22 November 2010

QC Diaries: Food

There are some food establishments that I've visited during my rest days. I usually head to SM Cubao (which is only a 10 minute ride from the hostel that we're staying) to buy groceries.


The famous BLIZZARD.

Served UPSIDE DOWN. Never spills.
TACO BELL! Finally!

I heard so much about TACO BELL in the case studies in our business class.
The above photos are the food establishments that cannot be found in Cebu. During my entire stay in Manila, I never get to take home a box of Krispy Kreme. Which is a blessing in disguise--because my colleague, Kim and I were stuck 22 hours in the airport due to Typhoon Frank.

I didn't do much food trip because my everyday itinerary involves only two destinations: work and hostel. That explains why I lost a lot of pounds while in Manila. I don't have a good appetite due to stress. The easiest meat I can find in the city is chicken. I seldom eat pork and fish. I'm not a beef eater as well. So basically I always have a bland chicken for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When I went back to Cebu, I avoided chicken like a plague. It took me a few months to work on my appetite for chicken.

02 November 2010

QC Diaries: Places

Living in Manila for forty-eight days is not that bad. If you would count the Typhoon Ondoy flood (Bright side: signal number one equals to no work), crazy training schedules (a swift change from closing shift to opening shift, thus results to lack of sleep), getting lost twice and airport overnight (the stuck-for-24 hours kind of overnight due to Typhoon Frank) in Manila as bad. 

My Manila travel diary will never be complete without pictures. So here are snapshots of some places I've been to. Of course, I'm sticking to my travel goal: feast my eyes and tummy on places and food that can't be found in Cebu.

BREAKING DAWN, taken at 5:45am on my way to Libis
I'm a breakfast person. I have to have a warm milk or just some cereal drink to get me through the morning. If my shift starts at 6am, I have to get up at 4:30am to prep up. Though it will only take a 10-minute ride from our place but I have to be early to eat a 10-minute breakfast in the cafeteria. The food's not that great but I can survive on eggs and rice to start the day.


Since we're on crunch time, as much as possible there will  be no mall visits, unless I'm buying groceries. Therefore, I was able to scourge Baclaran and Divisoria and introduce myself to my never-met-before relatives in Rizal at kiddie parties during rest days. When traveling, make sure you brought nice clothes for special occasions and sturdy boots for the unexpected flood.

MOTHER OF PERPETUAL HELP mosaic. I love the details!

LIT UP five candles at Baclaran Church for Mother of Perpetual Help

I visited Baclaran Church and the market on a sunny day. This was the first time I visited a church in Manila. As I said earlier as much as possible no mall visits but I was able to drop by and take in the sky-high buildings of Eastwood City during my tag-along-with-my-relatives tours.

Impressive EASTWOOD mall.

More buildings.
The first time I got lost it was a daytime (yes, there was a second time and it was night time), so I wandered around Cubao (which is basically mall-hopping between Ali Mall, Gateway and SM Cubao) and I discovered Oasis in Gateway. It's just a small glass-enclosed "oasis" in the middle of the mall.

FISHES galore
Of course, there are fishes as well. They're oblivious that they're swimming with the loose change in the water.


The night before we flew to Cebu, I was shopping for Eng Bee Tin hopia as pasalubong to my family and friends. Sadly, no Krispy Kreme. We dropped by in Divisoria to check out stuff on a rainy night. I got muddy shoes and sore hands from carrying 3 bags-full of hopia all the way from Divisoria to Project 4.

One-way LRT ticket

To Recto
Since there's no MRT or LRT in Cebu, I feel like I have to take shots of the cards. All photos are taken by my trusty old Sony Ericsson W810i.


My room key and trusty "Quiapo" shades
Staying in NATCCO is not that memorable. I have to leave the lights and TV on so that the creepy guard ghost won't take a shower in our room or play knock-knock on our door. I have to leave scraps for Mickey Mouse (I named a teeny mouse who kept running all over the room and tasting most of my food). I have to put up with messy random roommates who secretly use my soap and I have to change rooms because I got drag queens for roommates by mistake. But despite all those inconvenient stuff I've been through, I'm gonna miss my bunk (the lower one with a made-up bed beside the bedside table) in room 7 (see photo below).

