Finding Villazzo Philippines

For a moment there, I was beginning to think I’d become a professional job hunter who does freelance work on the side and performance art as a hobby. Yesterday ended my long, long search for the non-call center, human-friendly, day shift, full time job. After one of my longest jeepney rides since my reclusive stint as a man-child bum, I found it just outside the city, inside a house.

I officially started the day picking up my black backpack. This bag has the words ‘departure’ ‘adventure’ and ‘new experience’ written all over it- in metaphysical ink, that is. This is the bag I use when I’m on the road, where I pretend to be a real full-blooded existentialist drifter. The interview for today was going to be in a place I’ve never been to, of which I only have scribbled instructions for, with no visual references. I made a short visit to a café to take a long deep breath and rode a jeepney for Ayala, stopping near the mall to where the talamban-bound jeepneys would have passenger refills. I chose from 3 jeepneys and took the one with the least number of passengers and decided to get off at the farthest familiar point: D’ Family Park. From there, I would take a cab, one whose driver knew where this place written on a piece of scratch paper is; the directions the company gave me. So I did and there I stood waiting for that cab along Banilad. It was high noon. Udtong-tutok. I will not describe how hot it was during that 10-minute ordeal until I found an empty cab with a driver that knew where I was going.

I finally end up at the guardhouse, where I was told to call to be fetched and wait. "Two minutes" the guy on the phone said. I waited for about that time until a young man in shorts and flip-flops greets me with a smile only us Filipinos can make. He was accompanied by another man in a red shirt who bore a similar smile. I shook his hand and followed him to the office. Earlier that morning over the phone, I was told that the office was temporarily located inside a house, which came as a bit strange to me but instinctively enough, quickly didn’t mind. I followed my guide through a steel gate into a peaceful front yard. Turns out, the front door was a staircase down, and so we went in. A cave-like cool greets me. This is definitely a house. Inside is a small kitchen, a breakfast table, a dining set, lamps and the quietness of house at midday. “Sit down sa, the boss is still on phone, just wait a bit” the guy in shorts said gesturing at the dining set before leaving. I sat and took my stolen breaths back, the ones the sun wantonly nabbed from me while I was standing along Banilad waiting for an empty cab at high noon. There is a large printed photo about 8x 4 ft. mounted on a wall. I stared at it, taking it in. And it was beautiful, perfectly composed, alive but without the chaos. One of the Villa Hotels of the company I presumed, with richly yellow-lighted columns and a magnificently mirror of pool, photographed probably at dusk. I sat there looking at it. Peace.

“This is a really small company” the guy in shorts said, reappearing. I discovered later that he was one of the company's web designers. We talked until I felt like a freshman in a college dorm receiving area, just arrived from my serene little beach province, and now being interviewed by a senior. The guy left me again after a while. I looked around and noticed price tags on almost everything, even the curtains. I figured, they just moved in here and they’re moving out again soon so this house is practically in the market still along with its accessories. I read the prices.

“Come in”, he must be the boss I thought, who else was he supposed to be? They said he was in the room, and he seemed to be the only person there so he must be the boss. A few steps to the door of the room, I noticed it was actually an office inside and the boss was walking around barefoot, left his shoes on the doormat. I asked if I should take mine off “Nah, I’m the only one who does that here.” I get in, door shuts, interview begins.

After what seemed to be the longest and most thorough interview I’ve had in my career as a job hunter, I shook the boss’ hand, this time, with a sense of trust. I was brought outside by the guy in shorts and his companion; they were going out for lunch and to buy the boss some food, still smiling. I took the cab waiting near the guard house. Sitting in the passenger seat, I thought of the little tickbox checklist inside my head about the job I considered proper for myself. I remember talking to Ms Stela about it: that it should be a non call-center day shift job, it should involve color, it must have valid superiors and good fellowship, it should have a sense of fear and excitement at the same time. I ticked every box and smiled. I took my phone and typed a text message to a friend of 10 years waiting for me at her house: Ver, coming, I’m smiling.