Richard strode hurriedly through the lobby of Lim Corporation’s Headquarters in Eastwood City, wanting to arrive at his office promptly as he had scheduled a meeting with Emerald’s HR people at 9 o’clock that Monday morning. He hates being late. However, this morning, despite the fact that he left his place early, he got caught in a traffic jam somewhere in C5 due to a traffic accident. He took the elevator reserved for executives and was just in time for the meeting when he reached his office.
“Good morning, Sir Richard!” His secretary Minerva greeted him. “Nandoon na po sila sa conference room.” Then she too, stood up as she will be taking minutes.
Richard entered the conference room and greeted Emerald Hotels and Resorts HR Head, Katrina Ruiz, and their recruitment manager, Diana Ramos. “Good morning, Ina, Diana! I’m sorry I’m a bit late. There’s an accident at C5 this morning, involving three vehicles. I hope no one died or got seriously hurt.”
“Good morning, Sir Richard!” Ina greeted her boss. “Based on the news tweet I got, four were injured, but thankfully, no one died. Minor injuries lang din pati ang mga nasugatan.”
“Oh good to know.” Richard said as he sat down at the head of the table with Diana and Ina on his left and right sides. “Coffee, ladies?”
“None for me Sir, I’m good.” Diana replied. “Thank you.
“For me too! I had a latte already earlier.” Ina said. “Thanks.”
“Okay. Just for me then! Minerva, please make me a cup, just the usual. Thank you.” Richard told his secretary who stood up and made him a cup of coffee with two scoops of sugar, just the way he prefers it.
“Okay, Ina, Diana, as you know we will be opening our new hotel at Bonifacio Global City in two months. How are we in terms of the personnel we need to operate smoothly? Can you give me an update, please.” Richard asked. Normally, his mother handles this side of their operations but he decided to check anyway since she has been on leave since last week and will only be returning to work on Thursday. Time flies fast and before they know it, it is opening day already and he wants to be sure they have the best people. Service after all is a big part of a hotel operation.
“Sir, we are on track with our hirings. Diana can give you the details.” Ina said. “Diana, please.”
“Like Ms. Ina said, Sir, we have hired most of the personnel we need for our operations, including the general manager whom your mother had interviewed after Ina the other week. We just need to hire an operations manager. It took a while since we returned the previous batch of applicants to the headhunter we normally use.” Diana explained. “Last Friday, she had sent to us three new candidates and one of them looks very promising. She has an excellent experience working in a five-star hotel in Macau. She also has gone through trainings in Europe and the US, and has a master’s degree.”
“May I see her CV?” Richard asked.
Diana handed Richard a thick folder. He opened it and was surprised when he saw the name of the candidate and her photo. It is Maya! He barely managed to conceal his reaction to what he saw to Ina and Diana. He read through her extensive CV. So, all those time I have been wondering where she was, she was just working in Macau! So near! Maybe, she finally decided to come home recently after all those years and our paths finally crossed yesterday!
When he had finished reading, he schooled his expression, and looked at Ina and Diana. He decided not to let them know that he knows Maya Dela Rosa personally. He wants them to decide on their own and evaluate Maya base on merits and not because he knows the candidate for the position. For sure, with that credentials, Maya is very much qualified for the position.
“How about the other two candidates?” Richard asked the two HR officers.
“They are also okay and qualified, Sir.” Diana replied. “It’s just that, comparing their credentials to Ms. Dela Rosa, they paled in comparison. But I will also ask them to come for an interview. Maybe, we can hire them for our other hotels.”
“Okay, schedule them for interviews. Then when you and Ina have your final choice, let Mama know. As you know, Mama trusts your judgement and just do the final interview as a formality so please ensure that we will get the best person for the job! She will be back by Thursday.”
“Yes, Sir Richard! We will.” Ina assured her boss whom she wished would notice her beyond the fact that she is the HR Head of Emerald! But no such luck! She sighed and said good day to him. She and Diana went out.
“O buo na naman ang araw mo, nakasilay ka na naman diyan sa crush mo.” Diana whispered to Ina when they were out of the executive offices.
“Hay naku, what’s the use! As always, he does not see be beyond being the HR Head.” Ina said resignedly.
“Bakit nga kaya wala pa tayong nalalamang girlfriend ni Sir Richard? We have been here for three years na.” Diana remarked as they waited for the elevator. “I heard he dates naman, pati nga iyong model na si Linda Borromeo, di ba?
“Naku, Diana, I don’t know!” Ina said. “Let’s not talk about our boss’s personal life na nga, baka may makarinig pa sa atin and it is also not nice na sa atin pang HR people marinig iyan.”
