March 23, 2012

What A Ride!

God is good. That's what I always tell people every time they congratulate me. 

My 4 years in the Ateneo have been one heck of a roller coaster ride. There were momentary ups, inevitable downs, and twisted loops that will make you want to scream your throat out. There were even times when you'd feel sick because you can no longer stand it. In this ride, regret lingers at every corner that you'll wish for nothing but for everything to be over. But now that this ride is about to descend and take a full stop, all I can do is look back at the journey that has given me an experience that I will never forget. Seeing what I've been through definitely calls for a pat on the back because who would've thought I'd survive all that?

Well, God did. God was with me amidst the bliss, despondency, and erratic moments throughout this ride. True enough, I wouldn't have survived college without His grace. He was the safety bar that kept me in place. He was the gravity that pulled me down every time I felt like I was about to fly or flip over to the side. He was my companion who watched me scream but kept me safe. And all I had to do was hold on to Him and trust Him with all my heart - even if it felt like it was not where it's supposed to be because of the sudden twists and turns.

While most people think senior year was relatively easy compared with the first three, the complete opposite was true for me. As soon as I found out that I was a few points away from being Cum Laude, I decided not to waste time; I had to put my best foot forward. I was so intent into meeting my desired QPI that I couldn't afford to give in to senioritis. After spending sleepless nights writing, memorizing, and reading, God rewarded me with a quatro sem! I can now finally tick one entry off my bucket list. However, despite this, my cumulative QPI was still .005 short from reaching Cum Laude. Although I knew that it will be pointless to fight for it because the Standards Committee would look for tangible proof, I still tried to talk to my teachers in the first semester. As expected, no one agreed to change the grade especially because another semester has already passed. Even if it didn't go the way I wanted it to be, I still felt like a winner because I am consoled by the fact that I was able to do something. At least I no longer have to waste time wondering what could have happened if I fought for it. Just like what one speaker from our Pabaon said, "Ateneans fight for battles that need to be fought, not just the fights that they can win." Besides, I'd rather live a life of oh well's than a life of what if's

Aside from my race to grabbing a Latin Honor, I was also pressured to get a decent job before I graduate. After applying and doing a series of interviews, I finally bagged a position from this particular FMCG company. Unfortunately, they only gave me a week to respond to their offer. I should be happy because I already have the job security that I have been looking for, BUT it didn't feel right. It felt like I will not be able to weight my options wisely if I will consider this job offer alone. I wanted to wait for other opportunities; I was determined not to close my door yet. And so, although it was hard for me, I decided to decline the job. I was on the verge of regretting what I did but again, God didn't let me be. He gave me that pang of hope that made me feel like something big is about to come. True enough, the day after declining the offer, this certain company that I have been eyeing for called and told me that I got the Management Trainee Position!

It felt so surreal. It was like a dream that I didn't want to wake up from. I was so happy that tears streamed down my face. Unlike the first offer, this call felt so right that I was willing to sign the contract right then and there if it was presented to me. Again, another prayer was answered. I got my dream job days before my graduation. I think this is the best graduation gift anyone can every have!

College was tough but God is tougher. He is bigger than all my fears combined. I wouldn't have survived my 4 years in college if He did not give me a family who supported everything that I did; friends who kept me sane; roommates who shared every waking moment with me; block mates who studied and reviewed with me; and most importantly, Tim, my boyfriend, who never failed to show his love, support, and admiration. He was the missing puzzle piece that I never thought I had. 

I will not be where I am now without Him so tomorrow, as I go up that stage, I would firmly shake Fr. Jett's hand and give a dignified bow to the Savior who had my back all throughout this crazy ride. 

This is for you, Lord.

November 08, 2011

Hong Kong!

I'm back! It's been a while since I last sat down and wrote about another exciting adventure. My last first semester did not go smoothly but it sure was unforgettable and again, with God's help, I was able to survive it with flying colors! I got my well-deserved rest as soon as sembreak started. Well, aside from my 8-hour (or so) sleep and afternoon naps, I was able to spend some time with friends whom I haven't seen in ages and at the same time, catch up with my series. But what made this break extra special is my Hong Kong trip with the Ongers! 


Riding Hong Kong's MTR
It was a 4-day adventure that gave me the opportunity to witness the marvelous sites of Hong Kong. It also gave me the chance to spend time with my boyfriend and his amazing family! True enough, their company made this trip all the more fun!


