Friday, March 22, 2013


ano raw?! haha!

Here’s the transcript of the Graduation Message by Rep. Olivarez:
Republic of the Philippines
Constitution Hills
Quezon City
Once again, the penultimate day of a momentous accomplishment is once more unfolding to all of you my Dear Graduates. Today you’ve reached the mark of realization of your dreams, motivated by the comfort and challenges in sustaining the years of education leading to the final episode of marching the hallmark on the stage bestowed by the token of Diploma, a concrete proof as Graduates. But looking back then, the day of our graduation is just a segment of the whole package of preparation. Certainly, the synergy of your educational investment is indeed significant because lacking on the outlay of preparation, it will therefore result to a vain prospect and wastage of time, energy and most importantly the crippling of our training for our young men and women to level up there concerns, destined to be our future leaders.
Our graduation theme for this year is, “BUILDING THE NATION’S FUTURE LEADERS THROUGH THE K TO 12 BASIC EDUCATION PROGRAM.” This is a trending pattern that will give harnessing effect towards a complete preparation of our educational program for our young people. The challenge of the modern day living today, is on the quality of education. The leverage of par excellence on the program of education is perfectly illustrated with the almost state-of-the-art living standard of our of life today, and all these are exemplified by the means of educational program that our government and policy maker will adopt in order to participate in the global competitiveness and formulate a tracking destiny for our nation and people.
Significantly, the primary reasons that we ought to congratulate our GRADUATES to my mind, is the triumvirate fulfillment that students, parents and teachers have shared to make this occasion worthy of its accolade and accomplishing degree. Indeed, this is the moment and the final day towards a marching order that will ignite a new hope and a dawn of challenges towards completion of your dreams and aspirations.
To our Dear Graduates, I am appealing to each and everyone of you, utilize to the fullest extent this once in a lifetime opportunity receiving the investiture rites as Graduates. This is your vehicle for the future. Education is the perfect guide all the way and with God’s grace and guidance, you will indeed reach the pinnacle of your success, both of you’re personal interest and to our community as well. Remember, you are the future leaders and the hope of our mother land. Hold on to it, and put into effect the extra carefulness to make all the best things possible. As I usually quote, “Education is the only inheritance that cannot be Taken Away.” (And Edukasyon ay ang tanging Yaman Hindi Kayang Nakawin ninuman). Therefore, let this be a reality to all of you and hold on to it so dearly, because in doing so, you will magnify a true success worthy of reaping at the proper time and opportunity, and by the way of contribution to this wonderful vision. I will henceforth course an agenda good governance to our beloved City under the program, BAGONG PARANAQUE.
Again, CONGRATULATIONS and GOD Bless Us All…
Yours in Public Service,
Edwin I. Olivarez

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

white house

Top 10 Reasons Why There Couldn’t Be a Filipino-American US President
By David Letterman

10. The White House is not big enough for in-laws and extended relatives.

9. There are not enough parking spaces at the White House for 2 Honda Civics,2 Toyota Land Cruisers, 3 Toyota Corollas, a Mercedes Benz, a BMW , andan MPV (My Pinoy Van).

8. Dignitaries generally are intimidated by eating with their fingers at State dinners.

7. There are too many dining rooms in the White House – where will they putthe picture of the Last Supper?

6. The White House walls are not big enough to hold a pair of giant woodenspoon and fork.

5. Secret Service staff won’t respond to “psst… psst” or “hoy.hoyhoy!”

4. Secret Service staff will not be comfortable driving the presidential car with a Holy Rosary hanging on the rear view mirror, or the statue of the Santo Nino on the dashboard.

3. No budget allocation to purchase a Karaoke music-machine for every room in the White House.

2. State dinners do not allow “Take Home”.

And the number 1 reason why there couldn’t be a Filipno – American U.S. President is...

1. Air Force One does not allow overweight Balikbayan boxes!

magnum café

i’ve been to jakarta several times already but i haven’t really ventured out of sudirman area apart from that quick trip to mangga dua during my first visit in 2005. so during this early march trip, i naturally stayed within the confines of sudirman. for dinner, i tried plaza semanggi on a sunday and then went back to grand indonesia from monday till wednesday. that’s when i discovered magnum café. a truly delightful place for chocalat-fanatics like me.

this cafe has remained the talk of the town ever since this was set up in mid 2011. i was told that this was the first in asia and was soon joined by the magnum café in bangkok. as this was my first time, i really didn’t know what to order. as they say, when it’s your first time, let your eyes decide what looks yummy and order-able. apart from looking at pics on the menu of these delectable sweets, try to see what others are having. then ask for recommendations from the crew.

the crew actually recommended their cakes such as the deconstructed cheesecake, the fondue or the tartes. but i wasn’t really up for cakes. i wanted that familiar taste of magnum drumsticks. he then recommended the velvet seduction or the antwerp waffle, which i thought was too heavy as i just tried the full-filling nasi ayam ketumbar. from the other table, i saw the mother-daughter team negotiating their way on a delectable serving of 2 vanilla drumsticks with a whole lot of chocolatey toppings. the grand gaufre, the crew said. yup, the grand gaufre it was!

the grand gaufre is made up of vanilla and chocolate magnum drumsticks in crispy belgian waffles. melted milk chocolate covered the waffles, topped with almond crumbs. some chocolate syrup, cream and fresh strawberries completed the ensemble. it was really good. not too sweet, the waffles actually went well with the ice cream sticks. there wasn’t any feeling of being sweet(ed) out. after just under 40 minutes, the whole thing was a history. that was even after having a full meal!

leaving magnum café, i quickly made the rounds in its interior, where they also sell shirts, mugs, bags from environment-friendly materials and of course all magnum sweets possible.

next stop would be siam paragon’s magnum café in bangkok!

