Sunday, December 28, 2008

An Evening at Aliw Theater to Watch Ballet Manila

My cousin Dana takes up ballet and is part of the cast of Ballet Manila's recent production: "Tatlong Kuwento ni Lola Basyang".

Aunt Hilda had invited everyone who attended the Christmas reunion to Ballet Manila's last show for the year ... and even offered to buy our tickets.  Which is why Mariel, Kayla, Lauren, Chel, Carl, a friend or relative of Chel, Mark, Mae, Jon and I showed up outside the Aliw Theater at the Star City Complex yesterday afternoon.

The others came in early to get their tickets then eat at a nearby fastfood.  Jon and I had been looking up the Cyberzone exhibit then stopped by Starbucks, so we showed up about 20 minutes before showtime.  The funny thing was although we were relatively late, we were able to get in at once without falling in line because we followed Aunt Hilda through the door.  The others were not able to do the same because by the time they got back, the people in line were getting impatient and the ushers didn't want to appear unfair by letting more guests/relatives of the performers bypass the line.

The show opened late than expected, and we had to deal with an irate old man when we tried to save seats for the others.  Jon and I got middle seats.  The others ended seating a few rows back.

Jon had brought a camera, hoping he could film the performance, but we were told that photos and filming the performance is not allowed.  I suppose the person in front of us with the camera on a tripod is the official cameraman.

We weren't able to wait for Dana to come out of the dressing room after the show, and we parted ways with the others who planned to enjoy the Star City rides til midnight.

Jon and I checked out the restaurant row by the bay and ended up in another Starbucks cafe.

There was a big nativity scene in the middle of the strip and I decided to take some pictures:

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Jon and I went to Makati because it was easier to catch a bus ride home from there.  Since it was already late and there were few people about, we thought it was a good opportunity to take pictures of Rustan's window display before the store changes it at the end of the holiday season:

Saturday, December 27, 2008

2008 Chistmas Loot

Christmas is over, and it's time to take inventory of the gifts I got this year.

Food stuff from counterparties/brokers/officemates:

What's left of the food basket my cousin Jeff and family gave our family. 

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This table is where I stacked the other gifts:

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From officemates/brokers/counterparties:

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I got these from the Family Reunion:

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I think I'm gonna start using the backpack.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Fajardo Family Reunion

Jeff and family hosted this year's family reunion which was held at his house in Villamor. The reunion officially started at lunch.


Christmas Eve 2008

Took some pictures of our parish church last night:

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Today's Dose of Randomness

Spent lunch yesterday walking around Mall of Asia and noticed this near McDonald's:

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I think I'm going to check Cyberzone out another day.

It's hard not to think of buying fireworks for New Year's eve if the stalls selling them are just a block away from home, but my mom didn't want me to, so I guess that would be a "no".

Friday, December 19, 2008

This Week's Summary

Dec. 15: Met Bee at Park Square 1.

Dec. 16: Realized a lot of people in the dealing room and the backroom got food poisoning from the pancit yesterday. And I thought it was just a bad reaction to the Thai food I ate last night.

Dec. 17: The FX Group had lunch at the Hong Kong Chef.

Dec. 18: Boss Dan submitted his application for the early retirement program.

Dec. 19: PNB's Christmas Party

Friday, December 12, 2008

Treasury Christmas Party

The Treasury groups of Allied Bank and PNB held a joint party at the PNB dealing room yesterday evening. Following are photos and video clips I took from the party:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

This Year's Carolers

A clip of the carolers that visited the Dealing Room this year.

Fireworks stall

A number of tents were set up in a vacant lot and now they're used by people selling fireworks. They'll probably stay there until December 31.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

ICAP Charity Day 2008

This year's guest brokers were Billy Crawford, Iliac Diaz, Tweety de Leon and Asi Taulava. Rey couldn't get over how tall Asi was. Adie wanted to have a picture taken with Billy but he was gone by the time she thought of it.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Cristy Visits the Dealing Room

Cristy took a short vacation early December and passed by the Dealing Room to give out Christmas presents.

Cristy's Visit

I got this t-shirt ... which she bought during her Europe trip.

Jus heard she was around and dropped by the Dealing Room. Everyone remembered the sardine mix-up in Singapore.

Cristy's Visit

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas Carnivale

Was at Festival Mall today to watch "Twilight" with Sam and saw that the Christmas decors are up.

