Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It has been eight years, indeed

I cannot be trusted with this book review because the author is my best friend, lol. That said, I am giving it 5 stars out of 5! LOL!

The blogging culture has progressed from an online version of one's journal to a website that cater to a niche market. While I find the latter useful for my interests in fashion and chismis, I have to admit that I seriously, seriously miss reading the journal type. It's been a while since I've discovered anyone new, whose writing, wit and humor I'd crave for day and night. (To the Internet's credit, it's a huge sea out there—please feel free to make recommendations.)

So yes, there's a vacuum in my heart left by my Pinoy blogger heroes. Ranking number on the list is the person who actually forced me to set up a blogger account, Pam.

Hence, Paper Cuts, her collection of online essays, is a nostalgic trip not only for those who personally know her but also for anyone who blogged their personal stories and made friends with fellow bloggers, meeting them for coffee and not through a PR event. It's a vicarious thrill, getting to know the intimate secrets of a stranger (though as a reader, one must remind himself that blog entries alone do not a person make), and for an aspiring writer like myself, to see how the author deftly strings words together to make an otherwise mundane entry entertaining.

It's a feel-good book (it's classified as Humor in National Bookstore Shangri-La but I would really love to see it under Philippine Literature instead) and I'm sure it's not just because you'd feel good about never having seen your mother with a vibrator, an unfortunate and hilarious incident for Pam which made it in one of the chapters.

Her writing voice is not irritating. The tricky thing with writing about oneself is that there's a danger—an easily crossed line at that—when the author becomes obnoxious. (And they're not only found in blogs; they're found on Twitter and Facebook, too.) For some reason, Pam writes like she's your best friend (and yes, I am giggling as I type this; objectivity for the win, lol!) and it's no wonder she has amassed a respectable, if not a huge number of readership: her writing is style is accommodating and fun without the frills.

My only complaint regarding this book really is that it can be read in one sitting; obviously that's not enough to tide me over until Anvil publishes a part two :-P

Read the story behing the making of Paper Cuts by the writer herself here. I couldn't have been any prouder of you, Pammy—your blog entries are now a book!!! I'm so happy for you and congratulations!!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I'm not watching any other MMFF 2010 entry after this


I've long complained about how Filipino films, those that have grand ambitions, always have to be about poverty and sex, or have a twist that only bewilder you in the end. I couldn't understand why we can't make a "simple" film that works.

Rosario has accomplished what I consider a feat for Philippines cinema.

Laudable ensemble performance particularly from Isabel Oli, Sid Lucero and Jennylyn Mercado
Photo: Rosario the Movie on Facebook  

The plot is simple and I would rather not summarize it here because that would involve the use of merely three sentences and I wouldn't like to ruin the experience for anyone. In that respect, I felt that the material was stretched and kudos to the writer and director for not boring me despite the fact. I got too engrossed by the production value, and for someone who doesn't know his Filipino history well (particularly that point after the Spanish occupation), it was a treat to have seen what life was like for the Filipino rich during that period.

At the same time, I felt that opportunities were missed: since the story was slim, the film could've have broaden its scope to include a historical context although I do understand that the film's objective might have really just been to tell Rosario's story. After all, she did live a very interesting life, which you couldn't say the same about the women or men from that period, or even mine (thank God).

The cast delivered an understated, and therefore, a very much welcome, performance. Jennylyn Mercado's Rosario was coy and sly, where she could have been abrasive due to her American, liberal education. I have my misgivings on Dennis Trillo, whose characterization was too obvious, as well as on the many cameo apperances by known personalities, particularly by those that played Mother Superior and the doctorthey were distracting.

However, my hat is off to Sid Lucero, especially in that last scene, where his face went through a plethora of emotions, that, even without delivering a line, I started crying like I was a huge Nicholas Sparks fan on the set of The Notebook. From then on until the credits rolled, it was nonstop crying for me and I blame Dolphy for that, too.

Tanging Ina

Mon and I caught the Metro Manila Film Festival awards night on TV last Sunday. We were floored to have seen Mel del Rosario, Ai Ai delas Alas, and Wenn Deramas win for Best Screenplay, Best Actress and Best Directorall for Tanging Inabut we haven't seen the film so we apprehensively reserved our curses and judgement (because we couldn't believe Jennylyn and Director Albert Martinez weren't even nominated). The next day, after seeing Rosario, we made it a point to watch Tanging Ina to see if it deserved the accolades.

Here's my review: 'Tangina nyo, MMFF judges.

Friday, December 17, 2010

This is awkward

Due to insistent public demand, I decided to continue this blog.


I mean, I wouldn't say my friends were insistent, and by public, I actually meant about 15, but among the sweet messages, this one really went straight to my Pope-hating heart:

I've been reading your entries since I was in high school when I clicked over a random search result in Google. Now I'm graduating in college. Haha sorry medyo stalker-ish. Wala lang. I've been a fan, learned a lot from your blog, sad that one of the blogs I've been following has ended.

I had visual images of unicorns, cupcakes, rainbows and the Care Bears (except Grumpy) and they all let out a collective sigh of "Aaaaw." Na-touch talaga ko down there.

