Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Good Customer Support

Along with my search for new template and a free web hosting, I was also looking for cheap domain names. That was only one of the requirements. I need to buy it using my Paypal. Also, it has to be from a site that is from the Philippines so that customer support will be easier on the phone just in case the internet will not be enough.

Unfortunately, I got in touch with two local sites with very poor customer support. On the first site, I got as far as getting the domain name in my shopping cart but I had to stop and ask thru their email support if they accept Paypal. I was a little lenient since it was a weekend. But it was already Wednesday after the weekend and no reply yet. I figured if they cannot reply with payment options, I wonder what happens if it's technical support after the sale.

The second one was more expensive, but I took the chances, because I was thinking, they might be offering a better customer support. But then again, when I asked for the process of paying thru Western Union (Yes, I ignored my Paypal requirement just to get the domain name) so I can start the process. But then again, two nights have passed and no response from them. Again, I figured that if they can't deal with the question of payment, what more with customer support?

Being a bit disappointed, I tweeted that I was looking for a cheap domain name. Luckily, one of my readers here and a frequent commentator linked me to www.namecheap.com.

I got the domain name for less than $9.00 and I did the registration in no time at all. This is even cheaper than the other two local sites.

The pointing and redirecting and all took a little more time. I tried doing it myself first but I wasn't successful after several tries, so I tried to connect to their live support. It took a minute to connect me to a guy named Igor who helped me through the process with a lot of patience.

I am really disappointed with the local sites that I've tried getting in touch with. I wanted to buy Filipino, but it just didn't work. I wouldn't have mind getting the domain name from them even if it's a little expensive. But I guess they are not up to customer service at all.

Do You Remember?

The week ended with Boy and all the entertainment people going all over Robin and Mariel's wedding and all. But we are asking: was it just an excuse that Mariel said she had an ovarian problem that's why she filed a leave from Pilipinas Win Na Win?

Well, you guys might have forgotten but we haven't. Coming from a surgery almost a year ago, I get a certain amount of interest on people who are going through what I have gone through. Mariel is taking too much of the limelight. Can you please step aside and deal with it off the tube?

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Meeting

This would be quick, because I have to go prepare early.

Last Saturday, I attended an oath-taking ceremony. The new set of officers for the Municipal Culture and Tourism Affairs Council swore in their new set of officers and you can click here for a brief article about the program that night.

I met the Tourism Officer of Sta. Cruz, Laguna and I told her about my new project. Because it turned out their organization will be of help to my project and probably one of the biggest benefactors of the goal of my website.

Oh, and that night, I had the chance to see the No Kru group performed live. Well, I didn't see them in all of their stints in the program, "Showtime." So, I didn't know they were that good! They didn't make it to the monthly finals but followers of the talent search said they can still wait for the wildcard after six months. This time, I really hope they get in. The wildcard concept gives the group a chance to get better and be counted in.

I am guessing this will be a busy day. I really hope it will.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I Just Got Out

For those returning visitors, I'm sure you've noticed the changes that took place about two days ago. I got a new template which I hope you find better than the previous one. I have actually looking for ways to change the look for weeks now. I tried and failed and stopped. Being ignorant with HTML and all, I know I've done enough damage to my site as a result of editing html and not being able to get it back. Getting it back wasn't part of the instructions on how to add this-and-that anyway.

For the newbies, I guess you're lucky for not having to take a look at the old one.

If you must know, it took a lot of courage to get this new template working. After having failed a few times and did some damages - like the big space after each entry that wasn't supposed to be there, I said I've had enough. I've been keeping this blog since 2007 and I guess you will understand it if I say that I just want to stay within my comfort zone.

I am one of those so-called creatures of habit and changing the template meant getting out of a three-year-old habit. But I wanted the change so bad that for weeks, I looked and looked for something that will make it easier for me to make that change. Honestly, I downloaded a number of templates but just didn't know what to do so I ended up just storing it with a wish that I can pull it out someday and use it.

Now this site ourblogtemplates.com made me make that change. And the template I am using now came from their website. It came with simple instructions. Simple enough for simple minds like me. No jargons nor edit this and that html. It just gave a few notes about the template and how to get your own picture and thus, this website.

This beach template comes with a downloadable image of ah... yes, of course, the beach. But I wanted to use something of my own. Yes, this image is my own shot. I took it during dusk at the Pagsanjan Falls Lodge in Pagsanjan, Laguna. It was actually a product of a series of clicks that I had to do in a hurry lest I missed the sunset and the effect. I knew better after I read that that sunset scene in the movie Titanic was shot with the idea in mind that sunsets only just a few minutes.

So, there. I just got out of my comfort zone and changed my template. There are still more to learn now. Luckily, my best friend's daughter, Laysa, who also blogs here, is very patient enough to teach her Tita some things like Fantastico, free webhosting, html editing, and a website that teaches you html for free.

After all, getting out of my comfort zone is a welcome change. I am now contented with the new look and hopefully, more changes after I learn how to edit html.

The template is called 'The Beach,' and you can download it from the website here.

Friday, September 24, 2010

What's Up This Week?

Over the last weekend alone, my system detected three websites with malware. Not good!

