Sunday, December 25, 2011

Dolefil's Caravan of Hope

Parties were over and I need to pause. While I'm planning to celebrate a more meaningful Christmas, Dolefil came up with a plan of a relief operation for the victims of typhoon Sendong in Cagayan de Oro City. Since I don't have much money to donate more, without a second thought, I volunteered myself to be part of Dolefil's Caravan of Hope. It was a quick decision that needed quick preparation for my first ever relief operation activity in a far away place. And together with more than sixty other volunteers including Dolefil Mountaineers, I went to CDO with mixed emotions -- excited to help the homeless families but I also felt sad for them because Christmas is also on its way.

The Caravan of Hope is another CSR of Dolefil as its response to provide aide to the victims of calamities such as typhoon Sendong which left CDO with homeless families. In a short span of time, the caravan has gathered overwhelming support both monetary and in kind not just from the employees of Dolefil but throughout the entire Dole Company as well. This activity is in partnership with Mahinatana Foundation, Dole Stanfilco and its Kasilak Development Foundation. Also supporting the caravan are Dolefil's business partners such as Unified Engineering. This is also in cooperation with Xavier University Social Involvement Office.

The volunteers from Dolefil
The journey towards CDO was longer than I thought. We passed through Carmen and encountered roads that were under construction. I can't believe we traveled almost twelve hours. When we reached the city, it was drizzling and it added to a feeling of depression. We also told that the entire city is experiencing water supply scarcity so most of the establishments there are making ways just to save water. We have also witnessed that residents were at the mercy of the scheduled water supply from a few potable water resources.

Next day came and we needed to wake up early for the briefing at Xavier University. The whole team were divided into three (3) groups for the simultaneous relief operations in four (4) different evacuation centers in the city. One team was assigned in a badly hit area of Macasandig where its barangay hall became the temporary home of 1,091 families. Another group was assigned in City Central Elementary School for the 898 families occupying there. The last team was advised to do the relief operation in two different centers -- the Canitoan Elementary School with 672 families and the West Central Elementary School with 640 families. Each family was given important items for their consumption -- rice, noodles, sardines, Dole fruit cups, Dolefil Christmas Packs, blankets, plastic mats, quilts, water, toothpaste, toothbrush and slippers.

I was assigned to take the photos of the operation so I got the chance to visit all the assigned areas. When we got to our first stop at Canitoan Elementary School, my heart was crushed to see the evacuees both young and old staying in a covered court of the school with only pieces of cartons as their protection against the cold surface of the floor while their bunch of few stuffs that were saved during the flood were lying beside them if not hanging on the sidewalls of the place. Our next destinations revealed much of the worst cases of the typhoon Sendong victims -- no enough food and water, people everywhere busy collecting and battling for relief goods, garbage almost all over, some were sick and others were also busy organizing their tiny space in the hall while having high hopes that they can get out of the miserable place someday. And the children, their innocence was blemished with such a traumatic experience. I just prayed that they can still enjoy their youth in a normal condition. I can't believe it. The scenario as seen in television is real right before my very eyes. 

Canitoan Evacuation Center
West Central Elementary School
City Central Elementary School
Macasandig Barangay Hall
Slipper distribution at Xavier University
I noticed during the distribution of goods that while some people are still in the state of shock with their current situation, most of them are so delighted to see people who extended their helping hands to donate and made extra time for them. As we greet them "Merry Christmas" they did a hopeful respond with a sincere "Thank you very much!" in their voices. T'was really touching as you can see from their eyes that somehow they were a bit relieved of their situation. 

This cute kid is a symbol of hope
This humbling experience taught me lots of lessons. While we enjoy water and food especially this season, somewhere in this place are experiencing scarcity of those essential things. While most  of us are complaining that life sucks due to little discomfort we have encountered, think of some people who don't even have beds so that they can sleep properly during the cold nights. I wonder how the victims of Sendong can cheer "Merry Christmas" in a situation such as theirs. The long hours of travel may not be enough to equate the plight of some Cagayanons but it felt good that somehow with these little ways of helping people in need, we can find a true meaning of Christmas in our hearts.

