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118 in 2018

By Jullie Y. Daza

COCKTAIL parties are fun for people who can stand on their feet for 90 minutes without complaining, who can smoke, drink, make small talk with total strangers. My specialty, since I neither drink nor smoke, is catching up with friends whom I have not seen in a hundred years.

Appropriately enough, 117 years after this newspaper was born, at the 118th birthday party of the Bulletin last Friday, I mingled with people who looked like strangers, when in fact they were our people, they just didn’t look like people from our office. As it turned out, they were co-employees! How could I not have recognized them at first glance? How could I? The girls wore jewelry and dresses seductively styled for after-dark, and their makeup, like their hairstyles, had come straight from the salon. The guys were a revelation, nattily turned out in jackets and long-sleeved shirts, with or without neckties, their smiles as polished as their shoes. This office party could’ve been a reacquaintance party.

The Chairman, a banker with the bearing of a diplomat, shook hands with his guests, so many of them a bunch of us from Editorial retreated to the back, poised like guards by the doors of the ballroom of the Manila Hotel, of which he is also chairman, to get a better view of the EVP’s video presentation. (Two years ago, when he was new in the company, the EVP introduced himself as “I’m COO, not child of owner, but classmate of owner.”)

At the lobby lounge which provided a wide-angle view of people streaming in, I saw Bert Lina, boss of Air21, talking with his brother Joey, president of the hotel. Joey said he had just been invited to the Senate to talk about his discovery that “federalism is in the 1987 Constitution, no need to change the present system of government.” Big brother Bert, who was a CPA before he became a master logistician, is still focused on logistics, his current obsession being “farming logistics, a system which will efficiently bring food from farm to table,” in his words.

When it was time to go home and BDO’s Tessie Sy-Coson was being ushered to her car, she reminded me, “That’s the ICA spirit!” in response to advice that she enjoy the weekend after another long week steeped in work, philanthropy, and little time for herself. (ICA is our alma mater, Immaculate Conception Academy.)

Thank you for the party, Chairman, where I stood to gain new knowledge from old friends.

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