I got out of the van and looked at my wristwatch. It was 8 pm already. I had a very long week and today was no different. I also barely slept the previous night.

I can see the mall from where I stand. I crossed the street and debated on whether I should still eat dinner and buy some groceries. I was too tired to do both. I decided to just go home.

It was still quite a long walk…12 mins I think.  On my way home, I thought about the things that need to be done for work. There are a lot. I cannot even fathom where to start and I cannot imagine if there is an endpoint.

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Changing Paths

Yesterday after defending a research program for renewal, one of the board members of our office asked, “What is your background?”.

I replied, “I took Chemistry as my undergraduate course, then International Health for my graduate course”.

He then replied, “Wow. I never knew you were a chemist. Do you want to go back to the lab?”.

I was so tempted to reply, “Why, do you want to pirate me?”

Hah. It’s not the first time I got this reaction in my current line of work. The project leaders of one of the studies I manage once asked me, “Do you know any chemist? I need one for the project.”

I joked, “Do you want to hire me?”

Shocked, he then replied, “You’re a chemist? We’ve been working for a while now, but I never knew!”

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We’re All Mad Here

As Alice in Wonderland has established, to a certain extent the best people are mad. If not, how does one one survive this world which on its own is chaotic?  Similarly, who says Christmas can’t be mad and be celebrated ala Wonderland?

Our office has taken Christmas decoration to another notch this year! We transformed our working spaces into the world of Alice through the use of recycled materials. And guess what, we are battling for the “best decoration” title! So, friends, I am asking as small favor. If like me,you believe in madness that does not need to be outlandish, do me a little help and win our division (RDMD) clinch the title. Please click the photo below and hit the like button!

Thank you and Merry Christmas! I am sure your madness, like RDMD’s’, will certainly help you tackle difficult challenges with a fun and bright perspective. 🙂


Thoughts and Singapore

As an ASEAN country, it can’t be helped that the Philippines is often compared to Singapore. After all, Singapore is an epitome of a success story from its efficient government, transportation system, sustainable development strategies, etc. Considering it is such a young nation (at 50 years old), one can’t help but be amazed at how fast they have progressed.

Marina Bay Sands: one of the icons of SG.

Marina Bay Sands: one of the icons of SG.

I had the opportunity to visit the country last September for a training on the co-benefits of climate change and health. It was my first time to go there and it was great because part of my training was on the policy process of Singapore for environmental protection and air pollution management. I had nothing but admiration for how they do things in the country. At least from the training alone, I got the impression that the local leadership is strong and has good vision. Policies were evidence-based, and properly implemented and monitored. Pride is imminent not just in the manner our speakers, who were government officials, talked about their work but even in the way ordinary Singaporeans whom I had a chance to interact with speak of their government.

SG: Cultural melting pot

SG: Cultural melting pot

One does not even need to be in a formal training to learn a lot about the country. I realized from my daily encounters that the citizens are highly aware of their history particularly of the reforms Lee Kuan Yew carried out. They are also very knowledgeable on laws from housing, waste management, energy efficiency to air pollution and of the heavy repercussions for violating the law.

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Managing How to Work, Study and Travel Simultaneously

The other week, my classmates and I were joking on our Facebook group what we would award each other for our upcoming graduation this July 25. One classmate said he would give me a “Master Procrastinator Award”. I was appalled so I asked him why.

He replied, “Because every time I am cramming for our paper or an exam, I would see in your posts that you are either in Korea, El Nido or some random beach. You don’t seem to be bothered by school or work at all”.

Am I one?? (Image credits to keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk)

I was surprised that some of them had a perception that I am a “procrastinator”, so I clarified that when I am on travel, I bring my iPad and laptop. I study while waiting in airports and ports. I write papers at night or during the wee hours of the morning. I always put my phone on roaming to make sure I don’t miss anything work or school-related while I am overseas. Simply said, I multitask.

