Friday, February 26, 2010

. . . naughty or nice

Hi there! It’s another weekend. Nope, today’s title is not about Christmas or about Santa Claus coming to town and knowing who’s been naughty or nice. Let me start with what I usually end my column with – my line for the day. And today I am pleased to quote the controversial DOH Secretary Espie Cabral. You know the issues on condom, lollipops and the AIDS problem and how some quarters reacted to it. Back to the quote, “If you can’t be nice, at least be careful” That’s what I heard the secretary say on TV when asked about the latest controversy that she is into. I do not disagree with what she said. If data are indeed accurate, the numbers of Filipinos positive with HIV is increasing; and that what’s bothersome is pa-bata nang pabata ang karamihan sa kanila. Okay, some quarters call for abstinence. Suddenly I remember what I featured in this column many weeks ago. Those figures which a friend of mine told me were about young Filipinos and their faith. That according to a study conducted by a leading Catholic University (in Manila), only 49% of today’s young people believe in God. Let’s take it from there. If can’t make most of them believe in God, how can we make them abstain? (How is that different from behaving?) And let’s not even start discussing about the grown-ups, I mean their faith and their behavior or outlook towards that thing I’ll simply refer to as S.

* * *

Let me give you some local news I managed to collect yesterday.

Calbayog achievers. Congratulations to all the twelve participants from Calbayog City who won in the various competitions in the 7th National Science Quest and Fair held on February 3 - 5, 2010 at Tabaco National High School, Tabaco City.

Milaner Oyo-a, a science teacher from the Rafael Lentejas Memorial School of Fisheries was the National Champion in the Science Investigatory Project (SIP) Teacher Category. His entry entitled "Cafe de Mango" won him the 1st place. He bested the 26 contestants from the other regions all over the country.

Hadz Sumagang, a Grade 4 pupil from the Calbayog City SPED Center got the 2nd place in the Water Patrol grade 4 pupil category. He was coached by Mrs. Chona Arpon, MT II from Calbayog City SPED Center.

Gerald Malabarbas, a science teacher from the San Joaquin National High School ranked 5th in the Science Intervention Material (SIM) Competition.

Other winners in the same nationwide events are the following:

  • Peach Gem Pacquiao and Albert Alfonso - their investigatory project entitled "Camistea" was the 8th finalist for the team category. They were coached by Michael Pernia of the Binaliw Elementary School.
  • Mary Josephine Co. Her project Water Recycler ranked 9th finalist in the Physical Science category. She was coached by Mrs. Haidee Salurio of the Calbayog City SPED Canter.
    Julian Alvarez from the Calbayog City National High School ranked 9th in secondary level Science quiz. His coach was Joy Saldaña.
  • Joan Padilla from the Calbayog City National High School ranked 8th in the secondary level chemistry quiz. She was coached by Calick Arieta.

The Calbayog City delegation was headed by Mrs. Edna Subito, DepEd Calbayog ES-1 for Science and Health.

* * *

Celebrity Chef in town. Chef Tristan Encarnacion was in Calbayog yesterday. He was part of the group of resource persons who came to town for the Regional Seminar on Culinary Arts and Entrepreneurship. The event was held at the Socio-Cultural Center of the NwSSU.

* * *

The San Joaquin National High School (SJNHS) in Barangay San Joaquin is 42 years old today. Among the events slated for this celebration are the Literary-Musical Contests, Recognition of honor students, Super Quiz Bee and the Search for Mr. & Ms. SJNHS 2010 which will be held tonight at the Lazaro Tancinco Gymnasium in San Joaquin.

* * *

The Samar Island Pharmacists Federation, Inc. (SIPFI) is calling all pharmacists in Samar to attend the National Convention of Pharmacist which will be held on April 7-9, 2010 at the Leyte Park Hotel. The said convention will be hosted by the Region 8 Pharmacists Association, Inc. For details call or text: 0908-737-8835.

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This is it for now. Have a nice weekend everyone! Ciao!

Monday, February 22, 2010

EDSA

(This column appears in today's edition of the Leyte-Samar Daily Express)

Hi there! It’s another week and (sigh! or is it huhuhu?) today is a working holiday (did I use the right term?). Why should there be no classes today? Let me see, for the students to understand and appreciate more the values (or lessons) of EDSA? I think I’m inclined to say yes to that. It seems most studes are at their best (read: alive and kicking) outside the classroom, or the campus for that matter. And what does that make of the rest of the ordinary working class mortals like you and me? That the EDSA anniversary (or the Monday designated for its commemoration, thanks to holiday economics) is just that – another ordinary day. Okey, I can already hear many of you saying I’m just whining about going to work today. (Smile, it’s a new week).

