Yup, after 6+ years in this Company, I've been (finally) promoted to Assistant Vice President 1.



It's a humbling achievement to be given such a title. It really gives that "umph!" to the meaning of executive level. I'm really feeling good right now.

Thank you, Lord Jesus!


Rattleheads 2012: Still Alive and Kicking

August 30, 2012 was a good day. Relieving myself from another 9.6 hours of stressful work in the office, I accepted the invitation of college friend Edesel to spend 6 hours of jamming at Cherry Studios, Paranaque City. The place was equipped with Marshall and Laney amps and Tama Drums. For P150.00 an hour, it was definitely a bargain. Along with Alex, Pedro, and Edesel's student, Ian, we jammed heavy/trash metal to our heart's content.

It was a beautiful distraction from the everyday stress at work. Work has been a lot of pressure lately, much to the point that I wanted to quit. Unfortunately finding an alternative source of income has been difficult so I've no choice but be stuck in this cubicle/pressure-cooker that I'm in. Then again, that's for another blog post.

The band practiced several Metallica and Megadeth songs. We were amazed at how Ian was so skillful in playing the riffs and lead parts of the songs ---cleanly. This was where I realized how amazing Metallica's "Holier Than Thou" is (before, I would usually skip it when listening to the Black album).

No more! The crap rolls out your mouth again
Haven't changed, your brain is still gelatin
Little whispers circle around your head
Why don't you worry about yourself instead

Of course, us late-30 somethings were pretty rusty in the other departments so Ian was a ray of sunshine amidst our bass-drum-guitar mess. My bass-playing, in particular, was all over the place, a product of trying to cram several songs in a few days before the jam date. Yup, such would make Ellefson and Newstead cover their ears in disappointment.

I need more practice.

Even when Pop, Alternative, OPM, and even Dance music revolves around my mp3 playlist, I definitely (definitely!) still have plenty of space for Heavy/Trash Metal.

Hello me... It's me again
You can subdue, but never tame me

  I really hope that that jam session wasn't the last one. Those few hours of musical enchantment of Hetfield and Mustaine genius must be regularized in our busy, hectic, almost-age-40 lives.


Megadeth In Manila

"This is our first time in Manila... I can tell you I'm very impressed...The thing about coming to the Philippines is, it's been long overdue. We should have come here a long time ago." - Dave Mustaine

I was fortunate to witness the one night performance of Megadeth in Manila last Sunday night. To top it off, I was able to watch it together with old bandmates that have a similar liking to listening and playing to Megadeth's music. Needless to say, I've been a Megadeth music fan since post college.

We waited for about 3-4 hours before the show started. The fans' long wait was well worth it when the band came in a little past 8:30pm to begin their set. Aside from playing songs from their latest album ("13"), they ran through their best hits. Below is what I was able to recall:

- Hangar 18
- A Tout Le Monde
- Peace Sells
- Angry Again
- Sweating Bullets
- Symphony of Destruction
- Trust
- In My Darkest Hour
- Dawn Patrol

And, of course, with Dave's backdrop story of the bad happening all around ("The Chinese. The Russians. All bullshit."), he enters the ever familiar intro to the song that launched their place in rock history:

- Holy Wars...The Punishment Due

Swaying to the Symphony...

For one and a half hour, I started out jumpin' and headbangin'. There was a mosh pit 1 or 2 feet from me and I was REALLY tempted to jump in. Unfortunately, my 38-year old self had to pull back my teenage version from possibly getting hurt from the (enjoyable) carnage. Still, as I looked for an empty space to catch my breath, I headbanged away as Megadeth's music brought me back to my past when I was, in my humble standards, a sure shoo-in for Dave Ellefson's bass playing.


The whole concert experience was what I wanted it to be. I have this DVD/CD set of Rude Awakening that I bought over E-Bay years ago and the sound was as darn beautiful as I hoped it would be. As this was a standing-only event, I could only scan Dave and his compatriots by tip-toeing from time to time. But I was ably content: even if my eyes couldn't see, my ears heard and experienced Megadeth...LIVE!

