Archive for September, 2008

Philippine Events: Rogue Magazine Wrap-Party and Black Tie Brawl

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Events, Philippine News, Philippines Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2008 by JJ Duque

I was at the September issue wrap-party of Rogue Magazine at the sleek and chic Music Room at the Hyatt Hotel And Casino in Malate a few weeks back. Apart from it being a really cool party hosted by Rogue Magazine, it was also the birthday celebrations of the Thunder Goddess Katrina Tuason as well as the unveiling of the Black Tie Brawl event, which will be co-hosted by Rogue Magazine and the fine boys of the URCC.

Anyway, I was supposed to write this post a long time ago, but I was hoping to make use of the video footage I took from the party to include in the post. As it happened, the video camera got semi-drenched during the rain (it was a very, very rainy day/night and there was a 4-hour traffic jam earlier that day), and now the camera is experiencing technical difficulties and I can’t even play the tape. (Josemari, forgive me for the delay in editing the footage!)

Without any more excuses, and still without the footage, I decided to write about it anyway before my article really becomes late news.

Well, the party was fun. Got to see some really good friends – Karl Roy, Paolo Basa, Carlos Celdran, Kat and Felipe, Twinky Lagdameo, Dennis Lagdameo (you related to Twinky?), Marcus Maguidad, Erwin Edralin, Cacay Moras, Miguel Arellano and of course the awesome people of Rogue Magazine – Carmela and Miguel Mari, Josemari Ugarte, Brian Banta, Jay Pou, and the other Jay. Of course, DJ Danger Sanchez spinning some groovy tunes, and Rogue’s September cover girl Hindy Webber-Tantoco lighting up the room with her glow.

We had fun singing it out in the different KTV rooms of the Hyatt’s Music Room, and let me just say that the rooms were pimp! Huge couches, big-ass flat screen TV, private bath room for powdering, a bar. And just when we thought we would run out of margarita, the waiters were spot on time in bringing in a fresh tray of drinks and sossy munchies. Horse Devours as Jay Ignacio would say.

Rogue Magazine Presents Black Tie Brawl

Rogue Magazine Presents Black Tie Brawl

Some time in the night – there was the unveiling of Black Tie Brawl, an MMA event which will be hosted by Rogue Magazine and URCC (Alvin Aguilar and Jed Dario reprezent!) on October 18, 2008 at the Hyatt Hotel And Casino. The MMA event will feature a 5-course sit down dinner while watching eight professional MMA bouts. Of course, strictly black tie. If you don’t know what that means, think James Bond. Or look at the damn picture.

The ticket prices range from P6,000 to P10,000 bucks per seat, and the tickets are limited. Of course, there are also special discounted room rates for those who want to avail of a room at the Hyatt to powder up before and after the fight. Room party anyone?

Anyway, I talked to some of the MMA fighters at Elorde Sucat when I went training, and I was excited to find out that Lando Espinosa, Bimbi Perezand URCC Middleweight Champ Caloy Baduria will be included in the fight card for Black Tie Brawl.

In the last URCC event held at A-Venue, the Elorde Sucat boys didn’t fare too well. Only Lando walked away with an impressive win via armbar submission. The rest – Bimbi, Caloy, Panchito aka Sugar Ray – disappointingly failed to book a win. At least now Bimbi and Caloy have the chance to redeem themselves with a win at Black Tie Brawl. That’s something to look forward to. And hopefully Lando can continue his win streak!

So there – in the middle of soup and salad, expect some blood, sweat and tears to add some spice in Black Tie Brawl. I’m certain it’ll taste yummy no matter what – after all, it’s a 10,000 peso plate, so it should taste great.

For information on tickets for Black Tie Brawl, you can call the Rogue Magazine office at 7297747.

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Philippine Environmental Solutions: Desalination Plant Very Much Needed

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Environment, Philippine Technology with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2008 by JJ Duque

On its basic definition, a desalination plant turns sea salt water into fresh water. Now, you take a look at the 7,200 islands of the Philippines, and you will very easily realize that the Philippines is surrounded by sea water, flanked in all angles by the wonderful Pacific Ocean.

It is obvious that fresh water is scarce in many places in the Philippines. In Manila alone, many residents are relying on water delivery trucks to provide fresh water into water storage tanks for their homes. Even potable drinking water is relied on delivery from businesses that focus their attention to water filtration.

