Pasinaya Festival 2015 (A one-day stint at the museum)

A day after Valentine’s Day, the Cultural Center of the Philippines held the Pasinaya 2015, considered the biggest multi-arts festival in the country, and probably the most fun, too. Pasinaya is CCP’s open-house festival showcasing performances in music, theater, dance, visual arts, film and literature. With thousands of artists participating and approximately 50,000 audience, it does speak volumes of the richness of the culture and arts of the Filipinos.

A few weeks ago, I was invited by CCP to volunteer for the event, and I could not think of a reason to say no even if the pre-event orientation and meetings were done on weekdays, which clashes big time with my sleep schedule since I work nights. At 4:30 a.m. on February 15, I boarded a cab to CCP since our call time was at 5. I got there just in the nick of time and joined a crowd of volunteers clad in white shirts and mostly jeans. Just like me, they seemed slightly anxious about the day’s event. I haven’t had coffee and was drowsy, clutching my notebook in the shadowy corridor at the second floor. Our group was mostly students who were either interning or simply volunteering with CCP, with the rest like me, yuppies with too much time on their hands. I think.

At around 6, Ms. Fatima Gahol, CCP’s volunteer coordinator, gave out our shirts and IDs and instructed us to follow our designated coordinators. From being a Jeepney tour coordinator, I was reassigned to man the booth at the National Art Gallery (National Museum), which would start 9-ish. Garbed in a jersey-esque yellow Pasinaya shirt and with the matching festival ID so the crowd could easily identify us as Pasinaya know-it-alls (even if in reality, I wouldn’t be able to accurately direct you to nor identify the Little Theater and the Dream Theater), I was left to wonder where the shuttle that was supposed to take me to the National Museum is and the even bigger question: what to do with the 3 hours before my task. Good thing there was Kara, a friendly grad student I met during the orientation, who also had the same dilemma: where the shuttle terminal is and what to do before her deployment at the NCCA. We asked around, from guards to ushers to co-volunteers but they were also clueless and kept pointing us to different places. We gave up and had coffee instead at the nearby Krispy Kreme. We waited at the cafe, Kara with her assigned readings, me with my little notebook of random lists. When the pre-show crowd started to gather at Pedro Bucaneg (Yes, I know where Bucaneg is), we sauntered off to join them and tried again to look for the shuttle but to no avail. Kara and I strolled around, mingling with the early morning joggers and took pictures instead. My not-so-dependable smartphone with faulty white balance had these photos that look like the CCP circa 70s.

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The pre-show started unceremoniously with dance performances by a high school dance troupe in Bulacan, followed by another dance number but this time from various groups from Marikina. And because they’re from Marikina, naturally, they had to have the giant pair of shoes. Too bad I didn’t take pictures of them. After Marikina came the ASEAN delegates, or so I heard. This time, Kara and I wandered again looking for our shuttle. We were pointed to the parade paticipants preparing for the start of the festival and to my relief, my
coordinator was there, Ms. Minda. She invited me and Kara to join the parade, right there in front to hold the Pasinaya tarp. What an honor, except my face really couldn’t be seen because I’m too short for the height we were keeping the tarp at. At one point, I also stumbled because I barely could see anything in front of me. Who would have thought a tarp-carrying task would be so tough and utterly risky. Behind us were firetrucks, (No kidding!) carrying the performers of the resident companies of the CCP like Ballet Philippines, Philippine Madrigal Singers, Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, Tanghalang Pilipino and many others, complete with a lovely marching band. It was an awe-inspiring moment for me, no wonder I was tripping on flat ground.

