Thursday, March 31, 2011

Remembering the 1990 Dagupan Earthquake

Somebody said, don't panic. And that was precisely when we panicked. And off we went running towards the door, dashing across the corridors - the floors on our feet moving on their own - then making our way down the stairs, to the quadrangle where many more of our schoolmates were running, on to the school gates and out into the streets.
July 16, 1990. That is a date that will be forever etched in my memory, and for many more of us in Luzon who experienced the devastating earthquake more than 10 years ago. It was 7.6 on the Richter Scale. That number does not even begin to describe the magnitude of that disaster. If you are to ask me what 7.6 ORS feels like, here is what it felt like: Imagine going inside a match box (or a large cabinet), and ask someone to shake it vigorously for 30 seconds. That was how it was.

We were on the 2nd floor of our school main building, and from the window I could see the building on the other side swaying furiously in the opposite direction of the shake of the building I was in. That's why to me it is very vividly like being inside a box rocking violently.

As HappySlip's dad would say: Di-saster!
(Image borrowed from
The once paved roads are now broken, looking like a cheap tile that someone had accidentally stepped into and broke to pieces. Mud was gushing strongly from some of the cracks in the road, and there was danger that one could get caught in the cracks, as the shoe of a classmate fell victim to.

Our city being a delta and built on swamps, it was easy for the ground to liquefy, thus the gushing muds, and the resultant instant floods. The asphalt roads have piled liked bread crackers, electric posts have fallen in every direction like pick-up sticks, making it a challenge to walk from our school through the main city street. Buildings that had once stood in uniform heights are now at least 5-10 feet buried in the ground because of liquefaction, some leaning sideways, others sinking straight down. One of our major bridges had collapsed into the river; some had to swim across the river to get home. There was no way any vehicle could pass through the main city road.

It was 4:30PM when the earthquake struck, and by the time we got out of the city, it was nearing dark. There was no other choice but to walk the long way home. We had probably walked a good one kilometer from the city when a neighbor passes by in his car, and offers to drive us home. He was a blessing. It was also a blessing that the 2 bridges we had to hurdle before reaching our house was not damaged by the quake.

To our amazement, when we got home, we found that nothing was broken! The only thing that was a bit out of place was the tiny image of the Virgin Mary on our altar.  It had fallen. No other jar, or glass, or religious article had been moved or fallen. To me that meant, the Virgin Mary protected our house with all her power, that's why she was the only item in the house that showed any stress from the earthquake that had struck.

It would be several aftershocks, relief goods, and months after before Dagupan City could rise back to its feet again, and before classes and businesses would resume. It would take a while longer before most of the damaged buildings and the collapsed bridge could be rebuilt. I remember 1990 everytime there is a tiny earthquake every now and then. I remember 1990 now, esp. thinking how much worse it must be for Japan being struck with an earthquake that is much stronger, coupled by the other twin disasters of the tsunami and the nuclear fallout. It is frightening to know that a 9.0 earthquake releases 1000 times more energy than a 7.0 on the Richter scale.

As scientists say, the chance of another major earthquake happening in the Philippines is not a question of IF, but of WHEN. We must prepare ourselves for it.

In the meantime, let us continue to help our friends in Japan. Click image below to see how to help.

Book Recommendations:
Earthshaking Science: What We Know (and Don't Know) about Earthquakes
The Power of the Sea: Tsunamis, Storm Surges, Rogue Waves, and Our Quest to Predict Disasters (Macsci)
National Geographic - Tsunami: Killer Wave

P.S. Dagupan City has come a long way from the devastation of the 1990 Earthquake. See how vibrant the city is now! Celebrate with the Bangus Festival with us from April 8-May 1. Click image below for event details.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sunny Weather and Happy Dispositions

