MY NEW BLOG: The Ciudadista: Life in the City

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The New York Times > International > Europe > Milton Journal: No Telly in the House? Expect an Official Warning

The New York Times > International > Europe > Milton Journal: No Telly in the House? Expect an Official Warning

In the United Kingdom anyone with a coloured television has to pay a license worth GBP 129 or roughly PHP 12,900. The fee is used to fund the British Broadcasting Company (BBC). I believe this fee is in exchange for commercial free and "quality" BBC television. Caught without a television license will lead to a fine of GBP 1,000 or a jail term.

I think the fee is absurd. I've heard of pay-per-view or pay-tv but this is extreme. Why must a population be forced to pay a fee to fund a service that is not utilised or enjoyed every single day or every time? Since the end of the BBC's monopoly in UK television similar programming are now availbale through "free-to-air" private commerical tv stations and paid services like satellite television.

If someone does not want to watch the news from BBC One he or she can watch it on any ITV channel or Sky News. If you are more of a Coronation Street (ITV) fan than an East Enders (BBC) viewer you are just paying something that you do not enjoy.

According to the hyperlinked article above the BBC will have a charter review by 2006. By then we will know the future of TV licensing in the UK.

I could not imagine a similar system to be used in the Philippines (Thank God!)

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Christmas Day meal table just after a few minutes Posted by Hello

Ube Halaya

Filipino Ube (Purple Yam) Dessert just after a few minutes.

This dessert was done using purple yam sold by Asian stores in New Zealand (frozen) and made the traditional way.Posted by Hello

Chrismas Ham

Christmas Ham for the eve celebration

This was a 6 kilogram ham. It was glaced with home made pineapple syrup.Posted by Hello

Monday, December 20, 2004

Bias - Today's editorial

Bias -

The editorial is a reaction regarding ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs' alleged bias against Fernando Poe Jr.'s presidential campaign. The allegation was made by the candidate's wife, Susan Roces during a live TV interview.

This is my favourite paragraph:

And thus we come to the blind side of perceptual thinking: we only see what we want or are conditioned to see. We do not remember our neighbor's hundred acts of kindness; we only notice the one unfortunate exchange of words. We do not notice the thousands of policemen doing their duty; we only see the cops who take bribes. That, sadly, is the reality.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Which new words would you add to dictionary?

BBC NEWS | Have Your Say | Which new words would you add to dictionary?

My favourite among the suggestions is "Ski" Spending the Kids Inheritance.

Disney's National Treasure is cheesy

Just a few hours ago I watched National Treasure at local cinemaplex.

The movie is about the hunt for the hidden treasure of the Knights Templar.

What I hated were the cheesy clichés and its predictability.

Overall the movie is entertaining.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Poison: the weapon of choice

BBC News: Yushchenko thanks medics for care

In Ukraine it seems that poisoning is the weapon of choice for destroying political opponents.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

House sitting

I've started to house sit for a friend. It is only for three weeks.

I have been requested to do this favour last November. I welcomed this task as it breaks the monotony of my daily routine.

Right now I am using the house's computer operating Linux Mandrake.

The fuzzy-wuzzy-cutie cat here is rubbing its face on my pants. I think its marking me as part of its territory.


Two days ago I receive the Clear Horizon - The Best of Basia CD which I bought from eBay. It was cheap, only USD 9.00 and delivered to my New Zealand address. [I would not be compelled to buy from eBay if there were Basia CDs on music stores here or at least the public library.] Although the CD is used it still looks new and almost no scratches.

Since the CD arrived I've been listening to it since it arrived. I'm still listening to it right now.

I've known Basia Trzetrzelewska since I was young since my father always listen to City Lite 88.3 (a jazz FM radio station now off the air in the Philippines). I think he even owned two albums of her. Since then I have liked her songs and voice. It was not until last month when my interest in her music had a revival.

Basia is a Polish jazz singer. She was the vocalist of the British jazz group "Matt Bianco." Since the late 1980s she started a solo career with the help of Danny White.

She's been gone from the musical limelight since I think the later half of the 90s. Yesterday I saw her on a video about Matt Bianco. I believe the group is back again and planning some tours in 2005. (Source: Matt Bianco News)

BASIA lyrics

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

franchise tax or per 6 second billing

ABS-CBN News: Telco franchise tax nixed, VAT hike eyed

On the hyperlinked news report above from ABS-CBN News Palawan Congressman Abraham Mitra of the Liberal Party challenged the mobile phone companies in the Philippines to accept per pulse (every 6 second) billing if they do not want to accept the proposed franchise tax.

Mr. Mitra said that the franchise tax measure was an indirect method to recover the billions of pesos earned by cellphone companies from their per minute charging. You see when your voice call over a mobile phone in the Philippines lasts for only one minute and one second you will be charged for the the second minute that you have not completely used. [Last year Vodafone New Zealand and Telecom Mobile changed its tariff system so now a caller will only have to pay for the first whole minute and then charged per second.]

It would be recalled that the cash strapped Philippine central government is urging the passage of additional tax measures to generate more funds. One of these measures is a proposed franchise tax to telcos which the industry strongly refuse.

Moreover, the government of Mrs. Arroyo is thinking of increasing the Value Added Tax from 10 to 11 percent.

When asked about the planned increase in taxes my mother always say that she would not mind paying a little more. She believes that so long as the tax will not end up under private bank accounts of public officials it is a little sacrifice for the public good.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Another reason to stay with Yahoo

Posted by Hello
This is Yahoo (tm) LAUNCHcast Radio (tm) as it appears on my computer screen. This is an innovative service from Yahoo. It is a customisable radio station.

When you sign up you select your favourite singers or music groups and genres from classical to stand-up comedy. This builds up your playlist. When you start your player such as the one above you will begin to listen to songs from your fave singers or songs in the genres you prefer to listen. You can pause and also skip songs.

To further customise your playlist you need to rate genres, artists, songs and album. Those you rate four or five stars shall be heard more often than those from three to one star. You can also select never play again, I guess this is self explanatory. The more artists, genres, songs and albums you rate the better your playlist gets.

There are two types of services, free and plus. The free service offers the customisable radio but has adverisements, up to medium audio quality and an 800 song skip limit. The song skip limit means when you cannot press forward or skip. The plus service offers unlimited skipping, up to high quality audio, access to premium stations (like hits from 10-30 years ago) and customisable moods. Launchcast plus costs from around USD 3.00 - 4.00 per month.

LAUNCHcast also allows you to listen to the radio stations of other Yahoo users.

The LAUNCHcast website allows you to know more about the artists and their discography. It has links to where you can buy albums.


(This post is solely based on my observations and limited research.)

There is a wide gap between European white, Maori and Polynesian peoples in New Zealand. These three groups are the largest racial groupings here. The gap is economic, educational and in health. European whites tend to have more money, more educated and more healthy than the other two.

Because of this problem the government has been doing a lot of affirmative action like programs to close the gaps between the the three groups.

There is a big push to close the education gaps especially for Maori, the Tangata Whenua (people of the land). There is Te Mana, an initiative of the state to encourage more people of Maori heritage to enter and finish tertiary education. Te Mana is sending a message that Maori can and do acheive. The programme includes television advertisements of successful Maori men and women who finished a tertiary qualification and are now enjoying a better life. (My favourite success story of all is that of Annabelle Whaanga cleaner turned corporate communications advisor. Before she can only buy one toilet paper roll at a time now who knows what she can buy?) There are also various scholarship granting agencies funded by the government specifically for Maori.

For Pacifica peoples they are also given some preference in entering universities and polytechs. They also have access to scholarship and bursary schemes but they are not as prominent (advertised) as the Maori programmes but also funded by the government.

