Friday, September 26, 2008

Writing Great Resumes

A couple of years back, my Kuya (who is a voracious reader!) sent me an ebook entitled "Job Interviews That Get You Hired".The book was a good read, easy on the eyes and came with a lot of useful suggestions.

But what made me a fan of this book was its chapter on writing great resumes. According to the book, "The biggest mistake most people make in writing resumes is focusing on job responsibilities, instead of emphasizing accomplishments on the job." After reading the book, I gave my CV a complete make over!

I realized that when applying for a job or even a scholarship (yes I used some techniques from this book on my Fulbright application!), it makes a difference when we package or position ourselves in a certain way so our application stands out from the rest of the crowd. As the old adage says "always put your best foot forward" and this holds true even for your CV. 

Click here to download a copy of the book. But if you prefer reading a hard copy, you can order one from Amazon for about 12$.

Below is the link to Learning Express, which offers hundreds of other ebooks on a wide range of topics:

I promise to write about my Fulbright, ACC and other scholarship application experience soon. For the meantime, enjoy exploring the site and what it has to offer!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Baked Italian Chicken

I use to cook this dish for my sister a couple of years back. Last week, during lunch, I was discussing my meal plans for the week and my friend suggested I bake the Italian Chicken. And so I did. Turns out that it tastes better and was a big hit among my friends when I had them try it at last night's dinner.

Here's how to make it:


1/2 lb Chicken Fillet

2 cans crushed tomato (or Ragu spaghetti sauce)

1/4 cup minced onions

2 table spoons of vegetable oil

1 cup grated four cheese mix (Kraft has 5 cheese mix, I got mine from Publix)

salt, ground black pepper, sugar, italian herbs and chili pepper flakes


1. Fry chicken strips in a skillet until meat turns white. Before meat is cooked, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Do this on both sides

2. Set aside and place on a paper towel to drain oil

3. Saute onion in a sauce pan then add tomatoes

4. Stir occasionally then season with salt, pepper, sugar, and chili pepper flakes

5. Simmer until sauce thickens. Sprinkle Italian herbs a few minutes before turning off the heat

6. While waiting for sauce to be done, start lining the baking pan with the chicken strips. I usually do one layer of meat for easy serving

7. Once sauce is cooked, pour over chicken. Make sure you cover all the meat. It would be nice if you have more sauce because this will dry up a bit once you pop it in the oven

8. Sprinkle cheese on top making but leave half of the cheese for later

9. Bake for 15-20 minutes

10. Add remaining cheese 5 minutes before serving

I use to eat this with rice, but having bread or pasta, also sound delicious!

Enjoy and let me know how it turns out once you have tried it!

Friday, September 12, 2008


I was just exchanging messages via Facebook with a friend of mine based in Germany. I never met him since he has already moved to the DHL Global Office when I arrived at the DHL Asia PAcific Regional Office in Singapore. But nevertheless, we have kept in touch even now that I have moved on from the big red and yellow company.
He just commented on how amazing the power of Facebook is because he found a classmate from college probably from my friends list . And I agree, I think the internet, networking sites and chat programs have revolutionized how we create and cultivate relationships with other people now.

When I woke up this morning, I suddenly thought of these Dutch (twins) friends of mine who have been my online buddies since 1999. In the nine years that we've been "friends", we've exchanged e-mails, letters, cards, spoke online and kept very well updated on what's happening with each of our lives (well, they live together as they are brothers so that's easy for them). But we have never ever had the chance to meet in person... not yet at least.

They are planning to visit Manila this December to meet up with their other Filipino friends. Sadly, I won't be there to see them. If I continue with my plan to go to Europe (keeping my fingers crossed) next summer, they won't be there either because they plan to spend a year traveling in Asia. But no worries, I'm sure we'll still be in touch, that's what the internet is for right? And eventually we will get to see each other and fulfill my dream of running across fields of tulips in the Netherlands hahaha - they will serve as my look-outs for angry farmers with pitchforks!

Friday, September 5, 2008

California for Christmas

It's final - I'm going to California for Christmas!!!

After hours of hunting for the best price online (and with lots of help from Keso and Mynen), I finally purchased my ticket this morning.Since I cannot fly to Manila this Christmas, this is the closest to "home for Christmas" I could get - spending it with very dear friends.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Copy paper

Last night I was talking to Carmel and we were discussing some words we use in the Philippines and their counterparts here in the American English language. You see, it's quite common for Filipinos to use the most popular brands of products as names of the items. For example, "cutex" for nail polish, "frigidaire" for refrigerator, "mighty bond" for super/ instant glue, or "xerox" for photocopy, just to name a few.

