Archive for the ‘Bisag Unsa / Random Rants’ Category

Like a significant someone who fails to be there in our moment of great need these tongressmen/women, for one reason or another, failed to be in the session hall of congress, even for the mere seconds it would take to pass the Freedom of Information Act:

(names in bold are authors or co-authors of the bill, )

1. Abaya, Joseph Emilio A.
2. Agbayani, Victor Aguedo E.
3. Agyao, Manuel S.
4. Albano, Rodolfo III T.
5. Alcover Pastor Jr. M
6. Almario, Thelma Z.
7. Alvarez, Antonio C.
8. Amante, Edelmiro A.
9. Amatong, Rommel C.
10. Angping, Maria Zenaida B.
11. Aquino, Jose II S.
12. Arnaiz, George P.
13. Arquiza, Godofredo V.
14. Arroyo, Diosdado M.
15. Arroyo, Ignacio T.
16. Arroyo, Maria Lourdes T.
17. Balindong, Pangalian M.
18. Barzaga, Elpidio Jr. F.
19. Bautista, Franklin P.
20. Bichara, Al Francis C.
21. Biron, Ferjenel G.
22. Bondoc, Anna York P.
23. Bravo, Narciso Jr. R.
24. Briones, Nicanor M.
25. Britanico, Salvador B.
26. Cagas, Marc Douglas IV C.
27. Cajayon, Mary Mitzi L.
28. Canonigo, Ranulfo P.
29. Castro, Fredenil H.
30. Celeste, Arthur F.
31. Chiongbian, Erwin L.
32. Chong, Glenn A.
33. Clarete, Marina P.
34. Climaco, Mara Isabelle G.
35. Cobrador, Ceasar A.
36. Cojuangco, Mark O.
37. Coscolluela, Ma. Carissa O.
38. Dangwa, Samuel M.
39. Dayanghirang, Nelson L.
40. Daza, Paul R.
41. De Venecia, Jose Jr. C.
42. Diasnes, Carlo Oliver D.
43. Dimaporo, Abdullah D.
44. Duavit, Michael John R.
45. Dumarpa, Faysah RPM
46. Durano, Ramon VI H.
47. Dy, Faustino III G.
48. Enverga, Wilfrido Mark M.
49. Estrella, Conrado III
50. Estrella, Robert Raymund M.
51. Fabian, Erico Basillo A.
52. Fernandez, Danilo Ramon S.
53. Ferrer, Jeffrey P.
54. Fua, Orlando B.
55. Fuentebella, Arnulfo P.
56. Garcia, Albert S.
57. Garcia, Pablo P.
58. Garcia, Pablo John F.
59. Gatchalian, Rex
60. Gonzales, Aurelio Jr. D.
61. Gonzales, Neptali II M.
62. Gonzalez, Raul Jr. T.
63. Guanlao, Agapito H.
64. Gullas, Eduardo R.
65. Gunigundo, Magtanggol I.T.
66. Hataman, Mujiv S.
67. Hernandez, Ariel C.
68. Hofer, Ann K.
69. Ilagan, Luzviminda C.
70. Jala, Adam Relson R.
71. Jalosjos, Cesar G.
72. Jalosjos-Carreon, Cecilia G.
73. Jikiri, Yusop H.
74. Kho, Antonio T.
75. Lacson, Jose Carlos V.
76. Lagdameo, Antonio Jr. F.
77. Lazatin, Carmelo F.
78. Ledesma, Julio IV A.
79. Leonen-Pizarro, Catalina G.
80. Lim, Teodoro
81. Lopez, Carol Jayne B.
82. Lopez, Jaime C.
83. Macapagal-Arroyo, Juan Miguel
84. Malapitan, Oscar G.
85. Mamba, Manuel N.
86. Marañon, Alfredo III D.
87. Marcoleta, Rodante D.
88. Martinez, Celestino
89. Matugas, Francisco T.
90. Mendoza, Raymond DC
91. Mendoza, Vigor Ma. D
92. Mercado, Roger G.
93. Miraflores, Florencio T.
94. Nava, Joaquin Carlos Rahman A.
95. Nicolas, Reylina G.
96. Omar, Haron D.
97. Palparan, Jovito Jr S.
98. Pancho, Pedro M.
99. Pancrudo, Candido Jr. P.
100. Pingoy, Arthur Jr. Y.
101. Plaza, Rodolfo G.
102. Ponce-Enrile, Salvacion S.
103. Prieto-Teodoro, Monica
104. Puno, Roberto V.
105. Ramiro, Herminia M.
106. Remulla, Jesus Crispin C.
107. Reyes, Carmencita O.
108. Reyes, Victoria H.
109. Robes, Arturo B.
110. Rodriguez-Zaldirriaga, Adelina
111. Romarate, Guillermo Jr. A.
112. Romualdez, Ferdinand Martin G.
113. Romulo, Roman T.
114. Roxas, Jose Antonio F.
115. Salvacion, Andres Jr., D.
116. Santiago, Narciso III D.
117. Santos, Estrella DL.
118. Sarmiento, Ulpiano II P.
119. Seachon-Lanete, Rizalina L.
120. Singson, Ronald V.
121. Solis, Jose G.
122. Suarez, Danilo E.
123. Sy-Alvarado, Ma. Victoria R.
124. Talino-Mendoza, Emmylou J.
125. Tan, Sharee Ann T.
126. Teodoro, Marcelino R.
127. Teves, Pryde Henry A.
128. Tieng, Irwin C.
129. Tomawis, Acmad
130. Tupas, Niel Jr. C.
131. Umali, Czarina D.
132. Uy, Edwin C.
133. Uy, Rolando A.
134. Uy, Reynaldo S.
135. Valdez, Edgar L.
136. Villar, Cynthia A.
137. Villarosa, Ma. Amelita C.
138. Yu, Victor L.
139. Zamora, Ronaldo B.

