Sunday, August 31, 2008
This day in history from:

The results are in...

Got Bea's grades yesterday. Not bad. Enough that I can give her my new phone.

So she now has a Nokia 3120 Classic and I got her old Nokia 3220.

At least now, I can contact her through video calls because her phone is now 3G capable.

That's basically it for now. I just got from driving my mom to an affair in San Juan.

Enjoy what's left of your weekend and have a productive week ahead.

Saturday, August 30, 2008
This day in history from:

Full Text of Barrack Obama's Acceptance Speech

photo credit: Joshua Buck/Times-Call

To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation;

With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.

Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest – a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours -- Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

To the love of my life, our next First Lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia – I love you so much, and I’m so proud of all of you.

Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story – of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren’t well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

It is that promise that has always set this country apart – that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

That’s why I stand here tonight. Because for two hundred and thirty two years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women – students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors -- found the courage to keep it alive.

We meet at one of those defining moments – a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can’t afford to drive, credit card bills you can’t afford to pay, and tuition that’s beyond your reach.

These challenges are not all of government’s making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.

This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.

This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he’s worked on for twenty years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.

Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land – enough! This moment – this election – is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On November 4th, we must stand up and say: “Eight is enough.”

Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect. And next week, we’ll also hear about those occasions when he’s broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.

But the record’s clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of the time? I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to take a ten percent chance on change.

The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives – on health care and education and the economy – Senator McCain has been anything but independent. He said that our economy has made “great progress” under this President. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief advisors – the man who wrote his economic plan – was talking about the anxiety Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a “mental recession,” and that we’ve become, and I quote, “a nation of whiners.”

A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They work hard and give back and keep going without complaint. These are the Americans that I know.

Now, I don’t believe that Senator McCain doesn’t care what’s going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn’t know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under five million dollars a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than one hundred million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people’s benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?

It’s not because John McCain doesn’t care. It’s because John McCain doesn’t get it.

For over two decades, he’s subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy – give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is – you’re on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps – even if you don’t have boots. You’re on your own.

Well it’s time for them to own their failure. It’s time for us to change America.

You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President – when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job – an economy that honors the dignity of work.

The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great – a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.

Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton’s Army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.

In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree; who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.

When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.

And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. She’s the one who taught me about hard work. She’s the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she’s watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.

I don’t know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped me. And it is on their behalf that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as President of the United States.

What is that promise?

It’s a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.

It’s a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves – protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.

Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who’s willing to work.

That’s the promise of America – the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper.

That’s the promise we need to keep. That’s the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am President.
Change means a tax code that doesn’t reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

I will cut taxes – cut taxes – for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.

And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

Washington’s been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. In that time, he’s said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.

As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I’ll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I’ll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy – wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can’t ever be outsourced.

America, now is not the time for small plans.

Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don’t have that chance. I’ll invest in early childhood education. I’ll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I’ll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American – if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don’t, you’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.

And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day’s work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I’ve laid out how I’ll pay for every dime – by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don’t help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less – because we cannot meet twenty-first century challenges with a twentieth century bureaucracy.

And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America’s promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our “intellectual and moral strength.” Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can’t replace parents; that government can’t turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility – that’s the essence of America’s promise.

And just as we keep our keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America’s promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next Commander-in-Chief, that’s a debate I’m ready to have.

For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face. When John McCain said we could just “muddle through” in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell – but he won’t even go to the cave where he lives.

And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush Administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we’re wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

That’s not the judgment we need. That won’t keep America safe. We need a President who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

You don’t defeat a terrorist network that operates in eighty countries by occupying Iraq. You don’t protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can’t truly stand up for Georgia when you’ve strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice – but it is not the change we need.

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans -- Democrats and Republicans – have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

As Commander-in-Chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.

These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.

But what I will not do is suggest that the Senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other’s character and patriotism.

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America – they have served the United States of America.

So I’ve got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight years can’t just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose – our sense of higher purpose. And that’s what we have to restore.

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don’t know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of America’s promise – the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that’s to be expected. Because if you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

You make a big election about small things.

And you know what – it’s worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn’t work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it’s best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.

I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don’t fit the typical pedigree, and I haven’t spent my career in the halls of Washington.

