Saturday, December 22, 2012

UP Concert Chorus Korus 50

Concert Poster
One choir performance in a small hall by 28 disciplined and musically talented choir members is enough to send shivers down the audience’ spine. Imagine the magnitude of impact of hearing 28 carefully selected pieces sang by 128 musically trained sopranos, altos, tenors and basses in a 2,300 filled university theater. That was the UP Concert Chorus Korus 50 staged at the UP Diliman Theater last 21 December 2012 (21.12.2012).

This once-in-a-lifetime event is a gathering of star-studded alumni and members of the university choir performing ”hits, religious songs, show-stoppers and grand numbers captured” in 9 segments in 3 ½ hours.
Each segment intends to capture the spirit behind the batch and era starting with a strong opening building up to a grand finale.  Segments are memorable, carefully crafted to say a story ending with the house joining the talents on stage singing Handel’s Hallelujah and UP Naming Mahal. Transitioning to the next batch is a slide show featuring the group on tour, in a performance, on rehearsal accompanied by a recorded soundtrack. Highlights are described in poetic lines written by UPCC alumni Raul Castro.
Program Souvenir Cover
A fresh concept of the anniversary show is the insert of two memorable points of interest: death and wedding.  In Memoriam pays tribute to members who have passed away most prominent of which is Professor Rey Paguio.  UPCC Singing Sweethearts recognizes the pairs who pursued their relationships.

This anniversary creation directed on stage by Alexander Cortez pays tribute to the individual talents that make up the choir, their group, the college, the UP institution, the country moving up to the world, music in general and to ultimate almighty.

Programme. Click to enlarge
50 decades of music in a night with Egay Manguiat, Jai-Sabbas-Aracama, Ramon Santos and Kitchy Valedellon-Molina taking turns conducting the choir.  For that brief moment when UPCC was singing, heaven must have opened up to let their music in.
God gifted the members of the UP Concert Chorus with talents. With their sterling performance in UP Korus 50, they have returned the gift to the creator.

Links picked up from youtube.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The National Parks "Morning of Creation"

Four months after I viewed the 1st 5 of the 6 episodes of Ken Burn’s The National Parks, I finally got hold of the 6th and final episode entitled “The Morning of Creation 1946-1980.”

This series in high definition that runs for over 12 hours chronicles the creation, struggles and challenges in sustaining America’s 58 national parks and monuments with documented videos  and visuals as early as 1872.

In the final episode, filmmaker Ken Burn and writer Dayton Duncan  feature Mission 66, an infrastructure boost to cope with the increasing park visitors now reaching 62 million a year, Adolph Murie, a biologist with a radical view and approach to wolves and predatory animal treatment, the conversion of Alaska’s 56 million acres to state protected land said to be the largest expansion in history and the challenge facing the 21st century.

As in the previous episodes, “The Morning of Creation” shows video documentaries, old and digital photographs, historical newspaper clippings, poetry and quotes from stakeholders, historians, government officials, relatives and writers matched with appropriate landscape sceneries. Ending dramatically with statements from ranger park superintendents, writers and by others touched by the experience of the national park, the film left an impression that all the struggles in the past were meaningful because their children in visiting the protected national parks today had the same feeling their predecessors went through in the infancy stage of the national parks creation. The parks now have been creating memories for them lasting for a lifetime. They did so because the park preserved nature, history and their identity. The scenic sights and sounds only sensed at the park have been reconnecting the past with the present.

Towards the end, writer Terry Tempest Williams posed a call, “I think the challenge of our national parks in the 21st century will be the challenge of restoration. And not only are the national parks a gift but a covenant. They’re a covenant with the future saying, “this is where we were, this is what we loved and now it is in your hands.”
Poster from the Sierra Club John Muir exhibit site
The final message is appropriately left for John Muir which perhaps is the driver why we need to preserve parks because  . . .One learns that the world, though made, is yet being made, that is still the morning of creation.

This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on seas and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.”
After viewing the 1st set of episodes, I extended invitation to friends to view the film with me.  Completing “The National Parks,” I now extend the invitation to plan and to go and see the parks with me.
Photos lifted from

Saturday, December 15, 2012

89.5 Trekkers on 8-9 May 1999

89.5 Trekkers on 8-9 May Making a Lava Lounge Out of the Pinatubo Base Cause Another Explosion!

Put in 89.5 trekkers of various  orientations and aggrupations.  Of different clubs, age groups, sexual preferences, religions, drinking beliefs, eating patterns, trekking styles, geographical locations and nationalities, speaking tongues. From the silent, to the normal to the dominant, humble and the makukulits. Backpackers, trekkers, hikers, rock climbers or mere  walkers. Pediatrics to geriatrics.  Bankers, computer specialists, to students to out of school youths.  Retiring climbers to beginning  climbers.  San Marcelino to Katipunan, Luzon to Mindanao. Baliuag, Guiguinto, Valenzuela to Tarlac, Ayala, Binondo, Pasay, Fairview. Add a TL, a trail master, an ex-club president, a host in a dark suit as heavy as a single man's tent, a song number, getting to know you. What do you get? RIOT in LAVA!

