Day 90/365: The Journey

Day 90/365: The Journey

March 31, 2011

Looking for a song to uplift a grieving heart, to see hopes in spite of a family loss. That in the end of the tunnel, there will be a light that shows how wonderful life is.

The Journey
by Lea Salonga

Half the world is sleeping,
half the world’s awake
half can hear their hearts beat
half just hear them break

I am but a traveler, in most every way
Ask me what you want…to know

What a journey it has been
And the end is not in sight
But the stars are out tonight
and they’re bound to guide my way

When they’re shining on my life
I can see a better day
I won’t let the darkness in,
what a journey it has been.

I have been to sorrow
I have been to bliss
Where I’ll be tomorrow,
I can only guess

Through the darkest desert
Through the deepest snow,
Forward always forward, I go..

What a journey it has been
and the end is not in sight
But the stars are out tonight
and they’re bound to guide my way

When they’re shining on my life
I can see a better day
I won’t let the darkness in,
what a journey it has been…

Forward, always forward…
Onward, always up…
Catching every drop of hope
In my empty cup

What a journey it has been
And the end is not in sight
But the stars are out tonight
and they’re bound to guide my way

When they’re shining on my life
I can see a better day
I won’t let the darkness in,
what a journey it has been…

What a journey it has been…

The Journey

Day 90/365

Day 89/365: Brother’s Song

Day 89/365: Brother's Song

March 30, 2011

I’m wishing to sing a song for you and I cant find the right lyrics and melodies. But here’s something I knew that will match the grief and sadness;

Brother’s Song by Heather Davis

I was on the porch
she was in the den
i heard my mama’s voice asking someone when
and i knew she was talking about you
’cause she cried and she kept on asking why

You were the one
mama’s first son
daddy’s little man
my big brother who i love who i love

you were in my room
sitting on the floor
playing with these plastic soldiers marching off to war
and did you know
that someday you’d really go
you went to fight ’cause you always did what’s right

You were the one
mama’s first son
daddy’s little man
my big brother who i love who i love

From corner to corner they folded the flag
and i heard a bugle cry
holding onto a plastic soldier i said goodbye

and you were the one
mama’s first son
daddy’s little man
my big brother who i love

and you were the one
mama’s first son
daddy’s little man
my big brother who i love who i loved

Brother\'s Song

Day 89/365

Day 88/365: Farewell to You Kuya Bob

Day 88/365: Farewell to You Kuya Bob

March 29, 2011

I still cant believe that I am standing here and looking at you
So many memories that flashes back randomly on how we are as a family
Our hopes and dreams, Our laughter’s and tears
In my heart, I know you are at peace now
In Heaven with Nanay, holding each others hands.
With Gods comforting kindness, that blesses your kind soul

Your smile will always be in my thoughts
Your kind words of advices and Your loving family which I am truly proud
That your fatherhood in sharing with us your beautiful sons and daughter hearts
Makes me a proud! to have a great brother and father like you.

The sadness in my heart, that you were not able to see me soon as a father too
How I should be and hoping I can be as great as you
You have showed so much love in spite of your sickness
You have keep thy faith, in peace and in God’s time
Make us all be ready then and the day has come to say goodbye.

I will truly miss you Kuya, in my heart I wish the sorrows fade soon
and be happy that you and Nanay is already together watching us over
To make us safe everyday, guide us with God’s angels from above

I Thank You so much for sharing your family with me
How each day we should be strong together as a family
To remember you always, and keep all the joys that we treasure in our hearts.
No more pains, No more fears, You are safely home with Him
I love you Kuya, send my hugs to Nanay please.

Day 88/365

Day 87/365: Prayer for the Dying

Day 87/365: Prayer for the Dying

March 28, 2011

Dear Heavenly Father,

With heavy hearts we come to You. You are Almighty Creator God; holy and full of grace and love. Our hearts are heavy because of a life that is leaving us. Death engulfs us Lord. Fear is waiting to take us down. Thank You Father, that because of Jesus, You know our pain and sorrow intimately. Thank You that Jesus knows the way through this dark shadow. Take the hand of our dear brother and make Yourself known.

Guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Keep that which is Your own and take it into eternity to be with You. In Jesus, death is but a shadow. Jesus has swallowed up its sorrows and pain. Thank You Jesus for the cross. Thank You Jesus for the resurrection. Lord, we are before You, confessing that You are Lord of all; the gate keeper to eternal life. Your grace and love abound even as our sin seems ever increasing. Take our hands Lord and lead us through. We lay our fears at your feet. Your promise is that You — and You alone — will come to take us home. As it says in Psalm 23:4: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Thank you for the comfort we find in Your presence. Through the Holy Spirit we know Your presence is with us. Send us Your peace Lord; the peace that passes all understanding. Don’t let us waiver and doubt. Give us a faith that is everlasting. We release our lives into Your hands. As we wait and watch, we know Lord that none of us will escape this journey through death. Teach us how to embrace it with faith. Give us strength to hold up those who are stepping closer to seeing You face to face. Take away the fear in the heart of our loved one who will soon see You; let them find peace in Your grace, comfort in Your love, and strength in Your mighty power over death. Comfort us as our grief seems to over power us.

You are a good, just, righteous, and loving Father. Don’t let us grow bitter in this shadow of death. But pierce our hearts with a joy that we can not fathom or understand. A joy that is above all that is corrupted here on earth. Jesus you wept over death and so too, we weep. But it is a grief and a mourning that holds joy on the other side. You are conqueror of all; and so we trust You. We trust that You will do what is right, what is loving. Whether in death or in life Your will is accomplished and You are sovereign. May we know Your presence, Lord. Keep us ever aware of Your loving hand guiding us through all things. In the name of Jesus we pray, amen.

