Sunday, December 18, 2016

Birth of New Faith, Hope and Love. 2016 Simbang Gabi at the Gesu

9. The gospel of the final novena of the Simbang Gabi at the Gesu narrates the naming of the old couple Elizabeth and Zachariah's son as John. The ceremony fulfills the transition of the childless couple from barrenness to fruitfulness as a result of conception.

Fr. Adolfo Dacanay in his homily explains that the name John which was divinely inspired captures the significance of the birth as it means "precious gift of God." Childless for decades, the conception gives importance to the virtue of patiently waiting which is lacking today especially in this virtual age.

When the promise of salvation is fulfilled with the birth of Christ, God would have gifted us with the ultimate joy.

This Christmas, we are reminded not to take the gift for granted which is manifested in opportunities, blessings as these are precious which the merciful God granted to us unconditionally.

Merry Christmas!
2016 Katipunan

Banner from the Ateneo website
8. On the 8th day of the 9-day Simbang Gabi at the Gesu, Fr. Arnel Aquino provides a perspective on the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth. Like Fr. Luis David’s scholarly homily, it expands on the significance of the Magnificat, magnifying God but with a point of view of humanity. While we glorify God, it should not diminish man to smallness. Magnifying Him should not invalidate our humanity. Yet we also magnify when we like to look good, invalidating, belittling, underestimating and putting people down.

God created man in the likeness of His image. God’s biography is imprinted on humanity. Through the promise of salvation fulfilled on Christmas day, it should bridge us close to him. Thus life is sacred and to be valued. To be alive is pregnant with grace.
Fr. Aquino closed his homily with a message to reset our sense of self-importance: by magnifying God’s blessings multiplying our thank-yous,  validating each other and showing importance and building up.
That is the spirit behind the prayer “My soul magnifies the Lord. In God, my Savior, my spirit rejoices.”

7. Mary and Elizabeth engage in a conversation about the shared conception experience, Elizabeth with John and Mary with Jesus.

Fr. Luis David expounds on its significance and relates it with magnificat, the magnification of space and the magnification of God. In today’s time, we have a role in the magnification of God but be wary that magnification can burn.

Featured choir was Aleron which rendered an inspired “Ave Maria” and “Lord make me an instrument of peace" during communion.

Nearing Christmas, my intentions for myself, my family, my community and my nation got clearer sparked by the song Gifts for the Child of Winter with this line "O bring us winter gently, let our hearts be warm."
6. Mary conceived first in her heart and then in her womb. Mary in the virgin state was painted as innocent, naivete and childlike. Appropriately, Fr. Roberto Buenconsejo devoted his homily on Mother Mary on the 6th Simbang Gabi, a traditional Christmas novena in her honor. It enlightened us on the significance of the announcement of angel Gabriel that Mary a virgin would mother a child called Jesus.

The Ateneo College of Law Glee Club (yes, kumanta sila) interpreted the song "Inay" by Fr. Arnel Aquino about a mother waiting for the child to come home as a fitting tribute to our mother.

Our closing prayer on teaching us the value and sacredness of human dignity was offered through the intercession of Mother Mary.

5. Expounding on the barrenness to fruitfulness of Elizabeth, the mother of St. John the Baptist, Fr. Jason Dy highlights learnings happening between the transition. 1. God can transform. 2. Submit to God’s timing. 3. Fruitfulness is God’s blessing to be shared.
Barrenness in those times is seen as unfaithfulness and a punishment. To transform to fertility is a result of the promise of salvation.
This Advent season as we prepare for the birth of Christ, those among us fruitful are called upon to share with the less fortunate who are victims of structural injustice and circumstances not within their control (not the victimizers nor the opportunists but those you see as helpless but can be enabled with your gesture. No to dole outs too). Doing so makes the coming of Christ a more meaningful season for us.
Before the final blessing, a special prayer was offered to teach us the value and sacredness of human dignity among other related intentions.
Singing was led by the Ateneo College Glee Club.

4. "Do not be afraid," announced by an angel to Joseph, instilling fear, a negative emotion. We fear "what we do not understand and hate what we cannot conquer." Survival is at stake. Like going out at night and be mistaken as an addict or visiting a local prison cell. But fear also leads to a positive outcome. Spiritually, it makes us trust God. Fear awakens hope. Fear based on faith is hope. -4th night of Simbang Gabi 18 Dec at the Gesu presided by Fr. Eric Escandor. Music led by the Bukas Palad Ministry.

