Thursday, January 29, 2009

Another Day to Remember A Love Story

In front of the Casa Real (Royal House) or the Iloilo Provincial Capitol and the Arroyo Fountain (with its caryatids carrying a basin with fish gargoyles that sprouts water), is the once elegant Casa Plaza Hotel with its ”American Era” architectural styling and decorations. It used to be one of Iloilo’s best places to stay until the starred hotels mushroomed in this once laid-back city.

Casa Plaza with its vintage ambience was a witness to a young couple who stayed in that hotel 22 years ago today. A witness to the young couple's start of doing another chapter of their love story.

Both of them were in their early 20s, innocent looking, carefree and very young. Though young as they are, they seemed to be matured on their outlook and perception of life. They were not “tumandoks” (locals) of the place but the young man had an excellent mastery of the local dialect. He travelled all the way from a neighbouring city where he worked as a sales and technical representative of a multinational company of the Ayala Group of Companies. The young lady was an account officer of the American Express affiliated International Corporate Bank based in the City of Love.

Story has it that this young couple met when they were freshmen at the State University in Diliman. The young boy came from the hinterlands near the Stone Fort of Mindanao while the young girl hailed from the Queen City of the South. Both were on the same prestigious scholarship program named after the “dictator”.

They were serious in their studies; became leaders in their organizations; participated in demonstrations, boycotts and noise barrages; and lived their lives away from home at the campus dormitories. They were together in most of their academic activities in their university days.

When the hamburger chains were just beginning to establish their niche in the resto market at the Pearl of the Orient Seas and these fastfood chains preferred yet to hire working students from the Englishero schools, she worked at Mc Donald’s. Had the chance to work together with Richard Gomez and all those “let’s tusok-tusok the fishball” twang sosyaleros and sosyaleras. At the young boy's front, through the prodding of his barkada, had his stint at Wendy’s where he enjoyed partying with the Scholasticans and Maryknollers. While both McDo and Wendy’s were competing and warring for their market shares, the young boy and girl were unperturbed... they enjoyed their activities.

Despite her being a working student, she managed to have her name consistently included at the Dean’s List – getting flat 1’s in the dreaded Chemistry subjects. She was also an elected officer at the College Student Council. She was very conscientious in her studies. Her only way of relaxation was to “disco” after exams. She was a dancerous lady (as printed in her graduation yearbook).

The young boy though also "serious" in his studies was maybe "3/4 –hearted" towards his commitment. He was a happy-go-lucky species that would cram all the time just for the sake of maintaining a weighted average for his scholarship. He would be the best source of information on the latest movie at Ali Mall, Delta, Greenbelt or Circle. He can tell you on the latest on the drag race at Greenhills but don’t ask him the scientific names of some organism as he only memorized half in the list.

In their last two years at the State U, the young boy had his own special friend and the young girl had her own special someone. They called that kind of relationship in those days MU for mutual understanding. The young boy was very close to a Miss E while the young girl was infatuated with Mr. A. The irony of it was that Miss E and Mr A were “MUs” two years earlier.

Right after graduation from the State U, the young man and woman, together with the rest of their batch in the Scholarship Program were hired as Extension Specialists in a special project funded by the Asian Development Bank that covered all the provinces in the Island of Panay.

They were all together in their work – hopping from one place to another through overloaded bancas, fully packed tricycles, rickety jeepneys, air-cool and free-dust buses, and creaking wagons on the railway. They burned midnight candles to rush feasibility studies of beneficiaries.

They all stayed together in one apartment – all the ladies at the main apartment while the boys were booked in the tiny nipa hut extension. They washed and pressed their clothes together... filled the dining room during meal time... discussed a lot and fought at times but always made amends.

They all enjoyed their weekends and after office afternoons – eating banana que and pinasugbo... squabbling over the scrabble tiles... The beaches saw the burst of dormant ballet dancers... the small movie houses just suddenly filled when the group came... they joined the singing contest at the local radio station... they "food trip" a lot... cheered for their candidates at a local beauty contest... attended Bible Studies and fellowships...

A certain closeness and familiarity developed to many of them...

It may be that the kind of lifestyle they had could turn some people to nuts or could be that this batch of young men and women had some kind of an imbalance personality qoutients - pretty high IQs and some with low EQs?

