7 Tips on How to Survive Your First Photoshoot

About a week ago, I had my first legit photoshoot for my brand, Versaheel. It felt surreal really! I didn’t know what I was doing half the time, considering I really don’t have any background on posing in a studio, or a strong experience in striking poses with a lot of people staring at you.

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“Who is this girl? “Why is her hair orange?”

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But I survived it! I mean them! I had a 2-day photoshoot, and they were magnificent!

I know, I started selling shoes way back 2009, with only a 2-megapixel camera phone and my too-tired set of feet from long hours of standing in nursing duties, I brave the traffic and sometimes rainy weather to go to the Marikina Market, and take photos of newly delivered shoes!

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It felt like a real treat for me! I remember dreaming for hours to pass by until dismissal so I can quickly pack my bags and head home, and oh, make a not-so-quick stop from my kind suppliers! 😀

There were also times when I console myself by cheating a self-promised 30-minute Multiply (the social media giant that time, Facebook wasn’t popular yet) posting and selling just so my wits will wake up amidst studying for the finals. The 30 minutes usually turn to 3 hours. 😀

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Fast forward to now, I have a studio, an outdoor venue, photographers, makeup artist, and a publicist! I could have never imagined these things when I was only 20 years old!

So if you’re a teenager, a 20-ish person, or someone who has a lot of dreams, never let those go! You’ll never know the world is actually watching you, and someday it will be ready to launch you.

I’m not a pro on this, but just in case this may come in handy, I’ll tell you things I learned on how to survive your first photoshoot.

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  1. Sleep early and arrive early.

This helps so much to ease away the appearance of the dark circles under your eyes. It’s also good to arrive early so that you can have a lot of time for your hair and makeup, consequently more time for the photoshoot itself!



More time could also mean more photos! It also buys you time for changing and retouch!

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  1. Hydrate yourself.

This is quite a problem, especially that I don’t fair well with the water department. If you’re not hydrated enough, your lips will be chappy! This doesn’t look nice, especially on headshots and closeups!

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  1. Know your angles.

I have quite a pudgy face, and I know my right cheek is extra plumpy than the other side. So I could say right sideways is my best angle! Practice in a mirror so that you would know!

Hey, don’t stress too much! No one is that perfect! Every picture-perfect model also knows how to look best on camera, and we should too!

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  1. Have a concept in mind.

What are you trying to highlight? Is it your hair, your makeup, your outfit, your shoes? Know the goal of this shoot so you could also prepare!

Most high-end shoots will probably take care of everything – the clothes, shoes, jewelry and other accessories. But while you have a say on how you will look, it’s better to be vigilant on the things you bring on the set.

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For example, I am promoting my shoes, so I have to downplay my dress, by sticking to plains and basic colors, and let my shoes shine! You don’t want to distract your audience by looking at the other things in the photo you are not even meant to advertise!

  1. Be nice to everybody.

I think this is such an obvious thing, but we’d like to keep a happy and nice environment, no matter how pressured you are. I mean if you need help with getting some BTS photos or some extra hand to zip your dress, and the people around are not compelled to even do these for you; you’ll get extra mileage and points by being nice and hopefully (and naturally) these people can extend a hand to do your little requests.

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  1. Close your eyes. Open them. Smile/Radiate the aura.

There are times when you are so tired already, your smile turns into a fake smile, worst a frown. The easy refresh button technique that I learned is to relax your mouth, close your eyes, and then pop! You will look natural again!

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As what Tyra Banks also said, “SMIZE!” Smile with your eyes!

And it also helps to uplift your spirits, even if it has to be on your own! I mean you’re the model, you should do your job! 😀

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  1. Have fun.

And the best advice is to have fun, and just enjoy it!

It’s not everyday you don’t have to ask someone to take a photo of you and hopefully, they get the right frame and angle. I mean you’re dealing with professional photographers here, and it’s such a wonder to not instruct them on how you’d like the photo to turn out.

Plus, your next Instagram photo will not be a selfie! Yay!