Critics of the programmes say that the government is giving too much to these people. Non-Maori or Pacific Islander residents and citizens of New Zealand have to take out a tuition fee and living cost loan (yes, borrowing to live).

As they say, the jury is still out on the overall success of these education schemes.

Next time I shall tell about the initiatives to close gaps in health.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Cannabis raises risk of psychosis

BBC NEWS | Health | Cannabis raises risk of psychosis

Teens and young adults who are hooked to cannabis is at risk of developing psychosis says this BBC News report.

The New Zealand Green Party and Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party has a long running campaign to decriminalise and allow adults to use cannabis.

Although the Greens plan to decriminalise adult usage how will it prevent young adults or children in using the substance?

How much the pro-cannabis lobbyists in New Zealand push for the decriminalisation I am convinced that it will lead to more harm. I know of a 16-year-old teen here who had developed a mental disorder because the mother smoked cannabis while pregnant and while the child was growing. Decriminalisation may lead to more unfortunate consequences like this.

On Sun Cellular's international text messaging service

Sun Cellular is the newest GSM mobile phone network in the Philippines. It boasts of affordable rates and the newest network in the islands.

Out of over 572 mobile phone networks overseas only about 110 networks will allow Sun subscribers to send and receive text messages. What I mean about receive messages here is that the overseas mobile phone user can initiate a text message even without replying to a Sun subscribers message.

What I am not happy about the 110 networks is that these are scattered over countries and territories that are probably fewer than a thousand Filipinos. These networks include some in Ukraine, a network in Romania, Aruba, Bermuda, Botswana, Cayman Islands and Congo, just to name a few. In Australia, out of the six networks only one is capable of full send and receive.

There are about 400 networks which Sun subscribers can text but the receipients overseas need to save or reply to the Sun SMS message in order so send a message back to Sun Cellular. This is a hastle because the overseas user cannot initiate a text message. Maria in Acapulco cannot send a text message greeting happy birthday to her favourite niece in Cebu while on her coffee break. New Zealand networks and most of the networks in popular countries like the United States, Canada, Britain and so on are under this category.

Last and the least are the 62 networks which Sun subcribers can only send a message and can never receive a reply. Networks like Vodafone in the UK, Etisalat in the UAE and Telenor in Norway to name a few.

Still the best networks for international text messaging in the Philippines are Globe Telecom and Smart Communications. Sun Cellular has a long way to go.

Sun Cellular: International Text Messaging

Friday, December 03, 2004

Unique NZ accident compensation scheme

ACC: The accident compensation scheme

In return for the right to sue for accident compensation the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) of New Zealand provides accident cover for all New Zealand residents and temporary visitors. This unique system is celebrating its 30th year anniversary.

This system covers all injury no matter who is at fault.

It even covers mistakes made by registered medical practicioners and organisations such as doctors, nurses and hospitals. ACC calls this "medical misadventure."

The aim of this system is to prevent costly and long hours in court proceedings for accidents in the work place or from anyone.

The ACC is funded by employer and employee contributions and direct funding from the central government, just to name a few.

Secret history of the credit card

frontline: secret history of the credit card | PBS

The PBS special tells about the secrets and history of the credit card industry in the United States.

This is a must see and read for all of us with credit cards.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

When your grandparents are rockers

Mature fans enjoy a new musical youth
By Michael Osborn (BBC News)

Mature music stars such as Tom Jones and David Bowie are encouraging seniors to follow their beat.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Australian government refuses to sign non-aggression treaty with ASEAN

(Updated 1:14 AM, 29 November 2004)

Australian Prime Minister John Howard said that he will not sign a non-aggression pact with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ahead of group's tenth summit in Vientiane, Laos next week.

Howard's actions is in line with his policy of using pre-emptive strikes in fighting terrorism. However, support for the treaty is seen a sign of good will and a prerequisite for further bilateral agreements with Australia.

The pact called the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in Southeast Asia which was first signed by the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore on 24 February 1976 in Bali, Indonesia. It is one of the 10 member nation grouping's founding documents. The treaty binds a country against the use of aggressive force and non-interference with ASEAN member states. Japan, China, India and Pakistan are some of the nations that has signed the agreement with the Southeast Asian nations.

New Zealand, represented by Prime Minister Helen Clark will also join the summit along with Mr. Howard and ASEAN leaders including the Philippines' President Gloria Arroyo.

The start of the negotiations for a free trade agreement between ASEAN, New Zealand and Australia is the expected outcome of the summit.

What does this mean?

Australia may have a hard time negotiating for a free trade deal with Southeast Asia. It also challenges PM Howard to modify or abandon his pre-emptive strike policy.

If Australia wants to push for economic and peaceful ties with it's northern and north western neighbours Canberra must respect their sovereignty. Problems are solved better with consensus.

How about speaking out?

Signing the TAC will forbid a foreign government in commenting against domestic policies. Is it wrong for a nation to speak out against wrong doings in another country? What if speaking out will put pressure to governments to stop it's abuses against its own people. For example, the human rights abuses by the junta in Myanmar is nothing new but ASEAN members who are TAC signatories are unable to comment or act against the abuses. Also if nations signed a TAC with South Africa it would not have pressured the racist pro-apartheid government to yield to the demands of the international community.

Unfortunately not all ASEAN countries enjoy a "high standard of democracy" like in Canada, New Zealand and Western Europe. (I must say that the Philippines enjoy and good standard of democracy and human rights.) Human rights abuses are prevalent (eg. Myanmar). Signing the TAC will tie hands and silence voices. This I believe is the weakness of the ASEAN TAC

ABC Online: ASEAN treaty push sparks war of words Australia irks Asian countries for rejecting peace pact
NBR NZ: NZ invited to first Asean summit since 1977
XTRA MSN: NZ Considers ASEAN Free Trade Deal
NZ Herald: Clark steering clear of Asean-Australia treaty row
ASEAN Secretariat: Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia Indonesia, 24 February 1976

Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Human Rights
Related news reports through Google News

Friday, November 26, 2004

New Zealand Post mailbox Posted by Hello

Wellington motorway Posted by Hello

A Telecom NZ billboard Posted by Hello

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Electrocuted by electric bills

Our current electricity retailer since moving to this new house is Contact Energy Limited. This company also sells us natural gas for cooking and heating the lounge. Currently the company charges NZD 0.7275 (PHP 29.19) per day and NZD 0.1482 (PHP 5.93) per kilo watt hour for electricity. For gas the tariff is NZD 0.9170 (PHP 36.68) per day and NZD 0.0746 (PHP 2.98) per kilo watt hour.

Since checking options for electricity retailers provided by the Consumers' Institute of New Zealand I have discovered that I could save a lot of money if I switch. The savings may amount up to NZD 209 (PHP 8,360) every year.

The logical action after this discovery is to switch. Contact Energy has one less customer in the next few weeks.

NZ Herald: Contact profit up 22 per cent
NZ Herald: Pain easing for electricity users

Related Post
Electricity in New Zealand

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Filipino Families need at least USD 275 per month to survive

The cost of living in the Philippines is getting more expensive for the common Filipino family although most foreign visitors and Filipinos earning from overseas may find living in the islands cheap.

The average daily wage in Metro Manila is only PHP 280 or USD 4.98 yet studies by think tanks such as the Ibon Foundation say that a family needs at least PHP 500 or USD 8.89 per day. The reason for this is no surprise. A kilo of diced pork is priced at PHP 167 already, how about the cost of rent and utilities?

