Sunday, October 14, 2012

Simple Lives

Got a message last night, one kid at the center had fever and might be suspected of being stricken with Dengue. I went to the center early this morning to check on him.

I normally go on weekends but by the time I arrived they are already busy with a lot of interaction from visitors. When I arrived, what I saw were children playing in the open areas. I've never seen so much smiles on children's faces. Their laughter was mesmerizing. Left alone in their natural state, children will be children.

As we grow older, we've lost that one thing that made us happy... Simplicity. How I wish we can live simple lives just like what these children have. The simple made up toys, the chasing and running around. That feeling of excitement from play. We have forgotten what play is all about.

As one priest said, "Words are toys and play is language". I've never completely agreed with him until I saw them playing today. He was completely right. Today I again learned something new. And that happiness can be found in simple things.... :-)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The new Apple IOS 6

A few days ago I made a FB post that Apple will be releasing a new OS for its mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod). Well was able to upgrade my iPad a day after the release date. Network traffic was a bit slow. I guess a lot of people were excited also to try the new operating system.

So far, not so impressed with the new features. The biggest change for me is the Maps. Yes, Apple just kicked google maps out of the iPad and replaced it with its own. The images are the same, the only big differences are the 3D and the route functions (This one has improved a lot!) but still not as good as Google in terms of map updates and information. I guess that will improve in time because I believe they are still trying to update a lot of spatial information on their maps.

I had the impression that they will be incorporating Siri on iPad but it's not there. The Siri is only available in iPhone (plus some enhancements they say) for now and I think it will remain in the iPhone platform. I'm still a Blackberry user and in my opinion, the iPhone still have so many areas of improvement when it come to apps on information collaboration and data interchange as compared to the Blackberry.

Another thing I've noticed in this new release is that the picture importation from the card reader is much slower than before. I bought an accessory card reader and it worked quite well before than now and both are supposed to be apple products.

Well now, I'm swamped with a lot of apps updates and still going. I guess it's going to be like this for a couple of weeks when all app makers will make their apps compatible to IOS 6. ;-)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Big Zero...

For some, life begins at some point in life and many says "Life begins at Forty". For me, life begun several decades back but to be alive and healthy at this age with no major health issues is a big blessing and I say thank you to the big guy up there!

Exercise everyday, swim in the evenings and walk (not jog) for about an hour is for me enough exercise to keep my muscles moving and metabolism at its current pace.

A few days from now, I'm turning the big zero. So many things in my head. So many things to do, so little time. With some of my classmates gone already from this world at a very young age, I still believe that life would have been better with them around.

At one point in my life I wanted to live forever. And then I realized that immortality would be scary. Imagine you live life that long with all the people you love and cared for are gone at that point. Yes, immortality I realize is scary and lonely. If I get to live another forty years or more, I guess that would already be a life well lived. ;-)

Some say, I should have children of my own, others a family. If it comes, it comes. Besides, life is to short to live the expectations of others. What is important is that you are happy with what you have and who you are with. Life is full of uncertainties but that does not mean that you have to stop living.

Again, what is the most important thing is that YOU, yes the big "YOU" are happy. ;-)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Facade of Smiles...

In my last article I said, "Life is what we make it..." not imagining that there are others out there not strong enough to chart the course of their own destiny. The children of the marginalized sectors of our society are shocking resemblance of that reality. What's more shocking is the grueling realty of oppression not coming from the people who are better off than them but from people coming from the same stature in society. Seeing that cycle makes me want to question how come they can do such a thing.

I just turned one month this week into this new assignment and have realized how lucky I am indeed. Every time I see those smiling little faces, those forgotten children, those little angels, made me realized how ugly life was for them before the center. As I watched them play around the open ground areas, I can't help but see the faces of children robbed of their innocence and hiding their pain. They are better now.