Whenever we go on a trip, we send our participants, members and friends at ClubTravelNOW!TM a checklist of things to bring and some reminders. In these reminders, we always save the best for last. The last item on the list of things the participants should remember to bring - is always this:
A Happy Disposition, Sense of Adventure, and Spirit of Fun.
In our many travels with different people through so many places via our travel club called ClubTravelNOW!TM, I have learned that even if the destinations never change, our experience of a certain destination changes with the character and disposition of the people on the trip with us. If the destination is a constant, and the participants are the variables, then it is their character and attitude that will determine whether the trip is going to be really fun and memorable.
ClubTravelNOW!TM at the Hot Air Balloon Festival (02/12/11): Good times!
I have learned that when participants bring "A Happy Disposition, Sense of Adventure, and Spirit of Fun", whatever kinks in the trip we encounter, we always still end up having the best times of our lives. And this supports that cliche that says it is the journey not the destination. The same grouchy person you bring in the journey is the same grouchy person that arrives at the destination. The happy person with the sunny disposition may find the sun coming up shy in the mountain or beach, but that doesn't give that person's sunny disposition less of a sheen. And even a sunny sky is no match to the resolve of a committed Grumpy. Fortunately, people have been cooperative - no grouches nor Grumpies so far. :)

ClubTravelNOW!TM in Singapore (11/26/10): We get our share of the crazy ones though.
LOL! Just kidding!
And that really is what ClubTravelNOW!TM is about. A participant from our December trip to Banaue/Batad put it also simply:
It is about the company, not the destination. It is more than just travel, it is the people you come with.
At ClubTravelNOW!TM, we make it a point to engage everyone on the trip, to talk to them and get to know them, and to provide opportunities for others on the trip to get to know one another on the trip, not on a superficial level, but on a deeper level. We want people to be calling each other by name during the trip, not through name tags, but through a real knowing and a genuine interest in one another.
More than pictures, we want everyone to come home with a new set of friends.
More than pasalubongs, we want everyone to come home enriched by an experience of a place and an experience of other people.
More than t-shirts that boast of surviving a destination, we want stories that speak of thriving in the company of new names, new places and new memories.
And in coming home, we hope it is not the end of a trip but the beginning of a new journey of friendship, a journey to more happy journeys with lifelong friends made on the trip.

ClubTravelNOW!TM in Calauit (09/14/10): Clarification, wild animals not shown in picture. LOL!
We invite you to be a part of ClubTravelNOW!TM This summer is an opportune time to make the most of the beautiful weather. Upcoming trips schedules are here.

Visit our websites/pages:

Book Recommendations:
Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel
1,000 Places to See Before You Die, updated ed. (2010) (1,000 Before You Die)
Lonely Planet Philippines (Country Guide)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Business Musts: Focus and Commitment

A friend was telling me about plans with partners to put up a company. They thought they should put up a solutions company. In my mind, I thought maybe they meant an IT Solutions company. Yes, that's it, he said, PLUS everything else that they can provide a solution to. Somebody needs a "solution" to garbage problems, they have a waste management solution. Somebody requires a "solution" to a banking problem, they have bank software solution. Somebody needs help with finances, they have a finance solution.

OK, I think I know where this was going, so I asked:
What if someone has a relationship problem, can you help them find a solution too?

YES, he says.
And right there, I said:
Whettaminute! Are you planning to put up a sari-sari store? Coz from what I'm hearing, that seems to be what you're building. I said, if you want your business to succeed, it is better to have some FOCUS. Even T. Harv Eker said in his Millionaire Mind Intensive Seminar (which I attended last year in Singapore) that you should (a) work on only one project, (c) build it to success, before (c) moving on to another one.

From the customer's point of view, it would also help that you have a BRANDING. What helps branding is if your company can be easily associated with a specific service or benefit. To be a company that is a jack of all trades, it is hard to visualize that - unless you're trying to be a mall.

Why is FOCUS important?

1. It helps you GROW your business to SUCCESS FASTER.
Focus allows you to devote all your energy in just one thing and focused energy - which is really what a laser is - drills holes, makes a way, makes things possible. As they say, what you focus on expands; if you want your business to grow, to expand, to reach great heights, then focus is essential, in fact crucial. Focus, or perish!

2. It helps with your BRANDING and IDENTITY.
Branding is essentially how your customers see you as. Focus allows you to establish not just in your mind's eye, but in your employees and esp. in your customers, a clear picture of
(a) what your company is about,
(b) what difference you want to make or how much you set yourself apart from others, and
(c) what value you want to impart to your clients.
When all that is clear, mention an industry you have successfully built into your reputation through focus and commitment, then that becomes your branding, your identity. You will have become easily rememberable by the people whose business you want.

