You Are A Product of Your Mentors

I find having a good mentor a lot better than having a good Company especially when you are starting your career. That’s a big part of who you become, the other parts are what you experience and how you react to it.

Mentors

The more I look back to my career, the more I see that it was defined by people who mentored me, situations I’ve been put in and how I reacted to them. While I rarely write about my work in my post because it’s much cooler to be known as that dude who goes to the mountains on weekends, a lot of my life is focused on how progressed in work. I’m probably an outlier having just 2 jobs in over 20 years – 4 years in SGV and 18 years in Medtecs. A lot of the credit of staying power is because my role has continued to evolved and my skillset continue to expand. I think it’s time to pay it forward and be more of the mentor rather than the mentee. I’ve been to a lot of ups and even more down but surviving is a largely due to the learnings, values and situations I’ve got from my mentors.

Humility

“Leadership qualities must be backed by high ethical and moral standards, humility, fairness, and willingness to learn and to change.”

– Wash SyCip

In one of our board meetings, Wash SyCip was in attendance. Wash was the founder of SGV and help built the Accountancy Profession not only in the Philippines but also in the region. So having him seated in the meeting room was really a “kilig” moment on my part, especially I would be presenting the financials at that time. But what struck me was not anything he said in my 4 years in SGV or at the Board Meeting, it was what he did. While we were doing our plant visit, he was pulling his own trolley. At his 80s, he was still self reliant and even if we offered help, he refused. That moment stuck me. Believe me, I had my fair share of encounter with power trippers who would take their position as their bragging right and here’s someone who’s practically the father of Philippine Accountancy still willing to do menial task even if there’s a whole army, including us fans willing to do it.

Passion

My first CFO Joshua in Medtecs was a tough one. He was passionate in what he does and it shows. He’s brutally honest and frank but one thing I would admire was he was open to ideas. We would discuss and debate ever certain accounting treatments trying to outwit each other. That’s year 0 of me (just a few months in the Company) at Medtecs and there was I matching wits with the CFO. Sometimes, the arguments get heated but after the heat, we get the best case solutions and move on to the next. It was nothing personal but just work. That’s the time that I’d prefer working with foreign bosses because us Filipinos (me included) tend to be emotionally involved with work. One of the few lines that he uttered was that, “If you work with Passion, you will never fail.”

Sense of Ownership / Compassion

My first engagement partner was FAA and it’s an understatement that he was like a father to me. As even SGV, partners would ask, “andyan tatay mo?” In terms of compassion, he’s probably one of the most helpful persons I’ve known. He’s practically my lunch and dinner companion as I try to survive the slack season when we really felt the minimal pay at that time. He was also among the most charismatic partners in SGV, known for his FAA jokes and his endless “kwentos” during client meetings. I never thought that I grabbed that generosity and compassion that he showered us with until now that I try to pay it forward to my staff and close friends. It was also FAA who really appreciated the sense of ownership I developed with my clients and account at that time. That explains how loaded I was at that time but I just took it as a learning opportunity.

Inventory of Contacts

When I entered SGV, the managing partner was a very young CVP before being called to the Government. He’s a constant presence not only on SGV activities that time but you can practically see him everywhere and he really interacts with you. What I remember to this day was during our orientation, he was telling the story of how he lost his passport abroad and had to rely on people to help him surpass the problem. While it is important that we get our inventory of knowledge especially we’re in the top audit firm, we had to also broaden our inventory of contacts. As staff at that time, it didn’t mean a thing but as I progressed to the ranks, I realized that as you move up the corporate ladder, you’ll need more of your interpersonal skills rather than technical skills.

Discipline

I lost my Father when I was 16 but when he was alive, he was really strict with me. Sometimes, I even felt that it was unfair. I was always so busy with extra-curricular work being a student leader and involved with the school paper but he was always strict when I came home late. It only made sense when he was gone and the reason why he was strict was that he didn’t have much time. I knew my limits even if no one would tell me. He also taught me to be contented with what I have and not to waste a way resources. I still remember being scolded heavily when I was a kid when I didn’t finish my chicken. I would even consume 1-2 liters of fresh farm dairy milk a day since he told me that the shelf life was just one day and I would gladly obliged. That’s also how I became a healthy kid.

Brand Management

You are your own BRAND. That’s one of the few lessons I got from my Marketing Professor in graduate school. Say that slower and it means so much more. Every move, every post, every reaction, every step and mis-step, that’s your BRAND. That’s who people get to know. Your brand is your reputation and you have to work on that always. That taught me to be more mindful of what I do and my reactions. Well, for me having a good character is another way to approach this as it’s much simpler when your character and reputation are one and the same.

Experience

Experience is also a good mentor and a lot of the things I had to learn on my own. I learned to raise funds without anybody teaching me. It was just me talking to banks trying to understand their needs and trying to explain them our requirements. Finance is like sales and the only difference is that the product you are selling is your company or your vision. I also got to learn all the different aspects of the business doing due diligence for our long-term bank loans. Sometimes, you just have to show up and try, the solutions will come. If you fail then try again. That’s the beauty of experience you’re either right or you’re learning something new.

