Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pansol – Team Building Capital of the Philippines



If you are working in the BPO industry, you might agree with me that Pansol, Laguna is the team building Capital of the Philippines. It is very accessible from the Metro and very affordable. No need to book ahead of schedule regardless if its peek or off peak season. Trust me, just get in there and somebody will help you out in searching for a place to stay as soon as you arrive.

I’ve been in this place not once, twice or trice.. I’ve been in Pansol several times already and I am with different folks each time I go there courtesy of my career in the BPO industry.  However, each escapade tells a totally different story and the most memorable one was the Bagyong Glenda Edition. Yes, we went to Pansol following a typhoon but the place did not fail us though there are few mishaps but still considered a success.
 
The easiest way to get there from Manila is via Bus. There are buses going to Sta. Cruz Laguna stationed in Gil Puyat near LRT station. Fair is reasonable but I am not so sure what is the exact fair nowadays but I think it is less than a hundred. I am not good in directions but I was able to get there without using GPS so don’t panic if you have your own wheels, you can get in there easily just drive heading south.

You can choose from public to private resorts though I haven’t tried public resort yet but I guess it is probably cool as well if it is really on a tight budget. Private resort amenities usually include a pool, private rooms with AC, billiard table and Videoke but others might probably have additional amenities but those are just the basics. You can also request cooking utensils from the care taker and that is what we are doing each time we go there. They cook and I eat. They swim and I drink. They sing and I sleep.
 
My first time in Pansol was way back 2008 with my wavemates when I am still with TP EDSA Shaw. It was more of a graduation celebration because we did it following training grad. I was a call center virgin at that time. That is also one of the loneliest times of my life but the reason behind it deserves a different post on this blog soon.





Going back to the main topic, the second time I went there was with my EGS Cubao family. I can barely remember when it was. It was summer of 2012 I guess or probably 2013. It was a typical team building with lots of swimming, drinking and sleeping. I got one of the worst hangovers the day after that team building but still managed to go back to manila safe and sound.

I was already with my current team when I get back in Pansol. I was already with my Convergys family. The first time we get there was last year and just recently, we went back for the second time. I am expecting typical team building with lots and lots of alcohol to ingest but I guess I got totally blacked out. There are stories my team mates are saying that I can barely remember. From that day on, I told myself not to get drunk the following team building but history really repeats itself. The second time we went back, it happens again but I am not supposed to tell such stories in public.

Just a friendly advise guys, don’t trust yourself after 2AM just go to bed and sleep! At least I was able to maintain the record.. No Vomit Since ’08!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Surround Yourself with Hikers


If you were given a chance to meet a group of people, perhaps you will select the most famous people appearing in the wide screen generating millions on their bank accounts. Well, think again.. Think about meeting the coolest mountain climbers for they are the most adventurous risk takers yet down to earth individuals. They are the best people who can define absolute good vibes.

Hikers are like engineers for they always plan before their first step in heading to the upper land. Preparation is not limited in basic needs such as food and stuff but also including itinerary especially for probable campsites to stay for the night. 


Getting to the summit during summer is not an excuse not to bring thermals as well as rain jackets and tents in case it rains. Their itineraries are flexible. Changing route multiple times cannot spell out worry to anyone. On the other hand, it means more adventure in the mind of every hiker. The main goal is to reach the summit and to fulfill that goal is not a problem at all for they have a big heart for the upper grounds especially the view up there. They are very positive in everything and always have a plan in all things that they are going to do.


You might think that meeting a stranger in the elevator is no different in meeting a hiker in a campsite. Well, think again. Every hiker is very encouraging. There is something in them that makes you feel determined to keep going even if trekking is tiring just to see breath taking landscapes in the summit. You can find the coolest people in such places with awesome stories to share that can make you feel encouraged.


They might be high position holders in prestigious companies during the week but they are the perfect definition of being minimalist once they put their backpacks on and head to the mountains during the weekend. 


