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Friday, November 30, 2012

My PMA Cadet Years (Yearling) - Punishment Tours And Other Hurdles

August 1996 - Aside from academics and guard duties, I spent the month serving my accumulated punishment tours.... and with a little help from those touring conversions... fatigue duty, study period and the most dreadful punishment... watching debates.  LOL.  Well, these conversions were a lot relaxing and beneficial than walking full battle attire with rifle under the scourging heat of the sun for hours.

September 1996

I started the month in maximizing my complied hours of punishment tours, as the long break at the end of the month was fast approaching.  And I needed to finish all of it, otherwise I won't be able to go on vacation... and I still had a couple.  Speaking of pressure, on top of it, I had deal with it during the month where we also had our academic final exams.

12- I had my first "Major A" from the platoon run competition for having the least time in finishing the race.  It was later sewn in my corps jacket.  This symbolized a victory from the yearly held intramurals fought between the PMA companies.  And not all cadets were lucky enough to have even one during their stay.

14-17-  We also had a inter-company dart competition where I was able to reached semi-finals.  I had competed with almost against my upperclassmen.  But sometimes, I had to cancel due to my touring duties tsk...

20-  We were again given the privilege to watch SLU students with their rendition of West Side Story.  How I wished we also got touring hours credits for watching the play or was I asking too much?  Hahaha, got it, then it wouldn't be a punishment anymore, isn't it?

23-26- Just like any other universities, our main focus, aside from our military training, were our academics.  Adding to the pressures of a yearling were subjects like physics, literature, calculus, philosophy, history, psychology, etc... Final exams week, cadet duties, touring... bring it on...

25- To help cadets reduce and finish their touring, we were given the optional distance touring where if we could finish a particular distance, that would be equivalent to 1 touring hour (TH).  I made 8 THs that day, making it very possible for me to go home.  I was never been so determined of finishing all my punishment tours... it was my ticket to home.

27- Initiation day for the class 2000.  Met a lot of "kababayans" 4th class cadets from Davao City, which I haven't got the chance to visit from other companies due to hectic time schedule.  It was a "rotting" (rough) day for the plebes, but for the soon to be recognized members of the corps, foresight... plebehood would soon be over.

It was actually a fun event for the upperclassmen.  We were in our relaxed mode during the event, we even sympathized with our plebes hairdo, wearing our general athletic uniform and just making sure every plebe that passed by us performed their designated exercises.  It really felt like it's more of a frolics than having the intention of giving the plebes the hardest possible day they could ever have.

28-  Then came the symbolic "Recognition Day".  In as much as I was proud of all the plebes that were standing in that octagon formation, I can't also help but felt proud of myself that day, since I was one of those who recognized the plebes.  It only meant that we survived our own challenges and obstacles that we must face as cadets.

29,30- Last days of "rallying" for my punishment tours, and I was able to finished every single one of it.  At last... going home.  By the way, that was my first since I reported to PMA to be a cadet.  And I thank the Lord that I managed all those hurdles... Yahweh bless. 

Recent Related Post:  New Things, Old Things

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Decade Of Working

I would like to thank our Lord for giving me a work that helped sustain and provide the needs of my family for the passed 10 whole years.  I'm so glad that I stayed this long, and I know it wouldn't be possible without His guidance.  It seems like yesterday when I prayed and asked Him for any work, since I was about to have a child back then and I was needing all the help that I can get.  I told Him that I'll take the job even if I start below minimum.  But He gave me more than what I asked for.

One for all and all for one...

I started at a decent rate, enough to accommodate the needs of a starting family.  Then 6 months after, I got my first increase along with my regularization at work.  And then again, I thank the Lord for He touched the hearts of the people around me and everything just fell into place.  I got to travel out of town and go to a known resort (our company owns) during our work engagements.  With that, I would like to thank my previous office mates and our first department head.

When we had our reorganization due to the major movements and changes in the executives of the company, we also had a new head along with new colleagues.  Even though our head was tough to be with back then (LOL), I was promoted during his time.  And that wouldn't be possible without the recommendation from our previous team leader (which by the way, is already holding an executive position in the company as an assistant vice president now).  I was transferred from pre-audit to do post-audit works, and new staffs were hired.  I learned a lot of stuffs and acquired skills due to that experience.  Since I was already assisting in audit engagements even when I was still in pre-audit, it was easy for me to adapt to my new assignment.  It was really a blessing, just in time, since I had my second born and it really was a great help for my family.  My gratitude to everyone who made it possible.

