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Archive for August, 2007

Awesome September 2007 events at Avenue Square

August 31st, 2007 No comments
It's Time - for the Standards of Richard Poon Friday, 7 September 2007 Al Fresco area Don't we love the standards? Don't we love to rediscover and bask, time and again, in the warmth, the eloquence, and the undying greatness of the timeless classics? Don't we want to listen to the splendid musical works from the likes of Frank Sinatra, Harry Connick, and Tony Bennett? How about some new, fresh
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Official Candidates


The 20 finalists for this year's Miss Bicolandia beauty search, 7 came from Camarines Sur, 4 from Albay, 3 from Naga City, 2 each from Masbate and iriga City, and one each from Catanduanes and Camarines Norte.
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Will history again repeat itself?

My column for this week's issue of Vox Bikol.

AT THE height of the abaca trade in the late 1800s until around the turn of the 20th century – which is about 100 years ago – Albay was the richest province in the entire Philippines, Ateneo professor Danny Gerona, Bicol's foremost historian, said in a recent lecture.

But as Norman Owen's seminal work on the subject showed, it was by and large prosperity without progress as the industry built around that key commodity enriched the traders but not the local communities that hosted the vast abaca plantations feeding it.

By the 1920s, when the Americans started promoting the establishment of abaca plantations outside Bicol and in Latin America for security reasons (abaca being a Philippine monopoly at the time), Albay's fall from its preeminent position as an economic powerhouse began. When synthetic fibers supplanted abaca-made cordage by the mid-50's, the industry's almost total collapse became inevitable.

Today, with the comeback of large-scale mining as a priority investment area in the country, Albay gets another stab at economic prosperity. This was evident from last Saturday's visit to Rapu-Rapu, the new mining capital of the province.

The port of Legazpi is now more vibrant: a cargo ship is anchored, waiting to be filled up by the precious metals mined and processed in Rapu-Rapu; a seafront property development is in full swing, said to be a hotel being put up by a local investor; the port area is now well lighted, attracting evening promenaders, and clearly looks better, helped by a high wall that fenced off adjacent informal settlements. A fastcraft now services the route daily, cutting the usual 2-3 hour boatride from Legazpi to the main island to around 1 hour 45 minutes.

On our way back to Legazpi, Emma Bolaños, the town councilor who chairs the education committee of the sangguniang bayan, wondered why majority of Rapu-Rapu's 30,000 inhabitants remain poor notwithstanding its rich mineral resources.

For instance, the town has the second highest malnutrition rate in the province, better only than that of Oas. In recent national achievement tests administered by the DepEd, its school children scored less than 30%, lower than the provincial average of about 50%.

During our workshop, the participants affirmed one of their modest dreams: to ensure that at least 10% of the population will graduate from college. Fixing the physical plant of the town's community college is probably a good place to start, to ensure access to higher education for most residents whose only other alternative are the Legazpi universities and colleges.

But a lot more needs to be done with basic education, from elementary up to high school. Statistics show that only around 7 out every 10 get to enter Grade 1. And mirroring the national situation, only around 5 of them eventually graduate from elementary.

So for most of that Saturday, our Naga-based team from the Synergeia Southern Luzon helped about 150 stakeholders, a good number coming from schools comprising Rapu-Rapu's two school districts, plan together in addressing these concerns in an education summit. In all, they identified nine strategies to make it happen.

These, however, are no quick-fix magic-wand solutions. Of greater urgency is ensuring that ongoing mining activities in the island will redound to the benefit of Rapu-Rapu residents, especially now that the national and provincial governments have welcomed Lafayette's investment with open arms, notwithstanding its documented lapses that led to mine tailing spills in October 2005.

This will require civil society organizations closely watching over government's resolve to ensure that 'responsible mining' indeed takes place, guided by the International Council on Mining and Metals' (ICMM) 10 principles of sustainable development. For instance, the call for revenue transparency – a clear accounting of government revenues from natural resources, especially how they are spent to benefit local communities – is most timely, especially now that Lafayette has paid P180 million in direct and indirect taxes for the first half of the year.

