Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Revisiting Bohol

Bohol... There is somthing about it that makes me want to keep coming back. The old churches and the lush greens are just a few of what Bohol has to offer. I was able to experience the Loboc River Cruise, see the world-famous Chocolate Hills, and swim in the shores of Panglao about two years ago. I could say that the trip was one of my most cherished experiences.
I was fortunate to see Bohol once more last week. I went there for an official visit but I was lucky to insert a few hours to see a few sights. :)


Bohol Pier


The Bridge that connected the mainlad island of Bohol to Panglao Island. Photo was taken from the backyard of the Dauis Convent

Bohol Cathedral. One of the famous old churches of Bohol.

If you are looking for place to spend your long Christmas vacation, why don't you stay in beautiful island of Bohol? For accommodation and tour needs, contact Coco Grove Tourist Inn at http://www.cocogrovebohol.com/. They are just a few minutes away from the air and sea ports of Tagbilaran, and they are also within the world-class island of Panglao!

For more inquiries, contact Ms. Dory Penales at 0917-3040948. She is very friendly and accommodating. :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Guerrero - Lee Nuptials

On December 1, 2008, for the second time this year, we have witnessed a barkada depart from the realm of singlehood and partake a new journey into married life. Our good ol' pal Boomie Guerrero was married to Janis Lee at the Chapel on the Hill, Nasugbu, Batangas. We had a fun fine dining at the Splendido, Tagaytay. Many thanks to Boomie for inviting us. The attire was coat and tie and it was good to see the barkada donning their signature suits and ties. :) Boomie wore an Indian/ Chinese inspired coat, while Janis wore a simple but ultra cute long dress. Unorthodox for a wedding dress, but equally gorgeous.
Early Birds. 1:30pm pala ah!


While Waiting for the Bride

As expected, we had a great great time! The ceremony was simple, solemn, and tearfully joyful. We had the chance to see Boomie's soft side as Jan walks down the aisle! Kit turned out to be the best man! Good thing we arrived early so he was able to make the necessary preparations.

Groom and Best man

The Boys with the Groom

Everybody Happy

The view from Splendido was indeed, splendid! The reception had an asotea overlooking the Taal Volcano! And the food, terrific! We enjoyed the Paella, Osso Bucco, Grilled Mahi-Mahi, Vegetables in Cream, plus appetizers shanghai spring rolls and baked mussels. The soup was also good and the salad had a series of great-tasting vinaigrettes and dressings! We had a fantastic night.

Splendido!

We were fortunate to have our picture taken with the greatest Filipino Basketball mentor of all time, Boomie's grandfather, Coach Baby Dalupan.

The great view of Splendido


Beatles Photo

Bhonny and I had a jamming session with the performer Tribe of Levi. We sang "Englishman in New York." And the crowd roared. hehehe


We were able to get cheap accommodation from Tirona Hotel, just a few steps away from the Tagaytay rotonda. We just stayed in the hotel, drank beer while Eli and I grilled Eli's liempo contribution, and we played bowling via Wii all night! Bhonny was the sole survivor in the pamorningan Wii session. He slept at around 4 or 5am!

My Congratulations to my good friends Boomie and Janis. Now who's next? :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sick and tired

It seems like the Impeachment complaint against the President has died once again this year, following the Congressional Justice committee's junking of the new complaint yesterday. Nevertheless, life goes on.

It's almost 2009, barely 1 1/2 years to go till Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's highly contested 9-year regime ends. In those 1 1/2 years, what worse can happen? We've seen the worst and the worst has been surpassed.

A rundown of major controversies faced by the current administration:
1. PIATCO - Fraport Scandal
2. Jose Pidal accounts
3. Hello, Garci? recordings
4. ZTE Broadband deal
5. Northrail Project
6. Fertilizer Fund Scam

All these involve millions, if not billions, of pesos! But why did we let it slip? Because we are sick and tired of all the mess!

We have been sick and tired of politicians bickering and mudslinging. We are tired of those oppositionists whom we know were once allies but because of political conflicts, they are now asking for the President's ouster. In short, both sides are simply unbearable. Thus, we are in a political deadlock. We are not apathetic, we are just afraid that we will be in excatly the same position as we are now if the regime changes, only worse. Sigh...

As I said in my previous entries, I am in no way siding with the administration, but this time I think we should just let it pass. What we have to do as concerned citizens of this country is to be more alert and awake, that no more onerous contracts will be signed, no more "tongpats" will be paid, no more plans to extend the regime will be successful. All lies in the hands of the populace.

In this time of global crisis, political fighting should take the back seat and we should work together for the common good. And it all starts by being vigilant and cooperative.

Let the administration stay until 2010. In May of that year, let us go out and vote who we think the right leaders should be. That is assuming someone is nominated with that type a calibre.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Motorcycles and Road Accidents

Just a few weeks ago I saw two motorcycle drivers lying in Edsa, in what looked like a major mishap between the two drivers. One was trying to get up, but the other seemed unconcscious. Bystanders from the sidewalks and the nearby overpass were looking on, as he traffic in Edsa worsens because of the incident. A few minutes later, I heard sirens of the ambulance. I hope they were okay.

A week before that, my mom had a mishap with, again, a motorcycle. It damages the side of our van pretty badly, while the motorcycle driver did nothing but apologize for his reckless behavior in the road. We did not get paid for the damages even if it was not our fault. The driver admitted that his brakes slipped him, causing the crash to our van's sliding door.

Another motorcycle incident occurred with my girlfriend, Bubbles. They were traversing the Banawe area when suddenly a motorcycle comes slipping through their side. Their driver did not notice the speeding bike, thus kissed their Revo's side, heavily denting its front door.

A lot of incidents involving motorcycles are happening these days. While the volume of motorcycles in the streets have increased by gargantuan proportions, our law enforcement officials seem too lenient when it comes to regulating motorcycle drivers. We still see a lot of motorcycle drivers without helmets, we even see policemen in scooters not wearing any helmet! We see motorcycles swerving here and there, beating the red light, turning in barricaded slots (since their motorcycles still fit the little holes in between), overspeeding, and some even contributing to noise pollution by playing loud music! What's worse is that motorcycle drivers tend to be ultra-arrogant in the streets because they know that when we hit them, we are the ones at fault. In short, motorcycle drivers are now the most notorious drivers in the country, even outranking our killer bus and truck drivers.

According to statistics shown by the LTO, motorcycles accidents are among the highest road related accidents in the country today. And many would agree with me that it is NEVER because of reckless CAR drivers. Most of the time, it is the fault of these reckless, misinformed, arrogant motorcycle drivers!

If ever there is a need to reinvent law enforcement in the streets, it's the laws against motorcycle reckelssness that need to be re-engineered the most.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Name is...

Is it my pronounciation or is there something else wrong that makes my name turn into hundreds of different other names. The one below is the latest. If I recall correctly, I have repeated my name more than a couple of times.

