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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Commoner's View on GMA's SONA

I have not been given the liberty to watch the live coverage of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's State of the Nation Address last 28 July 2008. This is her 8th, and the second to the last SONA. (The last will be on 2009, after that, the 2010 elections).

As is very much expected, bulk of the speech pointed to the Economic crisis on Oil Price hike and the removal(non-removal) of the Value Added Tax.

The beginning part of the speech dwells on her government doing lots of UNPOPULAR decisions. As quoted,

"Because tough choices were made, the global crisis did not catch us helpless and unprepared. Through foresight, grit and political will, we built a shield around our country that has slowed down and somewhat softened the worst effects of the global crisis. We have the money to care for our people and pay for food when there are shortages; for fuel despite price spikes.
The result has been, on the one hand, ito ang nakasalba sa bayan; and, on the other, more unpopularity for myself in the opinion polls. Yet, even unfriendly polls show self-rated poverty down to its 20-year low in 2007.

Probably, this should be her introduction to the lengthy discussion on why the VAT should not be removed into the Philippine Tax system, even though a lot of Politicians and the masses are trying to convince the lawmakers to remove it.

But, as commoners who could not (and maybe are not willing to) understand all of those lenghty speech given by the President, only those things that easily matter, were the ones given the attention.

However unpopular the VAT issue may be for GMA, it seems that she made a scheming move to be popular to the masses by working out into the lowering of text messages fees from 1php to 0.50php.

As Manolo Quezon ellaborates in his article:

++++++++++
"And perhaps as an exercise in demonstrating how unpopularity can still result in popular applause, there was this, most-noticed and sole genuine crowd-pleaser in her speech:

Texting is a way of life. I asked the telecoms to cut the cost of messages between networks. They responded. It is now down to 50 centavos.

Which was as much a shot across the bow at big business, as it was a sop to gain propaganda points from the public. As of this writing, talk is already going around that this is a “limited time only” thing, perhaps along the same lines as the President having used moral suasion to demand that the oil companies roll back oil prices in the weeks leading to her speech. And while the oil companies grudgingly complied -but stated, with ill-disguised bad humor, that this might be one of the last times the President could do that to them- and while the telecoms companies will have to react to the President planting the idea of cheaper SMS messages in the public’s mind, this is of no consequence to her. The propaganda points have been made, she can worry about businessmen later."
++++++++++

Now, this must be a popular move, considering that the Philippines is worldly known as one of the top Texting Nations (we used to be the texting capital).

GMA News, meanwhile, states that, "Domestic mobile phone companies have slashed their texting fees by half to P0.50 from P1 until October. The rate cut takes effect Monday (July 28). It is approved for implementation by the NTC for three months. And it is up to them (Smart, Globe, Sun Cellular) if they will ask for an extension of the promo".

There, we have to take note of the fact that this is a "Special Promo only" until October.

The move might have given the President a popular gain from the masses, but, there is always the issue of this, being a politically motivated scheme in time for the President's State of the Nation Address.

++++++++++
note: I have asked at least 10 people to verify if this 0.50/text promo is already going on, however, all have answered in negative. So I still have to hear a person who will say, yes, it does!


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Dekada- The Article That Could Have Been

This was primarily made as an entry in one book compilation organized by bobongpinoy members. However, it did not make the top 30.

Anyway, it speaks about the present condition of the country, amidst the social problems that we are facing-poverty, corruption, and the other problems that seems to drag the country down.

This is inspired and is in conjuction with bobongpinoy's 10th year of existence in the internet, that's why the article was entitled DEKADA.

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DEKADA

Kuya, ano ba yung blunder?

“Ano’ng blunder? San mo ba narinig yan?”

“Sabi kasi ng teacher ko sa History, blunder daw yung kaso nung Presidente kaya nakulong”.

“Plunder. Plunder yon, hindi blunder”.

“E ano nga yung plunder?” Ba’t sya nakulong? Tsaka bakit EDSA 2? Di ba isa lang naman yung EDSA?

Sampung taon. Isang dekada na pala ang nakalipas mula nang ipinanganak si bunso. Sa edad nyang sampu, napakaraming tanong sa isip nya na aaminin kong kahit ako ay hirap na sagutin kahit na mahigit dalawampung taon na akong nabubuhay sa mundo.

Paano ko ba ipaliliwanag sa kanya kung bakit kailangang umalis nang bansa si Nanay at si Tatay para mag caregiver sa ibang bansa gayung pareho naman silang mga college graduates? Paano ko sya aaluin sa mga panahong naghahanap sya ng kalinga ng magulang?

Maituturo ko ba sa kanya na hindi tamang uminom, manigarilyo, magsugal at mag drugs, gayong lantad namang ipinakikita sa tv na ginagawa ito ng mga sikat na artista sa teleserye at maging sa totoong buhay?

Kailan ko sisimulang ituro sa kanya ang tungkol sa sekswalidad? Na hindi pa kaya nang kanyang utak na harapin ang mga malalaswang babasahin at panoorin? Ako ba ang magsasabi sa kanya at magpapaliwanag kung bakit may mga taong may ikatlong kasarian?

Masasagot ko ba ang mga tanong nya kung bakit maraming nagrarally sa kalye? Kung bakit mahaba ang pila sa bilihan ng bigas? Kung bakit laging ginagawa-tinutuklap-ginagawa ang kalsada sa tapat ng bahay? Kung ano ang ibig sabihin ng kotong? Kung bakit maraming alagad ng batas na nadadawit sa mga kontrobersyal na krimen at kung bakit laging nagagalit ang mga tao at pilit pinatatalsik ang Presidente ng bansa?

Isang dekada ng kanyang buhay pa lamang ngunit kayrami na nyang nakikitang kaganapan sa Pilipinas. Sa panahon kung saan kaydaling makakuha nang iba’t ibang impormasyon gamit ang telebisyon, cellphone, at internet, hindi ko alam kung mapalad nga kaya silang mga kabilang sa X & Y Generation.

