One sorry, two Aquinos and three SONAs

The month-end has been colorful in the Philippine political arena (as it has always been). Let us welcome the second quarter of 2012 and the next election cycle with positivism and hope. Cheers to a chunk of [relatively] good and interesting news and developments.

Public Apology of Mayor Sara Duterte
It has been a year since Filipinos heard about the sensational ‘smacking’ incident between Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte and a sheriff. It’s not too late to say sorry. She kept it short and sincere.  [Complete news here]

Bam Aquino for Senator
I am excited that Ninoy’s look-alike, Bam Aquino, made it to the LP’s “long” shortlist of senatorial candidates for 2013. After reading so much about this multi-awarded social entrepreneur and youth advocate and hearing him speak in several fora , I’m convinced that he is ‘worth voting for.’ How about a second ‘Aquino’ in another branch of government?

Two Years of ‘Tuwid na Daan’
What would be the contents of this year’s SONA? Just like the statement of Deputy Presidential Spokesperson said: The message remains the same: honest and accountable governance is the anvil upon which our people can forge better futures for themselves. This will be PNOY’s third SONA. Carry on.

Time travel and rock-along

I was tapping my feet most of the time while watching the film adaptation of the Tony-nominated musical Rock of Ages. The movie experience was like going back to the year I was born and listening to songs which I (or actually, my dad) grew up with. With a great cast led by Tom Cruise as the legendary rockstar Stacee Jaxx, I am overwhelmed with the production which, I think, didn’t give  much of a theatrical feel compared to other musical-turned-film box office hits.

I just realized we’re like living in the 80’s right now. For me, the top three performances (that are so-2012ish) would be:

1. Hit Me With Your Best Shot – It’s like watching the critics of Lady Gaga clamoring for the cancellation of her show here in Manila.

2. Can’t Fight This Feeling – Bromance at its best! Even better than that of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck

3. Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing – I’m sure the “Gleeks” loved this.

Too bad I missed Manila’s production led by Mig Ayesa.

7 out of 10 stars for this musical that is still timely and addresses the same issues that people faced back in the 80’s. Thanks for unleashing the ‘rock’ in my world of pop.

Handy sites unearthed

While cleaning up my hard drive and deleting some old files in my laptop, I saw a Word document with a file name “Super Websites.”

The file was modified last November 2010 during the time when I was taking up my Management Information Systems course (under Prof. Aracid of the AGSB). I have been maximizing the use of these sites for quite some time and I really find them helpful, especially for business enterprises.
Have you been sending your email or documents to your own email just to make sure you have your copy when you get home or you’re out of the office? You don’t have to do this anymore if you open a Dropbox account. Just make sure that you keep your password to yourself and don’t get annoyed by the pop-up of updates each time you edit a file or modify folders.
If you’re looking for an online marketing tool that allows you to send customized newsletter-type updates to your clients, this site comes in handy.
The ‘trial’ version of customer relationship management (CRM) platform will help you manage your customer database. Once you tried this one, I bet you’ll be tempted to sign-up.
This is a site which is useful for teachers who want to collaborate with fellow educators or students. At first, I compared it to Yahoo! Groups and the BlackBoard e-learning system. But the scope is wider and you can also customize contents for free.

And lastly, I was surprised to see Google Docs in the list. I remember an activity wherein we simultaneously edited a PowerPoint document as a class using our individual laptops. Back then, the experience was awesome

Part of the list is a PowerPoint add-on called Microsoft Mouse Mischief which is a powerful tool for interactive classroom discussions because this allows several ‘mouse’ units to be used all at the same time. Be ready for a ‘class click-athon.’

With these sites now published on my blog, I’ll be able to free up a bit of disc space (22.0KB) after deleting the Word document with my list of ‘Super Websites.’

They’re not super after all. Let’s just say- they’re quite handy!

Dolphy days

For the past three days, the country’s king of comedy “Dolphy” has been trending on Twitter. News of his critical health condition became a worldwide talk of the town with people requesting the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to bestow upon him the National Artist Award.

