Monday, October 6, 2014

Back to Blogging

I have, over the past several years, have disappeared from the blogosphere only to return again.

I don't really like to make promises anymore. I have told several of my viewers that I'd be consistently blogging again, only to fall short of fulfilling that promise because of things beyond my control. I don't have the time I used to have, and with my new role, I am finding less time even for myself.

I have also stopped regularly watching TV shows for some reason. True, I download episodes, but I have lost the interest to religiously wait for daily or weekly episodes; I watch them all in one go, if possible. But I'd be a hypocrite to say I no longer watch TV. I am an avid fan of Game of Thrones and Modern Family. Oh yes, Glee, but not as much as before.

In my spare time, I sleep and eat. And play The Sims 3. I have played this game since the first one came out in 2000. Yes, I have not upgraded to the latest release because of the bad reviews from the gaming community. A lot of the fans of the game felt bad with the changes made to the system, but many of the features were welcomed anyway. That gave me a good idea. I'll post some screenshots of my Sims character.

And then, there's Diablo 3. Yes, it is hack-and-slash, but there's that sense of fulfillment one gets when he is able to mortally inflict damage on his enemies, more so, the big bosses at the end of every act. Thanks to Diablo 3, I researched the backstories of the prime evils and how the mythology of the game actually reflects many Near Eastern references.

But yeah, I will be posting more often.

Who Killed Your Favorite Soap Opera, and Why?

As any soap opera fan can tell you, following your favorite daytime drama becomes an integral part of your life. Many soaps have been on the air for decades with the same set of charismatic characters. Over time, it can begin to feel like they're part of your own family, so how could anyone want to see the magic end?

According to ratings, the mighty soap opera has risen to power once again, but not so long ago, we saw favorites like "All My Children," "As the World Turns" and "Guiding Light" get shot down in cold blood. The brutal murder of serial daytime drama made little sense to fans. From the days when laundry soap ads punctuated marital chaos to the introduction of the first gay characters, the soap opera genre has always held its own, but suddenly, beloved soaps were dropping like flies. Was something sinister at work from within?

Fashioned in film noir style, "Who Shot the Daytime Soap" explores the initial rise, tumultuous fall and resurgence of daytime dramas and asks why industry insiders and others would want to sabotage such a lucrative and popular television genre.

Fall of the Mighty Soap Genre

Over the past five years, soap operas have experienced an unprecedented collapse. In the 1980s, 14 powerful network soap operas were going strong. Now there are only four. "The Young and the Restless," "General Hospital," "Days of Our Lives" and "The Bold and the Beautiful" are the only survivors that retained enough of their fan base and network support to stay around. Even "Guiding Light," which ran for 60 years and is listed in Guinness World Records as the longest-running television drama in history, got the ax in 2009. Fans weren't the only ones shocked by the demise of beloved soaps. Even some of the shows' top actors and actresses felt blind sighted. Factors like actors' salaries and sponsor reluctance were only known to insiders. Few people suspected that some network executives may have wanted to see the shows fail. To the hordes of outraged fans, there was no justification for massacring an American tradition.

Uncovering the Truth About the Demise of Soap Operas

Executive producer Jim Romanovich, president of worldwide media at Associated Television International (ATI), and writer, director and producer Robert Corsini tackle the mystery in the TVGN documentary "Who Shot the Daytime Soap." The show premiered December 16, 2013 with a sneak peek earlier in the day. It featured interviews with 40 longtime soap veterans such as Susan Lucci and Alicia Minshew from "All My Children" and Linda Dano from "Another World." Even Kathryn Leigh Scott from the long gone 1970s gothic drama "Dark Shadows" had a word or two to say. Maria Arena Bell and Julie Carruthers, soap opera executives who some have blamed for the downfall of soaps, added their own perspectives to the mix. According to Romanovich, the daytime drama industry is far from black and white. Only insiders know what executives are truly up against, and even those who made decisions that ultimately led to failure of a show had passion for the industry and attempted to do their best.

How Can Soaps Stay Alive?

Romanovich claims the documentary is a cautionary tale for networks, production companies, writers, producers, actors and even fans. To keep a show running, it is necessary to maintain traction, loyalty and commitment. Like anything else in the ever-changing television business, soaps were never really safe or permanent. With the advent of Internet entertainment and waning relevancy of daytime serial dramas, networks have to foster enthusiasm and protect the genre. The timing of the documentary coincides with renewed interest in popular shows like ABC's "General Hospital" and NBC's "Days of Our Lives" as well as new web serials, so despite the sad undercurrent of the story, viewers will enjoy a happy ending.

