Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Meanwhile in Manila

Just when I had my Nokia cellphone working with my Ubuntu laptop, I had to lose the Bluetooth dongle that enables the connection between the two. So here I am in Manila, a very eventful day to blog about, and with neither GPRS connection nor a free Wi-Fi hotspot to blog it with. Ah, well, this post will have to wait until tomorrow.

A few feet from me, coiled in silent temptation, is the hotel Internet connection. But at $5 per hour, I had better well resist. Yes, those are the rates that EDSA Shangri-La is charging. Highway robbery, to be sure.

All the same, I shouldn't complain. I am here as a guest, and I've paid not a penny to be here. I'm speaking on Thursday at a FOSS conference on e-Government organized by the IDP. Between now and my talk there's several presentations that I'm looking forward to sitting in and many old friends to meet.

I flew in this afternoon from Davao. It's been ages since I've taken Philippine Airlines. Characteristically, the plane was late (PAL is supposed to stand for Plane Always Late); but the swanky ambience and absence of in-flight "fun" games (which usually has me bristling in irritation) made it a refreshing change from my usual Cebu Pacific.

On the same flight was Councillor Peter Lavina. I recognized him immediately from his blog and introduced myself (and in case you're wondering, he hasn't yet heard of the Village Idiot Savant -- harrumph, harrumph). We're speaking at the same conference, you see; and we had a chance to get better acquainted over the meet-and-greet dinner.

In another stroke of serendipity, on the same flight was my old grade school classmate, Dr. Odette Angliongto-Ramos. Not until we were side by side rolling our carts out the terminal did we espy each other. And then there was that niggling moment between recognition and retreat, that nether second when one wonders: "Is she or isn't she?"

"Odette?"

"Dominique?"

Well, what a small world indeed!

I caught a ride with her, her husband, and her brother-in-law; and along the way we talked about old classmates we were in touch and had lost touch with, about how she was, about how I was, and the hundred and one other things that rediscovered friends awkwardly catch up on.

Arriving at EDSA Shangri-La immediately caught me in a whirlwind reunion. In the car ahead of me were Eloy Marcelo, Francis Sarmiento, and Yolynne Medina.

More tomorrow!