Add in the fact that I have to unlearn the British English terms (i.e. lift- elevator, rubbish- trash, serviette- table napkin, queue- line-up, torch- flashlight) I picked-up while I was living in Singapore for almost a year, Carmel predicted that I would eventually get blank stares when I look for some items here. Good friend that she is *sarcasm*, we went through (with her laughing throughout the whole conversation) a list of common items that are called differently in the US. 

Bond paper - Copy paper

Ballpen - pen

Pentel pen - marker

Stabilo - highlighter

Liquid paper - wipe out

Feminine napkin - sanitary pad

Oslo paper - card stock (although this probably not accurate)

Mighty Bond - crazy glue

Long bond paper - legal copy paper

Short bond paper - letter copy paper

Folder - manila folder

post it - sticky notes

Monday, August 25, 2008

Back to school...

I attended my first class as a graduate student today.

So how did it go? I suppose it went pretty well. I did not feel "lost" as I feared I would considering that the last class I attended was over a decade ago. It seems that working for the past 10 years, six years at the Ayala Museum, three years at the Robinsons Children's Library and then an 11-month internship at DHL as a Regional Internal Communications Coordinator, are of tremendous benefit. Due to my work experience at the museum, plus my Fellowship from ACC, the topics in my classes no longer feel "alien" to me. And I tell you, it feels good to be able to relate in class.

Furthermore, taking my time to figure out what I really want to specialize in has made it so much easier to identify courses I would like to take to complete my program- much to my adviser's delight. And because of Fulbright, I even have a thesis topic already ( a research proposal is one of the many requirements for application). Not that the topic is set in stone as it may evolve as I progress thought my degree, but it gives me a head start in exploring possibilities and opportunities.

I have classes on all day Monday and Wednesday evening. This will allow me to explore volunteer opportunities at museums here in Gainesville, which will add further dimension to the overall learning I am going to get during my graduate degree.

I am so excited about my classes. All three of them are equally interesting. During my Museum Registration Methods class today, I had to literally tell myself to limit my comments to a minimum lest I give the wrong impression to my classmates or Professor of monopolizing the discussion!

Looks like I'm off to a good start!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Flashback: Amazing Race Macau and Hong Kong 2008

Well, its not really that we joined amazing race, but that was how we felt during this trip in March 2008. From Singapore we went to Malaysia to catch a budget airline. We left at around 4 am because we were worried about getting stuck at the border due to heavy traffic (long weekend and tightened security checks). When we got to the airport in Johore Bahru, we slept because everything was still closed (it ws 5am!). Woke up and took our time eating breakfats around 7am when the plane was in fact departing at 730am. Talk about crazy. I suppose we got carried away talking about various ways to survive a plane crash. Someone suggetsed using guns to shoot the water to lessen impact when you hit the water. Great idea! Except, they don't really allow big guns on planes these days.

So as we took our time checking in, we realized that the immigration counter has already closed. What?!? They took us to another office where our passport are to be processed. While the rest were waiting for the passport stamps, i went ahead to the gate to sort off hold off the plane. No, I didn't have to lie on the runway in front of the plane. Nothing dramatic.

After arriving in Macau, we walked from the tip of the island to the bottom, where the port to HK is located. My friends love to walk! But it wasn't so bad as Macau is not that big. We had lunch at the nearest restaurant we could find when we got hungry. I had baked pork chop, which was, I was told, a traditional macau favorite.

Of course when you're in Macau what else do you do aside from the usual sight-seeing? We went to the Macau Tower so my friends can try the tallest sky jump in the world. Not me of course, no thanks. But we didn't make it there in time so they had to skip that. I think it was because we stayed a bit more than we planned at the Lisboa Casino. Hey, they had dancers! You know the typical vegas-thong-wearing-leg-raising dancers! There were three guys (Emil, Brian and Koen) and just me and Ozana, we weren't strong enough to drag them out hahaha. Oh and I won 70HK$ in the slot machine. Purely beginner's luck as I didn't even understand how the thing worked!

We bought our tickets to HK island with but a small window of time before the ship was to depart (don't ask me why). So we had to run to immigration then run faster after the immigration to catch the ship. We like lots of excitement!

