Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chocolate vs. Coca-Cola

The other night Sweetie asked me a question, "Would you rather be allergic to Coke instead of Chocolate?"

I really had a hard time answering that question since I can't live with either (though I don't have a choice with chocolates now since I'm already allergic to it). Anyway, assuming I was not allergic to chocolates, would I rather be allergic to Coke?

Difficult question...

Hmm... hmm... hmm...

The other day I found myself looking for something to eat at SM Makati and most of the pastries I used to eat had chocolate in it. I usually also buy some brownies, donuts and some good old Cloud 9 for Miguel and I whenever I pass by a mall. And then I remembered feeling sick after drinking a glass of Chocolait a few weeks ago. 

Being allergic to chocolate is for me a punishment.

And I think not being able to chug down Coke would be of equal torture.

But since chocolate is available in many different forms, I think I'd rather be allergic to Coke than chocolate.

What about you?

Monday, January 26, 2009

The License to Blog

I never expected my blog to have any audience. I have been writing since I was 8 years old and I pretty much actively pursued it when I was in college by becoming the editor-in-chief of our school's literary folio, but I pretty much kept most of my writing private (in a diary, parts of it written in alibata) and eventually stopped writing during tumultous years of my life. It took 8 years before I had the courage to write again and I did so through a blog on Friendster.

Eventually I found myself working for an internet company and my colleagues encouraged us to blog on Blogger. So almost three years ago I moved my blog here and I guess the rest is history, but if there's one thing that hasn't changed. I don't earn from my blog. It is, after all, an online journal and I just whatever I want to do with it. 

Last week I chanced upon Mike's plurk about NTC's plan to charge content providers for doing their thing. Here's the proposed memorandum:
NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to RA7925, Executive Order (EO) No. 546 series of 1979, and in order to encourage and facilitate the development of contents and the provision thereof to the consumers, the National Telecommunications Commission (Commission) hereby promulgates the following guidelines:

A.      DEFINITIONS
1. The following terms as used in this Circular shall have the following definitions:
a. Content – refers to all types of contents delivered to/accessed by the users/subscribers such as music, ring tones, logos, video clips, etc.
b. Information – refers to all types of information delivered to/accessed by the users/subscribers, e.g. road traffic information, financial information, visa application information, etc.
c. Application – refers to all types of applications delivered to/accessed by the users/subscribers, e.g. mobile banking, electronic payments, point of sale service, etc.
d. Electronic Game – refers to games played online except gambling.
e. Contents Providers – are persons or entities offering and providing contents to the public for compensation through the networks, systems and/or facilities of authorized networks, systems and/or facilities providers.
f. Information Providers – are persons or entities offering and providing information to the public for compensation through the networks, systems and/or facilities of authorized networks, systems and/or facilities providers.
g. Applications Providers – are persons or entities offering and providing applications to the public for compensation through the networks, systems and/or facilities of authorized networks, systems and/or facilities providers.
h. Electronic Games Providers – are persons or entities offering and providing electronic games to the public for compensation through the networks, systems and/or facilities of authorized networks, systems and/or facilities providers.
i. Contents Developers – are persons or entities creating contents.
j. Information Sources – are persons or entities providing information to Information Providers.
k. Applications Developer – are persons or entities creating applications.
l. Electronic Games Developer – are persons or entities creating electronic games.

B REGISTRATION
1. Contents, Information, Applications and/or Electronic Games Providers, Contents Developers, Information Sources, Applications Developers, and Electronic Games Developers are required to have commercial presence in the country and shall secure Certificate of Registration (COR) from the Commission.

2. There shall be no nationality requirement for contents, information, applications and/or electronic games providers, contents, applications and/or electronic games developers and information sources.

3. The application for registration shall be filed and acted upon by the Commission not later than seven (7) working days from date of application.

