Three cities in three hours

Once a year, our church holds a Discipleship conference.

It’s a big thing: it was to empower leaders to raise up leaders.
It’s a big thing: over 10,000 people all over Metro Manila were to be in attendance.
It’s a big thing: it was held simultaneously across 16 locations.

Our team’s involvement was in the preparations. My (non-)conversation with a colleague captured it:

“Is it so hard? I mean, don’t your department just have to prepare everything and so that all the other locations can execute it?”

I just smiled at him, then, waiting for him to get it. That, yes, we prepared everything. The pre-program gimiks, the in-program videos, the post-program giveaways, the all-through-the-whole-thing documentation and web strategy, and we had to make sure that everything aligned with the whole point of the conference, and that it was prepared so that other people can execute it without us on the reins.

(He did: I saw the lightbulb moment as his face fell. “Oh. Right.”)

We had planned to do a caravan of sorts for conference day. A few from our team went to attend in our Grennhills location, while a couple of my teammates took a car to visit two locations. As for me, I took a cab.

I left Taguig early to arrive at our Quezon City location at 8 AM, just in time to check on their set up and do final run-throughs. By 9AM I was off to Pasig. I had just about enough time to ask how they were doing before they opened their gates; I stayed long enough to see the people pour into the venue. By 10 AM I’d made it to Mandaluyong. It was common knowledge that the mall that housed our venue had pitiful internet connection; and I wanted to see how they managed. (Miraculously, the connection on that day was superb.) Then in the afternoon, the caravan team piled into one car and drove to Metro East in Cainta to visit the afternoon session.

It was overall a tiring day, but one thing that I’ll remember from this day was the experience of seeing how others executed something that we tirelessly prepared for months, some even added their own unique spin.

No one in that packed room had any idea who I was. They didn’t notice me, anyway; they were too busy dancing as confetti floated in the air like joy and triumph. I stood there, in the sidelines and doing nothing but watching, as others enjoyed something that I helped make. It was surreal. It was awesome.

Waiting for chug-chug-chugging

Before October 2014, I had never ridden a train.

I’m not talking about city subways or bullet trains (although, before October 2014, I had never ridden a bullet train, either). I’m talking about cross-country ones that you ride for hours, where you stay in little cabins with your luggage tucked beside you; ones that seem to make you say “locomotive” instead of “train” in your head.
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7,107 Islands

When a friend visited the Philippines recently, there was a question that people asked him quite a few times.

“Of the 7,107 islands in the Philippines, how many have you visited?”

He just smiled and said: “Two. The island where Manila is, and the island where Davao is.”

During a conversation with him later, he swung the question back at me.

“Definitely more than two,” was my easy answer.
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