Thursday, September 26, 2013

My Kalimulan Experience : A Dream Come True

1990.  I was on my fourth year of high school.  I heard of the Kalimulan Dance Troupe.  As I like to dance (though I don't know if I really dance well,hehe), I thought of joining the group. Have thought about it over and over again.  And told myself, yes, I would definitely want to join the group.


An announcement informed me that for anyone who wants to be a part of the Kalimulan Dance Troupe, one has to audition.  And with their own cultural dance number.

I froze.  

Audition? Dance Number? Oh NOOOOOOOO!!!

I don't have a dance number to use for the audition.  I don't even know how to make one.  :-(

I didn't know what to do then. 

I sigh.  And.  Just ignored the audition.  And moved on with life.

Or so I thought.

I studied in MSU-IIT for the next 4 1/2 years after high school.  And every time I see the Kalimulan group practice and perform (since 4th year high school), my heart ache, telling myself I could have been one of them if  I auditioned. 

Then I graduated college, worked at city hall. Somehow, forgotten about my Kalimulan dream.  Then 9 years ago, I married Pat,  a very close friend of Mr. Christian Aguado, the Director of Kalimulan Dance Troupe.  And every year, we get invited to attend the Kalimulan Anniversary celebration.  And we get to see it almost every year.

Which.  Brought me back to my dream that I thought I have already gotten over with.  Every time the Kalimulan performs, I imagined myself dancing with them.  My heart aches. Still.

But now.

After 23 years, from the day I set my mind on joining the Kalimulan. And. After 9 years of watching them perform, finally my wait is over. 

On the 25th Anniversary of Kalimulan, Pat (finally) asked Sir Christian if it would be possible for me to join the Kalimulan when they dance during the Pagpakanaog ni Sr. San Miguel.   Sir Christian said yes and told me to be on the practice day (every Sunday at 1:00pm-5:00pm) at the CASS Lobby of MSU-IIT.  That would be 4 Sundays before the Pagpakanaog, September 20, 2013.

I got excited.  Finally, a step to making my dream come true. :-D

Yet.  Something is not quite right.

Then it hit me!  Sundays are my class day for my cooking/ baking.  Ohhhhh nooooooo!!!!

Finally, my dream is now within reach.  Why does it have to have conflicts? huhuhu

Pat said I have to make a decision.

After a heart-to-heart talk with Pat,  we decided I take a leave of absence from my cooking class so I could join the Kalimulan practice.  But since I also don't want to totally miss the lessons in the cooking class, I asked my sister to attend in my behalf and video record the discussions.   I know then that the time for me has come to perform with Kalimulan when my Cooking Instructor gave me permission to be absent and allowed my sister to attend for me.   And my sister cancelled all her Sunday activities for me.   Weeeeeeeeeeehhhh! I was really all smiles from ear to ear.  :-D

Practice Day 1.  I was asked to just observe first the performers practice and probably choose a dance set that I would want to perform.  Pat went home to get a camera so I could video record all the dances.  

No practice for Day 2.  MSU-IIT Palakasan (Sports Fest).

So I have to content myself with the video.  I studied their moves and tried to memorize the sequence of the dance that I want to perform.

Practice Day 3.  Sir Christian was not around, but two Kalimulan members taught me the basics of the dance steps.   And they had me dance with a group to check.  For my first official practice, I did some mistakes.   BUT.  I was smiling from ear to ear when they told me I did ok.  One male member even commented that I could still be a Kalimulan dancer (Pwede pa ka mag Kalimulan mam.).  I was so happy I was wearing a big smile on my face as I walked out of campus.  And as much as I want to tell Pat, then and there, I can't .   I forgot my cellphone at home, hehehe...

Practice Day 4.  Last day of practice.  Officially, my second time yet to practice with the group.  And Sir Christian was there to watch the practice.  And I got so tensed.  I got conscious.  The result?  I made so many mistakes.  Grrrr....  Ulaw kaayo ko!!!  :-(

Tensed and pressured.  Even as I practice at home, I could not get the steps right. It came to a point where I thought of quitting. Of cancelling my performance.  But I know it would not be right.  It would definitely hurt Sir Christian if I don't show up on the day.

