Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Rotarians in government

When you hear the word "government" , what's the first thing -- or word/s, or adjective/s -- that comes to your mind?

Public service? corruption? election? regulation? ...

For me, it's bureaucracy, then taxes.
Thus, I often cringe at the thought of long lines and lost hours, the taxes and fees to pay, when I go to certain government agencies -- DFA to renew my passport, LTO to renew my driver's license or renew my vehicle's registration, SSS to get a new ID or follow up my wife's maternity benefit, COMELEC for a change or transfer of precinct, etc.

So that sometimes, some of us wish that government is as small as a crumpled napkin so that we can flush it down the toilet. But government made sure that it is big enough, rather very big and very expansive enough, that citizens can't help but deal with it, no matter how bureaucratic it may be.

When my sister could not contact his driver for 4 hours after repeated calls (this happened a few months ago), and the driver did not call or text her, nor did he call her house or the office, her first suspicion was that her car was stolen, and the carnappers just dumped the driver somewhere. When I also believed that it was carnapping, the first person that I called up for help was classmate Lito Abogado, a former police official, now in the private sector. It turned out that the driver's cellphone was defective that day, he couldn't receive texts or calls, and he just waited outside the hotel where he was supposed to pick-up my brother in law, for more than 4 hours! So when we found the driver and the car, the first person that I called up was classmate Lito, saying that it was "false alarm".

When my club was looking for a list of public elementary schools in Taguig and their addresses, among the first persons that our club secretary contacted was classmate Grace Pagkatipunan, who works at the Office of the Mayor, Taguig City.

Before I went to Paranaque City Hall this morning to work on a request by my father in law in Iloilo, the first person I called up was classmate Ric Santiago of Paranaque East, to ask if they have any club member/s who work at the city hall. Ric said they have club members who are city councilors, but none as official or staff. He suggested one rotarian, a clubmate of classmate Lilibeth dela Cruz, who is the head of the city government's HR management office. He forgot her name, so I grabbed our district directory, and went to Pque city hall. Not that I want some "influential person" to help me immediately, as much as possible I want to go through the regular process. Only if I think that I get bad service that I would approach some friends or fellow Rotarians for possible help.

The staff at the city assessor's office was polite enough to entertain me. So I have nothing else to do except go back to Makati office. I said why not visit PP Sally Tongson, the chief of Pque city hall's HRM office. Her office is just on the 2nd floor and I was on the ground floor. Sally did not offer me Krispy cream dough nut or starbucks coffee or Italianni's paste, but a very warm smile when she welcomed me in her office. I had a brief chat with her because I knew that she has plenty of official functions to do, but I learned some important info. For instance, would you believe that Pque city hall alone has more than 5,000 employees? Excluded here are policemen, barangay officials and their respective barangay staff, etc.

Finally, our IPDG Butch, is also a government official, being the President of the government's casino and gaming corporation. His boss, the President of the Republic (and the first gentleman?) is mired in endless political and corruption scandals, so he has to keep his head above political and partisan battles, and keep his feet on the ground through his club and our district's various services to humanity.

Rotarians working in government (as regular staff or elected official) seem to be straddling on 2 different worlds. Rotary and other organizations rely on pure volunteerism, from regular dues and payment to community projects dictated by special needs. Whereas governments rely on coercion, from forced collections (aka taxes and fees) to projects that are often dictated by patronage and political horse-trading.

Nonetheless, I am lucky, or we are lucky, to have some friends, some fellow Rotarians, who stay in government, who are able to retain their professionalism and idealism, in an institution whose DNA is already pre-codified with waste and inefficiency. It is important that Rotary clubs where they belong should help them sustain their sanity and professionalism.

Mabuhay kayo mga kapatid!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Launching of "(a)Musings in the life of a Rotarian"

Last night was one of those nights where you treasure being a member or a past president of a Rotary Club. The event was the formal launching of the book, "(a)Musings in the the Life of a Rotarian", at Fully Booked, Bonifacio High Street, Fort Global City. Oh, there were lots of food, lots of drinks including my 2nd favorite low-octane drink, red wine (my 1st fav is beer, hehe), lots of music, lots of people, and of course, lots of book! Siyempre, bookstore ba naman ang venue :-)

The book has 4 chapters -- "Back to basics: a fresh look into the four-way test", "Service about self: Leading the Rotary Way", "Driving the Wheel: Musings in the Life of a Rotarian", and "Club Bites: Amusing Stories in the Life of a Rotarian".

IPDG Butch Francisco wrote the Foreword, chapters 1 and 2, gave brief intro about chapters 3 and 4, and the Afterword. That's why he's the chief author of the book. There are 34 contributors from our District, about half of them were Lead Presidents, whose musings and amusings were covered in chapters 3 and 4.

So, where's the fun? Aha, the fun came in the autographs and signing by each contributor who were there last night. For instance, classmate Boboy Intal (PNB banker) was not a contributor, but he bought a copy, and he approached each contributor to sign, if not write a dedication to him. For instance, I wrote to him (my contribution appeared on page 168, and I wrote in that page), "Boboy, PNB tayo! Poging Nonoy at Boboy! Olrayt!" hehehehe.

In classmate Doris Yu's copy, I wrote her something like this, "Doris, Yu are the face of fun and service in our batch...", and in return, she wrote in my copy, "Nonoy, you hold 'the funniest guy' in RY 06-07. Nice to be with you classmate". Doris, did you mean "handsomest" , not "funniest"? har har har.

In classmate Edwin Afzelius' copy, I wrote him something like this, "Edwin, one of the classmates I highly respect, fun to be with you." And in return, he wrote in my copy, "Noy, the most eloquent Lead Pres. It was great giving together. Thanks." Edwin, maybe you mean the most "flamboyent"? hahaha!

In classmate Letty Rellera's copy, I wrote her something like this, "Letty, Let the fun begin, and Let's have more fun!" (Note, I keep saying "wrote something like this..." because I don't remember exactly the dedication I wrote). Letty in turn wrote in my copy, "Nonoy, I will never forget your good humor." Letty, baka naman you mean my "good looks", not "good humor", hahaha, asa pa.

One female classmate is more brutal in expressing her enjoyment. Barbie Rivadenira wrote, "To my one and only boyfriend, hope you will cherish the memories. Thanks." Before she wrote that, I wrote in her copy, "Barbie the Pooh, you rivadeih ladieh, stay prettieh, sweet smilieh, hehehe". If I had know that she'd call me her boyfriend, I would have written, "Barbie my girlie", hek hek hek!

Won't enumerate here all fond comments, but really-really thanks for the heartful dedications from other classmates and friends -- Inky Reyes, Noy Indonto, Lilibeth dela Cruz, Patti King, Yolly Tan, Ric Santiago, Gov. Jimmy, my-sis ex-DS-Marycris oh-pleas, and many more!

