Monday, December 15, 2008

Causes of City Conventions

As the republic emerges from another Ayala rally last Friday, a few questions have been tossed around the blogosphere and the atmosphere on the nature of Philippine rallies.

As a disclaimer, I have not (yet) been an active participant of a rally; the closest was this Ayala rally earlier this year when I was lounging around the area and I thought I saw a bomb (see lower part of the post). In addition, I do not wholly support rallies as a whole or rallies in particular where the drive is more politically-motivated than most (of course, there’s always a degree of political motivation, but I can only tolerate a certain extent). In general, I believe that rallies are expressions of freedom of speech.

At any rate, I want to answer the questions being asked around that seems to be particular to the republic of bagoong, bandurians, and bananaques.

  • Why hold the rally at Ayala Avenue, Makati?

Why Makati? Well, Makati has been relatively liberal in allowing various sorts of rallies, even dating back to 1985. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the mayor nowadays is against the empress and he’s willing to allow any chance for an aggrieved citizenry to display their displeasure against her. In addition, Makati is still currently the center of high-profile business in the country (sorry Ortigas and Eastwood). Thus, any rally here would always bring national and international exposure.

  • Why not hold the rally at Plaza Miranda?

As to why not Plaza Miranda (the pre-Martial Law choice of rallies), I don’t think the current design of Plaza Miranda is conducive to holding rallies anymore. If I’m not mistaken, it’s been taken over by vendors wishing to sell their wares in front of the Quiapo church. It’s right smack in the middle of a rather congested Manila where it’s not accessible easily to both rallyists and media.

  • Why not hold the rally at Congress / Malacanang?

This questions why the rallies are not brought forth in the center of power, the aforementioned Congress and Malacanang. True, other rallies have been brought to Congress and Malacanang on occasion, but for the maximum impact and convergence of goals, Makati is one of the best places to bring the rally forward.

  • Why hold a coup-de-etat at a hotel in Makati?

This is related to the Oakwood & Peninsula capers led by now-Senator Trillanes. One does wonder, what is the military significance of a hotel? Arms-wise, none at all. Strategic and publicity-wise, a whole lot. Barricading a hotel breaks the secure sanctity of the nation’s elite by bringing the threat at the threshold. Similar to assaulting Makati, surrounding a hotel hits the elite where it hurts. This wasn’t an original plan; Col. Honasan & then-Capt. Danny Lim have done this already in the December 1989 coup.

In comparison, the Thais blockaded their airports recently because they knew that foreigners used these airports as gateways to their holiday destinations. I guess for all the visitors that travel to Manila, at one point or another one would have to visit Makati to keep in touch with the metropolis. Attacking the symbol of the metropolis tend to highlight whatever message a nonconformist is bringing.

  • Why did the normally-reserved Mar Roxas let out a string of expletives?

What else for? For maximum exposure! Mar Roxas has cultivated an air of reserved intellectualism; to be shown in public expressing what most Pinoys are feeling in their gut connects him to the Pinoy voter. In addition, the hapless administration flunkies are falling all over themselves denouncing his “ungentlemnlike” behavior. But it has the intended effect that people are talking about it and keeping him and the issue in the news cycle. Heck, I’m still blogging about it and I haven’t even seen it.

  • Why aren’t the crowds bigger than expected?

This is since the government has learned to control both the actual and the perceived number of crowds in two ways.

To control the actual number of crowds, the police block of the entry points into the main Metro Manila region from the Mega Manila areas (Calabarzon and Bulacan northwards). This is done by blocking the main highways leading up to the metro: North Luzon Expressway, South Luzon Expressway, and Coastal Road. For the life of me, I don’t know why the rallyists can’t think of more creative ways to bypass these checkpoints. Rallies like these are known days, if not weeks in advance; can’t they work a system of trickling the participants slowly in without creating undue attention? Or if they decide to hold their rallies at the choke points, make sure they’re covered and organized so that the media will take notice.

As to controlling the perceived number, this is where the other side gets more creative. Air traffic control is restricted so aerial shots from media helicopters cannot show a panoramic view of the crowd congregating at the corners of Ayala & Paseo de Roxas. Sometimes, a cloud-seeding operation may be started to let nature disperse the crowd. In addition, crowd estimates are downplayed to try to reduce the impact of events (the organizers in turn try to inflate the numbers for the opposite effect).

  • Are these rallies effective?

If the rally reflects what the significant portion of the population feels (e.g. not just the public driving sector or the marginalized farmers or the bused in crowds), then policy / strategy are delayed and deferred until the situation cools down. The House is currently back-tracking from the cha-cha charge; time will tell if this is enough to delay the initiative enough to render the initiative ineffectual, or if this will force the empire into more forceful and desperate actions.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Non-impeachment non-coverage

I was reading on the latest impeachment reports online when I saw that the voting was ongoing as of posting time. I checked out ANC and they’re still showing Shop Talk. The major networks are still showing normal TV. Only TV DZMM is showing a video of the ongoing exhortations, not even the video anymore.

