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Monthly Archives: October 2009

Pacquiao flies to Los Ángeles

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Pacquiao flies to Los Ángeles.

That’s one of the main sports stories in today’s Inquirer Sports.

Manny Pacquiáo — flying?!

Of course he can! He’s WAPAKMAN!!!

Reunion with three friends.

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“The best things in life come in threes, like friends, dreams, and memories.”

The workload in my current company makes me want to disappear from this world with just a snap of a finger. Last night’s shift was hell. Too many issues, slow internet, bad vibes, and documents drowning my thoughts. All of us weren’t able to finish the job. And it has been weeks like that. Some of us feel that we lack manpower. Some feel that there were bad project decisions from the higher ups. Some felt sick (literally). Me, I just feel like I want to fly away from it all.

I was supposed to continue all unfinished tasks at home. But…

It was a reprieve when my wife fetched me and broached the idea of visiting a childhood friend of mine, Christian Caballero, who works in the building next to ours. I already know that Tanò has been working in the other building for a long time (thanks to our office concierge, Oliver). But we haven’t had the chance to see each other due to our busy schedules.

Our bunch was the baaaadest and nastiest in our own turf in some posh yet decrepit village in Parañaque City, my “dirty south, baby!” hometown. We’ve known each other since kids. I was estranged from my childhood pals when I was kicked out of our home because I chose to stay with my pregnant girlfriend (who’s now my wife) instead of being with my family and continue schooling. Since then, I began seeing my Parañaque homies sporadically. And the last time I saw Christian and the rest of the gang was back in 2006, but only for a short drunken while. We weren’t even complete that night. We’ll, now there’s Facebook; many of my childhood pals are already in my list: Jerome, John Michael, Dennis, Angerico, etc. But of course it’s a different feeling when you get to see your long lost friends eye-to-eye and in the flesh.

We were all delighted to see each other of course. He’s also engaged to his college sweetheart Lesleyann Tugnáo of Majayjay, La Laguna. Their wedding will be this coming December in Sanctuario de San Antonio, Forbes Park, Ciudad de Macati. And I’m expecting to see the rest of the gang on his wedding day. =)

Congratulations and best wishes, Christian and Lesleyann! May the good Lord bless you always!

*******

Next stop was our current town, San Pedro, La Laguna.

After visiting Krystal and Momay at school, we went to Tita Deming, the manager of our apartment, to pay for the monthly rent. She works in the Municipal Hall. And since we were there already, I thought of introducing Wifey to our town mayor, Calixto R. Catáquiz, whom I haven’t seen since the death of his father. I just wanted to introduce my wife to him, and perhaps setup a date with him to talk about whether he’s still interested in publishing the biography Arnold and I wrote for him last year (it was even reviewed by our country’s first beauty queen, Gemma Cruz de Araneta, in her Manila Bulletin column “Landscape”).

Well, it turned out that he is still very interested in it. But the problem is proper timing. Aside from his father’s untimely death, Typhoon Ondoy ruined all of San Pedro’s lakeshore villages. Now he has the task of taking care of thousands of San Pedrense families who have lost their homes and who are now sheltered in various evacuation centers scattered around San Pedro. He invited us to join him for lunch. I wasn’t able to say no. And my wife, who was star struck (hehehe), urged me to come along.

We ate at Max’s Restaurant in –coincidentally– Parañaque City, my hometown! There we discussed lots of things about town politics, national politics, the 2010 Philippine National Elections, and of course, his biography.

He also mentioned to me interesting facts that Arnold and I haven’t included yet in his unpublished biography, A DATE WITH DESTINY: One More Challenge! (The Life Story of San Pedro, Laguna Mayor Calixto R. Cataquiz). When he was still the chairman of the Laguna Lake Development Authority, he made several project recommendations to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and even Malacañang Palace to help safeguard and uplift the status quo of Laguna de Bay. For one, he recommended that LLDA should adopt a system for Laguna de Bay which is very similar to the Dutch Flood Barrier System. Mayor Calex also once tackled environmental and developmental issues of the lake with renowned architect Felino Palafox, Jr., who last month declared that the the national government already foresaw the massive floods of September 26.

The mayor also cited sewage, water treatment, and other waterworks projects that he had envisioned for Laguna de Bay. He also forwarded the idea of taking care of not just the lake but its tributaries as well. He also complained LLDA’s lack of policepower which should have enforced environmental rules. And he also lamented the fact that the LLDA was not under the direct supervision of the Office of the President (this would have ensured the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s commitment to a “green” Philippines). But all of these were ignored. If they weren’t ignored, the horrible displacement of thousands of lakeshore families –not to mention the death toll which the flood had left– wouldn’t have happened.

We also discussed his San Pedro 2020 Vision.

My wife had a grand time listening to the Mayor’s candid stories. Afterwards, we spent a relaxing afternoon at the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club.

