Wednesday, August 21, 2013

7th Cutting Edge, The Foodtruck Throwdown

A few weeks back, I was invited to judge a competition amongst the students of De La Salle College of Saint Benilde, School of HRIM entitled "7th Cutting Edge, The Food truck Throw down".

It was not hard for me to say yes, since food and design are two of my passion.  Although the organizers have set the criteria, each of the judges have different fields of expertise therefore resulting to different approach in judging.

As a general unsolicited advice to the teams, I'm looking at how they balance the product with the concept and design.  Some has great concepts but lucks luster in their product.  Some has a good product but exaggerates on the concept.  Some focused more on the product and failed to make the food truck just as interesting.

Congratulations to Bunzwhich, PK Generation, The Caribbean, Healthy Avenue and Nacho Warma.  My scores for them were good enough to qualify them to the next round... if there's any hehe.

The Caribbean

I love the product.  The flavored crabsticks and squid balls were so addicting.  I like the Pirate Ship theme of truck and the way they integrate details like the sail and the wood planks in the design.  I was hoping that the Pirate theme was translated more on the display itself and not just the costumes.  Because there's not much to see in the display, I felt the costumes overpowers product.

Healthy Avenue

I like the display.  The consistency of the design of the food truck, the uniforms and the collateral to the Healthy Food for People on the Go was spotless.  My issue on the team is on product knowledge.  Since they already have created the menu, and they claim that its healthy, they should be able to answer the question what makes your food healthy easily.  It can be expressed in calorie count, fat burning and muscle building properties of the ingredients.  Maybe they were just nervous when I approached them, but I did not get the answer I was looking for.

PK Generation

I like the product and the concept.  It's just not as spectacular as the other group.

Nacho Warma

I did not see the efforts to marry the Mexican and Middle Eastern Concept.  I felt that these are two concessions sharing the same truck.


I like the uniform, the graphics and the travel theme.  The Pandesal with international fillings failed to live up to the concept.

Moving on to the Teams I like.  Tied at 4th place were 5 teams.  The Breakfast Lab, Bursilog, Crazy Calzones, That's a Wrap and Wheels on Fire.  What's common with these teams is that I think they have a breakthrough product and they develop their concept to compliment it. 

The Breakfast Lab

I like the product.  I love the idea that it allows you to interact with what you eat.  The uniforms were functional.  The display and menu were consistent to the theme.  The design of the food truck could have been improved more with graphics.  They could have added a maze of pipes or just have kept a vintage silver steam punk design.


I like the idea of making our favorite Si-Log portable by wrapping it like a burrito.  The color choice and the graphics catch the attention.  The uniforms were fun and functional and consistent the theme.  I don't see how the Vinta's of Zamboanga fit into the concept, but I like how it turned out.  They could have just focused on what’s common between the Philippines and Mexico that is the Fiesta.  The muted pastel colors made it look more expensive.

Crazy Calzones

Making Calzones convenient is a great idea.  I like the uniform and crazy patterns.  The design of the truck is also consistent with the theme and colors.  My suggestion is to use less of the black and more of the red and orange or add white to balance the dark shades.  Black and Orange looks Halloween to me.

That's a Wrap

First, I love the energy of the team and its members.  The way they interact is enough to get me to buy their product.  I like the concept more than the menu items.  They have the best menu board for me.  The uniforms were simple yet utilitarian and true to the theme.  The design of the truck looks like a crew van, much like a delivery truck that I think is still consistent.

Wheels on Fire

The Fire Truck inspired food truck is my favorite.  I like how they simplified the fireman's outfit into their uniforms.  The menu items were consistent to the theme and I like how you can specify the intensity of heat that goes into your food.

My 3rd top Choice is Luto ng Ina Mo

Although their product is very common, they have managed to make it more interesting with their Name, Menu Board, Food Truck Design and Graphics.  I like the Filipiniana uniform, but would have simplified it a bit.   The Terno would restrict movements especially inside a food truck with limited space and ventilation.  The display communicates the concept very well.  I love the Bahay Kubo inspired Food Truck.

