Sunday, December 16, 2007

Barong About Town (Tarantino 2)



Some people weave burlap into the fabric of our lives, and some weave gold thread. Both contribute to make the whole picture beautiful and unique. ~ Anonymous

Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino not only made waves among the locals in Manila in August, he literally waded through the flooded metro in a barong enroute to Malacanang to receive an award of recognition. In September, he wore the same to the launch of his book and film premiere of Death Proof in London.

In the recently-held Golden Globes announcement of nominees shown on television, Tarantino was again seen wearing the barong and the Pinoys took notice.


The barong, or more formally known as Barong Tagalong, has had its share of being the news topic, most recently at the 2007 APEC summit in Australia in which, according to the APEC organizing committee, they cited '"various sources of information" it compiled for their media backgrounder' when they gave out APEC-related kits and referred to the barong worn by the participating heads of state at the 1996 Summit in Subic as a 'mere peasant's shirt'.


Reuters

This factoid prompted the Philippine government to request APEC for clarification. Many stories about the barong Tagalog have been woven into its fabric of existence. One particular reference to the barong in the Americas is how the barong purportedly influenced Cuba's own guayabera. A Latino forum entry in one of its threads has this post under Where are Guayaberas from? contributed by 'C.T. Mexica':


GUAYABERAS

I owe my earliest memory of the guayabera to my paternal grandfather who wore them during many a humid South Texas day that he complimented with a pair of linen trousers and the customary cowboy boots.

Older Puerto Ricans refer to them as jíbaros, stateside they are sometimes referred to as the "Mexican wedding shirt," whereas throughout Latin America there known as the guayabera, and finally as the barong tagalog in the Philippines, their birthplace.

Of course, any good Cuban would seriously beg to differ. Nevertheless, the barong tagalog originated in Philippines shortly after the arrival of the Spanish. Within the Spanish colonial caste system, the barong tagalog was a symbol of Filipino servitude based upon practical Spanish fears. Concerning attire, Filipino subjects were required to wear transparent and untucked shirts, less they attempt to conceal a weapon or attempt to dress in the manner of the overseers.

The barong tagalog eventually traveled east on Spanish galleons where they were slightly modified and honed into shirts with four pockets in the Yucatan and Caribbean. Since then they have been worn by the likes of Hemingway, many a tropical debonair, countless musicians and farmers alike as well as with Cuban and Filipino diplomats.

The long history of this shirt survives in the vision and designs of Martínez Montiel, provided in large assortment cuts and colors. This guayabera shirts can be found on fridayshirts website. White is the traditional and elegant choice of both novice and aficionado. However, if you want to peacock a little and flaunt opt for one of the brighter colors, such as yellow. The beauty of the guayabera lies within its versatility. It can be worn with either trousers or jeans and whatever your choice of footwear may be. Not to mention its natural compatibility with a straw fedora. Dress accordingly.

-C.T. Mexica
Note that the entry above also refers to the oft-repeated story of the barong as the locals' (aka "subjects") attire that was supposed to show distinction among the Spanish-era social classes. This story has, indeed, done the rounds.

Back to Tarantino, he looks comfortable enough in the Filipino barong to be wearing it in functions abroad, albeit in sneakers instead of balat (leather; hide). Perhaps it was the surreal padyak (pedicab) ride he had in the streets of Manila in the middle of a tropical downpour, or the good time he reportedly had, courtesy of Pinoy hospitality, or simply that the barong, made of fine piña (pineapple fiber) or jusi (banana fiber), is a cool attire to wear or be in.

Lastly, it could also be the fact that Filipinos, one of the most talented lot anywhere, just got Tarantino right down to his sensibilities, when they 'localized' him in this classic intro short for the 2007 Cinemanila Film Fest in September:



CREDITS:
A spot from TBWA\Santiago Mangada Puno, Manila to announce the guest of honor of this year's film festival -Quentin Tarantino.
• Product : Cinemanila International Film Festival
• Agency : TBWA\Manila
• Creatives :
Melvin Mangada (Executive Creative Director)
Badong Abesamis (Creative Director)
Angge Arches/Ali Silao (Art Director)
Ryan Rubillar/Badong Abesamis (Copywriter)
Sunny Lucero (Agency Producer)
• Director(s) : Mario Cornejo
• Prod. Co. : Reality
• Country : Philippines
• Sound design : Sound Production Company
• Post-prod : Larger than Life
Tarantino photos copyrighted to Reuters, The London Traveler and the Associated Press

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Rene O. Villanueva, 1954-2007

Nawa'y ang iyong punla sa dekada at siklong nagdaan ay patuloy na manatiling kumbersasyon ng kasalukuyan at susunod na henerasyon.


TOYP | New York Film and TV Festival | First Latin American Video and Film Festival (Columbia) | Japan Prize (Preschool Category) | Prix Juenesse Winner (Germany) | TOYM | CCP | Gawad Collantes | Gantipalang Quezon| National Book Award | Palanca Awards

Mababasa ang kanyang mga panulat at pananaw sa internet dito.
Isang pagbanggit ukol sa kanyang huling mga sandali ay mababasa dito.
Karagdagang mga tala: Wikipedia | Aklat Batibot | Likhaan.com.ph

Ang imahe ay gawang-kamay ng may akda. Hinihiling ko ang paalam kung nais magamit sa ibang paraan • Illustration is by the blog author. Permission for use is requested.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Bizarre and 'Onli in da Philippines'



"I'm appalled that the media is now turning this into an incident about them."*

If anyone is interested to know what another sector of the Philippine population thought of the whole Peninsula Manila Circus on 29 November 2007, I invite you to read 30 ++ pages of posts over at my forum

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hail, the unrequited Love[r]


Discussions over at my OPAC, LibraryThing.com, brought this upcoming movie to my attention (it's now showing in the U.S.). I hope the screen version does not fail in terms of content, intent and production value. As we know, very few books-to-movies ever meet our expectations (a very subjective and touchy matter), and those that do, even exceed it. Shuffling between meetings the other day, I was asked if I would see Beowulf. I think I said I might, but would await Elizabeth instead. Well, both will have to move down my to-see list, and give way to a movie that's closer to home, heart and sensibilities: Garcia Marquez' Love in the Time of Cholera. I'm excited.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hail, the Queen

PHOTO © UNIVERSAL PICTURES

The trailer is compelling and truly inspiring, both visually and sensually. There must be a reason why actors like Cate Blanchett and Geoffery Rush and those in an ensemble production like Elizabeth: The Golden Age, led by Shekhar Kapur, are not commonplace. Sometimes, I wished all actors — all artists, for that matter — are as passionate about their craft as these individuals. On the other hand, gems will not shine and be valued for their esteemed quality if high standards were the norm.