Otherwise, we will see history simply repeating itself in the province of Albay.
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Conflicting claims about ZTE deal – ABS CBN News

August 31st, 2007 No comments

Conflicting claims about ZTE deal
ABS CBN News, Philippines – Aug 30, 2007
Judge Filemon Montenegro sent a reaction to my piece on Naga City Hall being evicted from the land it has occupied for decades (Gotcha, 13 Aug. 2007).
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Conflicting claims about ZTE deal – ABS CBN News

August 31st, 2007 1 comment

Conflicting claims about ZTE deal
ABS CBN News, Philippines – 1 hour ago
Judge Filemon Montenegro sent a reaction to my piece on Naga City Hall being evicted from the land it has occupied for decades (Gotcha, 13 Aug. 2007).
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Of Avenue Plaza Hotel updates, plus, plus; MLQ3 link; Bicolano Bloggers Summit; grateful thoughts; and apologies

August 30th, 2007 No comments
1. THE QUACKROOM. First of all, let me just thank everyone who has made me realized that The Quackroom, this humble site of mine which I still consider to be in its 'formative stages' if you may, is being read or at least being checked regularly for updates by a good number of people (na pala). I appreciate your emails and your text messages. Thank you for your comments and suggestions. Keep
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A Taste of Ratatouille

August 30th, 2007 No comments

Running low on inspiration? Need a boost? Then get a taste of Ratatouille!

Ratatouille

Yes, this has got to be one of the most technically brilliant and intensely inspirational CG film I have seen to date. You just got to see this! Even if you’re not a 3D aficionado, the clever dialogues are enough to get your attention fixed on the screen.

The hair & more hair simulation, the exquisite kitchen details & choreography plus add the awesome Paris location are just pleasures to anyone’s eyes. This must have given the CG people a real hard & tough time. But it’s worth every all-nighter pulled for this movie. My hats off to them for such a technically flawless masterpiece!

But what really dazzles me is the script. It’s intelligent and just an encouragement goldmine! There’s one scene with Remy & his dad (which I must say is unbelievably diplomatic though possible in real life) which was just oozing with oomppp!

Rémy: No. Dad, I don’t believe it. You’re telling me that the future is, can only be, more of this?
Django: This is the way things are. You can’t change nature.
Rémy: Change is nature, Dad. The part that we can influence. And it starts when we decide. [he walks away]
Django: Where are you going?
Rémy: With luck? Forward.

Talk about rat-brain!

Don’t we all come to realise that our greatest barrier to reaching our true potential is our very selves? Future can be hazy & worse, bleak. The unpredictability of it all sends chill. So we start building walls - tall and hard-to-breach walls to guard our comfort zones. The irony of it all is that we are in fact making for ourselves detention cells. We are prisoners of our making!

And sometimes we make these walls because the people around us tells us so, the people we love tells us so - insisting that we can only go as far - that we can only ran kilometers & not miles and that we can reach the moon but not the stars.

But these walls will just impede our growth. And it takes brute strength and guts to shatter these walls. Norms are there to guide but not to restrict. Norms are to be defied. And if the dreamer Remy can dream as high as making food for humans (& fine dining at that!), why can’t we all have such expansive dreams? Let’s dream BIG baby!

We are who we say we are. Remember that!

And I say, let us all join Remy and move forward!

Much thanks for the treat by Ate Badet & Ate Tere.

“Bon appétit!
Enjoy your meal!

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Michael & Vanessa

August 30th, 2007 No comments
We wanted to shoot ‘em on the Vintage Bentleys and bling-bling rides, but Michael insisted that we do it on the Jeepney instead! cool! Makati Shangri-la Fernwood Gardens
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Austin & Rachel Engagement

August 29th, 2007 No comments

We were about to reschedule our prenup shoot when   we got to sierra madre resort (tanay, rizal)…It was raining like hell when we got there! nevertheless, thanks to the couple! no whatever forces of nature would  stop them from looking soo-into each other! :)

fog, rain, wind & winding roads–thank God we still pulled-off keepers for this shoot!

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First stab at mobile blogging

August 29th, 2007 1 comment
"MY FIRST attempt at mobile blogging: an invite to the launch of Bigg's Catering Clubhouse this Saturday at Jardin Real de Naga."
The above text was what I emailed to go.blogger.com to set up my Blogger account's mobile blogging capability. In a zip, Blogger immediately replied, providing me a six-character alphanumeric code I used in claiming my mobile blogging license.

The picture, blurry I may add, shows Bigg's, Inc. unique invite to their big event this Saturday evening, taken using my LG cameraphone. Folded, it is a cardboard version of an analog radio set that my late grandmother used to have in their Sagrada home where I grew up. Pasted in front is a note saying: "Open this box for a blast from the past!"

When opened, the invite looks like the one above, with the following text: "Bigg's Catering presents 'The Spirit of '67' -- A Rock 'n Roll Dinner Concert at the Clubhouse. Hosted by Jaime Fabregas." If I recall it right, the multi-talented Fabregas grew up at barangay Abella and went to the school at the Ateneo de Naga.