The two HR officers then boarded the elevator to their floor. As soon as they arrived at their office, Diana called the headhunter and told her that they would like to interview all three applicants, at different hours on Wednesday, with Maya Dela Rosa being the last one in the schedule.
From her office in Makati, Regina Alvarez, a friend of Maya’s friend Emman gave Maya a call.
“Maya, you have an interview on Wednesday at Emerald Hotels and Resorts. Their office is in Eastwood. Would you be available?” Reggie told Maya after exchanging pleasantries with her. “Di ba I told you I will give them your CV.”
“Really Reggie! Yes, I will be available. Thank you!” Maya said smiling. She never thought she would have a job interview so soon after she returned to the Philippines. When she had sent Reggie her CV, she also stated that she will be available in December as it was the month she wanted to return home for good.
“Maya, good luck!” Reggie told Maya, as well as the two other applicants who are equally qualified and whom she had called earlier. Reggie thinks Maya will get the job. Her qualifications and extensive experience in Macau are what Emerald is looking for. But it is customary to send more than one CV so she sent three to them. The first time she sent Emerald the first batch of CVs, Maya was not yet in the country, so she excluded her.
Maya put the phone down, opened her MacBook and googled Emerald Hotels and Resorts to get a feel of the company she might end up working with. She knows about Emerald, heard of its excellent reputation in the industry, but hadn’t managed to check their complete company profile. When she got into the website, she looked first for their profile. She was startled to see Richard Lim’s name as one of the officers of the company, together with a Mrs. Esmeralda Lim. Wife? That can’t be!
Maya googled Esmeralda Lim and a picture of a lady in her 50s in some charity function came up. So, She is his mother, the one who was supposed to be a judge in the beauty pageant she joined years ago! The website also said Mrs. Lim handles the operations side of Emerald Hotels and Resorts while Richard Lim handles the building and development of new hotels and resorts for the company.
“Hmmmm, does he knows I’m applying for a job in his company?” Maya mused.
Since the text message they exchanged last night, Maya has not yet heard from Richard Lim. Maya naman, she told herself, halos wala pa nga ngang 24 hours since nagkita kayo ulit, and since that exchange of text messages. Oh well, maybe hindi since it is his mother pala who is handling that side of their company.
Richard at that time, was about to text Maya and ask if he can call. But before he does that, he wants to know what his schedule would be so he is sure that he is completely free when he has that much anticipated and seven years long overdue ‘getting to know’ dinner with Maya Dela Rosa.
“Minerva, how’s my schedule like this week?” He asked his secretary whom he had asked to come to his office several minutes ago.
“Sir, you are scheduled to fly to Catanduanes tomorrow afternoon to inspect the construction of our new resort there. Then from Catanduanes, Cebu po kayo and then Bohol, tapos fly to Manila from there.” Minerva recited from her organizer.
“Oh, that many places in a week! So, I will be back in Metro Manila by when?” Richard asked.
“Friday evening, Sir Richard!” Minerva supplied. “Heto po kasi iyong mga urgent na kailangan niyong puntahan na pina-schedule niyo sa akin last week.”
“Okay, thanks Minerva, you may go.” Richard said. He then took out his phone and was about to send Maya a message when Minerva returned.
“Sir Richard, kamuntik ko ng makalimutan, sorry po. Atty. Ryan called when you were meeting with Ms. Ina and Ms. Diana, he was asking po if he could see you quickly after your meeting with them. Urgent lang daw po. Pasensya na po Sir.” Minerva said apologetically.
“Oh, okay! Please give me 10 minutes, then I will see him.” Richard told his secretary as he wanted to talked to Maya first. He sent her the message.
Maya’s phone beeped when she was putting books in her new book shelves. She just moved to her condo in BGC a week after she arrived back in the country for good. She opted to buy one there so she is near her aunt and uncle’s place. She checked her message, then grinned happily.
Ricky: Good morning Maya, may I call you?
Maya typed in her reply promptly.
Maya: Good morning Ricky! Sure!
Upon seeing her message, Richard smiled happily and called her promptly.
“Hello, Maya! Thank you for the quick reply.” He said. “I thought you might be busy so nag-text na muna ako.”
“Hi Ricky, hindi naman. I’m just at my place, arranging things. I just moved kasi.” Maya said.
“Really, where?” Richard asked.
“In BGC.” Maya replied, then told Richard the name of the place.
“What a small world! I live two streets away from you.” Richard happily!
“Talaga. Nakakatuwa naman! Para na rin tayong neighbors.” Maya is also happy at this development. “O napatawag ka pala?”
