Saturday, May 30, 2009

ANC Leadership Forum Round Two: June 5, 2009

Experience the second round of Countdown to 2010: An ANC Leadership Forum on Friday, June 5, 2009 at 7pm, to be shown live over ABS-CBN News Channel, with repeat telecasts on Saturday, June 6 6pm over Studio 23 and on Sunday, June 7 10.15pm over ABS-CBN. Prospective guests include former President Joseph Estrada, Senators Loren Legarda and Ping Lacson, and Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay. The second leg of the forum is being organized in cooperation with the University of the Philippines School of Economics.

I hope- expect, even!- this set of forum participants will be as game and interesting as the first ones, which included Senators Chiz Escudero, Richard Gordon and Mar Roxas; Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio, and; Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro. Excerpts of what these five gentlemen spoke about can be found in this ABS-CBNnews.com article. Also, click here to see my take on the first round of the ANC Leadership Forum and here to find out the kindred ones with regard to my opinion on this matter.

Got anything to ask Loren, Erap, Binay, or Ping? Send your questions for the forum via SMS to +639272916408 or email ancforum@abs-cbnnews.com. Deadline for questions is on June 3, 2009.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

When pride ought to be not a sin: Flag Days - May28 to June 12

It’s one of the most ubiquitous objects in our country. It is mandated to have a place of prominence in all towns and cities- from the most populous to the most distant. It brings people together and can literally make life stand still. It represents the courage, unity, passion, strength of a proud people.

Photobucket

The Philippine Flag.

From its humble beginnings in Hong Kong thanks to the skillful hands of Marcela Agoncillo to its unfettered waving in EDSA in 1986, its ascent in Mt. Everest, and even during the regular flag-raising ceremonies all over the country, the Philippine flag has come to symbolize the indomitable Filipino spirit, our triumph amidst adversity, our faith in ourselves and in each other.

Let the Philippine flag fly free as we celebrate the Flag Days from May 28th to June 12th of every year. May 28, 1898 is said by historians as the first time the national tri-color was ever waved, hoisted in victory by General Emilio Aguinaldo as a sign of victory against the Spaniards in Bo. Alapan, Imus, Cavite. On June 12, 1898, the national flag was formally unfurled from the balcony of Gen. Aguinaldo’s home in Kawit, Cavite during the proclamation of Philippine independence.

Each home, business establishment, government office, and all institutions are encouraged to reverently display the national flag. Here are some reminders (which should go without saying but I will share anyway) from The National Historical Institute about the proper display of the Philippine National Flag:

1. The national flag alone should be displayed in all public offices, buildings, official residences, public squares and institutions of learning everyday of the year. The flag should be displayed in the open only from sunrise to sunset, except on places designated by law and therefore should be properly illuminated.

2. When flown from a flagpole, the flag should have its blue stripe on top in time of peace and red on top in time of war.

3. The flag should not be displayed on horizontal position or hung fastened by its fly. The fly portion of the flag should be free to move.

4. When displayed vertically, the triangle should be on top. The blue field should be to the right (left of the observer) in time of peace, and the red field to the right (left of the observer) in time of war.

5. The flag should not be used as part of or as a whole of a costume.

6. The flag should not be displayed in cockpits, dance halls and centers of vice.

7. The flag should not be used as unveiling material in unveiling ceremonies.

8. It is prohibited to add any word, figure, mark, picture, design, drawings, advertisement, or imprint of any nature on the National Flag.

9. It is prohibited for the National Flag to be used or displayed or be made part of any advertisement or infomercial.

10. Tattered, faded or worn-out flags should be replaced immediately. They should be disposed off or destroyed privately, preferably by burning.

There are more little-known but must-know facts and regulations about the Philippine flag, the Philippine National Anthem, and other national symbols which you can find in The National Historical Institute website. If many of us can be well-read and walking encyclopedias with regard to the latest showbiz scandals, all the more I think we can and should be masters of anything and everything our culture and heritage.

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! =]

Monday, May 25, 2009

My first month with Adgitize

While among my primary motivations for blogging include having a platform to share my thoughts to the world as well as to update my parents in US how things are with us here in the Philippines, I must admit that the possibility of earning a *bit* from my blogs does give an impetus every now and then for me to upload posts.