Si Gov. Butch, simple lang ang dedication, sabi nya, "Dear Nonoy, thank you for the support in our book writing project. Couldn't have done it better!" Well, in the Acknowledgment at the back of the book, Gov. Butch mentioned me, Inky, Boboy and tokayo Noy. Oyy Gov, di ko nasulatan ang copy mo! Anyway, ganito ang isusulat ko dapat: "Gov Butch, you butchered the idea that Rotarians can't write their musings and amusings in a literary way..." ahh, saka ko na isulat ang mas mahabang dedication, hehe.

The host last night was Mr. Johnny Litton, he's a funny guy. RIPE DK Lee came past 7pm. Would you believe guys, that in his district in Korea, he was responsible for chartering 32 clubs with 1,000+ new members in one RY! That's how fantastic in Rotary marketing our next RI President is.

Gov. Butch said that this will be "volume 1". Meaning, there will be volume 2, and 3, or more! So for other classmates and fellow Rotarians who submitted articles but for some reason/s, their papers were not printed in this volume, your chance to shine in the succeeding volume/s will not be far.

The book is now available in Fully Booked, Cabman, the contributors, and in RTV.PH.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Lead Presidents' Fellowship at SLLP

At first, it was a suggestion by classmate Joey Lina to me last month that we Lead Presidents (LPs) should have a fellowship sometime in September, since we never had one since our term ended in June 30 this year. Then I posted in our ygroups Joey’s suggestion, then classmate Rose Acoba began a survey by text, of preferred date and place of LPs for the get-together. Then a place and date was chosen, another survey by Rose of who are coming for the headcount. And voila! A number of LPs, some with their spouses and guests, joined Gov. Butch Francisco and wife Maling, last Saturday, September 15, at the PAGCOR-San Lazaro Leisure Park (SLLP) in Carmona, Cavite. Buffet lunch was free, courtesy of SLLP.

And what a fellowship it was – lots of group pictures (as posted by classmate beauteous-vivacious Lilibeth de la Cruz), lots of kwentuhan, lots of laughter, lots of food, and more specifically, lots of horses and horce racing to see! Aside from free entertainment by 2 singers on stage, we also got a crash course for free, how betting in a horse racing game is made, what the numbers and statistics in those tv monitors mean.

But a fellowship is about us, our classmates, our Gov, and our clubs, right? Since 2 or 3 months ago that I have seen many of our classmates, some changes did happen to some of them. Much like climate change. In particular, I have thought that Hamas and the Palestinian militants have already won and Israel’s days are numbered in that part of the world. Why, oh why, you ask? Because the unthinkable has happened! Ces Singzon showed up with a rather clean face, meaning very little moustache! When he arrived, some of us asked him from what club he’s from because we hardly recognized him! Hehehehe.

Then a lady from a southern club came, with complexion much whiter than her previous white… Patty Naoe looked so bright to me, her face and skin and teeth (hehehe). I asked her, is it because as an IPP, she now has to go out less often on community projects and hence, have little exposure to direct sunlight? She shook her head in disagreement. She said that she has changed her bath soap, from bleaching soap to Tide and Mr. Clean! Subukan ko kaya ito, para pumuti din ako na parang bagong laba ang aking balat????

Yolly Tan came with a young pretty lady that looks like a model for shampoo or toothpaste. Turned out it was her youngest daughter! Yasin Badr came with his wife and a luscious-shapely-pretty young mestiza. I thought that this young lady is Yasin’s daughter, I was wrong. She’s the youth exchange lady from Brazil! Doris Yu came with her usual doorish-smileys face.

Other classmates who came were bubbly Techie de la Cruz, medically-legally-smiley Tess Sanchez, sheepish-smiley Letty Rellera, conspiratorial-smiley Palmy Layug, secret service-smiley Teofy Sanglay, playboy-loverboy smiley Raffy Tuvera, RTV-smiley Tyrone Paynor, balut-Pateros smiley Jun Alimpuyo, mucho-dinero-banker smiley Boboy Intal, tax-me-not smiley Lorenz Tato.

You notice I wore red t-shirt in the picture, right? Because my dynamic and friendly co-Red teammates were there. Likeveteran-traveler smiley Luz Reyes, cookie-culinary smiley Julie Rabie, and ballader-ktv smiley Noy Indonto. Other classmates are in the trivia, below.

A fellowship can never be complete without the presence and inspirational talk by our Governor. So Gov. Butch expressed his gladness that he saw once again the cheerful, spirited and good-looking LPs during his term, the never-ending challenge of service to others for the Rotarians, update about the Rotary TV (RTV) and… ta-dah, the book, our rotary book, “(A)Musings in the life of a Rotarian”, the only initiative ever done in Philippine Rotary, and possibly in the world – will be officially launched next month! And no less than the RIPE will be there to witness the event, yehey! So, Kudos to those who contributed to that first volume.

I say “first volume” because Gov. Butch’s plan is to come up with more books from more contributors from our District, and possibly from other District too. So for those who were shy to contribute their short story, despair not because you will have another chance to write your story too. Remember, this book is for circulation around the country, around the world!

Just when Gov. Butch was saying these things, spouse Maling was reminding her that the 1st race for that afternoon at 2pm, is about to start in a minute or two! So he gamely obliged and wrapped up his speech, in time before the horses were lining up in the starting grid. Maling cheerfully applauded, while DS Marycris Oh-pleas my-sis was looking and smiling too. Raffy and I bet a modest amount on the same number, 3-1 (or 1-3). And it was a great guess – our horses were 1st and 2nd, to the last! Hu-hu-hu-hu.

After the race, and after those who won among us have collected their winnings, we were toured to some housing projects by Canyon Ranche. Nice houses, nice interiors, nice view from a hill. Then we passed by the stables of horses, Eeehhh-eehhhhh-eehhhhhh!

The tour ended at 3pm, many of us bid goodbye, for now. As we will be seeing each other again on Oct. 16 for the book launch at Fort Bonifacio, our club’s turf, hehehe.

O sige, heto na ang…..Trivia!
(these classmates were also at our fellowship).

1) Who’s the lady who would sometimes look up in the sky and ask herself if the one being called is “Ako ba? Di kaya sila?” (Clue: her name is a famous flower).

2) Who’s the lady who, before she decides on something, thinks not only once, not twice, but more? (Clue: her family name is about thinking, pondering)

3) Who’s the guy who, when he was younger, would write his family name as “Magpor”? (Clue: his name’s first letter is as famous as Victory)

Answers to trivia:

1) Rose Acoba (hindi “sila ba” hehehe)
2) Amore Isip (hindi lang nag-dalawang isip, more thinking pa, hahaha)
3) Vince Magtoto (to + to = por, kaya “Magpor”. Hehehe, joke lang Vince)

Meanwhile, to other classmates who missed that event, kindly follow after me:

“I hereby resolve, as it is hereby resolved,
that I __________ (state your name),
will definitely join the next LPs fellowships.
This I say without any mental reservation,
So help me God.”


