and mah new thang. Hehe.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Chivalry is Dead

Argh. I rode the LRT2 (Purple Line) a few weeks ago and I was very disgusted.

I was first in line while I was waiting at the platform but as soon as the train arrived, three men cut my way as I acted to step into the train. I didn't mind that, I thought that perhaps they're impatient kinds of people who can't stand slow-moving people like me. As I was standing inside the train (there were no more seats for me), I got more pissed when I realized that most of the seats were taken by men--and I don't mean old, disabled men--these are either college men or yuppies who are oh-so-comfortably seated with their legs apart. I don't really mind standing up--I sit on my butt the whole day at work, and I feel I am a young, strong and healthy woman. What I DO mind is that these guys (I decided not to call them MEN for they don't act like one) are actually ignoring the senior citizens, old ladies and pregnant women who are standing RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM. And they pretend to be so engrossed with the music that's playing on their iPod or phone to even notice that these ladies are carrying a lot of stuff they bought from Divisoria.

Whatever happened to chivalry?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

"I Resign!"

Today, I filed my resignation from Hinduja TMT, Ltd. (formerly C-cubed). My last day as a Recruitment Assistant will be on December 8th. I'll be taking on another exciting and challenging job starting December 11th.

I will spill about this new job as soon as I have a taste of it. My excitement and joy in getting this opportunity matches my sadness to leave the recruitment team of HTMT. But then I can't just sit there knowing I could've experienced and learned something new (if not better) somewhere else.

Let's pray that things will work out fine in my new job.

Friday, November 17, 2006

It's Christmas at Starbucks

Don't fret, I still know how to write. I was pretty busy with work, family, and my dancing career lately and I found little or no time to write an entry.

But now I'm back, and so as the Starbucks Christmas beverages!


We had a blast at the Trick or Treat event held at our office last Halloween, and me and my (dorky) officemates almost forgot about the Starbucks Christmas Traditions Card.

Now we're drowning ourselves with coffee just to fill up our cards with stickers, and get the Starbucks 2007 planner. I am missing my Black Forest Mocha Ice Blended -Decaf and No Sugar Added from Coffee Bean, but I want to get my Starbucks card over with as soon as possible. Can't wait to have it! Harrrr...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A World Full of Babies

It is a joy for me to see the babies of the people I love. The picture above is Joaquin Miguel Zaballa, son of Xyrus and Camille Zaballa. He's born on October 3, 2006. It was a heartbreak for me when I found out that Camille, who is my bestfriend since gradeschool, was carrying a baby and she hasn't told me. I had to find out from someone else. I was heartbroken not because I wasn't the first one to know, but because in my heart I knew that she might be scared and going through the pregnancy alone. When we finally talked about it, I was glad that I could listen to her excitement and I, too, felt like I was having a baby of my own. Gone were the days when we would talk about our crushes, college, and mean girls. It was a blessing for me to share the joy of expecting.

Carla, my dancemate in college, also gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. His name is Sean Calvin Cruz, born on September 2006. Pride of Chino and Carla Cruz.


My officemate, Janet also gave birth to baby boy Ethan Jacob Rafael. Baby of Victor Rafael and Janet Palmenco, carbon copy of Janet. Haha.


And of course, I won't pass this time to post a pic of our family's baby (though he's not a baby anymore). He's Nathaniel Paulo Cruz aka Popi.


Looks like the next generation wouldn't have a shortage of men.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Overworked


I just felt the need to plaster my ugly face here. For the past few months now, I have spent most of my waking hours at work. I have breakfast, lunch, and dinner there. 7pm would be an early time to leave the office. Since we started hiring for our medical account, we have been very busy. And to add up to our stress, someone from our department resigned, another went on maternity leave, and another was transferred to a different department. This meant that those of us who stayed had to divide those three people's jobs among ourselves.


This was not much of a problem to me. I tried to think of it as an opportunity for growth and versatilty. (Haha since when did I become an optimist?) Besides, I love my job and the people I work with. It is also a fulfillment for me to see people get jobs. The PROBLEM is that some people at work are just so immature and unprofessional that they get in the way of work and disrupt the harmony. I chose to ignore them--I don't really care if they bitch around me, talk behind my back, and give me an ugly attitude all the time, as long as they don't involve anyone else and they let me do my job well.

Anyways, I should talk about how me and my nicer officemates-- or should I say, friends--kicked back to relax and enjoy our hiring-free weekend.


