Friday, June 27, 2008

Fourteen Years

June 24th was our 14th wedding anniversary. T and I have come a long way from marching down the aisle of the Santuario de San Antonio, with a long-haired Afghan hound as part of the entourage. Funny how it's the little details that I remember.

The morning of the wedding, my Mom woke me up with a frantic phone call. "Dennis, is there a dog in your wedding?"

"What? Of course not, Mom. Why would we have a dog in the wedding?"

"Well, I'm looking at the entourage list and it says right here, D-O-G."

"Oh that must be a typo or something. It's probably a code from the bridal consultants. D-Oh-6 or some crazy thing like that. Don't worry about it."

Of course, T had never told me about the dog. Apparently one day about a month before the wedding, she'd been walking in Urdaneta Village and saw Lito and Kim Camacho (this was way before his Secretary of Finance stint) walking their Afghan hounds.

She quickly convinced Lito to lend her the dog for our medieval-themed wedding. Their ten-year-old daughter Bea became a last-minute additional bridesmaid (to control the dog!). When designer Inno Sotto's staff presented me the additional bill for Bea's gown, I still remember saying, "What's this for?" And T snatched the invoice and said, "Oh never mind, it's a surprise for you. Just pay it."

So on the evening of the wedding, there I am at the foot of the altar watching everyone walk slowly up the aisle, the violin strains of Pachelbel's Canon providing a medieval ambiance. Suddenly I see this beautiful hound bouncing up the aisle, led from behind by a young girl (I'd never seen before).

In my mind, the only thing I can think of is, "Oh my God. On my wedding day, I lied to my Mom."

So with that intro, I must say it's been a remarkably interesting fourteen years. These days it's no less subdued, especially on T's part. The costumes continue to be outre, the wigs outlandish, the accessories oversize.

(This photo is from our anniversary dinner at Azu Thai, the Gamboa's new restaurant at the Milky Way Building. T's necklace was a gift from my Mom.)

Thing is though, we don't have any dogs. But things do come full circle. Annika is ten now and she's been asking for one.

P.S. I was looking through our old wedding albums and came across this photo, which includes the very svelte Gigi and the alluring Rosan. Very worth posting.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fathers' Day at the Shang

Today is Fathers' Day and I spent most of it in a business lunch with some foreign visitors. Ironically enough, just outside the Shang's Inagiku restaurant was a small exhibit celebrating the day. The sign says,

"A Tribute to Fathers"
Captured moments of distinguished men in the role they play best ... fathers.
June 13 - July 6, 2008
Makati Shangri-La

The exhibit featured a framed photo of a bunch of different fathers, all from pictures taken by their kids. Thanks to T and her good friend, J, who works with the hotel, my photo was deemed fit to join the exhibit.

We decided to submit a photo taken by Tyrone when we stayed at the Sangat Island Reserve in April this year. Funny but I just realized that I never blogged about that trip. All I did was post our pictures in Multiply. The caption under my photo says,
"a photo taken by Tyrone on a scuba diving trip in Coron, Palawan"

That was a fun trip, a continuation of the annual Father-Son Trips that Bryan and I used to do when he was younger. Sangat isn't a plush place; in fact, it's quite basic in amenities (although they did have wireless connectivity at the resort's bar). For me, its key attribute is its proximity to the ten or so Japanese World War II wrecks in Coron Bay and Busuanga Island.

Ty and I got to dive six of the wrecks: Tangat, Kogyo maru, Irako, Taiei maru, Akitsushima and Olympia maru. Actually Tyrone skipped the Irako as that was a deep dive, and the dive guide and I penetrated into the ship's kitchen at 113 feet. The wrecks and Coron Bay have lately been getting a lot of good press. Hopefully that will improve the tourism numbers of the area.

As can be seen from this photo alone though, it was a good bonding trip for both of us. And Ty is clearly learning to frame his photo subjects properly. Some good thoughts to take away from the exhibit ... when I should be home with the kids and not negotiating contracts.

Friday, June 13, 2008

An Old Hockey Picture from Marilen

In our underwater hockey group, the "vets" are those players who have been playing since the early 90's, when the Philippine Underwater Hockey Confederation or PUHC was formed. There are also those who've been playing since the 80's, of course, during the Jurassic, pre-hockey Period when we were all U.P. Divers.