A young man in the Project named Simon (not his real name) was madly in love with the young lady. He can’t go over that feeling and he was becoming a candidate to the psychiatric clinic. As a ploy to ward off Simon, the rest of the batch convinced the young lady to enter into an agreement with the young man to pose as her boyfriend. The smile was hidden beneath the face of the young man when this was proposed. He was tickled to the bones with excitement on the idea. He had a certain feeling for her since they left the Big City to this rural countryside which he kept on suppressing for a long time.

That strategy worked perfectly well for the young man but not for Simon. Simon turned real nuts and was taken by the local police and placed in jail when he cannot be controlled in his actions. After a few days he was brought to mental asylum.

With the sad news on what happened to Simon, the young lady wanted to take back the “drama” BF-GF relationship but the young man wouldn’t want to agree with. But being a gentleman, he eventually agreed but silently swore to have the "make-believe" relationship real without any coercion or disguise.

True to the young man’s desire to win the young lady’s heart, he was able to get that sweet YES while they had their training at a BFAR-FAO-UNDP Training Center at the Chocolate Hills and Tarsier Province. It was the coded “I COME BEFORE 50 ROMANS, NOTHING COMES BEFORE 5. INVERT 3 AND ADD YOU” written on a pink scented stationary that said it all.

Back after the short training, the love-team was always in high spirits with twinkling eyes and excited-throbbing hearts. A camel-back DT would bring the couple to places enjoying their newfound happiness. Both being ambitious, their relationship gave a new insight and direction for their careers.

One weekend at the beach, a page of the newspaper was seen flying by the young man. Being a voracious newspaper reader at that time, he picked it up but instead found the ad page and his eyes got stuck to one ad of a multi national company of the Ayala Group. He found his way to the business world and rubbed shoulders with those in his new workplace.

A few months in his new job led him to meet a VP of a bank who was interested to hire a lady from the State U to become an account officer for a special project. He recommended a lady-friend from his batch for the position. In no time, they flew in from the Big City to the Island of Panay to meet the candidate.

The young man being the host of the trip and because of the short notice requested his girl friend to arrange and contact the candidate for the interview which his girlfriend arranged to be in her office. The young man and the VP arrived at the young woman’s office earlier than scheduled and had time to have tete-a-tete with her. In a spur of the moment decision, the VP declared that he already hired the candidate for the position. No interview was made to the young man’s recommendee. The young woman was hired for the job!

It was a beautiful Thursday afternoon that 29th of January 1987, the young man travelled many miles to the City of Love together with his younger sister Z, who was staying with him while she was in college. They were going to attend a very special occasion.

The young woman was working at the bank that afternoon... had mixed feelings while doing her job... was a bit uneasy... a bit nervous yet excited. She was going to attend that very special occasion.

Two very close friends of the couple who were still with the ADB-Project, Jaime and Ariane were also getting ready to attend the occasion. They were the ones who arranged and facilitated everything for the occasion.

The sun was about to set when everything was in place for the occasion. The young couple together with the entourage entered the private chamber of the Judge. It was like playing "bahay-bahayan" for the young couple who didn’t know what to do in front of the solemnizing authority... sometimes excitement also (and not just hunger) can cause one to forget everything. All that they remembered during beautiful dusk was saying and exchanging “I do's” to each other.

They had a candlelight dinner at Hotel del Rio, serenaded by the chirping night birds that blended with the flow of the water from the nearby river and the gentle breeze in the air. Nature's serenade sounded like a stringed-trio for them while they enjoyed their dinner with their friends.

The dinner candle was about to flicker and the dark night beckoned them to move to their room at the Casa Plaza Hotel to start another chapter of their love story.

The young woman in the story is now a Trial Judge and the young man is now an OFW based in the coastal desert by the Red Sea. The next chapter of their story blessed them with 3 children - a boy who is in college and 2 girls, one in high school and the other one in elementary.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

WARNING! Beware of Counterfeit Saudi Riyals

I got an e-mail this morning from a college classmate friend warning of the circulation of fake Saudi Riyals. It is alarming especially that a Kababayan, who claims innocence, was accused of distributing fake bills.

Here are some of the messages attached to the e-mail:


Mga Kabayan, Kung di man tayo makatulong,,,,ay mag-ingat n lamang tayo s pagtanggap ng mga sukli lalo na ang kumakalat n pekeng 10SR. Para di natin danasin ang ganito... At kyo n rin bahala magbigay babala s mga kapwa pinoy Maraming salamat po.

