Archive of ‘Travel’ category

Toastmasters District Conference 2016: Cebu (Day 1)

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toastmasters discon 2016 1

This years Toastmasters District Conference was held in the Grand Convention Center of Cebu. The event was opened in true cebu fashion with the marching of colors and various cultural presentations. For those who are not familiar with Toastmasters, it’s an international organization that helps develop your communication and leadership skills. There are different clubs all over the Philippines. A group of clubs form an area, a group of areas form a division. We have 11 Divisions in the Philippines and they form one District – District 75.

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We have 2 conferences a year. The District Conference in April and the Midyear Conference in October. The highlight of these conferences are the speech contests.

There are 4 Speech Contest Categories in Toastmasters:

  • International Prepared
  • Humorous
  • Evaluation
  • Table Topics (Impromptu Speaking)

For this Discon, the 2 contests were the International Prepared and Humorous Speech Contest. The Table Topics and Evaluation Contests are scheduled in the Midyear Conference.

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toastmasters discon 2016 3District Director Boy Archie giving his welcome speechtoastmasters discon 2016 4toastmasters discon 2016 7Toastmasters of the Day

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toastmasters discon 2016 2Past District Governor Noli Espina announcing the winners for the Humorous Contest

toastmasters discon 2016 12Humorous Competition contestants receiving their certificates

toastmasters discon 2016 9Humorous Speech Winners

  • Champion: Joanna Katrina S. Magalong (Division B)
  • 1st Runner Up: Jinnelyn O. Li (Division C)
  • 2nd Runner Up: Leonilo S. De los Santos (Division D)

Fellowship Night – Coachelladiscon 2015 coachella

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In the evening was the Coachella-themed fellowship night. I loved the decor and the relaxed feel of the venue. I especially enjoyed the Tawag ng Tanghalan – the Toastmasters version of a Karaoke showdown. We got to witness a representative from each Division showcase their singing prowess for all 3 rounds. That is, if you don’t get gonged during the first round.

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Congratulations to our Tawag ng Tanghalan winner – Joanna Katrina S. Magalong! We’ll be expecting to hear wedding bells soon.

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All in all, the first day was a blast! I met some old friends, made new ones and generally enjoyed myself. Learning can be fun. And it’s fun learning here in Toastmasters.

-Alex

*Photo credit to Ed Fabonan

 

Travel Diaries: Siquijor 2016

Siquijor is the third smallest province in the Philippines and is associated with mystic traditions. It was originally called Isla del Fuego or Island of Fire by the Spaniards who first sighted it in 1565 because of the eerie glow the island emitted due to the large swarms of fireflies on the island. I have heard of stories about witchcraft and sorcery that’s been said to be practiced on the island. But when I visited Siquijor, all I saw was the clear blue water and the pristine white sand that enveloped the island. There were a lot of local and foreign tourists too.

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We took a ferry from Dumaguete to Siquijor. We bought tickets at the port on the day and took the 7am trip.

Dumaguete-Siquijor Ferry Schedule:
Cost: 130php
Schedule: 7am, 10am, 4pm, 6pm
Travel time: 1 hour

Upon reaching the island we met a tour guide on the port, Kuya Irvin, that offered us a day tour of the island for only 1,000php. We decided to take the Day Tour since we weren’t familiar with the island. But if you know your way around Siquijor, another option is to rent a motor cycle at the port and use that to drive around the island. The rental rate is just 350php for the whole day.

Here’s our itinerary for our day tour:

  • Paliton Beach
  • Capilays Spring Park
  • Enchanted Balete Tree
  • Crocodile Hill
  • San Isidro Labrador Church
  • Cambugahay Falls
  • Salagdoong Beach

Paliton Beachpaliton beach siquijor

Capilays Spring ParkIMG_8127

Enchanted Balete Tree
This 400-year old Balete tree is believed by locals to be enchanted. It’s the said to be the oldest and biggest Balete tree in Siquijor. Water flows out from the roots of this massive tree and pools around it. Aside from admiring this majestic force of nature, you can also sit on the edge of the pool and enjoy a fish spa for only 5php. It’s a huge contrast to the 250php I paid for my fish spa in Ocean Park. Initially, it feels very ticklish but then you get used to it.