Versaheel in Marikina

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I hope you learned a thing or two on this! I did too! And I am extremely grateful for all the people who have helped me make this photoshoot into a reality! These photos were released in an article about my story on how I started as a shoe designer. You can read that in The Story of a Dreamer : Via Galang.

As for this photoshoot, big applauses to these awesome people!

Hair and Make Up: Alvicel Cee of Alluring Vison by Cel

Studio: MeMo Photography Studio

Studio Photography: Evan Mogol Photography

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Outdoor Photography: Elvie Manlulu of Rugged Pixie

Outdoor Photography: Tobi Cabrera of Funkadelic


Publicist: Blog Talk with MJ Racadio

Published Article Writer: Viva Alvaro-Galvez

And of course, my darling fiancé for being my driver that day, forever BTS photographer, sometimes my critic, and always my number one fan!

If you were to have your first photoshoot, what will it be about? Let me know! 😀

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What’s your Ikigai?

It’s always a wonder to me how millenials, especially working women find the time to blog. I mean, I, for one, has been really stressed out finding the zeal to even attempt and write something worthile.

But then again, we can always find inspiration in the littlest of things.

I wonder. What will you answer when someone asks you, “What inspires you? What makes your heart beat beyond normal?”

For me, I believe, one has to know what is his or her passion. In that way, he/she won’t even have the need to question why the heck is he/she doing whatever he/she does.

Now this reminds me of the beautiful word “Ikigai”.


Ikigai is a Japanese concept, meaning “a reason for being”. Everyone, according to the Japanese, has an ikigai. Finding it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self. Such a search is regarded as being very important, since it is believed that discovery of one’s ikigai brings satisfaction and meaning to life. – Source

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“Ikigai: the process of allowing the self’s possibilities to blossom”  (Ikigai — jibun no kanosei, kaikasaseru katei ), an article that said that people can feel real ikigai when their senses, value of life and all poles of human nature are conceived to give birth to self-actualization.

Well, I like training, shoes, and and the silence.


Training because I am given a noble and an amazing opportunity to shape and hone minds, to teach things that will help my trainees to prepare for what’s to come. I never thought that this will be such a rewarding career, and Empire East just keeps on surprsing me.


Shoes because they bring you to good places. They make you look nice, and they influence how you assert yourself with impact.


And silence. Well, I think better when it’s quiet. And it makes me remember more.

How about you, what is your Ikigai? Are your pursuing it?

What makes you wake up in the morning? Let me know in the comments below!


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(Part 1/3) Public Speaking as a Career


Pursuing a career in public speaking is a big decision and a challenging pursuit if I may add, well, especially for those who are not very friendly. Yes, that sounded unrelated right? But that is one of the core things I learned in my almost five-year experience as a Training Officer.

You see, I never even thought of “public speaking” or “training” as career options, since I was under the impression that I will be working in a hospital. I finished BS Nursing by the way. Nevertheless, I’m quite blessed because I never thought that landing in the public speaking could be a fun and rewarding job, with so many perks along the side.

Now if you are someone who is graduating from high school, trying to decide on what to take in the university, from college taking up Communications or Public Administration, Education, Tourism or any course that might involve a lot of talking, or a person who is in this kind of industry already or would like to join one, this post may come in handy. I would like to show you the roadmap or rather a detour in this three-part series about the career opportunity that is “Public Speaking”.


1. Confidence is key. 
Fake it ’til you make it. This is probably the line that saved me from my first few attempts at talking in a large audience. I am particularly confident about talking in front, but would go flying into the woods if I ever dare to talk to my audience. It’s just that I have this fear – that if I ask them a question, no one would respond. I basically fear rejection, but we have to know that nothing is certain, either way it may still happen no matter how hard you prevent it. So you might as well enjoy all the attention while it lasts.

The thing here is, nobody in the crowd knows what the exact words you’re going to say. They are there to listen about your experience and learn from your perspectives. They would need not know that your knees are wobbly and your heart is going to plummet out of your chest any minute, so you just have to face them with a big smile and try your best to be the rock star speaker that you are!


2. Good impact makes audience more attentive.
I remember a quote from Ms.Congeniality 2, wherein Sandra Bullock was advised by a stylist that, “People care about people who care about themselves.”.

