Friday, November 28, 2008

At The Movies: Marathon Video Buffet

Last weekend I enjoyed Nacho Libre A LOT. The Mexican luchador culture is so iconic, it's like Kung Fu Hustle spoofing Chinese gangster and martial arts films. There is something so hilarious about this production, I suppose it's because it's quite close to Pinoy humor, only with better production values. (And I don't think Pinoy film comedy as it is can quite maintain a similar parodic atmosphere that long; at a certain point it will degenerate into some tired and lame gimmick because of budget constraints or in case the humor flies over the heads of the mass audience.) Jack Black is mucho funny and charming, and to date I've enjoyed all his movies. Oh, and he sings very well too.

I go through long periods where I don't watch videos or even tv series. When I do, I usually watch them in a marathon session when I'm in the mood. Because I'd been feeling a bit contrary and in the mood for something oddball and European, I recently ventured again into Pedro Almodovar country. A friend very kindly lent me some original dvds, with excellent English subtitles. [The first Almodovar movie I ever watched was Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down, and that was where I saw Antonio Banderas for the very first time. I enjoyed it tremendously, but foreign films were not easy to get hold of at the time (mid-90s).] This time it was Dark Habits, What Have I Done To Deserve This? and All About My Mother. Yes, I watched all three in one night after having an early dinner.

The first is about a bunch of nuns with peculiar tastes, whose order is about to close their convent, resulting in a comedy of errors. As with most Almodovar films you have to watch it to appreciate just how peculiar the nuns are. The mother superior is obsessive and keeps scandalous secrets, most of which are her own. One nun is a reformed murderess who finds God in literal mortification (if you get a copy of this film CHECK OUT HER BED!). Ok, I have to stop there, because the characters ARE the story. The movie is entertaining, dark and and slyly funny, with very deadpan dialogue. The kitschy visuals add a layer of irony (it shows a very bad, yet AUTHENTIC, version of 80s music, hairstyles and fashion it's hilarious), and despite knowing how much of a farce the whole movie is, you feel some empathy for every character. Almodovar does love his politically incorrect,counter-culture characters. While he depicts, for instance, a drug addict's macho attitude towards a beaten-down prostitute, he manages to poke fun at the viewer with comic dialogue, as in "There, but for the grace of God, go you."

The second movie is about an overworked housewife struggling to make ends meet by working as a cleaning lady. There is a motley crew of ensemble characters that affect her life: a cabbie husband who loves singing German opera, an aging mother-in-law not quite all there, a macho policeman who can't get it up, a green lizard... I have to stop there, too. From the title you can guess what trials the poor woman has to go through through no fault of her own, but just when you think it will get worse, situations become more and more ridiculous, making you wonder whether to laugh or cry. You end up really rooting for the heroine! (It's not depressing, I promise. The lizard adds so much to the narrative.)

Now we come to the best of them all. Yes, All About My Mother is the Oscar-winning female bonding movie with Penelope Cruz in it, but she's not the title character. That honor goes to the little-known but very talented Cecilia Roth, whose acting really affected me and made me cry. She plays a selfless nurse set adrift by personal loss, and who finds herself a family, just not the kind you expect. The events leading to Penelope's character's condition are so strange it could only happen in Spain. You have to watch it to see the story unfold. But the breakout character here is played by Antonia San Juan, "La Agrado" (the Agreeable One), an irrepressibly cheeky transgendered prostitute who dreams of finding glory onstage. You have to watch this (I said that before, didn't I?). It's probably not a guy type of movie to watch, but the story is so good let's not compartmentalize what guys would find interesting to watch or not. It's tragic, it's funny, it's so odd and entertaining it will make you think. It's quirky foreign language cinema at its best. Almodovar has made movies with far stranger premises, so if you're going to watch one of his movies for the first time, let it be this. You'll understand why he has developed a cult following.

Next on my Almodovar list for tonight: Women On The Verge of A Nervous Breakdown.

Coming soon to my Must-Watch List: Can't remember the title, but it looks like a sequel to Shaolin Soccer? I saw the trailer before the screening of Twilight.

At The Movies: Twilight

Let's get this out of the way: I've already watched Twilight, and while Rob Pattinson is hot, the movie is just okay. Yes, I watched the first show on the first day. I didn't relish having to watch it on a weekend surrounded by noisy teens. While at the Shangri-la mall cinema lobby waiting for Joy and Tristan to arrive from True Value I felt like I were waiting for my teenage daughter to come out of the toilet with shining eyes. (Except of course I have no teenage daughter, and if I had one I'd tell her to just borrow the book and spend her book money on Neil Gaiman instead, or even a Moleskine.) And there WERE lots of swooning teens. Boys, girls, gays.

