I had been in the ‘call center’ industry for almost three years and being stressed out had been an understatement. It was definitely toxic. I had to admit, this kind of industry may not be suitable especially for those who have some health issues. Nonetheless, I knew myself and what I could do and I suited up for the job. After months of taking in all kinds of calls (mostly overseas), I felt a deep longing to take sometime for relaxation and break. ‘I want to break free!’ that was what I was talking about and this has been running around my head already for quite sometime. As a sort of a cathartic means to let some pressure escape from my being, I asked one of my ‘wavemates’ (a term coined in the industry to denote a class or batch) if she felt the same way as well. Right on the money, I was not alone that we wanted to take a break. We need a sort of a ‘team building’ to vent exhaustion out.
Looking for a practical, but worthwhile venue
It was during our downtime that we had a chance to talk and brainstorm the what, when, where, who, why and how of our getaway. Since we had schedule conflicts or issues, we tried to suggest a lot on how we would be relaxing. The session ended when one of our seniors suggested the place ‘Puerto Galera’ and everbody agreed.
Puerto Galera: a Paradise nearby
Honestly, when everybody agreed, I was taken back in my mind. ‘Where is Puerto Galera anyway?’ was the question that was jumping around my mind. One of my teammates who was a native or Mindoro told me that the place was just approximately four (4) to five (5) hours travel from Manila. Accessibility is not a problem and we just had to take the SLEX or South Luzon Expressway going to the Batangas Pier and we need to board the vehicle in a ‘RoRo’ ship (roll on, roll off vessel) for us to use the vehicle with us at Puerto Galera. Ease of access was definitely not a problem going to Puerto Galera, especially within the Metro Manila area. There was actually a bus terminal that provided service from Manila until tourists arrived at the vicinity of the resort itself. Another option according to my colleague (this brought out the adventurer in all of us), was to look for bus on the main road going to Batangas Pier and we would find our way to the place.
The Day itself
During the day itself, we had a sort of a problem. The van that was intended to transport us and that we would be using was delayed. For that reason, we decided to take a bus headed to Batangas pier. We were surprised that our supervisor was ahead of us and the van was with her as well! She took advantage of our ‘shock’ and we boarded the RoRo ship.
We spent the next twelve (12) – sisteen (16) hours at Puerto Galera as if there was no tomorrow. The beach was so alluring that was the reason why everybody was having fun in the cool blue water! We could not help but join the crowd and as for me, as soon as I stepped at the shore and felt the water, I immediately plunged my head and sank making my whole body drenched in water and it was an amazing feeling. It seemed that all the stress and pressure left my being and I was renewed. I felt I was a ‘new man’! We ended our team building by dropping by at our officemate’s ancestral home at Mindoro and had some time to rest.
Puerto Galera Experience: Made us stronger as a team
We arrived at our colleague’s place just around lunch time. We have had our feel of one of his relatives’ special dishes. At first it seemed to look like ordinary breaded fried pork and chicken with a sauce but when the dish found its way in our palate, it was really unique. I even quipped, ‘Wow! Fried Galera!’ Everybody had a good laugh and we were enjoying ourselves that time.
Before we went home, our supervisor asked for some few moments to have a small talk or meeting. She admitted that she ‘set up’ the ‘no-van scheme’ for a purpose. She wanted us to be united and at the same time be happy with our teammates. She explained that the journey in itself was part of the team building process and the moral was that we had to stick together no matter what. We all smiled and some were teary-eyed and as always, I did ‘break the ice’. It was really a wonderful experience for us to one as a team. Puerto Galera had left something on my being after that short ‘break’ happened in my life. As of today, even though we had already decided to part ways, we would still gather together as a team as if we had just parted our ways just a day ago.