Bits and Bobs of my 2015

(Moved from my old blog)

I kicked off 2015 without much specific plans. Spending the start of the past year in a foreign land somehow dumps out my interest in plotting the direction of my career and life in general. I felt like a prisoner just finishing a lifelong sentence in a secluded place away from home.

It was not a good mindset, I know. I tried really hard to convince myself that my sacrifices will soon reap rewards so I have to be patient, brave and wise.

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I accepted every challenge they threw at me, even volunteered to help my colleagues worked out their own stories.

But it is true that no matter how you work for and hold onto things that you love, if they are not for you, they will slip away or people will snatch them from you.

You will fight of course. I did with all my might, though having enemies hunted me at night and made me restless watching my back at all times.shoottt

But fighting became tiring when I had to juggle it with researching, casting and directing for at least two shows. It’s like playing your favourite game with bullies around.

I weighed what matters more and decided to hold on a little longer because work then was getting exciting!

In January, they sent me back to Indonesia to help finish the filming of the first reality show I handled in the company, together with other two producers.

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In February, they assigned me to research and produce episodes of a TV show about vintage restoration which stimulates my interest in history.

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From March to June, they entrusted the casting and co-producing of another reality show, this time, involving kids, which made me very thrilled. The show provides the kids first-hand experience in supervising various volunteer welfare organizations to be better leaders and to consider working or volunteering in charity organizations someday.

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My desk began to accumulate mess from post-its and notebooks where I used to write my daily schedule. The phone place in between me and another officemate moved nearer my workspace as I frequently picked it up to set appointments with possible profiles. My phone’s gallery was filled with screen grabs of maps and directions, of ocular photos and random stuff I see while moving around the country, looking for compelling stories worthy of an airtime spot.

I dedicated majority of my time, energy, and focus working my best for that show because I enjoyed the company of our crew, staff, host and kids. However, I knew I had to leave soon because it’s not all cherry pie.

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Back in the office, power trippers kept bugging me with annoying issues they can’t solve by themselves. I just wanted to kneel and raise my hands to show how eager I am to quit from their shenanigans. Where using a wine glass to drink water is a big deal. Where every production mishaps is to blame on the person who’s working because it just doesn’t right to point fingers at those who didn’t even lift a finger to help. Less involvement, less responsibility.

At the end of the day I was torn between two different worlds, people, and feelings. Of which to embrace wholeheartedly and of which to accept blindly. I was trapped somewhere along the middle and I asked myself if I made the right decision of chasing my dreams and luck abroad. If it’s worth leaving home. If it’s worth the immense emotional pain inflicted by strangers I just met.

Well, maybe it is!

Had I not step out of my comfort zone and braved the unknown, I wouldn’t meet these lovely people.

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Together they weaved beautiful stories in my life that I can happily share with my loved ones and future children. I captured wisdom, courage and inspiration, essential to the person I am becoming.

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This wealth of experience gained from my countless recces, in-depth researching, and encounters with the best talents in the industry and respected profiles sparked my interest in starting a new hobby. For the real successful people are those who manage to strike a balance in their lives. God in the center and a slice of everything priceless.

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Came May, I flew to the Philippines to direct one episode of the vintage restoration. I recommended my favourite camera man to shoot and he brought with him an audio man to assist us. We met the awesome production coordinators, one of whom I already worked with years ago.

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We headed to Batangas to see the Galleria Taal that houses more than a hundred vintage cameras from all over the world and the Villa Tortuga where we executed the vintage-themed photo shoot.

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We stayed there for three days, and every night, I would bond with our Filipino staff and crew. Oh I just missed the soothing sound of our language, the meaning it conveys and the culture it embeds. It’s been a while since I had an opportunity to express my innermost frustrations, disappointments and hopes. The last time people cared, listened and understood.

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It took me only three nights to reaffirm my plan of coming home for good.

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As soon as we came back to Singapore, I handed my resignation letter effective two months after. I thought that by then, I would be over with the editing of one show and done with the filming of the other program.

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On August 2, two days after my last day in the office, I found myself in the airport, overwhelming with happiness as I hand over my passport and plane ticket to the immigration officer while saying “I’m bound for the Philippines”.

Inside the plane, I couldn’t sleep. I was replaying snippets of the wonderful experiences I had. Flying out of the country for the first time. Staying in a hostel with a bunch of strangers from all over the world. Riding the country’s state of the art trains and buses. Strolling around towering skyscrapers and public housing. Securing a relevant good job. My first phone call with a local. My first filming that didn’t go well because of miscommunication with a stubborn camera man. The first time someone recognized my potential and appreciated my camera works. The real friends I gained in the office, in the house and in every place I reached.

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I won’t forget that one time, I wandered around Geylang Serai market and came across a Malay lady with her Mom. We shared the same table in a kopitiam while I was tasting their sweet local dessert called cendol. They figured out that I’m a Filipino and we exchanged queries about our cultures and countries. Next thing I knew, they were buying me colourful scarves, which I used during my flight.

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The plane was about to land when I flicked away bouncing memories because the present and future mean more now.

Back in my refuge, I began my journey travelling to places I haven’t been together with my beloved boyfie. We jumped into a bus, headed south and after eight hours, we transferred to a boat and traveled for another two and a half hour until we arrived at the captivating island of Calaguas.

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We frolicked on the white fine sand, swam in the crystal clear ocean and climbed the hills overlooking the paradise. Holding hands, we watched the sun left that part of the world. It’s the first time in a long while that I felt peace in its truest sense. What a wonderful way to transition.

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Aside from Camarines Norte, our itchy feet wandered to Bicol to see the astounding Mayon Volcano; Baguio, to feel the cold breeze and to witness the blooming of fragrant flowers; and Zambales, to relax and reboot by sleeping and eating a lot under trees and by the sea. Last year I managed to tour him around Singapore too and we both visited Malaysia for the first time.

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It was in those travels that we discovered the wonders of our very own mobile phones and a tripod. We created travel movies where we starred, two of which were posted and shared on Facebook.

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After a month of a well-deserved treat of travel and rest, I began working in the Creative Production Department of Royale Business Club, the leading multi-level marketing company in the Philippines. Our team is in-charge of producing promotional and corporate videos, and covering the events facilitated by the company for distributors or employees.

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Through Royale, I managed to set foot on high class hotels and resorts, and rubbed elbows with successful entrepreneurs and millionaires. What’s more fulfilling is having the opportunity to inspire them through the words I wrote, translated into a creative output and projected on a big screen. Seeing their faces lit up, I was tingling with joy and was very proud of the team I’m in.

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They are, by far, the coolest, funniest and one of the most competent colleagues I’ve ever worked with. We consider our workplace our home and each other, a family. Their unique talents and skills made me realized how much I could still learn.

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Before the year 2015 ended, I gave Photoshop a try and congratulations to me for producing a calling card as my first output! Not perfect but common, I think it’s a good start!

On the other hand, when it comes to family, I guess, together we achieved important goals last year. My younger brother passed the board exam and is now a certified Electrical Engineer. The eye operation of my father was successful. We bought our home some new furniture and appliances. We joyously celebrated Christmas and New Year with new and extended family.

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I think in general, 2015 is a mixture of worst and best things, confusions and certainties, and beginnings and endings. It might have not turned perfect or ideal but all the things that happened to me, every bit of them, are worthy to reminisce and share.

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