Saturday, July 30, 2005

Post-SONA with Dinky and Gilbert

Thank you to everyone who attended the USC and MSC's Post-SONA Forum with Dinky Soliman and Gilbert Remulla! A lot of things were discussed and the questions from the mostly med-student audience were really deep and intellectual.

Thanks also to ABS-CBN and GMA who sent news teams to cover the event.

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From L-R: USC Couns. Myey Flores, Donn Mc Valdez, Jon Jamora;
former DSWD Sec. Dinky Soliman, Rep. Gilbert Remulla; myself;
MSC Treasurer Vince Varilla, and Chairperson Benjo Delarmente.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Globe now covered by PLDT Unlimited Landline

This story was taken from

Globe's subscribers now covered by PLDT's promotional tariff
First posted 10:14am (Mla time) July 29, 2005
By Erik de la Cruz

GLOBE Telecom Inc said the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has ordered the inclusion of its mobile phone and land-line networks in the promotional pricing scheme being offered by rival Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co (PLDT).

In an notice published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Globe and its land-line service provider, Innove Communications Inc, said PLDT's promotional tariff now applies to calls to Globe's Handyphone and Touch Mobile cellular subscribers and Globelines customers.

Globe said the NTC order took effect June 14.

PLDT's price offer allows its land-line subscribers to place calls to customers of its mobile phone units, Smart Communications Inc and Pilipino Telephone Corp, for only 10 pesos per call, regardless of how long the call is.

(1 dollar = 56.10 pesos)

Gonzales' (In)justice for U.P.

It is appalling that a Justice Secretary's irresponsible comments towards the University of the Philippines are nothing but hasty generalizations.

On television last night (ANC) was a headline that "DOJ Sec. Gonzales wants review of U.P. Charter". For an advocate of a strengthened U.P. through a better University Charter, I was surprised on learning that the Justice Secretary has taken a special interest in the Philippines's national premiere State University. Towards what end, I only found out this morning, when ABS-CBN's morning news program flashed another headline: "Gonzales: U.P. Training Ground ng mga Kalaban ng Gobyerno".

Mr. Secretary of Justice, you leave a bad taste in the mouth by lumping together in that big filthy sack of yours the various hearts and minds of the University of the People. Need we U.P. constituents remind you that several of the men and women who have been and may still be in government service are our alumni? Most recently Hilario Davide, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was awarded most outstanding U.P. alumnus for 2005. Ninoy Aquino, whose face appears in the five hundred peso bills in your wallet, is an alumnus of the U.P. National Artists and Scientists who have passed away bequeathing unto our nation the fruits of their brilliant minds must be turning in their graves. They must be crying out to high heavens: Is Raul Gonzales a fellow alumnus? Does he understand the nationalist culture of U.P.?

Perhaps you may have not noticed that while one former U.P. President - Francisco Nemenzo - is calling for an overthrow of government, another one - Jose Abueva - wrote an entire book supporting President Arroyo's call for Charter Change. Abueva even goes further to propose that Ms. Arroyo should finish her term up to 2010 regardless of a successful move to change our system of government.

For you to vilify the efforts of humble citizens from the U.P. to make this country a better place to live in is a despicable act. In making your statement, did you ever consider the apolitical U.P. medical intern here at the Philippine General Hospital who, in his/her lack of sleep after a 24-hour duty still has to attend to a whole ward of poor patients in the charity wards? Secretary Gonzales, you are mistaken in thinking that U.P. is a training ground for opponents of government.

Please be reminded that government is an institution above everything else and is not limited to a select group of people who, because of their incompetence, may be drawing fire from our University's community. What U.P. intends is for these people masquerading as honorables to get out of power - of those offices in government which we U.P. constituents are ardently defending from stupidity.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Nokia 7610 SMS/Text Sending Problem

My Nokia 7610 has been failing to send SMS/text messages for the past two days supposedly because its "general memory is full" and that I needed to "close some applications and try again". Thing is, nothing else but my message editor is running, so I don't know what the problem is.

