A tribute to my Hometown


A few weeks ago, I took a leave from work to attend some personal errands. I’m thankful that everything can be accomplished within my hometown. I finished everything in less than a day. This is a much welcomed surprise, especially since I dealt with some government agencies. No long lines, waiting area is convenient and employees are accommodating.

In the course of transferring from one government agency to another, I found myself navigating places within my hometown. I didn’t mind the humid afternoon and wasn’t bothered with the threats of afternoon rain showers. I enjoyed my time walking around the city. My hometown is classified as a city, but much of it is a quiet residential community. I love its suburbs atmosphere. The city market offers the best and affordable produce. It’s a walkable city. Sidewalks are clean and wide. The roads are also clean and houses sufficient pedestrian lanes. Street lights are working and friendly people, especially those working in the barangay, are deployed for everyone. It’s easy to ask for directions. Safety is not a problem. You don’t need to own a car. Cheap, convenient and disciplined tricycle drivers are everywhere. The city is either not populated or has more than enough space to accommodate dwellers.

It’s not hard to love my hometown. Everything you need to survive is here, except for a high paying job. Unfortunately…. Unlike nearby cities like Pasig, Taguig and Quezon City, high rise buildings are a rare sight. There are only two Starbucks branches. We have several supermarkets, but no gigantic shopping malls. We have one small branch of SM, which you can navigate in less than 30 minutes. There’s only one BPO company operating. Most jobs are found in banks, City Hall, Basic Education schools, small restaurants and the few private companies. We still have a number of shoe factories, but most are operating as medium scale enterprise. The large companies producing shoes are already operating on 70% importation. Sad to say though, jobs here are quite limited. However, I would like to believe that it’s a haven for starting entrepreneurs. Rent is relatively cheaper and transactions with government agencies are fast and convenient.

As soon as I finished my errands, I decided to spent the afternoon walking around the city. Everything felt refreshing. I didn’t realize this will be a great breather. I felt safe and at peace. I wish I could held on to this for the remaining weeks or months. But I have another life away from home. I have a day job in Manila. I need to be away everyday, travel and spent time in traffic and join the thousands to millions of fellow members of the workforce to earn a decent living.

It suddenly occurred to me, I wish I can find a job within my hometown. It’s the same job I have in the city. Same pay, same stress, except that I’m conveniently housed in my peaceful hometown.


Freelance works accomplished! If this happened a year or months ago, it will be one of those days when I could say, I’m at my best. My heart is full from hearing a thankful client. I’m happy for the simple reason that I accomplished something. I’ve done something good. But life is so much different today. I’m on a difficult transition period. I need to make a life changing decision.

In the recent years, I’ve been struggling of my static work life. I feel hopeless. I get depressed of the fact that I’m in my 30s, remains unaccomplished. It doesn’t help that I see contemporaries at the prime of their career. I feel depressed of the fact that I will remain as a staff for the rest of my life. A limited salary, debts to pay and all the fears of not being able to support my aging parents and special brother. Once in a while, I detach myself from reality by daydreaming of a better life. It feels great but after a while, I’m back to my pathetic self. I read, reread and continuously get attracted by articles covering topics on, signs that you need to leave your workplace, when you should resign, signs of being dissatisfied with your work. The messages are the same. All signs tell me, time to look for better opportunities.

I started seeking jobs since 2015. Only one application prospered, it was from another school within Manila. I was nearing to employment, but decided to forgo. There was something about the environment. I didn’t like the initial description of work given. A typical day is having meetings with people …. Oh no, hosting meetings are not my cup of tea. I’m aware that being employed also means attending meetings. However, doing it on a daily basis is not for me. I stopped seeking work from 2017 to 2018. The hopelessness still thrived in me but in general, 2018 felt good. Maybe because of the continuous downpour of freelance works, the presence of my friends and my family remained healthy. I’m not really sure, but as far as my feelings can remember, 2018 was great.

I left 2018 on a positive note, hoping and praying that 2019 will remain the same. But as always, life has other plans. Life is filled with surprises. Some pleasant, some will test your strength and character.

My immature self is telling me, I should have been thankful of my static career life. Life was simpler and less complicated. Everything remained steady. That alone is more than enough reason to feel happy and contented. Times like this make me appreciate those days. I may not have everything I wanted, but the silence and stillness of life is priceless.

These days, I feel restless. I’ve been living with all the fears and worries the past weeks. Anyone reading this, I would really appreciate your prayers.


Even if I don’t update my posts, I’m certain that I will continue maintaining this account. I planned to blog at least once a month, but some other things came along the way. If I’m not tired, I find comfort in the company of a few and trusted friends.  I believe this is way better than my attempts to battle and resolve my own struggles.

15 years have passed, I’m halfway to the typical 30 years of work-life-expectancy. Cliche as it may sound, I want to be given the opportunity to express the usual and expected reactions.

Had it really been 15 years?

Where did time go?

