Thursday, July 21, 2022

China Bank building restoration and museum

Last Saturday, July 16, our friend at UPSE Alumni Association (UPSEAA), Alex Escucha, a retired SVP of China Banking Corp. (CBC), invited me and a number of UPSEAAns to a tour of the renovated CBC Business Center in Binondo, Manila. Binondo is also known as the "world's oldest Chinatown." 

CBC was formed in 1920 and the building was built in 1922-1924. CBC celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2020 and Alex was the Chairman of the bank's Centennial Committee. Alex is also a fellow Ilongo, he is from Iloilo while I am from the neighbor island Negros Occidental.

Alex gave us these two papers, a big pamphlet of the restoration project, and a special edition of BizNews Asia where CBC and its leaders, selected clients, were featured. The photo of the restored building is impressive, very good lighting with a cloudless early evening sky as background. It looks like one of those old classic buildings in Europe financial districts. Very talented photographer to make this photo.

Alex doing the basic lecture about the bank's history from the 1920s to the restoration project in 2018 in time for the centennial celebration. The big room where the briefing was conducted is the restored “banking hall” with high ceiling restored. Bright, well-lighted and wide, the column-posts appear like long solid rounded marbles.

Our group photo after his basic lecture. Alex standing in the middle with the women.  I'm the leftmost standing with the men. Notice the three large glasses with stained archi designs, cool.

At the museum, 4th floor of the building, former Executive offices. Alex explained the old trading routes in East Asia, where the founders of CBC came from -- Dee C. Chuan came from Fujian, now called Fukien.

Another group photo at the steel retrofit with shock absorber rubber damper made by Sumitomo. Portrain of Mr. Dee, the founder at the background. Alex is sometimes called Alex Escu-chua, hehe. Standing at the back, 3rd from left is Jack Teotico, Past President of UPSEAA and beside him, 4th from left is Jeffrey Ng, current President of UPSEAA. Directly in front of Jeff is Ronee Juanengo, also a Past President of the Association.

At the museum, I was amused by thse old steel money-counting and adding machines aside from the classic abacus. 

And these Batman-style old cars in the 1920s, American colonial period. That time, five- or seven-storey buildings were already considered "skyscrapers".

Alex's tour lasted for nearly three hours. After that we went to Grand Cafe 1919, it used to be the Binondo office of Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corp. built in 1919, hence Cafe 1919. Just one block away from CBC and have nice yummy food.

Additional readings here:

(1) 400+ pages centennial book digital copy,

(2) China Bank's centennial book
By Stephen CuUnjieng. January 28, 2022

(3) China Bank Binondo building restoration: A champion of heritage resiliency
Rosette Adel   April 15, 2022 | 2:30pm

(4) FB post by Augusto Lozada Toledo II, May 1, 2022  

(5) Binondo rising
by Jaime Laya June 13, 2022, 12:05 AM

I have no deposit account or loan with CBC. But I have deposit account with China Bank Savings (CBS), their subsidiary for MSMEs. CBS VP Jo Fernandez invited me to speak at one of their lectures during the lockdown, I opened an account with them and my honorarium was directly deposited there.

Thanks again for the tour, Alex. Appreciated it.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Pidro Sing and Narra kids

I stayed in UP Narra dormitory 1983-85 and it was a memorable experience. Narra is the only all boys dorm in UP then so things can be funny and wild sometimes.  My first three roommates there were all Engineering students, they were all classmates from Pisay HS, all bright in science and math -- Joey Tiangco, Ariel Corpuz, Edgar "Gort" Goroza. They all graduated in 1984. I have no more photo with them.

I overstayed in UP to finish my undergrad thesis, my next roommates were my buddies from UP Sapul -- Monching Romano, Norman Roxas, and Gerry Mauricio.

Our room was along Katipunan side. Not far from us is the room of some UP legends -- Lean Alejandro, Sarge Colambo, Jojo Abinales, Alvin Batalla. Lean was a friendly guy and very active, very articulate activist student leader. He was assassinated in 1987. Really bad. RIP, Lean.