Um no, not that low.

There was also Iggy's sweet blog post. While I was writing my response to her entry, in which I was encouraging her never to stop blogging, I realized, "Eh ngek, ba't ikaw nag-stop?!" That slapped me awake.

And also, Miss Universe 2011 will be held in Sao Paolo, Brazil—I mean, I just have to blog about that, right?! (Bb Pilipinas lost the rights to Miss World too—so many beauty pageant news to tide me over until Miss Universe season!)

So yep, I will have to eat my words and blog again. I just need to figure out how to delete/hide my early archives because I really can't stand those. I tried switching to another blog/URL but I've invested a lot of tweak-hours on this template and I love it so much I can't imagine myself using another template. (And moving, it seems, wouldn't be a breeze and glitch-free either.) So let me just sort those and bluearden should be typing away once again. Found the solution; I'm officially back online :-)

Oh, and speaking of awkward:

Alam na!

Thursday, December 02, 2010


I look forward to traveling without the baggage. To a fresh start. With zero readers, lol.

I started this blog in *whew* 2002. I have an eight year-old right in here, folks!

For the most part of this blog, I chronicled every detail of my life, back to the time when TMI wasn't an internationally recognized acronym. It took a break-up in 2006 (2007?) for me to take a step back and go, "tsk tsk." I have entire posts that send me cringing.

Maybe it's because I'm oldand yep, that's relativebut I grow apprehensive each day I put part of myself online.

Thank you, my friends, especially those I've met offline. You're all awesome. :-)

All the best,

Monday, November 29, 2010

1. Gifts from across the seas 2. My bedroom

Pam and Jill recently arrived back from the US and Japan, and Giff finally escaped the fridge that is Canada (LOL!) and they were so awesome they included me and friends in their shopping list.

I simply wanted a canvas tote bag from Dean & Deluca since I saw this blog post on The Sartorialist (which also ended up in the book), but when Jill took a photo and Pam modeled it, ay parang ayoko na, lol.

But seriously, Jill said it didn't look like it was worth US$45 and I agreed. Pam then tweeted me and kept me in suspense:

@ we got you something better than that dean and deluca choova! :D kamukha pa din pero we think you'll like it more!
I fully agree!!! :-)
Tatin pointed out that the buttons with the initials M & J also stand for Mon and Jason! :-D
I promise to always use this tote and refuse plastic bags whenever possible! (I still haven't solved the fast food takeout conundrum.)

But it looks like I can be more environment-friendly in the plastic cutlery department with this awesome Klipo set!

You can clip off the head from the handles and change them into spoon, fork, knife or chopsticks:

Sorry, iba-iba ang white balance ko, lol.

It's funny how my eyes actually widened more over this than the Marc Jacobs bag, lol! It's a Madeline bean toy!!!!

I super love Madeline as you can tell from this 2005 post. It's not clearly seen in this photo but she also has a satin ribbon on her head, lol.

Pam and Jill also brought us chocolates but I've eaten them so no photo, lol.

Giff gave this bottle of ice wine which is so pretty I'm not sure I can bring myself to drink it.

But since Giff swears by the taste, of course I'll have to eventually drink it and I'll probably reuse the bottle.

Since I was shooting in my room, I also decided to take a few pictures of my bedroom which I only got to arrange after six months of moving into our new apartment.

First, I love my sheets, and those stood for the background in the product photos above. I got them from IKEA and they're really inexpensive for 100% cotton, like HK$100 to HK$200 for a set (includes two pillowcases). Last weekend, I wanted buy new ones at SM, but quality sheets were running in the thousands! Ayaw ng wallet ko, so I'm getting more on my next trip to whichever country has IKEA.

Speaking of IKEA, kamusta naman ang floor lamp na HK$120 lang?!

I've had more expensive meals for two at McDonald's! I love this lamp because it's stainless, the stem is completely flexible, the base is chrome aluminum, and the head never gets hot to touch. As in you can keep it on for hours, touch the lamp cover and it remains as cool as the room temperature! Amazing!

If you zoom in on the left, you'd find another pasalubong from a year ago, this time, from my India-based friend, Pepe:

Ganesh is the lord of letters and learning so I think he deserves his place in my stack of books.

And yep, this is my entire wardrobe :-)

I have more shirts in the closet (which I've set aside until I lose my attachment to them) but these are basically my clothes that are in heavy rotation. I'm really taking that New York Times article on living simply/wardrobe frugality very seriously and I will definitely edit this further...

... except I bought this new shirt from Bench, lol!

My excuse is that I don't have anything in this color yet (it's salmon pink!) so I hope I am forgiven :-D I also looove Bench's bag this holiday season. It does sparkle!

Anyhoo, lapse aside, I've managed to keep my wall free of clutter (for now), except for my Fisheye No. 2 camera and watch, which I find to be a play on the relativity of time.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Freudian slip

Di ko kinakaya. Ewan ko lang kung out of context ba ito, pero ilang ulit ko na binasa—from the the New York Post's secular-leaning blog post on one extremely religious man (LOL!) to Time's cautiously written article on the same subject—pero ito talaga ang interpretation ko:

Callboys talaga ang concern natin, 'teh?

