Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Last banking day of the year

Absent yesterday coz still not feeling well.

Milette gave me a blueberry cheesecake as my Christmas present. Yum!

There are still boxes of apples that should have been given to our clients/counterparties, but since they weren't delivered and we're gonna have a 5-day weekend, we decided to bring home a box each instead of coming back Monday to find them all rotten.

Planned to go home early but found myself hooked at the Portkey.org forum till 7pm ... didn't attend the Bank's New Year Party (there's dancing again I heard) but parked myself in front of my PC. Did rush out when the fireworks were lit (first time PNB actually had that, in my memory). Nice - especially the last few bursts where you wished the sky would sparkle like that for a long time. Wish I had a camera that could capture that one. Sigh! Actually, fireworks displays are so common from the Sto. Rosario church fiestas/special occassions to the daily (for the month of December anyway) ones at the Ayala Malls. Nevertheless, I still like watching them.

Ended up giving 9 of the apples to Jevy the messenger just so I could bring home the stuff I hoped to ... and the box of apples was heavy for me!

Placed the rolled up calendars in the space where the 9 apples where, taped the box shut, and strapped the cheesecake on top of the box ... he he he!

Lawrence lent me his cd of the Throne of Darkness RPG game, supposed to bring home the Soul Reaver CD too but he was still dancing in the party when I left the office - so that means I get to borrow that one after the holidays. Wonder if he meant he and his kid or he and his wife when he says that they played the first Soul Reaver in 100 hours. That's long! Explains why he leaves the office early - he wants to get home in order to continue playing! Ha ha ha! He's so hooked he can't wait for Soul Reaver 3.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Updating My Website

Spent hours overhauling my website ... doesn't look as nice as I want ... but that's what comes with free webspaces.

I decided to make the family photo albums first ... haven't finished with the pages containing my stuff ... what the heck!

Wish I don't have a cold ... I would have spent the day in Tagaytay with Sampa et al. I didn't join cause I suspect I already have the flu. I started to have a running nose on the 26th and kept sneezing yesterday. Can't pinpoint if this is just an allergy (i'm kinda prone to headache and sneezing when there's a tropical depression/monsoon rain) ... but there hasn't been rain so this could be a real virus... cause if it's weather related, it would mean heavy rain's gonna come within a day (the headache stops after the rain's over - of all things to be allergic to my body has to pick that one!). Like I said, no rain yet ... if this is a virus, I don't want Sam to catch it ... she's got leukemia and the medicines have weakened her body... so a simple cold virus could mean hospital for her.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Just spent last night updating my blog. God knows when I'm going to get time to update the Bulletin Board. Sorry guys if you tried to call and got a busy signal ... I was online.

Am very much pissed when iMira went offline. I'm still fixing the online album on my geocities website. I've decided to use flash, and I keep revising so that the pictures upload easily. Man, sometimes I think I won't ever finish.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Christmas Eve and the Da Vinci Code

Slept most of the day. Am that tired. Finally finished the "Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown. Frankly, I guessed who the antagonist was way too early to be in suspense at the ending. Nice book. Mind opening for those who would not pick up a book on the topic otherwise. I've read up on the Merovingians, Templars, da Vinci and the Priory of Sion before so there wasn't much "revelation" for me. Brown left out John the Baptist, and some other theories like Jesus not actually dying (anyone heard of Da Vinci supposedly making the Shroud of Turin for his amusement?). But that would mean having a longer novel. I think Brown left in just enough clues for others to pick up the trail on their own - he actually mentioned the books that studied the topics he touched on.

Makes you wonder if Brown is actually in cahoots with the guys who want the world to seriously take notice of their particular field of research. If you want to be a conspiracy theorist, you'd even say he's of the Priory or one of those brotherhoods. In fact, his book may well be the medium of revelation that the novel itself was talking about - you know, revealing the truth to the world at the start of the Age of Aquarius? He he he he!