Most families near and below the poverty line have to compromise their children's nutrition dramatically just to "make ends meet." A lot of impoverished families eat only instant noodles or rice with just salt or sugar sometimes if they get "lucky" rice with canned sardines.

Socialist groups in the Philippine House of Representatives such as the Bayan Muna Party have been pushing for a nationwide PHP 125 daily wage increase in an effort to alleviate the condition of people.

However, I doubt if a wage increase will benefit the economy as a whole. You see, if you are a businessman and is asked to raise your wages of employees in order to fund this rise in cost you can either cut staff or raise prices. Both options can either cause other problems such as unemployment and high inflation. I believe that there are companies in the Philippines that can pay for higher wages without having an effect on their profits but how about the small and medium sized firms all over the Philippines?

The only solution I seen in the mean time is to keep the prices of basic goods as low as possible. Access to low priced basic goods must be guaranteed to all those in dire need. The government must do its job in helping to generate economic activity in the country. Economic activity will most likely lead to more investment, stable prices and more employment. When there are more investments, economic activity, stable prices and less unemployment it could lead to higher wages and people escaping poverty.

Despite Gov’t Figures, the Poor Are Now Worst Off
By Danilo Araña Arao

Monday, November 22, 2004

Abortions in New Zealand

Abortions Year ended December 2003

o There were 18,510 abortions performed in New Zealand in 2003, compared with 17,380 in 2002.

o The general abortion rate increased in 2003, from 20.0 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years in 2002 to 21.0 per 1,000.

o Women aged 20–24 years had the highest abortion rate (41.3 abortions per 1,000 women) in 2003.

o The median age of women having an abortion was 24.7 years in 2003.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Father acquitted of killing her own disabled baby daughter

In 14 May this year a father from Nelson, New Zealand was arrested and admitted to police in full detail that he has killed his baby daughter whose brain stopped developing at the age of a 13-month-old foetus. On Thursday, 18 November the father was acquitted by a High Court jury of both murder and manslaughter.

This decision has stunned New Zealand from all walks of life.

In my opinion this sets a dangerous precedent for people killing relatives or other people because of their disabilities including their mental incapacities. Like what the Crown (state) prosecutor Glenn Marshal said, "Even a good or honourable motive is not an excuse for taking a life, the law is for everyone and it does not categorise who may or may not have the right to life.”

New Zealand Herald 21.11.04
Editorial: Decision on baby killing was wrong...

There is only one word to describe the plight of the Nelson couple who found their infant daughter had the brain of a 13-week-old foetus that would never develop further: harrowing. And there is only one word to describe the verdict in the case brought against her father for ending her life: wrong.

TVNZ: Nelson father acquitted of murder
TVNZ: Jury retires in baby murder case
TVNZ: Emotional scenes at murder trial
Stuff: Case sets "frightening precedent"
Stuff: Spare a thought for dead baby, disabled group says
NZ Herald: Sentencing in baby's death: what the charges mean

One Nation, Overseas

One Nation, Overseas
Wired Magazine looks at the gains and consequences of Filipinos working overseas. The article was written by David Diamond.

Some quotes:
"Look Asian, Think Spanish, Act American"

"Rosaria Reyes, the Filipina Domestic helper killed by a suicide bombing in Israel last year [2001], transmitted a message to her son the night before her death: MATULOG KA NA. Go to sleep already."

Saturday, November 20, 2004

the truth about New Zealand opportunities

I'm surprised about the number of questions raised by my friends and relatives about New Zealand. They are telling me that there are quite a number of seminars all over Metro Manila. These seminars are promising countless numbers of jobs throughout New Zealand. These job opportunities including nannies, domestic helpers, cleaners and gardeners.

They seemed to be convinced that New Zealand is the new promise land. They are so much convinced that they are planning to leave for New Zealand even without the proper documentation or with illegal means. A neighbour of a friend is reportedly planning to be an illegal immigrant in New Zealand while entering as a tourist.

The truth is nannies, domestic helpers and gardeners are very rare in New Zealand. There has been no culture of hired home help in this country unlike Singapore, Hong Kong or in the Middle East. Most jobs such as cleaners are already being filled up by foreign students and recent immigrants. The organisers of these seminars are blatantly lying and selling false hopes to Filipinos back home.

As for becoming illegal immigrants, employers all over New Zealand require documentation that one is legally entitled to work such as a work permit, permanent residency or a student visa with 15 hours of work permit. Employers too will ask for your Inland Revenue (income tax) number. Employers are discouraged to employ workers without a legal contract or appropriate visas because there are stiff penalties starting from NZD 15,000 plus criminal liabilities. If one will ever find an employer that will hire someone illegally you can expect that they will EXPLOIT them and pay a very low wage and very poor working conditions.

I am not discouraging Filipinos to visit or migrate to New Zealand with the proper visas and permits and with the most honest intentions. However, I am discouraging Filipinos who plan to move to New Zealand using illegal means. It will only make it harder for Filipinos to travel overseas.

Filipinos have a good reputation in New Zealand as law abiding people. Please if you are planning to do something illegal stop do not tarnish our reputation.

Related posts:
A Warning for Filipinos Wanting to Migrating to New Zealand (illegal activities of rogue immigaration agencies)
They're not chosen on by how much money they'll send home
(A stupid person said that the amount of money sent back home is an immigration criteria)
My friend's view
(A friend's view on life and job hunting in New Zealand)

A friend that will only say nice things about her full stop

I've asked someone before if she preferred a friend who will tell everything about her straight in her face even if it is the awful truth or a friend that will only say nice things about her full stop.

She chose the second option. She is no longer a friend, sad to say.

To me being able to understand your friend's criticisms and opinions about you is helpful. It may help you improve as a person. It is better having your friends say everything to you than your friends telling other people about things about you. Yet some people see criticism as a personal attack.

except the Philippine peso

Chile's Peso Jumps to 8-Month High on Improved Growth Outlook
Colombian Peso Rises to 28-Month High on Higher Bond Demand
N.Z. Dollar Heads for Winning Week; Investors Abroad Buy Bonds

I have just browsed some business news at Bloomberg I am surprised to know that the currencies of Chile and Columbia are rising against the United States dollar. For New Zealand, the local currency has been climbing high against the U.S. currency since late 2002, so it is not new to me.

The Philippine currency has always been down against the dollar. This has a psychological effect on consumer economic sentiments. Unless the peso does not improve consumer confidence may still remain low.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Ebay the world's largest auction company has launched a Philippines version of its popular website. is now available for Filipinos. Currently there are no fees for sellers.

According to a Philippine Daily Inquirer article today Ebay management is silent whether the company will extend payment services such as Paypal in the Philippines.

eBay mum about plans in the Philippines

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Do you think a monster will see a monster when it looks at a mirror?

My god, that she-devil is driving me nuts!"

"I've warned you before the first time a saw that person that I don't quite like her."

"And now, and now when I give frank remarks she's hurt. Dammit, she has embarrassed me with many people in the past! She even riducules things that I buy from the department store! The nerve this woman has and she claims to be a good, caring and loyal friend! She frequently invites me to have lunch with her, which I usually attend and when I hear she having a party for her birthday did she even bother inviting me?"

"Mygod are those things true?!"

"She thinks that she is a victim of my inner evil"

"But of course, do you think a monster will see monster when it looks at a mirror?"

"She thinks she's pretty too, even my dog looks better!"

"I cannot imagine how you could have managed to be friends with that woman."

"I can't believe it myself but I was doing business with her family I can't do anything."

"Forget about her she is not happy anyway."

She did it all for love

Princess Nori to marry a Tokyo Metropolitan Gov't official

The Princess Nori, daughter of the Japanese Emperor and Empress will become a commoner to marry local government official.

