Saturday, January 26, 2008

Lovely KC Concepcion At Puey Quinones Gala

Found this on my friend Juan Sarte's site and got his permission to post it here. Isn't she just lovely? And even slimmer from the last time I saw her!

This was taken at a shoot for the Puey Quinones Gala.
Photography was by the highly artistic Mark Nicdao and fashion styling by Michael Salientes who is a childhood friend of mine, and makeup by the super talented Juan Sarte III. Put together these four geniuses and this is the kind of look that you get. Of course you need to have the Gabby Concepcion-Sharon Cuneta genes to carry it off just as KC does.

Juan did KC's makeup for this shoot and it was not by Chanel as wrongly credited in this fashion event's press release. Juan writes, "I did not use any Chanel product on her face. KC endorses Colour Collection Cosmetics by Fuller Life."

Friday, January 25, 2008

Happy Slip Arrives In Manila!

Oh I am so thrilled and I wish I could get to meet her personally...

Back in December 2006, I had written an article on Christine Gambito of Happy Slip fame. Even back then, I was already such a HUGE fan and when I discovered her videos on YouTube, grabe, naloka ako sa kakatawa! My all time favorites are her "Mixed Nuts" and the hilarious "Boypren" videos. I wrote her and asked if I could interview her for Global Pinoy in the Philippine Daily Inquirer and she agreed! In several subsequent email exchanges, I had told her that I wished she would be able to come one day and visit the Philippines to do shows. And now she is here as an ambassador for the Department of Tourism! A really perfect choice if you ask me.

Read my December 2006 Philippine Daily Inquirer interview (in Global Pinoy) with Christine Gambito here and view her latest thoughts on coming home -- quite a sentimental video that will make you teary-eyed. Welcome home Christine! Tunay ka pa ring Pinay :)

Watch this introductory Vlog by Christine --

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Protect Yourself Against Dengue All-Year Round

Prevention is still the best protection against dengue.

Doctors and the Department of Health say that dengue now knows no season so it is always best to be prepared and protect ourselves against it. Here are a few emails I received with very helpful tips that everyone can benefit from.

Where dengue breeds [published in CONSUMERLINE By Ching M. Alano.Philippine Star, 15 Jan. 2008]

Many a grim tale has been told about the dreaded dengue. Here's another one, as shared in an e-mail:

Dear Consumerline,
This evening, we attended the wake of Natalie Corrales Feist, only 17 years old. Her mother Rosa is the sister of Pilita Corrales and her father Ed Feist is the head of a big pharmaceutical company in Manila.
Natalie was studying in Australia and had come home to Manila to spend the Christmas holidays with her family. What started only as a stomachache progressed to
malaise and fever that turned out to be the deadly dengue fever which snuffed out Natalie's life in such a short time. Natalie was an only daughter and the youngest of three children. It was indeed so sad to witness the grief, the sadness, and the pain of losing such a wonderful daughter and so pretty at that. The priest saying Mass also mentioned about another young girl of 15 who also died recently.
A couple of years ago, my nephew who was only 28 years old and was to be married, also died within a short time after he contracted dengue. He was an only son.
Dengue kills. Let us not wait for it to get out of hand and claim more young lives. As my own small contribution to help increase people's consciousness of this disease, allow me to share the warnings below. Many people are not aware that in their own homes, there are dangerous places where mosquitoes breed. Please take note:

• The bromeliad plant has beautiful flowers, but they are deadly, because in between are pockets that collect clean water, which is where the dengue mosquitoes breed. If you have them, get rid of them or place them in pots so that after watering them, the pots can be turned over to remove the excess water.
I have noticed that along Ayala Avenue in Makati and other roadsides, the bromeliads, which are very colorful, are often used by landscapers to brighten areas, etc.
The landscapers must be discouraged from using these plants, especially when they are planted in the ground, because they can cause an epidemic, as what happened in Cebu many years back. It was discovered that these plants were the culprits.
• Those that have bamboo fences placed over their concrete fences (as in many subdivisions) must see to it that the top is covered, because the bamboo crevices hold water and again become breeding places for dengue mosquitoes.
• I have just read on the Internet about a tip that was given at a recent gardening forum. Here it is: Put some water in a white dinner plate (I suppose a small white platito will do) and add a couple of drops of Lemon Fresh Dish Washing Liquid. Set the dish on your porch, patio, picnic table, park bench, or other outdoor areas. I'm not sure what attracts them — the lemon's smell, the white plate color, or what. But mosquitoes flock to it, and drop dead shortly after drinking the Lemon Fresh Dish Washing Liquid and water mixture and usually, within about 10 feet of the plate.
Try it, it works just super! It may seem trivial, but it may also help control mosquitoes around your home (especially in areas where the dengue- and malaria-carrying mosquitoes have reached epidemic proportions) . It's safer than mosquito coils ... no offensive odor and harmful fumes, no risk of fire.
This is all I can say, which may be helpful in controlling the rise of the deadly dengue mosquitoes. Let us all try to do our part in our own homes and surroundings, so that by doing so, we can lessen dengue's breeding places and save more lives.
Isabel F. Guevara
Magallanes Village, Makati City