You should have heard the collective sighs, gasps and titterings in the audience. Oddly, instead of being irritated, it made me smile a bit. These kids hold so much hope for romance to triumph over the moral dilemma of un-death! You know how kids are: they like appearing simultaneously fragile and yet impervious to harm. (I secretly think it's us adults who are the more fragile, sometimes, because we have to take a lot of things seriously. I can't make fun of teens watching Twilight, I went to see Nights In Rodanthe with the same glazed look in my eyes.)

I suppose you don't need to be in the rainy wilds of Washington or Alaska to dig the vampire scene. According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer there is a Twilight Coven Philippines. Hey, don't you knock cosplay. Apart from enthusiasm, imagination and attitude all you may need are some disposable hazel contacts, a regular wash with Vicki Belo Whitening Soap, a nice berry lipstain from Watsons and a regular trip to the market for your fresh dinuguan fix. Don't forget the ultimate accessory, some gangly dude with ostrich lashes and Bench hair gel so young he can't remember Robert Smith of The Cure, plain egg whites and black nailpolish the first time around. Then you can practice clinging onto his back while he tries to work out at the wall-climbing corner of the gym...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Food Drama (Edible Sculpture)

Thanks to Dark Roasted Blend and Wacky Archives for this witty piece of art! DRB is a favorite daily read; please click on the links to view other similar images.

Still more in the same vein: Strange Food Special and the Tasty Art of Chocolate and Candy.

Writers' Idea Bank

I was playing around with Google Themes yesterday, and among the gadgets you could add to your iGoogle personal page was the Writer's Idea Bank. ModeRoom makes Google-exclusive gadgets, another of which is Daily Literary Quotes, which you'll see in the same link. I added both to my page.

Here's a screenshot of Writer's Idea Bank (click on the image to see a larger version):

Every time you return to your iGoogle page the story idea changes.

Here's one of Daily Literary Quotes:

Today's Goethe quote is spot-on! I haven't really used the Idea Bank much, but the randomness of the ideas are quirky and amuse me. One day they might really come in handy. I sent the links via email to a couple of friends, I hope they haven't ended up in their spam folders.

Worth a look. Oh, and by the way, have you chosen a theme for your Gmail yet?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Disco Saves The Day

As Christmas approaches I check my emails and networks each morning and feel that twinge of mixed worry and defiance.

I occasionally worry, because the world financial situation has made the leap off the newspaper page and finally landed on everyone's backs, like the weight of that vengeful dead girl from the movie "Shutter". One friend plurked this very morning about how bad news (redundancies and the like) keeps rolling in. While he isn't in line for redundancy himself, of course he feels bad for those faceless numbers who are. Another friend just sent in his resignation letter, and will try for work in Singapore or New Zealand. In Facebook a couple of days ago a very nationalistic artist friend of mine asked how she could find a job possibly teaching in Australia. I couldn't help; I'd left that land behind to stay where I feel reasonably happy.

I feel defiant, because life goes on. For a lot of Pinoys if you can still maintain a prepaid mobile phone account,you will still call your friends over to pass the hat for that impromptu backyard party involving some pancit, fried chicken, pork barbecue, Coca-Cola / San Miguel Beer. Comfort food. Each will grouse about how hard times are getting, but everyone feels the camaraderie and know you'll all weather it together.

ABBA: "I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have to pay,/Ain't it sad/And still there never seems to be a single penny left for me,/That's too bad..."

Yesterday on behalf of our alumni batch I had to make a big check for our graduating high school scholar due Friday. Not my money, but I realized how small the scholarships suddenly became after the events this year. We thought we could afford two scholars, but after checking out how real life living expenses jacked up, we decided to prioritize our single scholar's needs. To graduate and not be able to attend one's graduation ceremony because one didn't have money for new clothes and shoes would be such a shame! Our class president suggested a new yearly budget per scholar to the scholarship foundation, one that reflected the times better. (The foundation mandated an across-the-board contribution rate per scholar for all alumni groups to make things more democratic, but it hadn't been increased in a while.)