This was taken last weekend at Menu in Metrowalk, Ortigas. (I grabbed this pic from Noelle.)



We went to Jacob's (Janet's baby) Baptism reception at Kamay-Kainan Greenhills. After feasting on Kare-Kare, Oysters and many other Filipino dishes, Marielle and I went shopping at the Theater Mall.


At the end of the day, I realized nothing can make me stumble. I know God put me in that office and I have a purpose there. God spoke to me to treasure those who I have built relationships with even outside the walls of the office, and to have compassion for those who try to jeopardize the relationships. World peace, dude! Haha.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Birthday Present


Two weeks before my birthday, I got myself an early birthday present. I recently purchased a pair of eyeglasses to fix my nearsightedness and astigmatism and I realized that having something on top of my nose for 10 hours can be quite uncomfortable. And so I got myself a pair of amethyst-colored contact lenses. It's a blend of purple and brown that you won't notice much unless we're out in the sun. Love it!

A few days before September 14th, my cousin (Popi's father) was diagnosed to have dengue. The night before my birthday, doctors confirm he was at Stage 3. Fear enveloped me that night, and I thought of no other way to spend my birthday but to visit him at the hospital. He was in the process of getting better that Thursday night, and I felt I've received one of the best birthday presents that God has given me in years. I realized that the real gift that I want isn't a pair of contacts, nor a bunch of books, nor an mp3 player, nor a new pair of shoes. I just wanted to be with the people I love. Slap me for being such an emo.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Two Years with LCrew



I said goodbye to LiveCrew on September 2, 2006. And so did Dianne, Jane, and Dan. It was an emotional evening for all of us. But of course, we all understand that goodbyes is part of life, and though I left the crew it doesn't mean that our friendship ended there. I felt peace afterwards, knowing that each and every one of us will walk out of the studio with our hearts full of peace and love. LiveCrew has been my family. I remember how me and Dianne, in our efforts to save money, would walk along EDSA (from Libertad to Shaw) at almost midnight to go to the terminals instead of taking a tricycle. We were two jobless people then. Haha. I shiver remembering all the feeling of being part of it. I know God has huge plan for LiveCrew. Two years ago, we all promised each other that we will soar together--and I know that we are still going to even if I am no longer part of the group. I still bear the name of LiveCrew--or LCrew--and whatever success the group enjoys in the future, I will consider it as my reward for having walked those late nights in EDSA.

My two years with the crew was one of the best in my life. Let me share it with you.


LCrew's first ever photo shoot. Taken during the times when we say, "You have to be in the group to know what "L" in Lcrew stands for." It really didn't stand for anything. We only gave a meaning to it after a year.

Dance Idol 2005 Champs!

At the Ayala New Year Countdown 2005.


Our hiking trip to Taal! We walked for an hour to reach the mouth of the volcano.


Brent International School in Laguna is a memorable place to us. We went there to minister to children. It's also where we performed our Dance Idol 2005 routine perfectly-for the first time.


We danced in a series of mall shows for LA Gear. This was in Glorietta.


Taken at our tent in Eastwood City where we danced for Wave 89.1 's concert. This was the night where we shared a dressing room with the big stars. Hehe. And yeah, I was so starstruck as always.


Our EK gimmick!


Our UAAP stint with Adamson University. I got to dance at Araneta Coliseum!


Our second photo shoot held at Wee's house. There were other photo shoots that came after this one, but I missed them all. Waah!


Thursday, August 24, 2006

I Found My Favorite


Ever since our office moved out of Eastwood City, me and my colleagues have been deprived of the pleasures of Coffee Bean, Fuzion, Starbucks and all the other good stuff found in Eastwood. Though our new office is still located along E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue, the area is surrounded by warehouses with high walls. The effect? Our cravings for happy drinks and food are suppressed, unless we decide to walk to Red Ribbon or Cost-U-Less or worse, take a jeep to Eastwood. Gone were the days when we can walk to Starbucks at around 3pm-4pm for our caffeine fix.


But we are office freaks and we can't live without coffee so of course we had to explore other options. We tried that "Coffee Express" coffee shop in our pantry, which by the way overcharges for Nescafe and Swiss Miss put in a nice cup and named the drink Mocha Surprise or Mocha Blend or something else mushy. They have closed now, fyi. Then there's the ever reliable vendo machine which dispenses a cup of Cafe Mocha for only 12 pesos.

