“Do you like reading the last page of the book too?”
L’Oreal Brandstorm National Finals, Opus. March 21, 2013. I just had to quote Damon Salvatore on this because I wanted to start with “the end” of this entire experience. And as you can see from the photo, my team (with Ray and Tere of Team Heights!) placed first runner-up in the L’Oreal Brandstorm National Finals (and because of it, a trip to some Asian country is in our near future)!
Beginning with the end seems appropriate because 1) I really do not know where to start and 2) it was at this moment where all my feelings of stress, joy, anxiety, fulfillment, etc. finally lumped themselves together to a feeling I can finally comprehend – wonder. Hope that wasn’t too anti-climactic for you. Haha. I will forever remember that feeling backstage when I started to hear the opening remarks coming from the HR head, I was listening to that familiar voice but all I could see were my teammates, the other teams, the stage managers all pretty nervous for what was about to come, standing/sitting/pacing in a dimly lit and extremely cold room. Much deeper in my head was a different picture though, I was listening to the same voice but this time, I was in the audience with friends who made it just in time for the program, surveying the room for familiar people and excited to hear all of the teams’ presentations. And at this moment I remembered promising myself that next year, I will be up there on stage presenting with a big smile on my face and hopefully, holding up a gigantic plane ticket with my teammates in the end. And at this moment of remembering, my already wide eyes widened even more (for real) making room for the tears that I felt were coming up fast.
It was a wonderful feeling and I told my teammates exactly what was going through my head just to hold back my drama-queen tears. It worked. I knew at that moment that whatever was going to happen, it was going to be great. There was nothing that could make it any less great. I would’ve loved to go to Paris would be an understatement, of course, but at that point, I honestly felt that there would be no loss and no other feeling but gratitude. Staying true to my promise, turning my vision to reality and having an awesome team that kept glued together through everything have taught me so much more than what could be encapsulated in a trophy or a frame or a gigantic plane ticket. I do believe this is true for most things in life but I’m glad to have learned it in that 5-second trip down memory lane. Come to think of it, maybe I should have imagined myself all the way to Paris last year, maybe that would have done the trick. Haha.
Now putting the drama aside to make room for more drama, I just want to thank everyone who helped me/us out in true Oscars fashion. Brace yourselves.
To Ray and Tere: Mygallee, where do I even start? I really think there were many twists and turns in this eternal weave of fate that made us teammates. I don’t think anybody saw it coming, well I definitely didn’t but I’m glad that we formed Team Heights. Ray, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for everything. You have taught me a lot – not just your crazy good strategic skillzzthatkillzz but a lot more than that (alam mo yan) and thank you for telling me that you wanted to win this for me (naiyak ako sa comment mo na yun, as always, so thanks), it made me want to win it even more. And, thanks for not giving up despite of all the bumps in the road. Haha. Tere, l could not be happier that you were our teammate! I am so happy we saw each other on that fateful afternoon near Bel, I just knew in my heart we would make an awesome team. Thank you for your many sacrifices and for your ever present enthusiasm about everything. And thanks for listening to us with an open heart always and thank you for your natural creativity. I love you both and maybe I didn’t say it as often but I am so thankful for you two. I will forever be glad and grateful that I shared this with you! I’m looking forward to our Asian trip together – that’s bound to be interesting. Hohoho.
To Calvin and DJ: The duo I could always count on when I need to bring some pizzazz to anything. Thank you for taking our request on despite your many big-time projects at that time. DJ, you are a very very busy man (sinabi nga ng entrance test mo, haha), thank you for editing a kicka$s video. Calvin, I could always count on you. Thank you not just for the video and for creating wind for our photoshoot but of course, your constructive criticism of our ideas and everything else. Thank you for truly being the fourth man in our team and of course an awesome stage friend!
To Hye, Frances and Nica: Our beautiful and high-fashion models! Thank you so much for your time, your patience and your ferocity!!! Nica, thank you for being so game and for your high energy! Girl you’re something else! Oh the behind-the-scenes footage Calvin has! Haha. Frances, once more, I could always count on you to be my mowdel of all seasons. As always, thank you for being game and having the Imma-nail-this-look attitude. Thank you for agreeing about this on such short notice and thank you for bringing your mojo! Hye, my supermodel friend, thank you for taking time out from your very busy schedule to this shoot with us. Thank you for being game all the way, and thank you for your pro bono work. Haha. The moment you stepped on set, I felt like I was on ANTM! For real. All I can say is, 감사합니다 !!! Haha.
To Gelo: Our awesome photographer. I also didn’t know you before this shoot but thank you for being cool about everything. Thank you for giving us awesome photos and again for your pro bono work. Thank you for keeping the mood light and fun and thank you sooo much for your time. The photoshoot has got to be one of my most favorite things we did for this competition. It was a lot of work but I didn’t mind because I had all of you guys there with me. What a great way to spend a Monday afternoon!
To Dale, Sarah and Mai: Thank you for helping us out in all of our shizz. What we lacked in technical editing skills, you made up for. Thank you for the many times you heeded our last-minute pleas of help. We know it wasn’t easy and so many many many thanks to you guys!
To Ed: Thank you for assisting in our research when we needed it and thank you also for commenting on all our ideas and output! Thank you also for assisting in our powerpoint effects, Powerpoint Guru. And thanks for staying with us in our overnight, made it a lot more fun!
To Maam Pindy, Sir Hector and Sir Filart: Thank you for the much needed guidance and support. We couldn’t have done it without you!
And finally to everyone who prayed for us, who liked our photos, who cheered for us whether it be in the afternoon or in Opus, and to those who believed in us, thank you so much! You have made this experience complete and meaningful. I will never forget about it!
This is a very cheesy post, I know. I just want to emphasize that I am glad I ended my last week as a college student this way. I also just wanted to show that “the end” or the “last page of the book” is meaningless unless you read the entire story. My simple thanks and mostly low-res photos do not even cover half of what transpired but it was an attempt nonetheless to try and share with you this awesome journey (oh and what a journey it has been!). Thank you L’Oreal for this unforgettable experience, I really hope you keep on holding this competition and I hope next year Ateneo wins!
This was an unpredictable rollercoaster ride. I’m not a fan of rollercoasters, really but I’d gladly ride this one again! Maybe in Korea then! Or Tajikistan! #getouttimmy
Life is a journey, not a destination. – Ralph Waldo Emerson