From a simple climb planned by Globe Adventure Club Founder Regie Pablo and Chito Razon of PALMC last April 1999 to drag Jon Linao, ex-president of MESAU out his computer, the event turned into a monstrous, unforgettable climb of the millennium. 

How could this not turn out to be a grand climb? It promised Mt. Pinatubo, the world-renowned volcano notorious for distorting the climate system in Asia and in the world starting 1991. It came after the MFDI federation climb successfully organized by UPM that set the foundation for the bonding of most participants. Banny Hermanos of PAL MC whetted our appetite with his surreal slide presentation. Lakbay TV through its Balikbayan narrator Roel Torres showed us repeatedly on Cable TV that the crater is reachable, even with his  physical condition. Richard Rebada, ex-president of MESAU completed the trek this year and volunteered to lead the way. Rolly Villanueva, president of PNB Mountaineering Club brought his 22 strong delegation. Butch Sebastian, MFPI President recognized the event. Lastly, weather cooperated-no strong rains in the past few days.

The climbers themselves were no ordinary climbers. Most completed the Balbalasang Federation, went through a tune up climb the week before. Majority have gone to Halcon, Guiting-Guiting, Napulauan, Tawangan over the past few months. Youngest was Shab which accounts for the 5 counting. He turned 3 last Sunday. Eldest was Martin Chambers, a marathoner from New Zealand who is nearing the 60’s mark. His incredible performance and behavior in the socials make you think he certainly is a lot younger.

All were intrigued by the place as site of massive destruction: Pinatubo from the volcano eruption and Capas, our jump off town associated with the Death March. The heat  of up to 38°C on our way to the crater Saturday potentially fatal to our delicate brown  skin, the lava river trail, destroying our shoes and our soles, brand new or borrowed.

Nothing stopped the climbers from appreciating the weekend. Richard, Ronald and company of MESAU alumni pre-arranged guides and jeepney rides. Chito handled administrative  requirements through contact leaders: Regie for Globe, Rolly and Elmer for PNB, Jon and Jessie for MESAU, Jojo Cadungog for PAL, Teddy for Marco Polo, Jaja Reyes and Jenny Atienza for Loyola Mountaineer. Participants showed up at Capas Public Market before the targeted 8 morning departure. For many, it was their first time to see  this market place. Jeepney ride completed the travel up to the kubo reducing our trekking time. The 5 hour trek to the campsite was reduced to a mere 2 ½ on the way back. The dreaded socials just happened spontaneously. What happened next was simply deafening. 

Weekend was an enjoyable one perhaps because we were celebrating and thanking.  Celebrating that we were spared of death from the destruction that emanated from our trail sites and thankful that the signs of life are beginning to show at the crater and at the ridges. The hot lava waters are supplemented now with mineral waters flowing near the base of the crater. Green leaves are thriving at the mountain ridges.  Sounds of insects hover in the night. Best, there is laughter at the site.

The laughter we brought is our contribution in inducing life. Through the roaring noise, heckling, chasing, socializing, drinking, we were acknowledging to the 89.5 climbers, awake, or asleep or pretending to be asleep, the wasted and the unused that we are very much alive. Crashing Mt. Pinatubo also meant renewal-our renewed interest to nature, to our respective clubs, to the federation, to our selves. Just like the new greens sprouting at the sides, the wild trees growing near the crater rim and the wild insects building their habitats. The clothes, food and other functional items we donated to the Aeta community are our seeds to this renewal. There is always that company of 89.5 whom we will remember in time as the fertile ground for new friendship. Nothing more can better dramatize facing a new life through the Happy Birthday song we dedicated to Shah that Sunday. If we just get the message of the gift of life, that to me is the biggest explosion of the weekend. Simply it says, thank you we are alive.

Meeting MESAU in Pinatubo-Repost

MESAU 30 Years of Passion and Advocacy ADAMSON University Keeping the Legacy of Hope and Service

Congratulations to MESAU on its celebration of its 30th anniversary. Under the leadership of incumbent president Orven Honofre, it will cap its celebration with the 30th climb in Pulag this December after having climbed 29 mountains as of 15 December 2012 since the start of the year.
The theme of its pearl anniversary is “30 years of passion and advocacy”, interpreted as its strong desire for climbing mountains and the outdoors and its support to the causes for the environment, group camaraderie and the uplift of the medical conditions of the marginalized in remote areas accessible only by mountaineers. The anniversary program as in the previous years provides windows for members and alumnus to give testimonies on what the club meant to them. Witnessed by about 50 guests at the Rothman Hotel along Adriatico st. in Malate, young female applicants and members described the fun in getting together and climbing with the club. More senior member Paul Salvacion recounted the learnings and the discipline imparted by the climbs and the club and how it helped build confidence and competency facing the real working world.
Founding members from the College of Architecture shared with the incumbent batch the early years building the club starting with a memorable wall in the San Marcelino st. as the claimed private space of MESAU. Started by a group of fun-loving, street smart students 30 years ago, Demi Abarguez and Jimmy Memjie recalled their 1st climbs which was the 1st time they gained acquaintance with each other, how they were perceived as a noisy, rowdy group by the more established clubs as UPM, PALMC, USTMC which eventually allied with them, how they learned the ropes of climbing by mere climbing and not by the rigidness of training and knowledge by reading. During their time when they were eventually recognized by the school, a favorite priest would support their climbs by providing financial subsidy and recognition as the club carried the school name. The tradition of climbing Pulag after Christmas started in the early 80’s and was carried on by the succeeding batches. Disclosed too were the close encounter with the military in Pulag when they were mistaken as rebels threatening their lives with armalites poked at their faces. Food related anecdotes were brought to the forum by former presidents such as the “abodo” spilling incident of their packed lunch to a Bacolod bound co-passenger in barong tagalong and the spaghetti meant as a group food in Tupperware that rolled down in the soil and eventually eaten as it nothing happened. Like typical post climbing stories, chronicled too were the make shift equipment for instance framed back packs and casual outfits like maong and how they fared compared to the highly technical gears of this generation.

A guest of MESAU with Past President Jon Linao.  Foto by Jun de Vera
Past presidents such as Bart Bartolome, Rayan Reyes, Jon Linao, Jun De Vera, Queen Roma Pegarido, Jon Anista were recognized by the club for their contribution in keeping the club alive up to this day. Highlight of gatherings as in other mountaineering clubs gathering was the slide showing prepared by the organizing committee of MESAU in 2012 on how MESAU demonstrated it passion for climbing and advocacy. MESAU will undoubtedly cross its Golden (50th) Anniversary in December 2032 because what it does is consistent with the core values of the school inculcated to its students, “Adamson University-Keeping the Legacy of Hope and Service Alive."
 An Adamsonian Prayer
Dear Lord, Teach me the things that are important: To be generous with Your gifts, Compassionate to those who have less, Just in the face of unfair circumstances, True when the world's values contradict my own, Gracious when things don't go my way, And magnanimous when they do. May nothing else matter Except Faith in Your goodness, my neighbor's, and mine, Hope that things can get better, And Charity that always set things right. May Your special Love for the Poor, The mark of my uniquely Vincentian education, Be the work I excel in, The standard I constantly refer to, And my courage when I meet You someday. With Mary, our Mother, and St. Vincent de Paul, Amen

Fotos courtesy of Jun de Vera and Jon Linao
Meeting MESAU in Pinatubo
May 9, 1999 in Weekend Fun

You’ve heard about them. You must have encountered them in your regular weekend climb or in a jeepney ride from Maculot, Majayjay or Siniloan.

In the campsite, you will most likely spot them in a circle passing clear distilled looking liquid in a small glass. They stay in this position the minute they reach the flat land until early dawn or they’re down whichever comes first.

They say this socializing is what sets MESAU from other groups in their campus, other camps and in the federation. To them this is the tradition which is a non negotiable pre-requisite to membership for 15 years.

In Pinabuto Trek they listed 22 participants. 7 from the alumni with their Xs present. Call them the 3R’s: Richard, Ronald and Raymond. 8 from the incumbents led by their perpetual student and another X Jon. Then the missing 7.

 You know the novice from the hard cores-the alumni in their daypacks, the students in their full packs. Again, a tradition they say.

 What really are they? Not very different from the 67 other climbers. They take their tasks seriously.  See to the delivery of the basics as the jeepney rides, guides, trails, campsite and the return pick-ups.  But the difference is, they all show up in the socials and stay.

