Monday, August 31, 2009

Pahabol sa buwan ng mga bayani

Dito sa Pilipinas, maraming ipinagdiriwang na piesta opisyal tuwing buwan ng Agosto. Ngayong taong ito, nadagdagan pa ang walang pasok noong ilibing (Agosto 5) ang Pangulong Cory Aquino. Tumingin ako sa Wikipedia at nalaman ko na marami mga bansa ang nagdiriwang naman ng araw ng kanilang kalayaan tuwing Agosto. Kasama sa mga ito ang Switzerland, Bolivia, Ecuador, Pakistan, Korea, India, Indonesia, Uruguay at Malaysia.

Agosto 1, 2009 nang pumanaw si Pang. Aquino. Agosto 1, 1944 naman ng mamatay si Pang. Manuel Quezon na isinilang din sa buwan ng Agosto (19), na ipinagdiriwang naman na araw ng Quezon. Isa pang dating pangulo, si Pang. Magsaysay, ay isinilang din sa buwan ng Agosto (31).

Tuwing ika-30 naman ng Agosto ipinagdiriwang natin ang Ang Araw ng mga Bayani bagama't inililipat ang pagdiriwang sa pinakamalapit na Lunes. Sa petsang ito, inaalala natin ang Sigaw ng Pugad Lawin ng mga rebolusyonaryong Katipunero sa pamumuno ni Ka Andres Bonifacio.

Sa Agosto ipinagdiriwang ang buwan ng wika bilang paggunita sa kaarawan ni Pang. Quezon, ang kinikilalang “Ama ng Wikang Pambansa”.  Sa mga malls sa ganitong panahon maraming mga paninda ang may kaugnayan sa ating kultura. Maraming mga t-shirts, souvenirs, at ibang memorabilia ukol sa Pilipinas ang mabibili. Mayroon ding mga maikling concerts, katuland ng isang napanood ko noong ika-29 sa SM Centerpoint, kung saan umawit si Bayang Barrios. Malayo na ang narating ni Bayang mula noong una siyang nakilala bilang kasama ni Joey Ayala at ang Bagong Lumad. Hindi na siya si Bayang na tila isang inosenteng katutubo. Naroon pa rin ang tanging kagandahan at angking talino sa pag-awit. Ngayon ay may dagdag na sopistikasyon sa kanyang imahe, kasama na rin na ang dagdag na timbang. Naroon pa rin ang katutubong tunog na napalawak naman ng idagdag sa areglo ang jazz beat.

Sa harap ng maraming suliranin sa ekonomiya, mahalagang patuloy nating bigyan pansin ang mga sariling atin. Ipagpatuloy sana natin ang pagtangkilik sa mga produktong gawa sa ating bayan. Makakatulong itong pabalikin ang sigla ng industriya at manggagawang Pilipino. Sana ay hindi magwakas ang pagbibigay pansin sa gawang Pilipino sa pagtatapos ng buwan ng pagdiriwang dito. Lalo na at papasok naman ang tinatawag na buwan ng -ber o -bre, at sa lalong madaling panahon ay kaPaskuhan naman, mamimili na naman ang sambayanan, kaya sana "Buy Philippine made products".

My women's tennis album 6 - 80s to 90s

On this spread: Steffi Graf, Amanda Coetzer, Jennifer Capriati, Martina Hingis, and Patty Schnyder.

See Also: Album 1, Album 2, Album 3, Album 4, Album 5

Friday, August 28, 2009

White hair chronicles VI

My son Vito turned 13 yesterday, formally making him a teenager, and thus further making me a tatang-ager. That is double jeopardy, being a tatang and an ager, suddenly I feel doubly old. When I was 13 myself, my father was a boyish 35. He was what some would call today "papa-ble". Whatever that means, it doesn't describe me now - grandfatherish on the wrong side of 40s. In fact many think I am Vito's grandfather.

The saving grace is I don't 'feel' old at all. Sure an elbow aches, DeQuervain's syndrome acts up on my right wrist - 12 years after my left wrist was operated on for the same reason, isolated white hairs grow on places where no hair grew before, and of course, 95% of the hair is white. But I definitely feel young. I can relate to what Vito likes and he can relate to what I enjoy. It helps that retro (emo?) fashion is in. It helps that he also appreciates the music I enjoy.