Don’t worry about today’s title, it’s not going to be an enumeration of historical facts. Well, the Cory fan in me says that it was one of THE moments in our history. Let me put it there. I can’t afford to debate on this. There are many things that EDSA 1 gave us. Forget about EDSA 2 and the multi-party system (I think I’d rather like the latter, it gives noise, color and much fun to the presidential polls). But then there is that Party- List thing that many are into and has made marginalized people out of a good number of elite or VIPs; or has made these VIPs and / or elite declare themselves as marginalized. Well, if being marginalized means being just that – well-connected, moneyed, not to mention well-heeled and good-smelling, then I won’t mind making myself marginalized. Oh well, one of the Palace spokespersons (with balde, palanggana and all) said that we just had to wait how the poll body will decide on that. Yun lang!

* * *

The week with the City Mayor. Mayor Mel Sarmiento presided over the RDC-8 meeting which was held last Thursday at the Calbayog City Sports Center. Other activities which I managed to take note are: the People’s Day in Barangay Lonoy; the turn-over of the NEGO-KART Livelihood Fund to the Calbayog Riverview Vendors Association. The said ceremony had DOLE-8 RD, Atty. Forter Puguon in attendance. The City Mayor also received Judge Tagra, the newly-appointed judge of RTC Branch 32.

* * *

Power Situation Update (as of February 17, 2010). Here’s an update I got from Belinda Sales Canlas of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines:

The Luzon grid is still under normal status with sufficient power reserves. This is despite the shutdown of one unit of Batangas Coal-Fired Plant (Calaca Unit 1) due to technical problems with plant equipment.

Meanwhile, to facilitate the connection of a newly installed transformer (TO5) at the San Jose Substation in Bulacan, the 500-kV San Jose-Tayabas Line 2 has been de-energized
while tapping of the high-voltage connector, testing and commissioning are ongoing. No customers are affected by the said line de-energization because the other line (Line 1) linking San Jose and Tayabas is still synchronized to the grid.

The Luzon grid also has enough power to export 120-150 MW to the Visayas. Said
exported power will help augment supply in the Visayas islands.

In Mindanao, most hydro-electric power plant units are still running with very limited capabilities due to the low water levels at reservoirs. Available capabilities of plants are as follows: Agus 1 (25 MW), Agus 2 (60 MW), Agus 4 (75 MW), Agus 5 (25 MW), Agus 6 (100 MW), Agus 7 (24 MW), and Pulangi (80 MW). Because of the generation deficiency, the total available hydro capability in Mindanao is only 389 MW out of the total rated capability of 982 MW.

And lastly this info, To our partners in the power industry:

May we kindly reiterate that NGCP as system operator, is responsible for transmitting high-voltage power from generators to distributors and operating the power system or grid in accordance with the Philippine Grid Code. NGCP does not own nor operate/maintain any power generation and distribution facilities.

* * *

Let me give you something to smile about this week. It’s something I got from the internet (as usual) and written by somebody who obviously doesn’t like Villar, and well, the rest (or some) of the presidentiables:

MANO-A-MANO, Aquino vs. Villar... or knowing Manny, make that One on Three!!! Mr. C-5 has apparently accepted Noynoy's challenge to a One-on-One debate, but apparently, a lot of Money V.'s pals have a comment or two about his decision:
Alan Peter Cayetano: "Puwede ako mag-SALING PUSA?"
Nene Pimentel: "Hindi, Alan, bawal ang INSERTIONS!"
Gilbert Remulla: "I'm not PRIVY to that, Sen. Pimentel."
Bro. Eddie: "Aba, akala niyo kayo lang? May 1-on-1 din kami ni Nick Perlas. Hmmph!"
Gibo and Edu: "Huh? Di kami kasali? Bitter na kami. Parang kape."
Jamby: "Vegetarian ako. Basketball ba yan One on One na yan? Hmmm.... Corruption yan, Corruption!!!"

* * *

This is it for now. Have a nice week everyone! Ciao!