A parting shot of ROOM 7.

Against all odds, our flight was cancelled and but we still head for the airport in the hopes of getting a flight out amidst the Typhoon Frank--we are that desperate to get home.

A ghost town. Or a ghost port.
After 11 hours of waiting, we have re-booked our tickets!

And the reward for patiently sulking for stuck-in-the airport? A free upgrade!
As they say, there's always a first time for everything. This is first time I lived in Manila for 47 days and 22 hours. The first time I spend my birthday with a bunch of strangers away from home. The first time to be stuck in the airport for 22 hours without enough sleep and get upgraded from economy to business class. I didn't get to savor the plush business seats since I ended up dozing off. The most important thing is I'm going home!

28 October 2010

Turning Japanese

The cheapest way to get to the Land of the Rising Sun is to eat lunch at the nearest Japanese restaurant. I've never been to other Japanese restaurants but I was impressed by its simplicity on their tables and chairs--which gives off an authentic Japanese feel--and Japanese-inspired decors which includes Japanese characters written on katsa-ish cloth. 

Mama Cash asked us (the Y101 Web Team) to join her for lunch. Our mission? Feast on Japanese dishes at Ofuku-san Japanese Cuisine.

Here's some snapshots from our trip to Japan over lunch:

Chopsticks plus tuna appetizer with complimentary hot towel.

To start with, we had California Maki! Kane (crab) stick, sliver of ripe mango, cucumber, rice, fish eggs, wrapped in nori (seaweed paper)

I opted for a fried one for my tastebuds. A Katsudon bento.

And a refreshing drink of Iced tea.

Ofuku-san Japanese Cuisine is located at Gaisano Countrymall.

09 October 2010

España Sabrosa!

Flying from the oriental seas, we jetted to Europe and had a delicioso luncheon in Spain. Mama Cash steered the Y101 Web Team to the (best) authentic Spanish cuisine in Cebu: Hola EspañaI was in euphoria, I love Spanish cuisine!

Filipinos adapted a lot from the Spaniards. It's a good thing that we didn't adapt the long lunch hours, otherwise we'll be starving for hours. Mama Cash, a true blue Spaniard, shared that the natives usually have extended lunch hours. Lunch is usually around 2pm. And it is the biggest meal of the day, not breakfast. Spaniards love to eat their meals late, dinner usually starts around 9 or 10. But not to worry, most of the homes got a huge jamon hooked up in the kitchen to tide you over.

Allow me to share with you what we had for lunch:

To begin our delectable luncheon, we had heavenly BRUSCHETTAS (toasted bread topped with diced tomatoes, portobello mushrooms and pieces of ham) 

I love the bruschettas up to the last bite! Yum!

A variety of COLD CUTS for starters

A hot and hearty garlic-based soup for the soul

The famous PAELLA VALENCIANA. A colorful array of saffron rice, crab claws, shellfish and chicken! Yum!

The CATCH of the day: superb fillet!

SALPICADO, can be served with or without rice.

OSSO BUCCO: an Italian staple. A stewed beef dish served with risotto and a hint of blue cheese

Introducing the house specialty, BEEF CASSEROLE 

They've got wine and beer but I opted for a glass of FOUR SEASONS drink, no alcohol for me

HOLA ESPAÑA keeps a variety of cold cuts, preserves and fresh ingredients up for sale

And the famous slab of meat to get you by in time for lunch or dinner

19 September 2010

QC Diaries: What's Cookin' Chef?

Our group was staying at NATCCO. Whatever that stands for. All I know is that Red Ribbon is a member of NATCCO. Anyways, I was assigned to room 7 together with a colleague. We were greeted by colorful undies flapping vigorously by the a/c to dry. So much for wishing to have the room to ourselves.


