Epson X-Fusion Media Adventure: Diving Into Fun


Thank you Epson and Total Fitness!

NOTE: Published in TOTAL FITNESS Magazine July 2011 issue.

***

Question:  SCUBA is an acronym which stands for…?

Answer: Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus

This question was asked in the trivia game which our team, the Black Team, failed to get cookie points for as I remember the two other team representatives were a lot faster jumping into the pool and swimming to the other side to touch the letter of the correct answer. We played a few more group games after that, in some of which our team would consistently lose, but there was just so much fun and frivolity at X-FUSION, the Epson Media Adventure, that none of these losses even mattered.

X-FUSION, the second of Epson Philippines’ annual event aimed at showcasing the company’s sales and marketing efforts in first half of the fiscal year as well as providing a glimpse of Epson’s activities in the pipeline,  was held last 12 to 13May at Acacia Diving Resort in Mabini, Batangas with over 20 media representatives coming from business, IT, and trade publications joining EPSON Philippines’ General Manager Donna Ferro, Business Systems Group Head Jay Lavarias, and MarComm and PR Department Head Roe Dillera.

Mr. Jay Lavarias summed up Epson Philippines’ 14 percent overall sales growth at the end of fiscal year 2010 versus 2009 in a short slide presentation. He attributed the growth for Inkjets and Laser printers to a bullish market for 2011. More importantly, corporate markets can expect lower total cost of ownership this year with the launch of 13 more new product offerings.

Meanwhile, Roe Dillera provided a sneak preview of the global corporate vision of the company dubbed “SE15 Vision” or Seiko Epson 2015 Vision after sharing some corporate and CSR highlights in 2010.

Black Team.

But for compulsive adventure seekers like me, the biggest highlight of the event was the Intro to Scuba Diving which Epson got all of us to try out. It my first time to do diving and the days building up to ‘Fusion’, I was teetering on the brink of combined excitement and anxiety. You see, I do not know how to swim and even though nearly all my friends assured me that swimming is not really a requirement – especially since we will have dive masters assigned to us – there were still some niggling doubts in my head until I went 25ft below sea level and found myself enthralled by the glorious sight of colorful fish and corals! We even saw a school of mangrove jacks (or talakitok says my angler friend); some clown fish occasionally peeping out of the corals; and for a while there I wished we had more time to explore. Or that I have the time and resources to actually get PADI certified soon. Now that’s a thought.

Media Adventure-seekers.

Before taking the plunge, I was pretty sure I would have panic attack just like I did the last time I went on a travel assignment in Pagbilao, Quezon. But surprisingly, I was very calm even from our descent and all the way through the 15 to 20 minutes diving time – which Vlad, the dive master assigned to me, made sure I made the most out of by swimming happily along and befriending sea creatures, even for a brief moment.  Even breathing through the regulator came fairly easy to me I could have sworn I’m a natural!

Yes Siree, we're 25ft under water!

A few times I heard the ticking sound in my ears and, at one point I had some challenges in neutralizing the pressure I had to signal for Vlad to take me back up to the surface so I can get my bearings right again. When we got down to the spot where we were supposed to take underwater group photos, I got a bit embarrassed when I realized that I was the last one to arrive!

With DM Vlad

While I am not exactly a stranger when it comes to media offsite as I have had my fair share when I used to do PR stuff for another IT company many years ago – this was my first time to come as part of the media group and I must say it is something else altogether. I could get used to this!

X-Fusion Participants

From my slipshod snorkeling experiment in Pagbilao last year, I went ten notches up (or down?) with scuba diving and taking into account the fact that I still dream about the sights and wonders I came across with while underwater, I think it is now just a matter of time before I sign up for a course. My boyfriend (now fiance) says we should get PADI certified soon as I get settled-in with him in Singapore and you know what? I just might take him up on his offer very soon.

Advertisements

Travel: My Goodness, BATANES!! (Part I)


I am one very lucky girl.

I may not be rich in the traditional sense of the word but God (has) most certainly blessed me in many other ways. I don’t drive around in fancy cars or fly business class, but I have traveled to some of the most remarkable places here and abroad. With the exception of my occasional leisure trips with my dear friends and boyfriend, most of my international travels are work-related. It’s quite rare to have a career that enriches you professionally and at the same time, gives you ample leg room for you to be able to explore activities that will, in turn, enrich you both physically and spiritually.