Best wishes!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Gorgeous, but this blogger's fiction

What if Bridget Jones was a man?
read on: Gorgeous, but this blogger's fiction

bizgirl: international librarian of mystery

mobiles ringing during Mass is rude

Today while having anticipated Catholic Mass the cellular phone of the man beside me rang. It was so loud that the reader for the Prayers of the Faithful had to pause. The mobile was noisy when it rang and also when it was turned off. Other people had dissapointed faces as they were disturbed by the sound.

I had the knee jerk reaction of movie away from the man with the ringing phone.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

popular friendster searches

After opening my Friendster page just now I've found out that the most popular search in my personal network is "how to know if the person likes you" and "zodiac love match."

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

too much friends and 150

I think I am not the only Friendster member who is wondering why some if not most of my friends in the social networking website have to have so much friends in the immediate network. I have friends who have 250 to 400 friends already. Try to ask them if they know most of these friends and they will answer that they've just added them with no apparent reason and without actually knowing them. Another said that they want to have the maximum possible friends at Friendster. As far as I know there is no reward for having the most friends at Friendster.

These people are destroying the purpose of Friendster. How can one be a first degree friend if you do not know anything or have not spoken to them?

In relation to this I've read in Malcolm Gladwell's book, The Tipping Point that a group of 150 is probably "the best and most effficient way to manage a group of people." (2000) It is the optimum number of people in a group that will allow effective communication and rapport.

The author has cited W. L. Gore and Associates' (makers of Gore-tex fabric) success to its 150 rule. Most of its plants and offices only comprise of up to 150 people.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Immigration web site flooded with queries from U.S. anti-Bush visitors

Immigration web site flooded with queries from U.S. anti-Bush visitors

Canada Press reports that the Canadian immigration website was flooded by US visitors just minutes after President George W. Bush said her victory speech.

It seems that for John F. Kerry voters Canada is in tune with their ideologies.


thanks to those who have subscribe to my blog through syndication.

PS. just as I want to post an update to my blog at the site is unavailable.

Government coffers overflowing by $3 million a day

NZD 3,000,000 = PHP 115,500,000 (PHP 38.50 per NZD) every single day
That is NZD 2,083.33 (PHP 80,208.21) every second!!!

This is the surplus the government is getting according a report of The Dominion Post last Saturday, 6 November 2004.

The report said that the record surplus is due to the stable economy, low unemployment and rising incomes.

Low unemployment means fewer people take social security benefits aka "dole."

Rising incomes means more people are pushed to higher tax rates.

Only God knows what the current Labour government will do with this surplus. Other sectors are calling for more health care spending which while other parties are calling for tax cuts.

New Zealand is enjoying a lucky position in today's world where deficits are common place (Philippines and United States). I hope the succeeding government will not spoil it.

As for the Philippines' deficit there is always hope however slim...

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Clarification on the Magnitude 7.2 Earthquake Scenario

Clarification on the Magnitude 7.2 Earthquake Scenario in Metro Manila

This statement from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) clarifies rumours spreading in the Philippines and Filipino communities overseas about a "predicted" 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Metro Manila.

According to the statement the 7.2 magnitude quake is the highest magnitude possible from a movement of the Valley Fault System. This possibility or scenario is aimed to make better civil defense planning just in case the "big one" arrives.

Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS)

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Cheaper fares from New Zealand to Manila+

I have done a little experiment in finding the best deal for Filipinos or travelers wanting to visit the Philippines from New Zealand.

The approach is simple. Instead of buying your ticket from travel agencies in New Zealand it can be bought from websites of airlines and Australian based online travel agencies. All you need is a credit card and an Australian transit or tourist visa (if required or if you want to stay longer in Sydney).

This is how it could be done (make sure the dates and flight times you choose connect to the NZ to Sydney and Sydney to Manila legs of your journey):

1. Buy an e-ticket from Air New Zealand, Qantas, Pacific Blue or Freedom Air from any New Zealand city to Sydney, Australia. It usually costs from NZD 400* for return tickets from say Auckland-Sydney-Auckland.

2. Buy an e-ticket from an Australian online travel agent like Yahoo! Travel A&NZ or from Sydney to Manila. As of today, a return ticket from Sydney to Manila is about AUD 831.00* or NZD 884.00** flying Royal Brunei Airlines.

3. Print and present your e-tickets when you depart.

*without taxes and charges
**NZD 1 = AUD 0.9405 exchange rate from the National Bank of New Zealand website as at 31 October 6:31 PM

+Disclaimer: This is only a tip for finding cheaper fares and is not guarenteed to work for anyone or any date. The author is not in anyway connected or receives income from the companies hyperlinked.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

they're not chosen on by how much money they'll send

"And do the New Zealand government really want NZ $ to be filtering out of the country to the bank accounts of poor Filipino realtives back home."


The quote comes from a person claiming to be a Filipina named "Mae" and is against Filipinos migrating into New Zealand with silly and illogical reasons. It was posted on a message board. The poster received quite a lot of "heated" replies.

In my opinion the New Zealand government does not care if their nationals, residents or foreign workers send their money overseas to any of their 'poor' relatives anywhere in the world. What workers in New Zealand send to their relatives is usually about a quarter of the amout they earn. The remaining 75 percent of what migrants earn here are spent on rent or mortgage, utility bills, food and many more, in short the monies they earn go back to the New Zealand economy.

New Zealand does not choose individuals for migrants on the basis of how much will they send to their "poor" overseas relatives. They are chosen by how their skills will benefit New Zealand as a whole.

To uninformed people like the one above I suggest that you study and verify your rationale first.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

new template and logo

I have changed the template of this blog including a new logo.

The spiral on the logo is based on the Maori "koru." The koru represents new life and growth.

New logo? Posted by Hello

Sunday, October 24, 2004

More On Saturday's Anti-Racism March

Scoop: A Backgrounder On Today's Anti-Racism March

from the report:

A Backgrounder On Today's Anti-Racism March
By Derek Cheng

When first-generation Chinese New Zealander Tze Ming Mok talked to a National Front member outside the Chinese Embassy in June, she was called a "peasant" and to return to her "third-world country". When she asked why he refused to look at her, he said the sight of her face was disgusting and ugly.

Images and video from the rallies:

Scoop Images: Multicultural Aotearoa In Wellington
Scoop Images: Fairies Against Fascism Vs National Front
Scoop Video: The Scary Fairies And The National Front

News articles relating to the rallies and parties involved:

Three arrests, police officer hurt after National Front march
Two groups poles apart to rally at Parliament
Hate speech laws could ban us, says National Front leader
Violence feared if rallies coincide
Skinheads chased off by anti-Nazi brigade
Group to march against facists
Front Critical Of Police

Press releases:
March Against Racism Forces Backdown
Alliance Supports Anti-Racism March

Related blog posts with links to other resources on the issue:
The controversial mailer

Violent clashes at anti-racism rally | NEWS | NATIONAL | Violent clashes at anti-racism rally

There were two rallies today in Wellington today. The first rally is for the New Zealand National Front (NF) a racist and extremist group. The second but bigger rally is for Multi-cultural Aotearoa a multi-racial group for cultural diversity.

I was offered to join the pro-diversity rally but declined to join as rallies can be violent and I was not wrong.

Since May this year when the NF gained some prominence on the news I felt unsafe in New Zealand. Whenever I walk alone or with other non-white people I distance myself from skin-heads, cars with open windows and all black attire wearing white people as they might be racists and might even say harsh racial slurs. I know this is pathetic and being paranoid but I am a target of these racist groups because I am simply not white and is a perceived threat.