It’s a bit of a relief not to listen to the long-winded and fake reasons why our so-called representatives are voting to junk the impeachment complaint. I know showing it won’t rouse anybody; it’s simply bad TV. It was good TV when the pro-impeachment representatives walked out, but other than that, it’s the expected lies that will just make people throw stuff at the TV.

I just wish there was a real choice of district representatives when the elections come around so I don’t have to vote for these losers and blatant liars again.

(Yep, watching West Wing reruns makes me despair about this republic.)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Computers and Cops

Reading Paeng's post on computer viruses got me into thinking about the level of protection anyone has to employ vis-a-vis what is available for the system at large (whether computer systems or society in general).

He mentioned that viruses usually get blamed even though it's due to the foolhardiness of the computer user that may have caused it. That may be partly true, since if one's going to surf the net, one has to have adequate safeguards installed on his desktop, like anti-virus and anti-spam software. However, this negates the possibility that viruses can be malicious and overcome even an anti-virus software that hasn't been updated for one day. In addition, more web-based applications (e.g. web mail providers like Yahoo and Gmail) are providing anti-virus scanners for free. Although Paeng might come from a position where the World Wide Web is still pretty much an unstructured place where one relies as much on the next person's goodness and there's no real police authority (thank goodness for that); therefore, a netizen has to be extra careful in protecting his turf (much like the frontiersmen in America's Old West).

However, I can't say the same for non-virtual societies in general. Whenever I see a snatching being shown on TV, the first reaction of the keystone kops are that people should be more careful of what they do on the street… Excuse me? Aren't the taxes enough for these enforcers to do their jobs? And why do we find them lounging around and pinning the blame on the citizenry? Is this why the more affluent employ security guards? I guess there's a failure of the system since another one of this republic's distinction (in addition to divorce & short school system) is the largest number of security guards in a country.

Ok, given that the cops don’t have enough money, I wonder where my taxes are going. I take a look at the Globe Visibility / Smart Bro attached to my computer, the initials of ZTE are there...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Typhoon Translation

Isn't it weird that the international name for the typhoon hitting our republic today is "Hagupit" but we call it "Nina"? How many countries still rename their typhoons? Is it as many as the countries that still have no divorce law (2) or maintain a 10-year educational system as opposed to 12-year system worldwide?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tripping Towards the 31st

My 31st birthday was more eventful than my 30th birthday. While my 30th birthday was building up my anxiety of where I was and what I had accomplished, especially since I'd be moving out of the 20s and into the 30s, I was pretty relaxed when year 31 rolled in. In addition, I had the usual birthday cake and blowout on my 30th, but crazy mishaps greeted me on my 31st!

On my way for lunch, I went to the ATM to grab some cash, using my rarely-used BPI card (since this was an Ayala mall). The ATM ate my card not at the PIN-entering stage, but right at the beginning, where it was asking what language I preferred! I was a bit peeved at what happened, but by the time I finished, I was still smiling because I knew that I could still retrieve my card without having to pay extra (I just needed to go back to Glorietta by that Monday).

But later that night, after dinner, Lady Luck decided to play another prank. At the parking lot with Bambi, Marchy's batteries died! (No, I did not leave the lights on… Hehehe!) (See picture of Marchy, got this from the net, Marchy's silver):

Fortunately, Mom and Dad were still at the mall parking lot so they came by. I thought I was still prepared since I bought a series cable days beforehand and tried to juice up Marchy. The operative word was "tried", since I apparently failed… We called up the Motolite hotline to get a new battery, which they did on time. Turns out the battery was really dead (Marchy is a 2nd hand car). But I was still smiling since I knew that there would be help in the form of my parents and Motolite.

In addition on the 31st (which shouldn’t be included in the birthday count, but since we're on the topic of mishaps), my sis & I (with her friends) went to Rockwell for her to watch Death Race while I shopped for groceries. Since my sister went out after dinner, she went ahead with her friends to the Fort while I hung out at the mall for a bit longer. Unfortunately (again), I realized that I had left my parking card with my sister! So I waited a bit at the parking lot while the security got copies of my license and registration to show that it was my car (it's a dinky Marchy, I'm sure it's not a hot car target). Fortunately, the guard says I can get the penalty back if I return to the mall within 15 days, so I still left with a smile.

So thanks to BPI, Motolite, Rockwell, my parents, my sister, and Bambi for keeping me company, extending moral support, being dependable, not getting my bank account, not thinking I was a carnapper, and for just being there (yeah I know, they don't match). I rather enjoyed having a colorful and eventful greeting on my birthday!