This glitch has been hounding my phone for the past few days. It's such an inconvenience because important contacts that needed replies could not be sent to, so I practically had an expensive, camera-equipped pager instead of an MMS cellphone.

Earlier today I asked our friendly neighborhood cellphone repair booths and they said the phone needed reformatting, that I needed to back-up the phone memory (messages and contacts included), and it would cost me PHP 500 (around US$ 9.00) for the 10-15 minute procedure.

Since my unit was still within its one year warranty courtesy of Nokia and my network provider, I decided to visit my network's customer service desk also in the area. They agreed that I needed to back-up my phone memory on a personal computer and then they would reformat it, 10-15 minutes tops at no charge.

If you have the same problem as above and nothing more, try this:

NOTE: While contacts, calendar entries, to-dos, note, pictures, sounds, and video may be saved, messages may be deleted. So browse first through your inbox if you have important texts there.

1.) Back-up your phone memory first on your PC's PIM Program - Outlook, etc. (Use your cable and Nokia 7610's PC Suite.)

2.) Copy the entire contents of your memory card to a temporary folder on your computer.

3.) Reformat your memory card by accessing in the phone "Tools" then "Memory" then "Options", "Format mem. card".

4.) Go back to standby mode, then key this in: *#7370# and the phone will ask for your confirmation to restore to default/factory settings. Click yes/ok, and then enter your security code. This will erase all information and return your phone to its fresh-out-of-the-box state.

5.) Let the phone do its thing undisturbed. Once it's done, it will inform you that it needs to restart, go ahead and let it.

6.) After a few moments, your phone will once again be in its newly purchased state minus the sms-sending problem. Adjust the time again to your local time. You may now restore your contacts, etc. by using the PC Suite again. Also by using phone browser, you can copy back from the PC your multimedia files into your memory card.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Rep. Gilbert Remulla's Point of View

Cavite Rep. Gilbert C. Remulla, Chair of the five-commitee joint hearing on the "Hello Garci" tapes, will be at the BSLR-East Lecture Room, UP College of Medicine (Pedro Gil St., Manila) tomorrow, 7/26/2005 (Tuesday) 8:00-10:00 am. He will be with former DSWD Sec. Dinky Soliman.

Which side is this promising young solon on? Is he a GMA ally or an opposition stalwart? See you at the forum.

University Student Council UP Manila
UP Medicine Student Council


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Hello, Gilbert!
First posted 02:23pm (Mla time) July 24, 2005
By Fe Zamora
Inquirer News Service

BY the time you read this, Cavite Rep. Gilbert C. Remulla and his wife Georgia would have returned from their wedding anniversary trip to Hong Kong. By this time, too, Remulla, who steered the five-committee joint hearing on the controversial "Hello Garci" tapes last month, would have made the final, irrevocable decision of affixing his signature on the impeachment raps against President Arroyo. But then again, he may not.

There seems to be no second-guessing this young legislator who has so far proven himself to be a walking bundle of contradictions.

On the eve of his flight to Hong Kong, Remulla confides that he had been thinking "long and hard" on the charges that the President had stolen the mandate from rival presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr., and that he had concluded that Ms. Arroyo must be given her day in court. "She must be given a chance to answer the accusations that she cheated, not only in media, but according to the constitutional processes," he says.

He was rather perturbed, adds Remulla, about the possibility that if the Lower House ignores the accusations, the people's clamor for redress could explode in violence. Yet he could not dismiss outright the sinister view proffered by Palace partisans that if Ms Arroyo were impeached, the military would intervene.

So, has he made up his mind? He laughs: "I already know where my heart lies."

Sipping coffee at the lobby of a five-star hotel, the congressman was cool to strangers' warm commendations about his handling of the hearings on the "Hello Garci" tapes. He also visibly shrank into his seat when a government official and known ally of the First Couple sauntered by. He claims the official had been making offers to House representatives for them to spurn the opposition's plan to impeach the President.

Yet he refuses to publicly condemn the practice of buying off legislators to ensure Ms Arroyo's continued grip on power. "There is a culture of political patronage," Remulla says wistfully. "Changing all these would take time." He continues: "When I entered politics, I knew what not to be. It was not to be in the mold of a traditional politician."

