Showing posts from January, 2009

Triggering a downward spiral

This is my column today.
If what has happened so far since the start of the year is an indication of what’s in store for us for the rest of the year, I am afraid we’re heading for serious trouble and not entirely on account of external forces such as the global recession. We’re heading for serious trouble because quite frankly it seems many among our leaders have resigned themselves to the fact that there’s not much that can be done this year but mope and sulk around and wring our hands in frustration. In other words, we seem to be pulling ourselves into a downward spiral and there seems to be no resistance from the people who should be out there rallying people not to lose hope. I am aghast, for example, that the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment seems bent on making his mark as this country’s foremost prophet of doom that his department might as well be renamed as the Department of No Labor and Unemployment. He has been on the front pages of most dailies in the la…


Was it the partial eclipse or is it really in our genes?

There's been this slew of overreactions from a number of people lately.

There's that infamous emotional harakiri done by the irrepressible Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago the other day. She has apologized, of course, but the harm has been done. But then again, I guess that's the kind of behavior we have come to expect of her anyway.

And then there was all that speculative drivel about how Obama's warning for dictators and corrupt world leaders was directed at Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as if the Philippines is high up there in Obama's list of priorities; or worse, as if national shame and embarrassment on the global stage at one of the most widely-watched events, is preferable. I found it really amusing how we seemed to have automatically taken credit for the infamy, almost volunteered for it in fact.

Worse, we seem to have appointed Ziggy ("We're all doomed." "It's not going to work!&quo…

Permission granted

There was a group of students from UAP who left a message in this blog requesting permission to use my columns on advertising in a webpage they are developing. It would take up a lot of time for me to trace which post they left a comment on, thus this public answer.

Yes, go ahead, use my column in your webpage but please acknowledge the source. Thanks

Sweet men

This is my column today.
It was a good thing my friend was not the designated driver last week when we met up or she would have been prone to road rage, which seems to be the latest phenomenon to hit our country. My friend, who is female and who happens to work in the academe, was fuming mad— very, very mad—over what she felt were highly bigoted pronouncements made by a cardinal from the Vatican during an academic affair at the University of Santo Tomas. She did give us a sampling of the pronouncements made by Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes. Of course I wasn’t amused with the cardinal’s macho posturing as relayed to us, but having been exposed to the narrow-mindedness that characterize many men of the cloth, I wasn’t as livid as my friend was. Besides, there was the very real possibility that my friend’s reaction was exaggerated. But the cardinal’s pronouncements found its way to the Internet and to some newspapers over the weekend. One news report, which was written by Lito Zulueta and…

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Just got back from a weekend strategic planning session in Tagaytay. I hereby report that it was verrrrrrrry cold up there during the weekend. I have a relatively high tolerance for cold weather but at around 7pm of Saturday, I gave up and wore a thick jacket. I usually just wear a scarf or shawl when am in Tagaytay or Baguio. Okay, I will admit that I make it a point to show off my collection of scarves when given the slightest opportunity, hehehe.

(I think I made a post about it a couple of years ago when I was in Chiang Mai Thailand. Most men in other Asian countries from India and Bhutan to Laos and Cambodia use shawls and scarves all the time. It's like an all-around fabric for them. They use it to warm themselves against the cold, as makeshift bag to carry objects (even babies, actually), and for many other purposes. It comes very handy).

Anyway, just getting back into the swing of things.

It's Chinese new year in an hour and it seems everyone is in search of more luck this…


This is my column today.I’ve known for a long time now that there is a gaping mismatch between what the academe produces and what industry needs. I’ve written about it many times in the past as well.I’ve been involved in a number of studies that empirically proved the presence of the mismatch, measured its dimensions, and even predicted its various implications. I’ve sat in far too many roundtable discussions, consultative meetings, and tripartite conferences involving government, academe and industry called to discuss the problem and find solutions to it.I have heard countless stories— some upsetting, others amusing—from fellow practitioners about the difficulties they encountered in finding suitable candidates for their various openings. I am aware that all things considered, there is unemployment in the country today. There are many reasons for the rising unemployment, and one of them is that many of our graduates are simply lacking in critical competencies and are not qualified fo…

Feeling Barack

Am writing this barely a few minutes before midnight.  The television set is open and am idly monitoring the goings on in Washington, D.C.   I've been surfing through the various channels broadcasting the inauguration, not that it really makes a lot of difference - they're all broadcasting the same footage, obviously from the same source.  
Quick observation: GMA7 has a full crew at Washington led by Jessica Soho to cover the event but strangely, the station has not interrupted their regular programming to give way to the Obama inaugural.  On the other hand, all three ABS-CBN channels - Channel 2, Studio 23, and ANC - has been broadcasting the preparations for the inaugural non-stop since 11.00 PM.