A Five-Year Project

Romanovich claims that he spent five years trying to finish the documentary. ATI provided capital, and co-executive producer Robert Corsini wrote the show. With its retro feel and gangster-style graphics, "Who Shot the Daytime Soap" is a fun but serious look into the heartbreaking murder of seemingly unstoppable daytime television dramas. Its ending gives hope to soap fans and leaves room for a sequel. Romanovich says there is plenty of material left over.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Two Haikus

The rain falls slowly
The skies are dark and gloomy
Like my wounded heart

In the dark I feel
Alone I cherish the pain
Of seeing you go

Monday, November 19, 2012

Suggestions for GMA News TV

The first free-to-air news channel on VHF TV promised to revolutionize news viewing, and while GMA News and Public Affairs is the undisputed leader in Philippine news, GMA News TV has a lot to learn from international news channels.

Set design. GMA News TV should take a cue from international news organizations like CNN, Al-Jazeera and BBC. Why not use the news department as a backdrop for some of the news programs and hourly newsbits? All items on the studio must find use and not merely serve as a décor.

Lower-third and over-the-shoulder graphics. Most of GMA News TV lower-third and over-the-shoulder graphics are a bit amateurish. There are too many colors; the graphics look like crayon-themed. Minimalist look is in. This is how CNN and BBC do their lower thirds. Use colors that complement each other or are monochromatic. Increase font sizes of headlines and decrease the font size of the news ticker. Better to use the down-style instead of all caps for headlines. Finally, flush left looks more professional than center-justified text.

Programming. Most of GMA News TV is documentaries. But news programs aren’t always documentaries. Here are alternative programs that can be aired on the TV channel.
  • Business news. A program that discusses the current goings-on in business. The program should include an analysis of stock trends, profitable business opportunities, and other business and economy news. A summary of the day’s business news could also be included on State of the Nation. Hire business analysts or have Vicky Morales, who started out as a business correspondent for GMA Network News anchor the daily news program. On the other hand, Mariz Umali could serve as business correspondent. 
  • Weather news. Aside from a daily summary, GMA News TV could also have a thirty-minute weather program. Weather news should not only include the Metro Manila weather report but also the weather in other key cities in the Philippines, in Asia and around the world. While rainfall, wind and tide forecasts should be included in the daily news reports, a discussion of other weather systems around Asia and the world may also be included in the program. The weather report on State of the Nation should include 6:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 6:00 PM and 12:00 AM temperature, rainfall, wind and tide forecasts for Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao. There should also be a three-day or five-day weather forecast for Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao plus sunrise and sunset times. In addition, for those traveling abroad, weather in key Asian and world cities. Nathaniel Cruz could serve as chief weather correspondent and senior meteorologist, but he can’t handle all the load himself. Thus, for this boosted weather report, train some GMA reporters in weather reporting or hire additional meteorologists. 
  • Sports news. Boxing and basketball are not the only sports in the Philippines. The reason for the low sports IQ of many Filipinos is that they do not get exposed to other sports. A daily dose of what’s happening in the PBA, UAAP, NCAA, NBA, FIFA, NHL, NFL as well as news from other sports like athletics, swimming, F1 racing, can be discussed in this thirty-minute or one-hour show. Sports should also be covered on State of the Nation. Let Mark Zambrano handle this news program and be GMA’s sports correspondent. 
  • International news. A lot of important foreign news is not being reported on Philippine TV. A one-hour daily round-up of foreign news deserves to be on GMA News TV. A section on international news should likewise be present on State of the Nation. Mariz Umali or Pia Arcangel can anchor. 
  • Entertainment news. Luanne Dy can anchor a news program ala-Entertainment Today. It should have both local and international entertainment news. 
  • An English late-night broadcast. Revive Review Philippines and make it a daily news program. Make it an all-English broadcast with Joel Reyes Zobel at the helm. Or, if there will be a female anchor alongside, Mariz Umali could partner with Joel Reyes Zobel. This can essentially be an English version of State of the Nation, only more summarized. 
  • A morning news and lifestyle show. Unang Hirit takes its format from Today and Good Morning America, but a morning news program on GMA News TV should be perkier and meatier. Isabelle Daza, Solenn Heussaff, Drew Arellano, Mikael Daez can anchor, while Pia Arcangel and Chino Gaston can anchor the news section. 
  • A replay of CBS Evening News. There used to be a replay of the CBS Evening News on QTV. Perhaps, this can be revived. The newscast can be aired back-to-back with News-to-Go.
  • Programs like Amanpour and Anderson Cooper 360. GMA has several well-respected news reporters and anchors who could serve as anchors for programs like Amanpour and Anderson Cooper 360. Kara David could anchor a program ala-Amanpour, while Howie Severino could helm a show like Anderson Cooper 360.
  • State of the Nation. Instead of being an “improved” version of 24 Oras, State of the Nation should present itself as a newscast that has a different culture. Less focus on minor news items like minor robberies, local crimes and traffic accidents. Greater focus on news items that matter: politics, business, weather, science, international news and sports. Section dividers should be used for separate sections of the program. Tap special correspondents for the special sections: Mariz Umali to report on business and economy, Mark Zambrano to report on sports, and Luanne Dy on Philippine and international entertainment.
Most news programs on free TV employ a tabloid-style reporting. GMA News TV should avoid this. While it should reach out to the masses, perhaps GMA News TV should also educate them to inspire them and motivate them to overcome poverty.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Temptation of Wife: A Review