And yet again, he admits to having supported Jose de Venecia-known hereabouts as the quintessential "trapo"-in his bid to become House speaker, for purely political reasons. According to Remulla, the Partido Magdalo, which was founded by the Remulla patriarch, former Cavite Governor Juanito "Johnny" Remula, had allied itself with the Nacionalista Party which, in turn, supports the ruling Lakas party that JDV represented.

Severed ties

During the campaign, however, the Magdalo party became allied with the opposition Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) that later split into the Sen. Edgardo Angara and the Sen. Panfilo Lacson factions. The Angara-wing supported FPJ, while the Magdalos supported fellow Caviteo and blood-relative Lacson. But the Remullas later found out that Lacson had junked the congressional bid of Jesus Crispin "Boying" Remulla for the 3rd district of Cavite, in favor of ex-Magdalo member Ruben Madlangsacay.

Boying, who was chief of the Presidential Management Staff during the Estrada administration, won but bad blood had been spilled. The Remullas severed their ties with the LDP opposition, to join the NP under the ruling coalition. But the NP is not monolithic, clarifies Remulla. "Some members are with the opposition, others with the administration."

He himself was originally opposition from 2001 to 2004, when he served his first term. In fact, Remulla belonged to the "Brat Pack," a group of young legislators who tried to impeach Chief Justice Hilario Davide in 2003. "I was a very vocal critic of Ms Arroyo. Now, I try hard to stop myself from criticizing her," he says with a guffaw.

Although the Remullas have dominated Cavite politics since the Marcos era in the late '70s, the broadcaster-turned-congressman is a virtual neophyte who, however, gained public notice when, at 34, he became chair of the high-profile congressional hearings on the "Garci" tapes.

So far, he has gotten good reviews for the job. "Rep. Remulla is incredibly competent. He has restored credibility to congress," goes the text message of beauty queen Sabrina Simonette Artadi to SIM. Businesswoman Rose Comilang commended Remulla for "his ability to control everybody, including older congressmen." Journalists, who had worked with him in the '90s when he was a reporter for Channel 2, are as amazed at his transformation. "Gilbert was not exceptional as a journalist," a former colleague at the network says. "He has improved a lot."

Back then, another fellow journalist recalls, the young Remulla was "cocky" and could definitely use a few lessons on ethics. "We were both covering Congress," the print reporter recounts. "I was busy typing out my story on my computer when I noticed the other reporters signaling to me. That was when I looked up and noticed somebody behind me, reading over my head. It was Gilbert, and he was taking down notes from my computer screen. I glared at him, and it was only then that he moved away."

Despite the lapse, Remulla never bothered to apologize nor explain his action to the print journalist who says he decided to just ignore the incident. "He strutted around like a big shot, probably because his network was then lording it over the other stations," adds the offended reporter. "Even the other reporters described him as malakas ang dating. He came on too strong."

Remulla, who would stay on as broadcast journalist for seven years before entering politics, himself admits to landing the job through the back door. A 1992 Broadcast Journalism graduate from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, he had his heart set on a career in television. His mother, he says, called up her good friend, Freddie Garcia, then the top honcho at ABS-CBN. "So I got interviewed by network vice presidents Boo Chanco and Rod Reyes who made me trainee," he reveals.

Poor little rich boy

His first job was to transcribe "a stack of tapes" on interviews about the assassination of former senator Ninoy Aquino. He buckled down to work "without even asking about the salary." In six months, he was "promoted" to all-around runner and eventually, production assistant. In December 1993, he was sent to cover a robbery-homicide involving a taxi driver. It would be the "graveyard" shift for him for a year before he was fielded to cover the daytime news.

To many at the network, Remulla was just the "poor little rich boy" who would do anything to be on television. "Some newsmen made fun of him, but he was game," a former deskman recalls. Remulla confirms this. "They sent me on errands, which I did, while driving a Mercedez Benz station wagon. I was amused, I didn't care," he laughs. Other personnel even called him the "son of a warlord." But he was so meek and boyishly charming that nobody could imagine him brandishing guns as sons of warlords are expected to.

The "warlord" referred to was of course the Remulla patriarch, former Cavite governor Juanito Remulla, now 72. The young Remulla however disputes the "warlord" tag and decries suggestions that Cavite is one of the perennial election hotspots in the country.

"There are so many places worse than Cavite," he says, enumerating such provinces. As to his patriarch's "warlord" tag, Remulla says the iron hand was necessary to clean up the province. "But did he actually wipe out villages? Did he burn down barrios like what happened in Ilocos?"

The elder Remulla was no patsy of a governer. Appointed to the post by President Marcos in 1979, Remulla soon after transformed Cavite from agricultural hicktown to industrial suburbia with farmlands converted into residential subdivisions. He would be called the architect of Cavite's industrialization although the honor would be tainted with allegations that he did so at the expense of poor Caviteños.

When Marcos was ousted in 1986, Remulla was replaced by Fernando Campos as officer-in-charge of Cavite. Unbowed, the former governor organized his Partido Magdalo and returned to power in 1988. A few days after the 1992 presidential elections, he nearly died from a stroke. In an article on Father's Day published in the Inquirer on June 15, 2003, the youngest Remulla recalled that fateful day when his father was reduced from "indestructible" to helpless invalid.

"Here was the tough guy, that kingpin lying on a hospital bed, struggling with the effects of a stroke that had paralyzed his left side. I was dumbfounded," Remulla continued. The governor recovered, but "his political career took a nosedive," his son continued. Three years later, in 1995, the older Remulla lost his final bid for the governorship to former National Bureau of Investigation director Epimaco Velasco. The political defeat was blamed on Remulla's alleged anti-workers' policy, as he had decreed a "a no strike" policy at the Cavite Export Processing Zone. No matter, he conceded without fuss on the day after the elections. "With my head held high, I exit the stage of politics." the former governor said. Assisting him on that day in May, 1995, was his youngest son, Gilbert.

Harsh realities

Though their father was governor, the young Remullas were raised shielded from the harsh realities of politics, claims the congressman. In fact, they lived in Manila even while their father was Cavite governor. Jesus Crispin, the eldest, is nine years older than Gilbert. Between them are Troy, an opthalmologist, and John Vic, the current vice-governor of Cavite.

The Remulla boys spent their elementary years at La Salle, high school at the Ateneo and college at UP Diliman where they all joined the Upsilon fraternity. In 1999, after spending seven years at Channel 2, Remulla decided to take up his MA in International Affairs at the Columbia University in New York. He came back in 2000 hoping to resume work at his old network. "But I got bored with journalism. I have an MA, but what do I do now?" he wondered. He had also married Georgia Diaz-Roa, a pediatric dentist by profession and daughter of Ruby Diaz, one of the sisters of former Ms Universe Gloria Diaz.

At the wedding, the Remullas were easily overcrowded by the Diaz clan, such that his brothers teased Gilbert about marrying "the entire population." Later that year, then Cavite Rep. Ireneo "Ayong" Maliksi, a long-time ally of the older Remulla, said he wanted to run for governor. "I asked my dad if I could run for the seat vacated by Maliksi, and he said okay," Gilbert says.

Actually, he was also inspired by the group of then neophyte congressmen Mike Defensor, Robert Ace Barbers, Juan Miguel Zubiri and Ricky Sandoval, who were collectively known as the Spice Boys. "They were just a year older than me, so I said, maybe I can do this," Remulla recalls. But the older Remulla also warned him "it's not that easy."

John Vic, then already a vice-governor, introduced his kid brother around as a "matinee idol type" who sang and delivered speeches. In the middle of the campaign, Remulla's wife Georgia gave birth to Roxanne. "The baby has good timing. It was Holy Week," the young father laughs. Another daughter, Rocio, would be born during the campaign period last year.

Remulla won in 2001, and got reelected in 2004. It's a full-blown political career with good prospects ahead of him, but he still has qualms, he says. "My brother and I, we have come to talking about an exit strategy from politics. We know this is not forever. We don't want to grow old not knowing anything else but politics," he says.

That, veteran political observers and skeptics might say, remains to be seen.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

It's Still Macoy.

Hey, don't argue with me. In the long-standing Philippine [Political] Family Feud,

Survey says...

This story was taken from

Arroyo has lowest performance rating among 5 presidents
Marcos rates highest
First posted 01:33pm (Mla time) July 24, 2005

PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has obtained the lowest overall performance ratings among the country's five most recent president, a July nationwide Pulse Asia survey released Sunday said.

Arroyo obtained an overall median performance rating of 4.0 on a scale of 0 (lowest) to 10 (highest) when rated on six issues: politically stabilizing the country, promoting economic growth, reducing corruption in government, reducing criminality, helping the poor and fighting the rapid increase in prices of goods and services, the survey organization said in a statement.

Her median performance rating indicates that half of Filipino adults give her a performance rating of at most 4, Pulse Asia said.

It said that former presidents Corazon C. Aquino, Fidel V. Ramos and Joseph E. Estrada each got an overall median performance rating of 6.0. Ferdinand Marcos received the highest rating among the five presidents: 7.0.

The Pulse Asia survey had 1,200 representative adults aged 18 years old and above as respondents. It has an error margin of plus or minus three percentage points at the 95-percent confidence level. The survey was conducted from July 2 to July 14, 2005 using face-to-face interviews and on its own own initiative, Pulse Asia added.

©2005 all rights reserved

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Dinky Soliman, post-SONA

Dinky Soliman will be at the BSLR-East Lecture Room,
UP College of Medicine on 26 July 2005 (Tuesday), 8:00 am
for a post-SONA assessment of the Political Crisis.

A member of the so-called "Hyatt 10", former Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon "Dinky" Soliman, an alumna of the UP Diliman College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD), is seen as one of the non-political secretaries of GMA.

Is her resignation that significant? Why did she do it? See you at the forum.

Program sponsors:

University Student Council UP Manila
UP Medicine Student Council


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this story was taken from

Who is Dinky Soliman?
Posted:0:50 AM (Manila Time) | Jul. 11, 2004
By Commentary

( editor's note: This commentary was originally published in January 2001 in the Philippine Daily Inquirer)

"Who is Dinky Soliman?" responded Korina Sanchez when President Gloria Arroyo announced the second of her first two Cabinet choices in a keenly watched first one-on-one TV interview.

With a hint of impishness that mystified the mainstream and warmed hearts in "civil society" circles, our new President added, "I bet she’ll fall off her chair if she’s watching because I’ve given no hint that I’ve been thinking of her.

"With that presidential glance, this newspaper has quickly identified the mysterious Dinky as Corazon Juliano-Soliman, chairperson of KOMPIL II. Her kilometric bio-data must wait for another day but, with her phone predictably busy at this writing, the civil society grapevine is already buzzing with her first reaction. She has asked allies to enter deep prayer mode with her to discern the meaning of the turn of events to an organic community to which she is attached like a huge sunflower to leaves, stem and soil.

Simply put, what is being weighed in the balance is whether the heart of Philippine civil society – tried and tested pre- and post-Marcos, Cory, FVR and Erap – is ready to go mainstream. On the con side is the fact that civil society, to which Dinky is a laughing, well-loved eminence at 53, has always done better as a fiscalizer to government. Given the many polarized vested interests of our society, our President has by definition always been a great compromiser at home and abroad. Given that, civil society has historically been more effective as government’s challenger, visionary adviser, and principled ally as times have demanded.

