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Bring back the summer of my youth!

I have been remiss in my blogging duties these past few days.

I blame it on my weird little head that pounds and throbs at the slightest movement and on the first kiss of heat.

Today’s summer days are no longer the same summer days as in my memories.  I recall dousing ourselves in hose water during the summer, playing barefoot in our red-brick driveway, and flying back and forth on our large wooden tree swing under the shade of our Santol tree. These days, I can’t do much under the sun—my skin feels like it’s broiling my flesh inside if I walk for more than 5 minutes without an umbrella, my arms and chest get these itchy red rashes that scream to be scratched, and my head…oh, dear…it feels as though a huge pair of knuckles take turns kneading the insides of my skull—roughly, unforgivingly.

I miss summer days of old when the heat was tolerable—enjoyable even. They were days when I could stay under the fleeting cloud cover and be kissed ever so lightly by the sun’s rays leaving me brown and sprightly.

Nowadays, I couldn’t leave the house without my umbrella or my bottle of menthol embrocation to keep me up and functioning like a normal human being.  What has happened to my summer…why has it become the worst days of my year? 😦

 


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The social life

When you Facebook and tweet for a living, you’ll ironically Facebook and tweet less and less about your own life.

You’ll need to double, triple and quadruple check what account you’re logged into when sending out a tweet. Your heart will skip a beat once a post is sent out and your eyes will dart to the profile photo to check if it’s your own face showing up and not a logo.

I remember a huge account once tweeting that that he was buying treats for friends and family. I recall reading a tweet about how this big brand was supposedly having a bad dream. Of course, these tweets have been since redacted–deleted within seconds of posting–but those infamous tweets will remain a favorite joke within community manager circles.

On that note, more and more, you’ll find your circle of friends to all be community managers and content writers just like you. Your concerns at dinner gatherings would be that of your extended family–your huge FB community in the thousands, and once upon a time, in the millions, in my case.

Together, you’ll exchange stories about the ups and downs of being that anonymous human being behind a brand online. Likes, shares and positive sentiment in the comments will be the basis of your daily outlook.

Often, irate customers would insult the intelligence of community managers when they grow impatient. They forget that it’s a team of actual people with feelings, families, hobbies, and interests, whose on the receiving end of all insults they boldly type out on the comments section. Little do they know that these community managers could very well be the funniest, smartest, most quirky people they’ll ever meet in their lifetime. But until you tweet with a brand’s logo as your face, in the brand voice, with the brand personality, they’ll never know what fun they’re missing. 🙂

Beautiful Bohol

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I can’t wait to go back to Bohol. I love it’s laid back vibe.

Photo by Celine Vitan

Photo by Celine Vitan

Photo by Celine Vitan

Photo by Celine Vitan

Photo by Celine Vitan

Egg yolk sky – Photo by Celine Vitan

Photo by Celine Vitan

Photo by Celine Vitan

Photo by Celine Vitan

Pastels – Photo by Celine Vitan

Photo by Celine Vitan

Stick it to the sea! – Photo by Celine Vitan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos grabbed from my sister Celine’s FB page.

Photos taken sunrise, July 20, 2010

This gallery contains 6 photos


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Why the young nice ones?

This year, I learned about two young men who found themselves suddenly stricken with cancer in it’s last stages. One of them, a close friend of my sister, succumbed to the illness within 3 short months. He just turned 28. He had no vices at all, except maybe, that he worked too hard.  The second guy, one-half of a popular YouTube love team, is fighting the good fight. No nasty vices as well, he just really worked on editing videos a lot and slept late. Both of them, well-loved by their family, colleagues, friends and fans—just all-around nice guys. 


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Dream Come True: Invited back to be guest speaker at my high school!

One of my secret dreams came true for me this year. I’m posting this speech I gave last March 23 at St. Paul University, Quezon City. 🙂

TALUMPATI

GREETINGS (1 minute)

Dear sisters, teachers, parents and my fellow Paulinians… magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat.

Gaya po ng nabanggit ni Ginang Baasis, ako po si Ces Vitan. Nagtapos taong 2002 noong panahong St. Paul College Quezon City pa lamang ang ating paaralan.

Kasalukuyan akong nagtatrabaho sa GMA Network kung saan bahagi ako ng News and Public Affairs. Ang Multimedia Team kung saan ako kabilang, ang naatasang mag-post sa Facebook, mag-tweet, mag-upload sa YouTube at mag-Instagram ng balita at iba pang impormasyong  patungkol sa aming mga programa. Sana’y pamilyar sa inyo ang aming mga palabas sa Public Affairs, kabilang na rito ang I-Witness, Reporter’s Notebook, Born to be Wild, Wish Ko Lang, Imbestigador at marami pang iba.

At oo, ang pagiging social media manager ay hashtag legit na trabaho sa panahon ngayon.