Day 87/365

http://www.allaboutprayer.org

Day 86/365: Best Place to Run in Manila

Day 86/365: Best Place to Run in Manila

March 27, 2011

City sidewalks–busy sidewalks dressed in exhaust and smog. Wanna run without having to wear a gas mask? Take these paths instead.

1. La Mesa Eco Park

Known as “the lungs of Metro Manila,” the La Mesa Watershed Resort and Ecological Park in East Fairview offers runners a respite from the smog-infested streets of the city. The park is open every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but it’s best to go on weekdays, as the park tends to get crowded during the weekends. For only 50 pesos (P40 if you’re a QC resident), you get to breathe in the fresh air as you run through trails with varied terrain. You can opt to run on the road around the park or go into the forested mountain bike trail. The entrance is near the Petron Fitness Trail and the butterfly garden, so you might just see some of the colorful butterflies accompanying you on your run. For an added challenge, run up more than a hundred steps that lead to the La Mesa Watershed, Metro Manila’s primary source of drinking water. The dam is off-limits though so once you hit the fence bordering the dam, it’s time to run back down again.

How to get there: From Commonwealth Avenue, turn right at East Fairview Subdivision’s Winston Street (after Mercury Drug Store). Turn left at Dunhill Street and go straight till you reach the entrance to La Mesa Eco Park (www.lamesaecopark.com).

2. Ateneo and UP Campuses

Rows of towering trees line the streets of these two universities in Quezon City. Aside from providing runners with shade from the sweltering heat, their presence offers a sweet-smelling breeze. For a full workout, run the perimeter of the Ateneo campus, passing the Blue Eagle Gym and the Church of the Gesu, all the way around Bellarmine field. It’s best to run before or after school hours to avoid heavy traffic. In UP, one can run around the 2.2 km academic oval, which has one lane exclusively for bikers and runners. (The whole road is closed off to motorized vehicles on Sundays.) But for a more scenic and challenging route, run around the outer periphery of the campus (you can try the route used by UP mountaineers for their qualifying runs).

UP also has a lot of large gardens and lagoons, so if you’re feeling adventurous, go ahead and blaze your own trail. Foodie bonus: try to have some fish balls, kikiam, and a fresh cup of taho (or two!) after your workout.

How to get there: Ateneo de Manila University is along Katipunan Avenue. To get to UP Diliman from Katipunan, turn left to CP Garcia, then turn right at the next intersection. Turn left at the end to get to the UP academic oval.

3. Fort Bonifacio

A favorite venue for road runs and marathons in Metro Manila, Fort Bonifacio offers routes for all runners, whether beginner or advanced. Since traffic is relatively light, the area is not as polluted and more peaceful than most city centers. For easy runs, one can simply run around the 1.2 km outer ring of Bonifacio High Street. But to really test your limits, try going all the way down to Bayani Road. Once you reach C5, make a U-turn and go back up Bayani Road, down to McKinley Hill. When we say McKinley Hill, we really do mean hill, as the steep inclines will put your strength and will power to the test. For most of the route, you can easily stick to the sidewalks to avoid vehicular traffic. But once you go down to Bayani Road, be careful as the road can get rough and there are a few potholes. It’s best to run before the sun comes up as the air is still cool and there are very few cars on the road. After your run, try the Runner’s Breakfast Tray at Paul Calvin’s Deli (www.PaulCalvins.com). For P230, you get eggs, sausages, pancakes, toast and orange juice. But if you’re on a budget, the King’s Special in Chow King works just as well!

How to get there: From C5, turn right into the service road going to Fort Bonifacio. From EDSA southbound, turn left to McKinley Road, and go straight till you reach the Fort.

4. PhilSports Arena (formerly ULTRA)

A popular venue for concerts and big sporting events, this indoor sporting arena in Pasig city also offers a respite for runners who are tired of running on hard, paved roads. The 500-meter rubberized oval track is good for the knees and perfect for doing running drills and sprints. It’s a popular spot for coaches to train their protégés and teach them the art of running. You can run anytime of the day until 9 pm when the lights close, but be sure to get your ticket (only 35 pesos) before the ticket booth closes at 6 p.m. If the oval track is not tough enough for you, try running outside the perimeter of the oval. The steep inclines inside the PhilSports complex will surely test your mettle, without exposing you to the elements. After you run, you can go for a dip in the Olympic-sized swimming pool or have some of Aysee’s famous sisig, right outside the complex.

How to get there: From Ortigas, turn to Meralco Avenue and go straight until you see the entrance to PhilSports Arena on your left.

5. SM Mall of Asia

It’s not just the biggest mall in the Philippines, it’s a great starting point for runners too! Across the Entertainment Mall is the promenade–a wide sidewalk right beside Manila Bay. Running here in the early morning gives you a whiff of the salty sea air. You’ll probably also see dragon boaters training at the bay and various groups doing their morning exercises. Just be sure to look where you’re going though, as there are a lot of cyclists there in the morning. If you prefer to run in the late afternoon, the famous Manila Bay sunset is no less spectacular. Nothing beats racing against the sun as it sinks into the water, its glimmering red-orange rays bleeding into the sky. You can choose to run around the perimeter of the mall passing the esplanade and the Shrine of Jesus, or go all the way to CCP. From there you can run towards the Rizal Monument and pay a tribute to the country’s national hero.

How to get there: From EDSA, go straight to the end crossing Taft Avenue and Roxas Boulevard, until you reach the huge globe of SM Mall of Asia at the end.

Day 87/365

http://www.spot.ph

Day 85/365: The Classic Gap Look

Day 85/365: The Classic Gap Look

March 26, 2011

This stylish clothing store is always my top picks for a classic look. The Gap promotes the wash and wear look, the color combination choices is always basics with a stylish cut combined with a texture that fits every season.