This exercise, going on 30 years for Dinky’s generation of quietly effective leaders not particularly concerned with media projection, has by turns been inspiring, dangerous and tedious. Its historical rewards have however been immeasurable. One telling snapshot of Dinky’s career comes from the years of Marcos’ chemical-powered Green Revolution. In the dead of night, as a young graduate of U.P.’s School of Social Work, she was counting the seeds of indigenous rice strains in the fields of Sta.Rosa, Nueva Ecija with a team of the NGO Masipag. Under military suspicion that they were NPA organizers, they were trying to help local farmers save those rice strains from extinction in a pioneering grassroots program of chemical-free cross-fertilization A second snapshot is Dinky nine months pregnant with her second child, bouncing down the Batasan grounds at the forefront of an NGO campaign for a new landlord-dominated Congress to pass the CARP law in 1987. It was the climax to months of getting the wild horses of the extreme Left to the negotiating table with the rest of the agrarian reform community in the People’s Congress for Agrarian Reform.

Not only did Dinky’s stellar gift for facilitation--getting growling enemies to come to common ground with courtesy and the beginnings of understanding--emerge on a nationwide scale. Her authentic love and appreciation for the farmers of our agricultural country deepened into bedrock as she sought to translate the language of the historically oppressed into working relations with the rest of Philippine society. Evolution, not revolution--negotiating in wait for a better day--was not a popular way of summing things up in the heat of that supremely polarized moment but Dinky and company pulled it off with grace.

Since then civil society hearts have been bruised and broken in the Aquino years, fired with new hope but again disappointed with the Ramos years’ pussy-footing on its own Social Reform Agenda, tentative in the first ten months of Estrada, then angered and stirred to what flowed like an angry river towards EDSA II. This time, thinking things through about Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo involves dissecting her perspective on GATT and the World Trade Organization which, given present terms, remain anathema to civil society - not only here but, as witnessed in Seattle at the end of 1999, globally. A word on the global aspect of Dinky and her civil society allies’ work speaks volumes that may yet save Miriam Santiago’s soul if she would begin reading them. Weaving in and out of global institutions like the UN without concern for personal credit is all in a day’s work in civil society culture. The Rio Earth Summit, the peace negotiations in Cambodia, the Habitat Conference in Turkey, to name only three, are some of the global forums to which Dinky Soliman has lent her gift of facilitation to brilliant account. At home, unknown to ABS-CBN until last Saturday, she is known to Muslim Mindanao, the riverbank communities of the Pasig River, the foothill communities of Mt. Banahaw and farmers all over the country, to name a few. Vision rooted in dependable soil, watered by honest tears, blossoms in wondrous ways with which even speedier airwaves have yet to catch up.

©2004 all rights reserved

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Dr. Emerlinda R. Roman, 19th UP President

Today, Dr. Emerlinda R. Roman was formally vested as the 19th President of the University of the Philippines System. She is the 1st Woman President of the University, and as mentioned during the program, she has spent practically all of her professional life within the UP System.

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I attended the historical moment as the Chair of UP Manila's USC, together with Coun. Donn Mc Valdez.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Y Speak Live!

Last night, I guested at the Studio 23 program Y Speak Live! alongside panelists including Reps. Darlene Antonino-Custodio, Miguel Zubiri, Miles Roces, and former DSWD Sec. Dinky Soliman. The topic was Political loyalty, and I was on the "it's ok to switch loyalties for the good of the country" side.

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The program unfolded very much like the political crisis besetting the Philippines today - confusing. The proposition was not well-defined, and the time was too short. Hence each speaker had his/her own definition of loyalty, and the politicos, when given time, would gladly oblige to inserting sound bites for or against administration.

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Anyway, I'm a fan of television myself. So I just had to get pictures with Bianca Gonzales and Atom Araullo.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The UPM Gloriagate Spectrum

To illustrate how varied opinion is at least for the UP Manila campus, here's a snapshot of where UP Manila in general is standing at the moment:

UPM Gloriagate Spectrum

It is difficult for us in the USC to please everyone (trapo style), and we have to put our feet down to take a stand (new politics).

On a side note, I take offense whenever media refers to UP as one entity; they apparently are not informed that we have distinct constituent units, and not all opinion comes from Diliman.

I am inviting all to watch Y Speak on Sunday, July 17, 7pm at Studio 23. The undersigned will be representing UP Manila in a discussion on political turncoatism, in relation to Gloriagate.

