Learning Never Stops

It’s been a long time since I last posted something here. I was busy with training and work. Because I woke up quite early today. I began reading Howard Schultz’ Onward a few days ago and decided to read some pages this morning.


As the ceo of Starbucks, he gives insightful lessons about trying to get the company back on track. Even though he has earned a high rank in the company as the founder and an experienced global marketer, he has acknowledged the deficits and problems that their brand is experiencing. He is not afraid to admit the flaws but keen on taking brave action on what to do to correct the mistakes, to keep the real vision of the brand and to uphold that pure love for coffee. They have been the most successful brand of coffee in the world, creating a space and a huge difference for the industry of coffee. Yet, he reflects on the truthfulness of their brand sans the numbers that is shown on Wall Street. Howard Schultz shows the spirit of a leader who is able to recognize the people who give much contributions to the success of their product. He is willing to accept mistakes and do something about it, at the same time he doesn’t forget the core of how his company really began. He said, “We had a delicate balance to strike. A balance between heritage and innovation. Between meaningful tradition and modern-day relevance.” I think he beautifully said it how our society struggles to preserve the old but without dismissing that change is inevitable. “We needed to rediscover who we were and imagine who we could be.” I think it is important that no matter what age we are, we still continue to learn, learn from our colleagues and friends, learn from our families and relatives, learn from little kids, learn from the situation we’re put in, from books we read or shows that we watch, from stories we hear and also the stories we tell that says much about our experiences. There is so much out there that we don’t know yet.

A relative shared an article  on the social media that I agree with. We should read a book everyday even just a bit. Make time to exercise and make sure the food we eat is healthy. Learn the language of the field of our work or path we have chosen to be able to create good rapport and perform effectively.

I prepped the espresso machine after reading the book. It’s nice to be up on your feet early on. It’s nice to be done with the preparations as early as 7am.  A professor of mine used to tell us that he’s up 4 or 5 am and begins to read books as he is a critic, he receives many reading assignments. I have also read many great ceo and leaders who get up to read a book to start their day. I plan to read as much as I can.

I am grateful for the sumptuous breakfast that we have with fruits prepared by mom, breakfast menu instructed by mom and coffee prepared by us. I think breakfast is very essential part of our day that we should never skip. Eating fruits help keep optimism in our spirit, brighten our mood and contribute to a healthy body and mind. Let’s keep a healthy attitude and outlook on life.

Third-wave Coffee shops in the Philippines

The coffee revolution has reached the country. Third-wave coffee shops are popping up and I decided to make a round-up of the cafes we have tired.  These cafes offer single origin coffee beans both imported and locally grown beans. Most of them also roast their own beans.

