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Vacation: Fourth Day Back Home with This Lovely Ladies

It was my fourth day back in Manila. I spent it with four different ladies who played a big role in the different stages of my career and life.

Mama Chelle

My day started with breakfast at the Google Philippines office with Mama Chelle and Wayne.

I first met Mama Chelle when I was at Orange and Bronze Software Labs, Inc (O&B). She was head of sales and I was a fresh grad Jr. Business Analyst and Quality Assurance engineer. We had not much interaction then, except for that one time where we went to Gelatissimo and I shared my work challenges and she gave me advice.

We became so much closer when she moved to Codeflux because that's when she started helping out with the Google communities. She and Jomar worked closely for the community and since I am Jomar's plus one, I became a volunteer for the Google Developers Group. I helped with registration and welcoming attendees, usually with little Josh (who is now a teenager).

Breakfast at Google Philippines with Mama Chelle, Jomar, Wayne, and Josh

Thanks for the tour Mama Chelle!

I am just so happy and fulfilled to see her and Josh with Wayne! Wayne became a good friend when the three of us (Jomar, Wayne, and I) were Community Managers for Google Developers Group Philippines. Up to this day, we are wondering how we worked quite well together. He is in University of the Philippines taking up Law. The next time I see him, he will be Atty. Wayne.

Jewel (Part 1)

I met Jewel when I was at O&B. We worked together to learn Pentaho so the company could offer it to customers. I learned SQL and databases with Jewel. Ever since then, we would meet every so often to catch up about life. Now that I am back from Canada, Jewel is one of the handful of people I sent a message to so we could schedule to meet.

After breakfast at Google, we had lunch at Yamazaki in Little Tokyo. We got updated about each other and how things are going. Unfortunately, she had a work meeting at 1:30PM so we decided to meet again after that.

Katsu Curry from Yamazaki


Nikki

While waiting for Jewel to finish her meeting, Jomar suggested we go to Yuchengco Museum. It is located in RCBC Plaza. I used to work at the 34th Floor of Tower 2 with IP Converge Data Services, Inc. One of the colleagues that I missed so much is Nikki so I sent her an SMS to check if she's free for a few minutes since I am at the building.

Nikki is my training partner and travel buddy. We became close since we went to different universities all over the Philippines to conduct Google Apps for Education training. We did stay two weeks in Davao and Cagayan de Oro and a week in Pangasinan, Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, Laguna, and Iloilo. We even experienced intense flooding while we were in Cagayan de Oro that we rode an empty fridge to cross the street to our hotel.

It was great to catch up with Nikki and get updates about IPC and her married life. I am so happy to see her. She is the unexpected blessing I received.

With Nikki

Because Nikki needs to go back upstairs to work, Jomar and I went inside Yuchengco Museum.

Yuchengco Museum with Jomar

It was totally unplanned for us to go here but I am glad we did. It was my first time at Yuchengco Museum and I have no expectations whatsoever on what's inside. I really like the Chicken Hand exhibit showcasing the hands of Filipina overseas workers to show the wrinkles and more importantly the hard work they do.

Suspended Garden

After we're done going around the 3 floors of the museum, it started raining hard. We decided to wait for it to stop before going back inside RCBC. I fell asleep in the reception area while we wait.

Jewel (Part 2)

When the rain slowed down, Jomar and I walked going inside RCBC. We met with Jewel again and we had snacks in Pancake House. I missed their spaghetti. We continued sharing about our life and future plans. She also shared about her trip to Jerusalem. Then, Joanne texted me that she's on her way.

Pancake House Spaghetti

Joanne

Joanne is my college thesis mate and buddy. I met her during my time in De La Salle University. We both changed major from Accounting to Business Management. Our first course together was Introduction to Art (I can't actually be too sure). We were seatmates and became partners for a presentation. After that term, we planned to take all our major classes together. From major classes to boy crushes and party, we just spent so much time together and I am just so happy to see her again!

Zoo Coffee

We went to Zoo Cafe near RCBC (Joanne is working somewhere in Tower 1 of RCBC). I spent 3 hours sharing Joanne all of my Canada life. ALL OF IT. Why I went back to Manila for a week, my 9 months of unemployment, the depression, the Gumstix miracle, everything. It felt great to share to someone all the emotions and lessons I had and learned during my first 20 months in Canada. When we finished, it was almost 10PM.

That's my 4th day in Manila. (Side comment: It's obvious that I suck at remembering to take photos of people but I remember to take food phots. #facepalm)

God had blessed me with so many great friends. Thank you Lord for bringing this ladies into my life at the right time.

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