29 July 2005

105 'Useless' Librarians ???

I was just bloghopping the Friday afternoon away when I chanced upon Rnoldz's post on this article in Manila Bulletin entitled 105 ‘useless’ librarians. The introductory paragraph reads thus:

HAVING been accredited by the Professional Regulatory Commission, 105 librarians, just like 101 Dalmatians, make us wonder what to do with them? Their only possible employment lies with Powerbooks, National Book Store, and all other book companies which probably have more books than all the public libraries in the country.

You may read the article in its entirety here.

Since he has something to say in this Opinion/Editorial column, I would like to give the writer, who is apparently Mr. Adrian Cristobal, a piece of my mind. Sure, he may say that his column is an OPINION column, but that does not mean he can say anything to his fancy! Sure, he says that the above statements are just an exaggeration, but what he has mentioned in his article is no laughing matter.

Obviously, this Mr. Cristobal is ignorant about the topic he has chosen to write about. Limiting employment options to commercial bookstores! I wonder if he knows that librarians can be employed not only in schools, but also in banks and broadcast companies.

While he is correct in stating the obvious that budget cuts usually mean drastic measures on the education system (such as the purchase of books), he is painting only one side of the story. I wish he could have also mentioned that there are a LOT more people in this country that needs books. Why, even those Congressmen who apparently has no use for libraries and librarians (I wonder if he made a poll for congressmen to determine this) has at one time or another stepped into a library to further their studies from grade school on to college.

I wonder at all if he knows what being a Librarian entails. For they are not merely keepers of books. They steer and guide the information gateway that schools use to tap into the rich resource of books and the Internet. Yes, Librarians are also learning how to cultivate and maximize Library resources alongside technology. It's no longer books, but interconnection with other Libraries to access their vast resource of archived newspapers, dissertations, and precious books.

I should know. I once worked in a Library to support myself through college. And my wife is a Librarian.

Sadly, it is the government's inadequate support to the education system that is making the people less and less familiar to the written word, a wonderful source of creativity and imagination. Though people have access to simple reading materials such as newspapers, they resort to - as Mr. Cristobal has labeled - the idiot box, more popularly known as the TV. This much I will agree with Mr. Cristobal.

But likening the 105 Librarians recently accredited by the Professional Regulatory Commission to the 101 Dalmatians is in bad taste.

28 July 2005

Salamat, salamat musika ...

I would just like to share part of an e-mail exchange with one of our business partners in Singapore.

Here it is ...

Thank you so much Nick!

Hope all is well.

[deleted business matters here]

By the way, I finally got to meet Lea Salonga in April when she was here for a one-night concert. As for Martin Nievera, his concert is on this weekend. Some Filippino fan I am eh? As for you in Manila, the upcoming SEA Games must have created a wonderful scene in the city eh?



And here's my reply:

Hello Alan,

I am green with envy. Because I haven’t seen Lea Salonga perform live! I attended a Miss Saigon play here in Manila years back, but it was not she who performed at that time. I see you are also familiar with Martin Nievera. Energetic guy he is, and a popular concert performer. You just made me smile and I will definitely blog about this!

[deleted business matters]


He took the photos included in this post (with permission to use, of course). This e-mail definitely made me smile. Filipino talents being appreciated outside our country. Music is truly a universal language.

27 July 2005

That's a wrap!

We had a photoshoot in the office a couple of Fridays ago. The resulting digital stock was to be used in marketing and corporate collaterals. The photographers set-up one of our bigger spaces into a "studio", where our management team got their individual and group photos taken. Four flashbulbs situated on 4 corners would simultaneously go off, while the "subject" gets comfy in the center of this square.

Prior to the actual shoot, they needed some stand-ins for the preliminary testing. So they called me and their two companions to the center. Then *pop!* went the flash. You see white, and then it's ok. Surprisingly, you don't get blinded by all those flashes. Amazing. In fact, it gets fun the longer you stay at the center.