My 2nd Place is Mighty Meaty

I like the quality of their presentation and display.  They're one of the few teams that considered integrating innovation and sustainability in the truck design by adding solar panels.  The uniforms were simple and utilitarian.  I like how they packaged the product into the sporty athletic boxing concept.  Choosing the females to be the boxers was a nice touch and balances the very masculine graphics, theme and colors.  The portion of the Meat Cakes could have been smaller, but the packaging was good.

My Top Choice would be Kahit Saan

I love the Jeepney inspired food truck.  The menu items were common but true to their market.  Their display communicates the theme very well.  The uniforms were utilitarian.  The vest added a nice touch and actually helps in delivering their service.  The Plate Number inspired menu board was genius.  The way they group their menu items with Jeepney slogans is also very creative.  I also like the dynamics of the team.

Now to my least favorites:

Waffles on Wheels

I like the product, the packaging and the menu board.  I just hoped that the food truck design was just as good.

Crepes Wonderland

I like the concept, the uniform, the display and choice of colors.  But the Crepes, and design of the food truck lacks the whimsy to live up to the concept.

YOLO Sandwiches

The social media concept was ok, but I don’t see how it connects to the sandwich.  The food truck was utilitarian but lacks design.

The Baconation

The Menu Items were good and the food sample was great.  The Graphics, Menu Boards and Uniforms were OK.  I just wish there's more to their design than the colors of bacon.  An Italian Deli inspired food truck perhaps. 

Yummi Eummi

I like the promotional uniform.  The product was OK.  The areas for improvement would be the Logo, packaging and food truck design.

The Cheetoes

I like the vintage diner, Beatles inspired concept.  The product seemed ok and the menu board was good.  They could have improved more on how to connect the product to the concept.  Also the food truck design needs improvement.

After combining the scores from the other two judges, the following emerged as winners:

Top: Healthy Avenue, 1st Place, Middle: That's a Wrap, 2nd Place, Bottom: Mighty Meaty, 3rd Place
Top: Wheels on Fire, Best Uniform, Bottom: Kahit Saan, Most Unique Concept

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Habagat, The Maring Experience

This is the worst and hopefully the last flooding I will experience in my life.  I remember during Ondoy when the water reached the first step of our house and were located on the second floor.

Last Sunday, we went shopping in Divisoria unaware of what will happen in coming hours and days.  We left Lucky Chinatown around 8PM and head towards the direction of Manila City Hall.  The water was gutter deep until we reached the Round Table where the road becomes visible again.  I figured Roxas Boulevard would have a lesser chance of flooding compared to Mabini and Taft Avenue and we took that route on our way to EDSA.  The road from Quirino Grandstand was gutter deep up to the area fronting Malate Church.  From Roxas Boulevard I made a right turn right after the CCP Complex taking the Diosdado Macapagal Avenue.  Traffic was light until we reached EDSA.  The rain was pouring hard and we were inching our way for almost an hour.  That's the time decided to just go back to our house in Makati, which is nearer than our original destination at SM Megamall.

We made a U-turn at EDSA near the Heritage Hotel going back to Roxas Boulevard and turned right at Gil Puyat Avenue.  Surprisingly, the traffic was lighter compared to that of EDSA.  As we approach Dian Street, I noticed that the flood is getting deeper and light vehicles are going back.  I decided to turn right at Dian Street, which was so scary because I can feel the water beneath the car.   I was not really sure where to go at that point.  I just wanted to reach Filmore Street as quick as possible.  Fortunately, the car survived the ordeal and we reached the house around 10PM.

I was originally on leave for the next two days and was glad that work was suspended early that Monday.  I thought that the weather would continue to improve because the flooding subsided.  We were able to go to the Grocery to stock up on supply and I was able to bring my partner to work that evening.

The rain continued in the evening and around 3AM was awakened by the sound of thunder.  When I looked outside, the side streets are already flooded gutter deep and had to move the car to a higher ground around 5:30AM.

Filmore Corner Diesel 5:18 AM

Filmore was still passable at 5:19 AM

Where my car was originally parked.
Soon, the other vehicles parked on the street moved their vehicle.  The neighbors were helping each other moving the cars to higher ground.  This establishment caught my attention.  It's a place where Church service is conducted.  I can understand their need to reserve their parking slots during the day for their activities, but to keep it closed at night is just greedy.  Especially during emergency times like this.