Then this morning I was suddenly confronted by an emergency that required me to muster up an unplanned cash withdrawal by Friday. Not for me, but for people who depend on that amount to get through five days. Let's say a group couldn't come up with the cash on time, but could not afford to cancel the project. I knew I'd had too much coffee, because I started getting that feeling in the pit of my stomach again. You know the kind, it begins as low-level stress that either turns productive or becomes the downward spiral. I couldn't let the latter happen. Times like these, you need not Juicy Fruit gum, but MUSIC.

Madonna: "Music... makes the people... come together... Yeah!!!"

I was very happy when I came across my friend Jopet's music folder, and found a copy of his cd "ABBA Live". I turned up the speakers. I smiled to myself. Oh yeah, "Mamma Mia" all over again. It's perky, it's fun, I know most of the words, nothing like it to drive the blues away. This is one of the times when it is PERFECT for the occasion. This, and Madonna's "Confessions On A Dance Floor" album (which uses the intro tracks from ABBA's "Gimme Gimme Gimme"!) It's weird, but I could work while singing out loud (home office, dudes), sashaying to the filing cabinet and back. I even managed to type up this blog entry, and another report without accidentally typing the lyrics as I was playing backup singer. Wonders will never cease.

Most of the time I'm an alternative-bluesy-rocky girl when it comes to music, but there are times when DISCO SAVES THE DAY!!! Disco, and Broadway, and the soundtracks of Disney movies!!!

By the way, if like me you need to lift your spirits once in a while, "ABBA Live" is a remastered concert cd containing most of the hits you loved in "Mamma Mia". It is not a soundtrack of that movie, although yes, Meryl Streep sang very well there. Jopet asked me to convert the tracks in "ABBA Live" and their other digitally remastered albums "The Visitors" and "Voulez-Vous" to mp3 so I could transfer it to his Nokia N95. Good thing I forgot about it! It stayed in this machine!

There's something about listening to ABBA that restores your sense of humor. I can't get the image of Julie Walters singing "Take A Chance On Me" in the movie out of my head -- that woman is hilarious! Brings out one's Inner Drag Queen!

ABBA: "Super Trouper beams are gonna blind me/ But I won't feel blue/ Like I always do/ 'Cause somewhere in the crowd there's you..."

Oh look. The workday is almost over. Yay!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Manong Jim

A Tribute to
By my dad PEC

Manong Jim “kicked the bucket” at the ripe old age of 82. I mourn his passing but rejoice in the happy memories I hold of him.

I’ve known Manong Jim practically all my life. At 68 my memory now sometimes fails me, like when I cannot recall the name of a friend I wanted to introduce to another in a chance meeting. Embarrassing! But it is also reassuring and comforting that I can recall very clearly some memories of childhood, bits and glimpses of my life happily stored in my mind.

My first conscious knowledge of Manong Jim was of being carried on his back as a little boy. My family and our cousins, the Perezes, evacuated during the night from our home in Tuding (Itogon) at the outbreak of World War II. The Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and later took over Camp John Hay in Baguio. Our families found sanctuary in a secluded and abandoned mine adit of Baguio Gold, near a brook nestled in the mountains in a place called Rino. Manong Jim, then a teenager at 15, was the oldest in the brood. With my eldest brother Manong Boy (Emilio Frank), who was then 12, Manong Jim looked after the younger children until we got back to our homes.

I remember eating boiled kamote for most of my meals as a child. Later I was happily surprised to see and taste crackers, chocolates, corned beef, sardines and raisins that were air-dropped in parachutes by the American Forces as the tide of war changed. The Japanese surrendered, and I can picture clearly the long line of defeated and wounded Japanese soldiers, struggling as they marched in retreat away from Itogon.

Manong Jim would later tell me of a friendly Japanese soldier, a good Samaritan who shared some food supplies with him even before the Americans came to liberate us. The war ended in 1946, and I have no recollection of Manong Jim or his activities for several years until after I finished elementary school.

He worked as an expatriate in Guam for several years. At the time my family and the Perezes shared homes in Hogan’s Alley (now the Court of Appeals Summer Homes), and later in New Lukban, near Trancoville. When Manong Jim returned, the Perezes had reestablished residence in Tuding. Meanwhile, my father acquired a small house for our family in Pacdal sometime in 1949.

Tuding had its allure for me and my childhood playmates, Tony (“Oning”) and Joe (“Uti”), what with the rolling hills and steep slopes and valleys which opened up to fantastic views of the Cordillera where several gold mines were operating. Atok, Antamok and Sangilo were in the south, Balatoc and Acupan in the southwest, and Baguio Gold in the northeast. Pine trees were everywhere. There was an explosion of sunflowers, bougainvilleas and other flowering plants and fruit trees. Butterflies, birds and other insects could easily be found flying everywhere. Tuding was a vast playground and a secret garden to get lost in. My friends and I felt like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn as we hunted for birds’ nests, spiders and frogs.

