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Yes, today is the 167th year of Bank of the Philippine Islands where I used to work. It was established on August 01, 1851.  It is the oldest bank in the country. The executive lounge of the bank was named 1851 Club, a high-end restaurant where important events and functions are usually held. The bank also  has several function rooms  on the 14th floor where training of bank staff and personnel  and Wednesday masses are held.

I worked with the bank for more than twenty years and availed of an optional retirement back in 2000.  I am posting same picture I posted some years back, the facade of BPI Main Building in Ayala Avenue, Makati  City, the business district of Metro Manila.

I miss the daily walks going to the commercial center  every noon break. I miss the daily morning masses at Greenbelt Chapel. I miss my former office mates some of whom are now officially retired too.  The daily grind of somehow exhausting but fulfilling job, I miss it too.

Make the best happen! I think that’s still BPI’s official tagline.

 

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Happy 163rd Anniversary BPI

photo courtesy of kmcmaggroup.com

photo courtesy of kmcmaggroup.com

I miss this place, it has been my home for  almost  twenty-one years.  Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) is the oldest bank in the Philippines and the oldest bank in Southeast Asia. It was founded on August 01, 1851.  It is located at the heart of Makati Central Business District along Ayala Avenue corner Paseo de Roxas.

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The bank was  previously named El Banco Español Filipino de Isabel 2 (The Spanish Filipino Bank of Isabel II), in honor of Isabella II, the reigning queen of Spain. Isabella II was the daughter of King Ferdinand VII, who passed away in 1833. I remember the time when all employees of the bank were given a copy of the book Legacy where it detailed the history of the Bank, the awards it garnered through the years. BPI is also known for its firsts as listed below:

  • BPI is the first bank in the Philippines, and in Southeast Asia.
  • BPI is the first bank to issue the Philippine peso
  • Introduced branch banking by opening its first branch outside Manila in Iloilo on March 15, 1897.
  • BPI financed the first rail system, telephone system, electric power utility, and steamship service in the Philippines
  • BPI established the Philippines’ first ATM system, with its ATMs being called Express Tellers. The system eventually evolved into the Expressnet ATM consortium, which has seven members
  • Expressnet is also known for its Express Payment System (EPS), which was at first the debit card system of the BPI Express Teller ATM card.
  • BPI pioneered the concept of the banking kiosk in the Philippines, with its kiosks being called Express Banking Centers or EBCs or by its older name, the Convenience Banking Center. EBCs can be found in malls, supermarkets, plazas and other locations and operate beyond normal Philippine banking hours, which are from 9.00 to 15.00 on weekdays.
  • The first local bank in the Philippines to introduce 24 hour branch banking called BPI Express.
  • BPI is the first bank in the Philippines to make use of a call center and telephone banking, known as BPI Express Phone
  • Launched BPI Express Mobile – Mobile Banking facility which enables accountholders to inquire about their deposit, credit card, auto and housing loan and BPI Prepaid Card balances, transfer funds between enrolled deposit accounts, pay bills to over 200 merchants, reload Globe Telecom and Touch Mobile prepaid mobile phones and BPI Express Cash MasterCard Electronic, and transfer money to and from Globe GCash wallet.
  • Launched BPI Express Credit Gold MasterCard with Paysafe System, the country’s first EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) compliant chip card.
  • The first airline co-brand chip credit card issued in the Philippines – BPI SkyMiles MasterCard and BPI SkyMiles Platinum MasterCard with its partner Delta Air Lines.
  • The first local bank in the country to offer most number of third currencies in its products and services – Savings Accounts and Time Deposit Accounts (As of January 2010) (Australian Dollars, Canadian dollars, Swiss Francs, Euros, British Pounds, Japanese Yen and Chinese Yuan).
  • BPI issued its first Sustainability Report for 2008 along the Global Reporting Initiatives (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, the first in the banking industry.
  • The first bank to introduce “Bank Anywhere” capability by allowing clients of the bank to transact at any of its more than 800 BPI branches ‘free of charge’
  • Introduced the country’s first branchless bank – BPI Globe Savings Bank (BanKo) using Mobile Money Technology (MMT) (December 2009).
  • Introduced the country’s first Mobile Mall – BPI Express Mobile – Mobile Mall (2009).
  • Introduced the country’s first envelope-less deposit machine – Express Deposit (2012).

Bank with Bank of the Philippine Islands, “Make The Best Happen”.

(credits go  to BPI Mag and Wikipedia for these  wonderful write-ups).

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IMG_5558

 I just can’t resist posting this lovely painting of Anita Magsaysay Ho,  (Seated Women Sewing) a  gifted and talented artist who is known  for  “her paintings that depict figurative abstracts of women at everyday tasks.” Four years ago,  Bank of the Philippine Islands, where I used to work, started publishing pictures of paintings that they own via a lovely journal  and my daughter who works there now gifted me with a copy. She has given me copies of these journal/diary/calendar  that I collect since then. This year, it’s called A Legacy of Art (a treasury of paintings by Artists of National Prominence from the BPI Art Collection).  I am almost afraid to write on its pristine pages because I like the paintings that they publish there. Here’s one more entitled Old Farmer With Hat by our National Artist  Fernando Amorsolo done in 1929, oil on canvas. IMG_5560

 

 

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This is quite a nice surprise. I received a late Christmas greeting card this morning  from Bank of the Philippine Islands, the bank where I used to work for more than twenty years. I was credited with a 1,000 bonus Real Thrills Rewards points as a sign of appreciation from BPI Express Credit.  There is the first time I received such a gift from them.  And 1,000 points really count a lot if you are aiming for a higher-value item  in their  catalog.

Thank you BPI!

 

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Two years ago, I received this lovely journal from my daughter featuring paintings of various Filipino artists and painters. Contempo featured several well-known artists of the land, the likes of  National Artists HR Ocampo, Mauro Malang Santos, Jose Joya, and Oscar Zalamea to name a few. It also featured the artwork of Ms. Phyllis Zaballero  who found my blog and even left comments about it.  It was actually a calendar notebook for the year 2010 but I made it as my journal, a reference notebook for all the Bible readings and reflections that I post at our Catholic site.

This  year,  I was in seventh heaven when Nissa brought home two similar notebooks simply entitled Amorsolo. One was a calendar notebook featuring the lovely paintings of our National Artist Fernando Amorsolo taken from the same art collection of Bank of the Philippine Islands where I worked for more than twenty years. The other was a journal with the same cover, featuring his  Mango Gatherers painting dated 1924. This collection was even more beautiful than the first one and I fell in love with it. Never in my dream would I ever own a Fernando Amorsolo so just looking at the reproductions gives me so much joy. Come to think of it, when you visit the 1851 Club of BPI, you would see these paintings adorning the several function rooms.

What a pleasant surprise to receive another journal, Modernism to Abstraction which is for the year 2012. As usual I took shots of the different featured paintings which even include an artwork of the only well-known artist I met personally, Manuel BaldemorI was just so excited not to share them here.

January 30, 1970

Jose Joya, National Artist

View of the Pasig River

Federico Aguilar Alcuaz (1975)

Still Life With Fish

Vicente Manansala, National Artist (1951)

Carroza

Mauro Malang Santos

Pahiyas Sa Lukban (The Lukban Fiesta)

Manuel D. Baldemor (1984)

Untitled

Juvenal Sanso

Abstraction 163

HR Ocampo, National Artist (1978)

Mother Earth Awesome In Her Beauty

J. Elizalde Navarro, National Artist (1995)

Don’t you just love having these as collections too? I do love the twin set of smaller journals which Nissa bought for me.

Still Life

Macario Vitalis (1942)

Cityscape

Arturo Luz  (1960)

Galumphing Ghost Town

Lee Aguinaldo (1980)

Diaphanous Series (Yellow)

Romulo Olazo (1986)

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“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”- Anais Nin

Things always get a bit hectic during Mondays.  Since  we consider Sunday as family day, we just relax and enjoy each other’s company but when Monday comes, household chores are a little tiring. But with it comes little surprises that gladden the heart.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear from a friend whom I haven’t seen for quite some time. Leng, also used to work at Bank of the Philippine Islands but she left ahead of me, I think. She recently subscribed to my blog here at WordPress and told me that she regularly read it every week.  Joey, who is still with BPI, Leng and I were carpool buddies aside from working at the same bank in Makati. Everyday, we would go home together and an hour of travel, (make that an hour and a half when there is traffic) usually becomes a lively sharing, or a heated discussion or plain laughing with each other while remembering some old jokes.  Our favorite topics of course are our respective families. There are times when we come to the office early and spend the morning sipping hot coffee and eating burger and fries at the Jollibee branch at Enterprise Center.  Those were the days that I miss today.  And I wish I would be able to see them both sometime.

Another friend shared a lovely video by the group Bread. I am listening to it as I write this.  Clouds – a favorite song from way back and I just love the intro music . He personally dubbed it. Clouds, aside from flowers are my favorite subjects in photography. They always fascinate me.

 

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It was an eventful albeit a bit tiring day for me.  I went with Nissa, Obet and Marisse to get Nissa’s wedding gown and to have Marisse fitted with hers. It’s been years since I stepped foot at Makati Central Business District where we waited for Obet to arrive before proceeding to Manila.  I suddenly missed Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) where I worked for more than twenty years. It’s sprouting a new look, the old  gold logo is gone and was replaced by a bright red color. It’s celebrating 160th year  and is also considered the oldest bank in the country.

We had breakfast at McDo, and it was real nice sharing with Marisse talking about her extended trip in Singapore. It was followed by a long, long chat while we were in the car going to Manila. I also missed seeing the old buildings in Manila where the architectural structures speak of the old times.  There are really such lovely places to visit like the old Sta. Cruz  Church which is now known as the Shrine of San Lorenzo Ruiz, our very own patron saint,  the old Post Office building, Luneta Park,  Intramuros, to name a few.

It was my first time to visit Paco Park Church where Nissa and Obet’s wedding will be held.  I wish I brought my camera with me and had taken some shots of the place.  It looks so cozy  inside and the garden in front is large enough for an outdoor reception. The water fountain is an added attraction too.  It’s a perfect place for an intimate wedding.  It’s also known as St. Pancratius Chapel. Next we visited Ibarra’s  Garden where they will have their wedding reception.  Ibarra’s Garden is a stone’s throw from the church, a convenient distance for their guests and family members.

Marisse and I were teasing each other, are we gonna cry  when Nissa gets married? I said, maybe, but I’m sure they’ll be tears of joy for the event.  It’s actually exciting to be involved in the wedding plans but it’s kind of  intimidating too at the same time. I’ll be gaining a son and she’ll gain another friend.

It’s the first wedding in the family so we are all excited.

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This is a little uncanny!  I looked at my last post a year ago and what do you know, I quoted same and exact words from John Burroughs while greeting everyone a happy year 2010.  I made my New year greetings early this morning and this is what I wrote on the picture that I took last December 25.

Compared to the bustle and clutter of 2009, this year has been a little subdued.   It was a year full of quiet musings and deep introspections.   I’ve gone on a few short trips, just testing how I can endure the long ride after chemotherapy.  Time was when, my life was divided into pre-surgery, recuperation and chemotherapy.  I thank God for giving me the strength to carry on despite the pain.   Hard knocks of life really make us a little stronger and enduring.

Hubby and I went back to Caleruega for an overnight stay last February 11, 2010 and as I have said in my previous blogs, that trip was  a  litmus test for me after six grueling sessions of chemotherapy.  If there is one place that I’ve blogged more than anything, it’s Caleruega.  It has become a sort of sanctuary for me.   And I thought, if I could survive that trip, then I am well.  I did and I am so much thankful for it.

Next came our Visita Iglesia last  April 01.  We did the rounds of at least seven churches in six towns in Laguna.   Every year, we make it a point to visit some churches during Holy Week .We traveled  via the scenic route from Binangonan, Cardona, Morong, Baras and Pillila, Rizal to the towns of Mabitac, Siniloan, Famy, Pangil, Pakil and Paete.  Laguna is famous for century-old churches.    It was a little tiring for me, what with so many people around and mostly under the heat of the sun.   I did okay, another plus for endurance, don’t you think?  Anyway, I thought that if I could spend the whole day outside without complaining of over-fatigue, everything would be okay and it was.   Hubby and I were also able to attend a Lenten retreat which made the celebration of Lent all the more meaningful.  God is so good!                                           


Finally had our small grotto blessed last April 11, 2010.  It was my promise to Mama Mary that I would have her image enshrined at our garden when I go out of the hospital.  Our garden was destroyed by typhoon Ondoy so we had to replenish everything planted there.   The grotto has a small pond and we have Koi fish swimming there now.  I am still not much into gardening except for an hour or two spent watering the plants every morning.

