Archive for October, 2009

Philippine Events: Rogue Magazine’s Black Tie Brawl Was A Knockout

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Events, Philippine News, Philippines Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2009 by South Arts Festival

For anyone who knows me – you know that I’m a jeans, t-shirt and sneakers kinda guy. I prefer to dress comfortably lest I be labeled as a metrosexual. Not that I have anything against metrosexuals, but I just enjoy the anonymity of regular citizen fashion as opposed to the semi-flashy casual-collared and leather-shoed wear.

However, I can dress for the occasion as need be, and do adhere to the strict dress codes, although my gift of gab and fine reputation does allow me to bend the rules to my favor at times – like say, getting into Establishment with a pair of sneakers when the place calls for more appropriate footwear.

Anywho – when Rogue Magazine’s Managing Director Katrina Tuason extended an invitation to attend the Black Tie Brawl at the Renaissance Hotel ballroom, she insisted that it’s strictly formal attire. She knew I loved my jeans and tee look, but she kept texting me constant reminders – “Don’t forget it’s formal, and you’re sitting on my table.” Aaaahh – the pressure to not embarrass my ‘date’.

I went deep into my closet to raise my formal wear from the dead, found my tux shirt, the bow tie (damn, I haven’t tied this in 10 years!) and brought out the sleek black Cashmere suit. The last time I donned a tuxedo was in the United States more than a decade ago. You hardly wear a tux in the Philippines, or maybe I just don’t get invited enough to parties where you could wear a tux. And well – the transformation from plain Joe to Joe Black was quite a change indeed.

“Wow, JJ! You look like James Bond.”

“Huh? James Bond? Excuse me, I’m Bruce Wayne. I’m a brat billionaire, and don’t need government to pay for my gadgets.”

I arrived an hour past the 7pm call time just right in time for the table seating. I doubled-down on the Maker’s Mark Kentucky bourbon whiskey to catch up, and eventually made my way to my seat beside Rogue Magazine Editor-in-Chief Jose Mari Ugarte, his lovely wife and ExcelAsia CEO Rita Trillo-Ugarte, Design Editor Miguel Mari and his better-half Managing Editor Carmela Lopa, photographer Mark Nicdao, Rogue covergirl Angel Locsin and her pretty friend, whose eyes left an impression, but sadly her name escapes me.

Our table was just right behind the judges and committee panel of executives from the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) and just an arm’s length away from the ring. Really up close and personal with the possibility of blood, sweat and tears splattering on the Mustard Crusted Beef Tenderloin in Whiskey Pepper Sauce. (Kudos, to Renaissance Hotel Restaurant Director Javi Berenguer-Testa)

Razorback opened the festivities with a rocking version of the Philippine National Anthem, followed by a rude awakening of Voodoo Who Do?. Then, the ring girls were introduced – Rogue cover girls Sanya Smith, Ornusssa Cadness and Rogue mannequin Mia Ayesa – and the heat factor in the Renaissance ballroom making things a little sweaty under the bow tie.

Without further delays – MC Boyet Sison gave the lowdown on the rules, and got the fights underway. Eight bloody bouts from Pinweight to Heavyweight with a main event Flyweight championship were listed on the card, organized by URCC big boss Alvin Aguilar.

Charlie Angel Kicks Alvin Ramirez At The Rogue Black Tie Brawl

Charlie Angel Kicks Alvin Ramirez At The Rogue Black Tie Brawl

Large quantities of Maker’s Mark makes it hard to remember who beat who right now, but there was a submission by rear-naked choke, there was a KO induced by a flying knee to the face, there was a TKO by strikes.

I do recall going 3-0 on my picks for the first three fight. I recall cheering on Charlie Angel to beat Alvin Ramirez, just because we had an Angel (Locsin) on our table and because if you added an S to his name, he would be Charlie’s Angels. Of course, the Angel won.