In a fast paced multi-media world now, looking like your just-woke-up-like-this self won’t even merit you a line spot outside the office building you’re trying to get into. Let alone the receptionist allowing you to go and sign the guest log sheet. I mean it really all starts with a good impression.

Generally people like good and beautiful things, and that premise such as looking at their speaker is no exception. There is no excuse that you don’t have a good fashion sense; the important thing here is you have to make them believe that you are a person worth talking and listening to. Your professional image starts with your attitude on how you present yourself. You don’t need expensive clothes to achieve that; you just need to look the part that you’re playing. After all, the world is like a big show, and the actor who looks and acts the nicest attracts more attention than the rest.

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3. Know your purpose. Research and study your topic.
Whether it’s about sharing your experience, marketing a product, invitation to an event, training a skill, encouraging to try a new career, influencing to join an advocacy, etc. you have to be sure because you don’t want to be caught sending the wrong message. Sometimes, when you want to sell an idea, it turns out you training the person on how to sell the idea as well – giving you zero effectiveness in reaching your goal.


4. Be credible.
I think this is a major struggle when you are in a career where you have to play a role, such as mine (Trainer), to an audience who may probably know what you’re going to talk about. I have a lot of cases wherein I was in the middle of a real estate sales training, and I have a student who is older than me in terms of age, and has more experience in the industry counted in years have me asked a question. It’s a difficult situation to be into, which is why you must do your homework. If you don’t have the experience, research! Either in books or interviews, you have to supplement yourself with knowledge!

You are playing the role of the person who knows better, (maybe you do know, or maybe not) so you have to keep that façade in certain terms. Do not apologize for anything that might make them think you’re not credible. Do not show your true colors by being stubborn or convenient to answer, “That is not our topic for today.”, or “I do not know.”, rather be kind by replying “I think that information is not yet updated, let me get back to you on that.”.

Remember, whether you are a teacher or a speaker, the audience will always think that you are an expert, and you know what you’re talking about. Precisely, because you’re in the stage and they are in the bleachers. The respect is already classified; now make them want to appreciate you and the talk more.


5. Make your presentation interesting and engaging.
I am always in a battle of whether I should use a graphic material or not, but later on resolves in creating one because they are highly beneficial in points I’d like to present.

Whenever I present something so complicated for the audience, I try to use analogies and I keep my presentation simple. I am actually in love with cartoony visuals, because they remind me of childhood, a time where things are a lot easier. So below is a sample of my SOAR Training title page (SOAR – Sell Online. Achieve Results).


I think it adds to the feeling that the module is easy to comprehend. Given that the content is quite complicated already, why do the visuals have to be?

It is also better to put more pictures instead of cascading text-heavy slides. You as the speaker should provide words of explanation naturally, and not stare at the screen reading them. It would be tedious enough to read everything, so you may want to keep things easily understandable. Post an image and caption, and then you explain. You don’t want to be overshadowed either by the material. Because if all the information is there, you could have given your attendees handouts instead, why the need to even attend your session anyway?

Captions should be short as well. Make things lighter for the audience. Now to keep things more engaging, you can also start a fun game. But make sure you relate it to the lesson or the topic at hand, so it would be beneficial in constructing the synthesis on why your class has to do it.

Please do use the whiteboard and the marker when you want to drive a point that is not presented in your slides. But if these are not available, I always try to make use of Paint in my Microsoft-run laptop. Good thing my device has a touch screen feature so it is easier for me. But if you have a Mac, you may use the Note program as well.


6. Use fillers to articulate.

Another thing that I notice in most speakers is that they always have this safety word. This is the word that they always use as fillers when they are talking. Instead of saying “uhmmm”, they replace this with “okay” “basically” “actually” “so” “I mean” “well” “what else”, etc. This is helpful especially when you are trying to do away with usual “uhmmm” and when you need an ample amount of time to gather your thoughts before you utter another word.

