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Archive for November, 2006

In for a Rainy Weekend

November 28th, 2006 No comments
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Brainbench Certification

November 27th, 2006 No comments
Last week I had a chance to take a paid Brainbench certification for C++ and my result was a disappointing 3.42 out of 5.

The questions were mainly on language features and syntax. No question regarding design and/or applications. The results revealed that I was weak on C++ data types. I expected myself to rate higher than what I got. Time for me to hit the books, other C++ language reference materials and go back to the basics.

Reminder to myself, before taking tests:

  • Study, study, study!

  • Be prepared. Have (online) reference materials ready when you are taking the test and be very familiar with it - to easily search for answers for particular topic.

  • Better yet, have a instance of your *favorite* c++ compiler ready - to compile the some of the given code snippets.

  • Use the 3 minute alloted time per question wisely. Don't be quick to click the next question button.

  • Take a practice test form the BB site. Some of them are available for free. Practice makes perfect.

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Brainbench Certification

November 27th, 2006 No comments
Last week I had a chance to take a paid Brainbench certification for C++ and my result was a disappointing 3.42 out of 5. The questions were mainly on language features and syntax. No question regarding design and/or applications. The results revealed that I was weak on C++ data types. I expected myself to rate higher than what I got. Time for me to hit the books, other C++ language reference materials and go back to the basics. Reminder to myself, before taking tests:
  • Study, study, study!
  • Be prepared. Have (online) reference materials ready when you are taking the test and be very familiar with it - to easily search for answers for particular topic.
  • Better yet, have a instance of your *favorite* c++ compiler ready - to compile the some of the given code snippets.
  • Use the 3 minute alloted time per question wisely. Don't be quick to click the next question button.
  • Take a practice test form the BB site. Some of them are available for free. Practice makes perfect.
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Nightmare in wintry Vancouver

November 27th, 2006 No comments
OUR WORST nightmare has just happened.

Instead of being on our way to Naga via Manila, just in time before an approaching typhoon is projected to pass through Bicol Region, we are still stuck here in Vancouver -- no thanks to a record-breaking snow storm in British Columbia and bad breaks from a callous, uncaring airline.

Gabby believes this has just broken the all-time high "police academy" standard starring City Administrator Frank Mendoza -- in an episode that happened sometime ago somewhere in Calauag, Quezon co-starring his favorite city hall driver, Tox Ballaran.:)
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PAL: A callous, uncaring airline

November 27th, 2006 No comments
NOW I know why Philippine Airlines is not highly regarded among international flag carriers, in spite of its being Asia's first.

Early this morning, Pacific time, we had to harangue and vigirously argue with its ground staff -- outsourced through an outfit called Globeground agents -- to get the usual accommodation that comes with a cancelled flight. Here's the timeline:

10:40pm - published departure time out of Vancouver. When we checked in at around 9 yesterday, we learned that boarding time had been moved back to 2am.

Around 1:30am - the Arrivals and Departures information board showed that the flight had been cancelled. But no announcement was made on the PA system to the unsuspecting passengers.

2am - Globeground staff appeared and told those living in the Greater Vancouver area to go home and come back at around 2:30pm the following day. The rest were asked to wait for further announcement.

3am - Passengers from distant places -- including a party of 20 that came earlier from Edmonton via an Air Canada flight -- were already getting restless. The Globeground staff were stalling, appearing and disappearing every now and then.

3:30-4:00am - Passengers started haranguing the ground staff. Offers for free meal vouchers were initially made. A number settled for them. But our group said we are not hungry; all we need is a place to sleep. They then offered to reimburse the cost we will incur in finding hotel rooms elsewhere, claiming all hotels near the airport are full. When a quick-thinking lady from the Edmonton party managed to get in touch and arrange preliminary booking with Hilton Vancouver (which is just 10 minutes away from the airport), the ground staff said they'll take over and pay for the room.

4:30am - We began waiting for the Hilton Hotel shuttle to arrive. It came in at around 5:15am.

5:45am - Checkin was further delayed when the fax from PAL confirming the arrangement came in late.

And all throughout the ordeal, no organic representative of the airline presented himself to us, using instead the mostly chinese Globeground staff as buffer, who conveniently cannot make the decisions that would have made life a lot, lot better for the harried PAL passengers.
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Winter comes early in Vancouver (2)

November 27th, 2006 No comments
"I'VE NEVER seen anything like this in the last eight years," our host Dr. Leonora "Nora" Angeles told us as we went to the Taiwanese Noodle House for lunch after going to church service. "Snow only comes around in January, and not this heavy. You should be lucky to have seen anything like this."