To illustrate his apparent shift in position, Benedict offered the example of a male prostitute using a condom.

"There may be justified individual cases, for example when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be ... a first bit of responsibility, to re-develop the understanding that not everything is permitted and that one may not do everything one wishes." (Agence France-Presse, Pope says condoms acceptable 'in certain cases')

But seriously, for the ultra-conservative and orthodox Pope, why would he suddenly create this—I've not other word for it—'excuse' to justify specifically, a male prostitute's what is now deemed by the extremely religious man as an act of accountability*? What of a married couple's decision to raise the number of children according to what they could only afford? Wouldn't it have been more convenient for the Pope to have justified the conscientious decision of a heterosexual couple than that of a gay person in the sex business? And wouldn't have it been more humanitarian for the Pope to simply say, "Use condoms to stop the spread of AIDS" instead of phrasing it with several clauses (and adding that wild card into the equation, the abominable gay!)—a web of verbiage that would further entangle the Catholic Church into debate?

It raises too many questions about the Pope's immediate concerns. Sigmund Freud, graciously hear us.

*of course, like the Pope ;-) I do find it endearing that male prostitutes care enough about their clients to wear condoms

Friday, November 19, 2010


"Kung plagiarism ang daming nagpa-plagiarize, you use the same typefaces all the time (If we plagiarized it we would have copied it en toto)," (Secretary Alberto Lim) said.

Ideas are underrated in this country. That was my first reaction after seeing The Social Network some weeks ago. From the movie, we learned that the Winklevoss twins, the purported brains behind the Facebook concept, received US$65 million just for thinking about putting up such a website—they didn't even have to write a single line of programming script or code.

I walked out of the theater with such great awe for the Americans—they have such a tremendous respect for ideas that paying millions of dollars for them is not such a crazy idea.

That concept is weak here, and being a third world country is no excuse; we pay celebrity endorsers millions of pesos. I used to be satisfied with how much the Philippine Daily Inquirer pays me for my contributions because I know it's slightly above industry standards. However, I got a good dousing of cold water when I was asked to contribute an article by an international publisher of airline magazines and I saw the paycheck: the difference was a whopping 1,500 percent. That's how much other countries value ideas, in my case written in paper, and in such an environment, one would really be inspired to create original work.

Here, where magazines often pay their writers with gift certificates (if they actually get around to paying them) and with freelance writers hawking their talents to outsourcing companies for as little as P1 per word, it's no wonder that there is little regard for authorship and people unapologetically copy and paste another person's work and pass it off as their own—original work is undervalued. It's seemingly becoming normal and ingrained in our national psyche that I can't even wrap my mind around it—case in point: aside from UP and DLSU, no other school has spoken out against the Supreme Court's blatant plagiarism; I can't get over that!!!

And now, you have the DOT Secretary with no remorse at all, casually dismissing what I find to be a serious offense. Maybe stoning plagiarists to death wasn't such a bad idea after all.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My take on the new DOT campaign is...

November 18, 2010

Of course, it then becomes a huge problem when the recently launched Pilipinas Kay Ganda logo turns out to be plagiarized.

Image: Twitter user @Rambuc

Comparing the two side-by-side, it is obvious that one copied from the other. You understand that, you dimwitted plagiarist?

* * * *

... that the new slogan is the least of our problems.

For example: did you know that a round-trip flight from Manila to my father's hometown in Batanes is 75 percent more expensive than a trip to Hong Kong? (I know there are ROI factors to consider but still; I find it frustrating for the domestic tourist.)

And there are the problems with cab drivers, public transportation and pollutionthose that make a mark on a tourist's first impression of the Philippines once they step outside our airportsand many others that I'd rather not name because we all know what we need to fix. I guess, my point is, for the Philippines, it's more than just a branding issue. Of course, a brand helps: let's bring on the adjectiveswow, amazing and kay ganda. I just don't get why people are so... angry over this new DOT campaign. 

What's wrong with "kay ganda" (so beautiful)? Granted there is nothing wrong with "Wow Philippines!", eh sa maganda naman talaga ang Pilipinas bukod sa 'wow' ito. Will tourist arrivals drop if we use this campaign?

I don't even know what Indonesia's and Vietnam's advertising slogans are but they are ahead of the Philippines in 2009 arrivals, with Cambodia, (My goodness, Cambodia!!! They only have the Angkor Wat! We have over 7,000 islands!!!) whose advertisements I haven't seen either, catching up way too closely. Malaysia is ahead of the pack with what I personally find as the most obnoxious slogan of allTruly Asia. (What makes an Asian country truly... um, Asian? It reeks of arrogance; I'm surprised Filipinos, who rile over the slightest of things, haven't filed a complaint at The Hague: "Sinong tinatawag nilang pekeng Asian?!")

So you really can't tell with these slogans; who knows? There is more to tourism than spurning catchy sound bites for moneyed travelers. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Excuse me

I find it offensive that Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is being labeled a "homo." I've never backed down from a fight. I once faced a bully and smashed his head onto a flower pot. Call him as he isa scared guy.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Merry Christmas na by 1:43

I have to agree with Mon: this is way much better than the ABS-CBN Christmas station ID, lol. And the song's catchy too!

