The invitation said 6 p.m. I arrived a quarter before the appointed time. Some of the guests – men in their impeccable suits or barong; ladies in their finest – the top honchos of the banking industry and business stalwarts were already at Fort San Antonio Abad for the annual banking community reception last Friday hosted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
Queuing for the mandatory nametag at the registration table, my eagle eyes saw among the early birds Philippine Stock Exchange Chairman and former Finance Secretary Jose “Titoy” Pardo, Special Envoy and Philippine Business Bank Chairman Amb. Alfredo Yao, tycoon Lucio Tan, Chinatrust Vice Chairman Bill Go, and of course, BSP Officer-in-Charge Deputy Governor for Financial Supervisory Sector Chuchi Fonacier was at the reception line to welcome the guests.
This chronicler keenly observed that, despite the absence of prestigious persona like MetroBank Chairman Arthur Ty, who I understand had to attend the Toyota Motor Philippines event being held at the same time; Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno, and Socio-economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, the turnout for this year was higher. In the January 19, 2018 reception attendance was at 285 while for this year, the turn out was shy by two of the 300-mark for a 400-guests venue.
As the evening progressed and more invitees poured in, including our very own Manila Bulletin Chairman Basilio C.Yap and Vice Chairman Emil C. Yap III, Madame Tess Espenilla, wife of BSP Governor Nestor “Nesting” Espenilla, joined the reception line. Almost all stayed to listen to the speech of Gov. Nesting that was ably read by DG Chuchi.
The guests raved about the awesome food – hors d’œuvre: cheese pimiento croquettes, stuffed crab croquettes; appetizers: parmessan taquitos and shiitaki mushrooms, gambas al Catalan; cherry tomatoes stuffed with jackfruit; salmon tartar in sesame cones; herbed Laguna cheese in pandesal; and lightly salted Bacalao with plaintain fritters. There was also carving: slow roasted black Angus beef brisket and pasta: penne with portobello mushrooms, sage and walnuts. And for dessert: assorted fruits, honey and chocolate fudge cakes.
Although some did a French exit shortly after the speech and the toast, which was the highlight of the evening, there were still latecomers and most of the guests-former central bankers and BSP officials, current and former Monetary Board Members, bankers-stayed well into the night. Among the last men standing, holding the fort when I left the event were former BSP Gov. Say Tetangco, DG Chuchi, and Securities and Exchange Commissioner Ephyro Luis B. Amatong
“Happy,” was the answer I received from the BSP governor, who is on intermittent medical leave, on what he thought of the reception turnout.
Unsuspectingly with only a few knowing it, the night’s proceedings did not escape Gov. Nesting. It was fed on “livestream.” Oh, the power of technology.
Talking with Ambassador Carlos Chan, Liwayway Holdings Co. Ltd., the maker of Oishi snacks owned and controlled by the Special Envoy to China, related they were expanding its reach in the region. Oishi is putting up a manufacturing facility in Dacca, Bangladesh. The ground-breaking was held last Tuesday with construction to be completed before the year ends at the earliest or sometime this coming year at the latest. The Dacca facility brings to 32 Oishi’s total manufacturing plant, 15 of which are located in Mainland China.
In the meantime, Kung Hei Fat Choi in advance. Cheers!
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