1) Dole Philippines, Inc 
4) Allan Diola
8) Unified Engineering & other Dolefil Business Partners
9) Mahinatana Foundation
10) Dole Stanfilco
11) Kasilak Development Foundation
12) Xavier University

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mananum Na 'Ta (Let's Plant)

I bet I’m a no green thumb but I tried my luck in planting pineapple. Good thing I joined the 2011 Ceremonial Pineapple Planting of Dolefil. More than 400 management staffs of Dolefil were gathered to fill Field 201A with pineapple planting materials.

Planting pineapple with Dolefil's MD Simon Denye
It’s the first ever pineapple planting for the management team. One purpose for this activity is to make us all aware of the hardship of our planters experienced each day to make a living, so that we can also appreciate more their contribution to the company. By 2013, there will be a Ceremonial Harvesting for these pineapples that we have planted that’s why everyone was encouraged to take more photos for the before-and-after comparison when that time comes.

As early as four in the morning, everyone was gathered at the Central Station for the jump-off. The actual buses used by the planters were also used to transfer everyone to the assigned management block somewhere in Brgy. Polo, Polomolok, South Cotabato. Cold early morning breeze filled the air and it added to the excitement of the first time pineapple planters. After the opening program which was hosted by me and Mae Mae, the mob went to their respective area to commence the so-called planting. We were given gloves and planting iron to do the task. We were taught how to plant the pineapples correctly as well. With cool OPM music as the background, we we’re all in the mood for this rare kind of opportunity. Read: Magtanim ay Di Biro and Leron Leron Sinta plus many more, we did dancing while planting too in our colorful planting outfits. After the ceremony, there served breakfast called pastel in chicken and pork flavor plus Dole Juices to refresh our body in full sweat.

Early morning set-up with my co-host Mae Mae
Planting pineapple is not that easy
With my General and Admin Services Family
Chicken and pork pastel for breakfast
Despite the fun, I can never deny that planting is all-sweat, energy-draining activity. While we did just 50 plantings each, a regular planter does up to 5,000 plantings in a day. Though pineapple planting is never too easy, at the end of the day there’s a sense of pride that one day, there comes the harvest, each one of us contributed to the success story of Dolefil.

1) Jess Lapid for the photos
2) Khun Areerat  and Khun Wiphawee of Dole Thailand for the photos
3) Arleen Baterbonia for the photos

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Blogfest 2.0 – A Smorgasbord of New Learning

Hitting two birds with one stone is a cliché but this time, the Blogfest 2.0 was more than just a stone. It was a buffet of ace knowledge empowering a novice blogger like me – a smorgasbord so to speak!

I have more than one reason why I value my experience during the Blogfest2.0.

1.0) That was one of my ‘firsts’ in blogging world. As the biggest gathering of talented bloggers in the area, I felt honored to be part of the history of Sox Bloggers. Even if I haven’t got the chance to rub elbows with most of the participants, sitting inside the Sun City Complex Hall while listening to the speakers was a remarkable experience.

My Blogfest 2.0 kit
2.0) The speakers are super-duper great. While most of them were not familiar to me, I have witnessed and admired their individual caliber when it comes to their chosen fields. The learning that they have shared is worth keeping, most of it was eye-openers for me –- truly amazing. I have to say this: It’s very refreshing to see and hear Mae Paner a.k.a Juana Change live in person. Her style, for me, stood out among all the speakers that day.

The Blogfest 2.0 speakers
3.0) It’s good to see different faces of bloggers. There were younger and older bloggers who are also learning new things just like me. By just looking at them, I have sensed that they are also excited to write their new posts and share their experiences to their readers during the event.

Fellow blogger Yadu Karu
4.0) Despite of the fact that I was a bit in a culture-shock that day, the event has inspired me to be a responsible, active blogger. Now, I’m more conscious on what to post and how it will inspire or even affect my readers. I just hope that this is the start of my momentum as a serious blogger. By the way, I won a red whistle with a 2-GB flash drive from the raffle. Who said that I'm not lucky enough?

With Gwynee Ebol from Dolefil
5.0) Having witnessed the Philippine Blog Awards for Mindanao Awards Night, I told myself that I need a lot of enthusiasm to pursue this new passion of mine. The winners, for sure, started just like me and continue their blogging journeys as victors, winning respect, gaining recognition.

So how many birds did I hit that day? It’s more than enough right?

And they’re not birds by the way.

They are phoenix!

Yeah! Blogfest 2.0 is more than just a stone.

Blogfest 2.0 rocks! 