However, uhmmms give an impression that you are running out of ideas, where in fact the goal is to be an idea-machine! Awareness and extreme consciousness should be raised so that you can avoid saying this. I am quite happy to say that I am becoming more conscious training after training, and my uhmmms have decreased. But along with this good news, I tend to notice speakers having a safety word, which they repeat most of the time. It’s okay to have a safety word, as long as it is not abused. I am not being melodramatic, but I think one has to be aware on the safety word’s continuous repetition as well. As it doesn’t sit nicely when you are the one sitting in that chair having to listen to your teacher/mentor repeat the same word over and over again. Yes it’s quite annoying, and it makes you want to jot how many times he or she actually said it. So, try to minimize it and choose other words instead.:)


Photo Sources: http://linkedin.com and https://www.udemy.com/

So that’s it for now, the second and third part will come soon after this post. I will be including a link here, so do come back to check if it’s already up.

I hope you learned a thing or two in reading this, because public speaking is also an art that needs to be learned and understood on why and how it is the way it is. After all. it’s like watching a good show, make sure attending your presentation is worth their while.

What do you think about this post? Please put your comments below. Thanks!

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11 Things Why I Love Working in Real Estate

I just got in the office at 8:18 AM today from a 3.5 hour ride from Baguio City. Going to different workplaces may not be the novelty on a regular workweek for a typical employee, but this has been quite my life for the past 4 years. As my title suggests, I work in real estate.  A lot of my friends are asking about what I do, since they mostly see my Facebook posts checked-in in various cities. Considering that I am not a flight attendant, or a celebrity, this career basically feels like both, only better! Let me share to you why.

  1. I get to travel. A lot.


Now, who would not want to get paid while you travel? Of course, it probably is everybody’s dream to see the world, may it be through local or international, and get paid for it. Well technically, I am a registered nurse, but since it is not entirely my passion, tides have brought my restless and wandering feet to real estate. Currently, I work as a Sales and Marketing Training Officer in Empire East. (If you’ve read my previous post entitled Empire East x Bb. Pilipinas 2016 Opens Cebu Showroom, you would have an idea already! Haha :)) )


Regarding the travel part, since it is my task to train our real estate agents who are in and out of Manila, it would be necessary and more practical for me to go to them, instead of them going to me, or to us, the Training Team for that matter. So far we have 4 sales groups that are based outside the metro, and these cities are in in Baguio, Batangas, Pampanga and Cebu. So that explains why I just got back from Baguio, and then will be flying to Cebu next week, since we’re really on strict and urgent hiring right now. It can get busier than this though, but I am not complaining!


Going to Cebu is actually my favorite, because apart from meeting and training a new set of personalities, eating new delicacies from restaurants that are only operational in the Queen City of the South, and getting to practice my Cebuano dialect proficiency, I also have the opportunity to meet, dine and catch up with my lifelong friends who are based there! Talk about hitting not just two, but many birds with one stone!

2. I can express my independence, creativity and sense of fashion through the clothes and shoes I wear!


This may come too shallow for some, but this is one of the major things that attract me most in a company. I like dress codes, because these standards push you to improve yourself in terms of how you exude your professionalism through your impact setting and sense of fashion. This is very much emphasized in our company by the way, since our products cost millions per unit, it’s just imperative to look like millions as well. This is in line with strengthening your image, credibility and value as a professional. 🙂


I have always fancied Andrea “Andy” Sachs, played by Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada. I never knew working in a corporate world can be so glamorous. The ladies working in Miranda Priestly’s Runway are like swans amidst a stern and cold lake – beautiful creatures floating peacefully but are paddling very hard underwater to keep their poise on point. Since I belong in the Marketing Department, it is just so amazing to be working with like-minded people who rejoice with your triumphs and self-development! I just love how my work demands me to always look, do, and be at my best all the time!

3. I meet a lot of personalities and attend exclusive events.



This job sure has perks! Working in one of the country’s topnotch real estate developers, Empire East, and under the leadership of the 3rd richest man in the country, Dr. Andrew L. Tan has allowed me to join and attend exclusive events, fashions shows, concerts, business launches and luncheons, executive seminars, etc. and meet great, kind people, and who are also masters of their own respective fields.


