Tuesday, July 29, 2008

That SEC exam thingy, and a free movie (part 2)

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Printed the contents of the review CD from SEC... consumed MORE than 1 ream. The small pile on the right would be test questions with answers.

One gets dizzy just looking at that much review material. Needed: an Ultimate Guide or the SEC test for Dummies.


Watched the Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. The ticket said the movie starts at 7:30pm. Given that MOA's Center Stage is like the old ordinary movie theaters (more than 500 hundred seats - newer theaters can seat only around 250), and they did not let people in till around 7:10pm, PLUS they actually checked bag contents and required everyone to leave their cellphones/cameras/other electronic devices at the door, the show started around 8pm. And when I say show, it included standing up for the national anthem and the invocation (prayer), then listening to about 3 people say short speeches on a podium. Thank goodness they didn't hold some kind of game or raffle to extend the time. The movie itself started just before 8:30pm.

FMAP gave away free pens at the door to those with valid tickets.

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The movie's around 1 1/2 hours, and either theater's air conditioning wasn't enough for the number of people inside, or the mall shut down their air-conditioning early - even if there are people still inside the movie houses.

There was a long line outside the theater of people getting back their cell phones. Milette, her daughter, Menchie, Kai and I hitched a ride to Muntinlupa with Boss Dan. Menchie and I took a bus home from Muntinlupa.

Monday, July 28, 2008

That SEC Fixed Income trading exam thingy, and a free movie ticket

There's this new requirement that all Fixed Income traders/brokers/salespeople have to take an exam with the SEC before they can sell gov't securities. Now everyone in the dealing room has to take it, whether one trades GS or not... simply because one could eventually end up in the GS desk when there's a "rotation".

The exam dates available are in August to September. Heard that other banks, and our brokers, have started studying 3 months ago. Given that our budget dept tends to release checks about a week or sometimes a day before exams ... no matter how you badger them ... and SEC or whatever agency's handling the exam won't release the review CD until one has paid the PHP5,500 (per person) exam fee ... we're freaking doomed to fail.

Rey asked one broker to let us borrow the CD and guess what ... if you printed every document in there, it would consume a ream of paper ... maybe more. The table of contents reads like a syllabus for one subject meant to be taken in a trimester/semester if you are in college. No wonder the other banks' traders have started studying THREE MONTHS AGO. Sheesh! We're sure we could answer the bond questions, but a good number of other items deal with SEC rules and circulars ... most of which we haven't really read of before, much less know about. And I HATE MEMORIZATION... ever since grade school.


Wonder what our dealing room's passing rate will be? On a less serious note, imagine how many reams of paper we would be consuming once we start printing our own copies?

SEC's smart for handing out CDs instead of printed materials. A decent, cheap CD only costs PHP15.00. Burning CDs won't consume much man-hours and electricity, and putting a label and packaging it would probably cost them only PHP20 more. If they had opted to print the content then bind each copy, they would've spent hundreds more. By just handing out CDs, they passed the cost of printing and binding to whoever paid for the exam.


Some counterparties gave out tickets to the Int'l Markets Trading Group for an advanced screening of The Mummy at the SM Mall of Asia Center Stage tomorrow evening. After taking into consideration the tickets they need to have family and/or friends watch the movie with them, there was one left over and Milette gave it to me.

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Back of front conver

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I have watched movies at the regular MOA cinemas, but I have no idea what the ticket means by Center Stage, and why it costs PHP400 - an ordinary MOA cinema ticket is worth around PHP130. Wonder if it's different from the Premiere theater or Director's theater-majiggy (i don't watch movies there so I don't remember the name).

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Either the cinema itself costs that much, or the extra money's for the fund raiser.

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And... they don't want anyone bringing cellphones or any recording device OR FOOD inside. Could deal with not bringing food ... but no cellphone? Hmmm... got to stash it DEEP down in my bag so the ushers don't to see it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

PNB Anniversary Lunch

Cristy in PNB Singapore was asking Rey how the Treasury folk were celebrating the bank's anniversary considering that Management chose to use the money for the anniversary to help those affected by the recent typhoon. Told Rey to tell Cristy that I'm going to take pictures.