Read the News article below:
OFW on trial for spreading bogus riyals

MANILA, Philippines— A Filipino worker in Saudi Arabiawho has been accused of distributing counterfeit Saudi currency is seeking legal assistance from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), a migrant workers’ group said on Wednesday. Migrante-Middle East said Ryan Torres Anievas, a 29-year-old administrative clerk/secretary at Petro Rabigh Company Project in the industrial city of Rabigh in western Saudi Arabia, sought the group's help regarding his case.

John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-ME coordinator, said Anievas is being tried in the Jeddah General Court for distributing five of 10 fake Saudi Riyal bills. He asked the DFA to act immediately on the case by providing a lawyer. "Anievas needs a lawyer and a translator without any delay as the court is set to hear his case again on February 17," Monterona said. "Huwag ng antayin pa ng gobyerno ni Arroyo na makulong si OFW Ryan Anievas. We certainly don’t want him to be another Jennifer Bedoya who was hanged due to the failure of the Arroyo government to provide legal assistance to him during the trial of his case," he said. Bedoya, a.k.a. Venancio Ladion, was beheaded in Jeddah on Oct. 14, 2008 for murder.

Migrante accused DFA officials of lying to the Bedoya family about the real status of the case and gave them false promises after it asked the family not to reveal the case to the media. Migrante claimed Bedoya did not receive any legal assistance during his trial. “The family was later outraged to find out that Jennifer did not receive legal assistance, and was only provided an interpreter and not a lawyer in the early stages of the trial," Migrante said. Consul General Ezzedin Tago, the Philippine envoy in Jeddah, later admitted the shortcoming, but claimed Bedoya was given legal assistance when he appealed the case.

Migrante said the Saudi Investigation authority accused Anievas of distributing a fake currency of 5 notes of 10 Saudi Riyal bills when he bought goods at a store. Investigation by the Saudi Finance Ministry confirmed the currency was counterfeit. Also, there were document from Saudi Aramco Security Authority that the accuse paid SR50 from SR10 bills when he bought from the store.

Anievas, in a letter, a copy of which was furnished GMAnews. TV, has already sought the assistance of the Philippine Consulate Office in Jeddah to act on his case.

In a letter to Consul General Ezzadin Tago, Anievas said, " I am writing you to ask your kind help if you could possibly provide me a legal assistance regarding my case. I was accused about fake money which I unintentionally used in buying my food. The forged money was given to me as a change when I bought a present for my wife. I didn't notice that I was given a fake 5 pieces of 10 riyal bills (amounting to 50 SR) from my 96-riyal change from the "Itnayn-Itnayn Store" in Rabigh town."

"I'm really begging you to please protect me with this accusation for my wife and the future of my family is at risk. I am just a victim here. Fifty riyals is a very small amount to put my wife, my son and myself into harm (my family is leaving with me here in Rabigh). Aside from this, I still have my parents in the Philippines who need my support," Anievas said.

Anievas is facing 5-15 years imprisonment and a fine of not less than SR30,000 and not exceeding SR 100,000 if found guilty for violation of Saudi Law of Royal Decree No. 12 of Article #2. - GMANews.TV

Here are some of the links which I checked out that you may find helpful so you will not be the next victim of this modus oprandi.

Alert for Counterfeit Saudi Banknotes Crossroads Arabia

Methods of Detecting Counterfeiting & Forgery in Banknotes & Documents

Ministry calls alert for fake riyal bills

Ministry calls alert for fake riyal bills (Saudi Gazette)

Monday, January 26, 2009

It's "Tikoy" & "Hong Bao" Time: Happy "MOO" Year to All!

Yes! it's "tikoy" and "hong bao" time once again. Today is the first day of the Lunar New Year, or the Year of the Ox and is celebrated by Chinese all over the world to mark the Chinese New Year. It's the main and biggest festival of the year and is a time of lavish spending, when loved ones exchange "hong bao" or red envelopes stuffed with money and where "tikoys" or moon cakes are aplenty.

But this year's festivities are more subdued which could have been caused by the economic slump. Although the global international economic crisis sort of dampened this traditionally festive celebration, it is still celebrated with the feisty lion and dragon dances and with ear-thumping firecrackers. The bull has to make a grand entrance to usher the world to the Year of the Ox.

The Legend
Chinese legend has it that the twelve animals quarreled one day as to who was to head the cycle of years. The gods were asked to decide and they held a contest --- whoever reach the opposite bank of the river would receive their years according to their finish.

All the twelve animals gathered at the river bank and jumped into the water. Unknown to the ox, the rat had jumped on his back and as the ox was about to jump ashore, the rat jumped off the ox's back, and won the race. The pig, who was very lazy, ended up last. That is why the rat is the first year of the animal cycle, the ox second, and the pig last. The order of the years are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

Ox symbolizes calm, hard work, resolve and tenacity. Those born on the year of the ox are considered thick-skinned and hard-working, patient and caring. They are quiet but stubborn. They are said to stand by their convictions and are dominant and has a strong sense of determination.

Among the famous "oxes" include US President Barack Obama, former U.S. President Richard Nixon, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Princess Diana, Meg Ryan, George Clooney, Heather Locklear, Richard Gere, Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, Jane Fonda and Juliette Lewis.

For this year, many Chinese astrologers, seers and fortunetellers say that the Ox looks very "un-bullish" and this is because of the lack of "fire". Chinese feng shui mystics believe that one of the five elements (木Wood, 火Fire, 土Earth, 金Metal, and 水Water) form the basis of the universe and is necessary for financial prosperity and they say that fire is not in the lunar year that begins today.

Whatever the fortune tellers and seers say, "fire" or "no fire", I will put my trust in the Word of God that declares of His faithfulness to all those who put their faith and trust in Him. I know that He will provide for all my needs according to His riches in glory! I will look forward to this year as a year of blessing and prosperity!

In whatever manner you say it "Kong Hsi Fa Chai'" or "Kung Hei Fat Choy" or "Gong Xi Fa Cai", let me greet you all a Happy "MOO" Year from the coastal desert by the Red Sea.

I'm still waiting for my "tikoy" and "hong bao".

Thursday, January 22, 2009

An Interesting Observation About Balls

When you're stuck in the middle of the desert and have nothing to do, you think of things you usually won't if you're not in the desert... Does that make any sense?

Some few days back, (not the usual busy days yet as there are no week-/month-end reports to make and no schedules for the marathon meetings), my friend Leo gave me this observation about balls and I tried to figure out whether or not his observation is true. Like any other Filipino, Leo's a die-hard basketball fanatic and is a good player too at his age (hehehe... big balls). But that's not the only thing about Leo, he is also part of the corporate executives of the company.

Here's his interesting observation...

1. The sport of choice for the urban poor is BASKETBALL

2 The sport of choice for maintenance level employees is BOWLING

3 The sport of choice for front-line workers is FOOTBALL.

4 The sport of choice for supervisors is BASEBALL.

5 The sport of choice for middle management is TENNIS. and........

The sport of choice for corporate executives and officers is GOLF.


The higher you go in the corporate structure, the smaller your balls become.

I agree with you Leo... a lot of people prefer to "play and fondle" with "smaller balls" when they climb up the corporate ladder (others even smaller than golf balls... kasing laki na lang ng "jolen"... hahaha). They forget that they once used to have "big balls" earlier in their careers.

Thanks for the people out there who still has big balls even when they are at the top...kahit na creased and craggy na... bwahaha ...

This is my friend Leo - the Ball Observer... Watch out for his blog. It's coming out soon!

Leo Cababasay
Executive Manager - Head of Department
Community Service Department
National Prawn Company

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Barack Obama's Inaugural Speech - A Ray of Hope on this Stormy Winter?

Amidst my very busy schedule and the appointments which I had to attend to last night... After so many weeks (perhaps months) of not touching the remote control of the big black box, I found myself glued in front of the television(with bottomless qawa-Arabic coffee and tamur-dates) watching CNN live telecast on the inauguration of the 44th US President. What made it special was that I was watching with friends and colleagues from different nationalities - a sure sign that such a day in US history is also a significant day for all of us and the rest of the world. It was even more special because we shared watching with our American guest who flew in the other day (His first time to be in the Middle East).

Watching the live coverage with me were Louie Owens (our Company's American guest, CEO of Magic Valley Heli-Arc and Manufacturing, Inc - the makers of the Aqua Life Harvest Machines), Ahmed Shogeifi (a Saudi, our Harvest Logistics Support Section Manager) and Vilas George (Indian, the Commercial Business Division QAQC Manager).

With kabayan Emerson Irorita, our Harvest Material Support and Traffic Manager .

Barack Obama was officially declared the 44th President of the United States of America at exactly 8:00pm tonight here in Saudi Arabia (12:00 noon at Washington, DC), minutes before he even took his oath of office. When the CNN TV commentator announced Obama's official ascendancy to the halls of power of the White House (by virtue of crossing the timeline), he was gazing up watching the stringed-quartet (violin, cello, piano, and clarinet) solemn rendition of John Williams' especially composed piece for the occasion. Was that gaze to the horizon a body language signalling a message of hope to America and the world? Was it a message of encouragement and optimism that beyond this distressing economic recession is the power to bounce back?

After the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court John Roberts administered the oath of office to the first African-American President in US history, thunderous cheers from tens of thousands expectant supporters reverberated through the 2-mile distance open space of the Lincoln Memorial and the West Side porch of the White House.

The momentous occasion was supposed to be a day of jubilation and celebration for Obama but he sounded so somber all throughout the delivery of his eloquent speech. Such sobriety tells us so many things at once. It was not just the eloquence of his oratory that caught millions to attentively listen, but it was the sincerity of the man of the hour... a genuineness that comes from deep within his heart. His well prepared and well delivered speech set the tone for his new administration... Carpe Diem... Seizing every moment... and taking every opportunity.

What would Obama's presidency bring to us and the rest of the world? What does his leadership mean here in the Middle East when this was the man they were rooting for last November from this side of the globe? What change will it bring to our loved ones back home? I really don't know. Only time will tell and time will be its witness. One thing is for sure, everyone hopes to live in a better and peaceful world. I hope and pray that his leadership will bring the change in restoring back the glory to a country whose pillars and fortresses were "once" built on the principles of freedom, liberty, justice and equality for all.

Here's the full text of Obama's inaugural speech proving that he was worthy of the US Presidency. His speech was brilliantly crafted, full of hope and determination and expectancy that a new era is dawning in the next 4 years to the land once known as flowing with milk and honey.

Carry on President Obama, a lot if not all pin their future in you! May God bless you!

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents. So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.

Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. Those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control — and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers ... our found fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all the other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort — even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds.

And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment — a moment that will define a generation — it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence — the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed — why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people: "Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet (it)."

America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

Full text taken from Yahoo News!

Friday, January 16, 2009


I seldom have the luxury of surfing the net for long hours... and even today, being a weekend here, I was still preoccupied with appointments that limited my surfing time. Nevertheless, I happened to see this new and interesting site that promotes the blogs of Pinoy Expats and OFWs. I went through some of the blogs and it relieves me to know na "hindi ako nag-iisa"! The blogs and experiences that each blogger writes about are but bits and pieces of our own experiences... that of living away from home. Happy reading and emoting!
Join now!

If you are a Filipino by heart and blood, studying, working or living abroad and you have blogs, feel free to leave a comment by adding your site name and URL or Feeds, and your country of base and we will happily add you here.
Thoughtsmoto is a blog aggregator in a hope to gather all Filipino blogs manage by Expats and OFW's around the world for an easy one-stop or one site visit by visitors.
Everytime a blogger updates his/her post, he or she will automatically be put on top in his/her designated location. As we expand we will do the aggregating by countries. Please spread the word! We hope to gather at least a thousand Pinoy Blogs!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Never too Late for My New Year's Greetings

Circumstances during the first day of 2009 did not allow me to greet you all a Happy New Year. And before you and I will once again be trapped in our time and busy schedule, today is never too late to wish you and your family a prosperous and blessed 2009.

I also take this time to thank you for your untiring and selfless support and cooperation to the Harvest Team of NPC. It is a year now since we found our home with the Commercial Business Division and the pressures and challenges were hurdled with your commitment and help to see us through in doing the mandate and responsibility given to us.

We shall continue to move forward this year 2009 with trust and confidence despite the world's economic recession, in knowing that we can continue to rely on your help, cooperation and support to us.

Let 2009 be a bright and brand new beginning for you and me!

Enough success to keep you eager, Enough failure to keep you humble,
Enough joy to share with others, Enough trials to keep you strong,
Enough hope to keep you happy, Enough faith to banish depression,
Enough friends to give you comfort, Enough determination to make each day better than yesterday.
-From the article of Francis Kong in the Philippine Star

Monday, January 12, 2009

Farewell Boy!

I am blogging this farewell letter of Chaddy, my wife's youngest sister, which speaks of the same sentiment and emotion that we all have in the family when we lost a dear brother-in-law Romeo "Boy" Noveda. Tatay Boy as we all endear him in the family, succumbed to a fatal cardiac arrest on that Saturday morning of 27th December 2008. His health, outlook in life and disposition never showed any earlier indications that he was bidding farewell to this earthly life. In a very strange twist of fate, that day was their wedding anniversary. We were all shocked in disbelief, wanting to wake up from a nightmare. At that time, we were also preparing for the Muga Family Reunion scheduled on the 29th and 30th. What was intended to be a time of merry making and celebration turned out to be a time of mourning and sorrow.
2008 was a blessed year for the clan and Tatay Boy's untimely loss was a tragic way to end 2008. Nevertheless, as Kara Mae aptly mentioned in her eulogy to her Tatay last December 31, in everything...a reason. 2009 would then be a reason for new beginnings.
Our condolences to Cathy, Kara Mae and Nicole (Nina Dominique). Headstrong still for 2009 because He who began a good work in our lives will be faithful to complete it. He will turn our mourning into dancing!
Please see this link to Kara Mae's blog on her Tatay in Kara is ABS-CBN Cebu's showbiz television reporter and a lifestyle editor at Sun Star Cebu. She's a cum laude MassCom graduate from UP and a protege of her Tatay's writing prowess. As Atty. Edgar Labella (Boy was his Executive Assistant at his Cebu City Council Office) puts in his eulogy, Boy's life evolved in the three women of his life - his most dearly possession and inheritance that he was very proud of - Cathy, Kara and Nicole! Cheers to life Tatay Boy!

Here's Chaddy's goodbye piece to Boy:
Indescribable sorrow fills our hearts…. a sorrow that is deep and personal. Boy has silently and swiftly closed the door of life, but he will always be remembered lovingly……

Albert Einstein said, "The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive." In one word, Boy was a man who gave. He gave so much to his family, relatives, friends, and his work. He was a selfless man……ready to serve everybody first, before himself.

Boy was living proof of how fine a person can be. He was a loving husband to Babes, and a devoted father to Kara Mae and Nicole. He was also a good friend to many of us and a great colleague. The character of the life he lived might be summed up in a few words: he was sincere, he was earnest, he was loyal.

I remember all the times when I used to visit his family. He would always be accommodating, ready to cook my favorite garlic rice and all my favorite dishes. Never complained about the time he spent preparing, nor complained about my voracious appetite and the expense of it. He knew I loved coffee, so he would always have it ready, even without asking. He always listens to my life dramas but never judge me.

He taught me facts of life….how to be open to people and their needs… to be a good influence in the circle you are in. How to survive in the midst of crisis and how to take things in stride. He was very practical. A man of few words but heavy with wisdom. You would know that he is deep in thought, when he looks at you sideways, with his neck tilted and his eyes looking at you at a certain angle --- his signature pose.

He was such a loving and supportive husband and father. I remember a friend of mine told me once, that they would be happy to end up with somebody like Boy - doing chores that some men would consider less manly, took active part in the rearing and discipline of the kids, and always ready to be there for my sister. He was also very diplomatic in handling issues with in-laws. He was cool….and always positive. Never lacked in giving comments …… with dry humor.

In his career, he worked with passion, integrity and energy. By his death all the people who knew him will miss a highly intelligent, vibrant yet silent individual with a rare friendliness and charm of personality. Boy was a genuinely warm and wonderful —one we will miss greatly. Our sorrow is lessened only slightly with the comforting thought that we had the privilege to know him.

Life is but a stopping place,
A pause in what's to be,
A resting place along the road,
To sweet eternity
We all have different journeys,
Different paths along the way,
We all were meant to learn some things,
But never mean to stay…
Our destination is a place,
Far greater than we know.
For some the journey's quicker,
For some the journey's slow.
And when the journey finally ends,
We'll make a great step forward,
And find an everlasting peace,
As our special reward.

Good bye Boy! We will always miss you! And may you rest in peace in God's embrace!