Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Nick's Treat at Shang Circles

I guess Nick really misses his batchmates. He was not able to attend our last silver jubilee celebration for he never knew about it. He missed it by only a day!

He called me after Gerry's dinner treat at Crustacea and wanted to treat just a small group at the elegant Circles Cafe of Makati Shangrila. He said a big group tends to have pockets of conversation so a smaller more intimate one is preferred.

Gerry can only make it on the 21st so I had to move my dinner with Andy another time. NIck invited Andy too but he got sick that day. Ed Wenceslao just arrived from Singapore so he was able to be with us this time as well as Ronnie who had a company party the last time. Rene arrived just as we were taking our dessert.

Maritess was supposed to join us but she had a marriage encounter xmas party at the same time. Lella was with us and brought home by Nick's driver. Mandy was still at the boondocks on quezon so was also absent.

Nick proudly played the valuable shots he took - when Boy Abunda visited him at 1am and stayed on till 4am and our the other one was during last reunion at Rockwell.

Christmas day (night?)

We woke up very late on christmas day since we we were up till almost morning. Good thing I was able to order the spray of flowers and the loose ones for the vases the night before. I asked bert to get it first thing in the morning for the flower shop was opened only till noon just to serve the orders.

Off to Heritage we went late afternoon. Aling Miguela was asking if I was able to get a priest to say mass. I really planned that for that was dad's custom in the past. I just had so much difficulty getting one during the last holiday (All Saints Day) so I just thought we will just pray for both of them then have masses said later.

We stayed on for an hour or so since it got very dark. The lamps on the middle walk were not lighted at all and I didnt bring a lamp like the last time.

Had I woken up early I was thinking of going to La Loma to visit my grandparents grave but Beverly forgot the spare keys at home. We proceeded to Makati since I thought Rustan would be open but it was closed so off we went home. Rowena said they will take dinner at bf so asked Stella to prepare food. Rowena with her children stayed on till around midnight.

i was very much awake till around 3am or so but when I was in the early stages of dreamland, my phone rings and it was Susan! We talked lenghthily about our business plans so after the call I was not able to sleep for hours once more and just watched tv, scanned photos to update my travel blog and had some 'after midnight' snack :)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas - 2005

I dreaded this day. Yes dread as others eagerly await this celebration. It will be the first christmas I will be alone. My first one as an orphan. I wanted to get away from home. The only two people who mattered to me in this world is gone so no use to celebrate.

I seriously thought of flying out of the country. I considered Honkong. I emailed Bebette and texted her but never got a reply. Very unusual for she usually replies fast. I then thought of going to Singapore or even Thailand. I didnt want to go far. First because of the cost, second, I just had a couple of trips and the air turbulence made me sick. So no long trips in the meantime.

I surfed through some travel cruise but they were too costly.

I also thought of just going out of metro manila maybe cebu? Ira is very sick and mitos kept calling. If i was paid by a friend who owed me maybe i would have flown to cebu.

I prayed and kept praying for guidance.

I was promised payment thursday so when mitos called I asked her to check if there was room at Marriot. Unfortunately no payment arrived. All of sudden I received an email from Bebette asking how i was. I was suprised for I thought she was out of the country. I told her about my emails and text which apparently she never received.

I think dad didnt want me to leave manila. Had bebette replied earlier, I would have flown to honkong to spend christmas. Had I been paid, I would have immediately bought a ticket for cebu.

Last month, I asked my cousin on my dad's side, Marilou if she and her son would like to spend christmas here. She was not sure because she had church duties. I felt sad since she didnt have family here either except her son. Most are in Canada. I then remembered last friday to text beverly and ask if she and her mother would like to sleep over saturday night so we can spend christmas together. i was surprised when she replied positively a couple of hours later. Maybe she had to ask her mom first. Usually she has her own life and activities.

She suggested hearing the midngith mass at Don Bosco. I didnt have that in mind for I was planing to hear mass at our parish in BF Homes. I said maybe a good idea to hear the 1130pm mass for that is the time I recalled the priest announced the last time I was at Don Bosco.

When I was on the way to makati early evening yesterday I called Don Bosco to ask the sked of masses. The one who answered mentioned 8pm, 10pm and 1130pm. The first mass is out for I still need to buy some stuff and deliver gifts. Besides I find 8pm too early for a so called 'midnight mass".

After I bought a gift at Rustan dept store I thought of calling the church again just to verify the time of the mass. Maybe 10pm would be better I thought for I am sure it will be more than an hour and by the time we reach home it will be midnight therefore just in time for christmas. I asked who will be saying mass and they mentioned Fr Bernie! Bulls eye I said to myself, my favorite priest!

Beverly and Aling Miguela met me at the church. I guess all fell into place just as dad wanted it. He wanted me to spend christmas at home and with the only 'family' I have got. Aling miguela was our helper back at Philam homes when I was in early elemntary. When we moved to pque beverly was already working at marikina so had difficulty commuting and had to move out.

I knew I will be sharing christmas thoughts and experiences in my blog so thought of taking photos of the midnight mass that we attended - a first for me after a few long years. I cant remember the last time I attneded one. The past years dad preferred us attending the day or evening mass of the 25th. He couldnt endure the long nights anylonger.

It was a concelebrated mass with Fr. Bernie, the parish priest as the main celebrant. Photo below shows Fr. Bernie giving one of his very insightful and touching homilies.

Right after the mass, Fr. Bernie holds the baby Jesus so his flock could give a kiss and greet him a merry christmas - and happy birthday :)

The family of estela my current helper all arrived early saturday so we were we all enjoyed the noche buena together. In a few hours after I wake up, maybe noon time of sunday, we will all go to heritage to visit mom and dad's grave.

By the way, Fr Bernie is also one of Dad's favorites. Dad preferred Don Bosco over our parish in pque. Dad's favorite church 'manangs' all served during the mass so I was able to give them some gifts (which I suddently remembered to bring as I was leaving the house - hmm uncanny indeed) as well as one of the homeless girls sheltered in the church who usually hleps dad walking when he doesnt have a companion while at the church. I suddenly saw her when I entered the blessed sacrament. I was really hoping to see her that night.

I guess those were Gods answers to my prayers - on where and how I should spend His special day.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

'Tis a Reunion Season - now for Andy

Yes my blog has so far been about homecomings and reunions. Christmas brings this spirit for it means being with family, relations and old friends. Its a mad week hopping from one commitment and party to the other.

The get together planned by marijo coincided with the combined BPAP/PSIA christmas party so I just had to show my face for a couple of minutes at the Crown Plaza ballroom and off I rushed to Casa Armas at the podium just in time for dessert. Actually food was gone when I arrived at the Crown Plaza earlier. When I reached podium I was in time to scrape off some leftovers :)

Andy and Rio Denoga just arrived from Union City and we were supposed to have dinner on the 21st as previously arranged. All of a sudden I get a call from marijo regarding this reunion then nick wanted us to meet again with a smaller group on the 23rd which later became 21st due to Gerry's sked. Now our pre-arranged date with Andy will now be combined with Nick's treat at Shang tomorrow night (oops its morning so it must be tonight).