Tonight, viewers witnessed the pilot episode of the Philippine remake of Temptation of Wife. The original Korean series was well-loved by Filipino viewers, so to a certain extent, many are expecting this remake to be better or at least at par with the original. However, the news of major changes to the story sent shockwaves to fans who wanted the remake to be as faithful as possible to the original. When the first teasers were released, many frowned upon them because they failed in comparison with the glossy teasers of a TV program on ABS-CBN. But today, Temptation of Wife proves that while it is a retelling of the original hit, there is so much promise to this old tale of friendship, betrayal, love, and revenge.

Cinematography. The TV series uses a multi-camera setup and employs many long, steadicam, and tracking shots, and the staple extreme close-ups in Philippine TV dramas. While some scenes could have employed more non-traditional camera angles and shots, when the show uses these non-traditional strategies, they are effective in expressing the emotions and meanings intended. Such examples include the long shot of the Salcedo Mansion and the University, and the bird’s eye view perspective on Marcel and his mom Stella (Cherie Gil).

 Marcel drives his convertible to school.

 The Salcedo Mansion.

In addition, there were scenes that employed a shallow depth of field, in effect, putting focus on the subjects and blurring out everyone else in the background and the foreground. Aside from camera work, locations were carefully selected to showcase a distinction in social class, or to help reinforce the meaning of a particular scene. Nevertheless, the show has its flaws. At times, camera work seemed dizzying. There were also scenes where cinematic techniques such as master shots and long shots seemed inappropriate and in turn made the scenes look static. Commendable, though, was the show’s use of high-definition film cameras that made the show look crisp and glossy.

Music. The original Korean hit is probably well-remembered for its perky and highly-emotional instrumental music. The remake retained the original music and added some really good ones. The vocal track used as a background to a pivotal scene involving two of the leads, Angeline Santos (played by Marian Rivera) and Marcel Salcedo (portrayed by Dennis Trillo), was very emotional. The song, sung by Kyla, sounded a bit like Mariah Carey’s My All or Regine Velasquez-Alcasid’s Sa Aking Pag-iisa, though there’s not much surprise there because she has has a vocal timbre similar to the two divas.

Sound Editing. For the first time in a local soap opera, the characters’ voices are not drowned in and by the ambient noises. The actors’ dialogs are crisp and audible, and there is a clear distinction between the background sounds, background music and the dialogs. There is also a depiction of distance and depth. Thus, sound editing is truly remarkable.

Screenplay. While it is an adaptation, there were several changes made to the remake, much to the dismay of the show’s original fans. Many of these alterations to the original story were made in order to adapt the show to a more emotional Filipino society. Thus, flashback scenes involving the childhood of Angeline and Heidi Fernandez (Glaiza De Castro), which were not in the original, had to be injected in the remake to provide a more Pinoy flavor to the series. However, there are many drawbacks to having used this device in the pilot. The use of flashbacks made the first part of the pilot episode seem to drag a bit, striking a sharp comparison with the pace of the second half. In fact, the entire episode could have survived without the entire flashback.

Young Angeline combs the hair of young Heidi in a flashback scene.

Nevertheless, the pace of the second half is commendable. The writers managed to narrate the story spanning days, weeks and months in minutes. Aside from the pace, the use of several narration and literary devices is likewise praiseworthy. For example, the breaking of several wine glasses and the falling of linens in the opening scenes as well as the fireworks display at the end reinforced the meaning, emotion and drama of the succeeding scenes. While the revenge plot is one that is tried-and-tested, since there will be departures from the original Korean, these changes must be done to improve the quality of the story. Thus, writing should be very consistent so that the plot will not be convoluted, as is the case in many Philippine TV dramas.

Glasses break as if warning the crowd of an impending tempest between the leads, Angeline and Heidi.

Angeline faces Heidi at a party while linens fall in the background.