They picked an unusual theme this year - Christmas Carnivale. Instead of the staple giant Christmas tree ornaments, they hung huge masks.


They even have carnival people walking around. I passed by a man wearing old English clothing and coated in from head to toe in silver paint - he was pretending to be a mechanical toy. These two were walking around the mall on stilts:

Festival Mall Christmas Carnivale

This guy could pass as one of those carnivale people...

Festival Mall Christmas Carnivale

until he hands you a Citibank flyer ... which explains his get-up - the Citibank had people dressed up in London guard uniforms.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

ACI Christmas Party

It's not December yet, but ACI already had its Christmas party. On the day the Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. Go figure.

The event was held at the Captain's Bar in Mandarin Oriental, Makati. Having a table near the stage set us up to be noticed by the band. Cheryl was coaxed to sing, and after her number, it wasn't hard to get more volunteers from the crowd.

ACI Christmas Party

Told Jon to fetch me once he gets off from work. He was supposed to just wait for me at the lobby. Instead, he found himself inside the bar without being asked if he was an ACI member. After getting him a beer and whatever's left of the food, we left the party... to watch the "Bolt" movie.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Uncle Ceo's death

We heard about it early morning of November 13, when Pie called up to tell us the news. She in turn heard about it from her parents in California, who were informed by Guilo, who got the call from Tashi in Cavite. I heard that's the similar route the message took when Aunt Fe in Batanes learned about it - her daughter in Pennsylvania texted her the news.

My mom was in shock after the phone call - Uncle Ceo was the youngest in their brood. I think she cried when she went back to her room to tell dad the news.

Uncle Ceo died in his sleep, after spending a fun day with his kids, and he was looking forward to a day of playing golf on the 13th. He wasn't a womanizer, but Aunt Hilda and the kids had to compete with his love of golf.

Aunt Lily and her husband flew in from California Saturday. Aunt Fe paid around twice the price of a one way trip from Batanes to Manila just so she could come to the wake at the Bonifacio Naval Station Chapel last night and for the interment this morning. Uncle Vic was not able to leave California.

Guilo couldn't come to his dad's funeral as he is not sure he could go back to California despite holding a valid working visa. There have been tales of Filipinos holding valid US working visas who have been denied entry back into the US after taking a vacation in the Philippines. Uncle Ceo had told him not to come back unless his papers are in order - no matter what happens ... and it probably includes death.

The Coast Guard, DOTC, and even the masons were giving Aunt Hilda headaches by nagging her on how and where they want the necrological service to be held. She gave in to one night at the Bonifacio Naval Station Chapel, but turned down adding masonic rites after the necrological service.

The funeral was this morning. I wanted to be there to see it, what with the gun salute and all. Alas, I had to go to work. I guess I'll have to wait for someone else to send me a video or pictures.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pia's Visit

Pia and her husband are in the Philippines for a visit and she decided to drop by the Treasury Dealing Room. They'll go back to Singapore within the week.

Pia Llena's visit

Thursday, October 23, 2008

How much does a 6day, 5night trip to St. Petersburg cost?

The local headlines got me wondering about how much money a person would need for a trip to Russia.

Let's say you are leaving Manila on Oct. 27, a Monday and coming back on Nov. 1, a Saturday.

If you fly Singapore Airlines, business class, you would be paying a round-trip ticket fare of USD 3,935.11 or using the airline's current conversion rate of 0.77, EUR 3,030.03. If you decide to take your spouse with you, that would be USD 7,870.22 or EUR 6,060.07.

Say you decide not to take chances and get a 5-star hotel at the St. Petersburg area. How about booking a room at the Hotel Astoria for five nights? With the spouse in tow, you get a Deluxe double room for USD 2,250 or EUR 1,750. Free daily breakfast is included in the package you got.

This far, the trip already cost you and your spouse USD 10,120.22 or EUR 7,810.07.

But you wouldn't pay all that amount in Russia. You would be paying for the plane fare in Manila, and if you haven't paid for the hotel via an agency, then you would be bringing at least USD 2,250 or EUR 1,750 for your hotel room.

For the sake of erring on the safe side, let's assume that transfers, seminar registration fee, shopping, tours and meals other than breakfast would be worth thrice the 5-star hotel room rate for 5 nights = USD 6,750 or EUR 5,250.

