Sunday, May 29, 2011

Love and Royalty: Will and Kate

A mass of people lined the streets leading up to Westminster Abbey where a wedding was to be held. Even if much of the world was also watching, this spectacle really was a moment of historical significance and close to the hearts of the British. It was, after all, to be the wedding of the son of royalty, Prince William, to that of a commoner, Catherine 'Kate' Middleton.

The world's interest in the event owes much to the fact that it was Prince William who was going to be wed, and the world had come to know of him as the son of the princess that the world adored and whose tragic death the world mourned - the late Princess Diana. The British monarchy was seen as an archaic institution, and Princess Diana's inclusion in the family, by virtue of marriage to Prince Charles in 1981, was seen as an infusion of fresh energy to an institution that was teetering on the brink of irrelevance. The British monarchy owes much of its popularity now to having had Princess Diana, even as that marriage between Diana and Charles fizzled and even tainted with much scandal, until eventually resulting in the most saddening death of Princess Diana in 1997.

It has been nearly 14 years since Diana died. Between then and now, the world's interest in the British monarchy consisted only of inquiries into the second marriage of Prince Charles, and the growing years of the brothers Princes William and Harry.

The renewed public absorption in the monarchy now owes to the promising marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton - esp. as William has always been considered the male version of his mother Princess Diana, and esp. as Kate Middleton is looking very much fit to become a Prince's wife (or a future king's queen), being herself a lovely face. There is nothing like good looking people in royalty that inspires people's fondness for perfection, as in fairy tales.

While the wedding was certainly beautiful, what to me rescued it from being just another empty but high-profile international event - what to me gave it worth my time of actually watching the whole process live on CNN - was the message of the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams during the marriage ceremony.
I believe, for anyone who listened, that message by the Archbishop put the event in proper context. He made it no different from the weddings that occur around the world, no more important nor no less signficant, no more challenging nor less of a commitment. He put the royal wedding on a par with any other wedding that requires the same effort to help make successful. Absent the trimmings of royalty, the pomp and pageantry, and the illusion of a fairy tale - it was still just about two people in love.
Here is the text of the message given by the Archbishop Rowan Williams during the wedding of William and Catherine, the Prince and Duchess of Cambridge:
"Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire."

So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day this is. Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves.

Many are full of fear for the future of today's world but the message of the celebrations in this country and far beyond its shores is the right one – this is a joyful day! It is good that people in every continent are able to share in the celebrations because this is, as every wedding day should be, a day of hope.
In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them to the future.

William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God who so loved the world that he gave himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ.

In the Spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to one another.

Spiritual life grows as love finds its centre beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover that the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life.

It is of course hard to wean ourselves away from self-centredness. People can dream of such a thing but the hope will not be fulfilled without a solemn decision that, whatever the difficulties, we are committed to the way of generous love.

You have both made your decision today – "I will" – and by making this new relationship, you have aligned yourselves with what we believe is the way in which life is spiritually evolving, and which will lead to a creative future for the human race.

We stand looking forward to a century which is full of promise and full of peril. Human beings are confronting the question of how to use wisely the power which has been given to us through the discoveries of the last century. We shall not be converted to the promise of the future by more knowledge, but rather by an increase of loving wisdom and reverence, for life, for the earth and for one another.

Marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. This transformation is possible as long as we do not harbour ambitions to reform our partner. There must be no coercion if the Spirit is to flow; each must give the other space and freedom. Chaucer, the London poet, sums it up in a pithy phrase:

"Whan maistrie [mastery] comth, the God of Love anon,

Beteth his wynges, and farewell, he is gon."

As the reality of God has faded from so many lives in the West, there has been a corresponding inflation of expectations that personal relations alone will supply meaning and happiness in life. This is to load our partner with too great a burden. We are all incomplete: we all need the love which is secure, rather than oppressive, and mutual forgiveness, to thrive.

As we move towards our partner in love, following the example of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is quickened within us and can increasingly fill our lives with light. This leads to a family life which offers the best conditions in which the next generation can practise and exchange those gifts which can overcome fear and division and incubate the coming world of the Spirit, whose fruits are love and joy and peace.