So, even if I lost confidence in me, I showed up.  And waited for our time to perform.

I can't describe the feeling I had when the first set of dancers started performing.  I really had goosebumps all over my body.  My heart felt so great.  And I can't help but smile to myself.

This is it.  Finally. :-D

Below are snapshots from my sister's video recording :


And, from a different angle, below are snapshots from Pat's video recording :

During the finale together with all of the performers :

Well, I did ok.  I had a few mistakes, yes.  But Pat said, for a first timer, I did better than some of the real dancers. Hmmm.... sipsip...hehehe...

 Photo with Pat before the performance.  All smiles. :-)
 Photo at our house, after the performance.  All smiles :-D

 I asked my sister to video record my performance. 


But, as the dance was about to finish, the camera's battery drained out.  So, the recording was not complete.  Good thing Pat also did a video recording.  Below is Pat's video on a different angle.

Thank you Lord for another dream come true.  Thank you Pat.  Thank you Sir Christian. :-D

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

ISTIV - Succeeding in Business

July 24, 2013.  The 24th day of my new life.  From being an employee (of 17 years) to being a budding entrepreneur.  :-)

5 days before.  I chanced upon a post in Facebook about a training on "Succeeding in Business" which was to be held in Elena Tower Inn on July 24, 2013.  It's a Wednesday.  I checked my schedule.  Hmmmm... I'm free on that day.  Of course!  I don't anymore have a day job heheheh....

The poster though, only invited the hotels/inns/pension house, resorts and restaurants. So, I ask if a non-restaurant or hotel would be allowed to attend the training.  The reply was, "this is a DOLE initiative targeted at hotels and restau mam".   I got disappointed.  Sayang. Gusto ko moattend.

The next day, I decided to contact DOLE and inquire.  Since I don't have a landline at home, I asked my sister to call DOLE Iligan Office.  And I was so happy with their reply.  They said that any business could attend as long as it's a related to food.  :-)

So, I told myself.  I have a mango float consignment.  And I definitely want to put up my own cafe-restaurant in the future. 


On July 24, 2013 9:00am.  I registered to the training program at Elena Tower Inn.  hehehe

I was glad I really attended the training.  I learned so much from their inputs.  As well as the inspirational messages from the DOLE Regional Director Atty. Johnson CaƱete  and the Board Secretary of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board-X. 

Some of the learnings I have during the training :

1.  Operating a business is a partnership between the employer and the employee.  Both are essential for a business to succeed.
2.  A company is improved operation by operation.  Not one-time.
3.  A business operation should be planned according to the existing resources.
4.  To improve one's business, you have to benchmark with other companies that have a higher level of success than yours.
5.  To measure enterprise improvement, answer the questions  a) how is your revenue? and b) what makes you click in the business environment?
6.  Work smarter rather than harder.  Be systematic.
7.  People - workers and customers - are the asset of the company.
8.  Aside from the salary, provide intrinsic rewards in recognition of a job well done by the workers. This is a way of motivating them to always do their best in their work.
9. Keep communications open between management and workers to encourage feedback and commitment.
10.  Build team-based initiatives for improvement.
11.  One way to improve productivity is to improve the arrangements of production facilities. Implement 5S technique.
12.  Preventive maintenance is always better (and cheaper) than repairs and replacement.  Make sure to regularly clean and check the equipment.
13.  Encourage workers and managers to share ideas using joint problem-solving techniques.
14.  Continually measure your progress to see if you are meeting your workplace cooperation and improvement goals.
15.  Always monitor all aspects of the business - human resources, health and safety, purchasing/ supply chain, marketing/sales and production.
16.  To implement 5S, the company must have continued commitment from top management as well as involvement of every employee.
17.  Optimizing production flow will help to reduce wasted materials, time and energy.
18.  The staff or employees are crucial to the success of a business.  They are the front liners who deal with customers or make the products.
19.  Safe work environment not only reduces risks but also improves overall working conditions and productivity.
20.  A positive work environment is the foundation as well as the result of a good workplace cooperation.

It was a good day for me.  I have my first accomplishment in less than a month of being at home. :-)

Too bad, I don't have any photos of the event.  I sure brought a camera and took photos, but when I check earlier my files, I can't find them.  Then I remembered, I formatted my memory card because it got infected by a virus.  Thinking I have already downloaded the photos from the training.  Grrrrrr...... What a life.

