So far, so good

What for should I ask more

Saturday, December 20, 2008

PhotoHunt: Wide

This is the Hunting Island Light Station, located along the coast of South Carolina, USA. The light station was operational from the 1870s to the 1930s. The 136-foot tower helped hundreds of sailors- with its light covering a wide swathe of the Atlantic Ocean, visible up to some 17 miles or more than 27 kilometers away.

The two people by the Hunting Island Lighthouse are my parents, dwarfs vis-a-vis the tower but they are giants in my book. They exert a great influence on a wide range of aspects in my life; a huge deal of what I am and what I can be is because of the light and love they have shown in my almost 29-odd years of living =]

Yep, despite my stubbornness, God still made me win the parent lottery =]

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Hail! U.P. Oblation - The Centennial Photo-Op

At the crack of dawn on December 13, 2008, the country’s top photographers and international press will be on hand at the UP Amphitheatre for a Photo Expedition that will feature 100 Oblation Men from all sectors of the University (UP students, alumni, faculty and staff) to honor the immortal symbol of academic freedom, excellence and service. Models will be suited with a crafted fig leaf, exclusively designed by renowned fashion designer, Eric Pineda. As the 100 Oblation Men pose, photographers will be given time to capture the moment by interpreting the meaning of the Oblation through their camera lenses.

Top Philippine photographers including media will be invited to this photo expedition which we hope will land on the cover of TIME magazine and the front pages of national dailies. As of this writing, we already have confirmation from both local and foreign press photographers that they will cover the event. The best shots will be featured in the UP Centennial Coffee Table Book which is now a work in progress. Slots are still available for the 100 Oblation Men in this once-in-a-lifetime event.

For more details, contact Debbie at 09177913924 or Misha at 09209015107. Queries can be sent to Photographers may also get in touch with Debbie.

Join up and spread the word! A chance like this comes only once every 100 Years.

(From the University of the Philippines Alumni Association)

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

PhotoHunt: Breakfast

The NGO I was previously connected with went to underserved, far-flung, lower income areas of the country- some as far as 1,000 kilometers away from the capital- to conduct surgical missions. We'd stay there for 2-3 days, seeing some 50-75 patients with problems that included cataracts, cysts, benign tumors, goiter, cleft lips and palates, among others. These areas suffered from acute lack of physicians and equipment that could have helped take care of their health concerns earlier. A full complement of volunteer surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and other allied health professionals and local health volunteers operated on patients free of charge.

It was priceless to see how seemingly minor surgical procedures did wonders to lives of the long-suffering patients; their smiles and profuse expression of gratitude made the trip worthwhile. The simple but nonetheless sumptuous breakfasts (and lunches and and snacks and dinners) the local residents lovingly prepared for us were excellent treats as well!

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

PhotoHunt: Metal

This steel and concrete edifice in Spartanburg, South Carolina is by itself, beautiful. But the BMW Zentrum is a treasure trove of art and technology and history that any car aficionado would appreciate. Among the many I found most interesting are the following:

A miniature model of what I believe is a BMW Roadster made from metal wires, a gift from the BMW group in South Africa.

The Isetta, BMW's response for postwar Europe's clamor for an inexpensive car in the 1950's.

And my pop will receive this one for Christmas from me- God-willing within the next three decades or so hehe

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Friday, November 21, 2008

PhotoHunt: Reflection

The Angel of Waters shimmers as the afternoon sun bounces off the spray created by the Bethesda Fountain. This, another marvelous find when we were in NYC's Central Park last summer, has figured prominently in many a Hollywood product, most memorable of which for me are the George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer flick One Fine Day and small screen breakout series Gossip Girl.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Michael Johns Live at the Ayala Malls

Last chance to see Michael Johns- American Idol Season 7 finalist- tomorrow, Friday, November 21st at the Greenbelt 3 Park in Makati City, 7pm!

Here's a clip from his show we watched last Wednesday at the Glorietta Activity Center. He's quite the rocker but with a curious mixture of self-consciousness and almost self-effacing charm. His rendition of classic hits like We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions brought the house down. But his version of Coldplay's Yellow- that was really something else. He sure was worthy of his AI finalist's slot.