  • Kuppa Roastery & Cafe. If you’re looking for good food, a full meal, try this place out which also serves really good coffee. We have tried bringing home their beans too. IMG_5217I recommend their Crispy Pata for lunch or dinner. When around BGC, be sure to drop by Kuppa and try their wide range of dishes and coffee. I ordered their latte with 2 shots. (4th Ave. Taguig, Metro Manila)IMG_5226
  • Coffee Empire. The barista recommended an Ethiopia Congo Yirgacheffe blend which is tea-like and refreshing in taste for my second cup of coffee. Yes, IMG_5366I ordered a strong café latte. You can choose whether you like the light, medium or dark roast for your latte. They have different line-up of food which is prepared by their chef. The interior is nice and spacious with a roasting room and you’d be able to see some bags or sacks of coffee beans. We have tried their beans at home about twice already. (West Ave., Quezon City, Metro Manila)
  • Craft Coffee Revolution. We visited this place about three times already. The baristas even recalled that we had been here. They have a latte art barista champ in the house. The second time we visited, I had their brewed coffee with Chemex. The result was a clean clear taste of freshly brewed beans. 20141019_144125
  • Refinery. This time, I dismissed ordering a cup of latte which I normally do when visiting a coffee shop. 20140621_090118I chose from the list of special coffee origins for the pour-over method of brewing coffee. They offer a silver container and allow one to pour the coffee to the cup. It’s more than a cup 20140621_090109but it’s really tasty and a familiar Ethiopian blend with a different hint of citrus flavor at the tip of the tongue, quite different from the one I’ve tasted before. They serve Lamill Coffee beans and great food. I’m glad our cousin decided to visit this cafe. I’m definitely going back for their coffee and sandwiches. (Rockwell, Makati)
  • EDSA BDG. One of our friends had already visited this place so she was the one who drove us there. 20150415_111253They serve great coffee that you’d be tempted to have another cup but I resisted. The design of the place is more like a workshop area for baristas and learners alike. They offer cupping during Wednesdays which is open to public at 10am. The interior is divided into rooms but you are free to choose where you’d like to stay. They can improve more on the design of the interior. This place is definitely worth going back to whether to hang out with friends or just to enjoy their coffee. (EDSA, Brgy. Wack Wack Walk, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila)
  • Yardstick. It was not a good first time visit we had here. My cousin had been looking forward to try out this café for a long time but due to its location, it hasn’t been easy to decide on a schedule. She’s usually busy joggling the schedules of her kids and finally on a whim she decided to go to Yardstick. We even entered the restaurant beside it which we thought later that we should have tried. We went out and entered Yardstick (only to find out they have some sort of trap door linking both places). Upon entering Yardstick, we were not greeted by anyone there and even when we looked confused on the menu or how it works, no one approached us. It’s okay though, we figured them out together. The place is designed as having workstations where the customers can see how their drinks are being made, but we didn’t felt at ease approaching the baristas. 20150418_112813The reviews said that the baristas would know if the customers coming in were coffee enthusiasts, coffee drinkers or those who simply were just finding a new place to try. We are coffee lovers trying to explore different type of beans, but we didn’t get the accommodating experience. This differed greatly from our coffee experience in Singapore. Their coffee is good though and the presentation is quite unique. We would of course give another chance to Yardstick because it has many great reviews and feedback from people. (Esteban, Makati City)
  • The Curator. We have visited this place for the third time already and each time we’ve been bringing home beans. We don’t live nearby so we had to ask them to grind the beans right then. The baristas were very accommodating and they would explain to you 20150615_104808their coffee and introduce new ways to enjoy coffee. They welcome new and old guests alike. We found this place online among the lists of coffee shops that serve good coffee. They indeed have great coffee. If you order café latte, you can choose to have a light roast blend or their dark matter theory by #YKW Roasters. We brought home two more bags of beans (Panama Carmen Estate – 200g and Ethiopian Sidamo Guji Suke Quto – 200g) #YKW Roasters from our last visit. (Palanca cor. Legazpi St., Makati City)
  • Department of Coffee. This place is near my cousin’s house and we have visited it twice already. 20150519_110921This might be a nice move from their previous location. Near it is Rub Ribs & BBQ. On our second visit, we had lunch first at Rub Ribs and then transferred here for the coffee. We had the whole place to ourselves. (Alejandro Roces, Quezon City)

Tips when visiting specialty cafes:

*Check their social media accounts if they are open for the day you are visiting. Sometimes they would be closed for private events but they would post it on their Facebook or Instagram accounts.

*When visiting the cafe, don’t hesitate to ask the baristas questions about their coffee, chances are they’d be happy to explain to you their beans and types of coffee.

The Scent of Happiness

“Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

20150219_092728Happiness is reflected through our expressions and actions.

It is not just a facade that covers our emotions. It is felt by the people around us.

True happiness starts within us and could spread wonders to those we interact with.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Today Was a Good Day.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Today Was a Good Day.”It didn’t start out as a good day. We encountered unexpected events such as delivering goods to customers who already moved. My mom wasn’t informed when she confirmed about the delivery that they had moved to another place. Then the car wouldn’t start which meant there was no battery anymore. It rained a bit too but then the sun came. We define if those incidents would ruin our day. We can choose to pull our heads together and find a solution. If we chose to be affected by the situation, we’d definitely feel bad and thus our day can be ruined.

We found a coffee place to have snacks at the mall. The particular coffee shop we were eyeing was full but a sign beside that cafe caught my attention, “unlimited coffee for Php150: Americano or Cappuccino”. I was willing to try this place all for the coffee. Instead of looking for another cafe which will most likely be full on a Sunday, I was willing to settle at this pizza place. It turned out to be great coffee as they’re serving Lamill coffee. They designed coffee art on each cup which was really nice.


I ended up having two cups. I can gulp up to three cups then but I limited myself to just two cups. If I ordered another one, I think they would come up with another design. Sometimes, a cup of warm coffee could really add color to someone’s day. We took a walk after that and it was nice. Today was indeed a good day.