Then years after, another reorganization was made.  Again, we had a new head, and a lot of friends and colleagues were either transferred to our affiliates or to other departments.  Challenging years, I may say, there were a lot of reassignments and changes made which affected our group.  There were just some personalities you can easily get along with and there were the exceptions.  I was just glad that our Lord gave me my family where I can always get my strength from especially during those times.  More, the Lord was truly good to me, I was transferred again to pre-audit in one of our affiliates where my friends were and where I can work to my full capacity again.

Now, with change being constant with the top management, we had a new department head now and along with newly hired officemates.  Though they are all younger than me (am I getting that old already?... Nah!!! hahaha), I got high hopes with these guys.  I know they'll do better in our department.  Me, well, I just thank the Lord more and more each day.   Above the 13th month, leave conversions, bonuses, salary increase and monetary blessings I receive, I thank Him for the good health, peace of mind, friendship, and family. 

Thank you for the 10 years, my Lord.  To Yours be all the praises and glory, forever and ever...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Calamity Season Underscores Need For Readiness


The height of the wet season in the country isn’t getting much help from the spate of other natural disasters like earthquakes and a string of typhoons. While such upheavals may be considered normal because of our orientation along the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, there’s the even larger context of climate change whose impacts are felt all the way around the world.

Climate change or global warming has become evident in recent years as regions experience extreme climates, from warm seasons hitting record-high temperatures to wet seasons exhibiting massive precipitation. This is precisely the reason why organizations from both the public and private sectors call for extra vigilance.

As an advocate of safety and awareness, Eveready Philippines is taking an active stance in educating the public about being always ready when disaster strikes. “Now that we are at the height of what we can rightfully call ‘typhoon season’, Filipinos are again reminded to ensure that their family is always ready,” says Energizer representative Johanna V. Emata “This, of course, starts with awareness of certain situations and proper knowledge of which equipment and supplies are needed to be ready for any type of calamity.”

Keep up with the latest
The first thing to do at the onset of any calamity is to keep watch over the situation regardless of whether you are located near disaster-prone areas or not. This means keeping constantly updated with breaking news about the progress of the storm and related developments over television or radio.
It also helps to be oriented on PAGASA’s Public Storm Warning Signals (PSWS) as well as their recently released color-coded rainfall advisory, which would help people be ready for any possible situations. While PSWS corresponds to increasing storm intensity from PSWS#1 to PSWS#4, the rainfall advisory tracks the level of rainfall that determines rising water levels.

Code Yellow means heavy rain that will deposit about 7.5 to 15mm of water—a situation that requires constant monitoring of the weather condition because of the possibility of flooding. Code Orange, on the other hand, means intense rain that will deposit about 15 to 30mm of water. This code requires people to be alert for possible evacuation due to threat of floods. Code Red, like any other red-alert status, means danger. With more that 30mm of rainfall, low-lying areas are to expect serious flooding that would require residents to immediately evacuate.

Knowing these facts offer foresight and provide a chance to be always ready for possible disaster. Being ready means having ample time to strategize on which areas to avoid, how to safeguard property, or, at worst, evacuate the premises.

Basic Needs
If you and your family do get caught in a situation that leaves little or no margin for error, it helps to be prepared and armed with the right equipment and supplies. “Faced with an emergency disaster situation, what you have inside your home, or ultimately inside your bag, may spell the difference between life and death,” says Emata. “Being prepared with the right tools will definitely ensure you and your family’s survival.”

Securing the basic necessities of food, shelter, and clothing is of utmost importance. Making sure that the household is secure and waterways are free of debris are essential, as is stocking up on provision like bottled water and food that have a long shelf life.
An emergency kit that includes a multitool knife, First Aid materials, transistor radios, and flashlights should be accessible at all times. Cell phones should be charged in case of power interruption and emergency numbers must be on hand.

Help is on the way
It’s also important to stock up on long-lasting batteries. Aside from powering radios for information and flashlights for navigating through the dark, a good set of batteries powers signaling devices that can spell the difference between getting rescued and being left behind.