In other areas, the rivers have been very much polluted by garbage and industrial sewage, and it looks like that water pollution won’t let up on the Philippine shores, which boasts of a very diverse aquatic eco-system with its many beaches and reefs.

In some parts of the Philippines, water is such a sought-after commodity that tribal wars have escalated due to disputes over land boundaries and water sources.

Water is Life

Water is Life

The bottom line – the Philippines needs an abundant fresh water supply soon. Because as it stands, fresh water is becoming a hard commodity to come by, and the fresh water sources of our country are not enough to keep up with the day-to-day demands for fresh water among the country’s residents.

The solution – to invest on the construction of a desalination plant that can convert sea water to fresh water, and eventually channel that fresh water.

Of course, the capital cost for such an ambitious project is huge. Based on research of the Melbourne desalination plant being prepared in Australia, the estimated cost of the project is said to reach AUD$3.1 Billion. That’s roughly Php100 Billion! The annual operating costs, after factoring the possible profits, will reach a total annual cost of around AUD$600 million.

The Melbourne Desalination Plant is expected to provide 150 gigalitres of water each year using the reverse osmosis method of desalination. The Melbourne Desalination plant is expecting its construction to commence in mid-2009 and should be ready for operation by the year 2011. The amount of fresh water that the Melbourne Desalination Plant will be enough to supply 33% of Melbourne City’s annual water needs.

The Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination Plant, which is expected to be up and running this 2008, cost around US$150 Million to build, and churns up 95,000 cubic meters of water per day, which can provide water to a population of approximately 2 million people on a daily basis. The Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination Plant is actually six years behind its original schedule of opening which involved a lot of bankruptcy among the companies who were involved in the ownership and control over the construction and development. However, once up and running, the Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination Plant looks to be the largest seawater desalination facility in the United States. And yet, it can accommodate at most a population of 2 million.

How big and how efficient will the desalination plant of the Philippines be remains a mystery. After all, plans and proposals have yet to be drawn up to look into the feasibility of constructing a desalination plant for the Philippines. The question remains though – are there plans being brought up to even consider the investing and construction of a desalination plant in the Philippines?

If there are no plans or proposals yet, then the Philippines better get their act together and come up with one soon. Fresh water sources in the Philippines are becoming depleted, and we cannot rest on our laurels and watch our fresh water eventually run out. The Philippines has to make an attempt at looking to the future, and should look into the option of converting all that salt water that surrounds our country and turning it into fresh water. Eventually, it will be our last resort for water when the fresh water in our 7,200 islands dry up.

Anyway, the National Water Resources Board of the Philippines is responsible for the management of the country’s water resource for present and future generations. As of now, they have their hands tied in trying to identify the many problems within the hundreds of water districts scattered all over the nation. The research alone is already a huge task to undertake, and certainly they might not be as well-funded or supported by the government, especially since it runs independent from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and from the government.

The work that the NWRB does is very, very urgent, and I am under the impression that maybe they are two steps behind in realizing their goals in order to improve the water situation in the Philippines. Well, at least, there’s an initiative on the part of the NWRB to make steps to manage the country’s water resources. At least.

In the meantime, the other citizens who don’t know any better continue to waste away our precious water resource with continuous wasting, polluting and disregard of its value.

While the entire world is looking for oil and going to war for fossil fuels, eventually the destruction of humanity and the beginning of super anarchy will be if we don’t have enough fresh water. We can adapt our lives if we run out of gas, and we’ll seek other alternative sources for energy, but if we run out of water, expect all hell to let loose.

Water is life. Save water! Save life!

Philippine Sports: Ateneo Blue Eagles One Victory Away For UAAP Basketball Championship

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Current Events, Philippine News, Philippines Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2008 by JJ Duque
Ateneo vs La Salle (photo by Sir Mervs)

Ateneo vs La Salle (photo by Sir Mervs)

Ateneo 69, DLSU  61

The Ateneo Blue Eagles have defeated the DLSU Green Archers three times a row – all in this UAAP 71 Season for Men’s senior basketball. The Ateneo Blue Eagles busted the DLSU Green Archers twice during the elimination rounds of the UAAP Season 71 tournament, and then defeated the DLSU Green Archers for the first game of the best-of-three finals.

