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Archive for November, 2009

Bikolano Artists

November 29th, 2009 No comments
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ARIEL ALVAREZ / Fashion Designer

Photographed at his atelier > Peñafrancia Street Naga City
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with muse / model Mary Madrid shot at CamSur Watersports Complex
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INGRAY PERFECTO / Pintor!

Photographed at Bichara Complex Naga City
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DANILO GERONA  / Historian

Photographed at his residence > Canaman Camarines Sur
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along the busy streets of Elias Angeles St. Naga City

RAUL ALCOMENDAS / Painter

Photographed at his residence > Jacob Putol Street Naga City
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Categories: Blogs, Personal, Pictures Tags:

What gives, Bicol Mail?

November 28th, 2009 No comments
WHILE waiting for the rice cooker to do its thing, I checked the Bicol Mail website this morning, hoping to see its latest issue -- which hit the newsstands yesterday -- already online. I got my wish. So folks, here goes another serving of what I hope will be this blog's weekly ritual: Say that again, Bicol Mail?, putting its resident angry old man under the microscope once more. This week's piece?
Pushcart classroom

EFREN PEÑAFLORIDA, who was named CNN Hero of the Year for his “pushcart classroom” in the Philippines, has contended that even a poor man can provide basic education to poor children, share his gift of education more meaningfully in communities where the concern of the local government has been found wanting. This requires an initiative and an unflinching dedication despite difficulties. Such a spirit of sharing does not expect any award in return.
Our editorial writer starts well, and rather innocuously. But the phrase "local government" flashes a warning sign: isn't public education the primary mandate of the Department of Education and by extension the national government? Uh-oh. I'm afraid the bias is showing this early.
The “pushcart classroom” idea is less appealing than the School Board to any of the more enterprising minds in the local government of Naga, known nationwide for being innovative and being first-among-equals. But with the honors Efren Peñaflorida is reaping throughout the country and the world, it will not be surprising if the local government of Naga will join the bandwagon of those who are honoring the pushcart hero. Peñaflorida is a good name to be associated with today as the national elections are just around the corner.
I didn't know he's already dabbling in fortune telling. Let's see if the city government, through the sangguniang panlungsod, will take the bite. Personally, the accolades coming Efren Peñaflorida's way is more than enough; the bigger challenge is learning its lessons and actually applying it.
Already Malacañang, in trying to make up for its shortcomings in education, has announced that the Order of Lakan Dula, one of the Philippine government highest honors awarded to a civilian who “has demonstrated by his life and deeds a dedication to the welfare of society” would be conferred upon Peñaflorida. In a press statement, Lorelei Fajardo, deputy presidential spokesperson, even said the government was willing to extend financial aid and other forms of assistance to help Peñaflorida expand his groundbreaking program on education.
A statement of fact, which needs no disputing.
Fajardo said Peñaflorida’s program was a good example of how the private sector could “augment whatever inadequacies the government may have.” This is a shameful statement coming from a government mandated by the Constitution to insure the education of children. A government that gives excuses for its inadequacies in education or passes the blame to others for its inefficiency or cannot take responsibility for any outcome does not have the right to discharge that mandate or to operate as an agency of that government.
He hits the nail right in its head on this one.
In Albay, Governor Joey Salceda has sounded instructions to the provincial council to pass a resolution conferring the highest provincial award on Efren Peñaflorida, giving him a cash gift of P250,000, and making him an honorary son of Albay. The province of Albay has all the moral right to honor Peñaflorida in as much as the province has always a good word for its teachers, has annual awards for outstanding teachers, and has open arms for teachers rejected by another division for alleged inefficiency due to the poor ratings of their division in the National Assessment Tests.
So far, so good. Which only goes to show that nobody has a monopoly on good ideas. As a footnote though, let me say for the record that the City Government of Naga, the regional partner of Synergeia Foundation, has been helping the towns of Libon and Tiwi pursue their education reform projects. Incidentally, these are two of the five finalists for the first-ever Kadunong Award that seeks to recognize the most outstanding Albay LGUs with education programs. And one of them will go home next month as grand winner of the search. (Disclosure: I took part in the final judging representing the city government and Synergeia.)
Efren Peñaflorida has brought honor and respect for the teaching profession and more, for teachers who have given their whole life in teaching children the proper values without expecting any award in return. He has achieved more than what Manny Pacquiao has. Peñaflorida has been combating ignorance not in 12 rounds of face-bashing in a ring but in the streets, day in and day out, without banking on a hundred-million-dollar kitty for the bout winner.
Now, this is somewhat a stretch. Come to think of it, Peñaflorida's outstanding achievement actually indicts the formal schooling system (i.e. the DepEd) in the country, where certified members of the teaching profession, including those whose names carry an alphabet soup of academic titles after them, lord over.