CDO and MisOr Representatives Rufus B. Rodriguez (author) and Yevgeny Vincente B. Emano (not an author) were present.  Klarex (Rolando S. Uy, author, see above) was not.

The above list was from a GMAnews.tv article and even found in facebook.

Four congressmen in the list insist they were there, and an updated list of shame by GMAnews.tv is here.

The Freedom of Information Act or House Bill 3732 can be downloaded here and here.

While doing my digital music folder clean-up yesterday I discovered the following:

1. OPMs are filed under a folder aptly named “O P M” and take up barely a tenth of my entire music files.

No, I don’t have OPM aversion. Filipinos are talented singers and songwriters. Like any other nationality we produce both earth-shaking compositions and crappy ditties, but our vocal prowess is unquestionable. Yes, there are artists who get airplay not because of their musical talents but due to some other unrelated uh, “abilities”. Why does Gretchen Barretto come to mind?

Back to my sparse OPM collection. The Accomplice decries my absence of Sarah Geronimo tracks. How can I have Yoyoy Villame’s Tarzan and Barok and none from the talented young lady (I was made to watch Inday Sarah on ASAP one Sunday to prove her point)? I don’t watch local channels on television (except occasionally for the news) so I am admittedly ignorant to new acts. The Accomlice checks my OPM files and discovers that I do have Freddie Aguilar, Rey Valera, Hotdog s, even Sharon Cuneta. Tigulang, she sneers!

I will visit a record store soon.

2. There is so much undiscovered or little-known talents.

The airwaves are already so saturated that sometimes popularity or packaging or intriga take precedence over talent.

During a visit in a local record store, Musicvision, around four years ago, not looking for anything or anyone in particular, I scanned the discount shelf and found Vienna Teng’s Waking Hour. She had been featured in a magazine article then but I knew next to nothing about her or her music. I looked at her face on the cover, noted she was Asian or of Asian descent, scanned the track listing to see if there were songs in a foreign language other than English, and feeling adventurous I bought the CD. I popped it in a player on my way home. And. I. Was. Blown. Away!

I have since bought her second album, Warm Strangers, when I found it in the same store about a year later. She has since released two more albums, Dreaming Through the Noise in 2006 and Inland Territory just last April, and has become more popular and given more much-deserved exposure.

She has a channel in YouTube , with clips of her live performances. Others have contributed their own recordings of her performances. Search for Gravity, The Tower, Eric’s Song, Daughter, and Lullabye for a Stormy Night. She also has a music video of Gravity (below, no pun intended). Finally! Her website also offers lyrics and free downloads of some songs. Pure talent. Pure poetry.

