Majestic sunrises and breathtaking sunsets, laidback afternoons and aimless walks by the beach, warm breeze and palm trees – the mere thought of a trip to an island-paradise already makes you all giddy of excitement, doesn’t it? What would you do then if it wasn’t just a mere thought, but a plane ticket? By all means, you go get that luggage and catch that flight – and this, the UST-Legazpi Administrators and Supervisors knew well. On July 2, 2019 39 administrators and supervisors of UST-Legazpi hopped on the UST- Legazpi Bus to Manila with suitcases ready to be filled with memoirs of a well-deserved getaway – all smiles looking to board the plane to Caticlan and finally, hit the Boracay sand. All excited for the three-day-three-night vacation, they could not care less about the heavy rains that persisted days before the trip and, instead, maintained a sunny state of mind. Further forecasts of rain and news of floods in Boracay did little to nothing in stopping this crew from getting those swimsuits ready and those tan lines achieved. As if chasing the rain clouds away with positive energy, the group flew to Caticlan in clear skies and arrived at the island-paradise of Boracay in perfect sunny weather on July 3 (a lot of prayers must have been whispered to God, you would think). After almost 24 hours of travel, and nearly trying all modes of transport – by land, sky, and sea – the group settled in The Boracay Tropics where they were welcomed with shell necklaces, refreshing smoothies, and best of all – a lunch buffet. Once room assignments were settled after lunch, first order of business was, yes you might have guessed wrong – an afternoon of rest. You may have asked, why not the beach? Well, you know, you just got to be ready with all the energy you might need. True enough, the afternoon rest swiftly turned into eager strolls along the stretch of the fine Boracay sand. As each to the other assumed that the latter was all cozied up in his/her room, they were pleasantly surprised instead to be bumping into each other on the beach front – walking bare feet along the shore with slippers in their hands, taking photos of the crimson-to- coral colored sky as the sun set, or just quietly taking in the picturesque scene. Minutes ticked away quickly into hours and hours faded into moments: from boat rides and island hopping to lunches and smoothies; swimming and snorkeling to chilling by the hotel pool; colorful hair braids to souvenir shopping. Romantic afternoon walks transitioned into chatty dinners that almost always lead to happy hours of laughter, drinks, singing and dancing – from slow jazz to the crowd favorite Buttercup – and merrymaking as if there were no tomorrow. You may think that for a not-so-millennial group, three consecutive nights of partying is a herculean task, but dare not judge! Because even the Dominican Fathers (the likes of Fr. Lao, and Fr. Butch, to name some) might prove your preconceptions wrong with their bustling energy at the dance floor. For at least three days and three nights in a year of tireless work, administrators and supervisors made the most of their vacation – in every sense of the word. But as quickly as the hours passed, it was soon time to leave. On the last day of the integration activity, the group switched into competitive mode as they played Kaskas Tomasino, an Amazing Race style teambuilding activity, where they bonded over games and challenges to build teamwork and foster better friendships and make more stories to laugh over. In the evening was a concluding dinner where insights about the wonderful experience were shared and Fr. Arceo and Fr. Lao echoed their thoughts. They emphasized gratefulness for the good times shared and acknowledged everybody’s dedication and hard work for the university. They also expressed hopes that by fostering healthier relationships through activities such as the Boracay escapade, the group would be ready to take on bigger challenges and be able to work better together like a well-oiled machine. As the administrators and supervisors mused over these valuable words as well as the three days-worth of fun filled times, there was a quiet ache that vacation was soon over; but an ache fleeting to a mind, heart, and soul that were content. The next day, July 6 2019, the crew boarded the plane back to Manila with suitcases and smiles that were not quite the same as what they had when they arrived. Suitcases were now filled with gifts for friends and families and stories to relive. Smiles now beamed not with excitement to get away, but with cheerfulness to go back. But most importantly, they carried with them glimpses of seemingly different, or perhaps just rarely seen sides of one another – how eyes would light up at little delightful things, how no song would go unsung, and how, just like any other working professional, what one needs is some time away to relax and recharge. All these glimpses, caught through stories shared maybe while on that bus ride, or that flight, or those idle times at the hotel room where they became roomies, hopefully are enough to make them kinder and more understanding of one another – enough to last them a pocketful of sunshine in their hearts for a long time (or at least until the next get away). ? Come to think of it, it is true what they say; if you want to get to know people better, travel with them. It does not so much matter where to. Anyway, it is not always about the place you are headed towards, but the insightful and fun journey shared all the while.