Saturday, February 17, 2018

February 17, 2018

Balai Sa San Juan Resort



A quick getaway with some colleagues to unwind and relax. Balai Sa San Juan resort is located at barangay Abung in San Juan, Batangas.

I've no idea what this resort really looks like in the actual sense, I've just stumbled it while searching for affordable beach resorts in San Juan, Batangas.

And just discovered that Balai appears to be more like an exclusive vacation rentals than a commercial beach resort. Taken from the visayan term of Balai which means house, the resort evokes the calmness of home. When we got there no one actually was there except for two pairs of couple.

Not so much of the definition of a typical beach resort, Balai reflects serenity, there's nothing so much there except calmness. The beach side is wide with a very long coastline without a water break and the sand is brownish. The swimming pool is a little vintage smacked between the fishing village and the mangroves.


But this place assures travelers with total relaxation and smoothness of the day.  Quiet. Calm. Relax. Tranquil. Everything you're looking for a relaxed, unruffled weekend is offered of this vacation spot. 

Food is great and the customer service is very good. Nothing you could ask for if you're looking for a perfect sanctuary to chill. 

Read my travel story here about this weekend trip.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

January 28, 2018

The Red Star Tattoo Conspiracy: The Complete Edition

It's a great pleasure to announce that the complete edition of this book is now out in the market! The three book series are consolidated into a single book, making this edition an interesting piece to include in your collection of suspense books.

This is an all new edition where all chapters are thoroughly edited and have some of those discrepancies from the previous editions, corrected. More intense scenes are added. So expect a more thrilling reading experience with this complete edition.

Get your copy now! Follow the following links:

Kindle Edition

Paper back/Print Edition

Or visit my author's page  JOYCE LAMELA

For those who may want to avail discount, please get in touch with me and send me a message through this site for the promo code (Note: I'm still figuring out how to create a discount code. Kindly check this site for some updates, or follow me in my facebook page for details).



January 28, 2018

Combating the Notion of a "Bad Apple"

Ever heard of the "bad apple" phrase where one considered to be the "weakest link" in the team"? I've been feeling that lately. And you can't blame me for that because "outside forces' let me feel that way.

Yes, felt like being treated again as a mere object and not as a dignified human being. When you're being repeatedly "thrown away" because you're immaterial to the current cycle, and if you're a person with some serious, focus-driven career goal, you really started questioning yourself if something is wrong with the rotation of the planet.

Yeah! It's 3:00 in the morning. Supposed to be I'm in bed now, but I just can't sleep. Patterns of self-defeating thoughts started knocking off my head again. It feels like I'm tossing myself back to that road where I hit rock bottom. 

Though I tried hard never to pass at that road again, circumstances keep pushing me to revisit that old, forsaken road, reopening the old wounds. And now my self-confidence I excruciatingly built for the past months started sinking, and I'm slowly drowning with its weight. I can't help but wondered if I'm a bad apple worthy to be "thrown away". Or perhaps I'm not good at anything.

It got into my nerve when this whole damn thing presses on my face again as though I am merely a machine that should be thrown away elsewhere when could no longer be used. Though I understand the premise why things must occur, I can't help but wonder if I made the right choice of coming back. But yes, I'm pretty certain I made a right decision, but picked up the wrong place. The system didn't  match my career goals. 

For a moment I felt like someone who was kicked out of the fence. The feeling of rejection still haunting me like a ghost. And I felt so demotivated.  But realizing the amount of wisdom I reaped through all these years, and the emotional maturity I've right now, I'm fully aware that I should take everything positively and start looking for some options where I could seize opportunities that match my career path. Because  the current situation is so unimaginably unfit. 

I'm no longer in a state where I'm testing water or exploring new skills to broaden my horizon. I'm not out fresh from college. I've been working for more than 10 years and I'm looking for stability in my career and experience professional growth. So I could no longer afford to just be tossed away elsewhere with unclear vision where to go next. I want to focus on a certain direction.

I should start exploring opportunities that match my career goals.

But while I'm still clearing the road, I need to fill my thoughts with learning techniques and theories that enrich my knowledge and keep my mind away from the "bad apple" notion. Meanwhile, everything should start from discerning words from the experts:

"Leadership is about capturing the imagination and enthusiasm of your people with clearly defined goals that cut through the fog like a beacon in the night." -
"A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. A person does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the quality of one's actions and the integrity of one's intent. In the end, leaders are much like eagles... they don't flock, you find them one at a time." - Successories

“Too many companies believe people are interchangeable. Truly gifted people never are. They have unique talents. Such people cannot be forced into roles they are not suited for, nor should they be. Effective leaders allow great people to do the work they were born to do.” 
― Warren G. BennisOrganizing Genius: The Secrets of Creative Collaboration


Sunday, January 7, 2018

January 07, 2018

Is it Written in the Stars?

 You're not friends, not even an acquaintance. You're not being introduced. There's no way you could talk and get to know each other. But sometimes stars found its way to collide which left me thinking, is everything in fate written in the stars?

Crazy as it may seem but lately, yes, lately disheveled thoughts started clogging in my head again. I don't know if the trouble lies in my impatience to get on with my silent "yearnings" or my mind is already tired analyzing where my life is heading. But events in my life, which had given me so much emotional burden in the past couple of years, look like kept repeating.

I've long waited enough to see my life takes a leap to a whole new chapter. I’ve waited long enough to see my life changes its course. Sometimes I felt the exhaustion already consumed my optimism, viewing life as nothing but a ball of frustration. Because I have enough and over the years I developed this ugly belief that my existence had been cursed. But towards the end of the day when everything is settled within my system, optimism found its way to dominate my mind again.

It looks like my human side is not yet ready to give up and continue hoping that one day, fate will smile down on me. Then my thoughts started to develop some excuses. "Maybe I wasn’t aggressive enough in the past to create a life of my own", "maybe I was too naive enough to overlook things". 

These excuses sounded like storm warnings that lately I felt like there's a need to put some urgency in my approach in life. So I tried to be ridiculous - emulating what women in Hollywood rom-com films are manifesting - unleashing a suave gesture of catching attention in a subtle way, but just enough to retain a degree of self-respect. 

So it goes, my silent and subtle rocket flew off. For a couple of weeks it went on.

However, as months progressed, to my chagrin, the formula seemed didn't set quite well. In return, I received nothing but desertion and overwhelmingly "push away" manifestation. At first I thought I wasn't drastic enough to send my message clearly. So I made a strong, albeit smooth, pact with myself that I'll make it clearer next encounter.

The most anticipated day came late in the year. It looks like birds in the sky and all the supernatural elements in the atmosphere heard my pleading because the close encounter I kept hoping was repeated several times. I didn't waste moments, I let heaven knows that finally I've picked my choice.

But each time the encounter occurred, I got nothing but "silence", and with brows seemed raising. My self-esteem got affected. I crawled back to my old self, and developed these self-defeating thoughts again: "Maybe something is terribly wrong with myself", "maybe I'm not desirable enough to shake someone's world".

Until one day, I felt tired chasing dreams, so I allowed things to just settle on its own pace and dismantled the subtle rocket I created.. The hostile manifestations continued. And we're not yet introduced. We're not yet friends. And looks like will never be.

Maybe there's a fault in our stars. lol!

Now, while browsing my past blog posts, I came across with this crazy article I wrote some years back. An analysis on the book, “He’s Just Not That Into You”. A book written by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. My article opened with a quote from the book:

“Things are really crazy right now. 
I’ve just got a ton of shit going on”!

To get on  with  the thoughts of the article, here's what I've written:

One evening, I had a talk with one of my female best friends (well, of course all my best friends are females :-P) about, errrr, our monotonous love life, funny isn't it? But the topic suddenly sprung from our mind while waiting for our meals to be served.

 I've never been into a relationship before so this aspect of a human life is some sort of a dream, like wishing to fly to the moon. But I don't want to sound like a tormented damsel so I won't touch those sensitive issues of "why-I-am-forever-welded-in-one-corner" stuff. I've had enough of those in the past years and I am bloody tired confronting myself with the same set of dreary questions.

So, we just laughed it off, then our conversation geared towards something like ---- ahhh, wondering how to understand the complexities of a man's world. Darn! Our conversation was interrupted by a tray of food laid by the waiter so we did not pursue the topic and talked something else.

When I returned home, I pulled my old diary and checked all the entries I've written between 2009 to 2013. 

My gaze darted to one chapter where I unload emotional burden and suddenly remembered this book "He’s Just Not That Into You", Oh, crazy stuff! I've no copy with this book and no plan to buy one, I've just read few chapters of it somewhere.

I laughed at myself while recalling the content of this book, really, because it talks about, well, girls' excuses gauging men's actions. It's a bit funny, because it feels like, yeah, I am that jerk woman in that book, who sometimes creates excuses for a guy's actions.

In case, you are not familiar with this book, the opening chapter will really amuse your boring evening, although there’s a little kick in the abdomen:

“He’s the guy that’s so tired from work, so stressed about the project he’s working on. He’s just been through an awful breakup and it’s really hitting him hard. His parents’ divorce has scarred him and he has trust issues. Right now he has to focus on his career. He can’t get involved with anyone until he knows what his life is all about. He does not want to ruin the friendship. He wants to plan first for the future. God, he’s so complicated” blah blah blah!

How do you find it? Yeah, according to the book, this kind of man doesn’t exist in reality. He is just entirely made up from girls’ excuses. Because although there’s really a guy that fits to the descriptions and stuck in that familiar situation, according to Greg, “If a man is really excited about someone, he can’t stop himself from wanting that someone and if that guy is attracted to his friend (girl of course), he wants to take it further and never think if the friendship will ruin or something".

If a man doesn’t say anything or no hint of any atomic reactor heating up in the horizon, well, there's only one clear explanation, "He is just not that into you". So stop making excuses with his actions, don’t over analyze, because the plain truth is, if he does not say anything or if he continues to dither, only one thing is sure "He is just not that into you!". Period.

And according to the book “Almost all guys will rather choose to cut their arms in a window of a city bus than admit to a woman straight to her face that he is not attracted to her or "she’s not the one". So stop searching for reasons why someone has not make any move. The truth is, he is simply not just into you.

After reading a few chapters of the book, I had a good laugh that evening, not because those hints are so real but because of the humor of the author. I learned so many tips writing a hilarious manuscript! Heaven the book is so wonderfully written and very entertaining, the content is ultra-funny, full of comical anecdotes. 

Here's a nice quote from that book:

“If a guy truly likes you, but for personal reasons he needs to take things slow, 
he will let you know that immediately. He won’t keep you guessing, 
because he’ll want to make sure you don’t get frustrated and go away.” 


Did I say, don't over analyze? Yes, don't attempt to fabricate stories. And don't ever think this article  is attributed to someone, I just can't help but be amused with the content of this book. The writing style is very unique, it caught attention!

There you go! Though I've written the above article years ago, it still feels like yesterday because things kept repeating. But to some degree the whole magnitude is quite different. Now, I've grown up to some extent and knows my perimeters.

Monday, January 1, 2018

January 01, 2018

2017. What a Year it has been!

Each year brings a different story. And each story is worthy of retelling.

There’s no such thing as a 'bad year'. Only odd circumstances not on our liking has overtaken our definition of a 'good year'. Each year has a different story to tell, and each story has its own highlights of ups and down. 

My story of 2017 has no funfare, in fact, nothing has change extraordinarily other than the torn pages of my journal . I still struggled with my finances. My long-decade dream of visiting Europe still looked foggy. And my plan to take a solo trip abroad still left unrealized.

But the year has some highlights to remember. Good things fell in my doorstep and I received countless blessings. Enough to say that I'd a fantastic year to reckon with. 

I started 2017 with a hopeful heart.

By January, I made up my mind to return to a full-time job after two years of writing home-based.

Boredom got into my nerve and being alone in the house for the entire day with cats and dogs was a real struggle. It  left me thinking  why I often spend my life alone. Why I can’t be with someone, why I can’t be surrounded with people. Sometimes the situation reduced me to tears.

Towards the end of February, I went to the recruitment center of the previous company I worked with but chose to apply in a different workforce to explore a new skill and to expand my network of friends. By March I was informed that the start date will be April. And alas! On my birthday. What a great blessing!

As the mist of the early morning of April 3 was breaking in the sky, I was on my way to work. To the first day of training of my new job. Exactly on my birthday. Unsure what to expect. It’s been two years since I left the company. But I was hoping for a great transition, a wonderful beginning, and a fruitful outcome.

It was. It really was!

A week later, I was in Eastwood for the actual work with the project. And I made some adjustment with my body clock since I would be taking a mid-shift, which means I’d be coming home late every night and go to bed at early dawn. But some few weeks later, I was well-adjusted with the routine. Everything went smoothly.


                      Eastwood. With the team in the previous project I joined 



Weekends still spent in writing and editing. However, my blogging routine became sporadic,  doing it only when necessary. Eventually, I gradually became tired with the daily commute. The travel going to Eastwood was toxic because of the horrible traffic.

