Friday, December 31, 2010

Food, food, glorious food... bye.

Oh Holiday Season, I wish you weren't so good to the glutton in me. Just when I thought, "Hey, I'm a runner now. Maybe I won't eat as much..." the noche buena feasts reel me in and drown me in love. I haven't stopped eating! And I haven't started running!!!!! *Crying an f-ing river*

"So, how's the Holiday hump coming along?" TBR Running Coach Jim Lafferty may ask, after his superbly written Christmas message slash peptalk sent thru email. I will more than likely answer with a slumped head: "Not good."

But seriously, how can you resist the platters upon platters, piles on piles of wonderfully roasted turkey, savoringly salty ham, browned and buttered salpicao, scrumptious pasta amatriciana, LECHON!!!!, all you can eat mongolian bbq, fruitcake drowning in brandy, rumcake drowning in rum, overly cheesy ensaymada, food for the GODS!, lemon squares, chocolate cake and fruit salad!... I could go on and on. The healthiest I got around to doing this Holiday season was to get a few bites of soup and salad in.

As you can see, I'm a foodie. Don't think that ever came up here, so this is a bit of a revelation. Being a foodie dawned on me recently, after a round of Cranium with my friends and I was jumping the gun on every food-related question spat out to our team. I forget if my team won... likely no, I bring not just trivial knowledge about useless things, but also an unshakable losing streak. Anyway, I think on the 3rd food-related card that was picked out by my team, Winna on the opposing side shrugs and says "Tippie will get this. Pagkain eh." True enough, I did.

I was watching Oprah today and she was interviewing Cameron Diaz. She says to Cameron, "I hear you love to cook, what's your best meal?" And witty Cameron Diaz replies, "I love to eat, that's why I started cooking." and goes on to describing a savory oatmeal she makes for breakfast. I love to eat, too. But it's not just that, I love knowing stuff about good food. I love knowing the use of a sieve, or what julienne is, or the fact that onions brown slower than garlic so its actually better to start sauteing them first. The rundown of our family's menu over Christmas should be a good indicator of that love.

Problem now is, love for food has somehow overtaken love for running. Hay. BUT! I look back to Jim Lafferty's message. His key line was, "If it were easy, everyone would do it."

What I signed up for ain't easy. It's forty-two kilometers. That's 42,000 meters. On EDSA, it's Monumento-to-MOA-with-reverse-back-to-Buendia. And this Holiday hump is just a tiny test for the remaining 2 months and a half of training left. Love affair with foodie me is done. Break's done. Real world, BRING IT!

Thursday, December 30, 2010


On the jeepney today, a young boy was helping his father (the driver) collect passenger fares. Dad was teaching Son how to count change, keep track of the passengers, and the route he goes through to earn a living. It's highly likely that the boy will grow up to be a public transport operator, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. It's the same as a doctor's daughter will most likely grow up to be a doctor herself, or a businessman would've hailed from a family of entrepreneurs. We oftentimes end up earning the living that surrounded us when we were growing up.

Growing up to be a public transport operator isn't demeaning though. Turning into a doctor isn't exactly as prestigious as everyone else thinks it to be, too. I know. I've got doctor friends who've been thru hell and high water stories to prove it. What you do doesn't define you. It shouldn't. What one does for a living is just one aspect of a life.

The way I see it now, Dad was teaching Son math, and simple directions, and discipline. It makes him not just the jeepney driver, rather the good father who brings his son to work so he could teach him a thing or two, and they could have their moment together. How Dad interacted with Son defined him more than his job as a public transport operator.

Makes you wonder why every smalltalk starts with "So, what do you do for a living?" If the question won't change, then it's high time I replied in the way I want to.

I am a marketer by day, but a writer, a runner, a loyal daughter and friend, a worshiper of the sun and many more every other chance I get. What I do for a living is just a part of me, and what I search for today isn't defined by the limits of my job. I get the need for passion in the workplace. I had that once. But it's not me anymore.

If push comes to shove and I end up being a public transport driver myself one day, it won't be so bad. It's just a job; one that hopefully brings me an inch closer to who I really, truly want to be.

(Good times, Beej & Chaw. Good times. :) )

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dagat in Disyembre

It's December. Temperature's already cold for our tiny tropical country, and flapping around in a bikini is the last thing anyone in their right mind would want to be doing nowadays. This only proves further, as so many other instances have proven before, that my friends and I aren't ever really in our right minds. :)

But, honestly, I love going to the beach during off-seasons. Resorts have reasonable rates, and the shoreline isn't overcrowded, and the other vacationers are just like you: zagging when everyone else in Manila zigs. This quick beach trip to Nasugbu was exactly the break I needed from the previous week's helluva planning for 2011.