I've been flipping the remote between two channels - CNN and ABS-CBN.  My biased verdict: The annotation being done by ABS-CBN is much more insightful and dramatic than that of CNN.  That's because they have Manolo Quezon on board providing very interesting historical trivia. …

Punitive teachers

This was my column yesterday. I didn't have internet connection at home yesterday, thus the late post.

The four students from the Quezon City Science High School who were meted out a 10-day suspension by their principal will be coming to school today. Hopefully, they will be allowed entry into the school since their suspension had been blocked last Friday by the regional director for the National Capital Region Department of Education, pending an official probe of the controversy.

There are many issues riding on the controversy. Some are central to the case at hand; others are simply static that gets in the way. And as usual, many among us get fixated on the static rather than on the critical issues.

The controversy has yet again sparked spirited discussion on what some people call “responsible blogging.” This particular controversy comes high on the heels of a series of controversies that trace their roots to the blogosphere, among them the politically incorrect diaries of a college…

What time and PR can do

What can I say, it's only been a few weeks since the brutal mauling at the Valley Golf Course and already, it seems the Pangandamans are now the victims in that sordid incident.

PR spin 1:
The de la Pazes started the brawl and the older de la Paz provoked the mauling by poking an umbrella at the Pangandamans.

Being poked by an umbrella deserves a mauling by two burly men and their four bodyguards, who were also carrying long firearms at that time?

PR spin 2:
The de la Pazes are arrogant and so full of themselves, they swagger around in golf courses like they own the golf courses.

Being arrogant deserves a mauling by two burly men and their four bodyguards who were also carrying long firearms at that time?

PR spin 3:
The de la Pazes had reinforcement in the form of Mrs. de la Paz who arrived at the country club with a knife and a male relative who was lugging a baseball.

The supposed reinforcements were a match to two burly men and their four bodyguards who wer…

Three grands at the CCP

This is my column today; it's one of those pieces that I had to finish in less than an hour because the original material for my column today didn't work out. Sigh.
Can you imagine the kind of sensory and musical experience that can be produced by three grand pianos, three of the country’s noted pianists, and the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra performing together in one stage? I couldn’t, so I went to watch 3 Grands: A Piano Celebration at the Main Hall of the Cultural Center of the Philippines last Friday, Jan. 9. It was an astounding experience. To say that I was blown away is an understatement. The kind of music that can be produced by one musical virtuoso playing on a grand piano can already be marvelous beyond words. How much more three musical geniuses on three grand pianos, along with a full orchestra? The concert was the opening salvo of the CCP for 2009. Since the CCP is also celebrating its 40th year anniversary this year, it can be said that the concert kicked o…

Holiday acrobatics

This was my c0lumn last Monday, July 12. Sorry, late post.

MalacaƱang released last week Proclamation 1699, which laid out the holidays for 2009. According to the bright boys from the Palace, Filipinos will be enjoying 10 long weekends in 2009. Perhaps because most everyone in this country is still experiencing a hangover from the extended—some say that the correct term is overextended— Christmas holidays, everyone bought the press release without even giving it closer scrutiny. Everyone simply parroted the announcement made by the bright boys from the Palace: There will be 10 long weekends this year. Not really. Actually, there won’t be 10 long weekends this year. The conclusion that there will be 10 long weekends is unfortunately based on an assumption that is inherently flawed: That everyone, or at least most of the members of the working class in this country, do not have work on Saturdays. Here’s a quick reality check: Only those who work in government service, in certain indu…


In its newscasts today, ABS-CBN once again indulged in sensationalist, tabloid style reportage.

They featured a news story about a student caught in possession of a sachet of marijuana at Embassy Bar. They identified the student, showed his face on television, and went to town with the fact that he is a student of De La Salle University. They even showed his student ID, student number, course, etc. As if what was written on the ID was not enough, they had to superimpose their footage with the name of the university; in huge letters, in bold.

Ano ang kinalaman ng university sa krimen? ABS-CBN is trying to make a connection and they are not even being subtle about it.


Please tell your friends, relatives, neighbors, acquaintances...QUICK PROCESSING AND IMMEDIATE HIRING of qualified applicants at the PNB JOB FAIR, January 14, 15, and 16 at PNB Financial Center, Macapagal Avenue, Pasay City.We have openings for various officer and staff positions.Just drop by. Bring your resume.

Drugs, bribery, and unfair reportage

There are many reasons why the ongoing congressional inquiry on the Alabang Boys/ bribery/ drug dealing is coming across as better-managed and more productive.

