That perfect-but-okay-well-not-really-okay-but-you-know first day

This summer, we asked our CAMP summer interns to share their experiences on our blog. Here’s Anne Pangkalinawan’s take on her first day at Mabuhay Restop:

Yesterday was my first day on the job, and let me tell you, it was scary. Well, not really, but one thing that did scare me was commuting alone. I was used to commuting with buses, jeeps, tricycles, FX and taxi, but going to Mabuhay Restop, I had to use the MRT and LRT (both of which scared me the most). My mom had told me earlier, “Anak, keep your phone ha. Always pray to your guardian angel. Don’t be scared to ask questions. Always be safe.” It was a constant reminder during the ride to the MRT station. She kissed me goodbye and sent me on my way, texting me every now and then to make sure I was safe.

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Here’s the kicker, though: I didn’t expect the train to be filled with so many people. It  looked like a can of sardines, all tightly packed and sweaty. Within five minutes of being on the train, I felt like I’d had a bath in both my sweat and others’. It was disgusting. As we got nearer to Taft, more people got out and less people got in. It was a blessing from the gods (thanks, Poseidon, for the bath). Transferring to the LRT made the blood in my head pound. It was my first time and I had no idea where to go. Thankfully, the lady at the counter was nice enough to tell me what to do. Moving along in a good pace, I realized I had no idea where to go after getting down at UN Ave. I swear, I think people thought I was mad for pacing back and forth at the same place, luckily I saw those MMDA officers and asked them for help (thank you ate for that help).

Man, the Philippine heat was torture. I’m not exaggerating. It was complete and utter torture, it was as if it was hell on earth (now I’m exaggerating). Yet, I managed to handle the heat and make it to MABUHAY RESTOP.

Mabuhay Restop still manages to take my breath away: the simplicity of the architecture and the cool, serene and comforting feeling always made me feel like home. The second floor, though, was absolutely breathtaking. This this is literal - the stained glass by Pancho Mistula Piano was beautiful in every aspect, from the colours to the faces. Their buffet table - brilliant. They have a soup container made out of coconut shells, which is innovative, too. The people who work there like Ms. Billy, Ms. Irene, Ms. Mara and the others were very easy to talk to which made my life there a bit more easier. Also their tasks for me were easy for me to handle.

Since Mabuhay Restop is both a café and a museum, they serve all things Filipino, and every month they cater to different regions of the Philippines by showcasing different food and painting from that region. This month they’re showing paintings and serving food from the Eastern Visayas Area. Their food is literally comfort food. Their tapsilog brought me back to when I was 13 and experiencing my first heartbreak—my grandmother cooked me tapsilog, and the champorado made me remember those times when my mom would cook me this whenever I was watching Power Rangers or Pokemon.

And they have shows, too! Every Wednesday they have the lunch fiesta show; on Fridays is the Friday Hangout or Cook A Loka or Voice Master (depending on show dates); Saturdays have Tita Beauty and Manila Vanilla (both comedy shows); and on Sundays they have performances from the Kalilayan Folkloric group.  

One funny thing happened on the way home, though, when I stopped at the nearest Starbucks to buy something to cool me down. When the barista called my name, this other girl snatched it and I think her boyfriend (or husband, I don’t really know) said her name was “Sam.” It was funny and annoying at the same time because of the barista’s face when it happened. That’s what really ended my day.

To be honest, it was an amazing day even though I already was asleep the moment I sat down on my bed. I really enjoyed my first day and I can’t wait for more days to come.

Anne Pagkalinawan is a student at St. Paul College Pasig.

The CAMP summer internship program is designed to provide high school students with professional work experience before attending university. Read more about the program here.

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