I guess all my batchmates and friends from abroad do miss all of us and would like to make the most by being together at all times. Took some candid shots which I made into a collage below. Some of those present were Cynch, Edwin, Alex, Marina, Boots, Marijo, Egay, Denny, Lucille, Mito - Yoyo and Nanny made habol.

Right after the gathering, andy, rio and I proceeded to the wake of Susan's dad. Andy and Rio are close friends of Susan's sister Lulu. Tony, lulu's husband is andy's high school classmate. Small world huh? What will you expect from a wake besides some sad stories? Reunion of old friends and relatives again!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

At the wake with Susan

Last wednesday late afternoon, Susan called me to ask for some prayer books since her dad seems in a very bad state and she just wanted to pray beside him.

I told her what he needs are the sacraments so I will try to call Fr Bernie, the parish priest of Don Bosco. I called the church but they said he left to say mass at greenbelt. I called greenbelt but they said he has not arrived. I left a message to call me and mentioned the reason. I hurriedly showered, dressed and rushed for makati. There was some traffic at pasong tamo so I called greenbelt to ask if the mass was done and if I can speak with fr bernie. They said he has left since someone fetched him. I asked if my message was given but the one who answered didnt know.

I then asked my driver to make a turn for don bosco. I rushed inside and looked for fr bernie. The street children manning the food booth said he just arrived and was inside.

Someone called him to go down. I told father what happened and if I can bring him to the hospital to give susan's dad some sacraments if possible confession too. He said he will just need to introduce Fr. Anton who will be speaking at the ongoing recollection then he can go.

I then decided to fetch susan first at new world so we can be fast once father finishes.

We went straight to the ICU room which really looks big with an adjoining glass portion for the family, a far cry from mom's ICU room at that god forsaken medical center pque where I just sat on the footstool the whole time holding mom's hand while she was gasping for life.

Father gave him the sacrament of the sick. Susan said he seemed to whisper something which I didnt notice. He blessed him and laid his hands on many parts of his body. Later susan's dad's face seemed to have changed color for the better and he seemed to be at peace.

Father said once the ventilator could be taken out he will come back to give him confession. Susan told me last night that when we left, her dad seemed to be at peace and more comfortable and he even slept on his side folding his hands. She thought all will be better now.

Unfortunately the following morning he again turned for the worse and the next morning I get an early call from Susan that he passed away. She said that he must have surrendered now to the Lord unlike in the past when he tried to hold on to dear life.

I was not able to go to the wake at the Sanctuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park on that first evening of friday but sent the first crown of flowers. Last night I looked for that crown and we had a photo taken beside it.

As susan and I were near her dad's coffin praying for him, we later realized that both our dad's passed away the same year, the same age, and started to go downhill in 1999.

What's with this year, 1999? I told susan that's when my dad was first rushed to the ICU at Lisbon, Portugal and I had to fly there to take care of him. That's when I moved to the main office of my employer and all my gigantic career headaches started. This was also the year susan had her major operation which rendered her invalid for a while and the source of her daily pain spells. She was no longer able to practice medecine since then but realized later that she was lucky in business.

We both reminisced yet remained hopeful that perhaps all these has a greater reason. We know our dad's are looking over us and that this wellness business we are concocting for years will succeed. Amen!

Christmas party at the Nunciature

When I received the invitation for a Christmas party from the Apostolic Nunciature, I had second thoughts of attending.

During the past years after mom's passing away, it was the only social event dad had been attending. As a matter of fact, he looks forward to this.

No matter how busy I was, I must make time to accompany dad then for he will have difficulty walking alone.

I said to myself, I know dad would like me to go but at the same time it will be the first time I will be going there alone. The only reason for my presence in the nunciature events such as the Pope's day was because of dad. When mom was alive I used to miss some of them since mom was always there but when she was gone I had no choice. I had been his only official other 'half'.

A week prior to the event, I received an email from Sister Claire who worked with the nunciature for decades but now had been based in Brazil after her Bethlehem assignment. I mentioned my predicament but she encouraged me to go.

Since I was so tired from the previous days appointments, I decided to rest the whole day of Saturday. Dad had always been very early in leaving for the nunciature for he never wants to be late.

We would be one of the first if not the first people to arrive.

I said to myself I must do the same and leave early for Taft Ave is always a traffic maze. Unfortunately I overslept when I took my afternoon nap so when I woke up I tried to make a dash for it. It didnt help that I couldnt find the right pants for my blouse :)

Nevertheless I rushed and as expected experienced the holiday traffic, not really at Taft Ave but at the expressway. It was close to 630pm and we were just at the skyway. I could feel my dad at my back getting upset. Luckily, taft avenue was clear and I arrived shortly before 7pm. There were lots of cars lined up along the three gates of the nunciature.

I asked my driver to go inside the gate as the custom of dad during his last years for it was a feat for him to walk lengthily.

The nunciature staff may not be familiar with the car I was bringing, my silver gray Honda Civic since Dad had always used the green Nissan so they had to check who was the guest coming through the driveway.

The trusted staff recognized me and let us through. For the first time however, I see the staff giving food to the driver before I alighted.

There were dozens of people inside the hall. I tried to look for familiar faces, specially the sisters but there was none! I was surprised for usually I will at least see the sisters in their gray habit. Later I learned that all the sisters were changed to a new batch.

I greeted the Nuncio, His Excellency Antonio Franco who customarily greeted his guests as soon as they go down the vehicle. I then see Mariella and later Fr Reuter seated with the other priests.

A few days ago, I texted Msgr Quitorio asking if he will be attending this christmas party but unfortunately he had another commitment out of town. We usually update ourselves annually either during the Pope's day or the christmas party.

I didnt see any bishop I knew. Well I didnt see any at all but the muslim and buddhist delegation were all present.

Some people started greeting me but I actually didnt know them. Just formalties I guess.

After a few mins, His Excellency asked everyone to be seated so dinner could start. He said some may have been late (many tables were empty) but we needed to start for he knew many were hungry. Mariella seated me in one of the tables in front. I had been wondering where I will actually sit for dad never wanted to take the front tables. He has always wanted to leave early.

Little did I know I was with some Italian embassy people. A filipino couple (who I guess wanted to be chummy with the embassy) chose to stay at our table too.

I met Susan, seated beside me who apparently just got married last year to her italian diplomat boy friend whose name escapes me at the moment. Maybe I will ask mariella tomorrow. He must be important for many people wanted to meet him.

Seated right across me was the owner of L'Inconntrue, dad's favorite Italian restaurant. I actually couldnt remember where I saw him but I was starting at him for he looked familiar.