siquijor tour + enchanted balite treesiquijor tour + enchanted balite tree 2 siquijor tour + enchanted balite tree 3 siquijor tour + enchanted balite tree 4

 

Crocodile Island
From this spot on the island, you can see Crocodile Island. It’s named as such because from this vantage point, it seems to take the shape of a crocodile. At the suggestion of Kuya Irvin, we had our mandatory jump shot with Crocodile Island in the background.
siquijor tour + crocodile island siquijor tour + crocodile island 2

 

San Isidro Labrador Church
This is said to be the oldest church in Siquijor. It was built in 1887 making it more than 100 years old. According to our tour guide, the stones used to build this church have never been replaced. That’s something to be said about the architecture of this edifice! 129 years and still standing. Not bad.

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Cambugahay Falls
One of my favorite stops on the island was Cambugahay Falls. It takes you about 100 steps to reach the bottom. Coming from the City of Waterfalls – Iligan City – I’m hardly amazed by other waterfalls that I see. But I still liked this one because of the clear blue waters that seemed to beckon to me. It was a sweltering hot day and I was more than willing to oblige. There was a rope from where you could swing and then jump into the water just like Tarzan. The falls itself had 3 levels. We hung out here for about an hour, swimming around and jumping off from the waterfalls.

Siquijor tour + Cambugahay falls

Siquijor tour + Cambugahay falls 4 Siquijor tour + Cambugahay falls 5 Siquijor tour + Cambugahay falls 6 Siquijor tour + Cambugahay falls 2

Salagdoong Beach
Salagdoong was my favorite stop in Siquijor. You can’t go to Siquijor and not drop by here. Aside from it’s gorgeous white-sand beach, it has one attraction that keeps tourists coming back. Cliff diving. There are 3 levels you can jump off from. I was able to try the first and second level. I’ll definitely come back for the third. It can be quite scary from up there but after the first jump, the adrenaline rush is like no other. You’ll keep coming back for more. 

salagdoong cliff jumping 2Photo from http://www.outofofficefortravel.comSiquijor tour + Salagdoong beach Siquijor tour + Salagdoong beach 2

DCIM111GOPROPhoto from mingjamoves.com

Siquijor tour + tour guide

Here’s our tour guide, Kuya Irvin, who brought us around the island. Siquijor is so small you can tour the entire island in about 2 1/2 hours. If you want to visit Siquijor, you can contact Kuya Irvin at 0915 890 3286.

Siquijor has one of the most stunning beaches I’ve ever seen. It’s definitely a go-to summer getaway, especially for beach junkies like me!

Life is too short to be spent working all the time. Enjoy your summer. Eat. Have fun. Travel! Visit Siquijor.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life!

-Alex

Travel Diaries: Dumaguete – Silliman University

I fell in love with Dumaguete City the moment I stepped off the boat and saw the Acacia-lined boulevard. Dumaguete City holds a lot of happy memories for me. Mainly because it’s where Silliman University is located – my alma matter. That’s why even thinking about Silliman brings a smile to my face. That’s why when we were planning our family vacation, I was so excited about visiting Dumaguete again.

silliman university bell towerDumaguete Bell Tower

dumaguete city tour

Silliman University was founded back in 1901,more than 100 years ago, with the help of a retired businessman and philanthropist from New York, Dr. Horace Silliman. Silliman is rich in history, art and culture. Walking through the university is akin to walking through a huge museum. It’s filled with history, stories of the past that live on through the structures that remain and the people that tell their stories. The music scene is also quite vibrant. Every February, there’s a song writing contest that Sillimanians can join in. The only requirements are first, you need to be a Sillimanian. And second, your song has to be an original composition. Luce Auditorium, a world-class auditorium, regularly holds shows such as musicals, piano concerts or ballets. And if you’re into art, then there’s an art org you can join to enhance and showcase your craft.

