Monday, April 21, 2014

Filipino dessert: Summer superstar, HALO-HALO

Summer time again and the only thing to beat the heat is to indulge our taste buds with cold desserts. For this time of the year the superstar dessert for the buds of every Pinoy will be the halo-halo.

From the word Halo, which means mix, it is a combination of different ingredients build in a parfait or tall glass to create a mouth-watering and wonderful structure of dessert. It is not literally mixed together when being served, the mixing part would be when you are about to start eating the Halo-halo (of course, mixing it using a spoon).

:: Halo-Halo ::

 Yes, it is as festive and colorful as the Filipino culture. To be honest with you, I rejected the manner of portioning the ingredients in terms of serving this dessert, most especially if it is being served for my family. Once you have started eating this dessert you will be asking for more. On the other hand, some root crops are added to this dessert, it somehow makes you full right away.

Some of the ingredient are sago or tapoica balls, gulaman or gelatin, minatamis na saba at kamote or boiled and sweetened banana and sweet potato, sweet kidney beans, garbansos,  macapuno, rice crispies, sugar, milk, langka or jackfuit; for toppings, it may be ube yam, leche flan, ice cream cheese or all of these as toppings.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Advantage of Hotel and Restaurant Management Graduates in the Cruise Industry

Cruise ship is a floating hotel that provides good, quality and world class service that satisfy every guest's needs. To provide a good service, cruise line companies requires an employee with a good personality, positive helpful attitude and skills. In this field, there is no real advantage of being a university graduate over someone who has not done a degree unless your degree is within the hospitality industry.

The graduates of a hospitality-related program particularly Hotel and Restaurant Management, plays a major role in the management of production and services in the hotel, restaurant, resorts and event operations of travel and tourism industry.  In view of the fact that the hotel operation in the cruise is no different to the land-based operation, quality of service mounted and the demand for the skilled workers ascended during the boom of the cruising industry.

Nowadays, cruise line companies hires people even without college degrees and more highly consider those who are knowledgeable in basic skills and with experience in hotel operations. Since they refers to hire a candidate having extensive information or skills in the position they are applying into, the competition between the graduates of HRM and those who are non-hospitality management graduates and undergraduates rather.

Rising Competition

“[...] Labor and Employment  Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said cruise ships hire people without college degrees and   prefer those with working experience in hotels, casinos and spas, as well as in the fields of beauty and health, information and technology and security.
The basic skills and related requirements for jobs on cruise ships are a high school diploma, experience and proficiency in spoken and written English, she added. 
Baldoz said about 47,000 jobs will be created when 15 new international cruise ships  come into service this year. 
“Cruise vacations are becoming more popular, so global demand is expected to increase in the next five years with new cruise ships to be put in operation,” she said.
Cruise ships hire entertainment and service crew to cater to the needs of passengers, she added.”

The article contains forecast in the increase of job opportunity in the cruise industry which also comprise of the requirements such as (1) high school diploma, (2) experience, and (3) English proficiency. It is beneficial for the high-rate unemployed Filipinos who are aiming to be part of the industry, yet alarming and unfavorable for the graduates of the concerned academic program since they considered hiring people without a degree in hospitality. This established competition in the demand of employment between a hospitality degree holder and non-hospitality degree holder.

On the other hand, the competition appears to be positive as these factor considered as motivation for on both parties to know their weaknesses, improve themselves and enhance their skills even more.

Advantage of HRM Degree Holder in the Cruise Line Industry

The following factors listed below focused on how HRM graduates can be effective in the hotel operation of cruise lines:

  • Advance knowledge.  Compare to any other academic program, Hotel and Restaurant Management programs provides training from food and beverage preparations and service up to marketing and sales, and management skills. All students undergo this program will immersed in every single aspect of hotel and restaurant operation.
  • Professionalism.  Every individual that takes part of any services are expected to act professionally especially in the hotel operation since they provide the service face-to-face with the guest.
  • Flexibility.  In view of the fact that HRM programs covers management subjects, the graduates under this course cannot only be a food or room attendant, but also a manager of food and beverage, housekeeping and can even take part in the accounting and finance department.
  • Behavior and ethics.  As HRM program also have a branch of learning in values education and personality development which improves throughout study period, it can also be reflected during their On the Job Training (OJT) which stand them out of their competitors.
  • Interaction and approach to the guest while performing the service.  Since this program focus on the service, they already possessed the knowledge in approaching the guest needs and complaints.
  • Greater understanding and vision of the cruise industry.