For the first 2 or 3 days, my head feels fuzzy for lack of sleep. I feel light-headed and dizzy. I actually had an upset stomach in the middle of our workshop in MIHCA (Magsaysay Institute of Hospitality and Culinary Arts). My body clock is still adjusting to the changes I'm getting myself into.

For 5 days, we have to wake up at 5 am in order to catch the train at 6 am that will get us in United Nations Avenue at 8:15am. In my case, I barely sleep, so I woke up at 3 or 4 am. We rode a jeep from Project 4 to Farmer's in Cubao. If you want weight loss, Manila is the place to be. Oh, not to mention the stress of being pushed and squished together with smelly guys (and I mean men!) in the train. Girls get the privilege to have a whole car full of Y Chromosomes but I prefer to stick with my own company rather than get lost in the sea of rushing people. No, I didn't took a shot of the infamous train because I'm afraid that I'll get mugged. It happens all the time in every city. 

WHITE FOREST decked with Maraschino cherries
For the first time of my life, I celebrated my birthday in Manila with strangers. It sucks to be away from my family during my birthday, but there's always a first time for everything. It's a tradition of the company to give out cakes to their employees on their birthdays and I got the privilege to taste the newest addition to Red Ribbon cakes. I got to take home a White Forest Junior Cake and share with my colleagues.

COCOMALL team: (L to R) Me, S' Bhagz, Raunil, Dannah and Kim

At the end of our workshop, we are going to bake! Some of our companions were HRM graduates and have experienced being a chef. Since I'm a business grad, I was so excited to don the toque and apron. Made me feel like those Chowking chefs on TV. 

Here are some of hot goodies that we baked the whole afternoon

CHEWY Chocolate Chip Cookies

LIGHT Orange Chiffon Cake

CHUNKY Brownies with Walnuts

HOT soft buns
We're lucky to be taught by Chef Napoleon--the first Pastry Chef recognized internationally. Since I'm not an HRM grad, I didn't know him until he handled our group. I've never seen a live chef whipping batter and decorating icing on top of the cake and I'm quite impressed.

METICULOUS Chef Napoleon putting the icing on his cake
It has been a wonderful experience at MIHCA and I'm happy to learn something from our workshop.

14 September 2010

QC Diaries: Imma Manila Girl!

Same day last year, I flew to Manila for training for one month and a half. I'll be reliving my moments in Manila. Witness my rants and raves of my Manila chronicles: the QC Diaries.

One way ticket to Manila

I'm wedged between my SM S'Bhagz and my fellow ASM Kim. Kim and I will be left in Manila for training. It's gonna be information overload.

That's our ride!
My last memory on board of the plane is turbulence. I'm not that totally gung-ho on the plane ride. My ears have to adjust to air pressure.

Our plane arrived around 10 am which made us late for our company orientation in Libis. We just dropped our bags in the room and changed our clothes. Our trainers informed us that we will all be attending a workshop in United Nations Avenue. All I can remember on our first day in Manila is that we walked a lot. The following day, I felt like I walked the required number of steps to fight osteoporosis. 

22 August 2010

Thank God It’s REDS Day!

When it comes to painting the city red, no one else can do it better.

Team COCOMALL with the REDS
Zooming away on their wheels and balloons, Red Ribbon re-launched its Red Ribbon Express Delivery Service in Cebu last July 30, a Friday. Driving around the metropolis on board their banner-clad wheels minus the drums and trumpets, the REDS team painted the Queen City of the South with fiery red.

The REDS riders.
After a few months of hiatus, REDS is reminding their loyal customers the beauty of hassle-free service by putting up banners and giving away flyers on their respective retail trade areas. On top of this, Delivery Manager, Gilbert Servande officially declared that every Friday is a REDS day. All Red Ribbon Cebu stores gets the chance to shy away from their usual uniform and wear their REDS shirt loud and proud to show their strong support for the REDS team.