Reality TV

We studied reality TV before and somehow the concept of reality blurs with the creative production of the media. Reality TV shows have become more popular in recent years and artists participate in them because somehow they shed off their mask in the show. A show might be controlled by its producers but the challenges and how they respond to the environment they are put into are real.

These are some of the entertainment shows we watch to help us unwind:

  1. 花儿与少年 (Hua er yu shao nian) or Divas Hit the Road

The Season 2 of Hua er yu shao nian has already concluded but we enjoyed watching it. The participants were Mao Ah Min (big sister and translator), Xu Qing (second sister), Ning Jing (third sister), Chen Yi Han (fourth sister and cook), Zheng Shuang (little sister, tour guide and accountant for the first part), Jing Bo Ran, Yang Yang. There are five sisters and two brothers that will travel together to England, Turkey and UAE. Zheng Shuang, the youngest in the family, was the one appointed to be the tour guide at the beginning. She was tasked to go ahead and fetch everyone from the airport. She should know their flight details and bring them to the place where they are staying.

I like the way the challenges and tasks have been set up in Season 2. It had more meaning and purpose and was easier to follow. They had participated in a really adventurous tour that sometimes tourists don’t get to experience or try. Some required physical abilities but they were able to accomplish all the challenges.

Having different personalities, it was difficult to have an all for one, one for all-team spirit; but gradually, through time, they were able to establish a better rapport. The ‘Da Jie’ being the older one stepped up and took care of everyone. The younger ones go out their way to help carry the heavy luggage, find directions and do the difficult task. They try to understand the different behaviours of the people and that there are moments that pull you down. It’s a struggle though, because in a trip, you just want everyone to have fun and even if only one in the group is not easy to get along with, it could affect the whole trip.

Overall, they learned a lot through the experience. They joined the pillow fight, trained for rowing, built tents, went up the mountains, drove trailer cars, navigated an unfamiliar land, and work out problems together. You rely on each other when travelling in a foreign place, in the process, they gained friends and learned stories about each other.

Concluded. Shown in Hunan Television

  1. 爸爸去哪儿Ba ba qu na er Season 3

Watch this for the really cute kids who seem to talk like adults. It shows how they interact with their dad and other kids on the show. It’s nice to see kids learning to respond to the environment they are put into, how they take care of other kids younger than them or their comrades. See their adventures and innocent expressions as they explore different towns and places. They even stayed in one of the Unesco World Heritage site – Tulou.

On-going. Shown in Hunan Television.

  1. 汉语桥(Han Yu Qiao) or Chinese Bridge. This show features student representatives from the seven continents who applied to participate in this program.

张丹峰 (Zhang Dan Feng) is very effective host and She Zhang. He takes care of everyone in the group and is conscious of their needs. He notices who isn’t feeling good; he buys souvenirs for the members and happily prepares them. One particular episode was quite good when the participants were divided into teams and were asked to perform on stage. At first, the other team seems to have the upper hand while the other team seem to be falling apart. But in the performance the latter team had the smoother performance and emerged victorious.

That episode also featured Zhang’s wife and kids arriving at the place they are staying. His wife prepared some food and was asked to hide and give a surprise. She couldn’t stand it when her husband didn’t notice her cooking even when Zhang already refilled his soup many times. She went out and Zhang was stunned. He kept glancing inside if his kids were also there. After awhile, they also came out and he was really happy to see them. Due to his field of work, he’s away from home too often that he doesn’t have more time with them.

You’d see the diligence of the participants and the gravity they put to this program in every assignments and exams they are given. Every episode, they feature some guests like the Kao Kuan or the chief examiner who will carry out the exam questions. It’s amazing how people from different parts of the world learn Chinese. Next week will be the final rounds.

On-going. Shown in Hunan Television

  1. I Can See Your Voice (Korean show)

This show features 10 guests who auditioned to participate in the rounds. There are regular panelists and guest singers who will guess who is tone-deaf among the participants. Lee Teuk (from Super Junior) and Kim Bum Soo are the hosts of the show. There would be clues that would help either to identify or confuse the guest singers like showing a 1-second cut of the videos where the participants were singing, the . The remaining participant would get the chance to perform with the guest singers. It really is challenging to identify which ones can really sing and thus some guests are dumbfounded by their choices. There are lots of surprises along the way and even the panelists are up on their feet. It’s not new to pick out someone who is good singer and leave a tone deaf at the end that gets the prize money.