The next time I order and they ask for my name, I'll just use my second name John to prevent my first name to get murdered. But then again, the "ordertaker" might type it as JHON. How about Boy? They might type it as BHOY! Darn. I gotta think of an typo-error-proof name.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Yes! Magazine November 2008 issue

Finally! After year of seemingly endless dreaming of being in a printed material, I was able to be seen in the country's most widely read magazine! hehehe Thanks to my affiliation with the country's most eligible bachelor and one of the world's sexiest men (along with yours truly! hahaha), Dingdong Dantes, our 1998 Ateneo High School Class Picture was part of Dingdong's clipboard page of past pictures. This just shows that his Ateneo High School education is one of his most cherished memories.

Don't we all agree, AHS people around the world? Nothing beats the fun, laughter and friendship of high school. Majority of my most trusted friends come from my class in high school. And of course, we develop all the initial networks from our high school classmates from way back. In fact, in most organizations and government positions in the country, we can see colleagues who were former high school classmates. Indeed, the bond and the camaraderie of high school is probably the most nostalgic, most remembered, most valued of all levels of school. :)


It's quite difficult to see me in this picture. I was the one seated on the bench, rightmost. Luckily I wasn't cut off. :)


A little backgroudn on the photo: This was our wacky shoot during our 4th year high school class picture. Apprently, our longing for a high school uniform (AHS had no uniform before, only a collared-shirt requirement) made us decide to try out uniforms from our sister schools (or our sisters' schools?!). No offense, discrimination, insult, or pun was intended in this photo. It was simply meant to add a little fun to our usual boring formal class pictures. :) Unfortunately, the picture was pulled out from our order list because some factions of the school found it quite offensive. And as expected, we were heavily scolded by our principal. So this hard print from Dingdong's "baul" of pictures is one of the very few pieces that were printed. Wow! Collector's item!

Here's the latest picture of us now. Still wacky and fun as ever.


To my AHS 4F98 friends who are reading this, buy a copy now! And to my avid fans, buy a copy as well! hehehe.

Thanks to my man Mike for scanning the magazine. http://traveller23.multiply.com/journal/item/10?mark_read=traveller23:journal:10&replies_read=12&goto=12#reply12

Cheers!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Should not be forgotten

During the gala run of the play "Gerilya sa Powell Street," we were able to see some familiar faces like national artists Ben Cabrera and F. Sionil Jose, DND Usec. Ernesto Carolina, and the head of Tanghalang Pilipino, Nanding Josef. Jun Lozada was also present, along with her trusted friends from the religious sector.



Amidst these famous personalities, the real stars of the night were the valiant veteran men and women who fought hard against the Japanese invaders during the Second World War. There were about 20 of them present that night, representing the hundreds of thousands of Guerillas who sacrificed their youth and their private lives to protect our country's sovereignty against foreign oppression.





Although old and seemingly frail, these people managed to grace the event, with an underlying message that Filipinos all over the world should never forget what these people have done almost 70 years ago. Let their heroism and sense of nationhood be not just forever remembered, but be emulated by every single Filipino living today.


The play ran for about three hours, but because of the cast's comic antics led by veteran screen actors Tommy Abuel and Lou Veloso, they managed to keep the audience interested, awake, and satisfied. I had fun watching the play. and I'm sure all others who were with me in the theater felt the same way.

Cheers to all Filipino war veterans!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Gerilya sa Powell Street

I have always been a supporter of the Philippine Entertainment Industry, be it directly of indirectly. I have the privilege of being able to see the first screening night of Gerilya sa Powell Street, which opens tonight at the CCP Tanghalang Huseng Batute.





If ever you have the time and are contemplating of things to do, try watching a Filipino play. With "Gerilya," it is starred by two of the most prized actors of our generation, Tommy Abuel and Bembol Roco.

The ad was taken from http://www.ccp.gov.ph/:



Below are the details fo the play:

Venue : Tanghalang Huseng Batute(CCP Studio Theater)

Time : 8:00 pm, Date : Nov 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29 2008

Time : 3:00 pm, Date : Nov 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30 2008

Synopsis: Elderly war veterans battle loneliness, homesickness and despair with a deep reserve of humor as they endure the life of exiles in San Francisco, California. The relentless rhythm of the cable cars become the background for the poignant ruminations on patriotism and homeland. Leading actors from Philippine cinema share the stage with the bastions of Philippine theater. Rody Vera’s adaptation of Benjamin Pimentel’s novel is directed by Chris Millado.
-------------------------

Let's support our very own artists and their crafts. This is highly recommended especially for teens and young adults who have little or no knowledge of the country's past. It not only provides entertainment, but also gives the viewers a sense of history, culture, and nationhood, which I'm sure is lacking in the Filipino psyche nowadays.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

44th President of the United States

Congratulations to Barrack Obama for a well-deserved win. And now, the fun part: choosing the best allies, the most eligible set of cabinet members, and the most important direction for America's promised change.

Kudos to John McCain for accepting his defeat and for calling for unity to stand behind the President-elect. Though it may seem hard for him to face defeat for the second time around, he managed to accept it wholeheartedly and in a gentlemanly behavior. He has exemplified the true essence of stateshood.

We have always been imitating American culture, why can;t we emulate the sense of nationhood and political zeal that the Americans possess? Why can't our Philippine politicians imitate John McCain, who after being defeated, accepts his defeat lightly, and extends his arms to his opponent to whatever he might do to help the country move forward. If only we could have true statesmen for leaders, and not power-grabbers, sour-grapers, and grandstanders, the Philippines would be a better place. The search is on, ladies and gentlemen. It's about time we experience change, just like the Americans experience theirs over the past couple of days.

"Senator Obama and I have had and argued our differences, and he has prevailed. No doubt many of those differences remain. These are difficult times for our country, and I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face." --John McCain, in his concession speech.

-------------------------------------------------------

Below is the transcript of Barrack Obama's Victory Speech in Chicago (taken from www.nytimes.com)

OBAMA: Hello, Chicago.
If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.

We are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment change has come to America.

A little bit earlier this evening, I received an extraordinarily gracious call from Senator McCain.
Senator McCain fought long and hard in this campaign. And he's fought even longer and harder for the country that he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine. We are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader.

I congratulate him; I congratulate Governor Palin for all that they've achieved. And I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart, and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton ... and rode with on the train home to Delaware, the vice president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

And I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last 16 years ... the rock of our family, the love of my life, the nation's next first lady ... Michelle Obama.

Sasha and Malia ... I love you both more than you can imagine. And you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us ...to the new White House.

And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother's watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight. I know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my sister Maya, my sister Alma, all my other brothers and sisters, thank you so much for all the support that you've given me. I am grateful to them.

And to my campaign manager, David Plouffe ... the unsung hero of this campaign, who built the best _ the best political campaign, I think, in the history of the United States of America.

To my chief strategist David Axelrod ... who's been a partner with me every step of the way.
To the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics ... you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to. It belongs to you. It belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington. It began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston. It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give $5 and $10 and $20 to the cause.

It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy ... who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep.

It drew strength from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on doors of perfect strangers, and from the millions of Americans who volunteered and organized and proved that more than two centuries later a government of the people, by the people, and for the people has not perished from the Earth.

This is your victory.

And I know you didn't do this just to win an election. And I know you didn't do it for me.

