Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lessons from Francis Kong

The company I work in has a work-life balance series and in this week's installment, Francis Kong was invited to give a motivational talk on beating stress! Stress???!!!!??? Who says I am stressed? WHHOOOO SAAAYYYSSS I AM SSSTTREESSSSSEEEDD?!!!??

Photo grabbed from here.

Kidding aside, he made so much sense and has an armload of humor that my team mates and I were laughing the entire 60-minute talk. I am not funny nor wise like Francis but allow me to share some of the points he shared during the talk.

1. Successful people know how to handle both triumphs and tragedies. You should be able to cope, be sane whichever situation in life you are in. 

2. Rather than treating a challenging situation as "Stress", think of it as "Stretched". Stretching makes us stronger and it makes us excel.

3. Just like the iPhone and Samsung's S series, incremental change will not make the cut in this world. The change that you have to bring to the table has to be drastic. However, VALUES never change. There is no innovation as far as values are concerned.

4. Habits are stronger than knowledge. If you keep on repeating a skill, you will excel at it. Hopefully, you are developing good habits. This is also the same idea outline in the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Athletes and most people who are good at what they're doing spend at least 10,000 hours repeating what they do. Habits make or break you. Which reminds me, I should stop sleeping late. 

5. Don't raise your kids focusing on academic excellence alone, rather raise them polite, confident, cheerful and with a heap of people skills. Once you set out to the world, you will only use your academic knowledge 30% of the time and get by on people skills. Case in point: Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and oh, Francis Kong took 6 years to finish high school.

6. Unlike work wherein you are trained to perform and deliver... "Life", in general, is not a performance. Do not compare yourself with others. I am guilty of this. 

7. Winners do not retire. They REFIRE. Increase your productivity. This point is a validation on my curiosity to do a lot of things: one of those is blogging, I am currently into yoga, I am not giving up on completing a marathon (God, help?) and try to finish a Leo Tolstoy book.

8. There's no such thing as work-life balance. Life is a matter of trade off. 

9. Live life as an adventure. Personally, my life is one big adventure. I do my mini life reviews and looking back, it was one helluva ride. I would have wanted to travel more and experience the world more but I traded it off with lovely memories of family and friends. Maybe in the coming years. Let's see.

10. Have a purpose and it should be to serve others. If you are depressed, the surefire way of curing your depression is go out and help other people.

11. Lastly, always have a grateful heart. 

I have been in my fair share of stressful situations and the coping mechanisms that got me through are as follows:

a. take a deep breath and smile
b. thanking God for the blessings I have 
c. talking/crying to Person A
d. chocolates and dessert
e. running  
f. pray and read the Bible. If you take a look at the First Reading today from 1Peter 5 verse 7 "Place all your worries on him since He takes care of you".

Weekend na! -(",)-*wink*

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Union Jack Tavern

According to Wikipedia, a pub, formally public house, is a drinking establishment fundamental to the culture of Britain, Ireland, Australia, Newfoundland, Canada and New Zealand. Most pubs offer a range of beers, wines, spirits and soft drinks. Many pubs are controlled by breweries, so cask ale or keg beer may be a better value than wines and spirits. Traditionally the windows of town pubs were of smoked or frosted glass to obscure the clientele from the street. Until the 1970s most of the larger pubs also featured an off-sales counter or attached shop for the sales of beers, wines and spirits for home consumption. In the 1970s the newly built supermarkets and high street chain stores undercut the pub prices to such a degree that within ten years all but a handful of pubs had closed their off-sale counters. 

The writings of Samuel Pepys describe the pub as the heart of England.

I confess that I love anything British, especially when I am drunk. Therefore, it is fitting that I share  my neighborhood pub: Union Jack Tavern - the coolest pub in the South with the best-tasting chicken tikka masala. The former being Union Jack the only tavern I know in the area and the latter because I haven't visited any Indian restaurant since I moved to Alabang.

The Place

Union Jack is unique because it is located inside a mall: Festival Mall to be exact. However, once you enter the dark pub, there's no indication that you're in a shopping area. I prefer to enter via the parking entrance so as to have the authentic pub feel. Ceiling, walls and most free space are decorated with anything British. 

Dark, heavy pieces of furniture dominate the place and there are at least 3 television sets with different sports shown. 

My favorite part, there is a grocery store next to the pub where you can get most English goodies: beer, soft drinks, chocolates and even savory. Don't forget to check the grocery.

The Food

Apart from having awesome beers and cocktails, the food selection is great. 

French Fries (or something like that ~ PhP 200)

I honestly forgot the name but this is an extra good appetizer. Great with beer, too - in short, pulutan material!

The plate is served piping hot. The fries is soft but not soggy, with the potato very tender. That's just the start. The mozzarella cheese is another story - a very good story. Very gooey and since the cheese has subtle taste - it adds the right amount of saltiness to the fries.