Speak out: Cure for dengue? By Bernardo Rocha Calibo Director, National Police Commission 7

THERE is hope that the dengue scourge will be obliterated. I was in a meeting in Manila recently with other Napolcom officials. While waiting for my flight back to Cebu, I happened to talk with friends. The conversation eventually turned to dengue. Some of their statements shocked me. I called up the persons concerned and they confirmed these revelations. Computer technician Wenceslao Salesale Jr., 27, was downed by dengue. His platelet count plunged from 180 to 80. He was rushed by ambulance from Novaliches to Manila . Inside the ambulance, a relative, acting upon the advice of a missionary priest, made him drink soup made from camote tops. The following day, his platelet count was normal.

Dengue attacked the 7-year-old daughter of engineers Mar and Lita Budlongan of Kaloocan City . Her platelet count read 80. The same treatment was used. The following day she was back to normal.

The 15-year-old daughter of businessman Nepomuceno Salaga of Sampaloc, Manila had a dangerous platelet count of 80 due to dengue. The same treatment was followed. The following day she was back in school.

I asked a doctor of medicine about herbal cures and he said that many, if not most, medicines come from plants. He also said that under the Hippocratic Oath, doctors are bound encourage anything that can cure a patient. We need not do research deep in the rainforests of the Amazon or venture into the ocean depths in search of the elusive cure for dengue. It is right there in the backyard.

The following information is from Wikipedia: "In 1992, the Center for Science in the Public Interest compared the nutritional value of sweet potatoes to other vegetables. Considering fiber content, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium, the sweet potato ranked highest in nutritional value. According to these criteria, sweet potatoes earned 184 points, 100 points over the next on the list, the common potato (NCSPC)." "…Sweet potato tops are excellent sources of antioxidative compounds, mainly polyphenolics, which may protect the human body from oxidative stress that is associated with many diseases including cancer ad cardiovascular diseases. Sweet potato greens have the highest content of total polyphenolics among other commercial vegetables studied. "Sweet potatoes contain protein, dietary fiber, lipid, and essential minerals and nutrients such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, sodium, potassium, sulfur, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, aluminum and boron. Sweet potatoes are also important sources of vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and ascorbic acid." Camote In the case of Salaga, he bought five sheaves (bugkos/ bigkis) of camote cuttings. Each sheaf consists of about 12 cuttings. Each cutting measures about one foot. A sheaf costs about P5. Camote tops are boiled in water to extract the juice. The boiling lasts for about five minutes. A little salt is used to give flavor to it. The patient is made to drink slowly and gradually. The body's immunity system is thus revived, making dengue helpless against the body's natural defenses. Camote enables the body to heal itself.

Now you know why I earlier said that my friends' revelations shocked me. They were shocking because people are needlessly dying all around us from dengue, while their very cure is also all around us. In the past, many were fond of using the derogatory statement, "Go home and plant camote." Now, camote is big news. It can save lives. What could be bigger than that? So, to fortify your family against dengue, "Go home and plant camote!"
(Engr. Lita Budiongan and Mr. Nepomuceno Salaga personally related to me their experiences with their respective daughters. I asked their permission to use their names.)

Man From The East is New Society of Jesus General

The new head, or the General, of the Society of Jesus is a man who has spent many years of his life serving in the Philippines. The Society of Jesus elected Fr.Adolfo Nicolas as the 29th successor to St. Ignatius of Loyola. As you can glean from parts of the insightful essay below by Fr. Danny Huang, he is a man well-loved and highly-respected by his peers.

