TeamAsia’s sweet LU escape: three days in Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel

by Axl Ross Tumanut, Kaye Chua, and Luigi Almario 

Three days at Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel in La Union could fill any traveler’s newsfeeds with all sorts of upload-worthy snapshots–beach selfies, groufies, sunset photos, surfing shots, influencer poses, live videos, stories, and more. For us at TeamAsia who are all too deeply absorbed in the fast-paced agency life, our getaway was a chance to unplug from the busy city life.

And though it’s been weeks since we had our outing, we still look back fondly to the moments we spent in surfers’ haven away from the Metro’s concrete jungle. Here are our newbies Axl, Kaye, and Luigi sharing about their very first TeamAsia getaway.

Pre-getaway: the anticipation builds

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Axl: Planning this entire adventure was like pitching for an event and bringing it to life. All of us who worked behind the scenes knew that the entire experience is not just about sights or sounds. We needed to tell a story like we do for our clients. After all, this is not just another out of town trip, this is a celebration of TeamAsia’s 25th anniversary.

There were brainstorming sessions and timelines to follow, and everyone worked together to make it happen. The time, talent, and effort we all shared to make our clients happy were shared with equal dedication so that our colleagues could have a wonderful time.

Kaye: As a person who is so enthusiastic to explore the great outdoors, I have always believed that travelling to places and trying out new things are like bringing my dead-tired body back to life. Adventures do not just introduce me to new places; they immerse me into diverse cultures.

I was excited about going to La Union because I have always wanted to try surfing there. Aside from that, I’ve seen how everyone in the committee exerted so much effort in putting everything together to make sure we all enjoy our three-day break.

Luigi: I have never been to LU but it has been featured extensively on my friends’ Instagrams, so much so that I already have a gameplan in mind of what I’m gonna do when I get there: swimming, surfing and most of all, trying out that hipster coffee place – El Union Coffee – that seems to be a main fixture on my friends’ IG posts.

DAY 1: Getting to the surfers’ haven

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Wooden artisan chairs and tables at the Flotsam and Jetsam (with Abi!)

Axl: The last person you would expect to miss the call-time is the person who wrote the “be on time” EDM, who is no other than myself. On the day of the departure for La Union, I woke up at the very minute that the bus should leave.

The bus left without me, and I managed to ride with my colleagues, who happened to be holding an event that day. When I arrived at Flotsam that evening, the chill night program that my colleagues from the outing committee planned was underway.

Kaye: LU captivated my heart instantly not just because of its beauty and laid-back vibe, but also because I was with a bunch of amazing people. There were a lot of new people in the team, and there were games such as Charades–but with a twist! We had to act out a song, a movie, and mimic the mannerisms of TeamAsians. It resulted in a lot of laughter and amusing guesses from everyone.

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So much team spirit!

Luigi: Our home for the duration of our stay is the Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel – it has this “wooden shack” vibe that I’ve always been very fond of. During the program, I had to do the infamous butt spell for the second time in my thus short stay here in the company. You see, it’s tradition here in TeamAsia for the newbies to perform the butt spell during their first week in the company, and even though I already did it a task I undertook as tradition permits.

After the program ended, drinks were had, songs were sung, and guitars were played til the wee hours.

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Crashing of the waves

DAY 2: Game on!

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Group activities under the sun

Axl: The TA getaway day two was a day for games and surfing lessons for most of us. One part of the day that I really looked forward to was the fun night, which I had to host. And since my co-host was sick that day, I had to do a solo act.

Hearing my colleagues laugh while I do the hosting was such a rewarding experience.Though a long time have passed since our outing, remembering my colleagues’ laughter that night still inspires happy thoughts.

Of course there is only one part of the entire getaway that can top all performances–the toast led by our president and founder Ma’am Monette Hamlin. Most of us imagined a quick celebratory toast around the bonfire but she asked us to form a circle and arrange ourselves based on our birth order–a scenario which meant to show how long TeamAsia has been elevating stories and experiences to the next level.