Marilen Carpio recently sent this blast from the past, a hockey picture from September 1989. From L-R, that's me, Marilen, Gigi Santos, Martin Reyes, Toti Turalba, Freddie Reyes (Martin's brother), Jingjing Llamas and my brother Dave.

How time flies! Gigi looks like Marcie, the friend of Peppermint Patty in Peanuts. Toti looks like a boy and now he and Jing are married with two kids. And we all miss Martin, who passed away a few years ago.

The funny thing is that this is probably the only hockey game I played in 1989. I left Manila in 1988 to take my MBA. In between the two years, I got a summer job working for NutraSweet. What I did that summer was to fax (no e-mails yet) John Concepcion in Manila and talk about launching a diet version of Sarsi.

That project worked out pretty well because at the end of the summer, NutraSweet sent me to Manila with another manager to finalize the launch plans for Diet Sarsi. I was only in town for about five days, but obviously I found time to squeeze in a hockey game one night. I guess that's why Marilen describes me in the photo as "visiting."

I ended up working for NutraSweet until 1996, during which time I didn't get to play any hockey at all because they stationed me in Chicago, then Singapore, then Hong Kong and finally in Manila when T and I got married in 1994. Gosh, indeed how time flies!

Monday, June 02, 2008

A Visit to the Rainbow Warrior

OK, here's a good debate. On the face of it, "Quit Coal" seems like something we can all agree with. Even the totally uninformed must have some awareness of "global warming," "Al Gore," "clean energy" and the hundreds of buzzwords and issues surrounding climate change.

One of the best articles I've read on the issue was in National Geographic, entitled "The High Cost of Cheap Coal." Here are a couple of choice quotes from that issue:

Coal-burning power plants ... supply the United States with half its electricity. They also emit a stew of damaging substances, including sulfur dioxide—a major cause of acid rain—and mercury. And they gush as much climate-warming carbon dioxide as America's cars, trucks, buses, and planes combined.

For the past 15 years U.S. utilities needing to add power have mainly built plants that burn natural gas, a relatively clean fuel. But a near tripling of natural gas prices in the past seven years has idled many gas-fired plants and put a damper on new construction. Neither nuclear energy nor alternative sources such as wind and solar seem likely to meet the demand for electricity.

"Aye, there's the rub," as Hamlet debated with himself: Coal is bad, yes, but other sources of electricity are more expensive. And given the current national debate on the already high electricity prices in our country, majority of which is coal-derived, clearly the issue is not easy to resolve.

So on a sunny Sunday, T and I decided to go and visit the Rainbow Warrior, the flagship of Greenpeace's "Quit Coal" efforts in the Philippines. We may not have the solutions, but we can at least listen to what the vanguards of alternative energy have to say.

Trouble is we came late and so didn't get to fully hear Greenpeace's solutions. Looking around, the crew seemed just like you and me and not the fanatic, tree-hugging vegans that one might expect from their anti-big business exploits. And yet, there on deck were those massively powered rubber dinghies that Greenpeace puts to such media savvy use, zipping around international waters buzzing Japanese whalers and such.

For me, Greenpeace is on the fringe of these debates. Does painting "Quit Coal" on the side of a freighter resolve the issue? Wouldn't a contribution to research on how to make alternative energy cheaper be a better way to resolve the debate?

Still the afternoon is pleasant enough. There's Dave the Dolphin gracing the ship's bow, always a good spot for a photo op.

And there are a lot of students aboard, some probably just getting their first thoughts centered on this Gordian knot called energy. I just hope they keep an open mind towards the myriad solutions that are out there.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Athena and T for Met Tathione

Looks like the Met Tathione wars are escalating. (And I don't even know what the product does!)

Anyway, T is on one of their billboards. Here it is, on the corner of Quezon Blvd. and EDSA. (I got quite a few motorists angrily blowing their horns at me as I stopped to take this shot with my Nokia.)

T also just recorded this TVC 15 for Met Tathione. The maids said they saw it on a GMA show tonight, so it is airing already.

Not to be outdone, Athena decided to record her own version. Unfortunately it's only a sound clip, so to listen you'll need to visit my Multiply site.

Post update:
There seem to be some Blogger video issues, so here is the same clip via YouTube:

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