Silliman University Dumaguete City 04 Photo from http://www.pinaytravelista.com

silliman-university3SU Portal of Knowledge (Photo from http://negrosradio.weebly.com)

dumaguete boulevardDumaguete Boulevard

silliman university carson hallEdith Carson Hall is one of the three all-girls dormitory in Silliman University. They also have three all boys dorms. The best thing about living here is, aside from it’s air-conditioned, it’s located right inside the campus. So you just have to walk towards your classes. Plus, it’s beside the boulevard. It’s so refreshing to wake up  to the sound of waves crashing on the sea shore.

edith carson hall

silliman university church 2Silliman University Church

silliman university churchsilliman university tempura ni bossingThe Original Bossings Tempura

You can’t visit Dumaguete and not try Bossings Tempura. It’s the best tempura ever – and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t really eat tempura. Bossings Tempura has sauces ranging from 1 to 5, with 1 being the least spicy and 5 being the spiciest. I tried this when I was a freshman. I couldn’t even finish one piece because tears started flowing out of my eyes the moment I started eating. I can only tolerate sauce number 3.  It’s now open for franchise. Bossing’s Tempura currently has about 5 branches around Dumaguete City.

panda fried ice cream

Panda fried ice cream

Another thing I love about Dumaguete City is the fooood! There are so many delicious and affordable food places scattered around the city. You can really go fat from all the yummy food here if you don’t control yourself. I think almost all of us gained weight during our freshman year. silliman university

Silliman truly provides a wide range of opportunities for students to grow into who they are destined to be. I’ve had a lot of great experiences in Silliman University. Even though being a student nurse wasn’t easy, my college days are filled with joyful memories. As I walked through the Acacia-lined trees of Silliman University, I couldn’t help but recall my college days. Studying on the steps of the Siliman library, talking with my dorm-mates outside Carson Hall and practicing the piano at Guy Hall. I’ve been to several colleges around the Philippines, but for me, nothing beats Silliman University.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

Travel Diaries: Bohol 2016

What I love most about the Philippines is the natural wonders that abound in our country. We are so blessed to have all this beauty just within our grasp. I’ve traveled around the Philippines and it still amazes me every time just how beautiful our country is.  When my brother and his wife told us we were going to meet up for a family vacation in Bohol, I was psyched. Although I’ve been to Bohol several times already, it’s attractions still amaze me. Besides, I haven’t seen my brother in 3 years since they’re based in Australia. So it would be a great place for our family to bond.

panglao islandPanglao Island

panglao island 2Henan Resort, Panglao

panglao island 3We took a ferry from Cebu to Bohol and upon arriving, checked in at Panglao Regents Park. The seaside of Panglao reminds me of Boracay. The restaurants along the beach, the fresh seafood, trinkets for sale on the beachfront and foot massages give off that Boracay vibe. Panglao is a lot less commercialized though. That’s a plus for me. We enjoyed our first day walking by the beach and eating. Yup. I did a lot of eating. I especially liked the Malunggay ice cream from Bohol Bee Farm. Yummy!

panglao-regents-parkPhoto from http://www.tripadvisor.com.ph

panglao island 4Malunggay ice cream from Bohol Bee Farm

On our second day, we woke up early for our day tour. Here’s our itinerary:

Chocolate Hills
The Chocolate Hills are one of the Philippine’s natural wonders. It’s made from limestone left over from coral reefs during the Ice Age when the island was submerged. These are one of the main tourist attractions in Bohol. We had to climb a flight of stairs to enjoy the awesome view at the top. But it’s well worth it.

chocolate_hillsPhoto from buymebuddy.com

chocolate hills + bohol island tourbohol island tour chocolate hills

Tarsier Conservation Area
Tarsiers are small creatures, which you can pretty much hold in the palm of your hand. They are nocturnal animals. They sleep during the day and hunt at night. They are also territorial so you can often depend on them to stick to a certain area. Tarsiers are extreme introverts. They live alone for most of the year and only come in contact with other tarsiers around September to October to mate. The conservation area looked like a mini-forest wherein we could view the tarsiers in their natural habitat. Tarsiers have been classified as an endangered species. We couldn’t touch them as constantly touching them would shorten their lifespan.