A month ago I decided to venture into blog advertising. My little corner of cyberspace got about 20 hits a day on the average- a huge deal for me already, considering how personal my updates are and therefore ought to have been of little interest to people outside my circle of friends and family. Anyway, I did try an advertising platform- Adgitize- and it sure did deliver on its promise of an explosion of blog traffic.

So what have I reaped from being with Adgitize?

1. For starters, I got 3-5 times more visitors compared to my pre-Adgitize days.

2. With more visitors, I saw a coincidental 300% increase in the average bid to my Project Wonderful ad spaces.

3. My Nuffnang ads likewise got more, if not maximum, exposure.

4. Also, I got more Entrecard drops since joining Adgitize because many advertisers in the latter also have E-card widgets.

5. Since visiting the site of fellow Adgitizers likewise earns me points with an approximated equivalent in US cents, I’ve discovered many interesting nooks in cyberspace- from websites advocating a greener life with useful everyday tips to blogs about Greek cuisine and life of bloggers in China, Bulgaria, and London.

I know that all the stats may seem puny, if not negligible, vis-à-vis what pro bloggers experience. They are nonetheless welcome bonus for hobby-bloggers like myself, getting a little extra for doing what I love doing in the first place.

Click here to Adgitize - Get World Class Advertising on a Bloggers Budget.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunrise, sans set


Two wakes, a memorial, a wedding, and a funeral figured prominently in my “social” calendar the past fortnight.

Two colleagues in the college got married (finally?) after about half a decade of being steady.

A preeminent former department chair’s life was celebrated in a memorial service attended by both university luminaries and loyal contemporaries.

The father of one of my dearest, dearest friends in medical school passed away. Look in many a graduation picture and you’d see his monosyllabic name and trademark embossed on its lower right-hand corner.

The mother of a medical school professor and mentor has passed on after some eighty-odd fruitful years on earth.

This peculiar flurry of life events, seemingly random, has a common thread.

The wedding of course made the world contain two less lonely people. The air was filled with excitement and happiness- from the moment the groom walked down the aisle to the time the emcee bid all of us a good afternoon as the wedding reception came to a close. The air was filled- is filled- with hope and wishes of good fortune as they embark on their new life together. Nary a word of complaint was to be heard; if there ever was, it was drowned by the oohs and aahs upon seeing the lovely couple. Everything is looking up for the couple.

Though a shroud of sorrow palpably veiled all occasions in the last two weeks related to death, there is an unmistakable din of hope and joy akin to that in the wedding celebration, albeit muted, but no less uncertain.

All the departed ones were remembered with the fondest of memories. Those referring to them spoke only with nicest, choicest words. Whenever imperfections were likewise narrated, they were always mentioned in a context that shone a positive light on the deceased. It was of course not a conspiracy to deny past indiscretions or weaknesses; it was just a conscious decision to highlight what was good and inspiring in the person, rather than stoke embers of anger and discomfort among family and friends.

The grief of the families left behind was eased by those unsolicited kind words. It was a joy to discover hidden facets of the loved ones we thought we knew. It was comforting to be affirmed that our loved one was indeed loved. Likewise, the constant and consistent declaration of faith that their loved ones are in a much better place now made the pain easier to bear. Admittedly, since no one is exempt from death, it is a comfort to all of us living: that we, too, and our loved one will be in that heavenly abode, united in a place without pain or sorrow.

Joy and hope at weddings. Joy and hope at funerals. The abundance of positive things and positive reflections unseat sadness and bitterness. Forgiveness given for past transgressions as easily as appreciation for just showing up at the wedding even without a gift on hand. The atmosphere so cordial, so warm it almost makes me wish life were a series of wakes and weddings…

Saturday, May 23, 2009

And they're off: UP Medicine Class of 2009


The tarpaulin backdrop provides a muted understatement of the celebration and promise it represents.


I was in the University Theater attending the 100th Commencement Exercise and Internship Closing Ceremonies of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine – Philippine General Hospital last weekend, almost four years to the day of my own graduation from medical school.
Dr. Esperanza Cabral, Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and alumna of the UP College of Medicine, gave the Commencement Address.