You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime _ two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.

Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us.

There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after the children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage or pay their doctors' bills or save enough for their child's college education.

There's new energy to harness, new jobs to be created, new schools to build, and threats to meet, alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there.

I promise you, we as a people will get there.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can!

OBAMA: There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as president. And we know the government can't solve every problem.
But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it's been done in America for 221 years _ block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter cannot end on this autumn night.
This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were.

It can't happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.
So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.

Let us remember that, if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers.

In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let's resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.
Let's remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity.

Those are values that we all share. And while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.

As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.

And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.

To those _ to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.

That's the true genius of America: that America can change. Our union can be perfected. What we've already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.
This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight's about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing: Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons _ because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America _ the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can.

OBAMA: When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can.

OBAMA: She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that We Shall Overcome. Yes we can.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can.

OBAMA: A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination.
And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change.

Yes we can.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can.

OBAMA: America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves _ if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see?
What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.

This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

-------------------------------------------------

Meanwhile, here's John McCain's concession speech in Arizona:

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: Thank you. Thank you, my friends. (Cheers, applause.) Thank you for coming here on this beautiful Arizona evening. (Cheers, applause.)

My friends, we have -- we have come to the end of a long journey. The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly. A little while ago, I had the honor of calling Senator Barack Obama -- (boos) -- to congratulate him -- (boos) -- please -- to congratulate him on being elected the next president of the country that we both love.
In a contest as long and difficult as this campaign has been, his success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance. But that he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving.

This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African-Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight.

I've always believed that America offers opportunities to all who have the industry and will to seize it. Senator Obama believes that, too. But we both recognize that though we have come a long way from the old injustices that once stained our nation's reputation and denied some Americans the full blessings of American citizenship, the memory of them still had the power to wound.

A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt's invitation of Booker T. Washington to visit -- to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage in many quarters. America today is a world away from the cruel and prideful bigotry of that time. There is no better evidence of this than the election of an African American to the presidency of the United States. Let there be no reason now -- (cheers, applause) -- let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth. (Cheers, applause.)

Senator Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and for his country. I applaud him for it, and offer in my sincere sympathy that his beloved grandmother did not live to see this day, though our faith assures us she is at rest in the presence of her creator and so very proud of the good man she helped raise.

Senator Obama and I have had and argued our differences, and he has prevailed. No doubt many of those differences remain. These are difficult times for our country, and I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.

I urge all Americans -- (applause) -- I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together, to find the necessary compromises, to bridge our differences, and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.
Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans. And please believe me when I say no association has ever meant more to me than that. (Cheers, applause.)

It is natural -- it's natural tonight to feel some disappointment, but tomorrow we must move beyond it and work together to get our country moving again. We fought -- we fought as hard as we could.
And though we fell short, the failure is mine, not yours.

AUDIENCE: No!

MR. MCCAIN: I am so --

AUDIENCE: (Chanting.) John McCain! John McCain! John McCain! John McCain! John McCain! John McCain!

SEN. MCCAIN: I am so deeply grateful to all of you for the great honor of your support and for all you have done for me. I wish the outcome had been different, my friends. The road was a difficult one from the outset. But your support and friendship never wavered. I cannot adequately express how deeply indebted I am to you.
I am especially grateful to my wife, Cindy, my children, my dear mother -- (cheers, applause) -- my dear mother and all my family and to the many old and dear friends who have stood by my side through the many ups and downs of this long campaign. I have always been a fortunate man, and never more so for the love and encouragement you have given me.

You know, campaigns are often harder on a candidate's family than on the candidate, and that's been true in this campaign. All I can offer in compensation is my love and gratitude, and the promise of more peaceful years ahead. (Laughter.)

I am also -- I am also, of course, very thankful to Governor Sarah Palin, one of the best campaigners I have ever seen. (Cheers, applause.) One of the best campaigners I have ever seen --

AUDIENCE: (Chanting.) Sarah! Sarah!

MR. MCCAIN: -- and an impressive new voice in our party for reform and the principles that have always been our greatest strength. (Cheers, applause.) Her husband Todd and their five beautiful children -- (cheers, applause) -- with their tireless dedication to our cause, and the courage and grace they showed in the rough-and- tumble of a presidential campaign. We can all look forward with great interest to her future service to Alaska, the Republican Party and our country. (Cheers, applause.)

To all my campaign comrades, from Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter, to every last volunteer who fought so hard and valiantly month after month in what at times seemed to be the most challenged campaign in modern times, thank you so much. A lost election will never mean more to me than the privilege of your faith and friendship.

I don't know -- I don't know what more we could have done to try to win this election. I'll leave that to others to determine. Every candidate makes mistakes, and I'm sure I made my share of them. But I won't spend a moment of the future regretting what might have been.

This campaign was and will remain the great honor of my life. And my heart is filled with nothing but gratitude for the experience and to the American people for giving me a fair hearing before deciding that Senator Obama and my old friend Senator Joe Biden should have the honor of leading us for the next four years.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No!

AUDIENCE MEMBER: You deserve more!

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: (Chanting off mike.)

MR. MCCAIN: Please. Please.
I would not -- I would not be an -- an American worthy of the name, should I regret a fate that has allowed me the extraordinary privilege of serving this country for a half a century. Today, I was a candidate for the highest office in the country I love so much. And tonight, I remain her servant. That is blessing enough for anyone and I thank the people of Arizona for it. (Cheers, applause.)

AUDIENCE: (Chanting.) USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!

SEN. MCCAIN: Tonight -- tonight, more than any night, I hold in my heart nothing but love for this country and for all its citizens, whether they supported me or Senator Obama -- whether they supported me or Senator Obama, I wish Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president.

And I call on all Americans, as I have often in this campaign, to not despair of our present difficulties but to believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here.

Americans never quit. We never surrender. (Cheers, applause.) We never hide from history, we make history. (Cheers, applause.)

Thank you, and God bless you, and God bless America. (Cheers, applause.) Thank you all very much. (Cheers, applause.)

Thank God for 2K9

Yahoo! 2K Sports recently launched NBA 2K9 in PC!


It's game time...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

PHILAMLIFE: A PRIZED ASSET

Written for an internal newsletter, October 27, 2008.


It is very difficult to talk with clients who have been victims themselves of the past pre-need fiasco. Given their past experience in some pre-need institutions, they now have their conclusion that Philam will end up with the same situation. Many thanks to some news media who helped aggravate the growing misconception of clients, that task to convince them that we will not end up the same as the other defunct pre-need companies became much more difficult.

In order to properly address a policyholder’s concern, one must look through the policyholder’s eyes. Being a Philam policyholder myself, I had my own share of questions and made it as a guide to properly explain the situation to policyholders. The bottom-line of all these is the question, “What will happen to my money if something happens to Philamlife?” That was precisely the main thought of most of the people I talked with during my stint in the conservation team. I was stationed at Cubao RO, where I saw lots of people flocking the business center to either take out a loan, or surrender, primarily because of the news that Philamlife is for sale. I was part of a team composed of people from Philam Call Center, OFW Marketing, and Customer and Area Marketing Office.

