Wednesday, December 26, 2007


The overcast sky makes it look like it was 6 PM instead of 6 AM as I drive through Makati. Streetlights automatically switch off by the row. I keep the headlights on and make my way home through roads populated mostly by taxis empty of passengers. I turn up the radio to drown out a certain tune playing in my head.

A possible case of mild food poisoning had been the party pooper for December 25, 2007. I realize that even a day after Christmas, it could still cause enough trouble for me at work.

As the first droplets of rain spatter across my windshield, the DJ over at NU plays that song by Ben Folds Five.

And I grin, and I give in to that certain tune playing in my head.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


The chatter died down to a murmur with the first boom, and heads were raised towards the fireworks.

It was the 24th of November. The Araw Awards ceremonies had just been concluded, and gathered just outside the Subic Bay Exhibition and Conference Center were many of the rising stars, superstars, legends and deities of Philippine Advertising. And me.

The 20th Advertising Congress was over.

Four days of network-sponsored catered food, raffles, games, open bars, free buffets, unlimited cans of soda, entertainment, and literally more freebies than I could carry (or want) that I actually gave some of them away. Oh. And yeah, there were the lectures.

Along with the other delegates from the office, I got to stay in a rented house where U.S. Navy personnel probably lived. It was easy to imagine American flags hanging from windows. The neighborhood was so uniform it seemed there was a coconut tree assigned to grow on every lawn. The place even had a murder of crows and not the usual quarrel of sparrows.

Charming as the place was, it also meant a 15 minute drive to the convention area. In Metro Manila, that travel time can cover anything between several blocks and a few inches. In Subic however, where traffic only builds up outside the convention center as vehicles load and unload Metro Manila folk, 15 minutes meant a considerable distance and driving through bits of jungle.

The numerous trips between the convention center and the house, the duty free shops and party venues were exhausting. Sitting through hours of lectures proved grueling.

By the fifth meal that inevitably included fish fillet, a random pasta dish, and beef slices in gravy, I felt queasy. And by the time I realized that “finalist” was as far as my entry would go for the awards (I’m proud to say it wasn’t a scam), I was downtrodden.

Then the fireworks started.

They were okay.

However, the context I was seeing it in made them quite special.

I was with Kitty. Just behind us stood Trisha who was clutching one of the trophies they bagged that night. Scattered all over the hushed crowd were my friends. Rivals. Colleagues. Winners. Losers. Scammers. With the exception of those still desperately trying to peddle themselves off into a new agency, we all were watching the Subic sky.

It was invigorating to see that I was part of a group that still had a sense of wonder.

I felt the accumulated stress of four days capped by a disappointing evening fading away around the time the spell of the fireworks was broken, and only puffs of smoke remained.

The 20th Advertising Congress was over.

There would be more.

I would be back.

As the crowd started to break up according to agency affiliations and party destinations, I was pleased to learn about what I’d think of as the last batch of Congress treats.

They were handing out free beer in the lobby.


Tagged by Dodo.

Last October. Heh.

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