Silicon Valley High!

Now that we’re in the midst of building our new office for our company, Antidote, I can’t help but remember our visit in Silicon Valley where we saw our dream office spaces. This place has always been Ken’s dream place to visit. He is a tech-geek at heart, an Apple fan, Steve Jobs was his creative genius and all his other business inspirations are the founders of these billion-dollar companies established in this place. To cut it short, everything about Silicon Valley excites him. So when we decided to go to San Francisco last year, it was our goal to be able to go around Silicon Valley. And luckily, my good friend Jojo, referred us to Rich, the brother of her friend who lives there and who can bring us around. So on Sept. 9, the day before my birthday, we spent a whole day visiting Google, Yahoo, Apple and Facebook. Oh what an experience it was! 🙂

We started out in Google where their huge office campus is very much open. We went around and it pretty much felt like we’re in the movie of Vince Vaughn & Owen Wilson, The Internship. We looked like the group of asians taking photos and basically just ogling around hahaha!

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Hello Google. Yes, we’re visiting your campus today! 🙂

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Android icons welcoming you to the Google grounds.

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This way to the main building’s lobby.

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Asian tourists :p

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Can’t believe we’re here! 🙂

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Google Drive. Literally!

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Ken at Google Drive.

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Biking around Google campus!

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Thrilled like big kids!

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Bikes in Google colors for you to use around the grounds.

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Charge your car while you park?

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Car-charging station!

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Waiting for Larry Page & Sergey Brin 🙂

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Happy to be in this inspiring place!

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The gang – Rich, my Tito Meme, Nar, Ken & I 🙂

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More bikes for the Googlers

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Chillin’ like Googlers :p

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For lunch, we then headed on to Yahoo! where Rich’s wife, Elena works. She so kindly accommodated us in the huge cafeteria where Yahoo! caters breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffet to all employees and visitors. Imagine, the wide range of variety of food from salads, pastas, pizzas, meats, sandwiches, soups, desserts and drinks all for free! I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t know where to start and just took photos of the experience. We were all so caught up in the Yahoo! vibe and excitement that we forgot to take pictures together in our table with our lunch selection haha.

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Yahoo! for lunch!

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Welcome to Yahoo! headquarters in California.

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Heading out to the cafeteria.

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Some foosball tables greet you as you enter the car. And there’s already a long line for the food.

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Similar to a hotel, there’s different stations for the different types of food.

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The lunch crowd. They’ve got a looooot of employees by the way. No wonder the massive quantity of food being served.

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And now my favorite part, free desserts such as this Gelato Bars!

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Ken & Rich enjoying the drinks and desserts station. Ice cream with different toppings, yogurt, gelato and more!

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Rich and Elena also shared with us that Yahoo! employees can even get to have free haircut as there’s a roaming bus salon that goes around. Now I can see why such perks for employees will just make them stay in the office and work work work until late. Their life is their work already so everything they need is laid out for them.

After lunch, we checked out the gift shop and the game room and got more free chocolates and treats and went on to our next office destination.

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Thank you Rich, Elena and Yahoo! for this experience! 🙂

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The next office we visited was Facebook. It was the simplest office of all we visited. It’s a big compound with a big building that had no signage or branding at all aside from the big Facebook “like” icon at the front before you enter the compound.

They also have a very strict security. You can’t go inside or take photos nearby the building. We tried sneaking in but didn’t get through. And when we saw a glimpse of the inside through one of the windows, all I saw were just white boards with some tech logarithms that have no meaning to me haha. I hoped to get a view of Zuck but we failed lol.

Basically, all tourists can do is just go have a pic in the billboard outside. So that’s what we did.

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We saved the best for last. Apple Headquarters was also the farthest so we made it our last stop. Both Ken and I are huge Steve Jobs/Apple fans. I’m not much into tech but amongst all those books that Ken would ask me to read, it’s books about Steve Jobs that I really enjoyed. I respect and admire the man’s creativity and ingenuity. I’ve loyally used iPhone and Mac ever since and I don’t ever want to use Samsung. We were heartbroken when Steve died as we long planned to visit Cupertino and the Apple office when he was alive, hoping to run into him hahaha.

So I literally got goosebumps when I saw that we were in Cupertino. The place where it all began. That place I just get to read in books. I just had to get a snapshot.

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All hail. The land of Steve Jobs. Apple’s hometown.

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And we’re here in Apple Campus.

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Love their address — One Infinite Loop.

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Fan boy meets Fan girl

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Ken has often told me that he loves the meaning behind Apple HQ’s address — One Infinite Loop. We are both overwhelmed just to be able to stand here.

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Apple Campus pretty much felt like a real University. It’s big and open and you can walk around to the different buildings. But unlike a real campus, their security is tight. Outsiders are just allowed around the entrance, the parking lot and the main Apple store which is right by the entrance. You can get a feel of the whole place and see the buildings but you can’t go inside the office buildings.

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American flag, California flag and Apple flag. All three by the main lobby.

So we just happily wandered off inside the store and indulged the fanboys in us in unique Apple products that you can only find in this Apple store in the Apple Headquarters. I was so excited and overwhelmed that I forgot to take pics of the products and the store. Here are just the pics I was able to take. Ken and I bough his and hers “I left my heart in Cupertino” shirts in black, Apple water bottles for us and for pasalubong to our family and friends, iPens and laptop bags. There were even Apple baby and kids wear — onesies, bonnets, cute statement shirts. Now, I wish I got one for our little one haha. Oh we’re such dorks!

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It was at this exact day last year when Apple announced the iPhone 6 so we were pretty much on a high to be right there and feel the excitement right in Cupertino! Overall, that whole experience of touring Silicon Valley and seeing all the other billion-dollar offices that we only get to read and hear about is just exhilarating. Google’s office is my favorite, it’s just so fun and quirky and cool. But of course, we haven’t been inside Apple and I wonder  how it looks inside.

Now, when we watch the series “Silicon Valley” it’s funny as I remember that we were once there and saw the simple neighborhood and passed by homes and garages that may have been just the very same garage, Steve Jobs started his own company that grew into what is now the word’s richest and best known tech company. It’s all very inspiring.

And so now as we build what will be the 2nd home of our own little company, Antidote, I can’t help but remember the very day that Ken showed me this tiny 50-sqm office space in Ortigas that became the first property he purchased at 26 years old. At that time, I thought he was crazy to do such an early investment as I felt we were too young. I was worried if it was a wise move but he made it happen. I remember him ticking off the months left for every monthly payment he made and I will always be proud of him for all he was able to do and is continuing to do. It became the first headquarters of Antidote, the place where LaguEarly Bird Breakfast Club and all our other ideas were born.

And looking back, it’s inspiring stories of successful startup companies and innovators such as Steve Jobs, Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg that inspire us when things get tough. We are nowhere near what they were able to do but it gives us the drive to keep doing. And so this experience was just priceless and I’m really glad Ken was able to have this day, which what he proclaimed at that time “his happiest day after our wedding” hahaha! 🙂

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