Yes, I admit it. I was momentarily attracted to the flashing lights, of getting my face posted in billboards all over the Metropolis, of seeing my face on Magazines, and eventually, on TV! Should I perfect the Derek Zoolander look with Jo-Lo?

"Ok na. Tapos na preliminary testing. Sige, papasukin mo na yung Board of Directors." (ok, perliminary testing is done. Call in your Board of Directors)

Earth to Nick. Reality check. Back to work. (Hmmm... reminds me of Mickey Mouse's The Sorcerer's Apprentice).

Actually, they asked me do a couple of shots, and it was really fun! Now I know how it feels like to be in the limelight. Sort of.

26 July 2005

Something old, something new for a rainy day

I was in Baguio last weekend to visit Jo-Lo, who has grown much bigger since the week before. The weather was very nice, and in my dinner before I left for Manila, my biyenan (mother-in-law) cooked these. Something new, something old.

Ginataang kamatis (baby tomatoes in coconut milk)

This was my first time to have this, and it tasted great! The sweetness of the coconut milk blended well with the slightly sour taste of the baby tomatoes. Pour the soup onto your rice for a splendid mix. Looks like I found something new that I'd like to have for a rainy day. My wife said their Inay (Mother) cooks this in their province when they were kids, and enjoyed having this on their table.

Pritong galunggong at talong (fried fish and eggplant)
Ah, my favorites. What's the english equivalent of galunggong anyways? I like dipping the fried eggplant on soy sauce. Perfect for the rainy season.

What's your favorite rainy season food?

23 July 2005


I was thinking of what to do yesterday after office hours were finally over. It was looking to be an uneventful weekender, so with GMA declaring holiday on Monday, I decided to go home and do my laundry so I can go to Baguio in the afternoon.

I called up Roger, a neighbor and friend in Pasay, to see if he's done with work too and perhaps we can go home together. That arranged, we met outside our building and started the commute home.

In the middle of our travel, Othie (an officemate who rented one room in the apartment a couple of years ago) called me up.

"Where are you?"
"On my way home. Why?"
"There's a fire in your neighborhood. I'm going there to check it out."

When we were near Makati Square, we caught a glimpse of the fire. It was huge! At the boundary of Makati and Pasay, vehicles were no longer being allowed to pass so we walked the rest of the way. Othie later texted that it was quite far from our home, and that I should not worry.

But who wouldn't get worried about a fire so close to home?

"Keep your phone hidden; we're going into the alleyways. It's a shortcut going to the fire. Let's check it out," said Roger.

And so we turned into this really long and narrow passageway which is ... well ... really narrow. If two people meet in this alley, they have to sidestep. And the houses were all joined together. It seemed I did not have to take the extra precaution of having my phone snatched because many of the residents were moving away from the fire with various personal effects in tow. Washing machines, electric fans, bundles of clothes, TV. All had the look of fear, for if the fire got to their place, everything would surely be consumed. And they were even farther from the fire than my apartment!

As we were dodging kids still in school uniforms bearing bags and men and women rushing off, I was thinking about what to save first. The toys? The appliances? The clothes? But I still had time to pack up.

We finally arrived to the scene of the fire. It was only a couple of blocks from our place! The fire was raging, and the narrow streets were not helping any as fire trucks had to fall into queue. We watched as families carried whatever possessions they can save, many crying because they no longer have a house to come back to.

Electricity was cut-off. I went home and started packing. Roger advised not to start panicking, as the fire was definitely not going to reach us. But who can say? What if there's suddenly a strong gust of wind that would send sparks and cinder to our place? I made a mental check of the order by which I would rescue my material possessions. Then we waited outside.

Neighbors who did not usually talk or take notice of each other were chatting about the fire and their fear of it reaching our place, and were asking one another if they had to pack up already. Kids ran to and from a water pump to supply water using pails (there were at least 5 fire trucks there, so this made me wonder why they were running out of water).