Hindrances that HRM Graduates faces during the operation

Although HRM graduates have more advantage in the line of operation, the following issues serves as barriers and may have negative effects to the subject matter in portraying the task effectively:

  • Inexperienced.  The program unmistakably focused on delivering and improving the knowledge and skills of students, which make them fit in the qualifications of the job descriptions. On the contrary, having experience of working in the field is considered advantage of the competitors and what mostly measured by the companies that leave them behind the field.
  • Peer-pressure.   While the idea of working in the cruise line from one opinion may also from a relative or a common friend, hearsay or unfounded information about the nature of the work inside the hotel operation of any cruise lines may affect the way of thinking and their perception towards industry.
  • Underdog/Seniority.  This factor is one of the negative aspects that mostly faced and undergone by the trainees and fresh graduates from their superiors and/or senior officers that in this circumstances may alter their performances towards their tasks.
  • Deficient training.  In reality, the skills and performance of the graduates under the concerned program is in fact the basis why HRM graduates become effective towards the service. On the other hand, some schools and other training centre that are offering the programs are below standards and/or not able to provide the required training and facility that the students needed to excel during the study period.
  • Discourage workers.  Employees and service providers under this field, whether they like it or not, is ought to work double and beyond the working hours since merging of task is implemented in the cruise operation.
  • Erroneous belief towards the job.  The slogan, ‘Travel the world for free.’ by the cruising industry sound promising as ever to the aspiring applicants; absolutely free and you were the one who is getting paid for, nevertheless, you have to work hard, suffer seasickness, miss your family across the globe, withstand emotional problems during the voyage and the like.

Coping with the Hindrances

Given that the obstacles listed above are clearly established, the following factors below are to be considered device to break these barriers:
  • Continues learning after completing the program.  It is essential that the learning process must not end after obtaining the degree. Undertaking training programs, related or irrelevant to the degree, may appear favorable since training centre that are accredited by TESDA issues a National Certificate (NC; From NC II to NC V) which may add to their credential and make good impression to the employer.
  • Improving observation skills.  Despite the fact that being novice in the field may be burdensome, having an excellent observation skill is a convenient way to adjust and adapt in the operation.
  • Establishing interpersonal relationship within the department.  By developing interpersonal connection with the people, one may fully comprehend the task given since he may have companion that has been into the certain position before and can assist him during the execution of task which can make the flow of production trouble-free. A healthy and friendly working environment can also prevent the emotional agony that the worker suffers during the travel period.
  • Acquired self-esteem, self-reliance, and confidence.
  • Greater understanding of the career path chosen.  One must be knowledgeable about the reality and nature of the career they have chosen to avoid misconceptions. This process can also be part of the preparation before entering the industry.

Experience is the key to be hired in any skill-related jobs such as in the hotel operation of cruise lines, hence, being a graduate of Hotel and Restaurant Management program in addition with the field experience can be the key to a successful career path towards the cruise industry.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Make life worth living: Developing Yourself through Group Activities

As an individual, we all have our own opinions and differences in dealing with our daily lives. We approach every circumstance in a distinctive manner that defines us how the way we perceived these situations. These differences brought us to the position where we, sometimes, put ourselves in the corner and think if you can face it on your own or do you need a companion along the way?

As a confessed self-centered perfectionist, I admit, this is the question that I asked myself every time I had to deal with a group of people to accomplish a certain task. As far as possible, I want to finish the whole thing on my own to assure that everything will be organized, flawless and will gain credit on my part; but, in return, this behavior constantly leave my group mates behind the limelight. I know it sounds selfish yet, I keep on doing the same thing over and over again. BUT NOT THIS TIME!

Last January, 2014, during our 2nd preliminary examination, our professor in Cruise Line Operation and Management, Ms. Sally Reyes, advised our section to conduct a case study that relates a specific issue in regards with the cruising industry. She decided to divide the class in six (6) groups. I landed on the fifth (5th) group. We closed our first group meeting by settling down the title problem: Advantage of HRM graduates in the hotel operation of cruise lines. (click the link to know more)

This is the first time that I am going to deal with the 3rd year Hotel and Restaurant Management class on my second year of staying in Saint Clair College. To be honest, I was a total stranger to these people and so as they are to me. We never established any formal conversations, just a casual smile every time we encounter each other on the hallway or in times that we don’t know who to ask when we are looking for our friends.