So when Viper of PNB put in his formal suit and long pants to signal the start of That’s Entertainment, it was socials to the max. PAL MC had an unexplainable presence that night: Aldo Velasco heckling with guest TJ, Joey Verzo explaining his new civil status, Dom Goduco recalling his college days, Jojoy Cadungog contemplating his retirement days, Bond Abad restaging his sacristan days, Jojo Ramos, Juno Moncada with Danny Moncada and Larry Honoridez simply wondering what’s going on, Barry Barcelo with Jun Timbol just enjoying and Chito quietly behaving. The place changed overnight. Mount Pinatubo turned to Barangay Ginebra.

Socials had the formula to be a hit:
·        There was quorum. After the group dinner and small socials, everyone just gravitated to the big circle to await what’s bound to happen.
·         Guests were open. Everyone gamely introduced himself or herself, associated with PAL, MESAU, PNB, Globe Telecoms, Loyola, Dennis, Omar, Jessie, Jenny, Jaja, Val, Chio, Joel, Elmer, Popoy, Regie, and Ronald. Lady trekkers gamely put in a romantic angle for the night.
·         There’s entertainment: Intros by Bong of PNB, song and dance by Viper and Henry, magic by Rolly, rated x night show of Martin Chambers, CD music by TJ and inspirational messages from the AETA guides.
·         Important to MESAU and to the others, stainless in various forms and sizes.

 As they was no imminent difficulty and danger the next day, socials went on and on up to early morning until no MESAU was left standing. The loud laughter started to fire at 8 PM, reached its peak towards 11 and slowly faded out before 3 AM.

Pinatubo was an exploration. The morning after, the mission was done. We explored Pinatubo, met new acquaintances: faces now have names, names match with faces, set new socializing and drinking levels and understood the “E” in MESAU’s initials, the Exploration Society. 

Soon, on some other time, in some other place, we hope to explore too Globe Telecoms beyond Regie and Martin, PNB beyond Rolly and Viper, MESAU beyond Ronald and Richard, PALMC beyond Chito, Jojoy and the rest, Loyola beyond Jenny and Bosch beyond spark plugs.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Saturday Morning Field Trip

There were four reasons to take a Saturday sojourn before the long break in October 2012:
1. To day climb 2. To introduce climbing to an associate 3. To revisit Vivere Azure and 5. To test drive a tough vehicle.
A climb is my antidote to the stress triggered by difficulty faced at work and stimulating personal conditions. The heavy breathing at the start purges the negative sentiments. The inhalation upon reaching the peak brings in refreshed outlook.

Introducing somebody to an ecstatic climb and to a new destination is a way of sowing gladness and expanding more possibilities in life whose windfall is felt over an extended period of time.

Vivere Azure imprinted in me an impression of an exclusive resort with customer service deeply imbedded in their staff. The feeling of delight simply flashes back to me by merely sight of the place in Anilao.

Test driving is a practical task that made this all happen. Standards were met.

Leaving Barangay San Teodoro completing all the four activities in less than a day is respite from the taxing past quarter activity. It recharged me to better face the demands of the closing two months of year 2012.

The antidote works fast. Immediately after the short climb, I received an email from the Chief himself stating how pleased he was with the output of a previous project.

A fitting close to this Saturday morning program is the adage “recall the past for its learning and positive association but look forward more to the developing future ahead.”

Foto taken by PJ using Iphone technology

Thursday, September 20, 2012

BBC's Earth, Wind, Fire and Water

Crystals in Mexico

BBC’s “How Earth Made Us” hosted by geologist Professor Iain Stewart documents 4 incredible natural forces that shaped history: Water, Fire, Earth Beneath and Wind.

Each force is treated independently with a strong revelation per force that keeps one glued to both the professor’s narration and the awesome visuals typical of BBC’s documentaries.

While the forces are separately treated, they are linked together creating a complementing picture of how they shaped history and the advancement and destruction of civilization.

It showed the importance of water and how it cycles where at each stage, man abruptly disrupts resulting in distortion of the natural process.

Experiencing Fire
The earth beneath reveals minerals and metals which when converted speeded up the shaping of the earth.

Beneath the Earth
Wind influenced the discovery of land through the natural air flow opening up new frontiers via sailing.

Fire transformed earth’s natural condition to an industrial and mechanical state.

All forces lead to a climax keeping your curious mind interested and prompting you to beg for the answer which Professor Stewart eventually provides.
1. How did water influence the maturity of early civilization and the wealth of the state?
2. How did coal make countries rich?
3. How did fire wipe out an entire civilization?

How Earth Made Us shows us conditions and dimensions we have not seen before like crystals beneath the earth, fire in the eyes of man, inside an aquifer.

The 4 hour documentary ends posing a point of view: resources are finite and man is exponentially expediting its depletion. The team of writers mainly scientists also presents a perspective that man too has the power to re engineer the shaping of the earth. How? The answer won’t keep you hanging but you have to watch it.