What made this particular beach trip even more special was the fact that I got to spend it, not just with my beach-bumming constants, but also with two others who flew in the country for the Holidays. It was a high school reunion by the sea! And the sea was crying when we were packing up to go. Bright and sunny the entire day we were there, then just when we hopped on the bus bound for Manila, it started raining. We'll be back in Nasugbu soon enough, though.

Overnight in Munting Buhangin Beach Camp: PhP4,977.10. Dagat in Disyembre with my best friends in the universe: Priceless.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Not dumb. Can milkshake.

I'm reading this book, The Milkshake Moment by Steven Little. It talks about challenging the status quo in order to move forward and grow. The term "Milkshake Moment" came from Little's experience with hotels that don't have milkshake in their beverage or desert menu, but have vanilla ice cream, milk and a blender in the kitchen.

When I was telling my friends about the origin of the milkshake moment, their initial reaction was "What a difficult customer." And yeah, that's true when you look at the process from the perspective of hotel management. We don't have milkshake, deal with it.

But, from the perspective of the screw-it,-just-do-it go-getter, when you've got all the right ingredients, isn't it just a matter of being creative in coming up with the results.

Like today, a sales manager approached me because an account he's handling was requesting for additional free goods from me, for an on-going promo activity. Natural mente, I ask for justification besides the fact that the free items were almost gone. As a brand manager, I need information such as offtake to compare sales versus the effectiveness of the promotion. We were giving away the items for free already, so with the freebie promo, I ought to be creating awareness and inducing sale of the items on shelf.

Sales manager comes bumbling back to me saying the account buyer refuses to release an offtake report, first saying its confidential then later saying they don't generate it until the end of the month. I say, who needs the frikkin' buyer? We've got disers of our own who are supposedly going around the various stores covered by the promo. They can get me a simple beginning-ending inventory count, and I'll assume offtake from there.

He had the right ingredients, but the box he was living in limited him from making the milkshake. I guess I did come across as the bad, difficult customer in our exchange of words, but at least I was able to show him that information can be gathered from different channels. When we were able to generate the diser report, we discover that, yes, free goods were almost up, but offtake of the actual items for sale was slow. Ergo, the promo being as effective as we'd have liked it to be, so giving away more items for free just buries me in additional costs. It was a very easy "No" for me after that, I wasn't giving any more free items to the account.

So getting the simple inventory report gave me all the right data I needed to make a sound decision. I might have come off as the hard customer in the process of our discussion but I couldn't care any less. There are so many creative ways to get information, to make something happen, to create out of nothing. But so few people see the opportunity, content with the walls and systems that trap them to a certain way of being.

I refuse to live that way. When are you joining the club?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Morning Has Broken

Friday evening. I was home by 10:00pm. But I was (practically) up all night. And it wasn't because I was working!

This post is dedicated to the greatest bunch of girls and oddball boys in the world: Chaw, Mau, Wins, Beej and James, absentee members Pres, Raj and G-third, and OFW friends who will soon be home for the Holidays.

I love that our little group just relish each others' company. We were the same cast as last Wednesday's hang out sesh at Gateway (we were together from 6pm to past 12mn then) but we just had to have another get-together so soon after. Our regular Chismax Friday session, held at Casa Tan, was once again invaded by boardgame addicts. Shall we start locking people up in BGA?

Two rounds of Cranium, a run of super old school Pictionary, and many completed trivia bits from new-found love ETC. (a game of abbreviation CONTEMPLATION! *falsetto*) later, 10:00 PM had turned into 2 in the morning, then 4, til finally the sun's first rays were lightening the sky. Time truly flies when you're having fun.

Morning broke on yet another legendary home-based party of the korakchas. To the best of my knowledge, they're the only people I spend all-day'ers and all-nighters with. It's not because we drink the time away like idiotic fools, or destroy our eardrums with loud dance music (unless it's videoke!). We just stay in one place, act like the crazies exchanging the same hilarious stories over and over again, just hanging out! You know what, I think a person can only do this with a very limited number of friends and I'm honored to I get to do mine with these guys.

The same old stories and same old jokes may be tiresome for others, to us they feel like home. But then again, we never fail to come up with something new to laugh about each time. "Aaaackshoooowwwn!" and "Troglodyte" are just two of the many we coughed up in this edition.

