All posts by: alexa

Happy ending despite Falcon

Despite the heavy downpour and floods brought by typhoon Falcon last June 25, it did not stop 563 couples from exchanging “I do’s” sponsored by the Kabalikat para sa Maunlad na Buhay, Inc. (KMBI) in Tandang Sora Quezon City and Valenzuela City.
Mr. Joel Clavecilla, branch manager of Tandang Sora, Quezon City said that the event is a big help especially for those who are getting married but cannot afford a big ceremony.
“Malaki ang tulong nito. Una, spiritually blessed ka ng God, blessed ka ng minister, blessed ka ng society…so malaki ang benefit nito,”(This really helps. First, you are blessed by God, you are blessed by the minister, you are blessed by the society…so it’s really beneficial,”) Clavecilla said.
Ronalyn Marino, who recently married her husband Radia Solaiman Disomimba said that she is grateful that KMBI has prepared an ecumenical wedding which allowed couples like her and her husband to be joined in matrimony without the budget constraints.
“Maraming problem – sa religion, sa family…ngayon, binigay sa amin ng KMBI ang pagsasama na tiyak para sa kanya…Para maging legal ang pamilya namin, maging legal yung pagsasama namin.” (There were problems – in religion and family…now KMBI gave us the kind of wedding that suits him…to legalize our family and our relationship.”)” says Ronalyn who now has a child with Radia.
The mass wedding was joined by couples of different backgrounds and orientation who have been living together and most already have children.

Rivalry at its finest

Blue and white or green and white… eagle or archer… Ateneo or La Salle.

Who doesn’t know the two famous schools? Known for its rivalry in basketball in the National College Athletics Association (NCCA) and the University Athletics Association of the Philippines, (UAAP), the story is now immortalized in a musical play entitled “Rivalry,” slated for January 2012.

In a press preview last April 28 at the Insular Life Theatre, Ed Gatchalian, executive producer and musical director of the play said that the rivalry of the two schools is perfect considering the history they have in the past decades.

“The rivalry between La Salle and Ateneo has been on for the longest of time, capturing the attention and imagination not just for those who studied in both schools but of the public at large. This feud has been more evident in the fiercely-fought basketball games between the two schools during the then NCAA and afterwards UAAP tournaments, but it has also spread to practically all over other areas of competition such as courting girls and later in life, in business, politics and in their professions, “ Gatchalian said.

It has been a common joke among Ateneans and La Sallians that the rivalry is beyond basketball. The rivalry is said to focus on girls, basketball , social issues , academics and the basketball championship. The New York Times even wrote a special editorial about the infamous rivalry that could be compared to the LA Lakers-Boston Celtics championships.

With this in mind, Gatchalian immediately worked on the musical, asking help from his friends from La Salle. He even joked that he got teased in the end for it but was provided with enough material to push with the musical. Knowing the challenges of putting the idea to life, Gathchalian called on Jaime del Mundo, one of today’s top theater directors to help him on the project.

Set in 1968, Rivalry revolves around two families; the Basilios and Valencias. Andrea Valencia and Dolores Basilio are sisters married to La Sallian educated Demetrio Basilio and Atenean graduate Anton Valencia. They have children; Tommy Basilio and brothers Paco and Quinto Valencia who are cousins who study in both schools and despite the animosity between their fathers are not affected by the school feud. Tommy and Paco face the idea of facing off in the NCAA games and complications arise when Reena San Jose, a Maryknoller enters the picture that will test the bonds of the cousins.

A cast of talented actors was also assembled to give life to the musical led by theatre veterans Shiela Valderama, Caisa Borromeo, Chinie Nepomuceno, Carla Guevara, Oj Mariano, Khalid Kaimo and Topper Fabregas. Nancy Crowe, who Gatchalian worked with will do the choreograph as well as Chinie Nepomuceno.

Gatchalian, who was based abroad, said that he hopes that with the musical, it will be the start for more Filipinos to love theater.