*******

The next reunion was, well, via SMS only. =(

Mayor Calex and his convoy drove us home. On our way home, I remembered having kept the cellphone number of someone else from my past: Ka Danilo Balao.

I never thought that I’d be able to communicate with a dear comrade in Ka Dan. He is from the Ybanag tribe of the northern lands. We were both socialist activists during our college days, members of the militant Liga ng Sosyalistang Kabataan (in political solidarity with the Sosyalistang Partido ng Paggawa). Me, Danilo, and a host of other socialist youth shared each other’s tribulations, joys, hunger, and sufferings. Like my Parañaque boys, we at LSK were also a bad bunch (giving the League of Filipino Students some headache which they deserved). Aaaahhh, the days of yore! I really stopped growing when I reached 30 years of age!

I got his number several days ago from another long lost activist friend, mad chemist Allan Jay Q. Martírez (my “discoverer”!) whom I rediscovered in Mike Chanco’s / JB Lazarte’s (my other “discoverer”!) controversial website Flesh Asia Daily 3.0.

So here I print our text conversation:

PEPE: Danilo Balao
DANILO: Hu r u?
PEPE: Visit https://filipinoscribbles.wordpress.com and you will know, my old friend…
DANILO: Hav n0 tym searchin.. Y cant u say it n0w?
PEPE: Because I do not want the military to trace me. You know the drill, Ka Dan.
DANILO: Hahaha.. U.G.? Ur kidding me.. H0w can it pocbly be? Wat org?
PEPE: Mabuhay ang LIGA NG KOMUNISTANG KABATAAN!
DANILO: Damn! Is this true? Wer did u get my numbr?
PEPE: José Mario Alas Fans Club
DANILO: Hahaha! Yeah..! Wats crakin man? Wat happen 2 u? I’ve been searching u 4 d last 3 years. H0w did u realy get my numbr?
PEPE: I have been monitoring you for the last five years. I was sent to kill you, Gerry, Page, and Allan Jay. But I couldn’t because you’re my friends.

I got no more reply from good ol’ Dan. I must’ve totally freaked him out with my last text, so…

PEPE: Just kidding, dude.

*******

I miss my other friends. I miss the past. I miss the Spanish past although I’ve never lived in that era. I grew up listening to We Built This City On Rock N’ Roll, Footloose, and Rico Mambo. I cried when Atreyu’s horse Atrax was taken by the Swamps. Garfield still had farm friends (beats Facebook’s FarmVille), and the Christmas Belén in C.O.D. (Cubáo, Quezon City), and so much more.

I’m getting old, and dying.

Shucks. Nostalgia fever setting in again.

The only bad thing that happened this afternoon? My wife’s almost-a-decade-old cellphone camera was out of battery. =(

Holiday! Celebrate!

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Too many holidays raising BPO firms’ costs

More than the uncertainty of the upcoming elections and the weakening dollar, business process outsourcing industry players in the country are concerned about Malacañang’s penchant for long weekends as this affect their business costs.

Business Processing Association of the Philippines president and chief executive Oscar Sanez said the industry’s cost of doing business remained high, and this was exacerbated by the many holidays that required companies to pay their employees extra.

“It’s good that (Malacañang) gives us a list of the holidays in advance as this gives companies a chance to include these extras into their planning. It’s the unannounced holidays that we’re concerned about,” he said in an interview. (Inquirer.net)

Uh, BPO bigwigs… I think Arroyo’s planning to declare Halloween as a national holiday, too. Her grandchildren needs to go trick or treatin’, LOL!!!

Wifey's call center photo.

Wifey's call center photo.

Macati’s Guadalupe Shrine

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One cool Tuesday morning, last September 22, just days before the great flood of Metro Manila, Arnold and I visited the great scholar –and our dear friend– Señor Guillermo Gómez Rivera in his Macati home in Barrio María de la Paz. We had our usual discussions about Philippine history and the identity of our nation.

After accompanying Señor Gómez to his Rockwell studio (and after a hearty lunch in nearby Power Plant Mall), Arnold and I passed by the centuries-old Guadalupe Shrine on our way home.

It was early afternoon, and the skies were blanketed by endless gray clouds, giving out a bleak mood throughout the slums neighboring the silent, hulking gray walls of the church. And the people living near the church –almost mindlessly doing routine tasks each and every dying day due– don’t have any idea at all about the significance of this almost forgotten church in Philippine History.

The Guadalupe Shrine

The Guadalupe Shrine

Santuario de Guadalupe, San Pedro de Macati

Santuario de Guadalupe, San Pedro de Macati


CHURCH AND MONASTERY OF GUADALUPE

The foundations of this church and monastery of the Augustinian Order were laid in 1601 and construction work was finished in 1629. Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe was chosen Titular Patroness in 1603. After the Chinese uprising of 1639, this sanctuary served as a seat of devotion for the Chinese. The buildings withstood the earthquakes of 1645, 1658, 1754, and 1863; the masonry roof of the church collapsed in the earthquakes of 1880 and the structure was rebuilt in 1882 by Rev. José Corujedo, O.S.A. Site of an orphan asylum and trade school administered by the Augustinian Order for the benefit of the children of the victims of the cholera of 1882. Both church and monastery were gutted by fire in February, 1899, during the early skirmishes between Americans and Filipinos.