I guess the next part of the challenge is getting to mentor people and they get to learn new things and approaches. I know learning is an endless process but hope to share some while I continue to gain a few. That’s probably the legacy I’m going to keep.

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Does Work From Home Really Work?

WFH

A day before the first ever lockdown, I was scrambling for my team to create Line Groups to facilitate communication during the lockdown. Back then, Work From Home arrangement was not even a thought; but, 2 years of pandemic life has shifted the way we work. Looking back, Does WFH Really Work?

Work From Home

Concalls, Be Like

The short answer to that question is YES!!! Not only can Companies survive with work from home arrangements but it also opened the world to a lot of opportunities. For one, outsourced labor can now be done on remote setup. Imagine, countries with high-priced labor can now throw in more process on a work from home arrangement without needing to invest in physical infrastructure to lower-rate but high-skilled labor force like the Philippines. In fact, this have been an opportunity for some business and a threat to some business who can’t adopt to a remote setup.

It’s been a long way since we started blind on how to do the work from home arrangement during the start of the first lockdown. So far, we’ve been able to do several board meetings, annual general meeting, management meetings and a lot more from the comfort of our home. First, disclaimer though is that it’s not for everyone since you have to have your front liners in place to do the risky work. With that said, hats off to the messengers, drivers and other front line personnel who can move around to get approvals and transmit documents. Alternatively, there’s the flourishing logistics services that can bridge the gap.

Well, work from home arrangement does create a lot of flexibility on work setups. Remember, the dilemma on whether to cancel work if a typhoon is fast approaching. You can easily switch to a work from home arrangement and save everybody the trouble and risk of calamities.

There’s the thing of creating a work-tourism hub and that’s how some places like Siargao, Baguio, Tagaytay as your work base. Well, that’s now possible now as long as you have a reliable internet service and of course, commitment to be online when the need arises.

It also saves a lot of travel time and can really decongest the city.

How to Make Work From Home Work?

  1. Trust – Trust is a two-way street. Employers must trust their employees and vice versa. I don’t usually have problems with this one because I’m an output based person and with the chat groups, I’m practically aware of what people are doing during the day. Either way, you just have to trust each other and hold each other accountable.
  2. Create work chat group – It also helps to have specific line group of each task like one for Accounting, one for HR, another for collection, payables and a lot more. Group help people organize the work for those with related tasks. It also becomes a good monitoring tool for work load and accomplishment.
  3. Have a strong internet connection – Telcos have been making a killing during the pandemic cause internet is life for work from home arrangement. I’ve remember talking for a presentation for a few minutes only to know that the other party has been receiving garbled messages. Invest in a good internet provider as those with small data allocations can be more expensive if you factor the add ons.
  4. Be creative – Learn to do things differently, be creative. After all, not everybody was open to a work from home set up until it was needed. Maximize technology and learn to communicate with your counterparts.
  5. Have video / audio update meetings – Take advantage of Zoom, Google Meet, MS Teams, Skype and others to have regular updates for existing tasks. With a remote set up, you need to communicate more to make sure everybody is on the same page.
  6. Have a separate area – To improve productivity you have to create a comfortable work environment. Make sure, it’s just the exact level of comfort. Pretty much sure working in bed may not yield you the same result as working in a table. I’m also lucky enough that I’m place is just the right amount of temperature even without air-con.
  7. Set your work schedule – Pandemic fatigue is real and probably that’s among the first problems with the work from home arrangement. It blurs the line between work, life and rest. Well, you just have to come up with a work schedule and a cut-off. In other words, have a life. You’ll be more productive and focused that way.
  8. Monitor – Create a to do list and monitor your progress even if it’s not required. It gives you a sense of accomplishment and also helps you focus on more important tasks.

Where Do We Go From Here?

The world of the working has adopted to the pandemic lifestyle. Even post pandemic, I think work from home arrangements is here to stay.

It also becomes an advantage for Companies who adopts to that setup as you get a broader base of talents while getting more flexible in doing your work. Personally, I prefer a mix of WFH and on-site work because it’s less of a routine. But; in cases when you need to stay safe, it’s always good to have a setup when you can do your work on a remote setup.

With technology in place, the future of the workplace is probably geared towards a remote work environment. That’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler.

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Year of The Franc XVI

2021 started on hopeful terms but as things were, it felt more of a struggle than 2020. Somehow, this pandemic has made this year like January, February, March, November, December or even less. Not much happening at times but still glad to tick off personal milestones and finding strength in solitude.

Year of The Franc XVI

16 years of writing this year-ender post and it never gets easy. If this were a game, it’s always a level up in terms of difficulty and milestones. It has its highs and its lows. Of course coming from pandemic year 2020, you’d think that there’s no way to go but UP. The world has other plans. There were extremely challenging moments in between.

