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?