Saturday, May 27, 2006

Last Day of the ACI World Congress

Last day of the ACI Congress. Got up early to be able to watch the PNB cheerleaders compete in GSIS' Synergy Cheerleading Competition. As luck would have it, the news stand at the bus station were selling Tagalog Entertainment Magazines. I couldn't decide which one to buy so I bought all.

The competition had not started yet when I got to the GSIS gym. The PNB team was second. We weren't the best, as it was obvious the team had little practice. We had the right idea though, just lacking in execution. The SSC high school and college cheerleaders could do better (but my school's teams have won first place many times, so it's not a fair comparison).

Headed to PICC after the competition. Saw Anke and she was pleased that I was able to find the Tagalog magazines. Told her to choose what to bring back to her maid and I'll keep what's left but she bought all. As she couldn't be bothered with change, the money she gave me was more than the cost of the magazines.

As many foreign delegates had skipped attending the last day altogether (probably off to Boracay or some other resort), only a few were expected to join the lunch at PICC hosted by ICAP. ICAP therefore requested the local delegates to show up (even bring along friends) so that the food won't go to waste. Too many showed up in response, that they actually ran out of food. Very funny.

There was nothing scheduled after lunch, with the next event being the gala dinner at the Makati Shangri-la. As part of the Logistics committee, Dennis had a room at the New Hyatt Hotel where Rey, Cristy and the others planned to hang around until the gala started. They actually planned to sleep there as they expect the event to last till midnight. Che found herself underdressed for gala night and with me in tow headed first to a nearby mall to buy something more appropriate. Actually, I watched Xmen 3 while she was shopping. Went to the hotel alone as I told Che to go ahead once she was done shopping.

Knowing only the floor where the room was, but not the room number, I merely entered the elevator along with two hotel guests and found that they had already pushed the button I needed ... we were headed for the same floor. I got a call telling me the room number while I was in the elevator, and was at the door in no time. I was surprised when they were surprised that I was standing there.

Apparently, if you're heading towards your hotel room in the New Hyatt, you can only get off the elevator at your floor if you push in your room "key" (which is a card) in a slot at the elevator's control panel. It was pure luck that I got into the elevator with other people billeted on the same floor. Ha ha ha! Come to think of it, I often find that some places/rooms I've entered were actually off limits to me AFTER I've been there... OR they are not always open to the public and I was fortunate that it was open when I visited.

Watched cable TV in the room. Others took a shower and changed clothes. The wall dividing the hotel room's bathroom from the bedroom was half glass ... it was opaque but you still see a shadow when someone's in there. When Rey got in to take a shower, naughty me had everyone's attention on his shadow. Everyone had a good laugh when Rey got conscious and moved far from the glass wall.

A shuttle bus took delegates billeted in the New Hyatt to the Makati Shangri-la. That dinner was probably the best meal in the whole convention. The Company sang a few songs, and everyone agreed they were good. A pop band was singing by the time dessert was over. Everyone can dance and stay till midnight, but as it was late, I excused myself and hurried to the Ayala terminal to catch the last trip to Pacita.

By the way, just in case you're curious, ACI stands for "Association Cambiste Internationale" ... and as the name implies, it's a society of foreign exchange dealers headquartered in France.

Friday, May 26, 2006

ACI World Congress Proper

Being one of the official delegates, I spent most of the day at the PICC listening to speakers or open forums. Sat with Lynette of Amex Singapore. The people at Amex Manila sort of bungled her registration and reservation (she didn't even know what the schedule was) and when I realized that, I told Dennis of her problem. Dennis took it upon himself to put things to right.

Lunch was served at the PICC as well.

Saw Anke as were heading out of the convention hall for lunch break. She asked me a favor: she wanted to give her maid, a Filipina, a present from the Philippines, and knows that her maid likes reading Filipino gossip magazines. Anke's problem though, is that she couldn't find any magazine written in Tagalog in the Makati bookstores and news stands. She asked if I could buy some for her if I come across a news stand selling them. I said yes... although afterwards I wondered if I have time to find what she wanted by tomorrow, the last day of the convention.

Dinner was at the Hotel Philippine Plaza... I think they call those huge tents near the bay the Pavillion.

Yannick (Natixis Singapore) stopped by and whispered to the guys (Gene, Rey, Dennis) that he wanted to go out after dinner. That meant a guys' night out in a club with sexy women. Found out that he went out last night too, with the BDO guys. Just realized why he arrived at the convention late (spent the morning sleeping), and why he was trying to speak to Rey alone (embarrassed to let the ladies know what he was up to).