It is very ironic for the NF to have a belief that New Zealand belongs to white Europeans only. New Zealand was never a white European nation in the first place. New Zealand or Aotearoa is the land of the Tangata Whenua (people of the land) or Maori who have accepted Pakeha (Europeans) with open arms. If anyone has a say on which people can stay it should be Maori but they have accepted all sorts people even at their loss.

The truth is since New Zealand was open for migration various cultural groups have enriched New Zealand society, economy, culture and way of life. Pioneer immigrants here have told me that in the early days there was no access to pizza, sushi, Chinese, Thai and other types of cuisine and food. New Zealand literaly became richer when the immigrants settled with their hundreds of thousands of dollars brought from their native lands. They have created new industries and jobs and have been quietly paying taxes and performing civic duties.

Even if the NF has a handful of members (how about the common people who silently support them?) it is quite alarming for a nation of about four million people. My discovery of a such a group has shattered my perception of New Zealand being a peaceful and diversity welcoming nation on the edge of the world. I feel slapped in the cheek and betrayed.

Still, life must go on.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Machine readable Philippine passports in 2005

Passport processing to double next year -

Passports will cost PHP 1,100 next year according to this report. This higher price is due to a shift to machine readable passports.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Electricity in New Zealand

  • Electricity retailing is deregulated in New Zealand. Homes and most businesses can choose between three to six electricity retailers.
  • A family can choose a company with the cheapest rates or uses renewable resources for generation.
  • Five to eight pricing plans are available from each retailer.
  • Power bills have two charges, the daily charge (NZD 0.60 to 1.00) and the usage charge (NZD 0.10 to 0.15).
  • Switching from one retailer to another takes four to six weeks.
  • Unlike the situation in the Greater Metropolitan Manila Area in the Philippines retailers here do not own the distribution network. A separate company like United Networks in Wellington are in-charge of the electricity distribution network from the substation to the to the house.
  • Meters are read every other month and if the meters are not read the retailers estimate your usage. Another company reads the electricity meters.
  • A home can have two meters, one for all appliances and the other for water heaters.

Some links:

Powerswitch (can be accessed alternatively by visiting
Meridian Energy
Genesis Energy
Contact Energy

Sunday, October 17, 2004

O Sonho Lyrics

O Sonho

O Sonho (The Dream) is one of my favourite songs from Portuguese band Madredeus.

The page above redirects you to the song's lyrics in Portuguese, English and Italian.

Take some time to read and appreciate it.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

A Warning for Filipinos Wanting to Migrating to New Zealand

There are reports circulating within the Filipino community that there is an immigration agency that victimise unsuspecting desperate Filipino would be migrants.

How they work:

  • The agent would seek Filipino clients wanting to migrate to New Zealand.
  • The client pays a hefty fee that would incur massive personal debt to the client and client's family.
  • The agent would arrange for tourist visas for the client to enter New Zealand.
  • The agent's associates in New Zealand will look for jobs for the clients and confiscate their passports. The agent does not give guarantees that clients will get jobs.
  • The agent would force the clients to buy cars inflated way beyond their market value (in some cases more than NZD 20,000) whether the client knows how to drive or not. The actual cars are entirely different from what is written on the receipt or deed of sale. The agent and an accomplice car dealer makes a huge profit from this forced sale. The client would have to shoulder the heavy weekly payments of the expensive car.
  • The agent would also force the clients to apply for various fees and licenses at inflated prices.
When the client/victim asks for their passport the criminal agent threatens the victim by saying that their relatives and family in the Philippines cannot migrate to New Zealand.

The truth is the agent has no power to say who can or cannot go to New Zealand, only the New Zealand Immigration Service. Only the Philippine Government has the power to issue, confiscate and cancel Philippine passports, no organisation or individual can do such things.

No one has the right to force you to buy things and possession of cars or anything does not increase your chances of becoming a successful migrant in any countryl.

Please if you or someone you know are being victimised by this criminal group call the authorities immediately!!!

Official and authentic information can be obtained from the New Zealand Immigration Service and New Zealand Embassies only.

More updates on this illegal activity to follow.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Malaysia sends protest note to RP over Sabah claim

Malaysia sends protest note to RP over Sabah claim -

This is stupid. Sabah has been integrated to Malaysia for many years now. East Malaysians (Malaysians in Sabah) know that they are Malaysians.

Does the Malaysian government still think that Philippine claims to Sabah is still attainable or are they just paranoid?

The Philippines and its entire people have so many problems already and Sabah is not even on the top 500 ranking.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

my sister

My sister died while I was less than ten months in my mother's womb. She died from complications from her Blue Baby syndrome and cerebral palsy, at least that is what I know. I never asked my mother about the detail on how she died. Asking it would just make my mom sad.

This month is her 22nd death anniversary.

Someday I'll meet her after my life on Earth...

elections all over

It looks like John Howard (Liberal/Democrat) will get another term as Prime Minister of Australia. (Source: ABC) Too bad I expected the Australian Labour Party's Mark Latham to win and become the next Prime Minister.

According to political analysts since Australia is enjoying economic growth under John Howard it is imprudent to unseat a "boom time" PM.

Believe it or not TVNZ's TV One is having an Australian election special as I am writing this post.

As of writing this post (0043 NZST), Mark Latham is on TV conceding.

In related news...

Yesterday, local and district health board elections have ended in New Zealand.

Auckland has a new mayor, Dick Hubbard the owner of Hubbards Cereals. I'm glad he won against the Wellington hating John Banks.

As for Wellington, Kerry Prendergast won a second term as mayor against five other candidates. Voter turnout was only around 40% (Source: TVNZ)

Silvia Zonoobi, ONZM, the Filipina candidate for the Wellington City Council Southern Ward seat did not win. (Source: Wellington City Council)

Saturday, October 09, 2004

an attempt to write a poem

Below is my attempt to write a Tagalog poem.

Ngayon, nalaman ko kung gaano ka kasamá.
Kaibigan ka lang kung kailangan mo ng kasáma.
Ngunit sa pangangailangan ko natulungan mo ba ako?
May naririnig pa akong masamang salita pagtalikod ko.

Ngayon, wasto lang at nararapat ang pagkamuhi ko sa iyo.
Hindi na kailangang gumanti,
Sadyang kay sama namang tunay ang buhay mo!

Huwag kang aasa na aamuin kita para tayo magkasundo.
Aso lang ang inaamo wala kang matatamo!
Hindi na magbabago ang paningin ko sa iyo,
Isang dating kaibigang puro panloloko.

Luluhod ka ngayon sa lupa?
Hahalikan mo ang talampakan ko?
Manahimik ka inaaksaya mo ang panahon ko!
Huwag kang umasa, ‘di na tayo magkakasundo!

(Literal English Translation)
Now I know how really bad you are
You’re only a friend if you need a companion
But when I'm in need have you even helped me at all?
I also hear bad things from you behind my back

Now its right and just to dislike and hate you
There's no need for vendetta,
your miserable life is enough

Expecting me to initiate a gesture for us to be friends again.
(Very Literal) Only dogs get tamed, you won’t be receiving any.

How I feel about you will never change
A former friend, full of deceit.

Now you will kneel before me?
Kiss even my feet?
Shut, up you’re wasting my time.

Don’t expect we’ll be friends again.

Friday, October 08, 2004

good samaritans

Exactly a week ago two Samoan women were my "Good Samaritans." Having discovered I do not have the right stored value farecard to pay for the bus they without hesitation offered to pay for my bus fares.

Prior to helping me we had a small talk on God, Jesus Christ and the state of faith in New Zealand. They respected my being a Roman Catholic Christian and likewise their being members of the Assembly of God. They had no tinge of selfrighteousness which I often feel with a few Evangelicals and Protestans.