“Kuya, ano ba’ng ibig sabihin ng corrupt? Kasi sabi sa balita, isa daw ang Pilipinas sa pinaka corrupt na bansa sa buong mundo. Sikat pala ang Pilipinas, ha, kuya?”

“Bunso….. corrupt ang tawag kapag ang mga leader ay maraming kamaliang ginagawa sa kanilang mga trabaho. Sa madaling salita, hindi sila tapat sa kanilang mga tungkulin”.

“Ayoko ng maging Pilipino, kuya. Nakakahiya pala tayo.”

.
.
.
.
.

“Hindi, bunso. Huwag mong ikahiya ang pagiging Pilipino. Mahalin mo ang Pilipinas dahil ito ang bayan mo. Pilipinas ang kumukupkop sa’yo mula nang ipinanganak ka sa mundo.

Alam kong bata ka pa at maaaring hindi mo pa maiintindihan ang sasabihin ko. Pero ang mga nakikita mong kamalian ay huwag mong gawing dahilan para itakwil ang Pilipinas.

Magbabago pa ang Pilipinas. Kung hindi man ngayon, sa hinaharap; kung saan kayong mga kabataan ay kailangang gabayan at turuan ng tamang pagmamahal sa bansa. Dahil ang pagmamahal mo sa bansa ang magbibigay-daan para sikapin mong baguhin ang mga kamaliang nakikita mo sa paligid.

Marami pang dekadang darating sa iyong buhay. Marami ka pang matututunan at marami ka pang masasaksihang pangyayari sa kapaligiran….. ngunit bunso, mahalin mo ang Pilipinas.”

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Life's a Journey

Probably one of the best Filipino composers, Jose Mari Chan, wrote this beautiful masterpiece:

Constant Change



We're on the road
We move from place to place
And oftentimes when
I'm about to call it home
We'd have to move along
Life is a constant change...
The friends we know we meet along the way
Too soon the times we share form part of yesterday
'Cause life's a constant change
And nothing stays the same, oh no
Clouds that move across the skies
Are changing form before our very eyes
Why couldn't we keep time from movin' on?
Hold on to all the years before this moment's gone?
Why must we live the days at such a frightening pace?
We're all like clouds that move across the skies
And changing form before our very eyes
Have we outgrown our Peter Pans and wings?
We've simply grown too old for tales of knights and kings
'Cause life's a constant change
And nothing stays the same, oh no


Life, indeed, is a journey. We move and move, and still we keep on walking. Along the way, we meet different kinds of people. Some just pass by, some stay and join us in our journey. And some are just people who make impact in our lives.

I've had the chance of discovering Jim Paredes' blog, Writing on Air, while browsing the net. As someone who enjoys the songs of APO Hiking Society (Jim, Danny, & Buboy), I couldn't help but keep returning and visiting Jim's blog.

One of his latest entries is about traveling habits. As someone, who gets to travel in most parts of the world, I know Jim can speak with authority on the subject. But it's much more of the to do's and the to brings, because between the lines, there are a lot of things that we can also learn from his article.

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A copy of the comment I made in his blog:

hector olympus, Said:
on July 24th, 2008 at 6:50 am
i wonder nowadays, when people get “a little” older, they start recognizing the need and the passion to travel.
i’ve never been a viajero, but now, i have that desire to go around and visit scenic spots.

to which, Jim responded:

jimparedes, Said:
on July 24th, 2008 at 11:46 am
hector–Yes, it seems that the travel bug hits people when they get older. It’s probably because they have excess funds and less time.
++++++++++

Now, with Jim's permission, I am reposting his article:

______________________________
Travel habits picked up along the way
As someone who travels a lot on work related trips, a plan and a schedule are so important to have. There are things that need to be accomplished, flights to be arranged and taken, accommodations to be set, meetings to be attended and a million other things to consider to make sure everything goes well.

With the amount of travel I have done in my life and will still set out to do, I’ve developed some habits that have made me tide through them sometimes seamlessly, and at other times merely surviving through the skin of my teeth. But at the very least, I can say that with the habits I have learned, things get done even in the worst of situations. Most importantly, I have continued to largely enjoy traveling as part of my work. If I stopped enjoying it, my career as a world performer (I sing in a band) would have to stop.

I thought I’d share with you in this article some ‘must dos’ or ‘must pack’ advice just in case you plan on a career that will often find you on the road. Here they are:

1) A good toiletry bag and lots of zip lock.
Bottles of cologne, shampoos and other liquids always evaporate somehow and can soil one’s toiletry bag. Put them in zip locks to prevent contaminating medicines, shaving kits, and other stuff.

2) Throw a good handy Swiss knife in your luggage.I have discovered that occasions always arise when I always end up needing a knife, a nail cutter, a tiny screw driver to fix my sunglasses, a nail file, a pair of scissors, etc. You never know what you will need it for, but you surely will. Get the best, most elaborate Victorinox Swiss knife you can get, the one with the magnifying glass, toothpick, ball pen, etc. It will always be useful.

A spokesman of the knife company said it in jest but no less brilliantly when he reacted to the story that the TV adventure hero McGyver was going to stop a fleet of tanks with just a grenade and a Swiss knife. He uttered, ‘what does he need a grenade for?’

3) Flatten and roll up your clothes as a space saver.

A traveler will ALWAYS need more baggage space for stuff picked up along the way.

4) Always get a calling card from the hotel front desk and bring it with you.
If you are ever lost, it comes in really handy. On the 6th leg of a long trip, I sometimes forget the name of the hotel I am staying in, and that can be problematic when I have to take a cab back to the hotel after a city tour.

5) Put a big, bright and screaming sticker on your luggage for easy identification.
It helps in spotting your bags when so many look the same as hundreds of them on the conveyor belt are passing by.

6) Pack extra batteries (already charged if they are rechargeable) for your camera.
It would be quite a disaster to be in a beautiful, scenic place and discover that your camera is without any power.

7) Write down on a piece of paper important information like passport, credit card, cell phone service info and emergency numbers to call in case you lose them.

I have lost my wallet with 4 credit cards to pickpockets in Rome and I was lucky to have all the info with me and so had the loss reported within minutes saving me the trouble of having to explain unauthorized and illegal purchases.