IMG_5517Photo from mikedtravelph.com

tarsier conservatory + bohol island tour53993_og_1Photo from justgola.com

Baclayon Church
Baclayon Church is a Roman Catholic church founded by the Jesuit priests Juan de Torres and Gabriel Sanchez in 1596. It’s over 400 years old and has been declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines. It was hit by an earthquake in 2013 and part of it was still under repair when we visited.

PAA0187Photo from weddingsinthephilippines.com

Blood Compact Site
The blood compact done in Bohol between Datu Sikatuna the chieftain of Bohol and the Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi is called Sandugo meaning “one blood”. It was done way back in 1565 to seal the friendship between the Spaniards and Filipinos. This was the area where this monumental event happened, 451 years ago.

sandugoPhoto from travel-licious.blogspot.com

Bohol Forest
The Bohol Forest is a man-made mahogany forest that stretches on for 2 kilometers on the borders of Bilar and Loboc towns. I love how the trees seem to meet together forming a canopy of greenery beneath the blue sky.

bohol island tour manmade forest bohol island tour manmade forest 2

Bamboo Hanging Bridge
The Bamboo Hanging Bridge is a fun tourist attraction located in the Municipality of Sevilla. The bridge is made form woven bamboo slats and the rails are made from steel cables making it totally safe to cross. Stepping onto the bridge may seem scary at first because of all the movement it makes – especially if there are a lot of people using it. But we still had fun crossing it and I can say it’s very safe.

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Simply Butterflies Conservation Center
The Simply Butterflies Conservation Center is the first butterfly livelihood breading program in Bohol. It’s aim is to protect and increase the butterfly population through breading and research.

bohol island tour butterfly farm

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Loboc River Cruise
The Loboc River Cruise is one of Bohol’s most famous tourist attractions. You get to enjoy a delicious buffet of Filipino cuisine while being serenaded by local singers and while enjoying the fresh clean area of the Loboc River. This was my favorite stop because of the all the yummy food I got to eat while on the cruise. Plus we got to enjoy a cultural show by the locals in Bohol. Definitely a must-try!

loboc river tourloboc river tour 2loboc river tour 3 loboc river tour 4 Our Bohol trip was so much fun! Have you visited Bohol? Feel free to share your experience here.

Live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

Travel Diaries: Cambodia

My friends and I went on a trip to Cambodia last 2014. Here’s a photo diary of our trip. Cambodia is rich in culture and heritage. It’s a great country to discover. On our first day, we went on a temple tour – starting with Ankor Wat – Cambodia’s biggest temple and the largest religious monument in the world.

Ankor Wat
Ankor Wat was built by Khmer King Suryavarman in the 12th century as his state temple. It has become a religious center and is now the symbol of Cambodia. It’s also now a prime tourist spot in Cambodia. 
cambodia + be truly wealthy + anchor what cambodia + be truly wealthy 7 cambodia + be truly wealthy

angkor_wat_aerialPhoto from sacredsites.com

After Ankor Wat we visited 4 other temples. They equally interested but not as grand. I was just so sad that we weren’t able to visit the temple that Angelina Jolie filmed Tomb Raider in.

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Travel Diaries: Iligan City – The City of Majestic Waterfalls

Last weekend, my family and I went on a family outing to celebrate the graduation of one of my cousins. We did this by visiting the top tourists spots in Iligan City. I usually blog about my trips to other cities and countries, so it’s only right that I should blog about my hometown as well – Iligan City. My hometown is known as the City of Majestic Waterfalls. The name Iligan is from the Higaunon (Lumad/Native of Iligan) word “Ilig” which means “to go downstream”. It has 23 waterfalls in and around the city, the most famous of which is Maria Christina Falls.

Maria Christina Falls
First stop – Maria Christina Falls. This is the landmark of Iligan City and is famous for its grandeur. But aside from it’s majestic beauty, it also powers the Agus VI Hydroelectric Plant and provides a source of energy to the city. If Maria Christina were a woman, she would have both beauty and substance. Unlike some of the falls in Iligan wherein you can bath and splash around at leisure, this one is strictly for viewing purposes only.