1937.

Details of one of the windows.

Details of one of the windows.

THE GUADALUPE SHRINE

As written on the historical marker, the Augustinians began constructing the shrine in the early 1600s. The Provincial Chapter declared the monastery a domus formata on 7 March 1601. A domus formata is a religious house in which reside at least six professed members (four of which should be priests), and this one in Macati was placed under the advocacy of Our Lady of Grace. Construction was completed in 1629. The shrine was named after the world-famous and miraculous Basílica de Guadalupe in México City, México.

The first domus formata was composed of three priests and a lay brother. Later on, the Provincial Chapter of November 30, 1603 received a petition from the Spanish community in Manila and from other prominent Filipinos to change the advocacy. They prevailed when the Provincial Chapter approved the petition. Thus, the Our Lady of Grace became Our Lady of Guadalupe.

It was not until the shrine had its third prior administrator when stone construction commenced. This administrator was Fray Juan de Montes de Oca. But he was not able to finish the project because he was transferred to another mission outpost. And so those who took over his spot continued the construction.

And since the church stood the test of times, it has had its share of countless (and historically famous) Priors Administrator, some of them renowned friar-scholars, such as:

Simón Dantes — widely believed to be the first prior of the Guadalupe Shrine.
Juan de Montes de Oca — started the construction of the stone sanctuary.
Francisco Coronel — published the book Artes y Reglas de la Lengua Pampanga (1617) when he was still in Pampanga.
Hernando Guerrero — became Archbishop of Manila in 1635; best remembered for his feud with Governor General Hurtado de Corcuera.

In my opinion, perhaps the most famous friar who have ever served the altars of the Shrine of Guadalupe was Fray Manuel Blanco of Navia, Zamora, Spain. He entered the Augustinian order when he was just 16 years old. Aside from his religious duties, he was also an erudite and multifaceted scholar who excelled in history, languages, medicine, and even my “favorite” subject — mathematics! When he was assigned to the San Agustín Church, he maintained a garden there (now fondly called as Fr. Blanco’s Garden). But he’s best known for his contributions to natural sciences, particularly botany. This led to the publication of the groundbreaking Flora Filipina. Because of this book, plants can now be classified according to their species, class, and genus. His blessed remains are still in the Guadalupe Shrine.

A side entrance.

A side entrance.

Dark nights of the Shrine.

The period of seventy years from the War of Independence up to the Second World War was the darkest for the sanctuary. The termination of the Spanish-American War brought about by the ratification of the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898 caused the Filipino-American conflict to flare up into an all-out war. Manila was the immediate theater of destruction. It did not take long for the superior American forces to rout the Filipino forces.

The Americans, having cleared the city of the Filipino forces, proceeded eastward to Makati as far as San Pedro. The Filipino soldiers, tipped off of the advancing Americans, positioned themselves in Guadalupe. They outnumbered their enemies. The Americans sensed this, and not having enough troops that would stay behind to safeguard the place from being retaken by the Filipinos, they halted for a day waiting for reinforcement. The next day, the American forces under the command of General Lloyd Wheaton advanced to attack Guadalupe.

Having advanced for a mile, the Americans started to subject Guadalupe to artillery fire together with that of the gunboat Laguna de Bay along the Pásig river. The siege was fierce. The Filipinos under General Pío del Pilar, unable to resist the stronger forces, retreated, but not before they burned the church and the monastery. It was like adding insult to injury because the shrine had already been battered by American artillery fire. This even marked the end of Guadalupe shrine whose aisle Filipinos and Spaniards alike, for almost three centuries, used to throng to manifest their devotion to Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.

After the War of Independence, the Guadalupe shrine and the monastery became a foreboding place because it was shrouded by the grasses and trees. Even on its walls the trees grew, dissolving little by little the bricks, the stones and the lime. (“The Guadalupe Shrine” by Rodolfo M. Arreza, O.S.A., Globalcomp, Manila, 1991)

The gross disrespect for God’s home in Guadalupe, Macati didn’t end here. What was left of the abandoned church was further razed to the ground by both American and Japanese artillery during the final days of World War II. In the words of Fr. Arreza, “the walls of the monastery and the shrine became the only standing skeletons left that served as a mute witness of the many misfortunes in the past”.

But Guadalupe couldn’t just die like that.

On 29 July 1970, the Augustinians were recalled to Guadalupe. Patiently, they began reconstructing the church of their predecessors, the church which has harbored countless candles during Tridentine Masses of yore.

And so the magic of Guadalupe persists to this day.

The undying Watcher of the City of Macati...

The undying Watcher of the City of Macati...

Wynne Arboleda — for life!

