Tuesday, September 26, 2006

market moving

there are stories that shake the markets and cause a ripple of reaction among market players - these are called market-moving stories.
since working in the banking and finance beat about two years ago, it's been a dire wish to be able to come up with a market-shaking story.
i remember i did one about a year ago, of the government selling euro bonds. it turned out to be a dud, but it moved bond prices nonetheless.
but yesterday, i think i did one and hit it right on the head. it was a slow day for us in the beat, no new news were coming. it happened that i thought of asking central bank governor tetangco of how soon he thinks the philippines may get a rating upgrade.
the good governor responded it may happen in 6 months. i shared the information with bloomberg.
i did the story for my newspaper today and had no idea of its impact until i surfed the net and saw that reuters picked up the story.
later, karen, a comrade in the beat who's with reuters, called me up to inquire if the story in the paper was mine. i said yes but that it didn't have a byline.
then she burst into a commendation for a good job done. a what? i was clueless and was not really interested to heap praises on myself.
the reuters story was updated and said that share prices closed higher because of the central bank chief's comments.
in my phone conversation with kler (of bloomberg)later, she said reuters tried to catch up with the story (i pretended i haven't seen it).
so, what that makes of me? i guess nothing, just the feeling that i have broken through a fervent wish. i'm happy, yes i am, that's why this blog note.
but i know that as with every other journalist, i'm as good as my last story.
the good governor has certainly done me a favor and this shall not go unnoticed.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A brush with mortality

You’ll never know when you’re about to go. But you can tell if your time is up.
That was certainly my case during a big flood in espana. I was coming home from pasay when rushing waters greeted the tamaraw fx I was riding in.
The poor driver swerved his vehicle here and there until we were in a sidestreet that was only half-flooded than espana. Then we came to a deep corner. I had to get out of the vehicle and try my luck walking through the waterlogged street or I had to wait till the waters subside.
Before my eyes was a sea of dirty water that got me really scared. If there’s a hole somewhere I’d drown without anyone seeing me. Or if a live wire fell off from an electric post I’d be toasted like a cat.
I changed direction and emerged in espana. Behold, water was building up so high that only 18-wheeler trucks could get through. The water was something like that you see in a forest flowing from the mountains, except that this was all of filth.
I joined the other hapless commuters to wade in the dark waters. After a forceful 100 steps or so I was across espana. But then, water was everywhere. I turned left to an obscure street then turned right on to another street leading to where I live.
Now, I noticed that mayor atienza had installed new electric posts with their lights shining brightly to guide passersby. I was almost thankful for this deed when five feet to an electric post infront of me I felt shockwaves throughout my body. I felt like my hairs stood up. Good golly, the waters are alive!
In my panic, I jumped on to the base of the post and wrapped my hands around the metal post but that just shocked me more. I was holding on to the very source of the shock!
I jumped out and landed on an embankment near a pldt switch. It was a dark corner. Somebody from across the street yelled at me but I couldn’t hear him. I shouted back to say the post was electrocuting me. He just looked at me.
I stood there waiting for my salvation and still shaking, I realized I was at the throes of death. I looked down on the muddle and falling flat on that dirty water was not my idea of exiting from this world. But at least, I assured myself, somebody was there to explain how I went.
The thought of death did not ruffle me, maybe because I was in good spirits that night. But somehow, it occurred to me that I wasn’t going yet. There’s no such experience of my past flashing in my mind or a vision of a dead relative calling me out.
Then again, I thought it wasn’t a bad idea to leave now. Should I go should I not? In a moment a teenager wandered infront of me and felt the shocked I felt then jumped as well to where I was.
That gave me an idea, beyond five feet the electric post was harmless. I somersaulted to my left with my two feet splashed on the water then dashed to my safety. I was out of danger.
I reached home wet and still shaking but otherwise I was thankful I was alive. Mayor atienza’s electric posts almost did me in. For a moment, I thought that was it but my feelings belied that fear.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

lito and cris

lito and cris are a married couple. I met them because i interviewed them for a book project, which tells of the transformation of people from being children of the world to children of God.
Their story, though, was never a transformation but more of an inspiration for people who think they’re getting the raw end of the deal in this life.
Lito and cris are not your usual couple. Lito is blind from birth while cris is lame. Lito sees through the eyes of cris while she walks with his legs and feet.
If you have by chance seen an odd-looking couple swaying here and there to their direction, it must have been them.
Lito holds her wife by the waist as he walks while cris tells him which way to go.
Oh, what a weight he carries around! I told lito when we settled down for interview at a fastfood corner that it must be the reason he’s lean as reed. Lito could only laugh.
I bought them a meal with a cup of coke. I made sure they had big meals so I let go of the drinks. I told them “hati na lang kayo” to which lito said in the direction of his wife, “o, wag mo akong dayain,” knowing fully well that with both eyes closed, he wouldn’t know what would the partition be.
But of course, he said that in jest. Lito, who’s below 25 years while Cris is near 30, is playful. I thought he's just a kid.
This could pretty much mask his desperation as a man without eyes. But no, there wasn’t a need to hide something. While aware of his state, I didn’t see any trace of him being bitter. Probably because he hadn’t had an idea of the light. But then again you can see so much even with your eyes closed.
Cris is the thinking one. She would shift from spiritual to philosophical to plain realistic in the course of the interview. She has big aspirations for people like them. But at the end of the day, she knows she would go far only with the help of other people.
I sent them home after a couple of hours and while waiting in Edsa for a ride home to Calumpit, Cris was slumped on the pavement. The rest of the population swirled by while she was closest to earth. I said to myself, how humbling could this be!
Yet like lito, cris wasn’t sorry for this state.
Lito and cris show how it is truly to be a child of God.

when there's value in giving

i never realized there's a value to the coins one gives as alms to beggars until last night. i was stepping outside a mall in manila which i visited to shop for a couple of shirts when an elderly woman called me out and asked for alms. i reached into my pocket, found a peso and three 25-centavo coins, went to her direction and put the treasure on her palms.
hardly had i made a 90-degree turn than she asked me what did i give her. she made a remark to the effect that the coins were not even enough to buy her a cup of coffee. i was out of my wits.
she reached for my hand and returned the coins, accompanied by yet another remark that i was spoiling her hand with such a stingy donation. i was dumbfounded.
i grew up thinking that beggars can't be choosers but this woman, who was probably five years older than my mother, did not fit the description.
her words hurt me but honestly i didn't know how to react, i just let her slip out of my sight. turning to myself, i felt terribly sorry. when i recovered, i comforted myself saying i'm not rich to
give everything away.
what hurt me really was the fact that the few coins were precious to me. i came to that mall because it was on sale and i could buy more items with only so much cash. i never meant to be stingy, i'ts all i had. i have a couple of one-hundred peso bills in my wallet, but there's another day to think of.
i was asking myself - would she react differently if i gave her a bigger bill? her attitude to my small donation was a giveaway.