Travel Diaries: Bangkok, Thailand

We went country hopping last year from Vietnam to Cambodia to Thailand. Here are some of the photos I took during our Thailand Day Tour.

Floating Market

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Photo from gothaibefree.com

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Photo from justgola.com

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Elephant Village

This is where you get to feed and ride the elephants. Elephants are herbivores and they need to eat 300 pounds of food daily to sustain them. Wild elephants spend 16 hours per day grazing and looking for food.

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104_elephant_village Photo from asianventure.com

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Samparan Elephant Ground and Zoo

Attractions:

  • Elephant show
  • Crocodile show
  • Magic show
  • Zoo

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Damnoensaduak Floating Market Samphran Elephant Ground & Zoo Sampran Riverside 4

Calypso Cabaret Show

Calypso Cabaret Show at Asiatique is a showcase of singing, dancing and some acting from Thailands ladyboys. Some of the performers were so beautiful I could hardly believe they weren’t real women. If you want a night of glitz and glamour then, Calypso is the show to watch! Tickets can be bought online.

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The Generosity Generation

helping

Photo from pulseps.com.au

“Generosity is love in action. It can involve offering thoughts, talk, talent, treasure, team, teaching, or time to aid someone in need.” – Michael Maher

I just finished reading The Seven Levels of Communication: Go from Relationships to Referrals by Michael Maher. From someone who reads a lot, and I mean a LOT, I can say that this is one of the best books about selling. (Thanks again for the book Coen Tan!) A must read for those who are in sales.

The world of sales is one of the most challenging fields to succeed in. And because of this, we need all the help we can get. But Michael Maher has a different take on this. He believes you can do it with 0 advertising.

How does he do it? Relationships.

By capitalizing on the relationships you have with other people, you can set up a powerful network that can generate leads through referrals.

It’s basically about taking care of other people, putting their needs before your own. When you go out of your way to help others, the numbers will take care of themselves.

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Photo from Magills Bistro

Just yesterday, I was in Magills Bistro – a small restaurant in Uptown Cdo. Since I just finished getting a new listing in Portico, Gran Europa, I decided to work there instead of going back to the office. While I was busily typing away on my mac, I overheard two other diners talking about how they couldn’t connect to the wifi in the restaurant. I ended up going over to their table to help then and we started talking about the real estate market in Cdo. It turns out that one of them had a house in Gran Europa that she wanted to sell. The other diner was the owner of Magills and she also referred to me 2 clients.

According to Michael Maher, the Generosity Generation is a movement wherein we each do our best to help other people achieve their goals. It’s not about you anymore. It’s about others. I offered my help to the 2 ladies on the next table because I just really wanted to help them. As a result I (unexpectedly) got 3 new clients and gained two new friends!

Whatever business or career field you may be in – following the Generosity Principle can benefit not only yourself but others around you as well.

Selling today is no longer just about selling. It’s about sharing of yourself to others. It’s about creating genuine relationships and memorable experiences. Refer people. Look out for ways to help. Reach out.

Be part of the Generosity Generation.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

PS

For those who enjoy working in coffee shops, Magills Bistro is a great place to hang out in. They have good food, great ambiance, fast wifi plus unlimited coffee for only 100php! :)

Nutrifit CGY – Eat Right and Live the Life You’ve Always Wanted

 

nutrifit CGY 8Being healthy is now a trend in Cagayan de Oro. Most of my friends work out and (try to) eat healthy. I, myself, do Crossfit almost everyday at Crossfit Kayagan. Working out regularly is easy – one you make it a habit. But eating healthy is a lot more challenging.

Why? Because we are surrounded by so many unhealthy food options. Fast food and pastry shops abound around Divisoria area and in malls. For someone who believes in living a healthy lifestyle, eating healthy is a challenge.

This is why when I found out about Nutrifit CGY, I thought, finally! More healthy options for health buffs like me :)

Nutrifit CGY is the brainchild of pastry chef Melody Tan and gourmet chef Angelo Reyes. Eventually they added a third partner, Cai Cansino. It was launched last March 2015 and is the first Paleo home delivery business in Cagayan de Oro.