"To lead the Society as General clearly requires many other gifts. "He ought to be endowed with great intelligence and judgment," Ignatius writes. "Learning," "prudence," "experience," are among the necessary qualifications for governance that St. Ignatius adds to his list.

Fr. Nico, the "wise man from the East," as some are already calling
him, is richly blessed with such gifts that are both personal and the
fruit of his broad experience of many cultures and governance on many
levels. "Nowhere was it written that we wanted someone from the
Orient," Fr. Gendron observes. "But for the third time in a row, the
Society has elected a missionary, like Fr. Kolvenbach and Fr. Arrupe,
a Westerner who has spent most of his Jesuit life in the Orient."
There is something providential, surely, in this pattern.

Fr. Nico, European in origin and training, yet with such
breathtakingly broad cultural exposure, and indeed exercising
leadership for over forty years in various parts of Asia, brings with
him crucial perspectives and sensibilities at a time when the Society
of Jesus finds itself in major demographic transitions.
As a professional theologian of depth and creativity, he is also well
equipped to help articulate for the Society faithful yet fresh and
inspiring visions of our mission and religious life today. His years
as Director (and at present, Chair) of the East Asian Pastoral
Institute in Manila involve a rich experience of respectful and
fruitful cooperation with the hierarchies and local Church leaders of
many continents. Moreover, because he worked for several years in the
pastoral care of vulnerable Filipino and Asian migrant workers in
Tokyo, he brings to his office a special care for the poor, whom the
Church and the Society of Jesus call Jesuits to have a preferential
love for. At the same time, because he has labored for many decades
in the increasingly secular milieu of Japan, he also has a profound
sensitivity to the challenges of unbelief and religious indifference
that are the context and challenge of many parts of the developed
world. Finally, as one who has been Provincial of Japan and President
of the Conference of Provincials of East Asia and Oceania, as well as
former Major Superior of our Jesuit missions in Cambodia, East Timor
and Myanmar, Nico is no stranger to the requirements of governance and
administration, and brings this rich administrative and leadership
experience with him into his new office.

Young at 71

Yesterday, with a glint of mischievous humor in his eyes, Fr. Nico
told me that he had never experienced so many Jesuits asking him with
such concern about his health. This is, of course, entirely natural.
Ignatius realistically lists sufficient "physical strength demanded by
his charge," as the final qualification of the General. And Nico is
71—72 by April.

His age was, frankly, a concern. But interestingly, it became clear to
many of us that chronological years were not the most reliable measure
of age where Nico was concerned. Paradoxically, one of the oldest
among us was also one of the most youthful in energy and spirit. "He
has the mind of a young man," someone told me in admiration. "I have
never walked with anyone who walked so fast. I have to tell him to
slow down when I walk with him," a Latin American Jesuit told me.

But perhaps it is best to let the young speak. Bishop Francisco Claver
writes: "I was at LHS [Loyola House of Studies, the Philippine
Province scholasticate] for supper when we got the news--everybody
cheered like we were winning a basketball game!" In nearby Arrupe
International Residence, the seventy or so scholastics there have been
excitedly gathering to share stories and experiences of the General
who, until yesterday, was their Major Superior. Scholastics, mostly in
their twenties, from East Timor, Myanmar, China, the Philippines,
Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand have expressed their delight
in and appreciation of the choice of the Congregation. Isaias Caldas,
a junior from East Timor, wrote to his Regional Superior, Fr. John
Mace, thus: "Personally I am excited and overjoyed because this
General is someone whom I know personally, a General who always passes
by in front of AIR after his lunch in EAPI, a General who once told us
during one of his exhortations to the community to make our religious
struggles become "big," [broad in apostolic horizons] not limited only
to our worries about prayer and chastity, a General who wants us to
think now about what we can do in the future, a General who wishes us
to be very good at one thing for, if that is so, we would be very
useful in our ministry later, a General who has good humor and is
friendly to us scholastics, a General who encourages me to read more
and watch good movies like a good Jesuit."

"Because we are poor, God is our only strength."