Friday, February 19, 2010

That day of the year

(This column appears in today's edition of the Leyte-Samar Daily Express)

Hi there! It’s another weekend and yes, it’s sweldo time. But I’m in no mood to talk about salary. That’s ‘coz I know what most of us has to say about that – hay kakuri san panahon; kakuri san kwarta; kulang an sweldo, etc, etc. I’m waiting for the presidentiables say that, I mean THE candidates themselves saying how hard-up they are (goodness, what am I saying?) Oh well, you won’t expect them to say how hard-up they are, it won’t connect with the way they spend on ADs and what have you in the campaign. Surely, it’s going to be rhetoric about issues from corruption to galunggong, and if I may borrow (again) and re-word that line from Evita, it’s going to be speeches on solving problems from war to pollution, no hope of solution even if we all live for a hundred years.

* * *

So, what’s with today’s title? It was supposed to be for my column last Monday, but I did not make it to the deadline. So, I am giving my annual lamentation about Valentine’s Day today. Yup, it’s that day of the year again. And this year, that day got more focus (or is it competition) with the Chinese New Year falling on the same date. Needless to say, the flower vendors made a killing that day. It was all over the news. And let’s not even start discussing the fancy dinners, the hotel promos, etc. Because there was so much demand for everything about love, so the providers had to jack up the prices. It’s not highway robbery, is it? So what the big fuzz about V-Day? Surely we have the capitalists to thank for. What is it about that day of the year that if you are not into it, they call you frigid; and if you are into it, you are a hopeless romantic. Ah, es la vida.

* * *

It’s the season of Lent. Fasting and abstinence were the two words I heard last Wednesday when I joined the faithful in observing the “pamuring” tradition. If the surveys are accurate, nope not the ones on the presidentiables, but the ones on the number of poor Filipinos and the like, then I would like to say that a good number of Filipinos has had more that their share of fasting.

* * *

Birthday greetings to City Treasurer Federico “Rene” Resente. He will turn a year older today.

Ordination. Rev. Romualdo “Bryan” Fajardo, Jr. and Rev. Basilio Salino will be ordained to the Order of Presbyterate tomorrow. Bishop Isabelo Abarquez will preside over the ordination ceremonies at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral. Fr. Salino will have his Thanksgiving Mass in Oquendo on February 21, 2010; Fr. Fajardo will have his Thanksgiving Mass on February 23, 2010 in Sto. Niño.

* * *

Let me give you something to smile about this weekend. I came across a blog article entitled: Pramis, Cross my Heart, Peksman at Mamatay Man. So what abut it? That article was some sort of a voters’ lament on the various candidates making this and that promises; and giving out lofty statements making it appear that they alone had the power or at least the good ideas to solve all of the nation’s woes. I would like to share with you a paragraph from the said article. It’s funny but I believe there is something to it worth taking notice:

“… sino man ang manalo sa darating na halalan, kung ano man ang inyong naging Pramis at nag Cross your heart and Peksman pa kayo... kung hindi ninyo matupad itong mga pangako na ito pagkatapos ng inyong pamunuan, eh sana matupad ang huli... hope you d-_-e! (sorry I had to delete a letter, otherwise my editor will be in trouble)

* * *

This is it for now. Have a nice weekend everyone! Ciao!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sermon or Homily?

(This column appears in today's edition of the Leyte-Samar Daily Express)

Hi there! It’s another weekend and uh, we’re days away to THAT day of the year. If you have been reading my previous columns, you ought to know what that day is – Valentine’s Day, what else. And this year, it gets extra focus with the Chinese New Year falling on February 14. I’m not yet into my usual lament about that day of the year. I have reserved that for Monday. But one thing though. Feng shui experts say that the year of the tiger (a metal tiger at that) is not going to be as prosperous like the other animal signs. So, what about it? Don’t splurge on Valentines Day. That would be a good start. (Smile, it’s a weekend!)

* * *

So, the campaign period has commenced. Indeed happy days are here again. And I’m not referring to the economic activity that elections bring. Candidates are doing their best talking, dancing and yup, some mud-slinging. And, as expected, the streets, or at least the poste, pader, and what have you kinda dirty again with the posters of the candidates. Oops, wait until we get to have campaign period for local bets. Anyway, I’ll just wait for any presidential candidate who comes to town and do what I do best – have a picture taken with them. In other words, please don’t expect me to listen to what they have to say. They have the same thing to say – problems or issues on corruption, poverty, the economy, jobs and what have you. These candidates present it with their own solutions so lofty it seemed like they are superman (or men) and that they seem so good they made PGMA the meanest of them all. Ah, politics.

