Saturday, August 30, 2008


since kr was not "bullied" into throwing a chocolate party, saying that she'll do it in "her own time"... the triangle offense (ate weng, 'day and myself) disapointingly headed to leviste's mercury drug for some sweets. there, ate weng introduced me to nestle's newest snack - pops!

at 28 pesos, this kiss-shaped choco coated vanilla ice cream is just so yummy, pushing you to keep popping one kiss after the other! mmmmmm! sarap! it's a fitting snack for anyone who needs and craves for a sudden sugar rush in a middle of a lazy afternoon.

i think i'm gonna have the 80-peso serving next time... (",)

Thursday, August 28, 2008


i've been to apo island recently. the place is one true sanctuary to see dynamic, living and breathing marine ecosystem. best for divers and would-be-divers, but also very good for snorkelers like me because vast & beautiful coral reefs are already found in near shallow waters. but what really struck our travel group was the school right at the island's famed marine sanctuary. a makeshift high school campus, it actually houses 300 students within its dilapidated wooden walls. there are only 3 or 4 teachers sharing the entire teaching load. locals said that it was only a temporary shelter for students from 1st to 3rd year, since their main campus is being repaired, bigger school buildings are also being constructed. but we also found out that this repair and construction has been going on for nearly 3 years now! worse, not all these students might be accepted in the island's main campus once they finish their 3rd year, since it can only accommodate a certain number of students. oh my... it's really not unimaginable why education in our country quickly deteriorated. the island-dwelling poor folks become helpless victims of this incessant and deliberate inattention.
agnes has provided a more detailed description below, with my pics in it.

Diving Paradise has Depressing High School

Apo Island, Dauin, Negros Oriental – Apo Island is among the top 10 dive sites in the world. It has a community-based marine sanctuary, a protected marine reserve endowed with more than 650 documented fish species and 400 kinds of corals.

See its magnificent rock formations and awesome skyline.

Its underwater paradise, however, contrasts sharply with its hellish high school. Located less than 5-meters from the azure waters (please see above photo to your right), the school has a dilapidated one-storey building.

An adjacent structure which serves as an open classroom because it has no door nor front walls has bamboo and nipa for roofing. Actually divided to make two classrooms, it houses termite-infested chairs, teacher's table, and visual aids.

I can imagine why teachers in this school see the need to post those offenses. Despite the idyllic environment, the school's facilities are not suitable for learning. They can probably drive some people mad.

We were just there for five-hours to swim and snorkel so we didn't have time to get more information and conduct interviews with the locals about how many students and teachers go there, etc. We didn't expect to find a school there anyway.

Far-Flung Place

What I can confirm is this: it is reaaaaally a far-flung place. From Dumaguete City, we took an almost an hour bus ride to Malatapay, Zamboanguita. Along the highway, we hailed a tricycle that took us to the coastline where boats can be rented for P 1,500 to 2,000 for a 45-minute ride to the island. The ride is splashy and wet and bumpy as the boat slices through the sometimes ferocious waves (depending on the weather and time of day).

Imagine teachers' travails in getting there.

And imagine this state multiplied about a hundred times in other far, far away barrios in the Philippines. What hurts is I know I wouldn't have to go out of Luzon to see this situation. So we have eradicated the problem of classroom shortage?

Should we care?

Is there somebody out there who has a good idea on how to help this school in Apo Island?
We were just passing by and we intended to have fun. We did have fun but something in the depressed state of the school wants me to hurl invectives at congressmen and senators and other grossly corrupt government officials.

Surely, JUST A ONE MONTH OFFICIAL TAKE-HOME PAY OF A CONGRESSMAN OR SENATOR can drastically improve the lot of this school.

But I wouldn't push my luck and knock on their better nature (assuming a miracle happens and they suddenly grow a conscience). I'm exhausted with the thought of blaming the government and depending on it to take action.

"Good" Idea

So I'd take this emailing down. Rather than weep, whine, rant, or do nothing, my "good" idea is this:

Send this email to the Foundation for the Encouragement of People Power (FEPP) or such NGOs who are reliable and trustworthy in making a difference in education. If they can organize/mobilize a group who can collect funds and ensure that it will be used ONLY for the improvement of the school, I'd be the first in line to donate funds.

Surely a cop-out thing on my part to rely on someone to do the organizing and collecting funds for the school. But I guess there are some other institutions that are more equipped and can do the task better than me.
If you can email this to people who can act judiciously and appropriately, may God bless your good soul.

May our God of the past, present, and future continually give us grateful hearts for all the blessings and comforts that
enrich us.