4. The application shall include the following documents:
a. Valid registration from the Securities and Exchange Commission or from the Department of Trade and Industry and Articles of Incorporation;
b. Facilities lease agreement with duly enfranchised and certificated public telecommunications entity; and

5. The Certificate of Registration shall be valid for a maximum period of five (5) years. Applicants for registration may opt to apply for shorter period not shorter than one (1) year. Certificates of Registration shall be renewable.

D FEES AND CHARGES
1. The following fees and charges shall be imposed:

a. Filing Fee : PhP 300.00
b. Annual Registration Fee: 6,000.00
c. Surcharge for late : 50% of the annual registration fee if application
filing of application is filed within six (6) months from date of expiry
for renewal 100% if filed after six (6) months from date of expiry
E RATES
1. The rates shall be deregulated. The contents, information, applications and/or electronic games provider shall inform the Commission of the rates for each of the content, information, application or electronic game offered at least three (3) days prior to the offering of such content, information, application or electronic game. Contents, information, applications and/or electronic games providers seeking increases in rates shall inform the Commission of the details of such increases at least five (5) days prior to the implementation of the increase. The Commission in the exercise of its mandate to protect consumers may not allow the increase. If the Commission does not act on the information within five (5) days from receipt of the same, the contents, information, applications and/or electronic games provider can impose the new rates.


I am not a lawyer (my Dad is hehe), but the proposed memorandum is very much worrisome. I wonder what they mean by, "to encourage and facilitate the development of contents" since the segments they have identified pretty much grew on its own accord without government's help. When they say content/information, it's basically everything that's online (this I asked my Dad advise on), your blog, local websites, your company's website, your Friendster or Facebook profile, the games you play, e-commerce sites, the comments you'll post below this blog. 

I have yet to earn big bucks on my blog and paying PhP6,000 is definitely something that my blog cannot pay for (I've yet to get my first Adsense check mind you). It's a nightmare for me since I see all Philippine internet content disappear from the internet. That translates to a a huge industry disappearing. 

Now let's not be OA about it, baka naman they have a point here. I've been doing research about the internet and blogging since my grad school days. The internet was created actually for military use so they could communicate easily and faster and eventually it became a public domain which is definitely not patrolled (unless you live in select countries that have very much different cultures than ours). Blogging, on the other hand, started off as a web log for developers to journal whatever they do. The internet thrives because of creativity. It continues to evolve and whatever regulation is needed is brought on by the users themselves. Try entrenching yourself in just one community and you'd know what I mean.

They also say that you shouldn't leave your child unattended when he surfs the net because there's no telling what he may stumble on when he's online. Tending to a child's online activity is a parent's prerogative. But regulating whatever's placed online is who's prerogative (or responsibility) anyway? I am actually trying to find here the right they have to regulate essentially the internet since it's been a public domain for more than a decade already. I cannot find any.

Things to ponder on:
1. Democracy
2. Freedom of speech/censorship
3. The internet as a public domain
4. Commerce; and
5. Common sense

And let's do the math, 24 million internet users times PhP6,300 each is easy money diba.

So what do you think? 

Saturday, January 24, 2009

An Awesome Day



My best friend's in town! And after having a hearty lunch at home where we pigged-out on Dad's yummy mustasa dish we headed to Mall of Asia. My best friend was quite excited to see MOA since he's been holed up in Cebu the past few years. 

It was a surprising afternoon though since I found myself in the middle of a Tantra gamers eyeball! I'm used to meeting with bloggers, Plurkers, people who Twit and generally online web addicts, but not gamers. I wasn't only a noob, I did not know anything about what they were talking about. I've been stuck playing PacMan and have not progressed since I was a kid so I just listened to them talk shop. They were such good sports though and were generally a lot like bloggers during meet-ups, makukulit and friendly. They also liked the fact that I took lots of photos.



So we ended up hanging around till dinner and gave my best friend the MOA tour. We wanted to get on the tram but it was filled with people, missed the boarding time for the Manila Bay Cruise, so we just walked around and took photos.

The marching band in their spiffy-for-Chinese-New-Year attire.

The globe!