Thysz originally posted this on her Tumblr and when I read her and @elvinelvinelvin's tweet about the male camel toe in the music video, I just had to watch it for myself. And yes, the camel toe sings too! *chos*

She also lists poetic wisdom from the song that would make Pablo Neruda weep:

Your love for me is warm
And with you is where I belong
And you shine so bright in my life
Para kang parol sa aking bubong…


Ganito pala ang feeling ng paskong may ka loving
Three kings ang dating
Sarap ng monita La-christmas bonita Angel ka sinta
Pag-ibig naghahari My heart so very happy umaga hanggang gabi
Tayo’y mangagsiawit ng magagandang himig
Coz you and I We’re Pag-ibig

Because love is all about being hoisted up on the bubong and suspended indefinitely like a shining parol, right? รœ

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Oh, something random—let's discuss plagiarism!

"Plagiarism... comes from the Latin word that literally means 'kidnapping'—'plagiarius.' To plagiarize another person’s thoughts, expressions, ideas or creative work and pass it off as one’s own is, in effect, kidnapping in a different guise. And where the proof lies in the simple act of comparing the two works in question side by side—word for word and line by line—and concluding from there that one had indeed copied from the other, 'malicious intent,' whatever it is in this case, would not even be a question."

Open season, Philippine Daily Inquirer editorial, October 23, 2010

In my vocabulary (as well as my friends'; I sought their opinion), translating my blog post from Tagalog to English constitutes plagiarism. No self-proclaimed writer would even attempt doing so, that is, if they have respect for the word, 'writer.' (Even I find it hard to attach the title to my name; depending on the circumstance, I introduce myself as an editor or journalist.)

I mean, come on! *wipes off sweat from eyebrow with ring finger* If you were hit with inspiration by another work—whether that may be a song, a painting, an art installation, a novel, or a measly blog post by some measly blogger—just cite the darn source! If your ego's too huge to accept the fact, then good for you! Have some integrity and create—whip up something original—it's what writers do.

I understand the Supreme Court has legalized plagiarism but that does not mean people would no longer find it disgusting.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Working it and making it work

"There are times when I want to stop the world for a moment and ask certain people some probing questions, such as: All of these people are trying to get off the subway train. Why do you six people think you should enter before we leave?"

Introduction, Gunn's Golden Rules by Tim Gunn

It's the same question I ask myself whenever I use the elevator at our office buildingI don't understand the rush of those who bulldoze their way onto the lift when people are still trying to get off it. (What I do is bump them out of the way. That or I let them all enter and settle and just before the elevator door closes, I press it open and I make my way outside.) And don't get me started on those who wait for 5 minutes at the lobby, squeeze themselves among the crowd, even bumping off other persons to wait for the next lift, and lo!they get off on the second floor. (Our building's staircase is right next to the elevator.)

You'd think this is pretty much common sense but apparently, it is not as Tim Gunn has an entire book's worth of other etiquette rules that needn't have been written about in the first place. (Too obvious.) Hence, the only persons I know who'd probably have a life-changing epiphany after reading this book are the barbarians who probably won't even give it a second glance in a bookstore.

I'm hard-pressed to cite new things I've learned from Golden Rules and I don't mean to say that I've my Emily Post manners down pat. (My perennial excuse is that it's better for me to stick to my own business. Sometimes it makes sense although I'm sure the Dalai Lama would think otherwise.) In any case, I guess etiquette can be best summed up in one of Tim's chapters about being a good guest, where he underscored one's "dangerous sense of entitlement."  And the more I think about it, the more it made sense! That Mai Mislang incident was an example; she thought she was entitled to speak her mind, particularly on matters pertaining to lack of taste, beauty and class. One time, I gave a Christmas present to a friend; I heard no thanks from him, or even the slightest mention of an acknowledgment. (And I'm sure he received it.) Perhaps, he knew it was only natural that he was bestowed the honor and felt no need to be grateful. And the elevator people who get off after one floor? They feel important enough to waste your time; the same goes for habitual latecomers.

Whenever I encounter people who break the rules, I attempt to relax myself and think, "Okay Jason, let this be your lesson in tolerance." However, in a country whose government has gotten by on its citizen's collective stupor, that lackadaisical approach to living ("Bahala na!"), I cannot make sense of my self-imposed, pseudo Eat, Pray, Love need to stretch my fuse. I'd have more fulfillment if I could break their skull! (Among many other things, this country is lucky I am not its President; our prisons would be way much more spacious as there'd be more people roaming the streets with no arms and legs.)