Bring the usual emergency medicines—pain killers, acetaminophens, anti-allergy tablets, anti-diarrhea pills, and other prescribed stuff you need to take daily.
For all daily medicines, bring extras in case you face a delay in coming home.

9) Check the expiration date of your passport.
Some countries demand that a passport’s validity is at the very least good for 6 months. To avoid the embarrassment of being interviewed extensively for this reason, or worse, being denied entry, keep your travel docs updated.

10) When shopping, learn a few local words that will help you when you want to bring the price down or get a bargain.

Most of the time, the effort is appreciated by the locals and it can translate to better prices. And while you are at it, know the words for ‘toilet’, ‘thank you’, and the tipping practices.

11) In a poor country, don’t haggle for too big a discount because they often give it.
The truth is, you can afford not to, and they need the money more than you need the merchandise. I sometimes feel that it is too exploitative to bleed them for more discounts when the goods are already at bargain basement prices. And don’t be way too generous with your tipping too. Too much unnecessary tipping can be disruptive and spoil them as The Lonely Planet book on Nepal advices.

12) Lastly, allow yourself a day or two to just savor the local setting.


Go where the spirit moves you.

‘A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving’, as Lao Tzu likes to put it. It is a good attitude to have. In my case, it is not rare for me to just hop on a bus, destination unknown, and get off when I see a lot of people congregated in some park, plaza, a historical landmark or a shopping center. As long as I have a calling card of the hotel, and some taxi money in case I can’t figure out the train or bus routes back to the hotel, I gallivant around, as I always feel safe and excited enough to meet the locals, enjoy strange accents, go ‘adventure eating’, or just get lost in the new setting.

Every travel, in my view must make you feel somehow more expanded, and more at home in the world. James Baldwin put it so well when he said, ‘I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself.’
______________________________

I love the last part from James Baldwin "I met a lot of people..., I even encountered myself".

Someday, somehow, who knows who we'll get to meet on our next journey. As the great composer finely puts it,

'Cause life's a constant change
And nothing stays the same, oh no....

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Yellow Shirt

A good read....

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The baggy yellow shirt had long sleeves, four extra-large pockets trimmed in black thread
and snaps up the front.


It was faded from years of wear, but still in decent shape. I found it in 1963 when I was home from college on Christmas break, rummaging through bags of clothes Mom intended to give away. "You're not taking that old thing, are you?" Mom said when she saw me packing the yellow shirt. "I wore that when I was pregnant with your brother in 1954!"

"It's just the thing to wear over my clothes during art class, Mom. Thanks!" I slipped it into my suitcase before she could object. The yellow shirt be came a part of my college wardrobe. I loved it. After graduation, I wore the shirt the day I moved into my new apartment and on Saturday mornings when I cleaned.


The next year, I married. When I became pregnant, I wore the yellow shirt during big-belly days. I missed Mom and the rest of my family, since we were in Colorado and they were in Illinois But that shirt helped. I smiled, remembering that Mother had worn it when she was pregnant, 15 years earlier.


That Christmas, mindful of the warm feelings the shirt had given me, I patched one elbow, wrapped it in holiday paper and sent it to Mom. When Mom wrote to thank me for her "real" gifts, she said the yellow shirt was lovely. She never mentioned it again.


The next year, my husband, daughter and I stopped at Mom and Dad's to pick up some furniture. Days later, when we uncrated the kitchen table, I noticed something yellow taped to its bottom.


The shirt!

And so the pattern was set.

On our next visit home, I secretly placed the shirt under Mom and Dad's mattress. I don't know how long it took for her to find it, but almost two years passed before I discovered it under the base of our living-room floor lamp. The yellow shirt was just what I needed now while refinishing furniture. The walnut stains added character.

In 1975 my husband and I divorced. With my three children, I prepared to move back to Illinois . As I packed, a deep depression overtook me. I wondered if I could make it on my own. I wondered if I would find a job. I paged through the Bible, looking for comfort. In Ephesians, I read, "So use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will be standing up."


I tried to picture myself wearing God's armor, but all I saw was the stained yellow shirt. Slowly, it dawned on me. Wasn't my mother's love a piece of God's armor? My courage was renewed.

Unpacking in our new home, I knew I had to get the shirt back to Mother. The next time I visited her, I tucked it in her bottom dresser drawer.

Meanwhile, I found a good job at a radio station. A year later I discovered the yellow shirt hidden in a rag bag in my cleaning closet.

Something new had been added. Embroidered in bright green across the breast pocket were the words "I BELONG TO PAT."

Not to be outdone, I got out my own embroidery materials and added an apostrophe and seven more letters. Now the shirt proudly proclaimed, "I BELONG TO PAT'S MOTHER." But I didn't stop there. I zig-zagged all the frayed seams, then had a friend mail the shirt in a fancy box to Mom from Arlington , VA. We enclosed an official looking letter from "The Institute for the Destitute," announcing that she was the recipient of an award for good deeds. I would have given anything to see Mom's face when she opened the box. But, of course, she never mentioned it.

Two years later, in 1978, I remarried. The day of our wedding, Harold and I put our car in a friend's garage to avoid practical jokers. After the wedding, while my husband drove us to our honeymoon suite, I reached for a pillow in the car to rest my head. It felt lumpy. I unzipped the case and found, wrapped in wedding paper, the yellow shirt. Inside a pocket was a note: "Read John 14:27-29. I love you both, Mother."


That night I paged through the Bible in a hotel room and found the verses: "I am leaving you with a gift: peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't fragile like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really love me, you will be very happy for me, for now I can go to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do, you will believe in me."


The shirt was Mother's final gift. She had known for three months that she had terminal Lou Gehrig's disease. Mother died the following year at age 57.


I was tempted to send the yellow shirt with her to her grave. But I'm glad I didn't, because it is a vivid reminder of the love-filled game she and I played for 16 years. Besides, my older daughter is in college now, majoring in art. And every art student needs a baggy yellow shirt with big pockets.