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Yep. You got that right, sports fans. That’s the title of today’s blogpost: Wynne Arboleda — for life!

I say — ban him for life!

Just look at what this scumbag did:

Arboleda sacked for the rest of the season

The Philippine Basketball Association threw the full weight of the rulebook at ruthless Burger King guard Wynne Arboleda, suspending him for the rest of the young season without pay for attacking a fan at courtside on Friday.

Arboleda, who stands to lose about P2.73 million in income, went after the fan late in the second quarter of the BK-Smart Gilas game, landing a kick and throwing several punches before he was restrained by Araneta Coliseum security and teammates.

League commissioner Sonny Barrios said there was no justification for the attack, which came after Arboleda, a son-in-law of Burger King owner Bert Lina, had already been assessed two flagrant fouls earlier in the game.

“Even granting that said fan was foul-mouthed and verbally abusive … there is a ‘line’ that a PBA player cannot and should not cross: To physically harm a fan,” said Barrios in announcing the PBA’s action on Arboleda. (Inquirer.net)

Arboleda is best known for his tight defense and notorious for his flagrant fouls against opposing players. But last Friday, he’s gone over the edge by attacking die-hard Smart Gilas fan Alain Katigbac. The fan was apparently heckling the irate Arboleda for his flagrant fouls. The fan got into Arboleda’s goat. And so the fan got what he deserved.

If you ask me, both Arboleda and Katigbac got what they deserved. They’re both morons of the highest order.

If this Arboleda character is still allowed to strut his dirty stuff for the next season, the Philippine Basketball Association should better remove its “professional basketball” tag. Why call itself a professional sports institution when it has a thug in its roster?

Arboleda put shame not only to his name. He also shamed his team (particularly the famous brand name Burger King). And he shamed the league itself.

Worse, the league has the adjective “Philippine” on it.

This Arboleda guy’s no Ron Artest. But it appears he’s trying to be one. What a jerk.

So ban Arboleda. Ban Katigbac from watching live PBA events as well; he started this riot in the first place. And ban those inefficient guards. If they’ve been attentive, no physical altercation would have happened.

Ban Barrios from the PBA as well for not meting out the same punishment to San Miguel Beermen Danny Ildefonso and Mark Pingris; they also tried to attack a fan last July.

Ban those referees who officiated those controversial games — they were the ones who should’ve pacified the players temperament first since they were the nearest to them.

Heck, ban those fans! You can’t stop them from heckling! Especially those die-hard and oftentimes unruly Ginebra fans! Get a life! Sonny Jaworski’s no longer around!

And in order to ban those Ginebra fans, the PBA should get rid of the Ginebra Gin Kings. In order to do that, they’d have to get rid of their liaisons with its owner, Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, Jr., who in turn got rid of another Junior: Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino (uh-oh).

And yes, let’s also get rid of Ninoy’s son Noynoy. He’s just on top of the popularity game because of his parents. Besides, he’s shown his true colors: he’s anti-life. Tita Cory must be turning in her grave.

Now we’re talking about the Cojuangco’s, the heirs of the “legendary” Antonio Luna – Ysidra Cojuangco treasures. Get rid of them, too! They’re a nuisance to the Filipino race. Their notorious wealth should’ve been ours in the first place. And then there’s notorious Taglish queen Kris Aquino who’s got a cager for a loser husband who cowardly ran away from an attacking North American Negro (who should also be banned from coming back to the Philippines). Damn them. Yes, ban them for good from our national patrimony.

Ban Gilbert Teodoro (another Cojuangco scion) from helping the typhoon victims; he’ll surely use that as a leverage in the upcoming election campaign for the 2010 Philippine National Elections.

Ban everyone from his party. They’re no longer trusted, for pete’s sake!!!

Ban politics altogether!!! Let’s bring back monarchy! It has been more effective, tried and tested for more than three hundred years!

Yeah! BAN ALL UNDESIRABLES!

Go Wynne! You did it for me, you lousy piece of Luneta Park trash!

Yesterday’s Greenbelt 5 shootout happened a day before the 2nd anniversary of the Glorietta 2 explosion.

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This is too much. Waaaaaay too much:

Robber killed in Greenbelt shoot-out

Wearing bonnets and the black uniforms of bomb squad agents, six men got off a van near the Greenbelt 5 basement parking area and hurried up the stairs, telling a guard that they were checking a call about a bomb in the building.

One of the men was later found to be carrying a grenade launcher.

In a brazen noon-hour robbery Sunday at the classiest of the Greenbelt malls in Makati City, gunfire rang out, one of the six intruders fell dead, mall workers dove for cover, and shoppers scampered to a nearby chapel to pray the rosary.

“This was very daring, as if they were challenging us,” Chief Insp. Dennis Macalintal, head of the Makati police investigation unit, told reporters after the attack on the Rolex luxury watch store on the mall’s ground floor.

The other five robbers escaped in a Toyota Corolla and a Honda City after a blazing shoot-out with two police escorts of Taguig Mayor Freddie Tiñga—who were then having lunch with Tiñga at the mall—and with the Greenbelt guards, police said.