From winter to summer, name the style and you’ve always got it! And since Manila is a tropical country, their spring and summer collections is always a sure hit for daily wears, either for office or your favorite weekender attire.

Their tees and jeans is always my favorites, it just so casually great with a very light cotton and the classiness or my so called – cool to wear aspect is achieved. Also, I am considering the shirt toughness too! If its my favorite then expect it to be wear almost twice a week for the next quarter or so, and that is when I can appreciate its peso value, it did last from summer to winter! And yes, I still have my jeans and tees I bought over a decade ago and still looks good.

From Old Navy, Gap to Banana Republic- all the same maker, The Old Navy as their Affordable Items, Gap as the Classics and Banana Republic as their high end. And I do always prefers the classic look most of the time.

Day 86/365

About The Gap Inc.

The Gap, Inc.

Address:
2 Folsom Street
San Francisco, California 94105
U.S.A.

Telephone: (650) 952-4400
Fax: (415) 427-2553
http://www.gap.com

Statistics:
Public Company
Incorporated: 1969 as The Gap Stores, Inc.
Employees: 169,000
Sales: $14.4 billion (2003)
Stock Exchanges: New York
Ticker Symbol: GPS
NAIC: 448140 Family Clothing Stores

Company Perspectives:
At Gap, Inc. we never stop moving. It takes thousands of passionate, dedicated and talented employees around the world to deliver the merchandise and shopping experience our customers expect and deserve. From color to concept, it all begins with inspiration–whether it’s people-watching on the streets of Tokyo, a flash from a dream, or a visit to a local art gallery.

Key Dates:
1969: Don and Doris Fisher open their first store in San Francisco, California.
1976: The company offers 1.2 million shares to the public.
1983: Millard Drexler is named president; the firm acquires Banana Republic.
1986: The first GapKids store is opened.
1987: The first international store is opened in London.
1990: BabyGap is launched.
1994: The Old Navy brand is established.
1997: The Gap Web site debuts.
2002: Drexler retires; Paul Pressler is named CEO.

Company History:

Founded as a single store by Donald G. Fisher and wife Doris, The Gap, Inc. has evolved into a major retail company with well known brands, including its namesake, Banana Republic, and Old Navy. The firm sells a variety of casual-style and urbane chic clothing to men, women, and children in over 4,250 stores across the United States and in Canada, France, Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The Gap flourished through the 1980s and 1990s under the leadership of Millard “Mickey” Drexler but has battled tough times in the early years of the new century. Drexler retired in 2002, and Paul Pressler was named CEO while Fisher remained chairman.

Capitalizing on the Generation Gap: 1969-75

Donald Fisher was not of the generation to whom The Gap owes its popularity. A member of a family that made its home in California for generations, Fisher was 40 years old and a successful real estate developer in 1969 when he took note of a new trend among the city’s increasingly disaffected youth. Blue jeans, for years made chiefly by Levi Strauss & Co. for laborers and outdoorsmen, were suddenly becoming a part of the counterculture’s standard costume. Durable, cheap, comfortable, and acceptably offbeat, jeans were the perfect uniform for a generation of young people anxious to demonstrate its antipathy to corporate America.

Fisher was said to have conceived of The Gap when he was unable to find the right size of Levi’s in a department store in Sacramento, California. He realized that jeans had become more popular than current merchandising outlets could accommodate, and like hamburgers, stereo equipment, and gasoline, they could be sold through a chain of small stores devoted solely to that product. With the help of his wife, Doris, Fisher opened a shop near San Francisco State University in one of his own buildings, offering a combination of records and jeans. Their intention was to attract jeans customers by means of the records, but at first no one noticed the jeans, and Fisher was driven close to bankruptcy. In desperation, he placed ads in local newspapers announcing the sale of “four tons” of jeans at rock-bottom prices, and the clothes were soon gone. To emphasize the youthful ambiance of his new store, Fisher named it The Gap, an allusion to a then hot topic, the Generation Gap.

When Fisher incorporated his business as The Gap Stores, Inc., it was an immediate success. Although the Fishers had no experience in retailing, their stores’ combination of jeans, low prices, and wide selection proved irresistible to the huge market of 14- to 25-year-olds. Fisher added new outlets in San Francisco and was soon enjoying the benefits of chain store merchandising: centralized buying and advertising, excellent name recognition, and uniform pricing. Initially, The Gap Stores’ buying program was singularly uncomplicated, as the stores carried only one product, jeans by Levi Strauss & Co. The stores were brightly painted, often orange, filled with circular metal display racks known as “rounders,” and usually enlivened by rock and roll music. To hold down rental costs, the Fishers kept stores small–about 3,000 to 4,000 square feet. They located most of their stores in shopping centers, many of them enclosed in malls.

Two years after opening its first stores, The Gap’s sales were running at $2.5 million annually, and the Fishers converted the company into a public corporation, though they retained the great majority of stock. With extraordinary celerity, they opened stores across the United States while maintaining tight control over the critical accounting, purchasing, and marketing functions of what was soon a sizable corporation. In five years, sales had increased almost 50-fold, to $97 million, and the number of stores had grown to 186, spread over 21 states. Analysts credited the company’s success to the Fishers’ observance of a few cardinal rules of retailing: Gap stores replaced its stock with maximum speed; its prices were low and stayed that way; big sellers were kept on the rack until they stopped moving, rather than being retired in favor of new styles simply for the sake of novelty; and only a few items were stocked–jeans, shirts, light jackets–each offered in its complete range of colors and sizes, ensuring a minimum of disappointed customers.