Part of me still feels that I’m still the fresh graduate struggling to find my niche in the professional workplace

What did I gain? … weight hahaha

Flash back to 15 years ago … I graduated in April 2004. As early as my last semester in college, I started browsing classified ads, opened a Jobstreet account and sent letter of applications to different companies. Modesty aside, I was one of the top students of our batch. It sounds great but in reality, the pressure of finally landing on a decent job was more intense. Much is expected from a student who graduated with honors. A few months ago, I tried to count the number of companies and job interviews I attended. Honestly, I don’t feel proud of it. It  took a number of rejections before I landed to the company that has been my home for 15 years.

  1. First Job Interview – iBank (International Exchange Bank in Makati) I skipped my classes to attend the employment examination and interview. Nothing prospered, but I appreciate the company’s effort of sending a mailed letter of my failed application. The bank was eventually acquired by Union Bank, to which I remember a fellow applicant. He was a bank teller form Union Bank complaining of the stringent promotion policy of their bank. The rejection gave me a feeling of relief. 🙂
  2. BPI – I attended their mass recruitment, took the examination on another date and was eliminated after the first leg of the examination
  3. Chinabank Head Office in Makati – same story with BPI
  4. Security Bank Head Office in Makati – I remember being a walk-in applicant. After submitting my application to a BPO in Ortigas, I took advantage of the time and headed to Makati. I was accommodated and given a date for examination. I didn’t expect their recruitment examination will last one day. I passed all the examinations, was interviewed and offered as a position on Telemarketing. I didn’t like the opportunity. I didn’t anymore pursue the remaining steps for employment.
  5. The BPO in Ortigas (can’t remember the name) – I saw their ad from Inquirer’s Job Market. I woke up early to submit my resume, I was accommodated but nothing prospered.
  6. National Statistics Office (NSO) – Other than banks, I wanted to pursue a career in government service. I took the examination with a classmate. She passed the exam, while I didn’t. Up to this date, my classmate remains with the company.
  7. National Tax Research Commission – Me and my batchmate applied as walk in applicants. We were given an examination and nothing happened after. 😀
  8. Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) – I was only interviewed once. It was a panel interview with different directors. I wasn’t feeling optimistic. Much to my surprise, I learned that I passed the interview. I got a call when I’m already processing my application to my current employer of 15 years.
  9. Skechers Philippines – I was applying for Manager Trainee, took the exam, was interviewed and ended up with nothing. Though months after, I was surprised to receive  a call from them.
  10. Sterling Philippines – The head office is in Magallanes (one of the farthest interviews I attended). I waited so long, but was interviewed twice on the same day. I thought I was nearing employment but likewise, nothing prospered.
  11. Guaranteed Marketing Services (GMS) – This is in my list of worst. They found my details from my university’s Career and Placement Office. I attended two interviews and took a series of examination. They called me after two months and was invited to report. To my surprise, they took me for a reliever position. It involved a clerical work, which can be done by a High School graduate. They asked me to work on the same day, without telling me if I would get paid or not. I threw an excuse after lunch break. I went home feeling so stupid and frustrated.
  12. Geo Spatial Solutions in PSE Tower – I had a pleasant interview. But as far as I can remember, they just pooled my profile for future employment.
  13. Rustans Corporation – I always associate the company with luxury. Hence, I was expecting a breath taking corporate office in Buendia Makati. To my surprise, the head office is housed in a small, compact and old building.  I initially submitted my resume, was not selected for interview but received a call to report on the succeeding weeks. I like the position (analyst), took the exam and was interviewed. I was scheduled for final interview, but decided to let go. I chose my current employer.
  14. Robinsons Land in Ortigas – I’ll never forget how tiny is their HR site. However, I appreciate their efficiency and customer service. Took a quick examination, interviewed on another day, which landed on the same day when I had my first interview with my current employer.
  15. My current employer of 15 years 🙂 – 15 on 15 hahahaha Every Sunday night, I will borrow my Lolo’s copy of the Manila Bulletin. I found a small ad of job opportunities of an educational institution in Manila. The institution is far from home, though the location was familiar. I already visited this institution when I competed for a national quiz bee. I won first place and remembered having positive thoughts about the school. At that time, I never realised  this educational institution will be my second home in the next 15 years.

I’m not sure if I should be proud of my 15 attempts to finally secure my employment. Hahaha But in the last 15 years, allow me to again create another list of memorable experiences.

