#TaleOfTheTrail Mount 360 (740 MASL) San Andres, Tanay

Was there ever a mountain that mesmerized you and love repeating again and again? That’s Mount 360 for me. It’s only a short hike but packs in the elevation (about 500m of Elevation Gain) and has a really scenic summit. It’s called Mount 360 because it gives you a 360 degrees vantage point of Sierra Madre Mountain Range.

Mount 360

I came to know of Mount 360 when I did a birthday hike last March. It’s not as long as Mount Batolusong but it’s gonna take your breath away in more ways than one. It’s just around 6 kilometers out and back with the first half being pure climb with about 500 meters of Elevation Gain. The summit is breathtaking yet the climb will make you feel breathless with the unlimited climbs. It gets easier once you go at a chill pace and when you divide the climb in shorter stretches.

The Tale Of The Trail

It was love at first hike at Mount 360 and I’ve been in the familiar slopes maybe 4 or 5 times after the first hike. I classify mountains based on efforts and rewards. Mount 360 is moderate in effort but high in reward and here’s why?

  • The summit is 360 degrees panoramic visual delight with the Sierra Madre Mountain Range around you. Mount Batolusong flatlands and summit is visible on one side then Mount Mapalad can be seen on the other side, The summit has also wooden setup including a swing, picnic tables and chairs and a viewing platform. There also rest a Cabin slightly below the summit, which you can actually rent if you want to spend a night on the summit.
  • The route is short (less than 6 kilometers) but remains challenging with about 500 meters worth of elevation gain with some muddy and technical portion.
  • Once you hit the open ridges, it’s a scenic wonderland already.
  • It’s a short but productive workout. Do it in a regular walking pace, you’ll be down the mountain in between 2-3 hours.
  • It’s fast and easy to visit. It’s about 1:30 from Metro Manila via Marcos Highway. Pin Mount Batolusong Jump Off, which is near the basketball court and the San Andres Jump off point. From the Basketball Court, the jump off point is towards the right (opposite the Jump Off point of Batolusong).
  • It’s not so crowded yet unlike the more popular Mount Batolusong.
The Cabin at Mount 360

Let’s hit the trails!!!

First things first, you’ll need to register. It P100 for the environmental fees and P500 for the guide (max of 5 person per guide). Before you go up, I personally advise you to stretch or walk around the road since the trail would immediately goes up. From the jump off point, it starts with a climb over steep local trails. It’s a bit harder at this part since you’re body is still adjusting to the altitude and it’s still warming up. It’s always safe to go slow and steady on this part while dividing the climbs into segments.

After the first 200 meters is steep climb while the next 800 meters are moderate climbs on muddy trails. It’s still a shaded trail at this point with some points of the trail peaking over the other mountain ranges. I take regular breaks at this steps as I don’t want to drain my energy on the steeper part of the trail plus, I would like to look fresh in my summit photos.

The next kilometer is the steep and technical part. I slow down on this part and there are also wooden seats to rest on this stretch. I usually am more conservative on steep ascent being someone who has heart rate that goes up so fast on climbs. It’s easier to go farther when you keep your heart rate down while maximizing rest stops though not over staying that your muscles cool down. Once you hit around 1.8 kilometers, the trail opens up and you see ridges. At this point, you can see the flat lands of Mount Batolusong on your right. Go a few hundred meters and its open ridges. I just love ridges as it’s scenic backgrounds from all angles.

When you hit the open trails, there is just about 300 to 400 meters stretch of climbing until you hit the solar panels and the viewpoint above. This gives you another scenic highlight in the hike and it gets even better heading up. There’s a short climb from this section before you hit a short trail with bamboo plantation heading to the summit of Mount 360.

Once you hit the summit, you’ll just be mesmerized by the view. You can take a short meal, go around the summit, feel the fresh air and just appreciate nature. It’s so rewarding to be at this point while appreciating the mountain ranges. The descent is just a quick one, just be careful on the steep stretches.

On A Trail Mission 2

Wanna explore Mount 360? Explore it with us on December 4, 2022. Visit On A Trail Mission 2 Facebook Page for more details.

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My (Mis)Adventures at DBB Mountain Rockstar

In the middle of Mount Matarapis between kilometer 6 and 7, I was lost with no markers in sight. Option 1, Go back up and look for markers (Naaah, that would be exhausting), Option 2, Stand still and wait to be rescued (How will I be rescued when there is no signal?), Option 3, Find a new route (It worked but I had several dead ends and had to go through stone boulders following the river).