Distinction should be made between the formal, which employs close to 500,000 public school teachers, and the non-formal (now popularly known as alternative learning system); Peñaflorida belongs to the latter. The failings of the former actually creates the necessary preconditions for the latter, and magnifies Peñaflorida's achievements to heroic levels. When 3 of every 10 Filipino schoolchildren entering Grade I fail to reach Grade VI, you need a strong ALS to catch these dropouts and give them a second chance. But in the same breath, it means that the formal public school system -- and the whole certified teaching profession underpinning it -- is falling short of the standards.

For the sake of accuracy, it should restated as: "Efren Peñaflorida has brought honor and respect to the alternative learning system, whose teachers have given their whole life in teaching children the proper values without expecting any award in return."

Maybe he's just confused. Or is it a case of deliberate confusion? The last two paragraphs will provide the answer.
The Naga City Local Government’s indictment of the inefficiency of former Division of City Schools Superintendent Dr. Evangeline Palencia during her stint in the city begs the issue whether it has the moral right to honor Peñaflorida. The premium importance the City of Naga gives to ratings in assessment tests in school more than to learning values for life shows that the educational system in the city has much to be desired. This inanity cannot be covered by seeking the transfer of Palencia to Ligao City or by giving honors to Peñaflorida.
Clearly, it is still all about Naga, and the editorial writer's obsession and consuming desire to badmouth its local government. I think this unmistaken obsession has forced him to wittingly or unwittingly twist facts, like (1) the confusion between formal and alternative learning systems, (2) and the confusion as to which level of government is responsible for public education.

This unhealthy preoccupation with Naga has in fact put on a dangerous set of blinders on Bicol Mail itself, for an editorial supposedly speaks for the paper as a whole. For a paper that purports to be "Bicolandia's only regional newspaper," all it can see is the city government of Naga, when there are six other provincial governments, six other city governments and 107 municipal governments in the universe of Bicol LGUs.

This dangerous obsession compels one to ask: What gives, Bicol Mail? Certainly, there is more than meets the eye here.
The system implemented by the city with a highly charged School Board has fared poorly. The pushcart classroom of Peñaflorida could be the better system.
Sadly for him, the editorial writer seems to have been so punchdrunk with bitterness towards City Hall that he has yet to snap out of his world of make-believe. Garo iyo ang narugado ni Pacquiao, bakong si Cotto.:)

Hello! The last time I checked, (1) it is still DepEd running the public school system, in Naga and in the entire country; (2) we don't need pushcarts in Naga to provide ALS services, because we have mobile teachers, ALS classes and sub-contracting arrangements with local schools, particularly the Universidad de Sta. Isabel, (although data shows that while ALS coverage has improved from 20 to 36%, three of every five OSYs have yet to avail of its services); and (3) we will only consider mass investment on Peñaflorida's pushcarts if DepEd-Naga and our local institutional partners finally admit they cannot get the job done.
Categories: Blogs, Personal Tags:

What gives, Bicol Mail?