It was with a mixture of wistful delight that we launch into the greater world outside the UP Medicine Class of 2009. This batch of students will forever occupy a special niche in my heart because they are the first ones I have taught full time. As their names were called and their faces flashed in the white screen during the capping and hooding ceremonies, I can still recall many of the words from the papers they’ve written, the conversations we’ve had, the activities they’ve facilitated in the urban poor communities we immersed in as part of their third year medical school curriculum. Some of them, I can hardly I can hardly remember or recognize- the skinheads then now have hair, some slimmed down, some- well- did not =] But I must admit that it is an honor when they do recall who I am, from among the 660-strong faculty of the college =]

Posing with UP Medicine Class of 2009 Class President Paolo Medina, his mom, and UP Medicine Class of 1993 Class President Dr. Portia Marcelo, and myself, UP Medicine Class of 2005 Class President.


After the capping and hooding ceremony, faux diploma on hand, many faculty members swarmed at the foot of the steps leading from the stage. We were not so neatly lined up with hands outstretched, shaking the hands of the graduates and their parents, some getting hugs from us, especially the ones whom we worked very closely with.

Dr. Brian Vincent DG Salvador, cum laude and class valedictorian, with Dr. Nina Dizon, Dr. Delen Dela Paz, and Dr. Jimmy Galvez-Tan.


What almost wrung tears from my eyes was when the parents thanked us for taking care of their children. I must admit that there will always be bad apples in any heap, but for the most part it was an immense joy with their children, and any group of students for that matter. It is an honor to have worked with and for these young doctors, even if it was just for two weeks within their five-year stay in our medical school.



I am confident that I will be taken care of by their able minds, hearts, and hands should the time come I or a family member be taken ill. God speed, UP Medicine Class of 2009. Blaze trails in honor of your parents, your patients, your teachers, your alma mater, and the country who look forward to your selfless sharing of compassion and competence.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More than mere BLAH: blogging about Bong, Loren, Alec, and Hayden

By now the blogosphere would already be ablaze with all the opinion on two 'hot' topics: the Alec Baldwin comment on Filipino mail-order brides and the Katrina Halili-Hayden Kho sex videos. Interesting pronouncements have come from at least two legislators regarding these matters- Senators Loren Legarda and Ramon Revilla, Jr.

According to local news reports, Mr. Baldwin, when asked whether he’d like to have more children, replied that he’d like to get himself a Filipino mail-order bride or a Russian one, to which David Letterman chirped that he’d like one too. Senator Legarda has released a statement that speaks in no uncertain terms that Filipino women are not for sale, as insinuated by Mr. Baldwin in the interview in Letterman’s The Late Show. Other legislators have expressed similar disgust and displeasure on the actor’s attempt at being humorous.

Similarly occupying a disproportionate amount of media space is the *yawn* controversy of the Katrina Halili-Hayden Kho sex videos. The main issue that has roused Mr. Revilla from senatorial slumber was the fact that the 1) a woman was oppressed and 2) the oppressor is a physician. From there, the Senator from Cavite launched a tirade of unimpressive, hollow comments with regard to women’s rights, patients’ rights and piracy, emboldened by having watched a snippet (?) of the said videos. He was interviewed in TV Patrol, with a laptop playing parts of the supposedly offensive materials.

*clap clap clap*

Thank you very much, dear senators, for immediately jumping into the media melee, armed with your privilege speeches and press statements. I'm sure Mr. Baldwin and Dr. Kho are shakin' in their boots right now. A lot of good these statements will do. *rawr!*

But if I may suggest, maybe you dear senators can also plod on and do what you have been elected to do- pass the necessary bills that will TRULY protect the Filipino people, regardless of stature and intensity of media coverage. To wit:

If you really want an improved health care system in the country, tackle intelligently Senate Bill 2456 or the Physicians Act of 2008, pending at the committee level since August 2008. This bill aims to support if not supercede the Jurassic Medical Act of 1959 you, Mr. Revilla, have been raving about. This may help ensure better medical care for patients and make the lives of physicians in the Philippines more humane (from medical education to practice of our profession) so we physicians won’t resort to leaving the country or worse, wriggling our way to show business to earn more- no disrespect to actors, of course.

If you really, really, really want an improved health care system in the country Mr. Revilla, help implement and push for unequivocally without fear or favor The Magna Carta for Public Health Workers. The Lord Almighty knows that government health center doctors, nurses, midwives, medical technologists, dentists, etc live in more perilous conditions hazardous to their health, warranting more attention versus actors who willingly objectify themselves by hardly wearing any clothes while cavorting on tv or the big screen.