Taken 5:30 AM
Taken at 6:00 AM

Taken at 6:00 AM

Taken at 6:00 AM

Taken 7:30 AM
My car at 1:30 PM
Its now 4:30 in the afternoon and the rain has been on and off.  The water is still above the sidewalk but its been subsiding.  Hopefully we can see the road as night time falls.  Stay safe everyone.

My car at 5:30 PM

Monday, August 12, 2013

Mt. Gulugod Baboy, My Third Climb for the Year

I don't really consider myself a mountaineer yet.  It's just one of the things I enjoy doing and I'm still pacing myself to conquer more difficult trails.  It was my sister who influenced me to climb.  When she left to migrate to Canada, she left me all her equipment and might as well put them to good use!

It was a long weekend with April 9, Friday declared a national holiday.  The night before, I went out with friends and had very little time to pack.  Before the night out, I was just able to take out the dirt inside the tent from my previous climb.  When we got home, half drunk, I packed clothes, my costume, because it was supposedly a themed climb, the tent I just cleaned earlier and whatever toiletries I could grab.  I also included what I can spare from our pantry, a can of tuna, pasta mix and chocolates.

I finished packing around 3AM and checked the itinerary.  With the call time at 9AM, I still have 5 hours to sleep.  Our meeting place was at Buendia, Taft, where terminals going south are located.  Woke around 8:30AM and was on my way to the meeting place with my partner driving the car.  I was the 9th person to arrive and by 10AM, all eleven of us took the bus to Batangas City.

From the Bus Terminal, we transferred to a Jeepney that would take us directly to the jump-off at Philpan Dive Resort for 100php per head. We made a quick stop to buy last minute provisions and lunch that we will eat along the trail.

We arrived at the jump-off around 2PM and started following the continuous uphill paved road to the registration area.  From there we paid 20php registration fee and started following the narrow trail to the campsite.  There are houses that offer shade and sells soft drinks at 12php per bottle.  After almost 3 hours, we reached the campsite in time for sunset.

Cloudy Sunset

Immediately, we pitched our tent and settled our things.  I made a quick trip to the summit, which was not very far to get a better vantage of the surrounding scenery.  When I got back, some have already started preparing dinner.  We had pasta, salad, a really good pesto sauce and vinaigrette dressing complimented with canned meat and tuna.  You eat however you want to combine them.

Socials started afterwards.  We have 6 bottles of brandy and 11 of us.  With the amount of alcohol consumed that night, just imagine how crazy our topics were.  Not even the rain stopped us.

Was glad to catch the sunrise!  Isn't this enough reason to climb?

Woke up early to catch the sunrise.  Another reason is that I am so gassy that morning and would like to spare my tent mates of toxic gas I was about to release. It wasn’t long until one by one, people started waking up and prepared breakfast.  After the meal, we cleared the camp and were on our way back to the resort.  We made a quick trip to the summit to have the group photo, but the clouds didn’t cooperate blocking the view, also insects that somehow want to be included in the picture joined us.

The trek down was much faster but more challenging.  The rained caused the trail to get muddy and slippery.  Some of us actually slipped once or twice going down.  We were back at the resort in about an hour. 

This is also the Anniversary climb for the group I joined, Guys4Mountains.  To celebrate, we took the opportunity to swim and catch up with other members who decided to follow at the resort.  Our contribution for the entrance and cottage amounted to 100php per head.  Around 2PM, we took the same jeep that brought us to the resort, back to the terminal with a cheaper fare of 80php.

By 3PM, we were on the bus bound for Manila.  As always, it was fun and I have gained new friends.  Looking forward to my 4th mountain next month!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Financial Wellness with Chinkee Tan

Lately in the office, we are bombarded with trainings after training that I literally have very little output at the end of the week.  Just this Tuesday, I was scheduled again to attend the financial wellness seminar of the famous Chinkee Tan.  I was skeptic at first, but found it to be entertaining and life changing.

Chinkee Tan was popular in TV as one of the Howie Boys of Randy Santiago, but now, he is known for sharing his success stories and financial wellness tips through talks, his radio program and books.

For the past two days, I have been obsessing about gaining my financial freedom.

Among the learnings he shared was Mindset + Action = Reaction.

I believe in the laws of attraction, The Secret, so this is not new to me.  I think, what's holding me back is that I don't dream big.  I am actually limiting myself.