The fire was subdued before 9PM. I am thankful that it did not reach our place, and at the same I felt sadness for those who lost their houses that night. I did not have the urge to take photos because I felt it was not proper to document the loss of houses, of people crying, of the fear.

Please, be extra cautious of candles and extension cords in your homes. Check and unplug devices that need unplugging before leaving for work. Double-check if you must. And don't do illegal tapping of electricity. A fire is something that should be taken seriously.

22 July 2005

Record Highs and Lows

For today's lecture on bar graphs, please refer to the diagram above. This was taken from our Meralco electric bill.

The highest peak was in April, when my wife and I shouted "WHAAAAAAATTTT" when we got our notice. It was summertime and we used the aircon every night. Rnoldz once rented the other room and he had an aircon in his room as well. So our electric bill soared to a record high of 3,700 pesoses!

We got a little cautious about our electric consumption and the following month. There was a slight dip, the cost of which became around 3,200 pesos.

And then my wife moved temporarily to Baguio to give birth to Jo-Lo. Rnoldz likewise moved to another apartment. So I decided to sleep in the living room downstairs instead. It's such a waste turning on airconditioning when I'm the only one who'll use it.

So for my electric bill last June? It's less than 500 pesoses! WOW. It's that big a difference. But do you notice that the first bar in the graph is also very high? That's a reading from last year, but I do not recall paying a bill that's over 3,000 pesos. Yes, that's how big the increase in rates have become.

So the moral of the story is: being a couch potato can save on electricity bills!

20 July 2005

Tape Measure please

I arrived at the office a couple of Mondays at the office feeling and looking hagard. I just arrived from Baguio then so I was quite tired, and I haven't shaved for a couple of days.

"Uy, pumayat ka ah!" (hey, you look thinner!), said some of my colleagues.

"Really?", I said. "That's impossible."

I knew it was impossible because I haven't noticed any change in my dietary habits. But they said I looked thin, so that's fine with me. In fact, I would definitely like to lose weight for a change.

My waistline back in college was 29. When I moved to Manila, it became 30, then in 2000, it was already 32. 33 was the widest waistline I had before, during the time when I was playing tennis and going to the gym. Yep, trying to make myself fit had odd consequences.

So last weekend after we had our 1 month celebration for Jo-Lo, I asked my wife to check my waistline if indeed I was getting slimmer.

I am now 34. So it's true what they say, huh? When you get married, you gain weight?

19 July 2005

The weekend with Potter (no spoilers so go ahead and read!)

I  was scheduled to visit my mag-ina (wife and kid) last weeked, but we had to stop by the giveaways trade fair last Saturday morning, so I was able to leave Manila by 8PM already. I brought the Harry Potter Book 6 with me, and I was able to finish 3 chapters in the bus.

Jo-Lo was his usual self: sleeping at daytime, and fully awake at nighttime. So when he grunts (yes, he grunts) for milk, I'd bottle-feed and burp him while I catch up with my reading. And so I spent my Sunday and Monday morning sleeping. By the way, it was Jo-Lo's 1st month birthday last July 18!

My wife Tina was also looking forward to reading HP6 so I endeavoured to finish the book before I left for Manila. Which I was able to do at 11 last night.

And my comment on the book? It was everything I expected it to be. Colorful writing, the plot has definitely become more interesting, and it was indeed fun to re-visit old characters and learn about new ones. And the Defense Against Dark Arts post? Well ... whoops no spoilers here. And the ending was ... was ... secret :-) *Sigh* It's difficult to write about a story with no spoilers. But I enjoyed reading Book 6 immensely, that much is true.

16 July 2005

Harry and Me

I woke up at 8:30 this morning. Must be quite late for your early risers out there, but it's a Saturday and this is already quite early for me.

It's Harry Potter day! I'll get my copy of Book 6 very soon, and I can't wait to line up at the bookstore when the malls open. And so there I was, ironing my clothes when Dessagirl called, asking if I already got my copy.