3. It is a manifestation of your level of COMMITMENT to your company.
Achieving focus means having also achieved a level of commitment to what you or your company wants to happen. It is committing to a single idea (or a bunch of ideas in order to attain or effect a single objective) and being single-minded about the achievement of it. Too many ideas means you are confused about what you want to happen.

COMMITMENT is also VERY very important.

We have said that for a business to succeed, you have to make meaning. It is not enough to have identified the meaning you want to impart. It is also imperative that you identify what it will take from YOU to be able to make it happen. What is the price to pay? What are you willing to commit?
Remember: Committing to something also means letting go of other things. 
Can you handle it? Again, that brings us back to the importance of FOCUS.

A lack of commitment is a telltale sign of misplaced priorities, if not a cluelessness to what you really want to achieve. In the landmark book entitled Good to Great by Jim Collins, the author and his research team found that focus was one of the main feature of the companies that were able to turn themselves from so-so to great, enduring companies. Read it.
They are business musts: Focus and Commitment. Without them, one is like a dog chasing its own tail, for no apparent reason, in utter futility, ending up tired and dizzy, yet wondering why nothing is happening.
Book Recommendations:
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't
Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth
Branding Your Business: Promoting Your Business, Attracting Customers and Standing Out in the Market Place (Business Enterprise)

P.S. Here's a bonus, a Business Commitment Rubic. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Rizal and the City of Leonor Rivera

In Dagupan City (Pangasinan, Philippines), two typical nondescript streets quietly tell of an extraordinary story of love - one between a national hero and his young love.

The first street is Rizal Street in the center of town.
And the other street, intersecting with it, is Rivera Street.

Rizal St. is of course, named after no less than Jose Rizal, our national hero who incidentally celebrates his 150th birthday this year. The other street, Rivera St., is named after the lass who took Rizal's fancy. Her name was Leonor Rivera. She is a Dagupeña, and this is the street where she used to live.

Leonor Rivera: Jose Rizal's childhood sweetheart
Leonor Rivera was 13 years old when she and Rizal met in Manila. Apparently, they were first cousins, but they later became childhood sweethearts, a love that was mostly nurtured through love letters, as Rizal had to go to Europe for his studies. It was 8 years of a long distance romantic relationship, one that was not encouraged by Rivera's parents due to Rizal's growing ill-favor with the Spaniards, esp. with the publication of the Noli Me Tangere that hits at the Spanish abuses in the Philippines at the time. Rizal and Rivera would have married, if not for the circumstances and the family's disfavor of Rizal. While the letters from Rivera had later stopped coming, news of her having married Henry Kipping, the Manila-Dagupan railroad British engineer, reached Rizal and devastated him.

It would have been interesting had Leonor Rivera and Rizal ended up together, but history had other plans for Rizal. It is said that Rivera was Rizal's inspiration for Maria Clara in the Noli Me Tangere and its sequel, the El Filibusterismo. It was she who kept him connected to the Philippines through their letters to each other, the one who also kept him faithful from being lured by the pretty European ladies. Reading their stories, I could see how Rizal could probably find in Rivera the personification of the struggles of the Philippines back then in the hands of the Spanish. She was his muse.

Of course we would also later learn of other ladies with whom Rizal fell for - like Josephine Bracken (who actually became Rizal's wife, did you know?), and a score of others. Rizal is known to have taken a liking to many, but his heart belonged to his Philippines, and his Leonor.

Where Rizal and Rivera intersects.
When I realized the connection between Rizal's history and the position of our city streets, I got fascinated that our street/urban planners of before knew their history well enough to decide to let Rizal and Rivera Sts. intersect. If their lives together could not be sealed with marriage in life, at least their union (or more like, their intersection) was sealed in concrete. (The engineers must have been romantics, hehe.)

P.S. While their history is compelling, there isn't much to see at present on Rizal St., nor on Rivera St., at least to speak of their significance. I hope some enterprising Dagupeños set something up in those areas, like a restaurant or cafe that celebrates the love story between Jose and Leonor. (There! That's a nice name for a restaurant already - 'Jose and Leonor') Somebody can also identify the former home of Leonor Rivera on the street that was named after her; it must be preserved or turned into a museum/cafe, if it has not already been demolished (the same way the former Dagupeña building was sadly and thoughtlessly demolished). There are many ways to improve tourism in the city.