While deliberating on the shortlist of this year's Mayoral Awards last night, Ms. Amelita Zaens of the DIBA Foundation brought up this upcoming Bigg's event. Joe Perez, Bicol Mail editor, said he looks forward to it, with rock 'n roll the staple of their parochial days.

And I look forward to more occasional mobile blogging, particularly where there is no internet access and with my laptop mostly left at the office these days, Globe's 3G service is the only real alternative left.
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ERIC GAMALINDA IN A BIKOL LANGUAGE

August 29th, 2007 No comments

An Ebanghelyo kan Dai
Eric Gamalinda's 'The Gospel of No'

Dai kami bukas.
Kulang na an arak.
An barumbadong iyan, an Caravaggio
dai na pwedeng akoon digdi.
Bako akong si Mateo.
Sala an tawong nakua mo.
Kun mga signos asin ngangalasan, dai ako mauyon.
Pitong tinapay asin sira—iyo sana yan an igwa kami;
papuli’ a na an mga tawo.
Dai ka pwedeng magkua nin tinapay nin aki
asin ibahog iyan sa mga ido.
Mas marahay na duman kana sana sa Decapolo;
Nadangog ko sainda na nagpapalayas ka
nin demonyo pasiring sa mga orig.
Gusto kong ipagirumdom saimo na dai uyon sa ley
an pag-bulong sa aldaw nin Sabado;
daraha an mga kahelangan mo sa ibang lugar.
Humali ka asin ibiklad mo an helang kan iba.
Anong tawo an maisip na minasunod saiya an alon?
Kalag sana an nakakalakaw sa tubig.
Dai mo sabihon an tataramon;
mayong maoomayan sa sakong mga surugoon.
Pwede mo man daguson na buhayon an gadan.
Dai nagtutubod asin marigsok
Sagkod nuarian ako makiiba sa saimo?
Tandai na mayong ibang nakakaaram kaini.
Rumayo ka sa sako.
Dai ako magagadan para sa saimo.
Dai pa nag-abot an oras ko.

Binikol ni Kristian Cordero
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ANO TA NAKANGIRIT AN KINSE MARTIRES ASIN NAKAMUSAKROT SI RIZAL?

August 29th, 2007 No comments
NEGOSYO O KULTURA?

Igwang duwang klaseng pulitiko ngonyan an orog na mahihiling sa lawog kan satuyang probinsya. Enot digdi an grupo kan mga pulitikong itinutulod an pag-asenso sa paagi kan negosyo asin an panduwa sa paagi kan kultura. Sa puntong ini mahihiling na an mga bagong pulitiko sa satuya na naghihingowa man na masuhay sa imahe kan trapo igwang duwang direksyon na pig-aagihan. Sa mga enot na taon kaipuhan mong maging pragmatiko. Asin ini ipinapahiling sa paagi nin pag-bukas nin mga trabaho arog baga kan call centers, digital animation asin ano pang 'in' sa dalagan kan mahiwas asin makusog na sulog kan globalisasyon. An pulitikong ini iyo si mga hoben pa na nagkakapital sa turismo bilang pinakamarahay na alternatibo nin pagpapauswag kan kamugtakan kan nagtitios na banwaan. An pulitikong ini iyo man si nagluluwas na mayong pakilabot sa mga bagay na may koneksyon sa kultura, minsan ngani arog kaini an pakamidbid kan gabos sa pulitiko na saiyang ama. Kun kaya, imbes na pakarahayon an mga bagay mapapadapit sa kultura asin istorya kan banwaan, nagkapital an aki sa mas agresibong bagay arog kan pagdara nin mga artista-turista asin kadakul pang iba mapapadapit sa negosyo.
Hararom na bagay ini asin sa hiling ko nakagamot ini sa salang paghiling niyato sa kultura bilang sarong suhay sa reyalidad na bagay. Nalilingawan na an kultura sigun sana man sa kun pano kita naghahangos asin itinutulod an buhay sa kinaban na ini. An kultura iyo an burabod kan satuyang pakamidbid sa sadiri alagad bako ini an dominanteng dalagan sa ngonyan. Pighihiling an kultura na dai man pwedeng makakan, dai pwedeng pagkakwartahan, dai pwedeng pakinabangan. Tioson kitang marahay tanganing mag-isip kan mga bagay mapapadapit kaini. Mayo kitang pambakal nin marahay na libro nin rawitdawit o magdalan nin teatro. Tama na an piniratang DVD. Kun igwa man na kulturang kaipuhan na suportahan iyo ini an kulturang popular na mas harani sa puso kan mga hoben. Dai kita makakahiling nin mga suanoy na awiton, mga pagtulod nin libro sa kultura asin literatura sa satuyang rona, kundi mga bagay na nagtutulod nin kultura nin konsumerismo, nin pagiging plasido sa mga bagay na kaipuhan tang makiaram, makihumapot sa kamugtakan na ini. Pigtutuod kita na magmansay sa mga padalan na nagiging paagi tanganing dulagan ta an mga reyalidad arog na mismo kan klase nin pulitika na igwa kita.