"Not yet, but I'll be there when the malls open at 10."
"A friend of mine already has a copy since 7AM. In fact, she bought three copies. Bookstores apparently opened early in anticipation of the book's sale."

Great. So much for being one of the top buyers to get a Harry Potter gift item. Anyways, I can't rush off now since I have my reservation, which I did last March. So at 9:30 I was at National Bookstore, where witches were at the entrance peddling the book. There weren't a lot of people in that branch, so I was able to purchase my copy of the book in no time at all.

Jo-Lo would love hearing about Harry Potter when he's ready for bedtime stories.

By the way, if you reserved a copy at National Bookstore, you get it at P1,299.00 (that's P200.00 off the original price) plus a P100.00 gift certificate for your next book purchase. Thank you, National Bookstore!

14 July 2005

Adobe, Pets, and Pinoy Inventors

I  attended the Adobe CS2 Lanuch at Greenbelt 1 with colleagues today. I am an Adobe fan myself, and am using their products (especially Photoshop) where photo editing is needed. The Macs they used is especially cool, with zooming function, fast processing, and very nice interface.

I think I even saw friend Ginno in this event, but he was really concentrating on what was transpiring on stage so I did not bother to call him.

At lunch break, we visited the "Philippine Ecological Expo 2005" opposite OnStage. This event houses pets (cats, dogs, birds, fish - lots of Flower Horns!), but more importantly, the other side of the function hall is dedicated to Filipino inventors. There's a booth that showcased an anti-theft device which will render a vehicle immobile after 30 seconds of illegal operation, there's also a fuel-saving device that's proudly Filipino made, a cure for many ailments using light, the inventor of gugo shampoo is also there, and more. Ah, there's even this device which will enable you to cut on your electric bill!

The Expo will run til Saturday, so if you are a pet person, and/or you'd like to check out Filipino inventions, this event is for you!

13 July 2005

Happy Kiddie Meal!

I m a sucker for toys packaged with meals by fastfood chains (or restaurant, as McDonald's likes to call itself). Especially items with movie tie-ins!

Here's three of my recent acquisitions. The artoo unit at the left is from Jollibee, the Philippine equivalent to McDonald's. They came out with this item only last week; perhaps it was due to a delay in production. I did my usual rush to a nearby Jollibee outlet, only to find out that I need not really rush, because the thing costs a whooping P199.00 plus you have to buy a meal worth at least P150.00. Not many would like to shell out that much cash in one sitting. At any rate, I bought mine since I was already there. It's actually a lunch box. Push R2's 'eye' and out pops a straw from its domed top. The body divides into three containers, the top for water or juice, the other two for rice and viand. The arms convert into spoon and fork, though the handles look quite clumsy to use, and the spoon is a bit shallow. The feet become tissue holders I think. It's quite difficult to detach it from the arms so I didn't try. Personally, I think this lunch box is a disaster waiting to happen because the three compartments don't really lock into place securely so there's a huge possibility that your lunch can become quite a spectacle - on the floor.

The one in the middle is a Burger King water bottle. Buy a sizzling something meal and get this tumbler for P20.00. Or you may buy it separately at around P60.00 I think. I removed the rubber ball in the middle eventually; it's easier to hold with the gaping hole.

And the black tumbler is a KFC promotional item for Batman Begins. Harry, Francis and I bought the bucket meal good for four, and we got 4 tumblers and the plastic chicken container with the Batman design on it.

I have other toys at home that came from fast food specials: Finding Nemo, Tarzan, The Incredibles, Treasure Planet, etc. etc. But I don't have space at home anymore so they end up getting displayed anywhere there's a flat surface. I've brought some up to Baguio actually due to space constraints. Aaargh. Where will I place these new acquisitions now? Wait, what's this I see on TV? A new toy! Later!

12 July 2005

What my weekend was

If I were awarded with a model employee citation last Saturday, it would have been the shortest recognition ever because it would have been revoked by Monday because I was absent :-).