I've watched the first Elizabeth many, many times over, like I've constantly sought the company of a good book which thrills, especially when every word on every page still offered yet another way of looking at things. I've just seen this Elizabeth sequel trailer, all 5 minutes of it, thrice — more — and it is spine-tingling, not because it fills the senses to the brim, but because for me as a woman, it leaves a feeling of empowerment; Cate Blanchett, playing the role of a real woman of great influence, after all, is powerful even in the short, tranquil, quiet scenes. Only she can be in a scene where, on the other hand, based on the the trailer alone, about fifteen different hairstyles and 'do's would have upstaged another actor. Perhaps, only Cate Blanchett, too, can remain queenly and authoritative in all those costumes, all unique in each scene, all embellished, I guess, to the point of exceeding that era's aesthetic dictates.

k's new desktop

Cinematic license. Well, alright, I do know and understand that well. Anyhow, the 5-minuter still got me to come up with the above image, my current desktop wallpaper rendered at 4am today, inspired by the colors, the visual and aural richness of the trailer and samples of the soundtrack off the official web site. Friends know I am not one to hie off to the next popular blockbuster buzz-maker but I know I will find myself in line when Elizabeth: The Golden Age hits Philippine theaters. I'll be sure to get hold of the soundtrack, too; a score would be nice to have as well. I really hope the movie will live up to this teaser and goes beyond a parade of wigs and ostentatious costumes and the mostly overwhelming visual feast. In spite of this apprehension, though, I know I've gushed enough already. Yes, I am a fan. Always was.


(Top photo and all background images used in my graphic above are courtesy of Universal Pictures)


For more movie info, trailers, credits and aural experience, visit the The Official Movie Page. Fantastic site.



Tuesday, October 16, 2007




“The reason we want to go on and on is because we live
in an impoverished present.” ~ Alan Watts




October 16 + 17, 2007
STAND UP and SPEAK OUT is a worldwide call to take action against poverty and inequality and for the Millennium Development Goals. During the 24 hour period between Oct. 16th at 9pm GMT and Oct. 17th at 9pm GMT, millions will literally STAND UP and SPEAK OUT to show that they refuse to stay silent or seated in the face of poverty. Help us break the world record so we can break the record of broken promises.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

And the winner is...Kyla in Round 0!


PHOTO COURTESY OF GMANEWS.TV

















" Boxing is show-business with blood." ~David Belasco

If there ever was a true winner in today's Pacquiao-Barrera match way before the first bell, it was definitely Kyla and her rendition of the Philippine national anthem Lupang Hinirang.

I confess to not knowing much about her and her songs but I am aware of her title: the Philippines' R&B Princess. How that came about, I admit to having no direct knowledge of at this point. I somehow find it interesting, though, that we even have an R&B genre, considering that there's the OPM already which, to my mind, may be more than enough and is very valid a classification that covers all types of Filipino music. It could be the prevalent style of singing with vocal runs, by both male and female singers, which was popularized by Regine Velasquez when she began belting à la Mariah Carey (which, in turn, killed her &mdash Regine's &mdash true and unique gift, for good). Anybody who wanted to be noticed sang in this way soon after; it was to be the standard for what makes for 'talent'.

Anyway, the singing of the Lupang Hinirang at the start of the bout was anticipated with bated breath, and why shouldn't it be? There was so much ado over Kyla singing the anthem on a show that was watched, not just by the country's politicians, celebrities and millionaires, but by viewers worldwide. Choosing her was the wisest decision ever made by the organizers of the sport commonly associated with high-stakes and sleaze.

There is no place for anyone taking the melismatic path and try to get away with singing the anthem in the most horrible and embarrasing way. Lani Misalucha, Bituin Escalante, and Sarah Geronimo, all extremely talented singers, took liberty in singing it in their personal styles. Sure, it showcased their vocal prowess but, really,
  1. was it right?
  2. was it necessary?
  3. could the rest of the Filipinos sing along with it with pride, without ever cringing?
There is, however, a way to properly sing the anthem and it should be sung with reverence only to the flag, not to the event, and, certainly not to the singer. •


THANK YOU, MUKAMO PHILIPPINES, FOR ALLOWING ME TO POST THIS VIDEO


(VIDEO) KYLA SINGS THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL ANTHEM, Lupang Hinirang, OCT 6, 2007, Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas, Nevada • Kylamuks-f | Uploaded by kiksilog



REFERENCES:

Republic Act No. 8491: AN ACT PRESCRIBING THE CODE OF THE NATIONAL FLAG, ANTHEM, MOTTO, COAT-OF-ARMS AND OTHER HERALDIC ITEMS AND DEVICES OF THE PHILIPPINES

Section 37 The rendition of the National Anthem, whether played or sung, shall be in accordance with the musical arrangement and composition of Julian Felipe.

Section 38 When the National Anthem is played at a public gathering, whether by a band or by singing or both, or reproduced by any means, the attending public shall sing the anthem. The singing must be done with fervor.

As a sign of respect, all persons shall stand at attention and face the Philippine flag, if there is one displayed, and if there is none, they shall face the band or the conductor. At the first note, all persons shall execute a salute by placing their right palms over their left chests... (Click link above to read the rest of it.)

..........................................................................
Inquirer.net's pre-fight article on singing the national anthem
What’s the proper way to sing the national anthem?
..........................................................................
Artist's links Kyla, EMI artist | Kyla




Saturday, October 6, 2007

A Petition for People Power

Yesterday, Friday, Oct. 5, I received an email from someone I vaguely remember having contact with recently, about Burma, and enjoining me to sign an online petition.

This came at the heels of another petition about the silly dialogue on Desperate Housewives commenting about the diploma mills in the Philippines. Anyway, I have to say that I have not, since signing an online Anti-Iraq War petition, been active in a political way, in both the virtual and real sense. Suffice it to say that there's been a kind of weariness and wariness to being politically involved these days. Surprisingly, the link looked legitimate enough (it is), and I put my name to it, after which I sent out invitations to those who I think might share my sentiments.

One of my intended recipients, it turns out, had sent me a similar email earlier from another account which I hadn't recognize at first. Thus came a series of exchanges. Not only have I been reaffirmed by a soul who shares my conviction, the whole Burma exercise for me in the past two days has once again opened my heart and mind and reawakened my sensitivities towards the plight of others in a strong way.

More than the convenience of a few mouse clicks, though, I felt that I cannot, as an Asian, sit quietly in front of the computer and watch the developments in Burma without as much as lifting a finger; hasn't the internet made our lives easier by just a click of the mouse after all? Thank you, 'Alphawave', my mysterious petition sender. I haven't yet replied to you directly and it makes me proud to do this in public way.

Below is my last reply to the kindred soul and petition recipient, my Traveller Friend. Please read on.












People Power in Burma: The bowls beg for your understanding and compassion.

Hello Traveller Friend,

This is in reference to the article you mentioned in your mail Common Dreams: "The Martyrdom of Burma's Marching Monks".

Last month, my associate and I were discussing EDSA 1 in the context of her MA thesis (Catholic Radio in the Philippines), particularly the role of the Church and Cardinal Sin in making EDSA 1 happen and why it turned out the way it did.

I was at EDSA 1, February '86, the month when my friends and I were supposed to be finalizing our thesis for March. As you may have read, we belong to the historic batch in UP (and that of other schools) who were given the PASS or FAIL mark because none were seriously going to school for classes anymore, but to attend street marches in Manila and Ayala actively almost every day since mid-January of that year. Even the teachers were not conducting regular classes and simply allowed the students to leave, although it really didn't start out as easy as that.