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The owners of Nutrifit CGY

The paleolithic diet, also known as the paleo diet or caveman diet, is a diet based on the food our ancestors might have likely eaten – meat, nuts, fruits and vegetables. This
excludes all processed food and dairy. This diet is based on the premise that, despite technological advances, the nutritional needs of humans remain the same. Our bodies don’t respond well to processed food which is what most people consume on a daily basis. Proponents claim that followers of the Paleolithic diet may enjoy a longer, healthier, more active life.

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 Photo from http://www.grassfedgirl.com

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Photo from Nutrifit CGY

For only P150, you’ll get a main course and salad. Sometimes, they also throw in a surprise dessert. The whole meal is only about 300 calories. And delivery is free! If you dont have the time to go out of the office to buy food, then you can just order in. It’s convenient and hassle-free. You can now enjoy healthy, delicious and guilt-free meals daily. nutrifit CGY 4

Our vision for NutriFit CGY is to reach out to people and teach them how to eat healthy. It’s a journey we are all going through and we just want to share it to others. We want that for others as well. It’s not only about losing weight but being healthy – Cai

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Photo from Nutrifit CGY

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Photo by Nutrifit CGY

nutrifit CGY 2Photo by Nutrifit CGY

 Living a healthy lifestyle is a habit that we can all form. We just have to decide to commit to it. It may be a challenge, but believe me, you’ll get more out of it. If you are in great shape, you’ll be able to look better, feel better and perform better in the other areas of your life.

So what are you waiting for?

Go life a Truly Wealthy life!

-Alex

PS.

For inquiries on Nutrifit CGY, contact 0927 300 5490.

El Nido Island Adventure: Tour C

matinloc shrine

On our second day in El Nido, we opted for Tour C. After breakfast we headed off to the beach to start our second round of island hopping!

Tour C

  • Matinloc Shrine
  • Hidden Beach
  • Star Beach
  • Helicopter Island
  • Secret Beach

el nido island tour

el nido island tour

el nido island tour

Matinloc Shrine

Matinloc comes from the word “Matinlo” – a word in El Nido’s local dialect which means “beautiful”. And true enough, the island was beautiful. Matinloc Shrine is located in Matinloc Island, a small island surrounded by crystal clear blue water. Aside from the shrine lies an abandoned mansion that used to be owned by one of the locals of El Nido who married a German. As to why it was abandoned, no one really knows. They say that the couple got into a fight and split up. Others say that they only bought the island because they found hidden treasure beneath. No one really knows the truth. But what I know for sure is that, El Nido certainly has a lot of secrets!

matinloc shrinePhoto from palawantoursandadventure.com

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matinloc shrine el nido tourThe view from the 2nd floor of the abandoned mansion

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matinloc shrine + el nido island tour 2Matinloc Island view point

Hidden Beach

Hidden Beach is named as such because the beach itself is hidden by towering karst cliffs that surround it. As our boat could not dock directly on the beach itself, we had to swim a few meters to find paradise. We spent about 30 minutes snorkeling at Hidden Beach before heading to our next destination.

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el nido island tour

Star Beach

This, by far, was my favorite stop of the day. Why? One word. Food! ^_^ After visiting two islands, we headed here for a lunch break. While waiting for the food to be prepared, we had a great time playing around. Being at the beach just brings out the kid in me! 😛

star beach el nido

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 Stef, busily building a sandman

el nido island tour 9Hello Olaf! (Asian version)

Secret Beach

Another secret of El Nido was unveiled as we swam through this small opening to enter another beautiful version of paradise. I so regretted not buying an GoPro at this point. A lot of tourists were carrying one. Plus its water proof so you can take as many underwater photos as you want.

