Category Archives: workwise

a fork in the road

I’ve been playing Green Day’s Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) over and over for the past hour, which is not really good sign, because it means that I’m scared shitless but nevertheless trying to convince myself that everything will turn out fine.  It’s a new year, and while a huge part of me is awash with optimism and excitement and all that, there’s also that small, nagging part of me that’s, well, scared shitless.

But hey, there’s that line from the movie Bounce: “It’s not brave if you’re not scared.”


P.S.  Okay, in plain words, I basically go all Time-of-Your-Life-ish every time I switch jobs. This is just me feeling the pressure of having to prove myself and live up to expectations.

P.P.S. While I don’t exactly count Bounce as one of my all-time favorite movies, it is the source two classic lines: the one above, and “I want someone to say goodnight to, a last call of the day. I don’t have a last call of the day. Do you?” That line was just pure torture.  Emo!


a different celebration

So I sit here, barely two hours before my birthday, typing away at my laptop, which was exactly the way I feared I would spend my birthday. A couple of weeks ago I was toying with the idea of celebrating it by stuffing my backpack and going off somewhere by myself, but obviously, nothing came out of that idea.  I wanted to do something major, see, to distract myself, because my birthdays have always been either appallingly uneventful or else heralded by bouts of merciless self-assessment, self-esteem plunge, panic attack, and severe depression, in that order.

This time, though, the past weeks have been so crazy that I didn’t really have time to sit down and have that merciless self-assessment and the whole ball of wax that goes with it.  Instead, I have been busy juggling several commitments and tasks, and, well, ahem, helping to pass a landmark legislation on environmental sustainability and energy security.

The House passed its version of the Renewable Energy Bill last June, the Senate passed its version early last week, and, sooner than expected, both chambers immediately convened the bicameral conference session needed to reconcile the two versions of the bill and prepare it for final approval.  Yesterday, the bicam panel finished its job in a three-hour meeting and today, the eve of my birthday, the House of Representatives and the Senate gave me the best birthday gift and finally approved the Renewable Energy Bill.   It just needs to be zipped over to Malacañang, wait for the President’s signature or just dilly-dally at her desk for thirty days, whichever comes first, and then, finally, the country will have its Renewable Energy Law, or, officially, “An Act Promoting the Development, Utilization and Commercialization of Renewable Energy Resources and for Other Purposes.”

Tidbit: the earliest form of the RE Bill, then called the Non-Conventional Energy Bill, was filed way back 1989.  It later on got called the New and Renewable Energy Bill, before subsequently settling into plain Renewable Energy Bill.

Today’s approval at the House and Senate were just formalities, though. The real high point was the day before at the Hotel Sofitel, when the bicameral meeting adjourned and we knew that all the hard work had finally paid off. Towards the last half of the meeting, as the legislators quickly went through the last of the provisions that did not need lengthy discussions, we in the Renewable Energy Coalition were looking at each other in excitement going, wow, they’re really going to end this today! It could have gone worse, see; some bicams need several meetings or go on until the wee hours. Evidently, in this case, there really was no need for much debate, the legislators just agreed that yes, we need to encourage renewable energy development, and hammered out a pretty generous package of incentives and market mechanisms. Continue reading

office email exchanges

The following is a series of emails among officemates who obviously have a bit of time to spare, or else a great need to seek distraction from numerous impending deadlines. Names may or may not have been changed to protect (or not) the dignities and depravities of the persons concerned.

Email Series 1: The Birth of a Methodology

From: Vikki

Hello! ^_^

I placed some songs here (links to folder location). Just copy whatever you want ha. You have until 6pm, then I’ll delete them na.

1. Colbie Caillat – Coco Album (happy happy joy joy album)
2. Paolo Nutini (the irish lad)
3. Ari Hest – Strangers Again (para sa mga bigo sa pag-ibig. Haha)
4. Josh Groban – So She Dances (para sa mga fans ni Josh Groban. sweet song)
5. Peter Gabriel – The Book of Love (narinig niyo na to eh)
6. Zero 7 – Destiny (Make-out song… hahahahaha)

Enjoy! J

(Vikki, you see, is this quiet, demure kind of person, who (as far as we all know) is still single and unspoiled. So the make-out song kinda threw us.)

Reply from: Rina

“Zero 7 – Destiny (Make-out song…)”

– and you know this becaaauuse??? J

Reply from: Ronn

Becaaaauuuusse… nagdadalaga na si vikkilu!

Meroon bang available album un vikks? Hehe… J

(Ronn, in the meantime, is the guy whose sexuality we even wondered about for a while when he first joined the company, but his, em, preferences were established beyond any reasonable doubt during the Boracay company outing. But as they say, what happens in Boracay stays in Boracay, so let’s not go into that).

Reply from: Vikki

Hahahahaha.. ano baaaaaa. Hindi ko pa nagagamit ang kantang yan. 😛

Wala akong album pero sige hanap ako. (bkit whole album?? Nakuuuuu RONNN!!!)

