28 March 2009

Time's up

So how did our Earth Hour celebration in Wellington, New Zealand this year go?

We promptly turned off all lights and the TV at 8:30PM right after the American Idol, and we headed off to our room. We decided to ring up a couple of our friends to greet them on this momentous hour. We are happy to say that they, too, were celebrating Earth Hour by turning off all their lights. This phone exchange lasted for more than half an hour. We had to hang up with our second conversation when they said they were going to say the rosary.

And why not say the rosary too? So my wife and I whispered the Glorious mystery while Jo-Lo slept soundly. When we were finished, only a couple more minutes were left of Earth Hour.

We turned on the TV at 9:30PM to watch the remainder of the weekend movie feature, Armaggedon. The irony was not lost to me as we watched a movie about saving the planet. And just like that, it was "time's up."

I hope that others have also found value in this exercise, that simple acts like turning off the lights and plugging off appliances when not in use can make a difference. I hope our Earth is still a looooong way off from its own "time's up." Because we don't really have anywhere else to go when global warming takes a turn for the worse.

Celebrate Earth Hour today

Switch off your lights at 8:30 tonight! Visit Earth Hour to learn more.

25 March 2009

Boyet Fajardo who?

By now you would have known about this power tripping incident by a certain Boyet Fajardo at the Duty Free Fiesta Mall at ParaƱaque City. Well, in case you haven't, here's a description of the incident based on a narrative by Concerned Filipino Citizen:

Last March 13, 2009, Filipino Fashion Designer Angelino Boyet Fajardo created a scene, to the shock and horror of shoppers and employees of Duty Free Philippines alike, when a cashier politely asked for his ID after presenting his unsigned credit card. This is a standard operating procedure applicable to all stores to verify ownership of the credit card and prevent fraud.

Suddenly, the designer reportedly got furious and, at the top of his voice, started berating the cashiers and managers of Duty Free Philippines. He might have thought a celebrated person like he is, with all his accolades and fame, has gone unrecognized by the cashier. A new well-trained casual worker who is carefully doing his job. The designer further shocked bystanders by cursing the people there with words such as leche and p...ina, while angrily expressing surprise why the people there did not recognize him.

Store managers and officers were sought to appease the matter, explaining to him that it is all included as a standard operating procedure in credit card payment for the safety, not only for the company but also his own. Ignoring all this, he pulled out his phone and threatened to call on high positioned government officials whom he allegedly knew, like doing a power-play to make these people realize how important he is. He went on saying "Mga leche kayo! Hindi niyo ako kilala? Ako si Boyet Fajardo! At itong p...ina na babaeng ito (pointing to a lady officer) at ang baklang ito (pointing to the cashier) ay walang kwentang mga tao! I want them fired!!!"

His yelling and berating went on and on. He cannot calm down and as he appeared to have bloodshot eyes, like that of a drunk person and or under an influence. He threw his passport on the cashier's face and later intentionally stepped on the cashier's foot to say "Ay sorry, di ko sinasadya!" He goes on to say, that only if the cashier kneel down before him and/or allow him to freely slap the cashier's face, may he get satisfied.

The ill-fated cashier, with all the onlookers watching, stand down and just simply gave in to probably he thought would end the matter. Crying in shame he slowly knelt down and apologize (for actually doing his job) before this self proclaimed GOD, perhaps for fear of loosing his job. No slapping was made to the cashier's face but the incident landed a harsher and reverberating sound to the faces of the lesser people of this society.

Fortunately, his inhumane acts were caught on CCTV in which a portion was featured in YouTube.


With such disrespect, discrimination and humiliation towards a good worker, a less fortunate person and a fellow Filipino...

1. We are calling all citizens to stop patronizing Boyet Fajardo's RTW labels such as Substance in SM department stores, Boyet Fajardo and Initials in Landmark and Robinson's department stores.
2. We are calling on all malls to pull out or stop distributing his products in your outlets.
4. We are calling on the Commission on Human Rights, Department of Labor and Employment and all human rights and labor activists to take appropriate legal actions on this matter.
5. We are calling all foreign embassies to deny him of entry to your respective countries.
6. We are calling on the Fashion Designers Association of the Philippines to dishonor him of his membership and profession.

...To give him a lesson and to help us stop him from victimizing the underprivileged over and over and over again.