 

 

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We gathered around the bonfire by the beach

Then she asked each one of us to share about the things we are grateful for. Some of us are grateful about work, some of us about life, some of us about our families, and some expressed their gratitude to God. The toast served as a reminder of the things we are passionate about and how passion fuels everything that TeamAsia does.

Kaye: We played games by the beach not minding the scorching heat of the sun and made a group yell out of spontaneity. On the night of the awarding, our team, Live, placed last among the four groups but we really didn’t mind because we all had a great time!

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The beautiful beach of La Union at sunset

After the awarding, we all headed to the beach for the toast. That was the most heartwarming moment that I never thought that I’d actually feel home with this family that I have now. Being the not-so-confident person that I am, I grabbed the opportunity that night to to thank everyone in TeamAsia for believing in me when I can’t even believe in myself.

Luigi: Day 2 was wholly devoted to contests of skill, cunning and intellect, of which, my team was in abundance of. Hence, we emerged victorious. (I may or may not be exaggerating, but we really did win.)

The true highlight of the entire trip, though, would happen much, much later. In the night, we started a campfire beside the shore and a formed a circle around it. Our esteemed president, Ma’am Monette Hamlin, delivered a thoughtful speech to kickoff the proceedings, and then, it was party time!

It was an unbelievable atmosphere – a campfire by the beachside, people jamming to the sound of acoustic guitars and free-flowing drinks all around! Y’know, just wholesome stuff. For the first time ever, I got to witness people from other departments bond with each other. Drinks were being passed around and while the fire eventually burnt out, the feeling of being just under the stars only served to heighten the experience.

Post-getaway musings

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TeamAsia fambam!

Axl: Of course, not everything turned out the way they were planned no matter how meticulously they were put together.  Yet for all these challenges that came along the way, we knew that the show must go on. And then there were surprises such as the amazing TeamAsian talents who really caught the spotlight during the two evening programs of our getaway.

For those of us who worked behind the scenes, it was a rewarding feeling to watch everything we planned (and didn’t plan) unfold. And all those unforgettable moments would not have happened if our TeamAsian colleagues were not equally willing to share their time, talent, and efforts to create unforgettable moments during our getaway.

Kaye: Aside from the usual happy stuff and good food we shared that day, there was something else that came up. Sarah, Dezza and I had to look after one of our colleagues who had so much fun on our last night and got a massive hangover before we left LU! Hint: his name starts with an L and he may or may not have also written about his experiences here.

My stay in La Union was beyond amazing, and I definitely look forward to more geTAways with these bunch of people I love to call as my family.

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Content team in Flotsam and Jetsam

Luigi: I woke up to the view of the sun directly above me and the sand beneath me, with only the faintest recollection of how I ended up there. Then, it hit me: I recalled resting my head on one of the beanbag chairs we had set up on the beach after taking what would’ve been my last shot of whiskey sip of grape juice. I passed out on the beach! was probably so exhausted from last night’s festivities that I fell asleep where I laid by the shore.

Still tired and suffering a massive headache after a night of fun, I skipped breakfast entirely and barely touched my meal at lunch time. If I’m going to be completely honest with you, everything was a blur that day. Even the long, six-hour journey back home was a blur.

And so there it was, two days of pure, unadulterated fun, followed by a day of headaches. That being said, even though I was not able to do everything I set out to do in LU: the surfing, the hipster coffee experience, not to mention suffering through a massive hangover migraine, it was time well spent with the most amazing people you can ever hope to work with. I would do it all again if I could, preferably minus the headache.As for La Union, I will be back! And next time, I may even try surfing.

Postscript

Those three days at La Union gave us TeamAsians a well-deserved respite from work. Every day was an opportunity to bond with our teammates and our colleagues from other teams. Each day was full of discoveries about our fellow TeamAsians–things we would not have found out within the familiar corners of our office. Those three days offered us glimpses of the things that our fellow TeamAsians are passionate about.

There is a bittersweet feeling at leaving Flotsam and Jetsam after soaking in the sun and waves with our friends and colleagues turned family, but we all came back more energized and refreshed, ready once again to bring our clients’ stories to the next level experience.

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