Fireworks at a New Year's Eve Party as Angeline reveals she is carrying Marcel's child.

Wardrobe and costume design. The show takes a cue from the Korean original with regard to the characters’ fashion sense. Angeline dresses simply and is often in a school uniform. Rich bachelor Marcel, on the other hand, is shown to be sporting vests, polo shirts and bow ties, making him look like an Ivy League scholar. Stella Salcedo (Cherie Gil), is also simply dressed, though, she is more elegant than Angeline because her clothes are so much more expensive. And in a similar fashion, social class distinction is portrayed by how each of the character is dressed. A standout character is Romeo Salcedo (Raymond Bagatsing), who sports retro fashion. At times, his fashion sense makes him look awkward, but it pretty much jives with the personality Bagatsing portrays.

Though simply dressed, Cherie Gil embodies class as Stella Salcedo.

Acting. As expected, commendable performances were delivered by Trillo (as Marcel), De Castro (as Heidi), Gil (as Stella), Bagatsing (as Romeo) and Rivera (as Angeline).

Angeline fondly remembers Marcel's courtship in some flashback scenes.

In particular, Rivera effectively depicted the innocence and frailty of the show’s protagonist, Angeline. She carefully and powerfully musters all the innocence within her to appropriately portray her role of a simple woman who eventually vows vengeance against those who wrong her.

Heidi attempts to digest the fact that Marcel may not be the man for her.

De Castro is also highly commendable for her role. While she is not new to portraying antagonistic roles, her character, Heidi, is a cut above all the anti-hero roles she has portrayed as she has never been this convincingly evil or tempting. And though the child actors appeared only very briefly, they were very effective. There is also a striking similarity in the facial features of the young Heidi (Mary Joy Gula) and De Castro.

Editing. In terms of continuity of scenes, Temptation of Wife has little areas of opportunity. The show uses fades and wipes or even a change in background music to depict a change in scene or a switch to a flashback.

Direction. On the whole, the show is really only as good as its director. So far, for a first episode, it seems as if Temptation of Wife is the best that Dominic Zapanta has handled.

While Temptation of Wife shows great promise because of a good first episode, it does have its share of opportunity areas that need to be addressed in order for the show to be consistently good, and for it not to fall prey to a decline in quality in succeeding episodes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Planning and Hosting a Conference

In many big companies, hosting conventions and being part of conferences is something expected for many of its top-level and upper-echelon employees. Through a conference or a convention, employees can come together and express their opinions, post suggestions or showcase developments and upcoming improvements, changes and advancements that a department or the company will be working on in the coming year. Many companies hold these conventions on a regular basis—quarterly, semi-annually, or yearly, depending on the needs, bandwidth, importance and impact of such. In many occasions, participants from departments, branches and sections in far and maybe offshore locations are given shuttles for their transportation to the venue.

Preparation for these conferences can be difficult. One should first and foremost consider the theme of the event because the theme will set the mood for the activities, speeches, discussions and even lectures. After the theme has been discussed, choosing the appropriate venue for the event is probably the next important thing to work on. The venue of the convention dictates whether convention transportation will be made available to attendees who will be coming from far away—and sometimes off shore—sites and branches. Choosing the venue also means choosing the date, the menu and the décor to match the theme of the conference. In the meantime, chosen speakers are contacted for speeches and activities they will be facilitating and providing on the day of the convention. But logistics and other seemingly trivial items such as conference badges, presentation decks, electrical power, computers, music, lights and the sound system shouldn’t be left out since many of these contribute to how things can go wrong to a well-planned event. Thus, it is important that the overall coordinator ensures that all preparations for the event are done in such a way as to foresee all possible unprecedented circumstances that may happen on the day itself. It is also his task to properly supervise his team and divide the tasks appropriately so that a big whole is subsequently split into smaller parts that are more manageable and easier to troubleshoot.

Nevertheless, proper planning and quick response usually save the day. And the event will always be something that participants will cherish, especially, if the goals of the convention have been accomplished to their satisfaction.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Temptation of Wife (The Philippine Remake)

GMA Network will be airing a remake of the hit Korean TV drama, Temptation of Wife.

Primetime Queen Marian Rivera, will be top-billing the adaptation. She will be Angeline, a role first played by Korean superstar, Jang Seo Hee, who bagged the Dae Sang in the 2009 SBS Drama Awards for her outstanding performance in the TV drama.

Marian will be joined by Alessandra De Rossi, who takes on the role of the antagonist, Heidi; Dennis Trillo, Angeline's husband, Marcel; and for the first time on GMA, Rafael Rosell, who will star as Nigel.

Here are some fanpics I created in anticipation of the Philippine remake.