It was a surreal experience seeing Megadeth playing live. I wished they played more songs that night, their objective of leaving the audience wanting for more was met. But still, we all had a darn good time. The ticket price of 2,930 pesos was well worth it. Damn it, if I knew the 5,000 peso ticket would be THAT close, I would've bought that one! I was glad that I made that gamble of buying the ticket and watch my rock heroes play live, even after running a full marathon that morning.

And yeah, I (finally) bought myself my first Megadeth shirt ---with the Manila/Asian tour written at the back. That shirt will be with me for years to come!

To borrow a line from Peace Sells, "If there's a new [Megadeth concert], I'll be the first in line!"

Annie Alejo of Manila Bulletin has a more exemplary review of this concert. You can read it here.


From Thomas to Optimus Prime

Time flies so fast. Last Saturday, Lucas turned 6. It seems only yesterday that he just came out from the missus' womb and I was cradling this tiny miracle in my arms.

I still remember that Friday 6 years ago. I was still working in Malaysia and the missus had to go back to Manila to give birth via scheduled C-section so that I can go home in time for the birth of my first born.

It was wonderful to experience welcoming Lucas to the world, even when I had to go back to Malaysia in tears since he had to be left in the hospital for a few more days due to an infection (which he later recovered from to our relief).

Two weeks later, I started working in Manila again and Lucas was a bundle of joy that I was honored to have witnessed growing up each day, each month, and each year.

His love for toys had matured from Barney, to Thomas the Train, and now Spongebob and The Transformers. He has mastered the art of drawing which the missus and I are always amazed as to what new he has drawn in his etch-a-sketch toy or in the scratch paper using pencil or pen.

He's very well behaved and can be very independent. I try to pray with him every night with his composed prayer:

Bless Mommy,
Bless Daddy,
Bless Lucas,
Bless Matteo

Bless God
Bless Jesus
Bless Mama Mary
Please don't let me have bad dreams
Take care of us
Please don't let me have bad dreams


Lucas, if you're able to read this years from now, your Mom and I want you to know that we're very very proud of you. We are very blessed to have you with us, experiencing your creativity, your laugh, and your love for us and your brother each and every day.

Happy 6th birthday!


Beautiful Bohol


My family and I stayed at this beautiful resort in Bohol last May 2012 for 3 days, 2 nights. The place was very relaxing. The room with its splash pool was so great that my boys preferred it over the main swimming pool next to the resort's restaurant (which came with a cool view).

The price of the food inside the resort is rather steep (as in most hotels) but you have the chance of eating elsewhere, particularly the long queue of restaurants along the shoreline which can be accessed from the Amorita's path to the beach.

The beach is clear and the sand is white which the family and I found to be quite ok.

I in particular had a great time roaming around the roads via the mountain bike free rental that the resort provided.


Bohol is quite organized in terms of its tourism. We were able to go to the following sights:

1. Chocolate Hills
2. Loboc River Cruise
3. Tarsier sighting
4. Man-made forest


Yup, going to Bohol is something that I'd highly recommend.


Champagne Room, Manila Hotel

The missus and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary last Tuesday at the Manila Hotel Champagne Room. Man, 8 years na kami, and still going strong!

The Champagne Room boasts of a classy European setup which the missus and I liked. The price of the food is almost the same as that of Cafe Ysabel's. An exception is the price of a glass of champagne which costs around P900.00 each (and I ordered two. Yikes!).

I guess we should be eating more regularly at fine-dining places since our stomachs, in particular, needs to get more used to the food. Hehehe. Nevertheless, the food was quite ok.

We'll definitely come back to this place again. Hopefully, when I get a job promotion. :)

Flambe right next to your table
Shrimp Flambe

US grilled steak

Banana flambe for dessert (yummy!)

Cheers for 8 years (and counting)!


Weight Loss Update: Lipid

As of this post I've lost a total of 7 lbs via calorie-counting my food intake using the myfitnesspal app (yey!). It has still been a challenge to control eating, especially last week when I HAD to give in to the delicious spread of food when I had to work in Davao. Yellow Fin is definitely the place to eat when you're in Davao City.

That 3 day eating binge caused me to gain 3lbs, which I had fortunately erased since yesterday after going all out with my running and less eating last weekend.