Video courtesy of Michael Johns' avowed number one fan in the RP, our admin assistant Joy S. Extra shrieks audible in the video courtesy of our community organizer Mica M.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Great to meet you, Chris Brown and Rihanna!

Two huge stars of the US music industry landed last Sunday, November 16, 2008 at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig as Chris Brown and Rihanna performed in a massive back to back concert in front of a crowd estimated to number at around 70,000.

I got a pair of (platinum) tickets from my brother in law who happens to be well-connected hehe (Thanks Kuya Arnie!) There was only one person in mind to bring along, worthy enough to bring to this huge concert, one of my best friends from high school, Sherrylab =] She was a great first choice, since she was my resident pop music guru who introduced me to who Chris Brown and Rihanna were. I hardly knew who they were or what their songs were, save for With You and Umbrella, respectively.

But in any case, the concerts were thoroughly enjoyable experiences. Chris Brown brought the house down with his dancing prowess; his pipes were not bad, not bad at all. The Rihanna Experience was like being in the presence of a diva- her energy just filled the stage. But between the two, the crowd, including myself, was wowed by Chris Brown more.

Since he was covering so much stage at any given time, I hardly had any decent pics of CB. Finally managed to get these pics when he "rested" to sing No Air.

CB performed for more than an hour, songs that I hardly knew (sorry sorry!) but still really wonderful! The crew then proceeded to transform the stage for the next half of the show, distracting us a bit by a 5-or-so-minute fireworks prsentation. After some twenty more minutes minutes, Rihanna emerged. So did the cameras from practically every concert goer.

Rihanna does not disappoint. While I was very much afraid that she'd get sick- what with her uber-skimpy costumes onstage!- she managed to hold her mettle against her backup singers and cohort of musicians and dancers.

Giving in to shouts of MORE! when the proverbial curtains fell on the night's performances, Chris Brown and Rihanna returned on stage to sing a sensational rendition of Umbrella with each other and the crowd...

... which included some local celebs like Tony Gonzaga and her boyfriend Paul Soriano in this semi-paparazzo pic.

Happy to have met you, Chris Brown and Rihanna! And we'll hold you to your promise, do come back again soon.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

PhotoHunt: Ruin(ed)

For my PhotoHunt this week, I am respectfully re-directing you to my photoblog- A Lonely Planet It Is Not. My last entry there for another blog prompt, I feel, is likewise appropriate for this weekend's theme.

My PhotoHunt entry is here.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

UP Manila - Ayala Recyclables Fair 11-25-08

November 25, 2008 is a green-letter day as the UP Manila Community and the Ayala Foundation join hands for the 2nd Recyclables Fair on November 25, 2008 at the UP College of Medicine carpark from 9am - 4pm.

Let the UP-Ayala green team get the following off of your hands:

Used paper at posters, old newspapers at magazines, obsolete books
Plastic bottles, sando bags
Plastic furniture, Tetra Pak cartons
Aluminum cans at tin cans
Used lead acid batteries
Non-working electronic appliances
Betamax, cassette tapes
Old CPUs at monitors
Toner at ink cartridges
Tarpaulin streamers, household batteries, Styrofoam, mobile phones, chargers

For inquiries, kindly get in touch with Renzo Guinto ramonlorenzoluis[at]yahoo[dot]com or Angeli Guadalupe angelgwen24[at]yahoo[dot]com. Visit also

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

PhotoHunt: Together

I love New York City because of its architectural masterpieces, glittering cultural gems, palpable history unfolding each second. It can be daunting for first timers, a bit impersonal, very taxing. Central Park though can offer a breather to the overwhelmed.

There you might just see, among the stringed benches lined up against unbelievable flora in the City That Never Sleeps, a testament to a love that humbles any skyscraper.

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Friday, October 31, 2008

PhotoHunt: Blue

I took this photo early morning from our room in Discovery Country Suites in Tagaytay City. It was about 10C outside so the outdoor jacuzzi was devoid of users and, hence, was free to be photographed =]

It was hard to resist jumping in though...

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

PhotoHunt: Scary

In a recent trip with my parents to Savannah, Georgia, I jumped at the chance to join a "fright-seeing" tour of this historic city tauted as one of America's most haunted. The Ghosts and Gravestones Tour of Savannah took us to various "points of interest" including the fabled Sorrel Weed House, said to be the most haunted home in America. See if you can see something or someone in the photo I took of this home's basement...

