CJ’s first halloween trick-or-treating at Ayala Alabang

Here are some pictures taken from CJ’s first Halloween trick-or-treating event. Our first stop was at the Festival Mall in Alabang. We then proceeded to Ayala Alabang Village to round up the day’s gig.

CJ had a great time and was simply adorable in his Winnie the Pooh costume. Barely two years old, he had no idea what trick-or-treating was, well, he couldn’t even utter the words “Trick or treat!” But we really had fun watching him eagerly and clumsily rushing towards every house that we went to and knocking zealously at the doors. It’s too bad that we did the rounds a little bit late or he could have gotten more treats. But, all the same, we were really proud of our cute, cuddly and oh so adorable little Pooh bear.

Is Philippine cable TV really worth it?

Is subscribing to cable TV really worth it? Sometimes it is, but most often it isn’t.

You see, it all starts with the way it’s marketed. You can see it everywhere. One of the marketing points being touted by competing cable TV providers is by stating how many channels they serve. In this case, the usual spiel would be for them to: 1) list how many channels they have; 2) list some of their well known programs such as HBO, Star TV and ESPN; and 3) list channels that are targeted for a specific demographic community (Chinese, Indian, Arab, Filipino, etc).

Not that this is bad in any way. It’s actually good – if you’re a motel or realty owner and plan to resell it, that is!

You see, the Pinoy Juan’s instinctive reaction to these ads is to see which deal offers more bang for the buck. He does this by computing for the effective cost per channel by dividing the subscriber’s monthly subscription fee over the number of channels they offer. So if Cable Provider A offers a monthly cost of Php 600 for 60 channels, and Provider B offers a monthly cost of Php 700 for 80 channels, then the cost per channel of each provider would be as follows:

Provider A: Php 600 / 60 channels = Php 10 per channel
Provider B: @ Php 700 / 80 channels = Php 8.75 per channel

At first glance, this makes Provider B the better deal. And so Juan opts for Subscriber B. He even pats himself on the back for making such an astute choice, only to find out later on, to much consternation, that he might have ended up with a lemon.

You see, everything changes once the subscription starts. Why? Well, for starters, of the 80 channels, half of which use foreign language. Of the remaining 40, roughly half of this is pretty much useless stuff such as virtual aquariums, flight scheds, race results and the like. So what’s left? Oh, just about a dozen or so local VHF/UHF channels that could be seen even without cable, and about 7 or 8 channels that are good enough (at least until they start showing re-runs for the duration of the month’s program schedule) for viewing.

Juan suddenly feels gypped. He just spent 700 bucks for a measly 7 watchable channels on top of the local ones – that’s a hundred bucks per channel!

Don’t you ever wonder why won’t cable companies just sell us channels of our own choosing, a la carte style, instead of the unpalatable smorgasbord gunk of what they call intelligent programming.

Oh well, just imagine what Juan would do if it were his day off or he called in sick. You can almost picture him either catching up on a good read or just snoozing the day off.

The Makati City bomb blast at Glorietta 2

Today’s another very tragic day for the Philippines due to the Glorietta 2 bombing incident.

At about 1:30PM this afternoon, an explosive blast ripped through the ground floor of Glorietta 2, one of the country’s busiest and most heavily populated shopping malls, located at the heart of the Makati City central business and shopping district.

The Makati bombing claimed the lives of at least 9 people and injured hundreds more when its shock waves caused a violent chain reaction of collapsing building structures (ceilings, floors, walls and roof), menacing shards of projectile-like glass and metal shrapnels, falling debris and paranoia-induced human stampede.

The blast was initially thought of as an LPG tank that exploded inside Luk Yuen, one of the restaurants located at ground zero. Investigators soon ruled out the exploding LPG tank theory and found evidence that the cause was far more sinister than initially expected, it was a terrorist bomb attack using C-4 plastic explosives.

Most of the victims were rushed to different hospitals in the Makati area, such as the Makati Medical Center and the Ospital ng Makati.

For now, please pray for the eternal repose of those who died and for the quick recovery of the injured victims. May justice be served swiftly.

Related News:
GMA News: C4 bomb component used in Glorietta blast – PNP chemist
Inquirer.net: 9 killed in Makati blast (Explosion in Glorietta mall injures 119 others)

7 ways to avoid road rage – part 2

As promised, this is the second and final part of my blog entry entitled “7 Ways to Avoid Road Rage”. The first four points covered in Part One are:

1. Be courteous.
2. Observe traffic rules.
3. Always signal your intentions.
4. Don’t tailgate.

Here are the remaining tips:

5. Observe the proper parking lot etiquette. – This is one of the most important tips to remember, since a lot of people have died just because of parking lot scuffles. Some of the parking lot rules of thumb to consider are: observe the first-come-first-served basis; if a space opens up, turn on your signal light to the direction where the parking space is to indicate your intentions, in turn, drivers who see this should understand not to take that space; when a parking space suddenly opens up behind you, don’t back up anymore and just move on; and stick to the lane you are in and try not to get too greedy with the area you are surveying.