The last picture is based on the cover of the original soundtrack.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Great Resource for New and Used Cars

Arguably, for those looking for cars, the main concern is not only the model or the brand. Many of the cars out there have fairly similar features, colors and designs. While one car boasts of fuel economy, another may boast of comfort and other in-car features. Of course, the more seasoned a buyer is, the more he is interested to know these things, but for either the first-time or the returning buyer, it’s mostly the price that matters. Fortunately, the Internet is a great resource for looking for reliable dealers of new and used cars. I stumbled upon a website that provides great deals on the cars they sell. is a wonderful website to visit for both the car enthusiast and the budget-conscious shopper. With over thousands of new and certified pre-owned cars at 39 locations around the country, they are thus the most convenient. On their site, a visitor can search by make, style and price, making it easy for him to find the car which appeals most to him. Furthermore, as there are dealerships available across the country, the car buyer can immediately get his car of choice from a dealership next to him. For example, for those in Utah, they can check out Honda cars at the Ken Garff Honda Orem. Meanwhile, Volvos are available in Salt Lake City, through Ken Garff Volvo.

So visit and experience ease and excitement when you shop for your next car.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Math Quiz

What is the equation of the curve, h(x) oscillating between f(x) and g(x)? In other words, h(x) = f(x) for even integral values of x and h(x) = g(x) for odd integral values of x? The values of h(x) for non-integral x are on the oscillatory curve shown. 

Actually, curves such as this, are important in analog communication theory. The amplitude modulation (AM) wave is actually special case of this curve.

Effective Employee Monitoring

I often read tech blogs and surf the web for innovative ideas and fresh concepts to blog about. I found that this practice is indeed very helpful, as I have discovered many new solutions to daily problems through bloghopping. Just recently, I stumbled upon a very innovative website that offers a cost-effective way to manage employee performance through utmost transparency. 

My Team Monitor allows managers and leaders to effectively and efficiently monitor their staff. This is done by tracking how and when employees work. Employee monitor software is installed in employee workstations to aid employee management. 

One way the software does this is by taking regular screenshots of employee activities on their computers. Aside from screenshots, the employee monitoring software also tracks mouse clicks, keystrokes and an employee’s total worked hours. These are sent to their supporting leaders and managers who can view these screenshots and other reports to review employee performance, on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. This allows trends of inactivity, non-utilization and idle time to be observed. 

Thus, those who are worthy could be more appropriately rewarded, while those who are challenged could be coached and mentored to perform more efficiently and effectively. 

My Team Monitor is really a simple, yet innovative way to work remotely with confidence and transparency. I know that business leaders, executives and managers will realize that this software will be a valuable tool for business.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Amaya: A Show Like No Other

The tale of Amaya, the most powerful ruler of her time, is a beautiful—and to a certain extent, poignant—story, set amid the pre-Spanish colonial period. It weaves an intricate plot with elements of suspense, action, drama and comedy, against the majestic culture, tradition and history that many Filipinos have either unimagined or forgotten.

Amaya is the tale of a binukot—a “kept” princess born out of the love of a nobleman and a slave—who herself turned into a slave because of the untimely death of her father. Amaya vowed revenge against the ruler who killed him, not knowing at first that it was her fate to do so, as she was born with a twin snake. And in the course of eight months, television audiences witnessed how she graduated from being a slave, to becoming a shaman-in-training, to becoming a warrior. While she eventually exacted revenge upon her father’s murderer, she realized that the true enemy was not him but her father’s wife.

Without a doubt, the cinematography of Amaya is probably one of the best in Philippine dramas to date. Aerial shots are used in almost episode, putting emphasis on the beautiful sceneries and big-scale fighting sequences. At times, tracking shots are used, although there are scenes where they could have been employed but have not. In tear-jerking scenes as is typical with soap operas in the Philippines, the camera focuses on the facial expressions of actors, zooming in on their faces to emphasize the emotions portrayed.

The background music of Amaya involves the use of traditional Filipino instruments. Amaya’s main theme is energizing; it evokes a sense of excitement and thrill through its upbeat tempo. At times, the characters in Amaya express their emotions in the form of songs; our ancestors are music lovers and songs are the highest form of emotional expression. There are some background songs that sound as if they were recorded using MIDI instruments instead of the real McCoy. The show could have also resorted to using a gamelan or kulintang ensemble, if not for a full orchestra, for some of its background songs. Nevertheless, Amaya’s music is overall exciting and beautiful.

