A young member of my office's staff recently submitted her resignation -- nothing contentious, just wanted more time with her family. I casually asked her, "so when is your resignation effective?".  She matter-of-factly replied, "ah next month pa, sir, sasama pa ako sa Team Building."

I'll never get millennials.

But, no, actually I can't blame anyone for anticipating and setting their schedule around Team Building. It had been almost two years since our last one -- that's already an eternity of cubicle man-hours and Dilbert meetings. This year's activity came and went too quickly, but not before instilling into every one of us core tenets of office teamwork

Leading by Example

 you can't teach this

Shared Sacrifice

Me: Ow! My foot!
Teammates: Yuck! Your foot smell!

Wellness and Diet 

 starting tomorrow

Inspiration / Learning from Superiors

 "aah, ganto pala mag-pose for 'Town & Country'"

Role Diversity

they weren't ready for that jelly

And above all...No Mercy!


At the end of everything, we reported three non-renewal of contracts, one resignation, one foreign assignment deferral, one foreign assignment recall, a threatened physical injuries case, and maybe some international money laundering.

best. team. building. ever.



The Department recently put up on display in its lobby a gorgeous looking painting... 

As explained by the plaque:

I remember this same image was prominently featured during the last ASEAN meetings Closing Ceremonies, fading into the giant screens as inspiring orchestra music swelled all around. It's just a flat-out cool depiction of a momentous event in international history and diplomacy.

Also recently...

Ok, cool.



Multiple long weekends meant multiple opportunities for the fam to go off to faraway, exotic destinations. And, boy, did we ever! Let's see, there was a trip to, um, Laguna. Yeah. Then to Cavite. Whoa nellie. And then to Cavite again...

Look, I've been through this before: we got a kid in school now, bills to pay, fantasy leagues to manage...there's not enough time/resources to jet around just to look like a wannabe instagram influencer. On the other hand, the LLDD-Hyphen-L's social media skills and savvy did manage to hook us up with some gorgeous yet easy to get to places. So, yeah, we're happy. And our facebook albums are full.

Lotus Pod  

A beautiful Balinese inspired resort, with intimate pools and lush landscaping. A good base, too, for exploring the waterfalls, parks and historic towns around Laguna.  (I'm not sure, but I think it was also the setting for an Andrea Torres photoshoot. Um, so I've heard)


More accurately, a resthouse compound near the golf club and the clubhouse pool. Great for reunions, extended family gatherings, and side-trips to gardens and farms along the Cavite highways. Also great for forcing a certain spouse and child to get over their wussy fear of water slides (the go-to move: go down as a family, but have the flabby husband take the lead -- the sheer drag caused by his large skin surface area will slow the steepest slide down to a near crawl)

Abagatan Ti Manila

More of a workcation, actually, but I'm still counting it because I want to claim something so gorgeous looking and beautifully designed as the place where the LLDD-Baby's photobombs finally seized the crown from the LLDD-Hyphen-L's posing-posing 

pag may time, mama. pag may time



So I didn't take part in the recently concluded ASEAN Ministerial Meetings -- been there than that, ika nga. But more accurately, I was never asked to have any role in the events EXCEPT to attend the closing ceremonies. Yet in that little snapshot, I could see that this year's proceedings were on a different level.

They had a very cool way of honoring some ASEAN Heroes/Champions. An inspiring Pinoy song would play while stylized lyrics would pop-up on the giant screens, then the honorees would enter the stage to applause while graphics/images of their achievements appeared behind them. Very Oscars tribute montage-ish.

I wish I was hip enough to know what this band and song were. They were great (and definitely cooler than the Rock Icon's "Community of Unity")

Actually, the entire musical score was fantastic, and so many dancers! It just got me thinking: man, if they pulled out all these stops for closing ceremonies (which usually don't even have shows), what do they have left for the Summit gala in November? I mean, we've asked so much of Freddie Aguilar already!

Oh, Sam. The Master of Ceremonies was perfectly charming and capable, but I couldn't get out of my head a blooper story she once told on her morning radio show: once, at a big political event full of dignitaries she was emceeing, she introduced the keynote speaker:"and now ... ladies and gentlemen ... President ... Fidel ... V ...CASTRO!"

And, oh hey, guess who was there!

Still, it's gotta be said: the ex-President's and/or Commander in Chief's closing ceremonies sneaker game is strong.



Trippin' on the Department's Sauron-like ceiling got me acid-flashbacking on what made the home office awesome, and then to thinking it's about time I shouted out some of its other underappreciated coolness
  • Yeah, your office has probably had an exhibit of indigenous textiles in its lobby at some point. Ours had the freakin' Bayanihan dance group stage a flying fabric fashion show. That's how we do.

  • And the accompanying open bar of Philippine liquors at events like these - magnifico! **puts fingers to puckered lips**

  • The periodic book sales/exchanges held outside the cafeteria seem to know what personnel really want.

  • Right at the Department's front entrance are some rock formations jutting out of a body of water patrolled by some chill Pinoy amphibians (who I've named Scarborough and Spratly). Stretching the analogy further: just like our marooned Marines, the turtles are sustained by occasional air drops from the nearby Jollibee =)

  • Sure, some hip progressive offices out there might offer free back rubs to employees. Ours once had a spa set up and give out back, foot, body massages and facials and diamond peels

  • Our office-issued shake drill safety helmets are apparently sponsored by the Ceelin vitamins kid

  • A safe, sensible office would think to place hand sanitizers on receptionists' desks. Ours puts out body lotion. Makes us feel, you know, loved. And attractive.

  • At the end of a workweek, there's still nothing like the view from our roofdeck to make you reflect upon the most profound life questions ahead of you
like, saan tayo kakain, MOA o dampa?