Friday, July 20, 2007

A club handover

Upon the invitation of classmate Rose Acoba, I attended RC Makati Legazpi's club hand-over and induction yesterday at Mandarin Oriental Hotel. IPDG Butch and wife Maling were there. Of course Gov. Ato Magadia and wife Vicky; DS Ric dela Torre, other district officials. A number of PDGs were also there -- Govs. Tony Rufino, Sonny Coloma, Guiller Tumangan, Jun Cortez I think.

Among the classmates I saw -- Techie, Yolly, Ana, Barbie, Jo, Julie, Amore, Ces, Jay, Tyrone, and of course, Rose. Letty came late. Did I forget anyone?... I nearly did not recognize Ces, know why? He has a short hair and his beard was not thick!

Lots of Sharing Presidents there (incl. our club Pres. Owe), 3 jampacked tables. They seem to be a tight and happy group. Parang tayo din no'ng bago pa term natin, di ba.

So many other guests, like the koreans (almost 2 tables sila), their sister club from namsan, korea; sister clubs from Marilao, Bulacan and LB Makiling.

RCML Pres. Jun Puno's brother is singer Rico Puno. The latter sang a medley of some of his famous hit songs in the 70s & 80s. The voice and delivery is still there. Though his grin sense of humor is more vulgar this time, kaya enjoy ako, hahaha. For instance, he kidded Pres. Jun's clubmate, Cory Quirino, na "may suso na si cory oh", tawanan ang crowd.

On my way out of the hotel, I chatted with classmate Ces and district officers Fed Sapitan and Sue Sta. Maria. They waited for their cars. I told them I was waiting for my helicopter. Since my helicopter did not come, nag-jeep na lang ako sa buendia.

It's good to be invited in some club handovers and inductions even after our term as club Pres. Salamat uli, Rose.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Last club meeting this RY

Our last club meeting for this Rotary Year 2006-07 was a slam-dunkin entertaining one! No fireworks, yes, but there were lots of friends and guests, food and pulutan, beer and serbesa, red wines and giant wine glasses!

Last Monday, we had a joint meeting with RC Rizal South-west. Our classmate and my Red Teammate, Pres. Toni Francisco of RCRSW, was our guest speaker. She's our only classmate that I know who entered politics by running as congresswoman in the Malabon-Navotas district last May. Luck, or better, the politics of money and explicit cheating was not on her side though (she ran under the opposition) and she “lost”. So I asked her to speak about her experience and insights about Philippine politics.

Toni narrated why she suddenly decided to run for Congress, as late as last February only. Despite zero experience as a politician, and her family has never been directly into politics, circumstances compelled her to try her luck. Her main rivals are never from Malabon-Navotas, one is from Cebu , the other from Paranaque, suddenly went to Malabon-Navotas, mainly to protect their entrenched political interests there. The incumbent Congressman, a 3-termer and brother of her rival, was a cute Malacanang boy in Congress but was never cute in real performance in his geographical constitutency.

She mentioned that some community organizations that she's involved with, like the Kalipunan ng mga Kooperatiba sa Malabon (KAKOMA), asked her to run. The campaign period was a very exhausting activity. For instance, she'd go house-to-house campaign from 8 - 11:30am, 7 days a week, then caucuses and meetings in the afternoon until evening. But she noticed that about 2 weeks before the election day, she was the only congressional candidate doing the house-to-house campaign. The others have stopped doing this and reserved their energy and money in what’s more “crucial” – vote buying!

During election day, many of her supporters from poor neighborhood never got to vote for her. At P500 per voter in Malabon and up to P1,500 per voter in Navotas, some of her supporters received the money from her rivals, their fingers marked with indelible ink, meaning they cannot vote anymore and just stayed home. Those are several thousand votes for her that failed to materialize.

On “dagdag-bawas” (or vote shaving), Toni showed us pictures of 2 election returns (ERs) from 2 precincts. In one ER, the tally showed she got 55 votes; but just about 8 inches to the right of the same wide paper, her vote, the one signed by the election inspectors (the teachers), was only 5, her 50 votes went to the proclaimed “winner”. In another ER, her 32 votes in the tally became 12, her 20 votes went to another moneyed rival who also lost. So, what’s one lesson here? If you want to win in an election, spend on winning the hearts of voters, but spend MORE on bribing election officials!

After Toni’s talk, an open forum followed. One question was: if you want to change things in society, would it be better to bribe and cheat your way to victory, then change things using your political power; or run fair and clean, hope to win, then change things with little or no political and moral baggage? Toni replied that if she’ll ever run again, she’ll still choose the latter. Only that she’ll run wiser and experienced to guard her weak points. Now, that’s a true Rotarian, passing all the 4-way test! I also asked her if she has any regrets going through those hassles and still lost, she said No. For her it was a very educating and eye-opening experience, a very expensive one though.

After the adjournment around 9pm, that's where a riotous fellowships among members of the 2 clubs began. People exchanged more discussions, or exchanged calling cards and talked about business, or simply exchanged jokes. Toni brought red wines, my clubmates paid for the corkage, the waiters brought giant wine glasses, and we gulped the wines!

Our cluster AG, Edgar Castillo was laughing loudly; our respective PEs (and President by Sunday), Owe Lozada and Jorge Carmona, were discussing plans for more joint meetings during their term.

With that, my term, our term, is ending. Bonding with some classmates is always a very rewarding activity. I only regret that an evening where I also asked classmate Ces Singson to be our guest speaker a few months ago, did not materialize. I bragged to my clubmates that Ces is the most "gallant" president of our District this RY. It's just that some things in our club did not work right that evening.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

More about Pres. Edwin Afzelius

Below is a portion of a paper written by Past Gov. Sonny Coloma, a clubmate of Pres. Edwin Afzelius. Sonny is among the past Governors of our District that I highly respect.

For The Alabang Scoresheet – 7 June 2007
PDG Sonny Coloma

President Edwin’s Will to Serve

... An overall Most Outstanding Club award was also given to Rotary Club of Makati, the second to the last award to be given out by Governor Rafael “Butch” Francisco in the Awards Night held last Friday, 1 June, at the Manila Peninsula. But it was only the second most applauded award.

The night belonged to Pres. Edwin Afzelius. When his name was announced as Most Outstanding Club President, a roar issued from the crowd. A loud standing ovation ensued. Then his fellow Lead Presidents swarmed all over him to offer him handshakes, hugs, kisses and effusive best wishes....

What’s the secret behind the Club’s success under Pres. Edwin’s dynamic leadership? There is no secret. Hard work, determination, and the will to serve were the key success factors.

I happen to be a believer in the Aruego principle enunciated by Past District Governor Johnny Aruego: “There is no such thing as strong clubs or weak clubs, only strong Club Presidents and weak Club Presidents.” I have framed a corollary principle: “Strong clubs led by strong Presidents become effective because these are powered by strongly committed Rotarians.”

