hope you enjoy reading! - mae :)


Feb 28, 2010

Japan Airlines

I love flying. In fact, I will always welcome free trips such as this. And so I've had the experience of taking few airlines - Philippine Airlines, Northwest, United Airlines and Japan Airlines. So far, I'm loving PAL and JAL.

I don't understand why peers I know hate PAL.. PAL is the most hygienic plane I've been to. I don't have to worry about toothbrush, paste and so forth, it's included in their complimentary package. Most carriers only offer the standard pillow, blanket, and headset for in-flight entertainment. Their lavatories are also equipped with soap, alcohol, lotion and cologne that smells good. Unlike the rest, they have soap, and that's about it. PAL international flight is OK. NWA and UAL are the worst for me.

JAL on the other hand is praise worthy. I can't believe UAL is selling their legroom area for nearly a hundred bucks. Geez. And when I got to JAL, their normal seats are freaking better than UALs coach and maybe their 'legroom' area too. UAL's was so tight and close.. unlike JAL. Also, Japan Airlines has a camera outside of their plane so everyone inside can actually see what the pilots are seeing.. like the runway, etc. The camera is active even few minutes after take off.. it's amazing to see lights and the airport from way above. Totally cool, and I liked it. JAL's is the cleanliest I've ever witnessed so far with good movie line up and the best personal entertainment. You have your own TV and remote. You can flip all through the channels and watch whatever you want. Unlike other airlines, you have to watch from their TV's mounted on the ceiling. JAL's snacks are not bad at all. Their crews speak English, Japanese and Tagalog.

I like them.. so much.

I can't wait to experience Cathay Pacific and maybe JAL business class? :D

Feb 27, 2010


I have my memory intact for what we've gone through during our last 5 days in Illinois and it wasn't as 'easy' as packing your things... yes, I considered that easy more than the back to back certification we all had to pass.
Last week the most busiest days of our stay, thanks to the demo teach and staying up late to rehearse, make flip charts, and all that preparation - we get to sleep on the plane with no effort at all.

As I write this, our plane that will bring us to Manila has taken off 15 minutes ago - and yes am I wide awake. To successfully get to this leg of our trip, we all had to endure all the driving, sleepless nights and connecting flights.

Here are the highlights of our last week:
  • Monday and Tuesday were still bearable. I slept late thought because I washed my clothes.
  • Wednesday night, I slept 2 hours because I was rehearsing and coming up with my presentation
  • Thursday night, I slept for 3 hours because I was busy packing and re-packing my things
  • Friday morning - we are all work mode still
  • Our shift ended at 2PM then we had lunch. After lunch we ran some errands to get a few more necessary things. We then drove non-stop for 3hours to Renaissance Hotel in St. Louis Missouri where we stayed overnight. The overnight was spent re-packing and re-weighing. There was absolutely NO SLEEP involved. I thought I would snap and go crazy anytime. I was crying desperately for sleep, but there's just no time for so many things to do.
  • Finally, Saturday morning.. with our stuffed luggages, we all headed to take the first flight out of MO.
  • We took 1 hour and 30 minutes flight via UAL. From the moment I snapped my seatbelt on, I was dead asleep. Isn't it crazy that our group slept before the plane took off and woke up when everyone else was already standing ready to leave the plane? We slept the entire time - the flight attendant didn't even bother to wake us up to serve our snack. This is our first sign of exhaustion.
  • 2nd plane ride of the day, from Chicago to Japan. Again, I didn't wait for the plane to take off, I passed out as soon as I had my seat belts intact and I know where the rest of my peers at. I missed the first snack on this ride. I opened my eyes but refused to eat. I was still exhausted. It didn't matter if I was snoring or sleeping with my mouth open, I don't care about the Malaysian guy sitting beside me. Lunch came and our row was next to be served. Ha! I woke up just in time. The rest of the hours were spent watching movies, chatting a little, meal times, and SLEEP.
  • Ah, finally. This moment.. Japan Airlines (JAL) that will bring us to Manila. I didn't sleep during the first hour. I wanted to witness (again) my favorite part of this ride - the take off. I was given two chances earlier but I just slept through it. And I love JAL. They have a camera outside of the plane so when we were still taxiing and taking off, we can see everything. The TV's inside are connected to the camera so we saw the runway, how it was during take off, it was soooo damn cool. After the first meal, I passed out again. I didn't even finish 'The Blind Side'.