There are some things that we can't control. But if we grab one chance to make a difference, to show that we actually care, how wonderful the world will be.

~~~Agnes Apostol

Friday, August 22, 2008


alvin, our new and soon to be ex pc analyst sent this beautiful essay. i don't know who the writer was or where this was published, but i think this is one simple but powerful piece that should be read by pinoys from all walks of life. so here goes...

To all Filipinos Everywhere:

I used to think that corruption and criminality in the
Philippines were caused by poverty. But recent events
tell me this is not true. It is one thing to see
people turn into drug addicts, prostitutes, thieves
and murderers because of hunger and poverty, but what
excuse do these rich, educated people have that could
possibly explain their bizarre behavior? And to think
I was always so relieved when petty snatchers got
caught and locked away in jail because I never fully
realized that the big time thieves were out there,
making the laws and running our country. Can it get
any worse than this?

Every night, I come home and am compelled to turn on
my tv to watch the latest turn of events. I am
mesmerized by these characters. They are not men. They
are caricatures of men - too unreal to be believable
and too bad to be real. To see these "honorable"
crooks lambast each other, call each one names, look
each other in the eye and accuse the other of
committing the very same crimes that they themselves
are guilty of, is so comical and apalling that I don’t
know whether to laugh or cry. It is entertainment at
its worst!

I have never seen so many criminals roaming around
unfettered and looking smug until now. These criminals
wear suits and barongs, strut around with the
confidence of the rich and famous, inspire fear and
awe from the very citizens who voted them to power,
bear titles like "Honorable", "Senator", "Justice",
"General" and worse, "President". Ironically, these
lawless individuals practice law, make our laws,
enforce the law. And we wonder why our policemen act
the way they do! These are their leaders, and the
leaders of this nation, " Robin Hoodlum" and his band
of moneymen. Their motto, "Rob the poor, moderate the
greed of the rich."

It makes me wonder where on earth these people came
from, and what kind of upbringing they had to make
them act the way they do for all the world to see. It
makes me wonder what kind of schools they went to,
what kind of teachers they had, what kind of
environment would produce such creatures who can lie,
cheat and steal from an already indebted country and
from the impoverished people they had vowed to serve.
It makes me wonder what their children and
grandchildren think of them, and if they are breeding
a whole new generation of improved Filipino crooks and
liars with maybe a tad more style but equally
negligible conscience. Heaven forbid!

I am an ordinary citizen and taxpayer. I am blessed to
have a job that pays for my needs and those of my
family, even though 30% of my earnings go to the
nation’s coffers. Just like others in my lot, I have
complained time and again because our government could
not provide enough of the basic services that I expect
and deserve. Rutty roads, poor educational system,
poor social services, poor health services, poor
everything. But I have always thought that was what
all third world countries were all about, and my
complaints never amounted to anything more.

And then this. Scandalous government deals. Plundering
presidents pointing fingers. Senators who are crooks.
Congressmen who accept bribes. Big time lawyers on the
side of injustice. De Venecia ratting on his boss only
after his interminable term has ended, Enrile
inquiring about someone’s morality! The already filthy
rich Abalos and Arroyo wanting more money than they or
their great grandchildren could ever spend in a
lifetime. Joker caught red-handed. Defensor rendered
defenseless. Gen. Razon involved in kidnapping.
Security men providing anything but a sense of
security. And it’s all about money, money, money that
the average Juan de la Cruz could not even imagine in
his dreams. Is it any wonder why our few remaining
decent and hardworking citizens are leaving to go work
in other countries?

And worst of all, we are once again saddled with a
power-hungry president whose addiction has her
clinging on to it like barnacle on a rusty ship. "Love
(of power) is blind" takes a whole new meaning when
PGMA time and again turns a blind eye on her husband’s
shady financial deals. And still blinded with all that
is happening, she opts to traipse around the world
with her cohorts in tow while her country is in

They say the few stupid ones like me who remain in the
Philippines are no longer capable of showing disgust.
I don’t agree. Many like me feel anger at the
brazenness of men we call our leaders, embarrassment
to share the same nationality with them, frustration
for our nation and helplessness at my own
ineffectuality. It is not that I won’t make a stand.
It is just that I am afraid my actions would only be
futile. After all, these monsters are capable of
anything. They can hurt me and my family. They already
have, though I may not yet feel it.

But I am writing this because I need to do something
concrete. I need to let others know that ordinary
citizens like me do not remain lukewarm to issues that
would later affect me and my children. I want to make
