Q&A: Today's questions come from my daughter Iona, a Grade 7 student at the Manila Waldorf School. She dreams of being many things when she grows up, and being a reporter is one of them."What did you do today?"
Well I had scheduled an early meeting with a call center. But I ended up being really late for that, because your Lolo Mingoy decided to drop in unannounced. I came down for breakfast, and there he was sitting at the table, waiting for me."Didn't you tell him you were rushing to a meeting?"
Oh you should always make time for your parents! How could I walk out on my own Dad... besides, it was obvious he wanted to talk about Ninong Tony. The two of them were really close. They were batchmates in college [along with current DTI Secretary Johnny Santos]. Even if your Lolo was 2 years older, they started schooling at the same time, right after the war ended. Your Lolo said he had a dream about Ninong Tony calling for help at 530 yesterday morning, about the time when the accident happened."Wow (long pause). So then you went to your meeting?"
Yup. I went to a call center near Roxas Boulevard. It's this place where they have so many desks, over a thousand desks, and Filipinos work there and answer calls and questions from people all over the world, mostly from America."When it's day time here, isn't it night time in America?"
That's right! So for most of the workers there, they were already tired from working the whole night, while my day was just starting. They had a lot of suggestions for me on what the government should do to help more Filipinos get more jobs at call centers. Here's a picture."So then what did you do after that?"
I had to rush to my next appointment at SM Megamall. They asked me to cut the ribbon at the Smart Wireless Innovation Expo. Smart was sponsoring a contest where student teams from all over the country invent fantastic ways of using cellphones to help their college or community. One of the teams showed me how a parent can use a cellphone to download her child's grades, enroll for the next semester, and even pay for the tuition!"Oh wow. So that's where you got those flowers. Did they serve you lunch there?"
For lunch, I drove back to Rockwell Powerplant to meet with a Filipino businessman who's thinking of putting up an animation company."Cool! Animation as in Disney Channel and Nickelodeon?"
Oh yes! There are a lot of good cartoonists here in the Philippines, and movie producers from all over the world come here to have their animaton done by Filipinos. In fact, did you know that one of the lead cartoonists in that film "The Incredibles" was a Filipina?"Really! So then what did you do after lunch?"
I had slack before my next appointment, so it was time to drop by an internet cafe to catch up on mail. Buti na lang
, as there were questions from a newspaper reporter that needed an urgent response.
Afterwards, I went to the graduation ceremonies at Phil-NITS
. They asked me to give the keynote speech to the graduating class. We spoke about President Gloria's goal of providing jobs, and about CICT's role in making it happen."You give a lot of speeches, don't you?"
Oh about 2 or 3 times a week. Sometimes even twice a day. March is especially busy since there's a lot of graduations and job fairs going on."Then you came home after the graduation?"
That's right, but only to pick up your Mom so we could go to Mass. It's first Friday, remember. Also, we wanted to catch the 8:30pm Mass at Manila Memorial Chapels for Ninong Tony. The priest who said Mass had just lost his own mother last year. So he was able to share with us a really beautiful message. He said that Ninong Tony had been preparing to meet God for the past 66 years. And when God saw he was ready, God reached down and took him."It came kind of suddenly though."
Well my Lolo Nene died quickly of a heart attack. Tito Isyong died in a plane crash. Tito Obet was gunned down on a dirt road. I guess Mapa men aren't destined to die in bed. When we're ready to go, we're ready to go."You seem to be going to a lot of wakes lately. Part of the job?"
Last week, it was for the dad of DTI UnderSecretary Mel Alonzo. This Monday it was for Justice Garchitorena. I guess it's part of life, as one gets older."Wow what a long day. No wonder you're so tired when you get home every night."
Well it's hard when I have to drive for myself. There's no chance to rest in the car or catch a nap while in traffic. I'm really sorry if I can't spend as much time with you when I get home anymore."That's ok. I know you're doing so much and you need to get your rest. Good night. I love you."
I love you too, Princess. Sleep tight; don't let the bed bugs bite!
(P.S. The priest had a second message for the family members left behind by Ninong Tony: "You still have a special mission which God wants you to accomplish". Dad, I guess that's why you're still with us. I love you.)