28 March 2011

Earth Hour 2011

We had a feeling of deja vu last Saturday as we turned off the lights a few minutes after we started dinner. My wife pointed out that last year, we were also having dinner when we turned off the lights, and we also just finished watching American Idol at that time.

We had a relatively quiet Earth Hour; I was planning to put up the tent in the lawn so we can watch the stars but the weather had other things in mind. So stay put inside the house we did.

But telling our Earth Hour story is not the reason why I am writing about it, though.

This event has been running for quite some time now, but there are still some people who do not get the point of it all. They say turning off your lights for one hour is not going to do anything at all, and that you need to do something more substantial in order for your efforts to have an effect.

"The journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step."

Earth Hour is that single step. When you realize that something as simple as turning off your lights is doable, then you may realize that it isn't so bad at all if you turn off the lights in the room where no one's using it, or properly shut the faucet so it's not dripping, or don't use the hot water on the tap all the time. These things add up to, and if everyone is made aware of this, then together we can all make the change happen. That's where the + comes in the logo. Earth Hour, beyond the hour.

25 March 2011

Capital E! National Arts Festival's GlobalFest

GlobalFest marks the closing of the National Arts Festival and celebrate the diversity of our beautiful city in a fun free afternoon for the whole family.

Enjoy great food, hands-on crafts and activities, and stunning dance and music performances in this day long celebration of Wellington and its people. Civic Square will come alive with a sea of colourful costumes, scintillating sounds and tantalising tastes.

Bring the family and party away the closing day of the Festival!

Date and Time: Sun 27 March, 10am - 3pm
Venue : CIVIC SQUARE (Wet weather venue - Capital E)
Duration: As long as you like
Age: Everyone
Price: Free

Reference: Capital E! website

21 March 2011


We were treated to a cool view of the moon last night. There were a few clouds about, but in the areas where the skies are clear, the stars shone through behind a majestic blue. The full moon was especially captivating. I remembered I have just installed Google Sky Maps on my Android phone and I asked my son Jo-Lo if he wanted to do a little stargazing. To which he excitedly agreed.

And so there we were under the cool night sky, trying to spot constellations through the phone. Watching this sky reminded me of how vast our universe is. And we, ever the curious beings, have always tried to search for answers to the whys, the hows, the whens of everything around us.

Then I remembered that at this very weekend, the moon will be closest to the earth in 18 years and it will be 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter. A Supermoon, that’s what it’s called. And it’s happening tonight.

However, aside from being an interesting celestial phenomenon, there is also a superstitious side to it. The moon, which affects our ocean’s tides, can apparently bring about natural disasters in the order of earthquake and tsunamis when it is closest to Earth. Such dire predictions coming in the wake of recent tragic events can make our imaginations run wild! While many – especially scientists – dismiss such allegation as fiction, others take the safe approach of staying in the comfort of their own homes. Just in case the big one strikes…

Tonight is a case for pondering. We humans have advanced so much these past years. We have the power to flatten mountains, build skyscrapers, see and talk with each other halfway across the world, clone plants and animals. But every so often something happens that makes us realize that we are at the mercy of the elements, no matter what clever inventions we can come up with. Just look at the sky tonight and gaze at the Supermoon. Are we looking at the very thing that will be the cause of another catastrophe? Or believe in what the men of science have to say? Science, or superstition? With so many uncertainties in this world, where would you put your trust in?

(This article also appeared in the Definitely Filipino blog)

18 March 2011

Relating Well in New Zealand

(A rather late post I know, but check if there are still seats available if you are interested.  Thanks)

Life in a new country can be challenging. You are invited to the Free half-day seminar: Relating Well in New Zealand

Run by Relationship Services you will learn about:
  • New Zealand culture
  • strategies for coping with change
  • opportunities for networking and support
  • tips on where to find help

This is a great opportunity to hear from other newcomers and their experience of settling into New Zealand and to gain knowledge and skills for settling successfully in New Zealand.

Saturday 19 March, 9 am – 12.45 pm
Level 5, Outwide House
61-63 Taranaki Street, Wellington

To register please contact Relationship Services Wellington on 385 1729 or 0800 RELATE (0800 735 283) or email wellington@relationships.org.nz

Morning tea will be provided.

Kind regards,
Wellington - Settlement Support New Zealand 

Other schedules and information about this seminar series can be found in the Relationship Services website

11 March 2011

Race Relations Day

Race Relations Day: An annual international event to eliminate racial discrimination

Please join us to celebrate this year’s theme: “Living in Harmony”

Saturday 12 March
Johnsonville Community Centre (Main Hall)

~ Free Entry ~

There will be:
Ethnic Food stalls
Entertainment by the diverse cultures from our local community


DJs from Kool FM~
Whitireia Students of Music, and

You may even get a chance to hear yourself on radio

(All proceeds donated to the Red Cross Christchurch Earthquake Relief Fund)

11 am -       Tai Chi Interactive Session
11.30 am  - Formal Opening
11.50 am - Chinese Martial Arts / Cultural performances
12.10 pm - Filipino Community Performances
12.30 pm - Fusion Arts
12.50 pm - Bollywood /Indian Arts  Performance
1.10 pm - Mystery Segment from Kool FM
1.30 pm - D J Music

(Please note that some programmes may be subject to change)

Please attend and appreciate it if you could pass this on to your networks

This event is brought to you by Settling In, Family and Community Services, Ministry of Social Development, Whitireia Community Polytechnic, Wellington City Council, Society for South East Asian Communities and Mabuhay Association

For further information, please contact
Matilde Tayawa - 027 2282675
Murali Kumar - 029 235 4322 

09 March 2011

KASAGIP Charitable Trust Friendship Meeting

If you are keen on helping our kababayans especially the new arrivals, or even those who have been here for a while and may be experiencing some difficulties, Kasagip Charitable Trust is conducting a friendship meeting on March 19 (Saturday) from 3.30-4.30 pm at the Johnsonville Community Centre, Room One.