Then, the Kentucky bourbon hit hard when I got depressed when Bimbe Perez of my home gym Elorde MMA was outclassed and eventually submitted by Eric Kelly of Yaw Yan Ardigma. That kept me quiet from jeering (as opposed to cheering.)

The Flyweight championship main event went the full two ten-minute rounds, and even needed an extra five-minute tie breaker as challenger Jilmar “Stonecold” Tangayan of Cenojas MMA and Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon of Lakay Wushu went all-out toe-to-toe with URCC Flyweight champion Kevin Belingon eventually retaining his title.

The after party at Cinna Bar of the Renaisssance Hotel was equally festive. Single malt crazy with The Macallan. Got KOed myself when I hit the sack at dawn. (I don’t recall if the sack hit me back).

That same morning, the remnants of Bruce Wayne were ready for the dry-cleaners, and hopefully it wouldn’t take a decade to unearth again.

Oh wait – for sure, in next year’s Rogue’s Black Tie Brawl.

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Philippine Sports: Burger King To Donate Wynne Arboleda’s “Lost Income” To Typhoon Victims

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Current Events, Philippine News, Philippines Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2009 by South Arts Festival

Just finished writing the piece about the DSWD volunteers, and how Rock Ed Philippines founder Gang Badoy received word from DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral. Of course, I shared a copy of the post with Gang Badoy at her Facebook account, and sort of reconnected. For the past years, we’ve bumped into each other but without much conversation, or at the least just surface conversation.

Anyway – we had a chance to exchange more words than normal, and she gave props to the Philippines Fun Wall, and shared with me her petition which is – Burger King Inc. should donate Wynne Arboleda’s “lost income” to the survivors of recent Philippine typhoons.

The petition reads as:

To Concerned Filipinos:

In the light of the recent suspension (by the Philippine Basketeball Aassociation) of Burger King player Wynne Arboleda it has come to our attention that the quantified ‘loss of income’ he will have to accept as part of the penalties has been estimated to be approximately PhP 2.73Million.*

Less than a month ago our country withstood two consecutive typhoons that resulted to reducing many areas of our country into literal ‘states of calamity’ – many are rendered homeless, many are orphaned, many are robbed off property, capital, crops, capacity to earn, and even now deprived of hope. To this day, (Oct 19, 2009)thousands of families are still clueless on where or how to rebuild their lives.

It is from that note that this petition is being presented. We would like to pressure Burger King Inc and/or the Philippine Basketball Association to donate the salary set aside for Mr. Wynne Arboleda either to rehabilitate communities, to send relief goods to the still needy or organize a subsequent and periodic medical assistance program to flood-razed sites.

This group stems from the fact that the suspension was already passed and declared by the PBA therefore we have not and will not release any statement regarding the incident-per-se that got Mr. Arboleda suspended. All we know is that his suspension has been declared and PhP 2.73M is the estimated (now) savings of Burger King from that drop-out.

So let us state our petition again:

WE WOULD LIKE TO RESPECTFULLY AND REASONABLY REQUEST BURGER KING AND/OR THE PHILIPPINE BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION OR WHOEVER CAN GIVE THE DIRECTIVE OVER THIS SITUATION – TO DONATE THE AMOUNT SET ASIDE FOR THE NOW-SUSPENDED ATHLETE – MR. WYNNE ARBOLEDA TO ANY EXISTING RELIEF AND REHAB OPERATION SET UP TO ASSIST SURVIVORS OF TYPHOONS ONDOY AND PEPENG.

REGARDING WHICH NGO/INSTITUTION TO SUPPORT: WE WILL LEAVE THAT TO THE DISCRETION OF THE UPPER-MANAGEMENT OF BURGER KING INC AND/OR THE PHILIPPINE BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION.

We do this with utmost reason, we look forward to your kind consideration of this request all that we ask for is this – when you heed this petition, kindly inform us of your decision. It would comfort many of us to know that big businesses and corporations have real heart as well- please give us hope. This is not a request for EXTRAS Burger King, Inc – we are aware that this is not a real loss to your profits because the amount has been earmarked and promised to Mr. Arboleda before he was suspended anyway.

