by: Alden I. Bula
The year 1987 was considered as an adjustment period. One year pa lang ang Cory administration yet, tumultuous na ang simula. There were lots of expectations especially among young people like me at that time. We were looking forward for greater opportunities for us. Fortunately for me, my luck started two days after our final exam. I was waiting for my friends at ADDU canteen when I overheard a conversation on group of young men near to my table. One guy was urging his friend to apply in his company as sales representative. What I remembered then was that I was taking down notes on what that guy was telling to his friends. By the time I went home, I went to my neighbour and borrowed a typewriter to compose an application letter and a resume. Take one lang ang typing ko kaya di ako napuyat at fresh na fresh kinabukasan.
The following day, I borrowed a white long sleeve from my father and he asked ano daw gagawin ko. I told him na I am applying for a job at Zuellig Pharma. He gave P20.00 for my pamasahe. And off I went to Vinzon cor Porras St. in Barrio Obrero Davao City to hand in my application. This was the first luck I had. Luckily, the one who received my application letter read it (and I believe he was impressed) and afterwards he asked me why I applied when I am not yet a college graduate. I responded, “I will be since graduation will be a week away from now.” He further asked if I can graduate and I replied “ I would not dare applying for this company and the job if I am not convinced myself that I will graduate.” So, he told me to wait and endorsed the letter to somebody. An hour after, I had my panel interview with three sales supervisors from Zuellig Pharma Manila office. After nearly an hour, the panel told me to wait for my employment examination. Another hour after, I had my exam and finished it according to time frame. I was told to back tomorrow for the results and feedback if I made to the second round.
It was already 3 PM when I left the perimeters of Zuelling Pharma and proceeded to my barkadas at ADDU campus. They made fun at me when they saw me in white long sleeves with a tie and I told them where I had been. Of course, they asked several questions as most of them would be in the same situation after graduation. The following day, I went back to Zuellig office and I was informed that I made it to the second round and another panel interview. After the second interview, I was informed that a representative of the company will informed me If I made the cut for training in Cebu City. They estimated it to be known after a week. So, let us skip to one week after.
I remembered it clearly that I was hanging out with my friends at ADDU covered court nearly lunch time. All of a sudden I felt stomach pain. I presumed that “I wanna make tae” moment iyon. So, I told my friends I have to go home and make bawas. When I arrived home my father was at home which was quite rare for him to have lunch during work days. When he saw me, he told me that a certain Rey Gabunada visited the house and fortunately he was at home to entertain him. He told my father that I made it to training in Cebu City and I should be there by Monday at 8 AM and I should report anytime that afternoon to receive instructions from them regarding training. This was the second luck that I have. So, again I went back to Zuellig office and together with other 6 applicants were gathered in the conference room and a sales representative gave us the instructions such as what to wear, what to bring, what to do. This was my first setback. When I asked my parents for money, walang maibigay to buy me clothes at pamasahe, naubos kasi nga graduation ng mga kapatid ko.
Later that a night, one of my good friends Dominique Ruste paid me a visit. He saw wearing a sad face; of course he asked why the long face. I told him about me making it for training and problems with long sleeves, slacks, and neckties and pamasahe going to Cebu. He said, “tara punta tayo sa bahay.” The third luck happened. Pagdating sa bahay nila diretso kami sa kuwarto niya at binuksan ang kanyang wardrobe cabinet and he said pumili ka ng apat na polo, necktie, at pantaloon, bigay ko sa iyo pero bayaran mo ako sa P2000 na ipapahiram ko sa iyo at mamigay ka rin ng polo, pantaloon, at necktie sa sinuman sa kaibigan natin who will experience the same predicament with me. Solve ang problema ko.
Kinabukasan, Saturday, sinamahan ako ng tatay ko sa Maa Bus Terminal para ihatid for my trip going to Nasipit, Agusan del Norte para sumakay ng barko papuntang Cebu. I remembered that when the bus left Maa Terminal, ang tugtog was “We’ve Only Just Begun.” Tumutulo ang luha ka habang pinapakinggan ang kanta and I felt that time na para sa akin ang trabaho na. The fourth luck occurred at 4PM when I arrived in Butuan City and rode a jeep going to Nasipit. While waiting for the vehicle to move on, a certain woman made chika chika with me and asked saan daw ako pupunta. So, I told her the story where and why. Sagot niya after I related the story, “hala bukas pa ang Cebu trip, hindi Sabado.” I replied, eh iyon sabi ng Sulpicio Office na meron daw outbound for Cebu on a Saturday. And the woman replied, “sige dong, ganito na lang, pag walang barko, sumakay ka ng tricycle ulit at sabihin mo ihatid ka sa bahay ni Greta Surilla doon ka mag overnight sa bahay ko at delikado sa pier sa batang katulad mo.
Tama ng walang barko, so I took her offer. Pinakain ako, binigyan ng mga advises, pinatulog, at pinag-handa ng almusal. Around 9AM, she urged me to go to the pier na at maraming pasahero papuntang Cebu baka maubusan ako ng tiket. So, I went, true to it mahaba na ang pila despite na 8PM pa ang larga ng barko. So, cut to 8PM. Ayun, binaybay na ng barko ang karagatan papuntang Cebu when all of a suddent at 12 MN, nahinto ang barko, namatay daw ang makina at i-repair lang sandal. Natapos ang repair ewan ko after ilang oras kasi nakatulugan ko ang maghinta. The ship docked at Cebu Port Monday at around 10 AM. Laglag ang shoulders ko, kasi the instruction was that late ka lang ng ilang Segundo you won’t be welcome sa training room. Muntik na akong magdecide na to proceed at bumalik na lang kasi alam ko bagsak na ako due to tardiness.
While I was going out sa pier para mag abang ng taxi, me kung ano pumasok sa utak ko at encouraging me, sige go ka lang ano malay tanggapin nila ang reason mo. So, nagmadali akong nag check-in, naligo, nagbihis, pumara ng taksi and arrived at Zuellig Cebu Branch malapit na mag-alas dose. When I arrived, sa gate pa lang nakita ko na maraming kalalakihan naka-tambay sa labas na parehas sa akin ang gayak. So, I presumed kapwa trainees ko from different provinces in Visayas and Mindanao. I searched for my Davao batchmates na mga can afford mag plane and talked with them. They told me hindi pa daw dumating ang mga trainors and pinahintay daw sila sa labas for instructions. At exactly 12:30, someone from the office called us and instructed that we wrote in the attendance sheet and come back tomorrow for the first day of training. Tinawid ko muna ang kabilang side kunwari iihi, pero yumuko ako at naluha. While tumutulo ang luha ko, sabi ko “Lord, you lead me the way, and I promised hindi ko sasayangin ang daan na ibinigay mo. After I wrote my name sa attendance sheet, I went to Cebu Cathedral para mag pray at mag sindi ng kandila. I compose my first letter sa family ko when I went back sa pension house.
One month after, I was on my way to Iloilo City to work for Zuellig Pharma as sales representative covering the areas of Coastal towns in Iloilo, Roxas City, and Kalibo. A year after that I was assigned in Zamboanga City. In 1991, four years after, I finally snagged a slot in Davao City as one of sales representatives for the said company. Inuulit ulit ko ang istorya na ito sa aking mga pamangkin pag nagtanong how I got my first job. I also tell this to youth participants if may speaking engagements ako sa mga youth seminars, and hope that it will inspire them. Ang lesson ko always na pinaparating, tama ang “Nasa Diyos Ang Awa, Nasa Tao Ang Gawa.”