Goodbye, Waffle Building!


She told me that a friend told her that the building looked like a waffle.

I rarely see the entire building when I’m walking briskly to the office. I just know it’s blue, grimy blue.

And in that grimy blue waffle building, as I wrote that impromptu resignation letter in the same interview room where the best days of my working life started, my mind couldn’t help but be filled with flashbacks.

I wasn’t facing the executive assistant that day. That person didn’t have the awkward smile that said, “This is wrong but there’s nothing else we can do about it.” No, that day, I was facing an enthusiastic HR staff saying that they’re glad to have me in their company. I was offered the salary, I accepted it, and I was happy my jobless days were over.

At first, I was revolted by the facilities. Compared to my previous company, this was plainly shabby. But there was a peculiar air of freedom and comfort all around, so I was still glad that I was here instead of anywhere else. My job as a junior writer was kinda easy compared to my previous job as a broadcast transcriptionist. It involved more thinking and creative manipulation of words, something that you can’t do as a transcriptionist who merely types words that assail your ear. My desktop computer was not sleek and shiny — it was in fact, sticky — but I can do pretty much anything I wanted with it as long as I finish my duties every day. Yahoo Messenger, Multiply, raunchy sites — all of them I can access all I want with minimal restrictions.

This was close to my dream job: just writing light articles, enjoying the Web while earning dough. Back then, as a gloomy guy who came from a cold, bleak company, this was paradise for me — cockroaches in the bathroom and all. I was contented with it. I was probably ready to do it for five straight years if the company allowed me.

Little did I know that so much more was in store for me. See, I didn’t have any real friends in my previous company. It was all keyboard, coffee, and more keyboards back there.Β  But in the grimy blue waffle building, the qoolest friends sat in cubicles, waiting for another lunch break just to talk of nonsensical funny stuff. These guys were so cool, my dark heart started opening up to brighter, happier hours.

And my god, did that girl from the cubicle far away stole my heart for keeps.

I smiled whenever I peered from my place to look at the back of her short curly hair. She had these groovy glasses on which made her look like a funky messenger from the ’70s. When I said my job was easy, I probably didn’t emphasize it enough. This girl looked laidback and beautiful (too beautifu) as Friday came with her accomplishing just a morsel of the quota. I sighed whenever she’s in front of me, heading to the pantry with her friends. Yeah, she was different all right.

How I went from ogling her in front of elevators to swimming with her in a lovely beach in Zambales is nothing short of a miracle to me. My fueled interest in my work probably equipped me with enough words to dazzle her one noisy and drunk night in Metrowalk. My passion for my job recuperated my body, and I was getting better and better every night. More magic tricks flowed from my hands every night, and I knew, if I pursued this dream goal, I could kiss her some day, some night.

It’s 12:39 and our memorable fourth monthsary just slid away 39 minutes to the past.

She’s a senior writer now and I am at home, juggling blogs and a fragile career choice. She’s doing a very good job with her work and the grimy blue waffle building wants her to stay despite my fall.

Nothing to worry about. I have to focus. Whatever happens, I must make things work out. I can do this. I know I can. I’ve done it a thousand times before. I just have to trust my heart in this and it will not fail me.

But still, I’ll remember.

I’ll remember Jie, who I consider my rival in art, even though I bet he doesn’t consider me a challenge at all. His sudden outbursts of gibberish will echo in my mind for a long, long time.

I’ll remember Alfred, that huge man with a huge voice and a huge sense of humor. He was one of the first guys to ever speak with me, and I thank him.

Then there were those silent guys, Chester and Jerc. Jerc was softspoken but he was friendly enough to chat with me during team-bonding activities. He said I was lucky I wasn’t required to introduce myself to the whole team unlike him. Chester was the most silent of all, but he had great talent. Up to this day, I believe Jie and I are no match for Chester’s line art.

I’ll remember Ms. Anne and her lesson to me in Tagaytay that you should have already figured out what you’d do in your career by the age of 25. I still have two more years to go before I’m officially without direction then.

I’ll remember Aika who interviewed me for my position. I’m 1oo% sure I sucked at that interview but I was accepted just the same. Thanks, Aika and good luck.

I’ll remember Arnel, Debbie, Bryan, Jit and ES who seemed like a package. They always went together. The grimy blue building would’ve been happier if all of them stayed.

I’ll remember Meia who made it in time to have fun with us during lunch breaks. Where I met her in UP is still a mystery.

I’ll remember all the cool guys and gals who didn’t make it in this blog entry.

But I’ll definitely remember Staci. He said he liked me in a nipa hut back in Tagaytay. I forgot to tell him that I felt the same way. I still laugh to myself when I remember his jokes.

Paul and Marck are two great writers enveloped in smoke. I’m sure their talent will continue to blaze as long as there are cigarettes to light.

My best memories were with Aila, Elaine, Chemae and RJ.

My Bruce Lee VCD collection is still with Aila. I hope she takes care of them as much as she takes care of her vegetarian diet. She said I was too negative in life. Aila, I beg to disagree.

