Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Breaking the Silence

Hi folks!

Our blogsite has been inactive for almost two weeks now. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to attend to its regular updating. I also failed to greet our US-based classmates a Happy Thanksgiving Day. I haven't read the answer to Ed Canela's puzzle yet (purposely) and can't figure out the golf game he posted.
Mendy texted last week that Karina (her sister) and her son were stranded in Labo because of the floods. Luckily, the waters subsided in the afternoon and their bus was able to pass through. Nangumusta din si Boboy Ong about the typhoon in Manila, but the weather was fine (at least there were no rains) last weekend. He said that Boy Rios has confirmed attendance to the Feb reunion. He was also able to locate Nestor Chavez and Rodolfo Villazar. Still on the loose are Rudy del Valle and Roberto Manly. Susan said she'll be coming to Manila first week of December. She'll give more updates about the preparations.
The past weeks have been hectic since our NGO is conducting training for barangay officials and community leaders on Participatory Local Governance in three provinces. I just arrived from Gingoog City via Cagayan de Oro last Saturday and I’m leaving again for Biliran via Tacloban City at 5:30 this morning. I promise to re-activate our blogsite by December.

In the meantime here are some photos taken during the training for 11 barangays (villages) in Gingoog. Our venue was the Sta. Rita Parish Formation Center. In Cagayan de Oro, I stayed overnight in Balay Mindanaw Peace Center owned by our partner NGO. We got perfect attendance of 11 Punong Barangays (Barangay Chairmen, formerly Kapitan del Baryo). Other participants were barangay health workers, barangay nutrition scholars, kagawads (barangay council members) and community leaders.

I read about the new feature of Blogger just a while ago. It's now possible to post slideshows in the blogsite. I'll study it as soon as I have the time so we can make slideshows of photos and post them here. I also hope to do a Christmas CD for our class, hopefully for 2007 (not 2008).

Regards to all.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Happy Birthday Bert!

A bomb blast right inside the Batasan compound past 8 pm. Two people died, one of them is the Congressman of Basilan. Our condolences to the families of the victims.

In spite of the things happening around us, let's still find a little time to greet our friend and classmate Bert, a happy birthday on Thursday, Nov. 15. Wag na lang sabihing 50th, marami nang nag-aagawan sa age na ito. Tingnan na lang daw iyong pictures!

Happy birthday Bert. Enjoy the day with Marie and the children, and may you have many more healthy, happy and meaningful years to come!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Between Poverty and Paradise

Writer Paolo P. Mangahas, 32, is currently working in Kuala Lumpur as Head of Communications for WWF-Malaysia (World Wide Fund for Nature Malaysia). He won Honorable Mention in the 2003 Doreen Fernandez Food Writing Award for his piece Adobo, I'm Home! and has published several essays on food, lifestyle, fashion, and social and environmental development.------------ --------- --------
(thanks to the owner of this photo. i can't recall the name of the website from which I grabbed this)

Between Poverty and Paradise

Paolo Mangahas

LAST night, I had dinner with a German friend to talk about her planned trip to the Philippines . She had just completed an internship program in one of the law firms here in Malaysia and wanted to take a short holiday in a nearby country before heading off to Australia to finish her studies. She wanted to know more about the Philippines and asked me for tips on making the most of the two-and-a-half weeks that she had allotted for this vacation.

We planned her trip between bites, armed only with a faded map of thePhilippines that we had downloaded from the Internet. My goal was to identify all the "must-see" places in the country (her criteria being beaches and volcanoes), plot them according to distance and flight routes, and then cram them all in 17 days. A tall order indeed, especially for someone like me who has never had a sense of direction even in my own neighborhood. For the life of me, I could not spot where Boracay was on her map. So I took the easy way out and told her to go to Palawan instead.

I carried on with the task like a diligent student trying to remember my geography, starting from the rice terraces in Banaue up north, moving down south to the Mayon Volcano in Bicol and the Chocolate Hills in Bohol. It was an embarrassing ordeal nonetheless as she could see that I was struggling to find all the other attractive destinations on the map, which in turn made me realize how little I truly knew about my own country. She was very excited about the trip and was eager to learn more about the country and its people.

