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Deviation

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

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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.

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Project Pie Anniversary Party

Project Pie has just turned 1 year old this week. To commemorate this joyous occasion, the higher-ups decided to host an event referred to as The Anniversary Party held at Shaw 515, the very first branch that opened here in the Philippines.

Currently, there are seven stores that opened:
•Shaw 515
•BlueBay Walk
•Block 28 Alabang
•Palazzio Eastwood
•Fairview Ayala Terraces
•SM North Edsa
•Park Square
(my current store)

August 6 was the date. Luckily, I had an AM shift that time. The event started at around half past the hour of nine in the evening. As a token of Project Pie’s appreciation, the company gave away Anniversary shirts with the Project Pie logo at the front and a huge number one made up of the various branches at the back. The shirts came in two colors: black and blue. I didn’t realize this until a little later. It was sorta dim at Shaw 515 and the lights flickered to a certain beat, changing colors as if in a sequence.

Most, if not all, of the Shaw 515 partners were present. I commend them for their camaraderie and unity. They were the biggest and noisiest group. All good, though. The second biggest group was BlueBay Walk, my first store and training store. I trained with twelve (if I remember it correctly) other people. Most already quit. But I got to see three of them at the event.
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We only bonded together for four days. I got to see Sannie and Iñigo last month. Say, on the other hand, I haven’t had the chance to see ever since I transferred to the Block 28 branch in Alabang. Almost six months. Wow.

I’m not sure who the third biggest group was. Let’s leave it as a mystery. As for us Park Square partners, there were plenty of us. All ready to party after the program.
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The party commenced with a couple of speeches from Cito, Gibs, and Melodee; the big trio of the higher echelons. Each of them performed a short number before speaking. Dance moves that caught us off guard and was just adorable and entertaining. Next came the games.

First game: Hands-Free Cranberry Picking. Not the actual title.
Goal: Grab 10 pieces of Cranberries using only one’s mouth.
Park Square’s Representative: Jason “Sonia/Sonja” Angeles
Alabang’s Representative: Beau “Kulangot” Balagot. I felt like including my previous store’s rep.
Winner: I forgot the name. It was this guy from BlueBay Walk.

Second game: Towers. Again, not the actual title. I just felt like naming the game. The noise hindered me from hearing properly. Two groups were formed.
Goal: Build a higher tower of plastic cups than the other group.
As for the representatives of Park Square, there were four of us: Kaye and I in one group, Pepper and mommy Elvie in the other.
A few partners from other stores filled both groups. We had around two minutes to build our towers. We couldn’t. It always fell down. Our time was extended when both groups had the same height of towers for thirty seconds. Our group won and we rejoiced. Our prize came in the form of one thousand pesos which wasn’t really so bad.

The third part of the program was a collection of videos and pictures of all stores compiled into a neat slideshow presentation accompanied by songs. I took this opportunity to grab a few bites. Pasta, mini sandwiches, hors d’oeuvres, nachos – I had a little of everything. The best part: the chocolate fountain. Never expected that. I laughed and cheered and made all sorts of noise as the slideshow kept playing and I kept eating.

The last part, and probably the most awaited part by majority, was the discothèque. People were itching to drink and party the night away. We danced to the beats of Alesso, Avicii, and much more. Bottles broke, floors got wet, food fell, chairs scattered, people roared and the dance floor came to life. The Anniversary Party was a night of epic proportions.

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Despedida, Sorta

A few days from now, my cousin will be leaving the country to pursue his Internship at China. Passing the board exam was just the beginning. Now a full-fledged engineer, my cousin will be trained in the ways of Aeronautical Engineering, dealing with airplanes, airplane parts, and whatnot. A very good opportunity for polishing skills and gaining invaluable first-hand experience. As for the duration, it’ll either be a three-month or six-month Internship. I have yet to confirm this.

To sort of celebrate this occasion, all four of us housemates agreed to eat outside. Everyone got dressed in an hour’s time. That’s saying something. Since it was out of the blue, we had to pick a place. We decided on dining at Yabu: House of Katsu at SM Mall of Asia.

I ate once at Yabu before. I remember blogging about it. This would be my second time dining there and sharing it through my blog again. Pure coincidence.

A lady receptionist in black led us to our table. We had the table with the half-sofa-half-chairs combo. Not bad. Our, or shall I say my cousin’s, backdrop was a wooded collection illuminated by bright lights. Cute manga strips-like wallpaper fancified the interior. As a fan of manga, stuff like these are fun to see. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to finish reading the entire story that had to do something with a pig.

Our orders came quick as we didn’t want to waste any time. Jo, our server with the nametag Trainee, left one menu for us for reference. We were then given the signature Black and White Sesame Seeds in a mortar and pestle for us to crush and pour the Tonkatsu sauce.

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In less than fifteen minutes, our orders came up one at a time. I ordered a Rosu (Pork Loin with fat) Tonkatsu.

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What I really like about Yabu, aside from their crunchy cabbage, is the fact that we get unlimited sides. I get to have as much cabbage and rice as my tummy would let me. The Katsus are delicious too. My Rosu Tonkatsu was a delight to eat even though I had a heavy meal a few hours before. Really worth the money you pay albeit pricey.