Since the day that I transferred to my new college school, I promised not to be egotistical any longer. I have to leave introversion to the rear line of my being. I took this opportunity to change this behavior and let myself be open to others.


Without hesitation, they placed me at the position of leading the group. Justine Mae, Diana, Arianne, Lorence, Peter, Janine, Maridel, Arnelie, and Ms. Tantay were my members.

Unfortunately, I had to eliminate Ms. Tantay out of the group. It was due to her schedule and also her frame of mind where she doesn’t know what to prioritize since she has a part-time job. We can’t afford to loose even a single moment to adjust for someone who doesn’t have a clear mindset of the task. It is important for me as a leader that my members are really interested in the task delegated to them. Second problem occurred when, Arnelie stopped attending classes. And now, we are down to seven members. We have to straighten out the study though we lose two of our members.

During the time where we are in search of answers for our study, we had the chance of knowing each other and exploring the side of ourselves outside the four-corner everyday learning venue.

The Chum Bucket

I am the second eldest among these kids (maybe, let’s not talk about the age gap and our ages. All I know is that I am a way older). Generation gap? Present! There are some topics that they used to talk about, and of course, I don’t have any idea of what these are all about such as trending gadgets or hangouts where they spend their recreation time; likewise, there are some life and wisdom matter that I bring into play that they can’t catch up.

Justine and Diane are best of friends. They remind me of my high school days—they are bubbly, easy going and full of astonishing dreams. Justine, despite her childish acts, can adapt to any type of person, while Diane is a serious one; until now, I can’t figure out how these two can get along with each other.
The eldest, Arianne, is a working student and undergone her training at Negros Navigation. Her experience has helped us completing the study.

For the heart of the HRM department, she is the Ms. SCC title holder even if she didn’t got the title, Maridel eagerly involve into the study while preparing herself for the competition. I should have apologized to her; I stereotyped her and thought she was some sort of irresponsible—I was completely wrong.

The dedicated and enthusiastic, Janine and Lorence, these two lovely ladies and the polar opposite of each other, Janine is the typical Maria Clara, reserved yet full of ideas in her mind, astound the crowd during the case presentation when she fluently explained in English language. There is no more eager other than Lorence, who is excitedly asked me from time to time whether when we would go to 2GO office or if there are improvements on our study.

Lastly, the Mayor, Peter caught the attention of the class when he showed his comic moves while reporting. He closed his topic by simply waving goodbye to the viewers. Quiet informal, but impressively made us all smile and loose the group’s anxiety while the reporting was continuously moving. 

The Venture behind the Scene of the Study

You might not believe, but this is the first time that I and some of the members of my group had the chance to travel outside the city without parental guidance. We don’t even know how to get to the locations that we set for our field familiarization: Pier 2 at North Harbor; F&B Dept., of 2GO Inc., near Manila Hotel; and Times Plaza building.

:: Just Stolen! Inside 2GO Head office at Time Plaza Bldg. ::

We were like fifth graders who are excited to have a field trip. We rode on a public bus; it was a majority decision not to take a private bus because two of us (Diana and me) will suffer in nausea. We used to talk about anything that comes to our mind to forget the word ‘vomit’. 

We stop over at Lawton and took another jeepney ride. There goes the unwanted experience that we will never forget. Justine and I preferred to sit near the driver seat while the rest settled them at the passengers’ seat. During the trip, Justine was shrugging and doing some gestures which, during that time, I can’t actually understand. When I turned my attention to the driver, I refuse not to look back again. As we reached Delpan, Justine and I hurriedly jump out of the vehicle. It is more awful than feeling nauseated. “HAVE YOU SEEN THAT?!! SO GROSS!!!” That’s the first word that came out from Justine. She actually saw the driver doing ‘something’; I don’t know if we were just pretty and sexy in our short-skirt uniform or he just can’t control his libido. Another mind blowing experience was when we were walking along the Tondo area, where there were male residents who stared at us like it was their first time to see such lovely ladies.

