Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Work never ends for me.

Today, my film review of THE SEA INSIDE was published on Yehey! Movies. Last Sunday until Monday dawn, I read on health supplements to prepare for my writing assignment for The Reviewer Magazine. It was recently acquired by the Philippine Daily Inquirer from Hinge Media Publications, by the way.

First stop was GNC in Greenhills, followed by For Mor in Pasong Tamo this morning. Jesy, my friend and Reviewer's de jure Editor in Chief (*winks at Jesy*), is having a problem hooking up with people at Healthy Options. My discussion with For Mor's Rico delos Santos took 3 hours! (Thanks for lunch and for the Super C samples, by the way :-) )

VJ Platon and Ricky Borromeo of GNC Philippines. This was taken in their Greenhills outlet, a short drive from the GNC main office.

Since I have solid medical background, it was a breeze going through the interviews since I am able to discuss matters with the marketing people on an even level, although I have to constantly remind myself that this article should come out as objective, with no hints of marketing ploy whatsoever. Plus, since I have always been a multi-tasker, I had to take the photos myself. Hay naku!

The pay is, well, a pittance but I want to impress the Inquirer people. We can never tell what fate has in store for us. Well, not that I believe in fate so much more than I believe in a job well done. We shall see.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Cooling off with a moccha frapp at Seattle's Best, Megastrip. 4 days of working for this exhibit has been totally exhausting but I know it will all be worth it.

Monday, September 26, 2005


As promised, here are some images of the recent exhibition we just participated in.

The event poster. The overall theme is Filipiniana. Sawang sawa na daw ang organizer ng foreign-influenced wedding themes. Buti naman!
The decoration at the main entrance of Megamall's Megatrade Hall 1
Wedding photo of Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos (original on display; freshly autographed by the guest of honor, "Love, Imelda Marcos")
The guest of honor arrives rather late. We were standing outside the Hall for half an hour. This is at the 5th level of Megamall Building B, where the exhibition and trade halls are.
My first time to see her in person, would you guys believe? She's old now but elegant as ever. She wasn't wearing much jewelry since most of her collection are now on the government's auction block. She made sure she said something about it during her opening speech. And yeah, she did a spiel on how we should do all things beautifully. The operating word here is beautiful. Imelda will always be Imelda.
The booth I designed for The Mango Farm. Most brides prefer this tone as motif so I used pink and orange chiffon as backdrop. The flooring is authentic Vigan tiles, one of the mango farm's leitmotif. There are kilns near this area of Mandaluyong where you can buy them. Shredded paper was placed underneath the tiles so they won't break. The tiles were a last minute addition to the booth, along with the bamboo planters on the top poles. The 2 lounge chairs were borrowed from the den.

The structure is actually steel but bamboo poles were split and wrapped around them. No nails. Just lots of rope work done by an experienced marinero (seafarer). Or so that was what I was told, he he but I am impressed by how well it was made. The fabric had to be sewn by hand as it was too slippery. Of course we had to discover all that as we went along. Talk about learning things the, uh, slippery way! The beadwork had to be strung and sewn onto the fabric, too.
We had no other booths beside us so we stood out as one is about to enter the Hall. We were the first to break the 7-feet height restriction as this booth is ten feet tall. I designed it originally to sport a Maranao prow accent on top (yes, that design made famous by Locsin, Imelda's favorite architect) but we were pressed for time. This is the reason for the unusual shape but this is the best we could do in two days. Besides, who said booths have to look boxy and boring?

What do you think of it? Let me know :-)


Designing for The Mango Farm's participation in the 2nd Kasalan 2005 Wedding Exhibition has been very fulfilling. We received very heartwarming raves about the solid image we have projected at the exhibit, which is good.
Today, I came across this article by Augusto Villalon regarding how creative industries may yet save the Philippines. Regardless of the seemingly messianic tone of the title, it's really the rise of what they call "the creative class" that is giving a lot of a people a chance to improve their lives.

At the fair, this can be very much observed. The development of the wedding industry has created jobs down the line - from singers, musicians, florists, photographers, coordinators, make-up artists, venue managers and owners, and staff (waiters, cooks) and workmen. It is truly amazing how the industry has blossomed into what it is now.