And finally, for my favorite, my supposedly 3-in-1 fix became a customized coffee-creamer-sweetener team. Hehe. I started to dislike the 3-in-1 sachets when I started making this favorite of mine. I drink two cups in a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. It's like getting a grande from starbucks or even less. Have you found your favorite?

Monday, July 31, 2006

Coco Beach Chronicles: The Voyage of the Free Boat


Here are the things that we looked forward to on our second day (June 11, 2006) in Coco Beach: buffet breakfast, another happy hour, more swimming, and the free boat ride.

Despite the fact that we slept late the night before, we have managed to wake up early on Sunday. It was such a breathtaking experience to step out of the room and into the balcony. A cool breeze of sea air, the sound of waves splashing to the shore and the magnificent view of the sea itself almost made me want to live there. 

At about 7:00 am we were ready for the buffet breakfast that's waiting for us at the Carabao Restaurant and began our 5-minute walk down the hill. Omelettes, cereal, longanisa, rice, fruits, milk, bread, butter, ham, cheese and fruit juices were waiting for us at the restaurant and of course, we stuffed ourselves silly as if it's our last meal! 

We very much awaited the daily free boat ride to different beaches around Galera, which goes to a different beach each day. According to the boatman that we spoke to that morning, that day's boat is headed to Long Beach, where the coral gardens are. The boat leaves at 9am so we had an hour to burn (literally and figuratively) before it sets sail. We decided to bake/cook/burn/tan while killing time so we put on our tanning oils or tanning lotion--whichever we brought with us. I, for example, used Nivea Oil Spray, since I used it the last time I was in Galera and it pretty much worked for me. 

After forty-five grueling minutes, the boatman finally approached us and told us to get ready because the boat leaves in a few minutes. It isn't our first time to see the corals except for Noelle, but we still got all excited anyway. We rented our vests, snorkling masks, and aqua shoes and kept a slice of bread in our pockets (for the fishes) and headed on to Long Beach! It was just right around the corner--errr--the island so it only took us around 10 minutes or less to get there and when we did, I felt like I was there for the first time. The last time I was there, it was peak season (April 30 '06) so there were a lot of boats carrying people who are fish-and-coral-seeing, it was low tide so there were even more people snorkling at the shore, and there were more vendors than you would expect in an uninhabited island. It's a different story now. We were the second boat to arrive at the beach, but probably the only group who's there to snorkel. 

We rented a smaller boat that would take us around the sea (we just had to hold onto a rope) so as to save energy from swimming. And again, I was able to see this wonderful creation that God so beautifully made. This time, we brought a slice of bread to feed to the fishes so they swam towards us! It was exhilarating! Two of the fishes actually got too carried away and bit (actually it's more like it "sucked") my leg while we were swimming. It probably mistook my leg for bread (DUH how lame of me). The frequent bites of the "kutong-dagat" as what the boatman calls it made me decide to get out of the water. I will always want to go back to that place, and the next time I do, I will bring my own gear-vests, masks and shoes (I wanna say goodbye to stinky oversized lifevests), an underwater camera, and more bread! 

We went back to Coco Beach at around 12nn but we're not really that hungry yet for lunch and decided we could make a few more laps at the pool. I jumped into the pool and stayed there for about more than hour when I realized that the heat of the sun is burning my skin! We all forgot to put sunblock on before we went snorkling and to top it all, we had tanning oils on our skin. So there, we spent the rest of the afternoon in the pool, not minding our sunburnt skin (Who cares? It's burnt anyway. *big grin*). More happy hour drinks in the afternoon and and even more drinks at night were consumed by us, cocktail lovers. 

Marielle and I spent about an hour or more lying down at a hammock by the beach and just talked about life and other stuff. (Yes, the both of us fit in one hammock--that's how small we are!). We both can't get over how relaxing the place is. It's an experience I'll definitely go back for.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Four-Eyes

For the past weeks, I've had headaches more than I remembered ever having. I associated it to my lack of sleep, spending too much time in front of the computer, and reading even in not-so-bright light. Only last week when I noticed that my headaches became more frequent and my eyes blurring every time I shift my glance to something else that I realized that maybe I should have my eyes checked. But then my stubborn self waited for another week. I thought if perhaps I get enough rest that weekend the headaches would disappear. You see, I don't want to entertain the thought of needing to wear a pair of glasses again (I wore them in high school to correct my nearsightedness). However, the headaches occurred minutes after sitting down in front of a computer at work so last Friday, I finally had the will to have my eyes checked. I was diagnosed to have astigmatism on my right eye and nearsightedness on my left.

