With so many things on my mind right now and without a voice that I can use to share my experience, I thought it better to write about it.
In my recent experiences in looking for livelihood, i have been asked this particular question: WHAT WOULD BE YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
Generally speaking “greatness” or the idea of greatness may vary from person to person as the experience of “pain” or “grief”.
So when asked about My Greatest Achievements, my short answer would be that of Surviving, Coping, Finding Means, Learning and Delivering.
Being a single parent with very few relatives that I know of in this complicated third world country like ours can often times be heart-breaking. Though, thinking about it just now, maybe it’s actually better to have less. We have actually lived in this small family unit ever since my mom had passed 25 years ago, I guess she was the core of our whole family unit from her parents side and kept everyone connected. After her passing, everybody else faded away and me and my two other siblings had to move on in the world and fight our fight. It was a battle of survival with the challenge of keeping our sanity, our faith, our honor and dignity in tact. It was no question. We were not left with anything but ourselves, our wit, our clean name and some education.
Achievement though all of that means getting food and water on the table, house on our heads, clothes to wear without selling ourselves and our souls.
In our earlier years with our mom, we even had to survive a fire that burned down the apartment where my mom grew up in and where I had grown up, I was in 5th grade then, 11 years old, my brither Chris, was a wide-eyed 8 year old and a baby sister Poopie who was then 1.5 years old and bottle feeding. All 4 of us, my mom, myself, and my two other siblings ran in the dark in our pyjamas to Manila Sanitarium and Hospital, we stayed at the grounds in front of the hospital where we usually play as kids. It was safe there. I can vividly see my mom, she was able to bring a pillow case with my baby sisters bottle, her wallet, a cloth diaper bec there werent disposable diapers then, and our heavy black wired telephone. We stayed there I guess the whole night. We transfered to some friend’s house the following morning. I guess that started our “resilience” training.
At work, where we get our bread and butter, we do our best to serve and to deliver, not to kiss ass because this is not who I am. But rather taking the brands I have handled to the next level. To not just clock in and be a warm body but be able to really contribute to the growth, to the awareness, to the sales or whatever else that needs to be achieved.
Achievements, for me, they are quite a lot, and I am thankful to God for each and every one of them.
I am lucky to have been part of projects or that I have collaborated with that are now industry institutions or are well known or have succeeded and made their own achievements:
The First Live Remote Broadcasts
The Mallwide Midnight Sale events that used to happen in just one mall in Galleria till it became all 10 malls when I was still there – yes we were the ones who started Edsa traffic with all those sales
Drive by stick ons with the top Radio Stations
Drive In Cinemas at the mall’s parking or at the food court
And the weekly creation of conceptualized and premium mall events that had the biggest names in the entertainment industry like the Apo Hiking Society, Kuh Ledesma, the New Minstrels, Music and Magic, Ryan Cayabyab and many more. It was our job to bring premium entertainment to the malls and the people loved it. It was our job to teach the Pinoys a new culture of going to the mall and being able to do everything that they needed to do the whole day while inside the mall while pushing them to spend more and at the sane time enjoying the said experience.
Mine was the Event Management experience of starting from the bottom, creating the whole idea and concept from scrap and building it up and mounting it. Achievement is when we see that our mall is packed with tons and tons of people, with them eating at the fastfood or the different food outlets. Or lining up at the stalls. Caching!! Caching!!
Achievement then, was when we see that the competing mall, which was then the Ayala Malls was already reacting by putting together the same show or entertainers you have just recently lined up or when their sale date is closer to yours or ahead. Or when they have copied your beautiful full page full color ad on Manila Bulletin, PDInquirer or PStar and have comissioned now National Artist Larry Alcala to do their ad layout too.
In my other endeavors, its an achievement too that we were able to do the very 1st Asian Ethnic Foodfest that was held at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. Chef Ferns Aracama was pretty young and new. We were commissioned by Ms. Nancy Reyes Lumen of Cook Magazine, together with 4 other girlfriends. Laptops were not yet invented. We had no office, we had no computers so we had to work from a corner of the office of Cook Magazine and created the very first version of what looked like Master Chef today. It was a whole expo with different exhibitors, talks, cooking demos, inter-school bartending competition, ice-sculping competitions and many many more.
I can go on and on with all of these. Yes I’m proud of them. I’m proud of the stuff we have done and Im thankful to have been part of things that started a lot of things.
Right now, what else is there to achieve after all of those? Well, life goes on, and is a continuous challenge of achieving the daily requirements of living and surviving. I’m done creating a name for myself if I might say that. I can claim that i am a rockstar at my level, if that is not boastful to say. Saddens me though that there are a lot of people who claim that they achieved the same but factually delivered less. Despite all of this there is still a whole world out there to explore and learn from, new experiences, new situations, algorithms and many many things. Many places to go to and people to meet. Brands to grow. As long as there is supply and demand, my world will revolve.
Bottom line, my best achievements are my two kids. Plus having a few good people around me who really care.