An kultura pighihiling bilang pang-mayaman sana. An kultura nagugubingan nin marahalon na bagay, yaon sa harayong toreng garing. Alagad, an kultura sarong bagay na iyo kita. An kinamumugtakan, an gawi asin an kabilogan kan satuyang paghiling sa sadiri asin sa banwaan na satuyang kinakaayonan. An kultura an kalag kan banwaan. Alagad bako ini an dalagan kan mga enot na grupo nin pulitiko--para sainda mas marahay na patugdukan nin makakanos na stalls an sarong plasa para sa sarong tawong pig-aapod na bayani. Lihis nang gayo an imahen ni Rizal sa imahen kan mga bagong bayani sa call centers asin sa mga overseas contract workers. Dai akong pagminos sa mga OFW ta, an sakuya sana, may mga paon an podersong tawo na kita gabos nabibitik. Kun kaidto kaipuhan mong ikalabos asin badilon sa Luneta kan mga Kastila tanganing magin bayani, ngonyan, magduman ka sa Espanya asin magpupo sa lubot kan mga Kastila, bagong bayani an apod saimo. Kaya mas orog tang tinatawan an mga bagong bayaning ini na sinda mismo dai aram an boot sabihon kan bayani ta mayo man sindang inisip para sa nasyon kundi sa mga pamilya asin paryentes sana man ninda. An mga bagong bayaning ini ngani, sampaling sa kakulangan kan gobyerno na tawan sinda nin magkakanigong oportunidad sa sadiring nasyon. Kaya ini man an inaako kan enot na grupo nin pulitiko-- na orog na pakusogon an ekonomiya, an negosyo sa banwaan minsan sa pagduhagi kan kulturang pigtutulod asin pigbubuhay naman kan ikaduwang grupo nin pulitiko. Ini man baga an duros ngonyan sa Naga, an tawan nin atensyon giraray an kultura na garo napabayaan. Na sigun sa mga abiso kan nakapalibot sa alkalde asin sa mismong kusog-boot kan satuyang pamayo, nagkaigwang dakulaon na paradigm shift sa satuyang mandato. Asin ini mahihiling sa kadakul na bagay. Alagad an sakuya iyo na orog sanang pakagamot sa mga bagay na gusto tang maabot para sa banwaan. Kun kaya sa pagbago kan duros na kultura naman an magiging prayoridad, laoman ta an mas dakul na paghiro digdi minsan ngani pigsabat na ini nin mga manlain-lain na reaksyon na garo baga an gabos sarong dakulaon na pangiturogan na kadaklan sa mga pulitikong arog kaini na an direksyon--senyal na nin pagkagurang, signos na nin madali na.

Kaya kun hihilingon an duwang plasa na sana digdi sa Naga, an Plasa Rizal, sadit na Quaipo baga. Makangirit na sa tahaw kan mga tindahan digdi, yaon an monumento ni Rizal sagkod idtong daing agyong pighihiling na artwork na ginibo sa pagrumdom kan EDSA 1 na ngonyan sab' itan na kan mga trapal, asin yaon digdi an streamer kan satuyang gobernador na nagbubungkaras kan saiyang pagiging People of the Year na igwa pa kan mga tekstong 'heroes, achievers, etc' na nagpapahiling satuya kun ano an nagluluwas sa satuyang sikolohiya sa mga bagay na pigkakalay ta sa satuyang mga plasa. Asin kun hihilingon man an Plasa kan Kinse Martires na ngonyan garo na Luneta, malinig asin magayon na senyal na seryoso na an patalikod na administrasyon kan syudad sa kulturang pigtutulod asin inaako ko ini bilang mga pamati sana kan duwang klase kan pulitiko na igwa kita. Sa aga bantayan ta an mga bulawan na payo kan kinse martires ta baad iyo na pigtubog asin pigtinda sa Plasa Rizal.
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Love Generation, Let’s be!