But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the nay-sayers don’t understand is that this election has never been about me. It’s been about you.

For eighteen long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us – that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn’t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it – because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.

America, this is one of those moments.

I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I’ve seen it. Because I’ve lived it. I’ve seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. I’ve seen it in Washington, when we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands.

And I’ve seen it in this campaign. In the young people who voted for the first time, and in those who got involved again after a very long time. In the Republicans who never thought they’d pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I’ve seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.

This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

Instead, it is that American spirit – that American promise – that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

That promise is our greatest inheritance. It’s a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours – a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.

And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln’s Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

The men and women who gathered there could’ve heard many things. They could’ve heard words of anger and discord. They could’ve been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.

But what the people heard instead – people of every creed and color, from every walk of life – is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.

“We cannot walk alone,” the preacher cried. “And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”

America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise – that American promise – and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.

Friday, August 29, 2008
This day in history from:

Means and Excuses

There is a famous saying in the Philippines:

"Kung gusto, maraming paraan. Kung ayaw, maraming dahilan."

This is loosely translated as "If willing, there are a lot of ways and justifications. If not willing, a lot of excuses."

That's what I think about the oil companies these days.

If they wanted to decrease gas prices, they have the means to do so, now that world crude prices are actually lower.

But they don't. For obvious reasons.

So they have a lot of excuses.

Foreign currency adjustments.

A storm in an oil region.

Unrest in an oil-rich country.

Even a threat of a country near one.

Puh-lease! I've heard all of these before. All these excuses to stall us, in the hope that another price spike will erase the clamor for a roll-back.

Stop the greed! You can't take your oil money with you, where you are going.

Thursday, August 28, 2008
This day in history from:

A Generation Apart

Rather than post something editorial or an opinion on marriage which I blurted out just a few hours ago, that even I found offensive (and showed how bitter I still am), I'd prefer to post this picture I got from my dad's digicam that was taken during our recent movie trip to Trinoma:

I like to call this picture the title of this blog entry. But a picture is worth a thousand words, as the saying goes. Click on the picture to appreciate it full size. I most certainly did.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008
This day in history from:

Who are you kidding?

I feel really sick reading all the "justifications" for the dismal performance of the Philippines in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"Lack of funds" my foot!

I'm pretty sure there are some countries there (like Afghanistan) that are worse off (they have a war going on there, remember?) that got a medal during the Olympics.

So who are your kidding?

Only yourselves. And your lust for junkets.

(By the way, my dad suggested that we just pool all our money for sports and give it to Michael Phelps to become a Filipino. That's the most cost-effective way we can go to get a medal at last.)

Monday, August 25, 2008
This day in history from:


I did not mention I bought a new PS3 game last Saturday called Civilization: Revolution.

I got addicted to the Civilization series when I was in fourth year law school, with the first of the series for Windows 3.1. I remember starting the game at 8:00 p.m. after I come home from school. Then I got surprised the was already shining when the game ended.

It's that addictive.

I even credit that game for ruining my dean's list streak, because my grades really suffered that first semester.

The game play for this incarnation for the PS3 has the same addictive elements: turn-based strategy (as opposed to real-time strategy games like Starcraft series), technology-based progress (and not resources-based). It's like a chess game. Only longer.

The graphics and the eye candy are, of course, top notch, especially of you compare ithemto the first one to which I was addicted. But what I missed in the PS3 version was the "Let me play a few more turns," feature which made the original (as well as the PC versions) very addictive. In this console version, you have to start a new game when you achieve any type of victory.

Surprisingly, the controls were very good. They managed to pull this one off, without the need for the mouse. Also, I'm greatly satisfied in the way they construct roads. Good thing this does not take too much time.

But all things considered, it's a good game. I'd recommend it to you if you like this kind of game.

In another front, Bea and I watched "Star Wars: Clone Wars" today. I did not like it much since it can't contribute much to a story line that has already been completed. So it was no surprise that this appeared to be a side story.

Of course with the free movies privilege, I'm going to get addicted to watching movies soon enough...

Sunday, August 24, 2008
This day in history from:


It was all about togetherness yesterday.

My mom had a hairdresser's appointment but since we only have one car right now, we (by that the three of us and the nanny) took her there. Bea also had a trim so we spent some time there chatting.