++++++++++

How encouraging it is to realize that even in simple ways, God speaks into all of us. His ways are higher than our ways; and His thoughts, higher than our thoughts.

May we always hear Him speaking in our daily walk.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Why So Serious? A Dark Knight Movie Review

Early on, I've heard a lot of people say that the Dark Knight is a must-see movie.

They are right.


The Dark Knight film stars Christian Bale, the late Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Based on the fictional DC Comics character Batman, this sequel to 2005's Batman Begins, is directed by Christopher Nolan and explores Batman's fight against the Joker (played by Ledger) and his strained friendship with district attorney Harvey Dent (Eckhart).

CNN news reports that a Warner Bros. executive says the Batman sequel "The Dark Knight" has taken in $155.34 million to top "Spider-Man 3" for best opening weekend ever at the box office.
The figures released Sunday show "The Dark Knight" more than $4 million ahead of the $151.1 million first weekend for "Spider-Man 3" in May 2007.

And perhaps much should be attributed for the late Heath Ledger who has made such a stunning performance as the Joker.

On a personal note, I can say that the story actually focuses more on the Joker rather than on Batman.

Well, maybe that is really how director Christopher Nolan would have wanted to put it. The Joker loves chaos. And chaos he gave to Gotham City.




"Why So Serious?"

Undoubtedly one of the most memorable lines in the story. This is the part where the Joker narrates how in the world he got those wide smiles in his face.

You want to know how I got these scars? My father was a drinker and a fiend and one night he goes off crazier than usual. Mommy gets the kitchen knife to defend herself. He doesn’t like that, not one bit.

So, me watching he takes the knife to her, laughing while he does it.

He turns to me and he says “WHY SO SERIOUS SON?”.

He comes at me with the knife “why so serious son?” Sticks the blade in my mouth lets put a smile on that face and…...



The rest might have been overshadowed with Ledger's psycho performance, but we've got to give credits to the other casts who performed well. Christian Bale (as the Dark Knight), Aaron Eckhart (as Harvey Dent turned Two-face), Gary Oldman (as the ever Good Cop Gordon), Michael Caine (as the faithful Alfred to Master Bruce), and Morgan Freeman (as Lucius Fox-maker of Batman's gadgets and suits).




"I don't want to kill you," Joker tells Batman. "You complete me."


It is as if the Dark Knight story revolves on the Joker and Batman Love Story.


And really, really, you'll gonna love this movie. Forget about how long the movie is (more than 2 hours). Forget about comparing Ledger to Nicholson. Forget about the "husky" voice of Batman that sometimes makes it hard to understand his one-liners.

You'll gonna love this movie. And most, if not all, will gonna love the Joker.




Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fuel Prices Going Higher and Higher

For about how many months now, there seems to be an unstoppable upscale of Gasoline and Diesel price not only in the Philippines, but also in most part of the world.

In the Philippines alone, gas prices rise every weekend by at least a peso per liter. And economists analyze that it could go much higher still in the coming months.

Thus, militants groups are again on the outrage and continues to urge the Philippine Government to do something about it; while the LTFRB has recently approved an increase on transportation fares.

On a positive note, however, motorists are experiencing less traffic because some of the motorists prefer riding on public vehicles rather than using their own private cars. People also tend to flock to the MRT and LRT rather than in jeepneys, buses, and AUVs because of the fare increase.

Recent study shows a different trend in the Automobile Business.

The sale of 2nd hand cars have declined significantly.
Buyers also prefer having the diesel-run cars rather than those vehicles using gasoline.
Also, vehicles with smaller engines (thereby using smaller volume of gas).

In any event, we all hope that this fuel crisis will finally end. Not unless in the future, we'd want the following video to actually happen in our country.

Basureros

There are stories which are just worth the read. Here's one of those.

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Basureros

Ever since it was diagnosed that I am having a posible heart enlargement in the last APE, I have exerted more effort to do physical exercises.I do jogging during week days and do long - ride mountain biking every Sunday. But this Sunday is a special Sunday to me. While I was on my way to the mountains of Busay (Cebu) hoping to strengten my heart by this exercise, instead, I personally encountered a heart-breaking scene that changed me. I already passed the Marco Polo Plaza ( formerly Cebu Plaza Hotel ) when I decided to stop to buy bananas at a small carenderia located along the road. I haven't taken any solid food that morning so I need fruits to have the needed energy to get to my destination - the mountain top. I am almost done eating with the second banana when I noticed two children across the street busily searching the garbage area.


"Basureros", I said to myself and quickly turned my attention away from them to sip a small amount of water. I cared less for these kind of children actually; to make it straight, I do not like them, and I do not trust them evenmore. You see, several times I have been a victim to these kind of children who are pretending to be basureros looking for empty bottles and cans when in fact the 'plangganas', 'kalderos', and 'hinayhays' are their favorites. I remember one afternoon while I was watching a Mike Tyson fight when I noticed that the TV screen suddenly became blurred. I checked outside and saw two young basureros running away with my newly installed antenna.

Hatred may be a little bit stronger word to describe my feeling towards these basureros, but I do not like them honestly. not till I met these three children.

I was about to embark on my bike again when I heard one of the two children, a girl of about 7 or 8 of age saying aloud to the other , a 12-yr old boy , " kuya si dodong kuha-a kay nag-sige'g tan-aw sa mga nagkaon, mauwaw ta" (kuya si dodong kunin mo kasi tumitingin sa mga kumain, nakakahiya), only then that I noticed a small boy standing near to me biting slightly his finger. He's a few inches shorter if compared to my 5 years old son ( but I knew later that he's also 5 yrs. Old). Though he did not ask for food to anyone in the carenderia, the way he looked at the customers who were eating , enough to convince me that he is intensely craving for it. The older boy then quickly crossed the street and gently pulled out the little one who politely obeyed. As I watched the two crossing back the street to the garbage area, I heard the tindera saying " Lo-oy kaayo nang mga bataa uy, mga buotan ra ba na" (kawawa naman yung mga batang yun mababait pa naman).