I pray that every one present and the many millions watching this ceremony and sharing in your joy today will do everything in their power to support and uphold you in your new life. I pray that God will bless you in the way of life you have chosen, a way which is expressed in the prayer that you have written together in preparation for this day:

God our Father, we thank you for our families;
for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage.
In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life
and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.

Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer.
We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Book Recommendations:
LIFE The Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton: Expanded, Commemorative Edition
Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words
The Monarchy and the British Nation, 1780 to the Present

Saturday, May 28, 2011

You're Invited! The 1st Bloggers Buffet at Carol's Texan 5 (June 23, 2011)

Attention, bloggers! You are invited to this exciting bloggers event called...
The best chicken and ribs in Manila has found a home in Carol's Texan 5, located in the bustling neighborhood of Little Baguio, San Juan. Carol's Texan 5 is the next big thing in gustatory pleasures. Check out their menu:

The dishes are personal recipes of its owner, Carol, whose home dishes have always been a hit with friends, and so that got her started with the idea of a diner of her own. Being a big fan of American food, she named her food joint Carol's Texan 5.

Carol’s Texan 5 is located at 2F 713 J. Abad Santos St. Little Baguio, San Juan.

Carol's Texan 5 food is AVAILABLE for:

  • Dine-in
  • Delivery (within San Juan, Mandaluyong, Ortigas and Pioneer only)
  • Event Food Booths
  • Party Trays
  • Functions
  • Kiddie Meal Seats
Get your chance to sample Carol's Texan 5 signature dishes at this first ever Bloggers Buffet organized by in cooperation with It's an exclusive event for bloggers!

You're invited!
June 23, 2011
Carol’s Texan 5, 2F 713 J. Abad Santos St., 
Little Baguio, San Juan

Enjoy Carol's Texan 5 signature chicken and ribs dishes, buffet-style and free to invited bloggers. Get to know the food, enjoy the ambience, have a great time with fellow bloggers and friends in this first Bloggers Buffet by in cooperation with

After having your fill of the food, enjoy exciting prizes and freebies from event sponsors too!

How to get invited to Bloggers Buffet:

1. 'LIKE' the fan pages of Carol's Texan 5, Bloggers BuffetTenMinutesTops! and (You must first be a fan of all 4 pages to be eligible for this event.)

Carol's Texan 5 ( ( ( (

2. Blog about Carol's Texan 5, making sure the ff. elements are in your blog post:
          a. Mention: "Carol's Texan 5 offers the best chicken and ribs this side of Manila."
          b. Mention: Carol's Texan 5 contact details and address:                        
                             Delivery: (02) 727.3843 / 0922.485.0154
                             Address: Carol’s Texan 5, 2F 713 J. Abad Santos St., Little Baguio, San Juan
          c. Post: Carol's Texan 5 menu
          d. Mention: Carol's Texan 5 Services:
Dine-in (Enjoy your best chicken and ribs at Carol's Texan 5!)
Delivery (We deliver to San Juan, Mandaluyong, Ortigas and Pioneer only.)
Event Food Booths (Got an event? Carol's Texan 5 booths are available for hire.)
Party Trays (Order trays of your favorite Carol's Texan 5 dishes for special occasions.)
Functions (Hold events at Carol's Texan 5.)
Kiddie Meal Sets (Order meal sets for your office and kids parties.)
          e. Link to the Carol's Texan 5 website and fan page:
                       Fan Page: http:/
          f. Link to the TenMinutesTops! and websites
3. Answer this question in your blog post: "Why would you like to be part of the first Bloggers Buffet?"
4. Post: Your blog post link at your profile wall and tag the Carol's Texan 5 fan page.
5. Email the ff. information to with subject "Bloggers Buffet":
          a. Your Full Name
          b. Your Email
          c. Your Mobile Number
          d. Your blog post link

That's it!

You will be invited based on quality of your post and if all the parameters to be invited have been met satisfactorily. Those who will be selected will be sent confirmation emails. Limited slots only! You don't have to be a food blogger to join this event. But only 30 bloggers will be invited to enjoy the sumptuous chicken and ribs of Carol's Texan 5! Final invites will be sent out by June 15.

