I just got back from a company off-site conference in Cebu, Philippines. I went with almost 200 employees from my office. Those that stayed behind must have felt pretty lonely. We stayed in a 5-star hotel, ate lavish meals, swam on a private beach - all expenses paid.
It may sound like a vacation, but this was definitely a work-related affair - there were Power Point presentations & team building activities day & night. But we were in a lush tropical location instead of in the office, which was okay by me.
One of our Filipino co-workers was getting married in Manila the weekend before the trip, so a handful of us decided to fly out a couple of days early so that we could attend. The wedding was in a beautiful cathedral built by the Spanish in the late 16th century . The entire wedding party looked amazing in their gowns & formal wear.
It rained buckets the whole time we were in Manila, but we were able to see a few of the sights while we were there, including the old fort where a museum holds the vertebra of Jose Rizal, showing the bullet wound that made him a Filippine martyr.
On Monday, we went to the airport to meet the rest of our co-workers who were flying in from Shanghai. The plane was packed with EF employees, the team leaders herding us to our seats. In Cebu, our group took up five tour busses, & we arrived at the Shangrila hotel boisterously.
We spent the next few days at the conference, & the evenings were occupied in town at the local bars. At the end of the week, the group flew back to Shanghai utterly exhausted. I'm thankful that I still have the weekend to recover before going back to work on Monday.