  1. First Presentation – A month after securing my tenure, my superior enlisted me to a research presentation. It once crossed my mind that I might be asked to present my first research output in the future. I dismissed the idea because I felt so little in an institution that housed educators. After weeks of preparation, I successfully aced my presentation. I’m indebted to my superior, who challenged and took a chance on me.
  2. Second Presentation – I was again asked to present another research output, this time to members of the management committee.
  3. I finished my MBA – I took advantage of the subsidised education and finished my much planned masteral degree.
  4. Research Presentation in Taiwan – I wrote about this several times in this blog. This opportunity came so dramatic. The conference was scheduled in Manila in 2010. Unfortunately, the hostage taking incident in Luneta threatened the Taiwanese organizers. I cried several days for this lost opportunity. A few months after, I received great news. The conference will push through on the succeeding year. The organizers considered my paper and best of everything, the conference was held in a prestigious university in Taiwan.
  5. Gained lifelong friends (T, M and A) – The workplace gave me different stories on friendship. There was a group of managers, who became the best of friends. They were so close to the extent that each became the godparent of their children and secondary sponsors of their wedding. In the course of time and change of management, everyone parted ways. Another group of managers used to dislike another manager. Today, these managers became allies of each other. In my case, I’m proud that the colleagues turned friends I had years ago, were still the same group of friends I keep.
  6. Burned bridges, cold war  – Still about friendship, just when I thought that I have the best group of friends…. I realized, there was someone who traded our friendship for opportunities.
  7. Philippine Quality Award – Our organization acquired it and modesty aside, I claim that I have significant contribution on this endeavor.
  8. First time to receive an outstanding rating – It came from my short lived superior.
  9. Earned my freelancing career – A superior from another office was the first to recognize my capability. She gave me my first decent freelance earnings at Php 6,000. Up to this day, she still gives me client referrals.
  10. Got my dream to teach – Less than a month after I submitted my masteral thesis, a superior gave me the opportunity to teach.
  11. Got suspended for tardiness – This was one of my lowest points in my career life.
  12. Won three times in the Christmas party’s raffle draw – Yay! I won a microwave oven (it still works after 14 years), Php 7,000 in cash and recently, a flat screen TV.
  13. Assisted in improving our promotion policies – I knew how it feels not to be promoted and stagnant with your career life. The revision of promotion policies will always be one of my significant contributions.
  14. Transferred to a new office – I moved from research to corporate planning. So much changed in my life after this decision. It deserves another blog post.
  15. Promoted with reluctance – Me today 😦 I have scattered thoughts and sentiments with the promotion I received last June. Truth to be told, I never wanted the position. Added to this, everything came from a painful story. Unlike other employees who get promoted, I never felt that happiness or fulfillment that it was finally a dream happening. I’ll relate this better in another post.

A few years ago, I started entertaining the idea of venturing to freelancing and entrepreneurship. Much of these were triggered by these factors

  1. I’m tired of the every day routine. Wake up – commute – work – commute – sleep – repeat
  2. I envy freelancers, who have full control of their time, working arrangements and schedule. I prefer to work in the evening till dawn, then sleep the entire day. This system worked for me on freelance works I handle on weekends.
  3. Dealing with unreasonable colleagues – At the workplace, I don’t have a choice but to continuously deal with them. Despite the hassles, I have to be kind and understanding to them at all times
  4. I feel sad whenever I see colleagues retiring after 30 years of service. We honor them but my heart feels that pinches of pain.
  5. I will develop a kidney disease, diabetes or heart ailment if I remain at the workplace and embrace its stress in the next 15 years.
  6. I wanted to earn more. Employment provides a steady source of income but not the opportunity to earn more. Finding the right formula on entrepreneurship and freelancing are the key.
  7. I want to eat healthy and lose weight. Eating and working from home can help me a with this goal.
  8. While I’m thankful for my hard earned degree in Economics, my heart has been calling me to return to the creative field. The dream of becoming an artist, painter, designer haunts me these days. I wanted to relearn drawing or sharpen my knowledge and skills in photography. Added to this, I hope I can pursue a second career from these interests.

I don’t know where life will take me, at least on the next 15 years or more of my work life. If there’s anything I wish for, silence and peace of mind. Cliche? And no, I’m not even kidding. I don’t wish (yet) something grand . All I want, is the assurance that whatever it takes, I’ll be okay.


PS I noticed, my most read posts are those that deal with job interviews . This gave me an idea, I might write a series of posts about it. While we have glassdoor, jobstreet and all other employment reviews site, I think it’s different when you hear a personal experience.


In the previous years, I can easily squeeze a blog post whenever something bad happens. I will relate my experience, highlight my principles and conclude each post with the hope that there will be better days. It was repetitive, a cycle that more often than not, leads to the same ending. Cliche as it may sound, time will eventually heal everything. By the time I revisit and reread the post, there’s another issue that came in. If there’s anything positive about this blogging cycle, it makes me realise how shallow are my previous struggles. And with how my thoughts appear here, I admit that I’m on the same cycle again.

Something alarming and life changing happened in my second home. I’m referring to my workplace, where I spend more than half of my life.

I cannot easily divulge what went wrong. Maybe, a few months or year from now. All I can say, this is not easy. I’m pressured with own set of principles and the need to please other significant people.

In time, I can relate everything.

First for 2019

t3_IMG_2951Finally, a blog post for 2019. It’s been three months or almost a quarter since I last opened this blog. As much as I’d to say so much has changed, life remained the same. I carry same old issues and struggles in life. I have so much to say, but everything is so scattered and disorganized in my mind. I’ll just allow my thoughts to flow on its own.

I’ll be back on the succeeding days to write again. 🙂