How come, Senator Legarda, that Senate Bill 2576 which proposes timely amendments to the Anti-Mail Order Bride Law has been stuck at the committee level since September 2008? This amendment to RA 6955 will surely be of great help, considering the SB 2576 zeroes in on the role of internet in perpetuating this injustice to Filipino women. If you really are for the rights of women, please be SB 2576's advocate- even if Manny Villar is this bill’s main proponent.

Wouldn’t it be also worth your time, Senators Revilla and Legarda, to look into Senate Bill 2539 which seeks to penalize any advertising agency, television or radio station and publication which exploits women and glorify sexual violence in its advertisements being pushed (albeit weakly?) by Senator Villar (again) since August 2008?

And while you’re at it, maybe it can be in your agenda as well to support Senate Bill 2477 which seeks to expand the definition of and penalties for sexual harassment proposed since July 2008 by Senator Roxas?

To raise hell is good. But to do our supposed jobs is even better. Speaking loudly AND carrying a big stick. I may sound nitpicking by choosing to highlight these sat-on bills but it is just SO exasperating to endure cocky overtures that are pointless when what is supposed to be done remains unaccomplished.

And please, when you DO get these bills passed into laws, do us all a favor by FUNDING their correct implementation. Thank you!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Of links and connections

Just sharing with the world two cartwheel-worthy events in my corner of the blogosphere:

--== FIRST ==--

After 10 years, 9 months, and 10 days or 3,937 days or 94,488 hours or 5,669,280 minutes or 340,156,800 seconds of being online via dialup access, I've finally crossed over to the broadband side =] I enjoyed my first full week last week of being connected via Sun Broadband Wireless.

I'm connected via SBW's Php799/month unlimited plan. So far, so good. I haven't experienced dropped/cut connection. Connection speed is at 3.6 Mbps all the time in our home here in Taguig City. The only time I had to call their tech support +6323953333 was at the start of my SBW service I can't seem to make it work. The call came through right away and the tech guy on the other of the line was patient and courteous. Apparently, I plugged the SBW HSDPA USB stick in the incorrect USB port; switching ports did the trick.

Easy, breezy downloads and uploads I enjoy whenever I am online =] Currently though, you can use the SBW in Metro Manila so check out the Sun Shops nearest you to see if your area is covered by the Sun Broadband Wireless service.

--== MORE IMPORTANT PIECE OF NEWS ==--

My blog (this blog) scored a fleeting mention in the widely-read, respected, and bookmarked blog of preeminent pundit Manolo Quezon. He said he "enjoyed" my blog entry about the ANC Leadership Forum, along with three other blogs he cited as windows through which those aspiring for the highest office in the land can get a glimpse of how the younger folk think.

A cross-posting of the same article by Mr. Quezon in the Inquirer.net Blogs section also led people to my obscure nook in cyberspace.

Thank you very much everyone for visiting and I hope to churn out more posts worthy of the time you spent online =]

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Being never lost and being always found: Voter's prayer

There’s too much at stake in this coming political exercise to leave things to chance. With just one year to go, alongside keeping ourselves informed and involved, regular prayer should be in our armamentarium for the 2010 elections.

I’m re-posting a May 2007 entry containing

The Voter’s Prayer

LORD, make me an instrument of your presence in the polls.

Where there is coercion and violence,
Let me sow seeds of love;

Where there is bribery and vote buying,
Let me sow seeds of integrity;

Where there is discord,
Let me sow seeds of unity;

Where there is electoral fraud,
Let me sow seeds of honesty;

Where there is duplicity and propaganda,
Let me sow seeds of truth;

Where there is indifference,
Let me sow seeds of care and concern;

And, where there is despair in the electoral process,
Let me sow seeds of hope.

Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not so much
Think of my selfish motives when I vote.

Instill in me a deep sense of communal solidarity in my critical choice of candidates who would rise above the traditional politics of PAY-OFF, PERSONALITY and PATRONAGE.

Enlighten me to elect worthy men and women who embody the true spirit of public service in their moral consciousness.

For it is voting responsibly that we receive
the fruits of true democracy.

And it is in dying as a seed to our selfishness
that we are born to eternal life.

Amen.