First Quarter High

The year 2021 started feeling normal with a bit of an ease up in terms of quarantine levels. The first quarter is a high with me finally moving in to a new city and a new property. It does take a pandemic to skew my priorities in getting real properties and personally, I should have done this decades before. I’m just glad that I finally had the courage to make a big big step. That also would entail taking even more responsibilities just to have financial leeway. I also had to give up some passion projects like organizing trail races not just because of the pandemic but because I’d only do this projects once I can delivery at the quality I want. There’s just no so-so effort for me.

I always thought that I would have a grand birthday when I turned 40 but as things are, I don’t even remember how I celebrated that year. Luckily on my 43rd year, I had a chance to celebrate in style at Blackwood where we had the place all for ourself. I can say that it’s the 40th birthday I wanted on my 43rd birthday. Another gift was being able to do it before the world went back into lockdown.

Then Lockdown Happens

When lockdown resumed, it seemed that life was on a downward path. I was sick for a time and then limited my activities in between vaccinations. Just when I was ready to go out from all the safety precautions, the Delta Variant came and brought in another series of lockdowns. I felt real low during this time as my introverted side took over being in solitude for such a long-time. The thing was I lost my passion for fitness and outdoors for a time and everything was on auto pilot mode.

I guess this was also the time that I was adjusting to a new home and a slower paced style of life. Fun now was furnishing my home and working out on Zwift as much as I can. Somehow, this time also made me stronger as I tried to slowly emerged from my Anti-Social Shell.

Out of My Anti-Social Shell

When the world eased up a bit, I still wasn’t out of my personal bubble but slowly I started hitting the trails again, running outdoors and meeting friends. Then I’m back to my outdoor-loving and sociable self towards the end of the year. While the pandemic is not over, it felt a little bit normal. It’s a bit scary as every place was starting to get crowded. We need to celebrate small victories during the pandemic. Slowly, I tried to catch up with things I haven’t done in the past two years. For one, I was able to visit our plant in Bataan this month and more importantly, I was able to visit my home town, Baguio City for Christmas.

It’s as if the world opened up a bit for us to do things we haven’t done in the past two years. The last two weeks felt busy because for almost two years, we’ve been used to the slow paced and homey lifestyle. I’m ending 2021 meeting family and friends. Trying to fit all the people I’ve miss was such a challenge. Well not all but at least I tried.

Well, things are different now. I have a lot of responsibilities now. As I said, it’s a level up and let’s see what 2022 brings.

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Take the Bloat Away with Trizie Fiber





Trizie

With all the work and healthcare stresses we encounter day to day, the struggle shifts to being fit, strong and mobile. Bloating is not a good everyday companion. Like it or not, it can really weigh your everyday life. Everything seems heavier, mobility gets lower and metabolism slows down. Take that bloat away with Trizie Fiber with its rich fiber and cleansing anti-oxidant properties.

Trizie Fiber

Battle of the Bulge

Fitness level drops and with age and it becomes a struggle to keep fit. Don’t get me wrong, we can be fit but any age level but it takes more effort. There’s even more struggle with the workload and the seemingly never-ending battle with this pandemic. Sometimes, I take it as a reality that stress is here to stay and with stress comes the heavy feeling of being bloated. I’m a little heavy now that how I used to be maybe years ago but the thing I hate is that sluggishness and the heavy feeling of being bloated.

I still do my round of workouts at home through Zwift workouts, runs within the compound and at times, trail runs. That still pales in comparison to how things were before the pandemic but if this is the battle of the bulge, I’m fighting it real hard. Slow and steady, I’m slowly adding more intensity with my workouts. Then, there’s nutrition to factor in with this ongoing battle of the bulge.

I got a chance to try Trizie light fiber in Passion Fruit Flavor. For one, it’s easy to use. Just add water and you’re good to go. What makes Trizie Fiber an ally in the battle of bulge? Well, aside from Passion Fruit being really tasty, it’s a rich source of anti-oxidant. It’s among the Super fruits rich in vitamins, fiber and anti-oxidants. It does also get the flavor of Passion Fruit in its mix; which makes it a really tasty treat. It’s one word to say it’s rich in anti-oxidants and another thing to try it. I got the sampler pack, which is 3 packs you can take several days.

When I was using the product, I had a more regular bowel movement; which led to a lighter feel and removes the feeling of bloatedness. From the struggle in weight loss, I got to shed a few pounds on the 3-day cycle. I also felt more mobile and felt better after. The fiber in the product aids in the digestion and the anti-oxidants helps in the cleansing.

Felt lighter and slimmer with a mix of workout and Trizie Fiber

I felt lighter on my workout and while I still am far from my fitness level before. I think this is a good start. Less on the bloat just means more mobility. Having your regular dose of fiber and anti-oxidant through Trizie can really give you more confidence on the battle of the bulge as well as more mobility on the workouts and in the day to day activities.

Follow Trizie

  • Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TriziePH
  • Instagram – @trizieph
  • Available also on Shopee / Lazada – Avail their 8.8 Sale and save up to 55% from August 8-12, 2021

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Train your Mind, Body and Soul at UNLTD

Stress comes from all corners and keeping the balance is a daily challenge I get to shuffle between work, trainings and life in general. UNLTD located at 123 Pioneer St, Mandaluyong, gives you the biohacking advantage in helping the mind, body and soul be in perfect balance.