Elaine had always been friendly to me. I thought she did an awesome job of being a friend and a team leader at the same time. I’m sorry if tears were shed one day because of my inadequacies, although that also is just a minor smudge in my shining, clear memory of her laughing at the cheapest of jokes. Her guy is an extremely talented friend. Kaloy, I’ll still envy you day and night.

And of course, I will remember RJ. He’s the man. He’s half the reason why the grimy blue waffle building will be remembered as an enchanted place. He’s like destiny’s gift to bleak, dry, serious people who stupidly walk the earth. I’ll pay anytime for a beer with him.

And finally, my mind and my heart will rest on the memory of Chemae. Her hair’s quite long now, though still curly as before. She should wear her groovy glasses more often so her eyes that discovered the light in me will not fade. She’s the funkiest girl in the world and she’ll forever be my crush, my love.

It doesn’t matter now if not one of these amazing people stumbles upon this blog entry. I’ve sealed their glimmering memory March 20th in the servers of this blogging site. I throw virtual flowers on this memory, place a virtual cross on it, and walk away from it now.

Goodbye, Waffle Building! It’s time for me to come home.


18 thoughts on “Goodbye, Waffle Building!

  1. I didn’t immediately understand why I didn’t like you the first time you offered to write an article for me in April 2008 (“Ilan ka na for the week? Gusto mo tulungan kita? Isa lang. Please.”).

    I also didn’t understand why I never thought you actually liked me when you wrote a really long blog entry about a question I asked you (“Marvin, diba socio ka, ni-lesson nyo ba yung Theory of Natural Changes ni Aristotle?”).

    And why you even spent time Googling this (“Kung bilog talaga ang mundo, bakit walang stars sa horizon?”).

    Why you’d send a message through YM (“Tawagin mo ako kapag magla-lunch na kayo nina RJ ha?”).

    Maybe God knows that if I knew long ago, I would be dead attached right now, I’d go bonkers about you having to leave me alone in this waffle building. I wouldn’t stand the pressure and the loneliness, I’d leave Manila with no second thoughts, pack my stuff, go back to Ilocos and be a princess in my father’s land.

    But I was trained, because something like this will have to happen. It could’ve been worse. It’s business. I would’ve been weaker.

    I am still thankful that I was given just enough time to spend time with you and fall in love with you — just enough time to not go crazy (oh, you’re too addictive). =D

    It was so qool having you as an officemate, Marvin! I am so going to blog about this, too. I am sorry but I will have to post screen shots of our first YM exchanges a year ago, hahahaha.

    Hindi muna ako lumabas/kumain. Binasa ko muna itong entry na ito.

  2. *I am still thankful that I was given just enough time to spend with you.

    LOL, redundant. Edit. Haha.

  3. I have the best part of the blue waffle building with me, that’s why I’m coming home smiling. Hehe, parang kailan lang nung nag-offer akong tumulong sa’yo, tapos ngayon, andami na nating nakolektang memories. Thanks, Chemae, for everything! I love you so much! Gagawin nating lahat para masaya pa rin kahit anong mangyari. Basta do your best dyan! I believe in you. πŸ˜€

  4. Teka, ang baduy ng comment ko. Cool ako! Cool! Hahahaha. πŸ™‚

  5. Hindi naman! This is the perfect time to be baduy, haha. πŸ˜€ Tsaka hindi ka na cool. Blackhat ka na, hahaha. πŸ˜€

  6. You made me cry, Marvin. Can’t believe you’re resigning. 😦

    You’re an awesome friend/officemate/teammate/drinking buddy. And you’ll always be one of the best writers I know.

    Remember that one week when Kaloy and I spent breakfast with you and Chemae? You two are our favoritest couple! I’ll always pray for the two of you.

    I wish you lots of luck in your career. This waffle building will feel emptier now.

    BTW, I miss the qool gatherings. Mag-inuman naman tayo uli.

  7. Aww, Marvin! I can’t believe it’s come to this. Grabe talaga. There are moments when I still think it’s a fluke that I’m still here and you are not, because you will be more productive than I can ever be. πŸ™‚

    I’m sure things will work out with you. It always will, because you’re hardworking. I think the same goes with your relationship…you just gotta keep on working on it kahit anong mangyari, di ba? πŸ™‚

    See you around! Don’t be a stranger. ^_^

  8. So sad Marvs… oh well, baka may mas maganda pang opportunity for you.. or may be it’s a call for you to become a professional comic book artist..hehe.. (kunin mo ako colorist..ha) you could also write a comic stories and i will present my self as your artist (haha..ang kapal).. kudos my friend.. we will always miss you… \m/

  9. Aww, Marvin, you just made my eyes swell. You’re such a talented writer that it’s difficult to conceive how Chemae could not have fallen for you. haha.

    We (Bridget, Es, and I) used to call that building the LEGO buidling. But whatever you call it–waffle or Lego–I’m sure it will simply be just another structure without the people that made working there one of the most memorable moments of our lives.