After the parade, we boarded the shuttle and off to our assignments. Kara went to NCCA while I went to the National Museum with Ms. Minda and Jen, another volunteer. Ms. Minda and Jen headed to the Old Senate Session Hall, (which by the way is one of my favorite places inside the National Museum, second only to the gallery that houses the Spoliarium, because, duh, Spoliarium), to coordinate the Pasinaya performances of the Thomasian Bassoon Ensemble, CEU Singers Manila and the Mapua Cardinal Singers. Meanwhile, I had a table at the entrance of the museum stacked with Pasinaya brochures and CCP summer calendar. Also, I had the yellow Pasinaya wristbands selling for PHP 50, which serves as the onetime fee to watch the performances of the festival as well as the tour of the participating museums: the National Museum where I was deployed, Casa Manila, NCCA Gallery, Bahay Tsinoy, Metropolitan Museum of Manila, 1335 Mabini Gallery, De La Salle College of St. Benilde’s Museum of Contemporary Arts and Design, Museo Marino and Museo Pambata. Not bad for PHP 50, right? Actually, the festival prides on Pay what you can, Watch all you want. Meaning, it’s okay if you don’t want to or can’t afford the PHP 50, you can still enjoy the festival. Because arts. Yay!

The entrance of the National Museum

The entrance of the National Museum

So I spent the whole morning talking to museum guests about Pasinaya and was assisted by two legitimate Musuem ladies, (they actually work at the museum). I got to talk to a lot of tourists, which was kind of exciting and intimidating at first but also really fun, especially if you like talking to tall people. After lunch, Ms. Minda invited me to watch the CEU Singers Manila. It was a 15-minute rendition of original Kundimans, and it was just beautiful. Kind of romantic. What can I say, I am impartial to the venue and the songs. As I was languidly basking in the moment of almost bliss, I was also manning one of the entrances, making sure the left door remains closed so as not to interrupt the performance, then a few moments after, started discreetly counting the audience in attendance. Every performance’s audience had to be counted. Part of the job.

This is the Old Senate Session Hall. If you squint, you can see on the right, part of the concert audience

This is the Old Senate Session Hall. If you squint, you can see on the right, part of the concert audience

After the dreamy performance by the ladies and gents in blue, I headed back to my desk job, but this time, the audience had thinned out since it was siesta time. From time to time, the Pasinaya free shuttle comes in, and a horde of museum pilgrims would barge through the heavy glass doors. Some would approach me either looking for the bathroom or inquiring about the concert schedule. I have never been more friendly in my life. Not once did I ever snark, not even on my haggard-looking reflection on the slightly creepy museum bathroom. I think that was a side effect of working in a museum. Being around beautiful things, you run out of things to snark on. Not even the noisy Korean kids who were impatiently waiting for their guide and loitering the lobby, nor the hipster-ish European guy who probably thought I was selling a sketchy tour or the rowdy teens who would rudely get brochures without so much as a hi. Well, hello to you, too. Sure, you can have the brochures because, you know, we really care about your art education, hence, we are also concerned that your heavily printed shirt clashes strongly with your floral skater skirt. And don’t let me start on that eyeshadow, missy. Nope, did not snark on them. Not until now, anyway.

The view from my desk

The view from my desk

Before I knew it, the clock struck four. It was a wrap. Ms. Minda, Jen and I gathered our stuff and waited for the shuttle to take us back to CCP. I got separated with them and got into a shuttle with the Mapua singers. When I got back to CCP, it was drizzling but there was a crowd left, probably waiting for the People’s Gala, the closing ceremony. I headed to the volunteers’ headquarters to sign out for the day. As I was heading out of CCP, opting to skip the dinner at the MKP Hall, I realized how long the day had been and how tired I was. It was 5-ish and the sky was dark. I had to walk to Vito Cruz LRT station because I couldn’t figure out where the CCP-Vito Cruz orange shuttles were. But it was the good kind of tired, knowing you’ve been productive and had been part of something beautiful. Cheesy, I know. But true.

So thank you, CCP, for inviting me to be a part of Pasinaya 2015. I’m definitely looking forward to more festivals.

Photo taken by Kara de Guzman

Photo taken by Kara de Guzman

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Half Of A Dream Kind Of Job

On April 10 just before midnight, I officially threw myself into the sea of job hunters. No, I did not quit my job nor am I dissatisfied with it. I was merely testing the waters as others might say. Plus it has been more than a year that I had been checking this certain company’s job openings, hoping for a vacancy that I’d be qualified for. And then last week, it finally happened. My excitement while updating my resume and carefully crafting my cover letter was accompanied by the guilt of some form of disloyalty to my current job.