We hadn't really planned on having a feast, but our brokers, ICAP and Tullett Prebon, sent some food. Amstel already sent us a large pizza yesterday.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dinner with Prebon

Prebon treated us to dinner at the Hyatt's Market Cafe. They now have free-flowing drinks ... you get them yourself from the refrigerators. Thing is, I only see softdrinks and beer.

Once more limited my food to tasting this and that then binging on dessert.

I like the dessert here better than the ones in Hotel Sofitel's Spiral Restaurant.

The thing about Hyatt being at Pedro Gil is that sometimes you wonder if the sexy clad girls that just passed by are actually billeted in the hotel or if they are prostitutes whose clients are checked in the hotel. Anyway, it's the guys in the office who say most sexy girls at the lounge of the Hyatt Manila are prostitutes.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Calling Tree

Left the office at 9pm ... which had Bee calling me employee of the month... she didn't know I timed in at 10am. He he he!

I was therefore still on the way home, exchanging text messages with Sam and Bee, when the calling tree was activated for an exercise. Our team leader was lucky ... if I had been at home, I wouldn't see the message till tomorrow morning. Texted back that I got the message. Texted Rey, Ted and Joey to ask if their calling trees have been activated as well. No reply.

A few minutes later, another message from my team leader came, this time with the so-called disaster message that the office building "is on fire", and therefore proceed to the back up site. Replied with "Roger", then after a few seconds, wondered if I should forward the message instead of just replying it. Texted Jeng, Rey and Lanie to ask. Jeng replied that I just acknowledge the message. Told her I did ... also told her I was tempted to text back to the team leader: "Got the message... now proceeding home". He he he! Rey and Lanie think I should forward.

Hmmm....2 vs 1. I forwarded the message to the rest of the team since I don't remember if the calling tree has an order. Ha ha ha! A handful of them texted back, one asked where the backup site was, others told me that they already got the message. Rey and Lanie's fault. I cleared with the team leader if the old backup site is still the same place and got confirmation. Told the newbie the location. As for the others, I texted back as a joke that it's good that they got the message and are heading to the backup site ... ergo, I could head home instead. He he he.

Texted Ted and Joey that "the building is on fire" ... so what the heck are they still doing there? This time, I got a reply from Joey responding to my joke. Still no reply from Ted. Wonder if he brought the other phone today? The guy has 2 cellphones that one's always guessing which phone number he's using at a any day. I think the only person who always knows what number he's using is his girlfriend. He should get a phone with dual active sim.

Last month, it was earthquake drill ... I even dared people in the office to actually "drop, cover and hold" ... no one did... we wondered if the only people who actually practiced that were the folks in USAID - they were the ones who wore helmets and vests during the fire drill. This month it's the calling tree.

One wonders if it's coincidence or if some people are taking precautions that the July 18 earthquake may actually happen.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Dinner with Unicredit's Markus

Markus of Unicredit (was HypoVereins Bank - before the 2 banks merged) is in town and as customary for foreign banks providing third currency liquidity/services to local banks, he treated the PNB FX group for dinner at Sofitel's Spiral Restaurant.

Remembering the indident of July 5 (eating too much), I limited myself to just tasting the foods I don't usually get to eat. Which was sad considering it was an eat-all-you-can buffet. I did binge on dessert though ... when I got back from the buffet table with a plate of at least five different slices (small slices, mind you) of pie/cake, Markus couldn't help but remember and relate that when he was growing up (I think this is in Switzerland), his grandma used to serve many pies for dessert. Considering that the others each had a glass of halo-halo for dessert, topped with ice cream, I think even my dessert was lighter.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Today's Funny

Someone showed me his brother's resume and I couldn't help but make a joke.

His brother supposedly signed up for the drug enforcement agency when he was applying for the civil service exam just because the sign-up sheet was there. He supposedly wasn't really serious about pursuing it.

Right... the kid could have skipped the entrance exam ... and the training ... and declined the job if he wasn't really thinking much about joining.

I've always had the opinion that his brother is after the adrenalin rush. Reading the resume now proves it. After a string of 9-5 jobs which I consider boring, isn't it a wonder that the reason his brother joined the agency is to escape the boredom? Ha ha ha!