This means that a budget of USD 9,000 or EUR 7,000 would probably be enough for two people to travel to and stay comfortably in Moscow.

And if you did spend it there, you wouldn't be bringing it all back. Assuming your company paid for your stay, you would still be paying for the spouse. So roughly, you would be bringing back only half the said amount.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tullett Prebon Cocktail Party

Tullett Prebon hosted a cocktail party last night at Fiesta San Miguel in Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati. Beer and iced tea were free-flowing. Left around 10PM. Heard from Rey that the young ones stayed way past midnight.


Tullett Prebon Cocktail Party

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Morning Ghost?

Jan usually comes to the office early. This morning, she saw the reflection of a lady with no feet on the dealing room door. She's putting it down as a ghost encounter.

This would give credence to the speculation that the building ghosts roam freely on Tuesdays and Fridays ... and this encounter means they don't wait until evening.

He he.

Friday, October 10, 2008


The first bus I rode on the way back home had a flat tire along the highway near Villamor Air Base/Fort Bonifacio. I think it was a flat tire since I could hear a whooshing sound.

One of those trucks whose business is to assist stranded vehicles on the highway (for a fee ofcourse) stopped by. After some minutes - and I gather that the driver, conductor and the truck people have given up on fixing what was wrong - the driver climbed back into the bus and announced that the truck will tow the bus back to the terminal where we would transfer to another bus.

Those who didn't want to go back to the terminal got off the bus and tried their luck in getting on another bus that might stop by. Others like me didn't mind going back and transferring to another bus. Then there are those people who were asleep and didn't hear the announcement. The driver then stepped off the bus and one of the guys from the towing company took the wheel.

The truck had already towed us as far as Pasay Road when a lady at the back found out where we were headed and started a racket about not informing the passengers about what was going on. I am guessing she just woke up. Her racket woke the other passengers who were also asleep when the bus driver made his announcement. The newly awake passengers joined the racket, giving the towtruck guy a headache. One of the funny statements I heard came from lady #1 who questioned the decision to turn back when we were allegedly already in Alabang. Either she doesn't know her geography or her eyes had trouble discerning the landmarks in the dark. I almost spoke up to correct her wrong statements, but decided I didn't want to be on the receiving end of an aggravated person I don't even know.

This yapping goes on until we reach the bus terminal. As I waited my turn to get off the bus, lady #1 passed by me, holding a big box of cake. It was seeing the box that made me realize that the reason she might be very pissed off has a lot to do with the cake - is she running late to a party? Or if the party is not tonight, is the cake icing already melting?

When we got onto the second bus, there was another problem. No one from the bus company made the announcement to the passengers to keep our bus tickets. Since 1/3 of the passengers on our bus had left when the driver announced that we will be towed back to the terminal, 1/3 of the passengers on the replacement bus therefore were new and hadn't paid yet. When the supervisor started inspecting tickets of the transferees, those who left their tickets in bus #1 started complaining. To get the people off his back, the supervisor chose to give the driver the go signal to start the engine and leave - which meant 1/3 of the passengers got a free ride this evening.

The whole ordeal would be considered a hassle by most, I on the other hand found it amusing.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Ghost Sighting

Learned that Rey thinks he saw a female ghost in the dealing room Friday night. Joey didn't turn his head to look at it but he felt the chill in the air and got goosebumps.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

US Embassy Bazaar

Bee, her sister Eleanore, and their sis-in-law Rowie went to the US Embassy Bazaar held at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. Bee invited me to tag along and I said I'd meet there at the WTC.

Arrived there 1 1/2 hours before closing time, and after going around, I just ended up buying a t-shirt for myself and machang for my dad - as it is one of his favorite food and one doesn't always come across a store selling it unless you live in Chinatown.

Saw this nativity scene and thought of Jeng's projects.

Hitched a ride with Bee and her folks to Glorietta. On the way there we ended up playing some sort of guess that 80s song since the radio station was tuned in to a station playing 80s the whole afternoon.

Passed by the Food Court to buy a whole chicken from the Savory stall ... I already am bringing home machang for my dad, so I thought I might as well buy some Savory chicken for the rest of the folks.

National Book Store was on the way to the bus station and I found myself buying Brisingr and Stardust.

