Last weekend, my department held a teambuilding activity in Stilts, Calatagan, Batangas for the entire Journals Team. I had been to couple of beaches around the area and had known that the place isn’t that near the metro. The organizers arranged the call time to be 5 AM, and I laughed when I first heard it in the announcement. Who were they kidding? We all know of Filipino Time and arranging an hour or two before the real appointment is designed so as to prevent being actually “late”.
But boy, was I wrong. Good thing I woke up at 3:30 on a Saturday morning (seriously) and started preparing. I arrived in the company less than ten minutes before the designated time and was surprised to see that our bus was already filled. When I entered the doorway, my team leader (and father of a sort) was relieved especially when I heard that after I arrived, they were only waiting for one more person then we’d be off.
My colleague and friend, Micah, was already standing and others glanced at my beach outfit while I walked down the aisle [of the bus]. She reserved a seat for me three rows from the back. I settled in my seat for like two minutes before I encouraged her to go down the bus with me and grab something hot to drink. She agreed and the two of us went to the nearest vending machine and got coffee and hot choco. If you know me, you know which I got.
We returned to the bus and after checking that the attendants of that certain bus number are complete, we went off. It was a long ride, mainly because the driver took the long route going there. Micah and I spent the first few hours chatting at the same time complaining about the driver’s choice of music. It was terrible because we couldn’t use our music players for fear that we’ll get dead battery soon. Anyway, we soon got tired and decided to nod off the rest of the time in the bus.
After four hours and nineteen minutes (yes, I counted), we arrived in our destination. I wasn’t that thrilled to see the beach unlike others. In fact, I already knew what to expect because I went to the same beach resort in my Biology class in university.
One by one we climbed off and the first thing we noticed is huge pile of cow’s excrement (yes, for other’s sensibilities) scattered all over the grassy parking space. Ugh. Careful not to step over those not-so-yummy cakes, we walked to the entrance carrying our bags. And these are the sights that greeted us.
I heard them before I even expected what they’ll say. “Where’s the water?”, “Is it El Nino?”, “Why is the sea so far from the shore?” Well, they were up for a surprise. The place is really like that and even after you walked for a mile the water will only reach until your mid-calf.
My team, the Social Sciences and Humanities, as well as the Physical Sciences team were together in finding a strategic cottage for us to settle our belongings. We found one in a shady yet recluse part of the resort. After ensuring that our bags will be safe, we walked in the white sand shore going to the assembly area.
They made a stage in the center where the facilitators warmly (literally and figuratively) welcomed us. And without further ado, they invited us to partake the breakfast they prepared for us to start the day right. How fabulous welcoming that was for my hungry stomach!
After the mini-feast, we proceeded with the teambuilding proper. Of course, just like in any teambuilding, the activities are designed for the participants to have positive work ethics as well as life and work balance. They also encouraged camaraderie and teamwork both in and out of the workplace. Furthermore, the games included are fit for management, leadership, as well as critical and analyzing skills to be developed and honed for tasks and crisis to be dealt with.
The first game was a relay for a group with four members. Forming a circle facing outward with arms linked with each other, the task is for the group to go to 1st point without dropping a huge yoga ball to be put between their four heads. Together, the four will deposit the ball on top of the net found in the 1st point then crawl their way for the 2nd point. From there, they’ll get the ball and put it between their collective heads and go back to their original post. It might sound easy, but I’m sure as hell it wasn’t. One, it was too hot. Two, we were advised by our strategist to remove our flip-flops to avoid tripping over. Third, Micah and I were joined by two women from a different department which were too masculine that they dragged the two of us over the points. Four, it wasn’t fun crawling in the hot sand.
My team got the second place. We proceeded to the second station and the game presented to us was challenging. The task is for ten people to travel from point A to point B with a styro cup and a marble on top of it placed over a handkerchief. The marble must not fall; otherwise the team will go back to its original position. The group was given two choices: 1. A short distance to travel, but must go up and down the stage and, 2. To go around the stage in a longer distance but in a flat surface. Our team decided the latter and I was brave enough to volunteer for the ten people to represent our group. We had a genius strategist who guided everyone in the team while we hold the handkerchief. Micah even noted at the end of the game that it seemed no one dared to breathe in fear of blowing the marble down. It was funny. We were rewarded with the first place.
The third game was even more interesting. There are eight garters that must be linked and a ball must be put in the center of the web. The task is for the team not to drop the ball when they deposit it from point A to point B. The catch? The entire team must be inside the eight garters. The participants must be careful not to stretch the garters while they run to the next point so the ball won’t fall. It was the game I enjoyed the most as our group which consists of production editors (us) and editorial assistants (them) played as one. We laughed and had fun depositing five balls to the designated location. No thought of ranking, no inhibitions.
Perspiring and darkening (who wouldn’t in that temperature?), we tiredly walked towards our last game. Thanked God it was easy. We were just to shoot Ping-Pong balls to cups filled with water on the other table.
Soon enough, the game ended and we were herded to join the rest of the Journals department. We had a brief recap on the activities and the lessons they were supposed to be accompanied. Then it was chow time!
I always enjoy eating in the beach. I feel free, and if Charlie in The Perks of a Wallflower may be allowed to say it, infinite. We took our time munching our lunch prepared by the company, but Micah and I were fast and soon we felt restless and wanted to explore. So we did. And here are some photos we took.
In my Bio class four years ago, we went here to see some sea creatures. Micah and I found, too!
It was a fun-filled teambuilding and I can say it was better than last year. As my first job, I feel lucky to be included in this activity. But when I got home and saw how my skin turned to a toasty marshmallow shade, I didn’t feel that fortunate.
How about you guys? Does your company hold a similar activity like this? Where do you usually go? I know the Christmas holiday is just around the corner so where do you guys plan/wish to go?
And oh, before I wrap-up, I’d like to remind you, my lovely readers, of my ongoing international giveaway which is ending soon. You still have few more hours to join, so please do me the favor and head over the giveaway post and read the rules before participating. The more tasks you do, the more chances of winning. Here is the rafflecopter link for your convenience, too.
Enjoy the rest of weekend, guys!