Then off to lunch together with law school friends and our families over at Trinoma. We spent a long time chatting about the days we were together and also our present and future concerns and we broke off near 4:00 p.m. I did not enjoy the food and ate only a little because of an upset stomach. Drat!

Finally, my niece and first goddaughter Merphi finally played violin in my choir. I had to break off our lunch together with my friends so I can help her practice the songs.

Choir went well and it was the first (and not the last) time Merphi and I will play together.

And I think I have recovered from my stomach disorder already.

All is well. And I'm very grateful for all the togetherness yesterday and I'm looking forward to more togetherness in the future.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Friday, August 22, 2008
This day in history from:

Before and Now

Before (around 1987...)

Teacher: Who is
Ninoy Aquino?

Student: He is a modern Philippine hero. And he said "The Filipino is worth dying for."

Now (present day...)

Teacher: Who is Ninoy Aquino?

Student: The father of Kris Aquino...

(In commemoration of the 25th Death Anniversary of
Benigno "Ninoy" S. Aquino, Jr.)

Thursday, August 21, 2008
This day in history from:

New Projects

Apart from a hearing I had in the morning, the main focus yesterday was, of course the weather.

I had an inkling that the weather would become worse really early in the morning. At around 5:00 a.m., there was a gust of wind, then followed by pouring rain. It eased up a bit an hour later, when we left for Bea's school. But then, it picked up again as I returned home.

My hearing went well and finished just in time for me to pick up Nico from his school. But by that time, further classes were already suspended.

I even had time to watch another reason why our Philippine sports officials should just hide out and seek illegal employment in Beijing. But I knew the results early because the official Olympic website offered advanced and live results.

Anyway, I reported to the office and we discussed our next project: our big move to our new office. If it all plays out, we will have an office we can be proud of.

And speaking of projects, our chamber group will embark on a new, ambitious project. We're gunning for "Air on a G string" by Bach. People are familiar with how this goes. I scrounged around in YouTube and there a lot of examples, but this is one of the most faithful, because the violinist actually plays the piece on only the violin's G string, if you will notice. Kyung-Wha Chung plays violin with Itamar Golan as an encore to the concert celebrating the 30th anniversary of her own international debut in 1997:

I don't know if one of our violinist will undertake to play the piece like this, but there's one thing I know: we don't have a cellist yet to pull this off...

Feeling the end of Scarlett is near

I've had Scarlett, my trusty MacBook (ICD 2.0 GHz) for almost two years now.

And it was the one of the best investments I ever had. Let's just say that as of now, she has paid for herself more than ten times over.

I'm so grateful for that, to that point I have made a lot of upgrades to her over time. I've upgraded her memory from her original 512 Mb to 1Gb then to 2Gb and I still have the working RAM modules with me. I've also upgraded her hard drive from her original 60Gb to 120Gb. I almost upgraded her again recently to 250Gb, but I missed the drive during the Ynzal Red Tag sale. And finally, I upgraded her OS from her original 10.4 Tiger to 10.5 Leopard.

But I feel time has run her course and it's the beginning of her end.

She's starting to not shut down properly. I get stuck with the wallpaper and I have to manually shut her down by pressing the power button.

I know it's a minor thing but knowing computers for about three-fourths of my life, I know that these minor problems will begin to snowball. And this early, I have to think about her replacement already.

I have been set on acquiring a MacBook Pro as a logical upgrade to Scarlett. And that's what I'll probably buy to replace her.

But don't worry, I won't sell off Scarlett unless I really, really have to. She has served me so well she deserves my loyalty at the very least and I will keep her until she still works. She will just be relegated to the background once her replacement is here. And this replacement will not come immediately, of course. I'm still reeling from acquiring my new flute. But again, I must already think of her replacement this early. Bea will probably be the beneficiary of this future switch.

Also, I already picked out a future name for this new computer more than a few months ago. But I'm going to disclose that name once she's already here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008
This day in history from:

Working (and Playing) Holiday

Yesterday was supposed to be a holiday for people who lived (and worked) in Quezon City.

But not for me.

I had to report to the office for some administrative matters, but primarily to prepare for a hearing I will have today. It's still that big case I was talking about for this year. And the work there may not stop until the end of the year.