Anyway, here's wishing the kid good luck at finding a great job after leaving the agency. Hopefully one that doesn't worry his folks.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Movies with Bee

Bee asked if I wanted to watch "Get Smart" and "Hancock" and I said yes. Since she lives in Bulacan and I live in Laguna, we initially planned to meet halfway - at the Shangri-La Mall in Ortigas. However, since I haven't been to Trinoma, and Jon (who was coming with us) said that we'd still be riding the MRT whether it's Trinoma or Shangri-La, I suggested to Bee that we meet in Trinoma.

Jon and I left the house in the morning, passed by Jollibee to buy breakfast for "take-out", which we ate in the bus we took for Makati. We got off at Mantrade and took the MRT. Arrived at Trinoma right before 12:00 noon. Bee wasn't there yet.

Apparently, her dad was playing "tong-its" (the Filipino card game similar to gin rummy and/or poker) with the family driver and won't let him leave till the game's over. Bee eventually decided to drive the car herself instead of waiting for the driver.

While waiting for Bee, Jon and I had some time to wander around the mall. It's like a terrace upon a terrace with all the greens and walkways, and it kinda reminds me of The Peak in Hong Kong. The areas we were able to roam had high end shops. Outside the cinema area is a terrace, with walkways leading to nice restaurants. Jon and I checked the movie schedule and saw that there was no "Get Smart" movie in the line-up. Texted this to Bee who replied that the newspapers said the movie is "Now showing" at the Trinoma.

With Bee still on the expressway, Jon and I decided to wait for her while eating lunch. Bee requested that we pick a restaurant near the cinemas, so we picked one of the fastfoods near the ticket counters - Bigoli. It serves pizza, pasta and salads - much like Sbarro's or Chef D'Angelo.

Ordered a big 4-flavored pizza and drinks. Jon and I were just starting with the pizza when Bee finally came in. Since I already bought pizza, she bought the salad. We left Bigoli about an hour after Bee came in to join us for lunch.

We thought there was enough time to buy the tickets. We were surprised to find a long line at the booth. It looks like the crowd gets bigger after lunch at Trinoma, and the noise from all that people could give one a headache (if one hates crowds like I do).

Anyway, we still got in line, and by the time we reached the ticket counter, the 2:20PM Hancock movie we planned to see had already started. We bought the tickets anyway. Bee paid for them, actually, and told me to just buy her snacks later. Bee asked the ticket lady if "Get Smart" was being shown. The lady said that the "Kung Fu Panda" movie will be replaced by Get Smart at 5pm. Bee bought the tickets for that movie as well so that we don't have to line up again.

I think we missed about 10 minutes of the movie, but not much of the story. I enjoyed it ... my favorite part is when the characters played by Will Smith and Charlize Theron were hitting each other like kids in the kitchen. Cute. Not one of Will Smith's memorable movies, but it's not bad either.

With nearly an hour left before the next movie, we passed by Powerbooks. Bee persuaded me to buy Matthew Reilly's latest book, "The 6 Sacred Stones". She bought another of Reilly's books as well.

Before going into the cinema, we bought ice cream at Cold Rock, then drinks and popcorn at Taters. At the middle of the movie, I began to feel sick and actually went to the restroom twice. If one were to keep count of the food I had been eating so far, I guess it wouldn't be surprising that my digestive system got overwhelmed. Either I ate the wrong combination of food, or I couldn't eat as much as I used to.

When the movie ended and we parted ways, Jon and I took the MRT back to Makati. We passed by Mercury Drug where Jon bought Papa's medicines and some loperamide for me. I felt much better after taking two capsules. Since we pretty much ate the same food, he wondered if I got sick because of the ice cream flavor I chose ... Tia Maria is ice cream with some Kahlua mixed in. Hmmm ... a combination of too much dairy and alcohol? How come I didn't have the same reaction when ate ice cream with whiskey at Gaudi's? Whatever.

Anyway... despite missing some minutes of BOTH movies, and my digestive system rebelling on me at the last minute, it was a fun day.

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