© 2020 by Dan Albert S. de Padua

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The Long Lunch


April 13, 2016

My father related to me how once proud old U.P. professors had to go to the municipal hall and suffer the indignity of getting in line and getting hassled by clerks to receive their pension checks of about P6,000.00 each from the GSIS. It was a monthly ritual, and if they arrived a little too late, they might be sent shuffling off to return the next day. These were former college deans, professors emeriti, Ph.D.’s, and national scientists. But the system had humbled them into numbers in a queue. They had retired.

I have retired, too. When younger friends ask me what I do all day, I tell them I watch movies at the mall with the senior citizens who get into the theaters for free. That always gets a laugh. My fellow weekday moviegoers arri...

April 6, 2016

They call me by my first name without my permission! Do they think for some reason that they are ENTITLED to do that? It might have been OK if I had given them my name to write on a coffee cup, but no.

They contact me for business matters through Facebook messaging! I don’t require signed letters on actual paper, but they couldn’t be bothered to send a professional email with some kind of salutation and signature? They need to realize that when Zuckerberg invented Facebook in 2004, I was already a vice president, and to me Facebook is a leisure time distraction like a video game or sudoku.

Seated around a conference table, not one of them gives up his seat for the assistant vice president who walks in! I interviewed a millennial about th...

March 30, 2016

Marketing guru Dr. Ned Roberto noticed many years ago that Filipino families generally sit in the same pew in church for Mass on Sundays. Moreover, we usually arrange ourselves in exactly the same order from left to right every week: father, mother, sister, brother or some such. We are plainly people of habit. But it’s more than that. The same seating phenomenon takes place in classrooms; and it seems much easier to attach significance to it there. The slow “ropor” students sit at the back, in row four; while the star pupils and teachers’ pets occupy the seats up front. The noisy girls sit together, of course. Those who sit beside the window or near the door would rather be somewhere else.

In our board rooms and conference rooms, we see...

March 23, 2016

Dear Duffy,

Before anything else, do not ever be embarrassed by your childhood nickname. It’s part of who you are, and you will never be able to escape it anyway. It sounds pretty dumb, but it’s better than the other names your evil older sister coined for you.

Next, your sister is not evil. You will discover this later in life, but I’d like you to know it now. She convinced you to rub siling labuyo around your mouth probably only because she wanted teach you about excruciating pain and temporary disfigurement. You might say you had the same thing in mind when you—accidentally!—broke your brother’s arm in a game of cowboys and Indians. Who’s the big bad sibling now?

I think you’re in elementary school and it’s the early 1970’s for you. (E...

We had a black and white TV set. I remember watching Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color and thinking how great it would be to actually see the wonderful colors of the show, and how it would be a hundred times greater still to see Disneyland itself in glorious living color. I imagined the magic castle with fireworks shooting up from behind it and wished upon many stars; but for many, many years I had to content myself with the colors closer to home.

Two Norwegian boys came to live with us for a few days on an exchange program. We strapped on our small Work Education bolos and took them on a hike following a creek into the “jungle” of Mount Makiling. I recall very clearly what they said because to that point I had taken it for granted...

February 17, 2016

He was an island boy. Born and raised in Basco, Batanes, he would tell his grandchildren that he swam with dolphins and rode tigers in the mountain. He said he speared lobsters and hunted long-legged land crabs that could climb trees and open coconuts. When the fishermen came in, he waded into the surf with other young boys to catch the rowboats as they rode in on the heavy swell. Otherwise, the boats would crash onto the beach made up of rumbling boulders instead of sand. In exchange, the boys received a small share of the flying fish that had been caught in the air with butterfly nets. Who knows how much of this was true? Most likely, as the fifth of six children, he was always just the right size for the chores the big boys and the...

February 10, 2016

I am a proud descendant of Limahong.

According to my cousin who is our generation’s repository of family history, the Samsons are descended from the sleepy-headed third son of Lim Ah Hong. San being the Chinese word for the number three, and son, the English word for male offspring, what other proof need there be? By the way, Lim Ah Hong was not a dirty pirate as the Spanish propagandists claimed, but a Chinese nobleman who had fallen out of favor with the Ming Dynasty emperor. Rather than continue to suffer the intrigues of his jealous rivals at court, my great-great-…-grandfather chose to take early retirement and struck out on his own to build a new kingdom on the uncivilized island of Luzon.

Legend has it that the original Sam-son wa...

February 3, 2016

“Never get behind people traveling with infants. I've never seen a stroller collapse in less than 20 minutes. Old people are worse. Their bodies are littered with hidden metal and they never seem to appreciate how little time they have left. Bingo, Asians. They pack light, travel efficiently, and they have a thing for slip on shoes. Gotta love 'em.”

--Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) to Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick), going through airport security

I enjoyed the movie Up in the Air tremendously, not only because they were firing people one after another and doing it so well (insert evil laugh here), but also because George Clooney was such an expert business traveler. He had gotten it down to a science and breezed through airport hassles li...

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In my mind, this is still how I look.

The photo wasn't really taken that long ago, but admittedly a lot has changed since then. For one, I retired and wrote a column that appeared weekly in

BusinessMirror and many of the articles here were edited and published there. Oh, and I have some gray hair now.

January 16, 2020

November 4, 2019

April 19, 2019

February 25, 2019

December 14, 2018

September 6, 2018

November 27, 2017

December 28, 2016

December 21, 2016

December 13, 2016

November 30, 2016

November 23, 2016

November 16, 2016

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