Thursday, November 29, 2007

Capping an exciting work week

Was in the BNP Paribas Office in Hong Kong Monday to Tuesday attending a workshop on FX and FI Derivatives. My blog entries of that trip at the following links:
Back in the Philippines last night. Reported to work this morning.

Today would have been a lackluster end to this week had not Senator Trillanes and his buddies decided to walk out of their Makati Regional Trial Court hearing and hole out at the Manila Peninsula Hotel ... prompting the appearance of the SWAT and the sending of a small tank to ram through the entrance and crash into the hotel lobby.

Need I say that the dollar was briefly bought in the market as some companies panicked?

The guys in the dealing room watching the coverage of the drama on ANC:

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Earthquake hits Manila

During a break at the BNP Paribas workshop in Hong Kong, one of the participants announced that her husband just texted her that a strong earthquake hit Manila.

It did cause panic and people evacuated buildings for safety's sake. There were no reported casualties.

Told Milette that last Nov. 24, I was supposed to join Tina in a Disaster Recovery exercise at PNB's Branch Recovery Center. Looks like the drill was timely ... just in case the earthquake actually disrupted the Head Office's capability to conduct business, the exercise would still be fresh in the minds of the participants.

I wondered how many in the office actually know where the BRC is located. On previous years, since the exercise started, the dealing room's representative had always been me. I've been a convenient choice since I've sat in almost all the desks and I was in the OPICS conversion team. This year though, Tina had to go since I had scheduled packing and making last minute preparations for the Hong Kong trip on the day of the drill.

Joked to Milette that in case the whole of Luzon is affected that even the BRC is not operational, PNB Treasury could actually set up a Business Recovery Center in Hong Kong - she could handle FX Bonds trading and Peso Liquity, I would handle FX spot/swap and Phil. GS trades, and Boss Mon (who is also in Hong Kong - but on vacation, not on a business trip) remains treasury head and directing us what to do. He he he!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Here's Paul of Misys, back again at PNB talking about OPICS Plus:
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The guy's been to PNB since 2005 selling the software, and I think we're finally getting it.

The audience ... who'd rather be distracted by the camera than figure out the IT gibberish:
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-----Dec. 25 update-----

Since Kris Kringle revelation is over....

Attended the advanced Technical Analysis workshop sponsored by Reuters and therefore held at their office in Makati. Headed straight to the Reuters office this morning instead of reporting at the PNB Dealing Room first - simply because my bus passes through Makati before it reaches my usual stop. Ted was attending the workshop with me and told me to call him when I'm leaving PNB. I forgot to inform him I wasn't coming from PNB and when he called me and found out I was already in the Reuters office, he had to rush out of his Condo - which is near the Reuters place. Apparently, my call was supposed to be his "time to get ready" alarm.

Found out that today's Kris Kringle was lunch time instead of 4pm. Major dilemma ... if Milette doesn't receive a gift, she'll narrow down her "parent" to either me or Ted. Called Lani to do me a favor ... wrap anything that is "Long and Hard", address it to Milette, and put in it the Kris Kringle box. Lani did way too much better than I expected. She found a long, large wooden fish in the stock room! Milette was happy with the "fish" till she saw the note to "please return to the stock room". Ha ha ha!

When I reached the office, I hid my gift near Ted's table. Jan, who did not receive a gift, thought he was her "daddy" and peeked. That's how she found out that Milette's mom/dad is either me/Teddy. Nosy kid.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Kris Kringle Videos

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With the decorations finally up, next on the holiday season agenda is the Kris Kringle. Nov. 16 was week 1 and the theme was soft and round. Most people thought of food and stress balls.

Those who gave food either forgot to buy actual gifts... or are just too lazy to think of other things to give:

The 1/3 who gave out stress balls must be thinking too much alike:

Kudos to the remaining 1/3 who did not join the pack and opted to be original:

A lot of people think more than one person were behind Buddy's gifts:

Kris Kringle

December is nearing and so is Christmas. And bothersome as it is, once again we have the Kris Kringle with the following schedule:

November 16 - round and soft
November 23 - long and hard
November 29 - cute and funny
December 07 - salty and crispy

I just spent hours roaming the mall to find this week's item. Even roamed SM's toys department thrice that I was getting tired of hearing the latest Disney Christmas album being played over and over.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Getting familiar with the P1i

The guys at the office found out I had a new cellphone yesterday because I was in the restroom when the alarm reminding me to check my bank account for Jon's plane ticket money went off ... loudly.