I remember the grove of coffee trees in the back yard which bore a lot of fruit in the summer. The kids would all help in the harvest and enjoyed getting a “high” from tasting ripe red coffee beans and spitting the seeds into pails to gather them. The coffee beans were later dried in the sun, and when they were roasted you could smell the rich, intoxicating aroma of coffee ready to be ground and brewed.

From his sojourn in Guam, Manong Jim brought home to Tuding a slide projector and hundreds of color slides, then a state-of-the-art marvel for me and all the kids in the village. We would watch for hours, over and over, beautiful pictures of Hawaii – its scenic spots, the images of lush, green vegetation, pineapple plantations, Hawaiian hula dancers with their colorful leis and flowers. The ones of erupting volcanoes were particularly awesome. Another set of color slides depicted the Royal Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952, the first time I saw pictures of London, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. Manong Jim’s accompanying narration made the glory of England’s pageantry and historical tradition come alive for me as the slideshow played.

My love of books was inspired by my older sisters, but it was Manong Jim and the Perez brood who created a circulating exchange library of children’s books. We began with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys mysteries, and soon graduated to books by Erle Stanley Gardner, Treasure Island, The Count of Monte Cristo and countless other books as we grew older.

One summer during a high school break I stayed in Tuding with Manong Jim and the Perez boys, who had built a garage-cum-apartment unit on one side of the compound. On the upper slope beyond the grove of pine trees, we busied ourselves digging and transporting lime the whole summer. We learned how to produce hollow blocks by the hundreds. I remember the lavender color and pink stains of red ferric oxide on the lime we mined and screened, which gave a distinctive color to the Tuding-made hollow blocks, later used to build the fence around the house in Pacdal. Working during the day was tiresome but lots of fun. At night we would have a bonfire and barbecue some pork for supper. This would be followed by a continuing nightly Scrabble tournament with Manong Jim, Tony, Joe and Oscar (our Perez cousin from Anitao, Nueva Vizcaya). We tallied our Scrabble scores all summer and really enjoyed the camaraderie of boys living together like in a high school dormitory. It was a good preparation for college life in Manila.

Manong Jim acquired his own jeep for private hire. This was his mode of earning a reasonable income which also afforded him ample time for reading books or doing crossword puzzles in between shuttle trips for varied customers. If I recall correctly, Manang Nena was his Number One customer. I guess they got used to seeing each other every day. Manang Nena, being a widow, and Manong Jim, a happily independent bachelor, decided to live together. This would go on for 44 years!

In my high school days, I was drawn to Manong Jim, enjoying rides in his jeep for quick runs to Camp John Hay to borrow books from the Library where Manang Estella was the Librarian. Oh, what a wonderful and serendipitous life!

One lazy summer Manong Jim and I traveled a long distance in his jeep, to Masinloc, Zambales, to visit Auntie Andra whose husband was then the Oil Depot Manager of ESSO. They lived in a beautiful staff cottage by the seashore where the oil storage complex was situated. There was a wharf and a pier where it was my first time to try hook and line fishing by the sea (a far cry from my catching jojo eel with my bare hands in the brook by our house in Pacdal), and later gather clams and seashells at the shore. I remember a lot of coconuts and papaya trees in their back yard. We had plenty of seafood and fresh fruits every day, and enjoyed siestas in a hammock with the sea breeze lulling me to sleep. It was an idyllic week which I can never forget.

I was barely 18 when Papa died after lying in a coma at the Baguio General Hospital. I had to take a break from school at UP Diliman, to come home and console with the family and personally look into funeral arrangements. Choosing a funeral parlor and a coffin was strange and disconcerting, not to mention the grief of losing one’s father. Had it not been for Manong Jim who was at my side to support me in my role as “padre de familia” of the hour, I would have been lost and scared. Instead it became a learning experience in meeting life’s realities.

After college I joined a company where my job afforded me the opportunity to travel to the mines. At times I would drop by Tuding to say hello to Manong Jim and the Perezes on my way to Sangilo/Itogon and Antamok/Benguet, which became my big clients for decades. On my free time while in Baguio I would bring a cake or some raisin bread and have coffee with Manong Jim and Manang Nena in their trellised garden teeming with plants and flowers and canopied by taller trees. I would usually leave Manong Jim with some recent novels I had read, for I knew he was always eager for books.