Join now and see you there! :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Saints and Sinners, Death and Redemption: Bin Laden and Pope John Paul II

Within the span of a day on May 1, 2011, the world was abuzz with news of the Osama Bin Laden's death and the beatification of Pope John Paul II. There was also the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton just 3 days prior, but let's reserve that for another post. For now, let's talk about these two people in history - seemingly occupying opposite ends of the good/bad spectrum, and how they have both changed the world.

Osama Bin Laden
Osama Bin Laden
Osama Bin Laden is credited for the 1998 United States Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. He has claimed to have masterminded the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center which killed nearly 3,000 civilians. His attacks were carried out with the help of Al Qaeda, an extremist group he had helped found and financed. Because of him, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan to annihilate the Al Qaeda and to smoke out Osama Bin Laden. The U.S., with its then president George W. Bush, led the charge and for 10 years failed to capture its greatest nemesis, until in May 1, 2011, the leadership of U.S. President Barack Obama finally found Bin Laden and skillfully terminated him in a military operation. As soon as the CNN confirmed news of his death with the national address made by President Barack Obama, hundreds of Americans flocked infront of the White House gates in Washington and at Ground Zero in New York, in a spontaneous expression of their elation at "having brought Osama Bin Laden to justice." There was obvious merry-making and a vigorous waving of the American flag. Nationalistic fervor was at a high.
Tapestry of Blessed John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II has for years been the hero of the Catholic world, for being an inspiring leader of the Catholic faith for 26 years, and for being a charismatic pontiff who helped improve the church's relations with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion. Considered as among the most influential leaders of the 20th century, he showed strength, courage and perseverance when he continued to give hope to many who look up to him for spiritual guidance and blessing - this despite suffering from Parkinson's disease during his last years. He visited the Philippines in 1981 and in 1995, showing his great favor for the country - the largest and only Catholic country in Asia. As such when he died in April 2, 2005, the world mourned his loss - Catholics and non-Catholics alike, world leaders and the common folk alike - for his effect upon the world was so great, his absence left a palpable emptiness. His successor, Pope Benedict XVI, could only barely fill his shoes. Last May 1, 2011, Pope John Paul II was beatified - one more step to his eventual sainthood, a process that was made quick by Pope Benedict XVI. Nobody could contest Blessed John Paul II's qualification as a saint - he was that much loved, he was that much revered.
Stark Differences
The differences in the two scenes could not have been more vast - on the one hand a celebration of a death - that of a known mass murderer; on the other, the mourning of a loss - of a known godly man, a fellow considered worthy of being a saint. It seemed easy to understand why one must celebrate the death of someone like Bin Laden, and mourn that of someone like Blessed John Paul II.
But to me, at least, the image of a group of people throwing fists up in the air and howling in joy at the bloody extermination of a human being, is unsettling. It reminded me of a similar scene 10 years ago, of a group of Islamic extremists, supporters of Bin Laden, who themselves were raising their fists and firearms in the air and showing obvious joy at the death of thousands after the crash of the World Trade Center. Both images, from 2001 and from 2011, show the same insensitivity - to life, to human life, to that very thing that allows us license to call ourselves human.

To think that the 2001 experience should have taught us differently, that of greater respect for the preciousness of human life after having lost so many loved ones at another man's own display of insensitivity, anger and hate. Ten years later we exhibit that we too have not gotten it - that life cannot be made to pay for life, that one life however foul or evil does not deserve the injustice of death nor the heartlessness of celebration. In a statement attributed to Bin Laden, he said that it was destruction by the U.S. of towers in Lebanon in 1982 that gave him the idea to strike the same kind of terror to America: by destroying the Twin Towers.
Apparently we have not made much progress from the archaic "eye for an eye" notion of justice. And we are no different, it seems, from the terrorist we have vilified.
In February 5, 1999, at the Quezon City jail in the Philippines, at the precise moment that Leo Echagaray was served the death penalty by lethal injection - I had a profound realization. I was there on a research, and was a witness to the effect of the Echegaray's death on alleged criminals. Echagaray holds the distinction of being the first Filipino to be served the death penalty after it was revived in the Philippines. Echegaray was executed somewhere else then, but there in the Quezon City jail were his fellow inmates, who all felt the heaviness of the death of one of their own. Other than that, that was it! At the very moment of Leo Echagaray's death, I saw how claiming someone's life - be it in the name of justice or for whatever depth of evil the sinner has caused - does not truly achieve anything.