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Photo from tripadvisor.co.uk

secret beach el nidoPhoto from http://www.trover.com

Helicopter Island

From afar, Helicopter Island really does look like a helicopter. But once you get here, you’ll see that it has pristine white sand beaches that stretch on for miles and a variety of marine life – perfect for those who love diving. We had a fun time snorkeling as well. I had no idea that fish could be so territorial.

helicopter islandPhoto from leftmyheartinpalawan.com

helicopter island palawanPhoto from spinkyworldtour.travellerspoint.com

All in all, it was another great day! This concludes my Palawan vacation. I can’t wait to go on my next vacation! :)


-Alex

El Nido Island Adventure: Tour A

El Nido, Spanish for “the nest”, is a small island 238 km northeast of Puerto Princesa. It boasts of majestic limestone cliffs, lush vegetation, white sand beaches and turquoise green waters with a wide array of marine life. It truly is the epitome of paradise. <3

From Puerto, we took a tourist van to El Nido. Travel time was around 6 hours. We left Puerto Princess at 9:30am and arrived at El Nido at around 4pm. After checking in, we decided to tour the island.

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El Nido is very laid back. It reminds me of the old Boracay. It doesn’t even have an ATM machine so be sure to bring cash.

The hotels  and pension houses are affordable, P800 – 1,500 per night. The food was a bit pricey. We ended up spending around 300php per meal.

There are 4 types of tours in El Nido, each ranging from 900-1,500php inclusive of lunch.

Tour A

  • Small Lagoon
  • Big Lagoon
  • Secret Lagoon
  • Shimizu Island
  • 7 Commando Island

Tour B

  • Snake Island
  • Pinagbuyutan Beach
  • Cudugnon Cave
  • Cathedral Cave
  • Entalula Beach

Tour C

  • Matinloc Shrine
  • Hidden Beach
  • Star Beach
  • Helicopter Island
  • Secret Beach

Tour D

  • Bukal Beach
  • Pasandigan Beach
  • Cadlao Lagoon
  • Paradise Beach
  • Natnat Beach

el nido beachAt night, the beach side restaurants gets filled with tourists – most of them Hispanics and Europeans. In fact, there were more foreigners than Filipino tourists.

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This is the coastline of El Nido – the pick up point for island tours.

el nido tour + palawan

For our first day, we picked Tour A. Tour A is centered mainly on Miniloc Island. First stop is two lagoons, then a scrumptious lunch on the beach, then next is the hidden lagoon and then finally 7 Commando Island for some refreshing halo-halo. Don’t forget your sun block! The islands may be beautiful but the sun is as fierce as ever. We had to reapply after every stop to avoid getting burned to a crisp.

Small Lagoon

The best thing about the small lagoon – kayaking! You can discover the surrounding areas in your kayak while basking in the sun.

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small lagoon el nido tour

Big Lagoon

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big lagoon el nido tour

big lagoon palawanSecret Lagoon

This tiny hole is what you have to go through to be able to get inside the Secret Lagoon. It reminds me of The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio. It’s like a secret slice of paradise contained within these limestone walls.

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el nido tour + palawan This is what the Secret Lagoon looks like on the inside.

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secret lagoon el nido

Shimizu Island

This  where we dropped anchor to have lunch. Shimizu Island is one of the best areas to go snorkeling in as they have a wide array of marine life. It’s like Discovery Channel in here. Just be careful of the occasional jelly fish >.<

shimizu island palawanPhoto from Pinterest.com

el nido tour + palawan

el nido lunch tour APhoto from pamobieta.wordpress.com

I wasn’t able to take a photo of the delicious lunch prepared for us since I dived right in, but it looked something like this ^__^

7 Commando Island

7 Commando Island was our last stop for the day. We lounged around for about 30 minutes while eating halo-halo before heading back to main land.

1480594_10153293543369931_980794434502952055_n 7 commando island palawan

All in all, it was a fantastic day! The Philippines is truly a beautiful country. We have so much to be proud of. Even the Canadian tourists we were with kept on saying that although they have travelled around the world, the beaches in Palawan are among the best they have ever been to.

It’s more fun in the Philippines!

Go live a Truly Wealthy life!

-Alex

 

 

 

 

 

Puerto Princesa Underground River

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The Puerto Princesa Underground River is a protected area of the Philippines that’s situated on the north of Puerto Princesa. It’s also known as the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park and is found in the Saint Paul Mountain Range. It’s just a short boat ride from the town of Sabang. You’ll be filled with wonder at the majestic rock formations, seemingly endless river channels, numerous caves, marine creatures and bats inside the Underground River. In fact, as of 2011, the Puerto Princesa Underground River has been named as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature – along with the Amazon (South America), Ha Long Bay (Vietnam), Iguazu Falls (Argentina), Jeju Island (South Korea), Komodo (Indonesia) and Table Mountain (South Africa).

palawan underground river tour

palawan underground river tour

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palawan underground river

palawan underground river tourTourists are discouraged to bring food to the Underground River because there are snatchers here – monkey snatchers to be exact. The monkeys here have learned to open plastic wrappers and drink juice in tetra packs. So according to our tour guide – dont bring any food. During our tour there was one victim. And you can see the monkey enjoying the snack here >.<

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underground cave palawanPhoto from puerto-undergroundriver.com

Puerto-Princesa-Underground-River-–-Palawan-PhilippinesPhoto from newsnish.com

underground cave palawanPhoto from placesfortour.com

-Alex

Puerto Princesa, Palawan – City Tour

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The Toastmasters Discon was only two and a half days but Stef and I  decided to extend for another week to tour Palawan. On the last day of the District Convention, a city tour was scheduled for the participants who opted tour after the conference. (Some participants chose to take the tour before the convention started.) We were all loaded in one huge bus (all toastmasters!) and our city tour began.

First stop, LRC 908 Market Mall.

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LRC 908 Market Mall is located along Puerto Princesa, North Road. It does not look like your usual mall but rather like a cluster of stalls selling various kinds of pasalubong items such as tamarind candy, cashew nuts, cookies, Palawan T-shirts, bags and of course, pearls. Pearls are a lot cheaper in Palawan. They have 2 kinds: South Sea and Fresh Water Pearls. South Sea Pearls are more expensive. You can buy either those that have been set already or lose pearls.

Second stop, Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Puerto Princesa. 

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Photo by Ed FabonanImmaculate Conception Cathedral, Puerto Princesa

Photo from Ed Fabonan

This century-old cathedral in various hues of blue is located at Barangay Liwanag along Rizal Avenue.It was built during the 1800’s and was a spiritual refuge to many during the war.

Third stop, Plaza Cuartel.

plazacuartel palawan

Photo from palawantoursandadventure.com

Plaza Cuartel is located just right across Immaculate Conception Cathedral . It looks like an ordinary park but it is actually the restored ruins of an old garrison. At the middle is a triangular marker that symbolizes the 143 American prisoners that were burned alive by Japanese soldiers inside a tunnel during World War 2

Third stop, Crocodile Farm (Palawan Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Center).Crocodile farming is the industry of raising and harvesting crocodiles to create commercial products like leather and meat. Here in the Crocodile Farm, two species of Philippines crocodiles are bred: the Philippine saltwater and freshwater crocodile. Aside from crocodiles they also have a mini-zoo and souvenir shop.

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Photo by Ed Fabonan

palawan city tour crocodile farm

Photo by Ed Fabonan

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Fourth stop, Mitra’s House. 

This house is owned by the late Senator Ramon Mitra and family and is located on top of a hill. The view is spectacular.

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Photo by Ed Fabonan

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Photo by Ed Fabonan

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Photo by Ed Fabonan

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mitra house 2 palawan

Fifth stop, Baker’s Hill.

20816_10153289273334931_7080767615446027609_nNow This is my favorite stop because Bakers Hill is where all sorts of yummy goodies are made.They have all kinds of breads, pastries and cakes.

bakers-hill-puerto-princesa-palawanPhoto from whatisspontaneous.wordpress.com

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bakers hill palawan

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Photo from girlslittlehub.com

Bakers-Hill-Hopia-Ube

Photo from outoftownblog.com

Their special is the Palawan Hopia which comes in 3 flavors – ube, mongo and pork. On top of that the place is just picture perfect! I had to stop and take pictures of every corner. They have well-manicured gardens, life-sized statues, playgrounds,cafe’s and peacocks.

This was defnitely a great way to end our Toastmasters Conference!

-Alex

How I Conquered Table Topics

table topics winners 2015

(Photo by Ed Fabonan)

When I first joined Toastmasters, one of the scariest parts of the program for me was Table Topics, also known as Impromptu Speaking. I am better at prepared speeches because at least you can “prepare”. Impromptu Speaking just wasn’t my strongest suit. I would marvel at our other club members (like my club mate Mark Grageda) who could speak immediately only seconds after hearing the quote or question. I felt like my brain couldn’t function being put on the spot like that.

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(Photo by Ed Fabonan)

My fear of impromptu speaking is what pushed me to join the table topics contest. I wanted to rise above my fear and conquer table topics. I’ve joined the Evaluation and Prepared Speech contest before but Table Topics was way out of my comfort zone. Because the truth is, you never know what quote you might get.

11208667_10206763746915272_6644315172721306364_nTable Topics 2015 Contestants (Photo by Ed Fabonan)

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it wont change you. “

I wanted to challenge myself. So I joined. I went from the Area Contest, to the Division Contest, to the District level. It wasn’t easy – it was pretty nerve wracking actually. Especially during the District level where you had to speak in front of around 300 of the most accomplished speakers in the Philippines. It’s a good thing my fellow contestants were really nice. We had a nice chat at the holding room while waiting for our turn. We even had time to do a photo op with PDG Vic Navales.

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There are 11 Divisions in District 75, so there were 11 contestants. I was speaker number 10. One by one, the other contestants got called by the marshal out of the holding room. Until…it was my turn. I was nervous but also excited. Somehow speaking in front of a crowd energizes me. The bigger the crowd, the more energy it gives me. Then the quote was read twice.

Success is 99% failure.

table topics 2015  toastmasters

Table Topics Perpetual trophy (left) donated by 2009 Table Topics Champion Khris Albano

When I heard the quote, I silently thanked God for giving me this quote. Because having failed many times, this was something I could relate to. As business owner, “failing” was something I was used to. Although I don’t really think of them as ”failures” but rather, learning experiences. I believe you never fail as long as you learn. You can only fail when you refuse to learn the lesson embedded in each experience.

table topics champion 2015

So how did I conquer table topics?

First, I decided to do it. When I made the decision to join the table topics contest, I started participating more in club table topics sessions and I began looking up quotes online. Commitment is backed up by action.

Second, be teachable. I started to look for mentors and asked for their advice on how I could improve as an impromptu speaker. There were a lot of people who helped me, most especially DTM Rolly Romblon and 2009 Table Topics Champion Khris Albano. 2011 Humorous Champion, Mark Grageda gave me a few tips as well.

Third, enjoy it! I just chose to enjoy the whole experience. Learning is fun!

I decided, win or lose I’m going to enjoy this! I’m definitely competing again – in another category this time.

This experience was bitter-sweet for me. Sweet, because I finally conquered table topics – or rather my fear of table topics. And bitter, because only two days before the competition, my grandmother passed away unexpectedly. On the same day, I lost half of my luggage at the airport. But God has just been so amazing. He gave me the strength to continue pushing forward. I can really say that He is my one true source of comfort and security. And as long as He is with me, nothing will ever keep me down.

True success isn’t about never failing but rising every time you fall.

I dedicate this win to my grandmother. I know you are in heaven now, lola.

Go live a truly wealthy life.

-Alex

PS

For those who missed the Discon, here’s a video of me during the contest. Thank you Coen Tan for the video! :)

 

Toastmasters District Convention 2015 – Puerto Princesa, Palawan

district conference palawan division F

If there is one thing I love to do – it’s to travel. And if I can travel and still learn at the same time, that’s even better. That’s why when I learned that the 34th Toastmasters District 75 Conference was going to be in Palawan, I immediately registered. First, I’ve never been to Palawan. Second, I wanted to go to Palawan! <3 Besides, Toastmaster Discons are always fun. And since I was going, I decided to compete in the Table Topics Contest. Talk about “sulit”.

district conference toastmasters venue aziza

34th Toastmasters District 75 Conference Venue at Aziza, Puerto Princessa, Palawan

(Photo by Ed Fabonan)

district conference toastmasters

Photo by Ed Fabonan

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.

