What I’ve been doing lately.

Last April, I accepted a copywriting position at a public relations agency where my godsister works. I felt it was time to leave human resources after doing it for a year, as HR can be quite repetitive and therefore, tedious. I felt like I didn’t belong in the corporate world, which I thought was too rigid.

It’s funny, the story of how I applied in PR. I was going through a phase, which you could call a quarter-life crisis. I was confused with what I was doing with my life. I felt unhappy with my career and my personal life. I felt I needed a change of pace and environment, so I asked my godsister Sophie if there were any openings in her office. There was one for a writer, but like everything else, she’d get back to me. Being the indecisive person that I am, I’d suddenly set my mind on sticking to my HR job when she’d invite me for an interview. There was the fear of the unknown, and my two projects with The Philippine Star and When In Manila. Rigid as the corporate setting may be, the schedule’s not as crazy as PR.
This cycle of cat-and-mouse, of me wanting to apply but having to wait, then hearing news after I decided to stay, happened three times until I finally realized that my lack of spontaneity and fear will not get me anywhere in life. I should take more risks and if I fail, it’ll make for one great story over drinks. It also humbled me that this position waited for me for three invitations in the span of five months. As they say, opportunity knocks but it does not beg. I grew some balls, showed up for the interview, and was hired.
Three months in and I can say that PR is for me. Of course, writing has always been a breeze. But I think what I love the most about is that every day is a new day. I get easily bored and I always need a new thing to fuss over. On top of writing PR, I have also handled media relations and endorser relations. Just recently, I assisted in a media interview and became the photographer.
Yes, it is true that there are no working hours in public relations. Often I find myself working into the night, and sometimes bringing my work home and in the weekend. It can be very busy, too. One time, I was in Makati in the morning for a press launch, then I had to go to San Juan to brief the San Beda Red Lions for another press launch we were having the following day. In between, I was making dozens of calls and sending hundreds of text messages to the celebrity endorsers and their managers to coordinate for the next day’s event. I also had to write that week’s column for Star and wake up at 5AM for the event.

Strangely, despite my busy schedule, I find myself having more time to pursue other projects. I once thought that I would have to give up Star, but instead I am getting more gigs. My theory is that I love my job so much that I still have energy to do other things after work.

Below are some of my sidelines besides being a PR all-arounder:

The Philippine Star Supreme

My presence at Star is still going strong. I’ve been writing non-stop for almost two years, and though my space Supreme Picks has been a constant, lately I’ve been inspired to make other pitches.

When In Manila

I had a sort-of falling out with When In Manila when I started in PR because of my busy schedule. Most events happen during weekdays and sometimes my work stretches until the early evening. But the busiest part of PR is over since my two largest accounts had their expo and media launch, so my hands are a little free to accept invites. My return to When In Manila is a feature on the I Love Kusama exhibit at the Ayala Museum on Monday. I’m also planning to pursue my idea of covering the art scene in the country.

The Culture Trip

This project is new. The Culture Trip is a London-based website featuring cultural events around the world, and they agreed to let me contribute essays on Philippine culture. My first piece will be about a certain Filipino artist who is making waves internationally by joining this certain art show.

Voyeur

This is by far the project I’m most excited about. One morning, as I woke up, I decided to start a zine. Just a small, independent zine with a small circulation. My inspiration is Andy Warhol’s Interview, which was informative yet light, with a slight irreverence. I’ve always been fascinated with people and this zine, tentatively titled Voyeur, will be a series of interviews with interesting people, mixed with critical essays by some of publishing’s great thinkers. I’m going to publish it quarterly and will have themed issues, with September being fashion. It’s progressing quite well, and I have a great team on board who’s just as excited as I am to run it.

Bikram yoga

I finally signed up at Bikram yoga Alabang this month. We do their PR so as a deal, we get free classes. I finally had the courage to join, and I just had my second class this Thursday. My first one didn’t go so well. I felt incredibly dizzy and felt like vomiting, and I think it’s because I wasn’t hydrated enough. In my second class, I made sure to hydrate and take occasional breaks, so I was only slightly dizzy (I pee a lot so I lose a lot of liquids, too). I can already feel my paunch getting smaller, so I’m pushing for three or four classes a week. On days I won’t do Bikram, I’ll be doing hatha at home. I just downloaded this amazing app called Yogify, which is pretty intense.

I’m clearly going overboard with my projects, but I’m so passionate that I find the time to do all these things. Now if only I can commit to maintaining this blog…. That should be one of my projects.

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