UNLTD

Biohacking is a new term for me; but, let’s not get lost in the complexity. Imagine the body as a machine and biohacking it is programming the body to respond to an optimal level. UNLTD has different biohacking machines like the Neuroptimal for the brain, Nano Vi and Lenyo for the body and immune system, Red Light Theraphy to simulate the benefits of Sunset and Saunaspace for detoxification. So there you go, UNLTD is your biohacking solution to strengthening your mind, body and soul.

My UNLTD Experience

Got to know of UNLTD from Chooseday League’s Ichang, Gryf and Ines posts and when I learned that they had a scheduled session, I went to join. I’m all about trying new experiencing and getting to learn on what’s biohacking. Upon arrival, I got a brief intro from the biohacker herself Eli on the different machines. Each machine is about 30 minutes each and was also able to join Eli’s sleeping class. So that’s the first tip in going to UNLTD, make sure you spare a few hours for the treatments.

Neuroptimal

The first treatment I took was Neuroptimal. You get plugged in to the machine and you can just watch a video. You can actually watch any video but for my first session, I got to watch a primer about the technology. It not only trains the brain but it’s also been used to treatments for trauma and other diseases. It’s easy as sitting at a chair and just let your mind and the machine do the work. I’ve been so reliant on my mental strength even when it comes to my athletic endeavors. I’m not as athletic so I tend to be more strategic. I remember in one race when I was unprepared with a sprained ankle, it was just my mind telling me not to give up and I did end up finishing the race. The mind is so powerful and with the proper optimization, it can even get better. I barely noticed time go by with these treatment.

Deep Sleep Training

If I had a superpower, I’d want it to be sleeping at will. I always have a hard time sleeping though I just compensate it with getting up at a later time. It was an immediate yes when Eli said if I’d want to join her class on Deep Sleep. Isn’t it cool, joining a class just to sleep? It was like Eli’s voice cradling us to sleep and ‘wahlah’ the next 40 minutes was gone. I would have wanted to sleep more but I wanted to try the other machines. It’s been a week since the session in UNLTD and I’m still logging in good sleep times until now.

Lenyo and NanoVi

After the short sleep class, Lenyo Bioregulation Therapy and NanoVi device was up next. There are so many options to choose from on the treatment and I opted for immune system, detoxification and digestion. It was another 30 minutes sessions where you just lie down and let the machine do their work. Lenyo uses safe Pulsed Electromagnetic Field that convert electromagnetic information into positive physiological response to maintain balance and restore wellness. NanoVi helps in the cell recovery of the body. Before treatment, I was constipated and felt heavy. Post treatment, I felt more relaxed and was able to detoxify faster the next few days.

Red Light Therapy

The Red Light Therapy room simulates the benefits of the early morning Sunrise to the body. It was another 30 minutes feeling the warmth of the lights as well as the visual color of sunlight with the red lights. The red light therapy helps in muscular pain relief, blood circulation, joint health as well as anti aging. That’s what the morning sunlight gives to us. I also learned from Eli that it’s better to see the sunrise without glasses so there won’t be an obstruction between the lights and the eyes.

Saunaspace Infrared Technology

My last treatment was the Sauna room and like regular sauna, it helps you sweat and flush out the toxins in your body. Compared to regular sauna’s Infrared sauna also raises the body temperature to give it a fuller detoxification. There were different level of heat in the room with one side with four lights and the other with just one. I was turning around to get the full effect. I also had water so I won’t be dehydrated inside the room. Felt much lighter after another 30 minutes in the Saunaspace.

UNLTD Benefits

I’ve tried 4 machines plus a sleep class and I’m still feeling the benefits a week after. From a relaxed mind to a fully recovered body and a full soul, UNLTD has definitely biohacked me in a way to operate at a more optimal level. An afternoon at UNLTD was a welcome relief from the daily chores I have to do and honestly, I need more sessions like this.

If you’d like to check them out too, follow or contact them here.

  • Facebook: UNLTD
  • Website: https://unltd.ph
  • Address: 123 Pioneer Street, 2F Guerrero Compound, Mandaluyong City

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Stark Fitness Brings Fitness Right Into Your Home

Workouts and Fitness were among the industries affected by ongoing quarantines with the more common option is working out at home. www.starkfitness.com.ph provides you an avenue to shop for your fitness equipment needs at home.

Stark Fitness

2020 was a life changing year. There was so much struggle as we had times were we stayed indoors as a safety precaution for the COVID 19 Pandemic. Also, it was also the time that we found new ways of getting things done and being fit shifted from the outdoors to the indoors and eventually to home workouts. Working out at home is becoming a routine rather than a trend, as a lot of individuals prioritize their health and shape during this time of pandemic. Gym-goers have shifted the way they sweat out and decided to enroll in online fitness classes. Some enthusiasts have improvised and built their exercise spaces to keep up their vigor and athleticism. Aside from safety, time efficiency and convenient access are the advantages of putting up a personal work-out studio, no more travel time and no more excuse to stop in achieving your goals. Investing on gym equipment is an essential now and the best way to acquire it is through an online store like Stark Fitness.