Now am in the process of finding ways to increase my cash flow.  The 4 ways to do it is as follow:

C - Change your lifestyle
A - Always be open-minded for other opportunities
S - Save as much as you can
H - Have a long term perspective

Now, I am trying to change my lifestyle.  Not drastically though.  I am currently tracking my daily expenditure which I will continue for the next 30 days.  This way, I will know how much money I need to support my current needs and wants and what to give up in exchange for savings and investment.

His formula is 50/25/25.  Fifty percent goes to savings, 25 goes to investment and the last 25 goes to your expenses.

I cant believe that as of tonight, I have already spent 878 php.  If I continue spending the same amount daily, I need to earn 26,380, and that does not include the bills and rent.  No wonder I am left with nothing at the end of the month.

I have found a useful apps for Iphone called Money Tracker.

I also like the idea of keeping envelopes.  You set aside the money you need to pay for your bills in different envelopes, the same with the item you need to buy.  You put a date and try to compute how much you need daily in order to buy the item in time.

I really hope this would do me good.  I will just always remind myself that the Right Mindset + Right Action = Right Results!

Wish me luck!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Cafe in the Park, Dinner Buffet at Century Park Hotel - Manila

Nowadays, buffet restaurant prices have gone up to almost the same as their hotel counterpart.  Just this Friday, we were given Gift Certificates to dine at Cafe in the Park inside Century Park Hotel - Manila and the experience was still incomparable.

We couldn't have picked a better time.  My partner just had his braces installed and I just had my molars removed.  But that did not stop us from taking advantage of the many offerings of the restaurant.

The buffet area is divided into different sections.

The bread section

The Cold Cuts Section
The Sushi and Maki Station
The Salad Station
The Mongolian Barbecue Station
The Crepes and Ice Cream Teppanyaki Station
The Steak All You can Station
The Raw Food Station, where you can have the chef's prepare them any way you want.
The Sukiyaki Station
The Steak Station

The Main Entree Station with the Steak and Pasta Bar at the back
The salad station.
The buffet cost roughly 1200php/pax but with the many items you're getting, its really worth the bucks, and you also get the quality of service from a 5-Star otel.

Thanks to Atty. Marj and Benj for the GC.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

My Inaugural Speech

One of the item in my bucket list is to make a speech in front of a crowd.  My grades studying was not good enough to  entitle me a spot during graduation, so i just hoped that it's my beauty that would give me the opportunity.  I imagined myself walking on stage from end to end as my voice recorded speech plays in the background.   Towards the end, I would wave at the crowd on both sides with teary eyes and slowly confetti falls from the ceiling as I blew kisses to the crowd.

That remains a dream, well at least the speech part was granted sooner.  Having been elected as the new Chapter President for UAP Manila Corinthian, I was privileged to give my inaugural speech to the members that voted for me, witnessed by the National Officers and guest of the organization.

My relationship with the professional organization started even before I graduated.  I was a student assistant before in the late 90's for the convention that was held at Manila Midtown Hotel now Robinsons Place Ermita.  It was my mentor Arch Gabbie Cascante that allowed me to appreciate the world of the professional architects.  I was a confused child growing up but comforted to have chosen the right course and career for me.  Similarly, Arch. Fred Gacutan and Arch. Gil Evasco gave valuable lessons that not only honed my skills but my values as well.

I can still remember the day I  passed the board exam, It was Arch. Gabby who broke the news for me.  I will forever remember him for that.  When finally I had to choose the chapter where I should belong, I had no doubt but to join UAP Manila Corinthian Chapter.

Since then I was an active participant to the organization and finally became a part of the board under the leadership of Arch. Marlou Campaner.  From then I was a part of the board holding various positions.  It was through the chapter that I discovered my talent in hosting, that also became a lucrative career that time. 

I would have to apologize for being "pasaway" to Arch. Marc Valencia.  I was young that time and was enjoying the idea of earning on my own that I neglected my duties as an officer.  Everytime I would attend an event, lagi niya sinasabi sakin na pipingutin kita (He would pinch my ear).  That continued, think up to the time of Arch. Ana Valencia. 

It was under Arch. Patrick that I started becoming active again up to the time of Arch. Pam Contantino.  It wasn't until the time of Arch. Vhic Idano, that I took my role as a leader seriously.