When I got back home, I learned that Edith had visited Papa before going to the airport and leaving for California. She brought an aircon unit which her nephew Edwin promised to have installed in Papa's room within the week.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Today's Dose of Randomness

Learned that Edith is in the Philippines. She texted Jon that she is in town and they met at the condo she bought at Global City that she's now fixing up before putting it up for rent.

ACI/MART/TOAP/IHAP General Assembly tonight at the Hotel Intercon in Makati as usual. Guest speaker was BSP Gov. Tetangco.

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Met Jon at the Intercon lobby after his meeting with Edith. I think she brought up the issue of the properties.

Decided to watch the last full show of Eagle Eye before going home.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Change Management Workshop

Management decided to hold a Change Management Workshop with representatives from both PNB and Allied Bank. It was held the whole day yesterday and today. It was held at PNB's Executive Lounge. Lenny, Tina, Dennis, Jeng and I attended for Treasury Sector.

Day 1 (Sept. 25)

This is the day when the ice-breaker games and getting to know each other or finding out about yourself exercises were held.

They actually had this sound booth brought to the room

The reason Jeng had me take the picture below? She found it cute that the red shoes matched the red bag, as Emily Post would probably recommend.

Day 2 (Sept. 26)

Today was mostly spent on planning.

Which had us going through a lot of coffee, candy, and other junk food as we did some brainstorming.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Rainy Day

Bee, Nicole, Lia and Bubbles planned some sort of dinner tonight at Cyma in the Shangri-la Plaza Mall. I did not confirm attendance when they were planning it because it's a Thursday night AND held in Ortigas. I did say I would try to come.

Turns out I couldn't come ... I finished work late since the staff meeting ended late, so I was leaving the office around 6:45 pm. There was no way I could get to Ortigas by 7PM.

Good thing I was on the way home at that time. It began to rain hard by 6:55 pm and heavy traffic usually follows heavy rain. It was even zero visibility somewhere north/east probably near Ortigas.

Around 7:30, Bee told me that Nancy and Bubbles had just arrived. Hmmm.... Nancy? Thought it was just Bee, Lia, Bubbles and Nicole. Apparently, other old friends were invited. Texted Bee back and told her to have fun. Didn't tell her I just realized that dinner was a reunion of grade school classmates... well, grade school to me but high school to her since I skipped 7th grade.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Someone Got Her New Camera Today

Boss Jun finally handed over the camera Jeng ordered from the US, and Jeng lost no time familiarizing herself with it.

No better way to practice than capture an event, like a birthday feast for the September celebrants.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Today's Contradiction

This envelope was handed out yesterday or the other day in the bus I was riding home... you know - those people who go onboard commuter buses, preach about religion, then collect donations from the passengers.

Somehow, I found this particular donation envelope funny.  It's like this group's God-given mission is to prevent drug addiction in order to save lives... and yet the preacher who gave this out never mentioned anything about drug addiction in her speech.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Bogus Fire Drill

Someone tripped the fire alarm which had everyone evacuating the building.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Jeng's Pasalubong

I saw some bags at the Sidlakang Negros showroom that were made using local materials. I bought this one for Jeng ... I know that she would want to decorate it.

Dumaguete Trip - Summary

(Click the links to other entries for more details)

Day 1 (03-Sep-2008) - The University Town

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Bee wanted to maximize our stay in Dumaguete so we chose a 7:10AM plane trip going there.  Which meant I have to be at the NAIA Terminal 3 at around 5:00AM ... 6:00AM at the latest.  My mom was worried that leaving the house before sunrise might be dangerous, so I dragged my brother to accompany on the trip to the airport just to make her happy.

Left the house a few minutes after 4AM since I decided to unpack/pack my luggage for one last time.  The bus left after 4:30 because the driver/conductor wanted it to be at least 80% occupied.  It also picked up more passengers along the way, so the delays meant I was still checking in my bags at the Cebu Pacific counter when the boarding call came.

Despite its reputation for delayed flights, Cebu Pacific landed at Dumaguete airport on time.  The place looked like the airport in Kalibo, with no luggage carousel.  You get to watch the men bringing the luggages down from the plane and to an area at the arrival station.  Once you spot your own luggage, you only have to come forward and grab it from the staff.  You still have to show your stub at the exit though, and the guard will check if the sticker on your luggage has the same number as your claim stub.