    I’m sure you’ll do well in your career. I still remember your resume and the questions I asked you. For your information, you didn’t suck! You looked nervouse but you did very well. πŸ™‚

    Good luck, Marvin. I hope our paths will cross again one day. πŸ™‚

  10. @Everyone: Nasorpresa ko na andaming nakabasa. Hehe, akala ko parang magiging secret sya, hindi pala. πŸ˜€

    @Elaine: Thanks for shedding tears for my blog entry, haha. Now it’s more special. Kayo rin naman ni Kaloy, favorite namin kayo ni Chemae. Tuwing nga may pinagtatalunan kami, lagi kong banat, “Si Kaloy ba, gagawin ba nya to kay Elaine?” Hehe, parang si Kaloy ang model ko ng pagiging BF, hahaha. Salamat! Text nyo lang kami kung may Qool gatherings. Lagi na kong free ngayon, haha. πŸ˜€

    @Meia: Haha, hindi naman ako productive, nami-meet ko lang yung targets dati. Good luck sa Qool. Kayang-kaya nyo yan! Pramis, hindi na ko magiging stranger (although I can’t promise not to be strange.) πŸ˜€

    @Kaloy: Oo nga eh, pwede rin. Ngayon, magagawa ko na talaga yung komiks namin. Malapit nang matapos, mga two pages plus cover na lang. Kailangan namin ng magi-ink at magko-color, haha. I’ll send you a message pag tapos nang lahat ng pencils, baka makatulong ka. πŸ˜€ Thanks pare! Good luck sa inyo ni Elaine! πŸ™‚

    @Aika: Thank you! Sinulat ko talaga yan para magpaiyak ng tao. Joke! πŸ˜€ Wow! Talaga? Hindi walang kwenta yung interview ko? Hahaha, parang umayos bigla yung pakiramdam ko don ah. Thanks! At oo, nakakamangha talaga kung pa’no yung building na yun ay parang tunay na tahanan dahil sa mga taong minsang nag-work do’n. I also wish that we meet again someday! Good luck! πŸ˜€

  11. Rock and roll man. I think what happened sucked, and that’s another swipe of my axe across the grindstone, and I think it’s an absolute bunch of bollocks. I’m angry about it, you’re angry about it, heck, we all are. But as Noel Gallagher once sang, “Don’t look back in anger.”

    Lemme just lay off the Hate-a-Rade for a while to say that it has been an honor and a pleasure to have worked with you, and to have counted the number of beers you needed to drink before you started snoozing at Gutson’s (three, lol, kidding).

    This blue waffle building? It will pass, we’ll all pass through it or by it one way or another. Our cubicle numbers and ID number are temporary, and maybe none of us in this generation will ever have a permanent job. That sucks. Makes me wanna holler.

    But the word “writer?” That word we append to our names to make our lives more worthwhile and meaningful? Man, that sticks. That word – and Chemae the love of your life, your sense of self-worth, integrity, and some high-minded conception of justice and fairness and freedom – are things you should hang on to. Not because they stick, but because they’re worth it.

    Fortune always smiles to those who are brilliant, and it is without hesitation that I say that you, my friend, are one of the most brilliant writers and among the hardworking and industrious people I have ever met. Thank you, and since luck is for losers…

    Go kick some ass, vato.


    P.S.: Linked you up.

  12. Thanks, Marck. πŸ˜€

    I’m angry at what happened, but somehow, I just can’t hate the company. My memories of it are inextricable from the good people who were — who still are — a part of it. I think that’s why this blog entry is more nostalgic than angry, and that’s how I really feel.

    Yes, it sucks that we probably won’t have any permanent jobs ever, at least for us “writers.” I hope though that even if we don’t have permanent jobs, we’ll have permanent friends. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for your inspiring message. Haha, oo, tatlong beer lang nga yata nainom ko no’n. I sincerely believe that our former team was the best in the world and I’m proud to say that that is my biased opinion.

    Keep on writing Marck! This bleak world needs the stuff that you write. Good luck! πŸ™‚

  13. I love you! I was touched by the comments. The company allowed me to work in the day already. That means, I will be seeing my crush/boyfriend/alalay/fan more often. Hahaha. Should I sound serious? No, seriously, pa-hug bukas. I miss you!

  14. Yehey! Makakasama mo na ulit sila RJ and company. That makes me feel a lot better. πŸ˜€ Nako, kailangan nanaman nating i-reset ang ating body clock, hehe. Sana hindi ka pa rin ma-CAN! Hahaha. I’ll do everything to support you. I love you! Miss na miss ko na hug mo! πŸ™‚

  15. Marvinnnn! Na-touch naman ako sa entry na to. Biglang nag-flash back ang mga lunch breaks natin sa office! haha! Good luck Marvin!

  16. Punta ako sa office this week, ipapaabot ko nlng kay chemae yung bruce lee cds mo! hehe! (sorry kung super late ko na nabalik!) hehe!

  17. moonwalkerwiz May 5, 2009 — 6:06 am


    Thanks. Miss ko na nga rin mga lunch breaks natin. Sana mag-inuman ulit soon! πŸ˜€

    Haha, ok lang. Basta sumisipa pa rin si Bruce Lee dyan ok lang. Good luck din Aila! πŸ™‚

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