I was able to convince a couple who wished to surrender their Pension Builder policy.
The conversation started out with both of them very much angry with the most recent news about AIG divestment and Philamlife’s “for sale” status. Their ire got even worse when they saw in the news that owners of the infamous pre-need company are planning to buy Philamlife.

I started my two-cents worth with a bit of history about the pre-need fiasco. I told them the fact that since most pre-need companies sold educational plans that were open-ended, they found it very hard to keep up with the rising tuition fees. This, coupled with laws that deregulated tuition fee increases, developed problems for pre-need companies in terms of liquidity.

I told them that Philamlife, being a leader in the life insurance industry, has no similar problem. I boasted our strong asset figures of more than P170 billion as of December 2007. Aside from this, I explained the concept of liquidity reserves, which we have accumulated to at least P76 billion. I told them that Philamlife is not closing down, but is simply being sold. The change in ownership will not affect their policies since whoever the new owner will be, the company is bound to fulfill all contractual obligations to the policyholders. The Insurance Commission has very stringent regulations to make sure that the company will honor its commitment to give the policy benefits due each Philamlife client.

To convince them further, I reassured that Philamlife is being sold not because it is going bankrupt—but rather we are considered as one of AIG’s prized assets which makes our company very attractive for prospective buyers. I added a few facts about our parent company, AIG’s current situation and the reasons why we are being sold. I strongly stated that we are not being sold because we are bankrupt, but because we are one of their strongest assets.

Then, the man asked me, “What happens if all of them withdraw?” I answered, “Then we shall give them their cash surrender values. As I have previously said, the IC attests to the fact that we can pay for all present benefits due.

The couple then added a few more minor questions on my employment status and our current situation in the company. After that, the couple’s frowns turned into nods and smiles, indications that they were somehow assured that Philamlife is not going bankrupt, but simply changing its ownership. The husband then gave me a pat on the back and jokingly said, “Okay, we believe you. Make sure you don’t close down okay?”

And I jokingly replied, “I wouldn’t be here in front of you if we are going bankrupt. I’d better be off in the streets looking for a new job.” Then we separated with smiles on our faces.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What the?!

So does this mean we can't drop off in the present because it's supposed to be done already?

I mean, seriously, guys! Aren't there any copywriters from MMDA? We are always proud to say that we are the only Southeast Asian country fluent in English but we can't do simple subject-verb agreement on a traffic sign?! Or maybe it's a simple typo error from the signmakers... Who knows?

I sure hope that this is not a reflection of our plummeting aptitude in English.

Photo taken in North Avenue Station at MRT.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Manpower Services?!


I didn't know Philam had a mantenance services company. I'm sure it's not related to the Philam Group whatsoever. :) Even Equitable has its manning agency! Wow! hehehe. The powers of Pinoy Creativity. hehe

Photo taken somewhere in QC.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Thy will be done...

Gov. Ed Panlilio is doing a magnificent job in cleaning up the corruption-stricken Pampanga. And what is his prize for doing such? A signature campaign for his ouster. There were rumors of overflowing cash gifts to various cities and municipalities to support such a campaign. It seems like Among Ed has stepped on very powerful, brutish and superlatively corrupt people for him to be receiving such campaigns.

As a person of God, although "on leave," Among Ed firmly believes in the Beautitude, "Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness; the Kingdom of God will be theirs." That is why his struggle to bring back the integrity and honor of the government is very much intact. He undermines any form of attack even the ones coming from his Vice Governor, or league of provinces. He believes in what is right, and what should be done. He fears nothing and no one because he knows who is on his side.

I am not much of a religious person but I strongly believe that persons like Among Ed are God's way of helping the Filipino people experience change in governance and public service. What we as Filipinos have to do is to stand up behind him and give him the opportunity to make that change. We are a few notches away from the poorest countries in the world, and one of the main reasons for such is corruption and greed. It is about time we experience that change before it's too late.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fancy that!

While rank and file soldiers, non-commissioned and junior officers relentlessly fight in Mindanao with substandard artillery and extreme lack of supplies, another General is once again facing a controversy involving sums of money. P7 million worth of contingency fund money? For what?

If I were caught with lots of money in my hands, I would either keep mum about the reason behind it, or think thoroughly of the most realistic excuse or alibi. I would never ever say that I had a friend who is asking me to buy a watch in Moscow. Watch in Moscow?! Am I not reading the papers anymore? Has Moscow turned into a watch haven now? Or maybe the officers will make a side trip in Switzerland or Japan? Whatever is the reason behind this outrageously hilarious alibi is yet to be seen. The person who asked a favor to buy him/her a watch should come out in the offing and tell the Filipino people how sorry he is for giving big bucks to a general who is NOT on a vacation, but on a "business" trip. It was a 2-day Interpol meeting! How the heck can you have the time to purchase a 7-million buck watch? Oh well. All of our questions are still about to be answered. I'm sure the next scenario would be a Senate investigation and lots and lots of grandstanding.

After all these fiascoes and controversy surrounding Generals, I can never blame groups like Antonio Trillanes and several other junior officers and regular soldiers for staging coups and for breaking the chain of command. In the Military, leadership by example is very very important in getting the respect and trust of your followers. When will they ever learn??!

In the midst of occuring crises in the world economy, a controversy involving large amounts of money adds ire and dismay from the populace. People, especially those holding delicate positions in government, should be extra careful and wary of the repercussions of their actions. times like these, you should "moderate your greed."

So what is the real story behind the money? Is it really a contingency fund, as what the PNP has mentioned in their statement? Or is it a personal request for a watch purchase, as what was previously stated?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Worst News of the Year

I just heard recently the worst news of the year. I did not expect this to happen. This was unprecedented. I thought that with the latest developments in the computer we can do everything. But the high-tech world did not see this coming.

EA SPORTS, WHY THE HECK WILL YOU NOT LAUNCH NBA LIVE '09 IN PC VERSION?!?!?!

I hope you're happy with this major omission. You just lost a loyal customer, buddies!

Monday, October 06, 2008

On Philamlife

Philamlife is not closing down. It's just being sold. AIG thinks that Philamlife is a good asset so they sell. It's like a big ship with a replacement Captain. Everything's gonna be just fine.

I try to avoid entries about my company, but I feel that it's about time that I somewhat contribute to spreading the word about Philamlife's situation. For Philamlife employees and agents, it is business as usual. Philamlife remained market leaders for the past 60 years, they're still market leaders now, and will be market leaders even after the sale. The employee force is strong, the agency force is diverse, the market base is deep. Just like what Mr. Cuisia has mentioned, the winning bidder will definitely be an instant market leader in the insurance industry.

