Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tripped On A Rock

Hey check out Tripped On Rock's first issue!

TOAR 1st Issue

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas all

Yeah yeah... I haven't been updating this blog. I'm not sure I'll be able to in the coming months, but I'm keeping this blog. Hopefully, in a couple of months, I'll be able to come back and do my thing. Meanwhile, I encourage you to visit, it's a fun blog of anything Manila.

Merry Christmas everyone! :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I realize I've been ignoring this blog lately

It's mostly because I'm really busy recently. Also I'm now blogging at Manilafied, so if you're looking for me, hop over there and check out what's brewing. But, in case you're wondering, I'm keeping this blog. Just have to hurdle the next few weeks, and I might be back online. :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The 3M Experience - Innovation Tour

What comes into your mind when I say 3M? Depending on what your job is, and how handy you are, different things might come to mind.

Maybe Scotch-brite if you're a housewife.

Post-it's or scotch tapes if you're a student.

Perhaps if you're in the medical field like I am, you'd think of these.

Clearly, in whatever setting you find yourself in, there's a great chance that 3M somewhere somehow has a product there to help you. Hard to believe right? That's what I thought too until I went to the The 3M Experience - Innovation Tour. And wow was I amazed! In fact, while I never really thought about it all that much before, I'm now partial to 3M.

These last few days whenever I had to go get something for some home improvement, I check to see if 3M's made it already. Who among us have not been burned by that cheap hook that either won't attach properly to your wall, or destroys the paint along the way? Or that stupid double sided tape that sticks to the wall only for a couple of days? With 3M, as I found out during the tour, there's a science behind everything they do. Heck, they're the only company I know that allows their scientist to explore whatever project they want for up to 20% of company time. 20 percent! That's like having your Fridays off to play around! And believe me, what they do, is cool. Sure, I might sound a bit nerdy saying this, but science the way they do it, is cool. Fun really!

Take this one for example. Here they demonstrated a tint they developed which not only shields you from glare but decreases the amount of heat that comes in. I'm talking about a decrease from 150BTU to 46BTU (British Thermal Unit)! Yeah, I'm not familiar with BTU either, but apparently, 1 BTU is the amount of energy necessary to heat a pound of water by 1ºF. Anyhow, the important thing is, before they change the glass, it was really warm and blinding, but after that, it felt cool, and it no, it wasn't dark at all.

Remember the only mask that could've protected you from AH1N1? It's called N95 and 3M made it. N95 means it only allows 5percent of particles in. In this particular demonstration, you see how clean the air you breath through these masks are., So what they did was lit a yellow incense and a vacuum device that will simulate sucking air from the inside of the mask. The outer part of the mask turns yellow yet the inside remained white. Cool huh? And in case you're wondering, yes, there's an N100.

Check out this nifty device.It's 3M's Clean-Trace. What it does is measure how dirty (thereby how clean) a surface is. Sure, we've been able to culture samples and determine the amount of bacterial colony before, but it took days to get the result. But suppose you want to know right way? Well, this thing take seconds. And it's simple too! They swabbed the surface, put it in a solution that contains luciferase, an enzyme found in fireflies' bottom that lights up in the presence of ATP. ATP's are essentially the energy source of cells. All bacteria have them. And the amount of luminosity tells us how dirty the surface is.

As they were able to emphasized the whole time, 3M is fundamentlaly a science-based company. They produce thousands of imaginative products and are leaders in many markets--from health care and highway safety to office producs and optial films for LCD displays. People look at 3M, see 6 business seeminly unrelated and think that they're a conglomeration, but they're not. They just happen to apply their technology in multiple ways, mixing and matching in creative ways.

And now they're opening the doors of their Technical Customer Center in Bangkal Makati for an Innovation Experience. The tour features 10 method rooms that showcase 3M's practical and ingenious solutions--at home, in the marketplace, on the go, around the world!

