At Starbucks, there has been an annual tradition of holding a store outing. As for the date, it depends greatly on the type of market a specific store caters to. University stores usually have theirs during summertime, when students are off getting tanned and chillin’ by the shores. Business district stores have theirs on holidays, where office people take a break from all those paperwork. As for our store, well, we cater to millionaires. At least, they’re our primary market. And they usually have very hectic and unpredictable timelines. We went ahead and had our outing last 8th of March anyway.
Our choice of venue was Majayjay ( \ma-‘hī-‘hī\ ) Falls, Laguna. Rendezvous point was in the store, around 2AM. We had to wait for the closers.
The whole team was randomly divided into two groups because we had two different vehicles. An L300 and a van. I was part of the latter. Not a second was wasted as we headed to our destination after securing everyone.
For a three-hour long drive, it didn’t feel that long. Most probably because there was hardly a dull moment en route. All of us were laughing and exchanging stories and were having so much fun. Before I knew it, we were already there. I sneaked in a quick nap or two though. I hardly slept the entire time. And I cannot have no sleep otherwise I won’t function properly.
The place was really quiet. Although even with the little conversations of my fellow partners, I heard the sound of water flowing. Really faint sounds. The sun had yet to rise, creating a relaxing setting for us.
Out spot was called Casa Virgina, upfront. At the back, it’s called Casa Virginia. With my very creative imagination, I have conjured various scenarios regarding the two different names. No one seemed to be interested with it though. Our room was the first one to the left. Nice spot.
First thing on the list: eat. And eat we did. We had a limited variety, but equally delicious. Some of which were prepared by my partners themselves. The area was swept with a fleeting awkward silence before everyone indulged. Paper plates were passed, plastic spoons and forks fenced with each other, soda fizzed, cigarettes were lit, conversations were exchanged. For a barrage of noises, it all blended into a harmonious melody. Then, a moment of silence once more. No one started swimming until a few hours later.
Rashguards and sunscreen on, we all set foot on a journey of watery proportions. Not exactly a good choice of words, I know. The first batch of baristas to get wet was very few in numbers. As we plunged, the water nearly froze us. Water flowing naturally from falls had a tendency to be icy cold. Majayjay was no exception.
Half submerged and half dry, I was shaking. I had no way to warm myself up, and the absence of sunlight wasn’t exactly helpful. Still, we continued our Antarctic expedition. And for the first few hours, we stayed at the bottom part of the falls, and slowly but surely made our way up. I’ll refer to this as the First Expedition.
Halfway through, we stumbled upon a mini wall, an elevated part of the falls. I’m not entirely sure how to describe it. It had vandals of couple names, made out of scratching rocks across the mossy surface. I was tempted to leave a vandal myself, but chose not to. What a good kid, I am.
As we went further up, we saw what we thought was the highest part. The falls was strong… Sorry, it started sounding like a Star Wars phrase and I couldn’t help but laugh a bit at that. To think, I haven’t seen a single Star Wars movie. As I was saying, we stumbled upon a part where the current was really strong and a part where huge rocks made some sort of a water cave. At first, we hesitated. The current was strong enough to throw us away should we have held at the wrong rock. Two bamboo poles, held at place by the rock formations, made a makeshift bridge. The highlight of the First Expedition was my Barista Trainer Sheena. When all of us deemed it too dangerous to go further, she pushed through. I swear, her eyes were sparkling and determination fueled her heart like a burning flame. Typical Sheena. This is why I look up to her so much. But that is a different story altogether.
Sheena somehow analyzed the terrain and devised a way to pass through. Albeit dangerous, she pushed through and her unyielding firmness made her shine. She owned that moment. It inspired us to do the same. When we conquered it, a feeling of accomplishment triumphed in our hearts. A feeling stronger than the tearing downpour of water. It’s moments like these that make outings memorable.
What transpired next was a series of heading back to the room, going back to the falls, trying out the pool, eating here and there, and a few rounds of alcohol. During the drinking part, I was snug as a bug in the room. My eyes were so heavy, being sleep-deprived and all. I slept through the whole alcohol session. I don’t drink anyways. Not much of a loss. But, I did miss out on a few tears and emotional drama, the good kind.
The outing, like everything, eventually came to an end. Even though we had almost the entire day, it was short-lived. With good company, one just can’t have enough bonding time. If I could summarize the entire outing in one word, it would be…
I am wholeheartedly thankful to have been blessed with a loving team in the form of Team 333 EVIA Daang Hari. Never a dull moment with my fellow baristas. Cheers to more memories!