Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Philippines: Gatz Is Back.

My friend Joseph Gatz was in town for a few short days to attend a photography workshop, so Sheila and I arranged to meet him later that evening. If you recall, Joseph and his family most graciously hosted me for a few days in the country of Brunei as I was traveling through the island of Borneo. And since my travels to Brunei, Joseph and his wife, Mavi, birthed another baby girl. Congratulations, Joseph and Mavi! Sheila and I were anxious to catch up with him.

I went with Sheila to her job in the morning so she wouldn’t have to return home after work and pick me up as it takes at least an hour, due to traffic, to commute back home from her job. And when Sheila uses public transportation, it can easily take up to 2 hours. She doesn’t even live that far from her job, either. I would surmise that her job isn’t any further than 15 miles away.

Sheila works for Shell Oil and has been working for the company for the past 7 years. Once we arrived at her company’s building, the security officers gave me dirty looks and began speaking to Sheila in Tagalog.

“What’s the problem?” I asked.

Sheila failed to tell me that wearing sandals is against the building’s dress code. Luckily, Sheila was able to talk the officers into letting me enter. She sure has a way of speaking to people who are giving her trouble. Like I’ve mentioned before, she can be a bit of a bully. To the point that even the security officers yield to her commands. I don’t know how she does it.

“Dibidi Dobidi Dibidi Do!” she rapidly repeated to the guards in Tagalog who were blocking us from entering the elevator. Okay, so that isn’t “technically” Tagalog, but it’s what it sounds like to my ears.

Sheila took me to the 21st floor where I would be staying for the next 8 hours. She initially took me to the cafeteria which had an incredible view overlooking the city.

“Honey, I’m just gonna go to the washroom real quick,” she said. “Will you be okay by yourself for a few minutes?”

“Of course I’m going to be fine,” I replied. “What am I, a child or something?” Then I noticed a karaoke machine with a microphone attached to it.

“Don’t mind me,” I said to her as she was about to walk out the door, “I’ll just be singing. . .” And I grabbed the microphone and placed it near my mouth and quickly turned around, “. . . a little karaoke!” However, I failed to notice that the microphone chord was plugged in and I experienced some seriously loud feedback.


“Baby!” She yelled. “Don’t touch ANYTHING!”

Ahem. Duly noted.

And for the next 8 hours I found myself in the lobby, adjacent to the reception desk being monitored by security officers. Thank goodness I brought along my book, pen, and pad or it would have been a grueling day.

On our way out of the building – seriously, we were about 2 feet from the exit - Sheila and I stopped because of a security officer who given Sheila an attitude. I couldn’t understand what the officer had said, but Sheila immediately turned around. She stood motionless for a second, with her eyes staring fixedly into the eyes of the officer. All I know is that whatever the officer had said, Sheila didn’t take it too kindly.

Gulp. Oh, God.

Sheila immediately put the officer into check, and began mouthing back.

“Dibidi Dobidi Dibidi Do! Dibidi Dobidi Dibidi Do!”

As she was arguing, I couldn’t help but to look at the exit which was just an arm’s length away. There was just two feet separating me from freedom, as I was sure that if the officer decided to throw Sheila in jail I was certain to be locked up with Sheila by association.

“Dibidi Dobidi Dibidi Do! Come on, let’s go, Adam.”

Ah, music to my ears.

Afterwards we went to a restaurant joined by her officemate, Lester, and ate some Bulalo, a dish served with meat, rice, and a large bone where you’re suppose to scrape out the bone marrow.

For dessert Sheila and I went to Le Bar located inside of Sofitel, a 5 star hotel. At the restaurant we waited about a half hour until the pastries went on sale and sold for 50% off.

After dessert we picked up Joseph and drove to Harbor Place where we enjoyed some beverages inside of Starbucks. It was great to see Joseph again. We reminisced about my travels to Brunei, his beautiful family, and about his new investment: a new Nikon camera. And what a beauty it was. He showed us some videos and photos that he took at his workshop. Great stuff. He appears to have a promising career.

If you are interested in Joseph's work, check out his website:


And here's a recent television commercial he did for Pizza Hut in Brunei:


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