For dinner, in HK, we went to a noodle house that gives you spicy choices such as hot, very hot, super hot and no hot. So you basically you can order cold noodles served hot but no hot :)

Bedtime. We could stop laughing when we got to our hostel. It was a dorm-type hostel with four double decks and two bathrooms/toilets that are way too small you almost have to stand on the toilet to shower! A few of the things one has to deal with when one travels on a budget ;)

The good thing about staying at a hostel though is that you meet new friends. When we left to watch the symphony of lights the following night and then go clubbing, we have two recruits with us: one from Australia and another from USA.

Then it was time to go home after only two days of walking our feet off. We woke up early because our flight leaves Macau in like three hours?!? and we were still in HK. This meant that we have to take a cab from the hostel to the port, cross immigrations to exit HK, cross yet another immigration to enter Macau, take another cab from macau the airport and then again cross immigration to exit Macau. Crazy huh?

But as crazy and stressful as all these may sound, I really had great time during the trip :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Greetings from Gainesville

I have safely arrived in Gainesville, Florida after almost 48 hours of travel! 

I left Manila on Monday, August 11 at 9am and flew to Tokyo. However, my flight from Tokyo to Chicago was delayed for over two hours due to a volcanic eruption somewhere and the plane had to divert its direction to avoid the volcanic ashes. Due to that, I missed my two connecting flights to Charlotte NC and then to Gainesville FL. So I ended up spending the night in a hotel (and a fancy one at that!) in Chicago that the airline provided and continued my journey the following day. It was actually a blessing in disguise because otherwise I would have been travelling continuously for almost 30 hours! Since I could hardly sleep on the plane, I was afraid my eyebags would have to undergo checks at the airport too! At least on Monday night I was able to get a decent sleep, take a hot bath and have a real breakfast!

I am temporarily staying at the apartment of a fellow museum studies grad student who was kind enough to accommodate me since I cannot move into my permanent apartment until the 23rd.

It's been very rainy and very windy these past few days but sometimes it gets sunny and hot too. Although it’s not too hot either- it’s just like how it is in the Phils or in SG. 

My 1st three days were very prductive. I was able to open my bank account and get my univ ID already. They have instant ID processing (when I say instant I mean like 5 minutes or less), so cool! The University of Florida is just like the UP Diliman campus although with bigger ang buildings and roads. They even have a bus which operates like the UP IKOT, it only goes around the campus on a one-way route. They don't have TOKI that travels the other way around. But it's very lovely, lots of trees and brick buildings. Actually, my first impression of Gainesville as my plane was descending towards its airport is that it sooo green! 

Technically, the school is still on summer break so I haven't really seen a lot of people yet- or overwhelmed by how big they are compared to my tiny Asian size hahaha. Gainesville is a university town mostly populated by students from the University of Florida. UF alone has a population of 50,000!!! In fact we students get free bus rides in school and in town, we just have to flash our school ID :) 

I only have nine units per semester (which means i only have three three-hour classes per week) but since I have a graduate assistantship, I might still go to school almost daily. Plus according to my 2nd year museum studies grad student roomie, with tons of paperwork and reading assignments, you will have your hands full studying. So now i'm enjoying the lull before the storm- so to speak :)

back to blogging

After going on hiatus for almost a year, i'm back to blogging again.

I stopped blogging after I started reviewing for my GRE and TOEFL exams in November. However, after that, I got pre-occupied with so many other things including numerous trips in southeast Asia and exploring almost every corner of Singapore.

Since my last blog, I have added immigration stamps on my passports from Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Macau, Hongkong and India. I should post some pictures of those trips online one of these days, except for India as I did not see any part of Mumbai aside from their airport, my hotel room and the DHL office!

Also, I've gone home to Manila four times already- one of the many perks of living in SG, so close to home. Once was on a first class flight on Singapore Airlines when my stupidity got the better of me and I was left behind by my original Jetstar flight. Lesson learned: never assume that you know your flight schedule unless you've physically checked your ticket a week before your date of flight. You could be wrong and one week is enough time to rectify the situation. Then again, two days before your flight, check it again because if you're anything like me, you might forget your time of departure! Blown my savings the past couple of month for the airfare ticket- 1700SGD!!! A very expensive lesson indeed but at leat I can tick off 'fly 1st class' from my 'to do before i turn 50' list :) Plus it was next to impossible to get a flight to Manila during the Christmas rush. So rather than be depressed until March (i know i will!) because I didn't spend Christmas at home, I just decided to go home in style ;) There's nothing like Christmas in the Philippines I tell you!

Let's see, what else is new with me? Oh yeah, I'm already in Florida. Finally confirmed my Fulbright Scholarship to pursue my 2.5 year graduate degree in Museum Studies at the University of Florida! Thanks to all those who helped me move my mountains through prayers!!!