Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Managers’ Party at Sunset Village Resort

In what appeared as a rather unforeseen decision made by the higher-ups, one by one we were informed of our new venue for the managers’ party this year.  Sunset Village Resort in Lea Lea was the selected venue and for those who had not been in Lea Lea Beach before, the announcement did not fall short of expectations, but it quite invoked a few curious reactions from the old-timers.

A typical hypothetical reaction was, “Is it true? But it took us forever to go there the last time.”

Okay, that wasn’t purely hypothetical. I actually raised that question. Cheers! Anyway, if you guys will just browse backwards throughout my posts, you will see that I had an entry about Lea Lea Beach that I entitled “My Unforgettable Trip To Lea Lea Beach” in 2014. While the part of my brain responsible for recycling neurons has already purged a plethora of memoirs from that trip, it retained some vague recollections of a few things worthy of remembering. Back then, I remember that because of rough roads and potholes, we had to slow down every once in a while. It is for that reason that our trip had taken more than an hour to complete. It was a bit exhausting, but it wasn’t an off-putting experience though.

In 2017 however, things have changed dramatically. Any old timer who may want to revisit the place can get a surprise of how remarkably the roads have gotten better in time. So without further ado, let’s have a look at what we have seen in our trip which all happened just last Sunday.

Like all excursions in general, they are not as exciting as without the complementary foods to accompany them. Here’s ate Des, James and nanay Ada all in one place. James has now learned the art of making pansit from the good ol’ guidance of nanay Ada.

Ate Des was assigned a task to come up with crispy pata. Within those boiling oil are a bunch of crispy pata slowly crisping their way to crispiness. She’s been cooking this food ever since I arrived in 2011 and I think everyone knows that’s her specialty now. I wonder how she would respond to the situation if someone would actually call her Pata Queen?

I hereby warn you that thou shall think twice. 

The first group of managers, who are off-duty that day, have gone to Sunset Village two hours ahead of us. The rest of us had to wait for our duties to end yet before we could go as well. In this photo, I just sat in the car and waited patiently for the other managers to emerge from the shop’s gate. 

My ride for that day is an earlier model of Honda CRV, but has an automatic transmission. In Papua New Guinea, all of the vehicles are set to right-hand drive, so the driver is seated on the right side, which is the total opposite of what I’ve gotten used to in the Philippines. If one is keen on asking, I started driving in the Philippines at around the age of 15 and got my first Driver’s License at 18. 

Learning how to handle a right-hand drive car isn’t a rocket science. A seasoned driver can get the hang of it in just a few tries. 

The initial waypoint going to Lea Lea can be anywhere, but the easiest to remember is from the area around Stop and Shop Harbour Side. From that shop, just drive on the road going up to Boroko where just halfway to the climb, you can turn left. You’ll end up going to this area that has a sign board pointing to Napanapa road if you go straight and Tokarara Waigani if you turn right. 

Go straight to Napanapa Road. 

The roads going to Lea Lea Beach have received a significant amount of improvement since the last time we took a visit. My estimate is that 70% of the roads are now upgraded to cement, 29% to asphalt and only 1% of which still needs an enhancement.

I’m pretty conservative with my estimates but those are pretty commendable improvements that happened in just a year or two.

Here’s our convoy of three cars. I always like to be driving at the end of the convoy because that way, I won’t have to carry the pressure of setting up the pace. The underdeveloped 1% part of the road that I’ve mentioned earlier is this. With the current progress in the road development, I guess we will no longer encounter this on our next visit. 

This photo will soon be a relic of the past that photo-collectors will be searching after. 

More than halfway through the trip, you’ll come across the LNG Project properties on the left side of the road. It’s a huge property and they actually have several gates that they simply name Gate 1, Gate 2 and so on. You’re only a few minutes away to Sunset Village once you went past these gates.

After the LNG Properties, you’ll come across a village with stilt houses that are elevated a few feet off the ground. One of the peculiarities in Papua New Guinea is this type of house, of which design derives its concept from the idea of keeping seawater from flooding the house during high tide. The open space below the house often serves as a shade to a shiny car or a perfect place to spend a hot afternoon.

Finally, here’s the Sunset Village Resort. We arrived here after an approximately 45 minutes to an hour of relaxed driving. 

Here’s the iconic footbridge in Sunset Village Resort that everyone has come to know and recognized. At the end of which are newly added poles that will support a roofed structure in the future.

I can’t help but to feel a bit nostalgic.

And here are the same mangrove trees that I have taken a photo of back in 2014. There isn’t much of a noticeable change but they seem to have grown bigger than the last time.

The first group who arrived earlier have already chosen a nice spot for us and they’ve begun grilling foods for all of us. Thanks guys.

