The Mongo Diaries


“It is not enough to be compassionate; you must act.”

– the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Cyatso, 1992


August 24, 2013/8.30AM

The overall feeding coordinator formally announces that all employees in the Head Office will have its second feeding program this year in the afternoon of August 31, 2013. Groupings will be according to each department, hence, members know each other by name and face because they belong to one department. Since our department is huge, we were divided into three groups, with 11 employees per group.


August 27, 2013 /9.00AM

We meet in the office, all member of Group 10, to discuss the forthcoming feeding program. The discussion revolved on the following: venue of the feeding, division of labor on the actual feeding, what to bring and who will provide, contribution per head for other expenses that the group will incur.

The group decided that we will do our feeding program in Block 27-30 of Barangay Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City.

August 27, 2013 /5.10PM

Two members of the group, Rudolf and Jayson, went to the site to do ocular inspection. They also went to the barangay hall and meet the barangay captain to ask for permission. The group prepared a formal letter to do a feeding program in the barangay in advance, and it was received by the captain that day.

Our team leader is already feeling crazy that week because he also happens to be the overall coordinator of the whole activity. Not to mention that he is part of the on-going Part 1 course after office hours so he cannot devote much of his time in the preparation. The other members take the responsibility to lead in the preparation; making sure that the incoming feeding program will turn out successful and hassle-free.

The barangay captain of Addition Hills, Hon. Rodolfo Posadas, was very cooperative with our initiative. He offered us the kitchen of the barangay for our food preparation. This is good news for the group because we don’t have to worry about the cooking place. Besides, it is very convenient to transport the ready food to the feeding site.


August 30, 2013 /2.00PM

The major ingredients for the feeding program were received, including rice, eggs, bananas, mongo, squash, paper plates and utensils. Everybody is so busy!

But because we prepared and discussed who will be assigned to do each tasks, it was a breeze in the preparation part. Melody takes the responsibility to cook the rice. Revo and Jayson volunteer to boil the eggs. Romeo provided the LPG gas that will be use for the cooking of mongo in the barangay hall the next day.

Melchor and Norvel were assigned to cook the mongo. Lala is the host of the program prior to the actual feeding; while Jayson and Rudolf assist in making sure that the children remains behave and in order during the games.

We went home early that day so everybody can rest on the eve of the feeding program.


August 31, 2013 / 8.00AM

This is it. This is the day that the group has been waiting for. We will be mobbed, er feeding, 350 kids. We had short kriya in the morning to prepare us with “battle” in the afternoon. Three hundred fifty is no laughing matter.


August 31, 2013 / 11.30AM

All feeding team leaders had an audience with our EVP to give us blessings and offer congratulatory speech for a job well done. This feeding program was only planned in 2 weeks time, and somehow, with focus and dedication, the whole thing was pulled off successfully.


August 31, 2013 / 1.30PM

After we ate our lunch, we went directly to the barangay hall of Addition Hills. This is where we will cook our mongo. Melchor, Norvel, Revo and Ramil were simultaneously doing the rounds to ensure that the whole thing will be cook and ready by 3PM, our call time for the feeding program. Melody, on the other hand, is in San Juan together with her relatives cooking 25 kilos of rice! Again, she also has a deadline to beat—cooked rice at every kids plate by 3PM, too!

Every feeding program, the kids are the boss. We, the sponsor, the food preparers, are at their mercy. Our roles are reversed and it is an experience worth noting every time. It keeps us grounded.


August 31, 2013 /2.00PM

Chopping. And more chopping. Onions, garlic, squash. Chopping.

We have to divide the mongo in two containers to make it cook faster. The problem is we don’t have extra container. So we just have to contend ourselves with what we have—cook the mongo in two batches. Our initial fear is we might not be able to finish cooking by 3PM! Oh dear mongo!

Sweat. Sweat. Sweat.

Chop. Stir. Chop. Stir.


August 31, 2013 /3.00PM

Lala, Rudolf and Jayson went to the feeding venue ahead of the group. The barangay has chosen the Nueve de Febrero Elementary School as our feeding site. Kids from nearby depressed communities will come over to the school for our feeding program from 3PM-5PM.


Lo and behold. Upon arrival in the place, the school is teeming with noisy kids!!! Lala, being the host of the program, has to tune herself to lead the kids and tell them to behave and sit in the floor while the rest are still coming inside the school. The energy inside the school is indescribable, Lala has to speak louder even in microphone just to get the message across to all present inside the building.

Prior to the feeding proper, the group prepared some fun activities for the kids. They have games, including best dance and sing-off. All had fun. We also introduce simple exercises and stretches to them.


August 31, 2013 / 4PM

The mongo is now ready for serving! Hot and yummy. Cooked with tender, loving, care from the group. We know that all of them are a bit hungry, and are here because of the free food, so it is expected that most of them will find their ways to be in front of the line.

It gets rowdy, but thanks to social workers from the barangay, the children were arranged and lined up in single file. We just have to assure them that we have enough food for everybody.



The whole group has to doubly put food per plate so we can distribute it right away in the shortest possible time. Division of labor again—two persons assigned in rice, two persons put spoon and fork to each plate, two persons distribute banana and egg, two persons in mongo, two persons distribute the food to the kids, and one person in water station.

We finish serving the food to everybody after 40 minutes. We have used up all the 350 plates that was allotted for the feeding. Alas, we still have excess rice and mongo. So we inform the people nearby to send some food container from their houses so we can distribute the remaining food. After 15 minutes, gone. That is how it is in communities where the people are deprived of basic needs like food.


August 31, 2013 /5PM

We are all tired. Dead tired. We even forgot to take group picture together with the kids. Before we left the school building, we have to clean up the place with garbage. It is SOP to our entire feeding program.

Yes, tired but rewarding. The sense of fulfillment that you derived from seeing kids eat, from their smiles while enjoying the games, from their precious utter of thank you when you give them food. In our own simple gesture of giving a meal for the day, we were able to affect the lives of 350 kids. We are happy, because we give it our 100%.

So, when is the next feeding program again?



Philip’s Sanctuary

I like the fact that we did not spend Christmas Party in the office this year, but rather, whisked in a boot camp for a day to enjoy and bond after a year’s work.

Of course, the highlight of the day is the mud crawl and mud slide. If I enjoy the roller coaster ride of Battlestar Galactica in Universal Studios Singapore, I also like the Pinoy version of ‘ride’. The mud slide. Yes, “bilbil” wiggling and all.

I hope we do the same thing on summer 2012. Happy New Year.

Birthday Treat @ the Office

Pancit at Cake

My birthday will be tomorrow, March 22nd. Never mind my age, because everytime someone asks me how old I am, my template reply will be “it doesn’t matter because age is just a state of mind.”

The department I am heading, Customer Action Group, gave me a touching treat today: cake and pancit (see picture above). I heard that they contribute some of their money to make this surprise possible.

So thank you dearly to all of you! You all know who you are.

Frustrated but continuing

A new fiscal year will start next month, at least, as far as my current employer knows. It is also time for performance evaluation for the last one year. One of the parameters is attendance—it being a good indicator of productivity, priority, and discipline.

Last week, I was instructed by my superior to propose an appraisal rate for my staffs. I immediately obliged; it being not happening for close to two years. And to think that the cost of living in Metro Manila has skyrocketed. She reviewed my proposal over the weekend. And she called me up one Saturday afternoon to tell that she will not follow my recommendations because my staffs attendance for the past one year has been dismal, and do not indicate good behaviour. I rest my case.

Immediately after she hang up the phone, I felt sad. Not because my superior slash my proposal, but because my subordinates has not done good enough on their attendance to merit a good increase. No matter how hardwork I impose on my self so that they can emulate, still, they have not embraced the idea. I don’t know if they even notice.

I can only guide them as to love and appreciate their work, including all its encompassing facets, but they are the ones who control their performance. No matter how I told them to do good always, if its fallen on deaf ears, it becomes useless. And my part of the equation is thrown on the basket case. For a naught. What a waste.

But I am not complaining. I just felt frustrated. But I cannot give up. Not until th eobjective is achieve.

Respite from work

Backpacker's paradise

Backpacker's paradise

I have been working non-stop for the last half-decade. It means no absent, minimal tardiness and a whole lot of extra stretch time in the office after 5pm. That got me into thinking, why not take a break and go somewhere?

Middle of February 2009, I ask for a 5 days leave (that’s the maximum in our office) from my immediate superior. She also happens to own the company I am working. After 24hours, no reply. Another 24 more hours, and still no reply. I got into thinking, is she not approving? I am losing hope, and the excitement is slowly dying.

Over the weekend, I reminded her of my leave application. I don’t want to lose hope. Finally, I got her reply! But all she did was ask—who will take over while I am away? Of course, I already have the reply because I know that she will definitely ask this. I told her that all daily operational activities are delegated to my trusted subordinates. And besides, it’s just 5 days. It won’t hurt. Finaly, she said yes.

Yahoo, I have to make plans for this. It should be spent like there’s no tomorrow. But where should I go? I have options, and I will post it here once it becomes finite. Meantime, I am happy with the fact that she agreed. That’s just for now. I will reserve some for the actual trip 40 days from now.