(Yes, I missed the Eraserheads concert. I thought it'd be weird attending the concert, since I do love their music, but I was anxious at attending concerts, which may have gotten out of hand. Turns out it was a rather orderly affair, so oh well… at least Ely's recovering well.)

Here's to the last year of being in the calendar!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

From Flood to Flight

We were driving on the way home after a few hours of rainfall flooded the streets of the metro once again. Fortunately, we weren't hit by the floods. Unfortunately, since most of the metro is interconnected, a flood in Buendia can trigger a gridlock in EDSA-Roxas.

As we were driving, I noticed that commuters have already walked past the normal waiting area for jeeps and buses and have met the public utility vehicles in advance. Usually, we would submit this as another case for the lack of discipline among Filipinos. But if you look at it closely, especially if you've been a commuter during the rainy season, a more complex mind game is at work.

During the rains, more vehicles are slowed down by floods, therefore, vehicles available for rides arrive later and less frequently.

The time you get off work does not change, so there is the same amount of people waiting for the bus/jeep.

There is no contingency plan to beef up more transport, so you would expect a lesser supply of buses/jeeps given a particular time frame.

The traffic enforcers are trying to unsnarl the traffic, but there is a limit to how much they can free up the chokepoints, namely the vehicle capability and the road conditions.

Since the traffic enforcers are busy unraveling traffic to increase the supply, but not fast enough, a few impatient commuters move forward to get home earlier. Since they are not penalized, the rest follow. Thus, another gridlock is born.

If there would be more traffic enforcers to try to maintain order to avoid jumping the lines, that would only solve part of the problem. Because traffic enforcers cannot maintain the road conditions that aggravated the flooding in the first place.

The people know that something's fishy going on in road repair, as seen by the numerous asphalt outlays that need to be replaced year in and year out. They know that contractors and crooks in congress, city hall, and other government offices take their share, but aren't convicted. The people don’t usually make the direct connection that the potholed, corrupted-laden roads are the cause of the floods during a drizzle, but it's at the back of their heads. And this may be one reason why some of us are unafraid to bend a few rules, since our dear leaders break it so brazenly can get away with it.

And then they foist on you someone who will be the metro disciplinarian but unwilling to go after the big fish. He can clean up the sidewalks of the informal vendors, fine. But I still see gas-guzzling convoys chugging along the metro and he's not stopping them. Sadly, I think our reigning elite would go for volume sales (funding the national coffers with compensation income tax or catching small fry) rather than high-margin sales (small percentage of corporate income tax funding our development or catching big fish). Since the middle and lower class are being squeezed, they get out by voting with their feet.

Erg, a social rant based on today's traffic. How dreadful.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

C-130 Crash

Let's pause for a while for the terrible tragedy that has befallen the crew & passengers of the ill-fated Davao-Iloilo PAF C-130 flight.

Don't be mislead by the manifest stated with the pilots and crew. The C-130 is a large plane, which has a normal capacity of 92 passengers, but that capacity is with seats. In a typical PAF flight, seats are removed, and the passengers sit on whatever cargo that is available or even the floor. So this may translate to around 150-200 actual passengers.

In addition, the C-130 has 4 engines, so if one conks out, the plane can still land. And there are no weapons held by non-friendly forces that are strong enough to shoot down any plane, much more a C-130.



Since there's no loud protestations so far from the families of the possible victims of the flight (excluding the pilots and crew), the C-130 could have just had only the nine of them on board to pick-up the contingent at Iloilo, so I could be wrong about the flight having around 150-200 passengers.

But still I have my doubts. Because of the capacity of the plane, it would be a waste to send it to pick-up troops without ferrying other passengers or cargo along the way. So I don't know if they're keeping the other victims' relatives very quiet, or they're not disclosing if they have additional cargo.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gas Gap

This is a succeeding post after my previous gas computation.

As of today, the US average price per gallon is $3.880. I did a bit of number crunching with the following assumptions, and this is what I came up with:

Philippine unleaded price per liter: P57.07 (from observation, lower than last post)

Peso-dollar exchange rate: P45.500 = USD1.00 (peso appreciation)

Gallon-liter conversion: 1 US gallon = 3.78541178 liter (well, this doesn't change)

So that’s (P57.57 / P45.500) x 3.78541178 = $4.748 per gallon in the Philippines versus $3.880 per gallon in the US! Wow, the gap's even bigger!

Put it another way, ($3.880 x P45.500) / 3.78541178 = P46.64 per liter in the US versus P57.07 per liter in the Philippines! Sheesh!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Republic's Root Regulation Ratification Relegated? Really?

Hmm, is this press release a trial balloon meant to lull us into complacency, only to find out that our beloved representatives will spring on us a cha-cha surprise? And suggested by no less than bicol's finest, Luis Villafuerte? Really?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Frickin' "Flip-Flop"

Posted on Flip-flopping senators over should explain to public--Palace

My knee-jerk reaction:

Do you actually think we're idiots??? You have the gall to say that the Senate's resolution meant to extend the empress's reign? WTF???