She imagined the Philippines to be an eternal fiesta of Spanish and Chinese Third-World flair, filled with warm and accommodating people who all speak with a clear American accent, where all men have the handsome earthy appeal of Jericho Rosales and women the heavenly mestiza charms of Kristine Hermosa (thanks to Filipino soap operas that have become so popular here in Malaysia ). It was certainly one of the most honest cultural impressions that I have ever heard and quite amusingly, one shared by many. In my German friend's opinion, the Philippines is one of the most open-minded countries in Southeast Asia. I found this view rather interesting, especially since it came from a European who has never stepped foot in the Philippines and whose only direct exposure to the country, was me.

The funny thing about cultural impressions is that they often come from a place of both acute perception and blatant ignorance, split in the middle by what is painfully true. But they are what they are ~impressions. Quite naturally, my friend and I have come to build our own impressions about Malaysia in the several months that we have been here. Malaysia is a beautiful country that seems to be in a hurry to develop economically, but is hampered by a palpable trace of social reluctance. It seems grounded on an age-old culture that simply does not mix well with progress, or at least the kind dictated and exemplified by the Western world. I find this true for most developing Asian countries, including the Philippines.

My friend pointed out that she has never seen a beggar in the streets of Kuala Lumpur since she moved here and asked me if it is the same in the Philippines. As a matter of fact, she admitted that she has never seen a beggar up close in her whole life and asked me to explain how it is to live in a poor country like mine. She wanted to know more about poverty. Her question struck a chord in me because I realized that apart from Jericho Rosales, this woman had absolutely no idea about the country where she was going and how it was out there. Here was someone who came to me wanting to know more about my country and the best I could offer was a geographical representation of scenic destinations, which I hardly even knew myself.

By this time, I had put down the pen I was holding, set aside the map, and got ready to explain to her details about my country. I did not know where to begin. After all, how does one explain poverty to someone who has never experienced it before? To make things more relevant to her, I started by comparing the Philippines to Malaysia. I told her that blue-collar workers in the Philippines did not have the same opportunities as the ones in Malaysia, who can afford to eat in the same restaurants where executives eat or even shop in stores where their own bosses shop. I told her that unlike the ones I have met in Malaysia, secretaries and administrative clerks in the Philippines will eat in posh restaurants only on very special occasions and can barely afford to travel to other countries. I then told her about the beggars, young and old, who parade the streets of Manila, the children who knock on car windows selling sampaguita, the mothers who have to forage for food in garbage landfills, and the unemployed fathers who waste their lives on drugs and alcohol. I told her about the shanties that bedeck highways and railroads, the unproductive traffic jams, the garbage-infested streets and sewers, and the regular typhoons that flood the country and exacerbate already poor living conditions. I told her that poverty in the Philippines unapologetically hits you in the face the very moment you step in. It is an open wound just waiting to be healed.

My friend looked shaken, as if experiencing for the first time a world she has seen only on TV. That was when my tears started to fall. I could not help it. I have never cried in front of a semi-stranger before but for some reason, I cried this time because she was still not immune to these things. Her unawareness taught me to see poverty as if for the first time myself, which brought out a lot of pain. I have become so used to the pain that I have forgotten how it felt until I painted for her the sad face of poverty.

I then found myself having to explain to her that despite all these, the Philippines is still a beautiful country and this you will also feel the very moment you get there. It is a beauty characterized by the indomitable human spirit of a people who have seen better days and yet still have the capacity to find a piece of heaven in their lives. It is a beauty defined by the untiring faith of a people who have learned to acknowledge their plight with reverence and yet have never lost the courage to dream big dreams. It is a beauty characterized by the painful history of a people who have been abused and pillaged through the years and yet still have so much of themselves to give.

Now her tears were falling, smearing the map that I had earlier vandalized with circles and arrows. But I knew it did not matter anymore at this point. I realized that my friend had learned all she needed to know about my country and my people. She thanked me profusely, saying that she came to me wanting to know more about how poor the Philippines is but in the end, she learned how abundantly blessed Filipinos truly are.