I was rushed to the hospital last May 01, 2010 because of  an acute UTI and my urologist found out that a kidney stone was lodged somewhere in my urinary tract prompting  him to insert a DJ stent for three months.  It was  a quick but an expensive procedure.   I have to make another visit to Dr. Ang’s clinic  ( he is my surgical oncologist) and he assured me that I could spend the Christmas holidays without the pressure of having another colonoscopy since he scheduled it early next year.  Hooray!

My life is slowly but surely getting back to normal.  Reading has taken a backseat though because I easily get tired while my eyes are focused on the small prints.  I remember the days when I could finish a book in a day, two or three days at the most for a long novel.  One of the joys of recuperating is having relaxed days, just concentrating on getting back your strength, never doing any taxing job.  I feel guilty though that I could not do heavy household chores although around this time, I could easily tag along doing the weekly marketing without complaints.

June 05, 2010 was Bank of the Philippines Island’s Family Day.  My daughter persuaded me to come but I was afraid to take any ride so I ended up just relaxing. I found a former office mate, such a perfect time to catch up on each other’s lives.

The month of July found me attending our  second grand reunion at the UST Library aptly called Balik-Aklatan 2. Ten years ago, we had our first reunion and this is the second time we had it. It’s nice to be back and see old friends and new faces . The three years I spent here were the best years of my teenage life. My love of books started during my stay here and I greatly appreciate what the experience taught me  – responsibility at an early age, juggling work with studies, meeting lots of friends and colleagues and most of all learning to appreciate good books.  I  was able to view the library exhibit’s  Lumina  Pandit which is in preparation for the  Quadricentennial  celebration of the University.

Remembering the good old days – that’s what the reunion was all about.   Hubby and I  had an overnight trip to Bataan middle of September.   We heard mass at Balanga Cathedral and met some new friends.  Awesome place, friendly people.  I want to go back there one of these days, if time permits.  September also started my journey as one of the three administrators of a Catholic page at Facebook.  Fr. Louie, OP calls it my online apostolate.  It is such a joy to be able to help and inspire other people.   Membership at the site is steadily increasing.  What a wonder, God is pointing the way for me to interact with people.  Last September 25, I was able to touch the image of La Naval when my good friend Lovell invited me to join them in praying the rosary when they transferred our Lady of La Naval in an enclosed room in preparation for the October Feast Day.  Awesome moments for me, seeing her up close! Last November 29, I met an online friend for the first time after exchanging notes and blogging at Multiply.  Bong is such a very gracious lady and we had a blast with her hubby, my daughter and my husband.

A few days ago, my daughter, his boyfriend and I went home to attend the barangay fiesta at our place. Though it was only a short vacation, I enjoyed it.  We’ve been able to visit some relatives and spent lunch at Maxine’s  facing the famous Hundred Islands.  I took lots of pictures of course.

At the marina, facing the lighthouse ….

The famous tourist attraction, The Hundred Islands in Lucap, Alaminos City

Somewhere along SCTEX , facing the Arayat Mountains in Pampanga

It’s been a good year so far and before it ends, I want to greet all of you HAPPY NEW YEAR.  May the coming year be fruitful, blessed and happy for all of us.

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Imagine this!   I am grinning from ear to ear (if there is really such a thing) because I got more surprises than I bargained for.  I just received a  note from my brother Noel telling me  that he just paid one more year of Premium Account at Multiply.  And that means – unlimited storage of photos and videos,  and full resolution originals are kept forever.   I am simply grateful for having a brother who  supports and encourages my writing, who is forever praising me for learning new  tools  of the trade. Lately, I learned how to make videos, another plus for me of course!  And here’s what he wrote:

Here’s your redemption code for another year of premium Multiply account.  Have a  merry Christmas!”

