I promised a Part IV of this series, so here it is:
There were only 2 female staff in the Coca-Cola Makati Sales Office--the secretary of the Manager (Thelma) and the Marketing Analyst (yours truly!). Thelma taught me how to wear slight make-up to enhance my beauty(kuno!), aerobic dancing to maintain my Coca-Cola figure, how to talk properly to customers and how not to be intimidated by the 100+ men in the warehouse.
Thelma also encouraged me to run small businesses inside the office:
a) All rank-and-file employees of SMC receive a sack of rice every month. I buy the men's rice allocation for P85/sack and then sell them to outsiders who go to the office for P120/sack.
b) I also buy the route helpers' allowance. What does this mean? After the 30th of the month, the men no longer have money in their pockets (drained by their 2-3 wives). They approach me to buy their allowance. I would pay them P80 and then on the 5th, their P120 allowance will be given to me by the Payroll Master. Failure to fulfill this promise will automatically forfeit their chance to have business with me again, plus I will squeal to the real wife how much he was really receiving (they apply correction fluid on their pay envelopes to lower their take-home pay).
Thank you, Teng, for the wonderful years that you shared with me. Thelma left this world at a tender age of 33. Please join me in offering a short prayer for her . . . One week before her departure, she invited me to celebrate Valentine's Day in their apartment. She was then happily married with her 6-yr old son & a 4-yr old daughter. I was her only guest yet she prepared buttered chicken, kare-kare and fruit salad with corn. We spent the day just catching up on each other's news, talking as if there's no more tomorrow . . . The following week, she was gone. For 5 consecutive nights I was beside her coffin, not ready to let her go. Nanay accompanied me on the day of her burial and it was one of the very rare occasions that I saw my mother cry.
2. Ate Alma
Part of my business was buy and sell of signature pants--name it, I have it. Ate Alma was generous enough to supply me with pants which she brings to my office with a certain minimum order. If my memory serves me right, I buy the pants for P120 in cash and sell them for P180 (payable in 3 gives).
3. My SQP classmates: Dahlia, Gay, Gracie, Marilen, Tess, Vins, Louie, Jessy, Jeyps, Ning, Fernan, Edwin, Ricky
SQP was tough. There were 33 of us when we started and everyday, 2-3 students walked away. As JPE (Jesus P. Estanislao) pointed out, it is called SQP because:
1) it is during Summer when we took it
2) it is taken to Qualify us for IEP and
3) it is a Program.
Thanks to my SQP batch mates, I was able to heal a broken heart (I just broke up with a boyfriend before I entered CRC) and surprisingly made it to the IEP (Industrial Economics Program) proper.
4. Tatay Caloy and Nanay Cel
I can never thank enough these two people who lovingly accepted me in their home when I visited my friend Tess in Cebu. They were simply generous, kind, and thoughtful. The first time I was there, I arrived very late at night coz I took the last flight from Manila. Tatay immediately offered me an ice-cold beer and ordered pizza. I had so much fun there that Cebu became my home away from home year after year. They treated me with so much affection making me feel one of their daughters (Tess was their only daughter).
I remembered one time when we were about to watch a movie, I saw Nanay putting assorted foodstuff inside a native basket. I told her "Nay, akala ko manonood tayo. Picnic pala punta natin?" She laughed, while explaining to me that we will bring the basket full of goodies inside the movie house. She told me Tatay will just sleep inside the theatre if he's not munching on something.
Well, I have followed Nanay's ritual up to this day, but not in a picnic basket. We bring 2 packs of Act II popcorn, 4 packs of Lay's sour cream potato chips, Oishi crackling in a really large bag, bring juice for the kids in a cooler bag and of course, diet Coke in my Coleman filled with ice.
5. My IEP batch mates
Being the oldest, I was the "mother" of my batch. It was a completely new experience for me but I enjoyed every minute of it. My friends had so much fun not only inside CRC but outside CRC as well. Someday I'll write a separate post solely for IEP days.
