Saturday, December 27, 2008

Scenes from home

Pictures from my parents' home. A star that serves as a light in the garage, wind chimes, and my folks' Jack Russell terrier, Jill.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tokyo Cafe

In Japan, restaurants that serve American food are called family restaurants and it seems that they are becoming pretty popular over there. Now they're bringing that style of food here in the Philippines. Check out Tokyo Cafe. I tried the one at Mall of Asia and it's pretty good.

Monday, December 22, 2008

What a life!

When I got the DVD series of Friday Night Lights, there was a promo flyer inside for Life Season One. I had seen the adverts for this series before and took some notice of it since it starred Damien Lewis who I thought was superb in Band of Brothers (and Dreamcatcher). I waited for the entire season one to finish before I decided to get the DVD. I guess that's swell because it saves me the trouble of waiting for next week's episode.

The problem with getting the entire season is I'm forced to do nothing else but watch! Hahahaha. I spent a couple of days watching the entire run of Battlestar Galactica! Talk about being totally irresponsible.

Life is not only original in terms of its story and its main character Charlie Crews (Lewis), but the main sub-plot of trying to piece together the crime that framed him is really riveting. And it doesn't hurt that Sarah Shahi is one of the prettiest women you will ever see.

The DVD is comprised of three discs with all 11 episodes. Disc Two contains the featurettes that are way too short! Show us more, guys!

But do yourselves a favor and watch one of the more original series to come along in a long time.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

One of my favorite U2 songs. What fantastic lyrics.

Take these shoes
Click clacking down some dead end street
Take these shoes
And make them fit
Take this shirt
Polyester white trash made in nowhere
Take this shirt
And make it clean, clean
Take this soul
Stranded in some skin and bones
Take this soul
And make it sing

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I'm waiting for the dawn

Take these hands
Teach them what to carry
Take these hands
Don't make a fist no
Take this mouth
So quick to criticise
Take this mouth
Give it a kiss

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I'm waiting for the dawn

Still waiting for the dawn, the sun is coming up
The sun is coming up on the ocean
His love is like a drop in the ocean
His love is like a drop in the ocean

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, tell me now
Why the dark before the dawn?

Take this city
A city should be shining on a hill
Take this city
If it be your will
What no man can own, no man can take
Take this heart
Take this heart
Take this heart
And make it pray

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A recipe for success: JSEC and a world of experience

A recipe for success
JSEC and a world of experience

by rick olivares

A new dish on the menu “I can’t cook,” admitted Camille Co (IV BS Mgmt) with unabashed honesty. “But I love to eat. Putting up Fiesta Atenista has given me a reason to try.”

“I can’t cook either,” seconded Zerge Zandueta (IV BS Mgmt) of Noodle Nook. “Prito prito lang. But there’s something about food that is almost a top of mind choice for a business. After all, people love to eat and they have to eat.”

The John Gokongwei School of Management Student Enterprise Center not only puts students inside the kitchen of food stalls but gives them a taste of the pressure cooker that is real world entrepreneurship.

Christian Mendoza (III AB IS) thought that putting up a food stall with some friends was a piece of cake. During this past summer, he’d wake up early on a Saturday morning, defrost the food and ingredients, slice vegetables, prep for opening Kebab House at JSEC and put out his best smile for customers. “I knew it wasn’t easy setting up your own business, but experiencing it first hand while at school gives you a better appreciation for a lot of things especially what you don’t learn inside the classroom,” he remarked of his initial foray into entrepreneurship.

Harvey King (III BS BM) of Buddha Bean Café agrees and points out that even simple matters such as division of labor between partners is something that cannot be taken lightly. “Basically, it’s about working with people,” he pointed out. “You deal with employees and learn how to understand them, to treat them, and to work with them. And there are your partners, and your customers. Each one you handle differently but with the same amount of care and concern.”

Mendoza’s partner at Kebab House, Enzo Macinag (III BM) relates a story of an abrasive customer who complained non-stop for 15 minutes as she waited to be served due to a long queue. “I was at the back helping out with the food and I could hear her complain,” related Macinag who comes from a family that is in the food business. “I first let our staff deal with her but when it got worse, I was the one who now had to face her. I must admit that I was about to blow my top, but I’m glad that I didn’t. By the way, I’ve seen her buy food again so I guess the food and well, us not confronting her in a like manner must have left a good impression somehow. But at that time, I asked myself, “how did I get into this?’”