It felt like we own the place!
As a first-timer, I had high expectations and Hong Kong did not only meet them, it also exceeded them. For one, Hong Kong's International Airport blew me away - especially if we are to compare it with ours. It was pristine, capacious and packed with a lot of stores and restaurants to choose from. It also followed an organized system that made the whole airport experience hassle-free. This first encounter already overshadowed my benchmark.  

From the airport, we rode a shuttle bus service to the hotel. At first I thought it was a bit pricey for a simple bus trip but apparently, we had the whole bus to ourselves! Now that is worth every penny!


Our very own shuttle bus service
We checked in at Panda Hotel. The good thing about this hotel is that it's situated right above a mall. Food, clothes and other items are escalators or elevators away. Lady luck stayed by our side a little bit longer because as soon as we got to the hotel, one of our rooms, which the girls immediately had dibs on, has been upgraded to a suite!


Sweet, indeed
After settling down and enjoying the comforts of our room, we headed on to our first stop: The Peak



The Peak is one of Hong Kong's well-known landmarks and as expected, it was packed with a lot of tourists. Riding the tram was part of the experience. The ride was short but the view was breathless. When we got to our destination, we decided to visit Madame Tussauds first. I'm sure most of you already know Madame Tussauds' works of art because the place is known for its waxed celebrities. There's one in Las Vegas, New York, Washington D.C, Amsterdam, Berlin, Blackpool, London, Vienna, Bangkok, Shanghai and of course, Hong Kong. We couldn't help but feel starstruck as soon as we saw the waxed figures of our favorite celebrities. They may not be real but this is the closest we can get to them!




Finally, The Peak! We didn't expect a cold weather in Hong Kong so I merely slipped on a simple dress and a blazer to cover it up. I was fine with it until we reached the The Peak! It was freezing up there! In fact, it's the coldest I've been to. The wind and the elevation of the area would explain why. Good thing, I had my snuggle buddy with me plus the view was simply incredible - so incredible that it made me forget about the chilly wind. We were supposed to watch the symphony of lights but we were too far from it that we can barely hear the music. We saw the lights but it looked pretty dull without the music so we just took advantage of the view. It was hard to take pictures, though, because we were all freezing and our hair almost covered our faces - well, except for the boys. 


The view from The Peak
We had to sit right next to each other to keep ourselves warm
My snuggle buddy
The commute going back to our hotel was long that we had to walk till our feet were on the verge of giving up. We went back exhausted but happy nonetheless, because our first day went amazingly well. We also didn't mind riding the MTR (HK's MRT) because it was so efficient that you'll actually enjoy riding it everyday - I know I did. 

Our second day was reserved for no other than Disneyland! At this point, I'll let my pictures explain our magical experience.


The Disneyland Train
The rides
The parade
The fireworks
It's really true when they say that Disneyland is the happiest place on earth. The walking part may be beyond tiring but the experience made it worth every walk. Everything was magical from the rides to the parades to the gift shops and of course, the fireworks! My childhood flashed before me. The magic, the characters and the stories I've cherished when I was a little girl lived before my very eyes. It's as if my childhood memories engulfed me and welcomed me back home. The only difference is that I finally found my prince charming.


Peter Pan and Tinkerbell
Our attempt of making it look real
Before capping the night off with Disneyland's fireworks, we had a buffet meal at Disneyland's Hollywood Hotel. We were supposed to eat at the Disneyland Hotel but unfortunately, it was already fully booked and can no longer accommodate guests.


Disneyland Hollywood Hotel Buffet
Our third day was spent on yet another theme park adventure: Ocean Park! While I was excited to try the rides in Disneyland, I was terrified with Ocean Park's because they all seemed pretty dangerous to me. Yes, I'm weak and my upset tummy did not help at all. I wasn't alone, though, because only a few of us had the guts to try the most dangerous rides. As for me, my trip already felt complete as soon as I saw the pandas!



The rest of the day was spent on shopping!! Did I mention I went gaga over H&M? Yeah. Most of my savings went there. No regrets though, hihi. 

On our last day, Tim and I decided to prepare breakfast for everyone. It's my way of thanking his family for sharing this adventure with me. After breakfast, most of them headed to Kowloon to shop while Tim and I, together with his siblings, stayed in the hotel to rest. After everyone has returned, the other half prepared to leave for the airport while our group stayed to shop some more!



Tired feet, aching body and an exhausted wallet - these are nothing compared with what I've experienced in Hong Kong; an experience that surely made my last sembreak MEMORABLE.


Of course, all of these will not be possible without Tim and his family.

God bless the Ongers!