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10 groups keen on Philamlife
By Ted P. Torres
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
www.philstar.com

The Philippine American Life Insurance Co. (Philamlife) said yesteday it has received offers from about 10 groups after the firm was identified as among the assets to be sold by American International Group (AIG) to pay off its debts.
At the same time, the company sought to dispel concerns that the sale of the country’s largest insurer would affect its ability to pay claims.
Offers to buy Philamlife, the country’s biggest insurer, have come in from both local and foreign firms, some of which were private equity funds, Jose Cuisia, company chief executive told reporters.
“Closer to 10,” Cuisia said when asked about the number of interested buyers. He said he was not aware if there were others who had separately approached AIG’s advisers Blackstone Group LP and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co with an offer.
“I would say these are very respectable groups, also successful groups, which is why it is very encouraging for us,” he said.
But some of the interested buyers were unlikely to meet AIG’s criteria, Cuisia said, adding a strong reputable brand name, financial strength, and a strategic fit were the three key ingredients the US parent required for a successful sale.
“Some will immediately be crossed out,” Cuisia said.
A few of the buyers expressed interest to acquire AIG PhilAm Savings Bank alone while most were keen on buying the whole group, Cuisia said.
The Philamlife Group, the Philippines’ largest insurer, has an asset base of P170 billion and consolidated stockholders equity of P49.5 billion, policies-in-force worth P143 billion, and a work force of over 1,500.
Going by the AIG’s criteria, mega conglomerates like the San Miguel group, and the Ayala Group, are among a few local groups that are in a position to make an acceptable offer.
The San Miguel group has the money and an infrastructure for a financial arm, but not the expertise while the Ayala group has both the money and the expertise. The Ayala group has Ayala Life Assurance Corp., ranked in the top 10 players in the life sector, and BPI/MS, one of the biggest non-life firms in the country.
Valuation is likely to be a crucial issue. The question is how much a premium to add considering the fact that Philamlife has been the leader in the life insurance industry for almost six decades now.
“Whoever buys Philamlife automatically becomes the leader in the Philippines, what greater premium is that?” industry experts said.
Philamlife has over one million policyholders or roughly one third of all the life insurance policyholders in the Philippines. It has a sales force of over 8,000 against a little over 2,000 for its nearest competitors.
Cuisia said he does not know if the sale will be as a block or by company.
So far, he said several local banks have approached him for AIG Philam Savings Bank. Philamlife holds a 45-percent equity in the bank, while AIG holds another 45 percent. The remaining 10 percent is held by the Philamlife Employees Retirement Fund.
Based on 2007 data from the Insurance Commission, the other members of the top 10 life insurers in the Philippines in terms of assets are Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Insular Life Assurance Co., AXA Philippines, Manufacturers Life Insurance (Manulife), Ayala Life, Pru Life Insurance of UK, Great Pacific Life Assurance (Grepalife), Generali Pilipinas Life Assurance, and Pioneer Life.
SunLife of Canada is affiliated with Sunlife Financial of Canada, Insular Life is a domestic mutual company, AXA is affiliated with AXA of France and reportedly among the biggest in Europe, Manulife is affiliated with Manulife Financial said to be among the biggest in Canada and the US, Ayala Life is of course an affiliate of the Ayala Group, Grepalife is a member of the Yuchengco group, Generali Pilipinas is affiliated with Generali Spa of Italy, and Pioneer Life has connections with Allianz of Germany.
Experts say that whoever bids for Philamlife and subsidiaries must be ready to commit huge, long-term capital.
“But they will be rewarded with a true-jewel of Philippine financial institutions, and the top slot overnight,” they added.
According to Cuisia, the company remains “strongly capitalised” and would be able to meet all its commitments to depositors, investors and policy holders.
He said most of Philamlife’s investments were tied to government securities and bonds, and that the firm did not have any offshore exposure to troubled American financial institutions.
“We would like to assure our policy holders there is no reason for them to worry, to feel their investments are at risk,” he said.
“We have managed our investment portfolio prudently and conservatively.”
Philamlife deputy president and chief operating officer Michel Khalaf said the company has for decades remained a “net contributor” to AIG.
While the company will seek to retain all its employees, he said there could be some “rationalisation” if a buy-out led to duplication of jobs.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Bonfire Reunion

It was a reunion of sorts for the recently concluded Ateneo Bonfire ceremonies, in celebration of championships of the Senior, Junior and Grade School Basketball, Ladies' and high school swimming. Amidst the drenched Bellarmine field, Ateneans from all over not just celebrated with the teams, but also reunited, reminisced and rekindled with their grade school, high school and college friends, classrooms, and tambayans. I was lucky to be in the company of three of my 4F friends, Odin, Jayvee and Bhonny (in photo).

Being a subtly rabid Blue Eagle fan, I purchased an incredibly expensive championship jersey from Adidas. I just thought, what the heck?! It only comes once every several years. :) But what if we go back to back? Then I'd have to save up for another P895 worth of shirts. Hopefully, inflation won't affect the shirt price that much.

We stayed until Parokya ni Edgar played. As usual, they played their all-time favorite hits Buloy, Halaga and Inuman na. In the middle of their songs they uttered hilariously funny spiels about Ateneo, about Darius' La Salle roots, and about Buwi's apathy towards the UAAP (Galing daw kasi ng OB montessori si Buwi kaya walang pakialam).

After staying there for a few hours standing in the sidelines of the Bell field, I realized that the main reason I went to the bonfire is not just to cheer for the champion teams, but to go back and cherish the good ol' days when all seems so simple and so much fun.

Congratulations to the 2008 UAAP and SBP Champions! Halikinu!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

UAAP Season 71 Champions!

Photo courtesy of http://www.philstar.com/.


Finally! After 6 long years of drought, the Ateneo Blue Eagles recaptures the UAAP Men's Basketball Championship, sweeping the highly-competitive De La Salle Green Archers in Season 71's finals. This time, it was Chris Tiu who carried the team to victory with 16 points, the team's best. Due to foul troubles, Season MVP Rabeh Al-Hussaini was constrained in the bench. This lead to surprise performances from backup big men Jobe Nkemakolam and Mike Baldos, who got 8 points each. Jai Reyes provided the game turning point with a slashing layup a little more than 3 minutes to go in the game! Rookie Ryan Buenafe showed that the Ateneo dynasty is on the way, exuding poise and excellence in the series.

This year's championship series proved that in basketball, there is really truth in the saying "the best offense is defense." This was shown by the 2008 Best Defensive Player Severino "Nonoy" Baclao, as he took away the Finals MVP. He gathered a whopping 5.5 blocks, alongside 6.5 points and 8.5 rebounds! His defensive performance this season will be unforgettable, especially with his crucial rejection of Rico Maierhoffer's shot! And the best part is that he showed sportsmanship by publicly apologizing to Rico for his taunting. Truly a man of Ateneo character.

I gotta give it to the De La Salle Green Archers. They showed they had the heart of champions and despite apparently having less talent and height this year, they gave the Blue Eagles a good competition. They defended their championship well.

It is just sad to see unsportsmanlike gestures from the other team. After the game, nobody from La Salle went to the stage to get the first runner-up trophy and medals. Coach Franz Pumaren uttered sharp words to the bad officiating. Well, probably it's just one of those very Filipino traits of "walang natatalo, meron lang nadadaya."

I was not at all happy for Rico's ouster. That way, La Sallians would have another alibi for their loss. :)

For now, Ateneans would have to enjoy its one year of bragging rights. :) Better luck next year, La Salle.