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maria christina falls 2Photo from i1078.photobucket.com

maria christina falls iligan

Mimbalut Falls
Our second stop was Mimbalut Falls. The water of Mimbalut Falls flows down a bed of large rocks forming mini waterfalls and pool beds which you can swim around in. The rocks can be quite slippery so caution is encouraged. But otherwise, it’s the perfect place for photo ops and back massages.

IMG_7666 iligan-mimbalot-2Photo from hemetaphoriclife.files.wordpress.com

mimbalutPhoto from hikersitch.com

Tinago Falls
Our third stop, Tinago Falls, is one of the main tourist spots in Iligan City. Tinago is a Filipino term which means “hidden” and is an apt name for this beauty that’s hidden in a deep ravine. Tinago falls is like a hidden gem in the midst of nature wherein you’d have to descend about 500 steps to reach it. But the effort is well worth it for Tinago Falls is a beauty to behold. Cool refreshing waters cascade down a 240 foot drop right into a bright blue basin. For the dare devils, you can also climb up the smaller falls around the basin and jump into the welcoming waters. I tried it and the adrenaline rush was just awesome!

tinago falls tinago falls iligan city 3Photo from http://www.interaksyon.comTinago falls iligan cityPhoto from cdn.earthporm.comTinago.Falls.original.6292Photo from static.thousandwonders.net

dsc_0490Photo from chachabenitez69.files.wordpress.com

Timoga Springs
Timoga Springs, our last stop, is a cluster of cold springs located in Buru-un, Iligan City. Unlike a lot of other resorts that have chlorine-filled pools Timoga is famous for its ice cold and refreshing spring water that come from Lake Lanao. The waters are so cold that it takes you a few moments to get accustomed to it. But once you’ve adjusted, you can swim around at leisure.

T12_jamesannjo.wordpress.com_1Photo from aboutiligancity.comtimoga iligan cityPhoto from farm8.staticflickr.com

Iligan City is has many natural wonders that you can enjoy and discover. Discover Iligan today!

Live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

 

Mintugsok Falls River Trek

I’ve always loved nature tripping. The world is now so connected technologically that it’s refreshing to get back to nature and enjoy what God has given us. So when my church friends invited me to go river trekking, I immediately said yes!

Destination: Mintugsok Falls

Starting point: : Indahag, Cagayan de Oro City

Time: 8am – 4pm

What to bring:

  • Swim wear
  • Extra clothes
  • Food for lunch
  • Water
  • Sun block

What to wear:

  • HIking shoes with grooved soles or trail sandals (trail sandals is better since you’ll be getting your feet wet)
  • Shorts + leggings (the plants can be brutal)
  • Dri fit shirt (this is the best type of shirt for workouts or hiking since it doesn’t absorb moisture)

Mintugsok falls indahag cdo

Mintugsok Falls is located in Indahag, Cagayan de Oro. It’s a gem hidden away in the mountains. The trek takes 45 min to 1 hour and you have to pass a river and 3 small waterfalls before you arrive. It took us about an hour to get there since there were 13 of us.

Mintugsok falls indahag cdo

Mintugsok falls indahag cdo

This part here is a bit slippery since the soil is loose. So grooved shoes or sandals really come in handy.

Mintugsok falls indahag cdo

Mintugsok falls indahag cdo

This is the end of the mountain trail. Now,we go river trekking! But first, we enjoyed this awesome view.

2nd stop

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first waterfall

This is the second waterfall. (I wasn’t able to take a photo of the first one). Some of us did a few jumps here with Orwille leading the first jump.

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Trail leading to the 3rd waterfall.

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3rd waterfall

IMG_5862Hello waterfall number 3! We rested here a bit, did a few jumps and took more photos before proceeding to our final destination.

mintugsok falls jumpPhoto from Vincent Udasco

For those who don’t know how to swim, you can enjoy a cool dip in the shallow areas of the river. If you are more of an adrenaline junkie, you can try the sliding down the waterfall or jumping off it. Now this is experiencing life!

mintugsok falls slide                                                         Photo from tsadagyud.com

I enjoyed the trail, the company and the food. Canned goods never tasted so good! And of course, my friend Gene’s Maja Blanca was the best! Thank you Gene!

gospel sharing mintugsok falls

The best part was, we got to share the gospel with our new friends.

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We all have dreams we want to achieve and goals we want to conquer. There’s always another deal to close, client to meet or event to organize. But sometimes, we just have to step back, enjoy life and appreciate the things we have now. We enjoyed every step of our river trek experience although some areas were harder to traverse. And life is like that. Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s easy, but we just have to enjoy the journey and make each moment count. Besides, there’s nothing like spending a day amidst nature to refresh ourselves.

Next stop – Mt. Kitanglad!

Go live a Truly Wealthy life!

-Alex

Travel Diaries: Tagaytay

After the Midcon, we contemplated whether or not to stay in Manila or go to Tagaytay. In the end, Tagaytay won out. We got there in record time too. The drive took about 2 hours because there was no traffic. I guess everybody else stayed home because of the typhoon. We were one of the few ones crazy enough to still travel in the middle of a typhoon. I just couldn’t imagine staying in Manila and hanging out in malls. We have enough of those in Cagayan de Oro. So Tagaytay, here we come!

TAALEÑO

Taaleño was the first restaurant we decided to visit since, according to Princess, it had nice ambiance and a view of the Taal Volcano. The Taal Volcano is the world’s smallest active volcano. It is the second most active volcano in the Philippines with 33 historical eruptions. The volcano which is located inside the Taal lake, would have made a picturesque view if not for the heavy fog surrounding it.

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tagaytay tour taal volcano

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Photo from assets2.bigthink.com

tagaytay tour 3

tagaytay tour + bulalo

The weather was so cold since it was raining non-stop outside. So we decided to try their steaming hot bulalo. I’d give it a 3 out of 5.

MUSHROOM BURGER

Mushroom Burger is a small fast-food outlet in Tagaytay. And yes, as their name suggests, the patty is made from mushroom mixed with beef. Even some of their drinks had mushroom in them. Mushroom Burger started in Caloocan City back in 1978. And now, more and more people are coming to love their burgers. I don’t eat beef, and I rarely eat burgers. But I decided to try their mushroom burger just for the experience.

tagaytay tour mushroom burger

tagaytay tour mushroom burger 3Mushroom Burger with mushroom fries

Because we were still so full from the Bulalo, we just ordered one burger for all 6 of us and divided it. We got one bite each. 😛 Both the fries and burger tasted pretty good – considering it’s made from mushroom which I don’t really eat.

tagaytay tour mushroom burger 2

BALINSASAYAW

It was already 6pm by the time we left Mushroom Burger. And you know what that means? Dinner time! So for dinner, Princess and Roy (our hosts) brought us to Balinsasayaw. I found the place really refreshing. Balinsasayaw is composed of one huge restaurant and a lot of small private cottages. Plus, their food was really yummy. 4 out of 5.

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tagaytay tour balinsasayaw bangus

tagaytay tour balinsasayawI really like their cottages. This is perfect for lovers out on a moonlit stroll.

BAG OF BEANS

Now what comes after dinner? Dessert of course! So after Balinsasayaw we headed to Bag of Beans for some sugar. The first time I stepped into the cafe, I already loved it! The ambiance was warm and welcoming with a rustic feel. Plus, it also had a view of the Taal Volcano. It’s the perfect place to chill in with family and friends.

bag of beansPhoto from justindejesus.files.wordpress.com

Bag of Beans specializes in freshly-baked breads, home-made recipe pies, well-blended drinks and aromatic freshly-brewed coffee.

tagaytay tour bag of beans 2

tagaytay tour bag of beans groupie

tagaytay tour bag of beans coffeeCaramel Latte

tagaytay tour bag of beans hot chocoHot Chocolate

Their hot choco is made from real tablea. It’s the real thing.

tagaytay tour bag of beans mixed fruit pieMixed Fruit Pie

This dessert is a mix of peach and pineapple. The crust is soft and crumbly, two thumbs up. For the inside, the pineapple had the stronger flavor. We gave this a 3.5 over 5.

tagaytay tour bag of beans blue berry cheesecakeBlueberry Cheesecake

Now this is a must try! 5 out of 5, hands down. This is the best blue berry cheesecake I’ve ever tasted. It’s even better than Bannaple’s blueberry cheesecake which is already swoon worthy <3.