We had a group photo ops with the speakers though but I don't have a copy hehehe...  I'll email DOLE and try to ask a copy of the photos. 

I was thankful they allowed me to participate.  Actually, I became a gate crasher to the training as it was really targeted on the hotels/inns/pension houses and restaurants and resorts for at the end of the program, the body was asked if the IHARRA (Iligan Hotels and Restaurants Resort Association) Industrial Tripartite Council could be organized for Iligan City.  But the content of the training though is applicable to production business.  It is also appropriate for my souvenir business, the Keepsakes Iligan Souvenirs and Crafts.  :-D

Even as a gate crasher, I got a certificate too.

You might be wondering what ISTIV stands for in my blog title.  I also wondered too, when I saw the poster for the training program.  Well, ISTIV stands for

    Strong Value for Work
They say this is how a business should be run.  ;-)

Hmm.. I'll definitely keep this in mind.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Travel with Airbnb

When I was in Germany last 2006-2007, I got to travel to some places during weekends.  In one of the places I went to, most of their accommodation are of the guest house type.  Not inns, hotels or pension houses.  But residential houses converted into sort of an accommodation for tourists to stay in.

And I have always liked it.  The place is homey.  You get to interact with the owners in a more personal way. 

I got excited when I learned of a company which offers travellers a choice of homey accommodations.  You get to book your desired place to stay online.  Hassle free.  The company, Airbnb, based in California, USA is now in the Philippines. Oh yeah!

Image Source :

Now I know where to find a place to stay for my next trip.  Below is a press release of Airbnb for their efforts in Cebu City.

- - - - - - -
Press Release | Airbnb in Cebu City 

Cebu City, Philippines – July 2013 -- Airbnb, the world’s leading marketplace to list, discover and book unique accommodations, today announced its continuing expansion into Philippines with the beginning of focused efforts in Cebu City.

“Philippines is emerging as an exciting tourism and we expect significant demand for Cebu City, both for leisure and business travellers“ says Airbnb’s Philippines Country Expert, Joy Tacandong. “Cebu is both a business hub and increasingly a popular spot for travellers, and we’re keen to build this market.”

A few statistics on  Airbnb’s growth in Cebu: 

  • Top 5 nationalities that travel to Cebu on Airbnb are Americans, Koreans, Filipinos, Australians and Germans
  • Airbnb has  over 1,600 listings in Philippines and plans to grow to at least 300 listings in Cebu
  • The total number of guests visiting Cebu through Airbnb has grown by over 300% in the last year

To support  the growth in Cebu, Airbnb will host events and meet-ups to better support the existing community of users and grow the number of hosts in the city.

Airbnb is currently the world market leader in unique, short-term accommodations. In January the company celebrated 4 million guests. On any given night, over 50,000 guests are staying at Airbnb accommodations around the world. 

About Airbnb:

Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — online or from a mobile phone. Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a  villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any  price point, in more than 33,000 cities and 192 countries. And with world--‐class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions. 

Cebu Press Contact: 
Joy Tacandong

- - - - - - -

And here is a video on "How to Airbnb"

When I get to have a place of my own, I will have a space listed in Airbnb.   :-D

For those who loves to travel and is always looking for a place to stay, use Airbnb.

And for those who have an extra space in their homes, list your place in Airbnb and earn extra income.  :-D

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A No-Cook Birthday Celebration

Today, I turned 39.

And what I liked about the whole day is that I didn't get to cook a single meal, hehehe...  Seems like the cook is on day off. :-)

Ate breakfast together with Pat.  We had bread, with my homemade sandwich spread of chicken, boiled eggs and bacon bits. :-) 

Then for lunch, I went to Iligan Medical College to meet up with Pat.  We ate at Hungry Juan, across the school.  Since it was so hot during the day. I slept in the afternoon for about 2 hours. ;-D

And for dinner.  Pat and I left the house at past 6pm (after watching a cartoon movie).  We had dinner at Zoey's Cafe.  :-)

Pat : "hmm.. unsay ako orderon?"

While waiting for our orders. Piktyoor2x sa. :-)

Pat with my camera. This is what happens, hehe...

Shrimp Pesto Linguine
I can't taste the pesto, hehe
Mustard Cream Dory
  Pat said he can't taste the mustard, hehe
Ka-double date namo ni Pat
Pat's niece, AJ, and her younger sister bb J
Our instant kids, hehe
Strawberry Shortcake
The very last food to be finished.  bb J took some time to finish it. 
AJ said the cake is very dry. :-(
Kulit bb J.  She spiced up the night. :-D
The love birds  :-D

Thank you Lord for another year.   Thank you for all the blessings. 

Thank you Pat for the no-cook birthday for me. Love ya. :-)

Freedom at 39

July 6, 2013.  Is the day I am 39.

5 days earlier.  July 1.  I am officially resigned as a city government employee.  Now I am free to do the things I love to do which I wanted to do for so long a time. :-)

I've been dreaming for this day to come. 

I've always wished for it to happened.   

And now, it is finally here!!!!!!!

For five days now, I still can't believe I am finally living it.  I am finally starting to live my dream.  I can't express how I feel. Even what I think.  All I know is, this is it. :-D

You see, I have always wanted to have my own business.  Ever since I was in 3rd year college.  However, after I finished school, I got a job in the city government.  And got stuck there for 17 years.
Though, I have to say, I don't regret working in the city government for the past 17 years. 

First, it has financially helped my family.  It has given me enough income to buy the things I want.  When financial crisis hit my family in 2002-2003, I became the sole breadwinner.  And with that I am forever grateful with my job at the city government.

Second, it has helped me to grow as a person.  My years in the city government has me traveling and seeing things I only get to see in the movies and in books.  I have my many firsts while I was with the city government. Like, my first plane ride during my first trip to Manila. Then, I was sent to Australia for 10 days.  Then to Germany for 11 months, which also gave me the opportunity to visit other places in Europe like Paris, Luxemburg, Brussels, Zurich, Amsterdam, etc.

Third, I've made new friends with my coworkers and the other government employees in the city government as well as other agencies.   The City Planning and Development Office has become my second home. 

Fourth, while with the city government, I met the love of my life, Pat, in 2003. This probably is the most important of all, hehehe :-D

But as time passed, the reason for my being has again called on me.  My passion for business and the things I love to do makes my heart ache as I go every morning to city hall. With Pat's and my family's blessing, I decided to end this chapter of my life and start anew.

Many have been shocked of my decision.  They'd say, "sayang. sayang ang imong position. sayang ang imong sweldo." I just smile.  The money I earn every month at city hall could be considered a loss when I resigned. 

But then.

There are things money can't buy. 

So now, I am enjoying my 6th day of Freedom. 

And as the 6th day of July is my birthday.

At 39, I finally have freedom.

Freedom at 39 :-D

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Just Tell Me You Love Me

Just tell me you love me
Whisper words I so long to hear
Let this time not be borrowed
Let it be ours to share.....

Sounds familiar?

Yep.  It's the song by John Ford Coley.  He is one of the singers of the musical duo England Dan and John Ford Coley

I love their songs.  I bought one of their Greatest Hits cassette tapes when I was in college.  Played it every weekend and eventually memorized all the songs in the collection as well as the order of the songs, hehehe...

Why am I telling this?

Well, last February 8, 2013.... Pat and I


Yes! You read it right.  I have always dreamed of watching Air Supply live in concert but I never thought I'd get to also see my other favorite, John Ford Coley, live in concert.

It was really such a surprise and such an impromptu decision for Pat and I.

February 8 was a Friday and Pat and I were both in our respective offices.   During lunchtime, I overheard my office mates talking and one of them about leaving for Cagayan de Oro after lunch because of a concert.  They said, David Pomeranz will be having a show at 8pm.  I told myself, "ah, too bad, I only knew about it now.  I would have also wanted to go.  But then it's already late for me."  Then they said that David will also do a show on February 16, together with Kuh Ledesma in Tubod, Lanao del Norte.  Hmmm... I said, that would be better.  I have time to prepare. 

After eating my lunch, I went to the computer to check on the information about the show.  And sure enough, I found the poster for David Pomeranz's concert in Tubod.  I texted Pat about it.  And we kind of made some tentative plans.