Leading all scorers during Game 1 of the UAAP Season 71 Finals between Ateneo vs DLSU was Blue Eagle Rabeh Al-Hussaini, who scored 27 points. Blue Eagle Nonoy Baclao also had a huge defensive game with 7 blocked shots, most of them on Green Archer Rico Maierhoffer. Of course, Cris Tiu and Jai Reyes added strong performances for the Ateneo Blue Eagles, who hope to win their 2nd UAAP Basketball title since the Final Four format began in the 1993-1994 season.

The DLSU Green Archers will be hoping to make it their 6th UAAP Basketball title, but then that’s highly unlikely as the Ateneo Blue Eagles are out to prove that this UAAP Season 71 is their season!

Philippine Events: UFC Champion Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell To Visit Manila

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Current Events, Philippine Events, Philippine News, Philippines Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2008 by JJ Duque
Chuck Liddell Is Coming To Manila

Chuck Liddell Is Coming To Manila

Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion of the World Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell is coming to Manila! Chuck Liddell will be here to have an open training session on mixed martial arts this coming Sunday, September 21, 2008, at the Atrium of SM Mall of Asia from 3pm to 5pm. Chuck Liddell will show off his MMA skills with his trainer Ian Parkinson, and will be entertaining MMA enthusiasts who might want to learn a thing or two from the former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. The event is being sponsored by Colt45 and Solar Entertainment Corp. through their Balls Network on cable television.

Of course, apart from this major event, Chuck Liddell will also be out party-ing in Manila, hoping that the R&R in Manila might help heal some of the pain from his recent knockout against Rashad Evans during UFC 88. In relation to that, Chuck Liddell might also offer a bit of insight on what it takes to become a heavyweight champion, and also how it feels to get knocked out cold.

Whatever it is – certainly hanging out and seeing Chuck Liddell live should be a treat for any fan of the UFC.

On a personal note – I’d love to hang out with Chuck Liddell, and I am really a fan. Many are thinking that the UFC career of Chuck Liddell is over and done with, especially after getting knocked out by Rashad Evans, but I don’t think he’ll ever be done. After all, he is still one of the most exciting UFC fighters to step into the Octagon, and he really made my day when he beat the crap out of TIto Ortiz and even Wanderlei Silva. And while Chuck Liddell may have suffered some big KO losses, he is still one helluva fighter and has shown his resiliency in bouncing back from a defeat to go back to winning. What else is there to be said – Chuck Liddell lives to fight, and win or lose, he’s always pushing himself to the limit to kick some ass. Respect, bro.

Anyway, The Iceman Cometh!!! Don’t miss out!

Opinion: The Smart Thing To Do With SMART

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Current Events, Philippine News, Philippine Technology, Philippines Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2008 by JJ Duque
Smart Billboard Is A Waste of Space and Money

Smart Billboard Is A Waste of Space and Money

Smart Communications, Inc. is one of the biggest telecommunications providers in the Philippines if not the biggest. Well, SMART is on a pissing war with Globe Telecom and indeed they are fighting for every inch of space in order to promote and advertise their brands and product services.

Anyway, because of the advertising pissing war, SMART and Globe have gone all-out in their budget for things like 30-seconder ads, outdoor advertising, newsprint ads, magazine ads and all sorts of other gimmicks like events, concerts and what-have-you. Certainly, it doesn’t take much math to figure out that SMART and Globe probably spend billions of pesos on advertising just so that the simple Filipino consumer will eventually use their products and services, or to continue to do so.

First off – let’s get it straight. The supposed target market for a company like SMART includes every single FIlipino in the Philippines, with a big percentage of them being the masses. The masses comprise about 70% of the population, and fall under the socio-economic bracket of D or E, which is probably in the minimum wage to less-than-minimum wage income earner. Now, while they have the numbers in terms of sheer volume, the amount of money they earn collectively is nothing compared to the kind of cash raked in by the small 5% of those that belong to the A or B markets.

Notwithstanding, SMART spends billions to continue to advertise to the masses. In fact, SMART spends billions on advertising period – whether it be for the masses or for those that are better off. Of course, the strategy is to have SMART subscribers remain loyal to the brand, but in truth, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS BRAND LOYALTY among the Philippine masses. For the basic Mang Pandoy, brand loyalty comes as a matter of convenience. In Aling Maria’s Sari-Sari store, I can purchase pre-paid accounts of either SMART or Globe, either through pre-paid cards or E-load because Aling Maria carries both brands, and even has two cellphones (one Globe, one Smart) to pass the load of whatever the consumer requires. In the same manner, because of the added value of texting Globe-to-Globe or Smart-to-Smart, or even making calls Sun-to-Sun, most people have afforded to carry with them two or even three phones, with one phone representing each of the major tele-com providers.