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Need I mention that it was my cousin’s treat. Very generous, as always. Good luck on your China Adventure! Work hard. Play harder!

My Signature Item

Daily Prompt: Sherlock Holmes had his pipe. Dorothy had her red shoes. Batman had his Batmobile. If we asked your friends what object they most immediately associate with you, what would they answer?

Simple. A cap. Any cap. Every single day I wear a cap. I have an assortment back at home. I have my black sorta-ripped-but-not-really-ripped Project Pie cap that I wear everyday to work. I have a cap to be paired with every Project Pie work shirt (black, blue, gray, and brown). Most of which I bought from Oxygen. It started with me just wanting a gray cap. I found one and bought it. As I walked past Oxygen, I immediately spotted this cool brown corduroy cap. I was smitten. Naturally, I bought it. What I didn’t expect was seeing this plain black cap that resembled a beret. The sleek simple design made me bought it. I swear, it must have been a hypnotic spell cast upon me.

One of my prized possessions is my black floral snapback cap that I had to travel around the world in less than eighty days to get my hands on it. I crossed the Sahara dessert, mustered up my courage and did a free fall at the Grand Canyon, conquered a fortress built solely of ice, shrank down to the size of pixies to save their damsel in distress, fought valiantly against a steel acid breathing dragon, and poked a palm-sized jellyfish. The jellyfish proved to be the climax of my adventure. Man, that jellyfish can sting.

My plain white cap that I got slash asked from my aunt is already picking up dirt in my room. We bought it at this place with the color Green in its name. My memory of the place is fuzzy. Manila is full of places I haven’t ventured to yet. I can easily get lost in the sea of people at a local mall or a busy street. Poor me and my sense of direction.

If I mention all the backstory of each of my caps, this blog post would be my longest. Even summarized stories prove to be long. My caps will stay in my room until I find a good place slash thing to put them in. I should get a cap rack or cap holder or whatever it’s called to store all of my goodies. Now that would be very useful. Plus, it sounds organized. I like being organized.

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Blessed

Here’s how our opening day for Project Pie Park Square at Makati went down:

Half past the hour of nine in the morning, all of the partners (well, there were a few missing) gathered for the blessing of the store at Project Pie Park Square. Two sets of flowers adorned the entrance of the store, as it is usually before opening. A huge crimson-colored ribbon was tied in the middle. Everyone gathered outside. Gibs and Cito, the head honchos, both held a pair of scissors. Both flashed a huge grin then cut the ribbon together. A round of applause ensued. Cameramen were stationed in different areas to cover the footage of the ribbon-cutting, or, more precisely, the entire event. Project Pie Park Square is now finally open.

Everyone held candles with ribbons strategically placed under white courtesy cups (to avoid wax dripping) and gave thanks to the Lord our God. Each candle lit brightly amid the blinding rays of the sun. The priest, short and bald, commenced the blessing as soon as we entered the store. We prayed, we listened, we gave thanks, and, admittedly, we played with the candles. Couldn’t resist. After which, we followed the priest around the store making one huge line as he splashed holy water everywhere. Us people in the line got wet too. We felt clean and cleansed.
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When it was finally time to open the store, I sat down at one of the tables along with my fellow partners with P.M. shifts. Majority had 2P.M. shifts. I did. And since we were way too early, they rewarded us with free pizzas (again). Perks of working at Project Pie. We also got free drinks. I custom-built my usual pizza but without caramelized onions this time. No particular reason. I just didn’t want it on my pizza. It still turned out scrumptious, although I wasn’t able to finish it. I had a heavy breakfast before arriving. If only I knew that we were getting free pizzas. I would’ve skipped breakfast and finished my entire creation in lieu of just keeping it inside a plastic bag. Honestly, I was tempted to just get a dessert pizza. I make the sweetest dessert pizzas. A sinfully delectable concoction of Nutella, peanut butter, cinnamon frosting, and cinnamon powder. Sugar Overload as I like to refer to it. Every bite bursting with flavor and sweetness. You just can’t resist. I know I can’t.
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Everyone was full. No complaints whatsoever. Still, we had hours to go and time to burn. Majority decided to chill at Glorietta 3. For the nth time, we went to McDo. Only two people ordered though. For about an hour or so, we were immensed in our work-related conversation laughing almost non-stop. Random thoughts and past events. After crashing McDo, we transferred to the ground level of the mall where bystanders were hypnotically hooked to their smartphones. Then we talked some more. There was a lot of talking. Only that time, the topic was previous jobs my partners had. I found out that we had an abundance of baristas or people who worked in coffee shops, people I look up to, sorta. Eventually, we made our way back to the store. It was time.
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I was stationed as the Cashier for the entire week. As existing partners (people who have worked for Project Pie longer than the others), we had only one station for the mean time. The rest of our new partners were being trained to do the line, hone up their skills, and bring out the best in them. We see a lot of potential and unawakened talent. All there is to do is to push them past the breaking point.

Our first day was a success. It was all thanks to everyone working together. Teamwork will always be vital. A huge THANK YOU to everyone who came. And for those who haven’t, Project Pie Park Square is waiting for you. Visit us! Tag some friends! And have a delectably awesome time!