Friday, November 26, 2010

Arriving Home

I enjoyed my day in Hollywood thanks to Rob who took me around. It's a small place. Everything cramped into a single street. We had a very nice lunch at The Cheesecake Factory in The Grove. I didn't get lucky and see A-listers though.

The flight home was of course utterly boring. Cathay Pacific's coach seats cannot be reclined. The butt part just slides down. Well, it was made up for by their individual screens with a lot of new movies, TV series and even games! (bejeweled Gus!). I had the unfortunate chance to see NAIA again. What a miserable airport we have. Sigh...

Now I have to figure out what to do... And return to see my pet Yuki in Pet Society XD

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mazatlan Cathedral



Basilica del la Immaculada Concepcion
Mazatlan, Mexico

Monday, October 04, 2010

Almost Over

All the months have passed by so fast. That's good. It was definitely fun and I'll really miss all the wonderful people I've met. I hope we are all to keep on touch and have a reunion one day. I've learned a lot too. This experience had opened up new opportunities and made me realize that we are really only limited by ourselves. Everything depende on what we want to do and what we are willing to do to achieve it. I think one of the best things about this is I got to see a very good friend after a long while. I hope this will not be the last time.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mazatlan in HDR



Larraine's Birthday and Aine, Tarynn and Sam's Farewell

At Chops

Me and My Aine, I'll Miss you!

Me and Sam - Gorgeous, Gorgeous

Laraine

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Heavenly

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.  -- Genesis Chapter 1


Cabo at Dusk

A medical emergency changed our Cabo schedule enabling us to see Cabo at dusk. Perfect and amazing...
Cold HDR

Warm Panoramic HDR

Friday, July 30, 2010

More Mariner Sunsets



Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Where Hollywood stars roam the beach and do nasty stuff...




Gustavo's Birthday

We celebrated Gustavo's Birthday in Chops (!) and then went to the Dragon's Lair after.

Chene

Devonica 

Gustavo and Aine Goofing Around

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pirates of Baja California

  Masts

Crazy Lucas killin Me

Mariner Tour Group

Yacht

Jolly Roger

Me at the Helm

more pictures >> here

Friday, July 09, 2010

The Hand of God

How does God communicate to each of us? Several biblical figures have communicated with God in one form or another, through a bush, with messenger angels, and of course in His human form Jesus. Jesus is the closest we have ever gotten to see God in His full glory. We cannot see God and live but we could of course commune with Him.

We should feel lucky when we know that God is communicating with us. This Sunday, I had the chance to attend mass in a chapel that I didn't know existed right outside the Mariner when it is docked in LA. And this whole week just turned out great for me and my work. I don't know how much clearly can God be talking to me than that. That He, is a big part of my life and that He is the captain and I'm the ship. Thank you for maneuvering me to You.

Chops with Gorgeous Girls

Andrea 

d
Danielle

Laraine
Devonica
Sarah
Isadora
Aine
Laraine and Elizabeth

How Lucky Can You Get?!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Aquarium of the Pacific

Rob brought me to Long Beach's Aquarium of the Pacific. It was awesome!
With Big Blue
Jellyfishies
 
Sea Anemone

Yeah.... I'm a fucking Geek hahaha Then he took me out for steak at Outback. Whoa Great Great Day

Friday, June 18, 2010

For the Dolphins?!

I was shocked last week when I was late for dinner one time and I chanced on the mess' closing time. I saw that all those food left in the bins, never been touched, some almost filled to the brim, the cakes were all thrown into one big bin to be thrown! All that food to waste... I was deeply saddened. A lot of people in the Philippines don't get to eat three meals a day and here was all this food getting thrown out. I asked. They told me that they used to land the food and gave it to charity but when somebody's tummy got bad they blamed the company and the ship so the company just opted to stop giving away the leftover food. I must emphasize that this food is clean, it's not the leftover from the plate. It's leftover from the buffet. That's so sad. It makes me want to eat a lot but I guess all I can do is not waste the food that I got and consume everything on my plate.