I don't know how I survived, but I did.
So I welcome myself to Manila.. I am back Pinas! :D

our JAL flight to Manila
just as exhausting

Feb 23, 2010

In-Flight Entertainment

Sometimes it's so unbelievable how fast technology has set us forward. I can't wait to see flying cars in the near future now that there are cars that can detect parking space, or even park itself automatically, cars that would suddenly stop if it recognizes a block or a near collision.. just unbelievable.

But I'm a simple person, if there's anything I like about the technology on board the aircrafts, it is the fact that you can choose your own movie/ channel and watch whatever you like. You can even play bejeweled and other pop cap games. I love it!

this is a remote that you pull out from your armrest. it looks like a phone to me.

flip the remote control and you'll see this. notice that it has channel & volume controls. it also has A, B, X buttons for those gaming addicts. So yes, you can play!

here's your own small TV that has 'glare' something so the person sitting next to you can't really see what you're watching unless they look at your monitor straightforward.

Gotta Love Flying!

Feb 22, 2010

Fuji Steak House + Sake Bomb!

Tomorrow, Operations Team is driving to St. Louis to stay in Renaissance Hotel overnight.. then they will head to Japan in the morning. They're home (Manila) by Wednesday or Thursday.

Tonight though, we dined out to celebrate the good times we had here in Illinois and to celebrate Rona's birthday.

Fuji is a Teppan Hibachi Style SteakHouse.
The chef will cook your food in a Teppan Grill while adding some entertainment while they're actually cooking. They will toss and flip food, make art while cooking, throw this, catch that - while stirring, cooking, slicing and flipping steaks, vegetables and seafoods.. totally awesome and very skilled chefs! I dined in a similar restaurant like this.. it was Benihana in Ohio. I'm glad I'm not disappointed with their cooking skills and quality of food. I actually liked FUJI's food better than Benihana.


Aloha Soda
Bubble gum flavored water. Very interesting how this was opened. There's also a marble inside - I don't know for what reason.

Their Hibachi Dinner includes SALAD and SOUP

Our assigned CHEF, demonstrating his skills

HIBACHI Dinner Plate Combination
Steak and Chicken with fried rice, mixed vegetables and shrimp

to cap the night off we had SAKE BOMB!
it was fun drinking this.. this is how you do it.

The server would say SAKE and you all have to shout BOMB... three times. So it'll be.. SAKE.. BOMB! SAKE.. BOMB! SAKE.. BOMB. After saying the last 'BOMB' server strikes the gong three times to indicate 3-2-1, then you pound the table hard enough for the chopsticks to wiggle and for the SAKE to fall into your glass of beer.. then drink it, bottoms up!

I had total fun!
Manila.. here we come! :)

Feb 21, 2010

My 101 of Traveling

Now that we're nearing our flight schedules to go back in Manila.. I guess it's time to remind myself how bittersweet it is to pack stuff again and prep for home. Bitter because I don't like it, but on the other hand, sometimes I do. I love trips, I love flying.

And so I've put together guidelines that I live by when traveling. In case you pick up something, then good.. in case you have anything to share.. I'm all ears. :)

  • Always be on the comfortable side. I love dressing up but I don't trade comfortability over fashion (ok, maybe sometimes) but traveling is a different story. Start with comfortable undies; it will be hugging you for quite some time so cotton is a good choice.
  • A simple shirt and a jacket is not so bad at all.
  • For bottoms, I prefer sweat pants. If I wear maong pants, I wear them w/o belt. Security checks are pain in the ass, you'll get through fast w/o a belt on.
  • Shoes - any slip-ons work for me; sandals, slippers, loafers, mules.. anything that's easy to remove will always work.
  • Sometimes watch has metals too, so I don't wear one. Plastics and rubber are good choices.