And just before dinner I'm glad we managed to watch the pyro display since it was very much different from all the others I saw last year. The fireworks did not just come from the barge this time, but some went off from the mall building. It was awesome. (Oh and I had some tokneneng/kwek-kwek while watching, it was so yummy!). (Sorry for the dismal photo, I was too engrossed watching the show.)


Walking around we also saw these aired balls with kids tumbling around in them. They looked a lot like Moo (my hamster) when he would play in his hamster ball. Sweetie and Darwin wanted me to try it out since I passed the weight limit. I chickened out teehee. 



I realized that I have not really been going out since November last year and MOA was just the perfect place to spend a day with my best friend =)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Giving Up Jolly

It's a very sad day for me.

Remember Jolly?



We had to give her up even though we did not want to. She grew so big and we realized that we cannot give her the proper care she needs (regular walks at the very least). I haven't even been able to play with her for the longest time since I've been having daily bouts of asthma. Miguel's out during the day because of class and it really pains us to have her in a cage most of the time (she keeps uprooting my Mom's plants and ransacks everything in site). 

She's now with a family friend, just down the street and we can visit her anytime. But it's not going to be the same. I'll miss hearing her play with her squeaky toy late at night. And I'll also miss hearing her thrash around her bowl (a kaldero since plastic and regular dog bowls only last 3 days with her).

I wasn't even able to hug her before she left. Mom made sure Miguel and I were not home when she was brought to the neighbor =(

Sometimes you just really need to give up someone you love so that they could be happier =( 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

OMG My Email Signature!

I could not help but giggle when I searched for an old email and found one from early 2006 (because with Gmail you never really have to delete anything!)... and this was my signature:
--
Aileen Apolo
www.friendster.com/aileenapolo
Manila, Philippines
+(63) 917-xxxxxxx

*4 days to Tappy's wedding
* 6 days to Ate Yay's wedding

Watch the FIFA World Cup LIVE! through Dream Pay-Per-View visit www.dream.com.ph for details.

"Lord, I shall pass through this world but once, any good things I can do, any kindness I can show, let me do it now, for I know I may never pass this way again."
--
ROFL!

My eyes popped when I saw I had my Friendster URL on my signature and I laughed out loud. And please don't take it negatively (especially to Jeff, please don't bonk me on the head). I started blogging on Friendster and essentially spent a lot of time on it back then. It was the only social networking site most Filipinos used during that time and now we spend a lot on time on many other sites. (My account is still alive mind you, I just don't have time to update it).

They say that experience is the best teacher and I guess I was fished out of the aquarium just at the right time.

And now this is my sophisticated signature (I'm sure I'll be laughing at it three years from now):
--
Aileen Apolo
Working in behalf of xxxxxx. in Manila, Philippines
http://sites.google.com/a/aileenapolo.com/about-me/

'Do not take life seriously. After all, no one has ever come out of it alive.' --- Bugs Bunny

--
Did Bugs Bunny really say that? 

Anyway, I usually erase my signature when I reply to mail (unless it's needed). I used to list all of my blogs in my signature and eventually found it annoying because of the clutter. 

So kamusta naman ang email signature mo?

==========

Kuya Andrew made me a Facebook fan page, nyok, please check it out (and join) if you've time.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Footsteps

I've been living in my parents' basement for about 5 years now and people don't often go to our basement since it's a pain to go down the stairs (especially for my Dad). I just realized that I could identify who's going up and down the stairs just by listening to footsteps. I also know when Miguel's home even when he tries to tiptoe around to surprise me. 

I'm happy to share that we don't have mumu in the house and that I don't hear any ghostly footsteps during the witching hour. Now that would probably keep me awake the whole night.

Do you do that too?


Friday, January 16, 2009

Green is In!

A few months ago I blogged about the SM Green Bag, a project spearheaded by Mr. Herbert Sy which was initially introduced in all SM Supermarkets/Hypermarkets together with Unilever. I want to commend Mr. Sy for pushing for this project since we all just take for granted where the wasted plastic bags go (especially those that are non-biodegradable).  