(Adapted from The Prayer of Saint Francis. Lifted from http://kpkcommongood.blogspot.com)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sincerity versus spin: the ANC leadership forum

I just finished watching the ABS-CBN News Channel’s Elections 2010: A Leadership Forum. It was an interesting two-hour window into the thoughts and feelings of “leaders” who tried and failed to play coy about their presidential aspirations. Tina Palma and Ricky Carandang excellently performed their roles as unbiased agitators, aiming to reveal what is true versus what is political spin.

Those who participated in the leadership forum were Senators Chiz Escudero, Richard Gordon and Mar Roxas; Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio, and; Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro. Other “leaders” (read: with presidential ambitions) who were invited but unable to attend include Sen. Panfilo Lacson (who was suddenly taken ill the afternoon before the show); VP Noli De Castro, MMDA Chair Bayani Fernando, Sen. Loren Legarda, and Makati City Mayor Jojo Binay. The courageous five were entertaining and informative enough; they’ve whet even further my appetite for the 2010 polls.

For the first part of the show, either Tina or Ricky had a 10-minute one-on-one Q&A with each guest. The questions were basic but sharp and succinct- to peel the spin from the truth. Chiz was asked if he can account for the half-billion fund he received as congressman. Gordon was made to talk about his “dramatic” stand-off when he was removed from the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. Among Ed was quizzed on his stance on contraception and his apparent inability to get along with his local leaders in Pampanga. Mar Roxas was asked if he was just “using” Korina Sanchez for media mileage. Teodoro was asked if his affluent lineage makes him out of touch with majority of Filipinos.

For the second part, questions were asked by audience members and the panel seated together responded one after another. Questions about Manny Pacquiao, books read or movies seen, and personal heroes were thrown at the leaders for which they were given two minutes each to respond. But for me, the most interesting questions were asked by Tina: will you prosecute the Arroyo family for their alleged criminal activities? The follow-up question was equally interesting: what is one good thing done by the Arroyo administration? Teodoro of course sounded like an Arroyo spokesperson, while Chiz played impeccably his role of opposition whip.

Last part of the forum was a minute-long message to the people by each panelist. The parting shot that appealed to me most was from Chiz Escudero, who said something like: Kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan pero panahon na para ipakita na ang kabataan ay maaasahan ng bayan (The youth are the hope of the nation but it is now time to show that the nation can depend on the youth).

So who scored electoral homeruns? Who should drop out of the race even before declaring their candidacy? To experience their colorful responses yourself, try to catch the repeats of the ANC leadership forum (sorry I can’t find the scheds). Hopefully they’ll also post transcripts of the show at http://www.abs-cbnnews.com

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Thirty-four and counting


For the first time in almost three years of blogging on this platform, here's a post that is a collaboration between myself and another human being. To celebrate the 34th wedding anniversary of our parents (who are now in the United States), my sister and I have come up with top-of-our-head favorite memories, thoughts, lessons, realizations, private jokes, recollections related to our Pop and Mom noted down verbatim.

The odd-numbered items on the list are mine (Ian's) and the even-numbered ones are my sister's (Chiqui's). We hope you'll write a similar list and make it known to your own folks, if you haven't done so =] Enjoy the ride!

1. Our house has always been filled with books. Mom and Pop cultivated (unwittingly or not) our love for reading- freeing our minds to wander beyond the realm of the possible.

2. Falling in love with Japanese food. Actually, being obsessed with it!

3. Thanks for the moles on the soles of our feet (the Filipino sign of being wanderlust!). They’ve scrimped, saved, splurged rightfully so on travel- near and far, for two-day or two-week journeys- knowing fully that travel is one great teacher.

4. Learning a favorite mantra: Cleanliness is next to Godliness. Hint for Ian, from Ate: fix your stuff.

5. In connection with travel, trusting us with any and every car we’ve had. Dents, bumps, flat tires and all. We love you NTW-8*1, PAC-7*4, PJE-4*5, WBH-7*7, WSB-5*9 =]

6. “Family airtime” during road trips, short or long- our talks on all topics under the sun when you drive us to school, to work, pick us up from dorms, the hospital, ROTC, among the myriad other conversations.

7. Treating us as adults, or as persons more matured that our actual years. Allowing us to speak our minds and hearts, allowing us to “reason” (as long as it’s within “reason”). Really Listening To Us.

8. Huge fights that we laugh about years later- e.g. don’t argue with your mom the day before your wedding over a mundane thing like getting your nails done. It really does look pretty in pictures when your deceased fingernails are revived via a manicure.

