First Day High

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I shall return. – Gen. Douglas McArthur

For almost two months, I ventured outside my comfort zone and explored the outside world that is (Project Pie) Park Square. Only a few more days and I would have been able to celebrate the second monthsary of the Park Square branch together with the other partners. Unfortunately, my time was up. No more venturing for me. I made an unexpected and sudden comeback to (Project Pie) Block 28 Alabang. And today was my official first day of duty. I say this because I was supposed to come in two days ago but requested to show up for work yesterday. Since we still have to cut back on manpower, I was asked politely if I could sit it out and come today instead. My answer was a huge “Yes!“. Maze Runner premiered yesterday. Perfect timing!

I could go on about how I liked the movie and how I opted to watch the adaptation before reading the book so I have zero expectations, but that’s not why I’m writing this. What I do want to share is my comeback slash first day (again). Originally, the scheduling manager gave me an opening shift (8AM-5PM) but I had to switch with Diane because of the wake of her cousin. I ended up with a mid shift of 12NN-9PM which is totally fine. Tomorrow’s my rest day anyway.

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As usual, I arrived a few minutes earlier than my shift. Doesn’t everyone? An exchange of hellos and casual bursts of excitement ensued. I was back. And as much as I wanted that very fact to sink in, it just wouldn’t. Sometimes, I would wake up and psych myself up thinking that I would get to see my Park Square family. Then it would dawn on me that… I wont. I’m part of the Alabang Family again. As much as I like my Alabang Family, I still feel a li’l separation anxiety here and there with no way of shaking the feeling off. The fact remains that I miss them. The exact same feeling that I felt when I left my Alabang Family. Why is this so hard?

Earlier, during my shift, we had a slightly huge wave of people. Nostalgia swept me over. For a second, I felt the adrenaline rush that I got accustomed to back in the days. My body missed it. And as I was accommodating the guests, I had so much fun that I momentarily forgot everything else. There was only that time. There was only the people and us partners and the pizza and nothing else. I would say it’s the same feeling of forgetting when having a beer, but I don’t drink.

Carpe Diem.

Feels good to be back to my roots.

Until Next Time, Park Square Family

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Parting is such sweet sorrow. – Shakespeare

Project Pie keeps expanding in an exponential rate. For a franchise from the U.S. that is relatively new, it has captured and has yet to capture the hearts of thousands. Currently, there are already seven stores here in the Philippines, the seventh (Park Square) being my current store. For now, that is.

The whole expansion process is the reason why some Restaurant Partners (our job title) had to transfer, myself included. I was originally assigned at the Block 28 branch around Alabang. Jason, a scheduling Manager, handpicked me and two other partners – Diane and TJ – for Park Square. Our personal growth was the reason behind it. Jason believed that we would grow after being transferred. And while we were nurtured by the caring hands of our Managers on Duty at Park Square, our total number of partners is really high. Vincii, our OIC, was faced with the gut-wrenching burden of a task of letting some go and scattering them to other branches. I am part of that little group of people. At first, Diane and I were chosen to help open the Valero (Makati City) branch. With a playful twist of fate, both of us were removed from the Valero line-up and was requested to go back to our roots – Block 28 Alabang branch. Our mother store was (or should I say is) badly in need of Restaurant Partners. It was time to go back. Who better to help than the both of us.

Park Square will always hold a place in my heart. My love for this family are, to quote John Green: “stars I cannot fathom into constellations“. I will surely miss the shifts, rants, laughter, late night food adventures, ups & downs, Park Square itself. The list goes on. What I’ll miss the most though is the company. The fact that starting tomorrow I would be coming to work and won’t be seeing my newfound friends saddens me. Don’t get me wrong. I am just as sad leaving Park Square as I am happy being back into the gentle caress of Block 28 Alabang.

The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared. – Lois Lowry

Nothing lasts forever. Inevitably, my last day at Project Pie Park Square came today. Jason was so nice as to bestow upon me a little sweet gift. Literally.

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A batch of freshly baked chewy cookies gently placed inside a sturdy mason jar. A delectable treat to tickle my taste buds and reawaken my inner chocoholic. A side of me I try to lock up. Teehee.

Luckily, I got a mid shift. I got to be with the AM and PM shift partners that I will dearly miss. Did I mention I’ll miss them? I will. Day 1 to Last Day was smooth sailing. I have no regrets.

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General Assembly 091514

And here in this room, I re-experience the memories again and again it is how wisdom comes and how we shape our future. – Lois Lowry

Mad Mark’s

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I remember the good ol’ days when Mondays were my rest days. I get some quality me time; getting pampered in a spa, eating hefty portions of food, watching movies. Gone are the days of pure pleasure. Until today, that is.