But retro fashion or not, only external appearances seem old. I still have the same idealism I had in my teens. The teenage angst back then is eerily the same as Generations Jones' anxieties today. But of course! The teenagers of old comprise the Generation Jones. Furthermore we had Marcos then, we have Gloria now. Same difference really. Even if some have moved to the other side of the fence, like administration apologist Alex Magno and GMA spokesman Gary Olivar.

So, has Philippine life gone full circle?
Or, have we moved at all?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My women's tennis album 5 - The way they wear II

I think the quality of play was better during Chris Evert's days. But generally the players then, aside from Chris Evert, did not have much sex appeal, I think. Here are some of the players of that time. In this set: Evonne Goolagong, Hana Mandlikova, Martina Navratilova, and Gabriela Sabatini.

See Also: Album 1, Album 2, Album 3, Album 4

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My women's tennis album 4 - Chris Evert

Chris Evert was my first favorite female tennis player. She is pretty good.

See Also: Album 1, Album 2, Album 3

Monday, August 24, 2009

My women's tennis album 3 - The way they wear

Whoa! It turns out interest in women's tennis is back with the US Open just around the corner. My women's tennis album has been getting quite a few page hits the past few days. A friend has commented that he never knew upskirt voyeurism is now mainstream.

But how did the women's tennis look like in the past? For the week leading to the US Open, I will be posting some retro photos of women's tennis. In this set - potential upskirt and downblouse photos, but with 90% of skin clothed.

See Also: Album 1, Album 2

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ferdie + Meldy = Glorie?

Question: What do you get when you cross the political wiles of Ferdie with the extravagance of Meldy? Answer: Glorie!

As accusations of her extravagance abroad amidst the people's squalor at home continue to pour, the nation's dissatisfaction with Gloriffic hit rock bottom. Even Imeldific enjoys better press than Gloriffic, who showed that she is wily as Ferdie in employing Machiavellian tricks. Her bypassing of the proper procedures in the handing of the Marcosian National Artist awards to Carlo Caparas and Cecille Guidote smacks of divide and rule. The lavish dinners, accomodation, large entourage, and the planned (later cancelled) purchase of a Php1.2B jet remind us of Imeldific. With only 10 months left in her term and the bureaucratic delays, she won't have the chance to use it. Is it an indication of her plan to stay beyond 2010, or is the automatic SOP too much to let go?

The people do not trust her at all. The public delights in the mass media bloopers in reporting her death instead of Pres. Cory's. It makes me wonder - could all those bloopers be deliberate? So as to enjoy additional hits in the websites or increase in circulation, in the case of the Bulletin?

An circulating email containing the two photos below, asks who is more sincere? Another email says 92 million people (vs. 1) think the dog is more sincere.

A photo of her taking the Holy Communion is mocked. People clearly do not trust her. And she's all to blame.

Monday, August 17, 2009

White Hair Chronicles VI

In addition to the moon landing, we also mark this year the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. My son Vito teases me about being in grade II when both events happened. He needles me "ang tanda mo na talaga Itay!". I chide him back "My generation has seen the moon landing, Woodstock, martial law, and the EDSA revolution - what have you done?".

I read the news today oh boy, and just as if to remind us how long ago the Woodstock era was, someone very famous and influential from that era, my idol Bob Dylan, was treated like a complete unknown by police when he was accosted by authorities last month. A 24-year-old police officer was unaware of who Dylan is. The rock legend, who was on tour, was just walking around looking at houses to pass some time before that night's show.

A second officer, also in his 20s, who assisted the first officer was also unfamiliar with Dylan, now 68. The singer of such anthems of my generation like the "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Blowin' in the Wind" said that he didn't have any ID with him. The officers took him back to the resort where he was staying. Once there, tour staff vouched for Dylan.

Actually, rock's poet laureate did not perform at Woodstock although he was already an icon and legend at that time. Today, the 20-something generation do not know the man. Maybe now he can write a song answering his rhetorical rantings in his famous song.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

6 tactics to improve the team's productivity

I came upon an on leadership and management from TechRepublic. In the article, leadership coach John M McKee provides tactics for leaders looking to ensure their team remains focused and positive. Here are excerpts. The article in full can be found here.

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”
- Peter F. Drucker.

Keeping team members motivated and performing at the top of their game is especially difficult right now. It’s to the benefit of all concerned that you help them to keep working at full steam. Here are a few “best practices” we’ve seen used successfully by strong leaders:

1. Lead by example - You send messages to your team members with every action and statement. If you’re seen to be giving extra, it will inspire and energize others to do the same. The same holds true for the opposite: showing fear or frustration will only fuel similar results within the team.