Until very recently, it never occurred to me to make my own bucket list – maybe because I have always been uncomfortable with the idea of setting a deadline on anything that has got nothing to do with my work deliverables. I guess I have gotten so used to be being on my own that the only pace I know how to walk or run is my own. I slow down when I want to; I go on full sprint when I want to. In retrospect, it all started with running.  Tried it once and got hooked for a while. From my first 5k, I found myself running a full marathon in less than a year. I didn’t stop there. Shortly after my first and only full-mary, I dared to do an ultramarathon and got even more hooked. Since then, I have tried my hand on so many other outdoor activities that I never thought I would have access to – let alone be genuinely interested in. Fishing, Trail running, Scuba diving, Surfing, Mountain Trail Biking — these are some of the things that I have now X-marked on my list.  Though most of them I have done only once – bringing to fore that I am indeed ‘Little Miss Will Try Anything Once’ – I wouldn’t mind giving them another go sometime in the near future. Surfing, especially. But first, I seriously need to learn how to swim already. Not just for that, but for my general knowledge and survival. You know, just in case someone tries to push me into the water and make it look like an accident. Hah!

And now it seems that my list had just gotten longer with the addition of rock climbing, scrambling and rappelling which I may be doing soon as I get back from my trip. I want to tell you about so many other MORE EXCITING projects we’re working on with some very good friends but I don’t want to jump the gun too soon. For now, let’s just say that we are going to conquer the world one step at a time. Right, Kas, B, and Marga? *insert smiley here*

Now, on to the main reason for this blogpost which I accidentally turned into a novela again because of my penchant for digression: BATANES.

What else can I say about Batanes except that the island is TOO BEAUTIFUL for words? My senses are still somewhat overwhelmed that I cannot even come up with adjectives good enough to describe the whole Batanes experience (that) my friends and I had just recently.

So, just like what Eric did in FB, I will let some of the photos we took do the talking. And maybe add some unintelligible description here and there if only to delude myself into thinking that I’m still some sort of a writer.

But first, I want to thank Emperor Eric Cabahug for planning the whole thing and booking our flights as early as March when Seair announced its promo fare for Batanes. Normal flights to and from Batanes would cost you around Php16,000 including taxes and that is quite steep for a local flight. But let me tell you now that it’s all worth every centavo – and MORE. If it weren’t for the locals that look and talk just like us, you wouldn’t think you’re still in the Philippines. The island is so multifaceted you would think you’re in Hawaii or Scotland or New Zealand — three places I have never been to, by the way, but the natural land and seascapes of Batanes may very well rival the vistas of these three countries on Google images.

Sleep-deprived and in my case, still under duress from work (very normal for me), we – Eric, Cris B., Cris C., Uly, Romy and I – took the 5:15am flight from Manila to Basco, Batanes on July 1. The flight was one and a half hours long but quite comfortable. Our airhostess, Frances, had the best natural voice I have ever heard come out of a woman’s mouth. It had a sultry ring to it and she enunciated every word to near-perfection!

The Batanesians.:)

Batanes Airport is small but you instantly feel the warmth and beauty of the island the minute you step out of the plane. At the airport, we were welcomed by Kuya Jun, our designated tour guide slash driver for the whole of five days. After snapping our touchdown Batanes photo, Kuya Jun drove us to DDD Habitat, our home during our stay.

Ate Monica, cook extraordinaire slash manager of DDD Habitat, treated us to a scrumptious breakfast of fish lumpia, veggies, and rice. Not wanting to waste a single minute of our Batanes time, we changed into shorts and tanktops and set off to explore the island – except for Eric who opted to sleep the first half of the day. That morning, Romy, Cris B., Cris C., Uly and I went to the lighthouse nearby.

One of the MANY jumpshots we will be doing in Batanes.

United Colors of Batanes.

San Marino advert gone dark. haha.

Paging mobile providers, you might want to use this in your marketing collateral. LOL.