The company’s growth was also made possible by the extensive national advertising of Levi Strauss, which provided 100 percent of The Gap’s merchandise during its early years. Such dependence on a single supplier had obvious dangers, however, and around 1973 The Gap began marketing several labels of its own, as well as national brands other than Levi’s. These proved crucial to the company’s short- and long-term health; by 1975 Gap stores generated $100 million in net sales.

Ups and Downs: 1976-80

By 1976, the Fishers were ready to make their first substantial public stock offering. The company’s spectacular growth had attracted widespread interest, and its offering of 1.2 million shares sold quickly at $18 per share in May. Coincidentally, however, the retail industry went into a steep slide, which, when combined with The Gap’s large expenditures for new stores, pushed the company into the red for the final quarter of its fiscal year, ending July 31. The value of the newly issued stock fell to $7.25, prompting nine separate class-action suits from outraged stock purchasers who alleged that the Fishers had tried to dump their holdings before The Gap announced its bad news. These charges came despite the fact that the Fishers sold only about 10 percent of their holdings during the period in question. Rather than wage endless litigation, The Gap settled the suits in 1979 for a total of $5.8 million, or 40 cents per share, and did its best to mend its frayed relations with Wall Street.

By the end of the 1970s, the company could pay such a figure without undue strain. Adding between 50 and 80 stores annually, The Gap pushed its sales to $307 million in 1980 and was close to achieving nationwide representation. The jeans market was no longer quite so straightforward, however. Members of the great wave of youngsters who had come of age wearing blue jeans in the 1970s were now older, wealthier, and more conservative, and the Fishers were busily attempting to break out of the jeans niche by expanding The Gap’s selection of clothing. Several experimental chains featuring upscale fashions were essayed and brought together under the Taggs name but later liquidated because they were unprofitable. Gap stores were enlarged to handle increasing amounts of what became known as casual wear and were frequently moved outside of shopping centers to freestanding locations, where space was plentiful and rent lower per square foot.

Along with the search for a line of clothes to appeal to an older clientele, the Fishers also faced Levi Strauss & Co.’s decision to supply big mass marketers such as Sears and J.C. Penney with its jeans. Levi’s were now sold everywhere, underscoring The Gap’s need to develop a label and look of its own. The company’s own brands, created during the 1970s, generated about 45 percent of Gap sales in 1980, with Levi’s adding an equal amount and other national brands making up the balance. Considering that ten years earlier essentially all of The Gap’s sales were Levi Strauss & Co. products, the 1980 figures represented an achievement, but it was clear that if the company were to avoid inundation by the rising tide of jeans discounters it would have to fashion a new, exclusively Gap image.

Mickey Comes to Town: 1981-86

To accomplish this task, Donald Fisher hired Millard “Mickey” Drexler as president in 1983. Drexler, then 40, had just solved a similar problem with AnnTaylor, creating a more chic image for the chain and quadrupling sales in the bargain. Drexler was born in the Bronx to a family with roots in the garment business and by age 23 was a buyer for Bloomingdale’s. After a stint at Macy’s, he became president of AnnTaylor in 1980, where his work caught the eye of Donald Fisher, who was contemplating the future of The Gap. Drexler accepted the job as president at the end of 1983 (sales $480 million) and was given a block of stock that would make him one of the country’s wealthiest retail executives.

Drexler immediately began The Gap’s wholesale transformation, in spite of the company’s currently excellent financial status. The new president found little that he liked; proliferating competition in jeans and The Gap’s youthful marketing image had forced the company into a price-driven volume business. Its orange-painted stores were cluttered with rounders displaying merchandise of many labels that Drexler later described to the New York Times as “trendy but not tasteful … well, just plain ugly.” Worst of all, most consumers perceived The Gap as strictly for teenagers at a time when people who grew up in the 1960s were developing more upmarket tastes. It would be difficult to overcome The Gap’s 15-year tradition as the place where kids went to pick up a pair of Levi’s.

Drexler began by eliminating all private label brands but one: Gap. Levi Strauss products were kept but relegated to the background; henceforth, The Gap would be known not only as a store, but as a line of clothes as well. Drexler created a large in-house design staff to develop clothes that would be casual, simple, made of natural fibers, and more clearly differentiated by gender than were jeans. The look was informal but classic–still denim-based but including a variety of shirts, skirts, blouses, and sweaters in assorted colors and weaves. It was clothing for people who wanted to look and feel young without appearing slovenly or rebellious, a description that fit a vast number of U.S. consumers in the 1980s.

Gap stores were substantially revamped. Neutral grays and white replaced the garish orange, and the ubiquitous rounders gave way to shelves of neatly folded clothing under soft lighting. The company’s advertising, as devised by Drexler’s longtime colleague, Magdalena (Maggie) Gross, shifted from radio and television to upscale magazines and newspapers and featured older models engaged in familiar, outdoor activities that were not necessarily connected with the youth culture.

A few years later, Gross launched the “Individuals of Style” campaign, a series of black and white portraits of both famous and unknown subjects by a team of celebrated photographers. The ads stressed style, not The Gap, whose clothes did not always appear in all of the photos, and they were enormously successful in helping to change the public’s perception of the company. The Gap came to mean good taste of an informal variety, and the brand name Gap soon acquired the cachet needed if the company were to compete with other retailers of casual wear such as Benetton and The Limited. In addition, the word “stores” was dropped from the company’s name.

Drexler’s revolution at The Gap cost a good deal of money, and financial results for 1984 were poor, with profits down 43 percent to $12.2 million. By the middle of the following year, however, it was clear he had pulled off something of a miracle. Gross revenue, profits, and same-store sales were all up; more importantly, the company had fresh energy and a merchandising focus that could carry it for years to come. In the meantime, The Gap had acquired a number of other retail chains, for better and worse. Foremost among these was Banana Republic, founded in 1979 by another California husband and wife team, Melvyn and Patricia Ziegler.