“Philippine music is more than just pop concerts. We have world-class talent. And this is what we’re trying to do — to expand the market and make theater-going a regular habit in the country,” he said.

He also adds that with the musical, he will be able to help Philippine theater by coming up with more Filipino-themed musicals that can help turn the country into a center for the performing arts in the region.

“Who knows,” he mused, “ we may finally have a Filipino musical shown in Broadway in New York or West End in London. With the immense talents and creativity of Filipino musical artists, that day may not be too far off.”

So whether you are an Atenean or La Sallian, Rivalry is a must see and find out for ourselves how it all began.

*Rivalry opens in January 2012.

NAIA 1: Wake-up call for the government

The website recently came out with its annual worst airports, voting the Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminal 1 as one of the worst in the world. The good news; we’re not number 1 (Charles de Gaulle in France tops the list) the bad news; we’re the worst in Asia.

Known as the Manila International Airport, it was named after P-Noy’s father, the late Sen. Ninoy Aquino who was assassinated in 1983 after years in exile in the United States. While two new terminals have been added (NAIA 2 known as the Centennial Airport and NAIA 3), terminal 1 still holds the biggest port, with many of the airlines still holding its flights there.

Back then, the Philippines was looked up to from the economy to its facilities. NAIA 1 was used by many air carriers as its port for many flights in Asia. Flag carrier Philippine Airlines also use to land in NAIA 1 until it moved to NAIA 2. Now, the airport is old with smelly carpets and unclean washrooms.

The government has yet to react to this news but I do hope that they act on this. If they want to increase foreign tourists in the country, they should make the necessary repairs to the airport or better, move to NAIA 3 all together. True, there is still a case to be resolve (government has yet to fix its problem with Fraport) but with its new facilities, NAIA 3 can handle all the flights coming into the country.

One observation the government must fix definitely is the toilets in the airport. For pete’s sake! Cleanliness is big factor for tourists and running water and tissue paper in the bathrooms are a must. Unless people complain and complain, we get what we bargain for so please ensure running water and tissue paper.

Being the worst airport is a wake up call for us. True, we’re not the worst in the world but may be seeing our name in the worst list is enough to realize that it’s about time structures in this country should be fixed properly.

Women's Day-Women let us all roar

Today is International Women’s Day. It’s our day to celebrate. The freedom that we are experiencing is the fruit of labor done by our women ancestors from the likes of Gabriela Silang, Melchora Aquino, Gregoria de Jesus to the first women voters in the country. We also give credit to women all over the world, those who fought for liberty, worked the jobs of men during the war and those who continue to fight for women’s causes that have yet to be taste by others.

The first International Women’s Day was commemorated on March 19, 1911 in Germany. The celebration was an idea following the expanding industrialization and economic expansion that led to the protest of many workers at the turn of the 20th Century. The celebration expanded too many European countries and soon was celebrated in the United States in 1977 when the United Nations General Assembly officially proclaimed March 8 as International Women’s Day.

On its 100 year of celebration this year’s theme revolves around Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women. It is a good theme considering many women still lack education in many countries and given the chance to explore the wonders of Science and technology, ignorance can be fought back which can lead to more jobs for women.

While women are now empowered, discrimination, rape, poverty and injustice are still rampant; women are taking their stand by saying NO. The word NO is powerful because by doing so it shows your stand. Examples would be no to women trafficking, no to sexual abuse and no to ignorance of your health which is one of the rights women are fighting for in relation to the pending RH Bill at the House of Representatives. Why are they saying no to it when women have rights to their health, their body and most of all to themselves? By pending it, they are discriminating women whose goal is to have a right for her health.

I remembered back in college when one of my friends came up tome in tears. It turned out that her ex-boyfriend wanted to have sex with her. She said no. I was proud of her because she made a stand even if it caused her relationship with him. While they are still friends today, I was never more proud of her for standing up to what she believed. When I went through a traumatic emotional experience, I realized enough was enough. I fought back and went on with life with realization that I made a stand for myself.