Like that child on my first day at the center who approached me, embraced me and hugged me. I never realized that the embrace meant so much as a "please love me and hug me back and take me in". I almost cried as I lifted him up, carried him inside the office and let him sit on my lap. We talked the entire afternoon. And for the longest time in months, I suddenly found someone of more or less the same situation as I am. Who was rejected by peers have found acceptance from a small child. His case? He was almost hacked to death by his stepfather and that the task force had to rescue him and put him from harms way. His wounds have healed but the scars remains.

You can see in the eyes of some of these children how deep their hurts and how much of it is still full of defiance and revenge. I can not show these children pity, that would be wrong in so many way. These children do not need our pity, they need our love, care and attention...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Life is what we make it...

It doesn't mean that if one is educated in a public school one make statements that they were less fortunate. Nor one makes public statements that one who was educated in a private school all his life is lucky and has never tasted the hardships of life. I was educated in a private exclusive school from elementary to college but that doesn't mean I'm lucky or privileged. I worked hard for it also. Life is what we make it...

You control your own destiny. To hear a statement coming from someone segregating those who were educated in a public education system from the ones that have been educated in a private system is but appalling, discriminatory and shows arrogance in character. Again you control your own destiny. It has nothing to do with where you were educated and everything to do with one's character.

I have so much appreciation and respect for people who came from the public education system despite the hardships they endure. We should not blame the system for what it is and how thing are done there but rather we should strive to help improve it than criticize it. What we are today are fruits of our labor in the past.

My college education was never an easy one either. I had to send myself through college through a scholarship and had to make ends meet to finish. Taking jobs inbetween like being a graphic artist, computer encoder/programmer/technician and the most odd ones were fixing motorcycle/car engines and doing welding jobs for people. It was hard but very rewarding. I learned a lot from it. Its all in how you percieve thing. If you try and open your mind you will learn and become a better person.

Behind the scenes was my dad who was a great mentor. He always reminded me than you can view the situation positively or negatively. He said, you can either learn from the experience or whine and tell yourself it can't be done. His quest for knowledge, technical skill and resilience was what describes his character. He was never greedy in what knowledge he has acquired from an experience and would willingly give to anyone who would freely accept it. He never stops reading and experimenting despite the hardships of raising his family. I got most of those habits from him.

Mama can attest to his ingenuity when she tells him of a challenge and the comes out with a solution or even a product. They were perfect for each other despite the other challenges they endure even to his last days. We miss you dad and again thank you so much.

A new challenge has been presented to me. A reassignment that suddenly will make me a father figure of 55 kids and adults. And as i take in this new assignment, I can't help but wonder if I will be able to influence and make a difference and emulate what my father has done for me. These kids who have been less fortunate than others, abandoned, brutally and sexually abused, and under the influence. This kids who have never felt love from their parents. Kids who are in pain and rejected by society.

A new beginning... A new challenge to make a difference in the lives of others. A test of strength of character...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cebu Green Economy Series II

Today we started a two-day workshop for the city on environment. We were expecting that the mayor would come and do the welcoming remarks but unfortunately he was unavailable due to his busy schedule. So the group gave the task to me to do the welcoming remarks for the activity. I would just like to share this because in my opinion it is addressed to everyone.

"Welcome: Cebu Green Economy Series II - Convergence of Communities for Sustainable Cities

Honored guest and friends of environment, Welcome.

Every moment you expose yourself to the environment it only takes a little of common sense to know that the environment has changed.

Our natural resources now are ever being threatened by ever grown human activity which contributes to a large portion to environmental degradation.

The ever changing landscape, disappearing forest, extinctions, changing biodiversity, pollution are just some of the concerns among countless others.

Even our children can no longer determine how genuine some of our trees are. Some of our children today do not even know how endemic trees like the Catmon, Tugas, Santol and countless others look like.

The environment has change but that does not mean its all about adaptation, but is it also about cultural and social biodiversity.

Human activity has change this landscape, but the question is how far do we want this change to go? How far will we say that enough change has been brought into the environment? How far do we go in terms of development?

Initiatives like these challenges the brilliant minds of our ever grown abundant human capital to make hard and painful decision to ensure our future, our survival.

Friends of environment, let this be a challenge to all of us to come into a full circle. To use less, to conserve more and to protect more.

With that, in behalf of the Cebu City Government, The Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office which I represent, I would like again to say Welcome to the 2nd Cebu Green Economy Series."

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Some alliances are just to good to be true. Others are shrouded in mystery and lies. Others are made in heaven and while others last even beyond our lifetime.

Same is true with all forms of emotions like love, happiness, joy, hate and still holds true with relationship and friendship. But the end of some alliances can foster also the beginning of new ones.

We always learn from our mistakes which has brought man this far. The strongest foundations on earth were built from the mistakes and learnings of the past. Only time can tell on how far we will go and how far civilization will take us into the future.

Again, I have always been telling people this, "Our greatest responsibility is to pass on the wisdom, knowledge, the skill and good experiences that we have to the next generation". We are just stewards of this earth and that what we pass on to the next generation is our greatest gift to them.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Environmental Program

Today I had a taste of my first radio interview. It went quite well. The program was one hour. The discussion were more on environmental programs of the city. When I was with ICT, I was just at the back burner. No media interview, no nothing. This time, I get to interact with the public more. ;-)

This new job seems to be getting more and more interesting everyday. And it's true, one does not have to be a scientist to be an environmentalist. You just have to have a lot of common sense.

I will be writing about other activities here in the coming days related to Environment and hot ICT an a tool can enable better efficiency in preventing loss of life and property. Being close to environment has its advantages. I have more articles to write about and discovery and learn new things. ;-)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

On Organic Farming and Junior Foresters...

I never realize three weeks have passed since I last blogged and in just a few days we have done several major activities. I can't discuss all of them in one blog so I'll just mention two for now.

First we went to one of the mountain Barangays to do forums on organic farming with the local farmers in the area. The community organizers were very accommodating and hospitable.

When we arrived the pilot area, freshly cut coconuts fruits coupled with some steamed japanese sweet corn were already set at the table. The place was a bit far but accessible. Farm to market road where already built although some of it need immediate repairs due to constant soil erosion and earth movements in the area.

The program started with a prayer, then the national anthem and acknowledgement of guests. Then the Barangay Captain/Village Chief gave his brief welcome remarks. I meet an old friend, a former City Administrator of which he said this is the first time he has ever set foot there. Same with me. ;-)

One the main reasons why this place was chosen as pilot for organic farming was because the use of pesticides is rampant in the area. As the discussions and presentations continued so did the temper of the people present in the forum. Most of the farmers were not convinced with the method of farming presented by one of the resource speakers. One farmer even strongly opposed to the idea and made a mockery out of it. I never realized that it was this tense. Fortunately, we were able to diffuse the arguements and all went well. I just hope we would be able to set an actual pilot area so that we can have a prototype and prove that organic farming can be economically viable, feasible, efficient, earth friendly and productive.

Second activity was the awarding of 77 school children with school supplies. Prior to this, they were given school supplies. The objective of this program was to encourage children to grow their trees planted several months before. The children were very happy getting their school supplies. The school supplies was in cooperation with one major telco company. Children were reminded to protect their trees and was designated junior foresters. They all agree and were very receptive to the activity. We hope that this will encourage other children to participate in this new program to plant, protect and grow trees. ;-)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Scare! Earthquakes and Fake Tsunami Alarms!

I can't imagine how scared most people were. A powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit the city around lunchtime sending people running out to the streets. I was outside walking towards the office when the earthquake struck. I did not feel anything. Maybe I was to close to the ground, to close to the environment. ;-)

I even did not know what was happening when I saw them running out of the building and asking what went wrong. At first I thought the building was on fire then I asked one fellow and he said it was a powerful earthquake. About 30 seconds they say.

I called Mariposa to check on her because she's in another neighboring island. The epicenter was on her island but she was safe. Called my mom and sisters and they too were ok. Then the lines went down. The communications network was flooded with numerous calls. I can't call anymore but the internet was still accessible.