November 28th, 2009 1 comment
WHILE waiting for the rice cooker to do its thing, I checked the Bicol Mail website this morning, hoping to see its latest issue -- which hit the newsstands yesterday -- already online. I got my wish. So folks, here goes another serving of what I hope will be this blog's weekly ritual: Say that again, Bicol Mail?, putting its resident angry old man under the microscope once more. This week's piece?
Pushcart classroomEFREN PEÑAFLORIDA, who was named CNN Hero of the Year for his “pushcart classroom” in the Philippines, has contended that even a poor man can provide basic education to poor children, share his gift of education more meaningfully in communities where the concern of the local government has been found wanting. This requires an initiative and an unflinching dedication despite difficulties. Such a spirit of sharing does not expect any award in return.
Our editorial writer starts well, and rather innocuously. But the phrase "local government" flashes a warning sign: isn't public education the primary mandate of the Department of Education and by extension the national government? Uh-oh. I'm afraid the bias is showing this early.
The “pushcart classroom” idea is less appealing than the School Board to any of the more enterprising minds in the local government of Naga, known nationwide for being innovative and being first-among-equals. But with the honors Efren Peñaflorida is reaping throughout the country and the world, it will not be surprising if the local government of Naga will join the bandwagon of those who are honoring the pushcart hero. Peñaflorida is a good name to be associated with today as the national elections are just around the corner.
I didn't know he's already dabbling in fortune telling. Let's see if the city government, through the sangguniang panlungsod, will take the bite. Personally, the accolades coming Efren Peñaflorida's way is more than enough; the bigger challenge is learning its lessons and actually applying it.
Already Malacañang, in trying to make up for its shortcomings in education, has announced that the Order of Lakan Dula, one of the Philippine government highest honors awarded to a civilian who “has demonstrated by his life and deeds a dedication to the welfare of society” would be conferred upon Peñaflorida. In a press statement, Lorelei Fajardo, deputy presidential spokesperson, even said the government was willing to extend financial aid and other forms of assistance to help Peñaflorida expand his groundbreaking program on education.
A statement of fact, which needs no disputing.
Fajardo said Peñaflorida’s program was a good example of how the private sector could “augment whatever inadequacies the government may have.” This is a shameful statement coming from a government mandated by the Constitution to insure the education of children. A government that gives excuses for its inadequacies in education or passes the blame to others for its inefficiency or cannot take responsibility for any outcome does not have the right to discharge that mandate or to operate as an agency of that government.
He hits the nail right in its head on this one.
In Albay, Governor Joey Salceda has sounded instructions to the provincial council to pass a resolution conferring the highest provincial award on Efren Peñaflorida, giving him a cash gift of P250,000, and making him an honorary son of Albay. The province of Albay has all the moral right to honor Peñaflorida in as much as the province has always a good word for its teachers, has annual awards for outstanding teachers, and has open arms for teachers rejected by another division for alleged inefficiency due to the poor ratings of their division in the National Assessment Tests.
So far, so good. Which only goes to show that nobody has a monopoly on good ideas. As a footnote though, let me say for the record that the City Government of Naga, the regional partner of Synergeia Foundation, has been helping the towns of Libon and Tiwi pursue their education reform projects. Incidentally, these are two of the five finalists for the first-ever Kadunong Award that seeks to recognize the most outstanding Albay LGUs with education programs. And one of them will go home next month as grand winner of the search. (Disclosure: I took part in the final judging representing the city government and Synergeia.)
Efren Peñaflorida has brought honor and respect for the teaching profession and more, for teachers who have given their whole life in teaching children the proper values without expecting any award in return. He has achieved more than what Manny Pacquiao has. Peñaflorida has been combating ignorance not in 12 rounds of face-bashing in a ring but in the streets, day in and day out, without banking on a hundred-million-dollar kitty for the bout winner.
Now, this is somewhat a stretch. Come to think of it, Peñaflorida's outstanding achievement actually indicts the formal schooling system (i.e. the DepEd) in the country, where certified members of the teaching profession, including those whose names carry an alphabet soup of academic titles after them, lord over.Distinction should be made between the formal, which employs close to 500,000 public school teachers, and the non-formal (now popularly known as alternative learning system); Peñaflorida belongs to the latter. The failings of the former actually creates the necessary preconditions for the latter, and magnifies Peñaflorida's achievements to heroic levels. When 3 of every 10 Filipino schoolchildren entering Grade I fail to reach Grade VI, you need a strong ALS to catch these dropouts and give them a second chance. But in the same breath, it means that the formal public school system -- and the whole certified teaching profession underpinning it -- is falling short of the standards.For the sake of accuracy, it should restated as: "Efren Peñaflorida has brought honor and respect to the alternative learning system, whose teachers have given their whole life in teaching children the proper values without expecting any award in return."Maybe he's just confused. Or is it a case of deliberate confusion? The last two paragraphs will provide the answer.
The Naga City Local Government’s indictment of the inefficiency of former Division of City Schools Superintendent Dr. Evangeline Palencia during her stint in the city begs the issue whether it has the moral right to honor Peñaflorida. The premium importance the City of Naga gives to ratings in assessment tests in school more than to learning values for life shows that the educational system in the city has much to be desired. This inanity cannot be covered by seeking the transfer of Palencia to Ligao City or by giving honors to Peñaflorida.
Clearly, it is still all about Naga, and the editorial writer's obsession and consuming desire to badmouth its local government. I think this unmistaken obsession has forced him to wittingly or unwittingly twist facts, like (1) the confusion between formal and alternative learning systems, (2) and the confusion as to which level of government is responsible for public education.This unhealthy preoccupation with Naga has in fact put on a dangerous set of blinders on Bicol Mail itself, for an editorial supposedly speaks for the paper as a whole. For a paper that purports to be "Bicolandia's only regional newspaper," all it can see is the city government of Naga, when there are six other provincial governments, six other city governments and 107 municipal governments in the universe of Bicol LGUs.This dangerous obsession compels one to ask: What gives, Bicol Mail? Certainly, there is more than meets the eye here.
The system implemented by the city with a highly charged School Board has fared poorly. The pushcart classroom of Peñaflorida could be the better system.
Sadly for him, the editorial writer seems to have been so punchdrunk with bitterness towards City Hall that he has yet to snap out of his world of make-believe. Garo iyo ang narugado ni Pacquiao, bakong si Cotto.:)Hello! The last time I checked, (1) it is still DepEd running the public school system, in Naga and in the entire country; (2) we don't need pushcarts in Naga to provide ALS services, because we have mobile teachers, ALS classes and sub-contracting arrangements with local schools, particularly the Universidad de Sta. Isabel, (although data shows that while ALS coverage has improved from 20 to 36%, three of every five OSYs have yet to avail of its services); and (3) we will only consider mass investment on Peñaflorida's pushcarts if DepEd-Naga and our local institutional partners finally admit they cannot get the job done.
Categories: Blogs, Personal Tags:

Draft Charter for Autonomous Bicol Region

November 27th, 2009 No comments
Drafting of the Bicol Charter continues today. At the moment, dedicated provincial coordinators (Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon)and the Secretariat of the Bicol Autonomy Movement are working in Legazpi City (and according to Nap Mangente, they may work until the wee hours of the morning!)to finalize the first version of the draft charter, which will be the basis for wider public consultations!

Mabuhay ang Bicolano!
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CONSORTIUM FOR ELECTORAL REFORMS

November 27th, 2009 No comments
The Consortium for Electoral Reforms (CER)launched its VOTE PEACE Project, intended to set up a monitoring mechanism for election-related violence. A two-day training workshop is being conducted in the Imperial Suites, Quezon City to prepare partners for the formidable task.

"Strengthen democratic institutions, deepen our democracy!"
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Iriga City

November 25th, 2009 No comments

Mayor Jesse Robredo with Iriga City Mayor Madel Alfelor-Gazmen, also in the group picture are Iriga City's local executives taken during their study visit here last November 24, 2009.
Categories: Pictures Tags:

What keeps my week sane?

November 25th, 2009 No comments
Here's a short list of what keeps my week sane:

1. An episode of How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, Top Chef and Californication, in that order.

2. A good PS3 NBA 2k9 match up with my cousin or brother.

3. One SM movie, this week its Ninja Assasin!

4. Three hours non-stop of 5 on 5 DOTA.

5. One bucket of Red Horse.

6. A hug from Acacia.

7. A kiss from Akello.

8. And one from Mommy. :D
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Fallen Eagle

November 25th, 2009 No comments
To say that I have lived my life without any regrets is hypocrisy. Regrets are a part of life, and as we look back, there are some timestamps where we could have done things differently or taken the other fork in the road. So whenever I hear a beauty pageant contestant without hesitation proclaim that "I would not change a thing in my life," I really find it hypocritical.

I am a fallen eagle. Not was, but am. I remember that night I was on the bus back to Naga for the break and in my head I was already computing if my grades would add up to the required QPI (quality point index) of 1.8 to stay in Admu. I knew it would come short (I got 1.2). My Calculus and English classes eerily my best and favorite subjects were going to be my doom. So the day I went back to Manila to enroll, I knew doomsday was coming. I even brought bigger bags (two of them).

So when my gay roommate (there were three of them, all sexually confused, this was the one who on a daily basis pestered me with Himig Handog songs) mouthed the words, "you are getting kicked out, same with Idunnowhathisnamewasbuthewasalwaysdrunk," hit me, it no longer had its numbing effect. I packed my bags. Left some of my smelly unwashed briefs and headed home.

You say what happened my friend?

What happened to me as Barney would say it is legen... wait for it... dary! Yes I was a legend but in a terrible way. Lower classmen in my former high school would point at me as the guy who flunked due to too much computer games. May I correct that it was a totally inaccurate conclusion. It was not computer games but computer games and movies, actually. In my short stint in Metro Manila and the lovely dorm of Ateneo, I was acquainted with Warcraft, Doom, and a whole lot of Sta. Lucia, Megamall, SM North and even Ever Gotesco Grand Central in Caloocan.