But before that, I played for a funeral mass for the husband of a choirmate. I don't know if I have mentioned this but the members of my primary choir are all old enough to be my parents. Actually, all of them are friends of my parents and my mom and dad should be the members of the choir (and not me). I'm a member of that choir by proxy (or in their place).

Anyway, it has been a long time since I played in a funeral mass. I almost played in one last February for the dear friend we lost to leukemia, but my guitarist stood me up, but that's beside the point.

There is something about a funeral mass that inspires me to play better. It's probably the emotional connection the choir and the songs can have with those left behind. We chose uplifting songs that dealt with resurrection.

This funeral mass let me discover a new capability of my flute and my developing flute skills. I'm beginning to add expression to my flute playing. This is more than the ability fluctuate the volume of the flute. I mean actual emotion into the playing. And I'm excited I beginning to develop this.

And of course, this showed because we wanted to play (and sing) well to comfort our choirmate and her family somehow. And I truly hope we did.

And it was all downhill from there after that mass.

May your soul rest in peace.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008
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I put this video of Nina's "Jealous" because of two things:

1. Even if Nina has been exposed to death these past few years, I still think this is an excellent song and she, and excellent and soulful singer, back when she was still starting out (before she became a Regine Velasquez wannabe). Now, I think Juris of MYMP is the better singer because she has perfect diction and pronunciation. I can actually understand the lyrics of what she is singing (unlike other singers, actually most of them, who mumble their words, sacrificing clarity with "vocal gymnastics")

2. I'm sincerely feeling jealous right now. No, I'm not in a relationship (like some people who wish I was in, with anybody). I'm feeling jealous of Pakistan right now. You know the reason.

Anyway, getting ready to play at a funeral mass this morning. Then off to work.

Enjoy your long vacation. Happy Quezon Day, MLQ3!

By Nina

Jealous of the girl who caught your eye
One of my darker days
When you looked at her where was I?
Shoulda been in her place
Here I am
All alone imagining what might have been
What could have been
If I had been there

Jealous of the one who'se arms are around you
If she's keeping you satisfied
Jealous of the one who finally found you
Made your sun and your stars collide
La la la la la la la
She's a very very lucky girl
La la la la la la la

Jealous of the one who won your heart
They say it's a perfect match
She's gonna get to be where you are
And I don't get better than that
She'll say you're fine
Whisper words I wish were mine
And they might have been
If I had been there

[Repeat Chorus]

You know I'd fight the good fight
If I thought I'd change your mind
But if she makes you happy
I would leave that dream behind
Man, she better treat you right
And give you everything
Cause at the moment she doesn't
I'll be waiting in the wings

[Repeat Chorus]

La la la la la la la
She's a very very lucky girl

Monday, August 18, 2008
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Blame Game

We could blame the insurgents themselves for actually attacking civilians.

We could blame our soldiers for not defending us hard enough.

We could blame our leaders, both military and civilian, for their hidden agendas in the present peace and order (or even belligerent) situation we have right now.

But all the blame falls on us. Because we allowed such leaders with hidden agendas to lead us.

By selling our votes.

By allowing cheating.

By not giving a damn.

By not caring.

By not acting.

By continually blaming everyone except ourselves.

When will be start to change?

Sunday, August 17, 2008
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If you have been reading my previous personal posts, you know I have been practicing a small number called "Intermezzo" from Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni to build up my skills on my new flute.

It seems to be a simple piece (with some tricky measures). But this video of the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra (under the baton of Lim Kek-tjiang) playing that piece reinforced the truth that the most simple is the most beautiful:

Pietro Mascagni: "Intermezzo" from Cavalleria Rusticana
Lim Kek-tjiang conducts Evergreen Symphony Orchestra

Enjoy the rest of your long weekend (or long, long weekend, if you live in the city where I live).

Friday, August 15, 2008
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A long weekend

Because of the holiday economics policy of the present government, we will have a long weekend.

And if you work where I am, that long weekend gets extended by a day.

I plan to spend it judiciously. Sleep will be a priority but I would like to spend a lot of time with my kids. That's because I have been suffering from what I suspect to be gout and it has been bugging me these past three days.

Of course, there will be my chamber session tomorrow morning and an extended choir practice and service tomorrow.

