Sunday, May 31, 2009

At work in La Mesa

Last Thursday, we were on a location shoot at the La Mesa Ecopark in Quezon City for the company's AVP on its CSR program. It wasn't my first, but it still didn't fail to amaze me how seconds of footage can take so long to take.

It was also my first at the ecopark - 33 hectares located right outside the La Mesa watershed, which serves the water requirements of Metro Manila residents. I was thrilled by the natural greenery and all of the outdoor activities that could be had for a fee: picnics, swimming at the Salt Water Swimming Pool, paddle boat rides, fishing, biking, walking (there's a fitness trail with 17 exercise stations that also connects to a forested 1.2 km mountain bike trail).

It comes down to feet

Shoes die by themselves. I've found this out time and again when I'd wear a pair that had languished for the longest time inside the shoe cabinet. I'd be reminded of this only at the office when I'd cross my legs, only to see the shoe all cracked up and disintegrating . Once, the gel-like substance from a long-forgotten rubber shoe followed me all over the place before a colleague gently pointed it out.

But I've also used up shoes before their time. My work has taken me places and through situations I'd never imagined and my shoes along with it. I'd covered a mangrove planting activity in Cordova, Mactan with my rubber shoes on. And an ecotour in Banacon Island in Bohol. Both times, we'd reached the sites later than planned and the tide had come in to claim not only my rubber shoes but also my maong pants.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Day with Tony Blair

It isn’t everyday that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair comes to town. So the preparations were pretty impressive – from the virtual isolation of the Henry Lee Irwin Theater at the Ateneo de Manila University where he spoke in the morning, to the pre-registration done also at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza where the second Leadership Conference series was held in the afternoon.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

An ending (written Nov. 20, 2006)

The minute my younger sister got into the car, she started sobbing.

I felt rotten. It was awkward driving and trying to console her while wondering why I was not as grief-stricken as she was.

Our father had died. She’d flown in from the US to pay her last respects and I was driving her to the funeral home where she would see his remains.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

First celebrity fatality of swine flu

I am always amazed by the Filipino's ability to laugh in the face of extreme hardship or to make fun of the most serious of developments, including the possibility of a pandemic.

This picture of a 'dead' Kermit the Frog recently made the round of inboxes at the office. Most of us who grew up with Sesame St. and The Muppet Show immediately got the joke - he obviously got the swine flu from Miss Piggy.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Another world

I met a six-year-old girl at the Marcela Marcelo Elementary School in Pasay City last Saturday.

She caught my attention because she was half the size of my five-year-old daughter and she couldn't read. My daughter has been reading since...I don't remember anymore.

I was at the public school to write about what our employees were doing -- which was conducting a summer reading program for kids who couldn't read or had difficulty reading.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The magic of Cinderella

I came home to find my five-year-old daughter wearing high-heeled silver sandals that my US-based sister had worn to attend a wedding in Manila and had left behind.

It seemed she'd been wearing it the whole day INSIDE the house instead of slippers. Glass slippers, she called them, much like those of Cinderella's.

"Will you give them to me when I grow up, Mommy?" she asked me. "If it survives," I answer her. Not entirely understanding what I'd just said, she frowns.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Connected in Coron

(Philippine Star, Telecoms section, May 02, 2009)

MANILA, Philippines – More Filipinos are discovering Coron, a small town belonging to the Calamianes group of islands located in the northernmost part of Palawan.

The first-quarter report of the Department of Tourism (DOT) shows that domestic tourist arrivals to Coron and the capital city of Puerto Princesa, grew by a record-breaking 392 percent. The DOT attributes this to the increase in flights from Manila, Cebu, and Caticlan. Coron is an hour away from Manila by plane.

For Al and Mae Linsangan of Calamian Expeditions Travel & Tours, however, getting there and back is just one aspect of the experience. Equally important is communications, says Mae.

Coron enjoys mobile connectivity, dominantly from Smart Communications Inc., which has installed 12 3G/High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) and GSM base stations to serve the Calamianes group of islands, with five dedicated to the town proper. Hence, the signal is strong not only in Coron but in the waters and islands surrounding the municipality.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Who conquered who?

I didn't think I would do it. Climb Mt. Tapyas in Coron town, Palawan. Michelle jokingly asked me to leave it for the last part of the trip and I was serious when I told her it wasn't part of the itinerary.

But with some time left after an interview, I decided that a shot of Coron town from the top would be good for my article. I also imagined how a shot of our cell site set against the town would look.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Older, heavier but the same

It seemed like nothing and everything had changed. The last time that Michelle and I had taken a trip together was fresh off college when Boracay was still virgin-white, there were more coconut trees than buildings and the coastline was freer to breath.

Then, as it was in our recent trip to Coron, we had solo pictures since there was just the two of us. There were more pictures this time though since we were now each armed with a digital camera. But the poses were the same. In fact, a few shots into our cameras and we knew that we probably wouldn't have any decent shot to take home.