9. When you are supposed to do something, do it immediately because there is a HIGH chance and probability you WILL forget to do it.

10. DO NOT LIE. You will always, ALWAYS get caught. The best cover-ups are no match to your CSI-trained parents.

11. Sorry for the 100 or so umbrellas, jackets, shirts, jungle bolos etc we left in school, campsites, taxis, etc. =[

12. Looking forward to power outages because we can play- SCRABBLE!

13. Being extremely active in my high school Parents-Teachers Community Council (our PTA) – proof being, you Pop were the PTCC Class President and you Mom were the PTCC Class Secretary =] A feat never heard of before or since!

14. Yummy pasalubong (take homes!) from the wet market every Saturday morning- palabok for Ate and spaghetti for Ian.


15. While on vacation and Mama says “Pose. Smile!,” do it! Posterity records your tantrums forever- but, boy, is the background truly a killer view!

16. The only person we know who coughs when she uses Q-Tips is _____. Guess who!

17. Beware the typhoon announcements- someone will race through the grocery and buy every canned good, battery, candle, and junk food available =]

18. Even if when you’re in college already, you have to open your bag before leaving the house to prove that you did really bring your umbrella and jacket =] And hours later, when it starts to pour, you breathe a sigh of thankful relief.

19. No school activity is too uncool, too tiring, too boring, too far, too tedious to go to regardless of the size of our participation in that event (eg Boy Scouts, quiz bees, proms, press conferences, pageants, Igorot dances, etc etc)

20. Wednesday novenas are hard habits to break.

21. Loving whom we choose to love (among our boyfriends or girlfriends) to the extent of buying our gifts for them.

22. Comfort food from home, the mere mention of, brings a smile to our faces: papaitan, spaghetti, dinuguan, Sunday nilagang baka, champorado, siomai, hardinera (yesterday, today, and tomorrow), the almost-transparent gelatin, salmon belly, Klondike, shrimp cocktail…

23. Giving in to many of our whims, but tempering it with wise, prudent financial advise (mahal yan anak).

24. They’ve always been respected in their industries, their work ethic is a dream come true for both their bosses and staff.

25. Your almost daily early morning chit-chats as soon as you wakeup even before you get out of bed about life, us, work, showbiz, politics…

26. Ian got his stubbornness, ooops “firmness”, from you-know-who, and Ate her pangugulit a.k.a. persistent reminders from you-know-who.

27. TV is generally a friend, except on Saturday mornings when you have to do your chores.

28. Remember Amber? Our piano teacher from hell, who used to correct our wrong finger positions on the keyboard using a chewed Mongol no. 2? Good thing we are great music lovers despite her =]

29. 50s, 60s, 70s music! From ABBA to The Carpenters to The Beatles to Englebert Humperdink! Proof: our 100+ cassette tapes at home- a time warp to the golden days of music =] We ALL loved Mamma Mia!

30. I like that they lived many facets of their lives on top of being great parents: there’s Kiwanis, REACT, Lectors and Commentators Guild, Ushers and Collectors Guild, Mother of Perpetual Help Organization, Couples For Christ… They have time for us, for the families they’ve come from, for their friends, our neighbors.

31. They’ve allowed us to live our lives the way we’d like to, even if it means departures from paths they may be secretly wishing for us to tread on. From clubs, to choice of friends, choice of schools, college courses, clothes (almost always!)- we’ve been our own bosses, with them at arm’s reach conveniently.

32. I’ve learned that the best advices really come from our parents. They DO know best. Even now that I’m almost-as-old-as-the-number-of-years-you-have-been-together-as-a-married-couple. I find myself running to you during difficult times and always ALWAYS I put down the phone feeling recharged and ready to take on the challenge.