While Amaya boasts of a good cinematography and beautiful music, Amaya’s main strengths are its screenplay, acting and design. The script is generally unpredictable; fans have tried to guess the course of action of the plot without success. The story is intelligently-written, though at times the story suffered because of loopholes in subplots necessitated by its extension. Nonetheless, on the whole, the plot is solidly composed. It is also consistent with Philippine pre-Spanish history written in history textbooks used in school.

The characters themselves were well-written. Many of the characters were nonlinear; one character may not be typecast as “bad” or “good”, as their actions were relative to the circumstances surrounding them. For example, Rajah Mangubat, the fierce ruler who killed Amaya’s father, Dat’u Bugna, was also shown to be a loving husband and a wise ruler revered by his subjects. The chief shaman, Hilway, at times showed altruism and wisdom, but at the same time selfishness and ego. Other characters like Marikit, Binayaan and Mantal, are nonlinear, too. Lamitan, on the other hand, is a character shown throughout the series as the polar opposite of Amaya; but in reality she possesses intelligence, confidence and power that Amaya herself has.

The characters are well-portrayed as they are well-written. Performances from Gina Alajar as Lamitan, Glaiza De Castro as Binayaan, Ayen Munji as Lingayan, Angie Ferro as Hilway and Sid Lucero as Bagani are among the most unforgettable. They fit their roles to a T. It’s a visual feast to see how these actors act; in fact, Lamitan is currently the most hated woman on Philippine television. But, if there is one other person aside from her who deserves credit the most for a magnificent portrayal, that person would be Marian Rivera. She showed audiences that she is capable of evoking countless emotions—from a frail princess who cried like a princess on her father’s deathbed, to a fierce warrior who looked Lamitan in the eye as if she would consume her whole. As Amaya’s story spanned years, her portrayal of the lead character likewise showed development and maturity. Even if this show was conceived for her, to date, not one actress could match Marian’s portrayal of the title role.

Amaya is historical fiction. Thus it is not surprising that costumes, sets, and even artifacts used in the production were researched and crafted meticulously. Even the finest and the most trivial details were studied to give the series a genuine pre-colonial feel. Ancient traditions were portrayed as they are documented in history annals and archives. It's nice that all those empirical and vague concepts you learn in your History class find embodiment and physical form through Amaya. In fact, as religion, culture and tradition are interwoven into history, it is understandable that several mystical elements find their way to the story. Ancient beliefs such as a giant snake named Bakunawa engulfing the moon during an eclipse, powerful amulets, and special abilities such as calling on the spirits for help and walking on water are effectively portrayed in the show. History tells us of many supernatural tales that many hold true even today. When Amenhotep IV, Egyptian pharaoh, dreamed of the one god named Aton, he abandoned the polytheistic ways of the empire and worshiped him only, even changing his name to Akhenaton to show his change of belief. His nephew and successor, Tutankhaton was renamed Tutankhamen after Akhenaton's death. Constantine the Great, at the Battle of Milvian Bridge, saw a cross in the sky with the inscription, in hoc signo vinces (in this sign, conquer). That changed the course of the losing battle and also helped free the Christians from oppression. Or how about Joan of Arc's vision from God that she should lead the French troops so that the dauphin may be proclaimed King of France during the Hundred Years' War? Supernatural events plague history. Some are explained by science, but most are, well, supernatural.

To top it all, Amaya showcases values often forgotten or belittled by Filipinos today. It upholds love, friendship, loyalty and nationalism. For me, Amaya makes a call to many Filipinos who have often looked down on our heritage to be proud of our rich past. We are a country rich in culture and tradition, civilized even before the Spaniards came. We can look back at our past to inspire us to move forward into the future. And we can learn from Amaya so we too can become heroes in our own right.

A TV program entertains. A good TV program informs. A better TV program entertains and informs. An excellent TV program entertains well and informs much.

Amaya, for me, is an excellent TV program. One of the finest we've had in a while.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Great Deals on Your Favorite Shows

There are a lot of reasons to reserve tickets this coming season. Perhaps some would be getting Ringling Brothers Circus Tickets, or Radio City Christmas Spectacular Tickets or maybe Jersey Boys Tickets to celebrate the Holidays, an anniversary or a birthday. Whatever occasion to celebrate, ticket prices should never be a hindrance, because you deserve to enjoy that special day.

Several online options are available. Smart shoppers should always look for the best deals online in order to maximize finances while enjoying the show.

So think smart. Shop online for your Harlem Globetrotters Tickets and maybe you’ll get more money to save up for those Boston Bruins Tickets you’ve always wanted.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Why the Fuss?