When asked about EDSA 1, there simply is no ready answer to what it was, why it happened and how. However, I liken EDSA 1 to a plant of a different variety, or genus, with roots way deep down in the soil. It is different in that, it feeds on a kind of humification and will grow slowly but steady in the soil like a normal plant would outside of it. If one were not attuned to the surroundings, this growing plant is hardly noticeable, save, maybe, for a harmless-looking growing heap of soil on the surface just before breaking ground. EDSA 1 is a circumstance that was a result of a convergence of forces. But it is not unique to the Philippines. Rather, it is unique to a people who are under a lifetime of oppression.









It must be understood that prior to EDSA 1, most everyone's begging bowls &mdash that which they hoped would be filled with, not just nourishment for the body, but for the spirit, particularly in the countryside &mdash were empty by then.

I was at EDSA 2, an offshoot of EDSA 1, meaning that "2" still shared something of "1" and that's why I believe it was successful. Others have since tried, and continue to try, to locally clone EDSA 1 but they will not succeed because they force matters into it; kind of like Dolly the sheep, you know? The genus EDSA 1 and 2, when it happened, had had its life. It was misunderstood by some, it surprised others, and was accepted by most. Those who didn't believe it was growing, or that it ever existed, mangle their understanding of it, of course.

Burma, I believe, has achieved a state in which the elements of this particular humus has been reached for its own plant to feed on and hasten its breaking ground. I believe the plant has, in fact, just broken ground, but that the soil in which it will grow is rough and its external environment, violent. I believe that this plant has roots deep in the ground as that of EDSA 1 and will survive. But won't be as 'easy' as what we had.









I remember watching on cable how cynical most American politicians were of EDSA 2 but that's because they never fully understood EDSA 1 itself, and will never adapt to nor condone any form of 'People Power'.

Sadly, many today, especially our youth, have forgotten the essence of the first two EDSAs because the stimulus that might have fostered any interest in it have been numbed by the very products that have become available to them after the dictatorship: the internet, Starbucks, malling, even the freedom to spread text chain messages and rumor in the halls of Senate and in media. They also have stopped trying to look into what nurtured a thing like EDSA 1, and its offshoot, EDSA 2, that it sometimes gets to the point of both EDSAs being reduced to trivia.

Even the forces behind EDSA 1, those whose individual voices and actions converged and contributed to the success of its being non-violent, are not one in assessing EDSA 1 and are not unified in what to make of it when it happened.









That Burma now looks to EDSA 1 for answers is indeed a tribute. They do need a People Power &mdash no, they now are undergoing a People Power revolution. But the process may yet be long and hard.

EDSA 1 is not an answer to a simple math problem; Ramos' defection was a necessary part of the equation, true, but Enrile's role in it makes for as much the same importance as Gringo's, his comrades and their troops, that of the Church and the collective hushed voices in the countryside. As a result, when it happened, it even left The Left in the sidelines gazing into space agape &mdash at least in the days that unfolded before Marcos and family were airlifted out of Malacanang, and pretty much soon after it.

I believe Burma is very close to achieving the state of EDSA 1 in its own terms. What is obviously different is that the monks are leading the uprising against the Hydra that is the military junta, and have been paying the ultimate price for making their voices heard. They have already shed off their clothes and material wants for robes and bowls, for crying out loud! It wasn't as if they were protesting because a TV series had been unplugged or a commodity had been banned as they already are living a life of sacrifice to begin with.









Now, oh, how much more of a sacrifice they are doing! I salute the monks, their families &mdash marching barefoot and unarmed &mdash and all the people of Burma in this effort. True martyrs of freedom they are. I hope they look to EDSA 1 not just for direction; they should be just as prepared for the consequences. They must avoid not having any recognition for the thing that has just been given life to &mdash the plant called we call 'Freedom' &mdash and just as eagerly learn from the mistakes and about other post-EDSA happenings, particularly that of taking freedom and democracy for granted as we now do in the Philippines.














Yes, how sweet it is to sit in the safety and convenience of one's corner and communicate freely with someone halfway around the globe. Thank you. I so value this exchange with you.

It is now my turn to prepare lunch and do the dishes. :)

With appreciation,
K

Allow me to make a plea as I believe now is the time for us as a people to look into our Asian neighbors and do something. The bowls of Burma, turned upside down, beg for your understanding and compassion. We are the recipients of freedom we struggled for. We are now on the other side where, once deprived of real news of suffering and oppression, we now stand witness to the very same, albeit more harrowing experience of fellow Asians. We should not allow their struggle to go down the bowels of history.





Clicking on the photos will bring you to ft.com's Flash show of more images of Burma. All images are copyrighted to Reuters, AP and AFP and are taken from the Financial Times's article In pictures: Burma unrest, except for the 2nd photo from below, which was emailed me. If you are the owner of this particular photo, please send me an email or a comment so I can make the appropriate attribution. If you would rather remain anonymous, however, I would gladly oblige.

If you wish to sign a petition, please send me an email and I will give you a legitimate link.



Thursday, September 27, 2007

Happy Birthday, Google!


Google is 9 or 10 years old this month, depending on who's history account one looks at.

This site dates it from the registration date of the domain "google.com" on 15 September 1997; others, in its incorporation in September 7, 1998.

However, if we go to Google today, the no. 9 takes the place of the lower case 'g'. Anyhow, our internet lives have been made so much easier Googling just about anything, fulfilling its mission statement: to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."

Happy birthday, Google. Hope to see my nieces and nephews grow up still Googling. :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

He's for real, your honors.

ONE OF THE OBVIOUS REQUIREMENTS to being elected in the Philippines these days is the ability to keep oneself within the range of media. Usually, like for a senator, one does not need to say something enlightening or brilliant or something full of wisdom. As long as one is quoted, no matter how incongruous or convoluted, his or her aim is to fulfill a Warholian statement declared in the days when statesmanship was what made certain individuals different from those who voted them into office.

The basic qualifications of an elected Philippine official

Not even being awash with cash is enough to get one elected, if one does not have these prerequisites:


grand·stand [gran-stand, grand-] noun, verb, -stand·ed, -stand·ing, adjective (From dictionary.com)

quirinograndstand








-noun
1. the main seating area of a stadium, racetrack, parade route, or the like, usually consisting of tiers with rows of individual seats.
2. the people sitting in these seats.
–verb (used without object)
3. to conduct oneself or perform showily or ostentatiously in an attempt to impress onlookers: The senator doesn't hesitate to grandstand if it makes [his/]her point.
–adjective
4. situated in a grandstand: grandstand seats.
5. having a vantage point resembling that of a grandstand: From our office windows on the third floor, we had a grandstand view of the parade.
6. intended to impress an onlooker or onlookers: a grandstand catch.
[Origin: 1835–45; grand + stand]

—Related forms
grandstander, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged | Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.(v 1.1)



From wikipedia.org Apple box



Apple box
The term apple box, or apple crate, is used in the production of film or photography to indicate a mobile box or platform sturdy enough to support weight. The generally accepted dimensions for an apple box are 12" × 8" × 20" (30 × 20 × 50 cm), though they may vary by three to five inches (around 10 cm) in any direction. Any insignificant deviation in size does not disclude an object from being an apple box, though significantly smaller or larger items may be termed a "half-apple," "quarter-apple" or sometimes "double apple." An "eighth-apple" is sometimes called a pancake or a lift.