The world goes on - life went on in that city jail - just as life now continues to run its course after Bin Laden's demise.
The meting out of death for the supposed lofty cause of justice has sadly not given us real redemption - it only perpetuates injustice, it does make us better saints, it does not impart to us greater wisdom, it only inspires greater sin.

Book Recommendations:
The Killing of Osama Bin Laden: How the Mission to Hunt Down a Terrorist Mastermind was Accomplished
Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden
Witness to Hope : The Biography of Pope John Paul II
Crossing the Threshold of Hope

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Idiot Box gets an IQ: The Birth of SMART TVs

The Idiot Box. That's what it was called, apart from, of course, being the Boob Tube. The names, if you notice, aren't very flattering for such an appliance where we have both learned much and been dumbed down much. But that is changing.

Last April 1-2, 2011, I attended the iBlog7: The Blogging Summit at the UP Diliman's Malcolm Hall. One of the sponsors was Samsung SMART TV, and the blogging community was introduced to the features of the said TV.

In a nutshell, the Samsung SMART TV is like regular TV, but with the computer's ability to also access the internet. With the Samsung SMART TV, one can watch regular programs on TV, watch more than one program simultaneously, while also being able to surf the internet. Imagine a TV screen having a window for each of your favorite TV channels, another window for Facebook, another for Youtube, or maybe Twitter. It's basically a TV with internet capabilities. Or TV on steroids! :)

Imagine Life with a Samsung SMART TV
One of its unique features is the access to Samsung's TV App Store where you can purchase applications for your SMART TV, the same way Apple has an Itunes store for music, and Amazon has a Amazon Kindle bookstore for ebooks. This is something that promises to revolutionize and totally redefine the 'TV experience' as we know it.

From the looks of it, it is hardly an innovation, just an integration of 2 different products - TV and computers. It seems simple enough, but I think its implications are huge. Seeing Sony and LG also launching a similar SMART TV, this just might be where TV is really headed. TV is getting a IQ upgrade with these SMART TVs. We're all able to watch TV shows on computers anyway, so this integration makes great sense.

Maybe regular TV will soon get phased out (or die!), and all TVs will have become smarter. Maybe this will also have an impact on TV broadcasting, if more and more people get their 'TV fix' on the internet - perhaps SMART TVs will pave the way for eventual 100% 'broadcasting' over the internet. It is not far-fetched, esp. with TV networks' transition into digital broadcasting; and Youtube, which has practically allowed anyone to 'broadcast' themselves via their own Youtube channels. Apple also came out with the Apple TV (which hasn't taken off as much as we'd like), and Google has Google TV too (which deserves a real good look, and maybe a separate post).

Google's Eric Schmidt talks about the Google TV
Still, more and more TV brands are venturing into SMART TVs. I realize this may be TVs attempt to not be made totally irrelevant by the computers, and the other communication products fighting for people's attention - like the Ipad for example. (Or Samsung's own Galaxy Tab).

The Samsung SMART TV is a first of what will probably be several evolutions of the SMART TV - be it from Samsung or other TV manufacturers. Check out the Samsung website to see what it promises to deliver.

P.S. Recently, I entered into a contest to win a Samsung SMART TV. My entry is about the '7 Ways to Loving a Samsung SMART TV'. Apart of listing the 7 Ways, I also posted a video that is a tribute to what the Samsung SMART TV can do for us. Check it out! :) And wish me luck. :)

My Samsung Love: Counting the Ways to Loving a Samsung SMART TV

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Mind Museum: The First World-Class Science Museum in the Philippines

Experience science come alive in The Mind Museum, the first world-class science museum in the Philippines. It will open in December 2011 and shall be located inside the Fort, in Taguig, Philippines.