Text by Chito, visuals from the BBC site.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Value Beyond its Price

My standard Nissan Sentra sedan has proven to be reliable and worth its value based on extreme experiences in the past month.

Last Monday, 10 Sept 2012 when sudden heavy downpour triggered by Hangin Habagat hit Metro Manila past 6 PM, I suddenly found myself in a standstill at San Francisco st. towards Mandaluyong city hall on the way to Quezon City.

It took me over two hours to cover this point to Shaw Boulevard near the corner of Araullo st. in San Juan. It could have been longer had I not bravely maneuvered the sedan in the flooded street that was just above the ankle. This modest car did not fail me.

A month ago, I attended a despedida for 2 visiting guests from the US who were to leave for NAIA1 immediately after, I ended up bringing the guests to the airport. With office materials stuffed in the trunk, I wondered how else I can fit in 4 over-sized luggage, 2 hand carry bags and 2 passengers in this sedan. With some creativity, we managed to squeeze in everything for the short 30 minute ride from Makati to Pasay.

For its price relative to other automobile brands, this Sentra has certainly earned its value far more than its peso price.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Ken Burn's The National Parks

The National Parks, America’s Best Idea a film by Ken Burns is a six part series running over 12 hours on how America started the creation of national parks in 1872 chronicling the events up to 1980.

It presents the political, spiritual, commercial, geological and historical dimensions on how the first set of the 58 National Parks (Yellowstone as the 1st National Park created by US President Ulysses Grant in 1 March 1872) and Monuments were institutionalized in the US. 

How a national park is declared is presented with facts that included lobbying in the senate by the advocates and oppositions mounted by miners, railroad builders, ranchers to protect their own interests. Always, the principle of preserving God’s creation for the greater good for the present and the next and future generations is invoked to move its passage.

Other than the commercial part (influx of tourists via train and Buick automobiles), the film is relevant to us particularly on how we have given importance to the value of a park, the preservation of wildlife and the will to sustain the drive. Of interest to us mountaineers are the messages of naturalist John Muir famous for his quotation among others The Freedom of the Mountaineer from Episode Two. The line "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees," the personal transcendental experiences of writers and historians and those who have seen the wonder of the natural creation are featured in the "Leave it as it is. A revelation to a non-American is the role US President Theodore Roosevelt who is physically challenged and a taxidermist collecting stuffed specimens played in championing the cause of the parks.

William Cronan, historian narrates what John Muir meant in “transforming by his unconditional surrender to nature and in surrendering in everything that is wild.” as Episode One ends.

Wildness is an essential part of ourselves that our ordinary lives tempt us to forget. By losing touch with the essential part of ourselves, we risk losing our souls and for him going out into nature to these parks is how we recover ourselves, remember who we truly are and reconnect with our core roots or our own identity, of our own spirituality that is sacred in our existence.

The tendency nowadays to wander in wildness is delightful to see. Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken over civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home, that wildness is a necessity, and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as factories of timber and irrigating rivers but as fountains of life.

National Park personifying in film the forest ranger as the absolute source of information about the park gives him the adulation deserving for what he does.

Who is the forest ranger? Stephen Mather, the first director of the National Park Service in 1916 wanted more national parks within reach of more people and wanted them promoted as one cohesive system. Working with his assistant Horace Albright, other than marketing the parks and allowing the entry of vehicles, he created a new image of the park ranger. Mather wanted a cadre of dedicated and professional park rangers.“They should be "men between the ages of 21 and 40," Albright specified, "of good character, sound physique, and tactful in handling people."They also had to be able to ride horses, build trails, fight forest fires, handle firearms, have survival experience in extreme weather conditions, and be willing to work long hours with no overtime pay. From a salary of $1,000 a year, they were expected to buy their own food and bedding – and to pay $45 for a specially designed uniform topped by a distinctive flat-brimmed hat.” -Lifted from Episode Four

The pinoy mountaineer can identify with all of the forest ranger attributes except for the horse riding and the brimmed hat.

Value of national park is immortalized in the poem "West Running Brook" written by Robert Frost and paraphrased by writer Dayton Duncan as “It is for that that we spring it’s going back toward the source, the beginning of beginnings.  And the national parks are part of that, that sparkle in the water. Life pushes us forward. Our society moves forward in a great rush. But the parks are the place that throws us back a little bit. That makes us pause, makes us reflect and points us back to the source to the beginning of beginnings. And that is their value. And that is their beauty.”-Lifted from Episode Two

National Parks in blu ray format is available for viewing with friends here in Manila, if that is what it takes to snowball a movement to be advocates of our own Philippine parks.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ang Ibon at ang Phantom

Severino Reyes’ Walang Sugat, a zarzuela staged by Tanghalang Pilipino directed by Carlos Siguion-Reyna ran on the same date and complex as Andrew Llloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, a broadway musical this 26 August at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Common between the two musical productions other than shared dates and venue are the themes: pursuit of a relationship and the wanting to be freed. In Walang Sugat, fulfillment of a relationship meant bond in marriage between Tenyong and Julia while in The Phantom it was the Phantom’s release of Christine for Raoul. Walang Sugat’s thesis is “O, makapangyarihang pag-ibig, hahamakin ang lahat, makamtan ka lamang!”

Both dramatized that it is the spirit that sets the heart free but the Phantom was more explicit is stating that music is the key to freedom in the Music of the Night “Let the dream begin, let your darker side give in to the power of the music that I write the power of the music of the night.”

Both were engaging in theme, language and production values varying only in scale and magnitude.

Love as a universal language has a wide appeal whether global or regional. There lies though one difference. In the Phantom, I was just one of the over 1,800 audience at the main theater while in Walang Sugat, I was seated at the center at the same level as the stage. In Walang Sugat, it was not relating to the 400 guests but to me as a native citizen. When the chorus described the nation in Constancio de Guzman’s music as “ibon man may laying lumipad, kulungin mo at umiiyak” and wanting to be freed “Pilipinas kong minumutya pugad ng luha at dalita aking adhika makita kang sakdal laya” the production was not merely an illusion but threading on a  reality.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Youth, System and Passion in times of Crisis

Judging from the quick response of citizen’s group to mobilize relief operations to supplement the government and advocacy group’s drive, we can declare selectively that we are an organized and socially responsible society.

Packing at the UP Diliman College of Human Kinetics
At the Ateneo and UP Diliman campuses and in other school and commercial centers, relief centers were immediately activated with donations in terms of goods, cash and services coming in on the onset. Mountaineering groups, fraternities and sororities, student council organization, medical units, logistics company willingly offered their expertise to augment the drives which are not traditionally covered by the usual relief operations.

The more structured units deployed score cards to provide visibility and transparency to their operations. Info like number of volunteers, donations received, sponsors, bags sorted and deployed, efficiency rates, operating hours, inventory and other relevant data were made available to anyone.

Three factors seem to have contributed to this spontaneous movement: Harnessing the energy of the youth who channeled their drives from the suspended classes to the relief centers, leveraging the power of organizations and their systematic approach to massive operations, our personal devotion to advocacy and in helping others.

Sorting at the Ateneo Loyola Studies Covered Court
While we may not have sufficient resources and facilities, it is our spirit as a nation that provides us with infinite wealth. Mabuhay ka Pinoy!

Photos grabbed from Arcel Tesoro-Madrid UP Student Council and Pregalario UCPRO Ateneo posted in facebook.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Time Flies

When Tears for Fear opened the concert with the familiar melodic strains of “Welcome to your life,” of the song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” I was immediately transported to the 80’s when that song was in my last music syndrome memory box for an extended period of time.

Listening further to the angsts of Roland who created the band with Curt with a strong psychological affiliation of transforming the fears to tears as a bridge to coping, I assessed that their songs popularized in the 80’s heard again in the 21st century can pass the test of time. Still relevant, current, modern.

Concert's playlist interpreted to about 17 thousand concert goers supported with technically superior audio and video facilities in a landmark venue, several insights were spontaneously floating in my mind. One of them was how can life go on immediately after the “Hagupit ng Habagat” as if nothing happened? Another was, "Will the sights and sounds bring back the memory of my youth?"

Beside me was a young Chinese in the company of older folks appreciating the songs of another era who would stand up and sway to the beat of the drums when familiar songs are played. This validated that TFF music’s appeal to multiple generations. He would sit down when Roland churns in his relatively new tunes and stand up again and swing his body when the crowd gets excited. Though not skillful, he was naturally following the graceful rhythm of his pace.

New and old generation alike were equally approving and moving in varying degrees. But who would enjoy it the most?

After about an hour and a half, Roland and Curt ended the set playlist with “Head over Heels” resonating Araneta Coliseum with the prolonged melody of the final line, “tiiiiiiiiiiimmmmmmmmmmeeee fliiiiiiieeeees.