The congressmen - or at least those that are involved in this particular inquiry - seem less prone to grandstanding and showing off. The questions that the congressmen are asking are not exactly better examples of how to conduct a cross-examination, but at least they don't strut around like they are omniscient. There's less hysterics and less bullying. Of course, the appearance of the Justice Secretary threw a wrench into the whole inquiry, but what else can we expect from the man anyway.

As a result, I think the kind of information that is being unearthed are more substantive and insightful.

Here are two insights that struck me the most, so far:

1. Drug use is not only prevalent in the country; it's now practically out of control. Sources say we now rank first in terms of drug use in Asia. I am actually not su…

Save Baguio City

This is my column today.

Baguio City is celebrating its centennial this year.

It should be an opportune time to focus on the attractions, potentials, and the many problems of the supposed Summer Capital of the Philippines, a city which I am sure holds a special spot in the hearts of many Filipinos.

Baguio City is one of my favorite places in the country; right up there with Sagada, Vigan, Bohol, Davao, and Camiguin. I know it is not fair to make comparisons particularly since each place offers something unique and distinct. But for those who work and reside in Metro Manila, Baguio offers something that easily puts it notches above other vacation places—it’s relatively more accessible and, consequently, cheaper. If not for the monstrous traffic jams in key cities along the way such as Tarlac and Urdaneta, Baguio City would only be about three to four hours away from Metro Manila.

Unfortunately, Baguio City is no longer what it used to be. The Baguio City that I saw, smelled, and felt a cou…

HIV/AIDS on primetime TV

I've been doing my darnest best to get home on time every night to catch "Precious Time" on ABS-CBN. It's a soap opera, yes. It's a love story, yes. And it's actually Japanese, but tagalized already which means the dialogues have been dubbed using Tagalog. It is also quite old - it was made in 1998. But what makes it interesting for me is that it's a soap opera that tackles head on a very sensitive subject: Living with HIV/AIDS.

I think ABS-CBN deserves to be commended for having the courage to feature on primetime television something that is most timely given the fact that HIV/AIDS transmission in the country is on the rise. It also happens to be a well-made soap opera. It is able to convey a lot of really valuable information about HIV/AIDS without being too preachy although, as expected, it tends to be too gloomy, brooding and depressing in some parts.

The soap opera somehow makes one forget that the network is also responsible for that really cheesy an…

Is this guy for real?

This is my column today.

I didn’t write about that infamous display of arrogance and brute power at a golf course that happened during the Christmas break because I have this thing against kicking a man when he is down. Fellow bloggers have already riled about it anyway and mainstream media have already picked it up. Jojo Robles has written about the incident in his column in this paper as well.

But a news story published in the Inquirer last Saturday raised my hackles. In that story, Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman appealed to the public, specifically to bloggers, to stop vilifying his family. The news report quoted the secretary as saying “We’re being condemned left and right. It’s very painful for us. We’re very much affected by this.” He expressed hope that the criticism directed at him and his family would stop because the appropriate authorities are supposedly investigating already. “They should be sensitive to the feelings of others. The past few days have been very …

Back to work

It's back to work tomorrow.

I was with some colleagues in the human resource management profession for lunch today and I couldn't relate with the general drift of the conversation, which was about how the looonnngg holidays have screwed up work habits and made things difficult for certain organizations. Huh??!

I could relate with the inconvenience encountered by companies with some cash flow difficulties. Holidays meant no clearing which translated into more days before check deposits could be drawn.

But I couldnt relate with that bit about how vacations and holidays encourage indolence and general laziness. I belong to the faction that believes rest and recreation energizes people and makes people more productive.

Okay. So Malacanan Palance went overboard with the holidays during the last holiday season. I don't think it will happen again considering that Christmas and New Year this year fall on a Friday.

Anyway, I have also been advocating that we move the official ob…



Action Plan

(This was something I started to write a few minutes after the New Year rolled in. I didn't publish it because I felt it was too personal. But I changed my mind and decided to publish anyway. So here goes...)

It's 12:43 on my watch, just barely an hour into the New Year.

I've decided not to linger by the dinner table because I didn't want to be tempted to partake of the bottle of red wine that's been opened. I've decided to take a little more extra care of my liver this year, and my lungs, and my... well, my health in general. Although I didn't undergo surgery this year (Thank you, dear God) the results of my annual physical and medical examinations practically screamed " BORDERLINE!!!" in many of the tests except, and this comes as a major surprise to me, cholesterol levels. My uric acid is slightly above normal, my sugar count is borderline, etc. My sgpt and sgot levels have been within tolerable levels - just slightly above high level - but a…