Thursday, May 29, 2003

Tedo dear:

I thought you were able to get over with that Dodong thing?


Metro Manila, with the impersonal behavior of its residents and where the cliché "dog eats dog" is a common occurrence, one of act kindness and one act of courtesy would surely brighten your rather gloomy Thursday morning.

Having not enough sleep, since I have to take care of my aunt, who fractured the bones of her right shoulder after she fell from the stairs in on of the building in De La Salle, I woke up this morning a little bit tired. Apparently, the five-hour sleep did not give me enough rest. I was able to get out from the house at 8:00 a.m. Knowing that I would be late if will take the bus, I decided to hail the cab.

Tropical storm Chedeng may have left the country already, but the rain did not. I was already assuming that I won't be able to call a cab that easy (for those who don't know, taxicabs will suddenly be in demand in Metro Manila when it rains). After waiting for ten minutes or so, I was finally able to find an empty cab.

Automatically I took the back seat and told the driver to bring me to Legaspi Village in Makati and to take the Finlandia-Dela Rosa-Salcedo route. Noticing probably my hurried pace and the usual snobbish look on my face, the driver, apparently in his fifties, greeted my "Good Morning Sir" and turned on the taxi meter. I did not respond. Deep inside me I was saying "aba, ano naman kaya ang gimik ng driver na to at my pa good morning, good morning pa!"

While traversing those side streets in Makati, the taxi driver was very solicitous and was just laughing off my harsh criticism against one radio commentator (the taxi's radio was tuned to DZ double B). Never really bothered to argue nor comment, but he was listening.

In ten minutes time, I was already outside Greenbelt One (my usual routine in the morning is to buy some pan de sal at Basta Hot Pan de Sal bakery in Greenbelt then proceed to my office in Corinthian Plaza which is just across the street). After giving my fare and saying, "thank you" to the driver (it was my self impose habit as a sign of courtesy to say "thank you" to taxi drivers, except when the driver is terribly rude and terribly reckless in driving). I was surprise when the he answered back, "thank you din sir, and have a nice day!"

Despite the gloomy weather, I got out from the taxi smiling and thinking, "may ganoon rin palang taxi driver dito sa Manila."

With this weather and with the people rushing to their offices, taxi drivers would suddenly become demanding and would refuse to use their taxi meters but would ask a totally outrageous fare. It was really a surprise and pleasing to note that such driver exist who did not take advantage and was in fact very courteous.

I wish all drivers were like him. So that people would start their day rather good. Unlike the drivers of the buses who are more concern with their commissions rather than the comfort and safety of their passengers. But that is another story. I do not want to destroy my happy aura today by telling how irritating the bus rides in Metro Manila can be.

Have a nice day!

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Dear Ian,

I choose to respond thru this entry because what I am going to say is something that I would also like to share to the rest of the world (assuming of course that there are other people who read this blog).

Welcome come back! I should say, to the world of electronic correspondence. Even if lately your entries in your blog are repost from your column, I still enjoy reading you.

There used to be a time when I worry (sometimes panic) when I cannot see any new entries in my mailbox or I haven't seen any response from the letters that I sent or no messages in my cellphone. I used to ask myself, "what is it that I did that might have offended someone that he/she stops sending letter/messages?" But then, I realized that it quite futile for me to keep on worrying if I received no response. I realized some people just don't feel like answering any messages that I sent (unlike myself who always have the compulsion to reply to any message sent to me) because they don't see the need to answer.

Now, I have learned to live with the "silence" (i.e. no messages in my mailbox, etc.). I have realized that I have friends who are "real people". And I should take comfort on that fact. Real in a sense that they are not afraid to show their real emotions for the sake of being pleasant (well, actually most of the time, because sometimes we also can afford to be superficial, a.k.a. plastic, when needed). So when, they fell the need for silence to sort up the mess in their lives, I have learned to wait. I used to be bothered when two of my friends quarrel. But then, that is the sign of being true to each other. And of course, I came to accept the facts that I have friends who are so good at being "drama queens"!

Silence. I remember a scene from the movie "Ever After" (with Drew Barrymore and Angelica Houston) when the step mother criticized one of her daughters by saying, "if you cannot improve the silence, you better keep your mouth shut." (I really don't now if that was the exact quotation, but I sure it means the same). I know with my friends that somehow their "silence" will be broken. And if it's broken, it is actually better.

Ian dear, you said in your letter there are just some things that we don't broadcast to other people even to our friends. We can actually say anything we want, but there are just things that we feel better if it is kept from the eyes and ears of other people. I cannot find any reason to disagree with you.