Actually the best part of all this taste of a lavish lifestyle, are the friendships and connections made, plus all the huge and relevant insights you reap along the way. The experience is thrilling, as well as humbling, because all these are complementary to the happy and dynamic working environment of real estate. Who would have thought that working in what seems to be a steely industry, such as real estate, could be so much fun?

4. I get to be more familiar with shortcuts and routes.


Honestly, when I entered Empire East, all I am familiar with are EDSA and Aurora Blvd. I don’t even know where C-5 road is! Yes, I am not proud to announce that, but hey, that glitch is cured already! Thanks to real estate training, the probability of getting lost is so minute now!

Since I do training to the agents, it is necessary that I should know these myself firsthand. That is why I had to study maps and memorize roads. The repeated all project site-orientations were my bread and butter in being more acquainted with public highways, commuting trails and trips! The GPS is very helpful indeed! Waze too! I believe this is not just essential with my line of work, but with life in general! Bawal mawala!  Haha :)) Parang lovelife lang, it pushes you to become a better person! Char!

5. Income is truly unlimited.


Yes, it’s not just in the ads, paychecks and bank account statements talk. Money talks. We work not just for experience, but also to earn more. May it be for our lovedones, ambitions, dreams, as a means to prove something etc. Well, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that working and earning are the only things that matter, of course there is more to life than just that. But my point is, like what I train in my “Sales as a Business” module, is that if you are working so hard for something that limits you or is only compelled to give you this certain amount, maybe you’re not in the best opportunity yet. That opportunity that can definitely match the strategy and hardwork you put into, everyday. That opportunity that doesn’t limit, and may possibly give you that unlimited income you could have only hoped for in the past. But what if, just what if.. one opportunity can.

My function may not be totally inclined in sales, but I know and I have seen how many lives have changed through this industry. I have trained them since Day 1, and they have blossoming careers, wealth and family life right now. As a trainer, I couldn’t be more proud. And it feels really heartwarming when these people come up to you to say thank you, because you taught them, you passed them in the oral exam, and that you have been an indispensable persona into the growth of their career (and bank accounts, if I may add *wink!*)

6. Career growth is fast and there is always an opportunity to learn and stand out.


When I graduated from Nursing school and passed my board exam, I wondered, “Where will I work?”. It was clear in my head that I will not be pursuing my medical career anymore, so I had to devise a Plan B. I felt a little limited too though because I kept asking myself if companies would entrust their enterprise from someone who never had a degree in Marketing. I mean investor-mentality wise, why would you put your money in something that could be unsure? So I thought of applying for jobs that have training, and are willing to accept graduates of any course. At least there, I am safe. Hehe 😛

Actually I applied for an HR position in Empire East, thinking that I can learn that job fast, and that it doesn’t need much grave technicality, so I might just stand a chance. But my interview didn’t work the way I had planned it. Little did I know, there was something better in store for me! I was offered the Training Assistant post instead. I think it is due to the fact that I was really madaldal in the interview. And the interviewer and I were like literally laughing the whole time! It was the best and the most fun interview I had!


Fast forward to now, I can say that working in real estate has allowed me to really become a butterfly. It is such a great breeze to work with people who gives you room to do things your own, valuing your ideas, how you can help and improve the system. I remember asking my boss about what kind of format he wants for my very first module, I can still recall him saying “Ikaw bahala. That’s your module. Do what you think is best!” I was really shocked; his voice didn’t even mirror any slight tinge of hesitation or doubt.

OMG! It’s really one of the best feelings in the world. Your boss trusting you. Along with these, the career also envisions to discover more of your talents and skills and hone them to become good assets for everyone’s favor.

7. I became more sociable.


Truth be told, I am not the friendliest person on the planet. My friends way back can attest to that. I think that is one drawback I had when I was starting in the real estate training career. I find it difficult to connect to my audience. If it was a contest, I might have gotten a shameless and well-deserved 0% on the “Audience Impact” criterion.

12391378_674988039271110_2658412712658452647_nBut knowing that I am assuming a role I have to be more approachable and I have to exert extra effort to build rapport with everyone at work. At first, it was a bit tedious because it wasn’t natural, and it felt scripted. I find myself enumerating topics to discuss should the mood simmers down or if there were long awkward silences. Because honestly, I am just too shy and scared to get rejected.