A beach is a beach and a volcano is a volcano anywhere in the world, but it is the people who make the difference. I learned in that moment that I may not know the geographical features of my country all too well, but I sure know its heart and its soul because it is who I am.

The real poverty lies in not knowing this.

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Development Game

This was posted by Ed Canela in our e-group. I am posting this here for the benefit of other viewers/readers. As Ed says, this is very engaging, so please play the game and contribute to the UN's efforts to fight hunger.

I would have wanted to post here too, Bert's latest contributions - the Awesome Photos and Why men (not our friend Men) need clothes, which are.. yes, awesome and the other, hilarious but it would take time to post the individual pictures and I don't have the time right now. When I'm free, I'll go back to these and post them for the others to enjoy.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Amazing Math

Look at this:

1 x 8 + 1 = 9
12 x 8 + 2 = 98
123 x 8 + 3 = 987
1234 x 8 + 4 = 9876
12345 x 8 + 5 = 98765
123456 x 8 + 6 = 987654
1234567 x 8 + 7 = 9876543
12345678 x 8 + 8 = 98765432
123456789 x 8 + 9 = 987654321

And this:

1 x 9 + 2 = 11
12 x 9 + 3 = 111
123 x 9 + 4 = 1111
1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111
12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111
123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111
1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111
12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111
123456789 x 9 +10= 1111111111

Please continue to read

9 x 9 + 7 = 88
98 x 9 + 6 = 888
987 x 9 + 5 = 8888
9876 x 9 + 4 = 88888
98765 x 9 + 3 = 888888
987654 x 9 + 2 = 8888888
9876543 x 9 + 1 = 88888888
98765432 x 9 + 0 = 888888888
Brilliant, isn't it?

And look at this symmetry:

1 x 1 = 1
11 x 11 = 121
111 x 111 = 12321
1111 x 1111 = 1234321
11111 x 11111 = 123454321
111111 x 111111 = 12345654321
1111111 x 1111111 = 1234567654321
11111111 x 11111111 = 123456787654321
111111111 x 111111111=123456789 87654321

Now, take a look at this...


From a strictly mathematical viewpoint:

What Equals 100%? What does it mean to give MORE than 100%?

Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%?

We have all been in situations where someone wants you to GIVE OVER

How about ACHIEVING 101%?

What equals 100% in life?

Here's a little mathematical formula that might help answer these



Is represented as:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.


H-A-R-D-W-O- R- K

8+1+18+4+23 +15+18+11 = 98%


K-N-O-W-L-E- D-G-E

11+14+15+23+ 12+5+4+7+ 5 = 96%


A-T-T-I-T-U- D-E

1+20+20+9+20+ 21+4+5 = 100%

THEN, look how far the love of God will take you:


12+15+22+5+15+ 6+7+15+4 = 101%

Therefore, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that:

While Hard Work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will
get you there, It's the Love of God that will put you over the top!

Have a nice day & God bless!!!

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Friday, November 9, 2007

Extreme Poverty drives Mariannet Amper to commit suicide

In death, Mariannet Amper has succeeded in getting the attention of the whole nation to their plight and those of the poor. Ironically, the news came at the time that the President was announcing the allocation of a billion pesos for hunger mitigation programs.

I was truly disturbed and had to hold back the tears as I read the account of Mariannet’s suicide, especially when I read portions of the little girl’s letter to Vicky Morales of GMA-7’s Wish Ko Lang, but which she was not able to send. I was really touched when she wrote ….. that after long absence from class, she said “hindi ko namalayan malapit na pala ang Pasko”.

Some people blame the poor for their condition. They say it’s because they are lazy or they just don’t exert as much effort. This is not always so. I know of some people who, no matter what they seem to do can not get out of the poverty trap. Precisely because they are poor, they lack the opportunity which is available to others. They are unable to invest in the education of their children, they have limited or no access to credit which can provide them some capital for livelihood projects. Labor is the only available asset that they have but they lack the productive skills needed in the market.