Many artists perform for years before receiving due recognition for their talents. Overnight sensations are the exceptions rather than the rule. Yet the music never stops; the music becomes an essential part of their life, like breathing.

There is so much undiscovered or little-known talents. Still so much to listen to. Still so much to share.

Another reason to visit a record store soon.

3. While most like to upgrade to the latest software, my Windows Media Player is still version 10.0. The latest is version 12. I’m still on XP so that shouldn’t be a surprise.

4. Today is a holiday (HAPPY EID’L FITR TO ALL!) and may well be a good time to visit a record store.

Drive carefully, everyone.

A long lazy weekend. In many ways it is a good thing, a welcome respite from long drives and heavy traffic. On the down side…well, there is none for me, except that unlike most people I am not going anywhere. Staying home will reduce my carbon footprint and keep my finances in check. To those on out-of-town trips, on extended malling schedules, or resto/bar hopping, drive carefully and hold the booze.

So this stay-home weekend is devoted to some much-needed, much-delayed digital files organization. I have gone through my music files, now close to 15 G, and have painstakingly checked metadata, hunted for and resized album covers. Fortunately, I sing only to myself and a few chosen people so I have spared myself the pain of searching for and verifying the correctness of lyrics. I would lose without effort in The Singing Bee.

My ebook collection, on the other hand, is 10 G problem. Books have multiple formats, may come in several editions, and may be written by multiple authors. My technical ebooks, those relevant to my field, usually come in pdf or chm. I know, both are proprietary formats, but I have yet to come across one in epub format so I’m cutting myself some slack. Novels come in more varied formats: txt, html, pdf, epub, lit, lrf, doc, prc, fb2, cbz, cbr, odt, rb, pdb, rgo, pml, etc, etc. More than enough to create chaos and interrupt in your reading pleasure. I use calibre, a free, open-source, cross-platform ebook organizer/converter/reader to help ease the confusion.

So where is the problem?

It is much simpler to maintain music. One can choose music in ogg or mp3 and most media players like VLC are capable of playing these formats without problems. Converters, as in ebooks, abound. For ebooks though, converting from one type to another may mean loss of format, even loss of data.

A song can be over in 5 minutes or less, an album in less than an hour. A book? Depending on the length, your time, or your degree of interest, from a few minutes to infinity!

Since I want to do the reading myself, multitasking while on a book is a challenge. When I drive I listen to music. When I drive I dare not read a book.

For me choosing music is a simple but enjoyable experience. Music is the universal language. My interests covers a wide genre: I dig Verdi and Lady Gaga, I listen to Nina Simone and Gretchen Barretto. Well, okay, maybe not Gretchen Barretto. I exaggerate a little. I can go online to sample snippets of songs, or better yet find media streams and listen to entire songs before I decide alloting hard disk space. Then there’s still radio.

With books you have to dig deep and immerse yourself in the words, the chapters, the plot. You may instantly like or dislike a story after a few pages, see if the middle part is redemption or sabotage, then spend an infinite time reading 999 pages only to finally decide that you hate the entire 5 MB file in the end. There may be free first chapters or random pages but nothing beats the music stream. There may be reviews on how awesome or awful a story is but don’t you wish you could decide for yourself? So there lies the problem: so many books, so little time.

***

Since I’m ranting about books and music, there are numerous sources to these in the web, both legal and not-so-legal.

For music check out independent acts or this article. Amazon and mp3.com offer some songs and albums for free. Both are great for discovering artists whose names have yet to cross the Pacific or Atlantic.

Opportunities for free reading are also aplenty. Project Gutenberg covers classics or out of copyright books. For contemporary literature (as well as classics) in all formats known to man these occupy an area of by bookmark toolbar: Feedbooks and ManyBooks. Indie writers also provide free downloads of some (sometimes all) of their works in Smashwords and Lulu.com. Or subscribe to this blog or this one dedicated to finding free reads.

See, so much to listen to and read.

Wait till we factor in the not-so-legal sources.