I went back to the other office to get my things. Work was already suspended at time. Nobody was allowed to enter the building. I saw my friend and she offered to clean my nails of which I said, "ok ;-)". A few minutes after, text messages started coming in. There was a tsunami they say. People started running like crazy looking for higher ground. I on the other hand continued with my activity not knowing the mayhem happening outside. When we were done, I went to the plaza and saw some of my friends and asked, "Why is the plaza empty?". He said, "all of them have fled to higher grounds because there is a tsunami". The office by the way is near the shore, so I went out to the shore and checked. It was clear! It was a fake tsunami alarm. I was laughing then got upset a few minutes after with the thought on how people believe these stories.

First, you can not out run a tsunami if ever there was one. Second, the only thing that you can do is look for the nearest higher ground or hold on to something and pray. Funny thing is it's impossible to have tsunamis in our place because, first we are not facing a large body of water or an open ocean and second we are surrounded by other islands. Tsunamis also happens just a few minutes after an earthquake. They got the alarm a few hours after which I find oddly stupid.

It really is a big advantage if you know your environment well or you get to know the environment you live in. We are responsible for our own actions and we have to give people the right information, not take advantage of the panicky situation. With that you don't have to panic like most did. It did more harm than good. ;-)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Three Weeks... ;-) IT and Environment!

So far so good. The three weeks being environmental officer has been fruitful. Challenging and demanding at best but fruitful none the less. ;-) I guess I can still put this as another feather on my coat. We just finished our first major environmental activity for the year. Thanks to the KITA Environmental Cooperative and Dr. Kogi Takakura, the man and the mind behind the Takakura Composting Method. I'm not a subject matter expert on this but you can try searching for it on the net. There are plenty of resources online on how make one and the benefits of going into this composting method. Before I forget, Thanks to the Chairman or woman who I believe is the source of my inspiration right now for the Environment. Thanks Councilor Nida Cabrera! Thanks also to her very supportive staff and thanks also to the SWMB Secretariat Mai and Ryan. Thanks also to the one and only Environmental expert of the city, Engr. Maria Concepcion Encabo. Cheers guys and gals!

Next challenge? A new office which the City Administrator promised me. Well let's see if promises are not made to be broken. Crossing my fingers! A much bigger challenge though is the upcoming Environmental Summit. For a person with an IT background, I still have to probe further on what are the things IT can apply to help the environment. In my opinion initially, Information campaigns and research, research, research! ;-) Wish me luck on my next project! ;-)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Gong Xi Fa Cai! (恭禧發財)

Welcome the Year of the Water Dragon!

Monday, January 9, 2012

My New Designation...

Every change in administration warrants internal change. I just didn't expect this to happen a bit sooner. ;-) Maybe I guess I'm just this good that starting today I will be OIC for the Environmental Office of the City. You heard it right! My new title is City Environmental Officer. An IT guy in an environmental office, that's something you don't hear happen everyday. ;-)

As what the Secretary to the Mayor said during our talk while she was ready to hand me the memorandum for my new assignment (in the presence of the "Assistant" Human Resource Head) said that the Mayor has seen that I have the potential to jump start and organize the office since for almost three years from the inception of the ordinance the office is still in limbo and that the Mayor believes that I was the "right person to the position" and one who is strong enough of organizing it. No offense to the one currently in-charge of handling it, those were not my words. ;-)

Funny thing was, I think the City Administrator and the Secretary to the Mayor were not talking to each other since they have different statements released to me and to the public. (You be the judge of that). True, honesty and politics never go hand in hand. I would have appreciated it very much if they were in sync as not to embarrass nor offend anyone as they have tried so hard not to offend me. But of course, the point here is to insult not to offend but I can take that since they actually did a great job of not offending nor insulting me but insulting themselves by showing how lame they can make an excuse and how disorganized are their thoughts.

Anyway, since this is a new post and I have a new office to setup and a new assignment, that doesn't mean that I can not talk about IT here anymore. IT is a tool and an enabler. I guess there is so much things interconnected to IT as well as so many other things interrelated to environment.

Wish me luck! :-)