One event that clearly and stereotypically personifies a person being in their twenties is when you are invited to your long time friend’s wedding! It seems like one of the things that everybody I know have been a participant of in recent years (of course those ‘everybody I know’ might be the attendees to this wedding). To be totally fair, there are people getting married the moment that they can be legal (and unfortunately and illegally sometimes younger than 18) but most of the late teens weddings are small, intimate ones attended by family and close friends. There is this sense of normalcy and order when you follow this specific life path: getting a college degree (and then passing the professional board examinations for those who needs to), getting a decent, enough paying job and keep it for the mid to long term, find the significant other and then get married and have children. It is just one of those ‘life paths’ that were handed down from our earlier generations and some might have arguments about that but that is the traditional point of view.
What makes this one very special is that I have, for over a decade(!), glimpses of this romance from its infancy, its middle years up to their special day. There is always that sweetness and connection that they only have and it is not like he changed in any way but more like having an additional dimension in him that might not be existing before. As the years go by, they seem to be the steady couple whereas most of us have romances that bud and break (and going for the ride again) for a limited time. They (for me anyways) became my #couplegoals: Someone who has two personalities that over time complemented each other and grew strong over the years. She became an unofficial part of the larger group as well that this year, she joined us for a short vacation and there not a single amount of awkwardness that bringing a significant other usually brings. During that vacation, you could say that they are an almost young husband and wife who have shared responsibilities but also having fun so getting married last December is totally deserved.
So to Emai and Shine, I just want to say congratulations! and happy life ahead as husband and wife!
Let’s be honest: Whether you’re an active participant or watching from afar (preferably with popcorn at your clutches)there is always this human fascination when it comes to office drama. I will confess that even if I swear that I don’t condone joining in the circus of it all, I really really wanted to know the latest happenings especially the juicy ones. While this post is not about the minute by minute drama that unfolded in our division the last few weeks (give me two years give or take), I will talk about trust: your co-worker’s trust (aww, boring!). This employee I will call “V” did the unthinkable and broken everyone in our division’s trust; even mine to a certain degree. V had issues with the other employees and were asked by our immediate boss to answer it in a dialogue with the complainers. We found out later that V go behind our boss’ back (despite him just doing the right way IMHO) and broke a deal V, my boss and the other party agreed upon just thirty minutes after that deal has been made and right after the lunch break where we ate take-outs! (priorities on what is worse people!).
Now, V as far as I can tell is an emotional being and can be described as having a heart on the shoulders. I was on the far side of the office when they were talking (arguing?, crying and shouting?, fighting?) and I could already tell that V is not 100% hearing what our boss is saying. I can sense the gears in V’s minds saying to keep it cool but at the same time is hurting. I went out of the office to do office matters (and no it is not some code… I pass around some papers to the upper floors) and when I returned it was nearing lunch and V is (seemingly) happily talking and sometimes giggling as if nothing happened with them. Then the ‘betrayal’ happened and we found out from our ‘higher up’ boss of all people.
I do not feel 100% betrayed because that specific issue they had were their own and although I am indirectly affected by it, it did not cause me to complain especially telling it to our boss. My gut reaction is that V will never be trusted again by the immediate co-workers. That is a deeper problem because words spread like wildfire and it becomes attached to you (whether it is fair or totally not is up for debates) and it will ruin your reputation. The ultimate sign of un-trusting is that my boss (who has a very long patience with subordinates) decides to redistribute all of V’s load to all of us in the division while awaiting for our ‘higher up’ boss decision about the development. It was decided that V will now be under another division where the what I call ‘vicious workers’ are located. From what I heard, V is silently doing the new assignments and I’m still waiting for the division’s infamous claws to come out (it can be a zoo out there, but that’s another story).
Trust is a fragile thing. Just like a plate that is broken, you can try to glue them together but the cracks are going to be there forever to be seen. You can try to reuse them and reuse some more but it will never be the same as before. There will be evidence of a fracture. Trust can also go hand in hand with other aspect: making or breaking of a relationship or in V’s case reputation. The reputation that were built for decades will become tarnish by a single thing and it will be remember synonymous when they see you.
City Living can be toxic … really really toxic. Even me: somebody that lives in ‘A Manila Suburb’, I spent more than half of my day in the city and all of the stresses will surely get to you somehow. So every opportunity to get away from the hustling city life is okay even the corporate sponsored activities.
Okay that last part is not as bad as it looks. Every year, the company that I worked for participates in Arbor Day (fun fact: The Philippines institutionalized Arbor Day to be celebrated as early as 1947!) and as much as I love to participate every year, there is some participant quota so this year is my year. The venue for this year is the Biak-na-Bato National Park located in San Miguel, Bulacan. There are some reservations that I have as it is (as of this posting) already the rainy season and the last few news articles about the area is unpleasant.
