Archive for Upsilon Sigma Phi

Philippine Politics: Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas – The Team To Beat

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine News, Philippine Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2009 by South Arts Festival

A couple of weeks ago, Senator Mar Roxas gave up his bid to run for president in 2010 in order to allow Senator Noynoy Aquino to run for president. The move of Mar Roxas was doen with the intention to push what’s best for the country. It was uncertain whether or not Mar Roxas would become the vice-presidential running mate of Noynoy Aquino, or whether he would just seek another term as senator.

However, it is now official – Noynoy Aquino for President, and Mar Roxas for Vice President in 2010. Mar Roxas made the announcement at the historic Club Filipino in Greenhills on September 21.

Speaking in Tagalog, Mar Roxas stated, “I am wholeheartedly accepting the responsibility to be Noynoy’s partner in our fight for change.”

Mar Roxas for VP and Noynoy Aquino for President

Mar Roxas for VP and Noynoy Aquino for President

The Aquino-Roxas team has vowed to put a stop to corruption and to fight for a change that will overcome the greed of politicians.

“It’s bigger than the two of us, it is bigger than the Liberal Party. It is about our collective third for change. It is about our thirst for change finally overcoming those who want to continue the tayo-tayo system, the horse-trading, the greed, the self-interest, the transactional politics that has been the biggest roadblock to progress and prosperity for all,” Mar Roxas said.

“This is about what is straight and what is crooked. This is about the honest against the corrupt. This is about right versus wrong, ” he continued.

On a personal note, although their jump from the starting gun may be a bit late, considering that several other presidentiables have already begun their campaigns much earlier (i.e. Manny Villar, Dick Gordon), it is not at all a lost cause for Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas. Actually, I think the fact that they’ve announced their team puts them ahead of everyone else. Senator Manny Villar has already stated his candidacy a logn time ago, and has prepared diligently for the upcoming elections. However, Manny Villar has not yet announced a running mate to be his vice-president, and maybe he has to do so soon if the Filipino people are to seriously consider his presidential campaign.

At the very least, despite their late intentions – Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas have come up with a team, which is more than the other presidential aspirants have done despite their early head-start at campaigning. The common goal of Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas to fight for change in this country gives both of them a solid foundation to embark on issues that will improve the country’s governance, and eventually pave the way to progress that will be for the Filipino people.

Incidentally, Noynoy Aquino‘s father – national hero Ninoy Aquino – and Mar Roxas’ father – former Senator Gerardo Roxas  – are both members of the Upsilon Sigma Phi. Ninoy Aquino is from batch 1950 while Gerry Roxas is from Batch 1946.

One other thing that Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas have in common – Korina Sanchez, but that’s a different soap opera altogether.

Mabuhay si Noynoy and Mar!

Philippine Travel: Friendship Kayak Will Go 3,300 Km In 100 Days Across The Philippines From Sarangani To Pagudpud

Posted in Duke420 Articles, Philippine Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2009 by South Arts Festival

Toby Martin – my batchmate in Upsilon Sigma Phi and fellow adventurer – just recently introduced me to Friendship Kayak, which is an expedition team led by Singaporean kayaker Khoo Swee Chiow whose current expedition challenge is to traverse the entire Philippine Archipelago on a kayak.

Needless to say, this feat has never been done before, and Khoo Swee Chiow along with Filipinos Buzzy Budlong and Arnel Gabutero, will be undertaking this expedition to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Philippine-Singapore diplomatic relations. They will have a support team of Singaporeans and Filipinos (friends of the two expeditionists), who will haul provisions and handle certain logistics during their stops.

Friendship Kayak Expedition and Support Team

Friendship Kayak Expedition and Support Team

Khoo Swee Chiow has climbed Mt. Everest twice, reached the South Pole and the North Pole and holds 2 Guinness World Records, one for the longest scuba dive done in a controlled environment, staying underwater for 220 hours. Khoo Swee Chiow is also the first South East Asian to complete the 7 summits – Kilamanjaro (Africa),  Everest (Asia), Mt. Aconcagua (South America), Denali (North America), Elbrus (Europe), Carstenz Pyramid (Oceania), Kosciuszko (Oceania) and Vinson Massif (Antartica). When he’s not doing expeditions or adventures, Khoo Swee Chiow is a motivational speaker and adventure consultant.