Ur Turn 2005: Handog sa Freshmen

Congratulations to the Freshmen Block Coordinators (FBC) and the USC Manila Committee on Culture (Chaired by Coun. Myey Flores) for a job well done!

Ur Turn 2005: Handog sa Freshmen

The number of orgs who participated and the overwhelming attendance of the freshies (and oldies as well...) says it all. Despite the usual setbacks that accompany an event this big (time constraints, etc), the general feedback is that freshies find it to be a success.

More power to everyone!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Blogging as therapy (from YOU's blog addicts)

Blogging as therapy

SAY hello to our Friday YOU Blog Addict, Albert Domingo.

Got a blog? Interested in being featured? Just e-mail You could be the next YOU Blog Addict.

THIS medical student detoxifies from studying hundreds of pages by publishing online his take on things big and small.

Could you tell us something about yourself? When and why did you start blogging and who got you hooked?

I just turned 22 last February. Right now I'm a second year proper student at the UP College of Medicine. My extra-curricular activities include student politics -- a recent development of which is my election last March 4 as the chairperson of the UP Manila University Student Council for Academic Year 2005-2006.

Blogging for me is a therapeutic hobby, an effective respite for those moments wherein you're trying to understand a lesson in the medical sciences but your brain simply won't absorb the material. I started blogging August of last year, when I opened my first blog (it's still up as an archive -- I was hooked when I searched something on Google and the results returned the blog of a friend from college. I thought at first that she took some lessons in HTML or something because her layout was clean-cut and smooth to the eyes. I clicked on the link to the blog's host and subsequently found out how easy it is to start and maintain an online diary -- almost like your own opinion column in cyberspace.

What makes a blog better than a regular website? Did you try putting up your own site before you started blogging?

Yes. I've been trying to make my own website from way back in high school (since 1997) up to now. However, the thing with a regular website and an amateur webmaster is that you always come to a point wherein you either get bored or other matters creep into your schedule, and there goes your time. I always ended up with broken links and "Site Under Construction" graphics littered everywhere.

A blog is better than a regular website, at least for us amateurs. The host takes care of the nitty-gritty tech stuff but still allows you some degree of flexibility to tweak your site. In my particular case, it gave me a feel of being a professional webmaster/IT guy even though I kept relying on the WYSIWYG editor of the site. That aspect of blogging allows users to focus more on the content rather than the design. The reverse (more design than content) may also be true sometimes because of one's desire to make a loaded and flashy blog. But for me, form must be focused on function and the webmaster must also be a good content provider.

Would you say that blogging is very addictive? How many people have you convinced to also start blogging?

Blogging is definitely addictive! There have been times wherein I forget to study for a while because you'd find me typing my thoughts away on the computer. Another thing is that blogging does justice to the disparity between my thoughts and my handwriting -- one of them's really a mess. The computer does away with my calligraphic frustration and allows me to just write my mind out.

I'm always out convincing friends to start blogging. So far, those whom I have approached turned out to be bloggers already, and we just end up linking our blogs to each other. One of them even referred to blogging as something new that can possibly take over Friendster's popularity -- because Friendster's space for expression is limited whereas blogs can be filled with lots of your personal thoughts (He answered these questions a few months ago and Friendster has since introduced its own blogging service--Ed.).

How has blogging made a difference in your life?

I've had my try at writing monthly for a local community newspaper, so the realization for me when it comes to blogging is the vast circulation that a blog enjoys. Well, blogs don't really circulate per se, but the fact that it's tagged by a global URL allows not only your neighbor to read your musings; even people in Hong Kong have been reading my posts!

The difference blogging made in my life is that it has given me more of a feel of the global village -- that thoughts, ideas, and culture need not be restricted by geographical boundaries.

What blogging software do you use? What makes it better than other blogging services?

Right now I'm using Blogger. I used to be on Blogdrive, but I started to dislike the advertisements that Blogdrive places above your blog's header -- it always ruins the theme. Blogger's discreetness when it comes to advertising is the primary feature why I moved into it from Blogdrive, so to speak. I've also tried because of its nice domain -- -- but its controls are rigid and it doesn't allow for much flexibility in template design.

