But last September 18, 2012, I joined a number of fellow UP School of Economics (UPSE) alumni in trooping to Galeria Joaquin to see lots of beautiful and rather expensive works of art. The galerie is owned by Jack Teotico, a kind hearted and former President of the UPSE Alumni Association (UPSEAA).
It was actually a fund-raising activity by the UPSEAA. Prices of each art work were as is, no discount. But whatever profit margin by the galerie for the sales that night will all go to the UPSEAA fund as the association is helping our alma mater have a great 50th year anniversary in 2015 or just three years from now. There are grand plans for the school such putting up a new school building, expanding the scholarship fund, creating more professorial chairs, and so on.
That is why I said that Jack is a kind hearted entrepreneur and alumni of the school. Every year, there is a general alumni homecoming, sponsored by graduates 25 years ago. And every year, Jack would donate some art pieces to the school for bidding. Whatever amount to be raised will all go to the SEAA fund. Jack is definitely among the most gallant alumni of the school.
There are other rich alumni too, who gave substantial amount to the school, mainly to modernize each classroom. If you see the classrooms there, you will be impressed, they are word-class lecture rooms with high tech facilities -- all from donations of alumni. The taxpayers subsidy alloted for the school only goes for the maintenance (electricity, water, books, office supplies, etc.) as well as salaries of faculty and staff.
Me, I went there just to eat as I knew that Jack would prepare really yummy food for all guests, buyers or plain kibitzers. I was not disappointed as the food was really nice. But I was disappointed also because I thought that there would be some medium or high octane drinks, say 17 percent alcohol content red wine or even 5 percent serbesa, there was none. Disappointing Jack! :-)
There were lots of juices, soda and water.
Many art works have six-digits Pesos price tag each. Really wowie paintings. A number were on the five-digits price tag. The former includes art work by a national artist who recently passed away.... (I forgot his name)
One painting stood out. Not only that it was a huge painting, but it was the only painting there I think which has a seven-digits price tag. It's the one on the lower right photo below.
Since I was there to eat and mingle with friends and fellow alumni, I just optimized my time aside from maximizing the utility function of my tummy. I started a discourse with some friends to argue that art sales like painting could be a proxy for the country's GDP growth. Why? Because paintings are considered "non-necessities", one can live and grow old without purchasing any painting, unlike purchasing food. So if the economy is doing bad, art sales should either flatten or go down as people would rather spend their money paying their kids' tuition fees or improve the house than buy paintings. On the other hand, if the economy is doing well, more people will have extra money to buy paintings and other art works.
Yeah, right. Because among the guests who came that night were Dr. Arsenio "Arsi" Balisacan, currently the head and Secretary of NEDA, my former professor at UPSE PDE program in 1997-98, and was the Dean before he was appointed to NEDA. Another VIP guest was Hans Sicat, the President of the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE).
Photo lower right, see -- these two guys thought I'm more handsome than them that is why they insisted that I should be in the middle. They were joking of course as they are definitely miles upon miles more good looking than me.
My former professor also in PDE program and now NEDA UnderSecretary Emmanuel "Manny" Esguerra was also there. He is a godfather to my first child. Also Popo Suanes, my batchmate in UPSE and was our class valedictoria. He was the first summa cum laude graduate of the school.
Galerie Joaquin that night, view outside.
Thanks again Jack. Thanks also to current UPSEAA President, Ernie Albano. Ernie may not be as rich as Jack but he spends lots of time with the alumni board meeting and planning what to do next, all with a single aim -- help build more financial muscles for the school to train more high caliber economists, while having fun at the same time. Cheers.