I'm back in Cebu to attend an international conference. So far it has been a bit of a disappointment mixed with some amusement. I say disappointment because this has so much potential from the time it was pitched in Taipei back in 2013 by a group of the local affiliate society, most of whom didn't deliver on their commitment. Those who were disappointments include the mayor of this city who backed out after pledging his support as host of the conference - one of the biggest factors for the international society's Board of Directors deciding to award Cebu City the 20th anniversary conference. There was also almost no support from the national transportation agency, whose top officials are known (or shall I say notorious) for their (non)performance with respect to transport infrastructure development.
Other disappointments are certain officials of the local society including past presidents who basically didn't exert any effort to support the organization of the conference. If this conference would be the basis for evaluating their performance (that sadly could also be tied to the local society's performance the past 15 years) then I would probably give them a mediocre rating. I feel sad for the current president and his sidekick as they had been handed a conference that seem to be doomed from the time of the turnover as the previous president practically did nothing to prepare for the conference including zero fundraising.
The opening program was drab, boring and basically a patch up work. The speakers originally expected to deliver their remarks were no-shows and the local society leadership had to make some urgent, last minute calls to save whatever could be of the opening program. The result was a very quick opening ceremony. It didn't help that the cultural presentation by a local university partner of the lead university put on a somewhat odd dance routine with what was claimed as something Cebuano of old did at the end of the day. It turned out to be a "face palm" moment that left a lot of us in disbelief if not shock.
The morning event basically set the tone for the day. I heard that the press conference had some embarrassing moments. There were a lot of no-shows during the afternoon technical sessions. Then there was the welcome dinner that was not much in terms of the program with the local university partner continuing to baffle the participants with their odd performances. This time, what was billed as traditional songs were a medley of pop songs sung in a stylized and awkward manner.
I hope the succeeding days will be better. After today, it seems that the conference has nowhere to go but up. The closing ceremony, hopefully, can save whatever it could of this conference of which much was expected. At least, the top official of the national science and technology agency has been confirmed and will be delivering his speech. There will also be the awards and the announcement for the hosts of the next conference.
Right now, I will only have my fingers crossed and maybe even knock on wood.