I hope we can consider these things when we discuss the Scholarship Project proposed by some of us.

Girl who killed self lamented family’s poverty in diary

By Nico Alconaba
Last updated 10:00pm (Mla time) 11/07/2007
DAVAO CITY, Philippines --

A 12-year-old girl, who became despondent over her family’s poverty, hanged herself inside their makeshift house a day after her father told her he could not give her the P100 she needed for a school project.

Using a thin nylon rope, 12-year-old Mariannet Amper hanged herself in the afternoon of November 2. She was a sixth grader at the Maa Central Elementary School.

Her father, Isabelo, 49, who was out of job as a construction worker, said Mariannet asked him for P100 which she needed for school projects, on the night of November 1. He told his daughter that he did not have the money yet but he would ask his wife if she could get some money for her. The morning after, however, he was able to get a P1,000 cash advance for a construction work on a downtown chapel.

By the time he got home, Mariannet already lay dead.

"Duda nako nga tungod ni sa kalisod namo (I suspect that she did it because of our situation)," Isabelo said.

Going through Mariannet's things, her parents saw her school "talaarawan" or diary.

In her October 5 entry, Mariannet wrote: "Parang isang buwan na kaming absent. Hindi na kasi nakin (sic) binibilang ang absent ko. Hindi ko namalayan na malapit na pala ang Pasko." [It feels as if we’ve been absent for a month. They’re not counting my absences anymore. I just realized that Christmas is just around the corner.]

Isabelo recalled that in that week, Mariannet skipped school as they did not have money for her food and transportation allowance.

"We did not have any money and I didn't want Mariannet and her younger brother (Reynald) to walk to school," he said in Bisaya.

But Isabelo clarified that Mariannet was absent for only three days. "For her, three days was like one month," he said.

On October 14, Mariannet wrote in her diary: "Hindi kami nakapagsimba dahil wala kaming pamasahe at nilalagnat pa ang aking tatay kaya nanglaba na lang kami ng aking nanay." [We were not able to hear mass because we did not have fare money and my dad was sick with fever. So, my mom and I just washed clothes.]

Along with her diary, the Ampers also discovered a letter Mariannet wrote for the GMA 7 television program "Wish Ko Lang [I just Wish]."

"Gusto ko po sana magkaroon ng bagong sapatos at bag at hanapbuhay para sa nanay at tatay ko. Wala kasing hanapbuhay ang tatay at nagpa-extra extra lamang ang aking nanay sa paglalaba," she said in her "Wish Ko Lang" letter. [I wish for new shoes, a bag and jobs for my mother and father. My dad does not have a job and my mom just gets laundry jobs.]

"Gusto ko na makatapos ako sa pag-aaral at gustong-gusto ko na makabili ng bagong bike," she added. [I would like to finish my schooling and I would like very much to buy a new bike.]
That letter, apparently written while Mariannet was still 11 years old, was never sent to "Wish Ko Lang."

"We never knew that our daughter had dreams for us," Isabelo said.
Isabelo's wife, Magdalena, works part-time "repacking" odong and misua in a nearby factory, earning at least P50 a day. She also does laundry jobs on the side, receiving P100 to P150.
Isabelo, on the other hand, is in and out of work.

"I'm already old, no one would want to hire me," he said.

The Ampers live in a hillside community at the back of the YƱiguez Subdivision in Maa District. They do not have electricity and water supply.

Of the seven children, only Mariannet and Reynald are left with their parents as most are grown up and have families of their own.

Even with only two children left to feed, the Ampers still have a hard time surviving.

A neighbor said that even in this "mostly poor" neighborhood, the Ampers were being discriminated against.

"Ayaw makipaglaro ng ibang bata sa kanila dahil madudungis daw sila," the neighbor said. [The other kids do not want to play with them because they’re dirty.]"Mahirap na nga sila, ni-reject pa ng ibang kapitbahay," she added. [They’re poor and they’re rejected by their neighbors.]

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Pinoy Big Briber?

Do you watch Pinoy Big Brother?