This would sound defensive but the reason I want to work for this company is the desire to contribute more than just paying taxes. RepRisk is a “provider of dynamic business intelligence on environmental, social and governance risks for an unlimited universe of companies and projects. Its mission is to help clients achieve long-term success through transparency and risk management.” That’s a direct quote from their site. Basically, they have this database, which has a list of corrupt companies, especially those with environmental violations. They also have other tools that companies may utilize to ensure transparency and risk management. If you know me, you’d understand why I want to work with them.

On April 12th, I got a reply from Mr. Peter Ing, who just happens to be the Financial Data Provider & Sales Channel Manager in Zurich. Of course, you could just imagine my excitement when I saw I had an email from him. But my face fell as soon as I read its content.

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I was truly disappointed with the pay scale. For a company such as theirs, I was hoping for a higher figure. The offer’s ceiling is even lower than my current company’s offer back in 2009. As my friend, Red, had said (he also applied with RepRisk), “I’m not sure how they got the figure but it was really cheap.”

I didn’t know how to reply to Mr. Ing’s email so I didn’t. I figure I could wait until Monday to send a reply. Or better, maybe he won’t notice my lack of response from the sea of applicants. But no such luck because at 9:19 a.m. of the 15th, I saw a new email from him.

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So now I really had to reply. Not only would it be disrectful and unprofessional not to, I was also afraid to be blacklisted from the company. The problem was how to tell him I would not be pursuing the application because the pay is cheap, without me looking so financially motivated. But then again, me as a member of the labor force and yet also on a job hunt has indirectly tagged me as financially motivated. I settled with this short response.

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What I really wanted to tell Mr. Ing was this:

Even if I had not pointed it out, I’m pretty sure it was apparent that I’ve decided not to pursue my application because of the pay scale. I believe it was not commensurate to my skill set and experience. I really would like to join your company and could imagine a fulfilling career furthering the company’s advocacy in transparency in the corporate world, though that may sound like an oxymoron. I could imagine the job fulfilling my desire to do more for the community yet I have to be honest that I also believe in financial stability. I would not want to sacrifice that.

Nevertheless, thank you for considering my application. I hope you find a suitable candidate for the position. If not, you can always raise your offer and maybe we can talk again.

Vision Board

I’m kind of late to the party but today, I successfully completed my vision board. As About.com has said, a vision board is a collage of images of things you want in your life. The idea behind the vision board came from the Law of Attraction, which is very similar to self-fulfilling prophecy. LoA in its simplest sense claims that the more you think about something, the more it will become real or will materialize. There are lots of references online if you are interested about Law of Attraction.

In five to seven years time, these are the goals I want to achieve. So here’s my board.

vision board

Left to Right:

1. Community Involvement
I would want to be more involved in the community. I believe there is a diferrent sense of fulfillment from sharing your time and skills to advocacies.

2. Self Love
I want to love me more. I want to stop berating myself for what I’m not.

3. Post-grad in Europe
I have two images for this: the scholarshipportal.eu and the one of Erasmus Mundus. I want to take my masters abroad. Since I don’t have a rich family to pay my tuition, the only way I could afford it is if I get one from either of those two.

4. My Own House
I’m sure I don’t have to elaborate on this.

5. Committed Relationship
Paging all the forces that be to help me work on this one.

6. Travel (Switzerland, Greece and Spain)
The photo with the blue sea is taken at Santorini while the seemingly pastoral view is from Switzerland.

7. Writing
I want to write more, not just blogs. I want to write film reviews, short stories, news features, obituaries, et cetera.

8. Teaching
When I was little, I dreamed of becoming a teacher. I did teach for more than two years, and I want to do it again.