They are the ones who will never complain for having no toilet paper or toothpaste for the entire journey as long as they have their backpacks that contain just enough supplies to stay alive for entire duration of the trek. They only need minimal stuff but they always have the ingredients for a warm dinner, besides what keeps them on track is their love for fantastic landscape in the summit.


Other people may call hikers crazy and yes they are crazy. They do dangerous things at times just to fulfill their cravings for adrenaline rush. They climb mountains covered with ice or forest with wild animals ready to end them. Any simple mistake might end their lives but they keep on climbing for the view on top is always worth the risk for them. 


You can barely see them sitting in front of the computer over the weekend for they easily get bored unless they are researching for their next trek. Their goal is so simple, it is either to reach the summit or to go to the other side of the mountain. 


Aside from euphoric feeling that only last for a short period of time, they gain nothing else but that is exactly the reason why they keep on climbing. If you can’t be one of them then, try to surround yourself with hikers who can make you feel like one.



"A second Anniversary post for the blog"





Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Mount Tarak Ridge: Perfect Escape From The Metro Life


If going to amusement parks and spas in the Metro as well as eating in fancy restaurants in the heart of the City are no longer working to reduce stress then, it might be the right time to go up land and search for the inner peace in you.

It was way back almost half a decade ago when I was given the chance to experience what Mount Tarak Ridge in Mariveles Bataan is offering. Big thanks to my previous employer in Balanga Bataan for he did a great job in organizing this event. It was a company outing since we are doomed to our monitors six days each week completing our tasks. So we deserve this break.

I can barely remember how long the bus ride was from Balanga to Alasasin, Mariveles Bataan for I am so busy appreciating the place with awesome sound in my ears on. What I remember was, it is not a very long trip where in, you can sleep a on the way but not too short neither. It was my second time heading to Mariveles but the first one was simply for company training.

Registration is vital before starting the trek so everyone registered to the Barangay hall before having our first step for the actual trek. Following registration, we finally started our trek but of course we cannot avoid taking pictures along the way. It was not a very hard trek at first but every minute that passed by, trekking becomes more challenging.

First stop is the store. It is time to double check supplies. Yes, there was a store where you can rest and refill supplies especially water. What I remember in this place was an old man who ask who happened to be our team leader. He did remind us the rules that we need to observe on our entire journey. It is imperative to bring down the stuff we brought up and leave nothing but foot prints.

Trekking is getting more and more challenging as we move to the nest stop. However, it is getting more fun as well. Make sure to bring lots and lots of water especially if you are diaphoretic like me for you needed it. In addition to that, ensure that you have sufficient sleep the night before trekking. Seriously, you need it as well.

After burning thousands of calories, we finally reach Papaya River. Of course, everyone is hungry thus we started to prepare food shortly following arrival. After the first meal, I opened a can of beer and started making my hepatocytes happy again. Just imagine a can of beer, beside Papaya River with your awesome pals.. All I can is Awesome!

We spent the night in Papaya River for most of us are tipsy already. It was one of the nights that I will never forget for I sleep in the open with trees that serve as my shelter. I will definitely tell that story to my future kids. One more thing, my GIT is so sensitive when it comes to water but the water in Papaya River is friends with my GIT. No stomach trouble the day after the trek.

The plan was to head to the summit the morning after but it was no longer fulfilled because most of us are already contented but I am one of the few who wants to do more. We made sure that we left nothing but foot prints as promised and took nothing but pictures and memories then we made our first step back to our humble homes.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Olongapo City: My other – other Home



I consider Olongapo City as one of my home towns for the simple reason that the grassroots of my family came from this place. It was indeed a perfect place to spend quality time with your family and friends not merely because of its beaches but also for awesome night life that it is offering.

I am a certified beach lover. Beaches might not be as good as those in the Southern region of the country but I can say it is good enough for people who want to escape the busy life in the metro. And Hey.. They have Camayan Beach! It was just three to four hour drive from the Metro depending on the traffic. Other mode of transportation is through buses (Victory Liner) going to the heart of the City itself.

Its city life is not too far from that of Malate but I felt safer loitering around in this place probably because I consider this place a home though I barely stay in this place during my childhood. It was way more tidy that the sidewalks in the metro and big thanks to those implementing cleanliness in the city. Kudos to you guys.

