Sunday, August 29, 2010

Revisiting the UP Theatre

Celebrating Dulaang UP’s 35th Anniversary, a theatre group founded by Professor Tony Mabesa, I dropped by the UP campus on a weekend to reminisce how it was performing the 1st season. Colleague Professor Alex Cortez is now the groups’ Artistic Director and Professors Mabesa and Leticia Tison, the department’s Professor Emeriti. The rest of the crew and actors are complete strangers to me now.

Diliman is still how I recollected it was in my college years. The icons* associated with the university are still strongly suggestive of the institution. The Oblation, Carillion, Palma Hall, Palma corridors, foliage of acacia and the main library are collectively for me my academic scholarship.

Albeit the new structure and new traffic regulations, it still is the same campus that nurtured my learning day in day out for 4 years.

Perhaps I never really left the institution as my mind is lucid perennially still in search of knowledge, in the fields of management or social sciences. (Geographically, I have not left the district as I still live in the city.)

Enjoy viewing the images and the sculptures of Filipino heroes created by the Fine Arts students.

*a sign (as a word or graphic symbol) whose form suggests its meaning

Nat Geo Coffee Table Books

In between chores in a commercial center, I dropped by a Booksale outlet to check what’s in store. These interested me: National Geographic Coffee Table book on the National Parks of North America and a book of images on Work, The World in Photographs and Faces of Africa.

Quoting from the Faces of Africa intro, Each image unfolds new and revealing perspectives; taken together, they create nothing less than the group portrait of a world that draws strength from shared values and common experiences even as it glorifies in the unique appeal of every individual.”

Work in its foreword quotes Marion Walcott, “Speak with your images from your heart and soul. Give of yourselves. Trust your gut reactions. Suck out the juices-the essence of your life experiences. Get on with it; it may not be too late.”

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

N. Ramirez Car Wash

The car wash stretch of N. Ramirez in Quezon City

This stretch is a convenient short-cut from Espana to E. Rodriquez avoiding the traffic lights and jeepney plying along Espana, Welcome Rotonda and E. Rod. Well cemented and properly maintained by the local QC Barangay, it is a popular 2 km. access road.

Lately, this residential area is emerging as a business zone. Car wash stalls in household garages and on the street have sprouted tapping water resources from the residential houses and drainage of the local district. Before, the only enterprises here are sari-sari stores which sell an assortment of prime household commodities. Now you already have a service outlet for motored vehicles which evolved to a service outlet serving carbonated beverages.

Nothing will stop the enterprising individual from building the channel if rooted on a real customer need. Satisfied here is a neat vehicle makeover for only P 65.0 on your way home.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

St. Lukes and Burger Kin

Burger King in E. Rodriquez beside St. Luke’s Medical Center wowed me. Not with their product but with a service I did not expect from a fast food chain.

While waiting for my cardiologist at the Medical Center to check on a potential hyper tensive condition, I figured there would be time for a cup of coffee.

I’ve always liked Burger King’s Joe coffee which is modestly priced at P 65.0. It is served in an advanced disposable packaging with 2 cup lets of fresh milk. The purchase entitled me to a password to a wifi assess for my email and the morning papers.

Several minutes later, a service crew approached me to inquire if I wish to have my black shoes shined. Since I bought this branded pair months before, I have long wanted to have it brushed but did not have the time to do so. I readily agreed of course.

After the experience, I gave the outlet in my mind an excellent customer satisfaction rating. It was time leisurely spent while waiting.

I returned back to the clinic with the doctor waiting for me. He diagnosed me as still a suspect subject to a change in lifestyle for the next weeks. Having a free shoe shine weekly could be my antidote to temporary deficiency in wellness.  (The doctor likewise gave an advice, a cup of coffee is fine.)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Garden Shots

Shooting natural or a structure? Private domain or public property? Attribute it on the surging ownership of SLR cameras and the visibility of controversies. Unknowns out rightly refuse to be photographed. Attendants of commercial displays disallow their goods to be recorded. Nature makes better subjects, as they are, innately natural.

Top View Araneta Shots

Araneta in Cubao is repositioning itself. The upgrading of facilities and infrastructure is not happening though as fast as other emerging commercial centers in the city in the last decade.

