Sunday, October 19, 2014

Free Items You Can Get On Your Birthday

Pinaghandaan ko talaga to!

I intentionally want to spend my birthday availing all the perks given to the celebrator.

The Preparation

1.  Check the Cards in your wallet

I happen to purchase the Ace Water Spa Card that entitles me to a free visit, and my Starbucks card gives me a slice of cake.

For the Starbucks Card, its important to have it registered online.  That's how they validate your birthday.

2.  Shop for Buffets has compiled the 10 Restaurant Where You Can Get Birthday Freebies.

Your deciding factor would be the location and how much your companion is willing to spend for you.

I would have wanted to avail of the free buffet at Vikings, but they're full 2 days before my birthday and we were at their Megamall branch 5 days ago.  Instead, I made reservations at The Food Club.

Vikings, The Food Club and Dad's are the only restaurants that let you eat free with just 1 paying companion.  The cheapest would be Dad's at 888 php, while the most expensive is The Food Club at 999 php.

My Proposed Itinerary

Breakfast at Starbucks and get the Slice of Cake
Hydromassage and Swim at Ace Water Spa in the Morning
Lunch at Dad's or Kamayan
Gym in the Afternoon to get myself hungry for the Dinner Buffet
Dinner Buffet at The Food Club

My Birthday

I treated a few friends at a Bar in Ortigas and woke up late.  Instead of having a buffet lunch, I went to avail my free pass at Ace Water Spa in Kapitolyo after a quick lunch at Ramen Cool.

The spa was a bit crowded when I arrived.  I'm not really complaining, after all I'm not really paying!

I only stayed just before 4PM to pick up my paying companion for the buffet.   We still have about an hour before The Food Club opens, so we decided to avail my free cake slice at the Starbucks beside it.

After coffee, we transferred next door to The Food Club.  We were one of the first few inside.  They have a wide selection of food and a long line of stations that included Chinese, Asian, Western, Japanese, Dessert and Beverages.  You can select pre cooked shellfish and have them prepare it anyway you like.  Wines and Beers are also included.

Here's the catch, unlike Vikings and Dad's they will charge you 1,247 for the paying companion because apparently, the 999 walk in rate is a promotional rate.  I find it a little bit deceiving.

The Free Birthday Cake
Tip No. 1: You may opt not to let the waiters sing to you!
Tip No. 2: You can have this to go!
Its not part of the no left over policy.

Instead of complaining, we ate for a record breaking 2.5 hours.  I know gluttony is a sin, but It's my Birthday and am sure He will understand.

As for the Kamayan Buffet, we already availed it lunch time yesterday, and maybe tomorrow again.

The only thing I paid for today was my lunch and the Coffee.

Hope this helps, now time to hit the gym!

But wait! There's more!

October is the Galleries and Museums Month.  The National Museums of the country are letting in people for FREE.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tour of GK Enchanted Farm

It was a feature on Kris TV in 2013 that introduced me to Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm.  I wasn't able to see the entire segment, but what I was able to catch was enough to get me interested and look it up online.

I came upon their website, and was glad that they actually have tour packages.

I have scheduled a visit that December, but Yolanda beat us to the date.   I was so glad when I was assigned a small project at the Enchanted Farm for my boss.  Instantly, I became friends with people working in the farm and scheduled a visit to conduct an ocular, that led to a series of visits.

How to get to GK Enchanted Farm:

Image grabbed from the GK Website

The Entrance of the Farm during the GK Expo
The first structure that will greet you after the entrance is the Hyundai Center for Green Technology.
It's a convention facility that uses glass and bamboo as the main material.  In this area is the SEED or the School for Experiential and Entrepreneurial Development that helps impoverished kids connecting them with the best minds as teachers.

Hyundai Center Lobby

Check out the drop lights made from recycled cups.

Floor Accent made from broken Glass
I was fortunate to witness the GK Expo on my last visit.  Products from the different Socio Entrepreneurs are in showcase.

Plush & Play Products

Cleverly named after local celebrities like
Buco Martin and Anne Kamatis

The Popular Bayani Brew!
Who would have thought that a Talbos ng Kamote
can be turned into a refreshing drink.


Dragon Fruit Ice Cream

On regular days, their souvenir shop sells some of these items.

Beside the Store is the GK Center for Culture and Arts called Arch Angel.

Across, you will find the Restaurant and Cafe named Berjaya.  Food served here uses locally grown vegetables, fish from their farm, meats from their poultry and livestock.

You will pass by the resettled community as you walk your way inside towards the farm areas.  Our tour guide mentioned that what we see during the tour is just 10% of the entire property.  The remaining area are devoted to farming.

Among the other structures in the farm are the following:

The Bamboo Pavilion 

IASIS, is a spa facility also offering accommodations.

Center For Bayanihan Economics

The centre hosts trainings and also houses their own bank. The structure is also a rain water harvesting facility that uses the collected water for irrigation.

The roof were designed to direct rain water to the basin below.
The deck on the second level allows you to see how expansive the property is.

These are just few of the developments going on inside the farm.  They will build more structure to accommodate housing for the school and other conference and convention facility.

Scale Model of the Development for GK Enchanted Farm

They also let us see the different produce and plants they grow as well the livestock and poultry area.  What's fun about the experience is that they let us touch and actually taste some of the things they grow.