Fiesta, Fiesta! A Bangus Festival in Pangasinan
Join Dagupan City in celebrating the Bangus Festival from April 8 to May 1. See calendar of activities for more details. Also, join ClubTravelNOW!TM as it supports the city's celebrations by pioneering a Dagupan City Food Tour on April 30 and May 1. More details on that soon. Email if you're interested to join. Also, visit our Fan page and websites.

Book Recommendations:
THE FIRST FILIPINO: A Biography of Jose Rizal
Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not)
El Filibusterismo: Subversion: A Sequel to Noli Me Tangere
Pangasinan, 1572-1800.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Earth Hour: 10 Things To Do in the Dark

On Saturday, we join the world again in observance of the Earth Hour. The Earth Hour was started 5 years ago by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) initially in Sydney, Australia and has since spanned the globe, to date enlisting over 128 countries and over 1.3 Billion people.

The idea behind the Earth Hour is enjoining the whole world to turn off the lights for one hour, to dramatize the extent of man's use of the Earth's resources and to remind us of the need to care for the environment. It is much like pausing for a moment of silence to remember important people (usually dead ones); in this case, it's the Earth we're trying to remember (to keep it from dying; hehe, bad analogy, sorry.).

March 26, 8:30-9:30PM: Lights out!
On Saturday, March 26, on the Earth Hour, join the world, turn off your lights for one whole hour from 8:30PM-9:30PM. That's a whole hour of darkness (or longer if you're so inclined); you could either sleep it off, or do something more creative out of that hour.

Here are my own 10 Things to do in the Dark, culled from some of our favorite things to do in the dark when we wuz younger:

1. Tell ghost stories.
Haha. Don't we just suddenly feel like talking about ghosts when it's dark (esp. if due to a power outage at night)? I mean, especially when we were younger, that seemed like an appropriate theme to discuss. We like scaring ourselves. So do so, with family or friends, and scare the hell out of everyone for at least an hour with your scary stories about ghosts, whether from experience or from fertile imaginations.

2. Play hide and seek.
This is really more appropriate for kids. But for the adults who wants a piece of nostalgia, it can still be done. :) For parents, you don't even have to suggest it as your kids might suggest it themselves. Go ahead, be a kid for once and play with them. Keep them off those DS and PSPs! :)

3. Make shadow puppets.
Wherever there's a candle and shadows are cast, we like to play with the shadows, making our own shapes using our hands. It's fun to make shapes and let others guess what you're trying to form. The easiest shadows to cast with our hands are the dog, a bird, and a snake. You can make them talk too and tell funny stories through the shadow movements.
What shape is this? :)
4. Sing with a guitar and a songbook.
Hopefully there's one among you who plays the guitar, and of course, hopefully you have a guitar and songbook too. And take the semi-anonymity of the dark to sing to your heart's content - yes, even to the irritation of the neighbors! Hehe. What the heck, it's just for an hour!

5. Go out, stargaze and count shooting stars.
In the province this is such a brilliant thing to do. The lack of air and light pollution really makes stargazing a satisfying activity. Identify your constellations, planets and your zodiacs - it's very educational for children. Catch the most shooting stars and get to make the most wishes. It's also a great exercise for us to be checking out the Earth's neighbors during the Earth Hour. While there may be many possible worlds out there, there is only one Earth; and looking up, we're just one tiny speck in the vastness of the Universe.

6. Play the Cashflow Game.
Ok this can be challenging since you'll be dealing with chips, and money and pen and paper, but it can be done! Hehe. Or you could do the usual fare - scrabble, chess, boggle, etc. But try Robert Kiyosaki's Cashflow Game for a change - for a chance to help improve your financial intelligence. Playing it takes at least 2 hours so you can start playing even before Earth Hour, or extend beyond the Earth Hour.

Rich Dad Poor Dad's Cashflow 101 Game Board: Try it!
7. Write.
Provided you have enough candles to sufficiently light your writing, do write. Could be a letter, or a journal, or a list of things to do. Better a list of learnings, or things you're grateful for, or a bucket list of things you'd like to accomplish before you're a certain age. Write. Write. Write. (or: Make plans for a blog!) It'll clear your thoughts.

8. Meditate.
Learn some meditation techniques and use the Earth Hour to practice it. It's just like prayer, it's good for clearing your thoughts. As the Earth Hour is a pause for the Earth from the pressures of man, so is meditation a pause for you from the stressors of life and other extraneous influences.

