Monday, September 16, 2019

Amazing Harbor Toastmasters Club Inauguration

There was something amiss when I was nearing the Bureau of Customs (BOC) compound at NAIA. It wasn't just the car tire trouble that I was having, there was something strange at the road.

There was a long line of cars parked on one lane near the sidewalk. I asked a watcher if that was the way to the BOC. He said yes and that there was an event right inside the parking lot. This meant there was nowhere else I could park and so I was just instructed to back up and park at the tail end of the queue.

(photo credits: Ed Ramirez)

Was There a Meeting?

After parking, I walked towards the BOC gate and noticed a huge tent inside, and yes, there was an event. It was the 59th Founding Anniversary of the Bureau of Customs.

Uh-oh. Was I at the wrong place, at a wrong time, maybe? Ed's invitation relayed by TM Beth Pableo seemed sketchy. Was there a Toastmasters Meeting? I wasn't even sure I would be able to get past through the gate as it seemed guarded by Customs Enforcers.

When I was accosted by a guard, I said, "Toastmasters". Lo and behold, he asked a lady to usher me in! After registering on to a logbook, I was led to the Toastmasters table, Table 10.

Just a few more seconds and Ed arrived. Ed was as clueless as I was, and by the looks of the place and the feel of the event, there won't be a Toastmasters meeting.

Live Entertainment

A few moments later, there was live entertainment. There was a group called "The Better Half" I think, that belted out really nice songs and music. That's the lady lead singer in red.

Except for the earth-shattering loudspeakers near our table, the experience was quite pleasant. There was plenty of finger food and beverage. The Customs employees were lining up near the center of the tent to greet the guests and top honchos coming in.

The top officials were of course introduced by the emcees to the crowd. One of the two emcees, I learned from Ed, was a Toastmaster named Lyka.

Later, we were joined by Harbor Toastmaster Helen Balite shown below. It became clearer now that today was the inauguration of the new club of BOC and that's Amazing Harbor Toastmasters Club. It would coincide with the BOC's 59th Founding Anniversary.

Toastmasters at the Table

DTM Beth Pableo (below, with cap) and Helen, and all the other customs employees were wearing the same outfit: customs cap, black shirt and pants. DTM Dulce Ranosa arrived later.

DTM Dulce took the opportunity to put on the Club Mentor pin to DTM Beth as a mentor to Amazing Harbor Toastmasters Club.

(photo credits: Dulce Ranosa)

Food and Dancing

Food at dinner was fantastic! We were served at the table and were free for more servings at the buffet table.

The program included a line dance number, "Move Like Mick Jagger" by the employees. The new Customs Commissioner, Leonardo Guerrero, even joined in.

Shown below at the table (L-R): Beth Pableo, Dulce Ranosa, me, Helen Balite (standing) and Ed Ramirez.

Thereafter, there was plenty of dancing on the floor. There were several dance instructors who led everyone in a line dance. To while away the time, I joined in the line dance with DTM Beth.

I even promised DTM Beth a swing partner dance. But it wasn't to be. I had a hard time looking for her because they all had the same uniform!

Below, one of the dance instructress tried to prevent me from leaving the dance floor. Haha! I just had to tell her I was looking for someone.

(video credits: Ed Ramirez)

Shown below is the line dance that I joined. I'm the guy pointed to by the vertical yellow arrow.

And then when the line dance was over, one of the dance instructresses noticed me and asked me to lead her in the swing dance. And I did. I sort of apologized to the dance instructress (D.I) that my swing dancing is already rusty. But the D.I. disagreed with my apology!

I guess I owe DTM Beth a swing dance when the opportunity comes up.

All this time, Ed was busy with the yummylicious crabs that were served to our table. They were so good that Ed asked for a second plate!

Later on, there were photo-ops with Carmelita "Mimel" Talusan and her mom, PDG Julie Manahan. Dr. Nerza Rebustes was at another table and we moved to that table too.

It was already past 8 pm when I excused myself to leave.

And that's... a wrap!