I remember evaluating my success in training with the number of times I made my class laugh. To think that I only have two jokes prepared! But as I do training after training, I was able to concoct the kind of trainer I want to be, and how my class should feel everytime they hear that it is me who’s going to handle them. I told myself, fake it, ’til you make it!


True enough, with so much practice, and finding the joy and passion through the process, training felt natural already. And talking to people, striking up conversations became easy! I am happy this made me more confident in social situations. It actually feels great to not be the awkward one! Haha :))

8. My negotiation skills improved.


Before, I do not really have the energy to argue or bargain. I feel like it is a waste of time. Or probably I get persuaded easily, nevertheless, real estate taught me so much about standing on your claims and the ability of influencing other people’s decisions without directly asking them to.

I learned that you must understand what people need first, so you can better assist and convince them to your propositions. Because people who actually have something in mind already won’t listen to you and value what new idea you’re setting up on the table, especially those people who are in the bracket of Baby Boomers. Those born in the 60’s and 70’s currently holds up a big bulk of our client demographics. They have this tendencies of not being easily influenced unless they find your claims relevant and sensible.

I realized you have to look at the concerns raised on their security-oriented mindset. You have to recognize how they think, and then when they feel like you are on the same page and has built a good foundation of rapport, explain what you have in mind. Proper timing will also be your bestfriend during negotiations.

9. I became more decisive and practical.


In the real estate corporate world, a hundred decisions are made everyday. And in training and classroom management, you also have to make decisions; they may not reach a hundred, but it does entail a lot of coordination and consideration to achieve a smooth flowing training itinerary.


As for the photo above, the woman in black is our real estate trainee, while the one in gray is the client. I can’t help but feel so much pride as I directed our agent into approaching a person she totally doesn’t know. And for the fact that the prospect accommodated and did not reject her, is a great milestone for me, which means the approach was done well, and it could pave to a conversation that we’ll be working on so that it can be converted into a sale.


To cite examples, real estate training involves classroom discussion, so you also have to determine the final count of each class, as you may have five different classes in a week, and they may not necessarily be in the same city! So you have to check training manpower, vehicle availability to bring trainers and trainees to certain locations, availability of classrooms, updates of powerpoint presentations depending on price increase and condominium project details, training materials to be given to the trainees, monitoring of attendances, plotting the schedule of special training classes of sales teams depending on their most convenient time as to not disrupt their regular sales and prospecting activities, etc. So yes, whew! Typing that even made me think that you have to be quick in finalizing decisions, to save and maximize time and effort.

10. I get to touch lives and inspire people.


I have always had a dream of conducting a career talk. But this later succumbed to cynicism as I know I cannot do that in my college, knowing the fact that I never pursue the degree I finished. But there’s still hope in my highschool!

Anyway, I really like how this position makes me an instrument to let my trainees see what bright future they have in real estate. It is a goal for them to be excited about the wonderful things they can get once they realize that this opportunity is a gem.

The best thing about this job is apart from being empowered, I have the opportunity to meet people, train, influence, and shape them on how this industry can change their lives. This wonderful responsibility is heartwarming, as well as self-enriching, because while my trainees learn, I also do.

11. I help people fulfill a dream.


By far, this is the best thing about working in real estate. As for clients, it’s delighting to know that I get to be a part of families’ goal in obtaining their dream homes. And for our agents, honing them to become effective salespeople so that they can give quality presentations and services to their clients. It’s like being the good samaritan, wherein you are directed to achieve and promote the welfare of the common good. Makes me feel like a real estate fairy godmother! :))

Owning a home is a basic need that each family must have, and being a provider of beautiful and quality homes makes my heart swell with joy everytime we hand a key to a new home owner. Because in fulfilling their dream, I fulfill a promise of a good life ahead.


I actually never thought about being in the real estate industry. It’s actually a paradox for me, because I don’t really stay at home that much, yet I promote owning one, or two, or as many as you can, for that matter. This investment is like a lifelong commitment you know you can cherish forever. And when there’s forever (although it’s tedious work to find one), you know it’s worth it.