Lately, there has been some clamor on the inaccuracy of the storytelling of Amaya. Apparently, some groups are complaining that there is an incorrect depiction of the binukot tradition in the first-of-its-kind Philippine TV series. Personally, I don't get the reason why there is this fuss about Amaya's historical accuracy. Sources for the background of the story of Amaya have been cited by the writer, Suzette Doctolero, numerous times. History professors are consulted with even the most minute of details. Also, the show is a fictional story with a historical background; the reason why it's called historical fiction. The story was developed by putting together clues from our not-too-documented past, since Philippine ancient history was usually in the oral tradition (not that our ancestors were illiterate).

However, even foreign historical series are so full of artistic liberties to make the story appealing and exciting to its viewers. For example, we know of King Henry VIII as the polygamous monarch of England, but much of what is mentioned in the TV series, The Tudors is far from real. For example, King Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn when he was in his 40s, but in the series, the infamous king married her at a younger age. Physically fit Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who was chosen to portray King Henry VIII, is also far from the fat, bearded king.

According to some ancient Korean sources like the Samguk Sagi, the birth of Jumong, founding monarch of the Kingdom of Goguryeo, was legendary. He hatched from an egg which resulted from the union of Hae Mosu and Yuh Wah, the daughter of the river god. However, in the Korean historical drama, Jumong, Lady Yuh Wah, and the warrior Hae Mosu were mere mortals. Jumong’s son and heir in the series, Yuri, is also now thought to be a usurper of the throne because it puzzled historians why Jumong died only five months after his son’s arrival in Goguryeo.

Because of the scarcity of details about the life of the first female doctor to the king, the writer of Jewel in the Palace depicted Jang Geum as a deposed palace chef who struggled to study medicine despite the dominance of men in that field. In the annals of the Joseon Dynasty, there is never any mention of her serving as a palace cook. In another Korean historical series, Deokman rose to power after struggling for what is rightfully hers. While the story is perfect for a colorful TV drama, nothing in the Samguk Sagi is mentioned of her struggles before becoming Queen Seon Deok of Silla.

Academy Award Winning film Ben-Hur talks about the story of two friends, who eventually become rivals because of beliefs in their own governments and religions. While the story is set during the time of Jesus, the events and even some of the characters in the story are purely fictitious. Another Academy Award winning film also draws inspiration from history, yet weaves a beautiful fictional story of love, courage and sacrifice: Titanic. The shipwreck did happen, and some of the characters in the movie were historical figures, yet the leads Rose and Jack were entirely a product of a creative mind.

Amaya intends to tell a beautiful story of the struggles of a woman in a time dominated by men while masterfully revealing the colorful Pre-Hispanic history of our nation. If we stick to that premise, we wouldn’t need to bother ourselves with petty issues taken out of context of the story and production.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

150 Years of Dr José Rizal

June 19, 2011, marks the 150th Birth Anniversary of Philippine national hero, Dr. José Protacio Rizal.

A man way ahead of his time, Rizal--or as his friends would fondly call him, Pepe--was gifted with talent for art and literature. But apart from merely creating literary works that other writers of his generation did, he used his talent to promote an idea, that of nationalism, of love for one's own country. He chose to use his gift not for personal gain, but for the good of his fellow men. It was very easy for him to merely choose himself over his countrymen; he was born of a wealthy family and he was educated, having graduated from some of the finest schools in the country. He could have used his talents for international recognition, but wherever he went, he longed for the sake of the country.

I admire him for who he is. And that is why José Rizal is my hero.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Online Tickets?

One of my closest friends has once told me that if one can, he must watch at least one major concert or sporting event in life, because he may never know when that event will present itself again in the future. I agree with him a hundred percent. For this year alone, there are several major events to look forward to, from major concerts to major sports events. For starters, try to look up the event schedules of your favorite music artists online.

Your search engine tells you that Alicia Keys will be at the Beacon Theatre on June 30. Wish you had Beacon Theatre tickets to her concert? Or Honda Center tickets for The Lord of the Rings In Concert: The Fellowship of the Ring on October 15? How about Madison Square Garden tickets for the November 14 Josh Groban concert? No matter what up and coming event there may be, one can never be sure about tickets and seats as prices can be steep especially for major concert and sporting events.

Good thing, there’s A Cheap Seat. A Cheap Seat provides cheaper options compared to many online ticket resellers. They provide tickets and seats to many events across the country, including major championships or concerts. Every day, they have great deals on premium event tickets! So whether you’re getting Nassau Coliseum tickets to see the cast of Glee live in concert, or Staples Center Tickets to see the Los Angeles Lakers in their home court, there could be no other option.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Fashion Schools: Why Not?