According to the guidelines set by the controversial NCCA, the awardee of such honor shall enjoy the following benefits:

The following privileges are provided to those conferred with the Order of National Artists:

  1. The rank and title of National Artist, as proclaimed by the President of the Philippines;
  2. The National Artist medallion and citation;
  3. Lifetime emolument and material and physical benefits comparable in value to those received by the highest officers of the land such as:
    1. a cash award of One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00), net of taxes for living awardees;
    2. a cash award of Seventy Five Thousand Pesos (P75,000.00), net of taxes for posthumous awardees, payable to legal heir/s;
    3. a monthly life pension, medical and hospitalization benefits;
    4. life insurance coverage for Awardees who are still insurable;
    5. arrangements and expenses for a state funeral;
    6. a place of honor, in line with protocular precedence, at national state functions, and recognition at cultural events.

The shake-up at the NCCA during the time of President Arroyo damaged the credibility of the organization (back in 2009). But we must also respect this body and Dolphy’s nomination should follow the procedures.

On the other hand, we cannot deny the fact that this should have been awarded to Dolphy several years ago. His contributions to film and television are countless and his achievements deserve to be immortalized.

For me, “Home Along Da Riles,” will always be part of my childhood days.

He deserves it. Confer it, now.
Not for the privileges, but for respect.

“I’m interested. I’m political and I have opinions” – Lady Sybil Crawley (Downton Abbey)

*Photo from

P. Noval and other streets

An interesting feature story by GMA 7’s Michael Fajatin (Pangalan ng ilang kalsada, halaw sa buhay at mga akda ni Rizal) roused my curiosity and made me think about the history behind the names of streets in Manila.

It took me quite some time before I stopped and gave up my online research about “Padre Noval” – the name of the street where I stayed for four years during my college days at UST. Around the centuries-old campus are very interesting names of streets. During that time, I didn’t bother to trace the roots of the street names but they can easily be associated with the life and works of our national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

Aside from four streets (plus dozens of eateries and dorms that surround the campus España, Dapitan, P. Noval and A. H. Lacson), I can clearly remember unique Sampaloc areas such as Laong Laan where the Victory Liner bus drops me off, the 24-hour McDo at P. Campa, the covered court at Felix Huertas, the Bambang area where we buy medical stuff, one-ways and confusing routes of S. H. Loyola, and the streets where you get caught by the red light such as Maceda and Blumentritt.

Streets have become monumental. In fact, some have become part of pop culture such as Wall Street in New York, Harry Potter’s Privet Drive, and the scary Elm Street. A popular musical Avenue Q is a spin-off of a household name, Sesame Street. Locally,  we can add Balete Drive in the list.

Street names truly have an impact. In my opinion, politicians should not change the names of streets especially those with historical significance. People from the academe, on the other hand, should educate the young about the relevance of the street names so that kids won’t remain clueless.

By the way, the former name of P. Noval Street is Quezon (according to an article from the Phil. Daily Inquirer). If you can tell me anything about this priest, I would highly appreciate it.

In my bucket list: Have a street named after me.

Rizal 150 ends

One year already passed since I started completing stamps for my Jose Rizal Passport / Heritage Trail Map from the Department of Tourism and I wasn’t able to complete it.

Anyway, visiting six out of the 26 sites isn’t bad. Oh, and it should have been seven. I didn’t get a stamp at the San Fernando Train Station but I pass by it almost everyday.

Chapel Cell of Rizal
Prison Cell and Rizal Shrine
Rizal Execution Site
Rizal Monument and Park
Rizal Fountain
Fort San Pedro

Anyway, Rizal will always be my favorite hero.

I’m excited for tomorrow’s Birth Commemoration at the City of San Fernando where a Rizal descendant, DOH Undersecretary Dr. Teodoro Herbosa, is invited as Guest Speaker.