The two-store chain of safari and travel clothing outfits, bought by The Gap in 1983, had a well-established catalogue business. After its acquisition and the introduction of private-label clothing lines, Banana Republic’s sales doubled each year through the mid-1980s but slowed quickly thereafter. Despite the mixed results of the Banana Republic acquisition, the company continued to seek out other chain stores. Pottery Barn was a housewares chain of about 30 stores in New York and California; after several problematic years, it was liquidated in 1986. That same year, Drexler sought to fill another clothing need of the baby boomer generation with the debut of GapKids, featuring comfortable, durable clothes for the children of parents who shopped at Gap stores. The concept was a huge success, and along with Banana Republic (which peaked in the late 1980s with revenue of more than $250 million a year) figured largely in The Gap’s long-range planning.

The Gap Continues Its Climb: 1987-96

By 1987, The Gap decided to try its wares outside the United States, and its first international store was opened in London. Additional stores soon sprang up throughout the United Kingdom, Canada, and France. Unfortunately, stateside, Banana Republic’s safari gear bubble burst, and it became a money-losing liability. The Gap also tested the higher end of the clothing market with Hemisphere, a nine-store chain of upscale U.S. sportswear with European styling. Created in 1987, the same year the company broke $1 billion in sales, Hemisphere offered elegant fashions but soon ran afoul of a severe recession. Disposed of only two years later, neither the Hemisphere mistake or the demise of Pottery Barn was serious enough to cause more than a few tremors at the parent company, whose spectacular rebirth in the Drexler era left ample room for such experimentation.

In 1990, as Banana Republic searched for secure footing, GapKids prospered and launched a new venture, babyGap. Like its sibling, babyGap was a phenomenal success and became a popular attraction in GapKids stores. For the start of a new decade, The Gap was looking very good indeed: a stock split occurred in September, and at year-end the company’s 1,092 stores pulled in $1.9 billion in sales with net earnings of $144.5 million. In the early 1990s, Banana Republic was busy refocusing its image while GapKids and babyGap flourished. Overall, though, revenue, net income, and return-on-equity were all outstanding ($2.5 billion, $229.8 million, and 40.2 percent respectively due to another stock split in June) in 1991 and virtually every year since Drexler’s program had taken effect in 1985. The Gap’s transition from a discount jeans warehouse to a sleek fashion arbiter was not altogether painless, yet the result had been more successful than Donald and Doris Fisher ever imagined. In 1991, the Fisher family still held more than 40 percent of the company, which now operated more than 1,216 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, with plans to expand total sales area by 15 percent annually. Not only had The Gap followed its Baby Boomer clientele as they grew older and wealthier, it provided for their children, too. GapKids was the fastest-growing segment of the company as a whole, with most of the more than 223 GapKids stores housing a babyGap department for infants and toddlers.

Though 1992 marked a dip in profits and sales growth due to slower turnover and increased competition, the company addressed these problems by turning away from unisex clothing to more gender-specific items. Along with refurbishing stores and placing more emphasis on women, The Gap came back with record numbers in 1993 and a new franchise, originally called Gap Warehouse, because for some it had become increasingly cool not to spend money on clothes (i.e., the “grunge” and “slacker” looks). Lacking the trademark flare associated with the company, Drexler hired an outside to firm to come up with a new name to no avail. Then when strolling in Paris with colleagues, Drexler saw the perfect moniker for the down-market stores painted on a building: Old Navy. Hence Old Navy Clothing Company, with stores nearly twice as big as other Gap stores, filled with sturdy, value-priced (20 to 30 percent lower) clothing for the entire family. Despite the circumstances of its birth, Old Navy became another Gap sensation.

Banana Republic, meanwhile, was gaining ground with urbane elegance as a hip alternative to The Gap’s casualness. To shore up its product line, the upscale clothier initiated a shop-within-a-shop concept, featuring different collections, jewelry, and leather accessories. By 1994, there were 1,507 Gap-owned stores (188 were Banana Republic) contributing to the company’s $3.72 billion in sales. Within a year, there were 1,680 stores–210 Banana Republic, 902 Gap, 437 GapKids, and 131 Old Navy. International stores had surged from 1994’s 124 (72 in Canada, 49 in the United Kingdom, and 3 in France) to 91 in Canada, 55 in the United Kingdom, 12 in France, 4 in Japan, and 2 in Germany in 1995. Likewise, The Gap’s statistics were robust: a two-for-one stock split paid out dividends in March; sales leapt 18 percent to nearly $4.4 billion; and net earnings rose 11 percent to $354 million over the previous year’s $320 million.

Banana Republic, once a blemish on the perfect Gap picture, had blossomed with more new products, including footwear, personal care items, a sharper focus on women, and five new stores in Canada. At the same time, Old Navy increased its market share by doubling in size, exceeding the company’s hopes for its newest division, while Gap and GapKids lost some of their momentum, although babyGap maintained its prominence. New directions for GapKids and babyGap included plush toys, other non-clothing items, and freestanding babyGap stores; The Gap debuted GapScents and continued to broaden its age range and clothing lines to include work attire. Yet perhaps the biggest news of 1995 was Donald Fisher’s decision to relinquish his duties as CEO of The Gap, Inc. His successor was Mickey Drexler, who added the responsibilities of CEO to those of president. Fisher remained chairman, however, and still kept a hand in running the company he founded nearly 30 years before.

