Today is September 1, 2007. This is written before I go and register for the UPAAA General Assembly & Pre-Centennial Celebration.
Date of Dinner: Friday, August 31, 2007
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Place: Belden Taverna, 2nd floor at 52 Belden Alley, located at the cusp of San Franciscoâ€™s Financial District and Chinatown
During the past year, I’ve been advising the organizing team of UPAAA and UPAASF quietly and yes, intermittently. I’d like to thank Ted Aquino (UPAAA) for understanding why I couldn’t become a more committed volunteer and for Manny Gaspay (UPAASF) for encouraging me to work on whatever I could handle during these past few weeks. My purpose of writing these notes is “to pay forward’. I will need to rely on my documentation to help find ways and means to help out my college alma mater.
SETTING THE STAGE
You know what it’s like. You receive an e-mail from an old friend about a small dinner with special guests from the University of the Philippines Centennial Commission. You don’t have any expectations other than a nice, rewarding reunion with this friend.
Let me give you some background about my relationship with Polly Cortez, a wonderful, energetic Filipina community leader.
It was then-Philippines’ Department of Tourism Attache, Peachy Pelaez, who first introduced me to Polly at the Philippine Consulate sometime in 1997 (or was it 1998? How time flies!). After the “getting to know you, like you, and trust you” phases, destiny brought us together in a project in July of 1999. Rex Drilon (at that time, who oversaw the Cebu Holdings, Inc.’s operations), through Teng Angan’s recommendation, asked me to participate in the first-ever Ayala Land, Inc. road show in the US with Polly. Rex and Polly had worked together in the US as founding board members of Filipinas Magazine.
For this project, Polly handled most of the invitations to Filipino community members while I took care of most of the logistics. We learned so much from the San Francisco, Walnut Creek, and Los Angeles road shows. I’m such a sentimental “pack rat”. You see, I kept the e-mails of the preparations (10 days to get everything done!) of this road show in my Yahoo briefcase!
Polly Cortez just recently finished her term as a board member of the Girl Scouts of San Francisco Bay Area. A 30-year US Treasury veteran, where she serves as Third Vice President and Regional Manager, Polly’s Vice Chair position at the “Friends of the University of the Philippines Foundation in America” or FUPFA (the easy name to make out your donation to) allows her to invite an eclectic group of friends for supposedly-social occasions. (Ah, Polly! You sure know how to reel us in! Very effective!)
Now you what happens whenever Polly contacts me. Yeah, I jump. And I ask her, “How high do you want me to jump?” Only kidding.
SMACK IN THE CENTER OF THINGS
Last night’s dinner was a truly memorable, educational experience. I came in from the cold and asked all the inquisitive questions. I even lamely countered Dado Banatao’s suggestion about forming an adhoc Development Committee within the UP Centennial Commission. All right, I’m so over-committed that at this time, I’m thinking only about how to write effective marketing copy and how to deliver a compelling message for a fundraising campaign. I’m going to let this weekend seep into my skin and bones before I know what level of commitment I can give to my alma matter.