I learned further from the carenderia owner that the children are from a good family , both parents were working before , and that their father got a stroke 3 years ago and became partially paralized and their mother died of heart attack while their father was still confined at the hospital. The parents were still in their early forties when the catastrophe happened, and the children became basureros since then to meet their daily needs and for their father's medication.

Deeply moved by what I heard, I went to a nearby bakery and bought 20 pesos worth of bread and gave it to the children who initially refused including the little boy. " Sige lang noy, salamat na lang, magpalit lang nya mi kung mahalinan na mi" (sige lang po, salamat na lang, bibili na lang po kami mamaya kung makabenta na kami) the young girl said to me. I explained that they need to go home because it started to rain . " Naanad na man mi ani " (nasanay na po kami)the girl answered again. Again, I explained that the rain can make them sick and if they'll become sick there's no one to take care of their father. Upon mentioning their father, they nodded and acccepted the bread but I noticed that the older boy did not eat. When I asked him if he does not like the kind of bread I bought for them he smiled but as he's about to explain, the little girl, who is the more talker of them interrupted, " Domingo man gud ron ,noy, basta Sabado ug Domingo hapon ra siya mokaon kami ra ang mokaon ug pamahaw pero dili na pod mi mokaon inig hapon, si kuya ra. Pero basta Lunes ngadto sa Biyernes, kay klase man , si kuya ra sad ang seguro-on ug papamahaw, kami hapon na sad mi moka-on Pero kung daghan mi ug halin mokaon mi tanan." (Linggo po kasi ngayon, pag sabado at lingo hapon lang po sya kumakain, kami lang po ang kumakain ng agahan pero di na po kami kakain pagdating ng hapon si kuya lang po. Pero pag lunes hanggang biyernes, kasi may pasok, si kuya lang po nag-aagahan, kami hapunan lang pero kung marami kaming benta kami pong lahat kumakain) she continued. "Ngano man diay ug mokaon mong tanan, bahinon ninyo bisan ug unsa ka gamay?" (bakit kung kumain kayong lahat, hati-hatiin nyo na lang kahit kunti lang ang pagkain?) I countered. The young girl reasoned out that their father wanted that her older brother to come to school with full stomachs so he can easily catch up the teacher's lessons. "Inig ka trabaho ni kuya mo undang na man mi ug pamasura , first honor baya na siya " (pag nagkatrabaho si kuya, hihinto kami sa pamamasura, first honor kasi sya) the little boy added proudly. Maybe I was caught by surprise or I am just overly emotional that my tears started to fall. I then quickly turned my back from them to hide my tears and pretended to pick up my bike from the carenderia where I left it.

I don't know how many seconds or minutes I spent just to compose myself; pretending again this time that I was mending by bike.

Finally I get on to my bike and approached the three children to bid goobye to them who in turn cast their grateful smiles at me. I then took a good look at all of them specially to the small boy and pat his head with a pinch in my heart. Though I believe that their positive look at life can easily change their present situation, there is one thing that they can never change; that is , their being motherless. That little boy can no longer taste the sweet embrace, care, and most of all , the love of his mother forever? Nobody can refill the empty gap created by that sudden and untimely death of their mother. Every big events that will happen to their lives will only remind them and make them wish of their mother's presence. I reached to my pocket and handed to them my last 100 peso bill which I reserved for our department's bowling tournament. This time they refused strongly but I jokingly said to the girl " sumbagon teka ron kung di nimo dawaton" (suntukin kita dyan pag hindi mo tinanggap yan). She smiled as she extended her hand to take the money. " Salamat noy makapalit gyud me ron ug tambal ni papa " (salamat po, makakabili kami nito ng gamot ni papa) she uttered. I then turned to the small boy and though he's a few feet away from me, I still noticed that while his right hand was holding the half - filled sack , his left hand was holding a toy- a worn out toy car. I waved my hands and said bye bye to him as I drove towards the mountains again. Did he just found the toy in the garbage area ? or the toy was originally his - when the misfortune did not took place yet? - I did not bother to ask. But one thing is crystal clear to me. That inspite of the boy's abnormal life, he did not give up his childhood completely. I can sense it that way he hold and stare at his toy.


My meeting with that young basureros made me poorer by 100 pesos. But they changed me and made me more richer as to lessons of life are concerned. In them, I learned that life can changed suddenly and may caught me flat footed. In them, I've learned that even the darkest side of life, cannot change the beauty of one's heart.

Those three children, who sometimes cannot eat three times a day, are still able to hold on to what they believe was right. And what a contrast to most of us who are quick to point out to our misfortunes when caught with our mistakes. In them, I've learned to hope for things when things seem to go the other way.

Lastly, I know that God cares for them far more than I do. That though He allowed them to experience such a terrible life which our finite minds cannot comprehend, His unquestionable love will surely follow them through. And in God's own time they will win.


++++++++++

I shared this piece of story in our office and I've got some responses, one of which, surprisingly came from the Big Boss, our Managing Director.

nakakainis ka __________, pinaiyak mo ako sa story na ito ... (from an Assoc. Manager)

Thanks __________ for this beautiful story. I can relate because my adopted twins came from very poor backgrounds.
They might have been basureros if I did not take them. (from the Big Boss)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Sexiest Girl of D.M.

I first encountered this piece of literary genious from Bob Ong's Bakit Baligtad Magbasa ng Libro ang mga Pilipino?. The letter was said to have been found at a certain bar in Manila and has been preserved in its original, unedited form.

Now I have read this piece for at least 10 times and it never failed to make me laugh.

++++++++++
To Marjie,

I am not surprise or wander why Dennis leave you. Why? What reason you can think about but you’re very fat body. I thought before that Dennis only use me to his toy but sooner and later I’m realize that he really can’t not beared or stomached to be with you anymore because at first, Dennis say he could not stand you’re habit of making pakialam all his walks (lakad) and always calling to their house what he go home or this or that

And then he say he get ashame to met iether in school or in his family and then asking you to exercise you’re very very, very fat body but you hate it thougth your the most preetiest girls he knows about what do you think you are “Beautiful Girl” of Jose Marie Chan

Even you are beautiful face to your think) you do not have the right to called me whatsoever or else different name one time or the other for the real purposed to insults my personality because I’m never call you names iether in the front of Dennis or in the backs of Dennis, but if you start already to calling me different name, I don’t have any other choice but to call you other different name to like you are a PIG, FAT, OBESSED, OVERWIGHT, AND UGLY SHAPE girl. Shame to you’re body that is to a BUDING.