On a different note, I wish Tim Gunn had written an autobiography instead. I found it more interesting to read about his childhood, his early struggles with his sexuality, and his decision to be celibate. He also dished out on celebrities, peers, ex Project Runway contestants, and former employers who broke etiquette rules as examples for his book, a fact which I found ironic and slightly disconcerting for a man whom I've always found to have only good words to say on TV. I suppose it's his way of breaking a person's skull.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Sweet 16

Nauuso ngayon sa Twitter yung #tweetyour16yearoldself na hash tag. Basically, you tweet what you'd say to... well, your 16 year-old self! Marami akong gustong sabihin, so dito na lang sa blog ko:

  • Binobola ka lang nya.
  • Binobola ka rin lang ng teachers mo.
  • Nope, wag mo na sya i-rationalize; hindi mo talaga kailangan i-calculate kung anong tren ang mauuna sa Point C.
  • Hindi mo rin kailangan i-calculate kung anong prutas yung unang babagsak.
  • Magbasa-basa ka naman ng libro, yung hindi required.
  • Sulat pa.
  • Seryosohin mo naman ang pagpili mo ng college.
  • Lalo na ang pagpili mo ng course.
  • Alamin mo nga ano difference ng "ng" at "nang"... wait, I'm telling this to myself now, lol.
  • Masyado kang guarded; sayang ang mga friendship.
  • Kala mo ang ganda mo, lol!
  • Pero overall, good job! Naks! :-D

* * * *

While writing this, na-realize ko, ang daming butas ng aking high school education. Parang robot yung pagkakaturo sa 'min; walang chance para ka mag-isip, magtanong, mag-explore ng mga possibilities. Buti na lang mahilig bumili si Mama noon ng mga hardbound at colorful na mga books on world history, sciences, etc. Si Ate naman na psychology major, at mahilig din magbasa ng libro, ay may mga books on human pyschology, biology at kung ano-ano pa. (Kaya bata pa ko, may concept na ko ng mga nagpapaka-emo or yung mga nag-iinarte langhay naku, dinedma ko talaga yang mga yan; ayoko silang bigyan ng attensyon ko. At ang mga Harold Robbins romance novels ni Ate + books on anatomyayun na!)

Kung hindi dahil sa mga supplement readings ko, at paglipat ko sa isang unibersidad para sa college, eh feeling ko saradong sarado ang utak ko sa maraming bagay.

Ganon din ba sa high school nyo? Ngayon kasi, pag nababasa ko yung mga tungkol sa Philippine High School for the Arts sa Makiling or Philippine Science High School sa Quezon City (na juice ko, di ko talaga pinangarap na mapasukan, pero since "Science" school, I assume eh, mas bukas ang isip sa pagtuturo ng mga sciences at hindi dinadaan lahat sa dasal), iniisip ko ang swerte-swerte ng mga estudyante doon kasi, in the case of PHSA, malalaman mo talaga kung san ka magaling and you have several years to grow your talent (and I think, secular school din 'to); at sa PISAY, eh wala kang religious baggage hanggang sa tumanda ka na. Nasasayangan lang ako sa taon na ginugugol ng mga bata... para lang maging robot.

Additional reading:
"Victims of Enthrallment," previous blog entry
"Don’t work. Avoid telling the truth. Be hated. Love someone," commencement speech by Adrian Tan at Nanyang Technological University

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


Voldy, I think we found someone for you.

I was close to tears (from laughter) after reading this column by Tingting Cojuangco on last Sunday's The Philippine Star. She wrote that she loves to people-watch, and took a swipe at one particular sub-group:
I nearly get bumped off my bench by—how shall I describe her delicately—a fat woman. 

Yes, why settle for dainty descriptions when you can just ram the imagery onto your readers, straight and simple:
There is no avoiding calling her that because she was really fat, as wide as three people at least. 

And then, after you've reconsidered your intention to be pleasant, why not just go ahead and be—how shall I put this delicately—an asshole:
I worry for her seatmates on the plane, and I wonder if it ever occurs to them to be sorry for being fat when they have to fit into an airplane seat.

Wow, what a roll! *applause, standing ovation*  But of course, like a good Catholic, she atones for her sin and brings up God because there is beauty in all of us:
People come in all shapes and sizes, in all personalities, moods, and character. I love to remind myself that in so much variety, we can only be sure of one thing—that there is so much good in every one of God’s creatures.

I find it all so... Damasonian.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


I tried to delay reading the last book of the Harry Potter series as much as I could, but alas, with the release of the first of the two-part installment of the film franchise this month, I had to face the inevitable: my adventure with Harry Potter and his world would have to come to an end.

I have to admit that I wasn't an instant fan of JK Rowling's workthe very first Potter book was juvenile for my tastebut it wasn't difficult to be won over. For us adults, we've seen Harry and his friends grow up before us (including the actors for the movie version, long enough to see one of them, sadly, pass away, and for another to disrobe in public). I find the relationship strange: they're practically the only kids I have an emotional attachment with.

Deathly Hallows is the best book I've read in the series, making it more difficult to part with Potter and friends. I was disheartened by the amount of deaths in its pages, but it were the slivers of determination and hope—when wizards would rally around Harry Potter—that actually got me tearing up. (That line by Mrs. Weasley—I was laughing and crying at the same time; my eyes were red and puffy when I finally turned the book's last page.) Voldemort's rise to power, or the Dark Lord, as he was referred to by his followers, funny (or unfortunate) as it now seems, reminded me of what I know about the Nazis, and I couldn't help but think how JK Rowling's fiction was in fact, real life for the Jewish people during Adolf Hitler's regime. I hope adults would care enough to explain to their children that at one point in our history, "Voldemort" and his "Death Eaters" did reign supreme, and while resistance may have been slow to stop the death of millions, it wasn't just "one Harry Potter" that stood up against them but countries and their governments and citizens.