Its changing image is paying the price for its pioneering heritage as it has started to look like a series of structures and paid parking spaces. Even the rest rooms now have a tag.

The affinity it created with loyal Cubao patrons is slowly giving way to the new generations' instant gratification. Araneta  might eventually end up as a stop over rather than a destination.

Orchids at Seedling Bank

The Philippine Orchid Society, Inc. just completed its 64th Mid-Year Orchid and Garden Show at the Manila Seedling Bank Environmental Center.

Show showcases the collections of an individual or organization dealing with any aspect of the orchid industry.

As a walk in participant, I took the chance to capture the colors, texture in images up close in ideal natural sunlight.

Nature, unlike man does not resist being photographed. So far, field testing results of the compact point and shoot camera have been satisfactory.

MRT Crossroads

Years ago, I initiated in the original and now defunct forum infrastructure projects in Metro Manila that would result in major improvements in efficiency. I cited as one the overhead overpasses in the major intersections of EDSA and other main streets as EDSA-Aurora, EDSA-North Avenue, EDSA-Taft, EDSA-Quezon Ave, Araneta-Magsaysay Ave where the pedestrians of the busy intersections would be conveniently directed to the steel bridges to cross.

Edsa-Quezon Ave
The website is gone (replaced by a new one) but the projects of MMDA under Bayani Fernando are still operational making the city a walk able one.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Manila I Knew

Manila has been written about a countless times. An enjoyable read is "The Manila we knew," a compilation of essays by several literary and opinion Filipino writers. Insights and historical relevance were narrated by the popular writers from their personal perspectives making me picture how Manila that I knew then.

Manila has too been a favorite subject among filmakers and documentary makers. The most recent that I watched was "Astig," a Cinemalaya entry of director GB San Pedro to the 2009 festival. Film dramatizes the grit and struggle of 4 young males in Quiapo in the several notorious streets. Well produced and excellently presented, the film presents the side of Manila the mainstream residents would ignore.

Both works of arts provide solid reasons for staying in the city. The color, struggle and the challenges Manila present bind the affinity between the place and its residents both established and transients.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Freedom of Mobility

Freedom that I relish the most are freedom of mobility and choice (of food).

Mobility is the ability to move around without any constraint tapping available resources. In the city there are several: the most common and often untapped is walking, the most efficient is the MRT Blue line that traverses from North EDSA to ESA Taft, the LRT1 Yellow Line from Monumento to Baclaran and the LRT2 Purple line from Santolan in Pasig to Recto in Manila. Popular are jeepneys, tricycles, taxicabs and a creation of the decade, the FX.

Islands are crossed by air, land and sea.

Freedom to move around allows a wider freedom of choice of food. Choosing is the prerogative to point, in the local language, point-point or “turo-turo.” Proof of the moving is the eating.

Harry Potter's Mode

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Articles in Mind

Articles to develop and post

  1. There is freedom in image capture nature vs. urban
  2. Clubs true to the MFPI vision
  3. Moymoy palaboy: power of technology in catching up a 3 year old phenomena
  4. N. Ramirez car wash strip
Mobile Send Test

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Reassessing the MFPI Vision Mission

11 years after formulating the MFPI Vision Mission under the leadership of Ari Ben Sebastian, major transformations have happened in the Philippine mountaineering community. Numbers of climbers and frequency of treks in a month have increased. Protocols have changes. Younger and more seasoned ones have joined the fray. From an extreme recreation, it has become main stream inviting a diverse base of adventure lovers. Technically advanced equipment and clothing are readily accessible even to novice climbers. Interests are shared with the adventure racer, divers, board surfer, triathlete and virtual athlete. Playground has expanded from the popular mountains to the un-trekked ones covering not only the Philippines but other continents as well.

 The discipline of formulating has slightly evolved. But the basic approach has not changed.

  • Is the vision still compelling and exciting to the stakeholders?
  • Is the picture of how success looks like still the same?
  • Are there indicators to tell the stakeholders if we are succeeding?