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Sub-Sophomore Survey!

Freshmen Year Survey!

What section were you?

Block D1!

Who were your seatmates?

I can't remember anymore; has it really been 13 years ago??? I think I usually sat near Jan Chavez or Omer Dizon.

Still remember your English teacher?

Of course! Fr. Alfeo G. Nudas, S.J.

What was your first class?

Math 17, 8:30am, MTh

Who was your crush back then?

This long-haired chinita-tisay girl, pero siniraan ako ng isang kakilala ko who said na binayaran ko sya to find out more about the girl. And that I paid him P20 to do it. And I think her barkada believed it. C'mon… I'm not that underhanded (too torpe to do that) nor that cheap (a tightwad yes, but not cheap)… Hehehe!

Made friends to the higher years?

Not really, just knew some guys who went from the same high school from the upper batches.

Had a boyfriend/girlfriend?

Is bambi reading this? Then no. :-" Hehehe! ;)

How was your class schedule?

My MTh class was ok, it started at 8:30am so no problem taking the bus by then (I'd be riding by 7am). But my TF classes were another thing; I had a 7am CommI class so that meant I had to be hanging by the bus by 5:30am. Fr. Nudas didn't usually end by 8:15, so we'd have to hightail it to the Math Building where Prof. Abis would give us the evil eye… We'd get to her 8:30 class by running, sharing a cab, or hitching with a blockmate with a car; there was no direct Ikot/Toki route from AS to Math building… :(

Made any enemies?

Not really, I just got along with everyone. However, there was this incident where I was hitching a ride when my friend almost parked near the Upsilon peeing area, este parking area. They gave me the stink eye, which only reinforced my love for fraternities (or lack thereof).

Who was your favorite teacher(s)?

Fr. Nudas of course tops the list, but the runners-up are the following:

Gerry de Villa for being a moderate firebrand

Ato Manaloto for being a believer in a department of atheists, and for being lenient with me even while dozing off during his class (and I was seated right next to his desk! Hehehe!)

What sport did you play?

Fencing and aikido. Hmm, I wonder if I can practice my fencing again… Hehehe!

Back then, do you always buy your lunch?

All the time. We would usually go to the Beach House for the P12 barbecue; if I wasn't with my block, I'd eat a slice of pizza at Giacomino's at CASAA :P

Were you a party animal?

I don't think so… hehehe!

Were you well known in your school?

Nope; it's a big school… Hehehe!

Skip classes?

I think once, but if I don’t remember it, then I guess I didn’t skip it; what a dork… :-B

Did you get suspended/expelled?

Neither :P

Can you sing the alma mater song?

Nope; I always thought you can only sing that song twice in your whole college life: during the orientation and during graduation. I can hum it though… ;)

What was your favorite subject?

CommI! I do take a certain pride in Math 17 that I didn’t drop it when almost half of the class did and I still had a high grade; I can't say I loved it though.

What is your school's full name?

University of the Philippines - Diliman

Where did you go most often during breaks?

Beach House, outside the classroom of the next class, and the CS lib, where I had my first dose of this newfangled thing called the Internet (P20 per hour! Then waste the whole hour by waiting for the graphic-filled anime site to load! All on 15.5kbps dial-up! All on Windows 3.1!!!)

If you could go back in time and do it all over, would you?

Of course! I loved the looser structure versus high school and the part that you were exposed to different walks of life (although one can say BA people are typically homogenous, it's still more varied than the HS people you would've spent around a decade of your life with, assuming you all went to the same grade school and high school).

What do you remember most about first year?

1. Meeting friends outside of my previous circle

2. Riding the bus for almost 2 hours each way to get to and from school

3. Getting high grades for the first year (a feat not to be repeated in the succeeding years… hehehe!)

4. Letting go of my old hang-ups ;)

5. Being in awe of Diliman

Aberrant Absence

Where the heck's the homepage? Why has it expired? It was there yesterday and it expired last July 28?

Friday, August 01, 2008

Barong Beginnings

A few weeks ago, I came across this article in GMA-TV where there has been decline in tie fashions for the past few years in the US. Being out of the formal corporate getup world for a little over a year insulated me from seeing corporate wear; coming back made me see how suddenly true the non-tie movement has been spreading upwards.

The republic of basketball, bagoong, and balut as a workforce has never been a tie country. But now, this is spreading to the white-collar sector (man, that's a dated phrase). I used to pride myself in wearing a tie every working day (as hinted by my old post), but when I started at my new work, I noticed that my male colleagues were wearing polo barongs more often.