Weeks of lackluster food adventures have passed by, or should I say, lack thereof. My taste buds have been tinglingly craving for something new and exciting. Coincidentally, I have set a plan with a few partners to try this place at Glorietta 5. Dannice a.k.a. Dan (Restaurant Partner) has recommended a good dining spot that she always found worth going back for – Mad Mark’s Creamery and Good Eats (Mad Mark’s, in short).

Mad Mark’s, located at the second level of Glorietta 5, is a not-so-new creamery in the Makati area. Their sign itself reads:

Made from Scratch
Honest Ice Cream

I figured it was high time we tried this place out. And so we did. Originally, there were supposed to be three of us. Once we were able to confirm that our rest days synced with each other, we invited the other partners, hoping to increase the number. As it went down, the others just couldn’t make it, including the supposedly third person (Joaqui). Joaqui woke up to a nauseating feeling just a few minutes before our rendezvous time. Typical. Dan and I still went.

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As per Dan, the steaks are well worth the money. For a price range of 200-300 pesos, a steak with two sides sounded fanciful. I just had to try it; Medium Rare, of course.

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Slicing my steak always amused me. The suspense of whether or not they got the temperature right or not. As I sliced my steak oozing with just enough oil, I was welcomed with this redness that I was accustomed to. Imagine my delight, taking the first bite out of my juicy steak, nibbling on the soft tender meat. I swear, my taste buds felt like a crowd cheering for the winning shot. The tenderness of the signature steak was complimented with the cream mushroom sauce. Add in my bacon potato salad and plain white rice and bam! A heavy not-so-hearty-but-scrumptious meal. Just don’t mind the abundance of starch.

As a tradition, I finish off my meals with a dessert, may it be a plain belgian chocolate waffle or a candy bar. For my Mad Mark’s experience, my feet did not permit me to leave without trying one of their many not-so-quotidian ice cream flavors coupled with interesting names. Our server, who had a Trainee nametag, offered us to try their various flavors. I only tried two flavors: Java Hot Chocolate and Half-Baked Madagascar. I instantly fell in love with the latter. I could spot any version of cookie dough a mile away. I didn’t bother trying the rest of the flavors. I was too caught up in the moment.

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Every bite was a fleeting moment of fireworks. The half-baked cookie dough was just soft enough that it seemed to melt in my mouth. I only had one scoop. Huge mistake. Next time, I’ll be sure to order two or more. I forgot which flavor Dan got. If my memory serves me right, it was something like Chocolate on Chocolate. Basically, a decadent chocolate ice cream infused with oreo. A rank lower, in my opinion, but was also really pleasing.

I have Dan to thank for this wonderful recommendation. Do know that I enjoyed every bite of the steak and every spoonful of ice cream I took and every topic we talked about. My money and time was well worth it.

Our lunch at Mad Mark’s was as evanescent as a rainbow.

Chocolate Chip

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The bells are ringing, the lights are blinking, the songs are playing, the people start decorating. The not-so-sublte hints that Christmas is just around the corner. And it is fast approaching!

Eight months have already been ripped off the calendar. Unfortunately, pasting all those calendar pages back won’t turn back time. Not that there’s any need to.

Let me kickstart the BER months with a sweet little visit to Pythagora’s Café.

Pythagora’s Café is this cute little place near Olivarez College in Parañaque City. Items from the menu include pasta, desserts, coffee, to name a few.

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The café has a capacity of about fifteen people inside and around six people outside in their al fresco. Now you know what I meant by cute.

Framed pictures hang on their walls painted in classic white. I found this one rather enthralling.

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A long brown table sits on one side, showcasing an array of various products like cookies, tea, and coffee beans.

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Aside from one person immersed in his laptop, there were no other guests. The lack of people contributed to the serenity of the café. I practically had the place to myself.

I placed my order by the counter. A lady in blue with a nametag that read Cindy wrote down my order. Her smile was as bright as the afternoon sun and her demeanor was just as warm. I half thought that she only borrowed the nametag. She didn’t look like a Cindy. More of a Jane, if you ask me.

My sugar overload of an order consisted of a Chocolate Chip Belgian Waffle and a Chocolate Chip Milkshake.

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An abundance of chocolate chip on a bright sunny afternoon. Want a bite?

Deviation

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Work has got me occupied lately. My daily routine now consists of eating, working, and sleeping. This leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. It was high time I spiced things up and added a little flair.

I requested three days off from work from Jason, our Scheduling Manager. My request was granted in a heartbeat.

Day one… will be a different post. Instead of the usual chronological order of blogging I do, I decided to switch to an unorthodox way. I’ll be sharing what transpired on my second day off.

