Postcard Stories: The Price of City Life

The question in my mind was “What is independence for you?”, there are times when I stop and think about what moving to Manila has done to me.

 

View of Mandaluyong from Flair Tower
View of Mandaluyong from Flair Tower

I just got back from a Manila trip over the weekend to visit a friend who had lost her father. We had to go to travel around to several cities. We flew in early Saturday morning and news was out about the chaos over NAIA Terminal after a plane landed badly. We then went straight to Quezon City to console our friend. After couple of hours, we went to her condominium to drop our backpacks and freshen up. We were so tired from the trip that we managed to only walk to Megamall to have dinner and look around.

Later that night, as I looked over the skylights. I could not help but think of the years I spent in Manila. The question in my mind was “What is independence for you?”, there are times when I stop and think about what moving to Manila has done to me. There are good things like being more open minded and building grit but somehow I feel that it made me a slave to the shallow side of the world.

In my quest for independence, I ended up in bondage of capitalism.

I am realizing how much of a bliss it was to grow up in a simple city.  While Ormoc is a city, it still feels quite provincial. I grew up at a time when internet was not yet accessible, where books, radio and TV were the main source of content. Back when google did not exist and Grolier Encyclopedia was considered the go-to for reference.

Living in the big city really took a toll on me. It made me a lot more cynical and lost. I met people who did not help me grow instead they helped in my destruction.

Being back in Cebu has given me time to heal and rethink of those ordeals. The lifestyle is a lot laid back and I still get to work in quite an innovative company. I am in a much happier place now, however, I do not know until when I will stay in this city.  Maybe, I will be back again in the city to open a new opportunity.

 

 

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Postcard Stories: Miss Fury Kawasaki 2010

Sometimes winning can be easy, you just need to know what the competition is about and understand the company/organisation’s marketing strategy.

Introducing Postcard Stories! I am adding this to my regular post. It is a one photo with short personal story that will either inspire or entertain you.

Eight years ago, I won in a small competition simply by knowing the product and human psychology.

How did I do it?

It was the deciding moment of the Kawasaki Miss Fury 2010 at Mactan, Cebu.

I joined this small competition knowingly because it offered an opportunity to get to know people in the company and a quick way to earn money more than what I was getting paid in my normal job.

It was only three of us who had to answer the final Q&A.

The question was, “If you win a million pesos, what will you do with it?”

For a quick minute I knew that mention of their product would be added points and having a good cause tied to it would instantly be a hit.

My answer: “I will take my Kawasaki motorbike and head to far flung baranggays to share my win and create sustainable businesses so locals are empowered.”

Of course, how can they not let their product win. 😂

Monday Musings: My 2014 Failure

A broken heart and an empty pocket are indeed the best reasons for change. I learned this back in 2014 when I committed several mistakes.

Four years ago around December, I was evicted and had to say goodbye to everything that I owned.

Yes, you read it right. This is a story that I have not dared to tell anyone. Why? Shame stopped me.

As an idealist and an eternal perfectionist, I found it as a hard pill to swallow. Yet it is a part of my past that I look back to not in bitterness but in bliss.

There are usually two perpetrators that creates change in a person’s life, one is voluntary and the other one is compulsory.

As I continued living my big city adventure, I haphazardly decided to devout more time for a relationship, one that I thought was worth throwing everything all away. Little did I know, this choice would bring my worst downfall. No year can ever compare to 2014, for the moment at least, when I took a crazy plunge and fell hard in a deep ravine.

Half blind, I woke up too late from a dream and realising I have made a nightmare.

2014 started quite promising, I just had a major victory winning the first placement for Philippines in Miss SCUBA International. My aim was to take a year off to go full-time on volunteering for causes that I believed in. So I packed my backpack to join an acquaintance on a rebuilding effort in Bantayan Island, Cebu.

I stayed with a local family along with the other volunteers I met during the Typhoon Haiyan evacuation operations at Villamor Airbase. We stayed for about a week then decided we needed to go back. I confidently left a small amount of money to donate for the boats being built by the Bantayan Back to Sea. After spending a big part of my prize money to the cause, we ended up crashing my sister’s place in Cebu as we booked a ticket on the ferry to head back to Manila. Weeks later, we found out that the volunteer who initiated the fundraising scammed us. Joshua Magalong (not certain til this day if this was his real name) ended up stealing the funds we raised, taking my personal donation with him.

Brokenhearted, I decided to stop volunteering for a months focusing on trying to earn money to cover for a contract that I signed up for without knowing the financial burden it placed on me. This contract I signed because I wanted to live with a guy I dated which I found out months after was still seeing his ex girlfriend but since I signed a year-long contract with my name on it, I had to deal with it. I would spend weekends at least 8 hours in summer wear in different computer stores in different malls promoting a certain brand of laptops just to make enough money to pay for rent because I decided that freelance work was better and event modelling would be enough.

May came and I ended up in another relationship that seemed promising. I would spend more time with this person than focusing on making a living to the point of cooking breakfast and lunch daily while trying to get booked for events. I even ended up being a stunt double in one of the local movies.

By the end of November, I was flat broke. Despite my mother’s financial assistance it was not enough. The same month the ex boyfriend left to return to his country and I barely heard from him. He also had his own battles and was still adjusting to life after internship. From then on, it just went downhill. I went out with friends who were promoters and compensated badly. I reached my point of desperation where I could not make any good decisions. I still tried to raise money through side gigs and even putting all my money to compete in an International Competition in China.

I remember the day of my flight, my landlady already gave me a notice for eviction and so I had to leave early for them not to notice. I brought all my stuff and only had enough money to cover for the travel tax. I had to take the bus with all the luggage and walk to the international terminal from the bus stop just because I was low in cash.

I made it to Shenzhen because the modelling agency covered for all my expenses. I would do my best for the next ten-day to compete and be the top candidate. While competition I had gotten a blister which worsened to a full on infection. My left foot was swollen but I could not afford to fail. The girls saw me limping but when I was on stage, I smiled like it did not matter. I had my eyes on the prize. This was my last chance to win a good amount of money to payback my mother and the rent. However, the competition turned out to be fixed and was already planned. I went back to Philippines with worse depression, I did not know what to do. It was almost Christmas and about two days after I took with me a small bag to go with a couchsurfer to walk around Binondo when I went back to my apartment, they asked me to leave.

For Christmas eve, I was homeless but I could not afford to tell anyone else apart from my family. My mother scolded me and told me she would be okay if I got sent in jail. For days, I would just walk around the mall and luckily a friend offered a place for me to sleep. No one knew that I have no other place to go. I just kept pretending everything was okay. I would just sit for hours at the park crying and thinking why I ended up like this. It was only until my sister called saying that she was sending money that I found hope. This is how I ended up in Tacloban. With the little money sent to me, I bought a couple of pieces of clothing and a knock off North Face backpack. On the day that I was about to leave, I made a resolution to let go of everything in Manila. To forget the hurt, the lies and the life. I wanted to rewrite every failure and start to rebuild my life.

“…throw roses into the abyss and say: ‘here is my thanks to the monster who didn’t succeed in swallowing me alive.”

Friedrich Nietzsche, posthumous fragments