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Philippines has beeen aggressively promoting its 7100 islands around the  globe.

 Rich in nature’s bounty, various ethnic groups and culture and other cheap thrills. Moreover, it boasts of its firendliness and communication skill since majority can speak English. Thus, a tourist will simply ask for directions and off he goes. What about the tourist who cant speak English?

Despite the promotions, tourism has not boosted as projected compared to its neighboring countries like Thailand and China.

 Why?

For a simple reason, it lack of signs. One time, I decided to walk from Greenbelt Mall to RCBC Plaza both of which are a kilometer away  and are located in Makati City- the Philippines’ famous business center.

Underpasses (in Makati) as we all are familiar with, have four (4) exits but not an arrow did I see which exit is for point a or b.

 Number one requisite of a tourist place are signs. When we go to other places, people simply say, read the signs and you’ll never get lost. If this aspect is overlooked in a sophisticated city, how much more in the other places of our country?

If this simple underpass sign is overlooked how much more with other matters. Now do you still wonder why our country is stuck or even declining???

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Divorce Bill

At present, the issue on Divorce Bill in our country maybe a passe but out of the blue my friends and I discussed about the topic.

Vote was 2 – 4. Unfortunately, I belong to the minority pro-divorce. My friends believed in the sanctity of marriage. That since it is a vow, it is the couples’ challenge to keep it no matter what it takes. Of course who doesn’t want to give marriage a chance? However, it is also a fact that there are cases in which separation is the ‘healthiest’ option in consideration to the emotional and mental aspect. I mean, how can one continue to sleep soundly with an enemy?

However, I  also agree that abuse of the law is very possible, which admittedly somehow is holding me back in supporting the bill 100%.

 I have not actually read the bill. In case it does not include pre-emptive measure from abuse, I have thought of some. It is to require the couple to go on psychological test, counselling and retreat before any party can file a case. I believe most of the break ups are also caused my miscommunication and non-confrontation. By these measures maybe the Philippines may even end up the most loving people in the world.

A rainy day. I strolled aimlessly in the mall. Unconsciously, I stood blankly in front of the cart selling cd’s most of which are instrumental. On impulse,I texted an artist friend of mine if I could buy some of his records.

Waway Saway. He is a Datu of a Manobo tribe in Bukidnon province. He composes songs, sings, plays various instruments, paints, designs and makes “borloloys”. He has traveled around the globe because of his talent and yet remained simple, humble and unaffected.

When I checked my mobile phone, Waway said he is in Manila for some projects. We then decided to meet in Quiapo. Even if it was my first time to go to Quiapo and alone at that, I never hesitated. My sense of adventure came back. I always feel excited to be with artists ever since I was 13.

I was in trance while I was in the train, I feel like I wasn’t in Philippines. My eyes saw the usual sights but today, they were beautiful. The railway, the old buildings and the billboards.

Much more when I arrived in Quiapo, I was awed with stalls and the flee market. There was heavy downpour and yet trade still went on. Thanks too to the tarps and umbrellas installed along Carriedo Street, I was saved from getting soaked in the rain.

In the midst of the hustle and bustle, I feel order and peace. Filipino, Chinese and Muslim traders co-existed in blocks of Spanish built community.

I tried to imagine what life was like 200 years ago. If I shot pictures and printed in black and white, maybe it would be difficult to tell which year was it. That is sans Jollibee in the images.

Waway tagged along another artist. Sisco Gerlan was a US Navy who quit in the service to be a musician in Boracay Island. Like Waway, he knows a lot of stuff even the different tools found in a hardware store.

After Quiapo, we met with Jason ______. A guy who turned his hobby into business. He owns Tribu Outdoor Gears.

I always get amazed how these guys turn ordinary things and routinary activities  into  pieces of art and fun filled events.

Life is indeed full of adventure. There are always things to discover and learn each day. It is a matter of perception.

Life shouldn’t be stagnant. Life goes on. Life is good. Life is beautiful. See it with an artist’s eye.

WYD 2005

To commemorate the World Youth Day 2005. I am sharing the e-mail I sent to my friends after the event. I intentionally did not edit it to keep its originality and more especially its high spirited emotion. 

I was in Europe for 3 weeks.  

  1st week: We stayed in Volkenroda, Germany- a place where only few Germans know it existed aside from the inhabitants in the place. It is surrounded by wheat field. It was Arch. Rosales who committed to the Chemin Neuf community that we join their pre world youth day camping. Some activities were good. Some activities weren’t so creative. So, we tried to escape. We had to walk 2 km or more only to find out that the nearest mall/center was close because it was weekend. hehehe 

 

Food was always bread, cheese, butter, ham, sausage, sour cream, fresh tomatoes and cucumber. 