In my first & second jobs, I had two barongs: one short-sleeved linen barong that was a hand-me-down from dad (as most of my fashion sense were), and one was a long-sleeved barong that was tailored from a barong cloth. The cloth was a gift, and it wasn't linen or pina, but a coarser cloth. The short-sleeved barong was still a size too big and the long-sleeved barong was a bit too tight. Needless to say, I didn't wear these barongs often since I wasn’t fond of the fit or material, and especially since our floor was just above the mainframe floor where some of us had to wear bonnets to keep warm.

Going back to my current job, the air-conditioning in the office tries its best, but can't overcome the heat in recent months; even client's offices had their fair share of heat. So I decided to get myself a new linen short-sleeved barong that fit me just right. And then I noticed myself wearing that barong each week, so I bought another one. And another. And another.

Now when we're at clients and there's a meeting of some kind, I pull out the barong. Or when I want to feel snazzy on a Monday, I wear the barong. The barong is much more forgiving on the figure (since my old dress shirts are a wee bit tight and I can't close the top button when I wear my tie). And even if I wear a short-sleeved barong, it still gives an air of formality.

This was the trend that my old bosses were taking from my second job. They were young businessmen who wanted to project an air of professionalism yet wanted to keep fresh, so they used jusi and pina short-sleeved barongs. My classmate from high school also mentioned that one of her bosses in a bank that always wore suits to work for more than ten years has started to wear barongs because of the heat. I also noticed that more "suits" in the CBD have taken to wearing barongs (thus presenting an oxymoronic twist).

I just feel sad though, because I still have a ton of ties in my closet with dress shirts that still make an appearance, although only once or twice a week at most. But I'm glad that I have this set of clothes that make me feel comfortable and still look sharp.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fuel Fees Frustration

In the mornings, I switch between Unang Hirit & The Today Show to get both the Pinoy & American perspectives on their mornings. Since we have had this gas crisis for some time now, we’ve been seeing news about Americans complaining how high their gas prices have been (as if we don’t rant about it as well). However, as of today, the US average price per gallon is $4.114. I did a bit of number crunching with the following assumptions, and this is what I came up with:

Philippine unleaded price per liter: P59.57 (from observation)
Peso-dollar exchange rate: P45.660 = USD1.00
Gallon-liter conversion: 1 US gallon = 3.78541178 liter

So that’s (P59.57 / P45.660) x 3.78541178 = $4.939 per gallon in the Philippines versus $4.114 per gallon in the US.

Put it another way, ($4.114 x P45.660) / 3.78541178 = P49.62 per liter in the US versus P59.57 per liter in the Philippines.

So what the heck are they whining about? According to Slate, the US has one of the cheapest gas prices around! And here we are, barely a car country, paying for gas through the nose while working ourselves out for the same earnings.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Shameless Shoo-Li

While reading about the quirks and quandary that besets our society, I try to latch on some public figures that feed my idealist tendencies. Unfortunately, these figures eventually succumb to the dark side.

I still remember back in the late 80s that a certain Commissioner of Immigration and Deportation would eat death threats for breakfast and take congressmen to task (whom she would lovingly call “fungus-faced”). Now, she’s at the beck and call of the Empress and when she was caught reneging on her promise to jump off an airplane, she just says she lied (cue in the maniacal laughter).

Or how about our local Dirty Harry who launched a shame campaign against drug dealers and was the darling of the Yellow Queen, but clung on to the Action Hero and did his bidding even when it was against public trust?

The latest one to break my heart was Mr. Shoo-Li of Mongolian Barbecue fame. He used to host a talk show (Mongolian Barbecue) and invited government officials (fake and eventually real ones). He pretended to be a Mongolian and talked with an ethnic Ongpin Chinoy accent. He would discuss issues at hand and make fun of the crassness that passes for our politics. He would be the outsider to the system (like most of us actually) who would make us think why things are what they are.

Mr. Shoo-Li was ably played by Jun Urbano, a noted director. (He based his character on his father’s portrayal of Genghis/Kublai Khan, I forget which.)

I feel betrayed now because there’s a commercial of him saying that change should begin from ground up, since rallies and any complaining against the system is counterproductive. (And then he ends up going to the rally after his sidekick tells him that there’s P500 for him if he joins.)

This is just parroting the Empire’s line, since this absolves the Empire from any responsibility, when in fact, we disobey the rules because we see that our leaders have that much respect for it in the first place. Our leaders’ degree of influence is indicative of how much they follow what is right (oops, please watch out for dripping sarcasm). So the lesson here is that if you want to improve your lot in life like what our leaders have done, either play the game or ship out (the latter of which is a more appealing option to most of us).

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Government Gridlock & Gloom

Reading about Senator Pimentel’s proposed federalism change seemed like a good idea at first (as most ideas are), then I noticed something that wasn’t brought up in other forums. He was proposing seven senators per federal state to represent the Federal Senate, which would bring the total number of senators from 24 to 75 (by the way, 75 is not a number divisible by 7, so please clarify where I went wrong with my assumption). At any case, this would bring more chiefs to the table, more politicians messing around with our lives, with all the Indians (pardon the term) running abroad to escape this malady.