A stolen shot after the event
1) Earl Cielo of for the photos
2) Gwyn Ebol for the photos and company
3) Yadu Karu of for the photos

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Friday, November 4, 2011

The Day I Met "Princess"

“We bumped into each other and it was an instant hit. I hopped into her and positioned myself on her back. I took a strong grip on her body, but not tight enough to make me fall. It was such a different sensation. Until now, I still can’t help myself from the wonderful experience she brought. It’s true, there’s nothing like the first time!”

It was a sunny Sunday morning when my heart leaped with glee. It could be due to a mixture of tension and excitement for that day’s remarkable activity.

A friend’s accomplice, a smart young lady, picked me up at the hotel. After hailing a taxi, we jumped in and moved our way to a far-flung nest of valuable knowledge. During the ride, we had a chitchat about anything that concerns me. We also exchanged thoughts on life in general. Almost an hour later, we found ourselves battling over the pebbled road towards the building of our destination then finally, the real start-of-the-day begun.

The pebbled road towards the nest of valuable knowledge
My good bubbly friend welcomed me right at the entrance of the hall. I can see in her that she’s also excited on that day’s history-in-the-making. We arrived an hour early so we have so much time to prepare. She introduced me to the people around who will complete the ingredients for the day. I met new faces of different colors, sizes and shapes. They were young, I mean younger, and I was mesmerized by their youth and was refreshed with their vibrant aura. These guys surely love chart topper hits so I played songs from my latest collection. And alas! Most of them were singing along with the player. Good sign! I decided just to be calm and easy. The clock told us that we need to start but the good thing was we already set the wheels in motion.

The hours came in so fast from the kickoff and we have called a halt to the interaction for the lunch break. The initial gab fest was fulfilling and there I met some more personalities. There were singers, party goers, fashionistas and most of them were lovers of fun. Not bad, the thing is they are ready to lend their ears and join the colloquy. Some were matured and some were learned, they also joined the exchange.

Afternoon came and we all then were simulated to experience something that we never did before. I would say it was a blast and everybody else made the scene! I can tell it in their beaming eyes that they’re all excited to explore more. Unfortunately, we only have limited time to accomplish everything. With that, I have met some more personalities who outstand the day. There was this "white chick", who in her sweet sassy ways, I can tell that she’ll be all right. There’s also this "marvy guy", who was associated with wings by the group, he’s a promising responsible guy. I also met this simple yet snoopy girl whose curiosity I appreciated more. Most of them were smart-alecks and team heads wannabes – bright future way ahead of them.

Time came and we have decided to call it a day. Truly, it was such an inspiring scenario – another first so remarkable to me.

But hey, what about Princess?

Oh! How I met Princess was so candid. I met her in the morning where everything was fresh but I got to know her better before that day ended. I really have to find a way just to take photo of her so that I can take a look at her whenever I want to.

Oh! Did I already say that Princess is a mode of transportation? 

Yes, she is! She’s a single motorcycle with side car that can accommodate four (4) persons - two at the front and another two at the back. Plus one can ride at her back too, just like what I did, and that makes it five passengers! What so lovely about her is that she has this huge umbrella to protect her passengers from sun and rain - just like real royalties! She can be the latest craze and I bet she’s one-of-a-kind.

We bumped into each other and it was an instant hit. I hopped into her and positioned myself on her back. I took a strong grip on her body, but not tight enough to make me fall. It was such a different sensation. Until now, I still can’t help myself from the wonderful experience she brought. It’s true, there’s nothing like the first time!

This is "Princess" - back view!

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

National Milo Marathon -- From Start to Finish

"This is the day!", I told my self. I woke up at 3am, a breakthrough for a non-early-riser like me, had another set for my checklist, completed some stretching techniques before I hit the shower, backed myself up with a power meal then I left the house. I did it all for the 35th National Milo Marathon Gensan Leg. Sounds serious huh! Really I was.

After I and my friends zoomed our way to Gensan Oval Plaza, we've witnesses runners from all ages getting ready through their own various ways before the voice over announced to get set for the big race that day. We lined up for the 5K Category and boy!, t'was a whole herd of two-legged racers equally excited with a first timer like me. Picture taking here and there, I have even bumped into a blogger mentor, Avel Manansala, and of course, we also had a photo shoot for some sort of souvenirs.