9. Mantra
I want this to be my daily affirmation.

10. Good Health
I want to work more on improving my health and I want to be fit.

Now Hiring: A Boyfriend

Job Opportunity: The Boyfriend
Location: Metro Manila, Philippines

Photo courtesy of quickmeme.com

Photo courtesy of quickmeme.com

Responsibilities:

* Weekly recreational activities including, but not limited to: eating out, visiting museums, going to the beach, attending Sunday mass, watching movies and stage plays

* Occasional compliments to sustain The Girlfriend’s self-esteem and overall well being

* Occasional attendance in The Girlfriend’s family events

* Occasional posting of “couple” photos on Facebook, Twitter and other social media to validate relationship

* Occasional gift-giving, need not be expensive, creativity highly required

* Regular bed-related relationship-enhancing activities, including but not limited to, sex

* Regular mediated (text, call, chat, email, etc) communication with The Girlfriend, at least once but not exceeding 5 in a day

Photo courtesy of quickmeme.com

Photo courtesy of quickmeme.com

Qualifications:

* Candidate must be 25 to 38 years old

* Candidate should be college level; a holder of Bachelor’s/College Degree, MA, Ph.D and MBA preferred but not required

* Experience preferred but not required

* Applicants must be willing to work in Metro Manila

* Applicants must be willing to travel

* Knowledge of foreign language/s preferred but not required

* Ability to play one or more musical instruments preferred (except bass guitar)

* Candidate should be full-time employee/employer (applications of bums will automatically be rejected)

One (1) full time position available.
Previous applicants need not apply.
The Girlfriend offers an attractive benefits package with long-term prospects.

Send applications through its8am@gmail.com.
Walk-in applicants will not be entertained.

’09 to ’13: Ordinary People Part 2 of 3

So let’s step back a bit and catch up with the group. They had brunch at Chocolate Kiss at Bahay ng Alumni, one of the lovely buildings in Diliman famous for its stained glass windows.

UP Bahay ng Alumni

UP Bahay ng Alumni

Stained

Stained

Let’s do some unnecessary plugging for Chocolate Kiss. Their house blend iced tea is a must-try. Honey is served separately so you can choose how sweet you’d want it to be. Calamansi is also available. It’s refillable for just Php 70.

Chocolate Kiss Iced Tea (House Blend)

Chocolate Kiss Iced Tea (House Blend)

Devil’s Food Cake is one of Chocolate Kiss’s famous desserts. Chocolate lovers would greatly appreciate this. The marshmallow icing is sinful.

Devil's Food Cake

Devil’s Food Cake

If you’re tired of chocolates, try their cake sampler. It has four small slices of cakes: carrot, orange, dayap and kahlua. Kahlua won’t disappoint you. The carrot cake is moist and bestest there is in town. Orange is orange is orange is awesome. And dayap is refreshingly good. Life’s sweet with this sampler for only Php 95.

Cake Sampler

Cake Sampler

After the indulgence at Choco Kiss, the group crossed to Art Circle. It used to be Old Manila then Odd Manila or was it the other way around? Anyway, they sell paintings, knicknacks and they have a coffee shop. Their quesadillas are highly recommended. Too bad the group could no longer indulge lest they risk implosion.

Art Circle Entrance

Art Circle Entrance

AC k and me

The group then headed upstairs to check out the stained glass wall. There was an unfinished painting lying on the third floor.

painting

Also, on the way up, some people just could not resist the urge for the contemporary art known as bathroom photobooth.

bathroom pics

Heading out, crossed the street to Film Center where a sorbetero stood guard near the driveway entrance under the merciless sun. Quesadillas the group could resist but will crumbled at the sight of dirty ice cream. Do not judge this people unless you’ve been in their shoes. And if you have, then bets are on that you had done the same.

Dirty Ice Cream

Dirty Ice Cream

Walked to the Carillon Plaza, which is shamelessly plastered with names of the donors. The bells looked lonely up there in the tower while down at the ground, Betty Go Belmonte et al probably gossip about UP selling out. No judgement. Swear.

Right across Carillon Plaza is the lagoon. Here, the group took a group photo, which could easily pass as the season premiere poster of How I Met Your Mother or Awkward or Mula Sa Puso.

Soap Opera

Soap Opera

The following is a study of trees. Seriously. No? Okay.

Compare and Contrast

Compare and Contrast

Did you spot the difference?

Did you spot the difference?

The group then split, Karen, Pen and I went to FC (Faculty Center of College of Arts and Letters) to drop by (unannounced) at my friend who apparently occupies Room#

yayo

Unfortunately, he wasn’t there at the time. The other half of the group, Met, Lester and Ryan, spent the time with the latest cultural phenomena known as camwhoring. Check out the priceless faces.