It’s crazy enough as it is that there are tons of barangay tanods (neighborhood watchers) in the village level and yet crime is rampant (or at least, not abated). We have the provincial elite wanting to test their chops in the capital and give scraps to their constituents as a token of their magnanimity.

On a related note, we seem to have a shortage of professionals due to these professionals flocking out of the country, skilled professionals which includes accountants, engineers, computer specialists, teachers, construction workers, managers, marketers, researchers, doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians, etc. But we can’t seem to export what we have in abundance: lawyers &/or politicians. I guess they already have it made here (fair or foul), that’s why they won’t leave. Unfortunately, having a system that extols form over substance creates an environment which also emphasizes legality over propriety, and I think this is where lawyers would thrive. We are exporting the talent needed to build a country, yet we cultivate the talent used to create chaos in the country.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Latent Logs

I got into thinking about this after reading an entry from UDC. Basically, here are the dormant blogs that I used to frequent and I wish that would go back online:

VivaGlam! – My high school-college friend’s blog. This was basically a travel log with insights from the work trenches, plus her insights on her beliefs. Entries had become infrequent when she moved into multiply (which also had infrequent posts). I guess this is also part of getting married and managing a household while managing a career… Most recent post: February 10, 2008 (still recent, but there was a gap between September 23, 2007 and February 8, 2008)

Fallacious – My sister’s best friend’s brother’s blog (I just love these relationship connectors… Hehehe!). These are the random philosophical/inane musings of a UP CW Lit major, who is now a call center vampire… That change in lifestyle usually makes them too tired to write that creatively or maybe he’s more involved with actual work. Most recent post: April 1, 2007

Kitty Litter – An officemate sent me this link; it tells of a part-time professor who also works in the print & PR world. I think she went to using Live Journal, haven’t figured out her current site (or if she’s still blogging). Most recent post: April 13, 2007

San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet – Edwin Lacierda’s blog, found it through the same officemate. His legal insights (along with Punzi) are interesting to an ex-lawyer wannabee. I’m sure he’s busy with a host of other issues so he can’t go back to blogging. Weirdly enough, before I saw his mug on TV, I thought he would be as old as Abe Margallo (I still don’t know why). I apologize to Atty. Lacierda, he’s much younger than that… Hehehe! Most recent post: November 13, 2007

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Substituted Speculation

I’m currently watching The Explainer rerun right now where Ricky Carandang’s explaining how speculating works on the worldwide market. I think a better local example on how speculation works is when people buy & sell US dollars. In a similar scenario, people with funds would buy US dollars from the Forex stores at the mall or from travelers or OFWs in the hopes of waiting for the US rate to go up. Increasing buying of US dollars would also bring up the price of US dollars since the US dollars demand would go up, creating a bandwagon effect.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Loopy Linking

Something seems to be screwy with mlq3's site for the past couple of days (borrowing mlq3's phrase). Everytime you go to the main blog site, then click on the link to read the full article for the day, you still see the main page (thus preventing you from reading the entire article and even the comments).

Here's what happens normally when you go to

Here's what happens when you click on the "continue reading" link:

Here's what happens when you click on the "comments" link:

Don't take my word for it. Go to the links (or type them independently if you want) and see for yourselves...

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Defective DSL

Just came from work today, but during the day I was listening to the radio to check up on the rally and how it was going. Today I’m checking the online news to see what happened.

We have a DSL connection at home, but it keeps on conking out. I’m reduced to using the dial-up, just to catch up.

Hmm, maybe we *do* need a National Broadband Network. Seeing how faulty our current telecoms industry is doing their work, I’m quite sure that this administration, in all its wisdom, can more than outperform our engineers. They were able to find a way to solve the classroom shortage, right? By just changing the denominator to modify the rates?

I’m waiting for virtual tomatoes to be hurled at me any moment now… Hehehe!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Twice for Two Hundred

The President has recently released P200 million to help flood victims in Eastern Samar. That's the same price as the proposed bribe to Secretary Neri. That's 3% of P6.5 billion. P6.5 billion at P50=$1 is $130 million...

To think P200 million can already go a long way into helping those in need, while a whopping 97% goes to the pockets of our esteemed officials??

Friday, February 22, 2008

Coats and Cravats, Caucus at the CBD, and a Could-be Caveat

I remember watching Jun Lozada’s Harapan episode the other night with my dad & sister and saw the latter part. There were some aspects that looks like it may have been staged, like his shirt for example, or the witticisms (i.e. buti pa sila naka-amerikana, ako hindi). Being a businessman and a founder of several businesses, he could afford to wear suits (or in his case, since he now had contact with the outside world but unable to move in it, he could’ve have a nice suit sent over). But I guess someone advised him not to do so (I wouldn’t call them handlers, but more like image advisors).