I have to correct what I've written in no. 5 above. I was the "mother" of my batch less one person. VC refused to be part of my flock and tried to be "the godfather" of the group. Maybe in the past he was used to lead, not to follow. Anyway, I had nothing against this guy so I couldn't understand why he tried to make my life miserable. But thanks to him I was able to practice self-control. I was able to prevent myself from wringing his neck with my bare hands. Gay and Ning repeatedly told me to forgive and forget. The truth is, there's really nothing to forgive. It's not his fault that he was born to annoy people like me. And I have completely forgotten all about him, except that the title of this post is "A Tribute to my Friends & "Enemies" so I compelled myself to write about him (hah hah hah . . . )
7. Tita Sylv
My mentor and adviser in my garments business. She encouraged me to learn everything first(from fashion designing to cutting and sewing of tailoring and RTW, boutique management, etc.) before starting anything. She gave me the scenario of what lies ahead in the garments business--what to do and what not to do, how to do it. She told me I will be faced with 3 major problems in the workplace: absenteeism, procurement of vale and uninterrupted intrigues among the workers. She showed me how to deal with these problems based from her own experience.
8. Angie and Charo
My two "partners in crime" in the school where I took fashion designing, dressmaking, master cutting, pants making. We would watch movies and eat at Harrizon Plaza whenever we have time.
9. My Contractors who trusted me and believed in me (will try my very best to stretch my memory on this one but I doubt I'll remember everyone from 1988 to 2002.
------Tita Sylv, Olive and Bea for Goulbourn
------George Salud for Kirei
------Elite Garments & Fashion Apparel for 22BC, Ensembles, Krizia
------MARIKO for Sari-Sari and Dalagita
------Rana's Mfg. for Georgetown
------Marj for her different company/school uniform projects
------Gap, Jordache, Ann Taylor and Macy's
10. My loyal workforce
When I was still single, I only maintained a workforce of 10-13. They were like a family to me. But when my ex-husband took over, he transferred to a 3-storey building and employed 40-45 workers. I still see some of my original staff and sewers from time to time. I wish them well.
11. My loyal Made-to-Order customers
I miss them and our extended talks. One of them was Mimi when she took her residency at Perpetual Help Hospital. Mimi visited me whenever she had the time and we would just chat and laugh our cares away.
12. Cherry and Zeny
We were three's company in the garment subcontracting business: Cherry, Zeny and me. Problems always visit us but we went through them in a breeze because of the support we extended to each other.
When I finally said goodbye to my husband, Cherry expressed her guilt for being instrumental in our love story. But I told her I don't blame her for pairing me off with my ex-husband. The truth is, I am very thankful to her. Because of her, I am now experiencing the joy of having two wonderful children--Gio and Eia. Had she not introduced me to J. and acted as "bridge", I would have missed the opportunity of being a wife and mother. Gio and Eia are more than enough to compensate for the heartaches and pains I went through. Really, Cherry--no regrets.
13. Tho Lidasan
If there's one person whom I owe my life with (literally), it is Tho-- the very loving husband of my friend Elsa.
When I gave birth to my eldest son by caesarian section last Sept. 19, 1997, I desperately needed blood transfusion of 1,500 cc. I was immediately given 500 cc. from the Blood Bank but my obstetrician wanted fresh blood for the succeeding 1,000 cc.
Waves of friends and relatives came to visit me at the hospital but none of them was type "O". Except for Tho. It was a tedious screening process which lasted for 6 long hours. Tho finished all the tests and requirements without any complaint. And Elsa, together with their well-disciplined sons Junji and Seiji patiently waited after everything was completed.
This is one family worth emulating. Despite the fact that Tho and Elsa don't share the same belief (I stood as secondary sponsor in both their Catholic wedding and Muslim Matrimonial rites), their love for each withstood the tests of time. They were able to overcome all obstacles and stayed together as one solid family.
I salute you, Tho and Elsa!
And Tho, thanks a lot for bearing with Elsa's occasional "violent reactions" after all these years! (heh . . . heh . . . heh)
14. All-girls group from Marbel
Whenever Elsa, Gene, Malou, Mimi and I meet somewhere (usually at Sugarhouse Megamall), time is so short to catch up with each other's freshest news. Although we want to meet as often as we can, it seldom happens. But when somebody from Marbel comes to Manila, we always gather and have an instant mini-reunion. Our last meeting was June 14, 2007 when our friend Marichu was in town.