I always get questions related to this: How do you juggle things? How do you manage to keep up at work and school and still get to travel? So I thought I’d share of some of “tactics” of how I managed to do all three for the past years:

1. Multitask but do so efficiently. This is inevitable. I am not someone who can let go of my day job just to prioritize school or travel. I don’t have someone who I can say I can lean on  in case I get into financial trouble. I don’t want rely on scholarships either because in the Philippines, more of often than not, stipends are delayed. I also still send money to my family back home every once in a while. Multitasking is not ideal, but to be able to do all things I want to do and have to do, this is the compromise I make.

I am lucky enough that my classes are online. So while on travel, I can still participate in class discussion late at night or write papers at dawn. When I have something important for work that coincides with my travel, I usually check my email at least three times a day to make sure my workmates would still get the information they need from me.

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Recalling Laiya

One year in the making yet I haven’t still talked about our office’s team building last year. It  was a two-day activity  held in Blue Coral Beach Resort in Laiya, Batangas. I could barely remember what happened except for the fact that our team won the games! Ha!

Blue Coral's beach front.

Blue Coral’s beach front.


Having a pool works to the resort's advantage.

Having a pool works to the resort’s advantage.

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Good Morning!

Frequent visitors of this blog probably already know I am sucker for sunrises and sunsets.  Instead of thinking about coffee, news or how I look when I wake up, I usually look at the clock to see if I can still catch the sunrise or if I already missed it. Depending on what time I wake up or in which side of the Philippines I am, I can end up with a view like this:


.. or this…

Pardon the electric wires.

Pardon the electric wires.

And if I am on a travel and I am with friends or offcemates, I can end up asking them  to do this early in the morning:


Failed timing.

Good morning! Jump and feel how alive you are. 🙂

This post is my entry to Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme Good Morning!

School Girl

Back in my college days in UP, when a classmate or a friend labels you jokingly as a “school girl”, it means that you were too focused on your studies that you almost don’t have a social life anymore. I had been called as such several times primarily because even though I was active in dormitory activities, I didn’t have any organizations. During my free time I was either found in the library or the dormitory.

 I felt sad when I was called as such back then because I thought being focused on my studies was actually never a negative thing. Also, I had my reasons for not joining any campus organizations. I was a working student and just balancing work and studies was already difficult.

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Keep Your Word

One lesson I learned from my freelance writing jobs is I should not commit to an assignment if I can’t beat the deadline. The same goes for writing about topics which I am not very familiar about. But sometimes there are unavoidable situations which cause me to submit a paper late or in worse case, request it to be reassigned to another writer.  The price I paid was steep. The fee for reassigning the paper to another writer was deducted from my salary and I was put on probationary status. Since then, I have been more careful in selecting my assignments and I have always tried to finish a paper at least an hour before a deadline even if it meant not sleeping for 24 hours straight.

Sadly, the same kind of penalty cannot be imposed for friends or relatives who do not keep their word. After all, friendship and any other form of human relation are complex in nature and cannot be caged in boundaries and rules that apply for instance in our work.  We can always go back to the “we are just human” argument that we can’t control people, situations and decisions. We can’t always expect things to happen the way we imagined them.

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Respect, Knock Knock!

A few days ago, I experienced what could have been the biggest slap to me so far as a public servant. I accompanied a client to a cashier of a department. Unfortunately, there was a problem in the documents brought by my client. Instead of properly explaining to us to resolve the problem, the cashier simply shouted at us and said, “Ibalik nyo yan! Di yan pwede! (Return that! That is not acceptable!)”.

 I was so embarrassed because my client had to go back all the way to Manila (we were in Taguig) and return again just to address a matter which could have easily been solved if she allowed us to explain.  I was so pissed but I decided not push the matter because my client could be placed in more jeopardy.