Eveready, the country’s leading battery brand, took the initiative to equip emergency response units like the Philippine Red Cross and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council with hands-free Energizer Headlights and Batteries needed to conduct rescue and relief operations.

Through partner organizations GMA Kapuso Foundation and ABS-CBN Foundation’s Sagip Kapamilya, Eveready also provided emergency lights and battery energy to families affected by massive flooding during the recent southwest monsoon (habagat) rains in most of Metro Manila and  large parts of Luzon.

As a brand that has empowered Filipino lives for decades, Eveready reiterates the importance of being vigilant and ready at all times. “Given that our country is very much prone to natural calamities, we should all take time to prepare and invest on the safety of our families and homes,” says Emata. “It is a small price to pay considering the value of the things and the lives that you can save.”
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Air B.Urquiola                                                                                      Faye D. Marcelino                                                
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Telefax: 725-0237                                                                                  Telefax: 725-0237
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Alvin A. Marayan
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Telefax: 725-0237
Telephone: 470-8535
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Donuts Galore!!!

Back then, we only had those fried donuts sprinkled with sugar commonly sold in the city's local markets.  Years later, the famous Dunkin' and Mister Donut(s) came and had their branches in the downtown area and the malls.  And with the opening of Abreeza Mall last year, they brought along with them new food shops to Davao City, including equally sensational GoNuts Donuts and just a month ago, the most awaited Krispy Kreme (KK).  Meaning, we now have lots and lots of doughnuts to choose from.

Last Sunday, while dining at Abreeza, it was actually my first time to know Krispy Kreme already opened a branch there.  I just noticed people carrying boxes of their donuts.  So after our meal, out of curiosity, we checked out their place inside the mall.  

They had a see-through working place where you can actually see their food preparation... and a decent place for those who want to dine in.  More, they are conveniently located at the ground floor along with the other food chains.  I just bought one for each in the family.  The taste, yummy as before... and the price... well, let's just talk about the taste... ha ha ha. 

So, for those visiting Davao City, you won't be missing KK donuts anymore.  Just visit any of the 3 current branches located at Abreeza Mall, SM Ecoland, and SM Lanang, respectively.  Yahweh bless.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My PMA Cadet Years (Yearling) - New Things, Old Things

July 1996

2- Dental problems.  I was not able to take care of an aching tooth when I was a plebe.  There was no time for it or should I say, it was not recognized as something to complain about during those times.  But as an upperclassman, yearling to be exact, you'd be so foolish not to attend to such problem especially for a troublesome tooth.  So, I had my dental appointment with our resident dentist in PMA station hospital (PMASH).  Also a good thing, since it was a not so busy month in the academy.

4- Power interruptions.  We were not exempted from blackouts that hit the city.  This was really a big problem to those who didn't have ironed pants, hanky or uniform, in general.  Here, a yearling's resourcefulness will be tested.  You could borrow stuffs from a mistah, since you'll be tagged as "assuming", if from an upperclassman and "shabby", if from a plebe.  Just be prepared in doing a lot of favors for it and sometimes, bawl out or constructive criticism from your mistah.  Or you could start a rain dance if you know how, since rain was the only time we would wear our raincoat on top of our uniforms which in a way, would cover the lack of preparedness... LOL.

13- New room, new roommates.   Some of our mistahs were not able to survive academics and had to leave PMA, so to even up our class numbers per company, some were transferred to other barracks and re-rooming were implemented.  Transferring my stuffs was a hassle but the real challenge there was getting along with a new set of people and learning to deal with each of them.

with my roommates, Darwin and Frederick

14- Non-academic.    We usually had our meals served inside barracks when the mess hall was prepared and used for another activity or there's a duty that required urgency.  It's actually an advantage to both cadets and mess hall personnel.  We didn't need to prepare for the day's uniform and they had  lesser things to clean.

15- Being in Baguio City, we were also observing their holidays like the Cordillera Day.  Like other universities, we also didn't have classes during those times.  However, we're still not exempted to do other duties and responsibilities, sometimes even more strenuous than having a class.   The good thing was we could do stuffs like laundry, ironing and other preparations in a longer vacant time as this.