At our Millennium Clan Reunion, Manong Jim was a fountain of relatives’ names and a reliable source of information. This feat of knowledge and memory enabled us to construct the first edition of a Family Tree from 1860 to 2000 – 140 years of family history representing seven generations. Almost 100 relatives attended our Grand Reunion in Baguio, Tuding and Bato/Naguilian. We also learned then that the Family is now a global mix of Filipino, American (also Navajo), Chinese, Mexican, Australian, Swiss, and German citizens.

Manong Jim found it futile to live forever. Two days before he stole a march on everyone, I had brought some magazines and raisin bread to Tuding hoping to share some coffee and storytelling as usual with Manong Jim in his garden, only to find out he was confined in the Notre Dame Hospital. I promptly visited. He happily greeted me, laughing with his toothless grin, after I challenged him to escape with me for some beer in town! Manang Nena later told me he settled instead for some slices of the raisin bread he loved so well.

I will remember Manong Jim as the gentlest person I have ever known – kind, honest and generous to a fault, happy and assured in his simple ways. Well-read, he enjoyed life to the fullest.

A philosopher aptly said: “Example has more followers than reason.”

November 2008

Published online with permission from the author, for family and friends.
Photos by Personal Geographic & Incredible Joie

Monday, November 17, 2008

Free File Hosting for the Storage-Challenged

When is storage ever enough? For some, the more space, the better.

My friends over at the and forums once tried listing all the forms of data storage they have ever owned that still work as of this writing. Some people begin with the humble 128mb flash drive, even though nowadays the size of multimedia files render the 1G flash drive as the smallest useful size to bring around. For work the heavy users might use a 4G or 8G flashdrive-- while still on the lookout for a reasonably priced fast read/write 16G. The same goes for sd and sdhc memory.

When I first got my netbook, a regulation 4G ssd (solid state disk, developed for portability) was great. When we started using our idle netbooks as torrent-download machines at home, all of a sudden the 160G external hard drive that was de rigeur last June became a data storage swonderland. Until the need eventually came to back up -- or horrors! PURGE -- the tv series and movies already watched to make space for the new. Pinoys don't really like throwing things away after it's taken them days to download. And blank cds and dvds from CDR King aren't really that infallible.

I am still saving up for a 500G WD MyBook. If like me you haven't yet gotten yourself one of these necessary mini-universes, I'm sure you would recognize free file hosting sites YouSendit, Rapidshare, MegaUpload. For photo uploaders, Multiply, Flickr, Photobucket and ImageShack are reliable lifesavers. Because space is offered for free and the sites are supported by advertising of different kinds, file sizes for upload are necessarily limited.

My old favorite, AOL's XDrive, is closing in January 2009, so I have rescued all my old backup data for restorage. While shopping around for a good site, a friend introduced me recently to Mediafire (UNLIMITED storage! direct linking!). I'm using that for general data sharing. Another recommended the free backup service Mozy (which backs up a max of 2G of data -- ok for netbook users), which I am roadtesting now. A third recommendation was ADrive, which offers free file hosting and online storage of 50G (you read that right, folks)! I'm also giving this a try as a backup of a backup.

We can now choose from an amazing array of FREE (the magic word) file hosting sites. Googling for "free file hosting" gives you at least 10 search pages. Some people have very thoughtfully compiled a list of free file hosting sites, updated on a monthly basis here.

Some things to remember if you haven't tried this before:

1. Archive related files before uploading, so that you don't have to stay awake late uploading smaller files one by one. Make sure each archived file (zip or rar) falls within the size limit for free accounts.
2. Encrypt sensitive data d password-protect files before uploading. Try the easy-to-use and open source app TrueCrypt.
3. When you share files by direct linking, try to remember which files in your storage are designated private and public. People should only be able to view the file directly linked and not be able to browse in the rest of your directory.
4. If possible, share files only with friends you trust. Recently there has been a wave of spam attacks in the online world, so be careful who you let in.
5. Be a good netizen and make sure the files you upload do not contain malware.

Yes, yes. The only thing you need after all this free space is more speed. It never stops!

Friday, November 7, 2008

I Support The Reproductive Health Bill

I am quoting this (since it reflects my exact sentiments) with permission from Carlos Celdran, who created the group on Facebook:

I am sick and tired of hearing that more that 50% of all pregnancies in the Philippines are unwanted.