9. List 3 Things you promise to do for the environment.
It being Earth Hour, I thought it'll be appropriate or extremely productive if we gave ourselves this chance to write even just 3 things we'll commit to doing for the environment. Example:
a. I commit to plant 3 trees by June 2011
b. I commit to conserve water by turning off the faucet while brushing my teeth. (or showering only for 10 minutes, tops! LOL!)
c. I commit to using only eco-friendly bags when shopping or buying groceries.
Keep the list simple, keep it short. It's easier to commit to doing 3 things than 10 things.

10. Pray.
With the lights off, it's not just literally lights out but all other electronic devices; include the electronic gadgets in the mix for good measure, they use electricity anyway. With all those off, you'll have peace and quiet - and it's a good time to pray, especially if you haven't done something like that in a long time. It's just you and God and your longings, your prayers, your thoughts. Pray for God to bless the Earth and to help man take better care of the Earth.

I'm sure there's so many more things you can do during the Earth Hour. I didn't even include pigging out (hehe), or reading (with sufficient candlelight), or having drinks with friends, or sharing jokes. :)

Have fun during your Earth Hour observance. For more info, visit the website

Spread the word. Thanks!

Book Recommendations:
Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money-That the Poor and the Middle Class Do Not!
Guided Meditations: For Calmness, Awareness, and Love
Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide (Wiley Self-Teaching Guides)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Making Travel Dreams Happen NOW

"Go for it now. The future is promised to no one."
~ Wayne Dyer

Last September 11, 2010, we launched a new travel club called ClubTravelNOW!TM With the enchanted Coron Island in Palawan as backdrop, I and my Travel Buddy Pao launched it with a total of 46 other awesome friends. Prior to the launch, we had been travelling regularly with friends, until we decided to finally formalize it and put up the club.

Why ClubTravelNOW!TM? Here is our manifesto of what the club is about:

ClubTravelNOW!TM is a FAMILY!

Mekeni: The Pampanga Food Trip (October 16, 2010)
We are a community of travellers who love to travel together! Love of Travel - that's our common denominator, the bond that glues us together, the magic that makes us wander away - but always together. We are Like attracting Like. Our goal is to cultivate a circle of travellers who are very close to each other, who have wonderful relationships with each other, who look out for one another, and who loves to be with each other on many travels. Yes, exactly, a FAMILY!

ClubTravelNOW!TM is TOURISM with a HEART!

At the Children's Chance for Tomorrow Foundation: Coron, Palawan (Sept. 11, 2010)
We make travel our business, but we want a business with heart: making meaning as Guy Kawasaki would put it. We want to be better travelers, and we want to help cultivate better travel through an advocacy for better tourism standards in the Philippines, better tourism promotions, and responsible tourism. We encourage teamwork and community, and we want to promote social contribution to the places we travel to. We don't want travel to be an adventure that takes more than it gives, but we want travel to be a blessed exercise both for the traveller and the travelled-places. WIN-WIN, that's the word. Tourism should always be WIN-WIN.


A spontaneous roadtrip from Manila-Bicol-Samar-Leyte-Cebu (Sept. 15, 2010)
It is about a belief in making things happen right NOW, about seizing the day! Carpe Diem! There is no better time to live your dreams than NOW. And yes, that applies to your travel dreams, as well as other aspirations in life. :) It is NOT about WAITING, but MAKING THINGS HAPPEN. It is about a SENSE of URGENCY in the need to travel, it is about travel as a VITAL part of life, of truly LIVING LIFE to the FULLEST, of making each day count. ClubTravelNOW!TM is about LIVING DELIBERATELY; it is not just a way of travelling, but a WAY of LIVING.

I entitled this piece as 'Making Travel Dreams Happen NOW', but in that equation, there is a part that ClubTravelNOW!TM provides - which is setting up the venue, a community and mechanism to making your travel dreams happen. The NOW part - the seizing the day part - well that's a decision only you can take.

Will you make it happen? 

We'd like you to be a part of ClubTravelNOW!TM To become a member of ClubTravelNOW!TM, all you have to do is join any one of our future trips. After that, you're automatically a member and then you get to enjoy discounts and privileges we offer only to members on future trips.