If you ask me, half the world don't really consider Jesus as the God personified, so it wouldn't really matter if the Merovingian line survives and is what it is supposed to be. What really matters is your relationship with God. What channel or religion you choose to establish that will depend on the level of relationship you want to have in the first place.

har de har har! Sam used to think I was atheist for not going to church regularly. When she heard me saying that during her birthday party, I wonder what she's starting to think of my religion now. If you're wondering, I'm still a bloody Catholic. Credit my Benedictine education if my view on religion is this way. Christian Doctrine was from Grade 1 to 6 only. High School "Religion" subject covered all religions at one point. Then College Biblical Theology introduced me to the books that were taken out of the present collection that we call the Bible. The present Bible only has half of the books that were available to the early Christians... it was a council of men who decided what should be retained or stricken out. Frankly, I doubt if majority of the Protestants who literally consider the Bible as the "Word" are aware that the Bible they inherited from the Roman Catholics does not contain books the bishops considered as inappropriate or does not jell with their version of what Christianity should be.

Jon left to meet a friend after lunch. He hasn't returned yet. When Pa learned that the friend was a female classmate who is now a lawyer, he was excited. He wouldn't mind if Jon married her. Ha ha ha! Does that mean he won't pressure me to be a lawyer? HOPE SO!

Wonder what time I should start cooking lasagna?

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

The Court Order

Around last week or the week before, I found a brown letter envelope on my desk. It was from the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, ordering Feliciano Miranda, me and three other PNB employees to appear for the pre-trial of one Totoy Vicente on January 5. Not knowing who Totoy Vicente is, nor what the criminal case was, or why my name was on the list, I had meant to call legal division to ask if they knew about the case.

December being busy with OPICS conversion and other activities, I was able to call legal only now. Apparently, Mr. Vicente is or was a PNB employee and the case was related to Assets Management. I think the court order was meant for Mary Jean V. Reyes and not me. I told that to the lawyer and she said she'll check and call me back.

Jeez, on occassions like this I consider changing my name to M. J. F. Basa or M. J. F. Reyes-Basa! Frankly, the telephone operators and mailing automatically think of me when they get mail or a call addressed to Jane/Jean Reyes without a division specified. I think it's because they have an alphabetical directory and my name comes before Jean Reyes'.

That means I get her bills, calls from credit card companies collecting her overdue payment, and calls from clients begging to give them time to come up with money to pay their loans before the bank takes their property.

Publics, the bank's magazine, once planned to write an article about us having similar names. I refused to give an interview. They didn't push. Maybe Jean didn't want to give an interview either.

Day ended and legal didn't call back. Whether they call back or not, I won't appear in court on January 5. I don't know if I should forward the letter to Jean Reyes though. I'll wait till next week for legal to get back to me.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Treasury Group Christmas Party

Being the week of Christmas, people's minds aren't on work 100% today. Especially when the lechon arrived at 11:30.

When I handed over a trading order at the backroom, Jess moaned that we shouldn't be working this week. Before I left, he commented on my dancing last Friday. I expect everyone who knows me would make a comment since from their point of view, I was the one who urged people to dance that night. It was actually Boss Mon who initiated it. I was just the one he pushed to run to the front. The balloon popping was another story.

We invited the senior officers and the directors but only a third of them came for lunch. Took some pictures with my camera. Everyone wanted to be in my pictures now after the flash christmas card i created last week! Dennis opened a few bottles of wine and passed them around. I noticed though that the bottles returned to him half full but by the time we finished lunch they were empty. He he he!

Kris Kringle revelation was at 4pm. Being traders, we had a pot. At the start, everyone puts a peso in the pot. Each one is called and bets against the pot trying to guess who his/her kris kringle mom/dad is. If someone calls the whole amount in the pot and wins, everyone plunks in a peso each and the game continues. It was fun since some actually betted up to a hundred because they thought they were sure, then lost. Apart from the pot, there were side bets against traders - Milette lost PHP2000 against Mon!. I found out Dennis was my kris kringle dad. Rey didn't guess I was his kris kringle mom.