Anyway, the whole point is that it is pointless for SMART to spend unnecessarily on advertising. For one, they already have a near-monopoly on their captured market, which is the entire Philippines. The entire Philippines already knows about SMART, and probably has a cellular phone with a SMART line. There is no need for them to spend on TV commercials, daily newsprint ads, magazine ads and especially outdoor advertising! We don’t need another SMART banner beside yet another Globe banner in the same store advertising the availability of sim cards or pre-paid load availability.

SMART already has the power of direct marketing. If they want information shared to their subscribers, then they have the capability of sending whatever information directly to the cellular phones of their consumers without the need to become redundant through print ads, TV commercials or outdoor advertising. Now, if they have a new service or product to endorse that might need a bit of introduction – say SMART money – then perhaps that could be used. But still, all those services cannot be explained in a 30-seconder, or in a catchy newsprint ad. The best way to explain all that information is still in the form of step-by-step instructions, especially if their target market is the masses who cannot comprehend beyond the creativity of a 30-seconder ad.

Next, SMART is wasting away money on their celebrity endorsers. So what if Angel Locsin is the number one thing happening in the country? Her face on a SMART billboard won’t increase sales, or improve the image of SMART. Perhaps an Angel Locsin endorsement might be good for beauty products, but for a telecommunications provider – it just isn’t necessary.

I would rather SMART re-allocated their budget for advertising to developing other businesses or other services, or maybe even for a worthy charity beyond what they normally give out for charity.

For example, I would love for SMART to allocate a budget in the development of a world-class stadium that can perhaps host huge sporting events, such as the SMART Philippine Open Tennis Tournament, which could be part of the Men’s and Women’s ATP Tour, and have the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic play tennis at our shores. Or maybe be able to invite the likes of Real Madrid or Manchester United to have an exhibition match. Or maybe even have the Los Angeles Lakers go up against the Talk N’ Text Phone Pals.

I would also love for SMART to sponsor let’s say the Ati-Atihan Festival, but instead of spending their money on their collaterals, banner placements, billboards and video screens – to just cover the entire production cost of the Ati-Atihan Festival, and not even have a single SMART logo advertised on the site. SMART will just merely send a text message to their subscribers saying that the Ati-Atihan Festival is free for everyone, and that they will be feeding and giving out drinks to everyone who goes, and then when everyone goes there – they won’t even find a single SMART ad or logo advertised anywhere. Angel Locsin can perform, and everyone would know already who brought them the party without the need to say it over and over again on the PA system, or to have banners at every street post.

Or maybe SMART can invest their profits or re-allocate their advertising budget for other things like a desalination plant, or for alternative energy sources, which they can eventually use to power their telecommunications equipment scattered all over the country.

At a rate of say 1 peso per text message sent, and the millions that they can easily earn on a daily basis, SMART indeed has a lot of profit at their disposal. While it may take also millions of pesos for operating costs of all their infrastructure, spending for unnecessary advertising is just a waste of profit. There are other things of greater concern. Eventually, SMART shouldn’t be the one advertising, but should be the one controlling the advertising, especially for products who might want their brand marketed to the subscribers of SMART. A hard-sell text message everyday about a particular shampoo might be an annoyance for their subscribers, but then it’s a paid text message ad from the shampoo company, and hard-sell is what they do anyway when they put up billboards and daily newsprint ads. Change focus, change strategy. DON’T WASTE MONEY.

I seem to have gotten carried away, and still have more to say on this topic. Eventually, I would really like to back up this claim with actual figures on advertising expenses, or maybe give a real insight on the kind of numbers that can be played with by a giant company like SMART. I do understand that SMART has other programs that include community partnership in regards to developing education facilities in small towns, disaster relief and even helping out with environmental causes. But then, maybe a shift on focus and budget could be made for those projects even more.