The new normal has challenged consumers emotionally, mentally, and physically. Many businesses and establishments have closed their doors and that include wellness centers and sports clubs. Stark Fitness changes the dynamics in the fitness industry. Founded in November 2020, Stark Fitness is a Filipino fitness and wellness brand that offers high quality equipment for health enthusiasts and people with an active lifestyle. Stark Fitness focuses on two things, Fitness and Business. The brand wants to help the growing industry in the Philippines and change the perception that working out is hard and unattainable.

“Stark Fitness aims to re-define ‘being fit’ as being capable of one’s own life and wellbeing; the fittest are those who can be the best version of themselves both physically and mentally,”

– Isabelle Lim, the CEO of Stark Fitness.

She strives to incorporate Stark Fitness’ mindset of “Stark Strong, Finish Stronger” to the local market by guiding amateurs with proper and quality tools and motivating continuously those professionals who aim to maintain their fitness habits.

To serve as the driving force for people to achieve their desired shape and maximize their potential, Stark Fitness is bringing a range of top-grade products with Japan-sourced materials that customers could use at home or at the gym. The brand carries commercial and home equipment to keep Filipinos to live actively. The worth it and quality devices of Stark Fitness are mainly designed for Cardio exercises and Strength activities. The Cardio machines include Treadmills, Elliptical Machine, Upright Bike, Rowing Machine and Recumbent Bike. These are intended to burn fats and calories faster. Strength tools on the other hand are used to gain and tone muscles. Under this category are Adjustable Pulley, Chest Press, Shoulder Press, Bicep Press, Smith Machine, Pec Fly, Full Cage, and various Leg Press. The brand is projecting to expand their line this 2021 by carrying Fitness Accessories, building Stark Fitness Gym, and opening concept stores. With these quality amenities and exciting plans, Stark Fitness ensures not only physical progress, but also inclusivity, inspiration, and a stronger wellness community.

Follow Stark Fitness

To know more about Stark Fitness, visit www.starkfitness.com.ph. Customers can also shop the equipment at Lazada: (https://bit.ly/SFLazada) and Shopee (https://bit.ly/SFshopee1). Stark Fitness also ships countrywide. Like and follow them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/starkfitnessph/) and Instagram (@starkfitnessph) for exciting content and promo updates.

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Year of the Franc 15

How do you even tell the story of 2020?  It’s not your typical roller coaster year but more of a free fall in the hopes of surviving kind of a year.  It’s a grind-it-out year but as anything in life, it’s always a game of reactions and making the most of what we have.

Year of the Franc 

For the past 15 years, I’ve been writing Year of The Franc blogs as a recap of the year.  Not all years have been equal but each year was a full story on its own.  It had its feel-good moments.  Each year had its own struggle.  Lessons came every now and then.  Success came with failure.  Victory came with effort. If I were to go back to my 2019 post, 2020 was the year of recovery from all the exhausting activities I do year-round. Little did I know that it was also a year that everybody would take a pause, reflect, learn new skills and just strive to keep their sanity in check as we’re locked in community quarantine for most of the year.   

Q1 – Pre-Quarantine Days

I started the year hopeful since I was doing away with events after being burned-out in 2019. Who’d ever thought that 2020 was such a surprising year that started with Taal Volcano eruption and the initial impact of Covid19.  I was a little bit more focused and excited as I was preparing for several international races and hikes.  I was able to enjoy a lot of time with family, friends and the outdoors during this period since I wasn’t planning any events.

I was also among the few who got to enjoy my birthday before the lockdown.  As Covid19’s impact started to be felt, I was ticking down one travel plan after the other. Then, the world went into lockdown in the middle of March.

Q2 – The Lockdown

For an outdoor person that barely had a weekend at home, being stuck at home was a big adjustment.  For the first few weeks, I was just in my room save a few pick up of deliveries.  I was fortunate enough to be able to quickly setup a work from home arrangement.  We were able to conduct several board meetings, an Annual General Meeting, finishing the Annual Report and the Statutory Reports. That’s my busy season in the comfort of my home.  

The 2nd Quarter was a period of adulting. I started shifting from surviving on canned goods alone to being able to cook my own food.  I was also doing my own laundry as its also my way of passing time.   I also started taking up online classes from Social Media Marketing, Photography, Psychology of Sales, Trading and Investing, Physical Fitness and Nutrition, Digital Marketing and Creative Writing.  I also took up Tax and Accounting updates.   

Since I am used to multi-tasking, I was filling my schedule already so I won’t be bored.  I would even do some stairs workout just to take away the monotony.  After being stuck at home for so long, even crossing the street seems a foreign activity to me. Baby steps and I would eventually start going to the office for at least a day per week for essential tasks.  Q2 was probably the toughest part of the year.