The very first apple boxes were simple crates used in apple orchards, the modern variety should not be confused with the crates used in modern orchards as they vary in size up to a four-foot cube.


Towards the end of the Marcos administration, too many voices emerged, perhaps the result of decades of silence. Ironically, the loudest still came from Marcos himself and his followers at the time, criticising the gender and capability of his last political opponent. Totally nonsensical. Then came other voices during the Aquino era, some of which were too loud and angry it resulted in the silence of innocent civilians. Following that came yet a cacophony of mostly hoots and cackles when, from the rat holes, emerged a plethora of discordant personalities.

The political landscape changed since then. No longer was the apple box sufficient in airing one's view. It used to be that one only needed to stand on a makeshift box or a bench to get people to listen because there was a lot of truth from the sayer. The bigger the arena became, though, the more the listeners had to strain to hear the facts and understand the real meaning of what was being said. Now, even a grandstand has become inadequate for the posturings of our honorable senators.

The Proactive Choice
Somebody in my Mac forum said that he took the proactive choice of turning off television and turning to his computer to save him the inanities of Philippine media and personalities. Not only do I agree with him, I, too, have done the same years ago. Rather, I since stayed away from local TV as much as I could after the hoopla of EDSA 2 had died.

Just how hopeless it seems the Philippine political situation is is evident in these televised proceedings. In particular, a ruthless former police general, a mustached ham actor, a former anti-Marcos personality who seems to be on the verge of senility, a neophyte lawmaker who seeks the limelight and loves to be shoved the microphone for his shallow one-liners, are all addressed 'your honor' by their guest resource-speakers. Now, the only reason they are ever honorable is because they shouted the loudest to the masses and got their votes in return. And they made the loudest noise so that the masses will forget that they were once involved in some bloody trangression, were in some badly scripted, badly acted film flops (and who, without an inherited name and form could not have made it in two sectors by himself); have flitted from one party to another or were simply flip-flopping mouthpieces. I sincerely hope 'sir' or 'madam' would suffice and they drop 'your honor' altogether, but they bask and wallow in this self-indulging privilege they will most likely keep it that way.

Anyway, I guess my mistake was turning on the television today to watch the proceedings of a controversial investigation. (Heck, if it weren't controversial, there wouldn't be an investigation to start with.) Anyway, I did watch not because I wanted to hear 'the truth', as those conducting the hearing repeatedly utter with abuse, but to be reaffirmed that the man of the hour they had so wanted to grill will hold up to their senseless questioning.

Professor, Director, Secretary

The hearing's man of the hour was the elusive Romulo Neri, a professor, author, economist and now cabinet secretary.

Anyway, this space wasn't created to flame anyone or squeal on clients or personalities my group and I come into contact with, but I would like to say that I've had the pleasure of working with Prof. Neri on his first book "Economics and Public Policy" in 2001 when he was still with the Congressional Planning and Budget Office (CPBO) of the House of Representatives. I did not know him before that nor knew that such an office existed. We first met at his room at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) for the initial briefing of his manuscript which was already published by the House. It wasn't yet a book as we know it, though; rather, it was a bound collection of sheets of paper done in Microsoft Word© to be published by the AIM intended for a wider readership.

Well, 'pleasure of working' it really was not. The process was quite tedious as Prof. Neri, it turns out, was obsessive-compulsive about retaining as much of the original form, i.e. the Word© version, and I was not to mess with (read: 'beautify') the graphs and charts at all, if I could help it; needless to say I had some lecture on the nuances of these charts and other graphics. He was also very particular with retaining the margins, paragraphs and typeface of the original that it came to the point of me questioning whether our group's services as designers and publications consultants were needed at all. He was also very particular with sticking to the budget at all costs.

Prof. Neri is a stickler for time and rules. He initially struck me as a serious post-graduate professor with no interests outside of putting things in order (his small room was quite chaotic and we had to make do with whatever available table space there was, twice), dealing with students' defenses or running to the next meeting. As the project was underway, it became difficult to get a meeting with him because he was juggling schedules and was always either at a forum, in a meeting, a defense or a consultation in UP or AIM.

Prof. Neri initially looks like someone with a short attention span and as we got to know him, it turns out four or five other things were on his mind on top of the scheduled agenda, therefore, one does not waste his time. Once he focuses, however, one better be prepared. Turns out, too, he does have a good sense of humor.

And then there was the time when a particular printer won the bid for his book. This printer I wasn't very fond of because we had worked with others whose business is printing the real perfectly bound books, among others. I, in particular, could also be as close to the machine operator as possible especially when it came to running the colored pages and covers. But the winning bidder was a big printing house and, from experience, I'd be passed on from one AE to the next just to get a schedule for proofing or running, etc. I also had an issue with the way their colors came out, as Prof. Neri's book cover was to be in full color.

Anyway, the only thing that mattered to him was that AIM had conducted the bid, a printer had satisfied all their requirements and won it and we were to stick with it. All other concerns were dismissible, yet we were expected to still come up a good looking book. Tall order, that, especially from someone who, halfway into the project, we communicated with only by phone or through representatives and whose comments were written on the drafts or were relayed to us by someone else. When I did attempt to 'beautify' one graphic, I did get a call from him -- surprise! -- and he wasn't very pleased. Other than that, I wouldn't have been surprised if, as weeks passed working on his book, he would forget my name and I'd have to reintroduce myself.

Finally, months after, everything was satisfied (I wasn't with the book's cover), he was satisfied, AIM was satisfied and the book was set to launch. We missed that event, but, even if I, personally, had the chance, would've chosen not to go anyway because he was such a difficult person to work with. He was such an OC, so particular, and so going by the book, so to speak, that when the cover I made for him didn't come out the way I wanted I was so dissatisfied and it saddened me somewhat. Also, I knew from the start that the binding would fall apart in time despite my comparing the binding of others to that of the awarded printer's. But hey, he got the book and that's all that ever mattered, and we didn't hear him complain about anything besides that I came late -- twice -- to our meeting.

Then one day, a messenger came to our office to deliver three copies of "Economics and Public Policy". When my partners and I opened our copies, each was dedicated and signed. Much later, he left the CPBO to join government.

I honestly think no one in the roster of the senate, save perhaps Sen. Joker Arroyo, can lay claim to being consistently sensible and worth the voters' time. Secretary Neri, on the other hand, has since been the sensible voice in the government he chose to be part of, especially during its most trying moments. He does not seek media and does not feel the need to be in it. He knows what he says and has no time to be bluffing people. As in person, he says little but says a lot.

Your 'honors', get a hold of your senses, the ones your parents taught you, not the crap you feed the masses in the hope of getting their votes. Get down your high horses. Get real.



In the moments of suspension...
...the honorables fish for opinions
COMMITTEES ON ACCOUNTABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS AND INVESTIGATORS (BLUE RIBBON); TRADE AND COMMERCE and NATIONAL DEFENSE
Sept. 26, 2007 10:09 a.m.