To perk things up, Cebu REDS hyped up their loyal customers with a free 1.5L Coke for every Php700 worth of single receipt which runs from July 30 to September 30 and on August 16 to 23, a Red Ribbon umbrella will be given away for every Php1000 worth of purchase.

Friday is no ordinary day for the Red Ribbon family. Friday is not just the end of the work week but a start of busy hours.

Thank God it’s REDS day!

Craving for our tasty all-time favourite pancit palabok? Ring us at 2548000 or 3448000.

11 August 2010

Rally Towards Excellence

Bring in the placards, protest...err...cheer banners, confetti and competitive spirits. No, there’s no protest against the President of the Philippines, there’s only a rally towards teamwork, excellence and a rally to win back our customer’s loyalty.


The FSC Rally was held last May 17 to May 21, for five consecutive days, six stores rallied their team to the finish line. Fierce jungle creatures like the Pink Panthers (SM), Blue Jaguars (GCM), Yellow Eagles (CCML), Violet Wild Cats (FSC), ethereal Black Angels (ACC) and the mythical Green Dragons (NA) found themselves investing time, effort and yes, money, as they fought their way to the top spot.

Five days flew by as fast as you can blink your eye. Activities were piled up high, great expectations were expected from each store’s representatives, the pressure to win and to show-off was evident in the air. The week was jam-packed with teamwork-related activities and strategies—all for the sake of winning. A healthy dose of competition is just what Team Cebu needs.

To the stores who invested a lot of effort in the competition, they can definitely feel the fighting spirit of their respective crews and co-managers as they try to outwin the other stores with their gameplans. The team spirit is so high that you can hear the sizzle of tension.

The downside of the fun is the frustration during the nightly practices at unholy hours, sleep deprivation, and the temptation to commit absence. But every sweat dripped from our brows and every tears of frustration shed from our eyes is worth it. As part of the Cocomall team, I witnessed how the relationship between crews and managers morphed into something more meaningful. Something called cooperation. That night became the turning point of the Cocomall team. The crews are much more aware on the weigh of the FSC audit to the store. I’m sure that this didn’t only happen in Cocomall but to every store.

Someone once said that if everyone in the group experienced the same experience, it will bring them closer together. The amount of effort you invested in the activity reflects the amount of effort you deliver in the store operations.

Series of activities were lined up for the stores to participate with from day one to day five.

Day One: FSC Corner (SM Pink Panthers topped this corner!)
Day Two and Three: Store FSC Audit (North Atrium Green Dragons kept the fire burning.)
Day Four: Battle of the Brains-FSC Exam, Poem Making Contest and Poster Making Contest (No winners were declared in the FSC Exam but the Cocomall Yellow Eagles bagged the first place in the Poem Making Contest while SM Pink Panthers took the first place in the Poster Making Contest)

SM PINK PANTHERS won the poster making contest
Ours is the creative one but we failed in the content part.
Day Five: Culmination FSC Showdown-FSC I Lead, Battle of Standards, Cheer and Dance Competition, Awarding of Winners (Ayala Black Angels hovers in the number one spot for the Battle of Standards while Cocomall team is soaring high in the first place for the Cheer and Dance Competition and as the 2010 FSC Rally Champion)

A few congratulatory words coming from our dynamic Area Manager, Rey Cabaluna “Team Cebu, I thank you for all the best efforts you have shown during the five days FSC Rally Activities! Congrats to our new team kapamilya, North Atrium headed by Hart for capping the second place! That’s a good start indeed. I saw the passion and drive to fight for excellence from the Wild Cats, Pink Panthers, Blue Jaguars, Green Dragons, Black Angels and Yellow Eagles. It was indeed a very remarkable drive from all. FSC is for everyone not for anyone! It’s for all, not to a few! The REAL battle is in the store, convincing the customers to vote for us and our challenge to keep the energy, teamwork, faith, focus and passion in ourselves and be victorious during the FSC audit! Cebu will fight together as one and will shine this 2010!”

With astounding results from the FSC Rally, Team Cebu is confident that they will bring home the gold to the Queen City of the South.