I am appalled by the fact that 1 out of 4 of these unwanted pregnancies result in an illegal abortion with complications that end up in the deaths of mothers and their babies

I am tired of the Catholic Church of the Philippines getting involved in affairs of the Philippine state.

I am a believer that contraception is NOT abortion.

Put the Bishops in their place. Show congress that there is truth to the survey that 90% of Filipinos (Catholic) want access to ARTIFICIAL BIRTH CONTROL METHODS.


Sign the petition here:

For more information, please contact Carlos Celdran at:

1991 M.H. del Pilar St.,
Malate, Manila.
Tel. (0929) 909-2021

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Resurrecting Old Posts

Back in the days when blogging (to me) was new, I wrote and wrote and wrote. At the time, I didn't know the power of having a good URL. And when I realized that having a good blog title and having a good URL were inextricably linked... I didn't know how to change the URL!

I finally figured out how in late 2007, but I was busy with my Accountability Group (Jopet, Jovic and Chinne), and was also busy moving from one relationship to another. The writing was crappy. I totally deleted that blog and started again with this one. It's a better reflection of who I am at this time.

Now I'm transferring the early blog entries to this blog. Without the photos, since Picasa didn't keep them. As I read the older stuff I wrote, I realize how some of my writing has changed since. It's too bad I have to give up the comments, but at least the main articles are here. Some give me ideas for future entries.

It's funny how my craft blog Knittipina has a greater readership -- that's because its audience is very specific. My Personal Geographic Multiply blog does not contain some of the articles that are in here. My Wordpress mirror site is more like this, although not as updated. I just choose to keep it that way.

Personal Geographic is a work in progress.

Paging Philpost

I read this today in the Inquirer. It's a letter of complaint against Philpost by Australia-based Jaynzee Tolaram, buried amidst the Obama-mania. The topic has been top-of-mind with me ever since I did some eBay transactions a while back.

The country desperately needs a reliable, professionally-run Philippine postal service. According to Philpost's website, they're trying to build one. Jaynzee just reminds us that we are all entitled to the same answer she's seeking while Philpost is in the middle of that process.

Filipino worker in Australia denies getting reimbursement for lost boxes from Philpost
(also in Letters to the Editor, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 06 November 2008, p. A14):

"If PhilPost can show a receipt to prove the reimbursement, that should settle matters.

I'm referring to the letter of Hector Villanueva, postmaster general and CEO of the Philippine Postal Corporation (Inquirer, 9/22/08). The letter mentioned Jaynzee Tolaram as among those who 'have all received their reimbursement." This is a lie.

I think there is only one Jaynzee Tolaram from Australia and Naga City. It's I. And I haven't received any reimbursement or money for the five big boxes I posted in three different post offices in the Philippines.

I mailed two boxes in Naga -- one in November 2007, and another in December 2007; and one in Makati City Post Office in December 2007. Also in December 2007, I mailed three boxes in the Manila Central Post Office -- one box reached its destination, but the other two got lost. I can't just believe five of seven boxes were lost.

The loss broke my heart. The boxes contained samples of Filipino products that I wanted to market in Australia, I spent a lot of time and money selecting them meticulously -- at a trade show, in faraway places I've never been before; and then I had to pack them carefully, etc. All the hard work, money and my enthusiasm to help Filipino entrepreneurs find a market in Australia just went for naught." Read the rest here.


Ms. Tolaram certainly deserves a considerate and reassuring reply concerning appropriate action.

When you do a Google search of Philpost, the more eyecatching links aren't necessarily the positive ones. GMA News alone groups together the ff. alarming Philpost news -- missing valuables sent from Australia to RP, Philpost exec in sexual harrassment case, firemen looting Philpost blaze. At least we also get reports that through their own investigations, Philpost manages to catch some scalawags in their system. The Manila Standard reported three years ago that a Japanese IT firm will modernize Philpost through a 7-year plan, to make it at par with Japan or Taiwan. One of the ways it is supposed to help reduce fraud is through a track-and-trace system. Funding was approved by NEDA in 2006, and I'm sure all of you would like to know what's happened since then. There's news of a Manny Pacquiao stamp, and a letter-writing contest, but that's window-dressing.

How cool it would be if a qualified third-party organization conducted a survey on customer perceptions of Philpost.

While we can't seem to do much about the impunity of Dela Paz and the Euro-gate generals and while we make Joc-jocs about Bolante's convenient ulcer or lack thereof, this is surely something Philpost can work on without a Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing.