Manila: You Gave Me Both Worlds

"When you focus on problems, you'll have more problems. When you focus on possibilities, you'll have more opportunities," this maxim radiates of who I am today.

Not few months ago, my thoughts were embossed of too much sorrow and despair. Since then, my only re-breather was to travel - climbed mountains, did rock climbing and had excursions from North to South of Cebu. I was that weekend traveler who managed to get through my daily dose of stresses by de-stressing to different local destination. Nonetheless, I survived.

I didn't expect that my challenges came in way too early for my age or maybe, these roadblocks were built to strengthen my will power but the "new philosophical thought" was something I could relate with. I embraced the possibilities. I welcomed changes despite of what had happened to me a year back.

So, came in the invitation last November 11, 2016. It was from a certain Manila PR. I was in doubt if the message was sent personally for me. I replied, nevertheless. I got an instant response that I was personally invited for Vivo Philippines Grand Launch come November 23, 2016 at Solaire Resort and Casino Grand Ballroom in Metro Manila.
I asked myself if it was for real; if it didn't come as a spam or the like. Moments came that I finally received a confirmation that different regional media are joining together for this grand launch.

My mom, who supported me throughout my journey, advised me to go. I could see in her eyes that she was excited for me. Though it wasn't the same feeling that reflected in my own. Again, I was in doubt. There were some others who deserved this kind of invitation. I don’t consider myself to be part of blogging niche. In fact, my composition is more of getting rid of this emotional stress than entertaining people. I am more to romanticizing my own thoughts than impressing my readers. I should say I write what I feel. I didn't mind any SEO or any other technicalities. I am just being me.

Even a day before my travel to Manila, I was still asking myself whether to go or not. I am caught between my job which I never had filed an earlier leave and my self-doubt. With all the boost of the people surrounding me, I convinced myself to join.

I was already at the airport joining the Cebu Bloggers waiting for the flight bound to Manila. I was tensed. Historically, I developed an aerophobia because I had a tremendous experience of some other aircraft when I traveled to Davao. That "Palmar Hyperhidrosis" never stopped until we arrived in Manila and landed safely.
"With the Cebu Bloggers Society headed by our President, Sinjin. He owned this photo as well."
The Vivo Staff headed by Ms. Katrina Tirador greeted us. We were then transferred to Nobu Hotel: City of Dreams where we will be staying for two days and a night. Twinkling eyes again! I thought of myself lucky! As a messy backpacker who never booked any hotels; who only preferred lying on a seashore to spend the night out (Oh! I did that in El Nido, Palawan) or who spends more than 24 hours on the road by bus (when I had Manila to Leyte Trip) or sleeping under the bridge with some other foreigners (when I was in Malaysia), staying in a luxury hotel is something I haven't done yet whilst traveling.

The Vivo Team led us to Red Ginger Restaurant which serves Asian-fusion menu. While waiting for the other participants and for the food to be served, my fellow Cebu blogger and I snatched  a stroll around the hotel.
"Getting ready for lunch. Photo by The Cebuano, Leylan"
"Red Ginger's Gai Yang"
"Grilled Pork Belly"

I couldn't contain myself of the lavishness of the place. Different high-end restaurants, a casino filled with lots of players and dealers, pendulum-like ornaments hanging above the ceiling which illustrate the Law of Physics, and luxury brands are so familiar in the place. Indeed, it is a City of Dreams.
"Christmas is just around the corner. Well, I got mine by my side..."
"This one is for the Kids..."
"My slumber at 7515"
We went back to the restaurant and had a sumptuous lunch before heading to our individual room. I played with the idea - a personal room. All by myself! Couldn't ask for more! Boy, I was more than surprised when I got inside Room 7515. I gaped at it momentarily. More like a girl who finally got her early Christmas present!
Then I reminisced. I couldn't achieve what I have today if I was still stuck in a place where I was doomed. I made the right decision months ago, to get away from my past and move forward to the future while embracing my present. I love everything I have right now - a supportive mom, ego-boosting friends, friendly bloggers and jolly co-workers. I am beyond blessed!

I laid on my bed. The tempting smell of sleep surrounded me and from there, I dozed off. I was in my dreamland…zoning out from the reality. Asleep. Like a baby, I was, I comfortably caressed everything I had at that moment.

Then the alarm sounded. I didn't notice that it was already 4 in the afternoon. I must be very tired or maybe I was paying off my sleep debts after all the sleepless nights. Hurriedly, I took a shower, put on my red dress which my mom chose for me specially for just this occasion, wore my make-up and slipped on my black high heels. Then the mirror reminded me of how beautiful I am. There were no more tears flowing from my expressive eyes instead they reflect sophistication. Before heading down to the lobby for me to join the group, I put on my white cardigan and I was good to go.
"Perfecting Sophistication. Caught in red by Sir Herbert Kikoy. Thanks for this!"
I was a complete transformation. Not only physical (though gaining weight was part of that "big" transformation) but emotionally. I am who I am today because I chose it. I chose to be happy. That's it!

I hopped in the bus joining the other bloggers. Then we were now at the Solaire Hotel and Casino Grand Ballroom for Vivo Philippines Grand Launch. I signed my name in and wore that media i.d. Wow! I still couldn't believe it! "Efforts paid? Is this the good karma because I had been good to myself?" silly questions I asked to myself to justify my current situation.
"Waiting for Vivo's Grand Launch"
"DJ playing that cool music..."

It was a merging of different worlds among dealers, business people, marketers, and the press. Celebrity hosts, awesome dancers, product ambassadors, and some other important people in the business world gathered together for this grand launching. For me, it was my first big event I had attended.
The Press Conference followed after. Questions were asked, answers were thrown and lastly, the raffle draw. It was at this moment that people's attention was intensely drawn. Winning a new cellphone is something lucky! And who doesn't want to win?

I was talking with Jin (a Sunstar Reporter) about being lucky. She said that she was never lucky to any raffle draws. I told her that I shared her sentiments. But luck was truly by my side when before we could further our "lucky" discussion, my name was mentioned. It resounded in the hall once again and for the third time, I confirmed that I was, "Ms. Angel Villamor". The speaker said that I won a "Vivo V5" phone.
"Together with Ms. JJ of Photo by The Cebuano, Leylan"

Oh! I was so surprised that even until now, I am caught by that moment of standing up and claiming my price. It was also that instant that I told myself that I deserved everything I have this time.
"This photo sums it all! Thanks, The Cebuano for this!"
The Grand Launch took approximately 6 hours - from the registration until the Dealer's Night and Press Conference.  I should say it was a huge success. It was superb beyond words.
We went back to Nobu Hotel for a good night sleep.

It was 3:30 in the morning the next day, that I woke up. I was revitalized. Though I slept nearly 11 in the evening that night, I was feeling good waking that early. Maybe I still have the "winner's" spell which I think would last for week. (Haha!)

I waited until 6 in the morning since I was planning to take dip in the pool. I joined other bloggers for some pictorials though I was totally enjoying making some laps and wading in the water for 2 hours.

My body called for food that I needed to return to my room, had a quick shower, dressed up and headed down for breakfast. I spent some quiet minutes while waiting for a friend whom I'd be joining breakfast with. The sky looked beautiful though there were white clouds filling it. There were birds flying and very seldom, the huge iron-mechanical birds were being reflected on the glass walls of the hotel - refracting the mechanical bird's image.

I thank heavens of giving the opportunity to me. The Manila that I learned of was something chaotic and ugly. But this Manila I shared with other bloggers is the luxury only a few could get to enjoy. Though I never asked for this, this rare opportunity paved way to even greater thoughts and which by the way, is the "Law of Attraction". 

Having had a fancy breakfast, spending the afternoon around the biggest mall of Asia, and eating out in a Chinese restaurant together with the Cebu bloggers were all the things I am deeply appreciative about.

Oh, Manila! You gave me both worlds! Maraming Salamat Po!

Special thanks to Vivo Philippines for personally inviting me in their Grand Product Launch!
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About Marie Angelique Villamor

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