DBB Mountain Rockstar

I was lost somewhere between Km 6 and Km 7 and spent about an hour just finding my way back. That led me to go through ravines, stone boulders, rivers and still ending up to several dead ends. I was standing in the middle of the falls trying to locate the orange markers back to the route. Some routes I followed which I felt I saw orange markers ended up as leaves. It was funnier than frustrating as various scenarios raced my mind.

First Race After The Pandemic

I haven’t joined a race since the pandemic so that’s about 3 years of no races though I’m usually hiking or doing trail runs the past few years. Being in a race environment is a different story and I haven’t really been in touch with the trail running community the past few years. Thanks to Coros / Active Gear for providing my kit. I joined the 10K distance feeling it to be a routine 10K knowing that the route is just Mount Batolusong, which I have explored at least twice this year.

It turns out the route is Mount Batolusong and Mount Matarapis. It rained early morning and even during gun start. It’s gonna be a mud fest!!! The plan was to go at an easy pace and just walked my way from the start to the foot of Mount Batolusong around 1.5 kilometers from the start line. Next was the technical uphill part which is around 1 kilometer to Duhatan Ridge. I know this is the toughest part to Batolusong plus it was extra muddy due to the rains and I also knew that this is where to manage my energy by adding several rest stops. Third time here and it felt routine now. After Duhatan Ridge, I stepped up the pace knowing that this is another 1.5 kilometers of moderate ascent to Mapatag Plateau. I like the view of this ridge as the trail opens and you get to see the mountain ranges. Mapatag Plateau is another favorite stop for me.

I had my Sound of Music Moment at Mapatag Plateau a few months ago. After Mapatag Plateau, we were directed to freshly made route connecting to Mount Matarapis. It was single track and really muddy as it was deeply forested and rarely sees sunlight. I slipped several times along the way, got several cuts and bruises from trunks and bladed glass. It was a feel out process in the trail for about another 1.5 kilometer before hitting Mount Matarapis.

Check out that Muddy On Cloudvista

After Mount Matarapis, it was a muddy and slippery descent. The surface was extra slippery and we had to rely on hanging on branches, twigs, grasses rather than shoe traction. It was really a test of how much you can improvise ways to reduce sliding and slipping though I still had a few solid falls along the route. It was a mentally challenging and exhausting descent as you had to use your legs and upper body to keep your balance. By focusing on the surface, I lost track of the markers.

The steep decline felt even more challenging than the steep climbs. It’s so normal slipping and even saw some runners had bad falls along the way. We’re weekend warriors, we just stand up and go back again to the route. Going forward, I ended up on the ravine, knowing that DBB sometimes add this to his route, I went ahead before hitting a dead end. No flags in sight, I’m lost.

I was going from one end of the falls after another, climbing ravines just to look for markers. I lost count on how many dead ends I found. Tired, lost, exhausted. I mustered enough strength to follow the river until I saw the house who led me back to the right track. Finding the route was a sigh of relief. I saw one runner and then upon hitting the final river crossing, I slipped real hard to fall in the river. I lost count on how many times I’ve slipped this race. I went on the followed the route headed to the finish line. What an experience!!! I missed the rush, the pain and the excitement of racing. It was exhausting but at least I found my way and have another memorable race in my books.

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The Road to On A Trail Mission

Classes Ongoing at Ave Maria, Poblacion, Itogon

Organizing ON A Trail Mission was not the hard part, it was convincing myself to un-retire and be back to the event scene once again. Sometimes, you just need to go back to your ‘whys’ and dig deep to unlock the things you are passionate about.

Trail Academy

By the end of 2019, I decided to quit doing events. It was an easy decision at that time as I was plain and simple, tired and exhausted. Then came the pandemic and more responsibilities at work and I was completely a different person. I still have my usual trail runs on weekends and from time and again, I would tag newbie friends along for them to appreciate fitness and nature. Maybe I can still do what I used to do but not on a large scale level. It took almost 3 years for me to realize that the trails are part of who I am and it’s among the things that keeps me alive.

With Zell of On Philippines and Don of Itogonia

Don came up with the idea of having a Trail Academy on a mountain setting either Mount Ulap or Mount Bidawan. Previously all of our Trail Academy sessions were in Camp John Hay and Timberland, which were moderate terrains and manageable for newbies. But, this could work and my only hesitation was it may not be newbie friendly and the venue is remote. Next in line was our title sponsor. I always like to work with brands as I believe this is a win win for everybody. Brands gets the exposure, we get the event and the runners gets all the benefits. So along came On Philippines, and surprisingly, we had common interest to mount the event. It was ON (pun intended)!!!