Meanwhile, Filipino Buzzy Budlong may not have such an impressive resume as his kayaking partner, Buzzy holds his own as a veteran sea kayaker and white water rafting guide. He finished culinary arts, and mixes his love of cooking and love of the outdoors with an outdoors shop and Mexican cafe in Bohol, where he is currently based.

Arnel Gabutero will be joining the expedition as they paddle around Mindanao, but I’m not certain if he will still be part of the expedition as it heads out to Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte.

The Friendship Kayak expedition has already started, and took to the shores of the Philippines on August 31st. Khoo Swee Chiow maintains a blog on his website where you can read all the documentation of what they endure. They even have an on-line tracker, so you can see where exactly they are at any given moment during the expedition.

I’m excited to see the wonderful pictures of the Philippines that the Friendship Kayak expedition will be coming up with as they kayak from Sarangani all the way up to the tip of the Philippine archipelago at Pagudupud in Ilocos Norte. I still haven’t really gotten word on where the last stop will be. Certainly, I would like to be there to congratulate the two of them and the entire crew of Friendship Kayak for their inspirational adventure.

Anyway, Friendship Kayak has some sponsors that will help them through this expedition, but from what Toby Martin said in his e-mail, the team still lacks some resources to complete the journey.  Based on what I read in the Firendship Kayak blog, I believe they underestimated the costs of the handling and release of their cargo, which included the huge kayaks among other things.

Toby Martin is helping the coordination efforts of Friendship Kayak, and I’m putting out a shout-out here for those who might be able to help them out for their expedition – like maybe a safe harbor to rest, and maybe some local delicacies to replenish – should they pass through your neighborhood.

Feel free to check out their blog and their Facebook page, where I’m certain there may be a way to donate.

Philippine News: Imelda Marcos Sides With Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine News, Philippine Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2009 by South Arts Festival

There has been a lot of fuss recently about the $20,000 dinner tab racked up by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in posh restaurant Le Cirque in New York City. Many are saying that such expenses are too extravagant for a government official, especially at a time when the Philippines doesn’t have any money. Of course, such extravagances have led Filipinos to believe that the $20,000 bill was paid using taxpayers’ money.

Now, if there is any0ne who knows about extravagances, there is no other expert than former First Lady Imelda Marcos. After all, the term Imeldific has been defined by urbandictionary.com to mean “ostentatious extravagance.”

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Imelda Marcos

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Imelda Marcos

And recently Imelda Marcos commented that the $20,000 bill at Le Cirque was not at all that extravagant.

“You know, we’re talking about a dinner for a President for an anniversary, and in America, it’s double, triple the prices. And you cannot put them in the sidewalk for their anniversary. Maawa naman kayo, para yon lang! Nakakahiyaa ‘yong pinag-aawayan. Doon sa Amerika, ‘di malaki iyon,” Marcos was quoted by ABS-CBN in an exclusive interview.

Besides, it wasn’t really Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who footed the bill. Instead, it was Leyte 1st district Congressman Ferdinand Martin Romualdez (the nephew of Imelda Marcos) who paid the bill. Now, I personally know Martin Romualdez firstly because he is my fraternity brother in the Upsilon Sigma Phi, and I know for a fact that he can afford to make these kind of payments. Is it because he is a Romualdez and also a relative of Marcos ? Definitely!

Most Filipinos are appalled at the thought that expenses like this are being racked up while the country was mourning the loss of former President Cory Aquino, but really – a $20,000 dinner is nothing. P Diddy spends that much on a night on just champagne. Madonna spends nearly that much just by taking her private plane out for a spin. You want to take about ostentatious extravagance – take a look at Real Madrid who spent 350 million euros as a collective trade deal for 5 footballers. At 60 pesos per euro, that’s roughly 21 billion pesos. That would be enough to feed every single Filipino 3 square meals for an entire year.

1 million pesos – that’s not even a brand new car! Filipinos just fuss over it because it may seem ostentatious, and probably because they envy the fact they can’t celebrate that way. I’m not that wealthy, but just because I don’t have that cash doesn’t mean that I’ll look unkindly towards the ones who have it and can spend it. What can you do – there are just some people who can afford things that some people can never reach.

That’s life. Get used to it.