tagaytay tour bag of beans apple pie

Apple Pie

This one is also very good. Their crust is just amazing! Light on the tongue and it just seems to crumble in your mouth. The filling tastes great as well. I think it just needs a touch of more cinnamon to make it even better.

tagaytay tour crosswinds 5

Crosswinds Tagaytay

After all that eating, we were more than ready to tumble into bed. And this is where we stayed – Crosswinds Tagaytay. Thanks to our friend Roy and his family for their hospitality, we had a nice house to sleep over in Tagaytay for the night. Crosswinds Swiss Luxury Resort is the first and only Swiss-inspired development in Tagaytay. It was awarded as the Best Mid Range Condo Development by Philippines Property Awards in 2014. Their products include Lots, House and Lot, Condomiums, Town Homes, Hotel Reservations

tagaytay tour crosswinds 3

tagaytay tour crosswinds 4The whole development is surrounded by pine trees and pretty, picture-perfect houses. They remind me of the candy house in Hansel and Gretel. It’s an ideal place to relax and unwind in – a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Metro Manila. By the way, this house, happens to be for sale as well! :) Let me know if you want more details.

tagaytay tour crosswinds

Tagaytay is one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines. And now I know why. Although it was raining non-stop when we went there, it didn’t stop up from having the time of our lives. Having fun is not only about where you go but also who you are with. The people you surround yourself with – they make the difference.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life!

-Alex

Travel Diaries: The Fort, Manila

I’ve been to The Fort several times but it was only on my last visit that I was able to go on a major food trip with my Toastmaster friends. I think the photos speak for the themselves.

BANAPPLE

Banapple is a friendly bakery cafe that serves cheese cakes, freshly baked pies and other desserts. They have delicious meals as well. In fact, their food was so good, Archie ordered two without even knowing it. For their desserts, their blueberry cheesecake is a must-try!

bannaple at the fort

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bannaple at the fort 12

bannaple food trip 3

bannaple food trip cheesy hotdog sandwhich

banapple cheesecake

Photo from opensnap.com

bannaple food trip

bannaple food trip 2

CONTI’S BAKESHOP & RESTAURANT

Conti’s started out as a simple family restaurant in Paranaque. Now they have several branches including one in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. We tried their best sellers – the Mango Bravo, Blueberry cheesecake and Bananalicious. The Bananalicious was my favorite!

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contis at the fort 2

contis at the fort 3

contis at the fort 4Mango Bravo

contis at the fort bananaliciousBananalicious

contis at the fort blueberry cheesecakeBlueberry Cheesecake

DAKASI

Dakasi is a milk-tea place that originated in Taiwan in the 1990’s. After more than 10 years, it now has several outlets all over Asia. We went there just to try Roy’s favorite milk tea flavor – chocolate milk tea. We just ordered one milk tea for all seven of us and took turns trying it out.

dakasi at the fort

dakasi at the fort 2

GINO’S BRICK OVEN PIZZA

We dropped by Gino’s not for the pizza but to try their chocolate-coated chicharon. It was certainly a different experience. It’s an explosion of different flavors – sweet, salty and spicy all at one time. Two thumbs up!

ginos at the fort

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ginos at the fort 3

ginos at the fort 4

ginos at the fort 5Chocolate coated chicharon – best with Gino’s spicy honey

The verdict: It’s much more fun to go on a food trip as a group. You can just order one or two dishes and eat it together. That way, you won’t have to finish the entire thing on your own and you’ll get to eat more kinds as well! Personally, I prefer variety over quantity. It’s just more fun that way.

People who love to eat are always the best people.

-Julia Child

What about you? Do you have any food places you’d like to share with me?