First thing I did after that is learn to configure my phone to have different volume levels for each type of event (incoming call, alarm clock, calendar reminders, etc.). Didn't think Rey would go as far as open my bag to see the phone that's making the racket. There goes the plan to not make it obvious that I replaced my old phone.

Finally registered my phone online. Also activated the P1i voucher worth 10 points. The site has a variety of applications that can be downloaded for my phone. Each program is assigned points to denote its worth. It would be up to me, the user, to decide how to distribute the 10 points. Each point is supposedly worth about Eur 10.00 if one is to buy the software. Couldn't decide which softwares are going to be useful so I haven't redeemed any of my points yet.

Also searched my Yahoo mail archive for the letter where my username for my free WiFi Access for myDSL subscribers is stored. With the phone, I could FINALLY use that Wi-fi account. Couldn't check it yet at home ... there's no Wi-fi signal detectable here.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Goodbye, Hello

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By jingfrey at 2007-11-23
This is the original unit that came with the bank-issued cellphone number I used when I was in TMG. Initially had to use the dual sim gadget to be able to switch between my personal number and the bank number.

When the unit was replaced by a Sony Ericsson, I bought this from the bank at its depreciated price and Jon used it along with my personal SIM for a while. When I was transferred to DMG, I handed over the Sony-Ericsson phone to another TMG trader and began using this along with my old, personal SIM card. My brother had to go back to using his old Nokia unit (which also used to be mine) and a prepaid SIM card.

I've already gone through two chargers and a battery. The third and current charger isn't working perfectly and the current (2nd) battery needs changing because it runs out of charge faster than usual. It still works though. I dropped it and cracked the casing. It still works. Then I lost the part of the casing that was chipped off after it cracked. It made recharging the battery harder because the case is a bit loose now. What made me realize I need to buy a smartphone was when my old organizer started to give me a garbled screen. I had to move my organizer data somewhere else before the data becomes irretrievable. So, it boils down to me needing a new organizer, but bundling it up with a phone would be nice.

The realization took place two months ago. It didn't give me enough motivation to look for a phone. What prompted me to get a new one was seeing a picture on the newspaper of the Sony-Ericsson P1i this week. I just decided I wanted it. Ha ha ha! I never thought I'd be an impulse buyer when it comes to phones.

I was actually hunting for the P1i yesterday afternoon. The Sony-Ericsson shop in Glorietta's Digital Exchange had ran out of stock. It wasn't available in the Sony shop in Park Square either. Found it in another Park Square shop - the Comcentre. It was the last phone available. The other unit they had left was already reserved. Decided to buy it since they allow "0%" for 6 months and had no problem splitting the amount between two of my credit cards (one card has a small credit limit, the other card with a bigger limit was almost maxed out with previous purchases and the plane ticket). Just realized that the whole amount is charged to my credit limit even if I picked paying in installments. Don't like paying cash either ... I get a kick out of earning reward points from my credit card.

:-) The credit card guy I talked to after the store told me that I've reached my limit with one card had an odd tone in his voice after I asked him how soon can I use my card if I pay the full amount due within the month tomorrow, Monday. He has just figured out I'm one of those people they don't make much money from because I don't pay credit card interest if I can help it. Wondering if I'll see an increase in my credit limit after this stunt. The last time they increased my limit was when I maxxed the card and paid the whole amount on due date. You see - these companies will keep on increasing your limit till you end up charging more than you can pay for and start paying them interest.

My sim card was snuggled in its new home when I stepped out of Comcentre:
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By jingfrey at 2007-11-23

Saw the unit was available in SM and the gadget shop in Greenbelt 3 (or is it 5?). It costs around PHP1,000 to PHP5,000 more in those stores. The phone will probably cost less in places like Greenhills ... but I trust shops in places like Makati more.