3M Innovation Tour is open to the public upon schedule. Students, special interest groups or businesses will be able to learn about the different applications and products that 3M has through its divisions like Abrasives, Automotive Aftermarket, Commercial Care and Occupational health & Safety (OHES), Commercial Graphics Division, Traffic and Safety Solutions, Industrial Adhesives & Tapes, Renewable Energy, Dental (3M ESPE), Communications Market , Electrical Markets, Electronic Solutions, Electronics Markets and Materials, and Food Safety and Medical.

And please, if and when you get to go, tell me all about it. :)

For more details contact :
Nene Amen
Corporate Marketing & Public Affairs
3M Philippines
9/F Three World Square Building, 22 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Hill
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City 1634
878 3674

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Of death and dying

Angkong2 at his favorite spot in Lido.
Today marks the 49th day1 of my grandfather's passing. 

Never again will I see him sit at his usual place at Lido.Never again will he force me to order something to eat even though I've already said I've just eaten. Never again will he tell me to go and find myself a wife. Never again will those days as child where he'd take me everywhere he goes come back.

Sometimes I think I'd trade another minute in the hospital with him even though I know he's hurting, just to see him again, talk to him, but I know that's a selfish thing to ask for. It's a good these things aren't up to me. I'm sure the rest he find is better than the pain he's had to endure these last months. I'm not bitter and I'm not really complaining. He didn't leave any unfinished business. He's lived a full life at 80. He's had his share of successes and failures, and bounce backs from failures. His family is much much better off now than when he first set foot on the shores of this country that has been so good to him. A country he's learned to love back, never mind that he never did get the hang of Tagalog. 

I realize I'm rambling a bit. When people ask me how I was doing, I'd always said I'm feeling better. Now I realize it's not true. For some reason I kept it all bottled in. I still feel the longing as much as I did when I realize that he was forever gone. I still find it difficult to step in to the restaurant he made successful some 36 years ago--not without wishing he'd ask me if I've eaten . I still can't hold back the tears thinking about the times that are forever gone.

Angkong's birthday celebration some years ago
Short are the lives of men. We were never meant to tarry long in this world. This is but a pit stop for us to the grand adventure that is eternity. A gift of release from the torments of our physical frailty and imperfection. A gift we scorn and fear, but a wonderful gift of  respite nonetheless.

Goodbye angkong... gone you maybe in this world, but never in my heart. Never.

1 49 days is the traditional mourning period in most Filipino-Chinese cultures, at this time, none of the family members may wear red, get a haircut, a shave or cut their nails.
2 Grandfather.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Election Day 2K10

It took 2 hours and 45 minutes but it was done. I could complain... that it was too hot, that the seats weren't made for adults like me, that the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) weren't competent enough handling the crowd, but that wouldn't be saying much does it? It's that way each election. So I've decided instead to take you through it.

 This is the school where I go to exercise my right. Not a bad place at all. Time In: 11:55am

First stop: The voter's list. This is really harder than it looks, because really, who remembers their voting precinct no.? It's hard enough recalling our Brgy. no., turns out I'm at 1456-A.

This is the holding area where we wait our turn to vote.I know that it doesn't look like much... but that's actually 13 people to a row and I'm 5 rows back. This would've been alright if there was proper queuing system, at least you know you'd end up in front eventually... except there wasn't. The system was simple, somebody distributes the number to the first row, they leave to go to the next room, then there's a mad dash to take over their places. Order was finally achieved when some members of the PPCRV came up and established a more sensible if still messy queuing system.

Time: 1:30pm, finally got a number! No, it's not as bad as it seems. I'm not no. 50 in line, more like 22nd, it's just that they only 50 numbers to give out and they only give it to the first line (and 2nd line in my case -- told you it was still messy). You may ask, why not give everyone in the room numbers then you won't have to worry if people jump the queue? Because people kept going home when they get numbers.