Susan later told me if I know the said restaurant for they served good authentic Italian cusine and that man was the owner. Of course I said! It's dads favorite place :)

The usual program started after dessert emceed by His Excellency. Susan said it has been their third year attending this party. I said Dad has been attending this even before I was born. The traditional raffle prizes were given but I noticed there was great care in making the raffle numbers right now. They came in intricately colored and cut Star of David papers. I was so happy because I won one of them. The nuncio's right hand priest told me it was one of the best raffle prizes I got for he himself wrapped it :)

Susan also won a raffle and I took her photo below while receivng it. Unfortunately her back was turned. The guests all sang christmas carols and for the first time a copy of the lyrics was given to all of us. After the raffle, the Nuncio led in a christmas toast then it was time to leave. I brought my trusted old camera as always and we had some photos in our table shown in this post and some shots with the group. I saw Sister Jean this time and asked her where all the sisters are. Thats when i knew they all had new assignements - she in Antipolo and Sis Gloria in Tuguegarao.

His Excellency asked how I was and left me with some encouraging words that my dad will always be there. I was trying to hold back my tears but I really became teary eyed and coulndt speak much. I told him I had second thoughts of coming but he said I must always be there for dad will always be with all of us even in spirit. When I got to the car, I felt happy knowing dad was smiling as I did one of what he treaured most during December.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Another Ateneo Reunion - dinner for nick

For my batchmates who maybe technically challenged and cant view the photos in my multiply site (maybe due to a browser version, security settings or lack of necessary programs), I have done a photo collage of the recent dinner for nick at Rockwell and posted it here in my main blog.

Just click on the photo collage to see a bigger version. Copied and pasted the description I previously wrote below:

Atty Gerry Paras hosted a dinner for Nick Selino (the new surname) with a couple of close Bus. Mgt classmates at Crustasia, Power Plant Mall. Present were Lella Medenilla Santiago and Maritess David Ramos (who was brought home by Nick's driver otherwise they wont be able to make it), Tina Legazpi, Rene Estandarte, Elma Plana Tetangco, Bunny Concepcion and Jun Naranjilla (in his new Hawaiian shirt who came after dinner due to a xmas party at Equitable Bank). Missing were Ed Wenceslao who was out of the country, Marissa Segovia who is celebrating her bday today but invited all of us to go to Iloilo, Nini Santos Borja (always busy with her various stores), Ronnie Rivera (who had an office xmas party too) and who else, Nick's favorite Boy Abunda! (the first person to greet him in school). Nevertheless, we were able to talk to Marissa over the phone, Ed kept texting while abroad and Boy greeted Nick at Pinoy Big Brother's special show. We all waited for Jun thats why we were the ones who closed the restaurant - he was too busy with their special guest Sharon but couldnt say no to the Banko Sentral governess :)

Friday, December 16, 2005

Thomas and Joy - Dec 13

Thomas Cannon, our Philippine Ecademy Club colleague, and his girlfriend joy are here once more on a holiday and to arrange for their wedding next year. Belen and I met them last tuesday at Italianni's for dinner.

I received a text message from Thomas that he is in town and will be at Glorietta around evening. Good thing Belen and I could make it

around that time. Chelle wanted to follow but couldnt any longer.

Thomas and Joy experience the fun singing of the waiters Italiannis is famous for. Thomas got a free ice cream dessert with his name written in chocolage. I failed to take that photo but he has it in his camera :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A much delayed Thank You Dinner

This get together was planned by the current PICS board right after the successful national congress last October. Unfortunately, right after that date, we all had commitments. Norelyn, Mon and Bobby had to fly to Cebu for the Ad Congress. Teddy had to fly to Honkong then I had to attend a conference at Singapore. It was a mad schedule for everyone and it was quite a feat that we were all able to agree on a date - Dec 12 Monday. A thanksgiving dinner turned christmas gathering.
Unfortunately, we all missed Winthrop who had a bad asthma attack that evening. Nevertheless we all prepared for the grandiose popular buffet. As you can see from the photo above, Teddy wa savoring the yummy, mouth watering dessert. Bobby seems to be thinking which table to attack next :)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The ACIL Centennial reunion

After more than a year of preparation of the organizing committee, the 100 year celebration of ACIL's founding has finally taken place last Dec. 10, 2005.

I was never able to attend the other smaller events leading to this main one simply because I never got the email, was informed late or out of the country. I really wanted to see the Bulacan Center once again. Was the best center for me when I was teaching catechism. Besides, our hosts were friends of my parents.

I planned to leave early anticipating traffic being December. Unfortunately it rained really hard and again didnt feel that well. Seems my bp acting up. When I left the house, didnt realize that some of the streets were flooded. This is it, I thought. I may not make it on time for the 5pm mass. True enough I didnt. Portions of the expressway was clogged as well as C5. To think I had an e-pass so I was able to breeze through the left lane fast. If I didnt have that it would have taken me longer to reach ateneo.

I texted enteng, cynch and edwin asking where I should proceed. I was told to go straight to the Escaler Hall. Gosh so many new bldgs in Ateneo that one would get lost easily. I had to ask the guard for directions. Apparently there are three new bldgs in that area - escaler, jg summit and pldt.

Went straight to the registration table arranged per group - 60s, 70s, 80s etc then inside the auditorium for the 'formal program'. Edwin went to the podium to look for Cesar Marin, oops, Fr Cesar na pala siya :) Apparently he is now with Mary the Queen in greenhills.

When Cesar raised his hand, Edwin announced that he has to do the invocation :)

It seems Ito Ramirez made the power point presentation which edwin keeps referring to.

I cant recall the exact program sequence but some plaques of recognition were handed to : regular caroling supporters like the Jayme Family (represented by Jay), Emerito Ramos and family etc plus of course Mang Sid, Fr. Nebres.

There was an AVP done by some young alumni based on some history stuff written I suppose. Ideally, I was hoping they did some interviews of catechists through the years. That would have been more meaningful. Just my opinion. Oh but I saw myself in one of the photos. I guess it was cynch of edwin's copy however, that was not an acil photo but our vacation in Baguio several decades ago :)

The book sold previously was launched and I think the compiler gave a talk. I dont know her. Yes its a girl ergo one of the younger batch. There were no photo copies (at the least) of programs given away.

There was a keynote person, apparently one of the acil students in Bulacan Center who later (I think) studied in ateneo? Well I may be I am mixing up my facts but I was not too interested in the program. In the informal parlance, hindi ako maka relate :)

Boy Aguila (60s batch) and his group (around 4 of them) were called 'holduppers' cause they were tasked to gather sponsorship money. He did some auction stuff asking for bidders for the two mosaic banners. He called out Mon Paterno and another "rich" guy I cant recall the name. One I think was bought for 10k and another 20k? or was it 15k?

As an acil alumni what would have interested me, besides seeing old catechists in my time are:
  • knowing what happened to all the other centers I used to teach in
  • would be interesting to know whatever happened to some students (pinahan, san antonio, esteban abada) during our time
  • photos of the Centers now - eg Bulacan then and now
  • How was it in ACIL before our time? I dont care much about the now, since I had been hearing so much about it and I guess the 'fun' side has been gone.
  • more photos of before, before and before
  • Derps? Didnt see much of his photos nor heard his name?

After the program, we were all famished and lined up for the food. I liked the food. For 300 bucks that was really good! I checked the caterer and it was the 'kambal' something who Irma gets when we have meetings at 'women of ateneo'.