I am a woman, I’m proud to be one. I’m a multi-tasker, a daughter, a media practioner and most of all a fighter of many causes. Let us all unite, let us all make a stand. Fight injustice, fight poverty and discrimination. Let our voices continue to be heard .Let Women’s Day be everyday.

Love in time of technology

A few days, ago, Azkal football player Phil Younghusband through his twitter site asked out actress Angel Locsin out on a date. His tweet went:

[blackbirdpie url=”″]

The actress on the other hand tweeted back her answer:

[blackbirdpie url=”″]

Their tweets became the hottest topic of cyberspace that day that even the news picked it up. Many were impressed with Younghusband’s courage and style to ask Locsin out on date publicly on twitter. Many praised him (this writer included whose tweet was posted on, getting kilig and teasing non-stop. Some though said it would have been better if he asked her out personally or even just sent her a private message. With technology upgrading itself faster than ever, one might asked, has technology made courtship easier?
Various ways of courtship have been done in the last centuries. From helping out in house chores such as chopping wood to serenading and writing love letters. Some have even written poems such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning who’s Sonnets from the Portuguese became famous. Some would put their courtship through songs or by simply going to the house and explain his or her intentions to the person they like.

Today, with the advent of technology, the love letters, poems and serenades have been replaced. E-mails, social network sites and even cellphones have changed all that. From writing on paper, one can e-mail his feelings to the person or sent a text message or for those who are bold, can put it up in Facebook or Twitter.

While technology has helped in courtship, some have the style of befriending the person first and court later. There are still some old fashion people who rely on writing love letters, poems and giving flowers and chocolates. Those who are musical incline still write songs and serenade their loves ones while others go up and express their intention to families.

From chopping wood to twitter, courtship has definitely changed. Who knows what techniques will come next but for now, technology is helping out and if you get lucky, you might just get a tweet or message from the girl or guy you like.

Buses, Trains and Price Increase (Transportation woes)

January was not a good start for the country.

In the first month along, reports of carjacking, victims burned and toll way prices came our way. The next thing was a bus bomb and transportation increase. Now that’s only the beginning.

While the country has yet to recover from the infamous bus incident last August that killed Hong Kong nationals, another bus bomb occurred, killing four people and injuring many last January 26 along EDSA in Buendia, Makati. Those who were killed were on their way to their daily task with some of them going to school and job interviews. Now, their dreams have been shattered, all because of unknown men who want to cause chaos in the country. Security has long been an issue and many now wonder how safe is to ride a bus after the incident.

While the bus bombing is fresh in the minds of many, last February 2, transportation prices in jeepney have been increased from P7 to P8. Taxis on the other hand, have started their P40 flat rate from P30. According to transportation groups, the additional cause is due to the ongoing oil price hikes. This March, the Light Rail Transit and the Metro Rail Transit are supposedly increasing the train tickets. With transportation prices increase, people have been told to tighten further their belts. Haven’t we’ve been already tightening our belts?

When going to other countries, transportation cost may sound expensive when you convert it but the thing is, they are able to maintain it properly and guaranteed that the pay will go for improvement in their transportation. With the price increase here though, people are unsure if the increase will help purchase new trains and necessary repairs to be done. It is heart breaking to see that escalators and elevators in train stations are broken, many of the stairs old and run down and none of the authorities are even doing anything about it.

So what has to be done? As a commuter, I think the Department of Transportation and Communication as well as the men and women of the Metro Rail Transit and the Light Rail Transit must assure that the increase in price for transportation will benefit the people. A big percentage of the masses take mass transportation everyday with the train and jeep topping the list. Strict rules must be applied and as for security, tightening it is good but must not hassle the commuters. They must train the police and security guards to be polite and well mannered which unfortunately is lacking among many.