 Everyone thought it’s summer (august). No sweaters/ jackets.. When we reached Frankfurt airport, it was already cold and windy but bearable. In Volkenroda, it was freezing cold. Temperature was down to 9 degrees centigrade! We slept in tents. Ergo no heater! Shower rooms too don’t have heaters. ggggggggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!! Nakonsensya gyud mga pari coz their accommodation was nice. 


 2nd week: world youth day – Koln, Bonn, Nievenheim, DusseldorfGermany 

“Benedicto amigo, juventud es contigo!” Thats a Spanish cheer! 1 million cheerful youths gathered in Germany. The event was poorly planned. There were incidents that we had to walk to the next train station because the central station is full packed. We experienced stampede too. We had to hold hands so we wont get separated from one another. Another incident, the bus’ shocks broke down coz it was overloaded with Indians from famous kerala. Worst, during our last day, we had to walk 3 hours to Marianfield for the vigil. The path was swampy if not dusty. Imagine the exodus in Moses’ time? Thats what i felt! Way to freedom is never easy…after the vigil, we had to walk another 6 hours just to reach the nearest train station. Walking though made me sexier! 

It was during this week that we visited Koln Catherdral where the relics of the 3 kings are, Beethhovens house, saw Rhein river and more….. and of course saw PAPA BEN!!!!

 3rd week: Amsterdam,Brussels, Paris and Lourdes 

We traveled by Eurail!


Amsterdam- windmills, van gogh museum, rik(something) museum. we failed to witness the red light district at night. of course, we had to be holy. 5 priests were with us. 


Brussels – centralplatz, manequin pis, chocolates 

Paris– we arrived there at 11 in the evening. From the cab, we saw eiffel tower with its dancing light. So beautiful!.. in fact we visited the tower twice- morning and evening.  We also went to notre dam, sacre coure, hotel invalides where napoleon’s tomb is, louve museum, rodin’s sculptures, arc de triompe and MOULIN ROUGE. 


Paris is very luxurious, romantic and magnificent! i love it! 


Lourdes- departure to lourdes: we arrived at the train station 5 minutes before the time. when we reached the platform, the French guy told us to go back coz twas not the right train, we had to ask- run -ask and run again only to find out seconds before the time that we were on the wrong station. ngek! hehehe 
In lourdes, we drunk the holy water the way we do to ordinary water (im holy now!), attended the processions, visited Bernadette’s places.

Despite the hassles, the trip was worth reminiscing! The theme of the world youth day was appropriate: it was in latin but in english guess it’s “we have come to worship him”. It’s from the story of the 3 magis. They got lost- had challenges on their way to Bethlehem but they simply followed the star. So, they succeeded! they were happy! Just like us!

Inescapable Change

Virtual life has evolved after laptops, mobile phones and internet were made available. Anything is possible by these technologies. Simple examples are: An employee can stay at home, do the task assigned and submit report via e-mail; A housewife can simply do online shopping while taking care of the baby at home;  I too am handling the marketing side of a resort in Camiguin Island but I am here in Manila. Everything is just done on the net and mobile phone.

Mobility. Flexibility. Accessibility. These are the positive effects brought about by the evolution of technology. However, I am a victim of my dependence to the virtual life.

I have been keeping an article to be posted this month. On the day that the idea ticked, Wordpress is inaccessible and my USB drive got soaked with eye cleanser. I, therefore, opted to save the file in my Eudoramail account. The account I have been keeping since the late 90’s.

August 1, I logged on the net to retrieve the article.

To my surprise the Eudoramail account was converted to Lycos. Worse, all the mails were lost. Ggggrrrrrr.

So what now?

It left me pondering what is the next evolution for saving files?  Paper gets destroyed with water and termites. Soft files are lost also in a snap of the fingers.

One conclusion then: I agree to whoever said, “The only certain in this world is CHANGE”.

 

  

The Ateneo Human Rights Center in partnership with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation is sponsoring an essay-writing competition on the question: Does the universality of human rights require a particular type of democracy? 

 For details, please click link: http://www.fnf.org.ph/News/writeandwincontest-mechanics.htm

How does a juggler manage 3-4 balls at a time? How did he perfect such talent?

I see myself like a juggler. At present, I am dealing with sooooo many things. Work, business, scholarship program, and 3 other major personal activities.

Fortunately,this situation is not new me. Thanks to my exposure and experience in various activities since elementary days. I partipated in choral group, dance troupe,  band, outreach clubs, academic competitions and so much more.  Still, bragging aside, I manage to have a place in the honor role.

Often, I get satistied that I accomplish so many tasks. However, sometimes I end up confused. Just like now.

Why? Because the things to be accomplished do not demand much physical effort but mental exercise. They demanded careful grueling decisions and this has been going on for two weeks.

I feel a bit impatient but no way will I ever give up. Yes it is dragging yet exciting. Activities that demand more attention are more important and give greater return. That’s business and in any way, not different with life situations.

This is challenge and I promise not to let any ball slip my hands.