it known that there are also Filipinos who dream of
something better for the Philippines. I want them to
know that my country is not filled with scalawags and
crooks in every corner, and that there are citizens
left who believe in decency, fairness, a right to
speak, a right to voice out ideas, a right to tell the
people we have trusted to lead us that they have
abused their power and that it is time for them to
step down. I refuse to let this country go to hell
because it is the only country I call mine and it is
my responsibility to make sure I have done what I
could for it.

Those of us who do not have the wealth, power or
position it needs to battle the evil crime lords in
the government can summon the power of good. We can
pray. We can do this with our families every night.
We can ask others to pray, too, including relatives
and friends here and overseas, just so we get the
message to Him of our desperation in ridding our
nation of these vermin. After all, they cannot be more
powerful than God!

I implore mothers out there to raise your children the
best way you can. Do not smother, pamper, or lavish
them with too much of the material comforts of life
even if you can well afford them. Teach them that
there are more important things in this world. I beg
all fathers to spend time with their children, to
teach them the virtues of hard work, honesty, fair
play, sharing, dignity and compassion right from the
sandbox till they are old enough to go on their own.
Not just in your homes, but at work, in school,
everywhere you go. Be good role models. Be shining
examples for your children so they will learn to be
responsible adults who will carry and pass on your
family name with pride and honor.

I call on educators and teachers; we always
underestimate the power of your influence on the minds
of our youth. Encourage them to be aware of what is
happening in their surroundings. Instill in them a
love of their country, inculcate in them the value of
perseverance in order to gain real, worthwhile
knowledge, help us mold our children into honorable
men and women. Encourage our graduates, our best and
brightest, to do what they can to lift this country
from the mire our traditional politicians have sunk us
into. The youth is our future and it would be largely
because of you, our educators, that we will be able to
repopulate the seats of power with good leaders,
presidents, senators, congressmen, justices,
lawmakers, law enforcers and lawful citizens.

I ask all students, young people and young
professionals everywhere to look around and get
involved in what is happening. Do not let your youth
be an excuse for failure to concern yourselves with
the harsh realities you see. But neither let this make
you cynical, because we need your idealism and fresh
perspective just as you need the wisdom of your
elders. YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU! Let your voices be
heard. Do what you can for this land that gave you
your ancestors and your heritage. Use technology and
all available resources at hand to spread good. Text
meaningful messages to awaken social conscience. Try
your best to fight moral decay because I promise you
will not regret it when you become parents yourselves.
You will look back at your past misdeeds and pray that
your children will do better than you did.

Remember that there are a few handful who are capable
of running this country. You can join their ranks and
make their numbers greater. We are tired of the old
trapos. We need brave idealistic leaders who will
think of the greater good before anything else. Do
your utmost to excel in your chosen field. Be good
lawyers, civil servants, accountants, computer techs,
engineers, doctors, military men so that when you are
called to serve in government, you will have
credibility and a record that can speak for itself.

For love of this country, for the future of our
children, for the many who have sacrificed and died to
uphold our rights and ideals, I urge you to do what
you can. As ordinary citizens, we can do much more for
the Philippines than sit around and let crooks lead us
to perdition. We owe ourselves this. And we owe our
country even more.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


although i probably won't come back to this place again (see lobo entry), i must admit that this trip was still worthwhile. after all, this is just one of the 2 out of town trips i had with my family so far this year. we got the chance to have longer huntahan, as well as share some nice time under the sun. plus, the kids enjoyed the water, splashing, diving (using kawayan balsa) and playing from 9 am up to 5 pm straight! moreover, utoy (andrei na pala kasi malaki na siya... peace tom!) had his digicam day... taking these nice photos. because of these good shots, he has become our official photographer during the latest family gatherings that we had. more of these, tom!


he's been number 2 for the longest time (record 160 consecutive weeks), so there's no other way for him but to go up even higher. and he did! rafa's the new number 1, officially toppling roger yesterday. to top it all off, he won the gold medal in beijing olympics! spain has had a tennis medal in every olympiad since tennis' re-inception in 1988, but this was their first gold ever... el toro golden-ed spain's tennisdom! what a year for him so far. i hope that he plays well to end the year as number 1. the season is still far from their year-end extravaganza in shanghai, so rafa still needs to wield out those wheels and muscle his way out of the u.s. open, a host of european indoor carpet tourneys, as well as prepare for davis cup. vamos!