Yesterday, I got a surprise visit from a cousin whom I haven’t seen for quite a while.  We were classmates in grade school.  And we spent a few hours reminiscing  and  exchanging news about our other classmates  way back then.  She is a member of  The Lord’s Flock – LWUA Psalm Ministry and she gave me a copy of their  CD called Lighting  Paths, Touching Lives. It is an inspirational album  and I love all the songs in it.  I was particularly touched by the songs  People Need The Lord, Love  Is The Answer and the solo rendition of You Raise Me Up. The latter  has been my favorite since I heard Josh Groban  sing it  and when I found out that it was one of the songs played during Dad’s funeral three years ago, I can’t help but remember him every time I listen to it.  Thanks Cynthia for this wonderful gift.

And here are more surprises that I truly, truly appreciate.  Nissa gave them to me before she left for Tagaytay yesterday, a journal and a calendar for the year 2011.  The calendar  has  lovely  paintings by  our national artist,   Amorsolo.   They are from the art collections of Bank  of the Philippine Islands where she works.

Last year I received the Contempo, a collection of modern paintings from the same art collections of Bank of PI.  I even blogged about it because I found the paintings so lovely.  I remember now, one  of the artists, Ms. Phyllis Zaballero  found my blog on google and she left comments  when she saw that I included one of her paintings.  She told me that she no longer remember who had that particular painting of hers.  I am quite an  “ignoramus” when it comes to lovely works of art but I do know how to appreciate though.  When I met the great artist, Manny Baldemor  two years ago, I even became more enamoured with looking at such awesome creations by our talented artists.   How I loved to visit the 1851 Club of Bank of PI when I was still working there.  Their function rooms were full of these lovely collection.  This time,  in their 2011  calendar notebook and journal, they featured the paintings of Amorsolo, our National Artist.  He  is one of the most important artists in the history of paintings in the Philippines.  I took pictures of some of his artworks because I find them all lovely and fascinating, some of them are countryside scenery that I love.

Trade In A Colonial Shore (Galleon Trade) 1959

 

Burning of Manila (Ano Nuevo 1942)

 

Fruit Vendors (1924)

 

Woman Washing Clothes (Lavandera) 1947

 

Tinikling 1951

 

Hinulugang Taktak 1951

 

Tinikling 1953

 




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Got this news from MyBPIMagazine.  And I am proud to have been a part of this Bank for more than twenty-one years.

“Bank of the Philippine Islands (Philippines) wins Best Retail Bank in the Philippines and the Best Mobile Phone Banking Award for the year 2009.

Bank of the Philippine Islands wins two awards – the Best Retail Bank in the Philippines, winning this award for the 8th time, and the Best Mobile Phone Banking Award for the year 2009.
Over 120 banks and financial institutions from 23 countries across the Asia Pacific, Gulf and Central Asian regions were evaluated as part of the Excellence in Retail Financial Services Programme.

Singapore, 19 March 2010 – Bank of the Philippine Islands has won the Best Retail Bank in the Philippines and the Best Mobile Phone Banking Award in the ninth Asian Banker Excellence in the Retail Financial Services Awards Programme. The bank received the award at The Asian Banker Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards 2010 ceremony, held in conjunction with the region’s foremost retail banking event, the Excellence in Retail Financial Services Convention. The ceremony was held at the JW Marriot in Shanghai on the evening of March 18th, 2010.”

On another note, the bank’s President, is  the recipient of the Asian Banker’s Leadership Achievement Award:

“Mr. Aurelio Montinola III, President of Bank of the Philippine Islands, was the sole recipient of Asian Banker’s Leadership Achievement award for the Philippines!

The Asian Banker Leadership Achievement Awards programme is widely acknowledged by the financial services industry as the highest possible accolade available to professionals in the industry as recognized in the Asia Pacific and Gulf regions today. Established in 2001, it is one of the most difficult and most exclusive awards for any top banker or player in the financial services industry to win because of its stringent evaluation process. Given only once every three years, the award recognizes that the shape and direction of the largest institutions and the smallest processes are dependent on the calibre of the individuals entrusted to them.”

Took this shot during Bank of the Philippine Islands’ Family Day at Enchanted Kingdom, in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. I was trying to take a shot of the new BPI tag line but I could not fit it all into the frame.

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