 

INTRODUCTION (2 minutes)

Grabbing hold of this mic, coming on to the stage gave me a rush of positive emotion.

I’ve been here on this stage numerous times during my high school years.

I recall singing the responsorial psalm during mass on this very podium,  where I could barely reach the notes.

I remember being with my classmates for Sabayang Bigkasan during our 1st year, a contest we won by the way, so that’s a very good memory.

I also proudly watched my younger sister win the Bugtungan contest for Linggo ng Wika on this very stage

One of my most favorite memories of HS would have to be in Senior year, Ms Baasis knows about this, because it was part of  the requirements of her English class. We had to stage the play Oedipus Rex, and we levelled it up, and made it a musical play. Yup, we were singin’ even before GLEE.

I took on the role of Queen Jocasta, and I played it to the hilt!  I sang my heart out along with my classmates.  Until now, I sometimes  find myself humming the round song we wrote for that play. It’s an earworm of a song that I can’t get out of my head. And honestly, I don’t mind it being there.

 

BODY A (3 minutes)

Standing here on stage… TODAY, will surely be another one of my most treasured memories. Not too long ago, I have been seated just like you, in several similar events, where graduates would be invited to tell their story…what they’ve been up to after life at St. Paul.

I distinctly remember wishing that one day, I too would be given a chance to share the story to a younger generation of Paulinians.  I didn’t think that it would ever happen for me since, throughout high school, I’ve never been in the top 10 of the batch. I’d make my way to the top 10 list of the class, rank 8, 5, 3, 6…it would vary, but I don’t think I’ve ever been  no. 1.

You see, I viewed grades as cherry on top.  A bonus, if you may. As NERDY as it may sound, I was simply “happy” being in school.

I tried to get involved activities. Together with some friends, we established the Forensic’s Club for students interested in current issues and the art of debate. During senior year I revived my love for sports and was fortunate enough to be part of our batch’s volleyball team that year, even just as a B-player.

I gravitated towards activities that entailed creativity and performing. When I was asked to host, even if my knees were shaking, I’d do it. When I was asked to serve alongside the student council and monitor the halls, I’d do it gladly. When my friends who were in the school paper said there was some space and they needed an article, I’d write something up.

As early as HS, I was already drawn to people who were creative: writers, illustrators, and performers.

I thoroughly enjoyed working with other people, I found it so fascinating that other people had talents so different from mine. I couldn’t draw to save my life. So I would look at how my friends could transform little circles into faces, and these faces into warriors, cartoon characters and whatever their imagination dictated.  I found that there was so much to be learned from others as well.

I specifically joined the debate team not because I liked the argumentation and competition with other schools but because I delighted in the whole exercise of researching, refining our ideas together as a team and presenting these ideas to an audience, eliciting a reaction whether favorable or not. If we lost and our strategies didn’t work, we took note of our shortcomings and made sure we didn’t repeat the same mistakes.

NOW…Little did I know that these small, almost seemingly unconnected activities, skills and interests would come together and benefit me after high school and would shape me into the person I am right now.

 

BODY B (Specific Examples – 2 minutes)

That’s why when they say “HS years are the best years of your life,” I don’t find myself fully agreeing with that statement.

I’d like to take it a step further and say that HS is more than that. Your HS experience can propel you to enjoy fabulous, magnificent, years of your life, yet to come.

In college I took up Broadcast Communication in UP. And at the risk of oversimplifying things, let me say that Broadcasting was pretty much like doing plays and skits for English class… the difference was that, we used cameras and other equipment to record it for TV and radio.

It was also a highly collaborative area of study, because one person cannot mount a TV or radio show alone, and I felt right at home working in a group setting, thanks to my experience here.

After University, I discovered that my love for communication and performing could actually be translated to a career in the field of marketing.  Marketing involves the crafting of stories that consumers could relate to. Using words, images, and sounds, to create experiences that will draw in people to buy products and love brands.

I previously held jobs as Marketing Assistant, Account Manager, you know, different job titles  through the years across different companies, but the work always entailed the same mix of things:  ideation, brainstorming, a lot of research, writing scripts, presenting ideas to clients, and working with  creatives: graphic artists, copywriters, video editors, directors, even toy makers–it’s basically everything I had a chance to be exposed to in high school,  BUT the difference is… NOW I get to do it professionally–meaning, I get paid to do it! So, it doesn’t feel like a job to me at all.

 

Tips (2 minutes)

Undoubtedly, my experience here at St. Paul has created a big impact on who I am today.

So as your ate, your big sister, please allow me to say this:

Do not just go through the motions. Come to school, listen in class, pass seatworks, take tests. If you’ve been tasked to do a skit, make it a dance musical. If you’ve been required to sew a skirt for T.H.E. make it runway worthy! If you’ve been tasked to read Chapter 11, before class, sit with a few of your classmates and discuss it among yourselves. Prepare yourself for recitation, picture yourselves as soldiers, preparing for battle. Push yourself to the limits.  Challenge yourself.

