Every year I try my best to declutter my spaces, may it be at home or in the office. I see to it that I have enough area for “new things” and energy to come in. This year I feel I’m doing it differently. I’ve mentioned previously that I’m hooked on the KonMari method of tidying up, for the most part because of the now-popular Netflix show, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.
A friend of mine argues that the show is getting popularity, but does not necessarily answer as to what will happen to collectors and people who are obsessed with history. However, I can argue that the show, or the KonMari method for that matter, does not impose the habit of throwing things away, of giving up history. On the contrary, it talks about saving things that “spark joy” for us - things that still have meaning that we want to bring them with us moving forward. Things that we actually use and are essential for us to live our lives the way we want to.
June came in a hurry, and now we are almost done with half of 2018. At times, busy feels like an understatement, and if I am to become completely honest with myself, I am getting tired. They say there are two kinds of tired: one can easily be satisfied with sleep, while the other with peace. These past few days, however, I find myself thinking whether I am just experiencing a physical need or longing for something deeper.
Feeling the second kind of tiredness is not necessarily work-related. It can be the effect of change or growth, a relationship, studies, dreams, or even life in general. But in the hope of salvaging myself from the brim of exhaustion, I revert to some practices that I have learned over time. My hope is this list helps kick our blues away.
How's your week so far? Mine has been a bit of a roller coaster, but finally MacBook Pro gets an update, and I'm so excited about it!
"A touch of genius." MacBook Pro's 2016 tagline is very clear of how proud Apple is for this launch that they have been working on for years. This is supposedly the thinnest, most powerful and brightest notebook they've created so far.
MBP 2016 sports a strip of Touch Bar that inherited traits from the smartphone technology. It replaced the generic F1 to F12 keys that comes along with the usual ESC and eject keys. Fully customizable, the Touch Bar adapts to whatever program you are currently running, from FaceTime to Adobe Photoshop. This opens a ton of opportunities for developers and designers alike, similar to the iMessage update. At first I was hesitant that the Messages App will be heavier and slower, but I was surprised that it actually replaced my need for a different program. That said, although a bar that automatically changes functions may need a bit of getting used to, I know it will be great for us in the end.
With the Touch ID, it also allows us to unlock our computer in an instant. Apple Pay and switching between users is even possible with a touch of a finger.
Should you need the F1 to F12 keys, holding down the fn key is said to reveal them on the Touch Bar.
One thing that I would surely miss is the MagSafe plug that saved a ton of users before. Although Apple did not discuss plans about one of their smartest inventions, the introduction of Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports would mean that you can charge devices and transfer data faster. While this will push us into buying adapters for our existing devices, it also means that Apple takes another step towards the future. Same thing goes when previous ports have been changed, and people started complaining about how things will work for them, but the good thing is that we all managed to move forward.
On the same note, Apple did gave us a hint when they debuted their MacBook in 2015 which included a single USB-C port. Good thing, MBP 2016 comes with 4.
Since MBP 2016 is now using Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, they should have included the same port on the iPhone 7.
Don't worry about getting an adapter for your 3.5 mm headphones. Although Apple axed the port on their latest iPhone, the jack is still present on their 2016 MacBook Pro.
Even if Apple managed to save the headphone jack, we all need to say goodbye to the HDMI port and SD card slot. Soon, the days when a photographer hands you his / her SD card to transfer raw images and you automatically plug it in your MBP will be over.
Friends who prefer carrying an Air typically ask me if my Mid-2012 MacBook Pro is heavy, and my answer remains the same - it's not. However, a slimmer 2016 version of my beloved notebook isn't too bad for my back. In fact, Apple said that the new MacBook Pro is 17% thinner and 13% lighter than its predecessor.
I'm not a big fan of the Rose Gold Mac nor the iPhone, but when Apple introduced the Matte and Jet Black options for the iPhone 7, I was excited that they will also create a darker hue for their laptops, and they did! Space Gray is now available for the 2016 model.
Although the casing of the MBP gets a darker hue, the screen gets brighter and more colorful: 500 nits brightness, 25% more colors than sRGB, and 67% higher contrast ratio. Creating and editing graphics, images and videos will be tastier on this MBP.
My WODs usually involve me playing a video on YouTube or one of my go-to playlists, but I sometimes find it hard to compete with the outside noise. However, that may change with MBP's redesigned speakers that generate 58% more volume.
A set of flatter keys is said to improve responsiveness, but replaced the actual clicks and physical response that we're used to. MBP 2016 reviews show that Apple improved their butterfly keys after getting user feedback for their 2015 MacBook.
The iconic glowing Apple logo is also gone in this version of the MBP. Cutting that out helped them create a slimmer body.