Of course my favorite C2 drinks abounded. The brains behind the beverage C2 is one of the main organizers! Si Edwin sino pa :)

I liked the ACIL lighted decor - had a photo here for posterity. Why? Tell me how many acil catechists in their lifetime will get to celebrate a centennial year?

my best friend susan

There are very few people I really trust in this life after my parents left me. Susan is one of them. The other one is Christine but both of them are living oceans away. Susan, in chicago and Christine in Sydeny.

We were all classmate in high school (Maryknoll or now known as Miriam). Together with Babs, we formed the 'barkada' known as Tafi - tolentino, almeda, flores, imperial.

A few weeks ago, I had to go to the flat of susan's parents to get something she sent via courier. When I reached home I emailed her that her saying her dad looks bad and I think she should see him soon. She planned to fly to Manila around end January since she needed to be in spain at this time.

I got surprised when I get an email last weekend saying she is flying here sunday arriving tuesday since her dad's heart stopped twice. I met Susan at the New World Hotel last night. We discussed the wellness businesses we had been planning for two years now. At the same time she was relating to me how she over ruled most of her dad's doctor's medication. She is an ICU doctor and is tasked to keep the patient alive despite the critical condition.

I was misty eyed when she was relating how she continues to save her dad's life by making sure the doctors do what must be done. I told her that I know that if only the doctors here did their duty and not very materialistic, then my mom and dad would still be alive.

I have forgiven them but I do pity them for I know somehow they will pay for their negligence.

I told Susan that maybe thats the reason both of us are keen on the wellness business. She has been a victim of a negligent doctor, who operated on her wrongly and my parents passed away due to the negligence of medical people who were supposed to save lives.

Friday, December 09, 2005

A gift of our Lady

It was the feast of the Immaculate Conception yeterday and a holy day of obligation. I was not feeling too well so rested at home. I think my blood pressure went up due to past days activities.

I had so many calls and had to send urgent emails to some people so I was rushing like mad to reach Don Bosco church on time. The unexpected traffic didnt help any. I saw my watch and it said 415pm. I was still on the expressway. The mass is aWt 430pm. If there was no traffic it would have been ok but I guess being December expect the hassle.

I felt guilty for Mama Mary has always been good to me and I will be late on her special day! The clock is ticking away. When I reached the skyway it was way past 430pm. Gosh I said to myself, hope the church hymns are long and the priest will not talk too fast so I can reach even up to the gospel.

We went fairly fast after the skyway so we reached the church around 450pm. It was still raining but I was suprised the main doors were opened! I was wondering what part of the mass that was. I saw Joy, one of our favorite manangs. I asked what happened, because it seems the mass has not started. Don Bosco masses always start on time. She said there was an ordination of priests and everyone in the religious community was present so the priest got delayed.

I was so happy becuase I felt mama mary did that for me. She knew I will be late and didnt want me to be thus the ordination stretched longer so I will be on time :)

Not only that, I forgot about the indulgence - confession and communion with the mass (maritess sent me a text reminder the previous day). Then I saw two priests hearing confession. I asked Joy who was in the other confessional box (Fr. Faroni is a permanent fixture on the other box), she said Fr. Bernie. Oops I said, hmmm I know them both so where will I go?

I decided to take a seat first and rest. Was dizzy, my BP still I guess. After a couple of mins I decided to go to Fr. Faroni's box, with the lesser line. He gets angry when youre bad so some people get scared like me :) But he is dad's favorite confessor so I guess I was meant to go to him this time.

Thanks mama mary for that special sanctifying grace!

Canadian Trade Commission Christmas gathering

Last night, I together with Norelyn attended the Canadian Trade Commission Christmas party at the house of Ms. Ellen Ruth Zeisler at Dasmarinas Village, Makati, Commercial Counsellor and Senior Trade Commissioner.

When I first received the invitation last week, I wondered who sent it. I remember meeting people from the Canadian Trade twice, once during a meeting of the "Powerful Women" with Sen Magsaysay and the Canadian Trade people and the recent one was during the Cebu ICT month last June.

As the night progressed I learned that it was Lyn, the trade commissioner , also in charge of ICT, who sent the invite. I had to ask permission if I could bring another board member and they agreed yesterday so I asked Norelyn. It was raining the whole day so traffic was bad. It was so bad that we thought it was the friday jam but it was only thursday! It took us an hour just to get out of Ayala Avenue. I guess it was a combination of the bad weather, the holiday month of December, and it was the feast of the Immaculate Conception and a holiday of obligation so those who were not able to hear mass earlier were rushing to church.

The invitation said 630pm but we reached the place almost 8pm! As to be expected, lots of expats filled the place. We went straight to the food area so we can fill our stomachs before exchanging pleasantries with everyone.

I noticed that there was a "Happy Hannukah" greeting at one of the tables and kosher food was displayed. Apparently the trade commissioner is Jewish. i was looking for the Israel Ambassador or anyone from the Israeli embassy who had been long time friends of PICS but apparently they left early.

Inside the first room where the kosher food was, I met Clarisse (Innove Communications), my batchmate in college, Mona Montemayor my former officemate at the bank who is now an executive at ING, and Lyn. They pointed to us that the pasta table was outside.

After our meal, its now time to go around and meet people. I noticed Richard Mills, CEO of Chalre, who gave an interesting presentation during the last BPAP meeting, refuting the recent negative report by McKinsey about the Philippines. I thanked him for sending me the soft copy of his presentation.

When I went to the small room to get some dessert, I met Mina Gabor (Philsmed) who just arrived and was starting to take some cocktails. I asked her how the first saturday healing sessions were in Sta. Maria, Bulacan. I have not yet gone back since then but planning to next year.

While I was on the way back to where Norelyn was, I saw Cynthia Mamon (Sun Microsystems) who apparently just arrived, in a huddle with Atty. Rudy Salalima, legal counsel of Globe Telecom, and Renato Garcia President of PETEF and Lyn.

I asked Atty Salalima why he never accepted any of our recent invitation for him to speak. Apparently he never got any of them. He wanted a repeat of the first time he spoke in our congress together with Cong. Imee Marcos for he thrives on controversial themes :)

Much later I remembered I had a camera in my bag so I asked the waiter to take our photo. Mona came along and offered to take the shot. The first one as shown above was just Tato Garcia, Norelyn, me, Atty Salalima, and Mina Gabor while on the second one we were joined by the Senior Trade Commissioner. Actually Cynthia and Lyn as I can recall was in the first photo but I guess Mona left them out on the frame :)

Why did I have my camera? Because I knew I was going to post a blog and I needed some photos :) The only photo which I really took, with my phone was the Happy Hannukah sign and Kosher food, which I was going to upload here, but gosh when I was checking on my phone I think I tapped on the wrong button - trash instead of save :(

We left the place around 915pm. Still raining outside but lesser traffic.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A Business matching event with Korean companies

Last Dec. 2, a business matching event was held organized by the Korean Trade office in partnership with the Philippine Internet Commerce Society (PICS).

The delegation was headed by Mr. Eugene Jun, the President of the Incheon Information Technology Industry Promotion Agency (IITPA).