Well as the cliche goes, when they close a door, a new door opens, well what I got was a small window but a lot of windows. Now I have two wonderful kids, a stable job, free access to internet, a whole lot of movies (this gives away my numerous posts on movies), and your unending supply of computer games (I don't even play that much anymore). Still, I can't help but wonder what would have ever happened if my Ateneo thing had panned out?

Could I have had a financially statisfying life, relocating to the States, being discovered as a funny Asian and appearing in the Hangover naked instead of that Korean dude?

Could I have turned gay as influenced by my three Himig Handog singing sisters in the Ateneo dorms and be the next Bebeng Walangari?

Could I have been Chris Tiu's buddy and made the Greenwich cheesy hugging commercial?

See, the possibilities are endless which just justifies my regret. So right now forgive me if it crossed my kind if I hadn't been a fallen eagle for I had flown to the possibilities and there must have been a long list, if you think positively about it.
Categories: General Tags:

Governor Vilma Santos-Recto

November 24th, 2009 1 comment

Mayor Jesse Robredo and Atty. Leni Gerona-Robredo met up with Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto at the Naga City Airport.
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Victoria, Oriental Mindoro

November 24th, 2009 No comments

Mayor Jesse Robredo with local executives from the Municipality of Victoria, Oriental Mindoro during their study visit in the city.
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PHALGAS

November 24th, 2009 No comments

PHALGAS 4th Southern Luzon Geographic Conference held last November 18-20, 2009 at the Naga Regent Hotel. The conference was sponsored by the Association of Local Government Accountants of Bicol.
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Culture Unplugged Video

November 24th, 2009 No comments
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Culture Unplugged Video

November 24th, 2009 No comments
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Bicol film on hunger draws 12M hits

November 24th, 2009 No comments

NAGA CITY—Drawing more than 12 million viewers as of Saturday, a short film about hunger shot here by a Bicolano filmmaker has pricked the conscience of people around the world, who said it made them cry.

“Chicken a la Carte” by Ferdinand Dimadura, shot in 2005, beat some 3,600 entries when it won the 56th Berlin Film Festival award for short films in 2006. Its biting commentary has drawn viewers to the website www.cultureunplugged.com and YouTube.

The film is “about hunger and poverty brought about by globalization,” the synopsis says.

“There are 10,000 people dying every day due to hunger and malnutrition. This short film shows a forgotten portion of society … What is inspiring is the hope and spirituality that never left this people.”

Read more

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UP-ICW announces Best First Book nominees for 2009

November 23rd, 2009 No comments
Arvin Abejo Mangohig, Pantikan.com.ph

The UP Institute of Creative Writing and the Madrigal-Gonzalez family are pleased to announce the nominees for the Madrigal-Gonzalez Best First Book Award for 2009. The nominees are: The Proxy Eros by Mookie Katigbak, Stories From Another Time by Benjamin Bautista, Antisipasyon by Victor Dennis T. Nierva , The El Bimbo Variations by Adam David, Girl Trouble by Alan Navarra, Trese: Murder on Balete Drive by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo, I Hate My Mother by Perpilili Vivienne Tiongson and Playing It Safe by Gerry T. Los Baños.

The Madrigal-Gonzalez Best First Book Award is administered by the UP ICW and is generously sponsored by Atty. Gizela Gonzalez-Montinola and the Madrigal-Gonzalez family. Each year, alternating between Filipino and English, the UP ICW selects from the list of first-time authors and their works and grants the cash prize of P50,000 and a plaque during Writers Night. Former winners include Sarg Lacuesta, Luna Sicat Cleto, Kristian Cordero, and Vincent Groyon. Last year's winner was Pagluwas by Zosimo Quibilan published by the UP Press.

This year's selection mirrors the changing landscape of Philippine literature as it includes the bestselling graphic novel Trese, a collaboration between Tan and Baldisimo—a possibly controversial inclusion among purist circles. Katigbak is acknowledged for her first volume of "lovely and genteel" poetry (according to Conchitina Cruz), published by Anvil. Nierva's book is a strong contender as it has already won a National Book Award for Poetry. David dazzles with his postmodernist experiments. Tiongson's novel about teen emotions is “pitch-perfect,” according to reviewer Tarie Sabido. Gregorio Brillantes hails Bautista as “exceptional and remarkable,” comparing him to stylists Joaquin and Polotan. UP Press Deputy Director Gerry Los Baños rounds out this year's selection with his first novel for young readers, a story of young love.

This year's winner will be awarded on Writers Night at the UP Diliman on December 11.
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