Recon

Less than 6 weeks lead time to event day and the first thing we had to do was to check the course. I had to do Mount Ulap, Camp John Hay Yellow Trails and Mount Bidawan in a 3-day span. Mount Bidawan was the first choice for the event since it’s the one that is least explored and it also needs a boost in terms of tourism. If Mount Bidawan felt too difficult, I might opt to shift it to Camp John Hay. The previous time I was here, it didn’t feel easy since we had to do a Vertical Kilometer before the ascent to Ave Maria Shrine and Kotkot saddle. This time, it felt manageable with a kilometer of steep uphill, a 500m descent to the hanging bridge, 2 kilometers of moderate climb and a technical for the last kilometer to Ave Maria Shrine. Game Face ON(Again, Pun Intended)!!!

On A Trail Mission

We just wanted an intimate event and opened up only 50 slots, which was gone within a few days. Dans, Polar, Skratch Labs, Lightwater, Vitamin Boost and Medtecs were added to the sponsors list. We also got the support from Itogon and Sacred Heart High School Itogon and Saint Charles Borromeo Church of Itogon. Roots and Bones, Zepoh Creations and Bon Bantilan covered the event.The one thing I like about Trail Academy compared to an actual race is its easier to setup and less stressful.

The weather was perfect for the event. We waited for sunrise to setup the event area. By 6:30 am, we were all set. The runners were group based on pace groups (Fast, Moderate and Walkers). At Trail Academy, we believe that runners will enjoy the run if they go at the pace they are comfortable with. Each group also had their own cheer to break the ice and allow them to bond.

It was surreal opening up the festivities since after almost 3 years, it meant that I was back doing what I love to do – refreshed, recharged and raring to make a difference. I turned over the stage to Don who discussed about training and gear. He also led the warm up before sending off the runners by wave.

I joined the walkers wave and we were the last to start. While we were on the walkers wave, we went at a consistent pace even on the climbs. We also had several pitstops to highlight some key techniques on the climbs. The first kilometers were purely climbs and happy to note that we did well in this section. Reaching the end of the first climb was a welcome relief as it was 500 meters descent to the hanging bridge. The hanging bridge was shaky so it was both exciting and scary.

Up next was 3 kilometers worth of climb. The first 2 kilometers had moderate ascent so we went at a consistent pace at this part while appreciating the sceneries at Mount Bidawan. The last kilometer of the climb was a bit steep and technical so we slowed down a bit by dividing the steep climb over several steps and rest stops. The view gets even better at this stage.

We’ve finally reached Ave Maria Shrine, where we converged with Fast and Moderate Group for the next two lessons. Class at 1,120 MASL overlooking the mountain ranges was such a refreshing site. All previous talks for Trail Academy were done in event village but having this at the peak of the climb was a real game changer. The next talks were about nutrition and injury management. It was a cool morning so being in the summit felt cool. The talks were interactive and after about an hour of talks, we were on our way back. It was a fast descent back to the event village to wrap up this session of Trail Academy. ‘Til the next one.

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Incoming: 7-Eleven Run Series 2022

It’s been 2 years but running is back and so is 7-Eleven Run Series, happening on September 24 to 25, 2022 in Manila, Cebu and Davao. The series has not only brought runners a race but each race is also loaded with goodies and exciting cash prices and opportunities.

Run 7-11

7-Eleven Run series started in 2013 and has been a value for money run with participants treated to not only a great run venue but sponsor goodies as well. Winning participants also was also able to get a chance to join international competition abroad. This year’s edition brings together thousands of runners in Filinvest, Alabang (Manila Leg), Cebu Business Park (Cebu Leg) and SM City Davao (Davao Leg).

The leading convenience store is bringing back the fun and thrill of running together with its 10th installment and 5th simultaneous event in Manila, Cebu, and Davao. To celebrate the grand comeback of the two-day physical event from September 24 to 25, 7-Eleven is preparing exciting cash prizes, major freebies from sponsor brands, and a chance to run in an international competition. 

There are nine (9) distance categories to choose from: 3KM, 5KM, 5KM Buddy, 10KM, 10KM Buddy, 16KM, 21KM, 32KM, and 42KM, with medals and cash prizes ranging from P2,000 to P25,000. The top three (3) overall male and female Filipino winners from the 21KM, 32KM, and 42KM will get a chance to run and represent the country in an international marathon competition.

Participants can do a quick grocery run with the amount of freebies they can grab from over 30 sampling booths courtesy of 7-Eleven’s brand partners. On the two-day simultaneous event, specifically in Filinvest, Alabang for the Manila leg, Cebu Business Park, Ayala Center for the Cebu leg, and SM City Davao Ecoland, Davao City for the Davao leg, partner brands will offer their favorite snacks, drinks, daily essentials, and more for FREE.