Go Ateneo! One Big Fight!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Michael Moore's Slackers Uprising

Michael Moore, documentary director and producer famous for his blockbuster documentary "Fahrenheit," has once again released a movie about the upcoming elections, entitled "Slackers Uprising." From the articles and

I wish someone as patriotic as Michael Moore would wake up slackers from the Philippines and encourage (if not bribe) them to vote in the upcoming 2010 elections...

Article below came from http://www.reuters.com/:

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Filmmaker Michael Moore released his latest documentary for free on the Internet on Tuesday, marking a first for the maverick director who aims to encourage young people to vote -- preferably for Democrats -- in November's U.S. presidential election.
"Slacker Uprising," a feature-length film documenting Moore's tour of swing states during the 2004 presidential election year, was made available for a free download instead of being released in movie theaters.
The maker of the award-winning anti-Iraq war blockbuster "Fahrenheit 9/11," said in a statement the gesture was "entirely as a gift to my fans."
"The only return any of us are hoping for is the largest turnout of young voters at the polls in November," Moore said.
Moore has long been known as a firebrand filmmaker. He took on large corporations in 1989's "Roger & Me" and the U.S. gun industry in 2002's "Bowling for Columbine," which earned him an Oscar. "Slacker Uprising," made for about $2 million, comes on the heels of Moore's blistering expose of the U.S. health care system, "SiCKO," in 2007.
Although "Slacker Uprising" chronicles the director's efforts to get young people on either side of the political spectrum to vote, he said the documentary was also a "tribute to the young voters who are going to save this country from four more years of Republican rule."
Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain are in a neck-and-neck race for the White House in the November 4 election, according to opinion polls.
Moore encouraged fans to download, e-mail or share the movie with everyone and anyone, or to show it in schools, colleges, church halls and community centers, adding, "I don't want to see a dime from this."
He said several websites, including iTunes and Amazon.com, were providing streaming or downloading services for free.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

One step closer...

With the help of MVP-to-be Rabeh Al-Hussaini's dazzling display of basketball elegance, the Ateneo Blue Eagles are one step closer to getting the highly coveted UAAP Senior Men's Basketball Championship!

Unfortunately, I was not able to watch it live in the Araneta Coliseum. I was too lazy to fall in line for hours in Araneta or the Blue Eagle Gym, and was I not stupid to buy those thousand-dollar tickets originally priced at 70 pesos! So I just decided to watch the game at home, with a few bags of chips and bottles of cold beer.

With Chris Tiu glued to the bench due to foul trouble, somebody needed to step up his game. Fortunately, Jai Reyes and Rookie Phenom Ryan Buenafe were in perfect playing form. Both scored doubles figures early in the game. This is alongside Rabeh's 31 points, which gave Ateneo a 69-61 win over the defending champions, The De la Salle Green Archers.

We need one more win to regain the campionship after 6 years. We're a step ahead, but the challenge is even greater. If I recall correctly, in 2006, Ateneo was a game ahead of the UST Growling Tigers series after Doug Kramer's miracle shot 1.6 seconds to go in the game. UST later on took the title after winning two straight. I just hope that this will not happen again.

I suggest that we end this on Thursday! Go Ateneo!

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Just a look-alike trivia. James Mangahas sort of looks like the acclaimed comedian/professor Ramon Bautista. :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Top Ten 90's Dance Hits

Thanks to Ichi’s task for me to make a 90’s dance hits playlist, I got to reminisce a few dance steps and lines from choruses. Having experienced my teenage years in this decade, I have my personal list of 90’s dance favorites. Let me do a Mike Kasem and give you a rundown of my top ten 90’s dance hits (In no particular order):

1. Backstreet Boys - Quit Playing Games. We all know that the Backstreet Boys spurred an era of boybands, causing an influx of male groups that followed their league in the 90’s: Boyzone, Code Red, 911, 98 Degrees, ‘N Sync, just to name a few. I agree that groups like Color Me Badd and New kids on the Block started the pop boyband era, but the BSB made the deeper dent. If you’re a teen in the 90’s and you haven’t ever imitated the dance steps of this boyband, then you’ve missed a lot in your childhood!

2. Jon Secada – Just Another Day. I remember playing his cassette tape and suddenly my mother entered my room and asked why I was listening to music I don’t even understand! At that time the Spanish version of this song was playing. Jon Secada was another hitmaker of the 90’s! Even before Ricky Martin decided to go livin’ la vida loca, Jon Secada is already a mainstream Pop icon, famous for this song. Recently, I watched him sing the Mexican national anthem during the Pacquiao – Barrera rematch and saw in his physique how times have definitely changed!

3. Erasure – Always. This song made the Universal Motion Dancers the hottest dance group in the Philippines in the 90’s. Who would forget the butterfly dance step?!

4. Chimo Bayo – Extasi, Extano. Another UMD dance hit. You wouldn’t understand the lyrics but it would definitely make you sway your arms up, sway it down, say it side to side, etc. Okay, repeat until chorus ends…

5. Vanilla Ice – Ice Ice Baby. The 90’s era made famous a number of rap artists. Even before Eminem hanged out with Dr. Dre, there was this white rapper with his famous flat top hair. Who could forget the Running Man?! All right stop, collaborate and listen!!!

6. Michael Jackson – Black or White. I’m not sure if this song was dedicated to his evolution from black to white, but the song made a big mark in the 90’s dance arena. And who would forget Macaulay Culkin’s cameo in its music video?

7. MC Hammer – U Can’t Touch This. Despite having ripped its tune from a famous 70’s dance song, MC Hammer made big bucks from selling albums containing this track. He also made a fashion evolution from tight straight cut jeans to baggy pencil cut pants. Not to mention, purple! Too bad this guy lost majority of his earnings due to various financial problems.

8. Ghost Town DJs – My Boo. If you’re attending the ’95 and ’96 prom and dance party, you will NEVER ever miss hearing this song. Kids and teens, this is the MY BOO we twenty-somethings grew up with, and not that Alicia Keys – Usher collaboration!

9. INOJ – Love You Down. Same with My Boo, you will never miss dancing to this INOJ song when you are already allowed by your parents to a dance party in’95 or ’96. This song even dragged on and remained in people’s dance playlist until the latter years of the decade! Just by listening to the uptempo drumbeat will make you want to hit the dancefloor!

10. Eric Gadd – Do You Believe in Me? This one is my personal 90’s favorite. Taken from the album with a heretic title, “Do you believe in Gadd,” the song almost made you believe that Eric Gadd will not be a one-hit wonder and will produce more singles! Unfortunately, he never came out with another single, or at least none that I can recall.

That completes my top ten 90’s dance hits. Comments are welcome! Make your own list here!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

We're going to the Finals!

Finally, the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles once again takes a trip to the Finals of the UAAP Men's Basketball Division. It will once again test the coaching power of Norman Black, who was tested once during the 2006 blowout to the UST Growling Tigers.

It's ticket-hording time again for our beloved scalpers as they will probably hit big on Sunday because it will be another epic battle of the Eagles against its long-time arch-rival, the De La Salle Green Archers. Playing with heart and full of energy, the Green Archers are planning to defend their championship against the seemingly invincible lineup of the Blue Eagles.

