15 Aug2016


Our office in Cebu is located in a converted garage (literally) in the middle of a lot on a hill behind the provincial capitol. Over the past 7 years, we have planted hundreds of trees, various plants and ferns and trimmed hedges of kamuning. We have dozens of chico, coconut, kamias and dayap trees… With the heavy rains of the past month, our narra and mahogany trees have really grown, bougainvillea plants are out of control and stands of bamboo have nicely blocked the view of some neighboring rooftops… Having all this green visible from nearly every window in our office is a HUGE plus compared to working in a sterile or cement-y office building… This is a photo of the office crew taken a few weeks ago, and we all noticed how “healthy” some of us were becoming after just 5 years in the restaurant business. Some folks jokingly referred to a group of four colleagues as the “teletubbies” and videos of the children’s program circulated to much lighthearted amusement…


So imagine my surprise on Friday when I showed up at work and was greeted with a surprise rendition from the now in-house live performers complete with teletubbies costumes. Honestly, I couldn’t stop laughing when I entered the office… I am away for my birthday this year, and thought I had successfully avoided a surprise party (by only announcing two days prior that I would be away for a couple of weeks), but clearly, I had not. What was supposed to be a nice seafood lunch for 60 (everyone at the commissary, lechonan and office) to celebrate 4 birthday celebrants in August turned into a half-day of classic Zubuchon silliness and an early start to the weekend.


Just before lunch, a few games, of course. First, teams shooting baskets to determine how many munchkins they had to speed eat… only to find out each munchkin had a bit of siling labuyo imbedded in it. The office crew won that game. Second, a sort of caterpillar game of teamwork with rows of employees with balloons between them going down a steep driveway, turning and coming right back up.


It takes a bit of coordination to do this well, and as you can see from their faces, these folks seemed to be having a surprisingly good time for ADULTS. :)


This was a competitive bunch, and the guys from the lechonan won fair and square, receiving a modest prize that was drinkable. :)


After a hearty lunch (separate post coming), everyone seemed to be in “weekend mode” rather than return to the office mode, so we had an impromptu game of the longest line that of course elicited that bizarre pinoy reaction to semi-nakedness, but in this case, COMBINED with a game of the “longest sitter” on several blocks of ice for those intent on winning one of the prizes. It was outrageous. OUTRAGEOUS. Needless to say, before we froze anyone’s jewels off, I declared a three-way tie so all the teams won prizes! And yes, this was totally voluntary. No publishable photos of that part of the event. See this old post for another take on the longest lines… And notice those nice trees around the perimeter of the property and yard that we only planted some 5-6 years ago! :)


Don’t ask, I had to crop out the faces, the resemblance was just too uncanny…


And finally, a video and written birthday greetings from the vast majority of our 250+ staff at all of our outlets. All this on short notice (less than 2 days for teletubbies costumes?!). You really have to love the Pinoy fiesta mentality… it is a fun-loving, abundant, thoughtful, care-free love for life that makes us amongst the happiest people on earth. Many thanks to the crew for another wonderful and unexpected birthday celebration (good for four), a week or so early!



  1. Marvien R. De Leon says:

    Belated Happy Birthday, Sir Joel! Cheers!

    Aug 15, 2016 | 10:20 am


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  3. Myra says:

    Happy Birthday Sir, very nice place and fun to see those happy faces.

    Aug 15, 2016 | 10:57 am

  4. Mon Yadao says:

    It is obvious how highly they regard you, Sir Joel!
    Belated greetings, cheers!

    Aug 15, 2016 | 3:54 pm

  5. linda says:

    Advance Happy Birthday, MM!
    Have a good one!

    Aug 15, 2016 | 4:12 pm

  6. Kasseopeia says:

    Happy birthday, MM!
    Looks like you had a blast!

    Safe travels!

    Aug 15, 2016 | 4:14 pm

  7. ami says:

    Advance Happy Birthday MM. Is this the trip to see the Holy Door in St Peter’s Cathedral? If you’re planning to see the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museum please buy your tickets online as the line is VERY long and snakes around multiple times.

    Aug 15, 2016 | 4:48 pm

  8. Marketman says:

    Thanks all for the advance birthday greetings! ami, no, this is short regional trip for business. Trip to Rome later in the year…

    Aug 15, 2016 | 5:07 pm

  9. Anne :-) says:

    Happy Bday MM!!!

    Aug 15, 2016 | 5:56 pm

  10. Chinky says:

    Happy birthday, MM! I am sure your crew had a blast preparing and participating in the festivities!

    Aug 15, 2016 | 8:02 pm

  11. Betchay says:

    Happy birthday MM! Your crew loves you!
    Have a safe and enjoyable trip!

    Aug 15, 2016 | 9:21 pm

  12. Natie says:

    What a fun-loving crew! The secret to your successful business. Love and fun. Warm greetings, MM! beautiful trees!

    Aug 16, 2016 | 12:14 am

  13. La Emperor says:

    Happy Birthday ,MM. The happiness in the faces of your crew says it all. Have a great trip.

    Aug 16, 2016 | 8:05 am

  14. reggie rullan says:

    Blessed birthday to you Joel!

    Aug 16, 2016 | 9:20 am

  15. wendy says:

    Happy Birthday MM!

    Aug 16, 2016 | 2:55 pm

  16. Ying says:

    Happy birthday! A good boss makes for happy employees!

    Aug 16, 2016 | 3:59 pm

  17. Ron says:

    BHB sir!

    Aug 17, 2016 | 1:53 am

  18. Dragon says:

    Happy birthday MM!!!

    Aug 17, 2016 | 5:53 am

  19. Cwid says:

    Happy birthday to a great blogger!

    Aug 17, 2016 | 1:40 pm

  20. Thel from Florida says:

    Happy, happy birthday MM. God Bless always.

    Aug 19, 2016 | 5:48 am

  21. sophie says:

    Happy Birthday, MM and God bless!

    Aug 19, 2016 | 1:24 pm

  22. farida says:

    Happy birthday, MM. Yes, those trees are really lush and beautiful. Hats off to your staff for their presentation. They are ver creative and lots of fun.

    Aug 20, 2016 | 5:39 pm

  23. Ley says:

    Belated Happy birthday MM!

    Aug 22, 2016 | 12:05 pm

  24. EbbaBlue says:

    Maligayang Kaarawan, kaibigan.

    Aug 22, 2016 | 11:16 pm

  25. Marilen says:

    Happy, birthday, MM. Enjoyed the fun, silliness, love shared of the happy occasion.

    Aug 27, 2016 | 6:59 am


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