January 29, 2010

JD Salinger, 91

"I hope to hell that when I do die somebody has the sense to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetary. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you're dead? Nobody." (Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger, 1919-2010)

Rest in peace...away from it all.

January 28, 2010

Manang, pabili ng iPad, with wings

OKAY, so who's salivating over Apple's new iPad? Raise your hands.

If you're an Apple nut like I am (although I don't own an iPhone because I think it sucks), you were also probably on the edge of your seats early this morning monitoring the presentation of chief Appleseed Steve Jobs of the company's latest creation, the iPad.

To PC users, I could probably describe the iPad as a cross bet. a netbook, a Kindle, and iPhone – all that in a 9.6"x7.5" sized tablet no thicker than 0.5". No doubt about it, it's gorgeous. Its graphics display look very crisp and vibrant, making it supposedly a joy to watch videos/films, look at photos, and play games on it. Having the same multi-touch technology as the iPhone, it looks easy to navigate, much like an iPhone.


It has wi-fi and 3G capability so you can use it to surf the net seamlessly and call, just like an ordinary cellphone (only bigger). Problem w/ the latter though, it only uses a microSIM, instead of the usual-sized SIM cards most of us have in our cellphones. Some sites suggest that despite it being an open line device, its use of the microSIM ensures that only U.S. buyers will subscribe to AT&T w/c has an exclusivity deal w/ Apple. I dunno if Apple intends to release an iPad w/c accommodates the regular-sized SIM for Europe and Asia, esp. since the latter is one of its fastest growing markets. (Maybe we can ask Smart or Globe if they're considering switching to the microSIM anytime soon.)

One of its selling points, I'd say, is its Kindle-like feature, because it uses the new app iBook. Apple has closed numerous deals w/ various publishers, making available thousands and thousands of books for downloading. All an iPad user has to do is click the device's built-in iBookstore and download the book she wants (for a price of course). Will this be available in the Philippines? I don't know. Remember when the iTunes store first opened and it didn't allow purchases made from Asia? (I don't buy stuff from iTunes, so I'm not sure if that situation still exists.) Hopefully, the Philippines will be able to access iBookstore.

While it looked easy for Steve Jobs to type on the iPad, I'm not quite sure how our bodies will deal with this smaller device. I imagine a lot of cricks in the neck and sore shoulders from trying to schooch down and type on its keyboard, and yes, even if you use an external keyboard and hitch the iPad to its dock. Btw, you would have to buy the external keyboard, the wireless variety.

With that much advanced technology and apps available, it's amazing that the iPad is reasonably-priced starting at $499 for the 16GB model. The price goes up depending on the memory and the additional specs like 3G (plus $130).

This being a new device, I would wait for at least a year until all the bugs are fixed and the design is finalized. Apple critics hail the iPad as definitely packing a WOW factor, but still falls short in some areas. Of course, with competitive prices like Apple has for this device, its understandable that the company wouldn't pack it w/ features that say, the Macbook has. Don't think of it as a smaller Macbook. Think of it as a bigger iPhone. (Or as my friend quipped on his FB status, "***** Is content with the thought his old iPhone is the new iPad nano.")

Still, I would consider buying it bec. as a journalist, I find that it'll make my coverage of events easier and more portable. Right now, I lug around my Macbook when I cover an event and it is still pretty bulky to carry around. I've been toying around the idea of buying a netbook but didn't like the fact that it uses the Windows platform.

Unfortunately, the iPad doesn't have a webcam so you can't video chat, nor does it use flash technology w/c many websites now use, nor does it have a USB port to connect your devices like cameras and printers. You need to buy a camera connection kit, for instance, to enable you to transfer your photos from your camera, as the iPad also doesn't have a card reader. Still, I'm salivating for it, but will probably wait a year to see how things develop.

Oh yes, it does play music too, like an iPod. Now here's the real video on the iPad:

Also, a story from NYT about this "revolutionary" product.

January 26, 2010

The Cory Aquino Swatch

WHEN I saw the Cory Aquino Swatch, I thought it looked familiar.

(Photo from the web)

Aha! Ding-ding-ding!

The Philippines Centennial Watch (1997) with a black strap (Photo from www.squiggly.com) The one of Cory Aquino's though just has fatter rays of the sun, but it's essentially the same design.