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)

district conference palawan division F

Division F Toastmasters with our new banner from District 75

For this Discon, the 2 contests were International Prepared and Table Topics Speech Contest. The Humorous and Evaluation Contests are scheduled in the Midyear Conference. If you win the International Prepared Speech Contest, you get to attend the Toastmasters International Conference held annually every August for free. This year it’s going to be in Las Vegas, USA.

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 Toastmasters from Division F

district 75 toastmasters conference palawan

district conference palawan ed tate

It’s basically two and a half days of learning sessions plus the speech contests plus FUN! We were so lucky to be able to listen to Ed Tate – the 2000 World Speech Champion share about his experiences and how we can be better influencers. We also had a host of other speakers including two of my good friends Sha Nacino and Coen Tan.

district 75 toastmasters conference palawan + coen tan

ed tate district conference toastmasters

Edward Tate 2000 World Speech Champion (Photo by Ed Fabonan)

District 75 officers

Lt Gov for Educ Boy Archie, Chief Ambassador Johnny Uy, District Gov Dotty Du, Lt Gov for Marketing Dulce Rañosa (left to right)

The Big 3 – District 75 Officers and our REP Chief Ambassador Johnny Uy

Here’s a summary of the learning sessions during the District Conference:

  • Keynote 1: Influence and Lead without Authority by Edward Tate, DTM – 2000 World Speech Champion, Trainer, Author

district conference palawan coen tanCoen Tan, DTM – Trainer Communications Coach

  • Plenary Session 1: How to Capitalize on your Speaking Skills to Turbocharge your Career by Coen Tan, DTM

district conference toastmasters REPJohnny Uy, DTM – Chief Ambassador, PIP (Photo by Ed Fabonan)

  • Plenary Session 2: Revitalized Education Program by Johnny Uy, DTM

REP ambassadors + toastmasters

 The REP Ambassadors of District 75 with our Chief Ambassador Johnny Uy

I was outside the room when the REP ambassadors got called on stage that’s why I’m just on the screen in the back. lol

DTM patrick district 75 district conferencePatrick Oie, DTM  (Photo by Ed Fabonan)

  • Plenary Session 3: Taking the Leadership Challenge by Patrick Oie, DTM

DTM ed tate district 75 district conference

Edward Tate 2000 World Speech Champion (Photo by Ed Fabonan)

  • Plenary Session 4: Story Finder: A Workshop on How to Create New Stories in Minutes by Edward Tate, DTM – 2000 World Speech Champion

district conference palawan sha nacinoSha Nacino, ACS, CL – Inspirational Speaker, Author

  • Breakout Session: How to Write and Publish a Book by Sha Nacino, ACS, CL
  • Keynote 2: Manage Things, Lead People by Edward Tate, DTM – 2000 World Speech Champion, Trainer, Author

Of course a Discon wont be complete without the speech contests. Here are the 2015 winners for the Table Topics and International Prepared Speech Category.

table topics 2015 contestants

Table Topics 2015 Contestants (Photo by Ed Fabonan)

TABLE TOPICS CONTEST

table topics winners 2015

Desiree Balota, Alessandra Zeta, Adrian Baloyo (left to right)

Photo by Ed Fabonan

Table Topics Winners

  • Champion: Alessandra Victoria D. Zeta (Iligan TMC – Division F)
  • 1st Runner Up: Desiree L. Balota (Queen City TMC – Division C)
  • 2nd Runner Up: Adrian Carlo P. Baloyo (Health Care Circle TMC – Division D)

INTERNATIONAL PREPARED SPEECH CONTEST

district conference 2015 prepared speech champion

Hyacinth Jade V. Malaca, Vincent C. Juan, Nedo L. Sasing (left to right)