The best part of this weight loss journey was made just today, when I had to claim my lipid profile test results from my HMO provider. At first, I was beside myself when I checked that I still had high cholesterol, LDL, and HDL readings. I was so disappointed that I had to see one of the doctors in the HMO office to assess what needs to be done to normalize all of this. She told me that I have 3 weeks to have a low fat diet. Otherwise, she will have to recommend me to take cholesterol-lowering drugs which is unnatural and could be costly. This means eating only fish, fruits, and veggies. Anything fried should be the last food that I should be eating. This will be a challenge for me since the only veggies and fruits that I eat are coleslaw (on the side of a KFC 2pc chicken meal) and fruit shakes (which is very seldom).

At this point I would have to say that I am jealous of the missus, who has been lazy to tie up her shoes to run the treadmill and eats as much sweet desserts, has spectacularly normal blood test results! Here I am running 3-4 times a week, having run 3 full marathons and countless half-marathons with high cholesterol and she gets to lie down on bed on weekday afternoons with normal lipid/sugar levels year after year. Man, talk about life being unfair, right?!

But as I got back to the office, my disappointment turned to (slight) joy. Good thing that I have this Excel file monitoring my lipid test results. Comparing my recent blood test results with my Oct 2011 tests, it seems that (except for my HDL) the readings have improved dramatically! Take a look at the table below:

Now the readings are still way above my target so I need to keep this up (calorie-counting), especially now that I've 3 weeks to normalize these readings. Hopefully by then, I've lost more weight and have a better lipid profile result.

Wish me luck!


My Bosses

This post has been long overdue. I started working immediately after college last 1995 and have gone thru 5 companies since then. It's time for me to share with you my different bosses that I've been under. Here they are in chronological order:

1. Lucas (1995-1998). Belgian, white curly hair, tall but stout, he could've been the inspiration for Angry Birds. He's very adept with computer programming and handling of switching systems but he can be happy one minute and then bursting with anger in the next. I recall one time (or was it several times?) when he threw his cellphone (the then top-of-the-line Motorola Microtac) against the wall out of disgust simply because he couldn’t get a clear signal.

He loves ordering the Jollibee Aloha Burger when we would work in Talisay, Batangas. He lived in Ayala Alabang, where his driver gets the day off upon reaching the village entrance. Be wary when he drives for he seemed to exceed village speed limits with gusto.

2. Dennis/Ghie/Lila/Yap (1998-2001). My experience working for company #2 could be summarized as 90% great, 10% disastrous. The bosses have been very kind throughout my stay there and, most of them being Filipinos, there was a sync in terms of sense of humor and communication. Unfortunately, my last month proved disappointing as I didn’t get the support and trust that I expected from them.

3. Ilari (2001-2002). As I was only a contract employee here, my boss at company #3 entrusted me to work at my own “diskarte” and it went well. We really didn’t have much time to interact since I only stayed here for 4.5 months, but I could say that working under him was quite ok.

4. Hong/Venka/Lee (2002-2006). Working for different bosses in different eras while in company #4 was a learning experience. One didn’t know where to put me, the other would occasionally chat with me on almost all things aside from work, while the third really put me into the grind of things so to speak (in a good, learning way). With the exception of Lucas, a foreigner boss does not include personality issues (although Malaysians seem to like my shallow sense of joke-telling, hehehe).

You may be wondering where are the bosses in my current company. Well, I’m sorry since I cannot tell much about them right now since I’m still here.

Maybe if I venture into another company (which could be unlikely), I’d be able to post about them.

Btw, is it true that the number one reason why people resign from a company is because of their boss?


Microwaveable Popcorn

I was having lunch yesterday at Charlie's Burger in Ortigas (delicious burger btw) when the music in the restaurant played early 2000 music, particularly Matchbox 20 and Third Eye Blind. I was suddenly brought back in time when I worked in Singapore.

When evening came I frantically searched the other bedroom like a mad pirate searching for treasure. I was afraid that it got lost (or given away) when the house was being renovated. Finally, inside a plain white plastic bag at the upper rightmost section of the cabinet, I found it.

There it was.

My Minidisc player.