The night before the event, the whole delegation headed by the Korean Trade Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner attended the PICS Christmas party in order to meet other filipino member entrepreneurs and savor filipino celebration.

There were more than 20 firms which signed up to have appointments with the various Korean companies which started 830am till 5pm. I gave a talk on the Overview of the Philippine ICT Industry noontime right after lunch.

There were lots of interesting products from the different korean companies. I was able to sit in three of them but one major problem was the language barrier. Despite the presence of translators, it was really quite a feat trying to understand them. At the start of the conversation, it was pretty easy but once you get into more technical details it was difficult. I tried to use the simplest english but comprehending the heart of the product was quite hard. When you need to discuss details of how a Content Management solution can integrate with the overall portal plan plus underlying structure, wow it sure is quite a gargantuan task trying to make it sound simple.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A sad incident at Fridays Glorietta

I had been a loyal patron of the various Bistro group Resto's esp Italiannis. Why? Not only because of the good food but great service. Of course at times some 'palpaks' do happen but the managers handle them well. Except for this one though. For the very first time, I had to secure the email and contact info of the groups Managing Director so I can write the letter of complaint which you can see below.

Last night a get a cursory apology email from the GM. I felt insulted. Perhaps they really need some training on good and proper customer service. Its a pity that the good service seem to come only from some in Italiannis. Its not reflected with all the other groups.

If the culture on good customer management emanates from the top then it will trickle down all throughout the organization. Its truly sad if only a part is passionate about serving clients then. They wont last very long.


Dear Mr. Stelton,

I am one of the loyal customers of Bistro Group, specially Italiannis. I am writing you right now due to a very unfortunate incident a few hours ago at Fridays, Glorietta 3. I am copy furnishing Paul Manuud here since he personally knows me as well as my friends who regularly go to Italiannis.

My friends and I just came from the annual homecoming at the Ateneo de Manila University in Loyola Heights. We left the school around past 11pm hoping to catch dinner in makati. Since it was very late then, close to midnight, I suggsted going to Italiannis for I know it closes beyond midnight. My friends though, wanted to try Fridays at glorietta. I was not that hungry then so I just ordered a cup of soup and just shared the salad. While my friends were taking their entree, we heard the truly defeaning sound of the bells which signalled last order. I emphasized the word defeaning for I had to put my hand on my ears or my eardrums might get affected.

I guess that was around 1am. The waiter approached us to ask if we wanted to add anything else, so we said we just wanted some dessert. He asked if we wanted anymore entrees since we can order the dessert much later. As far as I know when the waiter asks for any last order that means including dessert but he insisted we can order it later.

Right after the bells rang, they put off the aircon. It was really very warm. We asked for any electric fan and the waiter said he will get one but it never arrived. We then asked for the dessert menu. Later he came back to say there are no more cooks in the kitchen so dessert is not possible. We were all so surprised. My friends were asking him why that is so when he said we can order it after the main meal. He looked so helpless so I asked him to just call the manager who being so, would, I presumed can decide what to do.

The manager told us the kitchen cabinets are closed so they can no longer serve dessert and that we should have ordered this earlier. My friends was explaining what happend - that we wanted to order but the waiter said we can do so later. He didnt seem to believe us so I blew my top! He sounded so arrogant and condescending and very rude!

I banged the table for he was answering me! He told me not to raise my voice but his voice was also angry and loud! I never encountered such rudeness in all the times that I have eaten in a restaurant. In the past there may have been problems with service but usually the manager can handle any of those. In this case the manager was the problem!!

I had never never asked for your contact info Mr. Stelton except now. There was a time i got upset with Outback but Paul just handled it and the manager was apologetic.

From the time we started to eat I knew that manager wanted us to leave. I think he wants to go home at that time. If they didnt want clients then they should have not accepted us any longer. The waiter and the manger kept approaching our table while we were discussing some serious matters, butting in to ask if evrything was ok. Thats fine as long as you ask us at least ten mins apart not ONE MINUTE apart! We felt he just wanted us to leave and close the restaurant. It was very irritating and rude.

Mr. Stelton, I will not demand that this rude manager be dismissed even if he deserves it. I know times are hard. I just demand a sincere apology from him. I also highly recommend that you re-train him and put him as an understudy of one of your trusted and experienced managers or he will ruin your business. He has a lot to learn regarding customer service. I do not need to enumerate the various ways he should have handled the situation besides telling smack on our face that the kitchen is closed and he cannot do anything!

I had worked in a service institution for more than two decades and have encountered irrate clients but had always handled this well. I never never answer back an angry client. I try to empathize and understand the situation and suggest other creative ways to rectify the problem. For your information, this manager is devoid of any creativity in hanlding customer challenges. He is not only rude, but very proud, arrogant and truly inexperienced.

I hope you can investigate the matter and will await feedback.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The 2005 Ateneo de Mla Homecoming

Where can you see TG Limcaoco (My Ayala), Al Panlilio (PLDT Global), Toti Casino (PCS), Jim Ayson (philmusic), Jinggoy Estrada, Reli German, Gary Lising, Ed Sazon, Mon Paterno (Credit Suisse), Ito Ramirez (PLDT), or even Bishop Mylo Vergara all letting their hair down as they watch Asia Agcaoili and some of the Viva hot babes perform on stage - The annual Ateneo Homecoming!

I was mulling on whether to attend this year's gathering but hesitant early on, because of the week's hectic sked so I needed so much rest. However, at this age, you sometimes get that nostalgic feeling, longing to be with good old schoolmates, compounded by the fact that I had been receiving a couple of text messages asking if I will be attending the annual reunion in loyola. I rested the whole day saturday so I will have the strength to enjoy the gathering which usually lasts till past midnight.

Top photo from left Coll78 group
photo on stage, school performers,
Lady Eagles. Next level from left:
coll78 table with Fr. Nebres, some
batchmates, hands raised while the
graduation song is sung, TG and I.
Third level from left: Al Panlilio and
HS 80 hands raised while singing the
song, me with former officemates, last
from left: batch of Gary Lising. last
rightmost, coll78 group photo on stage.

I wanted to be early so that I can hear the mass at the church of Gesu. It was first saturday and I would usually go to mass at greenbelt, don bosco or malate church. If I do so however I will be caught in a terrible traffic going to Ateneo. I fetched Clarisse at Executive Heights and we
proceeded to the Ateneo grounds. We got in during the homily and sat beside Sonia Araneta and Tina Ribas. The whole center aisle was filled with the Golden jubilarians (batch of Erap) while the right pews were filled with the HS silver jubilarians led by TG Limcaoco where Jinggoy was also included. I learned that this was the reason why San Miguel was a major sponsor. Edwin's C2 beverage was therefore banned being a Gokongwei product. As always SMART is the major sponsor specially now that its Al Panlilio's batch celebrating the silver jubilee.

I couldnt find any of the College 80 batch (mitchie, mon paterno, shankee etc) during the mass. Apparently they all got drunkand were tired the night before, the traditional gala celebration so they all were late and just proceeded to the covered court for the program.