What's the most memorable experience you've had in the blogging world?

This one's part of my being a UP student politician. There was a time wherein I posted an update on proceedings for the New UP Charter at the House of Representatives. The incumbent UP Student Regent at the time who happens to be a political opponent actually referred to my blog and my post when he decided to launch a political offensive on a colleague of mine from UP Diliman. To cut the long story short, we fought back by disputing his claims and stressing that a blog should not be treated as a newspaper report would be. He actually took my posts as gospel truth, which was quite flattering on my part. Joey G. Alarilla,

Visit Albert's blog at

Got a blog? Then drop us a line at and we'll check out your site. You could be our next YOU Blog Addict.

You may e-mail comments to and visit

Flight of Ideas

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Why did the chicken cross the road?

From the mailbox (chicken photo courtesy of Kris Ablan's scan):

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Here's why according to some famous local personalities:

President GMA:
Hello Garci. Alamin mo nga kung bakit tumawid ang chicken.

Former Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano:
Sige po ma'am. Gagawan natin ng paraan. Ipapakidnap ko ang mga sisiw.

Susan Roces:
Let us remain calm. Let us follow the rule of law in determining the chicken's motive for crossing the road.

Former President Joseph Estrada:
Ako na naman? Pati ba naman pagtawid ng manok, sa akin isisisi?

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye:
That chicken which allegedly crossed the road is a fake. We have the real chicken in our coop!

Sen. Ping Lacson:
I have asked a foreign group to authenticate the taxonomic classification of that animal which crossed the road. No doubt, it was indeed a chicken.

Former Sen. Kit Tatad:
I did my own authentication. The chicken is real.

Bro. Mike Velarde:
Tiyak 'yon.

NBI Director Reynaldo Wycoco:
Both chickens are fake.

Archbishop Oscar Cruz:
I have witnesses to prove that the chicken crossed the road.

Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism Blog:
We have the complete audio and video of the chicken crossing the road. Download here.

Atty. Allan Paguia:
I admit! I spliced the chicken but only for my post-graduate class. I didn't fry it. In fact it's still alive.

Cong. Chiz Escudero:
Once and for all, I am challenging the chicken. The public is waiting for its answer. Did it cross the road or not. If yes, why? If no, I still won't believe it.

Atty. Samuel Ong:
It was looking for its mother. But the chicken won't find it because I am keeping the mother of all chickens.

Sgt. Vidal Doble:
It was forced to cross the road.

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel:
Impeach the chicken!

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño:
The chicken has betrayed the motorists' trust when it crossed the road. Fry it!

Sandra Cam:
The chicken has laid dozens of chicken eggs across the road. I was personally asked by the chicken - which happened to be my close friend - to deliver the eggs to Congressmen Mikey and Iggy Arroyo. But please, do not insinuate that I had a special relationship with the chicken. It was just a friend.

Cong. Mikey Arroyo:
That chicken is a liar! I never received a single egg from that animal.

Cong. Ignacio Arroyo:
I will file a libel case against the chicken!

NTC Commissioner:
That's fowl. You should not discuss that on air. Else, we shall revoke your franchise.

Fowl or not, the NTC's circular is curtailment of press freedom.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Gloriagate Digest #1

Developments today, 7/8/2005 (as of 4:00 pm)

1.) 7 Cabinet Secretaries, 3 Undersecretaries irrevocably resign by way of press con at Hyatt
2.) Remaining Cabinet rallies behind PGMA
3.) Liberal Party (LP), led by Party President Sen. Drilon, calls for PGMA resignation
4.) Manila Mayor Atienza, LP Chairperson, disowns Drilon's stand
5.) Nacionalista Party, led by Sen. Villar, remains pro-status quo
6.) Makati Business Club calls for PGMA resignation
7.) Former Pres. Corazon Aquino asks for PGMA resignation
8.) Former VP Teofisto Guingona resigns PROC post as ambassador

Source: ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) reports

Saturday, July 02, 2005

We are for due process.

USC Manila on Gloriagate