Tone deaf or not, every participant is very serious in delivering their performance. Singers are also commendable for they come from different field of work. Some have the dream to become a singer but just didn’t have the opportunity; some were happy to be able to perform on stage.

  1. The Return of the Superman

I have just watched snippets of this show but enjoyed it very much. People in our household though love to watch this show. The kids are too cute and at a young age are already able to do a lot of things like eating on their own. This show features the comedian Lee Hwi-jae and his twin sons, the MMA fighter Choo Sung-hoon with his daughter, actor Song Il-guk and his triplets, the professional football player Lee Dong-gook with two pairs of twins and one son, and Uhm Tae-woong with one daughter. It’s a good chance for the kids to interact with other kids and for the parents to share tips on bringing up their kids especially having two or three at the same time.

It’s a fun show to watch where the kids are tasked to do activities or run errands at the age of 3. They get to bond with their dads and the fathers can take of their children without the help of their wife.

On-going. Shown on KBS World TV

*videos are taken from youtube and the official channel of the stations. 


To observe, you must learn to separate situation from interpretation, yourself from what you’re seeing. Train yourself:… “It is impossible as I state it and therefore I must in some respect have stated it wrong.” Out loud instead of silently. In writing instead of in your head. It will save you from many errors in Perception. – Maria Konnikova, How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes


Our lifestyle nowadays are quite sedentary, living in the city somehow tied us to our laptops, mobile phones, tablets and other gadgets. Sometimes, our ability to observe is reduced to those finite (or massive) spaces of the World Wide Web or that particular gadget we’re holding. It is true that in that space, we are taken to different places and we see people we normally don’t get to see. We are engrossed in the world of entertainment and social media to get our mind off things. We are tuned in to shows or so focused on getting to the next level of the game. Instead of scheduling time for exercise or other activities, we are preoccupied with lots of screen time which actually reduces our attention to other things.

Without practice, it’s not easy to play basketball or to shoot some hoops. So after a long time, our muscles couldn’t keep up quite easily if we ever plan to go back to sports. Of course, through discipline and practice, we could gradually change our lifestyle. This is the same thing with how we perceive things. Our perception changes depending on how we look at a scene or what angle we choose to capture. We could choose a spot to focus all our energies or we could see the bigger picture. We commit many errors because we easily dismiss things as how we thought we saw them. Both our mind and body needs training to prevent errors in our movement.

It feels nice to be back on the court to shoot some hoops with my nephews. Though it was just a one time activity, it felt good to be able to regain momentum at that time.

Night challenge

Thanks to Sylvain for the challenge SL-Week 7: Night.

Night scenery is lovely. Somehow the city gives us a light show every night. It’s challenging though taking photographs at night especially without a tripod. I remember waiting with our cousin at Victoria’s Peak for the lights to light up and admire the city lights of Hong Kong. There were many people there who are waiting for that too. Cameras all raised, taking in the view; some were tourists while others just seem to want to capture the view after a long day’s work.


I like the idea of spontaneity in photographs but I also revel in waiting to snap a scene. Singapore is a photogenic city and really beautiful at night with its great architectures and radiant lights. It’s a city that inspires one to just stare into the vast night sky. The air is fresh and inviting for walks.

20141026_213029 IMG_0759 IMG_0749
20140814_211635 20140814_211846

I used a digital camera for this one, something handy to carry as we participated a party for the 400 years celebration of the University of Santo Tomas (UST). This University was built during the Spanish colonial period. Lights and decors surround the building and school grounds. It is nice to take a walk during nighttime which we don’t normally do.

DSC02867 DSC02857

Weekly Photo Challenge: Creepy

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Creepy.”

DSC01275 b&W

I remember coming to this area to watch a play, though this is not the picture of the Rajah Sulayman Theater in Fort Santiago. The place looked like a ruins but it is used as a venue for performances. It was particularly creepy because it was nighttime when we watched but definitely did set the mood for the theme of the play. Built during the Spanish era, the architectures in Intramuros are very different from today. This walled city has gone through a massive history but some structures have not been preserved well. It is still a good place to walk about, to find structures built about 300 years ago.