Shopping Malls are not as classy as those in Greenbelt but they just have Duty Free and recently SM Olongapo. Duty Free was situated inside the base though but they have free shuttle going there. That was when I last went there, I am not so sure nowadays. If Baguio City has Camp John Hay, Olongapo have SBMA. If Manila has Ocean Park then Olongapo have Ocean Adventure.

As far as I remember, my grand mom who was from this place told me that the name of the placed was derived from “ulo ng apo” which means head of God. Perhaps, that is the reason why there was a head in one of the major roads in the City. I cannot forget “Jilibee” which is obviously derived from one of the famous fast food chains in the country. But wait.. It is not a fast food chain but a grocery store. My family have some funny stories on this store during their childhood which I just over hear sometimes in the past.
 
If you you are planning to go to this place, try going to White Castle which is located in the middle of the sea besides boat ride is not that expensive. You can even spend few minutes there and swim but remember to bring cash because you need to pay 10 pesos extra per head. I remember my brother who brought 100 pesos but was lost while we are still on our way. And forget to do that awesome jump when you went there but be extra careful because it is at times slippery.

We are staying in SBMA most of the times especially if my grand mom is going home for she is renting a house for her entire stay. No idea how to rent a place there though because everything was taken cared by my relatives. What I know is, it is indeed expensive. Life inside is a bit boring for there is nothing much to do. Majority of my time was spent in activities that include laziness.

There it was! Olongapo City is my other – other home.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Camiguin: A Place You will Surely Love

When you hear the place Camiguin, maybe what comes to your mind might be “Lansones” right away for they produce the sweetest “Lansones” in the country. In addition to that, they also offer majestic places that anyone can enjoy.




 We arrived in Camiguin around 2 or 3 in the afternoon which I can barely remember because I went there almost 2 years ago with my family. It was a long drive from CDO plus a roro ride. There are only few hotels basing on my observation while roaming around the island. We stayed in Bahay Bakasyunan which is a very nice place itself situated in the seashore with lots of coconut trees around. Amenities include a swimming pool, an outdoor Jacuzzi and a lot more for sports and relaxation but I am not going to focus on that. We booked our room there and go on wheels again primarily to visit the tourist spots in the island.


First stop, hot spring. It is indeed a magnificent place near Mount Hibokhibok. I can spend the whole day there because the water is very therapeutic. It has cottages which I am not sure how much would be the rate because I am not handling finances that time. As much as I want to stay there, there are other spots to visit on the itenerary, we next to maximize our time.
 
Katibawasan falls is the next stop, the water is very cold but I still conquered it. I have to, for the sake of experience. It was a very nice water falls that will really capture the eyes of every tourist. My travel buddies cannot stop themselves from taking pictures of the water falls and so do I.

Next stop is the sunken cemetery, There is nothing much to do here aside from picture taking but the story behind it makes the place worthwhile to visit. I won’t tell the story so you can ask the locals when you visit. There are a few mementos available here.

It was already a tiring day so we made the decision to head back to the hotel and call it a day. I am not into swimming pool but I will not let this opportunity pass. I enjoyed the pool alone. It was great but as I am expecting I felt feverish after. I also tried Jacuzzi while drinking beer and it was awesome.

The following day was reserved for the best place in Camiguin, The white island! It was situated in the middle of the sea with nothing but sand. Who cares about sun burn? Its Camiguin’s best place and it is my first time so sun burn? Bring it on! There are life jackets for rent in the shore line before going there. The waves in going there is really high so my mom is a bit scared but for me, it is fun!

There was a lot of people there building sand castle, snorkelling, swimming and others simply savouring the moment of being there like me. I tried doing all of the fun activities there though. When it is already lunch time, we head back to the hotel and took our breakfast because we still have a roro to catch.

If you are planning to visit Camiguin, make sure to stay there for at least 3 days or more because I know that Camiguin has move to offer. Two days and one night is not enough to discover the beauty of the place. I will surely go back!