🌃 Why I left Makati after like, two weeks 🏃 / Dec 8 2019

It was at the start of this year when I decided I needed to move out of Los Baños for good. I just finished my entire kolehiyo life (coursework, thesis, and everything) December last year, and my contract for my previous part-time research job then was ending in January. I was still enrolled for residency ‘til June 2019 until I officially graduated, but I was effectively ready to be a full-time corporate slave. This was it, the moment my parents were waiting for: I was gonna find a “real job” and move to Metro Manila. (cue American Horror Story theme song)

It was one of my funniest existential crises, I think. I’ve been living in LB at my uncle/cousins’ forest home, a 15-minute drive from campus, since June of 2011. I’d usually stay there Monday nights-Fridays, and I’d go home in San Pedro for the weekends. My entire life was rooted in LB: my collectives, Zine Orgy, 80% of my friends, half my clothes, my previous job, you get the point. But one thought that kept bugging me was, “I’m too comfortable here.” (Disney character voice) "It’s time to move on." My parents offered their condo unit in Makati – Chino Roces, said I still had to pay a minimum rent which I didn’t really plan on paying because it’s fuckin expensive, and I said ok.

Took me like 3 weeks of going back and forth in LB and Makati before I landed a job in a field that I thought I really, really liked. Jobhunting is crazy, by the way. They don’t tell you that when you’re actually looking for a job, it would take so much of your time and money and self-confidence—it’s a good thing that I enjoy any excuse to Angkas because if not I’d have given up super early. Anyway, I got a job in a digital marketing/tech company and I was set to master the art and science of search engine optimization (aka one of the many things that’s ruining the Internet today). I was gonna be around programmers and tech nerds and I was ecstatic! The office was like 3 Fiona Apple songs away from my unit, and I moved in mid-March, the night before my first day at work.

The job was ok at first. Our shift was 10AM-7PM, the HR was a cool guy, most of my co-workers were my age and the one I sat next to listened to Carly Rae. Good enough, right? The set-up of the office was like one of those co-working spaces with wooden tables, Macbooks, and Yellow Cab ceiling metal pipes and shit. The pantry had beer and Milo, the two most important food groups. My first week was a breeze because they didn’t really ask much from me and I only had to pretend that I wasn’t on Twitter the entire time, so I won’t look like a slacker. They gave me a couple of orientations on office rules and cybersecurity, etc…they didn’t mention anything about having to speak like you had 70% of Iya Villania-Arellano’s accent once you work in Makati, but hey. I picked it up immediately because I am what? A model employee.

By the second week, they started integrating me into my actual job responsibilities, the ones I signed in the contract for, and everything started to suck. First of all, I hated the OT culture. Even though my shift supposedly ends at 7PM, it’s “rude” to leave the office on the dot. People would stay in the office for extended hours, without pay, because either they still weren’t done with the shit ton of work they’re required to complete (our programmers and advertisers had tight deadlines) OR they were waiting out for less traffic, since many of them lived miles away from the city. They really give you too much work in a day, and I don’t have to work in other places to know that this unfair practice is commonplace.

Second, I didn’t like the workplace environment. The lunchtime at 2PM was already a red flag. I realized I liked the cubicle set-up way more because the whole co-working space shebang didn’t quite jive with my I hate everyone, please stop talking to me persona. I can’t get through a single task without an officemate having to butt in my thought process and ask me if I’ve seen Sherlock, or my boss assigning me new work that I have to figure out how to squeeze in our oppressive clock-productivity app thingamajig. I hated the required What Are Your Goals? seminars/team building activities, and most of all, I hated the communal office speakers where the people had the power to decide what type of music EVERYONE had to hear for the entire 8-hour+ shift. The office jokes were like, 5/10 at “bes” (sic).

Third, the exact thing I’ve been saying that would make me quit: I couldn’t wear office attire any longer. Fuck pants, fuck the tuck-ins, fuck the No Beanie Policy. It’s a BIG no for me, Tito Boy. In my previous job, we could go to office wearing whatever the fuck we wanted, arrive an hour late and no one would bat an eye (ok, except my boss), we weren’t super required to talk to each other, and we could leave immediately after our shift ended. The most insane part is that this was practically the same pay as my Makati job! So much for “getting out of my comfort zone.” This was self-harm. In Elbi, I could earn much more because I didn’t have to pay for rent and basic necessities plus everything was 10x cheaper! Resigning was the easiest part…I didn’t have anything to lose, really. I took my paycheck, talked to my boss, gave her my copy of Glenn Diaz’s The Quiet Ones that I got after doing a talk in Ateneo the week before, and left.