Tired, sleepy but extremely happy to have closed my workweek with this solid session, with the greatest friends in the whole universe. It's 8:23am and high time I caught some Zzz's. Hug to my loves, and here's to a million and more nights such as this one.

Term Of Endearment

I have a friend who I call "Palawan Buddy" and she refers to me in the same name. We've known each other for... two years or so?... and we were introduced because of a planned trip to (yep, you guessed it) Palawan!

It was one of those "hey-super-cheap-seats-to-an-offbeat-locale" trips organized by a common friend of 10 or so people. Offbeat locale meant spending the night on a deserted island, braving cliff-faces to get to crystal clear salt water, getting inside caves, and exploring the great outdoors. The eight other people part of the trip were already seasoned mountaineers, used to roughing it and living life on the edge.

The two oddballs in the great Palawan adventure were me and Precy. So the rest of them buddied us together, with the idea that we could keep each other company during the parts of the trip we can't stomach anymore. Ergo, PALAWAN BUDDY!

But, man, did we prove them wrong. Not only were we able to take on every single adventure plotted out, but we both did all so with nary a whine! Precy and I, girly-girls of bunch, bratinela 1 and bratinela 2, experienced the beauty of Coron in all it's magnificence just as much as our rough-riding friends.

Memories of Coron, the beauty of Mother Nature, the friendships that stemmed from it, will forever be cherished, but what I love best about the trip is the fact that I gained a great friend from it who I openly have a term of endearment for. I love that from Coron, I gained a Palawan Budz. I was telling her earlier in the week: even if we've been to other places in the country already, heck even if we've traveled the world together, even when we're gray and old and withered, surrounded by grandchildren, I'll still be calling her my Palawan Buddy.

She said she'll be the same way.

The kids will ask us why, what does Palawan Buddy mean, and we'll have an entire adventure to tell them.

(Dedicated to Precy, a.k.a. Palawan Budz. *chest move here* forever)

Monday, December 6, 2010

O Tannenbaum

Came home to a happy surprise today. The tree is up and she's gorgeous.
I haven't really been feeling Christmas lately, even though I know it's only a few days away and the Holiday songs being played out in the office is a daily reminder. I guess I haven't gotten that UMPH of Chirstmas... until now!

Nothing brings out the festivities in me like a well decorated tree in the living room. And this year, she's got garlands to match. My only complain would be that I wasn't able to decorate her myself this year, as its a task I set upon myself normally. It was a thing I did with my Amah (grandmother in Fookien), decorate the family Christmas tree after we've done our annual household clean-up.

But anyway, she's up and Holidays 2010 just got a wee bit brighter. Hope your trees are bright and shiny-shimmery-splendid by now, too.

Bah humbug is still there but I think its turned down a notch. Happy Christmas, everybody!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My first 21k race...

... was painful, tiring, too long for its own good, and frustrating. But worth it in the end. I learned things about myself as each kilometer passed; of course the learnings came from insights brought by my pacer (Rowena, I love you!).

I run fast, and burn out too quick. I should re-learn the slow and steady route. I like running with music but running with company is just as fun. Although, laughing out loud probably did little for my lung power. By the 15th kilometer, I was heaving like there was no tomorrow. I learned of leg muscles I never knew existed, let alone be so strained they hurt like h*ll. I still can't walk properly. Single steps on the stairs so good luck to me and our 4th floor office tomorrow morning. By the turnaround dash within the UP Oval, I was literally expressing my pain and asking over and over again: Why am I doing this?

Why am I? Why do I need to conquer these distances? I've got nothing to prove to anyone... but myself. I run these races because I want to show myself I can do this, that I can accomplish the challenge set before me and I can win over the obstacles that stand in the way. I run because it makes me happy. Tired... sore... but happy.

And the medal above is an absolutely beautiful reward. It's the icing on my four-tier cake. First medal ever for 21 kilometers, done in 3 hours and 33 minutes. 03.33. Magical. I couldn't have done this without the support of the greatest friends in the world. Rowena paced me, stuck with my crazy running style and gave me helpful tips to better my game. Chaw housed me, again! You girls are the best.

I still can't believe it's over. I've run my very first half marathon. Cheers to the QCIM organizers. Hope the results and the pictures come out soon! Cheers to the runners and the marathon finishers. You guys rock! Cheers to more half marathons to come! And cheers to my up-coming full on March. Let's do this!