Harold's Mansion provides free airport pick-up, and waiting for us at the airport was Mang Danny with Harold's van.  We contracted him for a day tour and after checking in, eating brunch, and changing rooms, we got back into the van and went to the following places:

That was a satisfying first day... used my camera a lot and my batteries almost ran out of charge by the time we got back to the hostel.


Day 2 (04-Sep-2008) - Bee's Birthday

2008-0906 202 (Small)

The original plan last night was to see the twin lakes, then if we have time, check out Dauin and maybe snorkel.  Mang Danny thought it wasn't adviseable as we might be too tired to snorkel after the Twin Lakes visit.

When we woke up, we realized it rained while we were sleeping and that mroe rain was in the weather forecast.  It was bad news as going to Twin Lakes is not adviseable when it is raining.  I suggested to Bee that we go to Dauin first since she likes snorkeling anyway.  Then, if it looks like it will be a sunny afternoon, go to to Twin Lakes.  Which is what we did.

The day's itinerary therefore was:

With the exception of the Boston Cafe incident, Bee had fun on her birthday.


Day 3 (05-Sep-2008) - Apo Island

2008-0906 312 (Small)

There were at least 4 of us going to Apo Island today, so Harold arranged a trip for us last night.  We were at the lobby at 9AM, and found out that the other guests joining us were Tom, Jack, and Aira.  The sixth person on the team is Patro, the diving instructor.  Mang Danny drove all 6 of us to Malatapay where Patro took charge the moment we got on the pump boat.

It was raining again that morning so Patro wasn't sure if the boat could drop Bee and me off by the beach.  If the waters wouldn't allow docking, I was keen on staying on the boat and probably read a book rather than try diving. He he he!  Anyway, luck would give us sunshine by the time we approached the island and so Patro dropped us two snorklers on the beach before the rest of them headed for deeper waters for diving.

Hung around the following places on the island this day:

Left Apo around 4:30PM.  Harold recommended eating at Hayahay restaurant Wednesday night, which we didn't do because we ate at Jo's Chicken Inato.  Decided to try the food there tonight, but when the tricycle dropped us off at the entrance, we liked the ambiance of nearby Lab-as better and ate there instead.  The two restaurants have the same owner, by the way.


Day 4 (06-Sep-2008) - Pasalubong shopping

Sidlakang Negros Showroom - Sep. 6, 2008

Harold recommended that we check out Sidlakang Negros on our first day.  Bee and I decided to go there this day to shop for souvenirs and gifts.  Once there, we realized that only 20%-30% of the shops are open, with the remaining 80% either under construction or awaiting for the arrival of inventory for sale.  The showroom will be fully open by mid October of this year.

We enjoyed shopping and looking around the three shops that were open.

Ate lunch at nearby Nerisse afterwards.  The food there tastes good, by the way.  And Bee liked their garlic peanuts... a lot.

Aira, Bee and I had the same 4:25PM flight back to Metro Manila, so we met at the lobby around 3PM.  Danny initially told Aira we could hitch a ride back to the airport, but there were some change of plans.  We considered taking tricycles, then Harold offered to drive us there in his truck.

Cebu Pacific had a short "bring me" game during the flight.  They gave away three bag tags. 

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By jingfrey, shot with SONY ERICSSON P1i

The first one to show a SMILE magazine got the first one, the person who had a 5-centavo coin got the second one, and I got the third one because I was the first to show a cellphone charger.  Bee was actually surprised I won... I think she was more surprised to find out I got the charger in my bag.

Cebu Pacific was on time again, but our brothers were both stuck in traffic so Bee and I hung around at NAIA 3.  Bee asked me to take a picture near the luggage carousel.

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By jingfrey, shot with DSC-W70

Then she took this picture with my camera...

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By jingfrey, shot with DSC-W70

and took a similar picture on her camera, and spent the succeeding minutes comparing the two.  She ended up deciding she wanted a new camera since her camera doesn't have some of the features like mine does (starting with ISO 1000).  That's what taking a photography class does, make a person want a newer camera - he he he!

Bee's brother arrived a few minutes before Jon.  Jon took a taxi going to the airport, but NAIA 3 is like the other terminals where taxis from the outside aren't allowed at the arrival area, so he got off at departure area, met me at the arrival area, where we took those expensive taxis to the nearby bus station.

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