All the balloons you want: Sto. Nino Shrine, Cebu (September 17, 2010).
To know more about ClubTravelNOW!TM, visit our website:

Also, please Like our Facebook Fan Page:

Check out our Photos there.

You can also join our Facebook Group:

And, follow us on Twitter:

Here's a rundown of our upcoming trips for 2011:
April 9 : Mt. Pinatubo + Pampanga Food Trip
April 16-17: Mt. Pulag: Adventures Above the Clouds
April 30 : Dagupan City Bangus Festival Food Tour
May 2-3 : Hundred Islands, Pangasinan Tour
May 14-15 : Pahiyas Festival, Lucban, Quezon
May 26-29 : Breathtaking Batanes Tour
June 4-6 : Lake Sebu, General Santos
June 11-12 : Mt. Pulag: Adventures Above the Clouds
Aug. 27-28 : Mt. Pulag: Adventures Above the Clouds
Sept. 10-13: El Nido Palawan (or Bohol)
Oct. 29-30 : Mt. Pulag: Adventures Above the Clouds
Nov. 26-19 : Vietnam/Cambodia
This list is incomplete, as there are other trips we come up with based on members' requests; others are spontaneous, as we like to live in the moment. :)

To join our upcoming tours, email us at
You may also call or text these numbers: 0917.246.9888 (Tristan) / 0917.663.8888 (Pao)
If you'd like to be part of our mailing list, send us an email with subject 'Subscribe.'

Book Recommendations:
Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel
1,000 Places to See Before You Die, updated ed. (2010) (1,000 Before You Die)
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

Monday, March 21, 2011

Government Corruption as a Business Model

I have introduced the concept of business models in another post and how identifying a good one is essential to the success of your business. Have you figured out what yours is?

There are so many ways to do business, and therefore many possible business models; but it takes some creativity to have a business model that's unique, one that works, and lest we forget, one that's within the bounds of the law.

There is a business model I particularly abhor, especially when I hear of people planning to get into it or are already deeply into it. And that is the business model of selling a product/service to the government, at really jacked-up prices so that there is enough to pay for the "facilitators" - the people in government that the product/service has to go through in order to get approval. There is a HUGE portion of the projected proceeds that is allotted for the people in government to ensure that the transaction goes through.

Yes, they are called kickbacks/commissions/balato/grease money.
And yes, we have heard it happen in the highest places in government.
Yes, there is a lot of money to be made from it.

Others argue that it is a legitimate way to do business; they say it is reasonable to give someone an incentive for helping make a deal happen, like a gratuity, a tip (or balato), a commission, some twisted form of benevolence...

And I say:
Perhaps in private companies that may be allowed (you have to check your company policies on this though; look for provisions on 'conflict of interest'). But in government where public money is involved, the law expressly prohibits those in public office from enriching themselves by virtue of their office. We are in public positions to serve the public, not to rob the public of its money.

"A public office is a public trust." That is true from the lowliest government position to the highest of the land. This business model is the kind of practice that creates the likes of the beleaguered Gen. Carlos Garcia, the AFP Comptroller.

I admire companies that do honest business, companies that truly stick to their high ideals and their aspirations to be of service to the country. They do it not for the sake of being high-falutin, but because they know their important roles in nation-building. Their idea of progress (or gain) is not constricted to the self or their company bottomline. You'll know which these companies are because they are the most rewarded by the buying public.

Think Jollibee, San Miguel, Metro Pacific, Ayala Land, and ABS-CBN, among others. They are at the top of their domains because, as we have always been mentioning here, they deliver a product or service that truly adds value to other people's lives.

Also: Think Google. Think Microsoft. Think Apple. Think Paypal. Think Amazon. Whether intentional or not, their business models have delivered something that addresses needs we didn't think existed, or improves on a process that was waiting for a better way of doing, and ultimately serves to improve man's life.
And this is why I think a questionable business model dealing with government and public money is bound to fail. Because ultimately, the service/product while arguably of much value, becomes an instrument that actually takes more from people than adding value to them. It enriches the unscrupulous government personnel and the high-ranking politicians with money that belongs to the public. The public is left with what remains of the little money and as such suffers the consequence of poor government services, inadequate social services, a substandard educational system and substandard infrastructure. (Tip: Travel the highways of the Philippines on a roadtrip, and you can tell by the nature/quality of the roads which public officials are corrupt. Or that's just my theory, anyway.)
The practice perpetuates the culture of corruption that is at the root of much of the poverty we have in the country. The businessperson that enriches oneself in this way ultimately is betrayed by the same system of corruption he/she helps perpetuate - he/she suffers the same poor government services, inadequate social services, a substandard educational system and substandard infrastructure, along with the rest of his/her fellowmen.