With the crowd’s loud and appreciative applause, at that moment, the line confirmed the debate I initially entertained, "It is inevitable, you cannot hold time.  Just go along with it.”
Moving out of the crowded coliseum, another song "Mad World" kept on ringing in my ear, "the dreams in which I'm dyin' are the best I've ever had."  TFF last 10 August might just be a dream.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Carrying Capacity Discussion Points

Discussion on Carrying Capacity conducted at the UP AIT Seminar Room 

Broadly, the host and moderator Prof. Caloy Libosada Jr. established the definition of carrying capacity as the limits (initially) on the number of people conducting activity without adverse impact on the installation and maintaining it for the succeeding generations of host communities and visitors.

Discussion points contributed by guests were leading to parameters that can define to the limiting factors of carrying capacity in different types of locations.

It can be physical, desired visitor’s experience, limited logistical and infrastructure supports, threats to ecological system, threats to safety, needs of the community, capability of the ecological system to recover from adverse conditions, stakeholders’ agenda including politics and commercial outfitters.

Attendees from various interest groups (mainly outdoors) provided samples of actual carrying capacity limits from their experiences as practical references:
  1. Mt. Kanlaon’s standard of number of people in a group (arbitrarily set at 8 by the guides with no scientific basis)
  2. Palawan’s underground river’s maximum limit of 780 visitors a day due to the size constraints of the cave opening (which caused a backlog of waiting visitors at the airport and other installations)
  3. Mt. Pulag’s 200 trekkers limit per day which can be expanded situationally
  4. Several others which I have missed out
 Example of degradation that happened if limits are not defined and controlled:
  1. Dwarf bamboo of Mt. Pulag increasing in height due to the food left behind for the plants’ nutrition
  2. Possible decline of Pulag’s cloud rat due to the widening of the trail which prevents the specie to cross path (hypothetical)
  3. Disappearances of species
  4. Migrations
Initially, numbers define limits but eventually should cover quality and extent of activity done. Parameters can likewise be expanded depending on the priority like culture, noise level, monetary and recovery rate among others. Capacity thus has to be customized initially broadly such as mountains, rivers, seas, caves and eventually to specific locations. Carrying capacity is based on the assumption that all other factors remain constant. If ever there are major influences, calamities, capacity has to be updated and redefined.

It may look as simple as defining how many passengers can ride a plane or an MRT/LRT because of space and weight consideration but is more complex than that if other parameters are considered. Caloy’s vision for this project is to provide a concrete output on the concept of carrying capacity Philippines setting to show it can be done.

There appears to be need for a neutral unit to define and set standards and model backed up by data and a discipline. A working model can be applied to various installations. What can drive the project among others are a consultant who is a subject matter expert on carrying capacity, funding, baseline information and previous studies.

In effect, to realize the output of a carrying capacity study, it will regulate. Prior to that, it must build awareness through education and information drive. Depending on the limiting factors to be protected, interventions can still be put in place. The end in mind is to maintain and preserve and resource for use in a defined time line.

Next step is to hold another discussion with other stakeholders to concretize the initiative. I understand there is a forthcoming workshop where this exercise can be put to test.

13 July 2012
Notes and essay from a workshop upon the invitiation of friends from the climbing community


"Philippine Mountains SUMMIT: A National Policy Forum on Philippine Mountain Environments" held at Mt Makiling at the University of the Philippines Los BaƱos last 16-17 November 2000 was a resounding success for mountaineering in getting representation from this policy formulating body and in recognizing the value of mountaineering in our common ground, the mountains in the Philippines. The forum organized by the Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems headed by Dr. Edwino Fernando aims to develop policy initiatives for the conservation and sustainable development of mountain environments in the Philippines.

The Mountaineering Federation of the Philippines Inc, a national affiliation of mountaineers under the leadership of President Ari Ben Sebastian presented a position to the participants composed mainly of scientists, government officials on what it can to this scientific community:
• That not all climbers are mountaineers
• That this recognized body be allowed to climb
• That we have a responsibility to all those who climb
• That their researches will support our recreational undertaking
• That we can be tapped for environment related projects in this fragile/diverse mountain eco-system
• That we can partner with them in managing our common playground: the mountains.

Foresters, local government units, geologists, DENR, Philvocs, Tourism, mountaineers, PAMB, Bureau of Soils were represented.

Through the MFPI paper on mountaineering as a recreation, other participants sought the possibility of a collaborative drive between technocrats and hobbyists one of which is study on carrying capacities of mountain. Some foresters, geologists, professors expressed interest to enroll in the BMC and to be members.

The MFPI position on vision mission was not any different from the collective position of the conference output, in fact complementary in the aspect of ecological preservation. Our friends from the academe recognize all the time the value of carrying capacity in any undertaking in the mountains, putting importance to the local community. This is almost aligned with the MFPI Vision Mission.

