From the mere finds in any old bookstores such as pens, papers, and of course the most obvious – books, the Animo Bookstore offers more to cater to the students today. Although DLSU merchandise are a definite must-have for the said bookstore, there are more than what meets the eye on the first level of the Brother Connon Hall of De La Salle University.
Any company would be nothing without the staff that builds it up. Reynaldo Ragasajo, or “Rey” for short, is the eldest of two siblings. At the age of 45, he is yet to fulfill his life-long dream of having his own business in the merchandising industry, supplies in particular. This dream probably came from the nineteen years he has been in the industry of bookstores or supplies. However, the irony is he actually took up mechanical engineering when he was an undergrad.
Engineering means serious stuff and unfortunately, Kuya Rey failed one of his subjects, which made Adamson University transfer him to another branch of engineering, Mining Engineering. At first it was quite a shock to even have that branch of engineering, because mining was not thought of something as an undergraduate degree; but some job occupation that was somewhat the same level as the term basurero in the Philippines. He seemed to have liked the environment he was exposed to while studying the field of mining, because he did not bother transferring back to the program that he originally enrolled in, which was Mechanical Engineering.
Fresh from graduation, Ragasajo’s mind was set on working as soon as he could. So he did, he worked as a merchandiser in at SM for a contract’s worth of five months. In his 20’s, being active in his church’s choir was probably the best decision he made then, because up until today, the people whom he calls barkada are his fellow brothers and sisters from the church in the vicinity of the place he calls home.
Valenzuela is somewhat a great compromise for him and his younger sibling Ronnie, because his brother works at Coca Cola in Bulacan. The distance from Manila did not hinder his work ethics; it was in fact something he got used to and made him a better person. When he chooses the 7:30AM shift, he wakes up at 4:30 to have some coffee and goes on with his morning routine, as he needs to be out of the house by 5:30 in the morning.
It is indeed questionable on how one can endure that type of travel on a day-to-day basis. Travelling via public vehicles is almost never a smooth ride and it takes a lot of getting used to. But then again, in the words of Kuya Rey himself, there is no place like home.
It was no shock that he loved the place he called home since he loved to spend time with his family and friends. From scrumptious lunches to late karaoke nights with his barkada, it was never a trouble for the gang to get together since they all live in the same neighborhood as they met in their neighborhood church’s choir. Admitting with a chuckle, he tells some of his favorite pastimes used to be sports when he was much younger. Badminton, bowling, and volleyball were some of the activities he would engage in to get his mind off of everyday life, to name a few.
In the twenty years he has been in the industry, he once took a year off to take care of his application abroad. He was supposed to work in Brunei as he was able to have all his paperwork approved, all but one – his medical. To his shock, his blood sugar was quite above the normal, which threw all of his hard work taking care of all the paperwork to waste. This seemed to have scarred him for life, since he never bothered to attempt applying for a job abroad again. Once asked where he would work if given the chance to, he answered Singapore. He mentioned that he has friends that currently resides in Singapore and still gets to see his family often, unlike other Filipinos who work overseas in other countries, who usually gets trapped in a two to three year contract.
Being diabetic is no easy task, talking from having a mother that’s diabetic herself. Kuya Rey was never admitted or was rushed to the emergency room, fortunately. On the other hand, it took quite a toll on the financial side of things. The medicine a diabetic needs, including the equipment one needs to monitor their blood sugar is no laughing joke. To make up for the expensive medicine a diabetic requires, he results to more natural treatments such as boiling Banaba, Guyabano, and Ampalaya leaves for him to drink.
Changes are inevitable in everyday life and once given another choice there were a few things he would have changed he had the chance to. First is that he wished he was not so faint-hearted at the time he graduated and would have taken the bar exam. On the contrary, he wished he took up accountancy or any other business-related course instead of having to deal with engineering all his undergrad life and not putting it to good use. Lastly, if he was given the chance to have the lives of one of his kabarkada, to have married at the right time and have children right about now, he said yes.
Everyone has their own story to tell, sometimes it’s just hidden under some layers; maybe behind a cash register or in the middle of the street – a new story is bound to let the audience see through a different lens on life.