Before the shooting erupted, an unidentified employee at a shop near Rolex said she saw the armed men “hammering the show cases [at Rolex] to get the watches.”

The dead suspected robber lay face down in the Rolex store entrance, its glass windows shattered. The grenade launcher and a .45 cal. pistol lay near him.

The other robbers were armed with Armalite rifles, police said. Inquirer.net

Incidentally, this latest bold crime happened a day before the 2nd anniversary of the Glorietta 2 explosion (which is today).

The photo I took of Greenbelt 5 last September 13 when my wife and I celebrated our 10th year anniversary.

The photo I took of Greenbelt 5 last September 13 when my wife and I celebrated our 10th year anniversary.

Is there a conspiracy going on? Or was it just pure coincidence?

Authorities attribute this adventuristic and bold crime to the hard times especially since hundreds of families are left homeless due to the recent typhoons.

It’s possible. There are so many angles to explore. But for sure, this is not an ordinary crime. It was done in broad daylight, in a crowded place, in a classy mall, in a (supposedly) tightly guarded establishment, and with the robbers posing as bomb squad agents, armed to the teeth with firepower fit enough to annihilate an Abu Sayyaf squadron.

I attribute this brazen evil to the 2010 Philippine National Elections. These demons in coat and tie need extra cash.

FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES visits Ondoy victims in San Pedro, La Laguna

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It’s not yet over.

Typhoon Ondoy‘s victims still need our help. The government cannot do it alone.

A few nights ago, my wife accompanied me to the Municipal Health Office here in San Pedro Tunasán, La Laguna to have my blood pressure taken because I was feeling like a snail the whole day (it was 90/60). Afterwards, since one of the evacuation centers was just across the health center, I invited my wife to have a look and see. The evacuation center was actually the Paaralang Sentral ng San Pedro (San Pedro Central School). The evacuees were mostly from Barrio Landayan, the home of the famous and miraculous Santo Sepulcro Shrine. Actually, I got to visit this one of many evacuation centers a few days before my BP was taken. It was a moving sight. I said that my wife (and maybe even my eldest child Krystal) should see this so that perhaps she could invite her officemates to do some charity work.

When my wife saw the hapless evacuees, she was moved to tears. She was so sorry especially for those who were the same age as our children.

And so we decided to help out ourselves.

Weeks ago before this happened, I thought that writing a blogpost on how to help the victims of Ondoy was already enough. But that scene seeing my wife weeping silently out of helplessness helped me decide that it’s never enough. We have to give what we can give.

Despite the helpfulness of the local government, non-governmental organizations, The Catholic Church, and other religious groups private donors, it is never enough. Typhoon Ondoy’s victims are just too many. And now the government are left with the burden of finding a relocation site for these hapless folks; many of them do not wish to return to their homes once the flood waters have receded; some of them might be forced to because they don’t have any means of buying their own house if in case there’s no relocation. This kind of catastrophe has never happened before.

And so early this sunny Sunday afternoon, my wife sacrificed some hours of sleep to accompany me in donating some personal stuff that we bought for the victims. Besides, the Paaralang Sentral ng San Pedro (which is across the Municipal Hall’s left side) is less than five minutes away from our home.

What we brought them were non-food items because the supply for food is OK; food is what generous donors usually give, that’s why there’s little problem of running out of food supplies for the victims. But what they need now are other effects such as soap, hair conditioner, diapers for the kids, cotton buds, feminine napkins, detergent bars, etc. And that’s what we gave them.

Unfortunately, since our pockets aren’t as deep as those of Lucio Tan or Andrew Tan, we weren’t able to donate to other families.

FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES calls on the rest of the Filipino people to do their share. Because this ain’t over until it’s over.

Just think of the way these evacuees spend the rest of their day while you lie comfortably on your bedroom.

That’s all I can say about that.

San Pedro Municipal Hall (right in front of San Pedro Apóstol Parish Church)

San Pedro Municipal Hall (right in front of San Pedro Apóstol Parish Church)

Paaralang Sentral ng San Pedro

Paaralang Sentral ng San Pedro

FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES (through my wife) offering its help.

FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES (through my wife) offering its help.

Registration.

Innocent smiles...

The school's multi-purpose gym, converted into an evacuation center.

Even the classrooms were filled with evacuees. Classes were disrupted during the weeks after Typhoon Ondoy's wrath.

Even the classrooms were filled with evacuees. Classes were disrupted during the weeks after Typhoon Ondoy's wrath.

The evacuees, especially the children, have only cardboards to sleep on. And some unfortunate ones sleep on the concrete floor...

The evacuees, especially the children, have only cardboards to sleep on. And some unfortunate ones sleep on the concrete floor...

Aside from the few school toilets, these are the only portable toilets available; probably not enough to accomodate all of the evacuees.