33. Our parents have the kindest, most generous, most giving, most selfless hearts.

34. We’ve been handed excellent roadmaps for life, from our detailed atlases and encyclopedias, to the regular welcome torrent of concern and advice. But the best gift we’ve received is the gift of prayer and faith, which can be traced as the source of every blessing that is always ALWAYS more than what we need – thanks to the excellent example of the life being lived by our prayerful, faithful parents =]

35-36-37 (The following shall be equivalent to the three years they were together and only they know of…)

If the assignment of parents were made through a game of chance, we really hit the jackpot with whom God gave us- we won in the parents lottery =]

Here’s to you, Pop and Mom! Happy 34th! Or should it be 37th? (*wink wink*)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

OJTcareers.com: Education at work


Burdened by the difficulty of accessing opportunities for on-the-job-training (OJT), a requirement for graduation of a majority of college students, a group of enterprising undergrads banded themselves together and created what can be hailed as the country’s first (and, so far, only) website dedicated to OJT search – OJTcareers.com

I caught wind of this website from an email I received from one of the site’s founders, Ina R. She shared with me the difficulties students experience when they search for OJTs to complete their requirements for education, training, and graduation. No thanks to the dearth of information and resources on where to apply, students at times get stuck in uninteresting OJT posts in companies which do not maximize their potential or further their know-how, as manifest by their drone-like stapling of documents or making liters of coffee, just to fulfill their “requirements.”

On the other hand, smaller companies which can provide nurturing environments for undergrads’ hands-on training are drowned by mega-companies in posting openings in online jobs sites like JobStreet or JobsDB where OJT positions are not really the priority offerings. I tried searching for “on the job training” in either website. My search yielded 38 jobs in JobsDB and about 209 jobs in JobStreet. But as I ran through both lists, not all were OJT posts- some required years of experience! It doesn’t help that either site is not the easiest of places to navigate.

Thus, the time has come for a free website dedicated solely for making OJT opportunities accessible to both employers and undergrad students.

So if you are a college undergrad looking for a company to train with or if you are part of the human resources management office of your company on the look out for promising interns, have a meeting of minds via OJTcareers.com. Numerous OJT opportunities are being added almost daily from established corporations as well as from up and coming companies. Students with backgrounds like engineering, health, education, IT, and business would find more than a handful of opportunities to learn real-world experience from here. There are also interesting sidebar articles on topics like enhancing your resume. OJTcareers.com began no more than three, four months ago so I’m sure the site will become even better with time and experience.

I’m looking forward to reading about testimonials from those helped by OJTcareers.com. Likewise, additional articles on “making it” in the workplace would be of help. Topics like power dressing, handling office gossip, savings and investments for students, tips for making oral or PowerPoint presentations, office netiquette, etc would be of interest and help to on-the-job trainees. Insights on these topics and more from human resource managers and HR practitioners can likewise boost the usefulness of this website.

Kudos to the OJTcareers.com team for giving birth to this innovative site. It’s refreshing that the internet- much maligned and vilified- is fast becoming a tool for helping more Pinoy youth bridge the education and technology divide. May this usher in a bigger cohort of Filipinos more ready and capable to thrive in whatever workplace environment they choose to plant themselves in.

Nope, this is not among those paid sponsored reviews which I surreptitiously weave into my blog every so often. OJTcareers.com is a site that is worth whatever teensy-weensy boost I can muster to give it (pro bono of course).

Monday, May 04, 2009

Journey of a thousand miles begins with a mouse click

Many of our recent family travels are borne out of careful scouring of the internet for the best deals in our vacation destinations. For seasoned backpackers or novice travelers (like ourselves!), the journey of a thousand miles begins with a click of a link in a reliable travel website. For the gutsier tourist- H1N1 virus notwithstanding- there’s FreeReservation.com to assist us in our dream vacation needs.


If it’s a toss up among Florence, Prague, or Paris, you can be sure that this one-stop site will deliver. Do you want to savor what’s under the Tuscan sun? Enjoy the capital city of Tuscany as you stay in one of the quaint villas in the extensive listing of hotels in Florence. Are you intrigued by what is truly Bohemian, in the form of centuries-old castles, towers, and bridges? Come venture into one of the newest Schengen agreement countries- the Czech Republic- and stay in one of the hotels in Prague- its proud capital city. Do you want to experience the world-famous food, fun, and flair that only France can offer? Live out the holiday of a lifetime within the comforts of the website’s choice of hotels in Paris.

FreeReservation.com offers a variety of options for those seeking where to stay for a few nights or a few weeks in these wonderful cities. Choose from among their listed apartments, bed-and-breakfasts and hotels, all of which are competitively priced. Do not hesitate to get in touch with the site’s customer service personnel via phone, fax, or email.

When our dream of traveling through Europe comes to fruition, I know that the comforts of home in our dream vacation destinations maybe assured by just a few clicks on FreeReservation.com