Yesterday morning, in the Aula, when it became clear that Adolfo
Nicolas had been chosen, and when he finally left his place among the
electors to stand and then kneel in our midst to make his profession
of faith, I found myself, to my embarrassment, unable to control my
tears. I felt such pity for Nico, as we placed the enormous burden of
the governance of the Society on him, and also such gratitude to him,
too, for his willingness to accept this office for the sake of the
Society. As I wept, I found myself repeatedly praying a single
sentence: "Lord, help Nico."

Today, however, I am more at peace, mostly because I see that the
General is at peace too. This evening, Fr. General led us in a Mass of
Thanksgiving at the Church of the Gesù. His homily (in Italian
interspersed with a few "Italianized" Spanish words!) was deep and
moving, radiant with "Evangelical simplicity," one European Jesuit
told me, "without a single excess word." He reflected on the Servant
of Yahweh in the book of Isaiah. Where does this humble servant get
his strength to serve? To answer this question, Nico shared an
experience he had during his ministry to migrant workers in Japan. A
woman, a Filipina, overwhelmed by her many problems, confessed to her
friend her confusion and near despair. Her friend, also a Filipina
migrant worker, simply said to her: "Let us go to Church. Because we
are poor, God is our only strength." Once again, when I heard these
last words, I felt tears rush to my eyes, because it seemed to me that
Fr. General had borrowed the words of this poor, vulnerable,
faith-filled woman to speak of himself.

"Because we are poor, God is our only strength." It is surely
appropriate, that as we pray in gratitude to God for the gift of our
new General, we pray too for him. May God be Nico's only strength, as
he leads us, in wisdom, courage and compassion, in the Society's
service of "God alone and the Church, his spouse, under the Roman
Pontiff," ad majorem Dei gloriam." - Daniel Patrick Huang, S.J.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Pinoy Pride - Arnel Pineda Chosen As Lead Vocalist for "Journey"

If you thought Charisse Pempengco's appearance on "Ellen" was fabulous, wait 'til you read this story.

If you've ever tried to apply for a U.S. Visa you know how thick the tension is in that waiting area - it is so thick and palpable, you can almost slice through it! Consuls are trained to sniff out the fakers from the real ones. Most of the time they get it right though they have their share of hits and misses as well.

This is the "fairytale" of Arnel Pineda who is now a singer for the band "Journey". For me personally, it is a case of major Divine intervention! Can't explain it any other way. Found the story on my friend Dennis's blog. Read about this amaaaazing story --
"The Greatest Manila Visa Story Of All Time" here.

Thanks for sharing this story Dennis! God bless that consular officer and what cam I say - ang galing ni Lord at ang galing talaga ng Pinoy!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Danger At The Ark Of Avilon Zoo At Tiendesitas

It's hard to find good alternatives to the mall for parents to amuse and entertain their children. The Ark of Avilon (AoA) over at Tiendeseitas looked really very promising. I was all set to take L and some of his classmates over there next week on a mini-field trip of sorts. The AoA is some sort of petting zoo, the structure built like a Noah's Ark of sorts.

Unfortunately, but very timely, thank God. I received an email from a high school classmate of mine, Dr. Amie Beloy, a pediatrcian practicing in Virginia. I was alarmed by what I read about what happenned at AoA very recently. To my surprise, the forwarded email was written by a church-mate, Jerry Liao. H and I confirmed if it was indeed the same Jerry. And it was. Please see below the full text of Jerry's email...

My Family and I visited the new Arc of Avilon (AoA) Zoo located at Frontera Verde near Tiendesitas in Pasig last January 5, 2008. The highlight of the said zoo is they allow people especially kids to touch their animals like orangutan, parrots, eagles, rabbits, tortoise and snakes.

And when you allow your kids to touch these animals, you trust that the animals are harmless and are trained not to hurt its visitors.

Unfortunately, my 2nd daughter was bitten by an Albino King Snake. Her finger was bloodied so I quickly ask where the clinic was located. I saw a sign that read Hospital/Quarantine, I quicky open the door but found nothing inside but some cages and two people talking. I ask if there's a doctor there and they said none. Then the king snake handler came over and directed us to follow him. I thought we would be brought to a clinic. To my dismay, we were brought to a dirty pantry full of flies. And the handler administered Betadine to my daughter's finger, which was stored in a soy sauce gallon container. A park with no clinic, no doctor and no medicine.

I took my daughter to the hospital, and upon reaching the hospital the first question was what kind of snake bit my daughter. I told them its an Albino King Snake. They were not sure whether the king snake is a venomous or a non-venomous snake. They said they had to consult an expert about this. After awhile, Thank God that the king snake was a non-venomous one. But the doctors wanted to be sure so they gave my daughter an anti-tetanus drug and ask her to take anti-biotics for seven days.

After reaching home, I texted both Jake and Tina Gaw (owners of AoA) that the doctor asked us to observe my daughters condition. I also told them that I am going to write about this horrible experience. Tina texted back and said: "Jerry, if thats how bad you felt, I respect your personal feelings concerning the incident. I wish she (my daughter) could have been more careful in handling the snake or other pets as well especially this one is exotic. Even tame ones, rabbit, tortoise, mouse, pig bite when they felt hurt or frighten when not properly handled. And its really sad when you felt it became a horrible issue."

Now it's my daughter's fault to be bitten by the snake? AoA never bothered to offer their help and now they blame my daughter for the incident. That was a very insensitive remark by Tina. I don't think the snake was hurt or frighten, they were tired and irritated because they were being used to entertain people.

Exotic you say? Why allow them to be touched by people? Yes, I agree that animals bite when they felt hurt or frighten, but let me remind the management of AoA that most of your audience are children, I even saw some as young as two years old. They will just touch and play with the animals without knowing whether they're hurting them or not. It is AoA's responsibility to make sure that none of their animals be hurt or frigthen so that biting won't happen.

And since accidents happen, how come Arc of Avilon don't even have a clinic to at least administer some first-aid soluton. What if the eagles decided to peck the visitors, or use their big claws to attack the visitors. Donkey or horse suddenly kicking. And snakes biting. There shoud be a doctor, a clinic and first-aid kit to address this kind of unfortunate incidents.

Arc of Avilon should not allow people to touch a snake that bites plus they should have expert handlers to assist its visitors. All the Arc of Avilon management can say is that the snake is a non-venomous one. No other help was offered, and then they will blame the visitors for mishandling the animals.

Am I overacting? I don't think so. What are the chances that you will get bitten by a snake in the metropolis? Worst in a theme park like Arc of Avilon. As a parent, will you take it sitting down? Will you just take their word for it that it's non-venomous? Remember, its a snake-bite. Let this be a warning to all my readers who are planning to visit Arc of Avilon at Tiendesitas or any other zoo for that matter.

Let my story be a lesson to all. You can ask your kids to look but as much as possible DO NOT TOUCH. Better yet, DO NOT VISIT the Arc of Avilon totally, until they improve their facilities. Never again will we go to the Arc of Avilon.

Thank you and more power. God Bless us all!

As a parent, this strory is certainly quite alarming. I have ditched my plans of taking the boys there. God knows what might happen. The establishment certainly does not give justice to it's name. Noah would most certainly not be pleased.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Buon Giorno -- Great Italian Food In Tagaytay City

Tagaytay has a treasure trove of new restaurants that line the Aguinaldo Highway.

Last week-end, my family and I were there to celebrate the silver wedding anniversary of some good friends and at the same time celebrate our own 18th wedding anniversary. After an overnight stay at Canyon Woods, the following day we decided to have brunch at a new restaurant before driving down to Manila.

Our choice was Buon Giorno (Italian for Good Morning) located at the Cliffhouse in Tagaytay City. It's cheery interiors immediately put us in a gustatory mood and we were very eager to try out the different dishes on the menu. The cool air and the lovely view of Taal Lake visible from where we were seated, only served to whet our appetites even further.

We decided on some mushroom soup which we had split into two - just right to warm mine and my daughter's tummies. Then for appetizer, we had delicious parma ham with grapes and melons - this was wolfed down by the three hungry adults at our table.

For the main course, L decided to have his usual Pepperoni pizza of which he chose to segregate the pepperoni and his daddy ended up eating them! P had the tasty mushroom ravioli (as you can see, we are a mushroom loving family), I chose to have the asparagus and salmon risotto and H had the seafood risotto. All the dishes lived up to our expectations and we are now looking forward to going to the Manila branch of this great, reasonably priced restaurant, located at the Liberty Center on Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong.

If you find yourself in Tagaytay or Shaw Boulevard over lunch or dinner, I suggest you try out Buon Giorno -- you will not be disappointed. Buon Apetito!