Independence Day

10 June 2010 - We celebrated Independence Day aboard the Mariner of the Seas. There are so many Filipinos onboard the Mariner (40%) that the captain declared it an all-crew-party. Nice. The captain gave us four suckling pigs (Lechon) and most of the food was sponsored by the crew welfare fund. They love the Filipinos and we had to show our love back. A group of organizers prepared a very entertaining program for everybody which involved two superb bands, exhibition bar-tenders, games, two dance performances, a song number with a video clip showing our history, trivia about our country and two shameless hosts. Ha! I was one of the two. I thought it was a chance for everybody to know the new botox doctor onboard who happened to be Pinoy. I ate my usually bashful self and went all-out.

The only thing was that all that time MY MIC WAS DEAD. I was shouting at the top of my lungs but the technical people didn't seem to be able to fix my audio or maybe didn't want too haha I don't know. So I guess I was the mute host whose mouth was moving but can't really be heard. What can I do? I did my job. I went back to my cabin around 1:30 am in the morning because I still had to do a seminar the next morning and I don't want to look like I partied all night to my potential patients.

Well, the party was fun. Especially the bartenders juggling. It's nice to know that it's Filipinos who's making other people wow at their talents.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Patients

I'm always ecstatic when I bump into my patients on the way to the restaurant or something and they just smile so big at me and tell me: "I can't believe I was so skeptic and put this off for so long. It's just amazing what's happening." I feel my tired smile go from my ear to the other. My pretend cruise smile becomes real and I reply: "It makes me happy you're happy with the results."

That's always the case with first timers, they start skeptics but are drawn in because of the competitive prices on the ship and the advantage of anonymity and discretion being on a cruise offers. No one will know they "had work done" while vacationing. They could always say it was the great sea air, the long due rest that contributed to their amazing transformations. And I agree, I'm amazed at what this tiny injections can do to.

People who had it done before always swear allegiance to the treatment's effectiveness. I had two women sitting for my seminar one has never done it before but when she saw her seatmate nodding she asked her if it was worth it. The veteran answers: "So worth it." And that's it. These are the people you love. In a minute, the skeptic was risking doing it and going home happy. I always pray there would be more people like this whenever I speak. Swearing the truth to the magic of non-surgical facial rejuvination.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Weeks Two & Three

The numerous onboard training finally ended this week. The training sessions are a good way to meet my co-crew members. Everybody is very happy to know everybody else. "We're all in this together" as the High School Musical theme said. Well of course we have that policy the I like very much called "10 Feet Smile Policy," all companies should enact this even if they're not in the service sector. Smiling to not only your guests but to your co-employees just brings up the mood and good vibe that everybody needs every working day.

I'm really learning a lot on how to run a good business from Royal Carribean. At this stage, I'm still very objective and not heavily indoctrinated and I can say that this company is running it's business in a very good way. Filipino companies and the Philippine Government could really learn a lot on how to run things back home from this company. And in that light, I don't understand how so many Filipino are working in this company and not brining back home the things that they have learned and applying them to make a difference it our rotten practices.

Simple things make a difference. Reward based positive reinforcement. Strict enforcement of just policies and rules. A kind, just, firm but approachable captain. Few traits the Philippines can learn from.

This second week, we welcomed our new manager, Miss Zelna du Plessis from South Africa. She's absolutely gorgeous! She'd be an artista if she were in the Philippines. I like her approach to things. She's very driven and motivated to reach the goals, or more properly our (the whole team's) goals. In the one week that I spent with Miss Lorna MacLeod (UK) though, I learned that Steiner managers are all superlative managers. I will miss Lorna too, that one week was akward but fun! Especially our party for Maria and Aisha who's birthdays fell in the same week.

I loved the grilled pork they made for that party. My God! The marinate was so tasty that I took some back to my cabin and ate it cold in the morning (oops, haha we're not supposed to bring back food to the cabins XD ssshhh). I'm really having trouble controlling myself over the food here. Imagine to be in a buffet everyday. I mean, I really have to give myself kudos for not having seconds ever since I came onboard. But man, oh man, is my plate always filled haha! I rarely touch carbs - well pasta that is. I've never tried rice - yet. And I hope I don't ever. But I'm always having dessert! Whaaa! Every other day almost sometimes everyday there's cheesecake! And they're decent ones too! Hahaha! I really don't know if I'm going to be ecstatic or depressed. O gotta tell you, they make this oh my super awesome roast pork. Hahaha! And some really good burgers that we see on fridays (burger day!) - thanks Lizzie for the tip. Now I wait for fridays just as Lizzie does hahaha! I hope I don't get too much plump. Well I really can't because I won't fit my clothes ^_^.

I'm very much hoping things will pick up for me. It's still all very slow and I want to thank Miss Jeanette for sending that email of reassurance to us. She said not to expect too much in the first weeks, and that's what's just happening to me really. I don't know the border of being out and about and talking to people to looking desperate and pulling people in. I don't want to appear that way, it might throw people off instead of pull them in.

I realize one important thing this week two and three though, one thing that I've always thought but now is super reinforced in me. I was living the life of a prince of sorts ;-) and now I'm a pauper.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Chris Mariner

I think I have a new name now ^_^. It's around 1400H Shiptime and my third day on the Mariner and I have a respite from work until 1600H. Mariner's Shiptime is the same as Los Angeles (US Pacific) time. Three days and I already have a ton of new experience.

When I left Miami last saturday, I got stuck between two coughing people in my American Airlines flight to LA. No food served thank you very much :-/ and I paid $60 for my two baggages :-(. They don't have free check-in baggage allowance for domestic flights, a real bummer. LAX is a REALLY busy aiport. It's the first US airport where I saw people sitting on the floors and even lying(!) down there waiting for boarding. The La Quinta Inn & Suites where Steiner booked me for one night had a free shuttle from LAX so that wasn't any trouble. I just missed the first one I saw so I had to wait a little for the next one.

I checked-in, used the free wifi and used my new AT&T prepaid phone to call some people here in the US. I arranged for a super shuttle to take me to the Port of Los Angeles-San Pedro the next day and I was able to chat with my mom for a while before my good friend Rob took me to dinner in Westfield mall there in Culver City where the La Quinta Inn was.

The trip to the port wasn't long. The freeway didn't have a lot of cars maybe cause it was a sunday and it was 7am. I was too early they said and the shuttle dropped me off in the guest entrance so I had to walk half a kilometer (maybe) to the other end of the ship where the crew signed on. And of course I did this with one of my luggage's handle being broken (poor me). While waiting forever for signing on to start I made a new friend. Guilherme who's from Brazil. It's his first time to work on a ship too. He's a big fan of traveling and had the chance to go around LA the past few days. He'd arrived earlier than me in LA. The big bummer was that when he asked La Quinta to get him a ride to the port, they got him a LIMO! The stretchy one! They said it would cost him the same as the cab and so he got in and eventually paid for $60+ for it. Pfft. Thanks a lot La Quinta.

We signed in and I discovered this stupid Transnational had made it's biggest booboo yet... they didn't run a Hepatitis C test for me! Urgghh... This is really unacceptable, I paid for everything to be done and now, the ship's medical staff tells me that I have to get this test done (at $40 value) in Mazatlan when we make landfall tomorrow. This is really bummer. I really won't rest until I'm satisfied that I've tortured Transnational Medical enough when I have the chance.

I was shown to my cabin, it's for two people (a bunk bed) but it will house only me. It has a TV, a bathroom, and lights. The accomodation is fine but the bathroom stinks - I have to get to making it better. It's my responsibility but I don't have the time yet. I'm not sure if I'm willing to pay $20 a week for someone to clean my cabin. I don't even have that money to give away yet!

The Mariner is so awesome! Well, I've never been on another cruise ship but this one is really super. There are two canteens for the employees, one is called the crew mess and the other is the Officer/Staff Mess, I can eat on both and the food is OVERFLOWING. I see how my fellow countrymen eat and haha no wonder seamen are all round in the belly, they have like four cups of rice on their plate and two pieces of bacon! XD I'm enjoying all the protein I can. There are times when the dessert is so awesome I can't believe it but just earlier I ate a major fail gelatin sorta-something with blueberries.

I have got to get used with everything about shiplife soon. I always get lost - the ship is THAT big and I'm supposed to be very good with directions and orientation - but I'm slowly figuring it out. My worry is always not to walk into an area I'm not supposed to be into. I forget that as a doctor I can go anywhere but there's no harm in being extra careful is it?

Funny, when I walk around in my white coat people really talk about me hahaha. I can hear them, "Oh it's the doctor!" and I just have got to smile. I correct some of them that I'm not actually the ship doctor but that I work in the spa and is there to help them get more beautiful.

I'm still getting the hang of working in the spa and since everybody's busy and fully booked. I've got to give my questions a little fast or they'd be gone to their next appointment. I hope I get more patients next week when I've got all the kinks in my practice worked out.

The spa staff are all wonderful and beautiful beautiful people. Lorna, who's the Spa manager is from Scotland. She's real nice, tall and beautiful. There are four pinays in the spa and it's nice to have some of my countrymen in my team. The safety officer of the Mariner is named Kate and she's a beautiful lady. AND she's so energetic! When you encounter her you'd think she's just had a quadruple espresso. LOL. Yeah. Awesome, she took us to the bridge on a tour. WOW. I enjoyed hearing Phil's, the environmental safety officer, lecture on the companies policies and programs and the technology of the Mariner in dealing with pollution. I'll talk about this techy thing on my next post as it's an entirely different and long story. Mariner is like a floating country.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Amazing Race Reloaded

I was pretty confident no there would be no glitch with our travel to Miami until we checked-in in PAL Centennial Terminal and we were informed our flight wasn't booked and we had not paid for our tickets. We were stunned. How could that happened when we paid weeks ahead to our travel agency and reconfirmed every few days with every conversation we had with the staff. I really didn't know what to think.

When we went outside of the terminal to go to the PAL office, we were approached by people apparently from the agency and they told us they were trying to contact us because of the situation. Duh... no one's been calling any of us for the whole day. And if they really wanted to reach us, they just had to call my mom, and she was the one who they were really dealing with before. Anyway.

They finally got us on the same flight after a lot of running back and forth. It was really tiring.

Our flight to San Francisco International (SFO) was nonstop. Food on PAL was just ok. Entertainment on-board was pretty much inexistent. The captain had to apologize after realizing staff loaded the plane with Japanese movies thinking it was a flight to Japan. Stupid.

San Francisco International is a very nice and HUGE airport. I did a boo-boo leaving my co-trainee Dr. Joanna's book behind on the plane. :-( We were supposed to meet her cousin (?) for dinner in San Francisco but the long lines in immigration and trying to find the PAL office ate up our 3 hours layover time.

Our connecting flight to Miami was on American Airlines. They had aged planes and there wasn't any free food. Miami International (MIA) was also HUGE. Oh my. I think we walked half or three fourths of a mile to get to the baggage area.

We rented a card and got lost trying to find our hotel/condo/apartment. It was a nice experience going around though. Shamrock Corporate Housing is just awesome. We had a living room, dining room, laundry with washer and dryer, kitchen, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a balcony. It was more than worth the price.

Toto, We're Not in Kansas Anymore

Coming from a place with terrible hot weather, traffic, annoying people WITH annoying customs, everything me and my fellow doctors were seeing and experiencing was a welcome break. Driving here isn't very easy if you don't have a GPS. We're cheap enough to brave it though Ha! Pinoy "Kuripotism." We were constantly late for our training session because we always get lost. Translating google maps into actual roads is difficult. You cannot judge the distance relative to the real one because the blocks are just so big! Well, we always end up where we want to go eventually.

On our first day we got to see Olivia and Miss Jeanette who interviewed us and who were in charge of us at Steiner. Wow! Skype is not flattering at all! Olivia and Miss Jeanette are so gorgeous! Miss Jeanette is like a model. She was so thin and tall.

They fed us free lunch during the first day of training and I loved the turkey and bacon sandwich. I think I made a right comment when I said the sanwiches here are too generous that I think the bread is just there so you can have something to hold onto and not get your hands dirty with the real treasure inside.

I coooked sinigang using spinach in place of kangkong on our second night. It turned out ok, lucky me. XD

The thing we did I enjoyed the most was that We always went around the malls and stores after our training sessions trying to scour for stuff we inevitably forgot to bring. Chargers, camera cables, toiletries, a lotta stuff. Going around Best Buy is mouth watering and tempting. Theres so much gadgets inside! I'm filling my head of what I'm going to save for haha! I'll get to that soon hahaha ^_^

Sunday, May 09, 2010