:: 2GO F&B personnels; busy on decorating for Valentine's ::

:: Applicants waiting for their documents ::

Let us forget now about those unpleasant memories. Did you know that Justine and Diane fought over Adobong Pusit? You might laugh out loud while Diane insist on the idea that the squid’s eggs are not clean and safe to eat while Justine justifying that it’s not and it was the head instead.

:: Diana and Justine, fighting over Adobong Pusit ::

Wanna play hunger games or the hungry games rather? It was truly tiring to travel from Caloocan to Manila and worst is that we haven’t had our lunch while waiting for our interview for the manager of HR department of F&B department of 2GO Group Inc. We had our lunch by 5:00 PM.

:: Janine, tired and hungry... :( ::

During this journey, we developed the phrase:  (“It is expensive to get lost.”).

What I Realize…

Dealing with other people is the biggest gift that this group work has brought to us. It became a Give-and-take process. You may not understand them sometimes, but there is still some point in time where I saw myself in them. I learned from them, the same way they learned from me, and we all learned from this experience.

In the end, it was not about completing the study and understanding what the study was, it was all about the hardship that taught us unity, friendship and finding a way on how we deal of every circumstance that we faced along the way.

There are a lot of times where I used to be a leader but I’ve done everything on my own. I never tried to consider what my members can do for the task. I just depend on my own idea and disregard the fact that it is a GROUPWORK.

Selfishness and being self-centered made me survive from my previous university. I had to depend on myself because I don’t have any companion that I can trust without knowing that I was starting to forget to communicate and connect my self into the reality that I can’t live myself alone.

Immaturity, carelessness, childish acts… These are some of the negative behaviors that most of us rejected and I thought I was mature enough to deal with it, but at the end of this journey, I realize I just close my eyes to the world that these kids see—happiness beyond struggles.

I learned a lot form you guys and I thanked you to for being part of my life. in behalf of the group, we also wanted to send our sincere regards to Prof. Sally Reyes for giving us the challenge where we can learn way beyond the usual learning system. You let us step out of the box and explore and see the college life in a different way.

:: (From left to right) Lorence, Diana, Arianne, Ms. Sally Reyes, Me, Justine and Janine ::

Yes, we considered ourselves as individuals, but after the hardship that we have been through, we are now standing as one. We gained experience, we learned and we developed ourselves into a new and well-rounded individual.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Away from the web world again

    I've been away (again) from the web world for almost a month due to some social experimentation that my friends and I had conducted. I am not also able to touch my PC because of my busy schedule. Around April of 2012, I am not able to use my PC for almost a month because of some malware problems.

    And last night, after a month of not peeking on the web world, not even using internet through my cellphone, I decided to deactivate my Facebook account. I know I will lose all my connections from a lot of old friends since I'm not able to see them personally these days and I might miss some news from them. But, it is final. I want it off. I had made the past 19 years without Facebook, so I know that it is just normal if I want deactivate it.

    I want to make things clearer. There are a lot of news about that psychological, mental, emotional, etc., effects on people's daily living throughout social media especially Facebook, But that is not my reason. I love using Facebook, for real. I just want it off.

    And, for the posting stuff here, I'll be gone for another month for conducting new social experimentation. My experiences from those experiments will be my topics for the month of July.

    The 'Live life, laugh and live longer' Page on Facebook is still active and is now managed by my sister, Elena.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Filipino street food: Barbeque Or Inihaw/Ihaw-ihaw

::Typical scene of Inihaw vendors::

    If you are walking on the side walks of the cities of the Philippines and you suddenly encounter a heavy smoke with an appetizing smell and an aroma that hypnotizing your taste buds  that is a sign that an ihawan (Barbecue stall or restaurant) is ahead of you.

    Filipino, no matter where they are, can never resist the taste of inihaw ('barbecue' in tagalog).

    In a small stand, a portable grill with flaming charcoal that cooks the marinated meat on sticks and people who patronized the food that is located usually on a corner is the typical scene of an ihawan stall. If you were the vendor, you must have a good memory to memorize those who already got their orders and those who haven't paid yet because the vendor usually the cashier, the server and the cook. It'll be a great loss in the income if the vendor is not attentive.

