Friday, August 28, 2009

I Will Be Forever 25!

Well... till I invoke my right to change my mind :)

I got that idea when I received an email greeting from a pillar of the Philippine IT industry. He said, "Happy 25th birthday!" So from this day on whenever anybody asks me how old I am, I'll just say I'm 25 years old. (I know my son will protest with much vigor when he reads this post, I'm not as bad as the one who writes "30+" in forms...)

It's my birthday today, so give me some slack.

So much has happened since I did this post back in 2006. It was a blog post on my Friendster account that I republished as my first post here. Time flies so fast. And things have definitely been crazy the past 3 years and I guess I just want to note some milestones and important stuff that have transpired in the past 3 years:

10. I started this blog in Mountain View, California. I could not help but shed a few tears when I stepped out of the SFO airport. I realized then that I have literally and figuratively come a long way from my first job as a student assistant and part-time writer for an oil company.

9. I got involved in making our Parish newsletter. I don't remember how many issues I managed to put together. I was really happy doing it because it helped me realize that I still had the skill to put a paper together.

8. Trips! Who would've thought I'd finally say, "Ayoko na magbiyahe!!!" Most of it is documented at Lakwatsera Ako. Bali FTW!!!

7. I'm still writing (err blogging!). I have this odd notion that I will never write well and never as good as my idols. Hanggang pangarap na lang yun. But at least I'm still writing. Of course, I'm very happy about getting included in the Emerging Influential Blogs (2007 and 2008) and getting mentioned on Blogger Buzz and being a judge for the Philippine Blog Awards.

6. I got over stage fright. I used to hate presenting in class. I hated it so much I always volunteered to do our paper, just so I don't have to speak in front of class. The chairperson during my MBA defense just told me one thing before he said that I can graduate already, "Iha you are ready for the world, BUT you need to get over being shy." Sir, nasobrahan na nga po ata hehehe.

5. My son has grown so much the past few years! And I'm really happy he's doing stuff he is passionate about. He won 2 robotics contests (Lego Mindstorms and DLSU Robotics Camp) and he's currently the president of his school's Computer Club. I'm a proud momma!

4. I now have many more friends from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao and other countries too. Meeting people from all walks of life has definitely been an eye opener.

3. I will also never forget the times I had the chance to go around some public schools to teach IT especially in Cebu, Kalibo, Davao, Pampanga and Capiz. It was really a privelege :)

2. My family. My parents are celebrating their golden wedding anniversary in a couple of months and I am looking forward to seeing my siblings on Philippine soil, together, after so many years.

1. I started the search last January 2007. Missed having a Valentine. Sumemplang pa rin. But he (screening committee pala ha) finally found me.

And, of course, thank you Lord for giving me a new lease on my life. :)

*Photo by JayDJ

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Teach Lola

Two summers ago I gave myself an impossible mission, "Teach my Dad how to blog." It was really a challenge since my Dad didn't want to go online and teaching him to SMS was hard enough. Eventually he gave me permission to set-up his blog. He wasn't keen on having one, but I was so makulit! Now, it's Miguel who does the blogging for him hehe. Well, the mission to get him in front on a PC is still a mission to this day.

When the "Lola Techie" ads came out I started bugging my Mom to learn how to go online. She just told me, "Wala ako computer eh." I know it would be easier to teach my Mom since I taught her how to use MS Word before. Good thing my Ate sent our Mom some money to buy a new PC. So we got it this afternoon and I installed some basic apps. The first thing I taught her was how to watch videos on Youtube! LOL.

Anyway, Bayan launched an advocacy program, "Teach Lola the Internet." They found out in an informal poll that 81% of Filipinos are still close to their grandparents, 57% of which still visit from time to time, but 87% still want to communicate with their grandparents. Lola Techie said that teaching your lola (or lolo) to use the internet would be very helpful in bridging the digital divide.

I agree with Lola Techie and I'm now skimming through the Teach Lola website for some tips on how to teach my Mom. Hopefully when my Mom's really knowledgeable already she'll be able to convince Dad to finally take the plunge.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Asia's Titanic (MV Dona Paz), First Locally Produced Documentary for National Geographic

When the MV Dona Paz sank back in 1987 it made a huge impression on me because my school was planning a field trip somewhere in the Visayas region and they originally planned for us to go on a ship. The plan kept getting delayed and was completely scrapped when the tragedy happened.

I only got information back then through the news and by looking at photos on the newspaper. It was scary and months after I found an oil-filled maong shorts on a reef in our beach in Bicol. Nakadampot ng ipot sa kalikutan. That's what my Tita said, so I've stayed away from reefs eversince.

That was 22 years ago and I was just 12 years old when it happened. I don't remember much about it except that many people died. I was surprised when I received an invitation to view the documentary "Asia's Titanic", the first-ever locally produced documentary for National Geographic Channel. (And yes, when I'm not watching my favorite telenovela chances are I'm probably on NGC).