We will await your response with optimism and a complete trust in your Bayanihan spirit during this terribly needy time in our country.

Now for those who wish to sign the online petition, then just click here.

We Encourage Burger King To Donate The Forefeited Salary of Wynne Arboleda To The Typhoon Victims
We Encourage Burger King To Donate The Forefeited Salary of Wynne Arboleda To The Typhoon Victims

However, maybe the signed petition may not be needed because according to certain sources, it seems that Burger King Inc. has decided to take upon the suggestion of the petition to donate the ‘lost income’ of Wynne Arboleda to the typhoon victims anyway.

Gang Badoy explained that PBA sportscasters TJ Manotoc (who proposed the petition) and Patricia Hizon were not optimistic at first that Burger King would consider this because allocating that salary wasn’t that simple. Of course, nothing is.

But then, the petition does make a valid point – that 2.73M is already in the budget, and if it was supposed to be spent on Arboleda, but he can’t accpet it, then maybe it can be put to good use to help others who are in need of that cash, such as the many typhoon victims. Burger King Inc. must have realized that this was also a good way to protect their corporate image, and also do something to improve the reputation of Wynne Arboleda. In any case, the reports were published in Philstar.com about Wynne Arboleda pursuing the suggestion with Burger King Inc. management to donate his ‘lost salary.’ You can actually read the article on the donation of Wynne Arboleda by clicking here.

If that really holds true, and there is a true confirmation of the donation by Wynne Arboleda then it’s awesome that an online petition (on an idea suggested by TJ Manotoc and executed by Gang Badoy) has progressed to something helpful and tangible for the typhoon victims.

If you want to see the change, you just gotta be the change. Don’t feel afraid , to share your thoughts, and especially to act those ideas out! The hope for the country is the fact that every single Filipino is empowered to help out there fellow countryman. We indeed have the power to improve our country – through small steps – through a little persuasion in the proper perspective.

Impossible is nothing.

Philippine Current Events: DSWD Clarifies Hoarding Rumors and Welcomes Volunteers

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Current Events with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2009 by South Arts Festival

Last Friday (Oct. 23, 2009 ), the Philippine internet network went abuzz with alleged reports that the DSWD was hoarding international relief good donations. Apparently, a blogger named Ella (ellaganda.com) who volunteered to repack goods for the DSWD gave reports that the DSWD had a warehouse full of relief supplies that were not being distributed with the utmost urgency, and that there were not enough volunteers to go repack the goods.

This news circulated in the internet, particularly in Facebook, and many Filipino netizens and Facebook users reposted Ella’s report. Of course, many of these Facebook users vented their frustrations at the DSWD, and the media went to verify these reports.

Eventually, DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral defended the accusations lashed against her department. According to Esperanza Cabral, the relief goods found at the warehouse had yet to undergo an inventory check, and yes – the DSWD was short on volunteers to handle the huge inventory.

Since the situation escalated to this level, DSWD Esperanza Cabral took the initiative to get in touch with Gang Badoy of Rock Ed Philippines (www.rockedphilippines.org), and also one of those who reposted Ella’s recount on her blog. Esperanza Cabral invited Gang Badoy to come up with volunteers that she would accommodate to help repack these relief goods.

Gang Badoy, Founder of Rock Ed Philippines

Gang Badoy, Founder of Rock Ed Philippines

According to Gang Badoy, DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral agreed for Rock Ed Philippines to come up with a group of 50 volunteers per day to work at the 3pm-11pm shift from Monday to Friday. Altough the DSWD is working 24 hours a day to consolidate relief packing efforts, they have agreed to block a shift to accommodate private citizen volunteers (such as the Rock Ed Philippines NGO).

On a personal note – I suppose this is their manner to quell down the infuriated mob of Facebook users, and also to allow other volunteers to bare witness to the operations of the DSWD, so that they may be made aware before they past judgement as they had when they made a barrage re-posting that Friday of the alleged DSWD hoarding rumors.

Anyway, for those who want to volunteer for the DSWD and get a chance to see their warehouse full of relief goods, then just fill up the volunteer sign-up sheet by clicking on this link.

Lastly, I would like to thank Sandy Cabral (daughter of Esperanza Cabral) for getting in touch with me to make sure that the rumors regarding the alleged DSWD hoarding where first looked into before the unconfirmed news was sent out to Facebook. I won’t apologize for re-posting on the Philippines Fun Wall about Ella’s account. In fact, if this hadn’t happened, then I believe there wouldn’t be any focus on the DSWD and their efforts, adn the help that they so desperately need.

Eco-Friendly Solutions For The Philippines. Any Suggestions?

Posted in All About The Philippines on October 23, 2009 by South Arts Festival

We at Philippines Funwall would like to hear about Eco-Friendly solutions you may suggest that our government might want to consider implementing. At present, President GMA has ordered the creation of a national commission for climate change, and part of their tasks will be to look at solutions to help curb the problem of climate change. Of course, there are many solutions to consider – waste management, air pollution reduction, alternative energy, green campaigns, etc. Share your thoughts please.

If you know of programs, organizations, products or individuals – who may have solutions that can be adopted for the Philippines either for an individual household, a community, or maybe even on a national level, kindly share those thoughts and concerns.

Thank you.

Love and Light!

Please post as a comment here.

Philippine Current Events: DSWD Hoarding Relief Goods and Supplies For Typhoon Victims

Posted in All About The Philippines, Philippine Current Events, Philippine News with tags , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2009 by South Arts Festival

A blogger by the name of Ella (ellaganda.com) volunteered to do re-packing of relief goods for the DSWD. Apparently, to her dismay, Ella and her 8 group of friends were the only ones who were volunteering to repack a 1000 sq. m. warehouse full of relief goods.

According to DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral, the reason why the DSWD warehouse is still full of unpacked relief goods is because they lack volunteers. However, according to Ella, those who did wish to volunteer were turned away, citing that there were already too many volunteers.

Anyway, there is more to the story about the DSWD hoarding situation, and you can find out more about it from the post in the Multiply site of Gang Badoy, who reposted the story of Ella since her blog was blocked and shut down. COuld it be because she exposed the faults of the DSWD? Maybe.

The same excerpt can also be found on the blog of Jenni Epperson, complete with all the pictures of the stocks they have piled and unused in the DSWD warehouse.

Just Some of The Many Relief Goods Not Being Given Away Just Yet  By The DSWD

Just Some of The Many Relief Goods Not Being Given Away Just Yet By The DSWD

Just click on the links above, and see for yourself what the fucking problem is with the DSWD. And hopefully, someone raise awareness so that someone may act on this. FAST!

Philippine Sports: Burger King Should Drop Arboleda And The PBA Should Just Ban Him Permanently

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippines Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2009 by South Arts Festival

If you don’t know what PBA player Wynne Arboleda of Burger King did to merit a season-long suspension, then watch this:

Now, Wynne Arboleda was suspended by the PBA for one entire season and will not receive any pay during his period of suspension. Is that enough?

Alain Katigbac, the PBA fan mauled by Wynne Arboleda, is not yet satisfied with the outcome, and wants Arboleda banned from the PBA for life and in other leagues around the country. Katigbac’s lawyer, Jose Angelo Agcaoili, drafted an administrative complaint to PBA Commissioner Sonny Barrios to recommend a lifetime ban on Wynne Arboleda.

Apart from that, Jose Angelo Agacaoili also has prepared criminal charges and a damage suit to be filed against Wynne Arboleda.