Here are some of the of inihaw/barbecued dish at a Filipino ihawan stall:

1. Isaw/IUD - Marinated chicken intestine.
2. Adidas/chicken feet
3. Baticolon or balunbalunan/chicken gizzard
4. Betamax o dugo/chicken's blood
5. Helmet/chicken's head
6. Bato/chicken's kidney
7. Sausage/hotdog
8. Atay/chicken and/or pork liver
9. Tenga ng baboy/ pig ears
10. Puso ng manok/chicken's heart
11. Ewe or pwet ng manok/ chicken ass
12. Pakpak ng manok/chicken wings
13. Kurbata/chicken wings

:: Isaw ::

:: Adidas ::

:: Betamax ::

:: Helmet ::

:: Hotdog/Sausage ::

:: Chicken heart ::

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Filipino Beverage and Dessert: Beat the heat this summer

    Filipinos love to eat; and to beat the heat, we crave for foods that are can quench the thirst and fill our appetite. Here are some of the foods that every Filipinos will surely crave for this summer:

1. Halo-halo - First on the list is the Halo halo. Boiled and sweetened kidney beans or mung beans (munggo), boiled kamote (sweet potato), garbanzos, kaong (sugar palm fruit), nata de coco, macapuno, boiled saging na saba, crunchy pinipig, filled with crushed ice and top with ripe langka (jackfruit) and ube (purple yam) and pored with evaporated milk, this Filipino's all-time favorite is served not only in during the summer season, but throughout the year.

::A bowl of mouth watering Halo-halo::

    Even if some of the ingredients are out of season, halo halo, from the tagalog term that is 'mix', it can be mixed with other kinds of fruits and flavorings. The classic recipe of this dish has elevated to the next level as some establishments from the food industry introduced innovations to this dessert such as adding a scoop of ice-cream or serving it on a different way.

2. Ice scramble - Crushed ice blended with sugar and evaporated or condensed milk and top with syrup (usually strawberry or chocolate, or combination of both) and skimmed milk, are well-known and best-selling during hot afternoons especially among kids.

::Ice Scramble::

    Since this dessert, which is commonly known as a street food, some food franchising company have seen it profitable and introduced innovations to the ingredients used such as the toppings.

3. Sago-gulaman or Samalamig - A refreshing beverage, from the root word 'malamig' (cold), usually flavored with vanilla extract and simple syrup and contains sago (tapioca pearls) and gulaman (gelatin).

::A refreshing glass of Samalamig:: (Source)

    To make this thirst quenching drink more attractable to the customers, they played with various colors or gelatins and add more options to the flavors that are being served such as fruit salad flavor, buko-pandan, melon, and other fruit combination that you could ever imagine.

4. Buko juice (coconut juice) - Buko craze started to boom on the later part of 2012. Since the modern lifestyle today are focused on the 'more healthier side', this natural drink will surely suit your crave for a nourishing and refreshing drink. Buko juice, young coconut meat and milk serve in its shell for a classy look are usually seen in restaurants and resorts.

::Healthy and refreshing Buko Juice::

I hoped you will enjoy your summer with this Filipino refreshing drinks.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Anime marathon: ANOTHER

    Just recently, my brother, who is an otaku (anime addict), let me explore his archive of anime stuff.

    While digging into the volume of CD's he has, my attention was caught by the cover of this anime entitled "Another". He was about to explain what it's all about, but I exclaimed not to because I am too much excited to watch for it that I might be ended up listening to his story and forgotten to watch the whole of it.

    The whole story was interesting. Though, the whole story lasts for 12 episodes, it was worth watching. The way it was compressed and the sequence was very tricky; the cursed of the legend that have been haunting the students for the past years, how to solve the mystery and to know who was the "Another" was the main dish of this story.

    The story goes when a 15-year old Koichi Sakakibara transferred into Yomiyama, class 3-3 in the spring of 1998. There he met Misaki Mei, a strange young girl belong to their class, but being ignored because of the thought that she might be the "another". Sakakibara, being unaware of the said curse, had brought his curiosity to stalk at Misaki. And as soon as Sakakibara gets closer to Misaki, he knew about the curse and the whole class started to ignore him, too.

    Though the students and faculty tried to follow the measures to prevent the unfortunate events, the curse continues as they were caught up by ghastly deaths. And, as Sakakibara and Misaki continued to solve the mystery behind, they knew that the 'another' was someone from the past and is already dead, but came back to the world of the living as of being part of the curse. The only way to stop the curse is to identify who was the 'another' and bring it back to the dead.