We had KFC deliver chicken for our dinner then we went to the Westin hotel's Siete Pecados. We were too early. The band for the day would perform at around 9:30 p.m. and not 8:30 as we thought. We went to the poolside and watched the folk dance performance.

From the way the host was talking, we deduced that he was gay. Tina thought I was drinking alcohol and was drunk - NOT! I was just drinking orange juice, Dan was just being hilarious and he was the one getting drunk. When the host asked volunteers for the tinikling, we pushed Jevy, Dan, Jan, Cheryl and Chary to the stage. Learned that Boss Dan used to be in PNB's dance troupe when he was younger.

Went back to Siete Pecados just before the band started. When the lead singer asked if there are any in the audience celebrating an event, we shouted that we were there for Dennis' birthday. Dennis' birthday is in January but the band need not know that. The band sang the birthday song to a funeral march tune while assuming the "pray over" pose. It was hilarious and promised a fun night. When Dennis was asked what his favorite band was, he answered Salbakuta. We laughed while the lead told the audience that normally they wouldnt play Salbakuta in a 5-star hotel because their songs are regarded as the music of "addicts". They said it was the kind of music you would hear from places like Cowboy Grille. Since it was Dennis' birthday, they played a few lines of "Stupid Love".

There was a couple celebrating a 30-year marriage and they weren't spared from jokes either. Especially when the husband only gave PHP80 for a song request - the couple was told that the band plays like a prepaid cellphone card, they stop when when the amount paid has been consumed. They joked that PHP80 would just go as far as the intro. They played the song anyway.

Dennis wrote down a request and gave PHP200. We learned that he requested for "Laklak" and that he wrote down Jan's name as the requestee. The band played just one line and told Jan that Laklak is even worse than Salbakuta's "Stupid Love" - management may kick them out if they play the song. Jan blushed and punched Dennis for the stunt.

I only got to drink a glass of Pina colada. Left early since I was hitching a ride to Alabang with Rhoda. When Mon arrived to pick her up, saw that the van was full of kids. The following day was the birthday of Rhoda's son, so Mon picked up Raphael's cousins to stay the night. The little girl Trixie is in that stage when kids just kept on talking so any hope I had of taking a small nap during the trip was gone. They dropped me off near the wet market.

I thought I would have some sleep on the trip from Alabang to Pacita since I was able to catch a van making it's "last trip". Unfortunately, the woman driver and her companion talked all throughout the trip. It was funny, another passenger had to remind her that we would be taking the "Halang" route and not "Susanna Heights".

Needless to say, I was very glad to get home and be in my room where there wouldn't be kids or women chattering to give me a headache.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

The Freemason Theory

When Jon browsed the Da Vinci Code while waiting in line for the movie Return of the King, I realized that he is just as interested as I am in Da Vinci, the Templars, etc.

Found out that he also remembers Lola Inang telling us when we were little about secret meanings in the hand gestures of paintings of Jesus. Jon said he thought Lola Inang was pulling our leg at the time - after all she was old and could be rambling nonsense.

I told Jon about my theory that maybe Lola Inang knew a bit of what the freemasons knew since Lolo Gorio was supposedly one of them. In fact, maybe she was also a member. I think that one of the reasons our grandfather was chosen by the Americans as the first mayor of Cavite City (first mayor under the Americans anyway) was because he was a freemason. It is a little known fact that many of the Americans who came to the Philippines were freemasons. It would make sense that American freemasons would choose a Filipino freemason to be mayor of Cavite. It is also said that influential members of Aguinaldo's faction of the Katipunan were freemasons. There is a dining table displayed in the Commission on Audit which Pa said Aunt Mely donated. This is supposedly the dining table used when Aguinaldo held secret meetings in the Reyes household. I postulated to Jon that perhaps one reason that they would meet in the Reyes household was that some of the Reyeses were actually freemasons. It wouldn't be farfetched then that from both sides of Pa's family - the Basa and the Reyes - both Lolo Gorio and Lola Inang - were involved with the freemasons.