When JGSOM Dean Rodolfo Ang sent out invitations to the students of the Loyola Schools for proposals for stall in JSEC, King and his partners interestingly drew their inspiration from day coffee shops in Hong Kong. “We wanted to do something different that you don’t see too much of even in the malls. That way, you generate some interest because people are always willing to try something new.”

Zandueta and his partners also looked at what was available along Katipunan Road and decided that noodles were something decidedly different.

For Substation’s Bianca Silva (IV AB IS) and Jo-Anne Salazar (IV BS Mgmt), they admit to cramming about their proposal. “We thought about a lot of different types of food,” said Silva. “Initially it was rice meals – but that’s nothing different from what you’ll get elsewhere here in school.”
“We even thought of Persian food which we all enjoy,” interjected Salazar. “But we eventually settled on sandwiches… subs. And we make sure that we have different kinds of sandwiches that will cater to everyone whether you’re a meat lover of a veggie.”

The ingredients of change

The challenge of modern education is to make the classroom teachings more relevant. Arguments against traditional classroom teachings is that it’s too steeped in textbook theory rather than reality. And all the student entrepreneurs in JSEC admit that one of the key learnings not found in the classroom is human relations whether it is with the hired help or the customers.

“It adds to what we learn in the classroom,” affirmed Paolo Bernardo (III BS LM) of Blue Aquila which serves Italian food. “It – to steal a line from Jerry Maguire – completes your education. So maybe if you decide to pursue it after college, you know what to expect and its do’s and don’ts.”

In order to help themselves better understand the nature of entrepreneurship, the students have enrolled in subjects like finance and leadership among others. “It enhances your options,” chipped in Mendoza.

Zandueta confirms that he and his partners Mica Cariño and Bradley Pineda also sought the guidance of their parents (and Mica’s in particular) for their business. “After all, they should know a thing or two about work and business.”

In fact, in addition to parental advice, almost all the student-entrepreneurs had to borrow money from their parents to help put up their businesses. Some like Macinag, who comes from a family that dabbles in the food and restaurant business says it’s a natural progression for them to get into it. “You can say that I eventually learned how to cook (he helps with the sauces of his food offerings at Kebab House).

William Mallari, the Director for the Loyola Schools Bookstore and JSEC says that more than human relations, students also learn proper forecasting, logistics, and setting priorities. “These are hardcore truths and learnings for them,” said Mallari who worked for a long time in the United States in supplying five-star hotels and restaurants with food and their other requirements. “It is something they have to learn as they go.”

There were some 50 proposals sent to JGSOM before they were pared down to 20 of which they were ranked in terms of the viability of the submission as a franchise in the student-run mall. Added Mallari, “We’re looking for a different sampling of cuisine yet at the same time we look at how they intend to run their business. There are also many things to consider such as how their quality control, cleanliness and packaging. We make it clear that they cannot serve leftovers and that the health of everyone is paramount.”

Currently there are 11 food stalls and one print shop that can be found in JSEC. “That’s all we can accommodate for now, but we are definitely looking at expansion in the future,” added the director.

“It’s a rare opportunity for the students,” summed up Ang of this experiential lab that other schools are beginning to copy. “It builds better businessmen and it makes for a great head start into the world.”

Cooks in the kitchen
One of the student-entrepreneurs biggest challenges was dividing the labor between themselves. “You can’t just be a partner because you’re simply a friend,” explained Fiesta Atenista’s Marianne Abella (IV BS Mgmt). “Everyone has contributions from chipping in for the capital to the assigned tasks. We look at each other’s strengths and capabilities per day responsibilities since they all have classes.”

Substation’s partners all divvy up the work amongst themselves from store inventories to outsourcing meat products in Alabang where all three partners live. “We also learned the value of being a suki,” laughed Salazar. “You get good service from your suppliers.”

”Everyone at some point will have disagreements or even arguments on who is not pulling their weight,“ said Zandueta. “So it’s really important to define roles and set responsibilities.”

“Your day-to-day presence is also important because if your helpers see you waffling with your responsibilities then they either slack off and the quality of your food declines,” stressed Macinag about being immersed in all aspects of the business. “After all this is why you got into the business, right?”

“Aside from setting up roles, you have to be flexible enough to adjust your menu, organization, and yourself because there will always be flaws in the system,” pointed out Mendoza. “You cannot foresee everything such as the weather that can hamper sales to late deliveries so just make sure that you can quickly adjust.”