This forum is a potential linkage for advocacy and policy influencing to the DENR and to the government. MFPI has established contacts with various foresters, tourism body and of course PAMB. As we move towards 2002 on the International Year of the Mountains, it will work closely with MCME in initiating a massive, year round mountain clean, if only to impress consciousness to everyone.

Director Raymundo Punongbayan of Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology in his astounding presentation made us appreciate the geological source of mountains in the Philippines. But eventually, they will disappear (in million to billion years that is).

For the next forum in Baguio last quarter of the year, MFPI has been requested to present.

Chito Razon, PALMC 18 November 2000

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

3 Global Events in Manila Week of 18 June

  • Chris Botti performed at the Resorts World 19 June.
  • Australia and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce organized An International Food and Wine festival at the Manila Shang-rila 23 June.
  • Anton Juan staged Giacomo Puccini's Madame Butterfly at the Cultural Center of the Philippines 23 June.

Wine, Music and Drama all in a week. Enriching!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Dado Banatao's Local TV Interview

Dado Banatao was interviewed at the Bottomline with Boy Abunda over ABS-CBN Channel 8 last 2 June (Saturday 11:45 PM). Format is one-on-one interview observed by a live audience mostly students. In between interviews, there would be photos inserted to show the past.

Dado is a Filipino billionaire who made fortune in the IT industry at the Silicon Valley. Son of a Cagayano farmer from Iquig Cagayan, he studied in Ateneo de Tuguegarao, took up Engineering at the Mapua in Manila and eventually went to post college studies at the Stanford University.

The interview was not about the rise from farm to riches nor about his wealth but insights on what he believes in.

The messages I picked up from the interview was wealth provides you with resources which you do not have when you are poor. If not inherited, it is hard earned. The challenge for wealth is it must be spent well. Defining what poor is, he gave a basic and relative definition where rich is having provision for shelter, food and education and the poor the lack of them.

He values trust which he validates and revalidates. When in the company of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs in meetings, all of them discussed competitively and aggressively (lagao in local language). He is a believer of science, a fact-based person but still after thorough preparation listens to instinct. As a leader, he is hard, fair and objective and has low tolerance for non-performance (Steve Job is a difficult to deal with). He supports outsourcing as it provides more resources you can learn from. He does not support union as it results in group output undermining individual performance (Silicon Valley has no union.)

Dado walked to school in Iguig in slippers and did not get his 1st pair of oversized shoes until the 4th grade which we used for several school years. He recalled not celebrating birthdays other than attending mass. Today he spends birthday with a simple dinner at home or outside with family. He is not at home attending socials. Dado in his college days watched movies for relaxation, not Filipino but American movies. He declared he did not have a hero model neither does he have a dream. Today he relaxes by flying his plane.

Dado values mistakes as there are great learnings from the situation. Important to him is grounding yourself with market realities then work hard with discipline. While there is a luck element, set it up.

He has established 5 foundations to support the Filipino engineer scholar as a way of pay forwarding. The Filipino talent is strong in software development but lags in hardware creation. Dado is a firm believer of quality education.

The episode Bottomline closed with Boy asking his guests at the panel their impression on the interview. Most students said they were inspired by Dado. A female entrepreneur was more elated saying it is electrifying as there is a genius amidst them.

The host shared an off camera line threw in by his guest, "only the paranoid survives!" That line  tells a lot about the competitive informational technology world. Connect it with what he shared about the value of integrity and keeping it within family, it must be a dog-eat-dog businesss. Yet despite these, Dado Banatao, son of a farmer from Iguig Cagayan suceeded and remained humble.

Two related articles on Dado as posted in the Manila Bulletin and by a fellow blogger who watched the same show are in these links.

Diosdado Banatao is Chairman of PhilDev.

Humanity Captured at the Pipol Interview with Ces Drillon over ANC
• Each time I see a computer, I sense I have a part of me there
• When the kids grew up, I discovered that they treasure some moments which I did not pay attention to. Like watching their basketball or baseball games. I was busy but I knew I can adjust had I know but I could no longer reverse lock. . . . The kids grew up alright, thanks to Babes.
• I’m in heaven when I work.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Katipunan's center island

Katipunan Avenue's center island fronting Ateneo have been narrowed down to widen the main road. To do so means moving the young acacia trees planted at the center and relocating the Meralco posts at the remaining slim space.

In the past, the natural 1st step is to cut down the trees without regard for ecological balance. This time, they were balled out of the original location and transplanted at the center. They had burned barks showing they underwent some processing making them look dead.

Recently, small green leaves have been sprouting out of the fragile branches increasing in number by the day.

While timed for the school opening, it seemed like it was scheduled this Easter. As symbolically, the greens in burned branches projected hope, which during this time is a badly needed virtue.