6. Watch your high beams. – When driving at night, nothing pisses me off more than some half-blind driver forgetting to switch to low beams when approaching cars or tailing them. (In the Philippines: Jeepney drivers do the extreme opposite. Most of them drive around at night with their headlights turned off, only relying on their darned park lights!)

7. Turn down the bass. – As with tip number 6 above, here’s another example of drivers with defective senses, and this time it involves their sense of hearing. I don’t understand how people driving boom boxes for cars can drive properly and responsibly if they can’t hear what’s going on outside. Along with the sense of sight, I was made to understand that a good sense of hearing is also a prerequisite for safe and defensive driving. Not only is the half-deaf driver not able to hear cars honking at him or ambulance/police car sirens begging for road space, but some studies have shown that loud music with fast beats tend to draw out aggressiveness in people as opposed to soft, slow soothing music. This makes people more prone to succumbing to road rage. (In the Philippines: Again, a lot of Jeepney drivers are guilty of this. Heck, these drivers can’t even hear their passengers shouting “Mama, para po!!!” (to indicate that they want to be dropped off at a certain spot) or “Mama, eto pong bayad ko!!! (to indicate that they are about to pay their fare) at the top of their lungs. Mind you, a driver-passenger road rage confrontation can and does happen because of this!)

Following these tips does not guarantee that you won’t succumb to road rage or be in the receiving end of one, but it does help make the streets safer and more peaceful for everyone. Do you have anything else to add?

Happy driving!

Related Blog Entries:
7 Ways to Avoid Road Rage – Part 1
Pasig Road Rage: Justice and Peace for Ed and Kay
Pasig Road Rage: Pasig Road Rage: Lawyer Released on Bail

7 ways to avoid road rage – part 1

What’s the popular buzzword nowadays? The term “road rage” is one of the most popular terms being used today in the Philippines, particularly in Manila. This is mainly because of the recent spate of unfortunate road rage-related crimes happening across the metropolis. It’s such a major concern, especially in this traffic forsaken land of ours where machismo, pride and ego predominate.

So how can we lessen or contribute to the elimination of road rage in the Philippines?

Here’s Part One of: “7 Ways to Avoid Road Rage”.

1. Be courteous. It pays to be a courteous driver. Just imagine what the world would be like if every driver followed the “Golden Rule”, which simply means “Do unto others what you want others to do to you”. The increase in the number of courteous drivers will help decrease of road rage incidents, which means safer streets for our everyone to ply on. But it’s quite unfortunate that a lot of stupid drivers still follow the “Do unto others before they do it to you” maxim, which really sucks.

2. Observe traffic rules. – Traffic rules were meant to aid people and help improve our overall driving experience, not limit them. Just imagine how organized and efficient our roadways will be if all drivers obey existing traffic rules – one ways, no overtaking, speed limits, no parking, etc. This leads to lesser headaches. (In the Philippines: You’d expect law makers and law enforcers to set an example, but this is more often not the case. With heavily tinted windshields, diplomatic or special plates, blaring sirens, and police escorts, they seem to think that they’re above the law, those fu#*@rs!)

3. Always signal your intentions. – If you can’t do the simple task of engaging your signal lights prior to turning or changing lanes then you shouldn’t be driving at all. Admit it, your brain just can’t handle simple multi-tasking tasks so much so that it’s eating up all of your concentration just to focus on the road ahead and not anything else. How can people expect you to handle complicated tasks such as making good driving judgment calls or performing successful evasive maneuvers? Your brain will probably be overwhelmed and “lock up” when situations like these occur. It gives a whole new meaning to the term “pea brained.” Ha!

4. Don’t tailgate. – Some people just have a fixation for trains. They seem to think that they’re the train’s caboose. (In the Philippines: You’d see these tailgate jerks swerving around, nipping at your rear, stuck to you like glue and driving in the wake of speeding ambulances, diplomatic convoys and, if they happen to have color-code violating license plates, right smack at the tail end of just about any car they come across so as to hide their plates from those “ever vigilant” law enforcers!)

Part Two’s coming up in my next post. Can you figure out what the remaining three are?

Related Blog Entries:
7 Ways to Avoid Road Rage – Part 2
Pasig Road Rage: Justice and Peace for Ed and Kay
Pasig Road Rage: Pasig Road Rage: Lawyer Released on Bail

All in a day’s work – and some notes…

Today was a pretty rough and tiring day.