When we came back just in time for lunch, we were all twice as dark as when we first arrived in Batanes. We did not really anticipate the heat to be that intense so we scrimped on sunblock. Lunch was fantastic and we all fell in love with the fern salad Ate Monica prepared. Thus began the Batanes BUSOG EDITION. Let me explain. The minute we arrived in Batanes, all we did was eat, walk, take photos, eat, eat, EAT! Hence the ‘busog’ look in all of my swimsuit photos. So much for ripped abs. The all went back into hiding beneath the layers of fat – many thanks to the sinfully delicious meals we would have five times a day! Such was the case for me, at least. Because Cris B.’s perpetually ripped! he ate as much, if not more than, I did but the abs stayed right where they are. I asked how it’s even possible for those pandesals to stay unfazed despite the amount of food ingested whereas mine looked, well, bloated, he said, ‘it’s all muscles, Vicky.’ So I guess I have to work harder than ever before to scrape the fat layers, eh? When did it get sooo hard to be a woman?!?

Living on the edge is good...sometimes.:)

At the viewing deck of one of the smaller lighthouses.

For Cris' Mom.:D

Binibining Yellow bell.

Inside one of the rooms at 'Fundacion Pacita'

According to the caretaker, Fundacion Pacita can be rented for around P7,500 per day. They are currently renovating the place but it should be open for business again soon. In the meantime, you can have lunch or coffee at this beautiful place with the stunning view of the rolling hills of Batanes and the great pieces of art on display inside the house.

And that concludes Day One.

On Scuba Diving and Another Podium Finish at Run4Life


This weekend truly has been one of, if not THE, MOST INCREDIBLE weekend I have ever had in nearly 32 years. I may have said the same line about something incredible in the past but this weekend easily takes the cake out of anything I can remotely think of as great. Except, of course, God – who makes everything here on earth seem pretty average.

But before we get to the whys and hows, have YOU registered for the REEBOK ZigTech Run yet? Yes? No? Oh you bad, bad, baddies! This racing event promises to be challenging and fun on so many levels and I know there are one or two interesting races happening on the same day as well, BUT (the) ZigTech Run is definitely something to try out – especially if you are a Zig user yourself.  The race is happening on the 5th of June, so you have a few more days to hie-off to the Reebok store near you. Register now!

Run with us!

Remember when I mentioned here that I’m going scuba diving? Well it finally happened this weekend and I have EPSON and SPEED magazine (Manny, you’re the best!) to thank for it! I was invited to be part of the FUSION Media Adventure and it felt great hanging out with some members of the media again – after such a loooong time. Apart from Melvin and Mick, whom I have known for years (back when I was doing PR and handled Microsoft and Oracle), the rest of the media invitees were relatively strangers to me. But it only took us a few minutes to settle in and get comfortable with each other. The group games were one helluva fun – the name game only highlighted the fact that I have a memory of a dory – and I’m equally glad my dear friend Mark was there with me. He took unbelievably beautiful photos of nearly everything – from people to rocks to LPG tanks, sea landscape and the beautiful Batangas sunset! You can check out his photos here. I won’t go into details as I am saving that for SPEED but let me share some photos so you’ll know how much fun it was for all of us. Not even my overactive imagination has ever conceived of me going 25ft below sea level – knowing how freaked out I am of the sea because I had never learned how to swim. But on that day in Batangas, I conquered my fear…and loved every second of it. I also would like to thank my DM, Vlad, who was very nice and reassuring the whole time.

With my DM Vlad

Yihee, I'm underwater!!!

That's me wearing yellow aquasocks communing with the school of fish

I know right?!? *wink*

With a playful puppy named Pussy. We found him at the diving resort next door.

FUSION Media Adventurers

Photo by Mark Montalban.

Swimsuit by Cocotini. Photo by Mark Montalban.

My new wallpaper. Thank you Mark for this knockout photo!

The best tan says Mr. Running Shield. I think so too.:D Thank you Mick for snapping this shot!

One more FTW!

Sunset Parody by Marlon Magtira

Kamusta naman ang tawa ko dito, divah?

And just when I thought my awesome week ended with my scuba diving adventure…I bagged another podium finish in this morning’s RUN4LIFE race held in Alabang! I joined the 16k category and finished 3rd in the female division with a time of 1hour 30 minutes and 32seconds!  I’m sure it’s not that great a time compared with what more capable runners can do but it still feels pretty good – especially since I hardly slept the night before and had to wake up at 2am to get ready for a 5:10 race! *ROTFL*

There was a major faux pas with the 16k results which got me really upset – I was 3rd in the female category but they called someone else on stage, another runner who was trailing behind me from the get-go. I protested, of course, not because I wanted the prize but as a runner who takes running somewhat seriously, people ought to respect my time and effort. Anyway, Runningmate said they have already rectified the records and my name will appear in the top 3 – as it should.

Moving forward, it was a good run for me – especially since it was my first time to run that course. It was also lovely to see Ms. Villy of Reebok, Patrick ‘Running Shield and the brains behind Condura marathon’ Concepcion who gave me the best compliment of the day (PC: Vicky, you have the best tan!), and Jonel Mendoza who’s running the Nuvali Trail Challenge in June and I have already signified my desire to do 50k!

Lastly, it was lovely running with my Team Reebok mates again, especially Kassy, whom I haven’t seen in a long time!

Here are some photos of the race this morning. Thank you Lifeline Foundation for staging Run4Life – and for doing a great job helping a lot of disadvantaged members of the society!

Vicky and Kassy - the lady ambassadors of Reebok for running

Sharing the stage with crowd-drawing Mr. Younghusband.

With Ms. Villy of Reebok

Reebok forever.

With Ms. Betty Romero of Lifeline Foundation

Because I’m Fit and Flexible Like That


These days, I am — wait, am I allowed to be crass and wee bit disgusting here? *lip biting* — shitting bricks and boulders, figuratively that is, because of work deadlines and our upcoming MAJOR MAJOR event in Malaysia, 15 days from now to be exact. Though we have everything pretty much under control (do we, really? *big grin*), it’s still somewhat stressful dealing with little irritants that crop up at the last minute. But hey, we’re one tough cookie and it’ll take a lot more than the small things to get us completely off-track. Yes naman.

Oh so, anyway, given the crazy-ass work schedule that we keep these days (and I don’t see the trend easing up a bit until after June, maybe) I have become more obsessed with getting fit. Almost to the point of running myself down to the ground. I officially wrapped-up INSANITY last Friday buuuuut instead of taking a week off to recover from the madness, I sprinted my way to a podium finish at the Fuego Sunset Run the day after (Saturday last week) and immediately embarked on INSANITY Round 2 just this Monday – posting incredible results in my Fit Test!

Insanity Round 1, Day 58

                                        Round 1         Round 2

Date                               5-Mar               9-May

Move                            Fit Test 1          Fit Test 1

Switch Kicks              70                      136

Power Jacks              25                      60

Power Knees             80                      95

Power Jumps            10                      60

Globe Jumps                9                      13

Suicide Jumps          10                     20

Push-Up Jacks          15                     40

Low Plank Oblique  30                    74

To say that I am mighty pleased with the results of my workout is putting it mildly. I AM STOKED!  But now, I’m starting to get bored again so the offer to take basic diving lessons could not have come at a better time. Yes, my sweethearts, I AM GOING DIVING!  Never mind that I don’t know how to swim. Which, by the way, is giving me the chills but I’m sure I will be just fine. The diving instructor is there, as well as, a handful of other students. And if something does happen – knock on wood! – I’m sure one of them would jump right in and save me. Right? Please say yes. YES!

So, diving it is.

But, running is still my thing and thanks to Reebok and its all-out support to the Team, I am kept right on track with the sport. I have been logging PRs and even managed to snag a podium finish here and there and these little achievements admittedly do incredible things to my health and general well-being.

Here are two photos taken by Estan Cabigas at the Fuego Sunset Run. I just look totally legit as a runner, don’t I?

I Run, therefore, I'm A Runner. Teehee.

Reaching high but keeping feet planted firmly on the ground.

Yes, I run on swimsuit too.

Run like the wind...

Now that's a HAPPY RUN!

But this one takes the cake out of any other happy runs. Ang saya lang, oh!