The tour guide does not only give information about the areas, but will educate you of the culture of Gawad Kalinga and its aim to End Poverty through the Walang Iwanan concept.

The Ube Farm

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Finding Inspiration at GK Enchanted Farm

The few days leading to this weekend was a bit hectic, but It turned out to be life changing.

After setting up an event the weekend prior, it turned out that I only have 3 days to do another set-up at the GK Enchanted Farm.  They have dedicated a small portion of the ARK Angel Center for Arts and Culture to our CEO Archie King.

By Monday, I designed the small area making sure that its doable by Wednesday.  Our design team provided me with a carpenter and my reliable graphic artist sends the photos for production in time for my target installation.

I initially wanted to prepare the area Tuesday to save time, but the rain Manila poured hard  that afternoon prompting me to postpone the visit the next day.  My plan was to bring the carpenter in the morning for all the framing and painting works, and have Allan, our all around purchasing assistant bring the printed tarps in the afternoon.

We left the office around 10 AM arriving at the GK Enchanted Farm by lunchtime.  Food options in the farm are limited to the Berjaya Cafe.  They have a buffet that costs 350php per person serving meals from locally grown and raised ingredients.  I find it a bit too pricey, but we thought we don't have any other choice, and I don't want to drive back to either Angat or Pandi.

It was already dark when we finished with the painting works, and the frames.  There's no light in our area, but luckily I have the Christmas light prototypes in my car to help the workers at least see something.  The pictures arrived around 7:30 in the evening and we finished installing them around 9:30.

We were so tired that the only thing we want to do after is to take the long drive back home.  We didn't even stop for dinner since most of the establishments were closed anyway.  I wasn't even able to check the quality of our work because we really can't see anything anymore.  I decided to drive back two days after to make last minute touch ups and install lights.

When I arrived the afternoon two days after, the 2nd Day of the Social Business Summit is well on its way.  The Enchanted Farm has transformed into a busy fair grounds with tents showcasing products from different Socio Entrepreneurs and different Government Agencies.  Also, invited speakers are using the area where I need to work on.  

Luckily, I arrived during their break.  I was able to install and plugged in the lights I purchased in Dapitan that livens one corner with the shadows created on the walls.  

With natural lighting, the imperfections of our installations are now visible.  There are a few paint scratches, staple gun marks are clearly seen and some pictures are tilted.  I tried covering the scratches using a black marker and the staple gun marks with electric tape, but I cannot do anything on the tilted image, especially when they started the program.  The area is right beside the stage, and I will just distract the audience with the noise from my staple gun.

While I was doing my thing on the corner, I was able to catch the talk of Secretary Proceso Alcala of the Department of Agriculture, but what struck me was introduction made by Thomas Graham, the author of the book The Genius of the Poor, for the DOT Asec. Benito Bengson Jr.

Grabbed from GK Enchanted Farm FB Page

He was telling the audience about the time he went back to the United Kingdom and was telling his friends about his experience in the Philippines to the point of getting emotional.  Of course the way it was narrated was more  engaging.  He enumerated the many qualities of Filipinos exemplified in Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm that made me extremely proud of my country.

From that time, I stopped working and grabbed myself a seat beside the stage to listen to the other speakers.

The Almario Sisters

Being a designer, Im a fan of their works.  I follow their segment on a show being aired at the Lifestyle Channel.  I love how they gather artists and designers to come up with world class furniture from our locally sourced materials.  Their creative minds raised the standards of our products to being world class at the same time helping the efforts of Gawad Kalinga to end poverty.

Maria Ressa and Rappler

I'm not going to miss this rare chance of hearing her speak.  She talked about the power of social media, on how it can influence emotions and ultimately change.  

After the afternoon sessions, delegates for the summit were invited to the evening event that included a fashion show and socials.  I decided to drive back home, since our event is tomorrow, and I still have a lot of touch ups to do.  What greeted me as I drove past EDSA were the flooded streets of Manila.  What was normally a 2 hour drive to Bulacan ended up 6 hours.  Good thing I had Buco Martin from Plush & Play to accompany me.

I had to get up early the next day.  Since I wasn't really able to finish preparing the exhibit area the day before, I decided to bring the carpenter with me to do the remaining task.  The event was scheduled at 10 AM so we left Manila at 5:30 in the morning.  We were back in Bulacan around 7AM and immediately started working.  We finished just in time for our CEO's arrival.

This is something I have realised recently about my boss.  I am aware of his involvement with Gawad Kalinga, but I did know how extensive it was.  I'm seeing pictures of projects as far as Antique in the Visayas.  For this event, Gawad Kalinga is honouring Archie King for providing the Center for Arts in Culture called Arch Angel at the Enchanted Farm.

Present during the ribbon cutting is the founder of Gawad Kalinga, Tony Meloto, Super Model and GK Advocate Georgina Wilson, and of course our CEO Archie King. He inspired the crowd with his message on dreaming big. 

Georgina Wilson gave an emotional speech during the opening ceremony.  She mentioned how she's fortunate and that many things are given to her.  But then, she realised that some of these things were not really good.   What's good with the tagline "Walang Iwanan" is that her experience in GK humbled her.  In a way, she wasn't left behind as well.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent touring the Farm.  

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 ...