Thank you and God bless Ms P. and Ms M. someday I will repay your kindness.


Must I send my birthday greetings to someone I dislike (one notch below hate)?

I think not. I must be true to myself. Sending a greeting which in the first place I do not feel like doing is a wrong.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Foreign land grabs?

Last year it was big news when Canadian singer Shania Twain was said to be planning to buy a big plot of land in the South Island. Recently it was reported in the (19 September 2004 issue) New Zealand Herald that she has been given approval by the New Zealand government to purchase 27,000 hectares of land in Wanaka for an estimated value NZD 21.4 million.

There is no land ownership restriction in New Zealand. Almost anyone who has money like Shania can buy Aotearoa real and estate. Unlike the Philippines non-Filipinos cannot in theory buy any piece of land and the best that they can do is buy a renewable 50 year lease.

The controversy in this sale and similar transaction is that some politicians and some “cause oriented” groups are calling such sale to “foreigners” as a land grab. The say that most prime New Zealand land is now owned by non-New Zealanders may not give enough public access which poses a threat to kiwis. Detractors also claim that overseas landowners are just making the country a playground.

I think any sale of land is beneficial if they create jobs and makes it more productive than its pre-sale condition besides providing needed public access.

Equal distribution of wealth

Mahathir: Share wealth first before growing business -

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahatir Mohamad visited the Philippines. In his latest speaking engagement during the 30th Philippine Business Conference he proclaimed that there must be "equal distribution of wealth before business growth."

He said that poor people's taxes must be small or must not even be taxed. He also believes that the rich must be taxed more. He has suggestions of maintaining low prices of basic commodities for the poor.

To me Dr. Mahatir's beliefs are socialist which I do not have a problem. I commend his efforts to improve Malaysia's economy.

I do have some questions with his "doctrine." Would lesser or almost zero taxes for the poor discourage them to create and have more wealth? Why must the rich have to be taxed heavily if they big spending power which drives the economy? Why must the rich be taxed heavily of they are also businessmen who generate jobs?

Disclaimer: I am not a pro-business centre-left (eg. New Zealand National Party, British Conservative party) just looking for answers.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

White Power Bands

Beware, the band that you are a fan of may be racist and funding racist groups. These bands are present in places like Australia, North America and even in Ukraine.

White Power Bands list found at

Racism is just as evil as supporting Al Qaida and other terrorist groups.

Sunday, October 03, 2004


I was bidding for this CD on Ebay selling from USD 3.99 My maximum bid was USD 5.00 I expected that I would win and would soon receive confirmation of purchase within five hours. Such as CD has been a laggard on and Barnes and Noble.

After checking my email a few minutes ago I was surprised that my bid was exceeded and I did not win the auction.

I checked the item again on Ebay and found out that there were two bidders with doubtful reputations. Those ebayers have just registered last October 2 of this year and from the same country as the seller with no feedback. From that it was obvious that the seller had fake Ebay accounts to jack-up the price of his item.

To you unscrupulous Ebay seller, hope you lose all your money you earned with your scheme.

Friday, October 01, 2004

What if you're not invited?

How would you react if people who you thought and who you treated as friends don't invite you at their birthday dinner parties?

This happened to me just now. I actually know what to feel about this. I don't know if I should feel surprised, sad or angry but somehow I feel it is not right.

My "friend's" true colour is finally revealed.

moving house

Since Monday until last Wednesday I have been moving. It has been a very taxing experience to the mind and body. I can tell you that I would not want to move again.

I had so much things in my room that I had to organise in boxes of plastic bags and also had to throw in the trash. I think all my things excluding my clothes in suitcases and furniture would require six boxes the ones used for 17-inch computer monitors and that was just my room.

Wednesday night was the first night in the new house. My room still has some paint fumes that night.

To date I had moved my room furniture three times to get a good view of the TV and close enough to the windownot to mention be close to power points and the phone line without much cabling.

My body in still in pain. This is the second time I took two Ibuprofen pills. My body aches from the my head to my toes because of too much carrying.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

High Street in Picton

High Street, Picton, South Island. Picton is where the Cook Strait ferries from Wellington "land."Posted by Hello

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo, South Island Posted by Hello

Si! Cuba!

Cover of Si! Cuba! the Cuban film festival official programme. Artwork is called "Lucía" Posted by Hello

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Senator seeks inquiry into state of broadband in RP -

Senator seeks inquiry into state of broadband in RP -

I'll tell you the state of broadband in the Philippines.

Firstly, there is only a minority who have access to computers.

Broadband connection is very expansive in the Philippines. The least expensive connection is about PHP 1,500 or USD 26 per month but you see daily wages is only about PHP 250 - 350 or USD 4.50 - 6.25. The hardware such as an ADSL or cable modems are expensive.

Not every single PLDT circuit or local loop are capable of ADSL connections.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


I was fortunate that my last retreat during my high school days was not entirely the traditional God or faith based retreat. The twist was that this time we had organizational change and life skills mentors. If I remember it correctly our trainers were from a firm called Organizational Change Consultants, Inc. (OCCi)

I've leared a lot from that experience. One thing that I've learned and holds me together is to depart from a "victimised mindset." What I understood from this was that in any problem that I face I must look at different aspects that would have created the problem. It challenges me to look at what I have done than immediately pointing a finger to someone else. It forces me to be more responsible than just feeling victimised and blaming other people or the supernatural.

During that epiphany I realised also that success can also mean the level of happiness one experiences or achieves in a career or vocation.

you had it comin'

You had it comin'
You only have yourself to blame
If I have been there,
Will I do it?
No, I would not have done the same!

Monday, September 20, 2004


I am so frustrated with this group task. The Filipino and the US team members seem to not communicated with the rest of the team at all.

No amount of email seems to be working to get even a reply. Why do I have to get such team members.

They are very unprofessional. It is very unfair to the people here in New Zealand as they cannot really work without the Filipinos and the North Americans.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Everybody gets a car!

"You get a car! You get a car! You get a car! Everybody gets a car! Is that the wildest? Isn't it stunning? And, guess what? Your cars are waiting outside!" — Oprah

Source: Season Premiere Surprises — Wildest Dreams with Oprah @

Friday, September 17, 2004

this is new

Air-con buses drop minimum fare to P7.50

According to this Philippine Daily Inquirer report minimum bus fares for air-conditioned buses will drop to PHP 7.50 (NZD 0.20 or USD 0.13) from PHP 9.00

This is a surprise as almost all goods and services in the Philippines are going up. Almost every week the prices of gasoline, diesel and LPG are going up.

The report says that it was a response of the bus industry to match the fares of the MRT (light rail) and air-con taxis.

too busy

A long time ago I have wished that my life could be busy so that I do not feel mundane.

Now, I regret that wish. In the last few weeks until the end of October I am very busy.

I have two projects that I have two do with completely different teams. The first project is based in New Zealand, my team members are here and we meet face to face. We need to submit a report and a sort of marketing proposal. The best marketing proposal is chosen by the "client."

The second project is not only in New Zealand. About sixty percent of the team is overseas. I have only heard from one overseas team member. I just wish the overseas team members start to answer my emails so that we can start with the proposal which we are tasked.

The second project is the most challenging of all as I have to consider the time differences of the other members.

Besides these two projects I also have work. I work on a per job/task basis unfortunately two jobs are within my schedule for the two projects.

new logo

I have uploaded a new .jpg logo for my blog.

It was my attempt to make my blog look unique from the rest.