According to the Vancouver Sun website, this freak weather situation is expected to dump more than 13 inches of snow by tomorrow. The following is what worries me:
Vancouver International Airport has reported several flight cancellations and delays. Officials are urging anyone who has a flight leaving Vancouver to first check the Air Canada or Vancouver airport websites before leaving.
I hope our lucky streak continues. The PAL Airbus that is supposed to leave for Las Vegas has been sitting there at the Vancouver International Airport, delayed for at least two hours. Together with another 1.5-hour delay while airborne, that's close to four hours already. According to the PAL website, it is estimated to leave at 6:30pm, which is still an hour away as I write this. Which means that at the very least, we're looking at a 2:40am departure from Vancouver -- assuming there are no more delays from the Las Vegas sector.

A delay of more than six hours will mean missing our connecting Cebu Pacific flight to Legazpi. But the worst-case scenario is for the flight to be cancelled. But I don't want to think about it.
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Winter comes early in Vancouver

November 26th, 2006 No comments
WINTER came early to Vancouver as snow started falling at around 2pm today while we were at Lake Capilano, one of the three reservoirs that supply drinking water to the city. As we went home at around 6, snow has piled up all over the place.

Incidentally, this lake was hit hardest by mud and sediments brought about by a heavy storm that hit British Columbia 10 days ago, bringing turbidity to unprecedented levels. As a result, a boil-water advisory remains in effect until Monday. Since we arrived, bottled water has been our best friend.


A tour guide who happened to be in the area was telling his visitors that water supply from the lake -- which account for 40% of the total -- is still being held back by Greater Vancouver regional authorities.

After that Capilano sojourn, we proceeded to the Cypress Mountain Ski Resort in North Vancouver where Vice Mayor Gabby Bordado held a fistful of snow for the first time.:)
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November 25th, 2006 No comments


HARDIN



I.

Pigtatais kan gamgam an saiyang tuka

sa puro kan saiyang mga matatarom na kuko.



Nahiling niya an alulunti na nag-aawit

Mantang nagkakamang sa bulawan na daga.



May kun anong naglaad sa saiyang mata

asin nagkalakaga an saiyang tulak,

dangan pigbuka niya an mga pakpak



Naglayog siyang parayo,

tanganing dai maparong an hamot kan alulunti.



II.



Nagsasabsab an tigre sagkod an baka kan mga doot

na garo pigkikitik kan saindang mga ngipon.



sa paghiling kan tigre biglang

naging malumoy an sungoy kan baka

pula an natok kan doot na nagluwas sa ngimot kan tigre.



Inagda kan baka na magduman sinda sa salog

nganing maghalimogmog.



Pagrara nindang duwa sa tubig

Daing payo an baka, daing hawak, sungoy sana.



III.



Nag- oolay an alas sagkod an babayi.

Pighanap kan alas si agom na lalaki.





Niluwas kan alas an saiyang dila

Pigduta ini sa hawak kan babaying nagkiridit



sagkod na makalaog an alas sa hawak niya

mangingidam an babayi kan pinapangalad na prutas.



Siya an enot na magiro asin manamit kaini

Saiya an enot na basol.



Kristian S. Cordero
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Notes on the Vancouver School Board

November 25th, 2006 No comments
WE PAID a visit to the Vancouver School Board (VSB) yesterday, and secured some basic -- and truly interesting -- info like the following:
The Vancouver school district is a large, urban and multicultural school district providing programs to 56,000 students in Kindergarten to Grade 12, over 3,000 adults in adult education programs and over 40,000 in continuing education.
By comparison, the Naga public school system (elementary and high school, plus the city government's Educare system and DepEd-run preschools) only serves some 40,000 students; and less than 1,000 out-of-school youth and adults under alternative learning system (or ALS; formerly, it used to be called non-formal education or NFE).

Technical-vocational courses through the former Bicol College of Arts and Trades (now the Naga campus of the Camarines Sur Polytechnic College) and similar institutes come to mind as our local equivalent of the VSB
Continuing Education program. But I doubt if their combined enrolment can reach even half of what Vancouver has.

I also doubt if our formal, ALS and technical-vocational institutions are talking to each other in a meaningful way at the national, regional and local levels. The beauty and strength of the VSB structure lies in the integration of all education services under a single organization that can be held accountable by the community it is serving. At the national level, I don't think this is feasible as it will give rise to a humungous bureaucracy bigger than the DepEd. But at the city level, I think it can be done.
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UBC gig went very well

November 24th, 2006 No comments
YESTERDAY was our big day. Vice Mayor Gabby Bordado and I made the pitch to Dr. Leonora "Nora" Angeles's students at the University of British Columbia -- plus others who attended our lecture, about half of them in fact -- to visit Naga in summer next year for a proposed one-month studio course on participatory governance.

Nora is an associate professor at the UBC School for Community and Regional Planning (SCARP) and Center for Research in Women's Studies and Gender Relations. She is putting together the Naga City Planning Studio Course that will bring UBC graduate students to the city. A grant from the university paid for my travel to Vancouver. To underscore the city government's commitment to the project, Mayor Robredo sent Vice Mayor Gabby along; together, we explained why going to Naga will be more than worth their while.