August 29th, 2007 No comments
Here's to all bloggers, all people, and the Pinoyblogosphere (and Bratyfly)! Cheers! Be well! Be the Love Generation! Come on! Let's all be the "Love Generation" bababam! Bam, bam, baba bam, bam, baba bam, bam, baba bam babam....... From Jamaica (Philippines) to the world, this is just love, this is just love, Yeah! Why must our children play in the street, With broken arms and faded
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Quick mad updates

August 29th, 2007 1 comment
1. BIKOL WIKI. Irvin proudly announces that our Bikol Wikipedia project that he initiated has been conditionally approved. There is much more to be done though. His post has the skinny of what lies ahead and what more needs to be done to secure final approval.

2. MAD CROWD. I'm now part of the Mad Crowd Media, which aspires to become "the largest network of high-quality online independent publishers in the Philippines." When Benito Vergara invited me, I asked: "What's a provinciano going to do in that (high-powered) list?" But the rest is history: the Maddy badge is now part of my right sidebar.

Why Mad Crowd? I really don't know. But what can you expect if you have the Twisted One, no less, as director of publishers.:D

3. FEEDBURNER RELOADED. Early this morning, I got this email from Estrella Cabuco, part of which says:
Today I came across your blog A Nagueño in the Blogosphere and would like to subscribe to it. Let's say I thirst for Naga news, having been away for a long, long time. Perhaps I haven't navigated through all of your blog, but there isn't a sign in, is there? Barring that, I can always put the website in my Favorites and go there every so often.
The "Subscribe" widget at the lower corner of my left sidebar is for you, ma'am. Just plug in your email add, click the "Subscribe" button and you're on your way to becoming my first subscriber by email -- assuming of course this FeedBurner service works as advertised.

4. KABULIG MEET-UP. Last Monday, upon invitation by Marissa "Issa" Casillan, I also got to meet with the officers of Kabulig-Bikol, the association of Bikolano writers in this part of the region.

A good number of them -- Kristian, Aldy and Hagbayon -- are bloggers like myself. One (Judith Balares-Salamat) graduated from the same elementary school (Anayan-Sagrada in Pili) I came from. Its president, Estelito Jacob, teaches at UNC, my alma mater in Naga. Honesto Pesimo (its secretary?) teaches at Concepcion Pequeña National High School, one of our public secondary schools in the city. Carlo Arejola chairs the Arejola Foundation, the moving force behind the Premio Arejola which has become the Bikol equivalent of the Palanca.

It was a short meeting that deserves a separate entry, not the least because I felt like home.
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I have this dilemma

August 29th, 2007 No comments

As someone working overseas, I do find myself in places & situations where though few, there are fellow Filipinos around. It can be places like a self-service restaurant, gym or bus stops.

And as a minority finding another minority, I am urged to reach out for that person in one way or another. Reaching out can be difficult as I wouldn’t know if my friendly approach will be welcomed at all. So I resort to something inconspicuous.

One day I find myself in a small food-court-type restaurant. I was alone queuing up for my serving when I saw two women having their meals & talking merrily in a language I am familiar with. Soon enough, I will find my nosy self staring discreetly to them who own the same green passport like I do. Of course, our eyes will meet eventually and I will look away. Moments later, one of them will look at my direction as if dissecting every part of me probably guessing the province I came from, if I was Ilonggo, Igorot, Tagalog or Bisaya, if I keep swine or carabaos for pets aside from feathered friends like duck or chickens, perhaps figuring out too why I was forsaken with no one to spend the lunch break with, if my job is managerial or admin or maybe the fellow Pinoy is just disarmed by my charm that she can’t help staring. Of course I knew she was obtrusively gawking at my direction and will catch her on the act but at the moment I turned my head, she will abruptly look at somewhere else knitting another friendly talk with her lunch date.

I wouldn’t mind sharing the table to them. I would want to actually so that I can share Jesus to them and convert them and shepherd them ;) Or probably they are Christians already. As I am not in my evax (evangelism) mode, I will not likely share my table. My shy self will opt for the corner facing the wall & hope the wall talks back.

In the gym, I encountered the same experience. I don’t we (Filipinos) are that many in the gym I go to. Discreet stares will always be there but not one is brave enough to say hello upfront. It’s weird because he (or she) is just on the next bench! Egos can be really huge in the gym you know. We could have shared some tips but well, we’re too proud. Some even go the extremes of like following me for example using the machine next to what I’m using and flex their muscles as if to get attention. What a put-off really.

The bus stops are no way exempted. We could have been friends but strangers we remain.

Help me decide:

“Dai mo lamang kinumusta?”
You didn’t at least say hello?

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