Life’s changing season

Published January 28, 2021, 6:00 AM

by Flor G. Tarriela

A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance… Ecclesiastes 3:2& 4

Domini Torrevillas is gone. Monday after Christmas, I was shocked to read the message of Andoy, my godson and Domini’s only son, Mom has joined our Creator. She is now resting in peace with the Lord. God couldn’t have given me a better mother.” I had to call Andoy to confirm the news as I didn’t know that Domini was sick. It was so sudden. Zonito, her niece and who she considers as her “eldest daughter,” said Domini still prepared Christmas lunch but felt back ache the next day, hospitalized on December 27 and passed away on the 28th. So fast! Initial COVID test was negative but a second test proved positive. Truly life is too short. The corona- virus is real, invisible and deadly. And with new variants, let’s make sure we follow the necessary protocols and better stay safe than sorry. 

I met Domini way, way back. We were neighbors until she moved to Mindanao some 3 years ago. I had my career in Citibank then and she was a well-known columnist. We visited each other’s homes often and had Bible studies together. She was present in major events of our family and she would often write about them. She was editor of most of our family’s books: my mom’s “Arling, her Cup Runneth Over,” my husband’s “Ed, A Gentleman Farmer,” and the Coincidence or Miracle series, the 5th of which was entitled “Beyond All Barriers” coined by Education Secretary Leonor Briones, also a close friend of Domini. 

Domini as a columnist always wrote about engaging topics and people, I spent more time with her to expand my interests. She was a feisty writer especially during Martial Law. When I was asked to write articles in finance in the dailies in the mid 90’s, I accepted knowing I can depend on Domini to edit my work. At the start, I always sent Domini the draft of my articles before I can submit them. I was encouraged as Domini didn’t really edit my work much.

 We were classmates in a flower arrangement seminar of Ponchit Ponce Enrile. She was the first to go into herbs and gardening and always tells me how impressed she is with what I have done with Flor’s Garden. Last September she happily surprised me by writing a full article about me in her column, “Banker cum Gardener.” We talked about a new project, a new book for her to edit but that won’t happen anymore. Farewell Domini. Thank you for mentoring me and helping me start in writing.  For being a very good friend.  Sincere condolences to Saeed, Andoy and Zonito.

**********

Edwin Bautista, Union Bank’s president/CEO is Citibank’s Distinguished Alumni Awardee 2020 in Leadership and Ingenuity.  Edwin is recognized for being a key enabler for greater financial inclusion and sustainable prosperity for all Filipinos.  Edwin launched Union Bank’s “digital transformation” and has several awards for his clear vision, strong strategy and exemplary leadership. 

Edwin joined Citibank in early 90’s when Citi started to focus in Product Management and recruited from consumer companies.  Edwin came from P&G.  I recall Edwin was then head of Transaction Services and I was head of Corporate Banking/ Financial Institutions, and we worked together when Citi took the initiative of the Philippine Domestic Dollar Transfer System (PDDTS) and proposed this to the BAP.  At that time, to transfer dollars from one bank to another took so long, some 45 days and costly/ expensive.  PDDTS was a game changer resulting in real time gross settlement, meaning instantly.  Citi won that and continues to provide that service to this day. In 2019, both Edwin and I were BAP directors and we were asked to be advisers to the PDDTS bidding process which Citi won again.

Congratulations Edwin for a well-deserved award and thank you for mentioning me as one of your two most important mentors, the other being Tito Ortiz.  Congratulations too for the promotion of Angelina, your only daughter as Citibank VP.

There’s a season for everything…death, promotion.  This is life, ever changing, always evolving.

For the New Year, here are some constant words of wisdom from Warren Buffet:

  • Our eyes are placed in front because it is important to look ahead than to look back. 
  • On Earnings – Never depend on single income.  Make investments to create a second choice. 
  • On Savings – Do not save what is left after spending but spend what is left after saving.
  • On Spending – If you buy things you do not need, soon you will have to sell things you need. 
  • On Investment – Do not put all eggs in one basket. 
  • On Taking Risk – Never test the depth of the river with both feet.

Let’s look forward to 2021!  Abundant blessings!

*****

Ms. Flor Gozon Tarriela is chairman of the Philippine National Bank and PNB Capital. She is a former Undersecretary of Finance.  The first Filipina vice-president of Citibank N.A., she was Citi’s Distinguished Alumni Awardee in 2015 for Community Involvement. She is a trustee of FINEX and an Institute of Corporate Directors fellow.

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