You may be interested in this other house:

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Happy Birthday Marybeth and Chi-chi

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Monday, November 5, 2007

Get-together in Daet

ganito kami noon.

at eto na kami ngayon.

Here are a few pictures of the get together in Daet last October 31 held in time for the visit of Rudy and Ineng. Aside from the couple, others present were Alito Yadao, Boboy Ong, Dorset Dwyer, Fr. Efren Sanchez, Maning Abogado, Amelita Adem-Banal, Estring Asis, Mendy Balon-Ching, Mila Echano, and Dra. Yoly Hernandez-Reyes. Rudy mentioned Remo Balce but I didn't see him in the pictures. The complete set can be found in the photo gallery (see right hand side of this blogsite).

Thanks to Rudy, we can share these new pictures of the Daet group. What we have recently been posting are pictures of the Manila and foreign-based groups. We have to check if somebody took pictures of the previous get together when Beth Perez came home during the Daet town fiesta so we can also post them here.

These get-together are becoming a habit since March this year. Seems like we're getting even closer now than we were in high school.

(Estring, ano ang napaparong ko ha, guilty ka ano, magtuga ka!)

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If Erap has his carabao english (which is really just a product of a PR strategy intended to endear Erap to the masses by portraying him as somebody just like the ordinary Filipino, imperfections and all. Ask Reli German about this.

Now comes, Gloria's way of speaking in Pilipino. Here's a collection which I got from the weekly column of Michael Tan of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, which he also got from the column of Horacio Paredes published in Abante.

Mag-impok ng enerhiya – let’s save energy.

Inutusan ko na sina (two government officials) upang magkaroon ng tubig ang inyong mga pipa - I have instructed (two government officials) to bring water into your pipes.

Napaikot na natin ang ekonomiya – We have turned the economy around.

Buto ng ekonomiya at dugo ng komersyo – backbone of the economy and lifeblood of commerce

Imprastrakturang mang-aaliw ng mamumuhunan – infrastructure that would attract investors

Lumipad na presyo – soaring prices

If she stays longer in power, we will have more of these.

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Airline Cabin Announcements

(photo taken from flickr - vm2827 - thanks)

Wala pong premyo sa mauunang lumabas sa eroplano.... and other airline cabin announcements.

All too rarely, airline attendants make an effort to make the in flight "safety lecture" and announcements a bit more entertaining. Here are some real examples that have been heard or reported:

On a flight with a very "senior" flight attendant crew, the pilot said, "Ladies and gentlemen, we've reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants."

On landing, the stewardess said, "Please be sure to take all of your belongings. If you're going to leave anything, please make sure it's something we'd like to have."
"There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane."
"Thank you for flying Cebu Pacific... We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride."

"Welcome aboard Philippines Airlines ... To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight.. It works just like every other seat belt; and, if you don't know how to operate one, you probably shouldn't be out in public unsupervised. "
"In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with more than one small child, pick your favorite."
"As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses."
And from the pilot during his welcome message: "Philippines Airlines is pleased to have some of the best flight attendants in the industry. Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight!"
After landing the airplane and while taxiing towards the terminal, cabin attendant announced as passengers rise to retrieve their hand carry bags: "Manatili po sana tayong nakaupo habang hindi pa ganap na nakahimpil ang ating sasakyan, WALA PONG PREMYO PARA SA MAUUNANG LALABAS NG EROPLANO."

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Saturday, November 3, 2007

What will matter

This is the same inspirational verse posted by Ed in our egroup. I just mounted it in beautiful background pictures which I grabbed from the skyscraper blogsite taken by various photographers. Try locating Mayon Volcano in picture no. 7.

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Vintage Pictures of Men

Here are additional vintage pictures of Men. They have been added to our photo gallery.
To others who have pictures from the past that you want to share, please post them here so they can be added to our photo gallery.

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Friday, November 2, 2007

Sor Victorina de la Providencia, Mother Superior of Daet Parochial School

HS Solo Graduation Pictures

DPS Class67 HS Graduates, 40 Years After

This Day in History

Today's Birthday