* * *

And what’s with today’s title? Well, those are among the words that came out when a friend and I talked about some guardians of our souls. That friend shared with me his recent experience when he attended a seminar for (Catholic) educators. There was one striking data that the resource person shared with the teachers in attendance. Based on the study of a leading (catholic) university in the country, only 49% of today’s youth believe in God. Now a question - what happened to the 51%? What are the catholic schools doing? What are the priests doing? What are we doing? And let’s not even start discussing the data on the percentage of the youth who engage in pre-marital sex. It’s not because I don’t like the topic, but it’s simply because I misplaced the note upon which I wrote the figures, again based on the study of the leading (catholic) university I mentioned earlier.

Back to the issue on the youth not believing in God anymore. Suddenly I’m reminded of a joke on how some moms complained how they could hardly let their kids do some chores simply because of computer games. A mom complained by saying something like how can you expect you kid to do some simple chores of doing the dishes or even his bed after the kid was able to conquer galaxies, kill aliens and shot down spaceships. Well, nowadays (thanks to my age, I no longer know the names of the games), it’s still the same thing - killing enemies and rebels and what have you on the computer or over the internet. Suddenly it occurred to me, why not make computer games with the end view of making kids believe in God. Now that would be a challenge.

And that leads me to what I got recently from a fellow blogger:

Pope Benedict says to priests: Go forth and blog. Pope Benedict XVI has a new commandment for priests struggling to get their message across: Go forth and blog. The pope, who has his own web presence which he slowly built in recent years, has urged priests to use all multimedia tools at their disposal to preach the Gospel and engage in dialogue with people of other religions and cultures.”

“Using e-mail or surfing the Web is now not enough, Priests should use cutting-edge technologies to express themselves and lead their communities, Pope Benedict said in a message released by the Vatican. The spread of multimedia communications and its rich 'menu of options' might make us think it sufficient simply to be present on the Web," but priests are "challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources. A presence on the Web, precisely because it brings us into contact with the followers of other religions, nonbelievers and people of every culture, requires sensitivity to those who do not believe, the disheartened and those who have a deep, unarticulated desire for enduring truth and the absolute.”

“The message, prepared for the World Day of Communications, suggests such possibilities as images, videos, animated features, blogs, and Web sites. Young priests should become familiar with new media while still in seminary, though the pope stressed that the use of new technologies must reflect theological and spiritual principles. The 82-year-old pope has often been wary of new media, warning about what he has called the tendency of entertainment media, to be used negatively, he has also praised new ways of communicating as a "gift to humanity" when used to foster friendship and understanding. The Vatican has tried hard to keep up to speed with the rapidly changing field. Last year it opened a YouTube channel as well as a portal dedicated to the pope. No doubt, young priests will have no trouble following the pope's message, but what about the older ones? Would you engage in such a medium if it were here in our own country if there is a preacher or a priest who takes advantage of this medium?”

No question about it. Now some concern. How about priests who take their time castigating the faithful due to some issues in the parish or whatever issues instead of reflecting on the values of the gospel. I am no priest, but I understand homilies are meant to be that – reflection on the gospel and making it relevant to our lives. Well, if I were a kid or was still in my youth, shooting down spaceships and killing rebels on the internet would certainly be more interesting than sitting for an hour (at least) and for almost half that time, endure being reprimanded for something which I do not have any knowledge of. Oh well …

* * *

Chinese New Year in Calbayog. The family of Tiburcio and Estrella Chan will be hosting their friend to a Chinese New Year celebration this Sunday at the Sam Tai Chi Temple.

* * *

This is it for now. Have a nice weekend everyone. Ciao!

Monday, February 8, 2010

in transit

(This column appears in today's edition of the Leyte-Samar Daily Express)

Hi there! It’s an new week. And like what I always said each time I miss writing my column – so sorry to miss the deadline (for the nth time) last week. Anyway, what’s with today’s title? It’s the first thing that came to mind after hearing about Senator Lacson being out of the country just in time for the issuance of a warrant of arrest. The same thing when I watched Jojo Binay over Cheche Lazaro’s TV program; and yes, upon reading an article quoted by a fellow blogger.