Creativity has never been as exciting as in these recent years. Whether culture remains to be part of creativity is yet to be seen given the foreign influences on many designers. For now, what matters more is job creation.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


(Click on comic strip to enlarge)

A very interesting site I came across tonight - The Genographic Project, a landmark study of the human journey using gene tracking. You can view the atlas to track how your ancestors travelled from one land mass to the next. You can even track your lineage with information from a vast pool of genetic data from around the world.


Saturday, September 17, 2005


Came across this news today. Time and again, I have blogged about the state of the Philippine healthcare and yet, there is no stopping the physicians-turned-nurses and nurses from leaving these islands for North America and Europe. I used to say to my colleagues, give it 5 years. The whole system will collapse. Talo pa pala ako ng Alliance of Health Workers! They're giving it 2 years! Read the story.

UPDATE. Just updating this blog. Came across this really nice Editorial regardingt this topic. This must be the most well-thought of article i've ever read on the matter. Read it here.

Filipino nurses: where next? (Photo:

By Christian V. Esguerra
Inquirer News Service (

WARNING to health authorities: The Philippine health care system will collapse within the next two to three years as dismal working conditions continue to drive local doctors and nurses overseas.

The Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) yesterday made this disturbing prediction, pointing out that a total of 51,850 nurses left the country for greener pastures abroad from 2000 to 2003 alone.

This means that the country lost close to 13,000 nurses every year during that short period, according to Jossel Ebesate, AHW secretary general and nursing supervisor at the government-run Philippine General Hospital (PGH).

Worse, he said, more than 5,000 doctors joined the exodus to also work as nurses abroad from 2000 to 2004, and around 4,000 licensed physicians were now enrolled in nursing schools.

"This is disturbing," Ebesate told reporters after a forum in Quezon City. "If the trend continues, our health care system will collapse in the next two to three years."

Wards are full, but no caretakers

Dr. Bu Castro, president of the Philippine Medical Association, said about 30 percent of the country's 100,000 doctors had moved to North America.

Ebesate said opportunities for Filipino nurses were particularly plentiful in Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Unfortunately for the Philippines, a nurse's success abroad is a local hospital's suffering.

The unabated exodus of Filipino doctors and nurses, coupled with insufficient funding from the government, has forced a number of district hospitals to shut down, Ebesate said.

In Isabela, he said, at least nine government hospitals were closed in 2003 because not enough doctors and nurses could be found.

He also said two district hospitals in Aklan would most likely suffer the same fate, primarily because their respective municipal governments could no longer sustain their operations.

"'Understaffing' in government hospitals have worsened, [and] those who remain [are] overworked," the AHW said in a statement.

A classic example is the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila, a 700-bed facility usually crowded by impoverished mothers.

So is the PGH, where patients have to make do with beds lining the corridors.

The Philippine General Hospital
Outsourcing, etc.

Some hospitals have been driven to desperate methods in the course of trying to deal with the crisis.

In Cebu, a number of district hospitals are resorting to "outsourcing," or hiring private doctors to work for them, if only to avoid closure, Ebesate said.

He said one hospital in Iloilo was forced to hire medical interns to work as residents to remedy its lack of doctors.

The practice is alarming because interns have yet to take the medical board examinations, he said. Residents have passed the board and work in hospitals usually for three years before pursuing a field of specialization, he explained.

In hiring interns to work as residents, "there is the risk of having human errors," said Ebesate, a nurse of 17 years. "Let's just hope that nothing bad happens to patients."


An immediate solution to the problem is the implementation of the 2002 Nursing Law, which increases the starting salary from P9,939 to P13,300, according to Ebesate.

He observed, however, that the upgraded wage was still far from the P16,000 monthly salary needed to support a family of six.

Another proposal perennially floated in discussions is requiring those who have passed the medical board examinations to serve in local hospitals, especially in the countryside, before leaving for higher studies or work elsewhere, he said.