3. On the 3rd Simbang Gabi at the Gesu, continuing with the 2016 theme of birth of new faith, hope and love, Fr. Antonio Moreno expounds on the gloom and doom narrating the Aleppo Syria killings and evacuations, the bombing of the Jesuit chapel in Syria and closer to home, the extra judicial killings. But with solidarity and hope and the church with Pope Francis, we will overcome. Emmanuel, “Christ is with us.” Christ as the suffering man will see us through in suffering and in joy.
2. Fr. Nono Alfonso in his homily on the 2nd Simbang Gabi at the Gesu painted a gloomy picture of despair, loss, failure and defeat with the imprisonment and beheading of St. John the Baptist. Relating it to contemporary times locally and globally politically, post May 2016 elections, activities perceived as defeats were cited. So dreadful was the feeling that when peace be with you was offered, there appeared to be none.

After the mass, I personally told the priest I could not wait to jump from Day 2 to Christmas. Fr. Nono said, “matatapos din iyan.” The bad news just filters our faith to better prepare us for the birth of Christ. It is in these moments when we turn to the life of Jesus.
1. We may not want to hear the prophecies of St. John the Baptist building walls to filter them out. We unfollow him and will not gain our redemption. Yet the messages we ignore maybe what we need to know and to face. Not to forget that these unpleasant news are the ones that made Christ one of us this Christmas. –Gist of the homily of Fr. Johnny Go on the 1st Simbang Gabi 2016 at the Gesu.

Ateneo de Manila University Community Prayer
Dear Father in Heaven,
Lead us not into temptation,
the temptation to lose heart
in this time of darkness and confusion.
Deliver us from our lies and deception,
from our fears and anger that darken the Light of Truth.
Discipline our ambition, restrain those who abuse power,
those who exploit the poor and the weak.
Hold back the arm of violence,
the terror that walks our streets.
In these trying times, we pray for justice and truth,
for true peace and unity in our country.
Teach us to be vigilant always.
Give us the courage to face the dark forces
that steal the life and hope from our people.
We pray for our leaders
and for those to whom we give authority to protect us.
Turn them to your light and to your ways.
Remind us again of the value and sacredness of human dignity.
Teach us again to respect and uphold the rights of every person at all times.
No matter how sinful we are, we are still all Your children
who are precious in Your Eyes , who are Living Temples of Your Spirit.
Teach us to remember the lessons of our past.
Train our children to love and fight for the Truth,
Your Truth that makes us free and just to our neighbor.
As we wait for our Lord Jesus Christ in this Holy Season of Advent,
grant us the grace of patient discernment
to become a community that is empowered
by a faith that does justice,
a community that believes in your love
and incarnates that love in mercy and compassion.
Our faith leads us to hope in You alone
as we fight to let your light shine in the darkness,
under the banner of the cross of your Son,
and with the people you have created in your image and likeness,
out of the depth of your love.
We offer you these prayers through our Lord Jesus Christ,
with the help of Mary, our Mother.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Hearing the sound of keys again

He asked for a mechanical writing machine, an unfamiliar apparatus in this information age.
A heavy duty steel Royal typewriter which served the documentation requirements in the 60’s up to the 90’s has been unused for almost four and half decades.

It is working but dusty, mechanical parts needed oiling to smoothen the movements and the keys intact though stained and had to be brushed.
Months ago, I spotted a number of shops along Evangelista st. in Quiapo displaying similar units of various models, brands and types: portable, heavy duty, electric, steel and hardened plastic case. All obsoletes in today’s digital era.

To fulfill the request satisfactorily, I wanted the typewriter cleaned, overhauled and rehabilitated. Without driving to Quiapo and taking a private transport, how do I transport this 15 kilo piece of steel to the shop 18 kilometers away from Quezon City?

Ride the LRT2 lugging the unit in a trolley from Anonas to Recto.

I parked at a nearby supermarket with access to the LRT entrance and pulled the trolley at the main asphalted road of Aurora Boulevard preferring it over the uneven surface of the tiled pedestrian lane.

Going through the mandatory inspection at the gate, the lady guard stopped me to ask for guidelines from an officer via radio. She reported and asked, “a man with a big typewriter in a trolley with wheels without any wrapping is here. Should we allow?” Overhearing the conversation, I protested loudly, “This is not any different from a school boy’s bag on wheels, except that the unit is exposed.” The officer further probed, “is there a chance the trolley will roll-over?” “It will not sir because it has handle and he can control it.”