This is them making faces.

This is them making faces.

With their normal/default faces.

With their normal/default faces.

Please stand by for the finale of the (mis)adventures. Ciao!

’09 to ’13: Ordinary People Part 1 of 3

On the 3rd of the 11th came the 7th. This was back in ’09. It was a diverse group who would become writers and editors.

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Just like any other group, this one consists of the populars, the introverts, the geeks, the common enemy, the outcast, the leader and the clown. There were subgroups, too. Two things bound them, food and the common enemy.

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Then as days went by, people left and the group became smaller and smaller. Work schedules limited their time together but did not break the bond that had been forged.

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And on the 9th of the 3rd, they agreed to have brunch. And then maybe, karaoke. From Rockwell in Pasig to UP in Quezon City, the group was about to roll.

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It was a sumptuous meal filled with hearty laughter and retelling of history, capped by Chocolate Kiss’s famous cakes.

Chicken Barbecue

Chicken Barbecue

Chicken Alfredo

Chicken Alfredo

Fish Kiev

Fish Kiev

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff

Chicken Kiev

Chicken Kiev

Devil's Food Cake

Devil’s Food Cake

L- R: Carrot, Orange, Dayap, Kahlua

L- R: Carrot, Orange, Dayap, Kahlua

With bellies full and hearts warmed, the group then headed to the lagoon.

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And the next part of their adventure unfolds in the next post. Laters!

Monday The Magnificent

monday

I haven’t been anti-Monday for a few years now. And it feels great. Gone is the dread on Sunday night. I don’t worry unnecessarily on how the coming week would turn out. Not that I stopped caring, I just become more accepting of the fact that work starts on a Monday. At the risk of sounding pretentious, I actually get a high on Mondays. And yes, all because of those kind of cliches in the self-help genre, namely, new start, new things, new tasks.

So before I alienate you all from my blog, let me shift gears and talk about the weekend instead. I hope yours was as good as mine or even better. I was pretty pleased with my weekend because I got to accomplish a lot on my to-do list. I got a few ones unfinished but then I’m not perfect. First off, groceries done. My brother and I would survive the next 2 weeks, hopefully, with our stock. Next is the laundry, of which 90% was taken care of my brother. Hey, he’s temporarily unemployed, ergo, he has to do 98% of the household chores. Says who? Says me, that is. Then, my bedroom is clean and organized again. Fresh sheets, cosmetics in their proper places, clothes neatly stacked and hanged in the closet. TV and DVD player surfaced dusted. Still wonder how and where it got so much dust. And did I mention fresh sheets? One of the best things in life, right? Also, Skyped with my cousin, Ves. He’s in Canada and is my favorite cousin. Skyping with him is a major feat. Hello, video call! Then there was the Chinese New Year’s party we celebrated midnight of the 10th. We had pizza, wine and lava cake. Hail, S&R for our food.

Now we come to the weekend’s highlight, which is one of my passion and yet also happens to be one of my fears, writing. I started blogging last year but stopped after a few entries. I just couldn’t do it. I came up with a hundred and one crappy excuses not to do it. Shoved it at the back of my mind and drown the thought before it could resurface. But I’ve recently resolved that I want to do this again, and more importantly, I want to do this every chance I could get. Anyway, my passion for writing and the lack of it sometimes is a topic reserved for a different entry or entries.

In the meantime, I’ll be working and ticking out my to-do list today while Monday, the magnificent bast**ard, hovers over my shoulder before heading off to a corner to sit and mind his own business.

Have a great week, mates!