For one, the stakeholders have changed. The more active and current practitioners are in better position to assess if the vision is still compelling. But does it matter to them?
  • We see a Philippine mountaineering community aware of their right and duty to be responsible mountaineers.
  • With a desire to climb, complemented by a commitment to the preservation of the mountain eco-system.
  • With a sense of adventure tempered by a due regard for safety.
  • Whose enjoyment of the climb is bounded by a healthy respect and sensitivity for fellow mountaineers and the local communities it encounters.

Monday, August 09, 2010


The rainy week of 2 August even with the threat of Typhoon Domeng did not deter mobility as I swung from South to West in Metro Manila in several days in extreme weather conditions.

Ongpin Store
Available personal and mass transport made movement easier. Sedan drives one long distance, Light Rail Transport moves mass commuters to popular destination in a breeze; jeepney, calesa and tricycles transport groups to unfamiliar corners.

Walking is still the most convenient way to cross short distances.

Base is a newly constructed premiere hotel in an industrial park in the South providing a panoramic view of the Laguna province.

When in the city, the LRT moving platform is the most efficient means to Chinatown and Malate.

Jeepney, calesa and tricycle are readily available to navigate hard to enter alleys and flooded areas in short distances.

If mountaineering by The Mountaineering Books is “freedom of the hills,” urban travel is “freedom of mobility.” I work because I have to live. I travel because I need to live. It is this freedom that I relish as I derive pleasure from the travel.

(Photos taken while on of field test of a compact Nikon OLED camera.)

Sunday, August 08, 2010

JV's Car Wash

Several months ago this 2010, a fellow climber sent me an email message inquiring about the status of geocities’ delisted tropics shores domain with a leading query“What happened to our Majayjay article and photos at the PALMC site?”

Months ago, I received a text message stating,“I set up the front lawn of our house in Don Antonio into a car wash with a request, "will you be able to help me with an electric cooler?”

A week ago, a FB friend flags in his home page, water and floods everywhere due to the storm and heavy rain fall, “JV Duque: Raining hard . . . Water rising! Please pray rain stops.”

My visit at 27 Holy Spirit Drive along Don Antonio Heights in Commonwealth Avenue Quezon City turned out to be a discussion on all including a reason why motorist should consider JV’s car wash if one resides near the vicinity.
JV has several passions: sports like badminton, cycling and climbing, design and photography, showbiz talents and training and cars and maintenance.  While looking for a sideline to augment his income, he was considering any one of his interests.

His set up of the car wash project in July 2006 was an “invention of necessity” borne out of his shift in career. It was also a result of an accident when a parking attendant in ABS-CBN who JV acknowledged as meticulous in detailing and car washing reminded him several months after their encounter when he is setting up his own business. When work was taking a toll on his health, he was in search for a practical solution for pay for operating expenses. From his several passions, he finally decided to go into car detailing.

Even since, JV has stringent standards when it comes to car care. He would look under the hood and car, inside the car, under the seats, in the overlooked corners when he had his car cleaned. It frustrates him whenever he surrenders his car to a professional, he would end up teaching the staff how to wash and yet still pay.
His decision to start a car wash project aside from the fact that it entailed a relatively low capital expense was his desire to share the expertise of quality cleaning. It was not really for the revenue but for the extended service.
Starting his operations at the garage, his first few days with the ABS-CBN attendant did not draw any customer. It was only on the 2nd week when a paying customer tried him out and was satisfied. His 1st customer though turned out to be his sister. From then on, car owners from BF Homes, Don Enrique and Don Antonio Heights started patronizing the shop.
They valued the attention to details under the hood and inside the car, the quality work and the dedication of the car wash staff and the use of premium cleaning equipment. Never mind if the extended garage did not have a comfortable seating area nor the slots limited to only 6 at time. The limitations did not matter for as long as the dedicated and engaged staff would transform their vehicle to a spotless exhibit in over 20 minutes.
Car owners, trusting their staff would leave the cars, go out for a walk then come back to collect them hours later.  He is proud that his staff shared the same passion for a clean and good job in cleaning and detailing cars which JV claimed is modeled after the top detailing shops in Ortigas but priced right for a cottage neighborhood shop. Materials and thorough cleaning are not compromised. 
Their added value of a neighborhood store is the homey atmosphere as it is Mommy who minds the business. Having come from the Talent Center, JV uses his service orientation when dealing with difficult customers.
How does success look like for JVD car wash in the future?
  • Constrained by the frequent flooding, the worst experienced in September 2009 when Ondoy dumped record breaking rains in a short span of time, he sees the car wash operating even during the rainy season.
  • He looks forward to a better roofing facility to expand more slots.
  • For the idle waiting time, he in envisioning a coffee shop where car owners can go online, or listen to his colorful showbiz stories or merely wander around.
  • He expects his satisfied customers promoting his car wash not because it offers good value for money but because they are good at car washing and detailing that rivals the more professional shops in Makati, Ortigas or Banaue.
  • He is still not convinced to earn money from this advocacy.
In his multiply account, JV defines his mission. JVD Car Wash Services came to life in July 2006. Our goal is to provide car lovers and owners in the community with the best quality services we could offer. We aim to give our customers the comfort of having their cars pampered at the most reasonable yet competitive prices. We use Meguiar's Professional detailing products in all our detailing services.