Clearance was eventually given allowing me to step inside beyond the clearing table. The conscientious guard perhaps as part of her training asked a brusquely male tending to the K9 dog to carry the trolley for me in climbing the stairs up to the entrance. I managed beyond the turnpike, slid the trolley at the working escalator up to the platform. Luckily that Sunday afternoon, there were available seats.
About 20 minutes later, I was thinking of an approach to maneuver the long climb down the exit. Without any hesitation, a young gentleman voluntarily lifted the other end of the trolley handle to assist me up to the next and the forthcoming platforms until it was easy to pull to trolley. I expressed my sincere thanks for the unsolicited assistance and kindness.
Walking to the repair shop along cemented  Evangelista st. about a 100 meters away from the exit was a breeze. Upon my sight, instantly, Mang Nestor, an elderly man, veteran in typewriter repairs since the 70’s understood my requirements and worked on the overhaul.
He wiped off the visible dirt using a white cloth, blew away the stubborn dirt with an electric air blower, brushed the keys with a steel brush and a thinner, unscrewed the blank roller and checked on the moving mechanisms and screws.
All the keys were working including the “ň.” The tab insert and release buttons were functional, magic margin release operational, the heavy and light touch mode was working, ribbon cartridges moving and the roller spacing and movement sliding precisely. Mang Nestor showed off his typing skill and speed in typing “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” not once but at least five times to prove the machine has  been cleared for another several decades of forthcoming heavy duty work.
Thirty minutes after I surrendered the unit, the rehabilitated Royal was more than ready to take in the pounding to document mechanically compositions. I was charged P400 for the expertise (excluding the LRT toll fee), almost a token payment for the priceless restoration of memories.
Taking the return route back home, I was more confident of getting manpower and machine assistance. After the security inspection at the Recto station, I proceeded to the senior citizen help desk to request for a hand which was readily provided for without asking for proof of age.
At the destination at the Anonas station, I took the Super Metro access where the escalators down to the road level were working.
Back home that same afternoon, I placed the typewriter at a table with bond paper inserted to proudly present an accomplishment and compliance to a request without the benefit of narrating the drama behind the achievement.
My father, who requested for the typewriter positioned his left and right hands at the keyboard, pounded some keys, heard the sound, felt the motion but did not imprint a line. It did not disappoint me.
For me, it was enough that the typewriter episode triggered a recall of stories about his proficiency in typing during his schooling days, hearing again the sound of the keys during my elementary and high school days which for decades have not  been played. It made me see again in my mind typed documents created by the dynamic mind of a storyteller shared to us in a printed medium. This was made possible because of a skilled typist who documented his thoughts in paper for us to appreciate using the typewriter.
These were the intangible rewards that motivated me to go beyond the ordinary for the difficult task of complying to a simple request.

Delivering the request was certainly more fulfilling than the thrill and fun of writing this piece of article using a manual typewriter.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

An inspiring enduring human spirit

On the day Typhoon Ondoy hit Metro Manila September 25, 2009, Marvin Urbino was in Harrison Plaza in Pasay attending to a client. Marvin, a trained massage therapist was not aware of the magnitude the disaster exacted in his place in Cupang Marikina, about 28 kilometers away.

Luckily, the MRT and the connecting LRT 2 did not suspend operations that tragic day. He got off at the Katipunan station and walked home wading in the floods with his cane alone. Striding by instinct and basic navigation skills, he safely reached home.
That was risky for Marvin as he is blind. His optic nerve was damaged beyond cure when he was still in high school. This eye condition, genetically influenced has already affected three generations in their family. From his generation, he was so far the lone unfortunate casualty of a vision loss.

Recalling the day he was diagnosed with the disease in 1993, he was angry. He stopped schooling not completing his high school degree. He stayed mainly in his room feeling sorry for his helpless condition isolating himself from the rest.
Until slowly, he started to accept his fate learning to do household chores first eventually specializing in cooking. He learned to sharpen his other senses such as smell, touch and sound. Little by little, he stepped out of his comfort zone and exposed himself to the outside elements again.

In 1995, two years after, he was introduced to National Vocational Rehabilitation Center NVRC, a ESCOPA-based organization that specializes in the development of the welfare of the blind teaching them skills to be confident and self sufficient. He underwent training to graduate as a massage therapist.

Like a normal human, years after, he eventually met a relationship, got married in 1998 raising four caring kids.
As Marvin still has some vision of light although blurred, unlike his other colleagues who are completely blind, he leads fellow therapists on the use of cell phones, navigation gadgets as the GPS and of course cooking. He has a sharp sense of smell ably identifying local ingredients, spices and condiments. Surprisingly he picks up new recipes from televised cooking shows.
Recalling Ondoy 7 years ago, he wants to be better prepared for disasters. He would like to learn 1st aid for himself and others and be taught how to swim for endurance. His swimming stroke is unscientific limited to wading.
Listening to what he has gone through, his practical request is doable. As I am neither a certified Red Cross Philippines instructor nor a professional swimmer, I ask that I write instead on his behalf. A small feat for someone who inspires and whose anger has slowly been transformed to a positive attitude and helplessness converted to self confidence and self sufficiency.
Marvin is an inspiring enduring human spirit. He works at RM Massage Clinic at the Riverbanks Mall in Barangka Marikina. If you wish to support his request to enhance further his survival skills, visit their clinic. Tel (632) 463 9648.

Friday, July 15, 2016

BBC Earth Wind Fire and Water. "To mine or not to mine"

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 reengineer 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.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Joy in a ride

Joy ride is a favorite past time in my hometown in the 70’s, where the calesa is the main mode of transport to go around town in Tuguegarao. The kutsero steers us to the four corners of the town: Horno and the Cathedral in the East, St Louis in the South, St Paul and Ermita in the West and Cagayan High School in the far North. In between, we pass through Kalye Komersyo and the Town Hall. 30 minutes and a few centavos (25 or 50 centavos) in a slow calesa are all it takes to swing around town. There is no definite destination except to experience the joy of riding of seeing landmarks in a company of friends passing time in a relatively small town.

Described as adventure, expedition, gimmick, or events now, the experience is tagged by the positive emotional experience it brings, joy. No discipline is needed to plan this activity except to gather a group. Just stop a kalesa roaming around the main road or at the side street, declare a joy ride, and hop in. The kutsero’s chuckling sound signals the frail horse to move pulling the over 300 pounds of boisterous passengers to a short distance of 3 to 5 kilometers in slow dragging 1 to 2 hours of ride. His cart serves as the venue for a series of stories, anecdotes narrated spontaneously by anyone on board. For as long as the kalesa is in motion, stories keep on unfolding and unfolding.

The same joy evoked in this calesa ride decades ago was my intention in riding the LRT from Balintawak to Monumento in EDSA. The metro train segment was launched this Holy Week 2010 as part of the 360 degree government project to close in Metro Manila loop connecting Monumento to Quiapo to EDSA via Taft and to West Avenue via EDSA. For P 15.0 I viewed in an elevated platform for the 1st time North Luzon Expressway, Caloocan, Malabon and to certain extent the skyscrapers in Roxas Boulevard at the extreme East. The joy was short lived as it was only a 5 minute ride for a 3-4 kilometer stretch. The thrill that lingered was the excitement of seeing familiar object in a new light and being one of the 1st to do so.

The pleasure of a ride whether in a small town or in a highly populated city was pretty much the same. Even in a double deck bus. This June 2016, in another setting, in an enhanced form of transportation in the company of an expanded group, the word “joy ride” which was getting obsolete resurfaced. Passengers from Metro Manila joined in an excursion to Everybody’s Café to celebrate Father’s Day riding in a double deck bus called Sky Jeepney.

Much like the kalesa, the Sky Jeepney served as a moving platform for the members of the family to share stories, update each other and to recall the food and place of our parent’s hometown San Fernando Pampanga. Not just 6 but 22 were on board. Travel time was about the same as the kalesa ride but the distance covered was twenty times longer and about 60 kilometers faster. Conversation was more intense. Subjects discussed went beyond the trivia and spanned through decades of experiences.

The joy ride in a kalesa was for recreation to pass the time away. So too was the Sky Jeepney but not to pass the time away but to remember the times. In remembering the times, newer experiences were told, deeper insights were discovered, funnier stories were narrated and stronger bonds were established. That ride was not just for the food, for the place nor to celebrate an event. It was not just a ride for joy but a journey of thanksgiving and gratitude for 6 decades of solid togetherness as a family.

When passersby and motorists wave at us staring at the bus with wonder and amusement, I gamely smile back relishing the joy of that memorable ride and planning in my mind the next one.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Baptism as gateway to faith and renewal of friendships

Baptism is one of the milestones in the life of a catholic infant. Baptism prepares a child to the Christian world as a gateway to the other sacraments. It brings about the birth of water and the spirit, a prerequisite to enter the kingdom. Supporting the child with the church are the parents and godparents.
Deandre De Vera’s baptism was also a social permission for the parent’s mountaineering club to get together in a reunion with their friends to renew friendship and ties. In a luncheon reception at the vicinity of Plaza Rajah Sulayman, relatives of both Jun de Vera and Jalyn Javier met the couple’s friends sharing a common bond for the mountains, travels and adventures.

