Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Work and Pleasure in Palawan


Jeremy E. Marfori is working as a manager in Jollibee-Crossing, Calamba City. He has been always dedicated to his job, together with the whole crew of the said store, to bring the great taste and happiness to everyone as what the company’s mission says. It is open 24-hour a day to cater all the needs of the late night passengers and of those who work at a night shift. This results to a busier and, like any other hardworking professionals, a more stressful everyday life to Jeremy.

Many times he had wished to find a time for even a short vacation where he could relax, reflect on important things that he had often neglected due to the hectic demands of his work. However, it seemed too far to become a reality. Until last year, the company has offered him a one-month job in the two store outlets in Palawan to assist the first-time managers there.

"Puro kasi mga bago ang mga manager kaya tutulong ako ng konti," he said.

Jeremy was excited when he learned about the offer. He thought that it could be the right time to give his little wish a chance while rendering his job. It would be just a matter of time management. He was determined to make his so-called ‘job’ in Palawan in May of last year to be really enjoyable.

"Mahilig kasi ako sa mga trips kaya pumunta agad ako sa Roxas. May festival daw doon at may crew ako na taga-doon na malapit sa plaza. Kaya nung unang rest day ko, gala agad ako," he amusedly said.

On his next rest day, there was a day tour that was offered to them but Jeremy and his friends had decided to hire a mini-van instead. Their first stop was at the exciting Crocodile farm.

"Excited kami, madami daw crocodile," he joked, "By batch ang pagpasok at suwerteng last batch kami. May film showing tungkol sa mga buwaya. Napaka-educational, talagang marami kang matututunan. Sumalubong sa amin ang isang malaking skeleton at balat ng buwaya na nasa loob ng isang glass box nung pag-pasok namin.”

"After nung film showing, sumunod naming pinuntahan ay yung tinatawag nilang nursery. Doon sa amin pinakita kung papaano pinapakain at inaalagaan ang mga buwaya. Sobrang saya. Napaka-exciting nga nung tumatawid kami sa itaas ng kulungan ng mga malalaking buwaya. Bawal magtulakan kasi nga baka mahulog. Puwede rin magpa-picture sa mga baby crocodiles.”

On his third rest day, it was the 8.2 kilometer Underground River beneath St. Paul mountain his next destination.

"Maganda siya, ang lalaki ng mga puno, nakakatuwa. Nung nasa bangka na kami, ang linaw-linaw nung tubig at kita mo ang ilalim. Pero pagpasok na namin sa loob, kakaiba yung pakiramdam. Dumilim, lumamig, at medyo nakakatakot. May taga-ilaw sa unahan ng bangka. Mga thirty minutes din kami sa loob."

"Nagloko nga yung camera ko kaya kakaunti lang ang mga nakuhanan ko ng pictures sa loob. Hindi ko nga nakuhanan yung mukha ni Jesus at yung mga stalagmites at stalactites.”

At the end of that day, Jeremy had described the longest and reputedly the most beautiful subterranean river in the world and his adventure there in one word: amazing. He even would like to invite all the people he knows to visit Puerto Princesa, especially the Underground River, themselves so that they would know the inexplicable feeling while navigating the said underground river. "Proud ako at atin ‘to," he added.

On his last adventure in Puerto Princesa, he was with his co-manager and friend Myra who had become his personal tourist guide in his island hopping at Honda Bay.

"Una naming pinuntahan ay yung Pandan Island, sumunod ay ang Snake Island na kung saan kami nag-lunch. Nag-rent din kami ng goggles para sa pag-snorkling namin. Ang masasabi ko lang, napaka-ganda ng mga corals natin. Sana ingatan natin ito sa mas mahaba pang panahon."

It was no doubt that Jeremy had enjoyed his one-month stay in Puerto Princesa. He wanted to explore the other places he was not able to see such as the Butterfly Garden, Vietnam Village, and the Penal Farm. If ever he would be given again a chance to work in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, this was what he said, "No second thoughts, I will pack and go back."

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