A few weeks ago, my college buddy Daphne told us that she would be paying a visit here in Manila to submit work-related documents. We took the opportunity to arrange a day to meet up and explore. Calendars were marked. Date: 08/20.

JJ and I took a taxi to Resorts World around lunch time to fetch Daphne. All three of us were hungry at that time. So hungry that we entered Pancake House after making a 360-degree turn of the place. We also planned on meeting up with a couple more college buddies. One of those were Kevin, my brother from another mother (meant figuratively). He was on his way to SM Mall of Asia (MOA) so we decided to just meet up there.

With much thought, we dined at Shakey’s and ordered Deal 2. Daphne’s craving for spaghetti was satisfied. I, on the other hand, enjoyed the Mojo’s very much.

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Next on our list was SM Aura. I have been dying to try Magnum Café and experience what all the hype was about. Given that I had my heart set on it for the past few months, my visit there would mean temporarily quenching my insatiable desire for anything sweet.

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Magnum Café is located on the fifth floor of the mall. The entrance boasted a gold-colored sign that read: Magnum Manila. Inside, the café oozed with an aura of sophistication and elegance. The feeling one gets when entering a fine dining restaurant. I should know. My past work experiences involved a private country club and a historic hotel, to name a few.

The build-your-own Magnum option was simple. Choose a flavor, three toppings, the dip, and the drizzle. They add a circular chunk of chocolate with an embossed letter M to finish it off.

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My combo:
•Chocolate Ice Cream
•Mini Mallows, Double Speculoos Cookies, and Gold Nuggets
•Dark Chocolate Dip
•White Chocolate Drizzle

I have a sinfully exquisite taste.

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So far, I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg. I better get down to business and finish listing all the places we set foot on.

Kevin, who works at P.F. Chang’s, offered us a sweet treat at their Taguig branch. He chose two items from the dessert menu: Choco Buchi (traditional rice balls with sinful chocolate filling) and Constantino Affogato (vanilla ice cream served with a shot of freshly brewed espresso and cinnamon syrup). An excellent way to make a first good impression what with my sweet tooth and all. This marked my first ever visit at a Philippine branch of P.F. Chang’s. My first one was at Chicago. The sweetness overload doesn’t end there though.

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Joanne, who had to work that day, got out at around five in the afternoon. Edje, who traveled all the way from Antipolo, was the sixth and final member that completed the group. We rendezvoused at Project Pie BlueBay Walk. I noticed that I tend to be in a Project Pie branch almost every single day. Talk about loyalty.

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I paired up with JJ and shared a BYO pizza. Daphne paired up with Joanne and built their own pizza, with a little help from me. Kevin ordered a Banana Nutella dessert pizza only. Edje had a Hawaiian-themed pizza. We shared our pizzas with one another and opened up bottled emotions about our former schoolmates. Surprisingly, we had a lot to talk about. Even though there were six of us, our group couldn’t completely finish all of the pizzas. There was at least one slice left from each of us. Our conversation only paused momentarily when we switched places and dropped by at Infinitea.

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My brother and I craved for milk tea earlier. I tried the Salted Cream Wintermelon Milk Tea. Always a fan of the Wintermelon flavor. Cravings satisfied.

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Our last stop (yes, this is the last) was Gerry’s Grill. Bangus Sisig, Chicken Lollipops, and a bucket of ice cold San Mig Lights were our companions. We, and by we I mean they, drank their hearts out and freed their inhibitions.

The entire day was literally an all-out restaurant-hopping fun-filled adventure. Food was definitely the main theme of the day. Pigged out like there was no tomorrow. Best part: company. Friends always make a day ten times better.

How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people. -Albert Einstein

Caramel Brownie Ice Blended®

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Participated in The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s Open House event today and got the chance to try their newest addition – Caramel Brownie Ice Blended® drink – for free.
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All I had to do was present my Swirl Rewards Card and poof! Free drink. Gotta love the perks.

Also, the staff were very friendly. I was seven minutes late but they still allowed me to participate without a second thought. Now that is what I call service.

Kudos, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf!

Instagram’s Suggested User

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I seldom post photos of myself. I will, however, make an exception because I have been featured as one of Instagram’s list of Suggested Users a few days ago. As an individual who “takes photos of everything,” I needed an outlet for my photography, and Instagram was the answer.

Instagram has always been my outlet for photography. It inspired me to take my hobby of taking pictures seriously and have fun at the same time. My account is my visual journal of stuff that piques my interest. I love sharing to people how I view the world with my own eyes. And if that, in turn, would inspire others, all the better.

Thank you, @instagram!

Note: My Instagram username is @iprocrastinator.