Pres. Edwin was definitely hard working. As a founder-owner- CEO of a well-performing business enterprise, he dedicated more than ample stores of time to being Club President. His determination was evident. He was always an ardent promoter of club projects and he sought out the participation of each and every Rotarian and spouse. He also networked with community leaders and organizations to ensure that our projects would have wide-ranging impact. He did a lot to project a positive public image for the club, thereby attracting community support and garnering a good number of new members.

Above all, he had the will to serve. He stepped up and stood out. He embraced the responsibility of leading our club, even if he had already served previously (in RY 1994-1995 under then Governor Romy del Rosario) as President of RC Las Pinas. His enthusiasm infected us all, and his go-getting style was contagious.

Above all, Pres. Edwin demonstrated generosity of spirit and genuine compassion. He shared his time, talents and resources selflessly --- and his generosity returned to him in manifold ways. He had an abundance mindset, so his actions brought forth an abundance of productive and beneficial results.

Many months before his term began, I was with then President-elect Edwin and spouse Panggay, and Past Presidents Polie de los Santos and Jun Manas with their spouses Bubut and Cely at a social event in a Makati hotel. In jest, I told Edwin, “The real reason why we elected you Club President is not that we wanted you to be President. We really want Panggay to be first Lady of RC Alabang!”

In good humor, Edwin took that in stride. But that was really meant to be an indirect compliment. Edwin Afzelius resolved and committed to serve RC Alabang as Club President at a time when there was great reluctance among many of our colleagues to take on the mantle of Club leadership. He did not just accept the responsibility. He heeded the call to serve, embraced the challenge, led the way and made a great difference.

Best talk by the Best President

Pres. Edwin Afzelius of RC Alabang, judged the "best president" of D3830 this RY, obliged to my request to be our club speaker. Last night, he came to our modest but wacky club.

Before I will share with you what classmate Edwin talked about, lemme ask you a little quezzion:
Is there a relationship between height and size of brain?
If so, what's that relationship -- directly proportional, inversely proportional, or tangentally disproportional?

Hah, I gotcha!
Now read on, and see the answer to the above quezzzion :-)

Edwin came around 7pm, and he blended well with my clubmates, especially with our PE Owe Lozada, in a fellowships that lasted for about 1 1/2 hours. Then I formally introduced him and asked him to talk what I asked him to speak -- about "club leadership".

Edwin has been a Rotarian for 20 years now. He's been a PP of RC Las Pinas, then moved to RC Alabang, and his fate being designed by the Gods elsewhere, he's been elected again to be a club President once more.

Before talking or revealing his "secret" to become the most outstanding club leader of our district this year, Edwin painstakingly narrated his experience how he transformed his past club with only 4 or 5 active members to one that reached 50+ members. The lesson shared with us by some of our past club speakers this RY, including our cluster AG Edgar Castillo and past Gov. Jimmy Cura, Edwin re-emphasized -- with plenty of members, things just fall into their places: projects, money, people attending district activities, etc. And if you have a club with a big membership base (RC Alabang has 62 members), how to get the most out of the talent and resources of each and every club member.

So, what's Edwin's "secret"?
Man, the guy talked for about 1 1/2 hours, and if I narrate to you what he talked, it should be about 5 pages long! But I have a short-cut and one-sentence answer to that question:
Invite Edwin to be your club speaker!

I think what separated Edwin from me and many other club Presidents, whether this RY or in other RYs, is his patience for DOCUMENTATION. He showed to our club his "Final Report" -- a 3 inches-thick (I think) folder that details each and every activity that he and his club participated, each and every contributions and funds raised by the club, complete with pictures, tables, and attachments!

I tell you guys, each one of us in our club who were listening to Edwin last night were shaking our heads wondering and admiring at the patience and amount of efforts made to compile such kind of report! For instance, in the first part of the report, is a table that looks like this:
Date on column 1; Activity on column 2; and Picture in column 3.
And there seems to be activities and pictures sometimes 6-7 days a week!
And that's only for the summary table.
In the succeeding parts or chapters of the Report, are more details, more descriptions, and more photos, of the projects that he and his club have undertaken, or participated along with other clubs.

And here's another gem of "secret" that Edwin shared: he participated ALL invitations by other clubs for joint activities! He never turned down a single invitation, whether it's golf tournament or Gawad Kalinga or anti-TB projects or plain joint meetings. Hah, had I known this, I would have asked him that his talk last night be a joint meeting between our club and his club, hahaha!

Edwin mentioned that there are some Presidents who claim to have undertaken lots of activities, but failed to document those, either in written reports or pictures. The claim could be true, but unless you have documented said activities, then proving that you indeed undertook such activity or project can be difficult. I was tempted to crack that in my case, I have lots of pictures but little projects! How come? Ahh, pictures of sexy babes, pictures of F1, tour de france, beaches, mountains and waterfalls, my baby and my wife, etc. Hehehehe.

So guys, have you figured out the answer to my simple quiz above?
Yeah, I guess so. And the answer iz....
height and size of brains, in Edwin's case, is directly proportional!
Yeah man!

My clubmates were very happy and very enlightened that Edwin shared those and many other thoughts with them last night. Salamat ulit, classmate!

Monday, June 04, 2007

District Awards 2007

Consider this situation: Some 500 people are assembled in a big room in a big hotel. The men are in their flashy coats with red tie or red polo shirts, the ladies in their red dresses or red shawls or scarves. Some of the guys have red faces too, maybe after a glass or two of beer or red wine. The food are a plenty and there’s extra drink for everybody. Then a phalanx of top singers, bands and dancers in the country provide top caliber entertainment. Then a series of certificates, small trophies and sculptural masterpieces are given away to some guys who sweated it out for a year of organizational and community projects. And everything is free! One or a few rich guy/s paid for everything.

So what have you got? A Valentines party in June? A victory party by the topnotcher of the recent Senatorial elections? A thanksgiving party by a super-athlete who won the F1, the Tour de France, the US Open and Wimbledon, and golf grand slam, all at the same time in 1 year?

Nope man, not a bit of those. It’s the District Awards night of D3830! Yeah man, the night of all nights of the District under Governor Butch Francisco!

The food, how’s the food? Oh I don’t know. I arrived late and I knew that there won’t be any if you arrive past 7pm. So before going to the venue, I grabbed a stick of banana-q topped with balut-de-calamansi and kinilaw-de-manga-que-bagoong, plus a shot of beer-de-lambanog to flush down the belly said organic concoction. Que barbaridad, santa banana! What a life! Hehehe, what a joke.

By the time I stepped into Manila Pen hotel, all the (RI) Presidential Citations have been distributed already. I saw classmate Tyrone Paynor on stage announcing the clubs who got certain awards. Then la-vida-loca dancer Regine Tolentino and her gang came up stage to give some eye-popping dance gyrations, Oh-lala, yeah man!

A few minutes later, Regine is back on stage, not as a dancer, but as a female MC along with classmate Jay Tambunting. Seemed that Jay was either electrified or agitated to be standing aside a shapely and articulate lady like Regine. But Jay managed to deliver some anecdotes to help spice up the night. More awards to hard-working clubs and their respective Presidents followed.