And after our tour ended, I took one last shot of the trolley we were in and quite possibly caught something or someone else... =]

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fame and fortune for Filipino films and fiction

It's no miracle but it's about time.

Two Filipino books and a Filipino cinematic classic are in the running to be declared Asia's best in separate competitions that shortlisted them.

The Man Asian Literary Prize, on its second year of recognizing unpublished Asian novels in English, released today the top five finalists for its 2008 edition. Hopefully, Miguel Syjuco and his ILUSTRADO or Alfred A. Yuson and his THE MUSIC CHILD will be declared winner in the November 13 ceremonies in Hong Kong.

The landmark Filipino film HIMALA, on the other hand, made it to list of the ten all-time best movies of the Asia Pacific region, joining the ranks of such films like Taiwan's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hong Kong's Infernal Affairs, put together in celebration of the 2008 Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA). Click here to join the online poll currently underway to determine which among the ten films is to be the recepient of the APSA Viewers' Choice Award. The top film among these films will be announced at the APSA to be held in Gold Coast, Australia on November 11th.

Let's pray that November will bring a flurry of good news for Filipino arts and culture.


UPDATES 11/14/08:

Ishmael Bernal's HIMALA has been chosen as the Best Asia Pacific Film of All Time! Miguel Syjuco's ILUSTRADO has just been named winner of the 2008 Man Asian Literary Prize! Congratulations!

Click here for 2008 Man Asian Literary Prize announcement of winner.

Click here for the Asia Pacific Screen Awards announcement of winners.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

PhotoHunt: Family

An uncle and I wandered from Manhattan to Brooklyn last summer by taking a leisurely stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge. We were not really planning to walk its entire length- into the next borough- but the call of this magnificent structure was just too hard to resist. Several dozen of photo-ops later, we were on the other side of the bridge. I don't why but stepping onto Brooklyn soil for the first time made me feel somehow like fish out of water.

But then, as we turned a corner, there was someone who seemed similarly lost as well.

A pioneer lady driving her wagon suddenly burst in the shadow of the bridge. Her team's presence felt surreal- but New York is simply full of surprises.

But as we went around her wagon, we saw that she wasn't traveling alone. She was with her two kids, who were either bored from the long trip or they just had an interesting way of expressing love for each other.

This scene looks awfully familiar hahaha Family members... Can't live with them, can't live without them =]

This installation is Tom Otterness's 2004 LARGE COVERED WAGON, made from bronze, measuring 85 x 185 x 48 inches. On display courtesy of the Marlborough Gallery, New York. It is on view from April 2008 to January 2009.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Global Pinoy Bazaar goes to Alabang

For those who missed the Global Pinoy Bazaar at the Rockwell Tent last September 20-21, here's your chance to partake of this fiesta-cum-shopping experience.

The Global Pinoy Bazaar will be at the Cuenca Community Center of St James the Great Parish in Ayala Alabang Village from October 18-19, 2008. Sharpen your shopping and athletic prowess by choosing from among the wide selection of great Filipino finds, joining the 5K and 10K fun run and playing good ol' patintero from summers past. Arts and craft activities are also available for kids 7-12 years old.

For more details, visit

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008: Less for oneself, more for others, enough for all

October 11th 2008 marked the 5th anniversary of the formal launch of Gawad Kalinga, a colossal movement which aims to eradicate poverty in the Philippines and restore the dignity of the poor. The Bonifacio Global City in Taguig was the convergence point of some 40,000 Gawad Kalinga residents, volunteers, partners, and friends- all of whom came for a well-deserved day of fellowship, to take stock of the past year’s accomplishments, as well as to re-commit to finish the work that remains.

What is Gawad Kalinga or GK? Initially, Gawad Kalinga- which translates to GIVE CARE in English- aimed to build 700,000 homes in 7,000 communities in 7 years (2003-2010). This was in recognition of how poverty in the Philippines is already an emergency and no less than an immense, sweeping revolution of hope and action will turn the tide in favor of the poor. At the forefront of this movement is Couples For Christ (CFC), a Catholic charismatic community, which has adopted GK as the means to fulfill its mission of “bringing glad tidings to the poor.” The initial response of many CFC members was to build one or two houses for the poorest among them living in the poorest neighborhoods. It seemed sufficient- at that time. But the CFC realized that those houses were not enough; more needed to be built and built fast.