Remember the time when I texted you that I was depressed and your immediate reaction of course was to ask if it has something to do with that person I left in Dumaguete. I denied it of course and said that it has something to do abut my job. Then you immediately responded how you and some of our friends are actually worried with what I am doing with my career and said, among other things, that I am just but a "dignified secretary".

While I was sending messages to our yahoo group about the people I've met, places I've visited, and my escapades in Manila, I was already starting to loose my self esteem. Those letters were actually a cover to assure people that I am okay and doing "great". Don't get me wrong, actually enjoyed meeting those people, visiting those places and having those escapades, but that wasn't the whole truth.

Dignified Secretary. That was actually an understatement Ian. I was a nanny to his kids, janitor, personal accountant, house help, etc.

In those days, I would fold the blankets and bedding in his room when my boss left early in the morning for his office in Legaspi Village, then I would clean the office including brushing the C.R., wash the dishes, pay his bills, iron his clothes, name it. From time to time he would ask me research some cases using the SCRA (Supreme Court Reports Annotated) books in our library. At first, I thought it was okay knowing that we were all just starting. He, restarting his career in Manila after those three years of service in Dumaguete, and me, the ever-loyal staff, is there to support him. I was told that the law office will be operational soon and I could now reclaim my title and my job as Office Manager (in the real sense of the word) in that law office in Buendia.

Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, and months turned into a year, yet nothing happened. I was still in that office doing nothing except making sure that the office is clean, that the bills are paid and that when somebody feel like visiting our office, I would be there to wait. For one year, I have memorized all the television shows because I don't have anything to do. I was practically alone and bored.

I am paid during those months, okay, but that is not the case. It is actually your feeling of "self-worth". During those times, I was actually asking myself, "did I study for four years in Silliman just to end like this - - an Office Manager reduced into a janitor?" And yes! Need I forget that I didn't just graduate in Silliman, I left the campus with almost all people (students, teachers and staff) knowing me and many of them are intimidated with my presence. My first job carries a lot of responsibilities and carries with it some amount of respect. People listen to my ideas and ask for my advice. Then, all of a sudden I was doing a job that requires a little amount of brains and more on brawn.

Don't get me wrong, not that I underestimate a work of a janitor and a laborer, my father happens to be one, but I did not study and toiled in college just to be one.

To add to my depression, I had no one to turn to. You and the midnight society group were there, or shall I say an e-mail away, but it is different when there is someone that I could really talk to face to face. The three persons working Manila that I am comfortable talking to already left the City. Ted, my partner in crime, left for Chicago, Desiree found a much needed "escape" to Thailand and Rochie was already flying with Qatar Airways and is now based in Doha, Qatar.

I was actually planning to leave my boss, but last November he said that he is planning to bring me in the insurance company where he is the Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel. I considered it and gave him until last January to make good his promise. I was finally hired last January, but it was only the next best things. I was assured that I would be hired as regular staff, but these damn-Chinese-big-boss had some other things in mind. They hired me as a contractual employee for one year with no other benefits except the SSS, Philhealth and Pag-ibig (no 13th month, no leave benefits). But then, I was left with no choice, it is difficult to find a job in Manila. Besides this is much better than the thing that I used to do. Now, I have a defined responsibility and does job which challenges my wit (i.e. facing the judges and convincing them why a TRO is important for this case). But it is still the next best thing. Honestly, I am willing to leave this company if I a find a much better offer.

I used to consider my debt of gratitude to my boss, but I realized that if there is any, I was able to pay it, even more. It is high time that I should think for myself. For may years, I was basing my decision on what other's may see, how will the people close to me respond. I think It is high time that I should ask myself what is it really that I want and pursue it, whatever the cost.

Tonight, I will be meeting Rochie's gorgeous boyfriend (one of the crew of Qatar Air and a former Fashion Model from India who speaks French). She actually sent something that I need to pick up. I am including this because I would also be giving to Rochie, thru her boyfriend, my Curriculum Vitae. She promised that she would try to bring me in to Qatar Air of if it is not possible she would help me find a job there in Doha, Qatar. I hope this is the break that I am waiting for. I've researched something about Doha and it I've learned that its is a beautiful city.

Pray for me, my friend, as I would also be praying for you.

I hope to see you soon.



Monday, May 05, 2003

Just click on the picture to know what is it all about.

Hi to Koi from Cebu, your journal is now part of my links. See you soon.