I’ve Moved!

A lot of things are still going on with my new blog but just a heads-up for those of you following me that I am preparing to continue this blog under a new domain name. It’s about time since I’ve spent many years on this free platform. There are many more things I can do on a self-hosted one; thus, the decision to move.

The new blog has all my old posts but I’m fixing a few things that did not carry over from this blog to the new one so please, bear with me while I fix them.

Here’s To Life! can now be found at janeuymatiao.com

PLEASE VISIT ME THERE. And if you’ve bookmarked this site’s URL, do change it to janeuymatiao.com. See you!

Manny Pacquiao: A Cut Above the Rest

So much has been written about Manny Pacquiao after he won his 8th world title last Nov. 13, 2010 against Antonio Margarito. I won’t dwell anymore on just how great he is (because he is!), on his being a Congressman, or on his wealth. There are enough newspapers (print and online), magazines, and TV video clips on him that I would not even know where to start.

But let me dwell on one thing about Manny that made a deep impression on me.

In a previous post, I wrote about admiring Manny for always praying before and after a fight. His humility in giving glory to God already differentiated him from many boxers who were fighting for themselves and their own glory.

(Photo source: AP)

But in this fight with Margarito, another facet of Manny surfaced. Watch this video.

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The Pacman Up Close

My small fist meets Pacman’s fist in this photo.

I had the chance to watch Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao shoot a TV commercial, then joined a small group of media people interview him up close.

Today, Manny Pacquiao seeks his 8th world boxing title against Antonio Margarito.

I blogged about my experience with the Pacman up close at my other blog, The Philippine Beat. Read all about my interview with him by clicking HERE.

Bloggers Join in Welcoming U.S. Cultural Affairs Officers

Ever since Pres. Barack Obama was ushered into the highest position of the land in the United States on the back of a campaign built with the help of the internet and new media, the landscape of government has never been the same. The ease of Pres. Obama with tech, new media (bloggers), the web, and social networking sites is showing in the way the U.S. embassies around the world are slowly becoming open to bloggers being included in their events.

Right here in the Philippines, I am witnessing a new openness, a willingness by the U.S. Embassy to engage the citizens of the country they are living in and reach out to the ordinary man in the persons of bloggers. To me this is a delightful FIRST. After all, we bloggers do not hold any outstanding achievement in any political, cultural, academic or artistic arena. We are not part of large media organizations that are normally invited to cover embassy events. All we own is that piece of real estate in the blogosphere we can rightfully call ours where we exercise our right to freedom of speech and thought, where we express our opinions and dreams, and very rarely, rant.

Firstly, my wedding godchild (inaanak sa kasal), Jay de Jesus, became the first ever to join the U.S. Embassy in Manila as their Emerging Media Specialist for Public Affairs. That title is loaded!!! Jay is basically the point person for the embassy’s social network sites (SNS), really raising the bar of SNS as  a major communication and feedback tool.

The very first invitation I received as a blogger from the U.S. Embassy was for a reception dinner at the USS Blue Ridge (the flagship of the US Seventh Fleet) when it docked in Manila for a visit.

Last Friday, bloggers got a second invitation. This time, it was a reception for the U.S. Cultural Affairs Attache, Alan R. Holst, and the Assistant Cultural Affairs Attache, Joseph Tordella.

The cozy dinner, hosted at the home of Counselor for Public Affairs, Richard W. Nelson, was meant to introduce the two to Manila’s cultural circuit. Present were people representing their own spheres of influence in the arts, music, literature, sports, theater, education and so on. The Cultural Affairs spearheads, sponsors, and is involved in several projects in these fields. Professional visits and exchange programs between the Philippines and the United States are handled by these officers.

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The Other Side of My Blogging Life

I have not really had time to blog about what I had been doing these past months. It’s been a whirlwind time doing my usual mommy activities while participating in a new advocacy. Since October of 2009, I became part of a group of concerned citizen bloggers who wanted to do something other than our normal blogging. We wanted to push voter education and thought we could do something as there was quite a large online community if we put our readership together.

With my mommy blogger friend Noemi starting the whole effort, Blog Watch was put together. Starting with 16 bloggers, we grew to 31 by the time the May 10, 2010 elections came. By then, we had interviewed 7 of the 9 presidential aspirants (see pics below. I missed out on Bro. Eddie’s interview), some running for VP and senators, and a few local government candidates.

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President Aquino’s Inaugural Cake

As I was covering the post oathtaking of President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III at Malacanang Palace, I entered a room leading to the venue of our media briefing when something caught my eye. There before me was a beautiful, fondant cake shaped like Malacanang Palace itself.

It turns out the cake was the masterpiece of Penk Ching and Shen Ratilla of Pastry Bin. I was lucky to bump into Penk, the master cakemaker herself, to get some initial cake details.

She was busy overseeing the moving of the cake so I got more details on the cake itself the following day. Here are some interesting trivia on the cake from Penk herself (as well as some other info I gathered from press articles):

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