In the Philippines of course, there was a similar story: not as brutal as the Nazis' but the lives lost, though not the same in number, were no less important.

It is easy to dismiss the battle between good and evil as abstract; but to put it in these contexts, I hope we all see how important it is to choose to be on Harry Potter's side in all matters of life.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Victims of enthrallment

Sir Ken Robinson, knighted by Britain for his services to education, makes the case for revolutionizing our educational systems. According to him, we ought to learn from the science of agriculture: growing crops is an organic processone adjusts to the crop, ensuring that all resources are made available to make it thrive. Consider education as the cultivation of one's human resourceswe cannot set an uncompromising structure and expect everyone to go through just one process of learning and growing. (Just one for all our quirks, differences, talents and abilities.)

(via Mida)

Click here if you prefer to read the transcript:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

No stand

A cursory glance at the tables of comparison set out in Justice Serano’s opinion reveals repeated verbatim or near-verbatim uses of text from our article without attribution. If a law student submitted an essay with this much cut-and-paste text, without attribution, he or she would almost certainly be subject to disciplinary action.

— statement by Professors Evan Fox-Decent (McGill) and Evan Criddle (Syracuse), 
authors of one of the articles plagiarized by Mariano del Castillo

I'm disturbed by the fact that aside from UP's, no other law school, or educational institution for that matter, have spoken against the supreme court's (I refuse to bestow it the honor of uppercase letters) decision to glorify unintentional plagiarism. (I didn't mean to cut-and-paste verbatim; therefore, I'm innocent of theft.) Isn't the academic community the largest stakeholder in this?

No, I'm not advocating mob rule. I only wish these other schools have balls.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The art of writing "thank you"

I've long wanted my own, personal letterpress stationery since Smart Communications once gave me a set of notecards in my inital and name many Christmases ago. (It disappeared from the face of this earth last year and I never found it back.) Unfortunately, I do not know of any local shop that specializes in letterpress stationery, except for those that make wedding invitations, which if aren't tacky, require large orders. The ones I found that are closer to my aesthetic are based in the US, but unlike Tatin, I'm wary of online orders that require international shipping because of our blasted customs and post offices. (Plus, they're really expensive, ranging from US$300 to US$500 for a set of 100 cards.)

While that search is on hold, I'm happy to have found these Thank You notecards by Peter Pauper Press at a local book shop.

First, I love the black- and cream-color combination.

The notecards come with matching envelopes

I'm normally wary of using foreign language in my correspondence (aside from English, naturellement :-P) as I don't want to appear pretentious (aside from the fact that I only have six units of beginner French under my belt; not enough to impress!) but I couldn't resist the beautiful details of this particular design.

From the intricately drawn and embossed Eiffel Tower with gloss highlights,

The gloss appears as smudge in this photo; looks better in person.

and the sweet-sounding brevity of the French word for "Thank you," (The homonymic reference to an apology isn't lost on me; it's as if you're sorry for the trouble the favor had cost the giver, which I find very considerate.)

to the elegant linen finish of the paper,

I can't wait to begin writing my thank-you's. To be safe, I divided my set into two and kept a stash at home and in the office: I can never be sure when I'll need to make an impromptu gratitude note.

How exactly does one write a thank you letter on such limited space as a notecard?

According to this article by Leslie Harpold for The Morning News, you may follow this outline (example is mine):

  • Greet the giver
Dear Momon,

  • Express your gratitude
Thank you so much for giving me a copy of "Take Ivy."

  • Discuss your gift's use
It is a fitting addition to my collection of style books for men;

  • Mention the past, allude to the future

And what an addition to that wonderful surprise you gave me at the end of my birthday dinner. I look forward to celebrating more birthdays with you by my side.

  • Close with grace
You are a gentleman worth emulating.

  • Say your regards

Easy, right? Now let's keep the art of letter-writing alive.


Saw this on the TLC's Passport to Europe TV show yesterday: If you happen to be in Paris, mail your postcards and letters at the post office right under the Eiffel Towerthis is so you get that exclusive Eiffel Tower stamp on your envelopes and cards. C'est trรจs magnifique!

Friday, October 22, 2010

The new Maria Clara

I missed Looklet and I have a lot of free time, lol.

Items in this look:

Gloves by Kenzo
Veil by Rita Saardi
Earrings by Rachel Leigh
Clutch by Versace
Necklaces by Tree and Day Birger et Mikkelsen
Skirt by Lars Wallin
Mini Dress by Kim Hagelind
Boots by Burberry Prorsum 

Friday, October 15, 2010

I love you Albay!

With Richards Herrera and Hardin,
Philippines team of the Amazing Race Asia 4
(This iPhone app is awesome!)
What a way to spend my first week of being 30! (Mentioning my age out loud always results to an exasperated muttering of "Shet!" in my head, lol.)