Celebrating with the family’s historical Christian events along with illustrious loyal club members and past officers Bart Bartolo, Ronald Parlan on vacation from Qatar, Jon Linao, VP Roy, Major Raymond,Patrick Alcomendas on short weekend vacation from Singapore were Jong and Yay of UP Org, JB Aňonuevo, Regie Pablo of Revolve, Chito Razon among others.
As part of the club’s solidarity tradition, the luncheon was extended to drinking socials in a beer joint explored by Regie, Ronald, Roy on foot along Adriatico st. Rounds over rounds of Red Horse and Pale Pilsen kept on being replenished at the three tables commandeered by the group for the impromptu occasion courtesy of the most generous members and host parent.
Like a climb socials, talks revolved around Regie’s twenty years’ affiliation with the club and MFPI, memorable climbs with the Adobo Boys’, Jun’s enterprising outdoor store venture, the Quirino federation climb, MESAU’s medical mission with medical supplies mixed with Ginebra San Miguel and chaser Eight O’ Clock courtesy of generous friends and sponsors, Roy and Regie’s exploratory Batad adventures and most interestingly, coming from a divisive national presidential election, the talk on internet trolls with Jon L. at the center.
Discussions were lively and animated considering the two special guests' absence in the climbing scene for years and decades that the scheduled morning baptism has extended into late in the evening.
MESAU as a social institution has withstood the test of time even with the advent of millennial and overnight mountaineers primarily because of its membership, a solid bunch of warm bodies sharing a deep passion for camaraderie and the mountains.
Those precious hours with the members were sufficient trigger for us to remember the high points of our climbing careers supplementing the positive and exciting experiences with our own respective clubs. Thanks for adopting us and allowing us to contribute to your solidarity.
As Regie wrote in Deandre’s scrap book, “remember me when you drink your first beer Deandre.” Putting words in Jon Linao’s message, “remember Deandre when you vote, do not allow the yellowtards to reclaim their power.”
All these of course in the spirit of respect and fun which any mountaineer in the late 90’s to early 2000’s lives by imbibed by an informal code of ethics.

Hanggang sa susunod na binyagan.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Progress takes time. God works in mysterious ways

Progress takes time. It does not happen overnight. Though there are shortcomings, there is an acknowledgement of the drive to work harder. This thought set the foundation on our unnamed choice yet apparently shared candidate for the presidential election. I relate it to the preparation of the self for the coming of Christ through Advent and the nine masses before Christmas.

This was one of topics discussed which made the 2 hour waiting to vote for the 2016th National and local elections in District 3 Quezon City a breeze. The serendipity of conversing with is no less than one of the homilists of a personally meaningful Simbang Gabi, Fr. Nono Alfonso S.J. was validating. Fr. Nono in his 2014 homily expounded on the derailing of St. Joseph’s plans when his life was interrupted with the announcement that he will raise a family. (Fr. Nono and Sr. Bubbles Bandojo of the Cenacle Sisters host a religious Catholic radio show Usapang Kapatid over DZMM Teleradyo. )

What if the outcome is different from my choice?” I asked. “Is my fear of the consequences valid?” Like what Dr. Clarita Carlos, my political science professor said in a serendipity in a weekend market before the election, “Your fear is unfounded as it has not happened yet. Nothing empirical yet to support your imagined scenario. And we have a bureaucracy with more than sufficient safeguards in place.

From a Christian perspective, Fr. Nono inserted, “Trust.” Quoting a line of life interrupted, he closed his 2014 homily with “Yet with God’s graces, whenever life is interrupted, open ourselves to the possibilities of greater plans for us. Life on earth is indeed an unfinished symphony.

Progress takes time. Last 2010, it took me 7 hours to complete my vote, now it was shortened to 2 hours, still long but improving.

I left my polling precinct, feeling better that this democratic exercise is freely in place, richer because of the deep insights and impassioned engagement of a large base of electorate and assured as God indeed works in mysterious ways.