It was drizzling when we arrived in church but it stopped when the mass ended. We were then able to join the traditional procession led by Our Lady's carossa.

When we reached the High School covered courts, I then realized it was a well organized homecoming. Each major sponsor were assigned rooms where they can showcase their products. Registration was a breeze compared to our time where it was crazy.

There were mini stages besides the main one so that program transition was smooth. Each jubilarian class had a presentation and were accorded equal honors by the organizing high school batch. Compared to other years where the program was filled with blaring bands so it was quite difficult to have long conversation, this year was filled with dance numbers, less bands, more pleasant songs (not acid rock). Obvious though was the choice of sexy FHM performers such as the viva hot babes and Asia Agcaoili who left the golden jubilarians speechless (see collage photo).

HS '80, the organizing batch includes TG Limcaoco, Al Panlilio, Jinggoy Estrada, Raffy Jose, Duke Eustaquio, among others and I liked their very informative website. The ones I saw on stage when the golden jubilarians were called were Reli German, Ed Sazon and I was informed that this was the batch of former president Erap Estrada. Prior to this, the jubilarian batch of Gary Lising performed some comedy number.

I came across the table of my former officemates which included Nardy Tiongson, Gas delos Santos, Jun Isidro who were all joined later by Jun Bernardino. I think they belonged to the HS 60s batch (or is it college?).

Was surprised to find Toti Casino (college batch 79) , a colleague in the IT industry and even Jim Ayson (college batch 83). We never discussed our schools in the past so they were equally suprised to find out I was an Atenean.

Unlike our time (2 years ago), the souvenir program was aplenty, everyone took home a copy (or even two). I can remember that last 2003, many people got upset since they never got a copy of the souvenir booklet. This is of course very precious for jubilarians for one will never know whether they will still be on this earth when the next one comes along.

Only one table for our batch was reserved but more arrived so another table had to be pulled and we had to move towards the side to accomodate the bigger group.

The first thing we did upon arrival at the covered courts was to find the table then go straight to the food for we were famished. It was just weird since many of us lined up at Teriyaki boy hoping to order some rice toppings. Apparently they didnt serve rice, only ebi tempura and some sushi so one had to line up again at Dencio's just to purchase rice. Tina gave me her receipt so I can claim both our orders at Teriyaki boy while she lined up at Dencio's. We also checked out the menu of Pancake expecting their famous pan chicken with rice, roast chicken or beef, but what they had was just mini tacos and something else not worth ordering.

When the teriyaki boy staff was still completing our order, I told them that I will just grab some drinks on the other stall and will be back in a minute. When I came back, the food we ordered was gone! It seemed they had to give them to other irate customers. I think they were just disorganized. Of course what do you expect? I raised hell so the supervisor graciously rushed another order. When I left, you can hear two more people raising their voice asking what happened to their food :) This happens each year. I guess it is really a gargantuan task just organizing the food to feed thousands of ateneans. Henry Totanes was in charge this year.

It seems many of the stalls ran out of food fast (an annual occurence). Later on though they were able to replenish so some hungry souls like me, lined up this time at Hotshots. First time I got to try their grilled burger and it tasted good. The drinks were mostly soda, beer and water. After one Coke light I really preferred to drink something lighter like tea. Fortunately, Shankee Miranda (college batch 80) called me to ask if I wanted some C2 iced tea which they brought in secretly and of course I said yes! A few hours later, I wanted to have another bottle but it was gone. Why? They were castigated since its a competitor of the major sponsor.

Met Mon at the table of college batch 80 who reminded me about the ACIL centennial celebration next week. Many of their batch didnt wear their official t shirt since it was only one size and just plain white. Shankee was complaining to me about the tshirt. Thats the reason I told her that two years ago, I volunteered to find the shirt and ordered from the smallest to the biggest size to please everyone. You need to be proud to wear it and it is a pity if not everyone will just because of the color, design or size.

The High School jubilarians had great tshirt quality and design. The year prior to our silver jubilee Chiqui Lara and I observed the various designs of the jubilarian t shirt to give us an idea of how to do it the following year. Almost all of them had creative tshirt designs unlike this year.

Ronnie Rivera was gracious enough to bring the newly printed 78 banner and placed it near our tables. Since the left stage was very near our table, I thought of calling everyone for a photo shoot together with the banner of course. I heard earlier that they didnt want the stage to be used for photos since the program was still going on. No harm though if we did it fast and of course we did it! Unfortunately Tina Ribas already left that time and Benjie Laza and Sonia Araneta was nowhere in site. Boy Ramos rushed after we took a couple of shots but it was another camera that was used so I dont have that copy. Maybe I will ask ronnie or mandy if the complete group photo is with them. The earlier photos though had had tina but I don't remember Sonia joining our batch table. Luckily we were all able to have a photo with Fr. Nebres.

As far as I can recall, below are the people of college 78 who attended: 1. Maan Tolentino 2. Clarisse Gener 3. Tina Ribas 4. Sonia Araneta 5. Mandy Pascual 6. Aster Sotto 7. Ed Wenceslao 8. Winnie Jimenez 9. Ronnie Rivera 10. Sonny Clutario 11. Joel Limjap 12. Eddie Dayrit 13. Pam Lazatin 14. Vic Santillan 15. Freddy Gemperle 16. Edwin Totanes 17. Cynch Totanes 18. Yoyo Bongco 19. Boy Ramos 20. Jovie Sison 21. Joey Cuyegkeng 22. Achoot Cuyegkeng 23. Mon Jarencio 24. Benjie Laza 25. Marcy Rivera

Other colleagues who arrived were Mito Pablo(79), Juny Lim (77), Enteng Francisco (79). I would like to thank Greg Jarencio (batch early 70s?) for taking our photos on stage.

I asked Cynch to take my photo with TG who is a good friend. We walked to the center where the organizing batch tables were. TG pulled me to the center where the pom pom girls were performing so it would have been a great shot! Unfortunately, I was not able to teach Cynch how to widen the lens so what she took was a close up shot.

Mandy, Clarisse and I left past 11pm since they were hungry and wanted to eat out. I suggested makati since its nearer the south. We ended up at Fridays but went home upset. That will be covered on another blog though.

The bigger photos could be seen in my other website http://maandt.multiply.com

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Reunion at the PICS Xmas party

We suddenly realized that for the first time we were all together since the 'Fly High" Tagaytay Highlands workship held last July. Photo above shows Me, Edna and Michelle and with the first photo, we were joined by Lauro Vives, XMG Global managing director whose company was in charge of doing the report on the software industry.

Edna just realized that half of the four of us has changed careers since that fun filled weekend in july. Edna has moved from her executive position in the govt (under the office of the President of the Phils) back to her beloved ex boss, Phil. Daily Inquirer/Print Town and MIchelle has moved from the Academe (MICT) to Microsoft Phils.

CIO Breakfast Forum - Dec. 1, 2005

Since I was not able to attend yesterday's special session at Hyatt sponsored by Microsoft, I had to wake up early the other day for a CIO breakfast forum held all the way at Crowne Plaza Hotel Ortigas.