And now the more I cannot deny what a dork I am. What makes me feel better is when I remember that Lois Lane (or Kate Bosworth in real life haha) wore a nice pair of glasses that looked so damn good on her while she was writing about why the world needs Superman. So there's hope--though I may look more dorky now, maybe I look smarter!?! (Nobody argue about this or else...) Well I hope my eyes will be corrected soon so as to make the money I spent on this be worth it. I can't help thinking I could've bought the Narnia books with that money. Hehe. More stress for my eyes.

Friday, June 30, 2006

ABUNDANCE!

Thursday, June 29, the Recruitment team attended a corporate training entitled, Abundance. It was a good reminder of the things we should really focus on in life. Here are the things that I have been reminded of and I hope you will learn a thing or two as well.


We all work to earn money, right? And we all know that money isn't everything. Yet, if we check our lives and our hearts we might find more greed (for lack of a better word) than we actually expected. I was reminded that it should be a piece of everything--money, happiness, relationships, values and heart. Our culture raised us in a way that wealth and comfort is the most important thing we should aim for. However, for us to be abundant, we must first accept that all blessings come from God. I have learned in the past that God would give us the desires of our heart and if we ask anything in His name, he would so freely give it to us--even if we don't deserve it most of the time. God also wants us to believe that we can have it, to have faith. We can have anything we want as long as we give up the belief that we can't have it.

If our hands are full, how can we receive more? God wants us to let go of all the bitterness, anger and worry in our hearts. How can He fill our hearts with abundance and blessings if it's full of all these negativities? Would our hearts even have space for love and compassion? As the saying goes, let go and let God. Let's set our worries aside. Seventy percent of worry does not happen, according to the speaker, which is according to his research. HEHE. So if that 30% happens, you will worry again 'cause it happened. Now you worried more than you should have.

God also wants us to give! It's almost always hard for us to give. As another old saying goes, you reap what you sow. So if we give more, we receive more--a hundred fold more! And that's a promise from God! Let's be faithful to give tithes, and most especially to bless other people.

I was also reminded to be positive, and to appreciate more than to expect. We must understand that other people are going through their own lives as well. I was convinced once more to watch my temper and appreciate that nothing ever happened by accident. If I was under a mean, nagging, conceited boss it is because God planned it. Out of 6 billion people in the world, she had to be my manager! (BTW, my boss isn't like that, I'm just illustrating.) Anyway, the point here is that if someone is difficult to handle--there must be a purpose there and we must be slow to anger and quick to forgive. We have to understand that all of us has a journey.

The part where I was really battered was when the speaker talked about quality time with family and self. I realized that quality time is quantity time as well. I have been spending a lot of time at work, staying there even after my shift is over to work on some few things and to get a fatter paycheck. The speaker's words pierced like sword into my heart when he said that one extra minute at work means one less minute with family and it's always not worth it. I believed that I didn't think this way but I have neglected my friends and even myself for the past few months because I was so engrossed in making money and saving up.

That talk was really refreshing for me. The speaker was able to deliver the message well so even if we heard it all before somewhere else, it made an impact in our lives no matter how small it is. And thus the birth of our new expression, ABUNDANCE!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Coco Beach Chronicles: The Last Hurrah


Our last hurrah for the summer 2006 is now coming to its end. Despite that Marielle and I stayed out late the night before, we have managed to wake up early and have breakfast at around 7am. Because of my now sunburnt skin, I painstakingly changed into my suit before we went down for a grub (or should I say feast?). We had sausages, scrambled eggs, honeydew, mangoes, pansit (?!), fruit juice, ham, cheese, and cereal! We ate more than the amount we promised to eat so it gave another excuse to swim a few more laps at the pool. If you've noticed, we never dipped in the sea except when we went snorkeling. It's because the waves in Coco Beach are quite huge and we're a bunch of wimps who won't dare swim there (except maybe for Vanessa who is a pretty good swimmer).

Trixie, Noelle, and Vanessa only stayed for about 20 minutes in the pool and went ahead to our rooms to pack (we need to check-out by 11am). Marielle and I remained soaked in the water until 10:30am, and left with such heaviness in our hearts (Haha drama!). I changed into a decent outfit and we checked out at around 11:30am. We had our lunch there as well. I won't write about what happened next because Noelle wrote about it in her blog. It's a case of discrimination among my fellow Filipino people so I'd rather not write about it. An example of colonial mentality. I strongly suggest you read Noelle's account.