Hibernation

Posted: August 21, 2009 in Bisag Unsa / Random Rants

A good friend of mine maintains about nine blogs. While that single digit may unfaze active bloggers it simply blows me away. Keeping this single blog updated has become, for the lack of a more appropriate term, a difficulty. We Pinoys find it easy to rant about anything under the tropical sun yet the demands of a 24/7 job (as opposed to a day job, I suppose), and other concerns in the non-virtual world has led to the long but hopefully temporary hibernation of blogging in my day-to-day life. Which brings me back to my amazing friend and her multitude of blogs. Aside from being a serious blogger, she is (in no particular order) a teacher, a businesswoman, an artist, a cook, and a mother. The mom part alone is a 24/7 affair! My single self, even with all its blahs cannot even begin to compete. Perhaps, in my defense, the peculiarities of my singlehood do eat up a large chunk of my time, but that is another matter altogether (another blog post?).

With my friend’s encouragement and with herself as an example I am back covering the road/s frequently traveled.

***

Congratulations to the new crop of nurses, therapists and physicians!

Happy Ramadan to all our Muslim brothers and sisters!

Pump prices enjoy a rollback! Gas up before the oil giants readjust the prices to their favor with crude now nearly $74 a barrel. Haven’t you noticed how lethargic these oil companies get in response to each price rollback but act quickly when they find even the smallest excuse to raise pump prices, faster than you can say “global warming”?

***

Check out these blogs from the empowered (super) mom:

  1. Just the Tip of the Iceberg
  2. Inhale…Exhale…
  3. Dorothy’s Vineyard
  4. Honeysweet Learning Center
  5. Dharlz Creations
  6. mi familia
  7. Vday Cagayan de Oro
  8. More Food Adventures
  9. Empowered Mom

Cagayan de Oro landmark burns.

Time to bid Ororama Megacenter in Lapasan, near the Agora area, adieu. At least, for now. As of this writing the fire has been controlled although thick smoke still continues contributing to our city’s air pollution.

What is it with locally owned malls and fire? Remember MegaCenter’s sister in Cogon? How about Gaisano Cogon? Both burned to the ground in the 90s although later rebuilt.

Although we do have more malls to choose from now, the Ororama malls are part of every Kagay-anon’s memory and experience. I have fond memories of the pizza place located on their ground floor, of its cinemas (they were once the cleanest in the city) and its bowling lanes. Never mind how chaotic it was inside; you cannot trully say that you’re from CDO unless you have visited this mall. If you haven’t yet then it’s a little too late for that.

Gandarosa gets promoted.

BIR director Mustapha Gandarosa, who has no love lost for local businessmen, and topic of our last post, has been “axed”, as a local daily puts it.

Promoted is more like it. He will be designated as the “chief of staff to the deputy commissioner for Special Concerns Group”.

Will this make everyone happy?

Oil dips. Everything else doesn’t.

Much of what goes on everyday tend to turn more of us into pessimists.

There are certain trend, however, that we are happy to see:

Crude oil price for the past month
Crude oil price for the past month
Crude oil price for the past year
Crude oil price for the past year

These graphs, taken from Crude Oil Price Forecast, show the downward trend in crude oil price, which currently stands at $62.09. We are all expecting a new wave of pump price rollback but The Big Three are always known to be sluggish in this regard. A fare rollback is also wished for but the LTFRB tends to be lethargic as well.

Criminal Sanctuary

The PNP has identified 5 areas in the city known to harbor lawless elements. The list does not mean to label all or most of the residents of these areas as criminals. These baddies are frequently transient residents. They can strike anywhere, anytime. However, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to exert extra caution when you visit these areas:

  • Barangay Macabalan
  • Barangay Puntod
  • Barangay Consolacion
  • Barangay 31
  • Barangay 35

Of Eggs and Chicken

Posted: October 21, 2008 in Bisag Unsa / Random Rants
Tags: , ,

The Coalition of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Associations of Northern Mindanao is staying true to their word: NO BUSINESS TODAY.

Several businesses (the actual number of participants is uncertain; we will see today) will not open their stores to the consuming public today as a protest to the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) alleged harassment through “arbitrary and oppressive” tax assessments.

This is touted as a rare show of unity among business establishments in the city against the behemoth (caching!!!) government institution.

What will become of this protest remains to be seen. It has already reached the pages of a national daily and a local paper (but not in official city website).

Whenever I hear of complaints directed at the BIR (who doesn’t have complaints against the BIR anyway) I am reminded of the ‘egg-or-chicken’ question:

Businesses exist to provide the public goods and services at a price. Profit is essential. However, these establishments have to pay various taxes. They are very much aware of this.

The BIR has tax collection targets. We need taxes to fund government projects. These projects are meant for the public’s benefit.

During tax collection time, do businesses really fully pay the taxes that are due them? (Are they honest?)

Does the BIR really make accurate computations and fully turn over their collections? (Are they also honest?)

Let’s face it, the answer to both questions is ‘no’!

(Don’t get me wrong. There are honest taxpayers as there are honest revenue officials. Both are rare and facing imminent extinction.)

It is not plain greed. Often there is also a deeply-rooted distrust for the opposite party. Some taxpayers reason that their taxes never get to the right projects or people anyway, that sizable amounts end up in the wrong bank accounts. Some revenue officials argue that they are offered hefty gifts in exchange for some mathematical adjustments.

Consider Financial Disaster A:

Let’s say I want to be a fair and model citizen so I want to pay my taxes honestly,  that in spite the disheartening thought of widespread corruption, I want to be an agent for change. So come tax collection time, my accountant finds that I owe our government P100,000. I swallow hard and close my eyes with the thought of parting with my honestly- and hard-earned money. I’ll be lucky if I am assigned an equally honest tax agent; happy ending. But what if I get an unscrupulous kobrador, who offers me a 25% discount. I think that P25,000 can buy me a new shiny cellphone or can pay for some heavy car beautification. Or if I am elevated to my less worldly, more altruistic self, I can donate that small amount to a worthy cause. But I did write ‘unscrupulous’ collector, not one who shares my less wordly and more altrustic ideals, so there is a catch: I pay P75,000 and get a receipt for P50,000. Against my mother’s disapproval of swearing I exclaim: WTF! But I get a ‘25% discount’ smile in return. I threaten to report the incident. And as a result, I am rewarded with threats, harassment, and other inconveniences to my once peaceful existence. So come next collection time I:

  • continue fighting the system, a lonely one-man battle, for the remaining years of my existence, with extinction a guaranteed outcome.
  • tell the next tax guy: “My standard rate is 25%; take it or leave it!” (At this point my hair has completely gone gray and my wrinkles have become so prominent people think I’m my mother’s older sister.)

Consider Financial Disaster B:

Let’s suppose I want to keep as much of my income for my own disposal. After all it’s mine, I worked for it. So come tax collection time, my accountant finds that I owe our government P100,000. Tax collector comes and I say, in my most even, most convincing, and most let’s-both-be-reasonable-we-can-both-benefit-from-this voice: “Let’s both be reasonable; we can both benefit from this.” If I am assigned an unscrupulous tax agent, it’s a happy ending. As his 25% warms in his pocket we might even share an expensive drink (I pour a small amount for myself which I never drink because I simply don’t; he gets to bring home the rest of the bottle). If honest tax agent gets my name I’m in a bind. Will he:

  • take my offer? After all as a government employee supporting a young family of 4, the pay is never enough. I show that I can empathize with him.
  • refuse my offer? He is too honest. I tell him the system will consume him whole, will slowly and painfully gnaw away his being. He threatens to report me and I laugh at him: he has no proof. And when he does tell his superior he is reprimanded. His boss visits me and apologizes for his agent’s obstinacy and close-mindedness during a round of drinks (he brings home the bottle). Honest agent is summarily transferred to the hinterlands of the Cordilleras. To face extinction.

Which came first, the egg or the chicken?

ADDENDA:

Want to find out more about our BIR regional director? Google “Mustapha Gandarosa”.

DIVORCED!

Posted: October 18, 2008 in Bisag Unsa / Random Rants
Tags: , ,

It’s official.

A PCLinuxOS-based distribution, TinyMe 2008.0, was installed in a forgotten and aging desktop yesterday. Ranted about it in their (our) forum.

It’s now between Ubuntu (or a derivative) and PCLOS on the laptop.