GFG Conference steers round typhoon to meet in musical Manila during its 2009 Fall conference in the Philippines…



Manila Logo 5 sm


Manila welcomes the Global Freight Group conference …

GFG Group Administrator, Rachel Marchant, reports on the conference at the Manila conference, 25 – 27 October 2009


Typhoons in the Philippines but the GFG conference was far from a wash-out…

Despite the typhoons that were sweeping across the northern Philippines just days before the conference was due to start, the GFG conference went ahead with full attendance at the Sofitel in Manila. In fact, the typhoons were striking about 350 km away from Manila. Sadly, much damage was done in that area and it was good that the GFG members could offer some financial help, but more about that later…

Only one member company cancelled their attendance, with the resulting turnout being the highest in several years. A total of 98 people attended the Manila conference, representing 52 member companies, almost the entire membership. A truly excellent attendance.


Musical Manila…

Manila is possibly the most musical city in the world: at every opportunity there is music, live bands, singers, karaoke. As Shakespeare wrote: “if music be the food of love, play on…”. The GFG conference played out over 3 days, with numerous musical interludes…



A sociable Saturday for the BOD, with musical interludes 1 and 2 …

The Directors’ dinner was very generously hosted by Angelito Colona, CEO of Eagle Express, the GFG’s local host for this year’s main conference. A perfect social scene greeted guests with occasional tables, laterns in the trees, a chef ready to serve ‘couchon’, tables laid for dinner, a buffet of delicious dishes and a local band offering musical interlude number 1.

IMGP9150 IMGP9157
The quartet offered musical interlude number 1 The chef after a hungry crowd had enjoyed the “couchon”


After a delicious dinner, it was time for karaoke – musical interlude number 2! There was no shortage of enthusiasts and the singing went on into the night.


Sunday brings Directors back to work …

The directors held their Board meeting during Sunday and addressed the various GFG issues on the agenda.

The involved topics resulted in extensive discussion and the meeting lasted well into the afternoon. Lunch provided the much needed sustenance with the Sofitel’s impressive buffet offering a greater selection of delicacies than our limited time would sufficiently do justice.

The Directors also welcomed the representatives of the three new member companies who would present themselves to the members during the General Assembly the following day.

They were:
1. Mr Hossain Zahedi & Mr Wahiduzzaman of Freight Management Ltd, Bangladesh
2. Mr Bogdan Augustyniak and Mr Wojciech Brzuska of Raben Sea and Air Sp., Poland
3. Mr Athanassios Carayannis of Phoenix ECTS Limited, Greece


Cocktails and musical interval number 3…

The night club of the Sofitel, the 7 Pecados, provided the location for the GFG’s welcome cocktail party. As members met up with old friends and encountered new ones amongst the membership, the ambience was lively and full of chat.

Eagle Express had booked a band and members were treated to a young lady’s beautiful voice offering musical interlude number 3.

IMGP9172 IMGP9173

GFG Members enjoying international friendships, represented here are Korea, China, Singapore, Peru, Netherlands, Lebanon and Syria.



Business starts with the General Assembly…

The General Assembly provided the opportunity for the directors to relay the issues discussed in their own meeting and also to invite comment and discussion from the members.

IMGP9182a IMGP9183a
The General Assembly participants The Board of Directors


Involved discussions took place about fee revisions, group sea freight rates, the sales leads programme and future conference locations but these were punctuated by the group photo opportunity.




Voting Matters…

Voting took place to decide membership advancements, Board member re-elections and new Director elections.

Moving from Aspirant to Full Members status were:

a. Cargo Express, Venezuela
b. Continental Global Cargo S.A.C., Peru
c. Hisar Lojistik Turizm Insaat Ve Dis Ticaret, Turkey

Moving from Observer to Aspirant Members status were:

a. Headwin Logistics Co., Ltd
b. LSI Logistic Solutions Ireland Limited
c. Seven Seas

Re-elected to their Board positions were:

a. Marina Marzani, President
b. Richard Cope, Treasurer
c. Nita Palhota, Director
d. Niral Kadawatharatchie, Director

Elected as new Board Directors were:

a. Ole Skaaning, Director
b. Luiz Garcia, Director

Selected as the conference location for Fall 2011 was Sri Lanka, with Freight Links International as host.

Congratulations to all those who were successful.


New Member Submissions…

Towards the end of the meeting the new members introduced themselves to the members. They are shown below:

  FML Manila   Phoenix Manila  


Mr Chunnu and Mr Hossain Zahedi of Freight Management Ltd in Bangladesh


Athanassios Cayannis of Phoenix ECTS Limited in Greece  




  Raben Manila      
  Bogdan Austyniak and Wojciech Brzuska from Raben Sea & Air in Poland      


Sales Meetings …

Monday afternoon saw the busiest time for members during their individual sales meetings. There were over 818 scheduled meetings during the two day period, with many social / business meetings taking place ad hoc. This is the main drive for the conferences, a chance to catch up in person and build business.