Q3 – Rediscovering Fitness

One of the races I joined before the lockdown was a Virtual Run, just because I liked the STAR WARS themed medal.  Little would I know that it would be a start of running consistently again.  I would insert short 5K runs over a 1-kilometer loop in the neighborhood in the afternoon and go to the nearby trails on weekends.  Running with a mask was a struggle but I got the hang of it plus there were also breathable masks designed for running.  Then it was one virtual run after the other and after a quarter of minimal fitness activity, I was back working out in the time of Covid19. 

The weekend trails then became routine or more of an escape over stressful days at work. Then, some friends would want to join in.  Funny, how you’d influence people to hit the trails by the hundreds through events before to sharing the passion one person at a time now because of restrictions.  But, whether it’s 1 or 1,000, I’m glad to get people a little bit dirty on the trails.

There was also a shift in mindset as I started to try out investing directly in stocks.  I was able to save a little during the lockdown and that was the seed money.  With not much to expect today, I was more willing to future proof my expectations.  It was a big shift in perspective. 

Q4 Levelling Up

I remember being in the situation over a decade ago, where I had a chance to move up but I turned it down.  I never regretted that choice as it gave me a chance to develop new skills, grow my network and try out a new field and make an impact.  This time, I was ready!  I accepted a bigger role even if it meant that I would have less time to do other things I’m passionate about.  I felt and I believe I can make a difference and that’s all it took for me to say, challenge accepted.  It’s a crazy year so might as well try new things.

Q4 even felt a lot busier at work than pre-Covid days so I had to make do with less workout time.  It made those weekend escapes to the trail something to look forward.  Even at the height of the busy schedule, we were still able to mount Pinoy Trails Virtual Run.  I know it’s a tough year and some are probably still struggling. If there’s one sanctuary I had for over a decade now, it’s been running.  A lot of people may have forgotten that too.   We even had a minimal registration fee with premium inclusion just to encourage more people to join.  It was a lowkey event but seeing hundreds of people running again even virtually is a victory in my books.

What’s different between in ending 2019 and 2020.  In 2019, I was physically exhausted for all the events; while in 2020, I am mentally exhausted from everything that happened this year.  

The Year That Was

It was a year to re-focus. Francramon.com shifts back to its intimate personalized contents.  I might close down my own corporation (FREI) since it’s barely doing any trading business.  I will cut down on my activities and events but I hope to continue to share my passion for fitness and the trails.

It was a year to appreciate.  If there was something, I got to appreciate is having a small and meaningful circle of family and friends.  Thanks to those zoom ‘kwentuhan,’ short coffee or lunch meet ups or a quick run or a feel-good hike, I got past the year that was.  

It was a year to give back.  2020 probably took so much from us in all aspects. It was also the year we got to appreciate that small acts of kindness matter and mutual support is important as each person struggled.  Together, it gets easier.

It was a year to learn. Years from now, we’ll look back to this year and see how this year have changed us.  It’s a series of unfortunate events but even if we don’t feel it yet, we are a much stronger person towards the end of the year compared to when the year started. 

It’s time to look forward.  There’s nowhere to go but up. The future is always in our hands.

Good bye 2020. Hello 2021, Please be good to us.

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Run Unlimited with Instinct Solar

When you asked me on what GPS watch to have, it always boils down to budget, reliability and usage. Instinct Solar is your mid-tier alternative that provides durability in the trails and excellent navigation features while providing all the metrics and a prolonged battery life.

Navigating with Instinct Solar

When you say Garmin, you don’t only get a watch but a community of users and an app that helps you view your stats, create maps and easily send the data to your watch. Having served various roles in the trail and running community, I’ve learn to appreciate the different functionalities of GPS watches. I got my Garmin Instinct Solar while exploring Eastland Heights for Pinoy Trails Virtual Run and even future events.

The drill was to create a route via Garmin Connect, send it to my Instinct Solar and run the course. It’s not new for me to use navigation features of other GPS watch and it’s common for our team to send the routes of our races for runners to have a GPS map of the course in their watches. A little familiarity can help a lot especially on long trail races. What stands out with Instinct Solar for me is that it gives you the exact measure on your turns down to the last meter. That can be a big difference if there are several forks in the road like Eastland Heights, 1 meter could mean that I’m taking a different route already.

If you see that Garmin Connect screenshot at the top, you can also create a pace pro strategy. I’m not a fast runner so I try to make up my lack of speed with familiarity and strategy. I always say, “pag di handa, daanin sa Math”. I actually have plotted the elevation gains and losses for most of my trail races and set a desired pace. I may not able to finish fast but I can finish on time.

A rainbow after a long climb.

The Pace Pro strategy can give you a pace suggestion as you go to the rigors of your runs. Another feature I’ve unlocked was view option of the elevation profile of the route. By seeing the race in terms of elevation, I can spread out my energy on the climbs by staying conservative at the start of the climb and pacing myself at the top of the climb. In some races, I wouldn’t even dare to see my distance, I just want to see me chirping away the needed climb in the race. That’s how I deal with the mental aspect of the race especially on hilly trails.