I like the P1i because it isn't an obvious smart phone. I don't like lugging around the wide PDAs nor the thick smartphones. The P1i is thinner. It also doesn't look like a toy like some Nokia and most Motorola phones do (especially the models covered in 100% plastic). It is open to third party applications, has built in organizer features, is tri-band, Wi-fi enabled, has a touch screen, and isn't as expensive as the more popular Nokia phones. Added plus for me is that it also has decent camera/radio/video/music player/sound recorder features. The P1i is probably not very user friendly if you're used to the Nokia or togglesticks, but I'm geeky enough to overcome that.

Honestly, I would prefer having a quad-band phone with the latest wi-fi technology, and some other techie features. However, my brother pointed out that I'd be paying twice as much if I look for a phone with everything in my checklist. And twice the price is paying too much for me.

It took me last night till this afternoon to manually transfer all the data from my old organizer to my new phone (the organizer does not have features that allow data to be transferred to another gadget or a computer). Actually shouted with glee when I was done with the final entry.

I have yet to register the phone online with Sony and download the free applications. Actually, I haven't even installed the program that allows my phone to connect and synchronize with my PC.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Mr. Brokal

I was waiting for the company shuttle last November 8 when my phone rang showing an unknown number at the caller ID. When I answered it, the guy introduced himself as Ed Brokal and he was looking for Jon. Initially thought he was one of Jon's friends who didn't know that I am now using the number. Or one of those people buying or selling scale models of cars and motorbikes that Jon collects/assembles/sells. Was surprised to learn Ed's a contact of Loy who's scheduling an estimate of the Makati lot.

That was a surprise... especially if you're discovering something was up while talking to a stranger on a cellphone while standing at a bus stop.

Talked to Jon that night and figured none of the e-mails being sent between my brothers and sisters about the property has reached my inbox - it's either Loy's put too many addressees that the server tagged it as spam, or he made a mistake typing my e-mail address.

Ed would call my cellphone again Nov. 14 because he lost Jon's number. Still haven't received e-mails about the plan/s which Jon said he would forward to me. Kinda ironic that the person doing the estimation keeps calling MY cellphone.

Hope this thing works out well.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ignoring the bomb blast

Was on the way home Tuesday night when there was a news flash on the TV that a bomb has exploded at the Batasan.

Needless to say, the moment I got home I switched on to ABS-CBN's News Channel (ANC) to watch the coverage and started texting Rey and Boss Dan. I think I got home earlier than they did because they were just tuning in. Stayed with ANC simply because ABC-CBN 2 and GMA 7 went back to regular programming after their news reports.

Rep. J. De Venecia got a lot of airtime... but he probably should've kept his words to a minimum. "Memorable" stuff he said that night:
  • There is still no final conclusion to what caused the Makati blast and now the Congress was bombed.
    Way to go JDV... link the two together and cause panic.
  • He is not in a state to comment officially about the blast (or something to that effect).
    Then why keep on speaking to the media, telling them your speculations?

Congressman Akbar, the suspected target of the bomb, and two others who were also in the vicinity died that night. Around 14 people were injured. One of those seriously hurt died yesterday.

If market was in a panicky mood, dollar would have been bought yesterday morning. The dollar was actually sold. The rally at the US Stock Market and the dollar inflows ruled. A joke we heard from another trader (another bank) was: had more congressmen died, dollar would have slid down to PHP41.00.

The dollar closed yesterday below the 43.00 level.

Wonder what Binay is feeling now? Before this bomb exploded, he reported getting a number of death threats (last Sunday).

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dinner with ICAP

ICAP invited us to dinner last night at the Highlands Steakhouse in SM Mall of Asia.

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Shoot! I just realized I don't have a pic with Boss Jun in it!

Dealing Room

Brought my camera and took pics in between trades.

Reading the USD/PHP graph2007-1114 016 (Small) 2007-1114 017 (Small)

Watching the currencies on the Reuters screen:
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PNB Decked (for Christmas)

Nov. 12 was a New York holiday ... which meant some traders had free time to start putting up those Christmas decors:

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Jan clowning around (as usual):
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Milette was serious about arranging the decors right:
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San Beda ... patron saint of perverts? He he he! Just joking!
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These pics remind you of Netherlands? He he he!
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Nov. 13 was also a slow day for some ... as New York hasn't woken up yet.

