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
Love,
Jason




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 tr├Ęs 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.

And;

(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.

Of course, this is debatable: BETWEEN MRS. MONSOD AND FILIPINO EXPATS WITH STATE-FUNDED EDUCATION.

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.


LOL!



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



It thinks you're stupid enough to believe its lies

I heard a Catholic mass for the first time in years yesterday; I thought it'd be a good family activity before we headed for my birthday lunch, so for the record, I was in no way fishing about the church's activity in light of all these Carlos Celdran and RH brouhaha.

The Gospel yesterday included the parable of the mustard seed. According to the priest, ways to increase your faith include: "a lot of praying," "hearing Sunday mass weekly," and "more praying." I was rolling my eyes the whole time: I mean, seriously? They are still saying this same crap from when I was still in grade school? Praying, hearing Mass and more praying?

All the church champions is individualism, or cocooning oneself up from modern realities. It remains out of touchor at the least, a touch above the real issues of the country. How about increased faith through charity? Working on increasing faith in humanity?

And then the priest (sorry, I didn't catch his name) said that an "attack" was being made at the Catholic Church, especially with the planned passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill in Congress. He then introduced the video below.





It's interesting to note that the Anti-Abortion video does not actually mention the RH billexactly because the RH bill does not espouse abortion. However, the Greenbelt chapel is hoping that the faithful would make that association themselves (RH = abortion) with a video set against an apocalyptic music.

We are smarter than that. I hope your church is giving you better credit than the one in Greenbelt.


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