Play in the Sun with Instinct Solar

Gone were the days that it was the battery life you were chasing more than the race cutoff with almost all GPS watches offering extended battery life. What sets Instinct Solar apart as well as other Garmin based Solar Watches is that it uses a power watch that charges the watches while in use under direct sunlight. I had the Instinct Solar for about a month now and I can count the times that I’ve charged my watch. In fact when I did my 21K at Eastland Heights, I actually had more power compared to when I started because, I finished my run with the sun scorching hot already at about 11 am. I was drained already with the long run, hot weather, the hilly terrain, well. My watch was even gaining more power due to the solar charging technology of Instinct Solar. The watch can be perfect for longer trail runs because of the battery life.

All The Right Metrics with Instinct Solar

I’m a numbers guy at work, at home and even on the run. I always checking my pace especially that I try to compensate some runs with brisk walking to conserve energy. When at use, Instict Solar has a revolving display which you can easily pre-set with the watch. The basic settings can be adjusted with app but most of the views can be edited directly with your watch. It’s a revolving view that provides different stats during your activity. As a preference I always go with current pace and lap pace, total time, heart rate and elevation profile as it help me breaks down the race into more manageable segments. I think it may be good to have also options to edit the views with the Garmin Connect or the mobile app.

Running with Garmin Instinct

I’ve been running for years with various GPS watches and I learned to accept that some areas may not be as reliable as others. Makati for one is covered by tall buildings that can really mess up your GPS tracking. Garmin Instinct has a quick GPS detection feature, within 20-30 seconds from starting your watch and it’s fairly accurate even on courses that has a history of erratic GPS signals. Even on areas wherein I had a history of erratic GPS measurements like Salcedo Village in Makati, I got a more accurate measurement with Instinct Solar seeing the map after the run, with less interference or significant jumps in the route map.

Instinct Solar on the Trails

In terms of look, it’s has a durable look with black and white display. It’s not as fancy as a Fenix but it’s perfect for the rugged and wild side adventure like trail running. It’s a lightweight watch which you’d barely feel as you run. While Forerunners can be your entry level and Fenix be the top of the line, Instinct Solar is your middle option that provides all the metrics and customization you need plus the navigation options to guide you on your runs. It’s perfect for someone like me that’s geeky on data and metrics yet not too drawn by fancy colored displays of higher end GPS watches. It’s your adventure watch that can double as your everyday watch with its activity tracking features. Instinct Solar does tick everything I need in a GPS watch and I’m a lot excited to explore more trails with it’s navigation features.

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There’s a New C in Town

Having a strong immune system has never been more important than today at the time of the pandemic. Santé’s Daily C is your non-acidic source of Vitamin C, which is gentler on the tummy and safer for daily consumption.

Santé’s Daily C has Queen Catriona as its Ambassador

Prevention is better than cure, they say. That is why amid the current global health crisis, everyone is encouraged to take extra precautions to avoid getting sick. 

As part of the “new normal,” people are advised to stay at home, wash the hands frequently using soap and water or sanitizers, and wear protective equipment, facemasks, and face shields, among others, as prescribed by the local authorities.

For Ms. Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, however, it also pays to take Vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin that cannot be produced by our body. While it can be found mostly in the food we eat, such as citrus fruits, strawberries, and kiwi, taking an extra dose of this important nutrient can help our body’s immune functions, as well as other health benefits. 

“Keeping a healthy lifestyle, which starts with eating a well-balanced diet to get the right amounts of important nutrients and vitamins, is important to help maintain a healthy immune system. One of these important nutrients is Vitamin C, which has been featured in supplements due to its promising properties,” Catriona said. 

As a model, singer, and beauty pageant titleholder, known for her healthy lifestyle choices and as a fitness inspiration for all, Catriona Gray encourages everyone to get that extra dose of Vitamin C as she joins the Santé family as the new brand ambassador of Daily C. 

Sante’s Daily C

Santé’s Daily C is your go-to Vitamin C supplement for the whole family, as well as young professionals who work all-day or on night shifts. And since it is non-acidic, it is gentler on the stomach and safer for daily consumption. 

This time, Santé Daily C now has an exciting new look and an additional variant. Aside from its Daily C 500mg which has been in the market for over 5 years, Santé also introduces Daily C in 750mg, a bigger serving of the trusted Daily C – ascorbic acid as sodium ascorbate, now in vegetable capsules. 

Daily C provides an extra dose of Vitamin C, which not only aids the immune system but also prevents scurvy (Vitamin C deficiency); an extra level of protection by enhancing the absorption of iron and the formation of collagen in our bodies; as well as an extra aid in speeding the process of wound healing. 

“Now more than ever, it is important for all of us to take good care of our health and overall wellbeing. I’m glad that I am able to promote this mindset as the newest brand ambassador for Santé Daily C,” said Catriona. 

