Jumpstart: My First Job Experience

Now that my time as Advertising & Promotions Staff at Victoria Department Store has ended, I feel obliged to write about my experience.

I wanted to work at Victoria Department Store as Advertising & Promotions Staff because the chance to be part of growth and change in a low profile company was a challenge that was too tempting to resist (not that I tried to, mind you).

Our team was able to bring some firsts to the company. We guested twice on local TV for back to school sale and father’s day, as well as landed on local newspapers for some feature articles about Victoria’s home furnishing and houseware items. Small things, maybe, but significant anyhow.

I had a good time at Victoria. There I met people with brave and amazing stories. I was acquainted with corporate discipline, hard work, and pakikibagay. Being the first team of Ateneans, we stuck out like sore thumbs.

But we were never the ones who’d back out of pressure. If anything, it fueled our thirst.

Below are some of the events that I partook in. 🙂

Live guesting at Maayong Buntag Mindanao for Back to School Sale and Love for the Children Back to School Charity Drive.

These are the newspaper clip outs from the articles that we’ve had written. I saw to these personally since I am well acquainted with the writers that we tapped.


These are the events that I’ve helped handle during my stay as Advertising & Promotions Staff. For a first job, I believe I’ve handled the challenges well and thrown in some good ideas also.

One challenge was the budget. We learned to be creative and resourceful with everything, mindful even to the kind of paper that we printed on and the number of pages. Noting that, events were also limited.

Another challenge was technology. I was assigned as social media manager, and although the lack of our own internet connection has not hampered my daily updates, it has also put limitations on what I (believed) I could do.

Other challenges are those that you either hear about or experience it yourself, such as dealing with different people with different personalities. All the rest, I’ll leave you to stew on that or find out for yourself 😉

Being a team of three was challenging at times, and I was challenged further when my two teammates resigned, leaving me with supervisory responsibilities for a whole department at just 3 months in the job.

The challenge excited me a lot. Not many are given the chance to lead at just 3 months in the job, but I was.

Eventually, I had to leave, but  I learned a lot in my stay at Victoria. I will always remain appreciative of many people and the experience as a whole.

Having learned the foundations at work, I know that I am ready for bigger things to come. My friends and professors have advised that maybe journalism is the right career path for me, and I’m contemplating a lot about it.

I have a thirst for learning. I want to learn the corporate, PR, advertising, teaching, and leadership.

I have just finished a phase, and I know that I have only just begun. 🙂


Beginnings and Endings

I walked through the gates of my alma mater, Ateneo de Davao University earlier. Walking past the gazebos, I looked up at the trees and was struck with a startling realization that Ateneo has never felt more like home to me than it does now.

Maybe I will grow to love the building that I will now work in 8 hours a day. Maybe the time will come that I will call it “home” also. But I doubt it.

I have no regrets in my life’s decisions. In time I grew to appreciate the wisdom behind every brick that life throws at me. Because no matter how hard you try to plan and control your life, you can’t. There are things that are beyond your control. And these things are crazy and devastating and amazing and heartbreaking and beautiful… anything goes.

And as I was walking down the familiar path on the way to the Atenews office, I thought a lot about how much I miss feeling the breeze from the trees caress my cheek, or hear the birds sing. I miss the steady hum of activity that you can hear in school.

I will miss the cafeteria and its aircons that are on full blast. I will miss the shakes at Juice Ko Day. I will even miss telling the tindera that I will not buy the viva water because it tastes bad. 😀

I will miss the library and its endless array of books that you can get lost in. I will miss scouting the buildings, looking for the water fountain that had the coldest water. The ones at Wieman were always the best. 😉

I will miss seeing the familiar and comfortable, yet also imposing image of our building when I get down from the jeep. I will miss the clean, fresh air inside. Ateneo was always a welcome respite from the heat and pollution outside.

I will miss the freedom to learn whatever you wanted to learn. The world is literally at the palm of your hands when you are in Ateneo. You only have to choose.

It was in Ateneo’s walls where I had discovered myself and discovered what I had wanted to do with life. It was there where I had met the worst and best people. It was there that I realized that everyone can be nice, but not everyone can be your friends.

It was there that I realized that I am not, after all, as stupid and shallow as what my siblings used to make me feel. I am quite the contrary, in fact.  It took the opinion of other people to change the way I thought about myself.

It was there where I had my heart broken too many times by too many people and yet I never failed to look forward to life.

My experiences are far from conventional. It is something that you might never experience. And it is something that is so rare and fragile and sacred.

There is a kind of beauty in pain. There is grace in handling shame and embarrassment. There is a kind of beauty in you, one so deep that one cannot see on first sight, and something that you cannot see unless you have your heart, your soul, and your whole being broken.

Many will give up on a bird who is trying to fly with broken wings.

But look at where I am now.

Just remember, when you get your heart broken or your soul wounded, fly with a broken wing. Only when you are burned and blinded by the sun will you see your true capacity to heal.

Only then will you be new again. 🙂

Second Chances

I can recount two experiences that I gave extemporaneous speaking a try. The first was during an English festival (or something related) in my senior year in high school, and the second was in my last semester in college at an event attended by communication majors from Davao City.

On both times, I was apprehensive when I was asked to compete.

In high school, I remember I was persuaded by my English professor to give this competition a try, saying she saw potential in how I wrote my answers in an exam that she gave. I was pressured, honored, scared, and angry all at the same time. I remember saying Yes to my teacher even though I knew I wasn’t ready.

True enough, on stage I wasn’t able to say anything. My voice was stuck in my throat and my mind couldn’t think beyond the eyes of the audience in a gymnasium filled with all students and teachers of my school.

I stared at the audience, said “Thank you,” and left the stage.

I have never been the kind of person to make vows and promises after a devastating experience, because I usually just let these things flow. But that day, I walked alone to the jeepney stop with my head hung low and I vowed to never join speaking competitions again, ever. The shame that I felt was nothing like I have ever felt before.

Fast-forward to four years later and I’m a few months shy from finishing my degree in mass communication. It was late, it was 9 or maybe 10 in the evening. If I remember correctly, I was about to sleep and I was surprised that my phone rang. My classmate was calling. Calls are commonly made in the day time, unless it’s urgent. Apparently, CMAD (Communication Majors Alliance of Davao) is having their Commvergence the next day, which is an interschool competition on many fields. The event was happening the next day, it was going to be held at our school, and Ateneo itself had no one to represent them for the extemporaneous dialogue.

It was Carly who called me, a classmate of mine. She was one of the major organizers of the event and she was asking if I could partner with Kate, another classmate, to compete in extemporaneous dialogue. Everyone else was too busy to participate. I remember Carly had me when she said “Ikaw nalang gyud among pag-asa bai.” (You’re out last hope). I know how hard my classmates work for all events and I know they would be broken-hearted if no one would be able to represent for the school. And I don’t know if it was Carly’s persuasion or some internal force from within who wants to do it, but I said yes.

Backstage I was openly speaking to our competitors about my fear and nervousness (which isn’t advisable by the way, it’s as if you’re belittling yourself) but I was just genuinely honest. Kate and I were the last pair to go out on stage. We were given a minute to understand our topic and 3 minutes to have a dialogue.

Afterwards, I lamented about how bad I thought I did. Our classmates were all cheering us up, saying we were sure to win. I said in my mind, well, they are our classmates. Of course they’d support us.

During the awarding ceremony, names were called one after the other. 3rd place, 2nd place, and still we haven’t heard our names. I squeezed Kate’s hand very hard.

I remember telling myself that it’s okay, I tried my best and conquered my fear and that’s all that matters.

To cut the story short, we bagged the crown.

I remember shooting off my seat like a rocket being launched into space when I heard our names called as champions. It was a teamwork and I couldn’t have done it without Kate, but I know in my heart that, finally, I’ve proven to myself that I can do it. I conquered my fear.