I've come across with a blog claiming that is made by a seven-year-old. Found it via EntreCard. Checked it out further the third time around. I was amazed that it has advertisements and all. I can't believe it's made and maintained by a seven-year-old. Uhm, I don't believe it's made and maintained by a seven-year-old. No hard feelings, please.

I might not crave for adobong squid for the next few months. My sister had a sort of diarrhea with vomiting the night we had it for dinner. I asked her to eat a half-teaspoonful of sugar and after almost an hour, she felt fine. Did sugar prove its wonders?

I always find the notebook line spaces too small for my handwriting.

Did you ever have a friend with a Droid Complex? Nope. Not jealous. I won't trade my Blackberry 8700 even if it's not a new one.

Haven't heard of the word 'bantulot' for such a long time. In my understanding, it means that one is not apt to speak, hesitant due to some fear.

I've been playing Farm Town and had to stopped. I got busy with this project that is almost done. And hated the fact that I needed to have 30 friends as 'neighbors' or 40 coins which is equal to about 40,000 Farm Town points, or about at least a week of playing long hours in a day.

Have you heard that someone from this confusing government is trying to pass a thing that would revert plastic licenses back to paper licenses? What do these people have in mind anyway? I guess this guy holds a dual citizenship approaching - if not yet there - senility. Oh, the other citizenship is senior citizenship.

My all-time highest score in Bejewelled Blitz is just about 278,000. I guess it's not going to get higher than that... I stopped playing!

When we were kids, we had a male doll named "Chopoy." I have always wondered where my mom got the name. She said the name came from the tag when they bought it. But I didn't believe because I've always known my parents to be creative in coining funny names.

Don't you get pissed off when someone tags you on Facebook with items for sale? I'm thankful I haven't been, but come to think of it, it goes right on your profile pictures which are supposed to be your profile photos - a thing that speaks about your profile.

Still on tags… I find it really, really funny when someone tags a guy with an 'items for sale,' and the item is a… ladie's blouse… LOL!

Who are you kidding, Robin and Mariel? All I can say is, have you heard stories about whirlwind romances?

Have you ever slept this good? Or is it just no one ever saw you yet? It's weekend and happy weekend, everyone! Hope you have a good night's sleep as good as this...

Our neighbor's cat, Pidong, often comes here to sleep and eat. He sets the carpet aside before he sleeps. The carpet was supposed to be his bedsheet.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Teaspoon of Sugar

My craving for Adobong Pusit was definitely a disaster. I don't blame anyone but bad timing for this craving.

My sister suffered from severe headache at about 11:00 p.m. We had dinner at about 8:30 pm that day. She tried to lie down thinking that maybe the headache was due to a stressful day from her aerobics classes. But the headache didn't go and she started to feel like throwing up.

She threw up thinking it was just because of the severe headache. She had a bad case because she just went on until she just had to squeeze everything out. Right after throwing up, she felt a deep pain in the stomach and felt like needing to poop. And she did like she's having severe diarrhea. She had to go for about two more times.

It was around 1:00 am when I woke up because I felt like someone was still moving around. Sister then told me how she felt.

I told her to take a teaspoonful of sugar. She asked what for and I said because that's what my room mates in Dubai do whenever they feel like they're having some allergies from eating shrimps or squid. Sometimes they even make it as a sort of a preventive measure, eating a spoonful of sugar before eating shrimps or squid.

My sister was hesitant and appealed if she can just take half a teaspoon. I said YES! And to just take it right now.

She took it and washed it down with maybe half a glass of water and went back to bed.

I then went back to bed and started the decades, which I normally do in the morning after I wake up and before going off from bed. We left the light on just in case she had to go again.

After about thirty minutes, she stood up and went to the bathroom to pee and had a glass of water. She then said, "I'm okay now, we can all go back to sleep."

I'm not saying it was the sugar that cured her. Because I think it did, together with the five decades.

But wouldn’t you believe it was if you were in our shoes?

Filipino Ingenuity

Monday, September 20, 2010

Make You Better

Remember how, when we were kids, our folks tell us to not just butt in on conversations? Back then I know that it makes us feel like we were being cast out. It makes us feel like we didn't count at all. Even if they explained that it's not polite to do that, it still made us feel a little bad although it was pretty much clear that they were right.

Someone owes me something that he just didn't borrow. He owes me something that I worked hard for with a promise that I'll get paid. But somewhere along the way, he says somebody screwed up and he couldn't pay me yet. I kept quiet because I understood. But that was three months ago. But then, a post on his wall prompted me to break my silence discretely, which I'm sure he deciphered. I posted something on one of his accounts to ask what's the news, he simply said he doesn't have any news, too. Fine. I understood. But some of his friends left comments: the news is on the papers, on the radios or the cave, without having a clue of what it's all about. I wanted to say, "I am not talking to you, people." But I am not that type. So, instead, I wrote: If only these people know what kind of news I am looking for. And now, this guy says sorry, which I am sure, he's doing in behalf of his friends, because in the first place, at this point, it's not about him.

Now, again, I can hear my mother talk. This is one of the reasons why our mothers say, "Do not just butt in to conversations."

