Wednesday, October 4, 2006


Allan M. Wood - An Extraordinary Supervisor

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 3:25 PM
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AMW, a Scot, always reported for work earlier than me. If it could have been a tennis tournment, he would have gotten all the Grand Slam.

At 10 minutes before seven in the morning, I was seated on my desk almost infront of AMW who was busy scribbling on his notepad. Having an open space arrangement, we have a 360 degrees view of the department as the staff of FIC/7 reported for work one by one.

A notepad supervisor, that is how I would describe him. Every morning, sensing that I am seated, he would raise his face from a stationery position and smile at me. With his notepad marked AMW FIC7 on his right hand, he walked to my desk and sat on my visitor's chair.

Business as usual, he started recalling the activities we had yesterday with the users from Petroleum Geology (DPG)and scribbled my things to do for the day. With about three bullet points of things to do, he demonstrated his exceptional skill of remembering user requirements by discussing the details of the tasks.

A very inspiring supervisor with happy disposition, I was motivated to excel in my work.

The notepad worked, the following year I got the maximum increment of six percent. Without wasting any minute, I was on the phone talking to my father at his office at the Insurance Commission informing him that I was one of the top performer at FIC7.

Work at Brunei Shell ended at 4PM. With Panaga Club and Brunei Shell Recreation Club, most of my officemates played golf, tennis, squash to name a few sports and activities. Before a game of tennis, a two-kilometer of jogging along the beach fron of Panaga kept me ready for my opponent usually a British or Dutch guy.

With a dog leash and not a notepad on his hand, AMW and his wife was also running along the beach. Aside from running, golf and squash were what kept him very fit.

Then, a FIC memo was circulated. A few minutes before the end of work, I stood in front of his desk and inquired about the contents of the memo. Without referring directly to the memo, he said that it is about time for him face other challenges.

Most mornings, the notepad session went on and on until he was finally posted to Shell UK.

A few days before AMW left Brunei, he shared a piece of advice on how to prepare for life after Brunei Shell. Vividly I could remember when he said -"be very flexible and be a generalist".

About two decades have passed since we last shook our hands together. After unsuccessful attempts to obtain his email address from web searches, I hope this blog could reach him soonest.

Oh, 'soonest' is one of his favorite words.

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The Day Gabs Was Born

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 5:53 AM
Comments: 0


Gabriel or Gabs, my eldest child was born in August 24,1984 at the United Doctors Medical Center near the Welcome Rotonda at the boundary of Manila and Quezon City.

While we were waiting for Gabs' arrival, a huge and agitated crowd has gathered around the rotonda. From the hospital window, I saw a sea of protestors with red and yellow streamers and banners. Shouting in unison, they were demanding for the ouster of the Marcos regime.

The red banners belong to the progressive groups like KMU. Not as many as the progressives, the yellow banner group on the other hand belongs to the moderate August Twenty One Movement or ATOM. As they were maneuvering to cut through the phalanx of the anti-riot law enforcers, slowly all the group of protestors with red banners were massing in front as the yellow banner holders and followers moving to the rear position.

Then, we heard the news, Gabs was born. Four hours laters, I was with the protestors marching towards Mendiola. As I was on my annual one month leave from the office, I left the Philippines after two weeks. Just before December of the same year, Gabs was with me in Brunei.
As he was growing in a Brunei Shell company house at G9/36 Panaga, I noticed that Gabriel was different. He has an intense focus to learn, a passion for only one type of toy - many kinds of fan, enjoys listening to music especially Abba, identifying the A or B side of a cassette tape,

At 3 years old, his lady pediatrician at the Panaga Hospital was astonished when she was assesing Gabs' ability to identify objects. Asked to identify an object in a picture book, without hesitation he said "uniform". At an early age he can differentiate a dress from a uniform.

As all of us were amused with Gabs' attentiveness and with an advance tip that he can read, the doctor went further to check if Gabs can recognize not just letters but words. Word after word, Gabs read the words like book,tea, cup, glass, tatay, nanay, and many nore. Finally, the pediatrician wrote on the baby book - 'A gifted boy'.

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All For the Love of Albert Einstein

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 4:44 AM
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My first encounter with Einstein was when I bought a second hand white colored book College Physics by R. L. Weber, M. W. White, and K. V. Manning. There I saw a chapter on relativity glowing as beautiful as the sunrise!

Then, came the second encounter when I bought a pocket book Relativity for the Million by Martin Gardner. Out my daily savings, I got the book from Alemars at Avenida Rizal as there were no National Bookstore at that time. Neither were there Mercury Drug as there were Botica Boei.

A group of Earth Science Students under Ms Nelly Ramos Rana visited Professor Jose Villanueva at the Physics Department of UP Diliman. There, we had some lectures on relativity theory of Einstein. After the lecture we played softball at the back of the Main Library. That was my third encounter and at the same time my first visit to UP Diliman, my university alma mater.

The fourth encounter came on the last day of my junior year and closing of the MaSci school year 1969-70. As I got my school card, I read : "promoted to IV-Einstein". With 35 of 68 incoming senior students in IV-Einstein, it was a huge challenge being in the honor section.

Much later, a day before our graduation day on May 1, 1971, the the book went back to one of the bookstores at Claro M Recto. It was sold so I can buy a Hickok belt at Good Earth Emporium for my new black graduation pants.

Now, Albert Einstein is in my office permanently. Hanging on the wall in front of my office table is a 2.5' by 2' framed picture with a caption - "I M A G I N A T I O N - "Imagination is more important than knowledge" - Albert Einstein.

Dream come true.

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Tuesday, October 3, 2006


Batteries, the Sony Transistor Radio and the Rainy Season.

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 12:32 PM
Comments: 0


In the early 60s, the batteries, radio and rainy season always go in a team. Intense moonsoon rains led to flooding or brown-outs that classes were suspended. Staying at home, the Sony transistor radio was my companion almost the whole day.

The radio did not use AC electric power but DC power from batteries. In no time, the batteries were dead and so was the radio. That started my curiosity about the batteries.

With the radio dead, I was missing the daily radio broadcasts of Kumander Fidela and Ito Po Ang Inyong Tiya Dely (This is your Auntie Dely) - very popular soap operas aired in the afternoon. The day was not complete without listening to Beinte Kwatro Oras (24 Hours)in the evening. With the exception of Tiya Dely Magpayo, all the radio stars were either retired or dead. Tiya Dely airs a daily evening program at DZRH.

One battery after another, they were opened up to the core to retrieve the black solid cylinder in the middle of the battery. Slowly the zinc casing was ripped off, then the pasty black substance or the potassium hydroxide electrolyte was removed around the cylinder.

That was the start of several experiments using the worn out batteries.

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  • "MaSci to GSI" is a compendium of experiences from childhood to present. M2G shares my insights and knowledge on education, hard work, integrity, honesty, creativity, transparency, and aspiration of a Filipino. M2G maps my journeys and adventures as a boy, student, dreamer and entrepreneur.
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Location: Pasig, Metro Manila, Philippines

Efren, President/CEO of GSI, is an experienced public speaker and an avid tennis player, photographer, a beginner classical guitarist. He was the former Chairman of Philippine Geomatics Association (PhilGeo) and is an active member of other IT associations. He has a diploma in Strategic Business Economics from the University of Asia and the Pacific, units in MS Remote Sensing in UP Diliman, BS Geodetic Engineering at UP Diliman and an alumni of Manila Science High School.







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