You can’t not blame Dennis for exchanging you to me because I am the more sexier than you when you look to us in the mirror. I’m repeat again that you are like Ike Lozada when she is a girl.

FROM: THE SEXIEST GIRL OF D.M.

P.S. You say that I’m the bad breathe but who is Dennis want to kissed. Me or you? You or me? And the final is me. There you go.

++++++++++

To get a hold of Bob Ong Book Updates, click here, and here.

To meet and discuss relevant issues a-la-Bob Ong with other people, subscribe to bobongpinoy yahoogroup.

The Making of A President

I chanced upon seeing this very old email forwarded in 2004. Unfortunately though, I could not trace the original source. Anyway, during that time, the country was focused with the 2004 National Elections- with GMA, FPJ, and Ping as the main protagonists.

++++++++++

THE CANDIDATE

There's an old movie called "The Candidate", starring Robert Redford and Peter Boyle. It was made in 1972. And it is about Bob McKay (played by Robert Redford), a young and idealistic lawyer who is coaxed by a scheming Democratic Party campaign manager (played by Peter Boyle) into running for the US Senate in the state of California.

The movie is less about McKay's motivations; rather it focuses more around how a nobody is molded by the campaign manager, admen, press agents, and media czars into a formidable candidate.

There are some parallelisms between the movie and what's going on with the 2004 Philippine presidential elections. What's interesting is how a person with no political past is molded, packaged, and delivered to the electorate. In 2004, the Philippines might just witness the making of the first media President.

The movie is a good case study for advertising majors and brand managers alike. You focus on the raw and winning characteristics of the product (McKay) and shape these characteristics into advertising sound bites and moving images. And once the mouse trap has been created, the world just beats its path to your door (politicians jumping on the McKay band wagon).

That's the power of media, fortunately and unfortunately. The elements of our first media president is at play here: First is a candidate (Fernando Poe Jr.,) who has the charm, name recognition, sincerity, looks, and no political history; a candidate who can actually play the part. And then you add the campaign manager (Senator Tito Sotto ) whose background is in the media (TV, radio, and movies). You have a financier (Danding C, who cannot win an election but wants to be the king maker, decision maker and the power behind the throne). Finally you have an omnipresent media that constantly feeds data and images into the psyche of our society.

When this movie was shown back in the 70's, the one scene that one will remember the most was the final scene, the final line. After all the manipulations, the speeches, the issues, and the political alliances have been established, McKay in fact wins the elections.

In the final scene where he realizes that he had finally won, McKay pulls aside his campaign manager for a brief private meeting and asks, "What do we do now?" Even Dolphy said something like that, when he was asked to run for an elective post. "Eh kung manalo ako, ano ang gagawin ko?".

There's no moral lesson in the movie. It is purely a commentary of what the political landscape was all about. Thirty years after the movie was first shown, those insights still ring true. My only hope is that the final scene never plays itself out in real life.

"Charm can take you to the Presidency; leadership will keep you there."

Anonymous
++++++++++

Now it's 2008, and four years later, a lot had happened in the Philippine Political scenario.

Of course, all of us know that GMA won a slim margin over Da King, with the question forever in the minds of the Filipino as to what really transcribed concerning the Hello Garci scandal.

Da King FPJ eventually died years later. And the call for the President's resignation has never ceased as of today.

Should FPJ have won the presidency, what would have happened?
Has those people who helped GMA to the top position regret anything?
What would have been the scenario today if there was a change in the course of history?

And now, with less than two more years to 2010, the nation is again faced with the task of choosing his President.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Nation In Poverty





Wikipedia defines Poverty as the deprivation of those things that determine the quality of life, including food, clothing, shelter and safe drinking water, but also "intangibles" such as the opportunity to learn and to enjoy the respect of fellow citizens.

With the way the Philippine Economy is doing right now, one could not help but ask, "Are we really a Nation in Poverty"?

Thus, there is always the issue of Rice Shortage, the weekly shoot up of Gas Prices, Fare hikes, and the never-ending increase in the price of various commodities.

How this picture depicts what is happening, not only in our country, but in some other nations, as well.


Are we in any way deprived on the basic necessities of life? Or are we just not contended with what we have right now?

And the question still lies ahed- Are we A Nation in Poverty?

Please, please, help me find the answer.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Little Help for A Breast Cancer Patient

Hey, you might want to have this "Collectible" Ladies Italian Watch. Plus a purchase will give you the chance to help a Stage IV Breast Cancer Patient, as a percentage of the proceeds will be donated to the patient.








The last piece kinda gave a goosebump in me (I think i'll have one).

Please click here to purchase one.

Let's help find ways to make the people aware of Breast Cancer. It wouldn't counquer our Spirit!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Pfizer Announcement- Thought for the Day

-got this email announce from a friend-

Now really, this should be the Thought for the Day.
It makes sense-yeah, really. It does.


Pfizer Corp. Announced today that Viagra will soon be available in liquid form, and will be marketed by Pepsi Cola as a power beverage suitable for use as a mixer. It will now be possible for a man to literally pour himself a stiff one. Obviously we can no longer call this a soft drink, and it gives new meaning to the names of 'cocktails', 'highballs' and just a good old-fashioned 'stiff drink'. Pepsi will market the new concoction by the name of: MOUNT & DO.

Thought for the day: There is more money being spent on breast implants and Viagra today than on Alzheimer's research. This means that by 2040, there should be a large elderly population with perky boobs and huge erections and absolutely no recollection of what to do with them.

-Pfizer made it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

With Every Good Bye, You Learn

She'll be leaving for the States for good this July, my good friend.