Reply from: Ronn

Hay naku vikks, matagal na akong nagdalaga… haha…

But mas maganda kasi pag ready ka with the album in case a friend asks for one… hehe

From this, a measurement scale emerges in which a person may be rated on a make-out scale according to the appropriate number of make-out songs. Is this guy/girl worth one song? Three? An album? 8GB?

Anyway, a few days later Vikki sent off another make-out song, prompting Mika to ask, “What is it with Vikki and make-out songs?” I guess there’s nothing wrong with being prepared 🙂

Email series 2: A Picture Worth a Thousand Jokes

From (UP alumna): Mika

[emails link to photo of La Salle cheerdance squad misspelling the name of the school during the UAAP competition. Let’s not add fuel to the fire by putting the link here, ok?]

Ho ho ho!

Reply from La Salle alumnus: Josh

It was a way of protesting against societal norms. Har har. I don’t think the formation was done yet but the picture was hastily taken. Hehe.

Reply from: Mika

To crush your defense, the main point of the picture is that there’s a spotter facing the letter formations but they still did not correct themselves. Kulang talaga sa practice, tsk tsk.

Reply from: Josh (burying himself deeper)

Exactly, the spotter seems to be giving the signal that the letters were misplaced and one of the lifters seem to be sending an inquiring face to the spotter. The formation wasn’t done yet. I could be wrong. Hehe.

Reply from (UP alumna): Rina

Oo nga naman no, the spotter was still trying to decide kung wrong spelling nga ba, give him some time! 🙂

Reply from: Mika

And in between the time the spotter was trying to figure out if there’s something wrong and the reaction time of the cheerdancer to make the necessary corrections, time’s up na for the DLSU Pep Squad’s 6-minute routine!

Reply from: Josh

GIF file yan, gagalaw pa yan to correct the formation. Hehe. =)

Help finally came from, ironically, an Atenean.

Reply from: Rondell

Actually I was there and the guy in black really gave the wrong card to the person. Kawawa nga e, after that they slipped and fell like heck. The crowd wasn’t helping because every time something bad happened, there was happy hooting and jeering from the crowd. Mahirap talgang sumikat.

Reply from: Mika

Onga eh, that was very noticeable on the television broadcast. We were looking at amateur videos taken nung CDC, hindi ko alam if matatawa or maaawa ako dun sa mga hindi makakumpleto ng flips and landed on their necks.

Anyway, all’s well that ends well. And it’s not like the UP alumni can afford to be totally smug, what with the 0-14 record of the men’s basketball team. You’ve got to admit, though, that picture was really worth a thousand jokes 🙂

stream of consciousrant

Dumudugo na mata ko kahahanap sa internet ng Chinese media na pwedeng imbitahin sa conference namin. Ang hirap kayang maghanap, kasi syempre puro Chinese characters makikita ko sa Chinese websites diba? Tapos kung may English version naman minsan for some weird reason wala man lang “contact us” page. O kaya wala silang email. Kung minsan may email, pero magb bounce pag pinadalan mo na. Kung minsan may fax/phone, pero pag tinawagan mo naman yung number does not exist daw. O kung suwertehin kang may makasagot ng tawag hindi naman marunong mag-english, tapos bababaan ka na lang ng telepono once ma-realize nya na malabo naman kayong magkaintindihan (may punto rin naman, diba? Sayang din ang long distance). Nai-imagine mo ba yung stress nun? Tapos halos araw-araw tatanungin ka ng boss mo kung ilan na yung confirmed media tapos ang masasabi mo lang, “apat.”

Last week pa ko nage-email, nagtatawag, nagfa-fax, nagsu-surf ng mae-email at matatawagan, at hanggang ngayon, apat pa lang yung confirmed media namin. Leche, nakaka-praning. Di mo alam kung pasaway lang silang mag-RSVP o wala talagang dadating para mag-cover ng conference. Tapos nagkataon pang may week-long holiday sa China ngayon at tipong wala yatang nagt-trabaho, kasi yung mga tinatawagan namin sinasabi tumawag na lang daw next week. Next week, e papunta na kaya kami sa China next week.


Oh yeah, papunta kaming China next week!!! Whee!!! Urumqi, here I come!


Chalk it up to the typhoon statistics: one broken umbrella, suffered at around 8 am, September 28, at that street from Pasong Tamo going to Makati Med. It was a new umbrella at that, bought it just last Saturday. I liked it, it was one of those nifty folding ones that opens and closes at the push of a button. Now it’s well, shattered.

Imagine having this bearing down on you:


I read that Milenyo was compared in intensity to the typhoon Rosing in 1995. I remember Rosing. Somewhere in my old journals, there’s a clipping of a news article chronicling its effects, accompanied with a picture of a man wading neck-deep in floods. “It was a like a typhoon that had a chainsaw,” one government official described Rosing, as he conducted an aerial survey of the damage. And indeed, in the wake of Milenyo, the streets of Manila are littered with branches – even entire trees – felled by the winds. It’s a nightmare for urban greening advocates.