  • I love four wheel trolleys. You can pull them, push them in any direction without straining any part of your body. Always, I put a copy of my itinerary and passport in all my bags.. just in case.
  • I pity those who carry gym bags too, totally awful to look at. Buy a carry-on luggage that you can pull around and not something to carry on your shoulders the whole time. Carry on's should be kept to a minimum. Don't carry too many loose items and bags. Normally it's a regular purse, laptop and your main carry on. It's also good to consider what purse/office bag to bring. If you anticipate to bring home workbooks/materials, make sure your office bag can carry them so you don't have to stuff those in your luggage - it will eat up weight if you know what I mean.
  • For padlocks, there's the standard TSA approved. If you buy the normal one's and if security has to open your luggage, they will open it even if it requires destroying your lock.. worst your luggage. Invest in the padlock too.
  • Lastly, don't forget to mark your bags. Anything - a big bag tag, colored belts, colored packing tapes work too. If you have the normal blue, red, black luggage, make sure you can spot it even from a distance.
  • Oh, if you're planning to buy a PINK luggage, please think twice. They tend to get reeally dirty especially because they're just thrown to and from the plane. Poor bags.

  • Never forget your toiletries and make sure they're the allowed size. Not all airlines have complimentary toothpaste and toothbrush - only Philippine Airlines give that out as far as I've experienced. Always remember a MUST that you need.
  • Don't bring the liquid lip gloss that you have to squeeze or press.. remember the plane is pressurized. You'll be sorry when your lip gloss starts to spurt and wouldn't stop.
  • Have two pens handy. There's a lot to fill up, I swear. One for you, and maybe one for your seat mate. :) Again, remember the pressurized plane. Sign pens and fountain pens are good. But be on the safe side, bring your good old trustee pen - the one that you absolutely know writes.
  • Have something to entertain you especially if the trip is to the other side of the world. It could be a book, a deck of cards, your gadget.. anything to keep you sane while you're up in the air. You'll never know when the onboard entertainment will be unavailable.
  • Keep all the toiletries, entertainment material, pens in your purse/bag that you can have with you while seated. Airlines allow two places where you can store your carry on - overhead bin or in front of you. It will not be easy to open the overhead bin just to get your toiletries or your pen. But if you have those in your bag that you can store under the seat in front of you.. piece of cake. Use and store as you please.
  • As far as I know, airlines don't allow excessive batteries too. I'm not sure which kind, just google it. :)
  • I bring neck pillow too, because I know now how I sleep while seated, and I need it. I hate the inflatable one. Totally portable, but not really useful. I trust the mushy, soft pillow. The softer, the better for me.

  • I say don't eat too much when traveling. Eating in small servings are also good. Granola bars are excellent choice.
  • Bowel is a different story and maybe hard to master especially if you release regularly. I just refrain myself from eating too much and eating food that I know will make me poop. If you have to, wet wipes, alcohol and perfume are your savior.
  • Beware when drinking coffee before or during the flight. Other's get Diarrhetic and so frequent toilet travels are expected.

I wrote this bearing in mind that I have a 16 hour travel ahead of me.
If I think of something else, I'll post some more.

Have fun traveling!

Feb 19, 2010

Farewell Party w/ a Dance Video!

The Training Team still has one more week here in Illinois but the rest are flying out on Wednesday, to Manila.

So today, we held a party for the individuals who have made our stay absolutely comfortable and who thought us what we have to bring back home.

I'm not a dancer, please don't watch me. nyahahahhaa.

Feb 14, 2010

Happy Winter Valentine!!

This is probably the most busiest Valentine I've ever been to. Not that I dated today or something but I was part of the team that hosted a Valentine dinner for good 25 people.. or maybe more.

I think I talked about our hosted dinners here several times. So.. last Sunday, our team held the dinner.. finally, not only for our peers but for our American friends as well.

We were all busy entertaining and facilitating games that I didn't capture pictures. But before the party began, I was able to take the opportunity of taking photos of the food we prepared for them. After dinner, we played 3 games - twister, Pinoy Henyo and Amazing Race. After the race, we showed them a video presentation that has messages of their dear loved ones from Pinas that we requested through Facebook. Tears flowed while watching the video. I couldn't help myself too. I'll try to post it here if I get to have a copy.