In May, I published the first installment of The Red StarTattoo  Conspiracy and prepared the revision of Tales of Royal Tragedies and The Quiz Master. Around this time, I was aching for an out-of-town trip, my travel blog hasn’t updated in a while and I need to go on a trip to write a new one, but there was no one to go with. Around this time, I was seriously considering of traveling solo.



First of the series 


Second Part

 Last part of the series 



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By June, the work atmosphere in Eastwood slowly shifted into an unthinkable gear. An internal transfer of resources to another project has been ironed out by the management. And by a strange twist of fate I was included. I felt like I was standing in the middle of nowhere unable to figure out what to do between holding back and moving on.

Holding back, because I would be missing the people I became close with and I always struggled with emotional transition. I always find it hard to leave quietly without shedding tears. While struggling to cope up with the feeling of "rejection", I tried to see things differently, and in the right perspective. That moving on is necessary, because it allows change to take place. And change offers growth, personally and professionally.

While reporting to the new project in Mandaluyong, my mind still in chaos why things needed to occur in such a drastic way. I even questioned myself if I deserved the desertion. 

Weeks went on, slowly I got to accept what was laid on my table. I also recognized the fact that diversion of function in the workplace offers so many advantages. I'll be exposed to a new role, which means new skill, new opportunity for professional growth. 



With the new team


By November, I became well-adjusted to the new team. By that time, we're immersed to the grueling work routine, extending beyond eight hours due to the demand of the job. I still need to return home after work. My sleeping hours were deliberately cut into just four, sometimes three. The strenuous routine, thank God, didn't take a toll on my health. I was able to carry on despite the pressure of the circumstances.



By December, I realized that I've so many reasons to be grateful with than the things to be fretted with. I received financial blessings more than I expected, my parents are healthy and sprightly active despite being on their prime years already. I'm healthy, sound and safe despite living in such a chaotic city.



Numerous food trip with my friend, Jeff Queano



To sum up my 2017, I could say it was a great year. Happiness was there. I met so many amazing and interesting people, some of them became my friends. I expanded my network through the people I encountered in the workplace. I was able to finish writing a full-length fiction novel, which had been my childhood dream.

However, just like any other story, mine has a downside too.

I wasn't able to travel, even locally. I've not updated my TRAVEL AND FOOD LIVING blog in a while. My plan to embark into solo traveling hasn't realized. I still don't have a nerve to do it. Not yet. 

I still struggled to find time to work on my book ads campaign online. I seem couldn't figure out where to start. So much so that I'm thinking of just hiring a publicist to work on my behalf.

From my deepest thoughts I know there are countless of things I fervently wish at the beginning of the year that didn't happen at all. But those wishes are beyond my control. God's plan for my life is better than mine. I'll just patiently wait for the right moment for those wishes to come my way.

Through the years, since changing my mindset how to view life in the correct perspective, I understood pretty well the value of waiting. And as another year rolls in, I'm continue being hopeful that better things will come my way. Because God's time is always perfect.

There's no such thing as too late. We can start at any point in our life. Just don't lose that enthusiasm to live happily. It's always in the mindset!

Happy New Year!!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

December 31, 2017

Our Bohemian-themed Christmas Party

The clock chimed at 11:00 in the evening. The time where almost everyone in the neighborhood is already in bed, preparing for a long night sleep. And perhaps, had already their evening shower. But we're geared towards something jovial for the night. Our team Christmas Party finally pushed through after weeks of putting it off!

Unlike others who planned their office party as though their survival depends on it, we didn't have much time to prepare for an elaborate gathering. We're  on some pretty crazy marathon work routine the past months that conceptualizing a splendid party sounded like a strenuous idea. 

However, despite this very limited time, which left us nothing else to think other than food, we agreed to have a theme for the event. It's not a phenomenon though, but having a party theme adds zest to a monotonous gathering. 



© Photo Credit: Zy Ramirez and Yeng Constantino

We wanted to make the most of our year-ender get-together, and seize the moment of fun. So, some members of the team suggested something flamboyant and wild – Bohemian theme. Phew! Sounds odd? 

Well, at first, I cringed, because a Bohemian theme is something I always find outrageous, both in style and attitude. It is bold and unconventional. Quirky and rambunctious. Daring and fierce. As though you're on some mission to fight the ragtags. I balked. But realizing everyone already agreed, I've no other option but to conform. Haha! 

For a couple of days, I was on some serious contemplation how to make myself appear like one of the wildlings in the art world. But at the same time would not appear like a lost Medieval Viking, or a misplaced Christmas décor. But isn’t a Bohemian thing to get lost with time and wear a wardrobe that has a busy trimming here and there?

Yes. I recognized that too.

For folks who are not familiar with this kind of fashion style, a Bohemian fashion depicts courage and playfulness. One should have a good taste of the art and creativity to pull up a Bohemian look. In other words, it requires a lot of effort to get on with the style. 

Bohemian, or Boho style, is an expression of art, a statement of lively imaginativeness. This fashion is inspired by a mix of flair and fashion taste. From vintage, to travel, to a free-spirited geek. It’s purpose is to show some expression of individuality and vibrancy through wearing fierce apparel.

The Bohemian fashion is all about choosing a playful attire. So, the fabric should be in vivid and crazy colors, fun and bright, and in vibrant floral designs, tribal prints and flowing patterns. Layers of accessories and scarves in bright colors are also an expression of a Bohemian style. The more bright and odd,the better expression of a Boho attitude .

So, it was. After rummaging my closet, looking for an electrifying floral dress, I settled with this hot pink floral pattern paired with a bold knitted red lay-over. Geez! I’ve never been so bold in my outfit, my taste in fashion is always pastel with a brush of innocence in shades and cuts.

But, yeah, I think I made a right choice. Red and busy floral patterns enhance visibility in camera shots. See, you can easily spot me among the bunch. Haha!


© Photo Credit: Ms.Rhea Mangaya

Everyone made an effort to look stunning and trendy that night. Some really stood out. Putting on some fun accessories to glam up the Boho look. Others opted for a more grounded getup but equally terrific. Well, remember that the best accessory we could ever wear is confidence. 

We’d a good laugh sharing moments how things turned pretty amusing for our chosen getup. And to cap the Bohemian panache, we spruced up the venue with cool embellishments in jaunty shades and groovy patterns. As though we're having a Flamenco night show. 😁😆😁


With Lirio, Roselyn and Tere securing Mits on both our hands. Not sure if we looked ridiculous here or just trying to appear funny but we won in this round!


© Photo Credit: Ms.Rhea Mangaya

And the other team Haha! 
With Neil, Zy, Dories, Chard and Ferds 

The real fun came when we had a set of amusing games, just like any other office parties. Some were really pretty hilarious stuff. We're only less than 15 in the team so everyone is visible and the rotation is short which made the whole thing very exciting. Not too crowded. But not dull.

As the early dawn of Thursday was breaking outside, we're not yet done for the night. We're poking fun with our comical antics, trying to mimic celebs' poster-perfect poses. Drowsiness melted away as we broke into fits of giggles. 

What a way to end the year. We brought down the house!



Not sure what we're up to here 😝😁 
We stood stoically while Tere needs help and Neil couldn't do something to save her. Meanwhile at the back, story remains. We look as though the earth had stopped rotating. 😝😁 

© Photo Credit: Ms.Rhea Mangaya


Thanks to Ms. Hazel Ong for giving each one of us a special present 


With Lirio during our exchanging gift

© Photo Credit: Daryl Ballarta
Thanks Neil for granting my wish to have this book,
Tuesdays With Morrie

We wrapped up the party with exchanging gifts and dinner. Sam Hernandez got the nod for the Best Dressed Award with her really creative ensemble, a printed floral black dress, a pair of low cut boots and a flowery headdress! Congratulation Sam!




Best Dressed Sam!

Two-and-a-half hours later we're back into normal work routine. While the rest of the Far East is still floating in dream, we're joggling with time in the prod floor, fighting to stay awake while focusing on work.  

Night shift is less glamorous. I could no longer wear my pumps and empire-cut dresses. It's so awful to wear those when everyone in the workplace is in their rubber shoes and hoodies, stuff I've not tried wearing since I started working.

But I'm slowly fitting in. Not on wearing rubber shoes and hoodies, for heaven's sake. I'm slowly fitting in with the night shift atmosphere. 

And having a team party (with cool activities) from time to time compensates the inconveniences. It's a good breather! I'm lucky also to join this great team with awesome people. It helps me get through with the stiff routine. 

Thank you amazing team! You made my 2017 worthy to remember!!


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authorI am a blogger from the Philippines. My interest centers on travel and food, global affairs, European royals and self-help. I've a great passion in traveling and photography. I am also a book author with five published books in Amazon.
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