My boss called me up last night, on short notice, to inform me that I was slated to go to a client’s office in Subic Bay for a meeting early Monday morning.

I left early in the morning, a little over 6AM to head to the office and meet up with my boss to get some materials. Thereafter, I had to drop by Eastwood City in Libis, Quezon City to pick up a business partner, who turned out to be a former college schoolmate of mine. We then headed off to Pampanga, which was along the way to Subic Bay, Zambales to pick up another business partner. (Note to Self: Wake up earlier you lunkhead!)

The drive was long and traffic was unexpectedly moderate to heavy, which slowed us down even further. We ended up reaching the client’s site, an awesome facility nestled between the sea and surrounding mountains, after 4 hours of driving. My Toyota Innova, “Puti”, ended up battered underneath by rocks and boulders on patches of unpaved road strewn across a scenic, winding mountain pass heading to our destination. I wished I had one of them 4×4 Ford Expeditions or Toyota Fortuners so I could just plough through with ease. (Note to Self: Start saving up for that 4×4 you’ve always wanted!)

After spending much time trudging through high security protocols and miscommunication mishaps involving language barrier, missing key personnel and lunch breaks, we finally had a chance to meet our clients face-to-face at, oh, a little over 2:30PM! (Note to Self: Start catching up on some basic Korean language skills.)

Suffice it to say, we were on the road again in 45 minutes. ‘Twas another 4 or 5 hour drive back to Manila. The drive home would have been uneventful had it not been for the highway patrol pulling us over for having a busted left head light, oh man! But, lucky for us we were only given a warning! ;-P (Note to Self: Have that headlight fixed!)

I dropped off my colleagues along the way and picked up Conne, who had been waiting for me at her office, about half past eight and headed straight home. It’s a wonder CJ was still up waiting for us. 🙂 (Note to Self: Thank God for a wonderful family He’s given you!)

To summarize my day, it was: 10 hours driving, 2 hours waiting, 30 minutes eating lunch, and 30 minutes meeting. And the rest? Some quality time with my family, of course! 🙂 (Note to Self: Stop whining, you crybaby! It was worth it!)


Another long weekend up ahead

The Philippine government recently issued Proclamation No. 1397 declaring Friday, October 12th, as a regular holiday in observance of “Eid ul-Fitr”, a Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan. For our Muslim brothers, Eid ul-Fitr is a joyous occasion with important religious significance, celebrating the achievement of enhanced piety.

This also means that there’s another long weekend up ahead! Yes, it’s definitely more rest and relaxation time for us “dakilang manggagawa”, not to mention being able to spend more quality time with the family. 🙂

Boxing: Manny Pacquiao defeats Marco Antonio Barrera

Filipino super featherweight boxing superstar, Manny Pacquiao (45-3-2, 35 KO’s), won a unanimous decision over Mexican fellow superstar, Marco Antonio Barrera (63-6, 42 KO’s) this morning at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. The scores were 118-109, 118-109 and 115-112. This is the second time that they fought in a sanctioned bout.

“Pacman” continued to show his mastery over Barrera as he simply outboxed and outgunned MAB, the “Baby-faced Assassin”, for most of the fight. MAB showed flashes of brilliance on some rounds but it wasn’t enough to overcome Pacman’s power. In addition, MAB announced his retirement during the post-fight press conference. Here’s wishing the best to MAB, one of my favorite boxers, as he goes through a new phase of his life.

And congratulations are in order for the “Pambansang Kamao” for doing the country proud, as usual. “Mabuhay ang Pinoy!!!”

Pasig Road Rage: Lawyer suspect released on bail

Atty. Manuel Hernandez Jr, the lawyer suspected of shooting down and killing Kay Palmero and Ed Canizares after a traffic altercation, has been granted bail this afternoon, October 5th. This was after the Pasig City Prosecutor’s Office agreed to downgrade the charges against Hernandez from two counts of murder to two counts of homicide, which made him eligible for bail.

The suspect was therefore released on bail after posting PhP 80,000, and upon receipt by the Pasig City police of the release order given by Pasig City Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Amelia Manalastas.

This new development has raised a lot of issues especially since Hernandez works for Pasig City Hall as a legal officer.

There won’t be anything much for us to do but wait and, as good citizens, presume that the suspect is innocent until proven guilty in court (if there will ever be a trial) no matter how damning the evidence may be (like several eyewitnesses). But let’s just hope and pray that the truth comes out and that justice be served immediately.

What do you think?

Related News:
Lawyer Tagged in Road-rage Killings Out on P80,000 Bail

Related Blog Entries:
Pasig Road Rage: Justice and Peace for Ed and Kay
7 Ways to Avoid Road Rage – Part 1
7 Ways to Avoid Road Rage – Part 2