The Mind Museum: Coming in December 2011
I first found out about this project a few years ago in the newspaper, and was excited about it, being fond of science and science museums. I was sold to their vision:
"To build a home for science and to make it the FIRST WORLD-CLASS SCIENCE MUSEUM in the Philippines." 
As the project's vision also states, they want to make it a "defining legacy that will give the next generation the wings to fly against the challenge of a future shaped largely by service and technology." Having experienced state-of-the-art science museums in the U.S., I knew it was time for something like it to be experienced by many Filipinos.

The museum, which is already nearing completion, will feature 5 galleries within its 2 levels. They are:
The Story of the Universe: Its Beginning and Majesty
The Story of the Earth: Its Story Across the Breadth of Time
The Story of Life: The Exuberant Varieties of Life
The Story of the Atom: The Strange World of the Very Small
The Story of Technology: The Showcase of Human Ingenuity
"With over 250 inter-active “minds-on” and hands-on exhibits, the museum will be a venue that will present science as entertaining, fun, and engaging," the Mind Museum website states.

Support The Mind Museum
Building a museum of this caliber is a big project. Its cost is in the P1 billion. It has already achieved great strides in making happen what it has at the moment - thanks to several corporate, private and individual sponsors who support the vision. You too can help! For as little as P1,000, you can donate and help build The Mind Museum. See here for details. Once you donate, you get to have a star, planet or galaxy named after you or a name you nominate, in their virtual exhibits. I am happy to declare that I am a proud sponsor too! :)

Donate, Volunteer, Spread the Word!
Minds at Work Campaign: Be the first to experience The Mind Museum
On behalf of the museum, I invite you to support this project by spreading the word about it and yes, making a donation. When you donate based on these mechanics, you may get invited to be among the first to experience The Mind Museum’s first exhibit testing event called 'Minds at Work'. This will be on May 26, 2011 at the NBC Tent, Bonifacio Global City. Get a chance to manipulate and play with a varied selection of exciting and engaging exhibit pieces that will give you a foretaste of the science fascination that will greet you when the museum is completed this December. This privilege is open to the first 75 donors only. Hurry! Read the mechanics here.

Opportunity for Bloggers: Cover this Event!
Would you like to cover this event on May 26? The event is exclusive for donors, but we also need bloggers to help cover it on the May 26, 3-5PM slot. How do you get invited to cover this event?
  1. Read up on The Mind Museum,
  2. Make a great blog post about The Mind Museum, with specific mention of the Minds at Work event and donation mechanics,
  3. Link this Ten Minutes, Tops! post, the The Mind Museum and the Minds at Work mechanics to your blog post,
  4. Click the 'Like' button below for the Ten Minutes Tops! Facebook Fan page, or go directly to the fan page to 'Like' it:
    Ten Minutes, Tops! Blog (
  5. Post a link of your blog post at the Ten Minutes Tops Fan Page, and
  6. Email me the link of your blog post at this address: Indicate subject 'The Mind Museum'. Please also include your Full Name, Blog Address, Email address, and Mobile Number.
That's it!

I will raffle off the invite to 4 bloggers who will help promote the museum though their blogs. This is a great opportunity to lend your gifts to a good cause, and to help promote science in the country, esp. among the young.

Deadline of entries is on May 15. Selected bloggers will be announced on May 16. When you win, you will be one of only 10 bloggers invited to this exciting event. 6 slots already filled; you could be one of the 4 others! The schedule for bloggers will be on May 26, 2011 from 3 - 5PM.

Join now! :)

051711 Updates: Congratulations to the following winners who will get to experience The Mind Museum via Minds at Work on May 26 at 3-5PM. They are:

Lloyd Salac
Liezl de Ocampo 
Dennis Esplana
Daryll Dial-Villena

Thanks to everyone who participated and helped promote The Mind Museum.

Book Recommendations:
The Backyard Astronomer's Guide
Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide (Wiley Self-Teaching Guides)
NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe