14 March 2012

Last night, I was met by my classmate Ambo Gancayo, a lawyer who was married to Dot, which is also a lawyer, his father was the Justice of the Supreme Court in the Philippines.  Today, they left for Bali to attend law seminar until March 19th  therefore they are not able to join me for golf this morning.

They took us to a big and crowded Chinese restaurant called The Legend.  They reserved a VIP room for 8 PDGs with spouses at the other table.  Two of them flew directly from other islands: Cebu and Sambuaga.  Their fellowship spirits are very high.

4 out of my 9 classmates are lawyers, sometimes they have the same opinions but most of the time they are not; that creates interesting conversation subjects, like watching the Law and Order, but in Tagalok which I don’t quite understand even though sometimes they used similar words such as kanan (right), angin(wind), masuk (enter), saba (banana in Balinese) and many other words that I could not remember.

We laughed a lot, and  a lot of food also ordered by the boss, IPDG Ed Alvarez, he also brought a few bottles of wine which we could not finished, so I brought ¾ bottle back to the hotel. IPDG Jun brought a bottle of Whisky Double Black

One of the boiling debate came when one of the IPDG Trangquil, who is as handsome as a movie star, he is the youngest among us all, a lawyer that is in charge to defense the Head of Justice Supreme Court which is being impeached by the people of the Philippines.  This is the hottest news of the country.  Every day this IPDG is seen in the TV News delivering his act of defense.  He just came back from one of the TV Station when joining us for dinner.

The Head of the Justice Supreme Court was appointed by ex President Arroyo, that’s why his perseverance freezes Arroyo’s case from big corruption accusations.   At the moment, Arroyo is lying sick in the hospital, but trial against his corruption case at the court remains in process. As long as this Head of the Justice Supreme Court is fully in charge, nobody can touch Arroyo.  That’s the reason why people want him to be impeached.

Besides being lawyers, IPDG Ambo and his wife are also busy with various other businesses as well as being the shareholders of many hotels.  He is just appointed as the head of PCRG (Philippines Council of Rotary Governors), very cool indeed.. with members consist of  210 Past District Governors, 10 DGs, 10 DGEs and 10 DGNs. They do regular board meetings and fellowship.

Senior PDGs and new PDGs intermingle harmoniously and work together well, no intercepting, resulting in warm and beautiful fellowship. They have friends everywhere in the country from echelon 1, government officials and very important businessmen.

At the dinner, I proposed a toast and asked everybody to follow and repeat after me:

”To all Rotarians, Good Health, Good Friends, Happiness, Long Life” and glasses clink. I gave a short speech to thank every one of them: “ Rotarians, I very much valued our friendship, me and Marina are very thankful for this treat and gathering.

I am very happy not because you have treated me golf (everybody laugh), or because you treated me with good food.. (They said.. it helps?).. Then I continued, because I am among good people”.  Then I told them the story about the bell boy that I met in the hotel elevator who told me that Rotary has done a lot in this country.

Ed requested Ambo to response to my speech, but Ambo the lawyer was not ready so Ed continued:  “We are here very close to each other as friends especially among the classmates, we supported each other, look at these 2 people who flew 1 or 1,5 hours to join us for dinner with you, to play golf with you.. And this is what I like the most.. He said.. because we love you”.

My tears almost dropped, if it was for DG Ridlo who is very melancholic, he would have cried, DG Ridlo is very good and talented to build other people’s compassion, and that makes him very special.  Because I love you !  Isn’t that a short but beautiful sentence for us to build friendship?

We talked a lot about leadership in Rotary and talked about several outstanding leaders, the election of RI Director, and who will be elected as DRFC at the time all the districts are joining the FVP and ready to carry on various Global Grant Projects, which are well supported by the Districts in Korea, as gratitude.  It is because during the Korean War, the Philippine government sent 7000 soldiers to help them; half of them are still alive and very old now.  This has become a very good project.

This morning at 7am, I was picked up by PDG Melito Salazar and drove 1,5 hours out of town to play golf at Orchard Golf course, on the way PDG Benny remembered, because I only brought half a set, they brought me wooden club number 3 to borrow.  He was very kind, although later I knew that his child was being operated in the hospital.

I could never understand why are these people so nice to me?  In Bali, the Hindus believe in “Karmapala” which means when you planted good seeds then you will harvest good things, but when you plant bad seeds, you will get bad things.

They treated me free for everything, golf, entrance, club usage, caddy, umbrella caddy, breakfast, lunch..  Everything.   In Indonesia, only the ministers who visit the provinces get these kinds of services.

My golf game was good, only my putting was not so favorable, as it was too slippery today.

Greetings from Manila, Al