Free po ito. The purpose is to provide an avenue for those who wish to help, and also to those who may know some people they can refer who might be in need of help to be together in one gathering -- we from Upper Hutt will go to Johnsonville personally to entertain questions.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Kasagip or register for this event.

The Johnsonville Community Centre's website is at http://www.johnsonvillecommunitycentre.org.nz/

06 March 2011

Directory of Filipinos in the Wellington CBD

(A Message from Allan Villarante)

As an aftermath of the recent Canterbury earthquake, I think it is important that we will have a directory to be able to connect and coordinate efforts in events of emergencies, e.g, earthquakes, tsunami, etc. Having a directory which shows details of our agencies, workplace locations (floor level in the building, etc), and immediate contact numbers might be of great help. As nobody could predict calamities as devastating as the recent Canterbury earthquake to strike the Wellington CBD, it is just to our best interest to have a directory for purposes of accounting Filipinos.

This request would be consistent with the recent Code of Practice issued by the Privacy Commissioner under the Privacy Act 1993, i.e., to help emergency services and other agencies share personal information as necessary for purposes related to the earthquake, to assist victims of the earthquake and their families. These purposes include helping government agencies to identify injured people, deal with damaged property, help people get medical and financial help, get information to families, make sure visitors to New Zealand can get home and co-ordinate services. The Privacy Act allows the collection and disclosure of personal information in emergencies, including for public safety.

Please take note that any expansion of the scope of the information requested other than the 3 questions asked in the current questionnaire could be challenged under the Privacy Act 1993. Information relating to individual telephone numbers, email addresses, number of children, (including cats, dogs, and other pets), marital status, status and position in employment are purposely missed out to prevent any person and/or organisation who may have access to this information, even the Philippine Embassy here in New Zealand, to use these directory for any other purpose other than what this is intended for – a breach to personal privacy of any individual signing in to this directory.

This directory project has been well thought of and studied carefully to protect people’s personal privacy, as much as reasonably practicable. Any addition or modification to the current form would not be the responsibility of the project coordinator at all as that would harbor breach to several principles of the Privacy Act.

If you intend to post this to your email group list (i.e., fb friends, yahoogroup, twitter accounts), please be aware that I do not intend to respond to individual opinions on this project as responding to this request for information in VOLUNTARY in nature and no compulsion or force will be made on those people who would opt to be excluded. Please no debate.

Again, information sharing requested in this form are voluntary in nature and I welcome only those who would be comfortable and willing to share their information for the above set purpose. When completed, everyone who signed in as well as the Philippine Embassy in Wellington will be furnished an e-copy of this directory for their monitoring, guidance and information.

It is much appreciated if you can encourage your friends, relatives and acquaintances working and/or may be residing within the Wellington CBD to fill in this directory. Similar initiatives within the Wellington Region and other parts of New Zealand should also be encouraged and supported.

To be able to submit your details online please click: http://tinyurl.com/pinoys-wellington-cbd and you will only provide your name, name of your organisation and your workplace address. Rest assured any information about you will not be shared unless you permit for the sharing of such.

Alan J. Villarante
Newlands, Wellington

03 March 2011

11 Filipinos in Christchurch earthquake presumed dead

Let us include the victims and their families in our prayers in this time of sadness...

Jessie Lloyd Redoble,
John Kristoffer Chua,
Ezra Mae Medalle,

Emmabelle Anoba,
Jewel Francisco,
Ivy Jane Cabunilas,

Mary Louise Anne Amantillo,
Valquin Bensurto,
Rhea Mae Sumalpong,

Erica Nora, and,
Lalaine Agatep.

(ABS-CBN news)

01 March 2011

Consultative Meeting for Philippine Heritage Classes

(Unfortunately this reached me only this morning but you might want to check it out if you are interested and available later)

Dear Friends,

I wish to inform you that the Philippine Embassy is presently preparing for a special cultural project known as Philippine Heritage Classes for Young Filipino Migrants in New Zealand. It aims to provide learning opportunities for the third generation of Filipinos in New Zealand about Philippine history, culture, arts and values. With this project, we hope to raise the level of awareness, understanding, appreciation and love of Philippine history and culture among these young Filipino
migrants for them to be able to make more comprehensive, creative and meaningful representations of the Philippines in various multi-cultural gatherings in New Zealand and as well as in other countries.

At this stage, the Embassy has already come up with the project proposal and would like to seek more insights from teachers, parents, spiritual leaders and youth representatives from the Filipino community in order to make the project truly effective and attractive to its targeted age groups. This core group will help in formulating the modules for the classes. The project will then be made available for Filipino community organizations to adopt as a joint project with the Embassy.

In view of this, we would like to invite you to join us in the first consultative meeting with other members of the Filipino community who, like you, were highly recommended to us to be members of the Philippine Heritage Classes Core Group. The meeting will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, 1 March 2011 at the Philippine Embassy, 50 Hobson St., Thorndon, Wellington.

We will very much appreciate your kind cooperation and valuable support for this project.

Please confirm your attendance on or before 25 February 2011 with Ms. Liza Jane V.
Estalilla, Cultural Officer of this Embassy at tel. no. 472-9848 ext. 8.

Yours sincerely,

Charge d’ Affaires, a.i.
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