For the year that is 2016 & a growing love-hate relationship with Manila and its intense traffic, I have only flown in to the metro twice and only for significant purposes: first, was my career talk at The University of Sto. Tomas Manila in February; and the other, was being a blogger panelist & show my all-out love and support for David Guison’s #AviationAxe concept store.
Manila was and is always my secondary turf; but it’s always my least favourite city to fly to- with low tolerance of scheming public cab drivers (but thank you Uber!) and traffic the moment you step out of the airport. Living and working here a few years ago did teach me some of the most indispensable lessons only Manila can teach an individual: countless miles of walking because you can’t get a ride just anywhere & how far I’d walk from my place in Rockwell, Makati to my then office along Buendia Avenue and having to pass by retired Caucasian men doing monkey business with struggling Filipinas & midget boxing ads in Makati’s Burgos Street . Having to commute in your corporate attire only because it would be ridiculously expensive to ride a cab to work every single day (a favorite mental portrait of how one should hustle would be my very first day at work: forcibly rode a jeepney because it was the only ride available and only had 10 minutes left until work begins so I had to ride by hanging at the back most part in a suit & tie) and how some citizens look down at Southerners like myself and asking the most ludicrous of questions such as “do you have Jollibee in Cagayan de Oro?” (by which I did want to slap that person during my very first job interview in Manila, silly and retaliate with “Girl, we got the first Starbucks in Mindanao!”)
Manila has its beauty, just to be fair. A huge majority of brands I work for are based in the metro and most events that anyone in my industry can fairly and financially benefit from are always in Manila, anyway. Not to forget, every place or city that compromises Manila has its own distinct character & flavor that fits various tastes – there’s a crowd along the Taft area compromising mostly of students that’s a bit more laid back compared to the busy commercial districts along Makati’s Ayala Avenue and . BGC, although a new player, has already risen above its previous reputation as a mere military base to the fastest rising epicenter of glamour and finance both combined. Again, I always have had a love-hate relationship with Manila.
But as I did tell everyone, this one was by far the most fun I had flying to Manila. When David Guison himself, indisputably an echelon who has set the standards high for the mens category in the digital stratosphere & is, for some strange reason, an actual friend of mine- asks you to be up on his blogger panel; you cannot say no and not be thrilled.
And no, this wasn’t the excitement over getting benefits on my behalf, but this was the kind of excitement you get just to show love and support in the final output of a good chum’s months of preparation, commitment and hard work. Needless to say, it was also an unprecedented opportunity for myself to meet others I share the digital landscape with and be actual friends with them than Instagram buddies (“Hi! Oh! Aren’t you @Smelephant?” So see ladies & gents, it is utterly significant to choose your Instagram handle very well) Although my most instant and reflexive response during social gatherings is I become ineradicable shy, with the rush of nostalgia over the regional discrimination I experienced during my first job application fleeting across my mind. However, the outcome was otherwise with Manila’s digital personalities actually welcoming me with wide and warm open arms. According to Vern and Verniece, on a separate occasion, both who I have met before; they actually get thrilled and curious whenever they meet an online persona from another region rather than to imply the usual “ay, probinsyano” mentality. Perhaps, this is a social thing that being in digital makes you hungry for what others have to offer because you don’t share the same experiences as content or mindset as to what to post about, rather than about being oppressed by being a citizen out of Manila’s borders.
It was actually kind of overwhelming that most individuals I met during the whole duration have been so nice, and even, put me more on the hot seat out of curiosity, during the panel. Something I would have loved to share was, because I am not from Manila or, even Cebu, I actually have to work harder & do better in order to avoid the stigma of both being not from Manila and for being a blogger (by which, Alessandra Codinha and her posse have lashed out on. This here is a good read about it.)
To David, you are one awesome pal. From being the only person who has made me try out Kinilaw, Sea Urchins, do a freefall and end up with wiggly, jelly legs from the fear of being dropped 120 feet up in the air to a man-made lakae- and ultimately made me enjoy Manila for the first time in ages, having to deal with my stage fright by being up in bright lights on your panel- and of course, having me on your panel even if I was the only Southern nobody up on your entire line-up. Thank you!
Congrats on the undeniable success #AviationAxe & #AxeBlackDavid was and is to come- the entire concept store was an extension of your aesthetic handshake; without compromising the Axe branding- so to no bias, I thought you did extremely well!
Buy the limited edition #AviationAxe merchandise here!