*Credits to Alyssa Ong for the amazing photos

June 21, 2011

Summer at Unilever

It seemed like it was only yesterday when I was first introduced to Unilever. I was on my best corporate attire but I looked dumb. Yeah, dumb. I was surprised to know that Unilever did not follow a dress code. People were in their casual attire and everyone looked chill. From someone who's a first-timer in the corporate world, this put me in a shock. It was extraordinary to see bosses walk in their jeans, some even wore sleeveless tops. They were only obliged to wear their corporate attire in business meetings and presentations simply because it is but proper to do so.

My first week was relatively light. I was glad to be with fellow interns (see below) who have been with the company for more than 2 months. I was the only newbie back then but because of their help, I was able to adjust faster than I imagined. I memorized the offices and departments as if I was memorizing my classrooms; I remembered the names of everyone like it was the first day of school; and I worked as if I wanted to be a Dean's Lister. Yeah, it felt like school but harder and more fun.


Ange, Geor, Marty, Raina and me!
Actually, it's not hard, it's challenging. It shook my bones to do better, ordered my brain to work harder, trained my muscles to work faster and tugged my heart strings to love what I'm doing. I did all these while maintaing composure but inside, I was screaming. It was exhausting but with every challenge comes a lesson - a lesson that made me a better person.


My experience in Unilever was life-changing. It changed the way I viewed Marketing, Unilever and myself. I discovered my limits and aimed to overcome them. I found my boiling points and tried to stretch them even more. It was hard but it was definitely worth all the trouble.


At the same time, it was fun! It was fun working with people whom you know are responsible and smart. It feels good to be a follower of those whom you can really credit as leaders. At first, my bosses seemed intimidating because they were strict and uptight, but I'm glad that feeling eventually changed as soon as they started smiling, laughing and even, joking. What I liked about them is that they tell me, without any hesitations, that I did something stupid or wrong. They were blunt, upfront and frank. For someone who's like that, I understood where they're coming from and I loved it! I like how they take time to correct even my slightest mistakes. In fact, according to my boss, they do that because they want to push me even more. But of course, these corrections came with compliments. Hearing them say "good job" or "great" gave butterflies to my stomach. When they gave my stint a grade of 9/10, I got goosebumps.


It's one thing to satisfy their expectations and it's another to exceed them.


Vic and Sarah, Cream Silk's Brand Manager and Assistant Brand Manager respectively
They surprised me on my last day!
Cake with "Yvette, We'll Miss You"

Pizza!!


Sarah and I teamed up to surprise Vic on his birthday
The ever charming, Sir Arbs
My bosses were the best teachers that I ever had. They showed me how it's like to be a real Marketeer. They showed me how they were able to make Cream Silk the number one conditioner in the Philippines. The lessons they taught me, from doing a great presentation to organizing an event, opened my eyes to new and better ideas. They made me feel like I've been living under a rock all these years.


The Glam Girls performed during our IBC Awards Night at GMA 7
Chris was one lucky intern!
Solenn Heusaff
Although it seems like a tough job, there were a lot of reasons to love it. Aside from the perks like meeting and working with agencies, suppliers and celebrities; having the chance to join events and launches; and being able to use products that haven't been released to the market, I have my fellow interns to thank. I would not have survived my stint without their help.


It was such an honor to meet some of Ateneo, DLSU, UP and UA&P's brightest students. Everyone was unique in their own way but all shared the same level of intelligence and leadership. We helped each other from ordering our lunch to juggling our tasks. They made work more tolerable and fun. True enough, our two-month stint established a life-long friendship.





Unilever Leadership Program Summer Interns 2011
Last summer, the farthest I've been to was Manila.
I soaked under the sun in a dress and I spent my weekdays at work.
No beach, no bikinis, no road trips, just WORK...
but it was my BEST SUMMER EVER!!





April 23, 2011

It is always/never too late


There will come a point when we'll find ourselves contented, satisfied and at peace. Undeniably, this is a result of a series of practices that eventually turned into a routine, a point when all our efforts to adjust will be nothing but an effortless familiarity. Although everything will seem permanent and constant, this particular state will link itself to an inevitable downfall. Once reached, we'll lose hold of the important things; they will slip and blend with the rest of the "constants" and only until a certain part of this framed picture is lost will we be thrown back to reality. 

Life is a series of episodes that we always strive to survive. Everyday is a challenge that we always try to win. However, just when we are capable enough to rise above the situation will we lose grip of those that really matter. Only when our routine is suddenly disrupted will we realize how important something is. At this point, we will find ourselves drowning in a never-ending well of regret.