Awesome sauce!

Chicken Tikka Masala (PhP 245)

I haven't had a lot of tikka masala but I love New Bombay's rendition of the dish -peg, kumbaga. This version is also good.

The chicken is grilled well and the spices in the sauce adds tang to the entire dish. It also comes with very crispy pita. Can be shared by 2 persons if you don't eat a lot.

Apple Pie ala Mode (~PhP 200)

Tastes home-made! I remember the pie is very tasty - soft with strong cinnamon flavor. There's generous serving of baked green apples. I remember this is very yummy. 

The place serves a good selection of beer. We like the Spitfire as it is not too bitter and very refreshing.

Cocktails are also abound. I think this is their version of Long Island Iced Tea - very refreshing and the alcohol content is 28%. Hahaha! You can interpret my last phrase a number of ways :P

In Summary

1. The place is our go-to hangout place in the area if we are in the mood for alcohol. The atmosphere is very relaxed - perfect for unwinding. It is great for catching up with friends and if you want to drink with family. If you're (romantic) date wants to have a beer and watch sports - then maybe take her/him there. 

2. Food is good. We like everything we have ordered and the serving size is generous.

3. Price is also decent for the quality and serving size.

Union Jack Tavern
2/F Festival Supermall, Corporate Ave
Alabang, Muntinlupa

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Not So Wedding Wednesdays

This is not a Wedding Wednesday. However, here are a few interesting things that I came across while doing wedding planning.

My pancake breakfast - planned by me, cooked by me and of course, consumed by me. 

I woke up one Sunday morning feeling extra hungry. I contemplated whether to cross the street and get decent pancake but  I was too lazy so I made my own pancake. It wasn't soft at all but I was hungry. I would have wanted strawberries and kiwi but again, I was too lazy.

Then here's an extra pretty cupcake. It tastes as good as it looks. 

Pistachio, strawberries and creams. You can never go wrong with Sonja's.

One interesting Maya wrestling with a cupcake paper. 

While on the streets, we took note of this yellow car. 

Let me guess, the color is yellow?

Monday, April 15, 2013

The IHOP Hype

Pancake and I go well together. We go so well together that if you ask me out for brunch, the first place I would blurt out is a pancake-serving restaurant. That happened last Saturday. We welcomed a dear friend back for her short break from graduate school and I recommended the newest kid on the block: International House of Pancake or more famously known as IHOP.

According to IHOP's website"International House of Pancakes began making breakfast memorable in 1958 when it opened its doors in the suburbs of Los Angeles. Fifteen years later, a new marketing campaign introduced the acronym "IHOP", and since then it's been the name people know as the place they can enjoy their favorite breakfast experience - any time of day.

Throughout our 54-year history, we've celebrated over 1,550 restaurant openings across the country, and around the world. And we've introduced iconic favorites - like our Rooty Tooty Fresh 'N Fruity - that people have grown up with, and now enjoy with their own families, making new memories.

Let's all walk through our orders and see if it's worth the hype.

The Place

The place is packed: probably because it is the newest kid on the block and with its good reputation, food-crazed Manila is quick to pick up. Expect to wait 30-40 minutes before you get seated. Nonetheless, the place is well-designed though not necessarily optimized. The first floor is a high-ceilinged waiting area with around 5 tables. I suggest you don't choose this area as the waiting crowd gets rowdy - you want to enjoy your meal in peace.

The second floor is warmly designed. Quirky lamps and dainty wall posters adorn the area.

As I say, the area is packed but welcoming.

The Food and The Pancake

IHOP offers a wide range of breakfast selections. From eggs, omelette, sausages, pasta, sandwiches, and steaks, they got it all. Add pancakes, waffles and French toast, what more can you ask for?

Pick-a-pancake combo (PhP 385)

Your choice among their pancake selection served with two eggs served with your choice of sausage or bacon and hash brown. Tip: order this if you want the flavored pancakes (not the buttermilk) with the standard breakfast savory.

The pancake I chose is New York Cheesecake. Two fluffy buttermilk pancakes loaded with rich, creamy cheesecake pieces and crowned with fresh strawberries, powdered sugar and whipped cream.

Serving size is huge, can be shared by 2 individuals. The pancake is fluffy, creamy soft. The saltiness of the cheesecake with the sourness of the strawberry and sweetness of the rest of the ingredients make this a winner. It is a good pancake but not to die for. Also worth noting that the strawberries are large, frozen strawberries -(",)-*wink* Yummy!

The savory are savory. I had the eggs scrambled... soft, fluffy, moist and done just right. Same with the bacon, it's crispy but not overcooked and not too salty. I also love the fries-styled hash brown. 

Big Steak Omelette (PhP 325)

Tender strips of steak, hash browns, fresh green peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and cheddar cheese. Served with salsa. 