That means more time to put up decors.
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The sliding door closed before they could get this out the door:
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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Reading up on Jose Maria Basa

My dad told me to visit the place where Jose Maria Basa lived in Hong Kong. Searching the net to find out where in Hong Kong that place is, I came across some interesting references to JMBasa:

On May 16, 1898, J. M. Basa, a Filipino, who had lived in Hongkong since 1872, on account of his connection with the troubles of that year, wrote letters [29] to a number of friends recommending the widest possible circulation of a proclamation enclosed therewith, as an aid to the American policy in the Philippines "in the war against the tyrannical friars and the Spaniards."

With these letters there were sent two different proclamations, each beginning with the words "Fellow Countrymen."

Note # 29 is this:
[29] The following is one of them:--

"_H. Kong_, May 16, 1898.

"Senor Don Jose Enrique Basa:

"My Dear Enrique: As an aid to the American policy in the Philippines,--America being the most liberal and humanitarian nation in the world,--I earnestly recommend the widest possible circulation of the proclamation which I send herewith in order that the Americans may be supported in the war against the tyrannical friars and the
Spaniards who have connived with them, and that public order, so necessary under the present conditions, be preserved.

"Thy relative, twenty-six years an emigrant.

(Signed) "_J. M. Basa_."

--P.I.R., 1204-10.

Just how many Jose Basas are there in Philippine history? And how many of them are actually my relatives, anyway? Just in case you haven't figured it out ... I'm checking out my dad's stories again. Nothing so far specifically states that Jose Ma. Basa is related to the Cavite Basas even if he was implicated in the Cavite Mutiny (the Spaniards used the mutiny as an excuse to round up people they considered dangerous - including people in Manila). Then again, the Basas of Cavite originally came from Badoc, Ilocos Norte - according to my dad... that one I'll have a harder time to verify.

The Morning After

Sam had to take a break from the party AND the alcohol around 11PM last night. The Bum Equipment people continued the party at the backyard though. Sam took a brief nap at the living room.

At midnight, Sam and I were surprised to hear someone at the gate ... it was Michelle who just arrived from Calamba!

Michelle being Michelle, Sam was torn between happy that she actually came, and wanting to wring Michelle's neck since her loud voice is making Sam's hang-overed ears ring.

Michelle ate whatever food was available and started talking to me. She would sometimes try to get a reaction from Sam who was trying to sleep. Mention of going to Tagaytay woke up Sam though.

At around 1AM this morning, Sam's Bum Equipment friends said their goodbyes. After Michelle finished eating, Sam changed her clothes and asked Michelle to drive us someplace away from the house for coffee. Had Michelle not backed out of Tagaytay, we would be drinking coffee there. As we drove away from the house, the choices were Starbucks Las Pinas, Mall of Asia, Hotel Sofitel (former Westin), Manila Peninsula, and Makati Shangri-la.

We headed for Mall of Asia. Unfortunately, every coffee shop there was already closed. We then headed towards Makati. Parked outside Gloria Jean's coffee and were heading towards Shangri-La when Michelle asked Sam if she was really willing to pay for our coffee. Sam had second thoughts, figured out that what she really wanted was sit on a comfy couch drinking decent coffee. We ended up in Starbucks outside the Shang.

2007-1110 108 (Small)2007-1110 096 (Small)Topic over coffee was Sam's love life. It's been a long time since I've been with Michelle (High School!) and listening to her talk reminded me of how just as crazy-funny she was back then.

2007-1110 107 (Small)When Sam couldn't decide over an issue she has with one guy, Michelle asked me for a coin and used Heads or Tails logic to resolve it.

2007-1110 110 (Small) Michelle noted that the biggest mug of coffee was ordered by the person with a hang-over.

2007-1110 109 (Small) Sam dozed off the moment we were back in Michelle's van. With the navigator asleep, we ended up making some wrong turns. Michelle first dropped off Sam, then me, before heading back home. It was around 5AM when I got home.

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