Hmm...I wonder if Swatch/Gift Gate will sell me just a strap of the Cory Aquino Swatch as it never came out w/ a replacement strap for the RP Centennial edition. hehe. Yup, I still have the old watch courtesy of Ayala Corp. and since a few years ago, I had been wanting to resurrect it because suddenly patriotic stuff were back in fashion after Collezione C2 launched its RP map shirts.

I'll probably be dropping by a Swatch store soon to make usyoso.

Nag-level up na sila!

Whoa! Hope these guys get some time off for good behavior, este, dancing. And pansinin ang egoy sa gitna, channeling MJ much? hehe

Seriously, bravo again to the Dancing Inmates of Cebu! I hear this bit will end up in the DVD issue of This is It, the tribute movie to Michael Jackson. Clap for them!

January 25, 2010

Natural woman

I WAS about six or seven years old when I first heard Carole King sing. It was via my older brother who owned her Tapestry album. Even if I probably didn't know the meaning of all her lyrics then, I just know her songs touched me in a way no other female singer did (aside from Barba Streisand, of course).

The album had great songs, which have since become standards like You've got a Friend, Natural Woman, I Feel the Earth Move, So Far Away, among others. As a woman, you can't help but feel connected to her lyrics, so simple, yet brilliantly written, capturing women in all stages of love and independence.

My brother is now long gone, but I think his Tapestry album is still somewhere around the attic. Some years back, I bought a CD reissue of Ms. King's Live at the Carnegie Hall concert (1971). Among all my CDs, this is probably my favorite as it features a surprise number from James Taylor.

Last night on David Letterman, I caught the tail end of Ms. King and JT's performance, as they're promoting their Troubadour reunion world concert. Carole may have lost some of the high notes, but she still looks and sounds amazing for a gal her age. (As for JT, he still sounds the same, but now even w/ less less hair hence the hat. Ach.)

I hope they can come over to Manila to perform as they have a huge number of fans out here. As per Ms. King's website, so far they only have Japan on their list, as far as Asian playdates are concerned. Rats! Maybe some concert producer here can bring them over.

Anyhoo, enjoy.


In case you haven't heard, that ethereal actress Jean Simmons passed away over the weekend.

While she appeared in a number of movies like Hamlet and Guys and Dolls, and later in her life, TV series such as The Thornbirds and Star Trek: The Next Generation, I will always remember her from my childhood playing Varinia in Spartacus (opposite Kirk Douglas), and Diana (opposite Richard Burton).

These were probably the cheesiest films ever made. but considering these were the only ones we could watch during Holy Week from the 1970s onwards, I grew fond of them. To this day, I still get a kick watching them during Good Friday.

January 22, 2010

With a bit of luck, some geomancy, and lots of prayers

THERE was a time in Marites Allen’s life when she didn’t feel on top of the world like she does now.

“I got married early, and had three small children back in Cebu, then my marriage fell apart. I also lost my mother in a tragic accident. I didn’t understand why all these things happened.” At that time, she was working for AusAid, the Australian government’s overseas assistance program, and some of Marites’s bosses were into feng shui, or the science of geomancy. It was explained to her that she was married to the wrong guy and that her house had “bad feng shui”. Eventually, she moved to Manila to start her life anew. (Click Something Like Life for the rest.)

* * * *

(For more information on the Feng Shui Spectacular 2010: Riding the Golden Tiger Updates, please call any WOFS boutique at The Podium – 5716898; Serendra – 9097088; Glorietta IV – 8188858; Mall of Asia 5560615; The Block North Edsa – 4420113; and Metro Cebu – 231 4088. Other hotline nos. include 4126888 / 4672195 / 0920-9509390 OR ARIVA hotlines at 895 8058 / 8958527 / 890961, or you may register through www.maritesallen.com.)

January 20, 2010

For all you cinema lovers

THERE will be a festival featuring films and filmmakers from the various regions and provinces of the country. These include: Bacolod, Baguio, Bohol, Calabarzon, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Naga, Pampanga, Pangasinan and Samar.

Dubbed CINEMA REHIYON 2010, the festival offers a unique mix of films, made by filmmakers from the regions and done in their respective local languages. Some of the films in the festival will be screened in Metro Manila for the very the first time.

The festival will be held on Feb. 17-20, 2010 at the Tanghalang Manuel Conde of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. All screenings are free of charge.