In totality, it’s not just about SMART, or Globe, or Sun. Every company should really re-think their budget for advertising, especially with bigger companies who have a monopoly on the market industry they represent. Everyone would drink San Miguel Beer on a daily basis even if Manny Pacquiao didn’t endorse it. Everyone would drink Coke or Pepsi regardless of the well-thought of tagline by the ad companies who do their ads. And besides, if Coke was the drink available on the sari-sari store next to my house, then that’s what I’d buy. I am practical enough not to have to travel 3 blocks to the next sari-sari store just to show my loyalty to Pepsi. I’m sure I’ve driven the point across.

Anyway – I’m sure there are other smart things that SMART can do, and I don’t need to be the one to say it. But hey – I’m just sharing my two cents worth, and that’s not even the price of a text message.

Philippine Events: The Carewell Star Night at Manila Polo Club

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Events, Philippine Lifestyle, Philippine News with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2008 by JJ Duque
Carewell Community Foundation

Carewell Community Foundation (photo borrowed from Carewell website)

On October 2, 2008, the Carewell Community Foundation will proudly present: The Carewell Star Night. This first-of-its-kind event in the Philippines will honor persons with cancer and, most especially, their “stars” – the family members, friends, and other loved ones who have enabled them to not only survive, but even thrive, amidst the challenges of their illness.

Over time, these “stars” steadfastly stood by and faithfully walked alongside their loved ones with cancer through every twist and turn of their cancer journeys. These amazing caregivers have done, and continue to do, so very much: running errands, helping out at work, and, most important, providing emotional support. Thus, it is only fitting that we honor and thank them by giving them nothing less than the starring role during our Star Night benefit concert.

A benefit concert featuring Ryan Cayabyab and the Ryan Cayabyab Singers will be also a highlight entertainment for the evening.

Tickets to the Star Night are available now for only P2000(regular) and P5000 (donor). The price of the tickets includes cocktails, admission to the performance of Ryan Cayabyab and the Ryan Cayabyab Singers, and to our very, very special multimedia presentation of the Carewell survivors and their stars! Please contact Abelle Sipin at 0917-538-2096, or call Carewell at 751-0242 and 815-1294 for tickets sales or for more information.

Philippine Sports: Ateneo Blue Eagles Basketball Team Sure To Be UAAP Season 71 Champions

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine News, Philippines Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2008 by JJ Duque
Chris Tiu vs JV Casio, Ateneo vs La Salle

Chris Tiu vs JV Casio, Ateneo vs La Salle (photo courtesy of inboundpass' flickr account)

Nothing is really certain until the UAAP Season 71 is over, but then, of course there are the based-on-fact predictions, especially considering the standings of the men’s basketball tournament of UAAP Season 71.

As it stands, the NU Bulldogs, Adamson Soaring Falcons, UP Fighting Maroons and UST Growling Tigers have been eliminated from the tournament. Entering the semi-finals of UAAP Season 71 are the FEU Tamarraws, La Salle Green Archers, UE Red Warriors and Ateneo Blue Eagles.

The Ateneo Blue Eagles are the top-seed of the semi-finals, having finished the elimination round with a very impressive 13-1 record, and will go up against 4th seed UE Red Warriors, who will have to win twice against the Ateneo Blue Eagles if they want to reach the UAAP Season 71 Finals.

The La Salle Green Archers and the FEU Tamarraws have identical records of 10-4, and will have to play one more game to determine who will have the twice-to-beat advantage in the semi-finals. La Salle will be looking to Jvee Casio, Simon Atkins, Rico Maierhofer and PJ Walsham to lead the team to the finals over the FEU Tamarraws.

The Ateneo Blue Eagles will be relying on their stars like Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Nonoy Baclao Jr., Chris Tiu, Jai Reyes and Ryan Buenafe to bring home the UAAP Championship, which they last held during the 2002-2003 season of the UAAP. Last year’s champions De La Salle Green Archers are not as prominent as they were last season, but still look to be a contender to win back-to-back UAAP titles.

Since the Final Four format was adopted into the UAAP basketball tournament in the 1993-1994 season, the La Salle Green Archers have won it 5 times, the UST Growling Tigers have won it 5 times, the FEU Tamarraws have won it 4 times while the Ateneo Blue Eagles have won it once.

Many basketball fans are expecting the classic Ateneo-La Salle rivalry in the finals of UAAP Season 71. Of course, Ateneo has dominated La Salle twice this season, and will look to do so again should the two teams meet in the UAAP Season 71 Finals.

From the way it looks – Ateneo are going to be UAAP Season 71 Champions!