But good news, of course, for anti-ugly-billboard advocates, as the huge things proved to be no match against a – well, Signal No. 3 Storm lang naman. But I’m wondering, can anybody tell me if that lurid giant TV in southbound EDSA-Guadalupe made it? I wish it’s been smashed to smithereens by now. The thing is so bright and ugly and hazardous you’d think it’s got to be illegal one way or another.

We spent the day at the office yesterday doing what we can without electricity – making phone calls, reading up on stuff, paperwork – while my boss worked feverishly, racing against the battery time of her laptop. It was late afternoon by the time she gave up and sent us home. I later learned that after leaving the office, she and the admin officer went around looking for a temporary office space with a generator where we can move to just in case the power’s not restored by today. We came this close to holding offices at Starbucks, or some hotel nearby. I think I would have liked the change of scenery. But come morning, they’ve managed to restore electricity at least in the Makati central business district, and we’re off at our usual feverish working pace, with a little more dash of panic added in as we struggle to catch up with the previous day’s delay. We’re organizing a conference which will happen in China, of all places, in a couple of weeks, and so things were understandably hectic.

And so here I am, at 5:30 in the afternoon, sneaking in some blogging time while the fax machine hums beside me sending its gazillionth invite of the day. Talk about multi-tasking. Talk about coping mechanisms, te-hee.

I really miss those days when, at this time, I would be thinking about going home. These days, at this time, why, my day’s practically just halfway through.

July 24, 2006…mondaayy…

7:30 AM. I came in to the office to start the media monitoring, which is even more tedious than usual because of the weekend pile-up of newspapers. I swear to myself that I’ll leave early and take advantage of the flexi-sched policy for once, but even as I do I say to myself, yeah right.

9:00 AM. People have been been trickling into the office since the past hour, shaking wet umbrellas and marvelling at the lack of traffic, which is a decidedly surreal thing to happen on a Monday morning. The reason for the absence of the usual Monday morning hellish traffic, you see, is that classes were suspended, either due to the State of the Nation Address or due to the flooding, take your pick. Either way, the rest of us bundy-clock punching people still have to drag ourselves out of bed and pick our way through the flooded streets.

9:05 AM. Precious takes a poll: Which do you want to watch on TV today, SONA news or the Miss Universe pageant? The decision was unanimous: We wanted world peace.

10:15 AM. I finish my first batch of news monitoring, selecting relevant articles and sending them to my client, and now I’m about to start on another batch, this one requiring me to actually read the articles in full and summarize them. Half of the articles tackle the SONA. On the other side of the office, the TV is turned on and people are monitoring the Miss Universe pageant. Yeah, life’s unfair like that sometimes.

11:54 AM. A quick check on reveals that Puerto Rico won the Miss Universe pageant. Meanwhile, in my news clippings, all indications show that the SONA will consist mainly of the President’s economic achievements and plans for the future. The vision is reportedly a “First-World Philippines.” It’s like the President is saying, “Ekonomista ako. At ako pa rin ang Presidente kahit anong gawin nyo kaya tumahimik kayong lahat dyan.”

1:22 PM. I’m finished with my news monitoring tasks for the day, but the sounds of somebody getting yelled at in the other room precipitates anxiety attacks and sends me flying to the phone to make that follow-up call I wasn’t able to make in the morning. My contact, whose feedback on a proposal has had me on tenterhooks for the past couple of weeks, tells me that they will still have to coordinate the schedule and will let me know tomorrow…or the next day. I think I’m next in line on the chopping block. The State of the Nation my ass. What about the state of my poor nerves???

Continue reading


It’s one of those days when you’re forced to take a long hard look at yourself and realize you don’t like what you see – worse, that you’re surprised – at what you’ve become. All along you were holding yourself on relatively high esteem, at least judgment-wise. You thought you were a sensible, thoughtful, positive person. But then you realize, you’re just like everyone else.

To be called out on a question of character – justly – that is just so mortifying. being reprimanded for something work-related – an unaccomplished task, an oversight, some typographical blooper – is bad enough, but at least you know such things are bound to happen. Things go wrong. People make mistakes. But to be confronted on a question of character, it’s just something I find very hard to deal with. I accept the liability, I admit I was wrong. I apologized to my superior, and she accepted the apology and said that it was over and she didn’t want to hear about it again. That’s fine, it’s just that I’m not sure I can forgive myself quite so easily. I was not aware that I was letting my character be compromised, that I was letting myself be caught in this spiral of resentment and rebelliousness, and most of all, that I was hurting other people. I can’t defend myself and say that my feelings and actions were justified or provoked, because that’s not even the point. The point is, given this set of circumstances, I acted the way I did and the way I acted did not really show my character in the best light. I became this villain, and this other person became the injured martyr. It’s weird, I never really looked at myself as a bitchy person. Just not at first glance, as it turned out.