And hopefully, I can avail of my free movie privilege during the long weekend.

So if you are similarly situated, enjoy this long weekend. But spend it wisely.

Thursday, August 14, 2008
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Service Contracts

Over the course of the "discussions" in the "Iskolar ng Bayan" issue, there was a comment that caught my eye. And according to Twitterland, Jester's interest was likewise piqued by this comment:
Just out of curiosity, aren't graduates of UP subject to service contracts (meaning, they have to serve in the government a certain number of years for every year they are in UP)?

If they are not, then they should be.
The concept of service contracts is not new.

I was offered a full scholarship for the Geodetic Engineering course in the University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus myself. The catch was a service contract, meaning, I had to serve two years in government for every year I availed of the scholarship, as far I can remember. Otherwise, I had to pay back the tuition I availed of in full.

AFAIK, I think admission to the Philippine Science High School is under the condition that the PSHS graduate will pursue a science-related degree in college, if anyone can confirm this. That could be considered a service contract, in a sense.

This service contract is likewise the condition for government employees who wish to study abroad for graduate studies, even if the scholarship came from somewhere else. They had to serve a fixed amount of years for every year they studied. But this is because the study leave it entails is a paid leave, meaning, the government employee studying abroad will still collect his/her salary while he/she is away.

That comment raises a valid issue that can be ripe for debate and discussion:

Should UP (or any other state university) graduates be subject to a service contract as a condition for admission henceforth?

Just to get the ball rolling, let me discuss the pros and cons.

On the one hand, it will ensure that the State will benefit from the education it has subsidized for talented students. Likewise, people will say this is only fair for the State which has allocated resources for selected students. Also (especially in the case of UP), it will "weed out" those who can actually afford to pay their way for a good education, because a government stint (with its low salaries) is supposedly a natural "turn-off" for these people.

On the other hand, and as the discussion over there suggests, graduates of state universities should not be subjected to service contracts because it is the State's obligation to provide all people education in the first place. It's supposed to be free in the first place, so the availment of state-subsidized education should be unconditional.

This issue, I think, is a better issue that could be discussed intelligently and objectively.

So what do you think?


Got really frustrated (disgusted is the more accurate word but it's harsher, I know) watching our lone boxer in the Olympics lose in the first round of his medal quest.

If that's the best we got, I suggest we don't field a team anywhere anymore and just abandon our sports program. It's just a waste of time and energy that could be diverted to more basic needs of the country.

If it's not our lack of ability, it's the inefficiency of our programs. I don't know but I guess in our contingent to the Olympics, sports officials (and their companions) outnumber actual athletes by at least two to one.

And if it's not either, it will be poor officiating against us. And as docile people, they know we won't complain about it for the sake of smooth personal relations.

If we do have to compete, it better be in sports that we are good at. I suggest we come back to the Olympics when bowling and billiards become Olympic sports. Those two, we are good at. And they cannot be influenced by poor officiating.

Just my two cents.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008
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China really showcased itself during the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

And I have to admit, it was impressive. I was sufficiently (or more than sufficiently) impressed.

The problem is, it showcased the entire China, even its faults.

Even to the fault of using fake fireworks and now, even a fake child singer for the spectacle.

So that opening ceremony showcased everything that is China. It even showcased is propensity for pirated things. Even the fireworks and singers are pirated.

What would they think of pirating next?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008
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Now it's all becoming clearer to me now:

1. Stir up trouble in Mindanao by placing a warrior to negotiate peace there (which makes him totally unqualified for the job).

2. Negotiate peace with paper promises that do not carry any weight.

3. This, in turn, will cause more unrest and all parties will feel they were all had.

4. With emotions stirred and heated, the parties will be in the brink of, if not already in full scale conflict.

5. Then, at the right time, suggest federalism and the step needed to achieve it, namely a constitutional change.

6. With the constitutional change for federalism already on the table, other amendments such as the form of government (from presidential to parliamentary) and deal with that pesky term limits barrier once and for all.

Oh, now I get it!

Does not take a genius to figure that one out.

The only problem is, ordinary Filipinos will pay for that grand master plan with their blood...

This plan has been described as "sinister" by some. I tend to agree.

Monday, August 11, 2008
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Car-less Reprieve

I had somewhat of a reprieve today from my car-less days.

