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By Engr. Girlie Pagaran and Engr. Diane Escote – September 17, 2012

Once, a quote about work hits me. “Get happiness out of your work or you may never know what happiness is.” I realized Water Resources Management Division (WRMD) understands this quotation and it may be their working principle…our working principle! Whether in the field traversing through river, rice fields, sloping mountains under the heat of the sun or under the cold shower from the rain and in the office doing validation/status/travel/accomplishment reports, doing reply for requests, or hurrying for an upcoming workshop or SWISA congress, WRMD certainly knows how to still find happiness despite all these stress and anxiety. There are several activitiesthat WRMD take and there are as many stories of fun and unforgettable experiences to share. Here are some of them.

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(Top) The Bullcart experience; (Bottom)The river that has limatic leech (by the time this picture was taken staff were still unaware of their presence)

A young engineer once bragged that during validation in Zambales he experienced to ride in a bullcart to cross a river. “Kailangan talaga naming sumakay doon kasi palalim ng tubig eh enjoy!” It’s an odd but fun way of crossing a river. However, surely he is luckier than another engineer who does not know how to swim but was forced to cross a river just to reach a project site. Since he does not know how to swim he was carried by farmers and ATs. “Nakakahiya man pero kailangan, kesa naman malunod ako,” he said. As they remember these unexpected yet fun experiences, they can’t help but smile. Also, based on my experience, I was able to walk more than three (3) kilometers on a project monitoring. To go to the proposed site, we need to pass a rough road then to a river and to a very steep slope. The possibility of rolling down the slope and the presence of a snake troubled me as I traverse the path to the project site. And when we reached the site that is in a river, to my awe (and terror!) it has lots of “limatic” leeches! Fortunately, the Municipal Agriculturist saw our hardship and prepared for us a sumptuous dinner and fine accommodation.

In the conduct of topographic surveys, several stories are often subject of laughter. Eventhough surveying means a day walking through the fields or even river to know the elevation of land and requiring one to carry big, heavy equipment. They also get to experience passing through a river that is shoulder deep! One of them happily shared that in these cases, they work with no clothes on! Well, who wants to stay drenched after work? So they just save their clothes from getting wet. Engr. Ferre often describes surveying as an activity that is so much fun! In surveying he shared that often at the end of the day he would notice several wounds on his feet. He himself is not sure whether it is brought by stones/rocks in the way or leech in the river. As shared by other engineers and staff of WRMD, sometimes, surveying takes longer days making their wives furious. Mr. Bustillo was once threatened by his wife that she’d make his 45 days chicken into fried chicken if he won’t go home! Luckily, he was able to appease his wife who knows how the WRMD staff works. And who did not know Mr. Edu, our surveyor and cartographer rolled in one. Many engineers want Edu in his team because he works day and night! (surveying during day time and processing the data at night). Yet the next day, you will see him all smiling, ready for the day’s works again!

Another activity of WRMD is our involvement to Cloud Seeding.Ladies from WRMD, being true to their duties and doing what they were named for, bring water to areas that need it, and to do that they need to travel through AIR, through high altitudes! But riding through an aircraft doesn’t spell FUN…sometimes. In cloud seeding, private planes are used. These are not like commercial planes which are big and looking new. WRMD staff flew over high altitudes through planes that are small and sometimes looking unsafe.And if you think air turbulence (it happens when the plane you’re riding tries to avoid large clouds but was still touched) is nerve wrecking and heart racing imagine sitting in these small planes that bravely enters through these clouds!Another funny unforgettable experience shared by one of them iswhen she had a sudden need to go the comfort the middle of a flight. It was like a commercialofImodium “aabot ka ba? O aabutan ka?” the only difference is this is by air. “ napakalamig sa taas, 8-10 ⁰C, pero tagaktak ang pawis ko!”. What’s more funny is when she rushed to the toilet..she learned that it was just false alarm! All those fear, worries, shame and sweat… were for nothing but false alarm!

Training of farmers are also packed with fun stories in the field. They shared that most of them experienced so much nervousness during their first training. “naglelecture ako nun na pawis na pawis kahit na hindi naman maiinit! Kahit braso ko pinagpawisan!” There were also surprising moments where trainors meet relatives to training sites. And some of them also experienced “paglusong sa putikan” and even eating in a bamboo nipa hut that stands near a piggery (the house of course smells like waste from piggery). But they exclaimed that what’s more fun to be in training is that they feel the appreciation and love of farmers! They see how farmers make every effort to give their best out of the small things they have.

Lastly, who says being in the office is no fun? Well, not in the case of WRMD.It is sure fun to see unexpected visitors from different cities/municipalities, officials that sometimes starstrucked us through their beautiful faces, there are also those who were so glad to come in the office and brought so many pasalubong from their province and some who did not seem to care much but get what they came for. Also, we find humor from even from the most stressful days brought by “deadliest “deadlines. I remember seeing an officemate who took a call and then immediately after the call has ended, her face could no longer be painted and her actions are in panic mode that we couldn’t help but notice. Later we learned that the person who called her told her “I want that report in 30 minutes”. Similarly, the rush and pressure that is felt everytime it is the last week or last DAY to pass documents, thanks to them (which names should not be mentioned) which submit documents near or on the day of deadline! And if you pass by the WRMD during these stressful days you will see people in their very serious mood, in panic mode and with few conversations. But of course, serious mood ends once the deadline has passed.And all that serious faces come back to the smiling faces. We find humor in just about anything,from the faces and reactions brought by those got-to-beat deadlines, to the stories from previous travels and even smallestfunny mistakes/happenings seen in the office!

WRMD personnel may have stressfuljobs but we sure know how to handle the stress and how to have fun at the same time. Just as long as the camaraderie, love for work, love for fun and optimism exist, no level of stress WRMD can’t handle. That is why it is MORE FUN here in WRMD!

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