I would like to focus instead on all the nice things that you can find in Coco Beach, the fun I had during my stay there, and the things that I would remember about this vacation:

There's the coral gardens. The vast empire of the sea. A magnificent wonder of the world. A beautiful creation of God.
The happy hour drinks. The company of my friends and the well-mixed drinks made this experience worth remembering. I definitely will go back for their Banana Special - bananas, Bailey's, vanilla ice cream, chocolate, kahlua and whisky.

The silent pool and jacuzzi. What better way to unwind and forget the urban rush than to sit down in a jacuzzi and sip your mango shake.
The good food. We looovvved all our meals. Though inconsistent when it comes to amount of serving, the taste is always excellent.
The tan. Slash sunburn. Haha. We came home with quite a different color and it screams, "We've been to the beach!". Remember not to use tanning oil or lotion before snorkeling.
The beach and the sea. Need I say more?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Coco Beach Chronicles: The Hotel, The Beach, and the Drinks

I can't get enough of sun and sand. As I've mentioned in my previous blog, me and my officemates spent another long weekend in Puerto Galera and it was fun! I decided to write about our vacation (teambuilding?!) and to share the beauties of the place. And since I indulged myself in The Chronicles of Narnia for the past three weeks I decided to write my own chronicles of the trip. Haha! So here's the account of our first day in Coco Beach.

You can also read about the experience from another's point of view, Noelle, Marielle's sister who tagged along.

We left for Manila Saturday morning. The pickup point for Coco Beach visitors is in Manila Hotel. We were instructed to be there at 6:40am but of course, us office freaks are very excited about this trip so we were there at around 6:15am. So we went in and went through all those security checks and after putting our bags in the x-ray machine, a lady told us, "Sorry, we can't let you in beacuse we have a dress code here. You're wearing slippers." I just looked at her in shock. We said we're here for the Coco Beach trip but then she said, "We're not affiliated with Coco Beach." We were pissed so the lady just let us in, and we found out that the rest of the people in the lobby are going to Coco Beach, including a group of Rotarians and an Indian family. And so we weren't able to use the restroom as well because we might ruin the classy look of this five-star hotel! I'm never going back there, unless one of my crazy friends hold their wedding reception or birthday there. That, plus the things I heard about Manila Hotel's food being like "cafeteria food" made me decide such. I hate it that it has to be called Manila Hotel at all.

Anyway, back to our vacation. The bus arrived pretty much on time so we took our seats and got comfortable. Sadly, the group of Rotarian women took the seats behind us, and my hopes of sleeping in the bus were gone. The middle-aged women ranted and laughed and raved about almost anything. I'm actually glad to find myself waking up at the jetty port in Batangas about three hours later. Turned out I'm way too sleepy to be bothered at all by the loud group behind me.

And there, I saw MB Coco Beach (and another boat named MB Go Johnny Go haha) which will take us to the island. I realized that this is a different port, a far cry from the one where we took our boats to White Beach. It's just... a shore. No terminal fees, no check-ins and x-ray machines. This one is exclusively for Coco Beach visitors. So we went on board and after about an hour or less, we were in Coco Beach! We were welcomed with a song and a coconut drink. I totally felt the warmth of the place right away. We went to our rooms, which are located way up the hill, to put our bags down and went straight to feed our growling tummies!

We had Mindoro chicken and rice and tortang talong. That's the time we noticed the ridiculous descriptions in their menu or should I say, The Food Booklet, as what they call it. Here are examples that I could remember:
Blackfish, not too excitingBangus, delicious... but so many bonesGreen Salad, whatever the kitchen can throw inName of Food here (I forgot hehe), good when the kitchen is in the best of moodsCaramel Something, delicious... but so many caloriesChicken Sandwich, leftover pieces of chicken served on some pieces of breadChicken Something (I forgot again), chopped dead chicked tossed in blah blah....

Funny, right? But hey, the food is really good! We found out that chopped dead chicken is really appetizing!

After stuffing ourselves, we first took pictures of ourselves in the beach (of course) and soaked ourselves in the pool! We just made laps and talked and laughed and when we felt we've had enough, we agreed to explore the resort and look for the silent pool. It's located way up the hill, on the west side of the resort. We spent the rest of the afternoon there and had our happy hour drinks! We had our dose of screwdrivers, maitais and mango shakes. I was enjoying myself, relaxing at the jacuzzi when a bunch of American men arrived with their pinay women. I'm too lazy to type now, and i feel like telling about these fat balding men isn't worth my effort so just refer to Noelle's blog to find out about the significance of this group. Hehe. We went back to our room at about sunset and took salty/bitter (I can't decide which is which) showers and got ready for dinner.