I bought it in Sim Lim Singapore back in 2001 when I worked there. I immediately looked for that prized minidisc. I labeled it back then so that I won't forget: Microwaveable Popcorn Live in Singapore, Dec. 20, 2001.

Listening to it brought me back to a time when, believe it or not, I was playing guitar for a 3-man band led by long-time schoolmate Cyrel who provided vocals and bass guitar. Joenil completed our small gang with his perfect drum playing. Together, we were the Microwaveable Popcorn.

It was great to listen to the songs we recorded in one of the studios there in Singapore. I was away from my family and the missus (who was then my girlfriend) so the band was a welcome release from being homesick. I felt that, even though we were just confined to playing in the studios, I was a rock star with my Fender Squire Strat and ZOOM guitar effect gadget.

After the MD finished playing, I put in my "Unplugged" MD. Then, when Grohl's Foo Fighters played "Times Like These," I remembered how much I loved listening (and playing) to these songs.

It was like 2001 all over again.


RealShip - Valentine's Day Cruise

When the missus and I started going out years ago, we experienced hopping onto one of those Manila Bay tour boats docked in the CCP area. For P50.00 per head, we were able to go around the bay and watched the sunset. It was one of those spur of the moment rides that we still fondly recall even today.

Fast forward to 2012, happily married and with two children, the missus and I have found a perfect and upgraded version of that tour boat, which we've made to a tradition for 3 of the past 4 Valentine's days.

Realship, with offices in the CCP docking area, came up with an ingenious way for couples to celebrate Valentine's Day. An intimate ship cruise with a 5-course meal.

This year, food was handled by Bizu, which we could say was very delicious (read: 10 HOUR ROASTED US BEEF on the main course!).

Aside from the food, the cruise is the one that sets this dinner apart. The ship sails from the CCP dock to the coastlines along Roxas blvd (near H2O Hotel) and up to MOA and back.

With a piano and violin duet, the sunset and Manila skyline as the backdrop, this Valentine's day dinner is definitely something that the missus and I will come back to every year.


Weight-Loss Update: Closer to the Goal!

This is just a quick post to let you know that, after 2 years of trying to put my weight below 165lbs, I've finally achieved some momentum.

The weighing scale this morning showed me wonderful news: 161lbs!

I've lost 4lbs!

I've finally solved the 2-year riddle of my stagnant progress of weight loss. Although I'm religiously running 3-4x a week, my eating habits stayed the same. Sometimes, I've even made it as an excuse by eating more if I ran in the morning. So weight loss was never achieved. I just maintained at 165lbs which was STILL classified as overweight for my height and BMI.


In the last week of December 2011, I was encouraged by an officemate (who's also in a weight situation) to try counting calories with myfitnesspal, an online app that you can install on almost any device (android, iTouch, iPhone) and can be accessed on your PC (www.myfitnesspal.com). I heard about my sister-in-law calorie-counting some years ago and it worked for her while another officemate lost a lot of weight by calorie-counting too.

So, with high expectations and a prayer, I installed the app on my android.


Like starting a would-be habit, it was a challenge for the first few days. Keying in the food, and I mean EVERY food that passed thru my mouth was a task on its own. I set my goal to lose 1-lb per week, which meant keeping a daily limit of 1,490 calories. This was noticeably difficult as I would often see 2500 to even as high as 3,300 calories on one day! The app even gives a preview 5 weeks from now after you complete a daily entry. So seeing a weight gain or no loss at all in that 5 week preview was a scare.

Slowly, I started to manage my food intake, taking care not to exceed 1,490 per day. In the days that I'm running, the calorie burn helped a lot in giving me buffer to eat more. But it's still a challenge (a "daily struggle" to quote my officemate) on those days that have no exercise. Do note that I still exceed 1,490 calories on non-running days but not as high as when I started this habit.

Well, the office has conducted a BiggestLoser II contest again with the final weigh-in on March 4. The prize is a cool P12,800.00 cash, so that's really motivating me now to get the weight loss going.

My original goal 3 years ago was to go down to 152lbs which is the upper limit of my normal BMI range. With calorie-counting and myfitnesspal, I think I'm closer to that goal now than I've ever been before.

I hope my next weight-loss blog reads: "152lbs....FINALLY!"