Few minutes before the marathon started
Large group of runners getting ready for the race

The gun shot was heard as the official start of the race for our category and everyone else roared like victorious soldiers heading for an important battle of our lives. Well, I was not surprised. One can really yell to exclaim the excitement out. And off we went.

The marathon experience

It was a fine day for all of us. The weather was good. The sun rose peacefully without a threat of cumulus clouds. Everybody enjoyed the moment, the moment of a marathon, running, jogging and walking all the way to reach the end point. We even met some familiar faces. We were also amazed with people in their running outfits. We were glad to see little kids passing by with their moms and dads. And of course, we enjoyed the experience of exploring the main streets of Gensan with our running shoes. 

Glad to see families get together and kids-on-the-go
Reaching the limits while exploring Gensan 
Familiar faces from top to bottom (clockwise):
Dolefil Managing Director Mr. Simon Denye with some staffs,
officemates, Sox Bloggers' Lead Sir Avel Manansala

An hour have past and we reached the finish line at last. Bathed in our own sweat, we never felt that we were tired during the course. The energy was there. All smiles were present especially when a certificate was handled to each one of us. Very fulfilling!

Approaching the Finish Line
The proud runners with their certificates
All smiles and never tired

Imagine, with over two thousand participants, I ran the race and finished it! I got a copy of the result for our category and I ranked as the 1,478th to reach the finish line with a chip time of 1:01:07. Not bad enough, right? Not quite! 

The thing is, I never joined to race, never in my dreams that I wanted to become a runner. I joined for the experience - the thrill, the interaction, the people with their friends and families, the moment. Above all, I also would like to take part of the event's advocacy to the less fortunate. With my own little ways such as this, I know that this act would come a long long way not just 5K or even 21K. I'll join again if there will be next!

I have passed the 3K, did the 5K and my next target is 21K!
Why not?

Here's the official result of 5K category. 
thAEnk-worthy: RUNRIO and my officemate for sharing this.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

“Burp” Experience with Pizza Hut Tuscani

The new Pizza Hut Tuscani Pizzas

Pizza Hut revealed its new set of pizzas that everyone will surely love. The Tuscani pizzas have freshly made thinner crusts with fuller flavor. Imagine the crust that is soft inside and slightly crispy on the outside – way different from the other thin crust pizza brands.

This comes with five exciting, tasty flavors to indulge with: Supremo, Premium All Meat, Gourmet BBQ Chicken, 3-Cheese Bacon & Spinach and my favorite Roast Beef. They are all available in two sizes: Medium (10 inches) and Super Family (14 inches).

Best for pizza fanatics, it has a power cast of 9 choice toppings - beef, black olives with garlic and olive oil roasted bell peppers, Italian sausage, mozzarella cheese, onions, parmesan, pepperoni, and smoked ham.

Premium All Meat
This is a meat-lovers delight. Name it: bacon, beef, Italian sausage, pepperoni, salami, and smoked ham topped on mozzarella and parmesan cheese layer with premium tomato sauce. It's a complete treat!

Gourmet BBQ Chicken
It’s a Chicken pizza like no other. A complete feast of BBQ chicken with honey BBQ sauce, marinated chicken, olive oil roasted bell peppers and red onion.

3-Cheese Bacon & Spinach
A cheese galore that is so flavorful. Another gourmet pizza with spinach, bacon with béchamel sauce and a multi-layer of most loved cheeses – parmesan, cheddar and mozzarella.

Roast Beef
It’s really an eye-candy with its garlic steak sauce drizzles in crosshatch design. A perfect combo of premium roast beef and shiitake mushrooms with cheddar and mozzarella cheeses and premium tomato sauce.

Pizza Hut’s latest flavors Tuscani are must-try. You can’t get enough with just single slice. You’ll be craving for more! 

No wonder this became the latest favorite of Ms. Universe 3rd Princess Shamcey Supsup, another GenSan’s pride and the latest indorser of Pizza Hut, the home to the country's pinaka-pizza.

Shamcey Supsup, the endorser of Pizza Hut Tuscani Pizzas
True enough, Pizza Hut Tuscani spells the word “burp”!

Burp! Excuse me...

My "Burp" experience with Sox Bloggers
* Mr. Jasper Baracca, Restaurant Manager of Pizza Hut KCC Mall of Gensan, for the "burp" accommodation
* Sox Bloggers, headed by Sir Avel Manansala, for another "burp" experience
* Dimple Dulay for the photos

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