I haven't personally tasted this but according to Person A, it is heavy breakfast. The beef is decent and the serving size is huge.

Please don't forget that it comes with buttermilk pancake or fresh fruits.

As described by Person A and my friends, the pancake is decent but not something that you will crave for. 

Split Decision Breakfast (PhP 325)

Two slices of french toast, two buttermilk pancakes with a hearty combination of two eggs, two bacon strips and two sausage links.

Pretty much the same as the previous orders. I haven't personally tasted it and all I know is that the serving size is huge. 

Tip: If you are with a group, try to vary your orders and share them up. You will cover more dishes from the menu.

French Vanilla Coffee (PhP 145)

I like my breakfast with coffee. Most of the time brewed with minimal sugar but over the weekend I wanted something with milk and so I ordered French Vanilla.

I was surprised that it is one huge cup! 

Bigger than my eyebags and keloid. Slightly smaller than my smile =P

The coffee is again decent. It tastes good especially when piping hot. Alternatively, you can order a drink-all-you-can brewed coffee for a lesser price.

Tropical Twist (PhP 105)

Lemon, lime, bitters and mango soda. 

It's refreshing and loaded with lotsa sugar. Person A liked it. I am not a fan of junk drinks.

In Summary

1. The place is good for a very casual gathering with family and friends. The ambiance is warm, casual and expect the place to be packed. I like the interiors, the design is well thought-of. I don't think it is a romantic date place... if you are still wooing your girl... unless she likes to go to IHOP.

2. The food is decent. It is not to die for but if you want good pancakes and good breakfast in general with huge portions, then IHOP is the place to be. You can also get the same taste from other breakfast places.

3. For the serving size and its location, the price is acceptable. 

IHOP (International House of Pancakes)
W Global Center, 30th cor 9th Street
Bonifacio Global City
Mon-Sun, 6AM - 12 AM

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wedding Wednesdays: Flower Girl and Dashing, Little Gentlemen

In this installment of Wedding Wednesdays, I'll keep it short, sweet and cute...

very cute

and extremely cute

Toddlers can get away with the most voluminous dress, numerous focal points in the outfit and well ... most things in life. 

Dashing, pretty and sweet, that's how I imagine the flower girls and little gentleman will be on our big day.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

It Never Gets Old

On our Fridate last week I found myself biyahilo on our way to Tagaytay: traffic was bad and I was operating the music player hence most of the time we were accelerating or decelerating and my eyes were not on the road. Don't worry, I was not driving.

However, when we reached our destination, my unease was easily lifted off by the beauty of the place. The pathway to the restaurant. 

The view from our table for 2, which was set with quaint, shabby, chic dinner pieces.

White carnations in a dainty water jug.

Mums, mums and voluminous mums.

Cherry tomatoes in a bowl.

Another bunch of carnations by the window.

White roses, anyone?

And this purple, yellow and white statice arrangement.

The sweltering heat in Manila is nowhere to be found in Tagaytay. In fact, when we arrived at the place, a choir of kuligligs greeted us and the temperature is about 3 degrees C lower. Lounging by this garden set is very tempting. 

Imagine yourself sipping a cup of Tarragon tea in this pretty, little teacup. 

Aaaahhhh..... living the life. I should have not lifted the saucer - para more sowsyal.

If the place looks very familiar, it is Marcia Adams - one of our all-time favorite places. The floral arrangement never fail to blow me away. I had a short discussion with Neil, aka Mr. Adams/Marcia's husband, and he mentioned that the flowers are Marcia's thing and we all know that the food is personally prepared by Marcia. Not bad, not bad at all.

I can't help but request for some photos to be taken. Presenting my jeje moment for the night. 

So on our way back to the metro, I was so inspired by the flowers that we stopped at the junction flower shops to get some flowers. I found out that the flowers are darn expensive, very expensive... so I did not get any.

It's still best to get flowers in Dangwa.

I should ask Neil next time where he gets the flowers.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wedding Wednesdays

Here's something interesting I found on  Pinterest. 

Cool, no? 

1. In our case, we were talking about it since Day 1. Not Day 1 of officially being together but Day 1 of realizing that we kinda, sorta like each other. 

2. For guys out there, it is important to make that perfect choice of ring. It doesn't have to be expensive but it has to be something that she wants. Research! Research! Research! There are still instances that I go Gollum and say My Precious.

3. Element of surprise gets you added bonus points! Either surprise her or do something mind blowing. 

Other than that, personally I think it's about you willing to live with that person through muta and bad breath, putting up with her/his grumpiest mood and being able to get out of it still smiling and still being fond of the person and when you can amuse yourselves kahit walang pera, you have differences and people are against you. Of course, if you can love that person according to 1 Corinthians 13

If everything is check, check, check then I suggest you go ask your girl!


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