Then bella-donna-singer Eileen Sison (?) came up stage to show her artistic prowess. After a song or two, 5 shapely and leggy ladies in Brazilian mardi-gras costumes came up to show another batch of belly gyrations. Another oh-lala sights for the men J

Then a group of about 8 men in various drums and musical instruments came up to play some Brazilian or Latino music. My barbarian ear not trained and educated to such kind of music except rock n roll and the blues had a hard time appreciating the music, but my eyes somehow managed to be civilized enough to enjoy the sight of said band.

Later, a classmate with the looks of Chinese karate star Samo Hung or chubby and head-shaven Chow Yun Fat came up to be the next male MC – it was Inky Reyes! This time it was Regine Tolentino I think who was somehow stirred or electrified to be standing beside a witty and articulate male MC. And the awards went on.

Then Eileen once again came up for another set of intermission and entertainment. This time, the Latino music drums group + the Mardi-gras ladies + Eileen mixed it up. Later on, some Rotarians were pulled from the audience and invited to join them for a number of short dance lessons with Eileen and the Mardi-gras ladies. One really eye-popping sight was this. All of them on stage turned their backs, bent their bodies a little to make their butts more prominent, then a sloooowww dance, suddenly turned to a reeaaalllly fast beat so that your butt should be swinging and gyrating at 100 kph!

The Mardi-gras ladies did it. One of them in white shorts made it at perhaps 105 kph, while Gov. Butch, Gov. Jimmy, and the other guys from the audience could only manage 20 to 40 kph perhaps. Hey, some of you may be wondering, how could butt-swing speed be measured in kph? Oh, I don’t know too, I just coined that speed to approximate the speed of sound traveling in a vacuum. ?????? Har har har!

Then the awards became more and more exciting. Awards for clubs best in the 4 avenues of service, for (small) clubs with 25 members and below, (medium) clubs with 26-60 members, and for (large) clubs with 61 or more members.

Those clubs with plenty of awards that I could remember were RCs Paranaque Metro, Alabang, Muntinlupa Filinvest, P’que Palanyag, Rizal West, Makati Legazpi, Makati Uptown, others. But the club with the “least” awards, meaning the least categories where it got no awards, was RC Makati. For it practically got all awards for the large-club category. It sure was a good evening walking exercise for classmate Conrad Marty, going up the stage and down, then up and down again, many times.

And now, for the most awaited award – the best club overall (out of 79 clubs in the District), and the best club President! I think the ratio of drum rolls for each of these 2 awards was perhaps 1M:1 J

But before that, it was bossa nova (not liches-Nova, hehehe) songbird Sitti Navarro who turned to serenade the audience with 2 of her famous songs. And on her 2nd song, she got Fritz Ocampo (RCRW) to sing and dance with her. And Fritz showed how to gyrate with class and finesse if the wife is not watching!

Back to the most awaited awards. From the number of awards that have been previously received, guessing the “Best Club” was easy. It was the RC Makati! And for the last time, Conrad walked up the stage again, had his photos in blaring camera flashes with Gov. Butch. But this time, his walk down the stage was slower and longer – for he was swarmed with lots of congratulatory handshakes and hugs by many Rotarians, especially from among his classmates. I was one of them, and I whispered to him, “Conrad, it’s my birthday today! Can you give me that glass sculpture as your bday gift?” And to the shock of my life, he only laughed and did not give that all-important award to me! Yeah, happy for you classmate, despite your snub to my very simple request.

And now, to cap the evening, the more difficult question – who among the 79 Club Presidents is THE BEST? Will it be Conrad Marty again? Or will it be Nonoy Oplas? Or Ricky Espiritu, or Ric Santiago, or Mertz Jayco, or Noy Indonto, or Rey Alas, or Boboy Intal, or Charlie Fuentes, or Efren Rodriguez, or Ces Singzon, or Palmy Layug, or Fidel Yuboco, or Ferdie Saputil or many others? I hazard to mention these names including mine, because I have hypothesized, even theorized, that at the end of the day, it will be good looks and handsomeness that will spell the difference. Or at least steal the eyes and hearts of the judges, whoever they are.

But que barbaridad! My theory was wrong, as in 99 percent wrong! Because the judges thought that the Best President should be the most hard-working, the most dedicated, the most efficient, the mostest President. And you have heard or read who it was – Pres. Edwin Afzelius of RC Alabang!

Classmate Edwin got a standing ovation, a nod of approval and respect, from the many Rotarians who remained at that rather late evening. So, after the flashes of cameras on stage, Edwin was equally swarmed by people when he came down the stage. And again, I was one of them. And again, I whispered to him, “Edwin, it’s my birthday today. Will you give me that precious glass sculpture as your bday gift to me?” And for the 2nd shock of my life, Edwin also laughed and didn’t give in to my simple request! My oh my! Well, I just consoled myself that my theory was somehow right after all, at least 1% correct. Because Edwin got not only good looks but also good height!

For the last part of the program before more singing and dancing, Gov. Butch spoke on stage. It was a simple and very sincere message: Rotary is building lives. And it is best achieved through dedicated clubs and Rotarians, united by friendship and dedication to service. The clubs so awarded were the examples. Amen to that, Gov!

At the end of the day, or the night, the Governor is still highly respected. Unity of the District still revolves around him. I and many Rotarians, especially those in the Awards night, are grateful to him, not only for the free evening of awards and entertainment, but for his leadership for this rotary year.

Last but not the least, RC Paranaque Metro and classmate Lilibeth dela Cruz, are heroes being the lead club for this very important and star-studded event. Credit also goes to the District Secretariat. Attendance was high, stage so well and brightly designed, almost everything perfect – except that Conrad and Edwin snubbed my request to give me their very special award as their bday gift to me! Well, lucky for them because my real bday is still on October. Hehehehe.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hurrah for Gov. Butch

Last night, May 28, there was a “lash hurrah” fellowship of all LPs with Gov. Butch, also to celebrate a belated birthday greetings for him, held at Manila Hotel. I have thought that maybe only about half of the 77 or 79 club Presidents will be there. But wrong was I. More than 40 LPs, maybe around 45, were there! And I think that special awards should go to classmate Boboy Intal – he went there weak, sick and shivering (he has to borrow my coat to protect him from the hotel’s penetrating air-con), just to be with the Gov and his classmates!

I should say it was a very bright initiative. Only LPs and the Gov, no other district officers. Hence, the gathering was very warm and intimate. When you’re there, you wouldn’t imagine that there are acrimonies and bad sentiments among some people in the District at all. People were chatting left and right, shaking hands and exchanging hugs and greetings, moving around and taking pictures, sharing inspiring greetings and funny one-liners.