It was a sort of an achievement for me as I don't know xml or html.
trial 6 Posted by Hello
trial logo 3 Posted by Hello

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

more B5 quotes

I forgot the exact episode but this came from disc 2 of the Season 4 DVD set of J. Michael Straczynski's Babylon 5.

The following was a conversation between Dr. Stephen Franklin and Citizen G'Kar after latter has been fitted with an artificial left eye.

Franklin: There is a rumor that after Narn [G'Kar's homeworld] was freed
your people wanted to put you in charge. Is this true?

G'Kar: [Nods]

Franklin: Why didn't you take it?

G'Kar: I've seen what power does and have seen what power costs. The one is never equal to the other.

Now I Can Dance

Now I Can Dance is one of Tina Arena's songs in her album, In Deep.

This and her other songs are what I consider as special. They remind of my days back home. I remember listening to her album in my room as I sat on my bed. During those days I am using cassette tapes as it was the technology of the day.

Still I cannot dance.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Church taxation unconstitutional, says solon

Church taxation unconstitutional, says solon -

If religious organisations like the Roman Catholic Church would start paying taxes in the Philippines would their intervention in politics become more valid?

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The Strip

Welcome to The Strip

The Strip is for me an innovative TV comedy. It the story of the people working, managing and around the "Man Alive" male strip club owned by Melissa Walker.

The show starts when Melissa finds out that her husband is having an affair with another man. Depressed by this situation she began to wonder if she was happy in her life. As a complete life make-over she buys a strip club in Wellington's red light district.

Who would have thought that one can make a comedy around a strip club. It is not the best comedy in the world today but it is quality.

(The show is not about prostitution and endless and senseless sex scenes and exposure of half naked men.)

The show is produced by the Gibson Group a Wellington based television production company. It was shown on TV3 last year. The third season will be shown this year and may compete with TV One's Six Feet Under broadcast.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

RP already in midst of fiscal crisis -- Arroyo -

RP already in midst of fiscal crisis -- Arroyo

There you have it. The Philippines is in midst of a fiscal crisis.

Now that the problem is recognised solutions to solve it can be formulated and utilised.

"Oh My God" a religious flash animation

Oh My God

It is a nice item to reflect upon.

Other flash animations to see:

Who Needs Politics?

These flash animations are produced by Jews for Jesus. You heard me right, Jews for Jesus!

Saturday, August 21, 2004

other B5 quotes

"It has occurred to me recently that I have never chosen anything. I was born into a role that had been prepared for me. I did everything I was asked to do, because it never occurred to me to choose otherwise. And now, at the end of my life, I wonder what might've been."

"That's why my father taught me to live each second as though it would be the last moment of my life. He said: 'If you love, love without reservation. If you fight, fight without fear.' He called it the way of the warrior."

"No regrets then?"

"A few. But just a few. You?"

"Oh, enough to fill a lifetime. So much has been lost, so much forgotten. So much pain, so much blood. And for what, I wonder. The past tempts us, the present confuses us, and the future frightens us. And our lives slip away, moment by moment, lost in that vast terrible inbetween. But there is still time to seize that one last fragile moment. To choose something better, to make a difference, as you say. And I intend to do just that."

-Captain John Sheridan (Played by: Bruce Boxleitner) and the Centauri Emperor (Played by: Turhan Bey)
-Babylon 5 Episode 209: "The Coming of Shadows"
Source: Babylon 5 Quotes: The Coming of Shadows

"No dictator... no invader... can hold an imprisoned population by the force of arms forever. There is no greater power in the universe than the need for freedom. Against that power governments, and tyrants, and armies can not stand."
-Citizen G'Kar (Played by Andreas Katsulas)
-Babylon 5 Episode 222: "The Long, Twilight Struggle"
Source: Babylon 5 Quotes: The Long, Twilight Struggle

wine grapes

These are the types of grapes used in making wine. These grapes are smaller than table/eating grapes. Each type is used for different wine varieties. Posted by Hello

Here you can see the grapes for Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Chardonnay.

My favourite wine variety is White Riesling not shown here.

Many thanks to my friend for lending me this photo.

on Babylon 5

In the last weeks I have been watching the DVD box sets of Babylon 5. I started to watch it because there is not much good to borrow from the video rental shop. Due to the 2004 Olympic Games, BBC World broadcast on TV ONE has discontinued until the end of the games. I Babylon 5 is a cure for my boredom and lack of watching anything good on television.

Initially, a few years ago, I thought Babylon 5 was an attempt to be like the Star Trek franchise. Now to me after watching up to the third season I realised that it is something different if not better.

I am so impressed by the quality of the script. It has a lot of thought provoking lines that applies directly to real life for example the line delivered by G'Kar. I shall try to add other worthy quotes from the series in future postings.

I agree that the show has fewer "techno speak" and it still revolves on characters.

Speaking of characters, they are well developed. They are not perfect and there are flaws in them which makes them more human than fictional.

If anyone is interested in science-fiction TV I think Babylon 5 is a good start.

"G'Quan wrote: 'There is a greater darkness than the one we fight. It is the darkness of the soul that has lost its way. The war we fight is not against powers and principalities, it is against chaos and despair. Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams. Against this peril we can never surrender. The future is all around us, waiting in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future, or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain."

-Citizen G'Kar (Played by Andreas Katsulas)
-Babylon 5 Episode 322: "Z'ha'dum"

Source: Babylon 5 Quotes: Z'ha'dum

Babylon 5 is a creation of J. Michael Straczynski

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Alien in 30 seconds with bunnies.

Alien in 30 seconds with bunnies.

The link directs you to a flash movie. This is funny!

Movie spoilers galore

Movie spoilers galore Moviepooper ruins the endings for hundreds of movies

This website spoils your movie watching by telling you want a movie's ending is.

Happy reading!

Monday, August 16, 2004

Murphy's Law

According to this law if anything wrong is going to happen it will happen at the worst possible time.

This law has been devastating me almost every month.

Just today while I was preparing to go out of the house I was looking for my keys. I was looking for it for twenty minutes until I missed the bus.

The keys that I was looking for was only under the plastic bags that was under table.

I left my room trashed.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Where do you belong?

Political Compass

This is a website that has a simple test to see in which part of the political compass one belongs.

According to the author the traditional left-right spectrum is problematic as it does not facilitate libertarianism and authoritarianism.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Humbling experience

Should you find it hard to get to sleep at night, just remember the homeless family who has no bed to lie in.

Should you find yourself stuck in traffic, don't despair. There are people in this world for whom driving is an unheard-of privilege.

Should you have a bad day at work, think of the man who has been out of work for the last three months or more.

Should you despair over a relationship gone bad, think of the person who has never known what is like to love and be loved in return.

Should you grieve the passing of another weekend, think of the woman in dire straits, working twelve hours a day, seven days a week, for $10.00 to feed her family.

Should your car break down, leaving you miles from assistance, think of the paraplegic who would love the opportunity to take that walk.

Should you notice a new grey hair in the mirror, think of the cancer patient in chemotheraphy who wishes she had hair to examine.

Should you find yourself at a loss and pondering, " what is life all about, what is my life purpose?" be thankful, there are those who didn't live long enough to get that opportunity.

Should you find yourself the victim of one's bitterness, ignorance, smallness or insecurities, remember things could be worse. You could be them!
(Source: New Zealand Marist Messenger, November 2002)

At first glance this sort of a proverb (I'm calling it a proverb in this case) tells us that we should be thankful and contented. We often complain about we are not as rich as our neighbor and our list goes on.

Yesterday this proverb took a deeper meaning in my life. A friend confided that his brother that he brought along our house and I have meet quite some time ago has ADHD. I remembered this proverb as he explained his sibling's condition.

