Murphy’s Law at its finest: the Form Function & Class finale
As we prepared for our last <form> function() & .class on August 18, we were waiting for the speakers, Hui Jing Chen, Holger Bartel, and Vitaly Friedman, to fly in and welcome them with a dinner. One flight kept getting rescheduled, until we finally discovered the real cause of delay.
TIMELINE: Xiamen Air plane mishap at NAIA runway
MANILA, Philippines - For over 4 days, the Philippines' main airport was paralyzed due to the Xiamen Air mishap…
Holger had to wait in the airport all day Friday, and all day Saturday. Hui Jing managed to fly in successfully because Philippine carriers were prioritized. Vitaly, who was already on the 3rd leg and 19+ hours into his trip from Vilnius-Helsinki-Doha, almost landed in Bangkok, then took a sharp turn to Hong Kong. Our friends from Webconf.asia, Charis & Jarjin, were completely cancelled on (an even greater tragedy because it’s happened to them at FFC twice now).
At this point, we had no idea when our two speakers were getting in, so we decided to push back the start for Saturday’s event, and have everyone attend Hui Jing’s Masterclass, still hoping for the best.
Internally, we had to map out every possibility and the steps we needed to take; we needed to address the very real chance that they might not make it to the Philippines at all, and decide on whether we would reschedule, do the sessions remotely, or completely cancel.
When it was clear our two speakers wouldn’t make it Saturday afternoon, but still had their flights in queue, we scrambled to extend the schedules for our venue, videographer, food, speakers’ hotel rooms, & volunteers for one more day, cancel our Sunday outing plans, and ensure the current programme still ran smoothly.
Those who could no longer attend the following day or needed to leave early were reassured that sessions would be captured on video. We also offered ticket transfers if they preferred that others attend in their place.
It took 36 hours for the airport to finally reopen. Holger, who had been waiting in the airport finally landed in the evening and headed straight to Mercato, where we welcomed him with a cold beer.
Meanwhile, Vitaly was diverted to Clark airport, but could not deplane. We were waiting for word from the captain on whether we needed to fetch him in Pampanga or NAIA, until it was finally decided that the plane would go to Manila and disembark there (1:30 am), but not until many more hours of waiting for an available gate and checked-in luggage (4:00 am).
With barely any time to recharge, the Form Function & Class 9 impromptu day two Masterclasses started at 9 am, and the intense sessions ran all the way till 3 pm. A very candid and intimate speakers Q & A wrapped up FFC9.
For most of our attendees, FFC concluded there. For the organizers & speakers, it was time to decompress with a modified itinerary: a tour of old Manila on bamboo bicycles, and a nature walk + boodle fight in Quezon City.
By Wednesday, all our speakers finally made it back to their respective homes, safe and sound. Thankfully, no mishaps occurred anymore.
This isn’t the first time that our conference has been perfectly timed with a highly unusual situation. In 2013, Form Function & Class was held on the weekend when Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the country. In 2015, Rachel Nabors’ flight was rescheduled because of the ASEAN Summit (and had a bug-related incident in her Airbnb). But this one in 2018 may have broken some fabulous records in the history of our organization and conferences all over the world. 🤔
We have no idea what we’ve done to deserve the most patient, optimistic, energetic, and professional speakers in the world. We’re also extremely grateful to all the volunteers who committed their time, resources, and energy — extending their stays, powering through the wee hours of the morning, foregoing much-needed sleep, and supporting one another as we solved one issue after the next, in real-time non-stop for three long days. Having overcome this extremely challenging and stressful situation is going to be a badge of honor we’ll wear proudly for years to come.
Form Function & Class 9 Organizers & Volunteers
- Mae de Leon
- Sophia Lucero
- Kit Valmadrid
- Sarah Cada
- TJ Monserrat
- Drei Alquiros
- Kathleen Cuevas
- Ferdz Mempin
- Avery Si
- Zydrick de Lima
- Shaira Distura
- Pierce Jonota
- Zish Garces
- Shaila Gregorio
- Jeanette Rabacio
- Jeian Nueva
- Gauven Pascua
- Loreleen Mae Sablot
- Val Michael Suarez
- Angelica Ricardo
- Ramil Nuyda
- Ben Viernes
Special thanks to Globe Labs who graciously helped us secure the venue for another day!
Want to support or be part of this awesome group of people who dedicate so much heart to the local community? Visit the Philippine Web Designers Organization site for more information and come celebrate with us as we turn 10 this 2018!