MV Dona Paz is called "Asia's Titanic" because it is the world's worst peacetime maritime disaster with 4,000 deaths recorded. It's also the first in 5 major marine mishaps by Sulpicio Lines (see news story here), but this accident was blamed on the MV Vector, the vessel that collided with the MV Dona Paz.

The documentary was directed by award-winning director Yam Laranas (he did Sigaw). He recounted the gruelling process they went through to get approval from NGC and the three year work they did to produce the documentary.

The show was riveting and heartfelt. I've watched many disaster shows on NGC, but nothing compares to what I felt while watching this. Because it is our own. Laranas mentioned that the objective of the documentary is just to do a recount of what happened during that fateful night five days before Christmas. The facts presented on the film came from interviews with the survivors and investigators, congressional inquiries and available information from the news.

It was a very sad story, but I also feel proud that finally we have a locally produced documentary showing on NatGeo! Sana marami pa sumunod!

You may watch "Asia's Titanic" on the National Geographic Channel on the following dates:

August 25, Tuesday, 8:00 pm
August 26, Wednesday, 4:00 a.m./9:00 a.m./1:00 p.m./9:00 p.m.
August 30, Sunday, 9:00 p.m.
August 31, Monday, 1:00 a.m./5:00 a.m.
September 5, Saturday, 6:00 p.m.
September 28, Monday, 8:00 p.m.
September 29, Tuesday, 1:00 p.m.

And guess what! A rare moment! I won a National Geographic underwater camera!!! Weeeee! Thanks so much National Geographic :)

Monday, August 17, 2009


Last Saturday at the invitation of Gary, Sweetie and I got to watch Pagcor's newest show "Flow". I was keen on watching since we also got to see Wanders last year and it was spectacular! I was a bit nervous though about seeing performers flying around again.

Flow tells the story of life through dance. It starts with the creation of "Flow" and I was awed by the interpretation since they started it off from the back (that's why it would be better if you stay at the back for this show). The dumdumdum was electrifying and signaled a good start for the show. My heart stopped when Flow's parents flew up in the air by hanging onto cloth and then seeing Flow as a child do a hand stand on a six-foot base and I can't describe the contortions she did. Just think wala siyang buto! Observe how Flow grew up throughout the show :)

There were magical moments too. I still can't figure out how the magician managed to transport 2 singers to the back (they must've run really fast!) and how the dancers changed from white into colorful costumes. It was also interesting to see the Manuevers dancing together with some of the Chinese acrobats. And can you imagine how many people can ride onto 1 BMX (bike)?

I'm glad my heart is still pumping since there were a lot of things in the show that made my heart stop. Flow also had a lot of Pinoy in it compared to Wanders probably because they had Mel Villena at the helm for music. Also found the use of CGI for background interesting.

It was an interesting show and if you missed Wanders, you should watch this! Flow is showing on August 18, 19, 28, and 29 at the Pagcor Theater in Paranaque. Watch the preview here.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Better Writing, Better Blogging

I know I will never be as eloquent as Manolo, Juned, Blogie and Maro. They are my idols when it comes to blog writing. I can only hope to be a teenie-bit as skillful as they are when it comes to expressing their thoughts and feelings.

You see I'm having a hard time writing this post even.

I took interest in writing when I was a kid. Being the youngest in the family somehow made me the most emo and to keep me from becoming psycho my Mom got me a very nice stationery-like notebook. I used to collect stationeries since I was 7 and it was unheard of to actually write on them! So I was utterly confused when my Mom told me that the nice pink notebook was going to be my first journal.

I started keeping a journal when I was 8. Most of them were one-liners of stuff I did during the day and my Mom would remind me whenever we had an activity to record it in my journal. So I just kept writing and writing with my ugly chicken penmanship, not minding how I constructed sentences.

When I was 9 I discovered the wonderful world of the Bobbsey Twins! That was the time my Dad was a judge in Lucena, Quezon and my Mom and I would take a trip to visit him every other weekend. My Mom would buy me something to read. Eventually I read my sister's hardbound Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys collection. That was where I realized that I wanted to write more than one liners.

I was already 11 when my Mom pointed out to me that I had horrendous grammar. I became so conscious of it that it became hard for me to write. If my friends dig up my snail mail to them during that time they'd be laughing their heads off. Hey, I was only 11! So to improve my writing skills I joined the creative writing club in high school and eventually several student publications in college. I became EIC of our literary folio not because of my writing skills, but probably because I scored really high in the management IQ exam.

I'll be celebrating my birthday in a few weeks and I realize that I'm still far from being the writer (or blogger) I want to be. The best I can do for now (I guess) is to at least not be an eyesore to those who read what I write.

And thanks to Sweetie who patiently checks my posts for grammatical errors.

And I ask for bloggers, are you conscious about how you write?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Flash Mob Dance at Mall of Asia

Last Saturday I was invited to attend an event by Jollibee at Mall of Asia and since I wanted to be a mall rat for that day I decided to go. I had no idea what to expect when they said that we should just go to Haagen Dazs near the Atrium area. There was no set-up at the activity area so we thought it was going to be a mob scene. So we ate yummy ice cream and waited.