By 1996, The Gap’s dominance of the fashion scene was fixed; consumers of all ages could find something in one of its stores. The industry even honored the company in the April issue of Elle when such high-brow designers as Giorgio Armani, Nino Cerruti, Carolina Herrera, Todd Oldham, and Cynthia Rowley paid “tribute to the little company that became master of the universe.” Though it began with a singular purpose, The Gap, with its burgeoning cluster of stores and subsidiaries, changed fashion for not only baby boomers but for generations to come. The Gap’s success was in no small part due to Donald Fisher’s and Mickey Drexler’s business acuity, especially through vertical integration. By keeping the design, manufacture, inspection, packaging, shipment, display, advertising, and ultimate sale of every item with its name in-house, The Gap maintained exceptional quality and consistency in an increasingly erratic marketplace. If The Gap’s clientele was not quite as broad as some department stores or mass marketers, its sophistication and ever-growing consumer base more than made up for it. The Gap–its name formerly a quirky play on generational unrest–came to mean the ultimate in fashion and taste for both younger and older generations.

Late 1990s and Beyond

By the late 1990s, Drexler felt The Gap had strayed too far into the trendy genre and was losing customers as a result. As such, he retooled The Gap’s image in 1997, emphasizing a return to simplicity and the company’s most basic offerings–pocket tee’s, jeans, and khakis. Long-time advertising director Maggie Gross left the firm after Drexler pulled the plug on a print campaign that did not gel with The Gap’s new basic image. That year, the firm went back to television advertising with commercials that highlighted Gap Easy Fit jeans featuring well-known celebrities that included Lena Horne, LL Cool J, and Luscious Jackson. In 1998, the firm launched another round of highly successful television commercials–this time the star being its line of khaki pants. The company also began its foray into e-tailing and introduced gap.com along with gapkids.com and babygap.com. Banana Republic and Old Navy began catering to online shoppers shortly thereafter.

Thanks to Drexler’s efforts, The Gap grew at a rapid clip during the latter half of the 1990s, securing record sales and earnings. In 1997, sales at Old Navy surpassed $1 billion while overall company sales grew to $6.5 billion. Sales climbed to $9 billion the following year, bolstered by the opening of 356 new stores. The company could now claim that one new store opened each day. In 1999, 570 new stores were added to the company’s arsenal as net earnings exceeded $1.1 billion. According to the National Post, the company had grown by 24,000 percent from 1984 to 1999. Drexler’s reign at The Gap had become one of the retail industry’s amazing success stories.

The new century, however, brought with it rocky times for the 30-year-old retailer. During 2000, the company opened 731 new units and sales grew to $13.6 billion. On the other hand, net income fell to $877 million while comparable store sales fell by 5 percent. In April 2000, sales began declining. Disaster struck in 2001 when the company posted a $7.7 million loss. “Simply put,” wrote Anne Kingston of the National Post, “The Gap has lost its groove. Its merchandising is unfocused and it has lost ground to competitors. The formula that made it great no longer has the same currency. More damningly, Gap Inc. has alienated shoppers.”

Indeed, the company was losing market share in the over-30 category and was having difficulty appealing to a younger audience. The Gap had also come under fire for its labor practices in third-world countries. Various labor groups claimed The Gap advocated sweatshop labor overseas. In response, the company created a global monitoring program to supervise factory conditions where its clothes were manufactured.

Not surprisingly, Drexler announced his retirement during 2002. He later took a job to head up rival J. Crew Group Inc. After Drexler’s departure, Fisher began his search for a new leader, one whose management style could catapult The Gap back into the upper echelon of retail fashion. Paul Pressler, an executive from Walt Disney Co., was tapped to revive the company just as Drexler had been called up to do in the 1980s. Pressler began to implement a series of sweeping corporate changes focused on customer research, strategic planning, new advertising, and store closures. Net income for fiscal 2002 bounced back to $477 million; however, Pressler knew he had his work cut out for him. The retail environment in 2003 remained fiercely competitive, prices were down, and the economy remained questionable. Despite these distinct challenges, both Pressler and Fisher were convinced that The Gap and its brands would carry on as a mainstay in the retail fashion world in the years to come.

Principal Operating Units: Gap; GapKids; babyGap; Banana Republic; Old Navy Clothing Company.

Principal Competitors: Abercrombie & Fitch Stores Inc.; American Eagle Outfitters Inc.; Spiegel Inc.

Day 84/365: IQ Scores and Real Life Functioning

Day 84/365: IQ Scores and Real Life Functioning

March 25, 2011

What’s your IQ score? Will you agree that your IQ limits your success? and does it speak generally about an individual thinking abilities?

This is an interesting article from Paul Coojimans.

I.Q. and real-life functioning

This is a list of I.Q. ranges with for each a brief description of typical functioning and other features. The I.Q.s are expressed on a scale with a general population mean of 100 and standard deviation of 15. They refer to scores on adult tests only, by adult norms. The exact cut-offs for the ranges are arbitrary, and one should realize that functioning depends on more than I.Q. alone, particularly, for instance, on conscientiousness and associative horizon.

In addition it is known that I.Q. has the greatest significance to real-life functioning (and the highest correlation with “g”, the common factor shared by all intelligence tests) at the lowest ranges, and becomes less important as one goes higher; the more you have of it, the less important it gets, just as with money. It is unknown if I.Q.s beyond about 140 have any extra significance.

Lower than 20 – Profound retardation

Usually multi-handicapped with obvious physical deformities and short life expectancy. Heavily dependent on others. Can learn no or only the very simplest tasks.

20-34 – Severe retardation

Basic intellectual tasks, including language, are difficult to learn. Can learn some self-care behaviour but remain dependent on others. There are usually motor problems and physical anomalies. Usually not employable.