Aside from the few school toilets, these are the only portable toilets available; probably not enough to accomodate all of the evacuees.

This is where the sick are confined.

This is where the sick are confined.

The fun and games should always continue for the kiddos.

The fun and games should always continue for the kiddos.

The road leading from Paaralang Sentral ng San Pedro to the church.

The road leading from Paaralang Sentral ng San Pedro to the church.

If you notice in some of the pictures (and videos in ALAS FILIPINAS), many families use cardboards in lieu of beds. Now be thankful that the younger members of your families have soft mattresses to sleep on each night.

I was able to interview some people, too. They confirmed that they do lack the things that me and my wife had just given them. Many of their children relieve themselves in some grassy corner of the school (since the portalets and the school’s toilets aren’t enough for them all). That’s why diapers are direly needed. Also, at night, they are being swarmed by mosquitoes.

What’s worse is that whenever it rains, the people inside the gymnasium are unprotected and soaked. One of them told me that there used to be plastic covers on each side of the gymnasium to protect them, but for some reason, they disappeared.

There are also evacuees in some classrooms, with more than five families each. Although they appear to be safe from the weather, they’re nonetheless cramped there, like sardines in a tin can.

One of those I talked to said that Mayor Calixto Catáquiz always takes care of them. But Catáquiz is just one man. He couldn’t do it all by himself (and right now, he has the burden of relocating all this people in San Pedro’s mountainous area). And the same thing goes with other towns and cities that were inundated by Typhoon Ondoy (and Pepeng).

Go to ALAS FILIPINAS for the videos.

We haven’t recovered yet, but there’s another typhoon coming!

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Barely three weeks since the back-to-back devastation caused by Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng that claimed almost a thousand lives, now here comes another one:

RAMIL

Typhoon Ramil (international name: Lupit) is expected to hit land either tonight or tomorrow morning. This is very bad news considering what had happened recently in Metro Manila and its surrounding provinces. This doesn’t even include the overflowing dams of Pangasinán.

Three strong typhoons in less than three weeks? No doubt about it — climate change is officially here.

Bye, LA Times (APAC Alabang)…

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This is where I spent some of the most enjoyable years of my employed life!

This is where I spent some of the most enjoyable years of my employed life!

I should have written this blogpost last Sunday, but was too busy (with idleness, hehe!).

APAC Customer Services, Inc. was my first and last call center. I signed my contract there on 29 October 2004 (¡hahaha! ¡tandáng tandá pá!). I could still remember that cold almost-Halloween night (APAC’s HR people were designing the lobby with Halloween decors). I was unemployed then; I just lost a job because of a lingering illness. Worse, me and my wife Yeyette weren’t living with our folks anymore. We’ve been living on our own since we eloped 10 years ago. Thus, I desperately needed that job. That is why when the contract was shown to me, I couldn’t keep from smiling. I almost cried while silently uttering words of gratitude to the Lord who I used to bash when I was still an atheist a year before that. Sucked to be me.

The salary offered to me back then was P13,000 with a P2,000 allowance. It was already a very big deal for many first-time call center kids back then. I was assigned to a health account: Medco Health Solutions.

MEDCO

Wave 1! Find me!

Wave 1! Find me!

I even had the chance to form a rock band in Medco which we named Snakes of Eden. It joined two battle of the bands within one week; we won both! And I don’t know of any other amateur band which made a similar accomplishment!

Left to right: Pepe Alas, Aris Andaluz, Richie Ramos, Jeff Pascual, Lee "The Stalker" Atanoso, & Pol Agbagala

Left to right: Pepe Alas, Aris Andaluz, Richie Ramos, Jeff Pascual, Lee "The Stalker" Atanoso, & Pol Agbagala

Through the years, my salary increased. And our way of life progressed. During my almost five-year tenure with APAC, we were able to complete all of our furniture and other necessary appliances. Not to mention more kids, hehe!

UNICARE

In late 2006, I was transferred to another health account: Unicare. I spent only six months in that campaign, but I made more friends there compared to Medco (and my salary increased up to P16,500, hehe!). The account is perhaps the most difficult one in APAC. I think that’s why that campaign’s management have thought of doing regular fun events too make up for all the stress. Too bad, I have no photos of myself with my Unicare homies. =(

LA TIMES

In mid 2007, I transferred to LA Times. It was in LA Times where I found my true family in APAC. In that campaign, I was able to utilize my Spanish. For many, Unicare is the liveliest account in APAC. But for me, the bond that LA Times CSRs developed for each other is priceless and timeless.

It was in LA Times (and sister campaign Boston Herald) where I met my comrade-at-arms Arnold “Arnaldo” Arnáiz, as well as my best homies: Yhanki Peralta “de Salinas”, Will “The Tool” Tolosa, Rafael Salinas, JJ Pertierra, Jordan “Erap” Estrada, Errol Baky, Louie Mendoza, Rosey Patricio, Din Velilla, Christine Moral, “The Big Boss” Levi Soledad, Miguel Satuito, Sheila Déximo, Janis “Miley Cyrus” Santiago, Mechel “Pokwá” Egama, Mike Adzuara, “Mommy” Ruth Toribio, Kenjie Lituco, and many others (o hayán, nabiguián co pa cayó ng exposure, ¡hahaha!). Sa LA Times din acó naguíng millonario, ¡hahaha!