“Oh, the reason why I called is to ask you to have dinner with me please on Saturday, 7PM? Would that be okay? I wanted it sooner sana but I will be out of town from tomorrow until Friday.” Richard said, hoping she would yes.
“Okay. Where do you we meet?” Maya asked, at the same time, thinking that if Richard is going out of town, then he will not be the one interviewing on Wednesday. She wanted to tell him, but changed her mind, saka na lang kapag she gets hired na. Mabuti na rin iyong hindi niya muna alam, Maya mused.
“I will pick you up na lang.” Richard said. “I will be coming from my place din.”
“Okay.” Maya replied.
“Maya, I’m really looking forward to seeing you and catching up.” Richard said happily. Then he added, “it is long overdue!”
Maya didn’t know how to take in Richard’s statement, so she just said, “I’m looking forward to having dinner with you, Ricky! Ingat ka sa biyahe mo.”
“Thank you, Maya. See you soon.” Richard said, reluctant to put the phone down, but he knows that Ryan must have been wanting something urgent if he asked to see him unscheduled. “Have a nice day.”
“Have a nice day, Ricky. Bye.” Maya said, then put her phone down. She felt like dancing a jig, excited on her dinner with Richard. She is much more excited about it than her job interview!
Richard flew to Catanduanes the following day. While in the plane, he though of Maya. Several more days until I see her again, he mused, grinning, just very happy with the way things are developing.
By Wednesday afternoon, Maya was at the lobby of Lim Corporation telling the receptionist that she has a job interview. When she got into the HR offices, she was directed to Diana Ramos’s office and went through half an hour of interview with her. Then she told her that their HR manager will interview her as well. Katrina Ruiz subjected her to half an hour interview as well. Afterwards, she also went through additional screenings in connection with the job she is applying for.
By Thursday afternoon, Maya was asked by Diana to come back to Emerald’s offices the following day. She was told that the Head of Operations will interview her.
By Friday afternoon, Maya was in Esmeralda Lim’s office. Mrs. Lim smiled at Maya.
“So, Ms. Dela Rosa, you have been working in Macau for the past four years!” She asked. “What made you returned to the Philippines?”
“Yes, Ma’am!” Maya replied. “I missed the Philippines, especially my family. In recent years, there was a boom in the hospitality industry here and I thought it was about time I return home.”
“Oh, good decision then! Since you are just what we need for the hotel we will be opening in BGC, The position is yours. Welcome to Emerald!” Esmeralda Lim said with a big smile, then stood up to shake Maya’s hand. She had already reviewed Maya Dela Rosa’s profile the day before and know that Ina and Diana made a very good choice in picking her for the job.
“Thank you very much, Mrs. Lim. I’m looking forward to being part of your prestigious company.” Maya smiled at Richard’s mother. She almost thought of telling her she knows her son, but it does not seems to be appropriate in that instance.
“Good, good! Please see Diana so the two of you can work on your hiring papers.” Mrs. Lim said.
Maya exited the office and went to Diana where she signed all the hiring papers. Diana told her she can start after the New Year.
Maya went home in a very happy mood. Not only she found a job, though she does not really need one that soon as financially she does not need to work at all, with the inheritance she got from her parents. But she hates being idle and she likes to continue working in the hotel industry. She can just develop the land in Mindoro on the side. She called her Ate Cris and her aunt and informed them that she got the job. They offered their congratulations and told her that they will prepare a special dinner for her the coming Sunday to celebrate.
Maya’s phone rang while she was watching the evening news that night. She checked who was calling and saw that it was Richard!
“Hi Maya, good evening! I’m back in Manila. I just landed.” Richard said. Obivously, he was still at the airport as Maya can hear flight boarding announcements in the background.
“Hi Ricky, how was your trip?” Maya asked, happy to hear from him at the same time wondering what part of the country he had been. He didn’t call or text again after the phone call that Monday. He must have been very busy and she was not expecting a text or a call anyway since they already agreed to meet, unless of course, he will reschedule their dinner.
“Good, but quite tiring! I have been to three different places the past days. I will tell you about it over dinner tomorrow. Are we still on? 7PM?” He asked, wanting to be sure.
“Yes, yes! I’ll see you tomorrow. Pahinga ka na muna this evening!” Maya said, doubly happy to know that Richard called her as soon as he had returned to Manila and that their dinner will push through. “I have a good news pala, pero bukas na rin lang!” She can’t help saying!
“Okay. I’ll be seeing you then! Good night, Maya!” Richard said. So, she got the job. He grinned. Yes, they will be working together!
Maya had the same thought after she put her phone down.
Who would have thought that when fate made them meet again, they would be this close, literally to each other. Perhaps they are really meant to be. She hopes so. He hopes so.