Enfin!

Back in December, days before 2014 ended, I got a bit contemplative of plans and what lies ahead of me. And to my surprise in January, I finally got a call from one of the organizations I’ve been sending an application to since 2009. Now that everything is official and I am already rendering my resignation, I’m happy to be moving on after 7 years from my current company!

This is it!

This is it! Nice to be in Makati again!

I had lots of disappointments since the time I finished graduate school in 2012. To say that it was a struggle is an understatement. However, I’m not discounting the fact that something fruitful still came out of my experience applying to an organization in Manila and the other in Makati. Sometimes, I get used to being asked the same questions that it helped me more convinced of whatever I am talking about. I also almost left the company in November, but the terms of my supposedly-new employment were not properly agreed upon.

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“Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore”

… that was the first thing I thought of when I stepped inside this enclosed and highly-guarded area in Manila. It was so — clean. So clean that it was impossible to believe that such an oasis exists in the heart of this bustling city. The walkway leading to the main office building was lined with flagpoles and flanked with two Japanese koi ponds. I had been into this area last year, when we were to renew our clearance from NBI. I always wondered how the place looked inside, knowing what it was. You won’t be able to see anything from the streets, and I don’t remember having a peek while the LRT traverses Taft avenue (or is it even visible from the railway?). One has to leave an identification by the gate, subject any bags for inspection, and get frisked by the guard before entering. There were barely any people walking by the excellently manicured lawn, and I was half-expecting children doing cartwheels on the grass. LOL

I had a couple of “appointments” (you very well know what I am talking about) in the Philippine office of this international organization. But as much as I want to put its name in writing, I fear that doing so might either jinx my chances or bring the panel into my website. Not that I have anything to hide, but I just don’t want the contents of my blog to influence the selection process. I am still hoping for the best and, of course, preparing for the worst. What’s the worst thing that can happen now, anyway?

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Today is World Refugee Day!

My colleagues, especially Robyn, have been working very hard for the past few weeks for the event organized with UNHCR and the Department of Justice. June 20 marks “World Refugee Day” and our NGO has put up an exhibit of artworks done by refugees near the fountain in Shangri-la Mall . It was my first event and I even had to borrow Mon’s blazer because I realized I had none. LOL I have a barong from my graduation rites two months ago, but that would have been too formal for something that requires smart casual.

1 family torn apart by conflict is too many

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A morning with Cheche

Waking up at 6:00 AM was very worth it! On my second day of work, we were informed that we will be having a meeting/consultation with Ms. Cheche Lazaro on Tuesday the following week. Honestly, it was a task to conceal my excitement upon hearing the news because I am a BIG fan of Ms. Lazaro. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of our NGO, and she is also the Public Relations Officer and Chairman of the Communications Committee — which was not a surprise at all.

Growing up in the Philippines, television plays a big part of our lives; but it was also quite difficult to find programs that bring quality content. And this is where Ms. Cheche came in, along with other esteemed journalists — to pioneer investigative journalism in the country through Probe and expose several issues in the society, which are often misrepresented or even overlooked by mainstream media. I was also an avid fan of the Probe-produced kids show 5 and Up. My Saturday afternoon was not complete, unless I watch those English-speaking kids on ABC 5 (now TV 5). I was just amazed of their eloquence because, it took me years as a kid to build confidence in my spoken English.

Anyway, my colleagues and I met up at exactly 8:00 AM in our headquarters in Pasay, then left past 8:30 AM to visit Ms. Lazaro’s house in Forbes Park. First, her house was amazing and I still could not believe I would be meeting her in person. We got in and somebody from one of the rooms came out barefooted in her house clothes. It was her. She gave a cheery welcome and ushered us straight away into the dining hall (room is an understatement). Before jumping the gun on the agenda of that meeting, Robyn and I were introduced to her, as we were obviously the newbies in the NGO. Again, I had to shake myself out of this surreal experience — I was seated right across Cheche Lazaro! LOL I seldom fawn over famous people, and I don’t even consider her a ‘celebrity’ celebrity. She is a mover and a shaker and hopefully shaking her hands might have rubbed off some of those magical dusts that she have, and hopefully landed on me. =D

She's one of my childhood heroesTEAM STRIPES! My colleagues with Ms. Cheche Lazaro

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