It was such a feat to do so for I still felt a bid bad from some pain near my ribs (sort of pilay) to think thats a long way from my house at the south of manila.

Although I woke up very early at around 530am which just gave me two hours of sleep, I had to doze off a couple of times because my constitution seemed had difficulty handling the succeeding nights of rushing some work. Michelle called me as I was dressing up asking where I was since she just left her house too. She lives at Bicuten not far from my place. Obviously she arrived late but I arrived later. At least I caught the presentation of Dondi.

The food was very good but I missed the cheese collection. Just noticed it after the meeting. Most of the people who attended were from PSIA (the local software assoc). Went straight to my condo in makati after the forum to take a much needed nap before I proceeded to my office at Goodwill Bldg.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

G-Max extreme!

No its not a promotion of Globe Handyphone, its one the latest thrillers in Singapore.

When I visited the place a few weeks ago, Bernadette pointed to me this new craze but unlike the usual Bungy jumping we see in manila, you have three people inside this open air silver capsule.

Apparently I just learned recently, this is called G-Max reverse bungy jumping and it originated in New Zealand. Talking of going to the extreme! I will never try that despite my adventurous spirit.

Posting in an Internet Cafe

Guess where I am right now? In a netopia internet cafe. Yup, despite my two dial up connections (infocom and i-manila) and two laptops, I decided to go here for the moment since the very slow dial up connection drives me nuts. Why then can't I just get broadband or DSL? Well, I am a very mobile person, and I would need to always connect at home at work or wherever I am.
I was mulling on getting We Roam despite some negative reviews on its slow speed. I guess it spells convenience for even if I am in the car I can surf with my laptop. I just had difficulty signing up for one. I am always in a hurry and the office was quite far from makati. I had to gather all the requirements then when it was ready I was busy. After a couple of months, I really needed it for the traffic in the metro drives me nuts specially when I have to send something important. I wouldnt want to do that with my mobile on gprs for that would be quite expensive. I just prefer to be productive even while in a traffic jam.
During the last PICS Congress I was about to sign up specially that the one assisting me was efficient. Unfortunately, the following day when I had all my requirements, the one manning the PLDT booth was far from helpful so I never got the account again. Some other people in the main office kept calling me but then again I didnt have time for that.
If only I had so much dough, I would have broadband at work, in the house plus a We Roam account. Innove has their Universal Access equivalent of PLDT's We Roam but its only for corporate subscribers at the moment.
Why can't the whole metro manila be a hot spot? If you follow my blog, you would have read my recent experience in makati where wi-fi was mistaken for food :)
How I wish it will be easier and more affordable to be connected in this country!
Now for my experience in Netopia - too much security. Well I guess they have to for some users maybe technically challenged. When I first logged in, I went to my 'excite' site where all my bookmarks are located. It will be easier for me to open the sites I regularly visit. It was blocked! I guess its due to the name 'excite' with sexual connotations. Why then is hotmail not banned ? :)
I had to transfer to another cubicle and I heard the staff say, another excite user to be moved to a different computer. It means many people still use this web portal after all. I started organizing my bookmarks with excite and was quite difficult to keep transferring them to yahoo or google or whatever is the present flavor. Guess excite had the first mover advantage in that respect.
When this netopia greenbelt branch was located near the Max Restaurant, they had Adobe Photoshop in their machines. Now there is hardly any program except microsoft office. Hmmm... is it due to the recent BSA raids? :)
Tomorrow I am supposed to attend a 'by invitation only' session sponsored by microsoft. A good friend invited me so I couldnt say no but I had to ask what the agenda was for it was hazy. I was told to check out a link which I did. It seems several small groups were scheduled, maybe a handful per session for there are limited 'gadgets'. From what I have read it seemed we will be taught some basic course on usage of perhaps of the computer, laptop, mobile for work. Hmmm again, isn't that too basic? I called my friend and gave this feedback. If you ask me, I would want to learn something I still dont know and there are lots of them. Nevertheless I will go first because of my friend who is in charge of this, second the food, which will be at hyatt, and third, curiosity :)
Well I guess for the people in this country to be more connected, I do believe the cost of access must be brought down - cost of hardware and connection. The telcos and providers need to follow a similar model to what they did with the mobile phone. How I wish I can see this sooner.

Seredipity turned Wedding Date

Last night, the movie "Seredipity' was shown on local tv. i remember watching this before but I still proceeded to again see the movie for I havent seen a feel good movie for a long time. As expected, it wasn't that thrilling, so since i felt so 'bitin' I rummaged around my various VCDs/DVDs previously bought but never opened and decided to watch "Wedding Date". I knew I will be having a very hectic week and I wanted to somehow enjoy myself over this long weekend (after working on a holiday).

Guess what, I liked it! Well at least the second part was really good that this morning I had to repeat it. I particularly liked the dance rehearsal part where they played the song 'sway' by Michael Buble. That was so romantic. The final scene, of course the wedding scene used the background music, 'Save the Last Dance for me'. I recallled that being a favorite of mine a long time ago.

How I wish these happy endings would happen in real life.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A dream christmas

Just a few blogs ago, I was dreaming of spending christmas in Rothenberg ob der Tauber in Germany. Just a while ago though, as I was browing through some photos so I can update my Travel Blog, I came across some of our pictures in Salzburg. I surfed some sites and landed on one which offers Christmas in Salzburg with the following package -

Christmas in Salzburg
December 23 - 27, 2005
Package includes
following services
4 overnights incl breakfast-buffet in a carefully selected
3 or 4 star hotel
Welcome cocktail in your hotel
1 city tour 'On the
traces of Mozart' incl. entrance to Mozart's Living House with free hotel pick
December 24th: Christmas Dinner
December 25th - 1 ticket for a
Christmas concert at 5.00 pm in the Mozarteum
1 full-day excursion to the
Alps including horse drawn sleigh ride & free hotel pick up
A small
souvenir and information brochures of Salzburg await you in your room

Will this remain a dream? Well let's put it this way, it will be too darn cold I'm sure and if so, will never want to go out of my room so perhaps its better to spend christmas in a tropical country. Once i can afford it perhaps with the right clothes and stuff I can manage the chill.

*Note - photo above was our first trip to Salzburg. Thats my late mom and i at the Mirabelle Gardens, where the Von Trapp children sang 'Do Re Mi"

How much is your blog worth?

I included this add-on a few weeks ago not knowing how the computation was done. Finally I stumbled upon the explanation here.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Philippine Webby 2005

Never planned to attend this year's webby awards since I had tons of work and commitments plus the fact that i knew it ends very late but then maryann go, owner of itzamatch, a PICS member kept asking me to join her since she is a finalist. She got a ticket for me so couldnt refuse. Besides, there were three other PICS members who were finalist namely SME.com.ph of Planters Bank, Don Bosco Technical School, VMV Hypoallergenics. VMV won under the eCommerce category I think for both the main award and the popularity category. Don Bosco I think won only in the popularity area but there was a booboo with the script and video. The presentors announced the La Salle Dasma as the winner but the screen onstage showed Don Bosco. After La Salle received their award, the hosts repeated the winners and mentioned Don Bosco instead of La Salle! Hmmm....which is which?

