Monday, August 29, 2005

Dashboard rules!

'Nuff said.

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Sick, sick political system

I read with disgust the latest report of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) on how government funds, including those from the agriculture department, were used to finance President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's candidacy in the last elections.

Nothing can be truer than what PCIJ had said in its report: "While Congress has been busy looking into allegations that jueteng lord Bong Pineda contributed P300 million to the Arroyo campaign, far less attention has so far been devoted to charges that the President's biggest donor was actually the Filipino taxpayer."

Saturday, August 27, 2005

And that's the way the ball falls into the side pocket

For some time now, one of my favorite hobbies has been playing billiards. Sure, I may not be a great player, compared with my cousins Rjhay or Philip (whom I am also urging to blog) or in-laws Fernan or Vijay. I am even the first one who'll admit to that. Still, I love it, especially when the gang's present, taking turns in playing at Charcoal.

Usually we play nine-ball, although sometimes we do eight-ball or "killers." If you're in Charcoal, playing billiards is the best way to let time pass by without getting bored, especially if the place is ultra-packed, and you can't find a table for you to sit, drink, and relax for a while.

Friday, August 26, 2005

On Morato, and eating

I always like going to Morato. It's like everytime you go there, you see new restaurants, new establishments, new hangouts. So, when Ate Carol and I went to Morato last Wednesday to meet NUJP's Jose Torres and PCIJ's Baby for breakfast, I was kind of thrilled. I was even the earliest to arrive in our meeting place (Contrary to popular misconception, I am always on time for my meetings)! Not because I'm meeting Sir Joe and Ma'am Baby (not that I don't want to meet them on the other hand), but because I'm looking forward to eat and feel the ambiance of two restaurants that I haven't gone before -- Heaven and Eggs and Kalye ni Juan. We were to meet Sir Joe in Heaven and Eggs then go to the nearby Kalye ni Juan for a lunch with Ma'am Baby.

Actually, I could not say anything about Heaven and Eggs aside from the fact they have nice interior surroundings ("walls are painted like the sky," says one online fan), that their cappuccino was okay, and that their service was slow (well, at least when we went). Too bad, we weren't able to order anything other than our coffees. I didn't try some of the resto's specialties, like the salt and pepper porkribs with yang chow rice or Asian shrimp poppers, among the culinary greats Malaya said in a report on the resto.

It was a different story when Ate Carol and I met Ma'am Baby. After two coffee servings, Sir Joe left us, apparently busy preparing for his US travel (his prize for being this year's Ninoy Aquino Fellow for Journalism). So, we paid our bill and went to Kalye Juan.

I was amazed by the resto's array of dishes. Actually, I didn't mind all the dishes, only one thing mattered that time: There's SISIG! Avowed sisig fans that we are, both Ate Carol and I ordered it for lunch. While waiting for Ma'am Baby to come, we had Dinamita (breaded chilli peppers filled with cheese with mayo dip... yum!) as our starter. Ma'am Baby, on her way to Kalye Juan, texted us to order for her deep fried hito.

And we were never wrong in ordering sisig. It filled our week-long crave for that sinful delight, lustily eating our sisig (honestly, our tummies were so full we brought what was left of our sisig to the office and ate it 3 hours later). The name of my dessert momentarily slipped my mind, but as far as I can remember, it was Kalye Juan's version of the delicacy ginumis (I did get that right, right Ate Carol?). Our lunch with Ma'am Baby, who frequents Kalye Juan, was quite an experience.

I think the guys in the office could go in those two restos sometime and taste not just the coffee and sisig.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Media and Mindanao

How do the media view Mindanao? Are reports on Mindanao focus on terrorism? Do news stories about the people in Mindanao mostly pertain to the likes of Abu Sayyaf Gang? A workshop organized by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) will address such issues.

Titled "Looking for Peace in Mindanao: What is Media's Role?," the seminar-workshop was organized by the KBP, the national association of broadcasting companies in the country, in cooperation with the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication and UNESCO. The event will be on August 27 at the Mergrande Ocean Resort, in Talomo District, Davao City. Participants will be radio and television broadcasters in areas affected by the conflict, specifically, Cotabato, Davao, Lanao, and Zamboanga.

For more info, check KBP's website or call (63 2) 892-5129.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A new business daily?

While we were having our dose of coffee at Heaven and Eggs in Morato earlier, a friend and fellow journalist told me that a new Manila-based business daily will come out next month, with former Today editor in chief Lourdes "Chuchay" Molina Fernandez at the helm. The paper, according to my reliable pal, will be composed of mostly ex-Today staffers and will be known as the Business Mirror.

Well, if this is indeed true, I hope that the paper will last, given the public's need for more economic reports that go beyond the usual take on statistics, or mentioning catchwords such as GNP or tariff rates without bothering to explain these terms at all. Hopefully, the former Today people would find a home in Business Mirror, including Ma'am Chuchay who left the Manila Standard Today just as soon as the two papers, Today and Manila Standard, merged.

By the way, PJR Reports previously did a story on the merger of the two papers, and the issues that arose from the union.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A dangerous president

I'm currently doing a monitor on how the media covered the recent media blitz-cum-image makeover of President Gloria Arroyo for the next issue of the PJR Reports (formerly known as the Philippine Journalism Review). Vergel O. Santos, our consulting editor and chair of board of advisers of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, reacted on Arroyo's July 27 press conference in the August issue of the PJR Reports. In his well-written article, the veteran journalistm, who is presently writing a column for the Businessworld, said:

"Televised nationwide, the press conference was over in about 30 minutes, but it has left enough stink to last perhaps an entire presidential term. Yet, the more worrisome aspects lie beyond the stink. They suggest a dangerously insecure and self-righteous president—one who would control her environment and one who would readily appropriate God for her cause. The first tendency showed in the scripted proceedings and captive audiences in Congress during her State of the Nation Address and at her press conference; the second was betrayed by her own chilling words.

During her press conference alone, she must have mentioned God being good to her at least three times. Before that, she had been content with having His earthly representative, the pope, for her patron—John Paul II, specifically, who, according to her, had himself told her she was his choice as Philippine president. But of course, when she made the claim, John Paul had become too dead to confirm or deny it. God, on the other hand, is too mysterious in His ways to be helpful Himself.

Obviously, in any case, President Arroyo’s controlled environment would have no place for an independent press. After all, an independent press regards skepticism as a virtue and government as an adversary; it also does not stop asking questions until it is told the truth; and it leaves God well enough alone."

Very well said.

Additional call for the Coconet

I may be a padawan in the blogosphere, but I know for a fact that writer Julian Alejandro's Piercing Pens is among the most-read and active sites today. Our little call for everyone out there to support the Philippine entry in the BBC-Newsweek World Challenge website will at least be given the much-needed additional exposure. Read his post on the call.

Go, coconets, go!

Here is an email from Pia, a friend from a previous workshop.

I've already placed my vote, so I hope you'd do the same and pass this to your friends. Let's help our country win through our online support :) - Pia


Please check out the BBC-Newsweek World Challenge website and vote for the Philippines' entry, Coconets. (Only one vote per person is allowed.)

Coconets is produced by a Philippine company that was nominated and subsequently selected to be one of the 12 finalists for the BBC-Newsweek World Challenge contest. This is a search for the project which has contributed the greatest impact at a grassroots level.

There will be a documentary about the Philippine coconut geotextile/coconet industry which will be shown on the BBC World cable channel several times between September and October (one broadcast will be on September 24th, 8:30 GMT). The finalists will be featured in a special issue of Newsweek coming out on August 29th.

The World Challenge competition offers the possibility of tremendous exposure and publicity to the flourishing Philippine coconut geotextile industry and to our Philippine coconut fiber exporters.

Please help campaign for more votes by forwarding this message to our other co-workers, and to your friends and relatives. Thank you very much in advance.

I visited the site and saw the actual contest and the entries. Let's help the only Philippine entry. It won't take 5 minutes of your time. Let's show our support to our kababayans who have done a great service to the country by thinking and doing things such as these delightful coconets.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


A severe case of narcissism? Not really. Just a bunch of guys going gaga over our latest techie gadget, the digicam.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A friendly what?

In a Past Life...

You Were: A Friendly Mathematician.

Where You Lived: New Guinea.

How You Died: Dysentery.

Who, me? A friendly mathematician? Hahahaha. Yeah right. I might be friendly (to some) but a mathematician? I know I'm not that dumb in Math, but for me to be a mathematician by profession is like telling Mount Mayon is a greeny and sleepy hill in Bicol. I mean, I like math, but I never saw myself giving full-time devotion to cosines, logarithmic functions, and integral calculus. The dysentery part could have been truer.

Coincidentally, earlier, Prof. Elena Pernia was giving a short refresher course on content analysis to the staff. Initially, I thought Ma'am Pernia was only giving some general concepts but, surprise!, we were given an exercise to actually try some of the things we learned from her 2-hour lecture. Using the articles in the "Chronicle" section of the PJR Reports, we are to measure the diversity of the articles. By that I mean the degree of diversity of sources and their number, and the position of the reports. The analysis would include the use of statistical methods, like the strangely-named Simpson's D and D2 formulas (and I'm not kidding here). The formulas, especially the D2 version, would basically say the probability of two articles belonging to one category. For example, if you're doing a content analysis of articles based on geographical location, say Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, and you get .8923 for Luzon-based articles, you have an 89.23 percent probability that two randomly-picked articles would be on Luzon. At least that's what I understand from the session. Oh, and there's more. Simpson's D is the sum of the squared proportions and subract from 1 while D2 could be solved by dividing the sum of the squared proportions by (1-1/k) before subtracting from 1. Talk about "mental ambush."

Surprisingly, I enjoyed the lecture in general. I guess a little math dose would kick my ass not to stop learning.

Including the new world of blogging. Hello, sunshine.
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