PS. Would love to hear about your weekend, too. I’m sure mine’s pretty plain and vanilla compared to some of you. Not that I’m complaining. 🙂

Photo courtesy of http://www.cosplay.ph/gallery/index.php/Cosplay-Snapshots-Project/2010/Miku-Hatsune-jump-high

The Myth That Is Productivity

To give you the context, my job does not require me to work hard all the time. We observe peaks and off peaks in relation to the earnings season. Earnings, meaning, when publicly listed companies and private companies with public debt profiles report their quarterly or half-year earning results.  And quarterly peaks don’t last a quarter. Of course, you should have gotten that already because of my first statement.  Peak usually is a month to a month and a half long, including ramp up and down. When I say we work hard, I mean, 15-minute breaks forgotten, meals eaten on the station, pre- and post-shift OT required (oh yeah, that’s how you do the hyphen), RDOTs taken advantage of and restroom break is a luxury.

Before you judge my company as a slave driver, let me balance the picture by telling you the fabulous life we have during off peak. They usually give us holiday offs during this time, 15 total in a year, exclusive of our 15 vacation leaves. Hardly no conferences to be transcribed so we go batshit crazy on the internet. Although sometimes they give us mundane tasks like do call research on companies that we don’t have to do research anymore. Sad to say, our workforce managers don’t really have the skill to think of appropriate tasks for us. And so during this time, productivity seems to be mythical, in constrast to productivity being legendary during peak.

When I got to the office today, I did not have an assigned task at all. I went through all my mails first. Cleaned my inboxes. Yes, plural. Cluttered inboxes is my equivalent of not taking my vitamins when I was a kid. It just gnaws at me and I could not wait for the next day so I could get my next dose to make up for it. After the inboxes are taken of — wait, is inboxes a real word? How about you take care of that, mate? So then I check on my Twitter and FB page, check updates, unsuscribe, like, judge, retweet and judge some more. Twitter is helpful because it practically makes my list of news to read for the day, mostly from Huffington Post and Rappler. My daily holy hour is reading on Huffington Post with a bit of Rappler now, since Red* introduced it to me. This I have to do otherwise I just feel disconnected to the world. I can’t do CNN because it’s too cluttered. Reuters is okay but mostly for financial news, and yes, Reuters is competitor of the company I work for. Well, a wise man once said, keep your enemies closer. So Huffington Post as I was saying, although they have a lot of nonsense articles, believe me they do have a lot of those slow-day-at-the-newsroom types, but thanks to Twitter who eliminates them for me, is a not-too-noisy online newspaper. I like their layout. Rappler is even better. And Huffington has a lot of truly great bloggers.

So once I felt like I am so one with the world, I was reminded by my supervisor to review the key number errors on transcripts I have worked on, which I did, but not before posting a teeny bit on here. Then I was thoroughly reviewing my KNEs, you cannot possibly imagine how high I get for every error I could overturn, know what I mean? Here’s the thing. Thetranscript I edit gets proofed and then I get errors for incorrect numbers entered, which sucks big time because no one appreciates being told you’re wrong when you think you’re right, unless you’re a retard, which I don’t think a retard would even admit. Okay, that was shit. But you get the picture right? Wow, these KNEs really get to me. So errors, check, audio, check docs, argue points, fill out templates, submit to God, God being the auditors here at work.

Then my supervisor IMed me and told me that the workforce managers are assigning research tasks on newly added companies. I don’t mind that at all. Let me get this straight, I just look like I don’t like what’s happening around me most of the time, but actually I’m a pretty straight individual. You pay me to work, I’ll do it. Well, not that clear cut but you get it. And I love research. Actually, I love my job. I’m very lucky I got this one and I’ll be working here for almost three years now and I still like what I’m doing, mostly because I learn something new everyday. Part of the package. But then this research task given by WFM stinks. They’re not new companies added to our coverage as they have claimed. Nothing new with them at all. So that leaves me with a lot of time to kill.

You can only go to the bathroom so many times before you get accused of a serious urinary tract infection or of being gay. And there are only a handful of discount-giving online sites you could check. I don’t play online games. I have very poor hand to eye coordination. I can’t play music the whole time because I’m afraid my ears would get so infested with bacteria that I’d lose them. I checked my e-books and the ones left are by Ayn Rand and Salman Rushdie, not exactly appealing at the moment. Can I download Mills & Boon’s e-books for free? I’ll ask our Download God tomorrow. Maybe he can help me.

Maybe I should write a to-do list like decent people do, even it only says, do nothing, at least I’d get to cross it out.