Monday, March 18, 2013

indian wells

53 titles. yup, rafa won his 53rd title, his 22nd masters shield at indian wells in california. beating roger federer, tomas berdych and juan martin del in successive fashion, rafa won his first hardcourt title since tokyo in october 2010. obviously, hardcourt is his least favorite surface. his last finals appearance in a hardcourt tournament was in the 2012 aussie open, the epic final he lost to novak djokovic.
rafa already withdrew from the miami masters to prepare for the claycourt swing, which starts in monte carlo. vamos, claycourt king!


exactly my sentiments... thanks to ma’am lynn dimaano.

My thoughts on the Suicide of UP Student Kristel Tejada

While some are beating their breasts or pointing fingers over Kristel's death, or talking of clearer and more pro-poor policies on UP enrollment, my concern is not for what is perceived to be the immediate cause of her suicide, but its roots.
Indeed, suicide is a complex issue, and only one thing appears to be clear. There is an increase of reported suicides among the young, due to reasons that would not normally drive them to kill themselves: lost love, poor grades, a bad interview, and in Kristel's case, an LOA that would have enabled her to re-enroll next semester.

It happens. UP students don't have money, they drop out, they come back. They fail, they get an LOA, they come back. Some get kicked out, get some really nice work experience in the field, and come back. Or not. But they don't kill themselves. They get another life, and often succeed with or without UP. At least that was how it was when life was harder, when we had to wait a long, long line to make a phone call, when we had to actually PHYSICALLY search for and read books and journals to write a term paper, when we had to wait for a week or two to get a (love) letter through the mail, now known as snail mail, from a loved one who had to travel home for 2 days by sea because he couldn't afford airfare.

Life was hard then. When people were poor, like I was made to believe I was, they had apples or cheese once a year if they could get any at all, and they got their allowances in coins, not bills. They had to survive on rice and sabaw, or rice and free sauce if they got lucky when the coins ran out. They walked, didn't ride -- sayang ang P0.25.

Back then, a wrong political move could send one missing, only to be found wounded, in jail, or worse, dead. No, we didn't commit suicide then. Life was hard but precious. We were harder. We would prevail.

Yet the experience may have driven many of us to do everything so things would be easy for our children. We love them dearly and don't want them to suffer the pains we had.

We have made material things, manipulatively put within our reach by quickly developing technology that obsolesces as fast, easily accessible to our children who might have little experience with postponing gratification. We have protected them heavily, because of our justified fear of their getting hurt by an increasingly cruel world, without a transition to independence that would have strengthened their will and capacity to survive the downs of life. We cave so fast even to trivial demands, so they wouldn't hold their breath while crying a ruckus and die (they can't do that). We have made things easy for our children. Probably too easy.

Quite possibly, there's the rub. Cesar Montano once remarked in a speech that he had such a difficult childhood yet believed that such difficulty made him successful later in life. Now that he was rich, he was worried for his children who had a comfortable life. He said "kung pwede ko lang bilhin ang kahirapan para magkaroon ng pagkakataon na tumibay ang mga anak ko". He didn't know then the speech would be prophetic of his son's suicide.

I read somewhere about someone who saw a butterfly struggling to emerge from a pupa. It was displaying much difficulty and valiant effort in the process of breaking the constrictive covering. That person was moved with pity and so "helped" the butterfly by taking off small pieces of the covering. The butterfly did emerge, but fell and died later. The vessels of its wings did not fill with enough blood to nourish the wings and make them strong. That, apparently, was the whole point of having to struggle to come out of the pupa.

Which brings me to my question: Are we helping our children too much that they are not developing the emotional strength needed to face life's challenges? Are we unwittingly putting some of them on the path that Kristel took? What do we do? What don't we?

Let UP restudy its admission and tuition fee policy. Let the faculty and students express their outrage. Let the politicians rant if they wish. But let us, parents, take a long look at how we are raising our children. How do we stand by and watch them struggle because like the butterfly, the struggle will make them stronger? How do we prevent another Kristel?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

pope francis

i planned on staying late to witness the white smoke from the sistine chapel, which of course signifies that the world’s 1.2 billion catholics have a new pope. but of course, that didn’t happen. i fell asleep and around 5:30 am today, i woke up to the news that a cardinal from buenos aires had been elected to become the 266th pope. clips of the “habemus papam” announcement and interviews with priests and scholars of the religion were shown in both cnn and bbc.

jorge mario cardinal bergoglio, the archbishop of buenos aires, is the new vicar of christ. he chose the name francis, in honor of st. francis of assisi. he’s the first non-european pope since st. gregory iii who reigned from 731 to 741. a native of buenos aires, pope francis is a son of italian immigrants. according to sources, the then cardinal bergoglio actually garnered the second highest vote in the 2005 papal conclave which elected cardinal ratzinger as pope benedict xvi.

a moderate conservative, pope francis is seen as a humble and media-shy personality, who shunned living in an archbishop’s palace and having a chauffeur. he is said to have always traveled by bus and cooks for himself. seeing him on tv, he seems to have that fatherly gaze, looks very gentle and kind. pope francis would of course need to deal with scandals and abuses by the members of the clergy, and the subsequent cover ups, which undermined the entire institution. many have said that this is one of the very reasons why a huge chunk of the population in many countries are moving to evangelic churches. some even say that the church’s older than medieval ages doctrine are out of touch in today’s modern world.

while i agree that the church would have benefited from a more charismatic and evangelical pope, the election of pope francis allows for a head-on tackling of critical issues, as well as some sort of house cleaning in the roman curia. considered an outsider, pope francis seems unlikely to turn away from dealing with sensitive topics. viva il papa.