As I was browsing through the internet.  I can't get my mind off  David's concert in Cagayan de Oro. So, I searched for a poster.  Then I saw one.

And what I saw in front of me literally froze me for a few seconds. 

This is what appeared in my computer screen :

I couldn't explain what I felt then.  I actually said (almost screaming) "John Ford Coley!!!" If I was at home, I would have probably jumped up and down with excitement.   I was like a child given a toy she so long to have.  My heart was beating fast.  My mind got dizzy on what to do and what to say.  

Then I texted Pat with trembling hands, hehehe...   It was 1:45 in the afternoon.  Made few text exchanges with Pat.  Pat called.  I called.  We decided.  

The last call I got from Pat was around 2:30pm.  He was at home asking me "how many t-shirts, which shorts, how many undies, what else are needed to bring?"  He was already packing an overnight bag for the both of us! :-D   

Then he picked me up at the office before 4pm.  We first met a friend to give her her refrigerator magnet order.  And at exactly 5pm we were on our way to Cagayan de Oro.  And I couldn't believe how I felt.  I can't believe we actually did what we just did.  It was really my first to have that kind of impromptu decision.  And it felt great! :-)

Pat and me. All smiles. :-D 
A photo opp during the concert. hehe..

Tomorrow is February 14.  Valentine's Day.  But the concert has become the Valentine Date for Pat and I.  It couldn't be any better. :-)

Below is one of the videos I recorded during the concert.  The song "Just Tell Me You Love Me".

Did you hear me singing along? Yep. That was me, singing (off tune, hehehe).  Well, I can't help it.  I am watching John Ford Coley's concert and I really had to sing along. :-D

Since England Dan already passed away in 2009, John gave a tribute to him by singing "Love is the Answer".   I also recorded it in video. :-)

And then again, I sang along. :-D  This time, I think my voice is louder than John Ford's and more out of tune.  hehehe...  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Inspired by Bo Sanchez's Maids

Even before I got married, I have always wanted to invest in the stock market for me to have a passive income for future use.   But never got the chance to do so because I was afraid.

I was afraid because I don't know a thing about the stock market.   "Makalibog ang numbers sa stock market." (The numbers in the stock market are confusing.)

And the stories I hear about the stock market, from those who have tried investing in made me doubtful to invest in the stock market.   "Daghan daw na akansi sa stock market tungod sa pag naog sa price sa stocks." (There are many who lost in the stock market because the price of the stocks went down.)

Until in 2010.   When, one of the newsletters (or Soulfood letters) of Bo Sanchez talked about his book, "My Maids Invest in the Stock Market... and Why You Should, Too"

In the book, Bo Sanchez shared the story of how and why his maids invested in the stock market. How they managed to set aside a portion of their salary so they can have something to look forward to in the future. 

And I was like... Jealous.  Here are the maids of Bo Sanchez, earning just enough for themselves and their family in the provinces, yet were able to save to be able to invest in the stock market.  And here I am, earning a bit more than they.  I get bonuses every year, increases in the salary almost every year.  And yet I've got nothing to show for my future. :-( 


After reading the book twice, I decided (with my husband's approval, of course, hehe) the next extra money that comes our way, I will invest it in the stock market.  And sure enough, in December of 2010, we had an extra bonus.  And I invested it all in the stock market.  Then I saved every month and buy shares whenever the money is enough to buy the minimum allowed.  And if I again receive an extra money, I add it to the investment. ;-)

And now, more than 2 years later, my investment have already grown more than 50%. 

Being a member of the Truly Rich Club has been a big help to me in my investment in the stock market.  The Club, through Bo Sanchez and his mentors, has guided me on how to invest and which company to invest to. 

Would you like to also have something to look forward to in the future? Join Bo Sanchez's Truly Rich Club and start investing for your future through the stock market.

 By the way, I am already a member of Bo Sanchez's Truly Rich Club before I invested in the stock market. :-)

The book, "My Maid Invest in the Stock Market, and Why You Should, Too", can be accessed for free when you visit the Truly Rich Club website.  So visit the site now and start reading the book and be inspired. 

God bless us all.  :-)

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