Our audit in Ormoc was my fourth assignment as a team leader which took place on the fourth month of the year 2017. However, it was my first time in Leyte, my first out-of-town assignment as team leader, my first attempt in trying out the newly rolled out audit procedures, and my first experience handling the post-audit conference without the unit head present. With me on this assignment were Chimie and Venette.
We chose David’s Inn for our accommodations since from there, we only needed to walk to our auditee’s place. The inn was very simple but the staff were very helpful and friendly. They made sure we had everything that we needed.
When we were starting our audit, it was near the BIR deadline for tax filing–April 15. As such, the branch was heavily packed with people who were going to pay their taxes. The line extended outside the branch were people had to wait under the heat of the summer sun. This meant that our work had to be done quickly since the branch personnel could only accommodate us only for very short periods of time or only after 5 PM, by which time there were no more transactions being processed.
We did not venture out anymore to find local restaurants to eat in. We just relied on the messenger, Kuya Peter, to buy our lunches from nearby fast-food restaurants. He always took the initiative to ask us what we wanted to eat since he saw how busy we were and did not have time to go out for lunch. He also always made sure to give us our receipt so we knew how much change we had.
Over the weekends, Chimie and Venette visited their relatives who lived near Ormoc. I stayed behind to catch up on my sleep. When night came, I ventured out to the plaza to chill.
There was some sort of a singing contest or some show going on so the plaza was so alive with music and laughter. There was a colorful fountain that the children flocked to to enjoy feeling the cool water on their hands.
I decided to go to Lorenzo’s Cafe because our branch personnel said it was a good place to have good food and refreshing drinks. I ordered a white mocha drink but was requesting that decaffeinated coffee be used instead since I was still recovering from months of daily migraine attacks then. However, they were puzzled as to why I though their white mocha had coffee and told me it was coffee-free. It was my turn then to be puzzled how mocha could not have coffee. Ha-ha! At least the drink was good and the squid rings I ordered tasted yummy.
Chimie and Venette returned on Sunday night and we went to Seoul Jeong Restaurant to satisfy our cravings for Korean food.
The first thing we noticed in the restaurant was the wall with beautiful paintings of wings. Naughty or nice? Pick your pair of wings then take flight (or actually, just pose for a photo). Chimie surely had a good time posing with her wings.
The food serving was enough to satisfy our hunger and they tasted pretty okay. The servers were nice too. There were only the three of us eating that time so we had their whole, undivided attention to ourselves.
Before we left for our afternoon flight back to Manila, the branch personnel convinced us to at least visit Lake Danao. They asked Kuya Peter to accompany us going there.
At just eighteen kilometers away from Ormoc City, we got there pretty quickly. The sun was beautifully shining and there was no indication that it will rain later on.
Our first stop was the viewing deck for which I actually had high expectations. Apparently, it looked very simple which made it adorable.
The beautiful body of water is protected by the National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS) Act of 1992. They also told us that Lake Danao has a guitar-like shape.
I do not know whether the viewing deck was not high enough or if I was just really short, but I did not see the guitar-shape they were talking about. Despite that, I must admit that the lake was really spectacular and a refreshing sight to behold. Maybe I should have invested in a drone with camera.
We paid to ride a floating cottage at Php 150 per hour plus some environmental fees. Kuya Peter did all the maneuvering of the cottage for us which required a lot of pulling of a rope. He was very quiet, probably inwardly laughing at us and our antics.
We dipped our feet in the water that was very cool to the touch. Chimie initially didn’t want to, joking that the tilapia might eat her feet.
There was not much to do on the cottage since we did not bring any food and we weren’t going to stay long. We spent our time there enjoying the beauty of the lake and taking photos; lots of them! I even managed to capture a picture of Chimie trying to get inside the loop of the hanging rope and bring it to her waist. Unfortunately, it looked like she wanted to hang herself.
We joked about how she was not supposed to give up despite our very, very, very stressful job and that she was still going to be a team leader soon. Looking back, I wished we didn’t joke about wanting to die to escape the burden of our job, no matter how innocent of a joke it was.
We left Ormoc on a Tuesday. Four days later, Saturday, Kuya Peter passed away. They could not say whether it was a cardiac arrest or a stroke. He still had very young children whose mother was no longer with them.
But life’s like that. It can go on even if you no longer want it to or it can stop even when you would have wanted to remain. We do not know how much time we have with the people we deal with every single day. That’s why it pays to always be kind and to always come from a place of compassion even if people can be overbearing at times.
If we had known, maybe we could have spent more time talking to him despite his being shy. Maybe we could have been even more nicer towards him. It was too late for that now though. My only consolation is that at least, we once got Kuya Peter to smile and the camera captured that moment.