The Nokia Holiday Rush Sale

It was a happy accident, seeing the ad on PDI's lifestyle section yesterday. After getting the super crappy office issued phone, I was more than determined to get a new one for myself and The Holiday Rush one-day-only sale of (practically) all Nokia outlets in the country was something the perfect venue for me to do just that.
Told my dad about it and we decided to go to the Tomas Morato service center. We left the house at 15 minutes before 12, and when we got there, the line was horrendous! The place being a stand alone store out on the streets of Brgy. Laging Handa and not connected to any mall of sorts, the line was weaving the sidewalk. Tanghaling tapat, men! I couldn't believe I was really going to fall in line for a single mobile phone unit but I was there and the sale was too frikkin' good to pass up.

Stood in line outside for an hour and a half. I was one of the more makulit customers, asking the merchandiser ladies all sorts of questions about the available units and if there were any older models for phase out on special sale.

Luck be a lady turning my way when lady-diser finally said yes to the special sale. A 6700 classic (black) was put out from their storage and was being sold (from an original price of 11,600) for 7,400 bucks. Mental bubble sang out "Charge it!" Haha!
So now I am the proud owner of my very own 6700. This is Merry Christmas enough for myself. Now I can throw back crappy cellphone with crappy music as ringtone back to whoever had to give it up for me. Good riddance is what I say. I *heart* all things new, don't you?

So, sweeties, if you missed out on 2010's Nokia Holiday Rush sale, *clap clap* come on! Wake up and smell the roses! We've got next year to prepare for.

Friday, December 3, 2010

You're Still Noise

One of Seth Godin's entries for the week talked about noise. And I kinda relate it to his latest post about clutter causing the decline.

Because, honestly, ours is a very cluttered and noisy world. Society is getting smaller, faster! Information about everything is just a click away. Communicating the new is as easy as a Facebook status. Everyone's talking at the f-ing same time!

Just today, I had to get away from my cubicle to escape the noise of Christmas songs from the office. Sorry, not feeling the Holidays yet. I'll get there, don't worry. But seriously, we're bombarded with stuff all day. Supermarkets need SKU control because apparently biz dev thinks the best way to earn more money is by making brand extensions. TV networks need an extra hour of broadcast per day to accommodate the commercial spots they sold to clients. Sometimes, commercial gaps are longer than the actual program supposedly being followed by the audience. Accidents still happen on jampacked highways (ehem, ehem EDSA!) because drivers are distracted by near naked young sluts on the billboards. Everything is just everywhere, that as a marketer, it's amazing to find unoccupied space in the mind of the consumer.

There was a time when online promotion was the hot banana pancake. Setting up a facebook account for a specific promo was the bomb! Whoever thought of it first, and whoever brought it to it's tipping point, got all the benefit.

Now, a facebook promo doesn't necessarily translate to bigger occupancy in your target market's mind, let alone increased spending from his or her wallet. But, what else do you do? If you're a low-budget company only willing to invest so much for a return, how else do you get something for yourself?

If noise is the only way, how do you make your noise stand out? Face it, every move we marketers do is noise. I guess it's a matter of finding who you're screaming your noise to, and making sure they've got the buying power to support you.

OR! What if the thing to do now is be silent? You won't ever know until you try, right?

My posts don't make sense anymore. I've become NOISE! :))

Pasko Old School

Erm... some dude from the office is playing a bunch of really old kundiman-type Filipino Christmas songs. I have nothing against this kind of music. Its festive, in its own way, and I suppose some people really get their kick from it. Guess I'm not one of them.

I think I know how my former colleagues felt I played the entire soundtrack of Phantom in the office before. I was on a broadway musical rampage, and I thought people would appreciate a bit of culture in the workplace. I got a couple of shushes back then. Kinda trying to down on my tongue now to stop myself from shushing kundiman-Christmas player.

Freak, someone's even singing along to it. Haha! What parallel universe have I gotten myself into!?! Will someone save me?

Bah humbug.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

blogger. runner. sun-worshipper. loves dogs.

Our HR asked me to come up with 4 words to describe myself. These are the 4 "words" I gave, and they're now on my calling card.

And I'm amazed how I was able to sum myself up in these four simple statements. I am a blogger. I am a runner. I worship the sun. And I love dogs more than humans.

Of course those are not the only words I would use to describe my character entirely. I also see myself as a marketer, a loner, a reader, an animal enthusiast, as boardgame girl, and fat, but somehow, when asked for an one-the-spot response, those were the four key things that popped out of my mind.

It's actually an interesting, simple and precise exercise to do, to get to know yourself better and to throw yourself further out into the world. How would you describe yourself in four simple phrases?