I remember meeting Ms. Manager in August of 2002. As an ordinary clerk in another department, I wonder how it is to become her: a well-respected and cream of the crop leader in the company. She's the go-to-gal. And as I personally witnessed it, it seems that that the company operations revolve around her.

Later on, as the nature of my work requires lots of dealings with her and her department, I found out that even people in the top of the corporate ladder could be as accomodating.

Our relationship grew from mere co-officemates and we became good friends. We would discuss at about anything and everything under the sun- even of course, our grievances from the company (which is I think) a bit common in the corporate.

Her life became a personal testimony to me- an epitome of how a Corporate Leader should be; and to this day, I could definitely say that she's one of those persons to whom I can attribute a lot of the Leadership skills I've learned through the years.

Then, she'll ask my opinions on how the lower persons in the company feel about them. I would give her feedbacks, and opinions, as well. So the symbiosis of learning occured to both of us.

I left and transferred into another company in 2006 and she gave me a simple poem.

In June of 2008, I received a text message from her asking me to organize our group so we could dine together- a simple gathering for her Despedida.

She'd be leaving for the States for good. She'd be with her daughter who'll be studying in the US.

Physical detachment, indeed, can make us feel sad. But the friendship far outweighs; knowing that God allows us to meet different persons in our lives along the way for a good purpose.

Now, it's my turn to give her the copy of the poem she once gave me.


After a while you learn the difference between
holding a hand, and chaining a soul.
You learn that love doesn't mean leaning,
and company doesn't mean security,
that kisses aren't contracts,
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head held high and your eyes wide open
with the grace of a woman not the grief of a child.
You learn to build your roads on today
because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain,
and futures have a way of falling down mid flight.
After a while you learn even
sunshine burns if you get too much.
So plant your own garden, and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers
And you learn that you really can endure,
that you really are strong,
and you really do have worth.
Over and over you learn and learn,
though you may not want to let go,
with every goodbye you learn




Monday, July 7, 2008

At the Movies-Personal Review-Urduja, Hulk, Wanted


Here's my long overdue review of some of the latest movies i've watched this June.


Incredible Hulk
"A lot better than the first"



For those who have had the sorry chance to watch the Hulk movie about five years ago starring Eric Bana (Hulk), one could not help but compare these two movie renditions. For one, this movie, (The Incredible Hulk) by Edward Norton, is a lot better than the first one.

There are more heart-pounding scenes this time, plus of course, they have incorporated some colloquial comics in Brazil.

The only thing that keeps bugging me is that I think Edward Norton is too thin for the role. I mean, It really sucks to see how a thin man converts into this huge green monster ready to save the whole world.

Fans will have to wait for the sequel because there are some questions unanswered-like how the love story of Bruce(Norton) and Betty (Liv Tyler) will end; and whatever happened to Mr. Blue (the doctor) when Bruce's blood dropped into his head; and what in the world is Starks (Iron Man, played by Robert Downey, Jr.) doing in this Incredible Hulk movie?????



Urduja
"Not quite but remarkably worth watching"

APT Productions boasts of this one as ‘the Philippines’ first full length traditional and digital animation film’.

I dare say that this is not yet quite as good as those Hollywood animations produced, but then I would like to raise that fact that this is an "All-pinoy" digital animation film, the first ever produced by the country.

Regine Velasquez, Cesar Montano, Eddie Garcia, Johnny Delgado (superb!!!!) and Jay Ilagan provided the voice overs, while Michael V, Allan K, Ruby Rodriguez and Jeffrey Quizon gave the comic reliefs. One thing, though, is that, I personally think Michael V is over-exposed, stealing the scenes from the main characters.

Others, of course, would care about the quality. But as for me, this, being the First Pinoy breakthrough in the field of digital animation film, is worth watching and applauding.






Wanted
"Actions Overload but... where's the value?"



I love the car chase. Really, really love it. Angelina Jolie is just as savvy as she is.

It's as if this is another sequel for the Matrix trilogy when it comes to effects. There are really lots and lots of overloaded effects into this one;- you need not ask for more.

However, I think I need to review the movie again just for me to find out whatever values this movie has to offer to the audience. I couldn't just understand why these assasins will have to rely on what the codes enrypt in order to know whom they should kill. It's like, "we need to kill this one even if we don't know the reason why just because we need to".

But of course, I should like to give credits to the "twists" of the story.

The zero to hero story of our Main character Wesley (James McAvoy- i think he's the main character in one another good movie, Last King of Scotland);
It was one of those movies wherein you will get to see Morgan Freeman as the...
Wesley's quest to kill his father's killer. The Fraternity of the Assasin led by Sloan (Morgan Freeman), informed him that it was Cross (Thomas Kretschmann) who killed his father. After then, the fraternity trained Wesley so that he could avenge his father's death and kill Cross, who happens to be......
And why in the world do they have to kill Fox in the movie??????

As one review appropriately puts it, "Wanted, starring James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie, is the McDonald's of summer blockbusters: not much nutrition but a boatload of empty visual calories."




Coffee Delight

Here's another delightfully tasting coffee find i had recently.

For those who frequent travelling at North Luzon Expressway, you might want to drop by and refuel at the Shell North Luzon Tollway Southbound Station in Mexico, Pampanga. This is the first gas station that you will have to pass by from DAU toll plaza.

While the gas station itself is home to a lot of fastfood chains for drive thru, you should not afford to step out of your car and enter the Select Convenience Store.

Inside, you will find the Divas Kaffe. We chanced upon tasting the coffee when one of our companions offered us a free coffee each. (Who are we to decline the offer, anyway?).




I should say that the taste is really, really delightful. What's more, the prices are unbelievably low. A large cup of caffe latte is only 58 pesos (vat inclusive, of course).

As with the other coffee stations, Divas Kaffe also offers cold beverages, like fraps, fruit juices, and pastries (two thumbs up for the pastries) to go with the drinks.

I have to check out, however, if all Shell Select Stores do house the coffee bar in all their outlets.

Quality at a low price. That's really a delightful treat from Divas Kaffe. (I wonder if I can ever get some fees from advertising this one :>).