I actually had the car on some of my errands.

But tomorrow will be different. My dad is bringing the remaining car out of town early morning for the whole day. So I'm deciding on whether I should stay at home and work from here or go out and just commute.

I guess I'll find out tomorrow, as I brought a lot of stuff home with me tonight.

So we had our partner's meeting today and our move in December is already settled. It's just a matter of making an offer to the owner of the space we intend to rent and raise enough money for the deposits and the interior decoration.

Other than that, nothing much happened today.

Oh, except I got my MTRCB deputy ID today (Yay! Free movies!). That gives me the capacity to date again, if (and only if) I want to.

Sunday, August 10, 2008
This day in history from:

Car-less Month

I took the car yesterday to the shop for some much needed repairs.

The front and rear bumpers have to be repaired and/or replaced because of the mishap I had with it last February. And yes, it took all that time to get the insurance paperwork done and I just put the car in just yesterday.

Also, the doors were showing signs of rust, too early for a two-year old car. But that's covered by warranty.

The service crew promised me a 15 day return on the bumper repairs.

Unfortunately, the repair and/or replacement of the doors will take about a month.

So how will I survive a month with one car less than usual and my dad using the other car more often? Tune in to further posts.

As a matter of fact, I have been experiencing being car-less for the past two days. I had to commute come from some point in the city from Tagaytay because I did not make arrangements (on purpose) to be picked up from my government consultancy.

And of course, I had to commute home from the car shop when I took the car in.

Mind you, this is a familiar experience. I had been commuting during my school days and I only started driving extensively when I started to work.

There is a feeling of freedom in commuting that I don't get when I have a car. I don't have to worry about the car and all the hassles that go with it, from the parking to the fear of getting towed, scratched, bumped into or worse...

The only problem I have with commuting at present is the current levels of pollution. And I find myself more fatigued when I get back home. But that could be a blessing since that would be less sedentary than having a car. I get to walk a lot more.

Anyway, I got back yesterday in time for choir as I used this new-found freedom to move around the city on some "errands" after I left the car on the shop. It was then that I appreciated "not" having the car.

Choir went well. Nothing significant or spectacular, though.

For today, Bea's egging me to go to the mall. I want to oblige since it was the end of her periodicals and she needed the break. But there may be a problem. My dad will use the other car today.

Perhaps Bea is up to commuting today as well? She might as well learn how to this early.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, August 08, 2008
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In case you are wondering why there was no post yesterday, I went up to Tagaytay City yesterday from a mandatory "values formation" seminar in my government consultancy.

I came in late simply because I had a hearing that morning.

And I did not bring a computer to the venue.

It was an interesting seminar. I thought it will be a recollection or a semi-retreat, which may be offensive to non-Catholics in the office (and most certainly unconstitutional).

But surprisingly, it was very interesting. And very helpful. It was a chance to recharge, reflect and refocus.

But I played selfish there because I did not really contribute and just absorbed what everyone had to say.

I just got back home from it right now. The only problem I had was the accommodation. I particularly got a soggy bed and I could not find a good sleeping position.

Hence, I'm tired and sleepy as of now. And I'll miss my lawyers meeting today. Hopefully I can still join them through teleconferencing. But as my partner said, you cannot send a been through the internet.

Does not matter anyway. I'm that tired and sleepy.

I have to go, I have to tutor Bea in her math periodical exam later.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008
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UP Spat and Spelling...

For today, let me direct you to a hot (and I mean this in all senses) blog entry from Pierre, aka "The Guy with the Floppy Hat," or "The Jester In Exile" and the subsequent comments that come after it.

The original blog entry that sparked this already has more than 100 comments, some of them very vicious.

No less than Blogger of the Year Shari Cruz has weighed in on this discussion.


But I'll keep my thoughts to myself on this one, though I want to say so much.

I have other things to do, like work.

So I'll take my quiet snicker (again!) and run.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008
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Kids' Update

I'm sorry, I've been so engaged in my work that I forgot to keep an update on how my kids are doing.

Bea is already in the thick of Grade 4 as she turned ten last April. She's growing up pretty fast and pretty soon, she'll be an adolescent. To think, in two years, she will be in Grade 6, in three, in high school.