As GK and CFC expanded the work from a handful of homes to entire communities, partners, friends, and volunteers began streaming in and have become co-advocates of the GK way- Less for oneself, More for others, Enough for all.

Slums gave way to dignified communities. Houses were not given for free, but with a corresponding “sweat equity” that allowed the residents to put in honest days’ work building homes for one another. Volunteers from top, rival universities and corporations laid bricks and painted homes in friendly competition. Shelter for informal settlers in urban areas and disaster-ravaged populations in rural areas became possible.

But the work of GK did not stop with building homes. Health, education, livelihood, and environmental programs are also in place to allow the total transformation and development of communities. Strong values formation and re-orientation initiatives are being undertaken to help them harness their talents and potentials as well as to enhance their attitudes and outlook in life which may have been muddled by their years of poverty and powerlessness. Community empowerment is being nurtured in GK villages to enable the residents to move away from being passive recipients of dole-outs and become proactive decision-makers with a clear stake and mandate.

And as GK inches closer to 2010, it is once again re-configuring itself with a much bigger vision and mission. GK777 is no longer just building 700,000 homes in 7,000 communities in 7 years. GK777 is now a 21-year commitment to help spur development in the lives of more than 5 million Filipino living in the poorest conditions, underscored by this year’s GK Expo theme- Walang Iwanan or Nobody Gets Left Behind. The work of GK is likewise expanding overseas, with GK villages rising in countries like Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, among others nations. To match this ever-expanding work, GK is amassing its army of one million volunteers (GK1MB or GK 1 Million Builders) from all walks of life and around the world.

Which is not very hard to do. It is still an everyday fare in GK to meet professionals who have quit their high-paying jobs abroad to work fulltime for GK; grade school kids who scrimped and saved their allowance so their class can raise money to help build one house; mothers and grandmothers in GK villages who have courageously attended lectures on first aid so they can be volunteer health workers in their community (on top of their already busy schedules at home); local government leaders with whom GK partners with to ensure the sustainability of programs and interventions.

I have seen love of God through love of country by way of Gawad Kalinga. Political colors are drowned by the multicolored homes of GK residents. Corporations who are erstwhile competitors in the marketplace are now partners in nation-building when they set foot on GK villages. Ordinary Filipinos become heroes when they donate their precious time in GK sites- with each stroke of the paintbrush, each child they tutor, each patient they see, each tree they plant. The poor no longer have arms outstretched waiting to be helped but rather these same arms now help others rise up and move forward.

There are a million and one problems and challenges in the realm of poverty. But we can do something about them. We ARE doing something concrete to address these concerns. Gawad Kalinga, its leaders, partners, volunteers, friends and the GK village residents themselves are working hard to have land for the landless, homes for the homeless, water for the thirsty, food for the hungry, light for those in darkness, dignified health for all. Gawad Kalinga, with God’s provision, is changing the Philippine landscape, replacing poverty with hope, one home at a time, one community at a time.

Click here for more of my stories on working with Gawad Kalinga. More about Gawad Kalinga can be read in its official website If you’re a health professional and you wish to help in a Gawad Kalinga village, you can visit and email info[at]

Get to know what other Pinoy bloggers joining the Blog Action Day 2008 are saying. Find them here.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

PhotoHunt: Lazy

Today's theme plus my current state of recovering from a brief brush with a cough bug led me to reminisce about a weekend trip we took a year ago while I was taking a diploma course in Finland. At the end of the first three weeks of our course, we took a short cruise aboard The Isabella of Viking Lines from the city of Turku in Finland and in about 9 hours we landed in Stockholm, Sweden. It was literally a 24-hour sojourn in and out of Sweden, the closest encounter I will probably ever have with the lifestyle of the rich and famous. More on this trip in later posts.

Some points of interest such a lazy weekend in Stockholm have brought me to:

View from inside our cabin-

View from The Isabella's deck, as we meandered between Turku and Stockholm-

As I awaited the announcement of my name as Prize recepient, in front of the Nobel Museum and Swedish Academy-

But it wasn't to be. Not yet anyway =]

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