In a recent news article by ABS-CBN, the said display of arrogance was called a "creative outburst" by Ricky Rivera, the designer's spokesperson, and that the footage from the surveillance camera might be misinterpreted by viewers. Let's see... a salesclerk kneeling in front of Boyet Fajardo and crying, and Mr. Fajardo pointing a finger at the cashier... and he was just explaining something to them? Give me a break. Even without audio, you can plainly see just what is happening there.

Nobody deserves the kind of treatment Boyet Fajardo did to the clerks, who were simply doing their jobs for crying out loud. I feel for the clerks, who must have been so afraid to lose their jobs in these trying times.

While the online petition calls for rather drastic actions, I think a no-patronage of his products should send out the message to him and bring him to a more manageable level. And the clerks deserve a personal apology. With kneeling too, perhaps?

How I loathe power trippers.

21 March 2009

Taking a ride on the time machine

This week has been one heck of a nostalgic ride. And it all started with a face from my high school days.

My family went to mass a couple of weekends ago and I saw a familiar face. It was unmistakeable. Amazing how his face had not changed much for over 20 years! Equally amazing is the fact that I am quite known for forgetting names and faces but his name came to me like it was only last week that we were classmates! However, before I was able to talk to him after the mass, he had vanished with his family.

A couple of days later, Carlo Peralta, a fellow high school batchmate, left a note in one of my blog posts. I thought about asking him if he had contact with our batchmate. That led to Jerry Andrada, another batchmate, to write that he had contacted our schoolmate and he might be in touch soon, and that many of our batchmates are in Facebook!

Whoa. I've had a Facebook account for quite a while now but occasional searching had not lead to any of my high school classmates. So I searched for Carlo and Jerry. And there they were.

Soon, I was getting requests to link up with other batchmates, and I found some more while searching who was linked to who. Oh, such memories! You'd see their photos 20 years hence, and yet you see them as they were waaaay back in high school. And memories flood in. I'm happy to say most of them are happy memories. Of hanging out in the corridor by the chapel during recess, making noise in the library and getting friendly with the Librarian and helping out with the books, unforgettable instructors...

...the CAT trainings on Saturdays, being on Science high at first year then on regular classes on second year, playing an angel in the school Christmas play one year, then a shepherd in another, and almost demoted to sheep on the following year, my Social Studies teacher calling me and asking why I copied my research off the books and she wouldn't believe that my research composition was original, of my good friend Leo and I getting dropped off our class Top Ten because of Physical Education (darn!) and at the same time happy because our friend Sonny made it to top ten (yipee!) and his mother was so proud of him...

... we played Spirit of the glass and the glass moved! I served at the canteen during recess and found that a very fast-paced work is not for me (I kept forgetting the prices), but we loved being customers just the same even if it's just for soup. And best of all, it was the 80s! Trench coats, petroleum jelly on our hair, baggy pants, tight pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Culture Club, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, Spandau Ballet, Miami Vice, Star Wars, Superman, Indiana Jones, wrestling, Cyndi Lauper, Mister T, Centurions, Smurfs, Nintendo, Fun House, ...

Seeing my schoolmates on Facebook is like traveling to a time when everything seemed so much simpler. SLU Boys High Batch 1987 rocks! High school was the best.

17 March 2009

28March2009, 8:30PM is Earth Hour

Time flies...

I still vividly remember around the same time last year back in the Philippines. My officemates and I have been planning for this 5-day vacation since December, and we were finally living the dream that beautiful month of March. Our trip lead us through the whitewater rapids of Cagayan de Oro, their night market, the pineapple farm in Bukidnon, and on the beautiful island of Camiguin. It was in the hot springs of Camiguin that we found ourselves the night of Earth Hour. Yep, even while we were on vacation mode, I wanted us to celebrate Earth Hour. For one thing, it's because it's the first time this was being celebrated in the Philippines.

With a stroke of luck, there was actually a power failure on the hot springs resort so cutting back on power usage was easy. But being a resort, they would have some sort of emergency power on hand and so our company used a lone light bulb to light up our picnic table. Not exactly 100% electricity independence but we did what we can. Actually, we did not have that bulb on for much of that hour...

And that is how my first Earth Hour will always be truly memorable for me. Now, here I am in New Zealand with my family, a second Earth Hour worth celebrating and remembering.

Show your support for Mother Earth! Learn more at the Earth Hour site.

11 March 2009

Sweet as

The first time I heard this phrase was at work. I helped out someone and when I was finished, he remarked, "sweet as." I did not know how to reply to that, so I just let it slide, all the while thinking... "sweet as what?" Ever since then, I have received that comment a couple more times. A quick google search revealed that "sweet as" actually meant "cool", or "awesome", or in the way I received the remark, a sort of "thanks".

