3 Reasons why I miss agency life

I’ve been working on the client side of PR now for over 2 years. While I’m glad I moved to “the other side” — there are days when I miss the dynamic agency environment.

So, to quell my ‘homesickness’ (and let’s face it: for many PR pros, the agency can be home…14h workdays notwithstanding!) here are the top 3 things I missed from my agency time:

I miss the thrill of pitching.  

Fresh ideas. New people. If you weren’t keen on pitching stories and dreaming up new executions; you had no place in a PR agency. The fast-paced (and sometimes cutthroat) environment was challenging.

Challenging and rewarding.

You knew when you won the pitch, you knew when you lost the client. Plus, there’s nothing that can keep you on your toes more than meeting a roomful of strangers almost every week. When you communicate with unknown quantities, there is no choice but to be as clear as possible.

There was little constraint on the amount of “dream time” you could invest in a project…provided that you could deliver & meet your deadlines.

The deadlines.   

I never thought I’d say this but I miss the ironclad deadlines of the PR agency. We usually dealt with finished products. This means, I never had to worry about manufacturing issues & other issues brands faced internally. There was no mental waiting time between a product idea & a launch — what landed on my desk was ready to be hyped up.

The regroup.

Speaking of hyping products up — if there’s one thing agencies know how to do — it’s going back to the drawing board when things don’t go as planned. Agile creative teams know when it’s time to let go of an idea they’ve developed to service their client (and the public!) better.

So there. It’s out of my system. Back to working for the dark client side. 🙂



Blue Cheese

There’s an afternoon I remember distinctly. I think I was around 5 or 6 years old. My maternal grandfather, Lolo Angie, was taking a nap in the spare room of our homeMy mother’s siblings and parents are all based in the States — and visits like this were rare. I had been sitting in the kitchen (probably polishing off a sugary treat — pasalubong from Lolo) when I heard him calling me.

I rushed to the room. He was holding a piece of foil containing an unfamiliar chunk of food and some crackers. He handed them to me: “Tikman mo.” I gingerly took the crackers & spread on the unknown substance. I took a bite & made a face. My grandfather chuckled. I’d tasted blue cheese for  the first time and I was not happy.

I took a bite & made a face. My grandfather chuckled. I’d tasted blue cheese for  the first time and I was not happy.

Still, I’d see him  having a bit of cheese and crackers during his stay and I’d have a nibble or two — in between games of “sawsaw-suka”. Sawsaw-suka is  a finger game and we played the Bisaya version…it involved  a boat, a kulasa (girl) and a buwaya (crocodile).

By the time he was set to fly back to the US, I loved that moldy cheese so much that was fixing our snacks myself. My grandfather had that effect on many people. The things he loved just rubbed off on you. He’d never insist you do something or like something — he just showed you and let you experience things for yourself.

The evening I turned 30, I was enjoying a chunk of my favorite Roquefort when this particular afternoon with my Lolo Angie came to mind.

I suddenly became aware of where I was — in a beautiful house that he helped build but never set foot in. Like my lifelong love for cheese, he was responsible for so many good things in our life even as he lived miles away. In our family there was simply no room for doubting Lolo’s (and Lola’s) love — you simply knew you were loved.

Even if we spent so little time in the same space together; Lolo Angie left deep imprints on my character. He taught us all that family came first. He was the eldest of his siblings and he put them and his nephews and nieces through school. He showed us all that hard, honest work has its rewards.

Above all, Lolo Angie demonstrated an unwavering brand of faith — the kind of faith in God and in others that makes this world a far better place than when we first came into it.

Thank you, Lolo Angie. Thank you and enjoy the cheese platters there in heaven.


Angelo Taala Acuña | May 30, 1924 – June 12, 2016

“The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away,

and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.

2 Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in”

Is. 57:1-2




Give Like a Child

My daughter’s friend recently celebrated his birthday. My daughter and I bought the gift together. As we browsed, I decided the present must be useful. I thought about what the parents of my daughter’s friend would say. I thought about how much I was willing to spend. So much back and forth in my head to buy such a small token.

Some days later, we were wrapping the present & I asked my daughter to help. She got out her box of stickers and started decorating the plain brown wrapper. I’d noticed she was using her favorite stickers. I realized she might not understand that once she gives the gift to her friend, the stickers wouldn’t be coming back.

“Are you sure? Those are your favorites.”

Oo nga. It’s for my gift. I’ll give him my favorites,” she said as she continued to stick on more stickers. When she was done, all of her favorite stickers were on the gift.




I watched her with awe. Her idea of giving was so far from mine. In fact, I couldn’t call my cold calculations in the shopping mall “giving” at all.

With an open palm, my daughter freely shared what she loved most, precisely because it was what she loved most.

May we all learn to give as children do.

Day 2 | 7 Days of Gratefulness

My aunt, one of the few female orchestra conductors in the Philippines.
My aunt, one of the few female orchestra conductors in the Philippines.

Five things to be thankful for for 7 days. Tag one person per day.

Day 2.
1. Today is my Tita Michi‘s birthday. I am thankful to have grown up with a wonderful tita — someone who’ll keep cooking despite our teasing (a.k.a. “The Pesteng Pasta”), who opened up my world with music, and who continues to be a source of laughter and strength for our whole family. Here are 4 other things about Tita Mich that I am thankful for:

2. Tita Mich taught me concert etiquette: don’t to clap between movements! Invaluable advice, I promise.

3. The certainty that I can always depend on my extended family for help.

4. We, here nieces, are included in her colorful and oh so interesting world — from outings, to lunches, to everything in between — she would let us tag along. This made an impact on young minds — that we counted as people, individuals.

5. That Gab has a “Lola Mimich” who loves to spend time with her & vice versa. I know that having someone I can trust to watch over Gab is a luxury, something not every parent is fortunate enough to have.