...
SENATE PRESIDENT: Sa kabuuan ba nito Sec. Neri, sa mga nangyayari na ngayon, naririnig n'yo lahat sa investigation natin lahat ng mga witnesses, lahat ng statements, sa palagay nyo ba, may nagsisinungaling dito sa nangyayaring ito ngayon?

MR. NERI: I'd rather, Mr. Chair, Your Honors, that you ask me direct questions as to the facts. My opinions are probably not as important as the statement of facts.
...or give their presumptuous verdict
SEN. LACSON: Sec. Neri, I believe you are a man of integrity...but I think you have missed your defining moment...

NERI: I will be the judge of that, Your Honor.
Hmm, serves the inquisitor right -- what arrogance! I assume any of them would've flunked Prof. Neri's classes if the tables were turned, plus bring home with them some lessons on humility and doing one's homework the right way.

You can make your guests look stupid all you want, your honors, but please, spare us the spectacle for when it backfires. And make sure if you shoot yourselves in the foot, that it does not happen in Luneta.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Bip, you have spoken peace.


Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us without words?
~ Marcel Marceau 1923-2007


Ah, September. Silencing yet another voice.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A lecture on living

One of things I sorely miss about being on campus is attending lectures, especially when my world expanded from the confined walls of my college to what the other courses and disciplines were offering.

I then evolved to being a lecture junkie, but not so much the type that I had to sit for as part of the semester's schedule and other such prerequisites. When my schedule became more loose as I stayed longer on campus, I found myself more and more attracted to talks and discussions of various topics hosted by other colleges and institutions: anthropological, socio-political, cultural, theater, music, and, of course, the arts.

The discussants, lecturers and moderators would become my friends, if they weren't to start with, and, sometimes, the lectures and discussions would continue on in such unlikely places as the campus hostel café over bottles of beer, or in corner stores or hidden campus shacks. More often, my friends and I found ourselves among these older 'men (and women) of wisdom' moving over to someone's living room or transferring to other joints just to finish the discussion: we were usually the only females in the group (if no 'women of wisdom' were around), generations younger and from a motley of courses and interests. In reality, no discussion actually ever ends that is to the satisfaction of anyone well beyond the empty beer bottles and plates of peanuts and chips.

However, when I physically got out of college (rather informally, that is; I have yet to really finish my course formally), I was more and more removed from the academic milieu. Occasionally, when the old group got together, we'd get to know about someone's paper that is yet to be presented, or about how mundane issues as 'language use' or how the 'insurgency problems' in other areas could have progressed into a more positive and productive way, or why an art exhibit debut bombed, not because of poor attendance, but because of poor concept or rationale. Sometimes, too, we'd be the imaginary audience to a lecture whose intended audience are yet to be gathered. And sometimes, yes, these get-togethers would be dashed with gossip as was usual. You see, not all lectures are straight and boring. Interesting behind-the-scenes developments ensue, with the most likely casualty being someone's ego.

Last year, by virtue of affinity and a freer schedule, I was fortunate to attend Dr. Shaidul Alam's first lecture at the ADMU campus on photojournalism. This activity was the first in a long while. It was a breath of fresh air — a cliché I never thought I'd truly experience — from the intoxicating environment of corporate blah, of running after checks and presenting design drafts and layouts and, yes, petty local politics. Nothing beats attending lectures, especially if by men and women who add their life experiences to the agenda.

A few days ago, I came across yet another interesting lecture but this time on the internet. It is by Randy Pausch. As you can see, the venue for lectures and discussions has already transcended the physical auditorium of a campus to my living room thousands of miles across the globe.

Watching this recorded talk brought back memories in college both during and right after leaving it. Of course, the video no longer provides the intimacy of the usual lectures and the opportunity to ask or interact with the speaker and the audience. However, I have yet to come across — in real life, that is — a speaker as animated, funny and poignant as Randy Pausch.

Randy Pausch's last lecture

A few days ago, a member of my Mac forum posted a link about one's time of death which really was an online "Death Meter" questionnaire about health and eating habits, habitats and other such contributory factors to one's lifestyle vs. life span (my end is supposedly Jan. 12, 2045). But what if the results turn out to be shorter and more definite than the usual ones that were generated after one clicks submit ? And besides, who is Randy Pausch?

Randy Pausch is a professor of Computer Science, Human Computer Interaction and Design (computers). If you found CG Disney rides fun (I haven't tried any), think using Google's services a joy ride (I most certainly do) and think that VR technology is cool, thank Randy Pausch.

USC School of Engineering. Information Science Institute:
...He has consulted with Walt Disney Imagineering on the user interface design and testing of interactive theme park attractions, particularly for the "DisneyQuest" virtual-reality based theme park. He also consults with Google.com and Z.com on user interface issues...

He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer which has recurred, and is given just a few months to live.

From: Randy Pausch
Sent: Sat 9/8/2007 10:15 PM
Subject: my last lecture

To my friends and colleagues,
I have one last talk to give, and I would be greatly honored by your attendance. If distance does not permit, Carnegie Mellon will also be webcasting the talk. (details to follow).
Please feel free to forward this email to anyone you see fit; I believe the talk will be especially valuable for undergraduates.
Randy

Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams
Tuesday, Sept. 18th, 4:30pm McConomy Auditorium

Randy Pausch
Professor of Computer Science, HCII, and Design
Co-Founder, Entertainment Technology Center
Abstract Almost all of us have childhood dreams: for example, being an astronaut, or making movies or video games for a living. Sadly, most people don't achieve theirs, and I think that's a shame. I had several specific childhood dreams, and I've actually achieved most of them. More importantly, I have found ways, in particular the creation (with Don Marinelli), of CMU's Entertainment Technology Center (etc.cmu.edu), of helping many young people actually achieve their childhood dreams. This talk will discuss how I achieved my childhood dreams (being in zero gravity, designing theme park rides for Disney, and a few others), and will contain realistic advice on how you can live your life so that you can make your childhood dreams come true, too.

Well, thank you Randy Pausch, for sharing your positive energy to the world.


Full video (streamed; will open to video link):

Photo above is courtesy of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's article on Randy Pausch: CMU professor gives his last lesson on life
On YouTube, minus the introductions
His homepage

If you can download the video for offline viewing, it will be a better experience, like for lecture junkies such as myself. It's very funny, informative, bittersweet and kind of long at 10mins or so, but it's worth watching. :)


EDIT: The Post-Gazette's direct video download link for Mac in Quicktime format.


EDIT2 | Sunday, 12:08 am: The Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) of which Dr. Pausch is co-founder and VP, will make the video available in two weeks' time. Please check out details from the ETC Global News here.
EDIT3 | Saturday, Sept. 29: Received an email from Dr. Indira Nair, Vice Provost for Education of the CMU of the availability of Dr. Pausch's full lecture which can be viewed here.

EDIT4 | Tuesday, Oct. 30: Thanks to fellow blogger health - pomegranate I am sharing this online, fun quiz On Randy Pausch's lecure.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Positive Power

There are those who, in life, inspires us to aspire, and who, in their passing, inspires us further to live our lives better.



Luciano Pavarotti's distinct, powerful voice recognized everywhere gave life to works composed lifetimes before him. Even if I do not understand the language, I am moved by the music.

In Anita Roddick's holistic work, the one which has the most impact on me, on the other hand, was giving her voice to those who do not have the facility to communicate vocally: speaking on behalf of the animals. Yes, Dame Anita, I know they thank you, too.

1943-2007
....
Image courtesy of The Age

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Grazie.


Your voice and joie de vivre will be missed. Grazie, il sig. Luciano, il Maestro. Riempia il cielo di vostra voce dolce.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Classic


One of the weirdest days of the year probably. Intermitent (strong) rains, bloody traffic jams, kids being sent home wading in the flood (when they actually made it to school dry), and Quentin Tarantino taking the pedicab in Manila through flooded streets to Malacanang to receive an award. Classic.




[Almost] pulp fiction
We make do, and have fun, as he did. Wallowing, yes, but not in tears.
AP writes:
Tarantino, director of "Pulp Fiction" and the "Kill Bill" movies, wore a traditional Filipino formal shirt and sandals.

He was handed size-13 black leather shoes because sandals and rubber shoes aren't allowed inside the palace during presidential ceremonies, said a staff member of the National Commission on Culture and Arts.

Tarantino, 44, was among three Lifetime Achievement award winners in the 9th Cinemanila, a film festival featuring foreign and local movies.

He is writing a book about Philippine films, particularly the horror and action movies he saw in his youth.

The AP wire did not say that he changed into a pair of black jogging pants (it had a white leg stripe) which he wore with the barong. It did not also say that, while he had fun ("It was a lot of fun. It's the way it is, I guess. ... It was wild... No worries. I've done more serious things than that.") his companions, including Filipino director Tikoy Aguiluz, were horrified (perhaps, either at the thought of taking the pedicab TO MALACANANG, or to not take the pedicab ride too seriously).






(Photos courtesy of AP)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Pinoy, proudly.








A local logo design competition was launched on June 12, our Independence Day commemoration, that aims to come up with the official Pinoy web badge for all sites owned, created, moderated and/or catering to Filipinos here and elsewhere.

The competition calls for logo design entries for Proudly Pinoy, details of which can be found at the Proudly Pinoy site.

Pinoy designers are enjoined to submit until July 11, 2007. To date, there are 55 entries on the site already.


(See composite image above)

Monday, June 18, 2007

low-tech gets hi-tech


In May when my cousin was here for a visit, one of her concerns was charging purchases using her debit card at gas stations. No, it wasn’t that her card would not be honored; rather, the concern was perhaps the fact that the staff at our gas stations – greasy and poor lit as they are in some branches, the stations – might commit identity theft, whether intentionally or otherwise, as may have been the unfortunate experience of some of her friends and acquaintances back in the US.

Of course we assured her that incidence of card fraud was nearly unheard of in Manila. Ok, that may not be entirely true. But at least for us whom she was with, none among our circle of friends have so far been victims of such incidents.

Identity theft have been rarely reported in the news; some cases have been topics for late-night TV docu-series that told of MOs at ATMs or swiped payments made by shoppers in malls or department stores using credit cards, but even these establishments have put in place certain measures of verification prior to receipt of payment.

So, it does not mean that consumers are safer because we do not seem so hi-tech and covert – even the Love Bug author was supposedly found to be not much of a techie himself.

However, there is a bigger danger to unconcealed illegal activities in that the victims are far at risk because they face direct assault to their persons and properties. And when the low-tech lowlifes decide to go hi-tech, the consequences are instant, unsavory, and more damaging.

The irony to low-tech crimes on hi-tech properties – laptops in this case – is that the items stolen are [1] of no use to the thief [2] because the thieves themselves may be computer-illiterate. This does not mean, however, that the thieves are totally technologically challenged, as they reaffirm the dialogue on Invention. Therefore, in being so challenged by the prospect of getting their hands on a piece of technology, they resort to primitive means: smashing windows, unhooking car locks with wires, distraction (“What time is it?”) &mdash the usual, low-tech MOs, ho-hum, but it seems to work effectively. The overall irony, though, is that these thefts have been occurring more regularly lately, yet none have been reported in the news.

Could it be that the victims are not wont to bother filing a police report? Could it be because some see stolen laptops as merely a case of losing expensive toys and nothing more? I think what is missed out is the fact that laptops have become the equipment of choice for serious work by some people – no, make that most people here in the Philippines – my friends included. And what an investment in time, money and productivity it took them to make this choice possible. Caveat emptor!
..................................................
Culled Stats:
• The price of a workhorse laptop (Apple or PC) is almost equivalent to a second-hand car.
• The most incidents of stolen laptops are from unattended vehicles parked in public places.
• The second most popular places for stolen laptops are in public cafés.
• There have been rare cases of Macintosh laptops being returned to their owners because they were password-protected.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

imaginary meetings

I'd be in a corner observing (Exupery's) the Fox, Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Hobbes, Bo Nana and Dogbert on a Saturday early afternoon get-together at Dilbert's office with unlimited coffee, hot cocoa and hunny. It'd interesting to listen to what they'd be talking about.
........................................
Edit:
So, here I have a group photo of the first of such meetings. :)











© All characters appearing in the above graphic are copyright of their creators.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

fragmented but whole

Philippine Independence Day:12 June



Over a simple breakfast with a bunch of American volunteers (meal consisted of rice, boiled winged beans, vegetarian lumpia (my veggie friend's baon), and fried eggs I requested for — I should remember to bring with me my own fare next time!) high up in the mountains of Asipulo, Ifugao, talk naturally drifted from casual personal introductions to the state of matters.

Our volunteer-host D (whom I shall refer to as Casper (the friendly ghost) had a grandfather who served in the US Navy and was assigned to the Philippines during WWII. In fact, he has with him now an old photograph of his lolo taken from what Casper believes to be a street somewhere in Pasay (also known as Pineda during that time, now a City). Casper's other grandfather was mighty proud of him for working in the Philippines as a volunteer. Casper asked me: "Why is it that the Philippines seems like it has not taken off the way it should? You are not lacking in resources and the people are hard working."

Why, indeed? It looked like an easy question to answer, but which stumped me for a few seconds. It is a political question, I thought, though he may be seeking for answers other than political. At that point, too, I was fully aware that the volunteers can not engage in political talk and reminded myself of it — if the discussion had taken the political turn, I expected very little active participation from our guests.

Same Question
It is not as if we have not asked ourselves the same question. In fact, I believe we like being asked that question, as it opens an arena for punditry from Filipinos from all walks of life.

But there seems to be no single, correct answer. At least not one satisfactory answer that does not lead to a heated argument between the inquirer and the respondents.

Depending on one's location, heritage, cultural or educational background, business and scope of experience, the answers may range from a pretentious soliloquy to a strange series of nods. There, too, is the factor of language where, for instance, everyone tries to engage each other in Tagalog, yet the message risks not being fully understood by those who do not speak it as the discussion deepens.

A Nation of Islands
Stats say we have a total of 170 to 171 dialects, 2 of which are considered official (Tagalog and Bisaya), and 8 co-official, whatever that means. We were taught to refer to these dialects as languages, as each is distinct. The stats, I am sure, do not count Taglish, Textlish, Tag-Il, Baklish and other current phenomenal Tagalog variants determined by class, clique or contemporary customs. There is even a confusion as to what the major linguistic differences are between Tagalog and Filipino.

These dialects (or, languages, rather) are from the 7,100 or so islands that make up the archipelago. Each island is a separate community; each community belonging to a separate district; each district is from a region, and so forth. How the non-Spanish speaking Ilocanos communicated with the Kapampangans and Tagalogs during the Spanish period is still a mystery to me. For sure, there were those who were multilingual at the time, but I imagine it to be rare. The most common words most likely understood by all would probably have been yo, hambre, hombre, mujer, Padre, madre, hijo, donde, among a few. I’m just guessing.

But how did they express to each other, say, the sincere desire and intention to be united in one cause, without giving it away to the guardia civil? They probably couldn't. That's why It took all of 400 years to translate a universal experience to a single action, with the aid of yet another force of circumstance. And then another, and another.

Only In Da Philippines
When we speak about the weirdest of experiences, the strangest of humors, or the most compromising situations, we say "only in the Philippines." Only in the Philippines do we address these situations either in jest, out of frustration or as a matter of fact.

Yet, there are many other only's that we fail to note by heart, perhaps just too many. And, as ever, none spoken to the satisfaction of each Filipino. It seems that the more common our experiences have become, the farther apart we are even as we try to grasp the full understanding of what keeps us together under one flag. And the farther apart we are, the weaker we become as a nation.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_the_Philippines)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Scene: Eat Bulaga
Location: Free TV
Date/Time: June 12, 2007, 2:10pm

Q (host): ...mula 1946 hanggang 1961, ginugunita ang Independence day na July 4. Inilipat ito sa June 12...Sino ang dating presidente, na taga Pampanga (emphatic), na nag-proklama nito (na gawin itong June 12)?
A (contestant): (silence)
Q (host): ...taga-Pampanga...dating presidente...sino ito?...binibigyan kita ng limang segundo!
A (contestant): ...si...Diosdado.
Q (host): Sino??!!
A (contestant):...si Diosdado!
Q (host): Sinong Diosdado??!!
A (contestant):...si Diosdado! Diosdado Mac..a..pagal....Arroyo!! Diosdado Macapagal Arroyo!!!
(silence)

Q (co-host): Ano ka ba naman??!! Eto'ng limang libo. Maghanap ka ng ibang kausap mo, ha?

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Faith

Kiangan, Ifugao Province highest point 2,297ft
5:30 am, 05 June 2007 Early-morning clouds blanket Lagawe.

This is what greeted me on this morning. When the feeling is indescribable, the only way to fully take this in is to believe what I see. Then, after I have opened my heart, only tears can acknowledge its presence.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Partial photo credit goes to itemplo

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Pure

Pula, Asipulo, Ifugao 450m-1,935m above sea level

Pula is a sitio of Asipulo, Ifugao Province's newest (they say 'youngest') municipality, which is accessible from historic Kiangan town by a long stretch of road that is occasionally paved, frequently rough and bumpy and is never without surprising twists, turns, inclines and descents.

Road to Pula
The rough journey to Pula is soothed by an unending vista of mountains and valleys and terraces, though not the majestic kind that is popular like in Banaue; of pockets of roadside houses, chickens crossing, dogs sunning, and locals engaged in farm work. Clear streams and puddles break the path. Best of all, the air is pure.

When we got to Pula to attend an event, we were told that it was the first time the locals had ever hosted a gathering of such size with guests from elsewhere, let alone foreign guests. We totaled about 50 or more.

Pula is about 20-30 minutes from Asipulo's municipio, depending on the mode of transportation. We were brought to Pula in a local jeep, one which makes the jeeps of Manila wimps by comparison. More functional than anything, the structure of the Ifugao-made jeep is what heavy-duty is all about. It is roomy, longer than the ordinary jeeps that seat 10 people per bench; it is higher than an off-road 4x4 with roofing supported by a grid of exposed angular bars. It is made that way to better carry additional passengers and goods on its roof. (My other trips were as a passenger on a motocross motorcycle and in a tricycle. The motorcycle ride experience will be in a separate entry.)


Basic
Life in Pula is basic. There is one house in the centro that sells lowland comforts such as Coke, cigarettes by retail, sachets of shampoo and such. Because of the altitude, Coke is sold unchilled but still kept cool by the weather. Jonalyn, one of our local hosts, mentioned that sometimes, bottles of cola are buried in the ground to keep them cool. There is no electricity in Pula. Some houses in what is the centro are close to each other. Our host's ancestral house, however, is up deep in the mountains, accessible via a trail that took us, the unprepared and uninitiated, an hour or so, but which the locals traverse leisurely and sure-footed for about 10-15 minutes or maybe even less.

One has to stay in Pula overnight like we did to learn what it is like to live in a pure sense: water flows straight from the mountains through a hose that is hung overhead, rice is from the fields, vegetables are picked when ready to be cooked and coffee &mdash real coffee &mdash is harvested from the robusta trees that grow wildly in the surroundings. Meals are simple and shared and the host members make sure there is food for everyone. There are comfortable beds in the house, yes, and more chickens running about; pineapple and camote abound. Surprisingly, our host has electricity up in the mountains powered by solar energy. But it is only for lighting in the evening, nothing else (I did see a mini component, but perhaps only used for special occasions). Life is simple and seamless; domestic work is shared by both men and women and, even without the benefit of a timepiece, chores flow naturally from one to the next. Nothing is in excess and everything is doable and just right.


The latrine is separate from the house. One's private rituals are blocked from view by hardwood slabs that cover only the essential. There is no malice among the people of Pula anyway. However, chickens innocently stopping by from the gap between the ground and the slabs may witness the ritual. Again, water is not a problem.


The Kalanguyas, Ayangans and Tuwalis
Asipulo is made up of three major tribes: Kalanguya, Ayangan and Tuwali, all sub-categories of Ifugao.

The people of Pula, probably the most hospitable I have ever encountered, are mostly Kalanguya and Ayangan and subsist on farming and gardening &mdash though not the leisurely gardening we know. Gardening means growing crops in one's immediate surroundings for domestic consumption. If the harvest is good, the extra produce is brought down to the bigger towns to be sold. Pork and chicken, of course, are the main sources of protein. However, pork is luxury, chicken is special; fish is sometimes available but rare.


This place is where chivalry is alive. Women are highly regarded and treated with respect. There are small, but increasingly frequent, cases of abuse but this is caused by outsiders who marry into the locals. Sadly, these outsiders are generally referred to as Ilocanos, mostly from the nearby lowland areas of Nueva Vizcaya or across mountains from neighboring provinces.

All the people of Pula, and Asipulo in general, call themselves Ifugaos regardless of tribal identity. Ifugaos are hard working, well behaved, shy, quiet and clean. They may occasionally stare but not to size you up like they do in the lowlands. They weigh their responses carefully so as not to offend or be misinterpreted. They all speak, or understand, Ilocano but have their own dialects. Above all, Ifugaos are peaceful. Asipulo, we were told, has the lowest crime rate in all of Ifugao Province. Why? Because disputes are discussed among the elders with the aim of settling any arguments in an even-handed and justifiable manner. In fact one can feel the peace and sense that the people themselves are at peace with their existence. It is purity in the simplest of terms.