It is going to be a two-way learning process, Nora explained to prospective student visitors. We are also eyeing to pair them with counterparts from Ateneo de Naga to enrich the process. My presentation emphasized why Naga is an exciting place to be, insofar as participative governance is concerned. At the same time, Gabby explained that the city government will greatly benefit from the multidisciplinary expertise that the students will bring -- in such areas as urban agriculture, community economic development, gender issues and urban design where local staff are relatively weak -- so much so that it is subdizing half of their accommodation cost.

With a minimum of 5, Nora said the studio course will push through, with 15 as the upper limit. "But what if I am the 16th?" one student asked. "Will I be able to go?" "Then I'll welcome you with open arms," she said.

Five, fifteen or sixteen will not matter to us from Naga: what is important is for this groundbreaking project to happen. We've done our part, and we're keeping our fingers crossed.
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Choco Naga goes to Canada

November 23rd, 2006 No comments
VICE MAYOR Gabby Bordado was one proud papa yesterday. Reason: his eldest daughter Marian's Choco Naga was warmly received by our host, the Forster-Angeles family in Vancouver. The main selling point of these proudly Naga-made product are the luscious roasted pili nuts generously embedded in every choco bar. And it enabled Marian to earn her degree, as member of the pioneering batch, from the new entrepreneurship program of the Ateneo de Naga University, an offering backed by the Madrigal Center for Social Entrepreneurship. Nobody graduates from the course without putting up his own business. And that, I think, makes all the difference.
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Roller Coaster Ride

November 23rd, 2006 1 comment
Job Hunting
Roller Coaster Ride--That’s how I describe my two months of job hunting in Singapore. I remember my first two weeks here applying for a job through the internet and without a single reply. It wasn’t easy at all (down). Obviously, there was something wrong. Thank God, sir Senen and Don sent me templates of CV’s. I have to rewrite my CV to make it a little catchier. And it was. I took several interviews afterwards (up) but not all was successful. Most of the companies where requiring a complete skill set and I end up a failure (down). These experiences really brought me closer to God. Though I was praying for His guidance, I wasn’t fully dependent on Him. I know I’m good but I wasn’t good enough. I thought only a miracle will help me now.

You know God never let down any of His children. You just have to know what He is capable of and what His promises are.

Finally, God’s perfect time came (up). With all the interviews I had, Fujitsu Asia was on top of everything. Not only that I like the company – has the best job offer (at least to my standards) but I’ve seen how God has moved. It took me four rounds of interviews (from October 19), including a Filipino interviewer who knew my cousin who was previously working in Fujitsu, before I finally got the job offer (November 10). All for God’s Glory!

Employment Pass
Last October 16, I had to go the Ministry of Manpower to apply for an Employment Pass Eligibility (EPE) Certificate only to be denied after two weeks. Going through its website, I happened to try its online Employment Pass Self-Assessment Tool. Again, being a graduate of University of Nueva Caceres, which is not on the list of qualified institution, I learned that I was unlikely to be approved with an Employment Pass (down).

Now came the job offer. Will I get an EP? I did. My Employment Pass was approved after a day (Nov. 15) it was submitted to MOM, boy, it was really fast (up)! I thought I will be denied again. But God moves in mysterious ways! I just had my medical exam result today and I would be starting on Monday (November 27). My assignment: Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi.

Getting Ready for Work
Being in a new working environment and a new undertaking isn’t easy at all. I wasn’t only going to work in a different country but in the heart of its business district. God is promoting me indeed. But how can I face all these new challenges in life? God gave me this passage to keep me going:

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them. Isa. 42:16

Thanks, thanks and thanks
With this let me use this little portion of my blog to thank the following: Honnie--my wife & my two kids--Deni and Sam, Dan & Bing, Padre & Marco Family, COPA-Naga, Tonio, Mike, Senen, Don, Hope Church, Naga EDP Bois (and girl), Naga City Government, Shanjana of ISG Novasoft, Joseph, Ogura and Geok Ling of Fujitsu Asia, Niwa-san and MAezono-san of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, MOM and Above all, GOD!

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I thought so…

November 22nd, 2006 No comments

I always knew my parents look like TomKat! That's why Suri looks just like me... I wonder why mom was a bit surprised? Ah, maybe because my dad doesn't look as handsome as me. Anyway, dad surely looks happy he had a son like me, see?
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Off to Vancouver (2)

November 21st, 2006 No comments
AS THINGS stand, I'm now looking forward to enjoy this trip. The "police academy" episodes keep on piling up:
  • the saga of Vice Mayor Gabby Bordado's Canadian visa continued. Within reach yesterday, a disaster then stared me in the face as I went to the embassy to pick it up, only to correct itself at the end of the morning;
  • a successful last-minute episode at the Department of Tourism involving our travel tax;
  • only to be stymied by a 4-hour delay of our flight, which was moved to 9pm tonight instead of the published 5pm departure.
But the huge payback would be putting into motion the definitive retelling of the Naga City Hall's legendary "police academy" tradition, written by key protagonists themselves.:)
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November 21st, 2006 No comments
C-List Blogger
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