Its hard to imagine how difficult it might be to live with this condition. It is also hard to imagine to have a son, daughter or a sibling with is condition.

This poor guy is suffering from a rare disorder whose only wish is to be normal and here I am normal by all standards yet complaining of my inadequacies. I am glad I am at least normal.

This is a humbling experience for me.

We meet a lot of people and only a few can really teach you important life lessons.

Friday, July 30, 2004

one small bird

My not so perfect attempt to take a photo of a bird. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

A Question of Life and Death

"No prime minister or president with troops in Iraq can end their day other than in prayer at present, The Dominion Post writes in an editorial."
A Question of Life and Death,
The Dominion Post editorial for 28 July 2004

Tuesday, July 27, 2004


The Beehive and Parliament Building, Wellington. The Beehive is the government or administrative centre of New Zealand. The Parliament Building houses the debating chamber and offices of MPs. Posted by Hello

Monday, July 26, 2004


The World Today - Govt souring ties with Spain, Philippines: Labor

In this report Australia's Labour Party is saying that the Australian government is souring its ties with Spain and Philippines after blaming the troop pull-outs for the renewed abductions and hostilities in Iraq.

Here we go again, blame, blame, blame. Its the easiest thing to do these days.

Related News:
Australia Says Will Ignore Terror Attack Threat
Rudd slams Filipino attack
Spain rejects terror criticism
Spain, Philippines defend Iraq decision
Philippines, Spain Defend Iraq Decisions
Philippines angry at Australia

Saturday, July 24, 2004


I was called childish yesterday for saying that I watched two Rugrats movies.

Coming from a person who:
-is a fresh graduate asking her parents to send her to their native land while still paying student debts;
-enjoys reading teen fashion magazines;
-loves and exclusiveley watches chick flicks;
-is gullible and forwards any email that promises bad luck for not sending it;
-does not know and cannot talk about any pressing national and international issue; and
-has no explanation for voting a particular candidate as MP for her electorate.

I think I know who is at least more childish than me.


I have just seen Imelda a documentary about the Philippines' former first lady.  It is a very fair and balanced view on the life of Imelda Marcos.  It only deals with her and does not deal with the Ferdinand Marcos and his regime.

Her life is similar to Eva Peron of Argentina.

It has funny scenes especially Imelda's "Seven Portals."

This film won an award at Sundance.  I am just not sure which award probably in cinematography.

After watching this movie, I came to the conclusion that Mrs. Marcos is truly a very crazy woman.  She is an embarrassment to Filipinos.

Friday, July 23, 2004


I am craving for hot noodle soup dishes.  This is probably due to the very cold weather in they city and all over New Zealand.

Last night, I was determined to cook "Curry Laksa."  This dish is often present in the menus of Malaysian or Singaporean restaurants here.

This dish is, as the name suggest is a curry but with noodles.

To cook this dish I had to go to the supermarket to buy a Curry Laksa soup base in can ($2.75).  I went to the Asian grocery to buy 500g fresh noodles ($1.75), fried tofu ($2.75), three pieces of chicken drumsticks ($2.50), small bag of mung bean sprouts ($1.50) and a small fish fillet ($1.75).

When I got home I dumped the ingredients (excluding the noodles) to the sauce pan and waited for the chicken to cook.

The result of this experiment is good enough but not as good as the restaurants that I frequent.

I'm still craving for this until now.  I may drag my friend to eat with me at an Asian food court tonight.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

US has bowed down to terrorists before - Jul. 21, 2004

US has bowed down to terrorists before - Jul. 21, 2004

I did not know that the US has bowed to terrorist demands before. Thanks to the writer of this opinion article.

Singapore will never negotiate with terrorists - Jul. 21, 2004

Singapore will never ... - Jul. 21, 2004

Singapore's security minister say that his nation will not negotiate with terrorists.

I dare Singapore to send army troops to Iraq.

They don't understand all sides of the situation.

Talk is cheap as always!

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Bunye on Jay Leno's ... - Jul. 18, 2004

Bunye on Jay Leno's wisecrack: It ain't funny - Jul. 18, 2004

To know more about the jokes of Jay Leno please visit the link as it is not funny.

That is why I don't watch Jay Leno's shows since way back in the Philippines. His jokes are way 'below the belt.'

David Letterman is better. I just wish he does not do a Jay Leno.

Saturday, July 17, 2004


Australia bans Philippine bananas and other fruit imports due to its claims of phytosanitary threats. 
The pytosanitary claims I believe are unfounded as New Zealand also and continues to import the same Philippine bananas and pineapples.  (New Zealand by the way has very strict phytosanitary regulations.)  I believe other Filipino fruits are exported to 'developed' nations without this phystosanitary issue.
This import ban is just another barrier to free trade.  This is unfair.
Selfish interests still abound.

Friday, July 16, 2004


I am disappointed by the United States government in their response to the hostage crisis.  All they can say is that they do not do deals with terrorists.  If they have the best military forces in the world why can't they save the life of de la Cruz and the other hostages or even stop these Iraqi militants?
Because of the Philippine government's action I bet the US government will bully the Philippines  yet again.  Bullying as an action they do best especially to poor republics.
While I am disappointed by the Bush administration I do not hate the United States and its citizens.  It is sad to realise that the great United States of America is being used for the selfish interests of a few.

Diplomatic row: New Zealand vs Israel

A court in Auckland has sentenced two Israelis, Eli Cara and Urie Kelman (alledged to be members of Israeli intelligence, Mossad agents) for fraudulently acquiring New Zealand passports. They were sentenced to a jail term of six months and NZD 50,000 each as reparation to the NZ Cerebral Palsy Society. The man whose identity they used has cerebral palsy.

The two men were arrested by New Zealand police last March 2004. New Zealand since then has demanded an apology from Israel.

Now, as a consequence of the conviction the government has suspended diplomatic ties with Israel until the later gives an apology. Prime Minister Helen Clark has described the incident as a breech of the nation's sovereignty and international laws.

(Source: Passport case hurts ties with Israel, One News, TVNZ)

Why do they want a New Zealand passport? Some conspiracy theorists suggest that claiming as New Zealanders they can infiltrate organisations that has dealings with Israel's 'enemies' as New Zealand is seen as a friendly and neutral nation. I think I read this on a Herald feature months ago.

We live in mysterious days...

Thursday, July 15, 2004

The Angelo de la Cruz saga

The Philippines made it again to the headlines of major news organisations all over the world for the not so happy reasons.

The issue:
Iraqi militants abducted Filipino worker, Angelo de la Cruz in Iraq. The militants demand that the Philippines recall its so-called humanitarian contingent from Iraqi soil. The consquence for not following the demands is the death of de la Cruz.

Bowing to domestic opinion the government of the Philippines has announced that the Philippines will pullout its humanitarian forces.

Now, the Philippines is receiving rants from members of the 'coalition of the willing' due to this decision.

The question is whether de la Cruz is alive and safe. [I hope he is still alive.]

My opinion:
I am not concerned whether the Philippines receive aid or raves from the United States and its allies for supporting them. What is more important are the lives of Filipinos overseas. The economic and social cost of losing a breadwinner is a lot higher than what the US can 'promise or pledge' to the Philippines.

The life of de la Cruz (by the way is a father of eight children) cannot be replaced by B-2 visas (non-immigrant tourist), 'green cards,' surplus military equipment, and promises of 'economic aid.'

I am appalled by the opinion of some people who seem to not care on the prospect that de la Cruz could be killed. A life of a person is more important than Washington's ego.

Related links:
Confusion over Philippine troops
US struggles with Philippine fallout
Allies slam Philippine move
Google News search findings