It's not that you're not good enough
It's just that we can make you better
Given that you pay the price
We can make you young and tender
~ Tears For Fears
Mothers Talk

Saturday, September 18, 2010


I think "Things Mommy Said" will have to be an ongoing thing. It may not be a daily post but it will come as we realize more things about life. As we realize more things mommy said that we kind of took for granted. Please use the label "Mommy Said" to get into its archive.

I went to my niece's school for some errands and this caught my eye.

I find the acronym both interesting and amusing.

And of course, this is one of the things our mothers taught us, but I know a lot of people do not keep in mind. This reminder is posted at the elementary department of the school. It's good to start them early. I am a believer that being a kid is not an excuse to excuse them from house rules. In fact, the best time to teach kids is while they are kids. I am a believer that a child is like a clay and you can mold them to what you want them to become.

On the other hand, we had a share of a meal at the feast of Mahal na Birheng Ina ng Awa (Our Lady of Sorrows) and I was actually annoyed that a lot of people just left their plates after eating their thanksgiving meal. The volunteers even had to announceremind them to bring their plates at the sink after eating. I thought, 'I think this is the best place to put the sign even just for that day.'

This also reminded me of my days as an OFW. I shared a room with at least five people at one time or another and although most of my room mates practice the rule, there is always one willing person to not practice it and it's really annoying to see unwashed plates at the side of the sink.

I guess the garden almost always has to have some weeds.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What's Up This Week?

Our dog, Pepe, eats cotton candy. I tried to capture it in video but I failed. I must have clicked the wrong button or thought I clicked at the right button but didn't. On the other hand, Dinky and Pidong both didn't like the treat.

My sister was sitting on my left while we heard mass. She elbowed me very discretely when it was time to say 'I Confess' because she thought I might forget to put my hand on my chest.

I bumped into someone I knew from years back. She asked me how's life and I said, "so, so…" Of course I had to ask back. She said, eto…. Pointing to the logo on her shirt. She's one of my prospects for my upcoming project and I think she likes it.

I bumped into my grade-school tricycle service driver. Oh how I was so nostalgic about that jeepcycle… because it was only one of its kind in our town and the seats on each side are just big enough for me.

I remembered when I was a child and play street games, I not only dispise being one, "Achoy" but hated the word as well. "Achoy" means you get to do all what's being asked of those who won the game. (Sigh) I can't remember which particular game uses this term.

I so loved Dokito and its gravy, but they only give so little. You have to buy extra if you like for Php3.00. Too much for me! So, I had to think of something else. And Wow! Dokito tastes even better with UFC Banana Ketchup!

After a few days in hiatus, I am now back to read about Gracia Burnham.

It's hard to keep the fire burning. How many times do you have to light your candle when you're in a prusisyon?

I can't remember what day it was this week when I was in the bathroom and sang "Don'tcha" (Ugh! Spelling please!) with these words, "Don'tcha wish your girlfriend was FAT like me?"

I was on the phone with my BFF and we were laughing at the Sky Flakes commercial.

Do you remember Achmed? The Undead Terrorist? He spells his name this way: A… C… phlegm… !!!!! That was really, really hilarious! I love Jeff Dunham!!!!

Is it rude to ask the guy in the jeep's front seat to please throw his cigarette away because it just triggered my sinusitis? Because I did the other day and he seemed angry like he was the one who's right.

I miss my mailman's bag and will be taking out of my 'baol.'

It's so quiet here where we lived that three houses away, I can hear what his girlfriend was saying when he placed her on speaker phone.

I don't know about you, but this is the first time that I've seen 'Suha' this big. (yeah, the picture)

I am trying to find out how to cook 'pichi-pichi.' I don't know but there's something about it that I can't seem to get enough of.

If there's a cartoon I so love, it's this: Toy Story.

Until next week for What's Up, Wednesday!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How To Use Blankets

I woke up this morning covered with blanket from half of my face down.

I almost got irritated because the reason why I had to do this was because of mosquitoes. Then I realized what more if we didn't have the screen all over the house? So, I just thank Him because it could have been worse.

Then, I got a little nostalgic.

In Dubai, I used to wake up in the morning covered with blanket not only from half of the face down, but from head to toe. And this is because it was so cold.

Then, I realized...

I could only name three ways to use a blanket:

  • when it's cold
  • when you have a lot of mosquitoes
  • when you're sick
But I didn't think there would be a fourth.

*screen clipping taken from ABS-CBN video here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Feast of our Lady

Our Lady of Ina ng Awa

It's the Feast of Our Lady ng Ina ng Awa tomorrow, September 15.

For mass services and other information, please visit this site.

The Traffic Was Rerouted

If you passed across the town of Lumban this morning and wondered why the traffic was diverted, here's the reason why.

I actually didn't care at first because I thought it was just some detour due to a road renovation which I think is very untimely these days because we just had the elections. Besides, the barangay elections is still like two months away. Anything these aspirants would do at this point could mean anything to anyone but electioneering.