Taste test
Greg Camacho (IV BS Mgmt) takes a particular interest in how customers purchase food from Pinoy Bora Burger. “If they wolf it down, then I’m happy,” he exclaims. When they don’t finish it, I feel bad and I go back and look at how we prepare our products so people will really like them.”

“One time, one of our staff informed me that we have this customer who will come to our stall like two or three times a day,” laughed the bespectacled Camacho who got the idea for Pinoy Bora Burger while munching on one along the famous island getaway’s white beach. “Customers like that make all the hard work, sweat, and frustrations worth the while.”

King says that he’s seen customers make their satisfaction known in their Yahoo Messenger status and that really warms his heart. “That helps spread our stall to others,” he said proudly.

Not all the challenges have the appetite in mind. One --- Hyperjet Computer Services is tucked almost unobtrusively on the right hand side of the mall and it not only has to compete with being lost in the shuffle but for visibility. “It’s a disadvantage,” agreed Louie Yazon (IV BS ME) one of the stall’s proprietors. “More so since all the previous stalls in that spot didn’t do well. Tagong tago. Our proposal was initially about Mexican food but our second choice was a print shop. So we ended up with the latter.”

With all the requirements of a student in college and the basic photocopying services unable to immediately cope with everyone’s demands, Hyperjet was put up. “The problem is a lot of students have their own laptops nowadays so they can burn their own stuff,” related of his shop’s challenges. “So we’re forced to get clients from the outside. We have to be pretty aggressive or else we’ll be lost out especially with us having to pay rent and electricity.”

The student-entrepreneurs also learn how to promote their food stalls by taking part in various school events, offering summer delivery service (as long as its in the college), or promotions such as loyalty cards or eating contests.

“Your creativity and aggressiveness is really tested here,” said Mallari of this experiential lab. “All in all, it’s a great opportunity for everyone.”
Any last learnings?
“Yeah,” deadpanned Mendoza with finality. “There’s a proper way of slicing vegetables pala.”

Thursday, November 13, 2008

He should have given it to Horace!

I love Sesame Street! And you should too! Proud alum here, effendi.

Since I'm on the topic of Sesame Street, who are the people in my neighborhood? The people that I meet each day?

There's Musk-kles, Alice the Goon lite, Lola Chismax the neighborhood tsismosa, Gwaping and his 15-year old maid, the Mystery Girl on the ledge, Doña Rollers, the neighborhood bum, the cop who takes advantage of his being a cop although he has a son who's queer, there's Ball Breaker, Gomez II, and maldita. They should turn this street life into a soap thingy.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Kings of the Underground

They may not be as active as other bands album-wise, but Versus will always be one of my favorite bands of all time.

I read somewhere that there was this predominantly Fil-Am band from New York City that made some great music and put on a fab live show so I just had to check them out. Since the internet wasn't in full swing, I checked them out the old-fashioned way.

That was the time of Secret Swingers and the year was 1996. And since then, I was a fan of the band.

I didn't know of many Filipino Versus fans and for awhile it was only Diego Castillo of Sandwich who I conversed with.

It wasn't easy tracking down their albums because indie still was a dangerous word and much like a secret society. Whenever I would travel, I'd always make it a point to look at the "V" section of record stores. I looked in Hong Kong, China, Thailand and in the US. I eventually got almost all of the discography save for Let's Electrify and Drawn and Quartered.

But that was part of the fun -- the search. I didn't find most in New York, I bought one in Philadelphia!

As a fan, I was also lucky enough to catch them perform live twice in the US.

It's been years and when the band -- minus Fontaine who had to fly back to NYC -- came over along with their brother outfit Plus Minus -- I wasn't going to miss the show at Magnet for the world.

Set list:
Play Dead (from Hurrah)
Mirror Mirror (from The Stars Are Insane)
Dumb Fun (from Two cents Plus Tax)
Underground (from Two Cents Plus Tax)
Blade of Grass (from The Stars Are Insane)
Double Suicide (from Secret Swingers)

Great great show and it was so nice to meet other Filipino Versus and Plus Minus fans.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rick vs. Richard

I've been a fan of Versus, an indie rock predominantly Fil-Am band based in NYC for over a decade now. I've been fortunate enough to watch them sometime in the early 2000's and am darn excited to have another opportunity to catch them when they play in Magnet, Bonifacio High Street this November. I spoke with frontman Richard Baluyut sometime last week and this is what he had to say.

Rick: We're you -- the Baluyot brothers born in the Philippines or in the USA? If you were born here in the Philippines, was it tough adjusting to a new life in America? Was music an outlet for that adjustment?
Richard: The Baluyut brothers were all born in the USA. Our parents emigrated in the mid-sixties, and shortly thereafter the wonderful gift of Richard was bestowed.

