April 9, 2005...a day before I turn 37. Yesterday, I spent my last day working for the advertising giant, McCann-Erickson Philippines. I made it a purpose not to work as an employee in an ad agency after I turned 37 years old. Hence, my last day working at the agency was Friday, April 8.

At the time I signified that I wanted to resign, there were no clear plans as to what I’d do next. My boss, Venus Navalta, asked me, “What are you going to do?”. I politely replied, “I don’t know”. I just knew deep down inside that the time had come for me to move on. I added that “there could be other things to do which are not related to advertising…I could go into sugar trading…” (See my future blog on “Sugar and other Negros Stories”).

The day I notified management of my decision to resign (which was three weeks ago), I felt like a parallel on a larger scale was also going on. While locally, it meant that I was letting go of my stripes as Out-Of-Home Media Strategist at UniversalMcCann, a shakeup was simultaneously going on at the global level. Robin Kent, the Chief Executive Officer of UniversalMcCann had also relinquished his position paving the way for another fellow, Murray Dudgeon, to step in as CEO on an interim basis.

On my last day at work, I made it a point to watch the sunset from my desk. Working in McCann allows the employees an exhilarating view of the sun setting at Manila bay. Watching God paint the sky with vibrant colors is really a delight. Unfortunately, people at the agency usually miss this. For close to four years of working in McCann, I have seen that generally, people are still abuzz with work at this time of day. Not too many people take the time to watch the sun set. I know this first hand. I've missed many sunsets despite the grandiose view I have at the 33rd Floor of GT Tower. Missing the sunset from GT Tower...it's quite like having front row seats to a Diana Krall concert with earplugs on.

The sun set at 6:05 p.m. yesterday. In the background, the applause from millions of people at the Vatican who had bid their last farewell to Pope John Paul II. My colleagues at work were actually fixated on the ongoing ceremonies at the Vatican funeral as aired via CNN while I,...I hate to say this, but I was quietly having a funeral of sorts on my own laying to rest close to 4 wonderful years of working with the country's leading ad agency. Lest this statement be misconstrued, the McCann years were among the best in my life. I just had to lay it to rest in order to eagerly await the new things about to come.

After the sunset episode, the highlight of the day was yet to be expected. It took me only 15 minutes to get home from from GT Tower via the Makati-Mandaluyong bridge. I didn't bother to park the car in the garage anymore. I just left it at the curb. I got down, ran to our front door where my wife was waiting. I hugged her. Hugged her long. Hugged her with eyes getting moist. Hugged her with the knowledge that this episode in my life had finally come to a close. Hugged her knowing that the next chapter will be more exciting for us as a couple and as a family as well.

At that point, the day finally ended.
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