20-  It was the start of the intramurals, and same as last year, the opening ceremony was held, and with the cheering competition as the starting event.  Though others had new stunts and chants, still a lot were "vault files" or heard and seen performances.  Relying on the previous learned stuffs passed from class after class and/or introduced stuffs from neophytes cadets, the later being unlikely. LOL.

All smiles for the event...
With some of the cheering participants.

23-31-  Typhoon prone. Storm signals weren't new to us.  It seemed like every storm that passed the country, never failed to visit or affect Baguio City.  I was already thinking if it's just a coincidence that the city's name sounds like "bagyo" (tagalog for storm).  We were hit by 2 typhoons, Gloria and Herb, with just almost a week apart.  Though some of our activities were affected like cancelled corps drill and Saturday inspections, but the guarding and other duties like academics were not affected.  Since even if it floods and unlike other students, cadets' academic building was just a walk away.  Lucky for us, we never stopped learning.  hahaha... Yahweh bless.

Recent Related Post:  Perks Of Being A Cadet

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ranchero Grill's New Home In Gensan

With Dadiangas as our second home, we have decided that my wife would spend her maternity leave there with her parents.  We had the time to spend three days with her before going back to Davao for work. While we were there, we couldn't resist visiting this  restaurant that's so near to our hearts, Ranchero Grill.  Aside from that the owner was a family friend of my wife's sister, we had our wedding reception in their branch in Davao City, making them a memorable part of our lives.  And with their newly opened branch in SM City, General Santos, we made  sure to pay them a visit.

Upon arrival, the kids immediately roamed and played around the place...  Very nice architecture, I must say.

And after all the exhausted energy, an enticing dinner was waiting for us... 

We had their native chicken tinola for our soup... we also tried their famous sisig which was personally recommended by my sis-in-law... and of course we wouldn't miss their specialty, their super mouthwatering  baby back ribs.  And for the verdict, well as usual, they never let our taste buds down. Two thumbs up!

Let me just straighten this up, this isn't a paid ad nor a press release, but nevertheless if ever you're in General Santos for business or pleasure, I highly recommend visiting the place... whether you're with your family and friends or treating someone important or dear to your heart.... here, you can never go wrong. 

Check them out also in Davao with some details found in this post: Friends Visiting In Davao.  Yahweh bless.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Famous MOCHI SWEETS Now in Manila!

Press Release

Jason Yap (left) and Garry Cheng holding a box of
Mochi Sweets that are now available in the Philippines
Banking on Filipino’s sweet tooth and penchant for embracing food from around the world, the wildly popular MOCHI SWEETS has made its way into the local food scene and is sure to create a mochi craze as seen in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and China.

“Mochi” is a well-loved Japanese rice cake made from glutinous rice flour pounded into shape. Mochi Sweets has taken this traditional dessert further by creating small balls of luxurious and flavorful cream and wrapping it in chewy mochi skin.  Think dessert dumplings with frozen cream or mousse in the center and a mochi covering made with just the right thickness, moistness and stickiness.

Business partners Jason Yap and Samatha Paz chanced upon Mochi Sweets in their trips to Malaysia and Vietnam and saw the store drawing huge crowds. Both only in their early 20s but with entrepreneurial exposure from their parents, they decided to write to J Sweets in Hong Kong and were soon awarded the official franchise for Mochi Sweets in the Philippines.

Garry Cheng, President of J Sweets was in Manila to grace the unveiling of the first Mochi Sweets store in the SM Mall of Asia. He was very excited for Filipinos to try Mochi Sweets. He says their dessert is superior to other desserts which loosely uses mochi but don’t produce the right texture and experience. Cheng offers a clue on how premium their product and standards are: “We learned from Japan. We had a Japanese chef who creates these delectable concoctions for us and we use only 100% Japanese mochi.”

Just looking at the cute and colourful balls of Mochi Sweets neatly placed in its classic gift box and you understand why it has earned raves abroad. “First impression counts,” says Jason Yap, president of Mochi Sweets Philippines. “Mochi Sweets first tempts you with how it appeals to the eyes. But the real pleasure is the taste and experience once you bite into it. This is because Mochi Sweets is made from the best ingredients. There is meticulous control to ensure consistency of quality. We do not short-change our customers. We aim to satisfy each customer and make them enjoy life’s simple indulgent treats.”