Grabeng catuwaan, lasiñgan, inuman, at waláng humpáy na sayá ang dinanas co sa APAC. Parang nasa college lang acó, ¡hehehe! And during times of calamity, APAC people are always ready to help out with its various outreach programs. Not too mention lively events and parties that made work-life balance a breeze and more fun!

But good things don’t really last on earth. In the end, I got burned out with the call queues. And last year, my wife got pregnant for the fourth time. Thus, I had to augment the P75,000 salary which APAC was paying me every month as an easy-going Spanish-speaking rep (naaah, I’m just playing folks, hahaha!). Besides, our campaign wasn’t doing any good anymore.

When my TL JJ Pertierra invited me to apply elsewhere (where the prospects are much better, I heard) I joined him. I accepted the offer; but JJ stayed with APAC. My last day with APAC was on January 15 this year. I started working for an eProcurement company also in Alabang. APAC couldn’t even match the employee perks that I’m getting now from my new company. But up to now, I still miss “home” and its fun environment.

I badly need a fun environment because I easily get downtrodden which is very bad for me…

Several weeks ago, I heard that LA Times was about to close shop in APAC and move to another call center. Last October 5, when we were going back to the Metro from a memorable trip to Taal, Batangas), Arnold and I were reminiscing our LA Times homies, and we’re both saddened that the account is about to close early next month. And that our barkada has transferred to other call centers and accounts. We toyed with the idea of a reunion (I also remembered Arnold and Levi’s communication in WITH ONE’S PAST about that LA Times reunion). And so the next day, I started sending out invites to our LA Times peeps who are in my Facebook account:

As you may now know, LA Times is about to close shop in APAC on the first week of November (is it on the fourth?). It is going to be the end of a wonderful, productive, and colorful era. So much has happened during its brief but fruitful stint: friendships were formed; gangsters were organized; beautiful relationships flowered; babies conceived; loans transacted here and there; payroll inquiries and other controversies; tears and struggles and victories; and so much more.

It is saddening that it has to end this way. But as they always say, only diamonds are forever. So before LA Times bids goodbye to the “august halls” of APAC, Arnold “The Penis” Arnáiz, “Operations Murderer” Levi Soledad, and yours truly, Pepe “El Guapito Inn” Alas, invite you to our beloved account’s swan song this coming Saturday, October 10, 2009! Showtime begins at 7:00 AM onwards! It will serve as our long overdue reunion! We’ll have booze, food, orgy, and more booze! This will be held at Fastbytes, Northgate Cyberzone, Alabang, Muntinlupà City. We have many establishments to choose from: Bacólod Chicken Inasál, Samurai, Plato Wraps, etc. Basta, ‘pag nagquita-quita tayo, sacá na tayo magdecisión cung saán (malamáng sa guitná tayo ng Fastbytes, ¡hehehe!). Call up your wavemates and spread the news! Time’s running out! Calimutan na rin ang mga away at tampuhan. It’s all in the past. Ang importante ay ang ating reunión. Sacá na ang sapacan ‘pag may lasíng ná. c”,)

RSVP. Please let us know who won’t be able to come… but PUH-LEAZE DO COME! ¡Umabsent na ang dapat umabsent, LOL! At yung mga may importanteng lacad, cahit isáng horas lang cayó tumambay, OKs na yun. May picture taking din casí tayo, hehe… I believe there’ll be more than a hundred of us! Fastbytes won’t be able to believe this, hehehe! At yung mga nasa ibáng bansâ (Rosey Patricio, Mirai Virtucio, etc.), mag-online na lang cayó. May WiFi namán sa Fastbytes. Magdalá na ang mga puedeng magdalá ng caní-caniláng mga laptop (I’ll bring mine) para macasama niyó namán camí. =) Sama na rin natin ang mga “neighbors” — Boston Herald, ¡hahaha! Patí na rin ang LAT Cubáo.

For inquiries, contact Señor Don Simón De Anda (Arnold): (****)***-****, or Señor Don José Mario Alas y Soriano (Pepe Alas): (****)***-****. Oo, Sun ang SIM namin dahil camí ay mga Sunofab!tch. So spread the good news to every one! Icalat ang mensajeng itó sa inió-inióng mga email accounts, SMS, Facebook, Friendster, Multiply, picha pie, atbp. ¡Matindíng album din itó sa inióng mga Facebook ‘pag nagcátaon!