But I think the biggest reason why I decided to leave my job, and Makati altogether, was that: it sucked. Elbi was so much better. I went for Makati because I really thought it was the best option in Metro Manila: I hated QC because it’s so far away, there’s traffic everywhere, and everyone I know from the Internet lives there; BGC was an option (this was around the time I was still talking to my catfish friend, LOL); Muntinlupa would suck because that’s basically like living in my hometown; I literally don’t know anywhere else. I thought I would thrive in Makati because there were art events everywhere, it’s “pretty clean,” I could end up entering a relationship with a music producer and steal all their knowledge & score a used MIDI keyboard before breaking up, etc. This is all Junjun Binay’s fault.

Let me enumerate all the things I hated about Makati:

ONE: The food was Metro Manila garbage. In Chino Roces, I had access to three categories of food: convenience store food, Jollijeep, and restaurant food. Convenience store food is junk food, and I cannot eat that shit for more than once a week. Jollijeep is nasty…like I’m sorry but it’s not even like legally karinderya food. It’s not! Look at your soggy ass hotdog and tell me that that’s edible, ma’am. I’m sorry, but as much as I want to survive I would rather eat scraps of 7/11 receipts. The decent food aka the restaurant food is expensive as FUCK. Seriously, the basic tapsilog in my area cost 180 pesos. In Elbi, the expensive restaurants would cost me 200 pesos TOPS for a good meal, and I’d usually only spend 40-100 pesos in local estabs to get through lunchtime.

TWO: The city is a lonely place. Living in a 90238590283-floor condominium alone with no neighbors I could hang out with was depressing. Since Makati is a business district, everyone I wanted to see was also busy being a corpo-girl so we’d have to schedule everything beforehand. If I wanted to visit friends in their place, I had to take a fucking taxi or Angkas. I’d say socializing in Makati is also super “events-based,” which is so awful because the beer in XX:XX costs 120 pesos per bottle. That’s like a human rights issue. In Los Baños, a university town, you literally just have to take five steps and you’d see your closest friends who’d ask you out to tambay or drink or go bowling or whatever. I had to install Bumble and Tinder that time because I was so so desperate for friendship. (This didn’t work out obviously.)

THREE: The entirety of Makati smells like piss. Not even the kind that you forget about after one, two days of living there. Everywhere you go, it smells like the piss of someone who’s been smoking cigarettes since he was 16, and the most dystopian part is that NO ONE seems to notice! I hated the feeling of living in an expensive condo and having to see a homeless couple live and pee literally AT the signage of the condo. Suddenly, even the nearest places aren’t walking distance anymore because everything smells like fucking piss. I didn’t have the same problems in Elbi because there’s only trees here and stray dogs and maybe a few people I dislike that are the equivalent of the smell of piss, but yeah…trees. Fresh air. GRASS, etc.

In conclusion, I don’t think I’ll ever live there again. My most memorable moments in my short stay were…the super-fast Internet on data, the day I went on a spontaneous gallery hopping afternoon with Pauline, the times I’d concoct a Sprite-Tropical fruit juice drink and pretend I was in Sex and the City, and that one time Pam and I lost it and danced all night to Yaeji in my small room. If I was an (inhales helium) indie boy, I’d say the view from my balcony overlooking the city was pretty nice, too. I could swear there was one time I saw from another building like people having a threesome by their window…not that it’s a memory I treasure but I guess it belongs in this paragraph.

Shoutout to all my friends who who went out to see me, this is surprising because I actually lived a sociable life in my 2-3 week stay there, despite the Medianeras (2011) feelings of urban isolation: Mary, Din, Sheena, Juan, Eldred, Diego, Cidee, and Jonah, you guys saved my ass. Also Makati Cinema Square. Thinking about it now, I totally understand why people who live in the city stay there—I guess some people actually like the chaos, and some gangs just don’t have a choice. Personally, I’d choose Los Baños over and over again because I just have so much more time here. My 24 hours is 48. I can do whatever the fuck I want when I’m not chasing deadlines!

But my biggest takeaway from this entire experience is that I’m so proud of myself for quitting…before I had to get a medical check-up and do fecalysis. TLDR: Being an adult sucks. / Leave a comment