Dorm life means having many friends from many colleges. Among my friends in Narra in the 80s and friends until now, after four decades -- Peter "Pidro" Sing, Sarge Colambo, Clifford Espinosa, Ding Aguila, Jimmuel Naval, Severo "Nonoy" (my tokayo) Catura, Raphael "Popo" Lotilla. Popo was a legend in Narra, he stayed there when he was an undergrad student, law student, even as law Professor, so he has many friends from different colleges and batches.

Pidro is the wealthiest among my Narra friends and being friendly all these years, he's the most generous, galante, among us. He'd treat us to various gatherings with lots of food and drinks.

Last May, he gathered us at Powerplant mall. From left: Ding, tokayo Nonoy, Pidro, me, Jim, Cliff, Sarge.

Also last May, Pidro brought us to this nice place in Cavite. Forgot the name of the place...

Last November 2021, we visited a pneumahaus archi project of Cliff in Silang, Cavite. 

These are 2019 photos.

December 2019, Pidro and his company iOptions Ventures produced a movie, "Culion" and it luckily was included in the Metro Film Festival. He gave us the Culion shirt, nice. Another Narra kid John Lambino (2nd from left) joined us that night.

December 2020 or 2021 we also gathered with our friend but non-Narra dormmer, UP Diliman Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo and his wife Marivic Raquiza. I don't have the photo that night.

Our lunch in 2009. 

Pidro is such a gallant and great friend. Last month, I organized a dinner for now DOF Secretary Ben Diokno and DBM Secretary Mina Pangandaman. Sir Ben was my teacher twice in UP School of Economics, undergrad in 1984 and Program in Development Economics (PDE) in 1997-98. Mina was my classmate in the same PDE program. Sir Ben and Mina chose the date and place, I chose who can come, max only 6 of us.

I gathered some fellow Businessworld columnists -- Andrew Masigan, Dindo Manhit, Bernie Villegas. Plus BWorld editor in chief Willy Reyes. And I brought along Pidro. 

From left: Willy, Bernie, Sir Ben, Mina, BSP Asst Gov. ____, Mina's staff ____, Andrew, me, Dindo, Pidro.

Last week, Pidro celebrated his __th birthday. Next week Pidro will gather us Narra kids for another gathering and kwentuhan over nice food and drinks. 

Stay well and wealthy, Pidro.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Jack Teotico's Rock n Roll birthday party


Last week, this man celebrated his __th birthday with happy foody drinky loudy music party. Just pure fun, food, drinks and rock n roll.

Last time Jack held a similar fantabulous birthday party with loud happy rock n roll music was three years ago. See

Lots of his invited friends came, the place, Hard Rock Cafe in Glorietta mall, Makati, was filled up. There were the artists group, his family, his staff, his HS La Salle group, and his college UP School of Economics (UPSE) group, us :-)

First group to perform was Jack's own rock band, The Rockitwell Band. Their musicians are young talented guys, the main singers are Jack and his friends, plus three female singers.

Here goes the man and his band. My favorite songs that they always play are 25 or 6 to 4 (by Chicago), Jumpin Jack Flash (by Rolling Stones), ahh many others.

In this table for UPSE, three of them are "Ninangs" or major donors for the UP men's basketball team. One of them actually is the Grand Ninang. Hi R___.

Other friends from the UPSE group. Jack is a Past President of the UPSE Alumni Association (UPSEAA), that's why the man is famous among the alumni.

There was a song competition for fun -- Artists group, LaSalle group, and UPSE group. From ours who sang The Beatles' Ticket to Ride and Hard Day's Night are Alex, Sir Manny (my former teacher) and Popo (UPSE's first summa) and my batchmate. Awarding -- they won, haha.

Then the second band came -- The Authority Band led by Juan Miguel Salvador. This band is simply sooooper talented. Endless rock n roll music for 1+ hour non-stop.

They made practically everyone leave their seats and danced. Simply sooooper rak en rol.
Ahh, I also danced hehe. Went up stage for a brief photo and quickly jumped back to the dance floor.

These two guys on guitars... I told them after their performance, "Mga tol, mga hayop kayo... sa galing, t___ina, hanep soooper!" and they laughed hard appreciating the compliment.

Jack, you're still the Jumpin Jack Flash with Sympathy for the Devil who can Paint it Black hard the whole night. You made dozens of people very happy that night.

Thanks heaps, Jack.