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.

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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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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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How to Survive the Boy Band Phase

Sorry, sorry, sorry…

That’s the most popular song of the equally popular boy band, Super Junior (Suju), which held a Super Show concert here in Manila last Saturday, April 10. Preteens, teens, young adults and not-so-young-anymore adults have been going gaga over them. My daughter C2 is no exception. She has their CDs, follows them intensely on Twitter, joined an Asian fan club, reads fan fiction, and many more things that get her excited when she talks about them.

Now this post is NOT about the Super Junior boys although I will get to them in a while. This is a tale of how I am surviving the boy band phase.

Flashback to several years ago.

It was the Taiwanese boy band, F4, and Meteor Garden then. I think all of you still remember that. Everyone was swooning over Jerry Yan, Vanness Wu, Ken Chu and Vic Chou. Meteor Garden was THE soap opera to follow then and I myself was caught up in its love story and drama. We even have the entire series in Mandarin with English subtitles (which the children claim is a whole lot better than the dubbed versions – I agree).

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Jesuit Online Lenten Recollection

Fr. Johnny Go, S.J. is doing it again this Lent 2010.

If you feel like you want to do a Lenten recollection but are having difficulty finding a good one, or too busy to go to one, you can spend time with our Lord from your computer desk or even with your laptop anywhere you are telecommuting. If you have a mobile phone which is browser-capable, you can likewise attend a recollection. If you are not in the Philippines, it does not matter. You can be anywhere around the world as long as you have internet access.

Fr. Johnny has prepared an ONLINE recollection where he effectively merges multimedia technology to make your Lenten journey with the Lord interesting and meaningful.

Titled “God in the Dungeons”, this is how Fr. Johnny describes the theme:

Dungeons are not exactly the first place we go to when we want to look for God.
We expect to find Him in churches and the other “holier” places of our lives.
But that’s exactly what Lent does not teach us about God.
In the mysteries of Lent, God enters precisely the “dungeons of our lives”
—the deepest, darkest experiences of human pain and suffering—because He wants us to find Him there.

Let’s find time this Holy Week and allow God to enter the dungeons of our lives and quiet down to hear Him speak to us.

The online recollection begins April 1 (Holy Thursday) till April 3 (Black Saturday) but you can already do a pre-recollection preparation even now by clicking HERE.

Earth Hour 2010

Earth Hour 2010 happens on March 27, 2010.

On this day, people all over the world will turn off their appliances and lights for one hour starting at 8:30 PM.

This will be the third year that my family will be joining this endeavor. Here are my 2008 and 2009 posts on it.

We can no longer ignore the effects of climate change. Just see the frequency and intensity of earthquakes happening around the world. In my own country, the Philippines, we are now experiencing a very harsh El Nino with very little rain and drought in many agricultural places. Last year, we were hit by Typhoon Ondoy which brought floods to Metro Manila in places that have never experienced floods. Many other countries are experiencing freak weather activities as well.

Rather than leave it up to the different governments around the world to do something about it, we should act as individuals, living on this one and only home planet of ours, to make changes and adapt greener and more eco-friendly lifestyles.

You can support Earth Hour by:

1. Turning off your lights at 8.30PM on March 27
2. Showing your support and adding yourself to the Earth Hour world map
3. Adding Earth Hour widgets, logos and banners to your blog or website to help us spread the word
4. Talking about Earth Hour in your social network by updating your Facebook status, grabbing a Twibbon, tweeting about your support, and more
5. Get together with your friends and family, by hosting an Earth Hour party or holding your own candlelit affair
6. Rally your local council or community group to run an Earth Hour event for your community
7. Encourage your employer and workmates to take part in Earth Hour and make energy savings every day
8. Make an Earth Hour Lantern as a symbol of hope for the future
9. Be creative! Find a new way to mark Earth Hour and let Earth Hour know all about it!

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