The funniest part was when members of the 6 teams/colors during the PETS went up stage, and each one gave a short personal greetings to Gov Butch. Some teams had a song number, like the Yellow team (led by classmate Lady Li-libeth), and our Red Team (led by classmate Joey Li). Oh yes, the yellow team had the most number of attendance – there were 11 or 12 of them there last night! The batch “theme song” sort of, “Happy Heart”, was also sang twice. You know, the lyrics goes like

“It’s with happy heart we serve
serving those who are in need
and it’s all for a better world
where we live…
la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la- la,…”

Such a warm and civil evening, indeed. Zero politics, zero intrigues, zero electioneering. Only 100% respect and gratitude for Gov Butch. And when the Gov. gave his response, only attentive ears and applause greeted him. Oh, he mentioned about the status of the district book-writing project, as well as discussed the formation of a new foundation, partly initiated (and instigated, hehehe) by classmate Tyrone – the (online) broadcasting channel.

The evening capped with the unveiling of the LPs’ gift to the Gov, a painting plus personal greetings on a card, then a group picture. The group picture alone took several minutes with several digicams flashing left and right, over and over again for various smiles, grins, waves and other expressions. I think it was a little past 10pm when we called it a night.

So, from what I observed that evening, “last hurrah” is a misnomer. It seems that with the renewed friendship among LPs and affirmation of support and respect for Gov. Butch, the right word could be “never-ending hurrah” for the leaders of D3830.

Going home, and hitching again (along with Boboy) with classmate Rey Alas’s car, I thought and pondered -- whatever misunderstanding or conflict in the district or among some clubs, if the Presidents were left to talk among themselves and there were little intervention by the “elders” in the district, such misunderstanding could be addressed much easier and with more civility. Oh well, I could be wrong. But I may be right. Kumbaga, sabi nga ni Billy Joel sa isang kanta nya eh,

“You may be right, I may be crazy
but it’s just maybe a lunatic you’re looking for
turn out the light, don’t try to save me
you maybe wrong for all I know,
but you maybe right. Awww!”


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hawaiian evening

March 21, 2007

Imagine this guys: you’re going to a plush clubhouse in an expensive village to attend a charter anniversary celebration of a prominent club headed by a famous president. You might think that people will go there with their neat and flashy coats and gowns? Nahh, that never happened. Instead, the men came with their casual and flowery polo shirts, and the ladies came with their swaying and equally flowery dresses, as if going to a hola-hola dance party in those tiny islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean !

Yep yep, it was the 10th charter anniversary celebration of RC Makati-Forbes Park headed by always-smiling classmate Palmy Layug, held in Manila Polo Club, and the attire was Hawaiian! Food was a-plenty, leis were a-flowery, wine was a-bottly, and guests were a-many. I think about 20 club Presidents were there. A number of district officials and PDGs, as well as some GSE team members also showed up.

This guy Palmy, he’d go around his classmates several times and ask them if they are ok-de-alright. Last night, I was tempted to tell him, “Look Palmy! If I’ll have food indigestion this evening because of the food you prepared, it will be your fault! And I shall enlist the brains of our lawyer classmates (Ces S., Ricky M., Lawrence A., others) to make sure that you will pay my hospital bill, physical, mental, moral and other exemplary damages!” But I don’t want undesirable breakdown of friendship with this nice guy, so I restrained myself from eating too much.

The Hawaiian dancers from Quezon province; the lady singer; the speeches, and the dancing and swaying after the formal program, were all fine-de-alright. Many thanks for that evening, Palmy!

Btway guys, last March 13, Tuesday, do you know that there were at least 4 clubs that celebrated their charter anniversary that same day? They are RC Makati (Pres. Conrad), RC Makati-Bel Air (Pres. Sonie), RC Taguig-West (Pres. Ana), and RC Las Pinas-East (Pres. Julie). The last 3 clubs had their parties in the evening.

I was able to attend only classmate Conrad’s club celebration. His club is the biggest in our district (192 members!) and 2nd biggest in the Philippines . I think there were around 20 club Presidents (probably more) who also attended that noon-time event. It was a modest event. But “modest” here is still “big” by small clubs standards. Food was plenty, project funding extended to other clubs was big, and the raffle prizes were grand – like an overnight stay for 2 at Manila Pen. A picture of RCM building, soon to be finished, was also shown. It will be the first club in our district which will have its own building, and it’s a big one!

Conrad, thanks for that opportunity to visit your club. Sonie, Julie and Ana, thanks for the invite too to your club charter anniversary party. Sometimes when opportunities like these invites would knock on your door all at the same time, you also have little time to spare. Oh my, oh my…

Monday, March 19, 2007

Winey Valentiney

February 18, 2007

When classmate Ces Singzon posted “Sweeter than wine”, where he invited everyone to attend his club’s meeting last V-day, he meant it literally, figuratively, chocolately and musically. Yes, last February 14, there was wine, Novelino wines. There were some liter too, of fallen petals of red roses on the floor. And there were figures, some ANNs of Rotarians in nice dresses and good figures. And there were chocolates, sweet chocolates. And finally, there were music too, sweet ballad music.

So, the chocolates and music were indeed “sweeter than wine”. Besides, wines are not always sweet; they’re drinks with the sweet-sourness of grapes, the redness or whiteness of roses on V-day, and the medium-octane-ness of beer-brandy tonic concoction.

The guest speaker that night was the owner of Novelino wines and Ces’ cousin, Mr. Nonoy Quimbo. When Ces introduced me to him, my tokayo had this witty-grinny-smiley face, as if saying in his mind, “this is nth proof: guys nick-named Nonoy like us always have good looks”. Har har har, asa pa.

My tokayo talked about myths and misconceptions about marketing, wines, cork, aging of wines, use of oak barrels, etc. He also showed pictures of their wine factory in Valenzuela, the process of wine making, especially Italian style – with their Italian wine maker in their plant. I thought he would also show a picture of ET (that cute extra-terrestial) drinking wine, because ET is also from ET-ly. Hehehe.

I saw the medico-legal-ala-CSI of our district, classmate Tess Ramirez, dropped by at the venue. Maybe she was checking the medical-nutritional-optical content of Novelino wines, if not its legal-judicial-constitutional rights to land on our throat and belly. :-)

The following night, February 15, was a joint meeting of 3 clubs – RC Rizal West (Pres. Boboy Intal), RC Taguig West (Pres. Ana Cawaling), and my club. Boboy looked exuberant because there was a big presence of their RCC guys to be inducted that night, while Ana looked sweety-pretty-valentiney with her sparkling eyes and new hair-do. And both brought their members almost in full force! Plus our club members and guests, the room was full.

Our guest speaker that night was Dr. John Cenica, a cosmetics-beautification-varicose-killer surgeon. Dr. Cenica is also a member of RC Manila, the oldest RC in the Philippines and the whole of Asia. Our club invited him through our 2 club members who are also his business associates.