Friday, July 4, 2008

No Entering

Nasa Top 3 daw ang Pilipinas sa paggamit ng English Language. Siyempre una ang Amerika. Pangalawa yata ang United Kingdom. Kaya hindi nakapagtatakang nag-hit ang Call Center Business dito sa Pilipinas. Fluent kasi tayo sa English Language.

Ang kaso, dahil sikat tayo sa inglisan, madalas, pinagtatawanan natin yung mga kapwa natin Pinoy na mali mali ang English Grammars. Na kapag may na-wrong grammar eh, kung mapagtawanan natin, akala mo naman napakalaking kasalanan na ang nagawa.

Pero kung ikukumpara tayo sa ibang bansa, sa palagay ko naman eh far better pa rin ang mga Pinoy sa paggamit ng wikang ingles.

Gusto mo nang prove? Start to browsing and enjoyment!





Yes, here. Enterness. On the other side is the exitness.









Oh, you, naughty, naughty... I said, no touching.....


















Yes, Don't ever, ever...!!


















Is this for guys who are actually.... gays????









Gudlak! Sabihan mo na lang ako kapag nakita mo ha. Kanina ko pa hinahanap eh.









You! You a man? keep out, man.









Sure, this one's a must-see!









Ladies, remember, ha???


















Well, of course, you can always try to make it fall down....









Press na ikaw....









Oh, I don't need one. I've got so much already.









They say women above 30 have difficulty getting pregnant.



























I'm warning you!!









Don't!!!! Kick it!!!!!









Never, ever, ever...









hmmm.....









Guys will love this deck.









Yes, welcome one and all!!!!








[the pictures were collected from two emails sent to me on 2007, so i don't really know where to give credits for these. anyway, i tried checking
engrish.com and it's an active site.]







Thursday, July 3, 2008

They Made the Difference

Two thumbs up for this local community in Pangasinan!!!

I came accross this article in the Phil. Daily Inquirer, and I believe I need to repost this one to as many sites possible so people who can read this will be encouraged as to how these local folks in Pangasinan made the difference and did a worthwhile project for the community.

+++++++++
Alaminos folk pool resources to raise ‘bright kids’
By Yolanda Sotelo-Fuertes

ALAMINOS CITY – It is said that it takes a community to raise a child. In the western Pangasinan city of Alaminos, the community, local government and the Department of Education have been pooling their resources to raise “bright children.”

The city launched the “Bright Child” program three years ago after local educators found out that the performance of the city’s elementary and high school students in the National Achievement Test (NAT) was, to say the least, dismal.

The scenario then: Students performed poorly in Mathematics, English and Science in the NAT; workbooks and reference materials in local schools were inadequate; there was lack of specialized instructional rooms; and the high dropout rate was a problem.There was also a high malnutrition rate among pre-school and elementary students, shortage of day care centers, lack of sports facilities and lack of in-depth knowledge on the city’s history and culture.

Renato Viray, city schools superintendent, says that in the 2004 Grade 6 NAT, the division placed last among 13 divisions in the Ilocos region and 185th among 188 divisions in the country. The dropout rate for both elementary and high schools was also high, he says.

“There was a big need for interventions for the children’s performance to improve,” Alaminos Mayor Hernani Braganza says.

This situation moved the community to implement the Bright Child program to address the needs of the children and to develop their potentials by providing them comfortable and quality education and better health and nutrition.

Braganza says DepEd on its own cannot develop a “bright child.”

“The support of the entire community, the local government and the parents will determine the future of a child,” he says.

Three years later, the joint efforts have started to show results.

During a recent education summit in the city, Viray reported that the division was “making strides in improving the achievement level of pupils.”

In the 2007 NAT, the division ranked 6th and 8th in the elementary and secondary levels, respectively, in the Ilocos region.
++++++++++

When most of the people have been cursing and showing off their grievances against the government, these people made the big difference.

Made for the Province (Or the City?)

Metro- A City of Gold and Opportunities

Again this is an issue of "City is where the gold is" mentality, where most of the people in the province are making out of their way just to be and live in the City.

It's always a wonder for me why the people in the province keep coming to the Metro to try their fate without any assurance of what life awaits them in the city.

Here, it is very common to see so many families living in as squatters in neglected government and even private lots, under the bridge, or along the highways. Most can also attest to the many children polishing our shoes with dirty rags inside the jeepneys, then ask for money.

Too bad that later on, the people who thought that the Metro is a City full of gold and opportunities find out that the living in the City is not always that good after all.





There are those who are made for the Province

We can feel the strong breeze of the wind as we trail to our cousin's ricefield on that one stormy day of May.




Now as i said earlier, PAGASA has detected a storm coming into the Philippines (and on the forecast, they are correct! wonder why later on, they have this forecast problem case with Sulpicio Lines on the sinking of MV Princess of the Stars).

We made a stop in front of that lonely house in the middle of the fields.

This is were the farmers are supposed to rest, eat, place their tools, and sleep if needed while they are taking care of the fields. - no television, no air conditioners, nothing of that high-tech equipments and gadgets that are supposed to bring ease to our lives.


Now, the harvest season has just gone by and so you wouldn't be seeing any riceplants in the fields.

Apparently, our companion informed us that they have just planted the "punla" or the seedlings and they are waiting for the time wherein they can transfer the seedlings in the ricefields.


The simplicity of life in the province. How people have become tired of this seemingly monotomous life and dare themselves migrate in the City where uncertainty of life awaits them.

As far as the eyes can see

"Look on as far as you can. Explore your eyes on the vast fields and as far as your eyes can see, they are mine"


The field averages to more than Xthousand cavans of palay in one harvest season. And with the price of rice going wild up over these past days, who wouldn't be ignoring the facts?

They started with little and with simple lifestyle. But they chose to stay in the Province and found what the others have failed to see- Success.

It is not where you are that determines your sucess in life. It is being to where God has destined you to be.

If God has designed you to be in the City or be in the Province-there you will succeed.

That is your destiny.

That is your inheritance.








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