Hence, the real test is resisting the urge to sink your teeth into these decadent sweets. Mochi Sweets comes frozen and you have to wait 10-15 minutes for it to thaw before you can bite into its gummy goodness. But unlike those with ice cream filling, Mochi Sweets is not prone to messy meltdowns as you eat it. It is also a perfect to-go or bring-home treat since it does not melt all the way through and will be thawed and just-ready by the time you meet your family and friends.

Jason Yap further shows how Mochi Sweets will be enjoyed: “We are a gifting society. A box of Mochi Sweets has 6 to 12 pieces and will definitely be a fun gift for sharing during those special moments and celebrations. Customers can pick different colors and flavors of Mochi Sweets based on the personality and preference of the lucky recipient and this makes each box of Mochi Sweets special and personal.”

Mochi Sweets indeed has a wide array of flavors – from the classic favorites to inspired special concoctions. Clear winners for chocolate lovers are the wickedly good Chocolate Mousse, Cream Chocolate and Dark Chocolate. Coffee aficionados will find delicious comfort in Caramel Macchiato. Kids and kids-at-heart looking for something wholesome will enjoy the fruity confections: Strawberry Mousse, Mango Yoghurt and Honey Lemon Cream. Those who want something different and exotic can try Sakura (or cherry blossom, which is very popular in Japan), Green Tea and Durian Mousse. Currently, Mochi Sweets offers 17 flavors and will continue to dish out cool and yum variants that will make customers think Mochi Sweets when they crave for desserts and comfort food.

From the first Mochi Sweets kiosk in SM Mall of Asia (beside the Skating Rink), the team of Jason Yap and Samatha Paz will open three more Mochi Sweets stores this quarter. The next two stores will be at Robinsons Galleria and Eastwood Mall. They promise rapid expansion in 2013 with the biggest Mochi Sweets shop already slated at SM Aura which will open at BGC.

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

And There Were Three

It was late night of October 31th when my wife begun to complain of painful contractions and the intervals were getting closer, about 10 minutes apart... and down to every 5 minutes.  I kept on telling my wife that she’ll be okay, as we had already been to our OBGyn.  But I saw how painful it was that she was already crying as she held my hands very tight.  It was passed 1 AM when we decided that we ran to the hospital just to have her checked and her condition be properly monitored.

As we were in a taxi going to the hospital, the pain continued and I could hear her sobbing because of it.  I told the driver not to drive too fast especially when passing rough roads since there were a lot of areas still under repairs.  I was preventing anything that could worsen the hurt she’s feeling at that moment.  We arrived at around 2 AM in the hospital where she was immediately admitted and brought directly to the delivery room.

I was left in the hospital lobby to process the necessary requirements and payments.  The cashier told me that I needed to deposit 30,000 pesos if there will be an advice for delivery.  I told her what our OBGyn told us earlier that my wife was not still due and there’s a great possibility that it was false alarm.  Luckily, I convinced her and she only asked a P5,000 pesos deposit.

Goofing around their brother...
I went and waited outside the delivery room, and it wasn’t the first time, just a few weeks ago, she was also confined in a hospital’s delivery room for close monitoring, so she would not deliver our baby prematurely... he was just barely 8 months back then.  And there I was again... praying that nothing bad would happen... but I wasn’t expecting anything.

It was passed 3 AM when a nurse called me, I was thinking she’s going to ask me for my wife’s meds or for her things...  But life was full of surprises, she told me, “Sir, meet your son”.  I was left speechless.  Before I could react she already went inside the nursery.  I was not able to even ask her if he’s just okay.  Or if he needs special care since he’s almost a month early.  And how’s my wife?

Lucky for me, I had some company which got me out of my worries.  They told me that just by looking at my child, he was perfectly fine.  He’s very active and the nurse let me see him.  They added that normally, if there’s a problem, she will be directed to the nursery’s ventilator or incubator.  Man, was I glad to hear it...  And I later confirmed from one of the nurses.

So, our youngest was born passed the hour of 3 in the morning.  My praises to our Lord that everything went well for both my wife and our son and for the normal delivery, it was indeed a blessing to our family.  As to my son, Jacob, welcome to our family, we may not give you everything in this world but we will definitely give you the love and care you deserve and we’ll do what we can to provide you your needs.  To Yahweh be the glory.