Regardless of that possible stunt, it did not derail him from veering away from his story one bit. Almost ten high-level leaders fell all over themselves trying to refute his statement (and even getting sucked into the suit argument) but his core story stood firm.

Dad was a bit turned off by those possible stunts, saying he should’ve just stuck to the issue. But I think those possible stunts with his quips even endeared him to more normal folk, since they can relate better to his situation (like a common worker wearing a shirt considered as an undershirt by the upper class and speaking to the suited aristocrat). Although Dad & I both agreed that Jun Lozada’s main story on the commissions was the truth.

Furthermore, General Razon’s excuse that he had to leave a function and his wife underscored the difference between him and Jun Lozada (and the rest of the people). At least Gen. Razon got to attend a function, in a suit, and still leave his wife in a nice place. Jun Lozada (and a whole lot of other people) are forcibly separated from his family, and can’t even attend formal functions in formal suits.


I went to the Makati rally out of curiosity and proximity to the new office. I got there when it was around 7pm, so it was winding down. I walked from the Paseo de Roxas side, and I was surprised that the Makati cops didn’t stop me from walking all the way to the stage! I was able to see people I only saw on the paper/TV/internet. I almost bumped elbows with Fr. Robert Reyes, JDV3, Argee Guevarra, Renato Constantino Jr. (he was thinner than I imagined), and saw Conrado de Quiros walking along the Enterprise Center. Unfortunately, I also saw some people trucked in to pad the crowd a bit (they were in a white dump truck eating from the standard white Styrofoam meal packs).

As I headed back to parking (I had to leave early), I was texting my sister that I was around. The cops suddenly asked me to walk to the side (“Boss, patabi lang po”). I thought a car was going to pass through. Then, I saw one of the K-9 cops with a brown Labrador (a common sight in Makati) walking towards an unattended big, black bag near the corner of Dela Rosa & Paseo de Roxas. Thinking it might be a bomb, I walked briskly until I reached the Sycip Salazar building. I looked back to see what happened, and the K-9 was still sniffing it. I guess it wasn’t a bomb since no news came out of it until now.

I wonder if that was part of the administration’s dirty tricks department, trying to scare everyone to throw them off. Or maybe it was just a plain black bag somebody forgot.

Monday, January 28, 2008

(i)skolar survery

Got this one by stalking urbano dela cruz.

UP Survey

Maligayang ika-100 taon, mga Iskolar ng Bayan!

1. Student number?
95-26002. malas dati sa EPN until nag-RVC ako!

2. College?
College of Business Administration (that's why number cruncher)... pero nagustuhan ko rin nung tin-ranslate yung title sa tagalog: Kolehiyo ng Pangasiwaang Kalakal.

3. Ano ang course mo?
Business Administration & Accountancy. wanted to be a lawyer, but chickened out after basic business law. and no, i still don't know why they call it a double-major when the BA & Accounting parts since those weren't the only courses (throw in some Econ, GE, and of course, org!), plus integrated pa yung BA and Accounting

4. Nag-shift ka ba o na-kickout?
di naman, pero kamuntik na akong masipa sa course dahil sa BA 114 where 2.75 yung required grade para ma-retain sa BAA program (and not shift to BA) and kamuntik na akong ma-tres. kaso, ni-recount ko yung first exam ko, umusad ng konti yung grade, tapos naging 2.75! hmm, maybe i should've taken that as a signal that i wasn't really meant to be a hard-core accountant...

5. Saan ka kumuha ng UPCAT?
sa College of Home Economics ("may college pala na ganon!" i remember myself thinking). survived the tests by buying corned beef(?) pandesal sa tabi

6. Favorite GE subject?
Comm I - Fr. Alfeo Nudas... Margaret, are you grieving?

7. Favorite PE?
Aikido!!! use the force luke...

8. Saan ka nag-aabang ng hot guy sa UP?
erm, i'm not out yet... nuninuninu....

hot girls. di na ako lumalayo ng BA... pati taga-Econ nakikita ko tuloy! hehehe!

9. Favorite prof(s)
Solita "Winnie" Monsod (caught me sleeping-not due to boredom, i assure you), Clemente for Marketing (even if i got a 2 while most got 1.75 and above for a 6-unit class), Loriega for BA 99.2 (Basic Accounting 2, first lawyer prof), Cayanan for Finance (expert in finance & still flaming!), of course Fr. Nudas

10. Pinaka-ayaw na GE subject.
Math 17. my first class when i entered UP, almost half the block dropped out (i got a 1.75 out of it though, konting yabang naman! hehehe!)