Nico's going to turn five in October. He's on his second year attending pre-school and I'm in the middle of applying for admission in the big Catholic schools in the area. He'll have his admission test in 23 September 2008 in Ateneo and I'm going to make inquiries in Claret School soon. If we move to the Ortigas area, I may consider having Nico attend the nearby schools, like Lourdes School (my grade school alma mater). Knowing me, La Salle will be a long shot, as in close to nil.

Whew! Time moves so fast. Pretty soon, my kids will all be grown up.

Over the Hump... and off to Atlanta...

The worst is over for one of the busiest two-week periods I had this year.

The most crucial day was Monday. And all went well. Too well, if you ask me. But we'll take it. A win as a win, as people say.

While we have ditched our hopes of transferring to Tektite, we found a suitable replacement nearby. It has a fantastic view all around and enough room for expanding our firm.

And now, to raise funds for the transfer...

I'm not worried, though. If we are grateful we found a suitable replacement for our Tektite dream, know and visualize we will transfer to our new office and expect and feel good about it, it will surely come.

I can't wait to blog about this in my other blog when we are already there...

Monday, August 04, 2008
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Rick Roll Chart

Something I picked up here, by way of the Rick Roll website.

Sunday, August 03, 2008
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Dream Come True

If I did not read Gabe's blog, I would have never known Roderick Paulate performed in Rick Astley's concert here:

And here's the proof:

Really made my day, even if I'm working today.

Have a happy weekend!

Saturday, August 02, 2008
This day in history from:


Just in the middle of one of the busiest two-week periods of this year. And I have to work tomorrow.

But today, I have a reprieve from all that. Chamber session in the morning. Choir in the evening. And probably meet some friends afterwards.

And tomorrow, more work.

So I'll just be grateful and enjoy this reprieve I have for today. And not waste any more time blogging about it.

Catch you later. And have a happy weekend, too.

Friday, August 01, 2008
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Grace Padaca for President!

Instead of focusing today on people fighting over "their commissions" as Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago (a 1998 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee herself) puts it, I like to honor the 2008 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Government Service, Gov. Grace Padaca of Isabela:

From the Ramon Magsaysay Awards Foundation website:

Grace Padaca, from the Philippines, for Government Service. She is being recognized for "her empowering voters in the Philippines' Isabela province to reclaim their democratic right to elect leaders of their own choosing, and to contribute as full partners in their own development."

As she pursues her ambitious agenda today, Governor Grace stays in close touch with her constituents. She challenges them to reach beyond their political comfort zones and to "defend what is good in society." She reminds them that the people of Isabela are no longer "the victims of cheaters and opportunists." Her victory is their victory, she says. "I will work everyday to prove that democracy is the better choice."

In electing Grace Padaca to receive the 2008 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service, the board of trustees recognizes her empowering voters in the Philippines' Isabela Province to reclaim their democratic right to elect leaders of their own choosing and to contribute as full partners in their own development.

Padaca for President!

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Side Prayers

Lord Jesus,
Teach me to be generous,
Teach me to serve You as You deserve
To give and not to count the cost,
To fight and not to heed the wounds,
To toil and not to seek for rest,
To labor and not to ask for reward,
except that of knowing
That I do Your Holy Will. Amen

May every word I speak be from Your Truth...
I ask come from Your Wisdom...
May every case I handle receive Your Guidance...
May every heart, every life I touch, feel Your Love.

And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying,
"Oh, that You would bless me indeed,
and enlarge my territory,
that Your Hand be with me,
that You would keep me from evil,
that I may not cause pain."

So God granted him what he requested.

Side Oath

The Lawyer's Oath
I do solemnly swear that
I will maintain allegiance to
the Republic of the Philippines,
I will support its Constitution
and obey the laws as well as
the legal orders of the
duly constituted authorities therein;
I will do no falsehood,
nor consent to the doing of any in court;
I will not wittingly or willingly
promote or sue any groundless,
false or unlawful suit,
nor give aid nor consent to the same;
I will delay no man for money or malice,
and will conduct myself as a lawyer
according to the best of my knowledge
and discretion with all good fidelity
as well to the courts as to my clients;
and I impose upon myself this voluntary obligation
without any mental reservation
or purpose of evasion.
So help me God.

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