According to Jose Angelo Agcaoili, “My client is still in mental anguish and in shock over Arboleda’s viscious attack. His parents, who are both in their senior years, had elevated blood pressure after seeing the incident. His wife, who is six months pregnant, shook violently after seeing the incident on television and on the internet and continues to have chills as a result.”

Meanwhile, Wynne Arboleda says he is not afraid to face these charges in court, and might even file a counter-charge against Alain Katigbac. According to Wynne Arboleda, “I lost my source of livelihood because of him. I will not allow him to totally destroy me. He cursed me to no end in front of my family.”

Truth be told – Alain Katigbac indeed had a dirty mouth, and had nothing really nice to say about the game of Wynne Arboleda, especially after the hard foul he committed just prior to the incident. But then, the shit has hit the fan, and there are consequences to be taken as a result.

The professionalism of Wynne Arboleda is under question. PBA players are expected to maintain their composure even if the fans are getting carried away, and certainly they should not retaliate in that manner towards a fan.

Last season, there were also incidents of PBA players vs. PBA fans with the likes of  Marlou Aquino, Danny Ildefonso and Marc Pingris. However, the penalties suffered by these players were not as big as that of Wynne Arboleda because the other three were restrained before they got to the fan.

Personally – if you hit a fan, you deserve to be taken out of the league. Besides, what kind of basketball is Arboleda playing, giving a hard foul like that? It’s bad enough that he has bad intentions when it comes to fouling other players, and possibly giving them serious injuries that can cost them their careers. And then, a fan who gets emotional and shouts incentives at Wynne Arboleda for his cras play gets hit because Wynne Arboleda can’t take the insult.

Wake up, Wynne Arboleda! If you played ball in my court, you take what you can dish out, and if you can dish out dirty fouls, then I’m sure you can expect to get hit with a few as well. But that’s basketball, and that’s the way we play the game. And I’m sure you didn’t get to be the pro baller you are now without going through that in the court. And certainly, you’ve gone through your share of jeers and hisses from the crowd even at small community leagues. Pare naman, parang di ka na nasanay!

I’m thinking Burger King should just drop Wynne Arboleda completely. After all, he violated his contract by not living up to his duties as a  professional basketball player. So why should Burger King even suffer the consequences of his lawsuit, or even have the Burger King lawyers give Wynne Arboleda any kind of representation or help. And you all see how dirty he plays, now does Burger King really want that kind of dirty player endorsing your products. I mean – I know you don’t have a Ronald McDonald or a Jollibee mascot, and if anything these pro athletes could’ve been the face for Burger King, but really? Would a face like Wynne Arboleda be right in Burger King outlets nationwide?

Now – if you didn’t hit the fan, and went up to the stands, then I believe you still ought to be given a season suspension. Im fact, I was a bit surprised that the penalty for Marc Pingris and Danny Ildefonso was only a one-game suspension. They should’ve been not allowed to play the entire finals. I mean – the minute you step out of the bounds of the court and into the fans with bloodlust in your eyes, you have broken your oath of sportsmanship and professionalism as an athlete, and you shouldn’t be in there for a long time. And come to think that Danny Ildefonso was once upon a time a back-to-back MVP of the PBA, and still he reacts that way.

This is basketball! Trash talk and hard play is all part of the game. Set a pick like you’re a linebacker, and talk some trash to get them off their game. Say something about their sister while they’re taking freethrows. Tell the other team that this is my house! Grab that rebound and protect it with elbows out. This is basketball – we’re meant to be tough-minded that way. And then, of all things, you’ll give in to the jeering and incentives of a fan? Pikon pala kayo? Eh sa akin, ang pikon – TALO!

And no matter how much you try to justify that you’re human and you have emotions that get hurt, you just come out as a loser with bad excuses for a lack of professionalism and integrity for the game. And for that – you don’t deserve to play at the highest level of the league. Take a look at the NBA and other leagues. You think the home crowd says nice things to the visitors? There is a reason why it’s difficult for NBA teams to win on the road, and part of that is the unfriendly atmosphere they walk into when they’re the visitors at someone else’s home court. And what? Do you see them chasing after fans?