Rick: You guys are huge hockey fans, right? Still rooting for the Red Wings or have you switched loyalties to the Rangers and/or the Islanders? Mets or Yankees? Knicks or the Nets?
Richard: The three of us from Detroit (James, Patrick and Richard) are Red Wings fans of course, but living in New York, also like the Rangers. And I love the Mets. Never heard of the Yankees however; are they a lacrosse team?

Rick: Was the toughness of breaking into a wider audience been an effect on the hiatus of Versus? It's been several years since Hurrah came out. Any plans for a new album?
Richard: Versus' hiatus had nothing to do with music. I decided to move away from New York for a while, but now that that I'm back there will be a new album, of course!

Rick: Is the November trip going to be the first time Versus will perform in Manila? If not when was the last time?
Richard: This will be Versus' debut in Manila. The Baluyut brothers have not visited the land of our ancestors for about 15 years.

Rick: You've put out quite a number of albums, more than many of your contemporaries during the 1990's. To what do you attribute your staying power?
Richard: Actually we only had 4 albums, which I don't consider a lot (but we do have a number of EPs out as well). Some of our contemporaries are up to album #10!

Rick: What music or bands and artists is Versus into now?
Richard: I'm into Alicia Keys, Grizzly Bear and Goldfrapp at the moment. But we were inspired to play music by the Manila Express, wedding band extraordinaire from Detroit.

Rick: After this tour, what will the band be doing other than eating or catching up on zzzs?
Richard: We'll be wondering why, after an Obama victory, nothing has changed at all.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cool Reads

I picked this up at Fully Booked. It's a riches to rags story of Michael Gates Gill, a former top executive at J. Walter Thompson who was retrenched because of his age after a long and distinguished service at the ad agency.

His losing his job couldn't have come at a more inopportune time as his kids were going to college. His misfortune led to a divorce and he found himself down to his last few bucks on the streets of Manhattan when he was offered a job at Starbucks my chance.

It's a light, nice, and insightful read although there are times when he retraces his steps that take away much from what is happening. But that's not much when you know that the story is being adapted to film with Tom Hanks playing the lead role.

Oh, that's Mr. Gill serving a hot drink. He still works in Starbucks.

The book by the way costs under Php 500 at Fully Booked.

The latest issue of one of my favorite magazines. I don't know man but the stories seem to be a little contrived lately but it's still better than a lot of what is out there.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The cool and the uncool

One of the coolest campaigns ever. And anyone who thinks that Sarah Palin is worthy of public office has got a stalactite for a brain.

The free world's future is at stake here. Enough of the warmongers. If McCain-Palin wins, we'll see a repeat of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

In Between Fragmented (and Bipolar) Days with Up Dharma Down

In Between Fragmented (and Bipolar) Days with Up Dharma Down
by rick olivares

Behind the lush and deep soundscapes that make up the music of Up Dharma Down is a band amused by the complexity of people trying to pigeonhole them. “At least we know that people are listening to us,” reasoned out keyboardist and vocalist Armi Millare.

Once you go beyond the music and notice how relatively young all the four members of the band are then you’d know that they do not meditate in the stratosphere between gigs. “We’re simple people with simple tastes and who live a simple lifestyle,” debunked bassist Paul Yap. But he confessed to a vice that isn’t one bit Imeldific. “I love soccer shoes.”

When the band released their debut effort Fragmented they made many a person’s year-end and must see lists. Up Dharma Down graduated from playing gigs where no one would applaud to opening for band that you might have heard of --- Incubus. “That’s was a typical reaction early on,” confirmed manager and local music scene impresario Toti Dalmacion whose Terno Recordings is a slap at the mainstream and at once a showcase for Filipino ingenuity. “But in reality, people were surprised by what they heard. Kaya pala ng local na banda yung ganyan tunog. Parang foreign pero at once very original. The fact the UDD was hand-picked to open for those bands says a lot about their chops.

The duality in the titles of their two albums -- Fragmented and the newly released Bipolar -- alludes to being children of the past and present, and how they are influenced by different genres that have cut a swath through their musical souls. “What we’ve done is to trace the roots of what influenced the music we listen to,” said drummer Ean Mayor. “Si ganyan was influenced pala by this, you know. That discovery opened us to old and different styles. Actually they may be old by other’s standards but for us it’s a whole new world.”

That’s why we refer to Bipolar as our second first album,” summed up guitarist Carlos Tañada. “Fragmented was more than two-and-a-half years ago. We’re not the same people we were before. We’ve grown physically, intellectually, emotionally, and musically. And the new album reflects those changes and influences.”

As part of the inspiration for the new album, the band had to take a trip down memory lane. Dalmacion lent his wards albums of new wave-era bands like The Blue Nile, XTC, and Prefab Sprout; artists whose craft for songwriting and intricately-layered music runs the gamut of genres that is distilled into something entirely original.

That’s what the band strives for originality, quality, and the timelessness of their music,” explained the noted audiophile who through the years has built a massive collection of vinyl and compact discs. “Up Dharma Down is about raising the bar musically for Filipinos.”

But believe it or not, the band stumbled upon their unique sound by accident. Fiddling around with their instruments, they added riffs, synths, melodies, and vocals here and there. Tañada was adding keyboards here and there. Yap helped structure the vocals while Mayor collected everyone’s contributions, sorted them out, and added his own beats. “You see,” cackled Yap with obvious glee. “There is a method in our madness. It’s like an artist throwing cans of paint on a canvas. It’s a nice mix.”

On the strength of word of mouth and critical acclaim (plus more than 10,000 CD sales of their debut album), UDD became the hot ticket in the local music scene garnering a slew of awards and recognition (the were featured in a July 2007 issue of Time Magazine). They went on to produce music for the advertising campaigns of Coca Cola (Buhay Coke, Buksan Mo), Lipton Tea (Clarity), and McDonald’s (Float Away) and picked up a corporate sponsorship from sports wear giant adidas. And it's a metaphor that isn't lost on them.

I cannot think of a more apt brand than adidas,” glowed Dalmacion about his favorite footwear as Millare and Yap nodded enthusiastically in agreement. “They’re (adidas) an institution. Their legacy is that their footwear stands the test of time. Some of their shoes are like timeless favorites and best sellers forever. We want to view UDD as something similar.”

When we signed a contract (with Terno Recordings),” recalled Millare. "All I cared about was getting our first record out everything else be damned. After that, we got to do so many things we thought weren't going to happen at all. And now we're on our second first album. Who would have thought? I have to admit that this has been too fun to pass up or ignore and is definitely something to be grateful for."

Join Up dharma Down as they launch Bipolar on October 24, 2008, 8pm at the Hexagon Lounge, 4th floor of the RCBC Plaza, Ayala Avenue corner Buendia, in Makati City. The band will perform all songs from the 14 track album plus some of the older band favorites. Php 150 gets you in with a drink, while Php 500 gets you in with a drink PLUS a limited edition Bipolar CD designed by Ean Mayor and Everywhere We Shoot!. It includes a DVD of "On Either Side," a 40-minute documentary directed by Keith Tan, offering viewers a peek into how the album was made and some insights from the band members.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

One of my all-time favorite bands is coming to Manila. I saw indie rock gods Versus (from New York City) play a long while back and have almost all their CDs. This Fil-Am band will be playing for two nights at magnet in Serendra.


Friday, October 3, 2008

I want to believe too.

Friday, September 5, 2008

University of Santo Tomas

One rainy afternoon in the oldest school in the country.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

X marks the spot

They're back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Get a number and get in line, folks!

I took this shot at Shopwise at the Araneta Center. I've always wondered how stalls can excite people. Maybe this can provide an answer.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

SIFE sows hope, unlike FSGO

Political Tidbits
SIFE sows hope, unlike FSGO
By Belinda Olivares-Cunanan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:39:00 07/29/2008

As I wrote this column, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s State of the Nation (SONA) still had to be delivered but it was already anticipated in a most adverse way by her critics. A survey showed that less than half of the people believed that the programs in various Arroyo SONAs had been fulfilled.

There’s also the group of former senior officials of various administrations, including Ms Arroyo’s, who formed the Former Senior Government Officials (FSGO). The FSGO termed the Arroyo administration a “stolen, not a strong republic” and accused it of “seven curses” including “robbing the nation of dignity, unity, hope and future.” The grim picture critics paint stems obviously from the SWS survey showing that President Arroyo has the lowest acceptance rating of all presidents since the 1986 EDSA People Power uprising.