The Eagles are planning to regain its glory after 6 years of championship drought. The last time they claimed championship was in 2002, when the Blue Eagles produced top-caliber players like Enrico Villanueva, Wesley Gonzales, Larry Fonacier and LA Tenorio. Hopefully, with the help of a superstar starting five and a solid supporting cast, the Eagles can reclaim the ever-elusive UAAP crown.

I just hope I get tickets for Sunday's Game 1.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Northpark on Grandparents' Day

I don't really know who the heck invented this occasion, but my family relented anyway, and we gave our dear grandparents a North Park treat at Trinoma Mall last Sunday, September 7, 2008, Grandparents' Day.
It was a hit gimmick/made-up-occasion for malls because most of the restaurants were packed that day. We needed to wait a few minutes before finally getting a seat.


My Lola, Lolo and our ever special Aunt, Tita Cecille (standing)

North Park has always been my family's comfort food. Thank God for the Trinoma Mall branch, we no longer have to drive all the way to Banawe, the nearest North Park branch to our Mindanao Avenue residence. At the same time, my lolo and lola always has preference for Chinese Food.

My brother always wanted their Wanton so I relented and ordered 6 pieces of Wanton. We drew lots to know who will not eat the dumpling since there were seven of us and there are only six pieces of wanton. Good thing my lola had allergies for shrimp so she gave up her piece. :)

We ordered two kinds of braised noodles: with Nanking Beef and Szechuan Tan tan Mien.


Braised Noodles with Nanking Beef


Szechuan Tan Tan Mien

We got two kinds of rice: Yang Chow Fried Rice and Salted fish Fried Rice. Then we ordered Lechon Macau, Salted Garlic Squid, and Stir Fried Beef with Brocolli Leaf (Kailan). I guess I was too hungry to remember to take a picture of the other dishes. Apologies for the lack of visual aid. All these dishes coupled with several cups of hot tea and the "better-late-than-never" soup, which came a few minutes before we were done.

Big bites caught on cam

The Grandparents' Day treat was a big success, thanks to the ever-reliable food from north Park. What's good is that I had a P37-peso discount from my Lolo's Senior Citizen ID! Ain't that a steal?!?!

We took a 5-minute tour of Trinoma's landscape front entrance. After a few more steps, my lola got tired and decided to go home. We ended Grandparents' Day with a scoop of Ice Cream (per Lola's request) and by watching Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo on DVD.

Happy Grandparents' Day to all the Grandparents! To my Lolo and Lola, more to come!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Parang Kailan Lang...

Eto Kami Noon...

Eto na kami ngayon...



Bottomline: Ganun pa rin...

Mabuhay ang 4F '98! Maligayang 10 taon ng pagtatapos sa High School!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Pinglish

This was taken from an FX going to office this morning...


This may not be an instruction, but rather a declaration. I was just waiting for someone to fasten my "set" belt. But no one did.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

4F '98 10th Anniversary Reunion

Finally, the most controversial, notorious, multi-awarded section in the history of 4F came together to celebrate ten fruitful years after graduating from high school in 1998. Out of the 46 in the class list, plus a good number of former classmates and honoroaries attended, along with a few significant others and wives. Our Class Beadle recorded a total of 36 attendees (27 classmates and honoraries). It was indeed a gathering of the country's best and brightest.


The night was full of reminiscing, complete with props and sounds, thanks to the iPod of Carlo and Mikko. Because of Carlo's eagerness to play all songs in his repertoire, he needed to cut short every single song in his playlist...



There was even the awarding of Sun Chips to the accomplices of the infamous Sun Chips scandal, plus chanting the unforgettable "Weeeeeeehhhhhhhh" after uttering a corny joke.

Each group was well represented: the 4:30 boys, the Gobots, the Beatles, the Vatos Locos, etc. All of them with the aim of not only seeing their former groupmates, but to relive the fun and excitement of being a member of the most talked-about 4F in Ateneo. :)



Too bad we did not see a lot of memorabilias like Ron's Icarus shirt, Carlo's Atache Case, Jomax's bottle colletion, or classic class banners, but the stories and anecdotes sure were enough to complete the class' nostalgia. It felt like we just came back from a long vacation.




Some even took it like the traditional High School Class Night! The party officially ended at 8:00 am the next day! I wasn't there to until that time, though.
The group is now planning for a repeat reunion on December, to give chance to our classmates who will visit the Philippines for the yuletide season. I hope it will be equally, if not more successful than what transpired on August 29.





Attendance:
Javier
Reyes, JV
Reyes, JJ
Rivadelo
Arniego
Brigino
Dantes
Saavedra
Militar
Santos, J
Santos, M
Enriquez, J
Fernandez
Vargas
Henson
Del Rosario
De Jesus
De Dios
Cunamay
Canson
Changco
Gonzales
Ong
Itchon
Rodriguez
Zaragoza
Ynares

Cheers! Fouuuuuuuuuuuur F (high pitch)!


Thanks to Mikko, Dingdong and JP for making this event possible. :)


Sa uulitin...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

National Museum Renovated

It's good to see that the City Government of Manila is making efforts to revitalize our museums. I passed by Burgos St. recently and saw the newly-painted walls of the National Museum:

















I'm also looking forward to see more people entering the premises to see the great discoveries of our national history. If you haven't seen the world-renowned Juan Luna Masterpiece, the Spoliarium, it's about time you visit the National Museum.



People say that in order to have a good view of the future, you should know much about your past. It's about time we appreciate bits and pieces of history. Visit our museums and art galleries now!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Inuulit na letra...

Bakit ang mga pinoy hiraaaaap na hirap mag-ulit ng mga letra? madalas kulang ang nasasabi nilang letra kapag nagbabanggit ng lugar o pangalan? Eto ang tatlong sa pinakamadalas na magkamali ang mga kababayan natin sa pagbigkas:

1. SSS - It ang pinaikling Social Security System. Bakit ang madalas kong marinig sa barker ay SS? Minsan may nakasabay ako sa MRT na mga mag-aaply ng trabaho at papunta ng Makati, binanggit ng isa: "Di pa nga ako nakakapunta ng SS eh. Kelangan daw ng ID." Bakit kailangang kulang ng isang S? hmp.

2. BBB - it ay isang lugar na Valenzuela. Isang landmark. Babaan ng mga pasahero. Pero madalas ko rin marinig ang mga tao kapag nagbabayad ng papuntang BBB ay ganito:
konduktor: Saan kayo ma'am?
pasahero: sa BB.

Sa BB?!?! O sa BBB?!?! Isang pantig lang naman ang B bakit hindi masabi?!?!

3. WWW - ito ang pinaikling world wide web. Madalas itong pagkakamali ng mga announcer sa radyo o TV, pati ng mga advertiser at guest kung gusto nilang magpapunta ng mga panauhin sa website nila. Ganito ang kadalasang sambit nila: "Sa mga interesado po sa aming produkto maaari po ninyo kaming bisitahin online sa WW.-blah-blah-.COM" Minsan sinubukan ko kung meron talagang webpage na dalawang W lang ang kailangan e. Napunta lang ako sa "Cannot Find Server" page.