Why? Why get into all the trouble. I don’t like science. I’m not gonna be a scientist. I don’t need to learn statistics, I’m not planning to be a statistician.

Well ladies, In the end, it’s not the fact that you were able to submit a requirement or pass an exam that counts. When you’re in your late 20’s like me, you’ll realize that schoolwork was never about the grade.  It’s all about the skills and attitude you developed in working to get that grade; pass or fail–no matter what the outcome.

As cliché as it may sound: It’s not the destination, but the journey.

And you know what the great thing about being in school is? It’s that you don’t have to do it alone.  You can seek learning adventures, make mistakes, make memories,  together with other people in the Paulinian community.  Take time to learn from your teachers and classmates outside the confines of the classroom.  Ask questions from people and not just Google. And when you ask, ask even the silly questions.

Live curious. Dig deeper. Find out more through experience. By all means, watch films, documentaries and plays, listen to music, travel. Observe your surroundings.  Be a student of life.

Join after-school activities, even if you think you can’t hack it. Just try.  I tried out for the cheerdancing team one time and didn’t get it. But I earned a new friend in the cheerdancing captain. 🙂 So, I’d also like to encourage you to widen your social circles. Talk to people outside your barkada.  And your life will just be tremendously richer because of that.

Never put yourself in the position of regretting what you did not try to do. I tell you, it’s going to be a fun ride if you just dare to venture out of your comfort zone.

In preparing for this, I asked four of my closest friends, teammates in the class Academic Committee: “Hey, do you remember the cool things we did in HS for class, for acad committee?”

And they were all like: “Wow, we’re old. I can’t recall specifics…but I remember we had a blast. So much laughs. ”

A testament that learning and learning with others can indeed be fun.

Summary and Goodbye (1 minute)

To wrap this up, I urge you to embrace every learning opportunity that comes your way.

Make every single day a platform for you to be better than you were yesterday.

If you do what you love, what you’re interested in, it will change you for the better.

It will reveal aspects of “who you are,” your skills and personality, in ways that may even surprise you.

It will open your eyes, show you a whole new perspective and help you develop inner strength.

It shakes up what is routine or boring in your life.

Ultimately, it will make you one heck of an interesting person.

Now, wouldn’t you like that?

When I got asked to deliver a 10-minute speech today. I grabbed the opportunity, no questions asked. I dreamed about this moment. So, I just embraced it, and worked to give it my best shot.  I sincerely hope, that it was a worthwhile 10 minutes. I’m so totally posting this on Instagram with the caption “livin’ the dream, baby!” So, thank you for making a girl’s dream come true by listening to my story.

On that note…congratulations! Maligayang bati sa lahat. Lalung-lalo na sa mga magtatapos ngayong araw. Nawa’y baon-baon ninyo hindi lamang ang kaalamang mula sa libro at silid-aralan, kundi maging ang mga aral na napulot ninyo sa labas nito sa inyong pakikisalamuha sa inyong mga guro, kaklase at iba pang miyembro ng St. Paul community.

Muli’t muli po, maraming salamat sa inyong pakikinig at magandang araw sa ating lahat.

 

 


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May Mission

I plan to churn out a blog post daily for this whole month of May. It would help immensely in my current work where I have to be writing and thinking, 80% of the time, in English. It’s a big shift from training myself to write and think in proper and accessible Filipino for the last two years for my former job at the TV network.

These days, when I speak or write, I second guess myself about english word spellings, proper adjectives and idiomatic expressions. Case in point, I originally wrote that previous sentence with “double think” instead of “second guess.” Boy, do I have a long way to go before I get all my language skilss back.

Thesaurus.com is my new best friend next to Mignon Fogarty’s Grammar Girl website for q’s on punctuation and word usage.

‘Concise’ and ‘Compelling’ are my two guide words for the year. All my copy must embody these two precious attributes. 🙂 Best of luck to me!


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How do you survive the summer?

It’s been one scorching summer this year.

I started a new job this April and getting to our temporary office spaces require me to commute for 1.5 hours in the morning.  I got sick the first week on the job due to debilitating weather conditions at the moment.

I arrive sweaty, sunburned and with an aching head after walking, taking a jeep, hopping onto a bus, then walking again under the heat of the sun.  My UV umbrellas offer no reprieve from the strong sun rays.

I rely on certain things to help ward off heat-induced discomfort:

– fresh melon juice from Food Channel

– fresh buko (coconut) juice from Buko Joe

– ice cold water from co.lab’s electric water dispenser

– a splash of cold water on my face upon arrival at the office

– a wipe down of baby-wipes
on my arms and legs

– cold air-conditioning the whole day, phew! Thank you, fake air!

How about you, how are you coping with the sweltering heat of 2014 PH Summer?