Lynette joined our table. She loved the Filipino costumes worn during the Jota Cavitena dance. Found myself explaining the native dances to her as the host didn't bother to do so. Those days of watching Ramon Obusan and his troupe dancing at the school's music hall every year during "Linggo ng Wika" finally had some use.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Cocktails at the Coconut Palace

The ACI Congress kicks off today and registration was at the Coconut Palace, where Cocktails were held.

The party was on the grounds and some female dancers were hired to dance around the pool as guests were pouring in. I thought it was silly to have them dancing that way ... but I'm a woman, so maybe the men appreciated the display.

Agot Isidro was host ... although married and relatively absent from the limeligth, she still looks the same. When the music started playing again, the dancers pulled some of the delegates to join the dancing. After a few minutes there was a line of people dancing around the pool.

I think the theme was having a luau, as food was limited to hor d'oerves and grilled food. Ofcourse, there was the usual open bar. The guys had margaritas and beer. Just had a glass of champagne and 2 margaritas. Adie however, had at least 10 margaritas and was drunk by the time I left the party. Dennis was prodding me to drink more, but he's always curious to find out everybody's alcohol tolerance level... and watching out for who's the next one to get plastered (idea of fun). Adie always gets drunk so she doesn't count. I think Che drank just as much as I did but she was already feeling dizzy when we were walking out of the palace.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Lunch at the Fireplace, New Hyatt Hotel

With the ACI Congress being held in Manila this weekend, Marcus and his colleague Anke of HypoVereinsbank HK (HVBH) are in town and decided to treat us to dinner at New Hyatt Hotel's Fireplace.

Since the USD/PHP traders had to finish reports, Rey and I went ahead. The guys from HVBH weren't there yet and so Rey and I ordered salad as we waited. When the rest of the PNB FX group arrived (Dennis of Treasury Marketing included because he is friends with Marcus), Marcus and Anke were still not in sight. When they finally showed up, they apologized ... there was a delay at the airport.

Since HypoVereins Bank is based in Germany, I wasn't surprised to learn that Anke is German. Marcus wanted to make it clear though that he is Swiss... that's because by dessert time we were talking about how people from different countries would have different pronunciations of the same word.

Take "crepe" for example. Growing up, I've pronounced the first "e" like I would pronounce it in the word "egg". I thought I was saying it wrong because when crepe desserts became popular recently, I hear people pronouncing the "e" as they would pronounce "a" in "crate".

Anke said the Germans follow the French in pronouncing crepe as I had been pronouncing it ever since I needed to use crepe paper in school projects. However, when she was working in Australia, she realized people say the word using the second pronunciation ... and if you used the first, they'd think you're saying "crap".

By the way, Anke thought I had studied in the United States because of the way I speak ... with a laugh, I told her I merely watched too much TV growing up.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Tickets for Da Vinci Code Movie

Got two ticket from our broker, Prebon, for a special screening of "Da Vinci Code" tomorrow night.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Colin and Cristy are back

Our boss, Colin, had been in the US on vacation since April 28, and Cristy had been in the hospital since May 6.

Both are back now and I finally go back to trading the Euro (been subbing for Cristy at the USD/PHP desk).

It's fortunate also that they are back because the scheduled dinner with Val of Standard Bank HK is tonight. We ate at the Spiral of the Hotel Philippine Plaza. Cristy related her near-death experience to Valerie and her reaction (which got us laughing) was "but nobody drowns while snorkeling!". Having ordered two drinks of the month I ended up bringing home two stuffed toys.

I got a bad stomach and I think it's because of the Indian food. I actually paid PHP500 for a taxi to bring me from Pasay City to Pacita because I don't think my stomach would behave if I was sitting in a cramped bus.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Typhoon Caloy

Typhoon Caloy strikes today. As usual, got the runny nose and headache before the rain fell.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Cristy's unfortunate accident

Just learned this morning that Cristy drowned at Puerto Galera last Saturday afternoon. She's now at the Asian Hospital in Alabang.

She was snorkeling and no one knew exactly what happened ... Cristy could not remember herself, and the guy who found her floating unconscious was either Japanese or Chinese and couldn't speak Filipino and he wasn't good speaking English either... which meant they didn't understand everything the guy said.

Cristy was already conscious before she was transported back to Metro Manila ... the joke was, she was conscious enough to lie about her age. As it was evening when it was decided that she must be brought to a hospital, they had to hire a boat just to transport her. They said that the lights in the boat were turned off because the trip had no clearance from the coast guard. Maybe there was some other reason as I believe the coast guard wouldn't hamper them if they knew someone on the boat must be brought to a hospital.

Cris and Rey accompanied her to the hospital ... and it was awkward staying in the hospital in your beachwear. Rey would later say that the Lomi he ate in the Asian Hospital is one of the most expensive he's had.

Cristy is still under observation but out of immediate danger.

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