Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Wedding Photography

I usually assist the Fotogra duo Mimi and Karl when they cover weddings on weekends. Mimi and Karl are my friends and orgmates from way back in college. I witnessed their growth from hobbyists towards being two of the best photographers in the wedding industry. Proof of this is their recent consecutive nominations as top suppliers at the Weddings at Work Annual Awards. Most of their clients come from referrals and word of mouth. They are known especially for their fun and innovative style. I should know because they covered our wedding in Boracay last December, 2005. Some of their best works happened when they were able to collaborate with their like-minded supplier friends: Threelogy, Madge Lejano, name a few.

Why do I do this? Aside from the obvious pay-offs like cash, free food, travel and laughs, I also get the chance to play with Karl's extra Canon EOS 20D DSLR camera in a usually dynamic environment. I confess that I'm not yet that technically proficient. All I do is just little bit more than point and shoot but I don't let that get in the way of me having fun. Karl included one of my shots in a post in the Fotogra blog.

Flower Girl?

Bubba Gump and CFA

One sure sign that your bosses appreciate your value to the company is that they sometimes take you to lunch. Another sign is that they sponsor you to attend trainings and seminars that will contribute to your personal growth. Yesterday, we did both.

Our team, our American bosses and Ms. Cecile (36-persons in all) had lunch at the Bubba Gump theme restaurant in Greenbelt 3.

Table Logo

Early Birds a.k.a Mga gutom na
Look at our semi-forced smiles.

Mostly new guys at the L table.
We take our lunch almost as seriously as we do our work.

Bert, contemplating about how many plates of shrimp he's going to finish off.
He was the last man to rise from the table. He beat out bigger guys Carlo, Sam, Richard and Leslie for most shrimp eaten.

There was so much food. Even our appetite, whetted by the long wait, weren't able to handle the continuous stream of dishes brought by the waiters. I ate so much shrimp that I'm sure I won't order any in the coming months. Richard and Sam had to take medicines to offset allergic reactions. The food was a little bit oily and a little bit bland but I liked the lemonade with strawberry burst. I guess the menu is more suited to the American palate. Our staggering bill exceeded our wildest expectations. The total amount was much more than what an analyst makes in a month! I still remember the expression on Rick's face when he got it...he he he. It's safe to say that we won't be having our team lunches there again any time soon.

After the lunch, we headed to the nearby Renaissance Hotel (formerly New World) in order to attend a seminar sponsored by the Chartered Financial Analyst Society. Finance professionals from some brokerage houses and investment institutions were our co-attendees. We saw Leo Quinitio and his team from the Philippine Stock Exchange. The speaker, Marc Faber, really knows what he was talking about. He discussed long and short term economic, political and financial considerations at play in the global markets. His insights on the matter were very interesting. He presented a credible macroeconomic context to the research that the team is doing right now. I aim to read more about some topics he mentioned.

To be or Not to be

The wannabe CFA with the team's newest (?) love team... Xyza and Ryan!
Para silang pang-Starstruck... Xyza continuously reminded me of my relatively old age.

Bakal boys now, CFAs tomorrow
Ba't parang nanlalandi si Sam?

I had fun "hobnobbing" with players in the finance industry. Leo even invited us to apply for membership in the Association of Security Analysts of the Philippines. I am hoping that we get more opportunities to attend events like this.

Thanks to our bosses from New York. We really, really appreciate it.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Alin, Alin ang Naiba?

She Who Must Not Be Named really, really needs to stand out. She made leaders of other countries be part of her background for this photo ops.

What was she thinking? Is she running for a global position? I heard World Bank has a recent vacancy. Mas malaki budget dun. Dollars pa.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Manny Pacquiao, "The People's Champion"

Manny spent around 170 million pesos for the election. That's more than $3 million. What a waste! Can he even afford to lose that much given his lifestyle and his vices? He could have donated that huge amount to Gawad Kalinga so the foundation can build 2,800 more safe and beautiful houses for poor Filipinos living in slums. I know its his money to lose but he wanted to lose it just to be able to be in a position to "serve" the people. Where did he even get the idea that congressmen serve the people?

Don't be too hard on the GCM mentioned in the linked Inquirer article. His greed helped show Manny's inability and unwillingness to think for himself. Why else would Manny have let the GCM handle the campaign despite getting bad advice, poor results and a much thinner wallet from him? Manny's really a bad judge of character. He cannot distinguish good people from bad as his associations with Gloria, Chavit, GCM, Murad Muhammad et. al. show. He is lucky to have Freddie Roach in his corner. What would have happened to Gen San if Manny had won? This GCM and his friends would be in positions of power that will only lead to wide-scale corruption. How in the hell did Manny come up with the idea that he can distinguish good laws from bad, much less read them?

In case you still believe Manny fights for the Filipino people, you must look objectively at what he does. His running for Congress, his album, his crap movie, his womanizing speak only of his love for himself and his huge ego. He fights for himself, for money and what stature his victories gives him. He is willing to to sacrifice legislative agenda for Gen San and its people as long as he gets to call himself "Congressman". Too bad...

Manny's boxing legacy will be tainted forever by what he did (and does) outside the ring. He does not deserve to be mentioned in the same breath with Gabriel "Flash" Elorde. The Flash simply had much more skill, more class, and more humility. Elorde paved the way for mainstream recognition for Filipino fighters in the boxing world. He had no delusions of grandeur. Manny is just a great fighter with great opportunities to earn money. I will still watch Manny's fights and cheer for him but I will view him as the man he is. No more and no less...

Kudos to Gen San voters who voted against him. Sometimes, the electoral process in the Philippines does work!