Hearing his stories for over an hour, I wonder if it needed updating to level up to the next phase.

Related story on writing a Vision Mission
Bakers with a natural passion to create

"Follow what you are genuinely passionate about and let that guide you to your destination." -Diane Sawyer

Friday, August 06, 2010

Hiroshima courtesy of JICA

While Channel News Asia was repeatedly broadcasting the 65th year anniversary of the dreadful 6 August 1945 Hiroshima bombing, I too recalled 6 August 1985 when I visited Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. I was in Japan appreciating the Japanese culture for a month as a participant to the program of the Philippine-ASEAN-Japan Friendship Association for the 21st Century (PAJAFA).

This leadership program sponsored by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) was initiated by then Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone extending invitation to qualified Philippine and Asian youth leaders. Intent was to foster friendship between leaders of the two and other countries. Participants travel to Japan as a group, attend forums, learn Nihonggo, get immersed in a typical Japanese family in prefectures via home stay and see the popular tourist attractions.

How I was accepted in the 2nd batch is a tale of resourcefulness, confidence and even luck considering the civil servants have the priority. Qualification, education and professional background can truly bring one to places.

I remember fondly this travel. Not only because of the long stay but mainly due to the rich culture we as a Philippine and Asian team were exposed to. 25 years ago, I still see the image of the leaning Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in my mind. Memorable indeed.

Happier Japan

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Road Warrior

Evolving from a weekend warrior to a road warrior.

From doing unusually physically strenuous  activity part time or in weekends to a frequent traveler mainly on business.

Images of travel in 3 different cities over the last few days.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Combing Work with Play

Pancit Canton and Lumpia
While doing field work assessing execution in the market place, I was led to a tiangge in Makati similar to that of a Sunday bazaar.
Not only were a variety of noodle based native food offered, they were affordably priced. Unlike the weekend tiangge’s, the Makati City Hall is open on working days.

Pancit Malabon and Dimsum
Palabok @ P30.0
Business with pleasure? Not exactly as I was on a tight schedule, there was hardly any time to sit down.

Wikipedia lists the following variants of Pansit.
Pancit Alanganin, Pancit Batchoy, Pancit Bato is indigenuous to the Bicol Region; especially the town of Bato in Camarines Sur, Pancit Bihon Guisado, Pancit Bihongundoy, Pancit Cabagan, Pancit Canton, Pancit Estacion (Tanza, Cavite), Pancit Habhab (Lucban, Quezon), Pancit Kilawin is also a variety of pancit found only in Tanza, Cavite. Just an ordinary pancit bihon eaten together with a kilawing papaya (shredded raw papaya fruit cooked with vinegar and fish, Pancit Lomi, Pancit Luglug, Pancit Malabon, Pancit Mami (round egg noodles), Pancit Miki (round egg noodles), Pancit Míki-Bíhon Guisado (round egg noodles + bihon), Pancit Molo (a bit of a misnomer, it is Filipino wanton soup without noodles contrary to what the name might suggest), Pancit Moròng, Pancit Palabok, Pancit Pula (variation of Pancit Miki from Batangas City), Pancit Sotanghon, Pansit Sabaw (Pansit Miki with soup), Pansit Tuguegarao or Batil Patong, Pansit Sinanta (also from Tuguegarao, consists of flat egg noodles, bihon, clams and chicken, with broth colored with annatto)