Yun kaya ay madalas lang talagang pagkakamali o isang repleksyon ng katamaran ng mga kababayan natin, na pati pagbigkas ng tama ay hindi pa magawa dahil tinatamad magbanggit ng isa pang letra?!?! Nagtatanong lang.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Better luck 2012

It seems like our 15-man Philippine Team has already been depleted. In diving, we still have our last man standing, Ryan Rexel Fabriga, who will compete in the 10-meter diving event tonight, at 7 pm. But judging from the tough copetition, he would be very lucky if he exceeds the qualifying round.

Contrary to general belief, Filipinos are not atheltically challenged. In fact, we have the best athletes in the world. However, most of the sports we are good at are not included in our Olympics, like:

1. Boxing - Even if there is an olympic event in boxing, our amateur boxers train to become not as Olympic gold medalists, but to be WBA, WBC, WBF, WBO, IBA, IBO, or IBF champions. This means that we can not rely on them to bring us medals because they are professional boxers and unlike basketball, olympic boxing cannot be fielded by pros like Manny Pacquiao.

2. Bowling - it would be nice to see CJ Suarez at the olympics, but sad to say, bowling is not yet a considered sport in the olympics.

3. Chess - It would be a site to see our very own Mark Paragua compete against Kasparov in the Olympics, but unfortunately, Chess is not an olympic sport.

4. Billiards - If only Bata Reyes, Django Bustamante, Dennis Orcollo, Ronnnie Alcano or Alex Pagulayan could don the Philippine jersey at the olympics for the billiards event, we could have gotten our first golds. Unfortunately also, there is no billiards in the Olympics.

5. Wushu - Unfortunately, unlike Taekwondo, Judo, and Greco Roman Wrestling, Wushu is not yet a widely-played martial art, thus our Asian games gold medalists cannot maximize their talents in the olympics.

6. Golf - Jennifer Rosales could have a good chance in the gold medal if only this sport is an olympic event.

7. Sepak Takraw - We have the best kickers in sepak takraw, parly because we are one of the originators of the sport. But sadly, there is no such sport in the olympics.


I agree with PSC officials that if we want to get a medal in the next few olympics, there should be drastic measures to be implemented. One of the most drastic measure is the sport that we choose to play and fund. We should encourage major sports that suit the Filipino physique and talent. We have to first admit that we cannot stand a chance in one of our most favorite sports, Basketball. This is unless we find at least 4 players as tall as Yao Ming and as agile as LeBron James. But until we do, we should stop dreaming the American dream and focus on the sports that will bring more medal hopes. After all, Basketball churns out only one medal. We should start focusing on sports that do not require much height, nor physique, like:

1. Badminton - Since it is a hip sport in the Philippines lately, we could start looking for potential olympic medalists and start training them NOW.

2. Diving - Sheila Mae Perez and Ryan Rexel Fabriga should not stop training. It is a good start for the program. We have the Trace Aquatics Center in Laguna as a venue for young divers to train and practice. This does not require much height. It just requires focus, determination and grace. We are a fortunate country to be bound by water, and so there is a much greater chance that there are kids out there already trying their somersaults in one of the rocks or cliffs in beaches.

3. Shooting - Eric Ang could be just one of the many potential shooters in the Philippines. We have a lot of gun clubs in the country and they themselves can promote trap shooting as a viable sport. Again, this does not require much height, only focus and concentration, not to mention speed to pull the trigger. Also, with a high rate of hypertension in the country, pulling the trigger will not be much of an issue. :)

4. Archery - Fans of Legolas, unite! Archery, just like shooting, does not require much height or might. Our beloved aborigines are expert hunters so we should relive these moments and start training on hitting those targets.

5. Football - Unlike basketball, football does not require much strength, nor height. This is more of a competition for speed, agility, stamina, and heart. That is the main reaosn why this is more famous than Basketball. With the proven stamina and determination of Filipinos, if coupled with enough funding and hype, we shall accomplish to have our first football team in the Olympics. I think the olympics prohibits professional football players so we could have a fighting chance with the amateurs.

6. Taekwondo, Boxing, Judo - Since these sports are classified by weight, we could develop players within our desired weight class and excel. There are a lot of boxing hopefuls out there. It is just a matter of training them to become olympians first before going for the big league of pros.

7. Weightlifting - It is about time that we show that Filipinos are not just metrosexuals who simply love to trim their abs in the gym, but we are also serious lifters. If we could already match Arnold Schwarzeneger's biceps, maybe we could also train to match world standards in lifting.

8. BMX Cycling - Calling all BMX bikers out there! It's about time we take this "hobby" more seriously than just hanging out in mall parking lots. It's your chance to be an olympiad, now that BMX is already part of the olympic roster of events.

9. Rowing - As I mentioned earlier, we a fortunate enough to be bound by water. There will be no excuse for rowers not to train because they have all the venues they need. And like the other sports above, rowing does not require much height.

10. Equestrian - I think we should continue the legacy left by Mikee Cojuangco and Toni Leviste in the Asian games. If our athletes start young in equestrian, they could be good olympic standouts. We have the best horses in the world, owned by the richest people of the country. I'm sure they would lend their steeds for the sake of olympic glory.

Drastic, indeed. But if you take a closer look, a lot has already been started in these sports. All it takes is a little persuasion from the people that matter so that they could grasp the idea, and later on help in the funding of these sports towards a bigger and brighter olympics in the future. I await the day that I will get to cheer my countrymen for a gold medal event, be it on TV or live in the venue. But until then, our first olympic gold medal will continue to be an elusive dream.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Remembering Ninoy

Today marks the day that spurred a peaceful revolution that was heard around the world. It was on that fateful afternoon of August 21, 1983 when one man fell down, which led millions to stand up to fight an abusive dictatorship.








It is sad to hear that 25 years hence, fewer Filipino children know the personality and achievements of Benigno Aquino, Jr. If I were to be asked who is Ninoy, I would say that he is the very reason we are in our absolute freedom. This is to put it in the context of the younger generation, I wouldn't be able to write anything in this blog if it weren't for him. People will not be allowed to take their protests to the streets if not for him. Without him, we will not be able to enjoy the sights and sounds of The Fort, Eastwood, Metrowalk, Greenbelt, or Rockwell.

Let his memory remain in every Fillipino homes because he is the only one who had faith in saying that "The Filipino is worth dying for."

PGMA's Anger Strikes Again

I think at a time like this, PGMA's fury is acceptable. I just wished the anger had not collateral damage. Poor Malacañang workers took the brunt of PGMA's hormonal imbalance. What's worse is that this happened on a holiday! As a Malacañang close-in, it's so difficult to think that you would work on a holiday just to get scolded by no other than the President of the Republic. :)





Despite this rather usual phenomenon in Malacañang, we should never take away the main reason why all these happened. We are now in the middle of a situation where we need to defend our people against renegade groups who obviously want to sow fear in order for their demands to be met. Government should be relentless in their efforts to protect the major tenets of our state: our brothers and sisters in Mindanao caught in the crossfire, and our sovereignty being ridiculed and questioned.

We pray that the atrocities will end with a peaceful resolution.