Participants can register to join for FREE by collecting 15 e-stamps through the CLiQQ App to redeem one (1) registration code for their chosen category. 30 e-stamps are required to redeem a registration code for each buddy run category. 

A P100 minimum purchase of participating items is needed to get one (1) e-stamp. This also entitles the customer to one (1) e-raffle entry per e-stamp, for a chance to be one of the 3,000 winners of products from the run’s major sponsors. This includes freebies from Cornetto, Pocari Sweat, Kopiko Lucky Day, Nature’s Spring, Gatorade, Summit, Del Monte Fit N Right, Le Minerale, Cali, C2, Coca-Cola, Absolute, Nova, Pepsi, Re Fresh, Cobra, Mountain Dew, Wilkins, Nutri Boost, and Selecta.

Participants can also opt to register by paying the corresponding fee per run category starting at P500 each. Once paid or the required number of e-stamps are collected, the participant can claim their Race Kit at their chosen 7-Eleven store.

Registration period is until September 13 only. It doesn’t matter if one is a newbie, a pro runner, or just joining for fun alone, with a friend, or a group, everyone’s welcome to join and run as one community. 

Run to the nearest 7-Eleven store or register online at www.run711.com to join! 

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#TaleOfTheTrail Mount Bidawan / Ave Maria Shrine (1,120 MASL), Poblacion, Itogon, Benguet

Ave Maria Shrine

Mount Bidawan / Ave Maria Shrine is a breath of fresh air with its scenic forested trails overlooking the mountains. It gets even better once you hit the shrine and explore the ridges.

#TaleOfTheTrail

First Time in Mount Bidawan in 2018

The first time I was in Mount Bidawan was to recon a part of the Amihan 50 route in 2018. It felt like a difficult climb since we started in the spillway and had to endure a vertical kilometer (VK) before starting the climb approaching Mount Bidawan along the heat of the scorching sun. The second time around this year, it felt a lot easier. Well, at least I don’t have to endure the a VK before starting a climb.

Mount Bidawan

My legs beg to differ on the easy part since prior to the climb to Mount Bidwan, I climbed Mount Ulap and also had a run at Yellow Trails in Camp John Hay. Well, that’s my norm now whenever I get to go home in Baguio… Trails and Climbs.

We started out early this time meeting before 6 am at Caltex near Victory Liner so I was hoping to catch lunch with my Family. The drive to Itogon was about 30-40 minutes to Sacred Heart High School in Poblacion, Itogon, which would be our starting point for the hike. My mindset was 4-5 Kilometers of climbing on tired weary legs for my 3rd straight day on trails. My goal was to go conservative on this one.

We started to descend from the school on to the river with bamboo planks to cross. Upon crossing the river, it was a series of climbs. Since my plan was to be conservative, I divided the climb into several segments with rest breaks after every 100 steps. The path was single track and a mixed of paved inclines and stairs. This climb lasted until about the first kilometer before a descent of about 500-600 meters heading to the hanging bridge.

After this bridge, it’s all uphill! The hanging bridge was a bit long and shaky so let’s add a tick box to exciting. This led to a single track climb leading to slightly open trails before switching to forested trails with slightly ascent on covered trails. This is about 2.5 kilometers from the starting point. This was also a scenic highlight as you can also see the mountains over the ridge.

Let’s recap the climbs, the lowest point is the river at around 690 meters, then you climb about 100 meters in the first kilometer before hitting the hanging bridge where it’s about 400 meters climb from that point over the next 2-3 kilometers.

From the ridge, you then follow rich forested dirt trails. Sometimes, it gets intimidating how long the climb is but for the next kilometer it was moderate ascent. I just kept on moving one step at a time. Since my heart rate and legs has been used to the climb already after all the initial climbs, climbing felt more natural. One trick for climbs is going at a pace you are comfortable. You get to enjoy the scenery and you don’t over exert yourself too.

Surprisingly, I was moving faster than I expected. I can feel the sting in my quads from all the climbing the past 3 days but the scenery was a great distraction. I was able to recover faster on rest breaks because I was able to pace myself well. After 3.5 kilometers, the climbs shift to be a steeper and this is the part I slowed down a bit but still kept moving with short rest breaks in between.

The higher you get, the view gets even better. Nothing like the green view of the mountains to keep your soul and eyes refreshed. Though a bit steeper than the usual ascent, the view kept me occupied to even think of the struggle. Around km 4, you can already see the Ave Maria Shrine. This made the climb even more tolerable knowing that your goal is up ahead.