So, why do people, whenever they have extra resources, go for cosmetics and beautification surgery? Simple: if they’re ladies, so that they would be as pretty as Barbie Rivadie, Elizabeth Cruzie, Rose Acobi, Doris Yi, Yolly Ty, Patty Ne, Letty Reli, Bing Villani, Luz Reyi, and many other beauteous classmates. Well if they are men, so that they would be as handsome as Paolo Marteli, Ricky Espiri, Inky Rey, Rey Ali, Ric Santi, Raffy Tuve, Boboy Inty, Yasin Badi, Edwin Afzeli, Noe Indy, Tony Abe, Lawrence Arre, Gilbert Camase, Ces Singzy, Ferdie Saputi, Palmy Layi, Jerry Alzi, Joey Li, Efren Rodi, and others so many.

But the most attention-getting news of Dr. Cenica I think, was the “rising birdie” medicine. Mind you guys, it’s herbal de natural, less than P500 and you’re guaranteed for 7 days and 7 nights of ready-to-fight-armadillo! And during the Q&A, this thing got the most inquiries. Wanna buy? Come-a, come-ah, don’t be shy ah! :-)

PP Fritz Ocampo gave the closing response, and he noted that no one slept in the whole lecture and Q&A with Dr. Cenica. He said that the good doctor’s lecture stroke a “raw nerve” of excitement among the audience. Amen to that, Fritz!

Post-valentine Party

February 22, 2007

Consider this case and a question later: you gather 4 male Rotarians in the center, you asked them how much they love Rotary in a scale of 1-10, 10 being “lova-lova-mucha-todo-a”. Then you ask them to show their respective answers by kissing their wives, lipsa-lipsa, right there in the middle, and you hope that 3 couples will get tired and stop kissing after sometime, so that you’ll have a single winner for your lovapalooza. Problem is, no one was in the mood to stop kissing, and the evening clock was ticking away, so what do you do? Aha, the event organizers scratched their heads and declared each couple a winner, so that instead of giving away 1 prize, they have to give 4 prizes!

Yep yep, that was only 1 of the fantalooza scenes during the District post-valentines party dubbed “After the luvin” last Wednesday night. It was jointly sponsored by 6 valentines-inspired clubs: RCs Paranaque Metro (Pres. Lilibeth Cruzie, wife of Tommy Cruzie?), Muntinlupa Filinvest (Pres. Patty Naoe, the female Noeh?), Makati JPRizal (Pres. Bing Villani), Paranaque East (Pres. Ric Santi), Rizal West (Pres. Boboy Inty) and Makati Dasmarinas (Pres. Inky Reyeah!).

And the kissers – among them were Past Gov. Jimmy Cura and Pres. Yasin Badr! The 2 others were PP Fred Fortich and Dess, Boboy’s and Lilibeth’s clubmates, respectively. My co-MC that night, Pres. Bing, as well as the above-mentioned sponsoring Presidents, nearly pulled each couple apart so that they’ll stop kissing, hahaha! Everyone in the floor admired these 4 couples. Gov. Butch was grinning from ear to ear as he and wife Maling were watching.

Pres. Ric brought a new concoction, “the element”. It’s something from the mountains of Tanay, Rizal, that folks say is an effective way to spice up a weakening libido and slumping armadillo. So we asked some couples to try it, hoping for some results in a matter of an hour or two. Unfortunately, Ric says the spewing-dragon-fire could be felt after a few hours, not immediate. Anyway, if you guys are interested, Ric’s contact details are in our district directory.

Pres. Patty recognized the clubs which sponsored the event, as well as the other Rotarians from various clubs who came. Among our classmates whom I saw there, aside from those that I have mentioned earlier, were Barbie Rivadeneira, Rose Acoba, Tess Sanchez, Ana Cawaling, Ces Singzon, Jay Tambunting, Conrad Marty, Jujut Enriquez, Lorenz Tato, Archie Jimenez, Efren Fuentes. Classmates Patty or Lilibeth, please fill in those that I failed to mention.

Pres. Inky came in with his standard shaved-head, black leather jacket, Pinoy Elvis looks, and Earth-wind-and-fire voice, and belted out the first song of the evening, “After the lovin”, accompanied by the night’s live entertainer, the 8-track band. Gov. Butch and wife Maling were the first to dance. From there, it was a shakin n dancing evening, part 1.

Pres. Boboy brought his kisser-club clubmates. :-)
Pres. Lilibeth brought her splendid and demure lady club members. One of whom, Ms. Ray Cabailo, is a member of Mabuhay singers! When Ray came up stage to sing one classic love song of the 70s or 60s, “If you go away”, the room turned silent, the audience enchanted, and the band captivated. Her powerful voice and melodramatic delivery was so enthralling, we requested “one more!” which she obliged.

Pres. Bing also brought her fabulous and glittering lady clubmates, sparkling beauty and brains like district officials Patti King and Lita Wells.

Other singers and jammers that night were Mong Canizares, and PN of RC Paranaque Midtown, Noriel. Proud na proud si AG Andy Fernandez of his club’s PN. But I told him, “eh ako nag-turo dyan kumanta nung bata pa sya!” Har har har, asa pa.

Pres. Ces Singzon brought in a car-load of Novelino wines! Several boxes or a few dozens of bottles of various flavors, free-flowing, ubos! A few more evenings like that Ces, and you will succeed in Novelinizing D3830, hahaha!

With all those food, wines, elemental drinks, dancing and singing and kissing, not to mention fabulous room decorations, the P800 and time spent was worth it. My hats off to the 6 sponsoring clubs, and the attendance of our classmates and district officials, headed by Gov. Butch.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Governor's big smoke part 2

January 18, 2007

Guys, whether you showed up or not last Friday, lemme give you a short puzzle.
If you combine:

Big smoke + small shot + hot swing = ?

Or, what laws in physics are confirmed or negated by such mixture of physical concoction?
Isip, esep, thinkin, ponderin, guessin, wonderin, perplexin,….

In elementary physics, there’s a cute concept or theory of “osmosis” – the movement of molecules from an area of greater concentration to an area of lower concentration. And that’s what I noticed – them people who neither puffed cigar nor gulped Carlos 1 were the ones who mainly filled the dance floor while a band was playing. That's diffusion of energy from cigar-alcohol tandem to dancing-swaying twins.

But there are also guys who puffed and gulped and swung, all at the same time!
They smoked big, imbibed small (but many) shots of wine and Carlos 1, and swung hot on the dance floor.

Nah, I won’t tell you who were these guys. As for me, the red wine was oh-lala! The food was fanta-licious. The cigars were slam-dunkin big. The band (Eileen Sison’s jazz-rumba-hala-bira group) was ok-de-olrayt. And the crowd, the Rotarians, were game na, deal pa!

And what a night of dancin and swingin and jumpin! For my absence in the group dance during the Discon, it was a fantastic opportunity to catch up and dance with some of my fantastic lady classmates and district officials.

A jumpin-jack dance with beauteous Lilibeth de la Cruz
A cha-cha with curvaceous Doris Yu.
A bimbo-el-salsa with wide-grinning Ana Cawaling.
A swing-de-gusto with smol-bateribol Diana Quiros.
A boogie with demure and decorous Baby Bunye.
A hide-n-seek dance with ever-present Cora Tan.