On the lighter side, there is a bit of improvement as the long delayed expansion of the Northrail project is ongoing and hopefully be finished soon. Discounts are being given to students and senior citizens. For now though, commuters must suffer and well, we can only hope that the price increase will improve transportation in the country and lessen the woes we have to endure everyday.

Finding Your Niche

“It’s all about finding your niche.”

These were the words BBC anchor Rico Hizon told me during a writing forum sponsored by The Philippine Star last Saturday which includes writer Butch Dalisay, National Bookstore’s Miguel Ramos and award winning filmmaker Pepe Diokno.

Niche, Hizon says means a field or interest that you can excel. In his case, it was business and financial news that paved way for his career in international media. He also advised to new media practitioners like me to continue improve my craft just like he does by going to the BBC School of Journalism for training every year.
Essentially the topic is all about writing as a profession but the topic during the forum has expanded for me in Philippine setting which I decided to tackle in my latest writing.

It occurred to me that finding a niche is what the Philippines needs. Both Hizon and Dalisay mentioned marketing as an essential tool if one must go out there to field him or herself in writing. Good marketing is what this country needs not just in tourism, business and arts but as an overall. But unfortunately, this is not the case.

Marketing involves money and money is what this country lacks or lack thereof. With the recent happenings in the country, Filipinos wonder how we can market with all the red tape and corruption.

We have good marketers. They can market the country all over the world but they must think and think with various strategies in mind. Still fresh from the Pilipinas Kay Ganda fiasco, marketing guys must look from an international point of view such as language and infrastructure. Figures are essential event the most basic ones such as how many is the population, the interest, GDP and all. It all plays a factor to finding the niche.

We have all been saying that we have the most beautiful beaches in the world, Boracay being the top destination but how can we accommodate if accessibility and accommodations are not properly addressed? Places such as Batanes, Siguijor, Camguin Islands and Bantayan Islands are good places to visit but transportation is a problem. Accessibility is very important if we want foreigners to visit and I believe we should not discount the fact that the Filipino is also a market to watch, now that flying has become a lifestyle to many.

We must address a niche, a niche that many have tended to over look. If we address the niche, then we have reached the level of the countries that we envy and who knows, they will envy us in the end.

Pinky de Leon: a mother’s pain relieved

After 15 years, Hubert Webb and his co-accused have waited for vindication when they were acquitted of killing Lauro Vizconde’s family in 1992. It was a sweet victory for the group who suffered 15 years in jail. But while they are happy, no one is happier than their mothers. Elizabeth Webb may be the first person who comes to mind the face of a suffering mother but one must not forget Pinky de Leon, mother of Webb’s co-accused Antonio “Tony Boy” Lejano. Read more

The Filipino is talented

I believe that the Filipino is talented. Look around you and you’ll see Filipinos belting out tunes (even if they are out of tune), dance even if they have two left feet and act even if they have the same expression when trying to be happy or sad.

So many times, we Filipinos have demonstrated our talent. We no longer just look at Lea Salonga or those who are half Filipino by blood making it big in the international scene. We have designers, musicians and a boxer to show who we really are. A year ago, Efren Penaflorida showed the world that with a kariton classroom, education is not just for the wealthy. Designers Jerome Lorico, Jay Nicholas Sario, Oliver Tolentino and Anthony Tentativa showed their craftsmanship with the clothes they’ve designed, earning them recognition from international fashionistas. Charice belted her way to the US popular show Glee and boxing champion Manny Pacquiao displayed pride when he won against Antonio Margarito. Now, isn’t that talent?

Yes, the Filipino is talented, we know that. Instead of putting ourselves down, we should encourage ourselves way up. We have issues in our lives from poverty to unemployment but talent can be used to defeat these problems if used properly. Now if only the government can allot money for culture and arts as well as sports, Filipinos can shine and prove to the world that they are definitely world class.