Richer in more ways
Asipulo is frequently indexed as a fifth-class municipality. To many of its residents, being classified as such may not be important to them and their existence &mdash many are literate and most people are polite. They may belong to such a classification but poor they are not, certainly not in spirit and resources, and, most especially, goodwill.

Pula is not for the faint-hearted, closed-minded, humorless and ill intentioned. My Pula experience is such that I bring back with me its wealth: the strengthening and reinforcement of the Filipino values of pakikisama (camaraderie, cooperation), pakikipagkapwa-tao (regard for others) and just downright appreciation for things pure and simple.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

i see...


I've come across this information in one personal research I did early this year (on external HDs). The usual technical 3D diagrams accompanied the article and were used to illustrate the new perpendicular hard drive technology. As technical diagrams are supposed to speak 'for themselves', it takes more brain processing power for a non-technical person like me to understand what the diagrams were trying to say.

When Apple announced that the new models of their Mac Book Pro line are to ship with perpendicular HDs, this fun animation came along with it.

So, that's what all the static info I was read about was telling me. I see.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The original may be viewed at http://www.hitachigst.com/hdd/research/recording_head/pr/PerpendicularAnimation.html and needs Flash player installed.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Electronic art, natural-media

This is in response to one of the threads in a forum I belong to that have become very active, soliciting various responses. The discussion started with an inquiry upon a piece of equipment and has branched out to other posts related to it: end-products, availability, user-experience.

I am writing about this as researching on the history of MetaCreations and Fractal Design - two companies that were active in the design and graphics industries in the internet-boom and pre-9/11 eras - gave me a some thrill. I had since left Corel untouched at ver5.0 when print standards were applying Adobe standards for imagesetting and color applications. I have also been a Wacom user since 2000. Wacom used to bundle its products with Elements LE. Now, it comes with Corel Painter.

Electronic art (i.e. Digital)
There is a reason Corel Painter is bundled with Wacom pens: Wacom (a Japanese company) has been constantly developing technology that will try to match the experience of using real life media on virtual canvases and papers.

Corel Painter© has its origins under a nice and dynamic Canadian company named Fractal Design, Inc. (the name is a give-away of its era), but was later absorbed by another company, MetaCreations Corp. when MetaTools Inc. and Fractal Design Inc. merged. In 1999, MetaCreations divested itself of its graphics products and sold Painter to Corel Corp.

Natural-media
The common question is: what is difference between Photoshop and Painter?
Photoshop, as the name suggests, was developed to be the virtual equivalent of a photographer's darkroom, hence the tools dodge and burn, resize, color correction, etc. Painter, on the other hand, was developed, and continues to be developed, as a natural-media painting application; this means that its functions and options will try to approximate the look and feel of real-world tools and effects such as paints, pencils, brushes and so forth, as they are applied to paper or canvas, etc.

No amount of Photoshop filters can compensate for the built-in choices and functions that Painter has, as its intended audience is different from that of Photoshop. This does not mean to say, however, that Photoshop can not achieve the same effects done in Painter; it is achievable but very, very tediously, especially if natural-looking effects as charcoal smudging or oil paint mixing are the desired outcome, among others. Both powerful applications are for creation, with standard file formats that allow for cross-platform editing.

The Alt.life

One of the nice things the internet has to offer is the creation of, and participation to communities outside of our real world. In particular, forums (yes, more commonly used than the formal fora) that cater to special interests.

In one of the forums I belong to, a dynamic exchange of ideas and opinions related to design and technology that is also specific to my location (e.g. the Philippines) continues to expand my knowledge of these issues, and deepens my appreciation of and trust on other people's opinions.

The internet, according to its creator, Tim Berners-Lee, believes "In fact, [that] it is a really positive time for the web. Startups are launching, and being sold [Disclaimer: people I know] again, academics are excited about new systems and ideas, conferences and camps and wikis and chat channels and are hopping with energy, and every morning demands an excruciating choice of which exciting link to follow first."

So, a big part of my alt.life is participating in forum discussions according to what catches my fancy at the moment. I have dropped out of some forums (meaning, my participation in them have become intermitent or inactive), as I register to ones which I find both exciting and insightful. Real-world applications culled from these virtual communities have proven to be valuable. Hopefully, real-world connections made from them can be also be as fulfilling.

Monday, January 1, 2007

‘Twas the night before…

THIS MAY WELL BE one of the last posts to go online from this part of the world, or the first to be viewed in those that have already changed their calendars to 2007.

At a little over half past 10, Philippine time, the air is starting to be filled with soot and smell of gunpowder. Weren’t ‘crackers supposed to be banned again this time?

I write from the Philippines and it is a strange country indeed. If one wants to get a feel of a war zone, come to the Philippines on New Year’s eve to have a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience of what it may be like in some other parts of the world that are truly at war. Perhaps soldiers of other countries should be sent here at this time for an R and R before being deployed.

Just a week ago, Filipinos were the most pious of the whole Christian lot. Next to the observance of Holy Week, Christmas is when faith-bound traditions are observed the most. We have the Christmas novena that fills churches to the brim. Really, no need for product giveaways to the Misa de Gallo virgins who, perhaps, struggled being there to avoid parents’ prodding or get a good seat, or to veterans, who check in like it was a typical day at work.

A week later, however, the other face of the Pinoy is shown, much like Janus. No different from what was; in fact, pretty much the same, save for the innate, abnormal desire to out-noise and out-blast the neighbor via ‘crackers successfully purchased, sometimes like contraband, under the noses of authorities (read: may maim or kill). By the way, it isn’t complete without the baseline thuds from super-size woofers.

The Pinoy Janus becomes like a prisoner handed absolute pardon. He feels, and is, liberated, unleashed, and will provide an unforgettable, devil may care New Year’s Eve to everyone without exception. It is, almost with sado-masochistic abandon, that the week-ago pious Filipino becomes God's gift to air and noise pollution.

OK, so there goes another blast. But that one was more like a shockwave. Thirty minutes and counting, it sounds like a contest now: biggest blast, longest frequency range, and strongest explosion.

So, this, on the night before, we have seen report after report of year enders and countdowns. The world order has changed in record time: along with the climaxing cacophony of simultaneous thunder now, previous other blasts around the world were made, enshrined in record books all falling under 31 December 2006: Madrid airport bombing, Bangkok bombing. Previous to that, the very ordinary bombings on Iraq’s streets after Saddam’s hanging killing, what, 30? 40? 60? Who knows? (Elsewhere, on the other hand, water events to douse the New Year’s Eve spirits: floods in Samar and parts Southeast Asia and a ferry sinking off Indonesia.)

I must have counted six ‘cracker debris that fell on our roof just writing the paragraph before this. The clock says 20 minutes to midnight and my eyes are starting to get teary. Meanwhile the neighbors are more and more successful at driving away the spirits, the birds and stray dogs to Netherworld. It can only get better next year, when bigger and more powerful blasts can be had for a moment’s joy.

Five minutes to midnight, and, really, countless mini debris falling on our roof. It’s kind of getting anti-climactic. If any real menace is happening in my neighborhood at this hour, one cannot tell the difference. We await what 2007 has in store for us.

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