We had hotdog tidbits on a stick with marshmallows as our appetizer. Lugaw, Kare-Kare with bagoong, Marinara Pasta and Salmon were the main dishes. Sweetened Avocado, Yema and Pies were for desserts. Sodas and Tequila Sunrise for the drinks. My team mates just knew how to cook!

Please take time to read the captions :)

It was a success!

Feb 12, 2010

my own Yema Balls

Our Team is about to host the Valentine Party on Sunday and we have a list on our menu that we have to follow. Part of the dessert is yema balls.

Last Tuesday though, our yema balls didn't work out as planned. We followed the recipe but it tasted like egg than it should be milk. So I took the recipe and tried to make it again with the help Marvin's sister's recipe.

I made these... :)

We will cover these with confectionery sugar. Stay tuned on how it will look like. :)

Feb 8, 2010

A Visit to Jimmy Ryan's

Jimmy Ryan's offer fine dining which specializes in steaks, seafood and pasta. Yesterday, the team went there for an experience we want to bring with us before we leave Illinois.

The place was a little fancy but the over all ambiance does not dictate sophistication and super fine dining. Sure, they had folded table napkins.. but that was about it.

I wasn't wowed by their food and the place... maybe because it was too cold and it's super winter that they can't find the reason to make the place alive. Sabi nga nila.. winter brings depression.

my side Caesar Salad

soup of the day - Beef Noodle Soup

Shrimp Scampi with Macaroni and Cheese on the side

Chocolate Caramel Fudge with Pecan Nuts and Chocolate Drizzle
is the ultimate winner on the menu

Feb 6, 2010

Sup Bash

I know I talked about the tradition that the we hold here in the hotel every Friday - that is, a group will have to cook for everyone and basically host a simple dinner. From the conventional eating and staying up late every Friday.. this time we were all taken by surprise.

Last Friday, it was the Supervisor's turn to cook for us. Unlike the ordinary, they prepared games and video presentation for us.

Team Consumer

ang mga mayayaman na nakabili ng sariling mundo
in short.. loners in their own world :p

Training Team + Abay Supervisor (in pink)
standing (L-R) joey, hakkai, mgr allian, me, myda, don
in pink jacket: eileen

... it was super fun!
Thank you TL's

Feb 2, 2010

Dinner at Texas RoadHouse

Our team has been trying to eat in the busiest restaurant here in Forsyth. For the longest time, all we can do was to reserve. Normally what we get is 2hrs tops. So if we call in 6PM to reserve ahead, they can give us a table by 9PM, absolutely crazy that we end up declining it. That's how 'patok' the restaurant is.

I believe Texas Roadhouse opens at 11AM then close at 2PM. Reopen by 4PM till 11.

Today, we bravely called at 4PM for 6:30 Dinner. Lo and behold, we didn't wait when we got there.

The famous Texas Roadhouse

if it doesn't say TEXAS...

Cactus Blossom
texas-sized onion, hand battered, golden fried and served with special Cajun horseradish sauce

cup of chili with cheese and onion

Half Slab of their Fall-of-the-bone Ribs

Feb 1, 2010

Build Your Own Bridge

Our Account/Program Director joined us again this morning to facilitate an activity for the team.

We were grouped into four and were instructed to consume all the materials laid before us in creating our bridge. In order to win, the teams just have to make sure that the mini car can run from one end to the other and that all materials with no exceptions, are used. Our crayons were even used as posts not as writing materials.

To test our teamwork and leadership, our facilitator gave us road blocks while pressed for time trying to finish; she pulled out the men in the group, added other specifications of the bridge in the middle of the construction, and several others.

.. in the end, after all used up crayons, foams, board papers, and scotch tapes... of course our team won. :)

us and our winning bridge

this is the type you get when you don't have the time in the world

i don't know what happened, this should be tilted to the right
we got $15 dollar gift certificate as a prize

What a way to start Monday! :)