Despite our vows to order a few to save money (and prevent calories), we found ourselves feasting over our dinner. We were also serenaded by the staff. I loved that experience. We headed up to the Barracuda Bar after dinner and had our drinks for the night: a shot of Bailey's for me, iced tea for Trixie, and I admit I can't remember what my other companions ordered. Noelle ordered something that looked like the alcohol can light up a fire, Marielle
got something fruity, and Vanessa ordered something that has Bailey's and banana, which she didn't like. We went back to our room at around midnight and slept on our pretty beds.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Coco Beach Hangover

After our exhilarating Labor Day weekend trip to White Beach Puerto Galera, my officemates and I decided to take advantage of the Independence Day weekend as well to go back, this time to Coco Beach.

Anyway, now that we're back in Manila, working and being the dorks that we are again, what other topic are we talking about but our next vacation! Before we left for Coco Beach, we promised ourselves that it's going to be our last hurrah for the summer and wait til December or til next summer to plan for our trip maybe to Boracay or somewhere else where there's sun and sand. The next thing we knew, we were hoping we could visit La Luz in Batangas sometime soon. Beach bums, aren't we?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

the Zahir...

One of my colleagues recommended a book written by Paulo Coelho entitled Eleven Minutes. When we went to A Different Bookstore in Eastwood about two weeks ago, I didn't have the cash to buy the book, I said I would withdraw some cash first and get the book later. But I got lazy. On Dec 29th I had the will (haha) to go to the bookstore (after getting a tall cup of peppermint hot choco at the Starbucks located right beside the store). However, the book was sold out. I bought The Zahir instead -another book by Paulo Coelho - and I'm loving it! Last night I was having hesitations though if I should be reading the book, right at the midst of the holiday season and my emotional turmoils. Then I realized that reading the book would give me a good excuse as to why I have been shedding some tears lately so I read on anyway. But yeah, I guess Paulo Coelho won my heart hahaha! Here are some exerpts from the book that I want to share with you...

Here's the meaning of Zahir that Coelho quoted at the beginning of the book.
According to the witer Jorge Luis Borges, the idea of the Zahir comes from Islamic tradition and is thought to have arisen at some point in the eighteenth century. Zahir, in Arabic, means visible, present, incapable of going unnoticed. It is someone or something which, once we have come into contact with them or it, gradually occupies our every thought, until we can think of nothing else. This can be considered either a state of holiness or of madness. -Faubourg Saint-Peres, Encyclopaedia of the Fantastic (1953).
These moved me...

The inspector says I'm free. I'm free now and I was free in prison too, because freedom continues to be the thing I prize most in the world. Of course, this has led me to drink wines I did not like, to do things I should not have done, and which I will not do again; it has left scars on my body and on my soul, it has meant hurting certain people, although I have since asked their forgiveness, when I realized that I could do absolutely anything except force another person to follow me in my madness, in my lust for life. I don't regret the painful times; I bear my scars as if they were medals. I know that freedom has a high price, as high as that of slavery; the only difference is that you pay with pleasure and a smile, even when that smile is dimmed by tears. (p.10 - I AM A FREE MAN)
More from Coelho...

And the cathedral withstood it all.

I walk through the skeleton of the cathedral, studying the restration work currently being carried out: this time the architects guarantee that they have found the perfect solution. Everywhere there are metal supports, scaffolding, grand theories about what to do next, and some criticism about what was done in the past.

And suddenly, in the middle of the central nave, I realize something very important: the cathedral is me, it is all of us. We are growing and changing shape, we notice certain weaknesses that need to be corrected, we don't always choose the best solution, but we carry on regardless, trying to remain upright and decent, in order to do honor not to the walls or the doors or the windows, but to the empty space inside, the space where we worship and venerate what is dearest and most important to us.

Yes, we are all cathedrals, there is no doubt about it; but what lies in the empty space of my inner cathedral? (p.52 - HANS'S QUESTION)
"..what lies in the empty space of my inner cathedral?" I have yet to find the answer to this question (when all along I thought I have an answer to that).

Another year has come! And this time, I know I have assessed my priorities and set my limitations. I'm excited, scared, anxious and ecstatic all at the same time...