Surely, there is a better way to do business. (And a better way to earn the name businessperson!) I mean, can't you be more creative?

It can be done, my friends. 
Let's try, shall we? 
(OK, I hear Yoda protesting.)

Let me say that again: Let's do it, shall we? 
(Even Flavier approves.)

Book Recommendations:

P.S. There's something wrong with my Facebook Likes counts. In some posts, they're missing; in others where they shouldn't be, they show up, as in this case.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Love in the Time of Facebook and Twitter

In the last 15 years we have seen new technologies come and go - new types of social media emerging and grabbing our attention (from instant messaging to Twitter); social networking sites (like Friendster, Myspace, etc.) seeing their heyday and then being bowled over by Facebook; the Mac going through different transformations and upgrades (Ok, Windows too, my MS friends :) ); Ipods obliterating the walkman and dominating the music player scene; from Apple's Iphones being the phone of choice to the Google Android phones recently gaining the upper hand in sales; from the regular paper books and brick and mortar bookstores being rendered (nearly) irrelevant by Amazon's Kindles and Kindle Stores (too bad for Barnes&Noble); and now the Ipads that who-knows might revolutionize the way we do work (or play) on the computer (there's now an Ipad 2!).

While one would probably use that word "love" in relation to any of those technologies, as in:

I love my Kindle!
I love my Mac!
I love tweeting!
I'd love an Ipad 2!


...and even if we use it so loosely to refer to one technology or gadget after another, there is also that concept of love whose object are not material things.

I speak of love that isn't fleeting, that doesn't wane, that may be subject to the ebbs and flows of reality, yet - always remain. There is love in the sense of 1 Corinthians 13:4, and there is that old concept of love - you know, the kind between people, man and woman - and it's interesting to look at how it's been affected by these technological changes.
In college, it was still quite a new idea to have met someone online (through chat) yet I had at least 2 friends who did meet someone through the internet and became a couple. Only one of them remains together to this day (a 50% success rate, you might say; but it's not representative, so don't keep your hopes up). When I started working, I had at least 3 friends who actually tried out (or a similar site). They all found matches, but only one of them I know ended up marrying their matches (and I haven't heard from that person since, LOL!). If you go to the US Embassy in Manila to get a visa, there is a good chance many of the ladies who will be there waiting in line with you are brides-to-be to their American fiancés whom they had met on the internet.
What technology has done for us is make it easier to connect, to transmit words of affection, to profess our devotion of love. Loved what you saw or read? Do a Facebook 'Like', or a Youtube 'Thumbs up!', or Digg it, Tweet it. Got something in your chest wanting to burst out to the one you love? Any of the same modes can be used to do just that (a shot of vodka can help too, it is said). For a while we had non-internet tools like pagers and text messaging, but those have all given way to the tools of the internet. (Telecom companies reported that in the last holidays, people preferred to send their greetings via Twitter or Facebook, vs. their celfones; a decline from the past years.)

Has technology made the erstwhile torpe bolder? Only to a certain extent. :) 
Has it given the proverbial Maria Clara more leeway to let her guard down? Perhaps, with little creative use of the variations of the smileys. ;) Or status messages. Or FB Likes. 
Has it given the stalker more tools to do his/her spying? Fer sure! (Think: Wikileaks!)
The ease that technology has given us for matters of love is also true for the opposite emotion: hate/protest/dissent/spite.

Of dissent, think: Egypt.
Of protests, think: Aung San Suu Kyi.
Of hate, think: Youtube. 
(The comments there are mostly nasty, hehe.)

But LOVE... going back to love. 

Whether in the time of cholera as in the Time of Facebook - and Twitter - is the same. It requires the same faith, and commitment, and... courage. (and patience!)

And yes - love - it never ends.

P.S. Enjoy this infographic on 'Love & Hate on Twitter'.