Last Saturday, our management called for volunteers to help in the inventory work at our warehouse in Cavite. I did not confirm my participation, but I arrived at 7:30AM in the office to help out. And off we went to Cavite. We started work at around 9 I think. We were able to finish at 11:30PM. We were exhausted but at the same time feeling good that we were able to help out.

The following day (Sunday), I woke up at around 10 in the morning. I watched TV for a couple of hours, then my neighborhood barkada Roger invited me over to their place for lunch. I got invited eventually to a drinking session outside the house, where they were cooking bopis (chopped meat with spices). They would get some from the huge pan, put it on a plate, taste it, then dump vinegar or soy sauce or salt on it. And everytime somebody else would taste it, he'd likewise dump something onto the dish. I asked how come they can't agree on how it tasted, so they asked me to see how it was. It was really good, actually.

Later in the night, I did my laundry. Come Monday morning, I awoke at 8:30AM. I still felt rather tired and so I texted the office to advice that I will be half day. And off to sleep I did. When I woke up again, at was already 1:00PM! I hurriedly took a bath and searched around for my ID, wallet, socks (I am rather notorious at misplacing things). When I glanced at the clock, it was already 2:00. When I get to the office, it would already be too late! So I texted office to inform them that I will take the day off.

Then I went instead to Divisoria to look for tokens to be used for Jo-Lo's baptism. There were lots of nice things there, and cost around 20-35 Pesos each. I strolled around and even got a couple of 5R photo frames costing 40 pesos each (it would easily cost 3 times as much in the mall). I went home at around 7PM.

And here I am, back in the office on a busy Tuesday, wondering what other adventures await me next weekend.

Photo of the photo frame (am I repeating myself?) which I bought from Divisoria, as requested by Dessagirl.

06 July 2005

Baby Pamahiin

A   couple of days back, We had a discussion with fellow Berks in Blogkadahan about Pamahiin (superstitions - is my translation right?) in having a new baby around. Here are some of these interesting beliefs:

* The child cannot move house or travel long distances if he's not yet baptized
* The umbilical cords of siblings may be tied together and hung by the window so that they will remain clost to one another
* Display the christening gown of the child during the reception after baptism. Place it where guests will see it. The child will become friendly and sociable.
* Don't let the child kiss a doll or a younger kid. The child will take some time before it will learn to talk. Or in the case of kissing a younger kid, this "kissee" will even be able to learn to talk faster than the "kisser".
* When the child is able to eat solid food, let it munch on cooked chicken's behind so it will be able to master the art of speech faster.
* Use a book as the baby's first pillow, so the child will become intelligent.
* On the child's first birthday, gather things around him. Whatever he will like to play with will be his life's passion.
* Also on their first birthday, ask somebody who you would like their traits to be imitated by your child to be the first one to cut his hair. Usually this bit of hair
is also inserteed in a book to make the child intelligent.
* When a child sucks his toes, he's asking for a sibling.
* Cut the child's eyelashes to make it grow long.

It's amusing how our culture has become rich with beliefs in ensuring your child is protected and happy. And I do hope Jo-Lo will be too. Some of the above things will be fun to do.

Thanks to Mec and Ruth for sharing!

04 July 2005

LIVE 8 - The Long Walk to Justice

8 World Leaders will gather in Scotland for the G8 Summit on July 6, where they will discuss possible plans to:
- double the aid sent to the world's poorest countries,
- fully cancel their debts,
- change the trade laws so that they can build their own future.

It is the objective of Live8 to make it known to these 8 World Leaders that the rest of world cares just as much to making poverty end. Millions are stricken with povery, and the children are most especially affected.

I feel very fortunate that I am still able to eat three square meals a day and even blog about my favorite food, while others do not even have access to drinking water! Thank you to Bambit and Teacher Sol for blogging about this.

Live8 is not about giving donations. It's about making your stand, and letting the World Leaders know that you support the move to end poverty!

Visit the Live8 site and act today!

For additional reading, courtesy of Wikipedia:
Live 8
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