2. Focus on communicating objectives rather than defining roles - With fewer human resources, we have to re-assess the key deliverables. Which of them make an immediate impact, and what can be postponed? Engage as many of the team as possible on the most important goals; even if that move takes them outside their old job definitions.

3. Sense of urgency - Keep goals, both individual and team, front and center to ensure focus. Broadcast and talk about results and achievements. You want each individual performing at optimal levels. Note that it's “optimal” and not “maximum”. The former is good management practice, the latter results in burnout and negativity.

4. Celebrate individual contributions - Sports teams are clear about the fact that certain players make a bigger difference, so they recognize those people appropriately. For high performers, hearing only about the “team’s performance” can actually demotivate and cause them to slow down to the “norm”.

5. Provide guidelines to reduce uncertainty - Trusting your team to do the right thing is well and good; but with uncertainties, team members can make improper decisions. Help them with frequent reviews of goals, new or successful past approaches, and preferred outcomes during regular team meetings.

6. Recognize that your emotions affect outcomes - Keeping one's cool in difficult periods serves to help the team maintain their balance and performance. People are de-motivated by constantly cranky or negative bosses. If you have a disappointment, or a major goal was missed, it’s fine and appropriate to say so; but don’t make it personal.

Being a leader is more than being a manager. It requires empathy, attitude, and skill. The effort is worth it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

White Hair Chronicles V

"Life gives us brief moments with one another but sometimes in those brief moments we get memories that last a life time."

Last weekend I had a reunion of sorts with some people I knew from way back. Some of us have not seen each other for 35+ years, after spending together the first 1/4 of our lives. In a few years, the men in the group will turn 50. That will make us certified century eggs (do the math, 50 years * 2 eggs). On the other hand, the ladies who I last saw in their pre-pubescent youth, are now pre(post?)-matronly beauties (just joking, ladies).

So for a brief while, we tried to catch up how our lives went. Who married whom? Who's a grandma now? How are the parents? How did you grow so big? What aches? What happened to your hair?

How am I now? I am proud to say that despite that I am a few years short of fifty, I have the speed and agility of a senior citizen, the eyes of a septuagenarian, and the hair of an octogenarian. What can I say, I am ahead of my time. My wife complains of my high sex drive. She says it's all in my head, she wants it lowered to my loins (another joke).

To those who knew me as a kid and have not seen me hence, this 20 second video shows how I looked before I became a Richard Gere stand-in (joke again).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

My women's tennis album 2

Ok guys, we all like sports. We like men's tennis too but why do pictures of women tennis players get to be viewed/downloaded much more than the men's. The same is true for beach volleyball. And we are more interested in the pictures alone and not on the results. We know how many grand slams the men have, but do we know how many slams the Williamses have? I don't. So again to the many fans of Maria, enjoy the photos. We're not pervs, just die-hard fans. ;)

See Also: Album 1

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mass media "kills" GMA; there might be a method to her madness

LOL!!! It seems like everyone can't wait for this to happen..... on TwitpicGMA has been president for too long that when some people say president they inadvertently say Arroyo afterward. If it's election time and you're a candidate, that's good. But if the people's reaction is it's as if they wish it to happen, then it's bad, election or not and candidate or not.

In the TV/radio broadcast of former President Cory's wake and burial several reporters have 'killed' GMA. But they recover in time and manage to correct themselves.

But recovery was not possible in the 'killing' of GMA by the Manila Bulletin, August 6 edition. The paper might have discovered a sure way to boost readership. They carelessly captioned a photo (shown here) -"with utmost care, military...moves the coffin of President Arroyo...". I think there is one proofreader looking for a new job by now.

The Internet version of ABS-CBNnews also managed to inflict cancer to GMA in its report dated July 24, 2009, a snap shot of which appears on the left. The website has not been corrected since.

Mistakes or wishful thinking?

There might actually be a method to GMA's madness in the recall of President Cory's security. We all know that the former president has been gravely sick. Her medical history was no secret, and even if it was, it is easy to get medical details. Remember GMA's boob job?

Malacanang surely knew that Cory's cancer has spread to her other organs and that she had just days to live. And being a former president, Cory is entitled to a state funeral that means means lying in state at the Palace. And the wake would mean throngs of people will troop to pay their respects. Malacanang can be sieged! So what can the taray queen do? Well something that will offend Cory's kin enough for them resent the government and thus reject a state funeral. Like withdraw the security perhaps?