Throughout the years  I feel so blessed to have worked with a lot of leaders. No less than the pillars of the chapter.

I would also like to make mention of Arch Weng Ramos, Arch Jill Sevilla for introducing me to being a part of the Organizing Committee for the Tagaytay Conference with Arch. Gil Evasco as the Conference Chairman.  That paved the way for my hosting gig from the Chapter to National Events. They also introduced me to great friends.

What I so loved about this Chapter is the way I feel nurtured.  We started out as Ate's and Kuya's that up to now that I'm in my 30's, I still call them that.  This is my second family and my second home.

Its this nurturing, family type atmosphere that I enjoyed that I would want to continue now that I have been elected as the new President.  Palagay ko iniisip nyo na madali sa akin to because I enjoy the attention and the limelight.  I do, but I always stay away from responsibilities.  Before, as I host much of our activities, I would just attend and run the show.  I must give it to my presidents in the past... mahirap pala mag prepare for an event.  I literally brought my own podium from Pasig to Remedios St. because i want this moment to be perfect.

But now, I accepted the challenge, because I feel somehow I have matured, and comforted that my mentors are here supporting me. Like my big personality, I also have a big dreams for the chapter.

My Vision is to be More than the Usual Chapter of UAP. More than the usual simply means, exceeding what is expected.

We are blessed for having great National Leaders for setting the direction for Chapters and Members with the theme "Promoting the Practice, Protecting the Profession and Serve the members.  As one UAP, we just need to align our mission.

Our first mission for the chapter is to provide More Than the Usual Service to Members.  We can do this by simply setting a response time to answer their inquiries.  Exceeding their expectations. This year we are also taking a more holistic approach in enriching our Architect members.

We will being more than the usual GMM's by taking it out of the function rooms and exploring the sights of the country.  We will not only seek professional growth but create activities that will inspire us and boost our creativity.

We will aim to make our members globally competitive with a series of seminars on professional growth, skills, even marketing and communication and social media.

We will be doing more than the Usual Promotion of our Practice.  If the doctors and dentist have medical and dental missions, we will try to do the same by offering free consultations to deserving clients. 

We can promote our practice through tie ups with NGO's who is already doing so much for the community.

This is Ms. Rosalie of Bato Balani Foundation who converted this eyesore area in Dumaguete as a Mini Park and Learning Center.  Don't you think as Architects we could have done so much more with her projects.  This are just one of the many opportunities that awaits us architects.

In terms of social media, I for one maintain 3 blogs.  Although its mostly on travel and food, but you cant imagine how wide your audience is.  I have a confession, I was the one who created the FB page No to Senate Bill 2770.  In just a few minutes my followers reached 5K.  Imagine how many people we can influence with just a click of the button.

Also, we need to come up with newsworthy endeavors.  In the work, is a tie-up with Korina Sanchez foundation, although its too early to say, but we are hopeful with the results.

In terms of protecting the profession.  Enforcement of our law and is legalities is more of a National responsibility.  But as individual architects, we still can do so much more.  In my work, I have come across two important marketing term.  The blue ocean and the red ocean strategy.  The read ocean in marketing is attacking your competition head on.  The reason why its called red ocean is that it's always bloody.  With the blue ocean, you create strategies that makes your competition insignificant.  You do this by improving your services and exceeding expectation.

We can do the same with our profession.  Until the law is in full effect, we need to constantly improve ourselves, improve our services and business dealings and ensure that only architects can do what they do.  The paper would become secondary.  Rest assured that the chapter will create activities together with the national to equip us with this.

Architects are known to be able to create something physical with their imagination, and hopefully these visions would materialize for the chapter.  I ask for all the members support as what you have shown my predecessors.

Thank you for all your support and lets be More than the usual architect, and more than the usual chapter towards one UAP.

I would also like to express my gratitude to my family, My Sisters who worked as students to help my parents finance me to school.  My Nanay for being an inspiration and to my Tatay, wherever you are, I know you're proud of me, and to Yuyung for being beside me always.  To God Almighty,  The glory is yours!

Day 5: Tito's Roadtrip Travel Guide to Bicol

Our last day in Bicol is dedicated to our long drive back home. We decided to leave early around 3AM in order to reach Manila late in the ...