Last weekend, I sent out a couple of tweets about my experience in Legazpi City. First, the view from my plane before the final touchdown (sorry, got no pics of that as I was sitted in aisle): freaking gorgeous! It was my first time in Bicol ever, and I didn't expect that full-on assault of Mayon's beauty. Truly spectacularit was my best flight view ever! (A contributor for Men's Health however, said that I should wait 'til I see Batanes. Now, I can't wait for that.)

We were there to do an exclusive story on the Philippines team's experience, particularly that of the Richards or the 'Riches', during the Albay leg of the current season of the Amazing Race Asia. (Buy tomorrow's copy of the Philippine Daily Inquirer for the story on that :-D)

From the airport, we were whisked off to Misibis Bay, member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH), an upscale resort that can get pretty affordable for the young urban professional should it have promo packages. The resort manager, Ian Varona, said that last year, they had a P16,000 package that included airfare, transfers, 3 days/2 nights accomodations, meals and guaranteed 30 activities for guests to choose from.

The resort is situated at the foot of Cagraray Island, so needless to say, the view was breathtaking. Too bad, we didn't really have much time to lounge and laze around as we had a full two days of activities ahead of usthat's why I promised myself to be back soon.

Misimis is not fully constructed yetthey are in the middle of constructing a church (Imagine, a view of Mayon and the Pacific, while getting married) and a convention hall. I'm also sad to say that I wasn't too happy about the service. Don't get me wrong, the staff were extra pleasantthey were all smiles, and constantly greeted us with pleasantries every time we crossed paths with them. Unfortunately, the employees (80 percent of whom are residents of Bicol, which I think is awesome) tended to forget orders, or were not as proactive enough to ask what drinks we wanted or fill our glasses with water. Surely, it wasn't a major issue for usbut this might be a problem for discerning guests with high expectations of this SLH member hotel. I also couldn't figure out why my order of Mojito turned out to be cloudy white with shreds of buko meat, lol. (The margaritas were awesome, fortunately.) I'm not sure about the cultural quirks of Bicolanos, e.g., do they have a problem with the concept of servants, but the staff needs major HRM help.

Misibis Bay's Amphitheater. May serve as venue for your wedding or for that special dinner.
At night, resort staff can fill this with hundreds and hundreds of candle lights.

The rooms are spacious: I found it spare perhaps because of the size, but it has high, airy ceilings and there is light everywhere. The bathroom is hugeyou can stage a catwalk inside, lol. The same goes for the balcony, which includes lounge chairs and a jacuzzi. The toiletry set is by L'Occitane. Entertainment facilities include a 32-inch flat LCD TV, DVD player and an iPod dock.

The master's bedroom
photo by Jill Lejano

The adjacent room with day bed
photo by Jill
The bathroom: so long we didn't manage to include the shower
(should have been in the foreground, left side) in the shot.
photo by Jill

One of the many breathtaking views at Misibis Bay
photo by Jill 

For the activities, we were able to try the ATV island tour. Development in Cagraray Island is fairly new, and I imagine the owner of Misimis to be super-super, as in really, reaaaally rich, lol! You see, he's actually the one who has been building highways and viewpoints in the island. He even built a helipad near Mayon (!) but more on that later.
The roads are fairly new (we rarely encountered another vehicle) 
so you have them all to yourself. Check out Mayon in the distance.
photo by Jill 

Our convoy of ATVs plus one buggy.

So since the roads are fairly new, there are no public transportations plying the routes yet. Actually, private vehicles are extremely rare (I don't think we came across one during our two-day ATV trip). So you can just imagine the freedom of riding the ATV through the wide, open roads that cut through cliffs and hills, with the ocean and nearby islands as your viewit was the BEST!

It took a lot of effort to concentrate on the road and not stare at this while driving.
Our breakfast view: the Misibis staff arranged cookies, bread and fruits. Walang toilet so demure lang kami kumain, lol.
photo by Jill

We were also able to ride the owner's private helicopter. (Misibis Bay guests may arrange their own chopper tour for a fantastic view of Mayon.) As I said, the owner built a helipad near Mayon at a place called Lava Wall (basically a bed of igneous rocks from the mouth of Mayon during one of its eruptions), and I was nearly reduced to tears upon seeing the beauty of this place. The operative word is 'nearly' because we were distracted by our 15 minutes of camwhoring, lol.

Misibis Bay photo taken from the chopper
photo by Jill 
At the helipad. Look at that breathtaking view.
photo by Jill 
Before the descent to the ATV ride of our lives.
photo by Jill 

From there, we descended to where our ATVs were parked and rode for one hour going to Caraga, place of the buried church tower. Oh God, that trip was beautiful. (Never mind that I had libag and mud all over my body at the end of my journey because the road was dusty and we crossed river streams.) Seriously, it's one of the things every Pinoy must do before he/she dies. Perhaps you can skip the chopper, lol, but seriously, the ATV ride from the lava wall through the towns of Camalig and Daraga was amazing. I loved how the locals would actually step out of their houses and watch us pass by. The kids would wave at us and the most of the older foks would smile. I smiled and waved back at them. Hello, Venus Raj.