So rightfully, the family rejected a state funeral which made GMA look bad. But GMA has a bad image anyway. And in the end, the thousands who paid their respects to Cory did so but not in Malacanang, where they could have had the naughty thoughts of reclaiming it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

GMA to insist on Cha-cha

NBN-4 televised yesterday CNBC's interview with Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. I caught a portion of it and from what I heard it seems that she will definitely push for Cha-cha. The interviewer, Maria Bartiromo, asked if she would want to continue as prime minister. GMA's reply was not a categorical no, but she insisted that fundamental reforms in the political system is necessary.

Our dysfunctional political institutions became that way because of GMA herself, and now she has the gall to declare that amendments are necessary. Fortunately, many now see through her devious plans. Definitely she will not succeed.

Here is the transcript from 7:26 to 8:42. In the video, you may slide the progress bar to around 7:26. Or click here to open a new window.

Maria Bartiromo - ...So it sounds like you are not done yet. You still have a lot left on your plate

GMA - YES!(grins and nods)
MB - Let me ask you this - would you like a constitutional amendment to a parliamentary system where perhaps you can serve as prime minsiter?

GMA - Well, I've always been saying there are two Philippines. One is where the economy is working again and moving forward. The other one is where the policitcal system is still broken. We've done many fundamental reforms in the economy and it's time to begin to do fundamental reforms in the political system. Now where that will go, what the specific reforms will be, that will be up to those who are in charge of doing such amendments.

MB - I guess there was a vote recently and a third of the people said that they do not expect PGMA to step down.

GMA - (chuckles) Oh well (unintelligible) that's only a third and that's not true and I've said it over and over again, my term ends in 2010 but until the last day I'm going to continue to work hard for our economy, our environment, and our education,

MB -  Sounds like the people likes you to be there beyond 2010 which I'm sure is a very nice feeling for you.

GMA - The important thing is what we must do within this next year.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

People power spirit is alive with Cory's death

Many political pundits declare that people power is dead or there is is people power fatigue among Filipinos. Well, that was not evident the past few days since Cory died. I think people power just needed a call from a truly credible person and many would have come. Sadly that one person, Cory, had died.

The video above shows the Cory procession at the Quirino-Roxas leg. The route that passed through EDSA, Ayala, Buendia, Quirino and Roxas Blvd took all of five hours. Many Filipinos did not mind the intermittent rains and hot sun just to see a glimpse of Cory magic. The photos below are also taken at the corner of Quirino and Roxas Blvd. The last photo is from Aljazeera news network.

Now that Filipinos discovered that people power is still in them, the little one in Malacanang better behave.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Cory's death further isolates GMA

When I woke up last Saturday, I was expecting the GMA-friendly press to harp on the meeting between GMA and Obama. The TV news last Friday night was already half-agog with the success of the meeting. It is no secret that GMA was angling for a meeting for the longest time.

To many's sad surprise what instead greeted us was the news of Cory's death. She had a tough battle with cancer and we knew she'll be gone soon, but the news still jolted the Filipinos. The beloved former president, the symbol of democracy, the brave widow of a martyred hero, is gone. And with that whatever trumpeting of the GMA-Obama meeting was trumped. Even in death Cory spoiled GMA's glory.

In no time at all, the networks pulled all the plugs and flooded us with profuse praise for the former president. It was people-power relived even for a short while. We are again united. But as if to validate Imelda's rehabilitation two decades hence their ignonimous exit, little mention was made about the former first lady and her excesses. The Inquirer's report on her 80th birthday last July seemed like a report from a martial law controlled paper. Yes, today even Imelda enjoys better press than Gloria.

In an interview at her mother's wake, Kris Aquino thanked the Marcoses for their prayers for Cory. Later she also thanked Erap. But she expressed hurt feelings about the present administration's withdrawal of the security detail for her mother. She also effectively refused the offer of a state funeral. Cory's family is not even  keen on seeing GMA at their mother’s wake or funeral. Meanwhile, a coup plotter during Cory's presidency salutes (click here video) the dead president. Col. Ariel Querubin said "It is no secret that I was one of those who led the coup against her administration in 1989 and I am glad that 20 years then, the wounds brought about by that exercise have begun to heal. At this time of national grief, and in her honor, I give my former Commander-in-Chief my snappy salute. Farewell, Mrs. President."

Healing the wounds of EDSA is one of GMA's priorities. That may be happening but no thanks to this administration. GMA's increasing isolation hastens the healing process. And as soon as she is gone, the nation will again become as one.