So almost everything was arranged by the company and for once the weather is fine but as I said earlier, stress will and did come by me in the form of a very nasty flu. I was very perplexed as you could hear me coughing during the trip while everybody else is minding their own business. Going there during the weekday is okay if there is no massive re-concreting of the major highway. We reach the edge of the road near the planting site and the usual pep talk from the organizers and the local government and the first thing I notice is while the area is green, lush even, the trees are really sparse. Sure the road edge is fully planted with trees but the ridges that you could see clearly lack trees.
The descent were brutal. A ten minute walk with high gradient slopes at 10:00 am are not ideal and even before planting a single tree, my back is already wet. Just like the route, The planting site are rolling ridges and I was unfortunate enough to chance upon planting on the steeper ones. And we have to plant ten! And you cannot just plant it, there is a certain way to plant it to make sure the seedlings will have maximum chances of being trees. (I did not know the trees that I planted !shame!, though some of the other seedlings planted are Narra, Mahogany and Caballeros) The descent up was more brutal especially after spending about 20 minutes planting trees.
Of course we need to go the more famous famous part of the park: The park entrance (we actually planted on the other side of the park). Our packed lunch were waiting there courtesy of a fast food chain (The irony of city convenience in a nature park). The first thing you’ll notice is that the water is pristine! It’s very rare to see clean rivers these days that you really are awed. Much rarer are the housewives actually doing laundry in a river. I have always heard of the park of how historical and how good looking it is but I have never been to Biak-na-Bato but the thirty minutes or so of staying within the edges of the whole park made me realize what I could have been missing out (cave adventures!) and I really really want to return to explore the area further.
The return trip was fine but tiring until I stepped down from the bus on EDSA. The unpleasant vehicle noise hit my ears again, sighed and murmered “That was fun” then I started to cough violently. And then an epiphany: I rarely coughed during the whole time in Bulacan even after the activity on the bus going home. Now, I am not saying that being in the lush greenery made me well 100% or cure my flu but I think that de-stressing yourself really help your body and the sweat I produced may have carry out with it some toxins in my body. That made me think that constant activity that makes you sweat is a really good thing. Now I just (realistically, If I have time) need to book myself another trip to nature and sweat it out ASAP!
Let me say this out of the gate: This article is not a post about my likes and dislike about my vacation in Pangasinan a few weeks ago nor it is about a review of said vacation and the resort we stayed into. This is mostly about the personal experience and feelings that I got from my latest vacation.
As you grow older, it is hard to maintain good friendships especially since most of them are working abroad (especially if most of them are your friends from College). So when one of them comes home, we usually set a few days off for a vacation or in this case a mini-vacation (since he is only here for a week and at least two of those days are set for a wedding and a christening). It actually took about two months to plan it, to confirm people and do reservations. There are some who actually decided to pass at the last minute and somebody surprisingly joined in for this trip.
All in all, this trip is memorable one for me (though to be completely fair, every trip I took is memorable for me). Personally it is a good time to take this two day, one night trip. I just started on a process of doing something in my workplace that is already taxing and I’m just scratching the surface: like the calm before the biggest burst of typhoon winds to come my way. I haven’t been spending a lot of time lately doing things of my personal interest (including this blog) and I need some breather before it gets busier. Plus the extreme heat of this El Niño is getting into my head literally: I usually get headaches when the weather is too hot to handle but in recent days it usually starts at 0830H and lasts throughout the day even though I am at an air conditioned room and the only way for this to subside is if I get a shower or put a wet towel to my head but I can’t do the latter often at the office.
My most loved thing about the trip is just being with good friends. There is just something different about being with them: You can be as awkward as you can and they wouldn’t even care because that is you. The stories they share that have accumulated for years are interesting and fascinating. Plus the jokes that only your group can get is a comforting thing. You can still see the familiar but also see the difference in them which can be good nor bad based on whatever view you see it.
This time though, there is also some tinged of sadness that came into me because of the aforementioned difference about them. This trip for me highlights how far I’ve grown apart from them. Outside of the balikbayan person that initiated the trip, most of them still occasionally meet up for inumans and I cannot physically join them because most of them are now based on Southern Metro Manila and I am working in the North (for those not in the know, traffic is a killer in this city). While they would understand the circumstances that I have to go if I join them, over the years those meet-ups is still substantial and now I felt like I was lagging behind on some of their things which cannot be easily discussed on the internet (there is still the issue of compatibility of our times). We always believe that real friends will always be friends no matter the time passed but I’m starting to think that it is not necessarily the case and it worries me.
Until I got my ideal way, I just have to strive to maintain my friendships and hope for the best and dream…
In an ideal world, we would took a week off during the peak summertime (I was elated to find out that our first day is also the official start of Summer 2016), go on a lesser crowded beach (The beach where the resort is located is perfect, I really don’t care about the color of the sand as long as there is very few rocks and I get my requisite sun tan), possibly make some excursions along popular spots, drink all most of the night every night and just talk: talk about everything under the sun from our lives to the latest things of FB. All in a very cost efficient way.