It was more than a mob scene, watch this -

A very interesting way to market Jollibee virally don't you think? I thought there was just going to be a few kids dancing and was totally surprised with the number of kids dancing to different tunes. Three hundred teens converged to do the 4-minute dance number choreographed by Whiplash and directed by Mark Reyes. The short "show" was indeed amazing to watch :)

You may also want to check out -
Haagen Dagz (the yummy ice cream we had)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Emerging Influential Blogs of 2009

I was included in the list of emerging influential blogs of 2007, a writing project by Janette Toral which she started back in 2007. Oh, I almost forgot, You Got Tech was included in 2008. I was asked by Janette to share my experience about making it to the top 10 last month in Cagayan de Oro and during the awarding ceremonies last Saturday (August 10).

I am thankful for being included in the list since it has helped me a lot both for work and personally. I've gained not just a couple of friends, but a lot of friends from all over the country (and worldwide). And I say a lot because it's been so hard to cut down our guest list for the wedding (which isn't a blogger event heh). It was blogger friends from Davao and Cagayan de Oro who conspired with Sweetie for his proposal. And with lots of friends, you get lots of contacts!

What keeps my blog going though is my love for writing. It doesn't really matter to me if people read what I write, but knowing that there are people who do read what I write gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling, mababaw kaligayahan ko eh. Earning from my blog is just a plus and hopefully I'll be able to buy myself a proper computer chair when I claim my earnings. Getting invited to events is also a plus, but not a must. The freebies are charming too especially when I go hungry or just want to reward myself with something, but also not a must.

Blogging for me is a very personal experience, depende rin sa mood ko. It doesn't take a lot of my time too, sometimes it just takes me 5 minutes to make a post (I can type really fast!). I just hope that through this medium I'm able to help and inspire others.

Thank God my camera is back from the service center! Gaganahan na ulit ako mag-blog!

Congratulations to the winners of the 2009 Emerging Influential Blogs writing project!

Writing to Exhale
Patay Gutom
The Struggling Blogger
Father Blogger dot Com
Kelvinonian Ideas 2.0
Tales from the Mom Side
Let's Go Sago!

And here are photos from the 2007 ceremonies:

And my video of the 2008 ceremonies:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

For Cory

A week before my 8th birthday Ninoy Aquino was assassinated at the airport tarmac. There was a lot of discussion about it and eventually my Dad became part of the commission that investigated the tragedy. I did not understand what was happening back then, but my parents explained that important things were happening in our country and that they were hopeful that the Marcos regime would finally end. I remember though going to a small museum where Ninoy's things were displayed. That was my first encounter (in the flesh) with Cory and Kris. Cory also signed the booklet that we bought that day.

I was ten when the EDSA Revolution happened. As a kid I was just happy that classes were suspended and I finally had the time to learn how to use my shiny, new red BMX. We had lots of homework though and one of the tasks was to cut-out important clippings from broadsheets. I clipped out a lot and wrote down a short reaction at the bottom of the clipping. That was also the time that I read a lot about Ninoy's widow, Cory, and she took on his fight for democracy.

Yellow became my favorite color and I collected all things related to the snap elections. We campaigned for Cory and I always wore yellow ribbons with my pigtails. Apparently my teachers thought I had very intelligent thoughts about the issues (thanks to my Dad) and chose me as one of the “flower girls” to greet Cory when she visited her alma mater (St. Scholastica's College).

Everybody was excited for her arrival. The Benedictine sisters were very proud of her and our teachers kept giving us instructions on how to hold the huge paper yellow rose we had to hold up. We were supposed to flank her as she walked in, but I think we ended up not doing it properly because the crowd went wild when she arrived. I don't remember what she talked about.

I had these stickers inside my cabinet for the longest time.
My Mom took it off about a month ago and gave it to me for safekeeping.

She was my hero. She did not have to take on Ninoy's fight for democracy. She probably did not have the right training, the exact background, but she did. And looking back I think she was perfect for that moment and whatever background she had was enough to bring the people together to fight the Marcos regime.

I admire her a lot because of her faith. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for her to run our country. In transition at that. One coup d' etat after another also came, the bloodiest one happening on my birthday. But Cory held on and did not break. It was her faith that probably kept her together.

Family. Faith. Love for country. Commitment. Forgiveness. And honesty. Those are just some of the things that I have learned from Cory. She lived it and breathed it. She was not just our president, she was a mother to all of us. The mother who saw us get out of an ugly regime that sowed the seeds of corruption, dishonesty and greed.

Thank you Madam President for giving a huge part of your life to us Filipinos. For all the sacrifice you have made, may we remember and act on individual commitments to uplift our nation. All it takes, at the very least, is a random act of kindness.

May you rest in peace and may your love story with Ninoy continue in heaven.

This is for you -

And for my fellow Pinoys -

*Yellow Ribbon by JayDJ, feel free to use it too.