But when reached the core of the town, I began to wonder and told my dad, "We are sightseeing; with that silly grin." Almost simultaneous with my reaction was a complaint from one of the passengers inside the jeep. "Sayang na naman ang oras natin nito." (This is another waste of time for us.)

I think one of the passengers who works for the government (she's wearing their uniform) could not help but react.

"Meron po kasing demolition doon sa may school e medyo magulo po. Kaya dinvert na lang po ang mga sasakyan kasi baka raw po madamay pa tayo e masaktan tayo." (There is a demolition going on right now near the school and there is a commotion. We were diverted because they fear that commuters might get involved and we might get hurt.)

The other lady did not say anything anymore. Neither did I. Because what the government employee said was true.

On our way back, the road was finally open. But as the jeep rolled by the Lumban Public Market, you can see a lot of people in uniform - both from the PNP and soldiers - at the checkpoint. I took out my digicam hoping that I could get some relevant shots of what was going on. All of my clicks were just at random and like suntok sa buwan (I'm lost in translation but is it "Boxing the moon?"). But seriously, it was like pointing my digicam to anything hoping that I could get something. Out of the three clicks, this one is the most relevant. Remember, we were moving and there were vehicles at the other side who blocks my view. Now, I guess you can imagine what the other two clicks took. A tricycle and a jeep going the other way.


Rumors say that the demolition was legitimate since the owner of the land was claiming his property now and won the case. One passenger from the jeepney on our way back said that the lawyer representing these people already told them frankly that there was no case (or was it this is a weak case) and that they had to leave, but obviously they wouldn't that's why this happened. Again, this is hearsay. I don't have the facts.

But right or wrong, this is sad. Nothing of this should have happened.

Photo of the Week: September 14-21, 2010

I always find a certain awe when I look at rivers. Where the water really comes from and where they actually go

This was taken at the 'landing' area of the Riverview Resort at Barangay Sampaloc, Pagsanjan, Laguna last March 2010.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm Not Even a Mall Rat

This is the second (and I really hope it's the last) in the series of suspicious rip-off phone calls.

This time, it's a woman.

As soon as you answer the phone, she will confirm if you are the owner and if you say no, she'll ask to speak with the owner. The first time, I said no because our number is listed under my sister's name. My sister was out at that time and the lady asked what time my sister will be back. I said, "Can you just call again later."

I can't remember what happened in between but she ended up saying that we just won a gift certificate and all we have to do is go to this mall [a mall somewhere in Los Baños] to pick up our price.

"Can you just please call again later?"

"At around what time?" the lady asked.

"After the Miss Universe pageant."

She said, "Ok, thank you," and hang up. She didn't call again that day. Good!

But then...

The next time I pretended to be the owner of the number. Again, the lady [but I am sure that the voice did not come from the same person] said that we won a gift certificate and that all we have to do is go to the same mall to pick it up. Okay, okay... it's the Olivarez Mall in Los Baños, Laguna.

This time I said, "Mam, sorry, but we don't even go to that mall."

She said, "It doesn't matter. All you have to do is…"

I cut her out saying, "Mam, sorry but we're not interested and I don't want to waste your time." (Yeah, I know… that was polite and I'm not supposed to be.)

She said, "Ok," and hang up without even saying thank you.

Well, I never did find out if this one is indeed a rip-off but from the looks of it, they are really on to something. We don't recall taking part in anything that will make us win something. Come on, people, it's not easy to win something these days. Who are you fooling? I haven't been to the mall since October last year except at the Sunstar.

I'm not even a mall rat!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What's Your Number?

I got a phone call on our landline. The person on the other line recited our number and when I said, "Yes, that's right," he immediately asked if we have a relative working overseas. I did not confirm nor deny. First, I used to work overseas so this might have to do something with me. Second, I have relatives working abroad - quite a few - and it might have something to do with them.

He, again, confirmed if he got the right number and then said he was from the Immigrations and that there has been an accident involving a Filipino and wanted to notify the relatives here.

I initially got nervous but told myself to calm down.

I asked, "Who is this, please?"

"I am from the Immigrations office," he said again.

At this point, I was nervous but my mind started questioning.

It was a Saturday. Are they for real? I mean, yeah, are they working on Saturdays? And besides, no one from my relatives abroad know our land line number since they all call us through our mobile numbers.

But I considered.

"There has been an accident," he said again, "and we need to talk to his relatives. This was his listed contact number and we need to confirm." The man having said this again at this point made me become more of angry and than nervous. I was gonna say, "I know a**ho*e, you already said it three times. Just tell me what is going on!" But I just thought getting angry will not do anything. I was already having doubts about the call but I still fear, "what if this is true?" I tried to think of a way to have or know something else about him if it's not going to be his name.

"Sir, can you please give me your number so I can call you back? I will call you back right away, or as soon as we..."

The line went dead. I was sure that we didn't get disconnected. The person on the other line deliberately ended the call.

This was our conversation. This same call happened about three times - first it was me, then my dad, then my sister who answered - and whenever we asked for the identity of the person, he purposely ignored it and just says he was from the Immigrations. But for three times, when we asked for a call-back number, the line goes dead.

I guess asking for the call-back number was the wisest thing to do.

Ok. So this is another rip-off… Don't you think so?

