October 31, 2018, Alabang. Yesterday afternoon’s TAkot 2018 was a riot!
Every last Wednesday of the month, TeamAsia celebrates Pop Up, a beloved employee engagement activity where everyone stops work to get together for a few hours of fun, fellowship and camaraderie. It is also a time when birthday celebrants are greeted, and friends break bread (though it was barbecue, noodles and doughnuts yesterday). New employees are welcomed, but first, they have to either perform a talent or butt-spell their name, a hilarious exercise that has everyone cheering them on.
The most awaited of these monthly Pop Ups is Halloween. This time around, we moved Pop Up to Tuesday as many of our employees will be traveling to the provinces today to celebrate Undas, the Filipinos’ way of honoring their dead by visiting the cemeteries and coming together as families to pray and remember loved ones that have gone ahead.
Happily Never After was this year’s theme for TAkot. A twist on musicals that end happily and make everyone believe life is dandy, the theme had everyone thinking creatively of a different and unexpected ending for Halloween. One where you witness something terrifying and unnerving, and you are lucky enough to escape and tell the tale.
Five departments competed in the quest: Creatives with The Lion King, Digital/IT and Web with Moana, Marketing and Accounts with The Wizard of Oz, Experience with Trolls, and Content with The Little Mermaid. With imaginative minds and creative juices working overdrive, the TeamAsians delighted us with their productions, and made my job as judge difficult. Luckily there were other judges to spread the work around.
The Creative folks danced with abandon, representing the animal kingdom rejoicing the birth of the Lion King, when suddenly they removed their animal costumes and turned into zombies dancing to Michael Jackson’s Bad.
Starting with a video clip from Moana where she saves the island from devastation, the Digital/IT and Web boys danced to their own ditty of “mag walis, mag-bunot, mag-laba, mag-sampay” as their fitting welcome to the triumphant Moana, ably played by Chiara, who they then kill as “women are not allowed on their island.” Undertones of gender bias, but happily, we have our first female team member in what for the longest time was an exclusive male domain.
Pam’s baby Coco adorably dressed as a princess troll stole the scene from the Experience Department’s performance. Coco didn’t even cry when she was taken from her “dying” Mama Troll Queen’s arms and given to the Troll King as sacrifice. Abi Bibat ably led the group in singing.
Lynda surprised everyone with her singing for the Wizard of Oz, as the unlikely group of friends, Enzo as the Scarecrow, Joyce as the Tin Man, Erika as the Cowardly Lion, and Patrick as Dorothy hop-skipped their way through the Land of Oz. Aire as the Wicked Witch of the North and Denise as the Wizard herself completed the cast of characters. And when Erika the Lion received her badge of courage and stopped being cowardly, she pounced on Dorothy and killed her, then gave away Dorothy’s heart to the Tin Man and her brains to the Scarecrow. It was indeed a surprise ending, and a hilarious performance.
Content’s Little Mermaid’s story addressed the environmental crisis, weaving in undertones of the ocean’s desecration by the massive garbage and plastic being thrown into the sea. As Johanna, alias Ariel, sang longingly of exchanging her fishtail for feet so she could explore the earth, the other content staff swam, or rather bobbed, around. There was Luigi as a seahorse, Tony as a starfish, BeaF as an octopus, Ana as Nemo. Vince told the story, while the other team members served as extras or production staff; throwing the garbage and blowing bubbles in the air. Intent on achieving her dream, Ariel goes to Ursula, devilishly played and sang by Axl, complete with sidekicks Flotsam and Jetsam. Ariel gets her wish, while Ursula is caught by a fisherman. And once on dry land, hungry Ariel decides to stop by a kiosk to buy takoyaki, a popular Japanese street food made of octopus balls. Goodbye Ursula! A deadly twist indeed, reminding us that the garbage we throw out into the sea, end up in the seafood that we consume. Hats off to Elton, the master storyteller and scriptwriter!
After the performances, we headed off to the pantry to get food, while the young ones went around to collect goodies. It was heartwarming to see the little sons and daughters of our staff having fun and playing in TeamAsia.
And we all had fun dressing up! Bea was the evil queen holding a box with a heart, while I dressed up as Esmeralda of the Hunchback of Notre Dame. The night before, Bea asked me to make her a crown for her outfit, and I remembered all those halloweens past when my children were young and we dressed up in outrageous costumes.
Soon it was time for butt-spell. We had a record number of butt-spells this time, with BVernie of Content doing it so fluidly it must have been cursive! Bea then announced the winners of the competition: Content bagged the first prize, followed by MAD and Creatives.
Takot 2018 was definitely a blast, an occasion for TeamAsians to unleash their creativity while having fun. I look forward to what our Pop Up team can come up with for the next one.
Original Content from: http://www.monettehamlin.com/2018/10/31/1449/