Profound and severe retardation are typically caused by brain damage during pregnancy, at birth, or early in life, and as such not genetic and not inherited.

35-49 – Moderate retardation

Can learn simple life skills and employment tasks with special education. May be employed in special settings, and achieve some independence. Often socially immature. Self-awareness – having an inner image of self, realizing that one is a person separate from the others around one – may exist from here on, but is not guaranteed to exist as it depends on more than intelligence alone. The most intelligent animals, such as some chimpanzees, bonobos, parrots, and dolphins, are in this range. Bonobo or chimpanzee I.Q. scores are sometimes even quoted as high as 80 or 90, but those are childhood age-peer scores that correspond to adult I.Q.s of only just over 40.

50-69 – Mild retardation

Educable, can learn to care for oneself, employable in routinized jobs but require supervision. Might live alone but do best in supervised settings. Immature but with adequate social adjustment, usually no obvious physical anomalies.

Moderate and mild retardation, contrary to the more severe forms, are typically not caused by brain damage but part of the normal variance of intelligence, and therefore largely genetic and inherited. This is important with regard to the question whether or not retarded persons should have children; For especially the moderate and mild forms of retardation, wherewith it physically is possible to have children, are the most likely to be inherited.

70-79 – Borderline retarded

Limited trainability. Have difficulty with everyday demands like using a phone book, reading bus or train schedules, banking, filling out forms, using appliances like a video recorder, microwave oven or computer, etcetera, and therefore require assistance from relatives or social agencies in the management of their affairs. Can be employed in simple tasks but require supervision.

80-89 – Below average

Above the threshold for normal independent functioning. Can perform explicit routinized hands-on tasks without supervision as long as there are no moments of choice and it is always clear what has to be done. Assembler, food service.

This is also the I.Q. range most associated with violence. Most violent crime by far is committed by males from this range. This does not imply that all males in this range are violent, nor that all violent males are in this range. But when the modal I.Q. of a group is in this range, one may expect trouble with with many male members of that group. When the modal I.Q. of a society or population is raised upward of this range, violence decreases as fewer males fall in this range then, given the shape of an even remotely normal distribution. When the modal I.Q. of a society is below this range to begin with though, raising it will increase violence.

And, this is the range into which men of average or just above average intelligence sink when under the influence of alcohol; Alcohol reduces I.Q. by up to about 25 points while drunk (own data), which explains why many drunk men are violent and aggressive (own hypothesis).

90-99 – Average

Able to learn a trade in a hands-on manner and perform tasks involving decisions. Craftsman, sales, police officer, clerk. Studies involving some theory are possible from this range upward.

100-109 – Average

Able to learn from written materials. Employable in senior positions.

110-119 – Above average

Able to learn in “college” format. Bachelor degrees. Manager, teacher, accountant. Just capable of taking high-range tests.

120-129 – Borderline gifted

Day 85/365

Capable of gathering and inferring own information. Master degrees. Attorney, chemist, executive. About 93 % of high-range candidates score I.Q. 120 or higher.

130-139 – “Gifted”

May just be able to write a legible piece of text like an article or modest novel. Minor literary figures. Ph.D. in the “soft” sciences. In this range lies the mode of scores on high-range tests, and almost 80 % of high-range candidates score I.Q. 130 or higher. Regular psychology’s I.Q. tests should not be trusted beyond this range as their validity breaks down here, if such scores are given at all.

140-149 – Intelligent

Capable of rational communication and scientific work. From this range on, only specific high-range tests should be considered. Important scientific discoveries and advancement are possible from the upper part of this range on.

We do not know if intelligence from about this range on is simply the extreme end of a normal distribution centered at 100 and largely formed by heredity, or if high intelligence in some cases has other causes (non-inherited or non-genetic) which make it deviate from the normal curve centered at 100 and form a “bump” in the far right tail, similar to the bump in the retarded range (which has non-inherited and non-genetic causes). And since we possess no physical, absolute scale of intelligence, these questions are hitherto meaningless altogether.
About one in two high-range test candidates score I.Q. 140 or higher.


150-159 – Highly intelligent

About one in four high-range test candidates score I.Q. 150 or higher. Otherwise under investigation.

160-169 – Very highly intelligent

About one in ten high-range test candidates score I.Q. 160 or higher. Otherwise under investigation.

170-179 – Pervasively intelligent

About one in a hundred high-range test candidates score I.Q. 170 or higher. Otherwise under investigation; A report on this specific group is Statistics of the top scorers.

180-185 – Exceptionally intelligent

In this range one would expect the I.Q.s of the few most intelligent individuals alive. About one in a thousand high-range test candidates score I.Q. 180 or higher.

Day 83/365: The Barcino Feeling!

Day 83/365: The Barcino Feeling!

March 24, 2011

To chill, to unwind and to drink wine! Its a Barcino Feeling!

This is the place which we usually hangs out during our wine times. The food is great and the wine selection is awesome! To add the great value and ambiance of the place.

Highly Recommended for your Wine enthusiast and Food Lovers!

You can visit them at Greenbelt, Ortigas, and at The Fort.

About Barcino:

Barcino is a Spanish company engaged in the sales and promotion of wine in the Philippines. Barcino Deli manages four wine restaurants and an exquisite Deli shop. The other company is Barcino Corporation and it is responsible for the importation of wine (from Spain and to a lesser extent from other wine regions) and distribution throughout the islands of the country.

The true story of Barcino dates back in 2004 when a current partner of the company, Oscar Bosch was on a holiday in this paradise called the Philippines. After a thorough market analysis, he realized that there was no place in the Philippines where you can buy and enjoy a good Spanish wine with affordable price. Therefore, he decided to open a quaint and exclusive Deli in Ortigas known as Barcino Gourmet, in honour of the former Latin name of the Catalan capital.