I'm saying this because it is only when I started working did I realize how important school is. People close to me can attest my excitement; they know how eager I was to work. I was inspired to earn on my own and  the absence of homework and tests was overwhelming! I was thrilled by the idea of having complete control over my life, most importantly, my time. I was so excited that I decided to spend my summer in an internship program.

When i started working, i realized that these perks will just fall under a little compartment because the rest will be occupied by tremendous stress and pressure. After working for about a month, i found myself wanting to go back to school. I found myself craving for those tests and homework because despite the difficulty, these things are a lot easier to quell, especially because I am comforted by the idea of being surrounded by a bunch of fellow students who are learning the same thing. Also, school work, in general, exhibit a certain pattern that can be mastered to our advantage. True enough, It's a lot easier for students to find their formula to success because once work starts, you'll be dumbfounded at the things that you have to work on; you'll be surprised with how much things you have to master and above all these, your boss expects that you already know everything that there is to know. Unlike school, we are on our own. I can go on and on with their differences but more than anything, I'd like to point out the fact that things will change and before we could even regret taking school for granted, we should first realize that our happiest, easiest and most exciting experiences happen in school.

I'm lucky because before I could even regret trying to fast forward, I realized that I still have another year to treasure. I may have overlooked my previous years in college but i still have another one to do everything that i wish to do and work on the things that i wish to excel on.

Needless to say, the things that i experienced at work were at the expense of learning. Despite the pressure and the challenges, I end each day with a better understanding, a wider knowledge and a significant experience that cannot be taught solely within the four walls of our classroom.

March 05, 2011

FEBRUARY IS LOVE


I may be a little biased but that's because February has been really amazing for me. It gave me a lot of reasons to celebrate and with an amazing boyfriend, February officially became my FAVORITE month!

1. My birthday

Last year, my birthday was filled with so much love. I got 5 delicious cakes and had 3 different surprises from my friends. But that was when I celebrated my 20th. Now that I was on my 21st, I decided to celebrate it in an intimate way. However, Tim, being the sweet boyfriend that he is, still managed to surprise me despite my hints of not wanting one. He is stubborn that way.

He cooked for me as though his gift was not enough. It was his first time to cook a meal and he did it all by himself. His sister and brother were with me in cheering for him. I'm glad our cheers weren't put to waste because he did an amazing job! His Creamy Philly Pasta was really yummy.

This is Tim serving me his first ever meal

A closer look on Tim's Creamy Philly Pasta

This + his GIFT made me a very happy girl!

2. Anniversary

It was my first time to officially celebrate an anniversary and I'm glad because it was with Tim. We celebrated it at the 16th Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Clark, Pampanga. All the ONGers went and as soon as my Finance test was over, we rushed to Fontana to spend the night with his family while the other half was at Mimosa. The boys were separated from the girls, of course, and Ate Jackie, Tim's cousin, was my roommate. 

It was a day spent on buffets, hot air balloons and airplanes. The sky was clear at that time and the weather was perfect for flying. 

Ate Jackie, my roommate


Hot Air Balloons before they all went up the sky



Among all the other other uniquely-shaped Hot Air Balloons, Darth Vader got the most attention

Happy Anniversary!!

Tim's cousins got me a Flower Pinwheel as a souvenir



Tim's mom bought a miniature Hot Air Balloon

3. Heart's Day

We don't celebrate Valentine's Day in my religion because we don't believe in the concept of saints such as St. Valentine. Regardless, Tim and I still had an amazing night. That day was no different from any other day but of course, the flowers made the whole thing special. He also got me ALL my favorite chocolates and snacks, which eventually led to an amazing picnic by the pool.


Lovely white roses


White Roses send a message of loyalty and says "I am worthy of you" 

4. Last Hurrah!

We ended February with a BANG at the 2nd International Pyromusical Competition in MOA. We had a scrumptious buffet at Fish and Co. and had the most amazing time with my sister and Immi. That night, competing countries were China and France. China had nice, never-before-seen fireworks. Well, they should since fireworks originated from their country. France, on the other hand, had simple ones but their fireworks danced with the music. Both may have their own set of strengths and weaknesses, but it sure was fun watching these two countries perform.












Smiley Fireworks!


Flower Fireworks!


Ferris Wheel Fireworks!


Saturn Fireworks!

With my dear sister, Tricia

With Trish and Immi

With Timmy and Immi

Well, that's it for February. Now, I can't help but look forward to summer!