"Nowhere in my best dreams I can imagine something
like what I did this year," - Rafael Nadal, Beijing, 17 August, 2008.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


tagal nang sinasabi sa sarili.
alis na. tama na. lipat na.

haba na rin ng panahon na binuno.
'tsaka na. ok pa naman. wala pang iba.

abot-langit ang reklamo.
sa mga pangit. dami ng trabaho. kakarampot na sahod.

paulit-ulit ang proseso.
tingala. upo. inat-inat.

baon na baon na sa katamaran.
sige pa. masaya naman. lilipas din 'to.

tumatanda na lang ng pagayon-gayon.
haaaayyy. hanggang kelan. manghinawa ka na.

sadya nga bang mumunti lang ang pangarap?
may hinihintay pa nga ba?
o nagpapatangay lang sa agos ng nakababagot na karaniwang araw?

tindi ng pag-ukilkil ng nasang umasenso pang lalo.
wala namang kongkretong hakbang na inaatupag.
walang tiyak na balakin. pagwawalang-bahala. at bahala na bukas.

panahon na. dati pa. noon pa dapat.
hintay na lang ng ambon ng salapi.

gawin na ang nararapat. lakbay sa ibayo. tuklasin ang dako pa roon.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


papa has just turned 59!

i braved an almost 3 hour trip going home to novaliches to celebrate his 59th birthday! except for kuya bob and his brood, the whole family was there. it has now become a family tradition that we come together every 6th of august to share some hearty meal and out-of-the-ordinary kuwentos with each other. tradition has it that we, all august celebs, have only 1 cake to share... each gets his or her chance to blow the candle. since there are now 5 august celebs with izhi's birth 3 years ago, the number 3 candle was hers. papa, ate she, kuya george and myself were represented with 1 candle each.

true to his nature, papa didn't speak that much throughout that evening. well, he's like that. he rarely speaks to any of us... prefers to keep his words to himself, only utters a line or so about the food or about the kids. but that doesn't mean that he wasn't happy. we know that deep within that traditional soldierlike bearing, he was the happiest man of that day. i can tell that even if he was talking with his barangay constituents, he was constantly looking at our circle and how we enjoy the food and being with each other... he knows that there's nothing like his kids' very own huntahan and hagalpakan!

good health. that's my main wish for papa. he had his bouts with lung illness a few years back, so i really wish that he maintains a sound body and mind. i know that he wants to regain his political footing, following last year's anomalous barangay elections, so i also hope that their efforts on advancing election protest case brings positive fruition.

as of this writing, we just had our sunday malling in trinoma... with no less than papa in tow! that's also a first! papa gets easily bored but he gamely put on a malling attitude, following ate she, ate joy and liezl's every store trip, as well as looking and running after 4 tots (julia, rafael, juancho and izhi). pizza & razon's halo-halo, i think, was the secret behind papa's newfound mall career!

i hope that we get lots of this sunday activities in the future.

love yah 'pa, my old man!

Saturday, August 9, 2008


let the games begin!

federer opens up against tursunov, while new number 1 (on august 18 to be exact) rafa plays starace in the first round. i hope that he plays without pain to reach the medal round, best if he could win the whole thing. but of course, the court is similar to what is used at the us open, so rafa might find it more difficult to play well than his usual performance. hoping for the best, as always!

while the bird's nest is the national olympic stadium and the aquatic center is the water cube, tennis has its own flower!

Friday, August 8, 2008


Philippines Beijing Olympics 2008

our 15 athletes are competing in these events...

harry tanamor - boxing

miguel molina, james walsh, joan christle simms,
ryan arabejo, daniel coakley - swimming

sheila mae perez, ryan rexel fabriga - diving

hidilyn diaz - weigthlifting

marestella torres, henry dagmil - athletics

eric ang - shooting

mark javier - archery

mary antoinette rivero, tshomlee go - taekwondo

go pinoy! 93% of pinoys, according to sws, feel proud when pinoy athletes do well in international competitions.

Monday, August 4, 2008


Picture Captions

i turned 28 today... whew!
i had no time for any big celebrations... too many emails to attend to and a lot of pending deliverables to work on. money is also an issue... after the waldasan session in hong kong. but of course, true to idc ph tradition, we still managed to squeeze in a 3P party at kainan - pancit, pizza & pakpak... plus the customary picturan! these all made my day.
another year! (",)

Sunday, August 3, 2008


pagkaraan ng mahabang serye ng mga kapalpakan at kamalasan, natuloy din ang abentura ko sa hong kong. bagamat makulimlim ang himpapawid sa kabuuan ng pagtigil ko roon, ibayong lagkit pa rin ang dulot ng maalinsangang panahon... tag-init sa hong kong ngayon.


inaantok na ako... sa susunod na lang ang mga detalye ng magastos at masalimuot na lakad na ito. sa ngayon, heto muna ang mga patikim na larawan. (",)