Nawá’y lahát tayo ay macasama dahil sa opinión co ay hindíng-hindí na mauulit ang reunión na tulad nitó. Don’t worry: there’s no entrance fee. Bro. Berns will even give you money! =) As long as you’ve been part of LA Times –cahit yung mga nag-AWOL at yung mga isáng lingo lang na tumagál sa LAT– invitado. RAIN OR SHINE, We’ll all go to Fastbytes this Saturday morning – onwards!!! Let’s make this final LAT event a truly memorable one that we’ll all cherish when our hairs turn white – or when some of us start losing our hair (sorry “TL”, hehe). Just one more quibble: KKB ang event!

It was a very hasty preparation because I was actually thinking of Arnold who was about to go back to Cebú the following week (but he didn’t). He’s part of the founding batch of LA Times in APAC back in 2004 when I was still with Medco.

Nevertheless, the reunion was a success!

I was surprised with the turnout! Even soft-spoken TL Anna Alto (Arnold’s fantasy, LOL!) was there! And some LA Times people who I no longer know (those from earlier batches) also attended. The reunion happened in Mongolian. It was Jordan and I who chose the place. Punó na cas¡ yung ibáng establecimiento. At sacá bawal na paláng mag-inuman sa labás ng Fastbytes. Ewan co cung bakit.

Grabe, nalasíng talagá acó; walá yata casíng Cerveza Negra, eh. Pati si La Esposa co na hindí namán tagá-APAC nakiloca na rin sa reunión, ¡hahaha!

Thanks to La Esposa mía, I am now a certified social animal. Dati, loner talagá; ngayón loser na lang, ¡hehehe!

This is perhaps LA Times final reunion.

Well, it’s time to say “Goodbye, LA Times”. You’ll always remain right inside my pulpy heart. Take care. I know we’ll miss each other’s company. The memories will always remain…

To the people of LA Times APAC (both Alabang and Cubáo) — take a bow! Thank y’all!

Special thanks to “Mr. LA Times” Arnold Arnáiz for the touching YouTube videos of our happy selves!

May God bless us all always! =)

Blog Action Day 2009 — Fight climate change NOW!

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Fighting climate change will save our descendants' earthly existence!

Fighting climate change will save our descendants' earthly existence!

“When you try to scientifically observe the data… we will find this year and last year as very strange years, and we can only presuppose that this is due to climate change” — Anthony Gólez (Civil defense chief), on Typhoon Ondoy

“We can’t just blame this on the rain. We know this is the worst deluge in 40 years. We know there is climate change happening, there is no debate about that. This is just a glimpse of what will happen. This is not even a super typhoon. We need to be prepared. This is just a taste of things to come. We need to have more preparations and we need to factor in climate change.” — Mark Día (Greenpeace campaigner), on the same typhoon which killed hundreds of people in less than nine hours.

And so I will make this blogpost as brief and as comprehensible as possible…

To those who are ignorant of the situation, the recent killer typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, which incapacitated the capital of the Philippines and wreaked havoc in many parts of Luzón, are just that — natural calamities. It’s devastating, but it’s normal. Yes, Ondoy and Pepeng are indeed deadlier compared to other killer typhoons of the past. But it has never crossed the mind of the unitiated as to why the typhoons are getting stronger and stronger every year.

These typhoons may be natural calamities, yes. But their origins can be traced to manmade irresponsibilities. Throughout the centuries, man has innovated technology to suit himself to changes in his culture and behavior. Wittingly or unwittingly, this pursuit of “change for comfortability” has drastically altered the normal course of climatical phases throughout modern history (especially since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution).

OK. So the only thing that’s permanent is change. But climate change is one type of change that won’t be for the betterment of mankind. It’s called global warming.

Global warming has become a very familiar term during this decade. It was made even more popular by world-renowned environmentalist Al Gore in his bestselling documentary video entitled “An Inconvenient Truth”. It has made many people sit up and take notice — but only those who are educated enough to be interested in watching documentaries. That is never enough.

The educated should educate the masses because a great bulk of them are unfamiliar with the cause and effect of climate change and global warming. And besides, many of them use products that are harmful to the environment and which contribute to this abnormality that we’re experiencing with our weather. As US Vice President Joe Biden said: “I think it is manmade. I think it’s clearly manmade. If you don’t understand what the cause is, it’s virtually impossible to come up with a solution. We know what the cause is. The cause is manmade. That’s the cause. That’s why the polar icecap is melting.”

Speaking of melting icecaps, the Philippines is in grave danger since it has countless small islands that will easily disappear when the sea level eventually rises. Majestic coastlines and seaside villages and towns will be affected, displacing hundreds of thousands of Filipino families. And expect more destructive typhoons from the Pacific which will make Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng seem tame.

¡Kilos ná!

If you guys have genuine compassion for the young –our only planet’s next generation– then start acting now! By simply not littering at all outside the streets is already a BIG accomplishment, believe me. Love the environment. Love this planet. It’s the only planet we have. So…

Fight climate change! START RIGHT NOW!!!

Fight climate change!

Fight climate change!

This is FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES very brief take on BLOG ACTION DAY 2009.

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