Feel free to comment below! :)

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

Toastmasters Midyear Convention 2015 – Bulacan (Day 2)

I wish I could say the 2nd day of the Midyear Conference dawned bright and clear. But I can’t because it didn’t . In fact, I woke in the midst of Typhoon Lando. I never really knew the meaning of commitment until that day. All I wanted to do was go back to sleep! But since I was the contest chair for the Evaluation Contest, I had to get up early so I could be at the Contestant Briefing at 7am.

contest host alex zetaPhoto by Leo Nogas

As much as I love competing, I also love hosting. So when Sha asked me to chose between judge or contest chair, i chose the latter.

midcon 2015 toastmaster hero sha nacinoTest Speaker – Sha Nacino (Photo by Ed Fabonan)

The test Speaker, Sha Nacino, gave a speech entitled “Make Your Passion Your Profession”. It was a speech I could relate to since I also believe in doing what you love for a living. She was then evaluated by the 11 contestants in the Evaluation Contest.

EVALUATION CONTEST WINNERS

evaluation champions

  • Champion: Erika Ilagan – Division A (Mystique Coolture TMC)
  • 1st Runner Up: Arthur Park – Division B (Diamond TMC)
  • 2nd Runner Up: Raxel Ann Gonzales – Division D (Barangay TMC)

After the contest, there were 2 more Educational Sessions. Since the theme for the conference was Toastmaster Hero, we got to listen to two Filipino heroes tell us about their experience and how they managed to come out triumphant despite all odds.

toastmasters philippines midcon 2015 jonathan yabutThe Apprentice Asia Challenge Winner – Jonathan Yabut (Photo by Ed Fabonan)

Jonathan Yabut is the first Apprentice Asia Challenge Winner. I learned 3 things from him that day.

First, work smart, not hard. According to Jonathan, he won the challenge not because he was smarter or better than the other contestants. He won because he chose to work smart.

Second, learn to say no. There are so many opportunities in the world today. If you want to succeed, you have to learn to say no to some of these opportunities. Because you can’t possibly take advantage of them all. The key to success is focus.

Third, leadership is about other people. It’s not about you. The true value of leadership is in stepping back, not standing out. It’s about allowing others to shine.

midcon 2015 + toastmasters jonathan yabut

toastmasters philippines midcon 2015 maid to madeRebecca Bustamante – Maid to Made (Photo by Ed Fabonan)

Once a domestic helper in Singapore, Rebecca Bustamante is now the founder and president of Chalre Associates, a multinational recruitment firm for senior management executive positions.

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SPECIAL AWARDS

  • Toastmaster of the Year 2014 – Pearl Villamarzo
  • Area Governor of the Year 2014 – DTM Johnny Uy
  • Division Governor of the Year 2014 – Division A Governor Lito Baldisimo

IMG_5310Toastmaster of the Year 2014 – Pearl Villamarzo

midcon 2015 + toastmasters area gov of the yearArea Governor of the Year 2014 – DTM Johnny Uy

DTM Johnny “Pawe” Uy led his area to be the first distinguished area in the world. Now that’s excellence.

Division Gov of the yearDivision Governor of the Year 2014 – Division A Governor Lito Baldisimo

midcon 2015 day 2Toastmasters from Division F

midcon 2015 + toastmasters alex zeta

midcon 2015 midcon 2015 commiteeMidcon 2015 Working Committee

toastmasters philippines midcon 2015 gabby

Midcon 2015 Chair – Gabriel Go Balauag

We all had a blast during the 2015 Midyear Conference. Kudos to Gabby, the Midyear Chair and the rest of the Midcon team for making this possible.

The best part of organizing the Midcon is everything that happens after it. I’ve been a Toastmasters since 2006 but it was only when I chose to actively lead when I found my greater purpose. Toastmasters is not only about attending two meetings a month. When you choose to lead, it can be so much more. For this conference, we focused on igniting the participants passion. To be more cognizant of the everyday heroes around us and become heroes ourselves. Through conventions, new leaders emerge.

-Gabriel Balauag (Midcon 2015 Chair)

discon 2016 commiteeDiscon 2016 Promotion

 I’ve been attending Toastmaster Conferences for years and they have always been a blast! The 2016 District Conference is going to be on April 28-30 at the Grand Convention Center, Cebu.

Registration Rates:

  • P 4,500 – Until Oct 18
  • P 5,000 – Oct 19 – Dec 31, 2015
  • P 6,000 – January 1 – March 31, 2016
  • P 6,500 – April 1 to onsite

Hope you can join us! It’s worth it.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

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