Democracy, kindness and peace

Twenty one years later, Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi renders her Nobel Peace Prize speech. I haven’t heard such an inspirational speech until today. Her message is not only applicable to Burma, but also to many countries around the world. We Filipinos should be proud that we are living in a democratic country. And the most powerful lines that struck me:

“Absolute peace in our world is an unattainable goal. But it is one towards which we must continue to journey, our eyes fixed on it as a traveler in a desert fixes his eyes on the one guiding star that will lead him to salvation. Even if we do not achieve perfect peace on earth, because perfect peace is not of this earth, common endeavors to gain peace will unite individuals and nations in trust and friendship and help to make our human community safer and kinder.”

Thank you for being an inspiration to the world.

Snow White: Bella’s alter ego

I wonder why Hollywood is too interested in re-telling the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This year, two versions came out. One is entitled “Snow White and the Huntsman” which caught my attention because of its attractive trailer that shows how the filmmakers imagined the magic mirror:

The movie, starring Charlize Theron as the evil queen, is an action-packed film that portrays the dark story of the popular fairytale. On the other hand, it reminded me so much of the “Twilight” saga because Kristen Stewart played the lead role. Stewart was unable to sustain her role toward the end of the movie where she was transformed into a warrior wearing an armor. Plus, she was so “Bella-like” in this film because the Huntsman and the Prince were both fighting for her love (am I hearing another “Team Edward vs Team Jacob war?) Chris Hemsworth, who played the role of the ‘huntsman’ still looked like Thor. The movie is generally entertaining but I guess there’s something wrong with the mix of stars. I’ll give a six out of ten for this movie.

Another Snow White version is the movie Mirror, Mirror starring Julia Roberts. I’ll rate this a star higher than the one with Bella’s alter ego.

When a bachelor plans a bachelorette’s party

It’s my co-worker’s shower party and being the only guy among the yuppies in our office, I was tasked to do some odd assignments such as decorating the room, preparing the playlist, and looking for the ‘special guy’ to spice up the night.

This was a ‘first’ for me.

Here are some tips on how to throw a shower party for any bride-to-be:

10. Everyone must be sworn to secrecy so as not to spoil the bride’s excitement. Or else, say goodbye to ‘blindfolds.’
9. Have everything prepared at least two weeks before the event. In any event, planning is everything.
8. Limit the number of participants. A smaller group is more comfortable to be with.
7. Choose a venue that will make everyone feel at ease. Ensure that the venue (i.e. hotel/room) will not make your visitors uneasy or have that ‘awkward’ feeling.
6.  Be careful in choosing ‘the guy.’ Privacy should be considered a priority.
5. Follow a budget. It doesn’t matter how simple your party is. Just make sure that everyone enjoys the night.
4. Prepare a program. Assign a person who will facilitate the games and limit it to around 2 hours.
3. Set the mood by choosing the right mix of party music and have some reserved videos ready to be played to break the ice.
2.  Be careful with camera shots. Choose the photos that would go ‘public’ because shower parties are considered as private events.
1.  Don’t forget the part wherein each one gives a ‘message’ or ‘advise’ for the future bride. This is the essence of the whole event.

After helping out in planning out this party, I just realized I’m not getting any younger.  Best wishes to the future Ara B. de Leon!

Freedom Today

This year’s 114th Independence Day Anniversary carries the theme “Pananagutan ng Bayan Para sa Tuwid na Daan” is a strong indication that the present government is exerting a lot of effort in cleaning up the mess caused by corrupt officials of some government institutions.

Today, ‘freedom’ is a term misused by many. (I consider it second to “love” in terms of being overused and misunderstood). It has become the people’s free pass to do or say whatever they want, i.e. freedom of the press, freedom of information, freedom of expression, etc.

A Pinoy pop icon whom I consider as the perfect epitome of ‘Freedom of Expression’ would be Carlos Celdran. Of course, his “Damaso” is one of his most controversial stunt. He is also known for his Imelda Tours and his promotion of the RH Bill.

I strongly support his campaign against the construction of an ‘eyesore’ near the Rizal Park in Manila. DMCI’s Torre de Manila (prospective below) will obviously destroy the park’s skyline.

For Carlos, that’s freedom put to good use.

For netizens, do the same.

PS. Cheers to my co-anchor Vallie. It was fun hosting City of San Fernando’s Independence Day Celebration with you for the second consecutive year.