This happened two or maybe three months back. But I never got to write about it and I just hope that this isn't happening anymore.

May this serve as a warning.

Next: I'm Not Even A Mall Rat

Saturday, September 11, 2010

More Money?

Now, it's the OFW's turn.

The OFWs' fund will be cut down to almost half of what they used to get and according to many of our lawmakers, this is against the law that states that the fund should not be less that Php 100 million. But, the fund was slashed down to Php 27 million from the already low Php 50 million from last year's.

And I say, "WOW!" to that Php 100 million.

Right now, this is my take. I don't know.

Think about it... what's the point of getting what is due to them according to the law when they can't even see the benefits?

The thing is, for me, it doesn't matter how much these people will get, just as long as they 'see work and action.' What's the point of the big fund when what would happen is just like what happened in MWSS other GOCCs?

My point is, we just have to see MORE ACTION with what little we have, than more money and NO ACTIONS at all.

A Matter of Trust

In the book I was reading, 'The Last of the Mohicans,' by James Fenimore Cooper, I got this quote:

"Manifest no distrust, or you may invite the danger you appear to apprehend."

It's hard to comprehend.

But look at this situation that is happening right now in Chile.

There are 33 miners trapped at about 2,000 feet below.

And yet, two days ago, they were cheering for their soccer team while on the 34th day of being underground.

To date, no one knows - neither those above ground nor below - how much time before the miners will be taken out. There is a Plan A but news says that it may take about four months to get them out. The certainty of this plan? Who knows? I have yet to read about their Plan B. I'll be glad if you will leave the link in the comments below if you read about it.

And I think for the first time, the NASA people will be doing their part contributing their skills and equipment to get these people out from down at the core of the Earth, instead of their usual task to explore what is out there beyond the clouds.

Amidst the uncertainties, you see the miners having a good time watching the match between their country's team and Ukraine's. Fiber optics technology was able to send them signals to make this possible.

Though I amazed by the technology, I was overwhelmed by the miners' calmness, their attitude towards their plight. They have to have positivity to be able to cheer for their team. They have to have hope that they would get over this.

They have trust amidst all these. Most of the time, trust is all we need. And I think in this situation, TRUST is all they need. But of course, that has to be partnered with hope.

After all, if they do not have the trust, they would have been in dire panic.

Don't we all feel that way when we lack this one important thing?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Inside Their Classroom

The Ivan Padilla Gang.

The Ampang-Colangco Robbery Group.

The streets is their classroom.

Look what they have done.

Are we the teachers of these young people?

The Irony of Nuan's Fight

Nuan is an OFW in Ajman, an emirate not far from Dubai.

She worked as a domestic helper for over a year. But sadly like any other OFWs, her story is not far from different.

She fled her employer months ago because she was abused and hasn't been given her salary. She had burns on parts of her body due to 'horrific injuries' inflicted on her that left permanent scars and bruised memories. I am lost in translation as to how to call the source of the injuries. The scars on her skin were from a hot flat iron. Probably for something she didn't do right?

She is now at the Philippine Consulate in Dubai waiting for justice to be served upon her. The Sharjah (another emirate of the UAE) immigrations filed the case. It wasn't clear what cases were filed but so far, she only got AED 11,800.00 for her 19 months of service. That's around AED 621.05 per month. It's just enough to pay for my month's rent when I was there.

How did she survive all these?

This reminded me of a post I made over a year ago. You can find it here.

Both Filipinas worked as domestic helpers. Nuan worked in Ajman and Girlie (the Pinay from the bus stop) worked in Sharjah. Girlie was luckier because she was able to escape. But honestly, I still think about her every so often. Her tourist visa was supposed to expire in a few days after that bus stop meeting. After the expiry date, she either had to go home or exit in neighboring countries like Omman or Kish Island, Iran to change her visa status. This is = money, which she didn't have. At that time, all she had was her bag of clothes, a dead watch, a pair of wounded hands and a piece of paper with her name on it; at least that's what I saw. When my memory serves me, I remember her with a question: What happened to her already? Because when I got home that day and shared the story with my room mates, we feared for the worse. That after her tourist visa expires, she might become like one of those many.... a prostitute. I know you would say that we are pranings (paranoids. But THAT is reality. I sometimes wonder if Girlie ended up like one.

From what I heard, she will stay at the Consulate and help around in return for her shelter. Nuan's fight would be be long. But I wonder what would be at the end of this tunnel.

The irony of it all is that she can stay but she won't be able to work. Chances are no one will hire her while her case is ongoing. How will she survive? It's good to know that there are some Filipinos who share their blessings to Filipinos like her. But how can her family survive?

Nuan's decision to stay there and fight is a very tough decision. Frankly, I do not know what she's fighting for and if indeed it's worth it. The irony is that if she's fighting for an injured soul, I wonder if the trials will even make her wounds worse. Or if she's fighting to get back her damaged dignity, isn't it that home is where we get our wounds healed?

Excuse me for being a pessimist, but I see an empty victory, if a victory would even be possible.

Nuan's story is here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

99 Lashes More

Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani.

If this doesn't ring a bell, let me tell you something about her and how media's irresponsibility magnified her already miserable life.

Ashtiani was sentenced to death by stoning back in 2006 for committing adultery. But the case is still going on because of appeals both local as well as international. Court proceedings as well as international appeals against death penalty - especially appeals against death by stoning - is keeping her alive. Even our Blessed Pope has been monitoring this case as it was reported here.

I am not going to talk about the sentence. I leave this to the country, their culture and the international organizations since they are indeed the ones who are experts on these.

But what caught my attention was the latest news about her case.

On September 5, 2010, CNN reports here that she has another sentence. She's been ordered to receive 99 lashes.

99 lashes!

All because of media's irresponsibility.

The Times of London, on their August 28 issue, included a photo of a woman identified as Ashtiani.

There could have been no problem with that. But, in Iran, there is a law that all women, regardless of where you come from, wear a head covering which I think is called the shiela. I remember last May 2007 when I had to go to Kish for my change of visa. Kish is an island under Iranian territory. As soon as we entered the Iranian Immigrations at the airport, we were required to wear a head cover and a dress that is loose enough to hide the figure of our body because we won't be able to get through the Immigrations without the proper clothing.

In the photo of The Times of London, Ashtiani was not wearing a head cover.

This was the reason for the 99 lashes.

Ashtiani was not supposed to appear without a head cover, being in Iran and in prison waiting for her sentence.

The Times of London then came up with an apology. That was reported here.

They apologized saying that this photo that appeared on that issue was a case of mistaken identity. That the woman in the photo was NOT Ashtiani, but instead, it was a photo of a political activist from Sweden identified as Susan Hejrat.

But the damage has been done.

Last September 7, 2010, there were reports that Ashtiani has been whipped although these were contradicting and could not be confirmed. I wonder if this could still be confirmed because according to CNN's report, Lawyer: Woman facing stoning in Iran has been whipped.

This time, as in a million and one times, the media again played its appalling role of being necessary evils.

It's not just a case of doing or saying something and saying, "Ooopppsss, I am sorry, it was a mistake."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Nativity of Mama Mary

Chapel Our Lady of Ina ng Awa
Sta. Cruz, Laguna

She may not be the queen of the world,
But she is the queen of heaven and Earth.
~ Fr. Jose Ouera

It's Mama Mary's birthday.

I took the quote from the homily of the priest who led the mass this afternoon. After the mass service, we had a little thanksgiving meal at the Chapel of Ina Ng Awa in Sta. Cruz, Laguna. The food and drink was so good I think this is one of the very rare moments that a food this good was served for a party this big.

The offertory was overwhelming. I was teary-eyed. There were two sacks of rice, two birthday cakes, a fruit basket and a lot more. I am assuming that those sacks of rice were offered so that it will be a part of the dinner that will be served on feast of Our Lady of Ina ng Awa next week.

If you are where I'm at, or lives somewhere near, or someone who lives far but wanting to go, the Feast of Our Lady of Ina ng Awa will be on the 15th of September and there will be two masses offered. One in the morning at 9:00 and one in the afternoon at 4:00.

Not Via E. R.

My friend's son was confined at the provincial hospital and has been there for two days.

Since the only time we have was after six o'clock, my sister and I and another friend decided to meet somewhere before proceeding to the hospital.

When we got there, our friend stopped us and told us that we cannot use the what-I-thought-was-the entrance.

She said we cannot pass by that route since it's already six. My sister and I looked at each other and we each looked a little confused as if we're asking, 'where then are we supposed to enter?'

Our friend said that we have to go by here; pointing at the entrance of the Emergency Room.

Again, my sister and I looked at each other with the expression, "huh?!"

Our friend probably noticed and said, "that's what we did the last time we were here. If we used the entrance, it will be a problem and we're going to have a hard time entering, and worse comes to worse is we won't be able to visit anymore."

With hesitation, my friend said, "We have to go one by one and we have to be invisible." I hope you know what I meant by invisible. Like we shouldn't get noticed by the guards.

So, our friend went ahead.

I followed.

My sister came in last. She was the most perplexed about this whole thing.

The Emergency Room was ever so crowded with sick people than I can imagine. But we have to go through and make it through fast. We are all aware that the Emergency Room is not the cleanest part of the hospital that's why we should avoid going there if we have to.

Until this writing, I still cannot get the point why we should use the Emergency Room Route to get to the hospital. I understand that the Visiting Hours is until 9:00 so we are way too early to be apprehended at the entrance.

How come people are forced to do what we did just to get in?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

On Devotion

If your mother used to tell you, "You should have a devotion," and didn't know what it meant, don't worry, that makes us two.

Shrine of San Antonio De Padua
Pila, Laguna

She used to tell me that when I was a kid, but never really understood. I never really knew what it meant. I was a kid, well, old enough to give up playing Cops and Robbers, but too young to understand these words.

This is just one of the million things that mothers told us about life. And this is just one of those thousand things that we never really bothered to understand.

But I guess I understand it now, somehow.

Ever since I was good enough to ride the jeepney after my surgery, I never failed to go on Tuesdays. And that, is a record for me. If this is what my mom called devotion, then, I should have been brave enough and humble enough to ask her back then, what it meant, so I could have followed her since. But mothers will usually just keep quiet about it, hoping that one day, we will understand what she said and leave it to Him to enlighten us.

But ours is a HIM who understands; who gives us time to realize things, who gives us unlimited chances to discover what it is to make a mistake and learn from it.

Monday, September 6, 2010

One Morning

This is that one morning that my family and I would never forget.

Six o'clock is my biological clock's wake up time, and I hardly ever missed it. Aside from our cat scratching the door trying to get in, our dog sniffs low cries asking for bread. I should have finished saying my morning prayers before the pets do this lest I want these sounds to become louder.

I stood up and scooped a handful of kibble for our cat and a piece of that day-old bread for the dog. We sometimes intentionally leave one piece for the dog to chow on the next day.

Normally, my dad will get his swimming bag and set out for his daily morning exercise then comes home with the bread for breakfast. But, not today. Again, normally, he will ask me if I prefer the loaf or the traditional bread. But again, not today. He said that he only have this much left. Only this much to buy a loaf of bread.

Not much.

It's a Friday and hopes are dim for his pension and my salary to be credited to our account. We both felt low but still high in spirits. He said he will just walk his way to the bakery to get the loaf for today's breakfast.

In less than an hour, he was back with two loaves of bread that I knew was way out of the money left. I started to wonder but didn't open my mouth to ask him. I just thought that maybe he went to his friend who lives near the bakery and borrowed some money. I assumed.

We, then, prepared breakfast and while we were waiting for the water to boil, he said, "Do you know what happened to me?"

"What?" I said, feeling a little nervous and trying to hide it.

Click on this link for the rest of the article.

Published on Fortitude on August 4, 2010
©Copyright 2010 Clara Baldemor

Sunday, September 5, 2010

One Tiangge Day

Right after mass, we went to the palengke (martket) to buy light bulb. But we were not gearing for anything branded since we just wanted to buy a five-watt bulb to light certain corners. So, we were really going to the tiangge to look for some cheap ones. Tiangges are those stalls outside the market place which are on the side of the road and unfortunately, occupying space that's supposed to be used for cars.


Tiangges are part of the Filipino culture. They are stalls set up one day a week outside the market place. The stalls are made up of collapsible materials that these people put up by dawn and tear down by dusk. The perception about tiangges is that you can buy things a lot cheaper on these stalls than anywhere inside the market place.

I have always wondered how much these people pay for this thing and today was my chance to talk to one of those
byiaheros (travellers). The people who operates these tiangges are called biyaheros because they transfer everyday from town to town, where there is tiangge. I had a time to talk to the owner since my sister and his helper had to cross the street where we could test the bulbs if they are working.

I started by asking where they get their goods from and he said, "Divisoria." Then I asked where are they when it's not Sunday and not
tiangge day here in our town. He said they are in Victoria on Mondays, Pila on Tuesdays, rest day on Wednesdays, etc.

Then I shifted and ask about their
puhunan (capital).

At first, the owner was kind of hesitant to talk. I was asking how much they paid for the stall, something like how much they bought the space they occupy. He said that he's not allowed to talk about it and up to now, I wonder why. But I was kind of insistent so I got my answer, but he said it's just an estimate. He said that normally, he's not allowed to talk about it because,
"bawal ho e." (It's forbiddent) but then he went on saying, let's just say a friend used to own this and one of the members of the family got sick and we just tried to help; that's why I got the place. I paid him something like Php 20,000 to get the place and we have daily fees.

Daily fees? There is a ticket they pay for Php 150.00, then his wife said that they also pay something for the police (which I couldn't really explain to myself, which she didn't elaborate, too) and the makeshift tables, the makeshift roof and the workers that carry the goods. All these would amount to about Php350.00, not including their meals for the day.

Then he said, "That's why we really need to make some money."

I smiled, paid and said goodbye.

So that's how much money they put to start operating the stall and that's how much money they need everyday to pay for the stall's daily expenses.

Would You?

One of the announcements today before the mass service was about sharing.

If you're from where I come from, there will be a blood donation activity on the 10th of October from 7:00 am to12:00 nn at the Sta Cruz, Laguna Parish Church grounds. This activity is organized by our local parish church in coordination with the Philippine Red Cross.

If you need further information, please go to the parish office.

Just a thought. I am assuming that this is a campaign launched in line with the need for blood lately because of so many dengue cases. But, we should bear in mind that donating blood is not only for these occasion. There is just a big need right now because of the outbreak.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Photo of the Week: September 4-11, 2010

Paragos (Filipino Sledge)
I have heard of this when I was a kid. And as an adult, I wanted to see one. But not really to hold it or use it. I just wanted to see one and get a picture of it.

Then came the Anilag Festival of 2007.

I saw this paragos (Filipino sledge) in one of the exhibit boots.

The paragos is made of wood and is drawn by the kalabaw (carabao or water buffalo). It used to be a means of transportation for our natives; not just for produces but humans, too.

It is just one of those many things that make me feel Filipino. It has the ability to make me think back years before I was even born. The paragos takes me back to those old movies of simple life like they showed in those old movies. People living in a nipa hut in the middle of a ricefield with a mountain on the background.

Last But Not The Least

The recent happenings on the grandstand and an article that was written about several hostage situations that happened since 2001 led me to be curious about the book that was written by one of the hostages herself, Gracia Burnham. Now, that I have given her name, I am sure a lot of you might say, "Of course, I remember!"

I guess I am in luck that a good friend of mine has the book and is willing to lend it to me.

The hostage-taking happened in May 2001 at the Dos Palmas Resort in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. It was an ordeal for the writer and her husband that lasted for months.

I have just barely started with the book. It began with the rosters of both the identities of the hostage-takers and the hostages.

But what touched me most, so far, is what she wrote on the introduction:
"To these people I say, you were not left out because you aren't important. I hope you know what a special place you hold in my heart."
I think we all should keep this in mind, hostage or not.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Look Who's Blogging!

Dinky has been clarafied

Forwarding Address

I had some real estate concerns that needed some consultations and I thought that the best way to seek a neutral advise and the most economical way to do so is to go to the Public Attorney's Office or more commonly known as PAO.

I have always known where the office was located so I left our house confident that I knew where I was going.

But when I got to the street where the office was supposed to be, doubt immediately set in. There was a sign with a private attorney's name on it on the office's front. I concluded right away that the office is not there anymore, and that surely, they just moved into another place. I looked in front of the office for some signs that might indicate a forwarding address but I saw none. So, the next best thing to do is what most people doesn't. Ask around.

There was a Barangay Traffic officer just around the corner. I approached him and politely asked if he happen to know where the PAO office is (yeah, office was redundant, but it sounded right… right?), and, expectedly, he scratched his head and looked up. I waited, praying that he might have known and just forgotten. I guess I was lucky that my prayer worked because his face suddenly looked like a bulb that lit after a brownout and told me where to go.

I had nothing else to do but trust the guy.

And he was right.

The office was at the second floor. As I was going up, I was a little apprehensive because the rungs look like it won't be able to stand my weight. So, I took the steps slowly like testing the water if it was cold. I finally made it to the landing and was surprised with what I saw. The floor looked very dilapidated and the walls do not even have paint. There was a man sitting on a bench. I asked if the PAO office is on that floor and he pointed to the door painted green.

I guess my apprehensions vanished when I entered the room. The office was air conditioned and very simply furnished. It was big with maybe about more than ten office tables and a shelf filled with what I presume to be law books. A lady whom I presumed as the secretary greeted me politely and asked how can she help and if I was looking for a particular lawyer. I told her my concern and I was immediately asked to sit on a table. The lawyer-on-duty was already behind me and immediately sat on the other side of the table and we right away started our conversation.

My concerns were finished in less than ten minutes, with all my questions answered very clearly. Thanks to the attorney for being so accommodating.

This is probably the second time that I needed to go to a government office for certain concerns. Will you be surprise if I tell you that I haven't experienced any single negative reception on these two events? I feel thankful for these people to have given me this kind of service as opposed to what I am seeing in the news. I feel that this kind of service is what we should see on tv instead of those irritable people who are featured more often than those that do good deeds.

The only thing I didn't like about the whole thing is that there were no forwarding address in the old office. It would have completed the good service that they give. But, let us give them the benefit of the doubt on this: may be they have moved a few years back that the sign that I expected to see was long gone.

If you live here in my place, the PAO office is located in front of the MWSS office, at least for now. When you reach the MWSS office, just look up at the opposite side of the street and you'll see the sign (which was what I did).

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Another Natural Dengue Fighter

I just got off the phone talking to my cousin from the States. Of course, after the brief 'how's everyone' one topic after another follows. And who wouldn't talk about dengue? After a lot of people have been confined and treated at hospitals, it seems to me that the problem is still there.

A good friend of mine was not saved after all. No, not her. But her husband, her middle daughter and youngest son were all confined the past two weeks all of the same cause.

So, my cousin shared what she read over the internet. She told me that our very own talbos ng kamote (Sweet Potato Greens or Ipomea Batatas) is said to be one of the nature's answers to the disease. So, I googled and found the link to what she shared. Go to this website here, Sense & Serendipity: Some Amazing Local Leafy Greens and find out more on how this can help your patient fight the dreaded dengue which won't seem to go away.

But going back to preventive measuresinstead of cure, like my previous post here about tanglad (lemongrass), I think that what we really need to do is to keep our environment free of stagnant waters and things like old tires which could be home for these mosquitoes to reproduce and multiply.

I have observed that many of our households today do not clean their yards anymore using our good, old, reliable walis tingting (a local broom made out of the spine of the coconut leaves). When I was in Dubai, I was kind of frustrated not having to find walis tingting to clean our open-air kitchen free of water that I used to wash out the floor. There was a plastic broom and this thing that wipes away the water very similar to a car's wiper, but nothing does it better than the walis tingting.

Maybe it's really time for us to get back to some of our old ways, to eat some of our local plants. I believe it won't harm us all if just try. After all, we still get some benefits out of this talbos ng kamote aside from fighting dengue.
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