If Pa hadn't dissuaded Kuya Willy from joining the freemasons, we would have another freemason in the family.

I think we have a gene that makes us very interested in such things like the occult and any such thing that rabid Catholics would name forbidden knowledge and have us branded as heretics. Lolo Gorio probably was lured to it by way of freemasonry, Pa has astrology and I-ching books which served as my introduction to the genre, and now Jon and I are interested in such things as well. Given, most of the things Jon have read were books I bought.

I think Jon is into this more than I am. He told me he wanted to visit Aguinaldo's house and have a look around just in case he would find some symbols hidden somewhere. I hadn't thought of doing that but told him that we'd try to do that sometime.

Maybe next year.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Return of the King

Jon left before lunch to meet a friend at Shangri-La Edsa. I left around 3pm and boarded a bus that passed by Makati City. Passed by SM Makati to drop the raffle tickets I got for buying appliances, picked up the pictures of Sam's birthday party I had recopied, and hopped on a bus that brought me to SM Megamall at Mandaluyong.

I had planned to do some shopping for gifts but decided against it since Jon said there was already a line outside the theater. Although the movie's supposed to start at 7:30 pm, the line was already long by 5:30 when Jon got there. We estimated that there were more than 200 ahead of us in the line. Bought a combo meal of Champ, large fries and large softdrinks to go from Jollibee which Jon and I ate while sitting on the floor, waiting for 7:00p.m. We finished the fries and softdrinks and saved the burgers for later. I brought the "Da Vinci Code" novel that my boss lent me and Jon thought it was another one of those books I buy. Read a few pages while waiting in line.

Once inside the theater, the movie didn't start at once. With more than 500 people to be seated, it took a long while before everyone settled down. Bought two popcorn combo snacks just to have the ROTK tumblers. The organization that hosted the screening wanted to have a kissing contest because SMINT was a sponsor. Unfortunately for them, no one wanted to join. The hosts were actually begging for at least one couple. No one stepped forward and people were telling the two hosts to just kiss to get it over with... they didn't. The hosts apologized to SMINT and the countdown began. The movie didn't start at once - we endured having to watch a lot of commercials and trailers. It was a relief when the New Line logo finally appeared, signalling for the Middle Earth magic to begin.

It was a beautiful movie. Sadly, the proliferation of slash fiction about LOTR characters ruined some heartwarming scenes. People would hoot whenever Sam/Frodo, Merry/Pippin or other guy/guy characters would have "tender" moments. It confirms that majority of the audience have access to the net and have read the slash fiction - probably Cassandra Claire's secret diaries.

I was amused. I don't know if Peter Jackson would be.

Friday, December 19, 2003

PNB's Christmas Party

Left home late finishing 2 flash movies and a powerpoint I plan to disseminate today.

Boss Boy asked Jeng yesterday to make an invitation for Monday's lunch in the dealing room - the Treasury Group's party. He wants to invite the directors and senior officers to our party. Being the helpful friend who enjoys doing anything that borders on dabbling in the artistic side of me, I volunteered to do it in powerpoint since my home PC has more clipart than the one in the office.

I decided to create a powerpoint version that she can print and a flash movie version. I also created another flash christmas card everyone in the dealing room could send out to our clients or counterparties. That's why I was late.

Jeng loved the flash invitation and didn't use the powerpoint one. The others liked the christmas card i made which used the pictures I took during the adopt-a-child event. Those who didn't have a picture in the card complained - I told them I couldn't do anything since they didn't pose for me when I was taking pictures. Had a feeling they'd be on the lookout for my camera just for the probability of being in my next flash movie.