  IMGP9189a   IMGP9194  
  Tuesday saw yet more meetings, with the room swathed in the white Manila GFG shirts. Members worked hard all day with many meetings continuing throughout the late afternoon.   IMGP9202a  

GFG members enjoy the Sofitel’s superb quality cuisine during breaks and lunches.

IMGP9216   IMGP9214



High Rise Food and music interlude numbers 4 & 5 …

The Tower Club at the top of the Philamlife Towers hosted the GFG closing dinner. With views of Manila from all sides.

As we feasted upon the local delicacies, some quite interesting!) we were treated to musical interlude number 4 “for our easy listening pleasure”. The same tuneful lady as at the cocktail party, serenaded us while we ate.




Digging Deep to help the Typhoon Victims …

At the closing dinner, the GFG President, Marina Marzani, announced that a total of USD835.00 and Php20710.00 had been collected. for local typhoon victims. This amounted to approximately USD1285.00. Theses amounts were later given to the Tuloy Foundation for street children, to help the victims of the typhoons.


Awarding the worthy members…

As is customary at the main annual conference, awards were presented to those members who have shown themselves to be deserving throughout the year.

  IMGP9224   IMGP9227  

The President’s Award goes to…


…Fast Forward Freight of the Netherlands. Marina chose them due to their constant assistance with agent searches, always ready to share information in a timely manner. Well done!

Jos Swets collected the award on behalf of Fast Forward Freight.


The Operator of the Year Award goes to…


…two of Helka’s team. Anthony Choi and Kevin Leung. Coron Yu accepted the awards on their behalf.

It is very worth mentioning that, out of the 19 total nominations, 9 were for staff members of Helka. 

Congratulations on a superb achievement!


After dinner, the main band, complete with dance instructors, took over, offering musical interlude number 5!

IMGP9228 IMGP9218
Above: The Eagle Express Team Above: James Shin, YH Jung and YN Kim of Hansaeng relaxing
IMGP9221 IMGP9220

Above: Dinner at the Tower Club



Four types of transport for a day of adventure …

From city sights to countryside…


A large group of members set off bright and early to enjoy the sights of Manila’s surrounding countryside. We were heading to Tagatay, the location of the volcano and Taal town. Upon arrival, most members disembarked while a few others stayed on board to visit Tagaytay ridge and the Palace in the Sky from where they could appreciate wonderful views of Taal volcano and the lake.


Those who had disembarked, climbed into transport mode two, jeepneys, to travel down the winding, lush green road towards the lake shores.



Once there, we clambered onto outriggers, transport mode three which were narrow boats balanced by wooden poles on either side to stabilise them. The lake was quite calm so members had an easy journey across the lake with the chance to appreciate the beautiful coastline we were leaving and the volcano island we were approaching.

Upon arrival at the island, we wound our way through a maze of dwellings along the shoreline to where our horses awaited us.

The horses did a valiant job of carrying us along sometimes very narrow rock hewn tracks, dusty paths, steaming cracks, up to the crater where an incredible view awaited us. Not only was the crater itself a view to capture your interest but also the view back across the lake and of the mainland from whence we came.


 Once we had reversed our trip: horse, outrigger and jeepney…

IMGP9348 IMGP9375

…we met up with the rest of the group to have lunch.

The venue was a well-known, quirky location: Sonia’s Secret Garden Restaurant. Sonia herself visited to greet her guests

She has set up her restaurant based on produce from her English style garden, offering fresh food. The food was delicious and plentiful and members certainly didn’t rush the chance to appreciate it


It was a day of firsts for our participants, some of whom had never ridden a horse before and one who had never been on a boat before, not to mention that almost everyone of course visited a volcano for the first time.

Many appreciated not only the chance to see the countryside outside Manila city but also the more adventurous nature of the day trip.

After the conference, several members headed off to paradise AKA Boracay Island, a well known beach destination. In total there were about 10 GFG members relaxing together after their hard work at the conference. Good times.

Our thanks go to the experts at Audley Travel in the UK who worked superbly with Rachel to organise the day trip.

They were: Audley Travel in the UK

Audley Travel
New Mill, New Mill Lane,
OX29 9SX
United Kingdom
Telephone : 01993 838 000

GFG’s contact for the Philippines:
Simon Davis
Southeast Asia Senior Specialist
Audley Travel
E-mail :