Oh-oh, did I forget someone…?
Aha, not to forget, one lady who dueled with the 4 lady DIs and singer Eileen Sison in a sway-your-hips at 100 kph – Amore Isip!

And the men, oh yeah!
While I was pretending hard, really trying-hard, to be a dancer, I would glance at Yasin Badr’s calculated and stylish steps. Or at Gov. Jimmy’s elegant motion. Or at Gov. Butch’s casino-royale moves. Or at Ces Singzon’s shakin-thumpin sway. I don’t remember who else shook the night, but one thing is sure: they would dance more gracefully and respectfully than I did! Oh-my, oh-my!

Ooppss, ooppss, don’t forget Carlos 1’s 2 sexy and lotsa-skin ladies. You can ask the young-at-heart men – guys like Allan Macababayao, Rey Alas, Boboy Intal, Charlie Fuentes, Lito Abogado, Ric Santiago, others.

Ok, till the next big smoke.
Btway, you guys got some answers to my earlier puzzle?
Sirit? Hehehe.

Newston’s 3 laws of motion could be one answer.

1st law of motion: the law of gravity – you swing wide, you dance high, the dance floor will pull you down, so you’re back groovin’ movin.

2nd law of motion: the law of inertia – a body in motion will remain in motion unless an external force acts upon it. A big and long cigar will remain big and long unless a puffin’ and smokin’ mouth reduce it to ashes.

3rd law of motion: the law of action-reaction – for every action, there is an equal, opposite reaction. Small shots of wine and Carlos 1 will produce an equally small kick of hang-over.


Discon 2006

Dec. 11, 2006

One of the sessions I enjoyed during the Discon, Dec. 7-8, was the "GoNegosyo".
The speakers there were:

1. Coring Ramos -- owner of National Bookstore
2. Vivienne Tan -- owner of Entrepreneurial School of Asia (ESA), daughter of lucio tan
3. Paolo Bediones -- showbiz na, biznezman pa; owns
4. Joey Concepcion -- pres/ceo of RFM corp., one of the country's biggest food conglomerates. But Joey went there as a government bureaucrat -- as "Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship"
5. Gov. Butch -- PAGCOR big boss
6. DGE Ato Magadia -- finance/petrochem big boss
Cito Beltran of ABS-CBN was the host.

All the speakers were very articulate. Well, they mean business when they open their mouth. Cito was also a good facilitator.

But what all the speakers failed to mention, or forgot to emphasize, was the role of handsomeness as business capital. Yeah -- you're good looking, like many of my male classmates, and that facilitates business transaction because it enhances the aura of good looks and good environment between you and your potential business partner. Some of you may ask, what or who do I mean? Well, no need to look far and out: see guys like Inky Reyes and Rey Alas; Boboy Intal and Ces Singson; Allan and Raffy Tuvera; Ricky Espiritu and Noy Indonto; and many more!

And yes, I would like to hazard to say that my face maybe qualified for the above criteria also, hehehe. EXCEPT that my good looks failed to attract the positive energies of capitalism and entrepreneurship unto me. Thus, I'm on the "exception to the rule" above, Argh! Poor me!

But seriously guys, if I had the chance to ask Joey Concepcion one question, I would have asked him -- Isn't Malacanang joking when they say they want to "promote entrepreneurship" while Malacanang is also the architect of many-many taxes, government fees, permits, licenses, inspections, accreditations, regulations? I mean, check, or WB and IFC websites (, on "Doing business", check on paying taxes. The Philippines has one of the most number of business-related taxes in the whole of Asia! In 2004 for instance, we were the "multiple tax capital of Asia" where medium-size businesses pay on average 62 different taxes and fees to the government, national and local -- much plentier than the socialist governments of China and Vietnam.

Matt Monro... about this guy. I heard tokayo Noy Indonto that this man is actually no son of Matt Monro; rather, he was the son of Marilyn Monro! hehehehe. His voice is not as stratospheric as the voice of his father, but he got the aura and looks of the original Matt Monro, so he got some spell unto himself that he cast successfully unto his audience, and voila -- Matt Monro singing Barry Manilow, The Beatles and Queen!

When he sang the queen's "crazy little thing called love", I nearly pulled classmate Lilibeth de la Cruz or Rose Acoba to the stage and swing and gyrate like Freddie Mercury while Matt Monro was rockin n rollin that song! But I restrained myself, hehehe. When he sang "NY NY", that's when restrained energies of some of my classmates blurted out, and an instant broadway-dance-musicale was staged on the stage! Really, it was a colorful scene!

Joey Lina was lucky to have been selected by the man to duet with him. Joey was a big guy in the place -- he was the president of the host club and president of the hotel! Well, Joey sang like gamely. But if Matt chose another classmate, he may have been threatened that another singer sensation might displace him someday. We know the guy -- Inky Reyes! He can rock n roll, jazz n jest, swing and sway.

Sitti-Sitti, Otso-Otso

Another fun-filled part of Discon Day 1 was the Gov’s cocktail party at Allegria Lounge, Casino Filipino Pavilion. Two buses fetched us from Manila Hotel – to spare those who brought their cars the hassle of driving and looking for parking at the Pavilion.

It was a night of cocktails, beer and serbesa; wine and vino (not kulafu J); music and jamming, and dancin and rollin. And so that was Sitti Navarro – a name I’ve heard from some friends, a voice I’ve heard from some bars. Her voice is not as towering as many female professional singers, but she got the poise, and the admiration of the head of the District. Gov. Butch and wife Maling obviously enjoyed Sitti’s music. So Sitti serenaded everyone with her melodramatic voice, “bosa nova” style (not “liches-nova” J)

Two guys were lucky to have the opportunity to jam with her – Lorenz Tato’s clubmate, and Gov. Jimmy. The latter sang something like “I got you under my skin”, one of Toni Francisco’s favorites because she sings this song with a swaying head, smiling face and sometimes closed eyes. Toni, di ba yan ang kanta ng mga wrappers ng lumpia? Hehehe. I think Sitti made a mistake of not inviting to jam with her one of the silent but promising voices in the district – Ces Singzon! You guys heard him sing? I haven’t too! But I heard him preside in one of his club meetings. In one instance, he introduced his guest speaker rap style, ala-Francis Magalona! And in another, he parried a question during the open forum reggae style, ala-Bob Marley! Hehe, ayos ba obserbasyon ko Ces?

After the Sitti-sitti show, another band came up, the Souled Out Band, and it was an otso-otso show. Most of the remaining guys in the tables were enticed by this band to dance and roll on the dance floor! I thought that with the energies in various district and club activities of Rose Acoba, Jay Tambunting and other classmates, if these guys were rock singers, they should be in this band!

A male classmate whom I met a week after told me that he was knocked down with hang-over the following day after the Pavilion fellowships. Thus, he wasn't able to attend the 2nd day of the Discon! hehehe.