Today's an important day for SM as they include the use of the SM Green Bag to its department stores and tenants. They even had National Artist Manuel Baldemor do four designs and this was unveiled today during the launch at the Atrium of the Mall of Asia.

I'll surely put the bags that I have in the car since Miguel and I usually go to SM after hearing mass every Sunday. Sayang ang points! 

Here's a couple of photos from the launch: 


Mr. Hans T. Sy and National Artist Manuel Baldemor

Unilever's CEO Mr. Fernando Fernandez, SM Supermalls' Annie Garcia, Mr. Manuel Baldemor, Mr. Hans Sy and Mr. Herbert Sy

Thursday, January 15, 2009

First Love

Do you remember your first love?

I would assume that a lot of us go through several relationships first before we find the right one, after all we usually get our bit of first love as teenagers and due to immaturity, stupidity and what-not it just doesn't always work-out. Fear not since it just usually gets better and when it comes at the right time things will just fall into place.

My Mom married her first boyfriend, my Dad and they would usually rib each other about being together for the longest time. Earlier today my Mom was saying, "I don't want a grand celebration for our golden wedding anniversary." (It's going to be next year). 

My Dad answered, "Well we won't, we don't have money to spend anyway." (Siyempre that's our job na). 

And then my Mom told me, "You mean I have to marry the same person?" 

Then Dad quipped, "Yeah, our contract is only for 50 years since that's the prescriptive period for marriage contracts." (He is of course just kidding and making things up. I definitely don't remember any prescriptive period for marriage in the Family Code.)

Yes, my parents are still very much crazy in love with each other and it drives me nuts when they are in that mood. And I guess despite all the upheavals in my love life in the past I never gave up on love. Baduy man, but when you find that person you can giggle with over some insane, mababaw jokes you just know you are on the right track.

And this post was inspired by the McDonald's TVC "First Love" which I plurked about over a week ago. 


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Whoopsies! Wrong Direction

My sister and her family does a lot of hiking and they usually just get directions online from Google Maps. A few weeks ago they decided to brave "Old Rag Mountain" and printed out directions from Google Maps.

And then reached this signage (my niece, Celina took the photo) -


Close-up -


They did turn around and followed the directions on the signage. The people in the area probably got fed up already and placed the signage. LOL. 

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Your Luck is in the Stars

NOT!

Year-in, year-out we always get all these forecasts from "prominent" manghuhulas and they're all over the news and most talk-shows. I have to admit I used to be crazy over reading my horoscope every day through the newspaper, Friendster and even had it delivered to my mail. That was about 6 years ago when my life was really going crazy. 

This morning our parish priest gave a very interesting homily about the not-so-three-kings-but-they-are-maggis. He said that we have erroneously interpreted the maggi (learned people who study the stars or astrologers) as kings. They aren't. Anyway, our parish priest explained in a very funny way how going to manghuhulas, reading your horoscope, doing feng shui etc. is definitely something that's not true because nobody can predict your future. Only God knows where you're really headed.

I couldn't help but look back at the time I used to rely on how my day would go by reading my horoscope. Pati horoscope ng "Libre"! I know it's pathetic. I always went through a couple of self-help books, but was generally dissatisfied and wanting. I guess I was lost back then. I had a lot of unanswered questions and eventually realized that I just made a lot of bad decisions. 

So, I started to pray to St. Jude who is known to be the patron saint of the impossible cause. I found his prayer in one of my Mom's prayer books and prayed it every night. I did not really know what I wanted, but just kept praying. Eventually I found myself reading Bo Sanchez' books and and that gave me some direction. 

I realized back then that you just really have to let God be your navigator and no one else. I still read the horoscope once in a while just for fun. I just usually shrug it off because I know if I want to have a great day it's up to me and no one else. 

Happy Sunday everybody! And happy new year once again! (I'm not going to greet "Happy Three Kings" since our parish priest might read this and bonk me on the head).