But other people say this is tantamount to curtailing a doctor's right to chart his/her career path.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in blazing red suit, presides over the powerful United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting Wednesday (Sept. 14, New York time) at the UN headquarters in New York City. The Philippines holds this month the rotating presidency of the UNSC, the most powerful UN body. President Arroyo is the first Filipino president, the first Asian head of state, and the first woman leader to preside over the UNSC Summit. Seated next to her at left is UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, while House Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo are behind her. Others seated on both sides are heads of states representing the UNSC's 15-member countries attending the 2005 World Summit-High Level Plenary Meeting of the 60th Session of the UN General Assembly.

(Rolando Mailo - OPS-NIB Photo)

Office of the Press Secretary

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Receiving the Magsaysay Award for Government Service in 2004

The well-loved and highly-respected former PCGG and Comelec chair passed away yesterday, September 13, in Chicago of kidney failure. She was 64.

I had the chance of escorting her from her hotel to Xavier University when I was Prsident of the Central Student Government. She was to speak during our graduation rites that afternoon. Fr. President Antonio Samson, SJ was at the wheel (I couldn't drive, dyahe!) while she was seated at the back.

She was a very mellow speaker despite the fact that she actually commanded attention during the height of 3G (Guns, Goons, and Gold) elections in the late 80's. Ms Yorac - who once described herself as "mabangis" (fierce) although uncovincingly so - deserves her rest.

With her goes the appreciation and gratitude of the entire Filipino nation. Farewell!

Sunday, September 11, 2005


JGC recently introduced me to James Blunt via BACK TO BEDLAM, Blunt's new album. A former Captain who was stationed in war torn Kosovo as part of NATO’s peacekeeping force and who once protected the Queen and the Queen Mother, Blunt drew on his personal experience to create a breathtaking debut of sing-along songs accompanied by lyrics that are at times grief laden and at times uplifting but always heartfelt.

Maintaining a confessional tone throughout the 10-song record, Blunt sings about unattainable romance in You’re Beautiful (undoubtedly dedicated to many people out there who are in great need of ego boosters), close friendship in Cry, inner journeys in Tears And Rain, and failed relationship in the piano-accompanied ballad Goodbye My Lover.

With his talent in crafting songs filled with emotional resonance and given the fact that the singer-songwriter was immediately signed by Linda Perry (who also happens to pen hits for pop-startlets such as Pink and Christina Aguilera), James Blunt definitely is on his way to becoming the Most Promising Male Artist of the decade.

"You're beautiful. You're beautiful.You're beautiful, it's true. I saw your face in a crowded place, And I don't know what to do, 'Cause I'll never be with you."

Sometimes I can't blame JGC for his seemingly Svengali effect on me. Not that I'm complaining.

James Blunt's website here.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Digital Ytterbium Logical Assassination Neohuman

My cyborg name, supposedly. Doesn't make sense at all, linking me to the 70th element.

Friday, September 09, 2005


Her interview with Larry King can be seen here. Make sure you have Quicktime.


Lea Salonga's debut solo concert at Carnegie Hall, W. 57th Street & 7th Ave., New York, NY on Monday, Nov. 7, 2005, 7:00 PM.

The evening is a benefit for Diverse City Theater. Tickets at $45 - $100. Please call 212-309-9018.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


I'm already a month delayed in my visit to the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI). I was due for my regular blood donation last July but I've been sick lately (not dengue) because of my evening schedule. If everything goes well, I might be returning next month.
I might interest readers of this blog to donate blood every six months. Aside from getting free blood tests, your blood can go a long way in helping someone in need. You can never tell when it's your own kin who might need it someday. At any rate, NKTI's Blood Donor Program can help you apply for a Blood Insurance Policy, wherein for every bag of blood you donate, one bag of blood is immediately made available to you or your immediate family in times of need.
Swell idea, eh?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Good luck to the immigration officer :-)

Friday, September 02, 2005


Where does one buy up-to-date Spanish music CDs in Manila? We always get late albums of Sanz. I hope Shakira's FijaciĆ³n Oral (Volumen 1) is already here. La Tortura indeed!

Funny but true. A year ago, the Instituto Cervantes couldn't get a copy of HABLE CON ELLA with English subtitles so it was shown as is. Only my Mom went to see it because the Salon de Actos was already fully booked. A month later, a copy was finally obtained in Quiapo. :-)