CINEMA REHIYON 2010 is a non-competition film festival and is part of the Philippine International Arts Festival. It is a project of the Cinema Committee of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

For inquiries, email cinemarehiyon2010

Let's go on a vacation!

PAL Valentine Promo
(Press release)

January 18, 2010


I'm not a fan of Kris. I always find her dramas exhausting. But what I hate more is a moron and a man-whore taking advantage of a woman who loves him. So I applaud Kris for walking out on James Yap who just can't seem to keep his pee-pee in his pants. Hope she finally realizes she deserves a better man than this. Frankly I find it strange that an intelligent woman like her keeps hooking up with losers. Hay, as my friend Coffee Cup says, "we're all fools for love."

Oh, and phooey to Sen. Nonoy Aquino's political rivals for using this latest issue of Kris against him. Pwede ba, hindi naman si Kris ang tumatakbong Presidente? If she were, mas lalo pa kayong matatalo! Hahaha!

Seriously, even American presidents had siblings who gave the family and the White House severe headaches: Jimmy Carter had the drunk brother Billy; Bill Clinton had his druggie half-brother Roger, and not to mention, Hillary's trying-hard influence peddling brothers Hugh and Tony Rodham; even current U.S. President Barack Obama's half-brother George, was arrested in Kenya on possession of marijuana. Unfortunately we can't choose our relatives.

Despite these 'headaches', all these Presidents did their jobs remarkably well. And compared to these U.S. presidential siblings, I think Kris will be less of kahihiyan when Noynoy becomes President. I laugh at the comments of Noynoy's critics that Kris will act like his First Lady when he becomes President. I don't think so. She'll be much too busy w/ her career and endorsements, trying to earn back all the funds she spent on her brother's campaign. Also, she will be tending to her children, who may be w/o a father/father figure soon. Or who knows, she may be even looking for a new husband! Try and try until we get it right, Kris.

Last Night at Oarhouse

TWO days before the year 2009 ended and 2010 began, I got a text message saying Oarhouse will open its doors for the last time after more than three decades of tending bar.

The lot on which Oarhouse stands, which includes the girlie bar next to it that mostly caters to Japanese tourists up until the restaurant Chopsuey at the corner of the block, has reportedly been sold. The bar’s lease, which expired at the end of 2009, was not renewed. (Click BusinessMirror Sunday)

January 15, 2010

A gathering of families

SOMETIME in the 1860s, a gentleman named Eleuterio Acuña, he of regal European bearing with the almond eyes, met then married the fair Ramona Villaruz, a native of the town of Capiz (now known as Roxas City), in the province which bears the same name.

By most accounts, Acuña was not a native of Capiz but was from Luzon who had frequently visited the town in the course of his business. There are also differing versions of what trade he had actually practiced – one being that he was a purchaser of molasses for Manila-based distilleries, the Panay region being a center for sugar plantations, or a hatmaker from Binondo, leading his descendants to believe that he may have been a Chinese mestizo.

Another version also puts him as a civil servant, having been sent by the Spanish government to supervise infrastructure projects in the town.

Or perhaps, he was all three at different times in his life, which perhaps will come as no surprise to his descendants today, many of whom are in similar pursuits - government, business, politics, as well as education, medicine and the arts.

One thing is for certain, Acuña, rose to prominence and with his wife, became one of the most respected couples in Capiz. That marriage spawned 12 children, each with his or her own unique personalities and characteristics, which are also apparent in their own progeny to this day.

There was Rosario (Roxas-Picazo), the eldest, who was dignified, strong in character and dispassionate; these traits served her well when her first husband was gunned down by two drunken guardia civil, and instead of becoming hysterical, she calmly fetched his lifeless body. She was followed by Tito the first among the siblings to be sent abroad to study medicine, and unsurprisingly, became a classmate of our national hero Jose Rizal. The second daughter of the Acuñas was Socorro (Yotoko), dubbed “La Aristocrata” for her imposing discipline, but with a flair for the arts.

Then came Josefa (Hernandez/Viterbo) who was also well-educated like her sisters, but whose main virtue was said to be her frugality. The third son was called Rafael who finished Dramatic Arts in Spain but perhaps owing to parental pressure, resumed his law studies when he returned to the Philippines. The sixth child was Paz, who married a Cebuano Manuel Valiare, but the couple died childless.

Ricarda (Arnaldo) was apparently the most headstrong among the siblings, having rebelled against her father’s wishes by marrying a rising politician Manuel Arnaldo. She was followed by Pilar (Roxas-Moreno) who is remembered most for being always optimistic and pleasant. Alejandro was the bohemian of the family, living a life of wine and other pleasures, favoring a laidback lifestyle unlike his more serious brothers.

Soledad (Sanz) was always cool as a cucumber, that people believed that the world could end the next day, yet she would still remain calm. Jovita (Barrios), lived in exotic Mindanao for a short time with her husband a lawyer then judge, which enabled her to amass interesting stories to regale her children with. Fortunato, grew up under his sisters' care after their mother Doña Ramona died while giving birth to him; although the last of the Acuña children, he was the first to own a car in Capiz, among many other “firsts”. (Source: The Acuñas of Capiz, Prems 1983 souvenir program)

* * * *

THE first time I attended our clan reunion was in April 1983 – a three-day affair, dubbed “Prems ‘83”, held by the beach in Roxas City. (“Prems” is a derivative of “primo”, the Visayan term for cousin.) It was the summer before I was about to begin my university studies, so it was the best time to goof off with impunity with my cousins and newfound relatives. Our parents were in the prime of their lives, gamely performing onstage, and leading the charge in the fun activities for each day, with our grandparents shimmying not too far behind.

Twenty-six years later, a number of those in the second and third generation have passed on, but their exuberance still lives on. This was most evident in our latest clan reunion held last Saturday, with some 500 relatives filling up the convention hall of St. Paul’s College, Pasig. (I am told there are about 300 more living abroad.) It was a massive affair due to the sheer number of people that had to be contacted; and took over a year to plan.

It was a great time to reconnect with our cousins from the other branches of the clan, especially now that many of us are much older, have families and little ones, or like some, are just visiting for the holidays, being residents of far-away lands.

While it was a much-scaled down event unlike our first Prems gathering, everyone still had a grand time. I especially enjoyed the stage performances from the little tykes who bravely shook their little butts to nobody, nobody but us. And of course, no family affair would be complete without our San Miguel beers and Coca-Colas to keep us sublimely lubricated throughout the evening.

Having not seen many of these aunts, uncles and cousins for the longest time, there is not enough time to actually catch up with all. Then again, there were those who simply did not know what to say when meeting up with a relative one had not seen in ages. How to begin the conversation?

The key to attending affairs of this nature is to just put on your widest smile, and pucker up. Kiss and say hello to everybody, whether or not you actually know him or her. It’s the right time to shake off one’s shyness and just strike a conversation with the person next to you in the buffet line.

I used to shirk away from family reunions because I found them boring and just filled with ancients who kept asking when I was going to get married. Now that I’m older, I find that such gatherings give me a sense of identity. As we share a common heritage, these social interactions provide us with positive affirmations of who we are and how we are distinctly special from other families.

In our first clan reunion, there were still no cellphones, computers, much less the Internet, so the relatives we met then were difficult to keep in touch with. With Facebook and smartphones these days, it’ll be much easier to keep abreast of what’s happening in each other’s lives.

So cheers dear cousins! Don’t be a stranger.

(This piece was originally published in the BusinessMirror, in Jan. 2010. My column Something Like Life, is published every Friday, in the Life section of the BusinessMirror.)

Reunion of the Acuña clan of Capiz. (Other photos contributed by Mary Rose Peña.)

January 12, 2010

Art appreciation

Entitled "Thrice Upon a Time: A Century of Story in the Art of the Philippines," the show — hung alongside a separate collection of modernist works on loan from the Ateneo Art Gallery in Manila — runs at the Singapore Art Museum until Jan. 31. Underscoring its importance to the Philippines' often battered image abroad, the show was opened by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo herself. In doing so, she was obliged to march briskly past one of the more cheeky exhibits: a bottled collection of pungent smells, including an essence of rotten eggs labeled PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT. (Read more in TIME.)

This is the funniest thing!

(Photo from the Noynoy Aquino Facebook page.)

EVEN supporters of Nacionalista Party presidential candidate Manny Villar are fans of Sen. Noynoy Aquino, presidential candidate of the Liberal Party! Haha! Naku, lagot kayo sa candidato nyo ;p

January 11, 2010

Rico vs Gibo (part 2)

WHAT'S this I hear that the advertising company which had commissioned Rico Blanco to compose the song 'Posible' for use in the 2005 Southeast Asian Games held in Manila, may also be issuing a press statement soon asking PaLaKa presidential candidate, Gilbert Teodoro, to cease and desist from airing his political ad w/c uses the song?