Barcino Gourmet started with a bar, a table, fine selected wines, sundry cheeses, chorizos, fuet and other Spanish delicacies.However, Barcino began to solidify its presence in the Philippine market in the late 2006 thanks to two young Spanish guys namely, Dani Aliaga and Sergi Rostoll. It was progressively becoming a tapas wine bar when these two guys saw the need to set up a mini kitchen and additional tables. This transformation was linked to the success and recognition from some of the European and American notable wine producers. The distribution also came to play an important role in hotels, restaurants and superb events happening in the Metro.

Thus, Barcino went on to become a trendy place in Ortigas where guests could find a calm atmosphere, Spanish music, good service and great value for money with the presence of our veteran Store Manager, Jonathan Ferrer better known as Juanito or JoJo. Later on, the inevitable need to supply a greater number to regular clientele enabled the company’s long-awaited expansion.

In 2008, Barcino opened its 2nd Branch in Fort Bonifacio, after the first month of operations, the presence was imminent: Barcino continues its expansion and the key to its success was in one of the goal premise of Barcino “tasteful wine for every budget”. Hence, Barcino broke the stereotype that wine is a product solely for the rich and famous people with high purchasing power. With us, everyone could enjoy a healthy and tasteful wine.

The following year, Barcino launched the 3rd branch, located in Greenbelt 5, No doubt the most quiet of all branches and certainly so desired and haunted by a particular guests. The constant need to be creative and meet a target so selected made possible that the company designed a unique space, an elegant deli shop offering some of the rarest Spanish tapas and wines.

The first official warehouse was built in the same year, along with the company’s headquarter located in Pasig City.

However, it was in 2010 when Barcino launched its most ambitious project, the birth of Barcino Greenbelt 2, the 4th Branch in the Metro. It is certainly the largest branch and it has numerous curious customers interested in our dishes, our wines and typical products from Spain. Moreover the talents of our staff, adaptability and innovations of the company, contribute to the success of the business and enabled the branches to become a popular name Barcino Wine Resto Bar with a finest selections of Spanish dishes and an array of wine list composed of over 250 different labels.

Day 84/365

EL Chef:

Chef Jaume hails from a long line of restaurateurs, bakers, confectioners and butchers, proving he is one chef who can truly say that “passion for food is in my blood”.

Chef Jaume learned all the secrets of cooking in picturesque Girona, a small town north of Catalunya. It’s there where he honed his craft, learn to create the most sumptuous dishes with only the freshest ingredients straight from the garden, farm, or market. After completing his formal education in culinary arts in Girona, Chef Jaume practiced at many restaurants in Barcelona, most notably with a long stint was at Akelarre, a restaurant in San Sebastian that garnered 3 stars from Michelin.

Chef Jaume then briefly joined the family business as a 5th-generation owner and operator, but his adventurous spirit beckoned him to try something new. As a good friend of the owner of Barcino, he decided to leave everything behind and fly to Manila.

Chef Jaume now assists at maintaining Barcino’s status as an excellent Wine-Resto-Bar, and is working on Barcino’s new thrust – to become the best Spanish restaurant in Manila, if not in Asia.

http://www.barcino.com.ph

Day 82/365: Original Tuna Pasta Recipe

Day 82/365: Original Tuna Pasta Recipe

March 23, 2011

Would you like to surprise your family or someone special with a very good pasta recipe? This is very easy and I bet that they will call you an instant Chef!

This is my own recipe that always a big hit and rated special by my family.

Ingredients:

2 Canned Tuna (I used Century Tuna Brine or in Vegetable oil)
1 pack Kesong Puti (Carabao Cheese)
2 pack Del Monte Tomato Sauce
1 tablespoon of Seasalt
1 cloves of garlic
2 table spoon butter
3 table spoon Olive Oil
Half teaspoon of Pepper
2 Red Onions
12 pcs of cherry tomatoes
Handful of Fresh Basil Leaves
1 table spoon of fresh lime juice
2 table spoon of Cooking Oil (for pasta)
1 kilo of Tubular Pasta ( preferably cannelloni)
1 small bowl of fresh sweet mango (cut in dice)
1 tablespoon of Pure Honey
Dash of Italian Herbs

Preparations:

1. Drain Tuna Meat
2. Wash the Cherry Tomatoes and Fresh Basil Leaves
3. Chopped Onions and Garlic
4. Cut in the Carabao Cheese in dice
5. Boil the Pasta for 14mins, add 2 tablespoon of Cooking Oil and a pinch of salt. Stir it to make sure that the pasta will not stick to your casserole. Once cooked, drain the pasta and set it aside.
6. Heat your sauce pan. Put your butter and saute your chopped onions and garlic until fragrant.
7. Add Olive Oil, Tuna Meat. Stir to Cook
8. Add Fresh Lime Juice, Pepper and SeaSalt. Stir until Tuna is cooked
9. Pour in tomato sauce. Add honey. Continuously stir to blend all the taste
10. Add Cherry Tomatoes (dont cut it), Basil Leaves and Diced Mangoes.
11. Add Carabao Cheese. Stir to Cook until the cheese melts
12. Your sauce is already cooked once you have its thickness and tomatoes is already pickled looking.
13. Prepare a Mixing Bowl
14. Place your drained Pasta in Mixing Bowl
15. Add your sauce and mix it carefully so as not to break your tube pasta.
16. Ready to Serve!

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take a picture of the finish products since my family was already waiting to eat. But this photo was taken while I was cooking this original recipe of mine. And I am sharing it! Soon, you can have this at Sugarleaf Store!

Enjoy! and Happy Healthy Eating!

Day 83/365