* * *

On the accusation of the “stolen” Arroyo presidency, the President’s election lawyer Romulo Macalintal asserts that this is a baseless accusation. He said the Supreme Court put the “ultimate end” to it when it dismissed Sen. Loren Legarda’s election protest against Vice President Noli de Castro. The ballots studied in the Legarda protest case were the very same ballots used in the Fernando Poe Jr.-Gloria Arroyo presidential contest, but “not a single ballot had been shown to prove that a vote for FPJ was counted for President Arroyo,” Macalintal said.

But if the FSGO won’t believe Macalintal, they should ask the bishops, some of whom are with them in the anti-Arroyo campaign, about a study the bishops undertook three years ago on the results of the 2004 election. The three high-profile oppositionist bishops who made that study came to the conclusion that Ms Arroyo really won that election, though not by the million-vote margin she claims, but by about 600,000. The bishops’ top-secret study was circulated selectively, but the FSGO can get a copy—if it wants to.

* * *

Increased hunger is not hard to appreciate as inflation has shot up with the skyrocketing of oil and rice prices, from about 3 percent at the start of this year to 11.5 percent. Prices of commodities have increased, and the reality is that some Filipinos are experiencing more hunger now, which is why those whom God has given more should reach out to the poor. But as to the feeling of despair and hopelessness that the prophets of doom constantly drum into people’s minds, I don’t see it. For one thing, so many public and private infrastructures are going up around the country, which means more jobs. In the Global City in Fort Bonifacio alone, two five-star hotels are going up. Around the country, the government is completing so many ports, international airports, highway networks, etc. If 170 congressmen are supporting Ms Arroyo, one big reason may be that they know all the projects going on in their localities.

* * *

Cecile Alvarez and I got a ringside view of countryside progress last Sunday when we interviewed on our dzRH radio program former congressman and now Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Constantino Jaraula, my friend from our days at the University of the Philippines (UP). He called me up during his brief visit to Manila to say he agrees with my views on the bishops’ stand against artificial family planning, and we immediately “hostaged” him for a situationer on Northwestern Mindanao.

Jaraula talked about his projects to revive the Cagayan de Oro center, including putting up a “Golden Mile” walkway along the riverbank all the way to Gaston Park. He also spoke of the building boom in the city and environs, with a new 22-story hotel rising in the Lim Khet Khai commercial center and another hotel operated by the Koreans near the airport, plus several huge commercial complexes/subdivisions, one of which sells 1,000-1,500 sq m lots for “executive farming” at the foot of Mt. Kitanlad.

One of the most dynamic mixed land-use projects is run by my UP colleagues Walter and Anabelle Brown. Jaraula also noted how passengers and high-value crops from Misamis are ferried daily aboard roll-on, roll-off vessels from Cagayan de Oro all the way to Leyte and Samar along the Pacific maritime highway and to Manila and Luzon.

Obviously the folks there and in other regions don’t have time to brood over the “despair and hopelessness” peddled by jobless former Cabinet members. They are too busy with their own lives and working.

* * *

Another sign of hope is the Filipinas SIFE National Exposition this Saturday, Aug. 2, at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City where 20 schools will vie for the honor to represent the country in the annual SIFE World Cup in Singapore on Oct. 1-3, 2008.

SIFE, which stands for Students in Free Enterprise, was founded by the US-based National Leadership Institute. The local chapter was organized only last February, but it’s already working with over 50 schools around the country.

SIFE students teach entrepreneurship, financial literacy, business ethics, success skills and market economics, to improve the lives of their communities. According to my nephew, Rick Olivares, SIFE executive director, the students’ stories “are nothing short of inspiring.” For instance, students of Baliuag University in Pulilan, Bulacan, have been helping community housewives with their education and to start small income-generating businesses.

The SIFE team of Lorma Colleges in San Fernando City, La Union, has been helping the Wallace Poro Sea Urchin Cooperators Association make the most of their business, aside from teaching them basic accounting skills and on-line business. At Mariano Marcos State University, Engineered Kawayan Technology is helping local businesses improve the quality of their bamboo-based products through superior finishing and design.

SIFE chair Joey Leviste Jr. stressed that what attracted him to it is its capacity to mobilize college students in entrepreneurship while helping their local communities. SIFE schools compete for the best social entrepreneurship program and the national champions of 47 countries compete for the annual SIFE World Cup.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sold me down the river

It's been awhile since I was in the Riverbanks area. You gotta love how Marikina has evolved over the years. It's clean, safe, progressive, scenic even.

But I wonder how Riverbanks will stack up when the new SM opens.

Well, if everyone's inside the mall, then that means a lot of nice open spaces for others who would prefer the simple nature trip.