Apple already uploaded updates for their homegrown programs like Keynote and iMovie that will integrate with the Touch Bar and MacOs Sierra, but seeing them first hand will have to wait for now.
I did wish for a better FaceTime camera in terms of pixel ratio, but I guess that needs to wait as well. However, considering that the MBP is Apple's premium notebook with a price range up to almost 3000 USD, I think users deserve better than 720p.
Not to mention that the entry level MBP 2016 is more like an improved Air with a Pro name. Reports show that Apple may be trying to eliminate Air to streamline their models in the future.
Overall, there are a lot of things that I will miss on the MBP. However, change is inevitable and Apple is trying to advance our way of interaction with new technology. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I can't wait to get my hands on this new MBP.
For a more concise comparison of their latest models, here's a screenshot from their website. Click on the photo to get to the MBP page.
So what do you think about this update? Let me know in the comment section.
Stay inspired, and later days!
In addition to my earlier post, I want to share some of the experiences we’ve had when we visited Macau and Hong Kong during winter.
Our ever reliable planner, Gaye made the itinerary for the trip. She even called travel agencies, hotels, transportation companies, etc. to make sure that the spots we’re visiting will fit our schedules. As I recall, the trip actually started with a joke when Gaye asked Diego if he wanted to travel abroad. Surprisingly, we ended up booking one of our hotels on that same week, and our plane tickets for the 6-day trip a week after.
We rode a hotel bus from Macau airport, situated at the eastern end of Taipa island, to Macau Peninsula, then walked all the way to Ole London Hotel during the first night. Exploring a new city in a foreign country is awesome. You get to discover things, and meet friends while getting lost.
Traveling as a family has been a tradition ever since our parents were kids. As we grew older and schedules changed, the trips became less frequent. However, now that there is a new kid in the house, we try to restore the practice.
This year, our second trip brought us to the province of Lobo, Batangas. A 2.5 to 3 hour drive from Manila or 45 minutes from the provincial capital, Batangas City, Almalin Beach Resort is a private beachfront property that was originally built as a holiday-retirement house for the owners. Nestled behind the mountain ranges of Mount Calo and Mount Hebangao, it opens up to the quiet stretch of Verde Island Passage.
To get there, you may take the South Luzon Express Way (SLEX), continue to the Star Toll Gate, then take the Batangas City Exit. A faster option is taking the Ibaan Exit from the Toll Gate, which leads to a steeper road, and hence should only be taken during the dry season. Although some roads of the province are still underway, both routes showcase the sprawling greenery of the mountain ranges, giving you an insight of the agricultural and trade activities of the area.
The resort offers 5 different accommodations that range from Php 1,000 (22 USD) to Php 13,800 (294 USD), air-conditioned rooms, European-style bathrooms, a shower area, a kid’s and adult beach level pool, cable tv, gas ranges and grills, and complimentary WiFi. Should you wish to go rustic, you may opt for the Bahay Kubo, a traidional 4-unit nipa house with full-size beds.
We stayed at Pola, a beachfront bungalow that features a queen size bed on the first floor and two double beds on the second floor, a European-style bathroom and a furnished balcony which we used for dining.
In case you forgot to pack your kitchenware or just open to some exploring, there’s a nearby market where you can purchase inihaw na liempo (grilled pork belly), sweet potato, local fruits like atis (sugar apple) and mangoes, and other local food. The people are nice, and are ready for your haggling skills should you purchase more than a kilo of their products.
In addition to their facilities, Almalin also offers snorkeling, fishing lines, beach volleyball, frisbee, badminton, majhong tiles and table, chess, kayak, canoe and paddle board. You may also request for a full body massage, pedicure and manicure services, boat tours or rent a jet ski.
We were very lucky to have the entire resort to ourselves, since we left Manila during a thunderstorm. Not to mention that it was a little sunny when we arrived in the property. Prayers and taking risks do make the difference.
With over 15 years of hospitality experience, Almalin Beach Resort strives to develop their facilities for beach lovers and traveling groups alike.
You may visit www.almalinbeachresort.com or call (+63) 995 630 0442 for more information.
While photo shoots are exciting, especially when you see the products of your hard work, managing your first hotel shoot can be a little nerve-racking. But don’t worry, your resourcefulness will get you through the endeavor. Here are 7 things you need to remember in managing a successful hotel shoot.
1. It is a necessity.
First, recognize the fact that you need a Hotel Shoot. There’s a ton of stock photos to choose from, but nothing compares to having your own pool of images. In some cases, you may purchase or download a photo based on a certain promotion. The photo then becomes tied to that single purpose, after the grueling effort of finding the closest thing to the actualities.
Moreover, when you do your own shoot, you get to stretch creativity, test your management skills, meet and collaborate with other talented individuals, and present your spaces or offers in the manner that actually fits your style.
Allocate budget for the shoot. After recognizing the fact that you need it, you should be prepared to allocate a chunk of your marketing budget for the said effort. It may cost you a lot once you execute it, but it will save you money, time and effort in the future. Remember that in doing a shoot, the collective effort of talents will be used, and believe me when I tell you that it costs more than what you would normally assume.
Approximately you would need the help of the following, especially when you’re doing the first official shoot of the property:
a. Photographer – Remember that photographers also have their fortes. Do your research, check their portfolios and talk to them. For base shoots, choose someone who has a keen eye for details like a fold on the bed sheet or a finger print on your glassware. Checking their portfolio will give you a preview of their style and editing skills. See if the photographer’s artistry fits the mood of your property.
b. Photographer’s Assistant(s) – Professional photographers will usually bring their editor(s) to discuss outputs play-by-play, and an actual assistant to manage lighting systems and coordinate during setups. Although smaller scale shoots like a new campaign for a restaurant may not require an assistant, hotel facilities are more complex and will need additional manning.
c. Stylist for the spaces - This could be you, but in case it’s your first time to manage a shoot, it wouldn’t hurt to add another expert on the field.
d. Model Manager / Coordinator - This would depend on the agency you’re working with. If you’re shooting a resort, an agency would normally ask someone to fly with their talents if they don’t personally know you or if your property is homegrown, as compared to an international chain.
e. Models - The number of models will also depend on your concept, purpose and spaces. Most cases, you will only require 1 male and 1 female model. Remember that you can also ask your colleagues to act different roles, but not all the time.
As a rule of thumb, it’s better to hire a professional model with a fee than a good looking person without an experience. Professional models understand angles, emotions, and lighting systems, allowing them to deliver what is needed in one or two takes compared to a good looking friend who will hit-and-miss.
f. Hairstylist - For lifestyle shoots, your hairstylist must be prepared to comb, clip, and spray repeatedly. Models may be asked to stay active (dive into a pool, do an actual workout, etc.) to get the required shot, depending on the layout, setup, spaces and other external factors.
g. Makeup Artist – Don’t go overboard with the kind of makeup that you want the models to wear. Remember that you’re trying to imply actual hotel experience in your photo. Similar to the hairstylists, retouch and concealing impertinent details are done frequently. Although photos have become more “casual” and natural-looking, you can always enhance a canvas with a little touch of paint.
h. Wardrobe Stylist (and assistant) - Depending on how extensive your shoot is, wardrobe requirements range from one rack to two or three or four; uniforms included, unless you plan to shoot beautiful views and facilities without people to experience them and colleagues to deliver signature service.
As mentioned, colleagues can act roles different from their actual jobs. A Sales Executive can dress as your Guest Services Manager, depending on the look that you want your property to evoke. Although I’m pretty sure that every department involved in your layouts has someone who can deliver a genuine warm smile in front of the camera.
Stylists should be briefed with the other members of the crew, especially with your photographer. Discuss details with your stylist at least two weeks before the start of the shoot, then check everything a week before the starting date.
A certain garment (e.g. wedding gowns, swimwear, etc.) may look good on its own, but it may not work with a certain layout. Remember that the focus should always be your property or the product and service for that matter.
Although stylists bring extra clothing, always ask them to prepare one or two more per layout. One cannot be always lucky to have a perfect match just across the street.
i. Florist – The allocation for plants and flowers will depend on the number of spaces you want to shoot. It is advisable to coordinate with your in-house gardener to lower your cost. Occasionally, leaves can actually suffice.
Not so sensitive plants should be stored in the hotel before the starting day of the shoot, especially if you’re doing a resort. Otherwise, setup should start hours (and I mean hours) and end an hour before the schedule. Storage should be air conditioned or well ventilated at the very least, as high temperature will hasten the aging process of plants.
Some florists may go over than what is needed, as they would love to highlight the kinds of plants that they have in stock or can order. Just be present when they’re setting up. Be involved and learn how to edit. The concept of less is more will sometimes apply.
As for the accessories, check your inventory. What you already have in the hotel or purchased for some other purpose can potentially lower your rent.
Although they are creative individuals, it’s better to discuss pegs so both parties can be on the same page.
In addition to the talented individuals that you need to hire, you may also need to allocate budget for items not found in the property like accessories, card boards, etc.. Do ask the assistance of the Purchasing Department, as they may have a wider pool of suppliers.
In creating your budget, include room allocations, meals, other hotel services like spa treatments, and modes of transportation. Working closely with your Director of Revenue or Revenue Manager is important.
Niguel is an experienced creative and marketing professional pursuing his dreams while growing with infinite possibilities.