After that, you get called, you enter the next room (sorry, no more photos here, we're not allowed  to lest we happen to document one of their mess-ups) where you are given a ballot as tall as GMA, a marker that bleeds through the ballot when you shade, and a ballot secrecy folder you won't use because the desk is too freaking small to for the ballot, much less the folder.

Here is a sample of the desk I was referring too. Same desk that I had to sit on for over 2 hours waiting in line. I placed my bag for reference. That bag is smaller than my back, can you imagine how I would fit there?

After you're done with the ballot, you approach the PCOS machine1.The BEI will instruct you to reverentially hold the ballot and slowly attempt to feed it into the machine and pray that it will not reject it. Ok, that last part about asking you to pray wasn't true, but I could see it in her face that she was sorta praying. After that: "Congratulations! You're vote has been verified." Finally, you thumbmark a form and your index finger gets "manicured" with indelible ink.

 And I'm done. Time:2:40pm.

Yes it was needlessly long. The last 2 times I went to vote it took me less than 30 mins. to do so, and I was being OC about my choices then writing their full names and such. And here, the actual voting took less than 10 mins. It's the queuing system plus the fact that they tried to fit 4 or 5 precinct per machine that caused this delay. That coupled by the sweltering heat and the infant sized chair caused me the most discomfort. Yet, it felt as if the time was flying. I didn't even resort to my usual  habit of reading (mainly because the chair was too cramped to manage something like that). Sure I was SMS-ing, but it's not that, it was the excitement of being there with fellow citizens excited to do their part for our country. It was the exhilaration of once again being part of history however small my part would be. It's the anticipation of something better in store for us. For if we can make this election work, imagine what else we can succeed at?

So at this point, it hardly matters to me whether my presidential candidate ends up winning or not, or that half of the senators I selected won't get elected. That's the way the system is, right now and however imperfect it is, I believe that we should continue to work with the system. Its imperfection stems from the lack of voter education. And I believe we're making a big headway in that area (if you don't believe that, just think of how many people were averse to automation a year ago vs how many of us are now familiar with every issue there is about it now?). Eventually (sooner rather than later I hope), enough of the electorate will mature, and then we will have better outcomes. Certainly that prospect is worth waiting close to 3 hours for. Don't you think?

1Precinct Count Optical Scan -- sorry, no photos of that too, but it's basically a fax scanner fitted atop a locked garbage bin.Here's a photo I found somewhere.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy New Year!

Haven't blogged in 2 months and I don't have a valid reason as to why. It is true that I was busy, but not busy enough not to be able to come up with short entries every now and then. Maybe I got lazy, that tends to happen to me. Or perhaps my interest waned a bit, it happens to the best of us, so I don't see why it can't happen to me. Or maybe I kept procrastinating that whatever I wanted to write about just wasn't current or worth writing about anymore. Whatever the reason, I'm back.

I think birthdays and New Year's day is alike in a lot of ways. For many, it's another start, a rebirth of sorts. You can make a new year's resolution too if you want. It's a symbolic first step, a fresh start if you will. And while it's impossible to truly start from scratch (would you even want to if you can?), what is truly important is the renewal of the mind and the recalibration of perspective.

So yeah, I'm back. Somehow, whatever mess ups I've put myself into, I can get out off and build up on. To anyone else who celebrate their birthday today, come, celebrate a new beginning with me.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

7-Elections: Drink to your candidates!

Ooohh! Summer's getting hot! And so is the Philippines as we swing into full election mode! Everybody's in it now from the office mate who can't help but forward you the latest hogwash about your candidate to the street sweeper who still has their old Gloria-adorned shirt when she tried to muscle her way in for a 2nd term last 2004. Yes, we're all into politics here in this country, and we can discuss them for hours and still feel productive--yes, even those who never vote anyway.