First things first. The surveys war. You may like it or you may hate it, but that’s the way things are and will be. Many quarters are up (not necessarily in arms) voicing their concerns about how surveys can take its toll on what we call a healthy democracy (whatever that means). You know, we tend to forget that surveys also read as people, the grandstanding, the bandwagon effect, etc. and let’s not even start discussing about the mechanisms by which these surveys and its results came to be. BUT, that’s just the way it is, it was and it will be. In her book on Imelda Marcos, I understand Carmen Pedrosa mentioned about the surveys during the first term of Mr. Marcos. That survey showed that more than half the Filipinos did not like him. The people did not take the survey figures seriously. But not Marcos (in all his wisdom), and the rest as we say is (or is it was?) history. Oh well, politics - trapo or no-trapo, old and new politics (again whatever that means), isama mo na ang boto mo patrol mo, ako mismo and other election (change) advocacies of various groups – will be about numbers, specifically addition and subtraction. (I suppose there’s no need to elaborate on what terms addition and subtraction mean).

Back to the transit area. Depending on which side of the political fence you are into, it’s either you hate or love SWS, the same thing with Pulse Asia. Oh yes, news had it that Manny Villar has already spent roughly 500 million pesos on ADs (and that’s before the official campaign period yet). Let me see, should he make it as President, can he can recoup the amount during his term? I think he can if you don’t deduct the necessary deduction made on a government servant’s salary. The same question goes for the rest of the candidates. Talking about candidates and their ADs. Some people certainly have all the luck. Notice what each TV AD says at the end: this is paid for by the friends of (name of candidate). Lucky they are indeed. Why can’t we all have generous friends like they do? Anyway, the survey figures are just among the entertainment we get to enjoy, along with the drama of mobile phone jammers and the comic relief from court jesters who made it as candidates, in transit to the real event which is the election. Forget about the political exercise in the urban areas, the media (read: the big networks) are always there. It’s the harsh reality of elections in the country’s interior barangays, complete with the bad roads, security concerns, power supply, and as reported on TV, the absence of phone signal. Now, that’s the real adventure, the real highlight before the anti-climactic ending scene (or in case of the traveler – the destination) which is the inauguration of the newly-elected officials.

In transit. So Senator Lacson is out of the country. His last reported destination is Hongkong. Well, wherever he is, he is certainly in transit, before his final destination – something which will be determined by maneuvering and / or out-maneuvering of lawyers now that a warrant is out.

In transit. I was able to watch Jojo Binay on Profiles, Cheche Lazaro’s TV program. I am a fan of Mr. Binay, though I don’t like his Ganito Kami sa Makati campaign. Of course they can afford to do whatever it is that they are doing as shown by their various TV ADs. You are talking billions of pesos in revenue. Try giving the same amount to all the cities and municipalities and we can all kiss Imperial Manila (read: the national government) goodbye. Anyway, this paragraph is not about going against Jojo. I love his life story, all the more because he was an ardent supporter of Cory Aquino. There was something he said which initially made me laugh, and then it stuck after reality sat-in. It’s how Mayor Binay explained his love (or at least care) for the senior citizens of his city. That they are at the pre-departure area kumbaga. And that they deserve the best or at least something good. Nice point over there. Yup, making the most while in transit to well, should I call it the next life? We are in transit, pre-departure area or wherever. Aren’t we all are? So, what are we working for in this life, for the next?

And this brings me to the paragraph I’d like to leave you with today. It’s something I got from a fellow blogger who goes by the name “Kid at heart”.

Frances Jakelyn Abad is 15 and is a 4th year student at General Santos High School under the Special Program in the Arts major in Creative Writing. In Youngblood, the PDI column for contributors twentysomething and below, writes about Utopia and seeing things from two perspectives - having it all (luxury car, mansion with pool, several maids and guards, great business, being King of the World) and having contentment.

"I guess seeing things in a positive way is the best way to be happy. Nowadays a lot of us think only of how to make money. Yes, money can make us happy - for a while. But does money buy us salvation when we die? Does money change the way God will judge us?...My teacher in Trigonometry and Statistics once said as she was writing the equation for the Growth Law (N=Noekt) - (that) you may have hundreds of money that multiply like a bacteria, but can you make it indestructible so that you can bring it when you die?..."

. . . Our life on earth is actually a terminal to our final destination, wherever it will lead us. At whatever age or stage in life, from birth to our growing years to our relationships and to our death bed, our stopovers are actually temporary homes.

I remember my youth, my hardships, my dad, my friends, those who have come my way...and have gone to a better place...

Our temporary home... sooner or later we will all be finally home.

* * *

This is it for now. Have a nice week everyone! Ciao!

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