The eggs are purposely bought for one person alone, Jagajit, a guy from Nepal who adhered strictly to a vegetarian diet. He only eats egg meat and will run away from you if you mention pork meat to him. 


There was a copious amount of lamb meat getting a good grilling. Judging from the ratio of lamb meat versus the other foods present in the party, I think it best to call this party a Lamb Party instead. 

I’m not of a lamb meat person. Not all person will come to like lamb meat, but not all will also come to like chicken. But thankfully, they also prepared chicken meat, sausages and a special beef called Wagyu Beef.

The Wagyu Beef that we had for party came from  Australia, and my boss’ husband brought it from there. She said it was a Ranger’s Valley wagyu and it was a premium stuff. It has had its place in the Top 10 Beef in the world.  I only knew this when I asked her later that night where to buy that excellent beef only to be told nicely that we could not get here in Papua New Guinea.

Too bad I didn’t have a picture of it though.

Here are the other managers having a small chat while consuming their part of the loot. One thing that I notice in all of our company parties is that people of the senior age, whose habits in life are similar to one another, tend to cluster in together, forming a yet another sub-group that sets them apart from the rest.

Sometimes, this social phenomenon does escalate to the point where it progresses to talking about other people’s lives, of which I am not a fan.

Here’s Harold, Cristina and me. I am not a hat person but I forgot to buy a sunblock beforehand so I bought this hat of Japanese origin instead. 

After eating our foods, I decided to walk around to loosen up a bit. Here’s an old boat that was intentionally capsized. My guess is that it was put down that way so it won’t float away in high tide.  

Here’s all of us. We took this photo just before we started our beach games.

Here’s me again. It’s frantically irresistible to take a photo of yourself in a relaxing place like this. 

Frantically irresistible? I always love to exaggerate. 

We played a couple of games under the sweltering heat of the sun. Here’s a limbo game with both gender getting involved. The rule of the game is simple; all of the participants must go under the cloth held by two people with their backs facing toward the ground. A player is eliminated if he/she touches the cloth or falls down. The challenging part is that the players must bend backwards when making a pass underneath.

This is one of those heterosexual games in which anyone who does not have a calcium-deprived bone structure is allowed to join.

I'm not sure if it's okay for the bosses to have their photos publicly shared in my post so I blurred their faces instead. Better to err on the side of caution. The man in the middle is Mark Anthony, our new bakery manager. He just arrived only recently. Surprisingly, he won the Limbo Rock game, beating all the odds.

Some men have more flexible body than women and this winner is a living proof to it. 

Here’s a game of throwing sacks that are partially filled with sand. The idea is to find out who among the guys have the strongest throwing power. The person who can throw the sack to the farthest distance is the winner. The person in a blue hat, who appeared to be swinging the sack, is our boss. The sack he threw up the air actually landed the farthest but that was not counted since he’s the boss.

Just like in video games, a boss in real life can also be the strongest.

The next person who threw the sack the farthest is Raffy. He was awarded a pseudo certificate of “The Strongest Male Manager” award. I also joined in the game but I lost happily. 

The women were also invited to play the game. That woman who threw the sack on the air was Alice. Each of the sacks weighs 5 Kilos. With remarkable results, the women could also throw them at a reasonable distance. 

I guess that all the years of carrying a lady-shoulder bag full of beauty kits have paid off.

Ate Des won in the “Strongest Female Manager” category. In a test of strength between two female, does having bigger arm over the other competitor offers an advantage to the bearer?

I think so.

After the games, we were all allowed to walkabout the place. We ended up watching this band playing music together to entertain the people.  The person wearing a pink shirt is happily dancing to the tune of the music, totally oblivious to our presence. 

At the end of the band’s set, we asked them if we could use their musical instruments. They asked us if we’re a band too, to which we politely said “no” because we’re not really a band. Harold, who is holding a guitar at the left, used to play guitars occasionally in college.  The girl seated behind the drums is Cristina and she’s had the experience playing in a band. The person in the white shirt is quite good in singing and has a nice voice. His name is Ryan and he had actually joined in a singing contest on the TV Show called Tawag Ng Tanghalan. The guy with an orange band on his shirt is Jay-ar and he’s our bakery manager. 

And that’s me on the right, wearing a Japanese hat and shades. I picked up the bass guitar because I just liked it.

Here’s a clip of what we’ve played on the stage. We have not played a single song together before that and because this is just for fun, we expected less from each other. We played two songs actually. When we played the first song Ang Huling El Bimbo, the intro was good but chaos ensued afterwards.

In the next song that we played, I used the keyboard. The title of the song is Next in Line and it seemed to go well somehow. Cheers!

That’s all for this week. Advance Merry Christmas everyone!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...