Don't even get me started on the surveys commissioned left and right. Yes, I've enough of a scientific mind to appreciate the concept, and maybe the use of these tools, but they're just that, tools. People flaunt surveys here like they were the elections itself. And why do we never see the study itself? What sort of questions were asked? Who were asked? Heck in all my years of hearing about these surveys, I've yet to be surveyed. I'm not sure I even know anyone who's been asked in a survey. And really, you can answer anything you want in a survey, but vote someone else entirely come election day. So forgive me if I don't give it much weight at all. In fact, I feel that surveys are pretty destructive in that it conditions peoples mind far more than it gauges it.

So I suppose I can be forgiven for feeling some trepidation when I heard that 7-Eleven is launching their own nationwide poll to see who people prefered to be president. What could they hope to achieve? I prematurely dismissed it as silly and stupid. Oh how wrong I was.

7-Eleven's 7-Elections isn't exactly a survey, at least not in the sense we're familiar with--and they're not trying to pass it off as such. What happens is really quite simple, you get to "vote" for your candidate by buying a 16oz. Gulp using a cup that bears the face of whoever it is you want.

Here we have Noynoy, Gibo and Villar sporting their campaign colors.

Here we have Dick and Erap rounding off the top 5 candidates who will have their own cup.

Don't be disheartened if your choice isn't one of those 5, because they also have cup that shows the faces of the other 5, Acosta, JC delos Reyes, Jamby, Nick Perlas and Brother Eddie Villaueva including your right to abstain or defer choosing for now.

Each candidate's cup has a unique barcode that allows each store to record your choice.

Sure it's not scientific, it's still a bit silly seeing as it won't affect the outcome of the elections at all, it's probably going to be skewed towards Class B-C markets inclination, it doesn't differentiate voting age or if the person participating is even registered. And yes, you can vote as many times as you want.

Here's the result of a trial run done at the press launch where the number of respondents were 55. Pretty interesting results huh?

So what's the point? Well, the way I see it, regardless of the validity of it's results, it creates awareness anyway. It's fun, the cups are cool and you know your vote is counted. 7-Eleven in it's 7-Elections website will allow you to track your vote via the receipt, and see if it was indeed counted, and they would even allow you to monitor the trends in different areas all over country wherever 7-Elevens are located. Interestingly, 7-Elections done in the US the last 3 presidential race actually mirrored the results! I'm not saying it will here, but at the very least it would an be interesting sport of sorts and it won't even cost you extra!

I know where I'm getting my drinks this summer.

Polls open on March 10 and ends on May 4, 2010. Go out and gulp now!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Healthy Heart Day 1: Nestea Fit Camp Hot 2010

Wow! I just had the most amazing Valentine weekend ever! Nah, no dates (that wasn't why I didn't blog for a month). And that's fine seeing as I've never been on a Valentine's Day date before, so nothing much to miss. So what did I do? I just spent these last couple of days doing heart healthy things! And seriously, it was so much fun!

Yesterday, I attended the Nestea Fit Camp Hot's press launch at the Bonifacio Open Field. Camp Hot is a 6-Saturday course composed of a series of sports clinics and fitness activities facilitated by the country’s top athletes and professionals. The objective is to encourage everyone to get into summer form by staying active, and of course drinking Nestea Fit with L-Carnitine.

Introducing the instructors most of whom were really good and really nice.

The Camp Hotties... 2 of them will eventually win the right to represent Nestle Fit.

We got a preview of what's going to happen in Camp Hot. Let me show you what those were. Let me start with what I was able to try:

1. Flag Football
It's essentially American Football without the body tackles, instead you remove the flag from the flagbelt of the ball carrier. This difference adds 2 unique facets to the game: one, you're less likely to get seriously injured (spinal cord injury anyone?); two, women can play the game as competetively as men can. And since no body tackling is involved, body bulk or strenght is probably not as important quickness and agility.

Just practicing catching at this point.

Easily my favorite among all I've tried. It's a fun way to get some exercise, it's competitive enough not to be boring, and women can play! I wasn't really good, but I'm seriously considering signing up for this.