Bought two tickets from Cristy for the advanced screening of the Return of the King. Each cost PHP350. She got the tickets from Bernard. The movie's already being shown in other parts of the world but because of the Metro Manila Filmfest, it will be shown locally January 2004. Every LOTR fan in the country hates the filmfest because of that. We were joking Cristy about the fact that she turned down a date when she said no when Bernard asked her if she wants to watch an advanced screening of Return of the King. It was after saying no that she remembered Bernard once telling her he couldn't wait to watch the movie. We all have moments of stupidity, don't we?

Our free dinner came late ... the caterers the bank hired miscalculated and we had to wait for them to finish cooking a second batch.

We went to the banking hall around 7pm. The bank hired two bands tonight - Acapella and Friends. The Acapella was a group of around 5 young men - maybe some are teens - who sang a capella. I enjoyed listening, but I sensed that the crowd was bored and raring to dance.

Dennis brought a bottle of wine and a cup. By the middle of the Acapella's session, Dennis and a couple of others in our group were drunk and noisy that those sitting near us can't help but notice. I feared we were getting more notice than the band on stage. When the Acapella sung "Bongga ka day", which had a danceable beat inspite of being sung a capella, I stood up and urged the others in the treasury group to stand and sway to the music. Mainly because I was feeling pity on the band for not getting any response from the audience, and also because I wanted the attention being drawn by the noisy treasury group to be reflected back to the the singing band.

After a few songs, we got tired of being the only ones in the audience swaying to Acapella so we sat down. The next group was better. They played dance music. Unfortunately, when they started playing, no one stood up to dance - maybe because they were shy. Boss Mon told us to start the dancing but we were hesitant. Finally, I had to initiate it by running to the front telling the treasury group to follow me and dance. Boss Mon told me to ask the chairman to dance. Heh? I balked and told Jan that Mon wants her to pull the chairman to the dancefloor. When we had the directors and senior officers dancing, everyone who wanted to dance follwed suit.

I started kicking the balloons on the floor and the others did the same. Jan mistakenly stepped on a balloon and everyone thought it was a game. All through the night, it was like New Year's eve because people were popping balloons.

Left before 10p.m. because the last bus trip home was 10:00. Had fun, and didn't mind having to initiate things tonight. Man, if I didn't start the ball rolling, we'd have a boring bank party!

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Appliance Shopping

Bought 3 wall fans - one for the kitchen, one for the Master bedroom, and the remote controlled one for Jon. Also bought a hot-and-cold water dispenser and a coffee maker... all from SM Makati. I almost bought a microwave oven, but decided not to since we don't really need it.

Afterwards, Jon helped me buy the items on the Kris Kringle list. Bought an alien doll for Monday's "Something that resembles your baby" because Rey is tall and thin. Bought cherry scented floor wax for Tuesday's "Something red and smelly", a sticky hand for Wednesday's "Yellow and sticky", Trolli spaghetti sour gum candy for Thursday's "Tasty but yucky", and baby shoes I plan to stuff with chocolate for Friday's "Sweet and spice and everything nice".

We got home around midnight.

Monday, December 08, 2003

MART Christmas Party

The Money Market Association' Christmas Party starts at around 6pm at the Makati Sports Club - the same venue as last year. I wasn't there last year though.

Makati being Makati, traffic was horrendous. I am not looking forward to the supposed move to the BA Lepanto building. I do not like to be subjected to this kind of traffic every working day!

Food was between the kind of stuff you'd find in a house party and the food at the Baguio Country Club. I am beginning to wonder if all sports club food is like this. But then again, the food at the Tagaytay Midlands tasted like hotel food. So scrap the thought.

The band hired for the night played 70s music that only the older traders could relate to. Half the attendees were outside the hall, smoking.

I was hitching a ride to Alabang with Vikki, and so I waited as she stayed till the raffle, and therefore the party, was over. The real dancing happened near the end. Jong was drunk and was pulling people to dance with him, including me. Irritated, I didn't dance tonight. Cheryl won a footspa, Cristy won a water dispenser, Vikki won a PHP1,000 or is it PHP2,000 gift check and I won an overnight stay with breakfast for two at the Subic International Hotel. It's valid until March 2004. Maybe I'll bring Sampa with me. She'd love the beach.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Ma's birthday

Ma's 60 years old today.