15 May 2016. I asked Dr. Clarita Carlos and Fr. Nono Alfonso questions to lead me to coping mechanisms. I read an article by J. Paredes today who i spoke with a several months before the election on the possibility of a still unfounded fear. It has happened. This is how he is coping.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Deconstructing the 3rd Presidential Debate

The town hall format of ABS CBN is structured for the candidates to objectively submit themselves for the voters to assess their capability to lead the nation. Voters may look at them independently or in comparison with others. But the viewers must know how to discern. The flow makes its easy for viewers to be enlightened.

Town hall opened with my Vision for 2022 and ended with why I can make that vision happen. Inspect my track record and my competency. To provide tangible evidence, here are my views on some issues of the plights of the fisherman, the overseas Filipino worker, the urban commuter, those needing healthcare from the remote areas, the indigenous group, the marginalized. If you have doubts about qualification because of perceived weaknesses and charges against me, here is my stand.

Their visions for the Philippines are:
·         Miriam: Country where there is a uniform rule of law. Economy is healthy, agriculture is modernized. We have a better trained and equipped police. City free from congestion
·         Digong: Corrected injustices in the government, a clean government free of crime
·         Jejomar: Filipino is proud in a prosperous Philippines, families living better lives
·         Grace: A country with a caring government. With permanent employment, food on the table, respect for rights especially the women
·         Mar: A progressive and decent Philippines with a bright future. A country that is free from fear where the poor has a sure place to say. A country free to dream

I can deliver the vision because:
·         Miriam: I am best qualified to lead this nation. I have most important requirements to qualify for the presidency - academic, professional and moral excellence. We are not just looking for a ordinary leader but the President of the Philippines. And I will not quit.
·         Digong: I, an ordinary man am mad about crime, drugs. I will ask them to stop. Because when I say stop, people follow. When I say it, I do it.
·         Jejomar: I am capable of delivering what I promised. I am the most experienced, an administrator and a decisive leader.
·         Grace: With the problems facing the country, it needs a mother with a fresh perspective to make Filipino lives better.
·         Mar: Stay the course with me continuing good, honest, decent governance. We can but we have to rally together to bring the Philippines forward. We can as there are a lot of decent Filipinos joining us in this fight.

I summarized these thoughts in Tweeter in three lines: #‎PiliPinasDebates2016 has a logical outline. What is your 2022 vision? Why do I think I can do it? I have an important program for the marginalized.

If still unsure, this may influence you. Names have been deleted for your unbiased assessment:
  1. Kung best of the best, gusto mo ng superiority
  2. Kung galit at punong puno na, sa pagbabago, askyon at bakal na kamay
  3. Kung wala ng pagasa, yung libre at kahit ano sasakyan
  4. Kung may inaaasa pa, sakay ka sa pangarap.
  5. Kung level headed o mahinahon, hanap mo facts at info, paliwanag at realistic performance

Closing statements links

Friday, April 22, 2016

Retrieving an academic work recalled more than a book

Linkedin, a social network for professionals prompted me to add any academic work I did in college in my profile to enhance it. I remembered my thesis, a descriptive and exploratory a case with a survey which I designed, executed, manually typed and defended.

That was decades ago. How else can I retrieve the file if it was not saved in an electronic copy?

It brought me back to my college library at UP Diliman. Fortunately, it had on file a list of thesis and dissertations accepted by the Dean. The works have been cataloged with an assigned call number including mine. But only those submitted in the 1980s and beyond were on the shelf. The rest was turned over to the UP Main Library archive. The college librarian listed down my call number and informed the staff at the Main Library archive to locate my work in preparation for my request at the site.

After a short stroll at the college campus, I was admitted at the entrance but only upon checking for an orange card. An orange card is similar to an ID allowing alumni and guests use the facilities. Acknowledging my credentials, I climbed up to the third floor where a staff member was ready with my thesis.

Leafing through the pages, it brought back memories of my productive and stimulating college days spent learning, studying, discovering in a company of illustrious teachers and schoolmates. The documentation captured in my printed thesis helped recall the interviews I made, the house to house survey conducted and the formulation session done with fellow classmates with our advisers.

With a copy preserved, I was able to capture the core of my works and save it electronically.

Energy Conservation Information Campaign: A Case Study LG 993.5 1976 M3 R39.
The study was both descriptive and an exploratory. The first part of the study was exploratory tracing the history of the Enercon Movement and the defined organizational set-up. The information campaign on energy conservation launched by the movement was presented expounding on the themes, messages and campaign strategies. The second part was an exploratory study where a survey was used to determine the effects of the information campaign to a typical urban community in Metro Manila.

The theoretical bases in evaluating the information campaign were The Diffusion Theory of Everett Rogers and the Reinforcement Theory of Hovaland, Janis and Kelly. The diffusion process is the spread of a new idea from its source of invention to its ultimate users or adopters. Reinforcement states that there is learning thru exposure and this exposure is heavily based on reward and punishment.

Study presented results on the effect of the program to the target audience in terms of influencing to save, convincing them on the need to conserve fuel and electricity and acting on measures to conserve energy.

Other than researching my own academic work, the visit was significant as the study, submitted in partial fulfillment for a degree was cataloged in the UP Integrated Library System giving me the honor of having contributed a unpublished work for other researches to refer to in the future.

The visit made me recollect those moments when reading books was a thrill because of the learning and discovery. The facility accessible to me then is still available now except that the manually typed book catalog has now been replaced with an online data base.

I am not complaining though that my work has been filed at the archive. At least it is there when I have a need to look back at the past.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Wanting to have those "Aha" moments?

Finding for a solution to a mechanical problem. Or figuring out why the directory of contact on the cell phone you recently updated is now missing. Stale ideas and cannot proceed to write?. Figuring out how to end an essay. Looking for the appropriate adjective to a situation. Planning an itinerary where there are no known connecting flights. Solving a mathematical problem? Forgot a singer? His song? Name of street? Your former office mate? Brainstorming? Drawing out a laundry list of melodies?

For the more practical ones, caught in traffic and could not figure out the best route? Short of money and experiencing difficulty in making both ends meet? Your electronic gadget simply does not work and yet it worked the last time.

All these long for an AHA moment. That moment of sudden insight and discovery, inspiration, insight, recognition and comprehension. It comes infrequently. But when it does, it feels good. It is almost ecstatic.

How does one condition himself to open the valves for those moments? How does one induce it for the aha moment to come? Does one need a coach? Does one just patiently wait for it?

When was the last time you had that “AHA!” My most recent ones were finally getting CNN Phil signal on my digital box by adjusting some settings and moving the antennae, finding an acquaintance on FB without any knowledge on family name, name and affiliation yet was discovered, finding a way out from a lost trail in a mountain climb, discovering how much more resources I have from untapped investments or a simple discovery of a food outlet by sheer adventure. Most gratifying was decoding a password for a secured online account.

From my experience, either I sleep on it to problem solve, force a solution or hibernate in a nature trip for the abundance of ideas to flow in. Pope Francis too offered an approach, let the sleeping St. Joseph figure it out for you. What works for me is keeping an open mind, freeing it from clutter and bias. The Aha may come immediately, or days and some even months. The most recent was the thought of writing an article about it and publishing it in my notes.

My hope is someone at least likes or shares this article. But that is no longer in the influence of my aha.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Discovering Mulat, scholarly paper and audio visual exhibit forum

Academic paper presentation especially on subjects of socially significant phenomenon interests me. More so if the papers are from students of the State University.

Catching the tail end of the four day forum, the program flow follows a format in presenting the two sections, the paper presentation and criticism and the audio video exhibit. Hosts provide intro, presenters discuss their paper to the audience and to a panel, a critic reacts to the presentation, the audience throws their questions and segment ends with the host giving a short summary. When the sessions resume, audio video exhibits are presented. After the last presentation, the creators are introduced and expound of their works. Floor is open to question and answer.

A wealth of academic outputs and creative AV works was revealed to the public in the Mulat: 6th Sining Del Pilar at the UP College of Mass Communication from 15-18 March 2016 to an audience in the college studio and to the outside world via radio broadcast, web streaming and social media such as Facebook, Twitter. Synopses of the works of the 13 papers and 13 clusters of audio visual exhibits are in the printed abstract issued for free to the participants. Papers and exhibits are works of the undergraduate and graduate students of the college adding documented references to the dynamic social discipline.

Sitting in the studio with about a hundred participants is like sitting in a million dollar seat where the authors of the abstracts and respected subject matter experts dissect the profundity of the works although very briefly. Through the online streaming and DZUP radio broadcast, the knowledge is shared with perhaps a hundred or thousand other scholars in Metro Manila and all over the world.

It is through social media from the Facebook page that I first learned about Mulat. First I expressed Interest, viewed a sampling through a live online streaming then eventually declared going. The learning experience was further enhanced attending the live sessions at the studio in the company of other students, scholars from the university and other schools, interacting with the creators and reading more information of their works in the handed written abstract.

I look forward to appreciating the works in depth when the condensed online summary is made available. Mulat is UP CMC’s gift to scholars and to those keeping track of scholarly works. Professionally conducted, it is not surprising that this is 100% student collaboration. After all, it is a State University CMC initiative. Looking forward to the 7th.

Photos from

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Sitting in in a discussion on "improv" and watching a performance

Intro to concept. Generating insights 6 Feb 2016

Just what is an Improv? Short for improvisation? A performance without preparation? Spontaneous? Free for all? Unstructured?

The proponents say it is a no borders anything goes gig. It is tapping your available resources for a desired result. Where there are no performers and observers. A workshop where one need not participate but can participate.

But they say it is also a type of a performing art. That relies on words, actions, linkages, visuals primarily using games or preconditions to draw out involvement and engagement. It is neither theater, nor a musical nor a study group neither exactly a standup comedy or a play. It can be all of the above or none of the above.

There is a mandated prerequisite. It requires a certain mindset. That of being open, being game. The response it will draw out from you depends on the level of your engagement. Engagement means saying YES but following it up with an AND. It has a structure though. Engagement demands involvement. There is an introduction, middle and an end. And not lasting more than two hours.

What it is? Still to find out where Franco, Abe and Vince will lead us to. Only if you say initially YES to be there and eventually be open to get engaged. If you do, it will be fun and an eye opener on who you are and what you can be.

Watching an Open Jam 5 March 2016
Validating insights

Be not afraid of you who you are and what you can be. Flow with the group and the story with your verbal and non verbal communication. As you communicate, you expand the idea, you deepen your linkage with the group and the community, you contribute yourself and commit to a greater whole and you discover what else you can be. In safe environment and in the spirit of fun. That was Katipunan Improv this 5 March 2016.

Subscribers to the principle of Improv gathered at a garage to practice and perform their craft in a jam. Coming from several classes with different ranks they played their unique brand of games mainly interacting with one another viewed by an audience. While collective in effort, once an individual owns a spot, you sense the intensity, the passion for the craft, the wit, humor, spontaneous free association, split second thinking, acting and timing expressed in animated non-verbal body language matched with a verbal narrative to tell their story.  It can be any story from the trivial to the mundane leaning towards the outrageous.

It is amazing that most guests who are strangers to each other have become familiar with each other in a short span of time through games and a series of warm up activities. There appears to be a preset mindset of openness and a willingness to play and contribute one’s self to the session. After only several animated verbal and non verbal exercises, they have been primed to peak performance thus playing with utmost confidence, infectious fun and heightened involvement even with the more difficult gigs to the delight of both participants and active and passive observers in the hall. At 7:30 PM for the non-involved, it was a wait and see. At 8:30, we were fully engaged casually watching the expected and the unexpected.

While appearing to be casual and spontaneous, the activity is paced by a host or a facilitator who initiates and manages the conduct of the games.
Improv breaks down boundaries and inhibitions casually. Improv develops the "I" transforms the "I" to "We" and eventually to just "You" in a light and fun way via games, gigs, gags and whatever medium that conveys expression.

Imagine the potential application of Improv as a skill competency building module where the marginalized can learn how to express themselves, the passive can shift to assert their views,the introverts try out to be extroverts and the extroverts to be bolder extroverts. Through expression, the possibilities are endless both on a personal and corporate level.
The naturally charged group. Photo courtesy of Mico Manalaysay
Quoting Franco Liwanag of Katipunan Improv partner of Abe Barreda, host of the Katipunan Improv on what it is, “. . . improv can be a way of life. It is having an attitude of mutual respect and an instinct to veer away from stagnancy. It is having the mindset for acceptance and growth. Further, it is the key to creativity and collaboration.

Thanks to Abelle Joseph Don Barreda, Franco Liwanag, Vincent Ong and the participants from QC, Makati, Ateneo and to Amotore Pizza Garage @35 Abada. Until the next time they say Yes . . . And.

Foto and inputs courtesy of Franco, Vincent and Abe, KatipunanImprov, venue courtesy of @35Abada. Group foto by Mico Manalaysay.

Coming from zero knowledge, introduced with motley of ideas, formed a concept, hypothesized, stalked a public session, enjoyed the gag, tempted to butt in, validated the concepts, concluded. Highlighted characteristics: variety, spontaneity, split second response, top of mind association, randomness, quick thinking, mental sharpness, anatomy, flexibility, diversity, hilarity, outrageousness, intense, highly charged, respect, rescue, connecting, linking, never ending group storytelling. Ended writing notes.