International Prepared Speech Winners

  • Champion: Vincent C. Juan (Bench and Bar TMC – Division E)
  • 1st Runner Up: Nedo L. Sasing (BAVI TMC – Division L)
  • 2nd Runner Up: Hyacinth Jade V. Malaca (Cebu TMC – Division C)

Partying is also something that we at District 75 are good at. And it’s all in the name of good clean fun :) The Fellowship Night was scheduled on the first night and the Governors Ball was scheduled on the second.

fellowship night district conference toastmasters

Fellowship Night (photo by Ed Fabonan)

For the fellowship night, we had to wear something neon. There was a lot of food, great music and exemplary company. Although the table topics contest was set at 8am the following day I could not resist staying till the very end.

district conference 2015 governors ball

Governors Ball (With Toastmaster friends from different Divisions)

toastmasters discon 2015 palawan

The whole conference was a success! There was group of toastmasters who came all the way from Singapore to join the Discon and they kept on saying our Discon was so much fun! What can I say? It’s really more fun in the Philippines!

Kudos to Sucit, the Discon chair, and to the entire team for a successful conference. The next conference is going to be in Cebu and I’m definitely joining!

Discon 2016 Rates:

  • 4,500 php – early bird rate (1st 53)
  • 5,500 php – regular rate
  • 6,500 php – onsite registration

See you all next Discon!

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

 

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Are you a fan or follower of Jesus?

I just finished a book entitled “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman. In the first chapter, the opening question was, “Are you a follower of Jesus?” You may have been asked this question before. And most of the time, you say “yes” without even thinking about it.

Of course I’m a follower! I go to church regularly, attend bible study, listen to Christian music, serve in a ministry…

But really, are you a follower? Or are you just a fan?

Fan – an enthusiastic admirer.

A fan is someone who sits on the sidelines, cheering his favorite basketball team on. He knows all the players, the score, the stats. But he is not in the game sweating it out with the rest of the team. He is sitting comfortably on the sidelines. He knows of the players – where they’re from, their favorite food, how many hours they train… But he doesn’t know them.

Jesus has a lot of fans these days. People who sit in the sidelines at church cheering him on. People who admire Jesus but know nothing of the pain of following him. They know all about Jesus but they don’t truly know him.

Many of us won’t mind Jesus making little changes in our lives. But Jesus isn’t interested in making a few touch ups – he wants a complete renovation. We think tune-up, but Jesus wants an overhaul. When we choose to follow him, Jesus will turn our lives upside down. He isn’t interested in having fans, he wants followers.

Jesus wants us to define our relationship with him. Is it casual or committed? Fan or follower?

Matthew, a tax collector, was busy collecting taxes behind his booth. Now to be a Jew, collecting tax for the Roman empire, was the height of all sins. He wasn’t just a sinner, he sinned for a living! Even his own family wouldn’t touch him. No doubt Matthew was already so “deeply in sin” he wasn’t even trying to hide it anymore. So when Jesus stops by his booth to speak to him, no one would have guessed what he would say.

Jesus said, “Follow me.”

Now in their culture, a rabbi (teacher of God’s word) didn’t go on extending invitations. If you wanted to be a student or disciple of a particular Rabbi, you had to apply. Rabbi’s would screen their applicants and turn away those who didn’t make the cut. But Jesus didn’t choose his followers based on their family background or familiarity with the old testament. He extends his invitation to anyone who would like to follow him. It’s your call. It’s your choice.

Jesus says, “Follow me.”

Mathew 9:9 says:

…And Matthew got up and followed him.

For so long I realized that I’ve only been a fan. I say I love God but I wasn’t ready to fully commit to him. It’s similar to telling someone, “Yes, I love you but I still want to date other people too.” I still kept those parts of my life I knew wasn’t pleasing to him. I felt that following Jesus would mean I couldn’t have fun anymore. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. Jesus wants us to follow him so we can fully experience the joy of being with him. It’s only when we surrender our lives to him that we can experience true joy and real freedom. We don’t have to be sinless to start following Jesus. We can start doing it today.

What about you? Don’t cheat yourself out of the joy of knowing Christ. Commit to following him today.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

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