This trip was absolutely worth my uneven tan and sun spots.
photo by Jill 

Caption this pic, lol.
photo by Jill 
I loved the kids!!! They were really happy to see us for some reason.
photo by Jill 
Finally arriving at Cagsawa and showing off my dimple, lol.
photo by Jill 

And you'll have to buy tomorrow's Philippine Daily Inquirer to find out what this was all about :-P
photo by Jill 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The bitter anti-populist

I came across one of Antipinoy's online vitriol. (I don't follow its website and social media accounts; one of my Twitter buddies unfortunately re-tweeted its reaction to the video of UP economics professor Winnie Monsod's last lecture for the school year.)

Here's the video of Mrs. Monsod. I was so stunned by her speech that I had to reassess my short-term goals and make them less selfishmain reason why I felt that I had to write about this.

Here is AntiPinoy's reaction. I am not providing links because as one of my other Twitter buds, @elvinelvinelvinelvin, said, "Hits-whoring. Again. Obviously."

Who presumes to be an authority on who’s led an “honourable” or less-than-”honourable” life? Apparently esteemed “economics” professor Winnie Monsod thinks she is one such authority. In her recent “gone-viral” video, Monsod admonishes people who after being educated in the University of the Philippines (UP) — country’s premier state university — had opted to seek their fortunes overseas.

A couple of things:

(1) Why only students of UP?

Shouldn’t she be including the millions of Filipinos who were educated by Filipino taxpayers through the rest of the public education system?

Duh, because the lecture was originally (because it has since been re-posted online) for her class comprised of UP students.


(2) Why only people who go abroad?

Last I heard the number of Filipinos who live in the islands overwhelmingly and utterly dwarfs the number of people who are working and residing abroad...

We pester the elite of our society with calls for acts of heroism when the burden of extra hard work in reality falls on the shoulders of the poor masses.

(First: What 'extra' hard work? Where is this 'extra' hard work coming from? I hope your answer is not the elite because a) that then opens a can of flawed arguments from the author; and b) that is one of the reasons why Mrs. Monsod stressed on honor and integrity from one particular category of elites: UP studentsin her lecture. )

Again, the lecture is for UP students. Mrs. Monsod specifically called out on expatriates with state-funded education, adding that these alumni would never be able to pay back what the government had invested in themdespite monetary contributions to their respective university associationsunless they exhaust their mental and manual energies in the Philippines.


Also, calling on the "elite of our society" to act heroically does not imply a call for the "poor masses" to stop working, heroically or otherwise. Mrs. Monsod's lecture never did.

It takes real insight to spot these cling-on bits of reality hiding underneath our glossy fur and a lot of hard work to pick them off our thin hides.

Deal with it.

He is clearly not a writer.

(I remember another AntiPinoy article, which I cited in this blog entry [middle part], for its horrible argument. It turned out it was written by the same person as the one written about in this entry.) 

Monday, October 04, 2010

It's Christmas!

I'm finding myself less and less interested in material things. That's why when my family and friends kept buggering me about the birthday present I wanted, there really wasn't anything for me to sayI get to enjoy their love and company and those are more than enough for me to feel contented and wealthy. (O ha!)

So when I finally received my birthday gifts this year, I knew I was going to be happy with whatever they were giving me since I wasn't expecting for anything, i.e., no room for disappointment. But what can I say, I have friends and a boyfriend with razor-sharp memories and winning shopping skills because as I unwrapped one present after another, I found myself screaming (in thought), "Yay!!! I've always wanted this!!!" or "Eeeeep!!! I wished for this nga pala!!! and "Yaaaay!!!! I finally have it!"

Seriously, kaloka kayo. Mas alam nyo pa kaysa sakin yung mga gusto ko, lol!

Mwah!!!! Thanks so much Ate, Jill, Pam, Tatin and my perfect boyfriend, Mon for making Christmas come early :-D I also have a gift from my colleagues but I wasn't able to take a photo of it last Friday. It's a condiments container in the shape and form of a camera lens, lol! See, no disappointments, lol!

Shopping for a planner is always a huge task for me. No need for that next year! 

Note from Pam and Jill that made me "Aaw" and laugh at the same time.

I love hand creams! Tatin remembered me asking her about this particular brand because I loved the smell.

Technically Tatin's pasalubong from SG. Super low-cut itez, haha!

We met relatively recently lang but I feel like I've known her for decades!

Yay! After all the hype, I can't wait to read this one :-D

I loooove Mon's taste (LOL!). Couldn't get over his beautifully wrapped gift, I
cut off a piece of the wrapper for my scrapbook. 

Yay! I wanted this last year pa. Instituto Cervantes Manila umbrella with wood handle.


I remember complaining to Mon that I hated how my old Lock & Lock lunch box would absorb
food smell 'til the next day. This premium line promises none of that.

Never got around to replacing my old Havaianas with the broken strap :-P

Chopsticks with a spoon end for soup. Brilliant, lol!

Totally forgot about this one already :-D

Love :-D

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