I also never planned to shoot photos but Dondi approaced me and requested to take his photo onstage when its his turn to present. Well I took several dozen shots and one of them is shown here.

The show started two hours late, 9pm instead of 7pm, perhaps due to the horrendous traffic and ended around 11pm or so and we were all famished.

Monday, November 21, 2005

As I update my I-pod and read other blogs.....

what comes to mind? Longing to visit my favorite cities in europe :(

I was just adding some french song collection as well as the music of Laura Fygi while reading blogs from pinoys in europe when all of a sudden I waxed nostalgia. Missing Paris, Positano and even the various plaza mayors of spain.

I need to apply what I learned in Cash Flow fast and improve that much sought after passive income so I can again go beyond my asian trip. Hmmm but I need to go to the US soon for my visa will expire in less than a year! Gosh, decisions, decisions......

In the meantime, not bad to dream. If I had a couple of millions (dollars or euros not pesos) right now, I want to fly to Ediburgh, have not seen the place yet and from what I heard and read, its lovely. Would want to again visit the islands of Greece, at least the major islands that I was not able to see when I first experienced the place after college.

Want to experience christmas at Rothenburg ob de Tauber, see Ghent, visit Lourdes, and Fatima, my parents favorites, spend early spring again in Positano but this time visit Sicily which I missed the last time. I want to spend a two nights in Naples which I just saw for less than a day, ride the Gondola in Venice in the summer (which I never experienced even after a number of visits due to the cold weather), and spend a few nights in Florence.

Its not bad to dream so let me add, a few visits to the spas in Switzerland which I was never able to do before, enter the beautiful castle of Neuschwanstein which I was not able to see for my parents couldnt walk too far then, and this time take a trip to Koln to see the world renowned Cathedral with the remains of the Magi. My video got stolen when we were about to board the train for Cologne so missed seeing the city.

For all its worth I wanna go back to Euro Disney since the tape of the video I took got stolen. In this day and age no one uses a video tape much. Its the age of digital cams :)

I wanna visit Lisbon and try to see Erica who helped me and dad when he was hospitalized last 1999. I will always be indebted to her and her husband. I wonder if she had a baby something she has long been praying for.

Also, maybe I will go with Bebeth to Sweden this time as she had been drooling about her trip her a few years ago. Since I will be in the area, would like to visit Finland and Iceland, the two countries I have not visited in the Scandinavian region.

Perhaps I will also take the Kirkenes steamer (ship?) this time instead of doing land travel to Svalbard, somewhere near north pole.

Since its not expensive to dream, I would also love to visit south america. Mom had been wanting to join a south american tour but was never able to. I will always remember her dream if ever this travel dream becomes a reality.

Now my i-pod is updated and I need to wake up :)

How techie can one be in makati?

I bought a small laptop in Singapore so it will be convenient to tug along whenever I want to get connected in a mall. Right after my Cash flow afternoon, getting my dry cleaned stuff and some groceries, I decided to take dinner somewhere there maybe a hot spot (except the cafes). I was planning to try Fridays at Glorietta 3 (since its near the Digital Exhange area I would supppose there as some wireless connection) but since I was famished and preferred jap food, I decided on Zen.

After I took a table I asked the server if they had some wifi conection and guess what she replied? She gave a 'Duh?" look and said she will check the menu. Was it better if I asked if they were a hotspot? but then again, she might think I was asking for hot soup?

Didnt know whether to laugh or feel exasperated. To think that the owner of the resto is an IT guy :) I tried calling him to share the experience but I think he changed numbers.

After the meal, off I went to the third floor to take coffee at seattles best. At last I said to myself I can surf and check my mails. I noticed that there was a Wiz signage near the cashier. I didnt have a Wiz account so I asked for a prepaid card. They said Innove recalled all of them since the codes have not been working for weeks. Duh! So I asked if there was some airborne access connection as in other Seattles Best branches. I have an I-Manila account which could access Airborne accounts. The supervisor replied that they usually carry Airborne accounts except in this particular branch since its a Globe terriotry.

Now for an internet advocate, I have been getting frustrated to no end. He told me to try to access airborne since some of their clients in the past had seemed to be successful in connecting to such. I tried searching for available connections but there was none!

I then called a friend in Innove who reports the president and shared my frustation. I asked her to also talk to the suprvisor of Seattles Best who has expressed his disappointment with lost potential income from Wiz prepaid cards.

This happened in Makati, not other places in metro manila, not even the rural areas. Yes I was in makati and Wi-fi sounded like a type of food and I couldnt even connect inside the biggest mall in the heart of the financial district!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A Cash Flow game on a Sunday afternoon

I attended for the first time a Cash Flow game at the exportbank bldg. I have heard of such gatherings in the past through Belen and have always planned to join someday. Through the multiply site, I learned of a recent gathering so I reserved a slot.

Was truly interesting. I have read (albeit halfway) Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad Poor Dad. My ex boss, Ric, gave this as a birthday gift several years ago but only got to read it late last year (or was it early this year?). Got hooked on his teachings that I bought the other sets.

The object of the game was to get out of the rat race. In reality, I have decided to get out middle of this year. Typical of an ex-banker, I tended to be conservative and keep liquid so I was not able to get out of the 'rat race' fast in the game. It didnt help any that the profile of my group was risk averse so I tried following them :)

Anyway, was fun and the facilitator Jerome, shared several learnings, most of which were in the various books of Kiyosaki. Would love to be able to play the game once more.

By the way, the sunset was a sight to behold at the penthouse of the Export Bank.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Binging on Gadgets

Went to Sum Lin (not sure of spellling) bldg as singaporean friends recommended for the best prices of laptops and other electronics I had been dreaming of purchasing a tiny laptop like the toshiba libretto although a batchmate based also in singapore recommended a Sony Vaio
Off to the mall I went and upon entry spotted very small versions of camcorders. I was just curious on how much these cost so I asked but actually ended up buying the smallest version, which is the Fisher cameracorder (stills/DVD).

The only gadget I really planned to buy was an I-Pod Nano similar to what Arnold showed me when I had dinner with him and edna a few days prior to my trip. He mentioned that the price was a bit lower than that in manila. I went straight to the Apple Center at Wheelock Center (Orchard). I drooled over the latest models specially of the Ipod Photo and Video but my budget was just for a 2bg nano. The stocks really went very fast for as I was deciding on which color and model to get, I noticed some immediately got out of stock.

I decided to get the black since it was not common. Those few mins of indecision just left me with the white nano ( I got it lest it disappears at once. Tony, a British business colleague wanted to buy a nano the following day but the stocks were gone and waiting to be replenished.

When I went up the bldg to check on the laptops, I noticed that the best bet would be the tiny sony vaio. The price though was too dear for me. There was a small tablet type but it was a celeron so a no no for the heavy user moi.

I ended up though with a twinhead.

Two regrets - I should have bought the ipon video and sony vaio, I just needed to control my expenses so I guess those two will remain a dream purchase )