It’s just a matter of time before reaching Ave Maria shrine and was able to reach it in less than two hours. The view was awesome at that vantage point. The Kotkot saddle is just a kilometer from here if you want a panoramic view of Mount Bidawan and Mount Kotkot. The descent was a breeze though you have to be a bit careful on some mossy surfaces, which can be slippery when wet.

BTW, I was able to be home for family lunch and was in Baguio at around 11 am.

ON Cloudvista has been my trail partner for the past 4 months and so far, so good.

Experience Mount Bidawan

Experience Mount Bidawan with On Running Philippines by scanning the QR code above or registering via event page: On A Trail Mission.

For more trail adventures, visit www.pinoytrails.com.

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On Cloud Vista Gives You Versatility on the Trails

On Cloud Vista

Choosing the right trail running shoes is not an easy task. Go with hard lugs, you get strong grip on muddy surface yet you lose a bit of control on hard wet surfaces. Go with soft lugs, you sacrifice a little bit of traction but get a better grip on hard wet surfaces. Go with cushioning and you lose a little bit of ground feel. On Cloud Vista is a compromise in between giving you a racing flat that keeps its traction on both road and trail surfaces.

On Cloud Vista

On Cloud Monster and On Cloud Vista

When it comes to shoes, I’ve been high with the On Running Brand since 2012, especially for road running shoes. I’ve seen how the brand evolve from a one-size fits all type of model to catering to different needs for running and even casual shoes. For trail running shoes, however, I still didn’t get enough comfort level with the brand to be my go-to trail running shoes, until the On Cloud Vista came along.

Mount 360

I really didn’t have high expectations with the On Cloud Vista but It did catch me by surprise that despite being more of a road to trail shoes, it had excellent grip. It was love at first dirt as I tried it out on a rainy day trail at Mount 360. In terms of profile, Mount 360 is a straight ascent of 2.5 meters to the summit covering about 700 meters of elevation gain. The trail surface is more of dirt grounds but the challenge is that the steepness can make you lose your balance on the descent especially on wet surface. While I was huffing and puffing my way through the climb, my On Cloud Vista had a good grip on the wet trail surfaces even on the more technical parts approaching the summit. Of course, the real test was on the descent so I just went on the descent on my normal pace and was surprise even on the slippery and steep descent, I was comfortable with the traction and did not slip. Rainy day test – passed.

Back to Mount 360

My next climb was on the same Mountain as it has been one of my favorite mountains with a really scenic summit and a challenging climb. This time it was a bright and sunny day. That’s the beauty of the trail, even on the same mountain, you get a different experience because of the different trail condition. Instead of worrying of the wet slippery trail, you get to try out dry and loose surface that also becomes a challenge downhill. So far so good. I still have excellent traction on dry trails.

Blackwood Tanay

Blackwood was more of a vacation than a hike as I took my team to for a Team-Building session at Blackwood Nature Homes in Tanay. Blackwood is my go-to place in Tanay and this is my third visit and this time we stayed at the Dome. The place has its own waterfalls and mini trail. It’s a short route but going to the falls you get to have an uneven stone path with moss that can be slippery when wet. I think this is the advantage of the Cloud Vista as it still have good traction over stoney surface.

Camp John Hay

Up Next was a feel good run in Camp John Hay. Yellow Trails in Camp John Hay is among the best feel-good trails with long runnable trail surfaces with a bit challenge on the incline. This is where you get to feel the advantage of having a lightweight feel of the Cloud Vista, which is less than 10 grams. It’s a racing flat with traction though of course, it’s drawback would be it’s not as cushioned as other shoes. You gotta take in the added speed with the minimal cushioning.

Panoypoy, Bataan

It’s another feel good trail at Panoypoy, Bataan featuring Mariveles Bataan’s view of the five fingers, the wide trail field used in Arisaka and the crystal clear ocean at the bottom of the trail. It was a thrill running downhills with the Cloud vista.

Running on Clouds

Overall, I’m happy with the On Cloud Vista and would be my go to shoes on short and speedy runs and has flexibility on road runs. However, for longer runs, I’d still go with the On Cloudventure peak due to the added cushioning, which is just a personal preference for me. I’ve been running mostly with On since the pandemic with CloudX and Cloudmonster on the road. I’m glad that they too have options now for the trail and the Cloudvista is the perfect racing shoes as we resume racing season in the new normal.

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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
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Categories: My Thoughts | 1 Comment