The song, w/c was actually the official SEA Games song that year, was performed by Rivermaya w/ the San Miguel Philharmonic Orchestra at the conclusion of the Games' opening ceremony at the Quirino Grandstand, in Manila. It was also used by Globe Telecoms in its SEA Games TV ad, w/c we found on the DailyMotion website.

Accdg. to the country's Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines: "178.4. In the case of a work-commissioned by a person other than an employer of the author and who pays for it and the work is made in pursuance of the commission, the person who so commissioned the work shall have ownership of work, but the copyright thereto shall remain with the creator, unless there is a written stipulation to the contrary;"


* * * *

MEANWHILE, the root cause of the issue between artist Rico Blanco and the Gibo campaign, really stems from the fact that Blanco's former manager when he was still with Rivermaya, Lizza Nakpil, apparently copyrighted the songs of the band. This is not an illegal act, as far as I know. Btw, Nakpil also had registered the band's name with the Intellectual Property Office. Smart girl that one, but I see her point, having had a hand in forming the band itself.

(Lizza Nakpil photo from pep.ph)

With the copyright of "Posible' in her possession, she was able to sell rights for use of the song to Dennis Garcia, formerly of the Hotdog band, who was commissioned by the Gibo camp to make a jingle for the presidentiable's ad. Talk is the amount that changed hands was about P200,000 for the song's use. And I understand Mr. Garcia's point completely that after he found who held the actual copyright of said song, he proceeded to deal with Nakpil. (Pls refer to Mr. Garcia's statement in the comments section of my earlier post on this issue.)

Now, I'm no musician nor a lawyer, just someone who is particular about my P's and Q's, so I understand also where Rico Blanco is coming from. He is, after all, the composer of the song and all Mr. Garcia had to do was pick up the phone - composer to composer, or artist to artist, if you will – and inform him about his plan to make it into a campaign jingle. For all we know, Blanco would've given his wholehearted support to this endeavor, considering that Gibo was actually in his personal shortlist of presidential candidates.

Sadly, to this day, Mr. Garcia has never even tried to contact Blanco personally to talk about the issue, accdg. to the latter's camp, and has just let Gibo's lawyers talk to Warner Music, which manages Blanco. The one who actually contacted Blanco to explain Garcia's side is the latter's nephew, Toti Dalmacion, who's a music promoter I believe. In fact, it seems that the burden of proof of ownership of the song, has been forced on Blanco, the composer. Weird ano?

So maybe there was no actual malice in Mr. Garcia's heart when he proceeded to use the song bec. he was secure in the knowledge that he had gotten all copyright permissions squared away. But the fact remains, nabastos si Blanco. And when he initially tried to inquire w/ Gibo's camp why they used his song w/o his permission, "they gave him the runaround," accdg. to Blanco's publicist Peachy Guioguio.

For Rico Blanco's press statement, click here.

Accdg. to Guioguio, Blanco is very concerned about this alleged IPR violation bec. if it can be perpetrated on a name artist like him, it can be done to even small composers who have yet to break in the industry.

"Now all that Rico wants, is for the Gibo campaign to stop airing this ad." Period. The publicist also told me that Blanco is not suing Gibo yet bec. he is giving the presidentiable's camp the time to comply w/ his request. (Baka nagpapa-IPR seminar pa sila ke VP-able Edu, hehe.)

In my personal research, this is what I found. As per the IPR law, copyright of an artistic work w/c includes musical compositions is "protected from the moment of their creation and shall include in particular: .... (f) Musical compositions, with or without words;" (Underscoring mine.)

Further in Chapter 6 of said law: "Copyright ownership shall be governed by the following rules: .... 178.5. In the case of audiovisual work, the copyright shall belong to the producer, the author of the scenario, the composer of the music, the film director, and the author of the work so adapted. However, subject to contrary or other stipulations among the creators, the producers shall exercise the copyright to an extent required for the exhibition of the work in any manner, except for the right to collect performing license fees for the performance of musical compositions, with or without words, which are incorporated into the work;"

Now this is a lesson for all you composers out there, start registering your songs w/ the proper gov't agencies like the National Museum or the IPO the minute you complete them, no matter how short or long these may be. This may save you from hassles similar to that of Rico Blanco's in the future.

January 10, 2010

New beginnings

"Like many say, the new year is just the right time to renew one’s faith in oneself, and open oneself to better prospects in life, whether it be in one’s career or romance, or the home.

It’s time to rid oneself of the negativity, ill-feelings and toxicity that poisoned most of us last year. It’s time for renewed hope, especially now that we are faced with a great opportunity for healing and change with regard to our country’s future." (Read the rest in Something Like Life. Photo from www.chemistry.com.)

January 08, 2010

Moving soon!

THIS being the season of merriment, este, the election campaign season, and seeing that this blog has now become a mish-mash of my convoluted thoughts on anything and everything, I've decided to create a totally separate blog just on politics/political topics.

I'll keep you posted on when I'm launching that blog, tentatively titled "Pulitika2010," which will not only feature my opinions on current political issues, but also the opinions of others I respect in the blogging and journalism communities. It will also try to aggregate interesting bits of news/info, facts, and data in the runup towards the May 2010 polls.

As for this blogspot, it shall remain as a repository of my column and news stories/lifestyle features which are regularly published in the country's leading business daily, BusinessMirror, and in other publications; and will often update it with my usual insane thoughts and weird view of the world. (Or should that be my thoughts and view of this insane weird world? Hmmmm...)

Anyhoo, stay tuned!

Bayan bago sarili

Oras na. Roxas na!

* * * *

BTW, I just wanted to alert everyone on the Black Ops being perpetrated by the camp of another presidentiable vs Noynoy and Mar. They labeled a can of sardine and bottled water w/ the "Operation Tulong Bayan Aquino-Roxas" and photographed via cellphone. Then they sent the photo out via Facebook, tagging columnists and his party-mates.

Operation Tulong Bayan was a movement set up in the aftermath of Typhoon Ondoy to collect donations and distribute them to the typhoon victims. Let me tell you that I was part of OTB along with hundreds of young people who selflessly volunteered their time to help our kababayan in need. We know for a fact that none of us put labels on those items w/c were distributed as it was a non-political effort. Many of them will be able to testify to this fact.

(At the OTB headquarters, in Sept. 2009: unlabeled care packages ready for distribution to typhoon victims. Photos by Stella Arnaldo)

(The kids who made Operation Tulong Bayan possible. Are you seriously accusing them of politicking?)

The entire world knows which presidential candidate labeled his Ondoy donations with his name and political colors. Just because his numbers in the surveys are still behind, he is now trying to turn the tables around, by accusing front runners Noynoy and Mar of the same. W/ all the money that this presidentiable has, he should've just use it instead to print more of his posters, bec. no one will believe this lame black ops. Besides the photo is four months late, nyeh! SMB! (Style mo bulok!)

January 07, 2010

Stupid! Heartless! Inappropriate! (UPDATED)

THE Philippines enacted Republic Act 7277 or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons on March 24, 1992. This is why many of our malls now, for instance, have ramps for wheelchair-bound customers, and doorways in many public establishments have specific dimensions to let wheelchairs through.

The law specifically prescribes mechanisms to integrate disabled persons – whether they be mentally-challenged, physically handicapped, or psychologically impaired – into the mainstream society, and gov't must ensure the means to rehabilitate them or contribute to their development.

So it is really disgusting to read a story about an airline refusing to transport a passenger just because he is a "special child," which is apparently the airline's code-phrase for someone who is mentally-impaired. Airline officials apparently declined to be interviewed about it and only issued a press release saying that management has already apologized to the victim's family.

I thought twice about blogging about this incident, because I have some friends representing that airline. But I'm sorry guys, there are things that need to be said.

Apparently, the airline has an internal policy of allowing only one mentally-handicapped person onboard any of its flights. There was a child w/ Down's Syndrome who had boarded earlier than the victim in this incident, so the airline crew was only trying to follow company policy.

But I still don't get why there is even such a rule in that organization. Is management afraid that the mentally handicapped persons would become unruly during the flight and cause mayhem among other passengers? Are mentally-challenged persons flight risks?

Whatever the airline's reason for having such an internal policy, it is very clear that this is discriminatory. It opens up the airline to a lawsuit, because the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons clearly states:

"Sec. 34. Public Transportation. — It shall be considered discrimination for the franchisees or operators and personnel of sea, land, and air transportation facilities to charge higher fare or to refuse to convey a passenger, his orthopedic devices, personal effects, and merchandise by reason of his disability."