 This is not the first time I encountered “scary” or “rude” government employees. But most of the time, I just let it go because these people may have reasons why they have such attitude. I also learned through experience that if I talk to them in a nice and patient way, they will also treat you nicely. Of course, there are exceptions. There are simply people who are too rude and filled with bitterness for the world.

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(Travel Diary) Davao on a Whim

Another travel post! I don’t plan on turning this site into a travel blog but since it is what has been consuming my life lately, here’s another travel post. Last October 19-21, 2012, I was in Davao City to attend the 23rd annual convention of the Philippine Society for Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology. It’s very memorable because aside from the fact that it was my first time in Davao, it’s also my first official travel outside of Luzon. I handle big R&D projects but since most of them are based on Metro Manila and nearby provinces, I rarely get a chance to be on official business outside of Luzon. So when the opportunity came to go to Davao, I immediately grabbed it. I was blessed enough to come with my boss and my two officemates, Io and Ate Pearl, so the whole trip was  not so lonesome.

Another satisfying achievement to add on my list.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life

Nowadays, everyday life easily translates to work for me. It does not necessarily mean that my life only revolves around work but it just that most hours of the day is devoted for working. It can be tiresome. At times, I just want to curse every process that makes my work even harder. Life is like that. There is no such thing as free lunch. However, you should not allow yourself to drown in the process.  Thankfully, I have people at work who share my burden. There is nothing to celebrate about suffering together but let’s admit it: it’s easier when you see it’s not only you that needs to put your feet forward.

Summer Kickoff at White Rock Waterpark and Beach Resort!

Last March 30-31, 2012, our office held its annual teambuilding at White Rock Waterpark and Beach Hotel inSubic, Zambales. The place is ideal for companies and organizations that are looking for summer getaway without the hassles of long road travels.

White Rock shoreline.

How to Get There

Since it was an office activity, we had no problems getting there courtesy of the bus arranged by the Transportation Committee. (Side note: We have committees every time there’s a big office event. I’ve been a part of the venue committee for the office’s past two teambuildings). The group left Bicutan at around 8 AM. We arrived at Puregold in SBMA proper at around 12 NN already due to the heavy traffic we encountered in EDSA.

Front lobby.

If you are going there via public transportation, all you have to do is a board a Victory Liner bus going to Olongapo. Travel time is about four to five hours depending on the traffic. From the Olongapo terminal, you have to walk a bit to the main highway then board a “red” jeepney. White Rock will be situated on your left just after the strip of beaches in barangay Baretto.

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It’s That Time of Year!

Woah! No update for almost a month! Before anything else, let me greet everyone a belated Merry, merry Christmas! How was your Christmas? Mine was rainy, quiet and simple but nonetheless still happy as I expect it to be.

December is always one of my busiest months as explained by my perennial inability to update frequently in the said month.  The year-end requirements at work, the Christmas parties that need to be attended, the gifts that should be wrapped, the reunions that require our attendance… Whew! It’s a miracle how we manage to come out alive out this super hectic month.

So… here’s a rundown of what I’ve been up to this past month: parties, reunions, gatherings and of course more parties! Be prepared for a parade of pictures!

A simple merienda and videoke session for our division's party.

This year's theme for the office Christmas party was rock.

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Dear November

November is just around the concern and what does this mean? Trip to Bicol to visit those who have already gone ahead of us. For working people like me, it’s like hitting two birds with one stone as I get to have some vacation too.

There was a time when I totally loathed November. Why? Because it’s the month that one of the most important people in my life was taken from me. November is a painful reminder of what I’ve lost and how my life has turned upside down. But time is kind. Wounds heal. Pain subsides. People mature.

Nowadays, I am looking at November with more optimism. It’s because I’ve also received so much blessing during this month the past years. My mom celebrates her birthday during November. I have enough reason to thank God for giving me such a good mom. November 2011 will also mark my 2nd year at PCHRD. While I feel I am getting farther and farther from where I initially imagined myself, I could not ask for better workmates.

So November, come fast! I can’t wait for you to come.