Tried to cook lasagna for the first time. The recipe I used was a mixture of three easy recipes I got from Pillsbury and San Remo. That means I could call it my own recipe. he he he! the bottom lasagna noodles were burned because I used the San Remo easy lasagna noodles that do not need pre-cooking. I realized I should have put a layer of meat sauce first before putting in my first layer of noodles so that there would be enough liquid to cook the noodles. Will try again tomorrow.

As partner to the lasagna, I cut up some apples Tessie brought last week and put them in pineapple juice along with sliced up calamansi. I also made my graham cracker version of crema de fruta for dessert.

Friday, December 05, 2003


Boss Mon wanted us to do something different this Christmas so most of us volunteered for the Adopt-A-Child-For-A-Day. We picked the kids' names from a list days ago. I chose Sarah Dawn Salcedo's name because I like the sound of it. We paid PHP200 each to cover the food and gifts that were to be given to the kids. Earlier this week, found out that the others - like Jeng and Cristy - bought additional gifts for their adopted kids. I ended up buying a Powerpuff plastic box, and put in it some Powerpuff pencils, eraser, sharpener, and scented memo pads. Small package, but at least my adopted kid would get a little extra even though her package won't be as big as the ones Jeng and Cristy's kids would get.

Earlier today, Boss Jun went to the World Trade Center's Christmas Bazaar just to buy his adopted kid presents - he told us he was pressured to do so after seeing the gift bags we would be giving to our adopted kids.

At around 1:30pm, we went the area between the banking hall and the long gallery, that's where the program would be held. Vikki was the only one in our unit who didn't adopt a child so she stayed behind in the dealing room. Her reason for not volunteering? She's not good with kids. She admits she's lucky that her mother lives with her and provides a mother figure for her children. It was a joke in the office that her sons would grow up thinking it was customary that husbands are the ones who do the cooking and what we would call "mothering" of kids in every home.

The kids, who came from Joyville which is being run by the Salvation Army, came late because of traffic. From the moment I saw Sarah Dawn, I had a feeling she wasn't one of those abused or abandoned kids Joyville takes in.

I was right. She and her friend Jenica, who's Jeng's adopted kid, were daughters of Salvation Army members. Their names were just included to pad the list. Maybe there were too many volunteers and too few kids. Some told me my adopted kid looked like some rich kid from Forbes Park. I was a bit disappointed, simply because I was expecting to get someone who was either an orphan or abandoned or abused. Those are kinds of kids who would really appreciate the event and the gifts we'd be giving them. Jeng was disappointed too. She wanted to take back some of the gifts she bought for Jenica and give to more deserving kids.

Dennis, who had sons and wished he had a beautiful daughter, wanted to swap his adopted daughter for the day for Sarah Dawn. I refused, not because I didn't like his adopted kid, but because that kid already knows he is her dad for the day, and she would feel rejection if she gets swapped for Sarah Dawn. Dennis' adopted kid was a real Joyville child - either abandoned or abused. The last thing she needs is another person to reject her.

The event started with party games hosted by folks from Jollibee. Then Jollibee food was given to the kids. A magic show was next and then some picture taking with a fat guy in a Santa suit.

After the program, we brought the kids to the dealing room. Jenica and Sarah Dawn proved to be knowledgeable with computers - which emphasized the fact that they weren't Joyville kids. I found myself teaching Cristy's adopted son, who's a real Joyville child and had not used a PC before, how to use a mouse to play a computer card game.

When the kids left, I announced that if ever we do this again, I'm going to choose a "bakya" name. I told the others I should have guessed that a name like "Sarah Dawn" is an unlikely one to be chosen by a poor family. Jeng agreed with my theory.

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