A good friend of mine once told me that fashion helps people express their feelings, emotions, desires, place in the society, beliefs and ideas that it actually reveals a lot about the true nature of people; fashion defines the individual. I firmly believe this. I have friends who have an optimistic view on life who showcase their positivity through the clothes and accessories they wear. Likewise, I have friends from the other end of the pole; they highlight their pessimism by wearing dark and subdued apparel.

Still, individuality does not make an excuse for people to become fashion victims just because they feel that they want to wear the clothes they wear. I’d like to think of this as something like democracy, where citizens enjoy certain privileges and perks because they are governed by the will of the people, but even so, they still have rules, laws and obligations to attend to.

A lot of attention has lately been given to fashion. Fashion TV programs have sprouted like mushrooms; fashion reality TV shows are some of the most popular programs today. But while fashion can be learned on TV, it’s still best to learn fashion by enrolling in fashion stylist schools or escuelas de estilistas as there are plenty of things that get edited out because of the time. And as demand for fashion increases in our cosmopolitan world, enrolling in fashion schools will not only ensure someone to be in style, but will also open doors to employment and compensation opportunities.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Rainy Weekend?

The weather for the past few days has been unpredictable. According to the news, a storm will be hitting the metro, but only yesterday was there confirmation that this storm will not hardly hit the country.

My quote for the day is this.

The weak customer chooses the understandable rack.

As to what that statement means, I also don't know.

But of course, I'll still be on the lookout for changes in the weather. We might not get a rainy weekend after all.

Crowd Control Techniques

Imagine attending a concert of your favorite music artist, say Justin Bieber, or Ne-Yo, or Lady Gaga. There would be so many fans falling in line to get inside the concert venue, as they are anticipating to see their favorite artist perform. While the queues may be really long, the patience of some may not be as long. Or imagine falling in line, waiting for your turn to deposit or withdraw from the bank. The line may not be as long as waiting for your turn to get inside a concert venue, but transactions may take quite long and people may pile up. Or maybe you’re off to the Bahamas, and as you check in you are asked to fall in line to get your boarding pass. But the lines don’t end with the check in. With airport security now much stricter, lines pile up when people submit themselves for routine inspection or even when they board their planes.

To get things organized, specially-trained individuals help organize people queuing up in lines. These highly-trained individuals use crowd control products to get people stay in their lines, while waiting for their turns at the bank, for concerts, political rallies, or even when they check out their stuff at grocery stores or airports. One standard way to enforce crowd control, as well as order, is to use stanchions. Stanchions are retractable belts which use a spring mechanism or a weighted pulley system. They can also be fixed posts, with a decorative velvet rope. Some stanchions even allow customized prints on the belts!

Barricades are also an effective for crowd control. They are primarily used for traffic control, security and privacy. There are different forms of barricades; fence barricades, traffic cones, pipe and drape walls are common examples.

So the next time you watch a concert, or check in for your flight to your vacation destination, stop to look at these crowd control techniques and I’m pretty sure you won’t see them in the same way you saw them before.

High-Rise Commercial Complexes

Commercial units, residential buildings and other high-rise structures and skyscrapers have been steadily on the rise with the demand for more residential, commercial and business establishments. Recent technological advances have allowed for construction of really tall skyscrapers, one of which was the New York City World Trade Center which met its end during the infamous September 11, 2001 attacks, close to ten years ago. Nevertheless, the construction of supertall skyscrapers persists worldwide because of residential, commercial and business demands. As more people move into cities, the demand for housing and jobs increases. That’s why many commercial entities put up their businesses in cities, leasing office space from skyscrapers. Many housing developers likewise construct residential buildings that are close to commercial areas for ease of travel to work.

The Sears Tower

In fact, every day, on my way to work, I see several buildings being constructed not only for business but also for residential use. I take the train and atop, it’s amazing to see how fast construction companies build these buildings; I am in awe at seeing progress almost every day. If these construction companies were to use age-old equipment, then I doubt they’ll be able to meet their deadlines or the demands of the project, so these construction sites use excavators and other heavy construction equipment. Without these companies having used excavators, bulldozers, graders, scrapers, loaders, compactors, conveyors and the like, I doubt they will be able to finish construction in time.

Back to Blogging

It's official. I am going back to blogging.

Through blogging, I am able to express my opinions and views, some of which my viewers may not necessarily agree with.

To begin my post for the day I am posting some Niagara Falls pictures. The pictures were taken from the American side of the falls.

The Horseshoe Falls

A top view shot of the American Falls

The infamous Top of the Falls Restaurant

Equally prominent Hard Rock Niagara

A panorama of the Horseshoe Falls

There's our ride!

The Visitor Center

Inside the Visitor Center

One of the stops in the Niagara Falls tour

The Cave of the Winds, an entrance into the American Falls