2. Zips (more popularly known as Poi)
It's sort of like dancing done with you holding on to 2 balls suspended in what seemed like socks which you swing around your body somehow. It looked easy until I tried it. I couldn't get the hang of it, but it looks fun. Given more time, I'm sure I could learn the basics. Definitely worth a second look.

A lot harder than it looks.

3. Hiphop Aerobics
Aerobic dancing hiphop style. The beat is hip, the moves makes you look and feel cool, and the instructors were fun. What could be a better way to exercise?

Ok... so I'm not a good dancer.

4. Beach Basketball
Basketball except the court is circular and smaller, no backboard, and obviously played on the beach. I didn't really get to officially play this. Me and JC took some shots, that's it. It looks fun though, and has different set of challenges from the original game. If you're used to a backboard, then this takes a lot of getting used to, plus you can't really dribble.

Strange looking basketball game I know, but really fun to play!

5. Yoga
Well, it's yoga, lots of breathing and stretching. I'm not really flexible so I tried zip and hiphop aero instead, but if you're into it, then I hear it's a solid way to get fit.

Not my thing, but the instructor was hot! And really good so I hear.

There was also Outdoor Volleyball, Touch Rugby and Extreme Frisbee. You already know about Outdoor Volleyball I'm sure, they're pretty much staple on any beach sporting events. Touch Rugby is a passing and running sport, basically rugby without the tackling. Think of it as patintero with a ball. Extreme Frisbee is frisbee crossed with soccer. That's about all I can say about those 3 because I didn't really get to play them since I had to leave early.

I really enjoyed the whole thing and I look forward to joining them, the next 6 weeks. Between the fun activities, the exercise I got, and the hotties everywhere, this is easily the best Valentine's day celebration I've had so far.

Oh, and meeting the gorgeous Karylle Padilla was a definite plus... just wished I didn't look so grubby.

Go join! Just go to the Bonifacio Open Ground next Saturday at 730am. Registration fee is just P150 and you get the Nestea Fit tumbler to go with it (day rates is P50/ day). You might just get hot enough to make the summer season seem like 2 months of Valentines!

Here's the map:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Putting an expiry date on marriage?

Sounds absurd right? Yet this proposal has been made not abroad but here in the Philippines and by a women's rights group no less. At least they claim to be for women, though I'm not sure what sane woman would vote for a party list group with such an unstylish name as "1-Ako Babaeng Astig Aasenso (1-ABAA)". Now I imagine while it sounds absurd to me, some people actually agrees with this idea. So I tried to objectively examine its merits before I dismiss it for the publicity stunt that this obviously is (but do you really doubt that this is in fact a publicity stunt? Their name alone suggest that they prioritize being listed near the top of the Party List group listing more than having a good name.)

Let's examine the statements from Margie Tajon, the president of the group (taken from this article from the Philippine Star):
"By putting a prescription period on the marriage license, the couple will be spared from the legal process that is clogging our courts of law"

“A marriage license should be just like a passport or driver’s license. If we are not interested to renew it, then it expires”

“We are tough women, we will fight for our right to be free from the bondage of marriage”

These are rather silly statements, obviously made for their shock value more than their legislative merits. First of all, the marriage license has nothing to do with the marriage itself. It is a requirement for getting married sure, but not for maintaining it. It's not like a passport or a driver's license where you need to periodically show that you are eligible to leave port or drive a vehicle. You only need a marriage license to show that you are in fact properly informed entering it and are in some cases waived. And there is in fact a prescription period for that particular license, it is valid for 120 days upon approval to get married anywhere in the Philippines.

I suppose I'm being technical here, I'm sure she means the marriage contract itself rather than the license, and I suppose most people would understand her statement for what it is. But it sure is difficult to take seriously someone who can't get her terms right.

And what's with the tough woman talk? Free from the bondage of marriage? And who agreed to that marriage in the first place? And I imagine this might sound sexist, but aren't women generally the ones who insists on "the security" of marriage in the first place?

I give her this though, I think it makes sense to allow parties to leave a marriage that's clearly not working. I for one grew up in a broken home, and while I wanted my parents to stay together then, I can see how it really couldn't have worked for them. They were lucky enough to take advantage of a legal loophole and was able to get their marriage annulled (I'm not privy to the details, and I'm not sufficiently knowledgable with marriage laws to make a smart assumption as to which), but I can see how difficult it is for most couples whose marriage have failed and want out. Annulments are expensive and can take forever. And really, the whole idea of the marriage never being valid in the first place is a joke. Having said all this, I still don't think that this does the trick though.

Sure this eliminates the need to go through the expensive and lengthy legal process to terminate marriage, but how about the added costs to continue it? While there are many marriages getting annulled, most would want to stay married, why should their rights be compromised? And 10 years? Surely 10 years is too short for one who's committed to a real marriage--kids are just entering school age at this point and hard times are sure to come up. And 10 years is certainly too long to endure an abusive relationship. And what prevents the abusive partner from threathening the other party or their loved ones harm if they allow the marriage to lapse?

Divorce is obviously the better option. If we take morality out of the picture, it is easy to see why this is the logical alternative. Marriage regardless of your initial motivation, if entered willingly like any contract, can't be voided by mere disatisfaction unless otherwise stipulated under the said contract. You can mince words all you want, but annulment as it is currently practiced in the Philippines is divorce. So why not do it properly? Declaring the original marriage null is not doing it properly.

Obviously, an institution as important as marriage--essentially the building block of society--should not be entered into lightly, and should not be dissolved so easily. Hence a process should be in place to make sure that dissolving it is not made hastily. Proper counseling can be given, repercussions discussed, responsibility to their family properly aportioned, every reasonable steps to make sure that both are disolving their marriage willingly and sufficiently informed. I say reasonable, meaning only the bare necessities should be included, minimizing beaurocracy and thus the costs.

Does this mean I believe in divorce? Support it even? No. My Christian beliefs teaches me that marriage is a lifetime commitment. A burden one must bear when a burden it becomes. For that is what the vows of marriage entails. Yet believing this does not give me the right to impose those same beliefs to others. I think it was Isaac Asimov through his Foundation novel character Salvor Hardin who said, "Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right". And what's right here is not to insist my morals on others, much less the legal system.

I don't see myself ever suggesting divorce, I probably would convince them otherwise, but does this mean they should not be allowed to? In the end, my answer is no. We are ultimately responsible for ourselves. This is why the law requires a certain age to enter this type of contract. This old saying have become trite with use but has nonetheless remained true: "Ang pagaasawa ay di parang mainit na kanin na iluluwa kapag napaso1." Yet just because I like my rice does not give me the right to insist that others enjoy theirs the same way.

1Entering marriage is not like eating steaming rice where you can spit it out when you find it too hot.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Sure, New Year is merely a symbolic change. December 31 of 2009 and January 1 of 2010 isn't really all that different, but it sure feels like it, doesn't it? What makes new years useful? I imagine it's the thought that we get a mulligan of some sort. Call it the reset button if you wish. However much you messed up last year, this year might just be different. And it can be too! Though a mere symbolic reset won't do it. You have to reflect and introspect. See what went wrong last year. Was it procrastination that got you like it did me? Or did you try to do too much too soon? Whatever it is, the only way it can be managed is if you realize what the problem is and take the necessary step to remedy it.

This year, my only resolution is to do things better and to explore doing things differently. I think this phrase says it succinctly:

If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got, so if you want something you've never had, you've got to do something you've never done.

2010 looks like an adventure to me. Hope it is for all of you too! Happy new year and prepare for the roller coaster ride that 2010 promises to be! Hiyaa!!