Joey Marcelo could not agree more. He said that “amid these uncertain times, we all need to take extra precautions. We are glad that we have our country’s pride, Ms. Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, as our new brand ambassador for Daily C as we encourage everyone to keep themselves healthy and strong, especially amid the current global health crisis.”

Santé Daily C is just one of the many other organic health and wellness products offered by Santé. Known for its flagship, Santé Barley™, the company has developed a comprehensive selection of everyday barley-based products. They are made with organic barley grass, as certified by BioGro, New Zealand’s leading organic certification agency.

To learn more about Santé, visit its website at santebarley.com

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Sante Fitness Lab Brings in the #BetterNormal for your Workouts

Fitness does not have to take a back seat during the times of COVID 19. Instead, we should find safer ways to work out and just in that line of thought, Sante Fitness Lab has updated their facilities to comply with the safety standards during the pandemic.

Sante Fitness Lab

If there’s a time that personal space is important, it’s now during the COVID 19 Pandemic. We should find our safe spaces as the world struggles to find a cure or vaccine. Sante Fitness Lab located at Vermosa Compound in Imus, Cavite has been up to the challenge in giving you that safe work out space for your training and fitness needs. It’s now more than ever when it comes to taking care of our overall health and well being, especially in the “new normal.”

Due to the need for social distancing and isolation, companies across various industries have adopted flexible working setups so their employees can work remotely or at home. These changes, however, led to unexpected mental and physical health problems, such as anxiety, demotivation, body aches and pains, weight gain, sedentary lifestyle, and even overworking, to name a few.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the feeling of anxiety—fear, worry, and stress—are common responses to perceived or real threats, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Faced with new realities of working remotely, as well as the lack of physical contact with other family members, friends, and colleagues, we must ensure that we look after everyone’s mental and physical health. 

For Santé, a provider of premier organic health and wellness products and services, ensuring a #BetterNormal is important for companies to ensure the health and wellbeing of their employees. 

“Santé has always been dedicated to provide health and wellness products and services to help inspire people to live more and do more. Amid the current pandemic, we want to help companies to ensure #BetterNormal for their teams through our Santé Wellness program,” said Joey Marcelo, chief executive officer of Santé. 

That is why through its Santé Fitness Lab (SFL), a premier fitness & sports performance training center that offers a wide spectrum of services from fitness coaching, physical therapy and nutrition services for south-based communities, the company introduces the Santé Workplace Wellness programs, a set of online and onsite solutions, tailor-fitted to the needs of your team.  

Nutritional Solution

The Santé Workplace Wellness programs aim to provide potent nutritional support to keep your team healthy for stronger immunity. This nutritional solution includes providing supplements, such as Vitamin C and barley grass to level up their health. 

Santé has been a household name in providing world-class nutritional supplements, such as its Santé Pure Barley and Daily C. 

Santé Pure Barley is a pure organic barley grass powdered drink. Blended with one of nature’s most potent sweeteners, Stevia, this product is best taken before meals. It also easily dissolves in water and contains A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, and E (per serving). 

Daily C, on the other hand, is Santé’s non-acidic vitamin C, which contains 568mg of Sodium Ascorbate in vegetable capsules. Its non-acidic form makes it gentler on the stomach and safer for daily use. When taken daily, this vitamin C supplement can be your immune system aide.

Wellness Solution

To keep your team engaged and informed on maintaining fitness and wellness amid the new normal, SFL provides evidence-based fitness, movement, health and nutrition programs that can be tailor-fitted to any organization’s needs.

With SFL’s expertise, you can engage employees with relatable online wellness coaching and talks, workplace fitness programs with a choice of online or onsite delivery of their innovative training system, movement and nutritional consultation sessions—all these are now the latest adaptations that companies can subscribe to and make available for employees.

The SFL is composed of a synergistic team of fitness specialists, sports physiotherapists and a sports nutritionist.

The Santé Workplace Wellness program is among the new offerings of Santé and its official fitness arm, SFL, which resumed operations to serve fitness enthusiasts in Cavite starting October 5. 

Living up to its tagline, “Home of Champions,” SFL has always been providing fitness programs that help everyone achieve their best-fit selves. As part of its #BetterNormal practices, the facility adheres to the safety protocols, including social distancing, checking of temperature, providing alcohol and hand sanitizers, among others, as set by the authorities.

This fitness center is at par with the country’s premium fitness brands with its complete top of the line and Olympic-graded equipment for cardio, strength, speed, and agility. Unlike any other gyms, SFL boasts of its expert programming and coaching, as well as their innovative recovery and rehabilitation facilities.

With SFL’s distinct programming system, where baseline assessment and progress monitoring are critical, and scientific principles and methods are applied by coaches, you can ensure that you will achieve your goals safely and effectively as everything is well thought of and planned for, whether it’s for jumpstarting your fitness, weight loss, recovering from an injury or training for your sports.

Follow Sante Fitness Lab

To know more about Santé Fitness Lab, visit its official Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/Santéfitnesslab/ or its website, https://santefitnesslab.com/

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