11. Kumuha ka ba ng Wed or Sat classes?
nope, pero may org work!

12. Nakapag-field trip ka ba?
of course, pero di naman masyadong exotic.

13. Naging CS ka na ba or US sa UP?
nung 1st year to 2nd year, tapos 5th year last sem. pero aliw yung isang sem na may 4.0 ako sa BA 118 (na 6-units) sabay may 1.0 ako sa Econ 190.1 (yet another sign i was in the wrong course...)

14. Ano ang Org/Frat/Soro mo?
org: CBA-RVC (memorized ko pa ba pre-req ng BA 190? limang pre-req na kelangang tandaan sa pintuan!), CBA-CAP (which started my love affair with the corporate world), Aikido Society (until 3rd year BA took that time away), JPIA!!! (j-j-j-j-j-j-j-p-i-a!!!-ang kulto sa BA)
frat: proud to be a barbarian!

15. Saan ka tumatambay palagi?
BA 3rd floor front lobby, BA 3rd floor back lobby, JPIA tambayan

16. Dorm, Boarding house, o Bahay?
bahay, bus mula nichols toll plaza hanggang diliman!

17. Kung walang UPCAT test at malaya kang nakapili ng kurso mo sa UP, ano yun? (Given ang mentality mo nung HS ka)
engineering siguro, pero i watched too many lawyer tv shows, kaya nag-ilusyong mag-abogasya. e good pre-law course daw yung BAA, sabay ok pa na combo yung CPA-lawyer.

18. Sino ang pinaka-una mong nakilala sa UP?
aside from the HS guys, si jan chavez na taga-negros sa math 17

19. First play na napanood mo sa UP?
yung Kangkong 1896

20. Name the 5 most conyo orgs in UP
JMA (peace!) yung AIESEC medyo nawala nung panahon ko...

21. Name 5 of the coolest orgs/frats/soro in UP.
JPIA syempre!!! (dork!), dunno the rest, medyo nakulong na ako sa BA from 3rd year onwards

22. May frat/soro bang nag-recruit sa yo?
Upsilon through my HS friend pero di ko tinuloy

23. Saan ka madalas mag-lunch?
nung 1st 2 years, sa beachhouse (nasaan ba beach non???) & casaa; afterwards sa BA pero nagsara yung caf, kaya paikot-ikot. the best talaga pag lunes => libre lunch sa commeet!!! (unless pag taya committee nyo...)

24. Masaya ba sa UP?

25. Nakasama ka na ba sa rally?
nope; minsan kasi talaga di ako nag-aagree sa mga nag-rarally, although i do admire them for the ferventness of their beliefs. (in the same manner that i admire zealout preachers; to both, please accept my respect but wag nyo na ako isali! hehehe!)

26. Ilang beses ka bumoto sa Student Council
limang beses kada limang taon; kahit na minsan pare-pareho lang

27. Name at least 5 leftist groups in UP
LFS. Samasa-TMMA / Stand-UP (yung humiwalay sa Samasa), forgot/wasn't aware of the rest

28. Pinangarap mo rin bang mag-laude nung freshman ka?
syempre, dork ako e, tapos andami pang achievers sa course. buti sila, nakamit nila! hehehe!

29. Kanino ka pinaka-patay sa UP?
this very, very, very smart & cute girl na kaklase ko, na out of respect for bambi ay di ko na sasabihin kung sino, not to mention fear for my life... (bambs, di naman tayo nag-abot sa UP non e, tapos nasa Manila ka pa...)

30. Kung di ka UP, anong school ka?
malamang don sa kabilang school sa Katipunan (miriam? how i wish!) o don sa may Taft (sa Main as some of my HS friends would adamantly insist)

31. Paboritong inuman?
not applicable! dork alert!!!

sige. bambi. dikya. swipe. paeng. lobit. taya!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Verifying vouchers

Being back in Makati has forced me to look at other aspects that I have neglected to notice while I was in Manila.

Like the logic of McMoney.

These are the coupons distributed by McDonald’s Philippines at the start of every year offering discounts to certain food items and meals. During their latest ad, it showed a shady deal taking place, with the McMoney being used for payment. Wads of McMoney were also used to pay off the delivery guy. However, in real life one can only use them one coupon for each transaction.

Now I’m not saying that McDonald’s has engaged in misleading advertising, but showing the alternative on TV has got me thinking: why can’t we use multiple coupons per transaction? It’s not like we won’t shell out real money if we use all the coupons, since the coupons only offer a discount. It defeats the purpose of mass producing them and each customer having 3-5 envelopes worth of coupons with around 10 coupons, yet only using them only once per visit.

If McDonald’s want to increase its volume, they should allow multiple coupons each time people eat. Or are they trying to recover the cost with the other non-coupon items per order? What if the customer only orders that specific discounted item, how then will the company recover the cost?

Just a thought experiment.