Well, there’s Ron Artest. I’m sure  Ron Artest can take any kind of trash talk and heckling from players and fans, but the dude attacked him with a beer projectile, and that was his breaking point, and we saw how he paid for it.

But you guys – Marlou Aquino, Danny Ildefonso and Wynne Arboleda – you guys get hurt by simple words. Well, here’s a word you should get to know better – LOSER!

Dam If You Do, Dam If You Don’t

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2009 by South Arts Festival

The militant group Bayan said that National Disaster Coordinating Council chief and Secretary of Defense Gilbert Teodoro should also be held accountable for the flooding in Pangasinan.

Bayan chairperson Dr. Carol Araullo said, “Teodoro is as accountable as the dam executives. At the minimum, he should have promptly coordinated the timing and volume of the release [of water from San Roque dam] with the possible evacuation of residents and other preparations needed by the affected towns of Pangasinan.”

“It is appaling that he [Teodoro] is clueless on data as basic as the amount of water released by the San Roque Dam,” she added.

The San Roque dam’s critical level is at 290 meters above sea level. Based on available data, water levels already spiked as early as October 4 and continued to rise until October 9. Data from the weather bureau’s website showed that the water levels jumped from 281 meters to 284 meters above see level as early as October 4, and moved up to 289.1 meters from October 6 to October 9.

Had this data been diligently studied, and presented as a serious concern, then an earlier release of water may have brought down the water levels without having it reach the near critical water level of 290 meters. Also, if this information was already available on October 4, then perhaps Pangasinan residents could have been warned and informed for plans to release water from the dam.

At the very least, the effects of the release of so much water from the San Roque dam could’ve been looked into, and preparations could’ve been made to prevent the serious flooding it brought to Pangasinan, which left 80% of the province flooded and underwater. Coupled with the devastating winds and rains brought by typhoon Parma (typhoon Pepeng here in the Philippines), it is no wonder that the consequences were disastrous.

Water Released From San Roque Dam Responsible For Floods Around Rosales Town in Pangasinan Province

Water Released From San Roque Dam Responsible For Floods Around Rosales Town in Pangasinan Province

A similar situation also presented itself during tropical storm Ketsana (Ondoy here in the Philippines), wherein the water levels at the Angat Dam in Bulacan almost reached the critical level of 216 meters above sea level, and had to release its water in the midst of the tropical storm. Some have suggested that the release by the Angat Dam is what is responsibled for the flashfloods that ravaged and killed several people in the province of Bulacan, which includes Meycauayan City and in the towns of Marilao, Bocaue and Sta. Maria.

Of course, while it is necessary for the dams to open their spillways to prevent reaching a critical level where the dam could burst, the big complaint of citizens and a group like Bayan is that there were no announcements made by dam officials about the release of the water.

Malabon City police officer Rommel Habig, whose home was flooded during Ondoy, blames the negligent release of water from the Angat Dam as the cause of the massive flooding.

“There would have been enough time for the people to do what was necessary, if only they [dam officials] made an announcement earlier that the spillways would be opened,” said Habig.

“They issued an advisory only after the flashflood,” he claimed.

Personally,  I feel that dam officials should be accountable for their negligence in not informing the proper authorities about the critical state of the water levels, and not informing the public (especially the citizens who might be affected by the dam release) that the dam would release water.

Lives could’ve been saved and preparations could have been put into place to prevent such a disaster. While the dam officials may have saved the dam from bursting, and causing even more damage, their lack of foresight and initiative to inform those who might be affected is plain irresponsible. Their responsibility to protect the dam and prevent it from bursting should also include a responsibility to protect the citizens who might suffer when the water is relesed.

At the very least, someone should make a public notice, so that a boy might know to avoid swimming in the river because the currents would be stronger. However, without any warning issued by dam officials – the consequences have been very fatal indeed.