I can understand how humiliated the mother must have felt, esp. for her child. That is a pain that cannot easily be erased by an apology and a year's worth of free airline tickets. This was clearly more than just a misstep on the part of the airline. It was not as simple as having fumbling airline crew who didn't know how to handle the situation. It is plainly cruel and inappropriate in this day and age to have an internal policy discriminating against mentally-handicapped persons, period. I hope the airline scraps this policy once and for all.

(UPDATE 01/08/10 at 5:26 pm) Cebu Pacific sent me this press statement and attached document yesterday regarding their policy on transporting mentally-handicapped persons. In effect, it says the airline clarifies that it has no such policy that refusing carriage of those with special needs. In the interest of fairness, I am herewith publishing their side:

CEB statement on Alcantara case

Furthermore, I found Resolution 700 of the International Airline Transport Association which prescribes procedures/rules on transporting disabled persons. The rules are silent on how many disabled passengers can actually be transported on any flight:

IATA Resolution 700 (from IATA website)

Now, given CEB's statement re: admitting fault of its cabin crew, clearly management is still answerable for the lack of the flight steward's training. I just hope this issue is solved amicably, with the welfare of the victim actually as the goal of the settlement, and not the ahem, lawyer's welfare.

A lawyer who doesn't know the law (w/ 2nd update)

(Rico Blanco photo from TatayK.)

JUST read a blog about how PaLaKa presidential candidate Gilbert Teodoro used a song ("Posible") of former Rivermaya frontman Rico Blanco in his latest TV ad, without the latter's permission.

Blanco has been tweeting about this, and even gives Gibo, the benefit of the doubt, until he actually saw the ad and noticed that the singer had even tried to copy his (Blanco's) voice.

Not only have Gibo and his campaign staff broken the law by not asking permission from Blanco to use his song, they're even trying to mislead the public into believing that the artist was actually singing the song, thus, making the public think that Blanco is endorsing Gibo's presidential campaign! (Sorry, was trying to find the ad on the blogs or YouTube but it's not uploaded. Either that, or it's been removed already by the brainiacs in Gibo's campaign staff.)

(Gilbert Teodoro Jr. photo from Wowel.com.)

This reminds me of the lawsuit filed by singer Jackson Browne versus Sen. John McCain and the Republican Party after they failed to obtain the singer's permission for using his song "Running on Empty" in a McCain ad mocking Barack Obama's proposed energy policies, during the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign.

And all the while, Gibo has been boasting that he's a bar topnotcher? Yet he nor his staff can't even follow basic IPR regulations? Tsk, tsk. Galing and Talino this one.

Then again, this IPR violation is probably the least of Gibo's legal concerns, if the rumor mill is to be believed. I hear a relative has great shooting skills. Must be a fan of Dick Cheney.

* * * *

(Dennis Garcia, left, with brother Rene on the cover of Hotdog's greatest hits album. Photo from XPrezz.)

(UPDATE Jan. 8, 2010 at 1:25 a.m.) In the interest of fair play, I've published the message of Mr. Dennis Garcia, who produced the 'Posible' song for Gibo's ad, in the comments page. For those who are too young to know, Mr. Garcia, is co-founder of the Hotdog band in the 70s, and a songwriter who created such great hits like Annie Batungbakal, etc.

* * * *

(UPDATE Jan. 10, 2010 at 12:30 am) Here's the controversial Gibo 'Posible' ad:

Last night, Rico Blanco officially asked the Gibo camp to cease and desist using his Posible song in said ad bec. the artist never gave consent for its use.

Warner Music, which currently manages the artist quotes Section 178 of the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, w/c says the copyright of an audiovisual work belongs “to the producer, the author of the scenario, the composer of the music, the film director, and the author of the work."

Btw, here's Posible, originally sung by Rivermaya:

January 04, 2010

Philippine holidays in 2010

USE this to plan your weekend vacays. Thanks to Ivan Henares for sharing the info.

* Feb. 22 (Mon) - EDSA Revolution Anniversary (holiday for schools only, three-day long weekend from Feb. 20 to 22)

* April 1 (Thu) - Holy Thursday

* April 2 (Fri) - Good Friday (four-day long weekend from April 1 to 4)

* April 9 (Fri) - Araw ng Kagitingan (three-day long weekend from April 9 to 11)

* May 1 (Sat) - Labor Day

* May 10 (Mon) - National Elections (three-day long weekend from May 8 to 10) GET OUT AND VOTE!!!

* June 14 (Mon) - Independence Day (three-day long weekend from June 12 to 14)

* Aug. 23 (Mon) - Ninoy Aquino Day (three-day long weekend from Aug. 21 to 23)

* Aug. 30 (Mon) - National Heroes Day (three-day long weekend from Aug. 28 to 30)

* September - Eid'l Fitr (to be announced, calculated Sept. 10, possible three-day long weekend from Sept. 10 to 12)

* Nov. 1 (Mon) - All Saints Day (three-day long weekend from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1)

* November - Eid 'l Adha (to be announced, calculated Nov. 16)

* Nov. 29 (Mon) - Bonifacio Day (three-day long weekend from Nov. 27 to 29)

* Dec. 24 (Fri) - Christmas Eve/Non-Working Holiday

* Dec. 25 (Sat) - Christmas Day

* Dec. 27 (Mon) - Rizal Day (four-day long weekend from Dec. 24 to 27)

* Dec. 31 (Fri) - New Year's Eve/Non-Working Holiday

* Jan. 1, 2011 - (Sat) New Year's Day (three-day long weekend from Dec. 31, 2010 to Jan. 2, 2011)

Efren wuvs Angel

Aww, this is such a cute story, courtesy of ABS-CBN News and The Buzz:

Hope the video works. If not, click here.

January 01, 2010

More Christmas wishes

(My column in the BusinessMirror, continued from last week.)

I BELIEVE in the power of wishes. By placing the thought out there, we plant the seeds for hope and change. And it will be so.

From last week, here are more Christmas wishes for our dear country and kababayan:

• Ana Ines de Sequera-Ugarte, Philippine Ambassador to Spain

I wish for peaceful national elections in 2010 and a smooth transition of leadership. I pray for good governance, good example, and an honorable and optimistic leadership so our nation can press on to greater achievements and be recognized as an esteemed representative and contributor to the world stage. I pray my wish comes true.

• Guillermo “Bill” Luz, executive vice president, Ayala Foundation Inc.

Every year, I have basically the same Christmas wish for the country—that the next year will always be better than the last. But 2010 is a special year which warrants special wishes. I wish for clean and honest elections and leaders with integrity, worthy of leading our country. I also wish that we could stop all the ills which drag this country down—corruption, warlordism, hubris—and build on the traits and characteristics which can make this country great again: the bayanihan spirit, creativity and a genuine love of country.

• Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, artistic director, Ballet Manila

My Christmas wish for the Philippines is for peaceful and fair elections [this] year—and the end to the violence in Mindanao. We need to preserve and work for our country’s peace and order because living in peace makes all of us better human beings and enables us to pursue a higher quality of life.

• J. Gamboa, executive chef, Cirkulo and Milkyway Restaurant

May you only eat food worth eating (for your health, flavor and calories!) this Christmas season and in the year to come! Eat well, always...Merry Christmas!

• Alfred V. Ty, president, Federal Land Inc.

May the spirit of Christmas bring true and lasting peace to our country, and may the New Year give all of us renewed drive toward national prosperity.

• Avelino Zapanta, president, Southeast Asian Airlines

My wish is what many Filipinos are most likely wishing for.

I hope that the Philippines would overcome all the concerns of the past: the graft and corruption, the gruesome massacres, the pocket rebellions, the effects of calamities, with a caring administration that will put the welfare of the country as top priority next to God, so that it may cultivate its full potentials and show what it can really do, what it truly is without those aberrations in some of its people and some in the government.

With the grace of God, we can do it.

* * * *

Echoing the same, my Christmas wish is for all of us to let go of our uncaring attitudes and start looking out for the welfare of one another. The recent natural calamities have already shown that we can do it, that is, to give a lending hand to those in need.

I also wish for peaceful elections in 2010, intelligent leaders with a heart for the electorate, as well as honest and capable government officials who will help push this nation forward and regain its rightful place as a global leader.

Happy holidays to all, and cheers to a great New Year!

(Note: Lisa Macuja-Elizalde photo by Raymund Isaac, courtesy of Angela Ureta.)