I do not hear it that much, actually (save for a more recent ad campaign for Bluebird chips, now you hear "sweet as" on radio and TV). I think it's a quote more readily used by the younger generation though. I would more likely hear "cool", "wonderful", "cheers" and "that's fantastic!" from my peers.

Right now I'm stuck with saying "great" or "nice" but when I'm with Filipino friends, it becomes "ows?" and "ayos lang" :-)

Sweet as.

06 March 2009

Thank you, Francis Magalona

I still couldn't believe it. Francis Magalona has passed away.

Francis has succumbed to acute myelogenous leukemia at around 12 noon today. I just learned about it when I logged in to YM to kid around with my Manila officemates before they sign off for the day and saw links to Francis M's blog. We were aware of his bout with cancer last year when we were about to leave. Links about him only meant two things. Either he's better or...

I really couldn't believe he's gone...

He was one of the more popular faces in the merry 80s. He was part of the Bagets II cast as well as Ninja Kids. He was a breakdancer, and a rap artist. He popularized Pinoy hiphop, with lyrics that tackled politics, Filipino life, and more importantly, Filipino pride.

I have this video of Parokya ni Edgar with Francis M in a jamming session similar to MTV Unplugged. His segment is easily one of the highlights of the CD. He is truly an artist that rode the wave of my generation.

Thank you, Francis M, for giving Pinoys pride in our music, and for making the 80s a lot of fun.

Related news: Inquirer

Monet and the Impressionists at the Te Papa Museum

Frankly speaking, I am not a connoiseur of the arts. But the library at Saint Louis University in Baguio City, Philippines where I studied Engineering had these large format books in the Reference Section, each dedicated to a particular artist and their works, which captivated my attention for many hours. The story of their lives so richly described, with an assortment of works dedicated per page. So when their names get mentioned, I would more or less recognize them as important artists.

So when I saw advertisements in the city announcing that Monet's work (along with other Impressionists) will be on display in the museum, I got all excited about it. This just might be a once in a lifetime experience! To see Monet's work up close and personal will be monumental.

Impressionism was a revolution in painting style, in that most of the work before was done in the studio. Claude Monet (1840-1926) and his company of fellow artists took the canvas to the great outdoors, and highlighted the play of light and shade on their subjects in a distinctive painting style. Renoir and Degas will also be there!

To see this exhibition which is going to run from Valentine's Day to 17th May, we will have to fork over $15.00 per person. Now, to find the right day to visit...
Head on to the Te Papa Museum website for more information on the exhibit!

Photo credit: Te Papa Museum website

03 March 2009

Following the Cable Car's trail

Wellington's historic Cable Car is one of the city's popular tourist attractions. From the busy Lambton Quay, one can conveniently reach the Botanic Gardens located in the upper regions through the cable car, which runs every ten minutes within its hours of operations.

Well, I'm sure you're expecting that I will proceed to a narration of the thrill of the ride and the wonderful scenery all around. But I'm not. heh. Instead, Friday afternoon saw us walking along the route that winds through the path of the cable car. We were just wondering if a walk from Lambton Quay to the Botanic Garden by way of the path of the Cable Car is just as worth it.
We started at the Parliament Building and were walking along Lambton Quay when we saw this corridor between two buildings that said it would lead us straight to the Terrace, a busy commercial street. So we climbed a flight of stairs that lead us to the Terrace, and walked for around 4 blocks or so. This lead us to Everton which ran perpendicular to the superhighway. We crossed this street, and soon enough, we have left the line of buildings to greener surroundings with traces of where the cable car passes through.

A playground suddenly came in full view and so we stopped for Jo-Lo to have a break. Well... ok, for us too!
I believe we were already three-fourths of the way to the Botanic Garden but we actually started late (I got stuck in traffic on the way from work) so we decided to make the descent after a few minutes at the park.

Our verdict? The uphill climb starting from Lambton Quay afforded us a different view of this part of town. I also became more aware that there are actually these alleyways between buildings that lead to shops and bars, and that you are truly never far from Nature even when you're in the city.

But if you are in tourist mode and would like to do more touristy stuff rather than exploring "unkown" territory, take the scenic route. Ride the cable car, get to the Botanic Garden, and you'll have a lot more space to explore in the enormous park.

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