Welcome to Las Vegas, Nevada- the Gambling Capital of US and the City that never sleeps! So, what has this city have to do with this site. The answer is none. I just love the photo, I took during our vacation to this city a couple of years ago. In this site, you will find articles from my autobiography, global warming, senior citizens issues, tourism, politics in PI, music appreciation and articles about our current experiences as retirees enjoying the "snow bird" lifestyle between US and the Philippines. Your comments will be highly appreciated. Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringement of your copyrights. Cheers!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Dying Priest Last Wish-Joke of the Week

Crucifixion Scene-Moriones Festival, 2010 at the Boac River Park, Marinduque, Philippines

A change of subject in this blog to break the monotony. The following joke I reprinted from Sandee's Comedy Plus: Enjoy! Any comments! Would you like to read more jokes in this blog or not?

"The old Priest lay dying in the hospital. For years he had faithfully served the people. He motioned for his nurse to come near.

"Yes, Father?" said the nurse.

"I would really like to see the Prime Minister and Finance Minister before I die," whispered the Priest.

"I'll see what I can do, Father," replied the nurse. The nurse sent the request to the Prime Minister's office and waited for a response. Soon the word arrived that the Prime Minister and Finance Minister, devoted Christians both, were delighted to visit the Priest.

As they went to the hospital, the Prime Minister commented to the Finance Minister, "I don't know why the old Priest wants to see us but it will certainly help our images and might even get us some favorable publicity." The Finance Minister agreed that it was a good thing.

When they arrived at the Priest's room, the Priest took the Prime Minister's hand in his right hand and the Finance Minister's hand in his left. There was silence and a look of serenity on the old Priest's face.

Finally the Prime Minister spoke. "Father, of all the people you could have chosen, why did you choose us to be with you as you near the end?"

The old Priest slowly replied, "I have always tried to pattern my life after our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

"Amen," said the Prime Minister.

"Amen," said the Finance Minister.

The old Priest continued, "Jesus died between two thieves. I would like to do the same!"

Personal Note: Do you think this joke applies to Filipino politicians? Do you know what our Filipino politicians have been doing with their pork barrel funds for the last decades and even just recently( Fertilizer Scandal)? If you are a Filipino and have not heard of the fertilizer scandal, you must living in another planet!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Am I getting Addicted to Face Book?/Internet?

This week Face Book (FB) reached 500 million users. If FB is a nation, it will be the number 3 most populated nation in the world. Today, I am asking myself if I am really addicted to FB. Here's is my daily schedule as far as my Internet usage. Since I am retired, I do have plenty of time to do whatever I want to do besides eating and sleeping. Here is my daily routine here in US. ( I have a totally different routine when I am in the Philippines- 5months in the year-( only about 1 hour of Internet usage daily). I get more exercise when I am in Marinduque.

Wake Up at around 8AM.- Open my e-mail, read FB, read on-line news (CNN and Philippine News), Maintain and read comments on my 8 blogs. Before I know it is 10AM
10AM- 11AM- Leisurely Breakfast
11AM-3:00PM Errands, grocery, landscaping , house cleaning etc...
3:00-5:00PM – Watch Hulu movies in the Internet, play duplicate bridge or bookworm or take a nap
5:00-7:00 PM -Dinner Time and TV news and Talk to My Wife( Very Important to maintain your marriage)
8:00PM-11:00PM- More Internet or TV time, Face Book, write articles for my blogs . On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday , Thursday, I watch my favorite TV shows with wife.
Monday Afternoon -to the Casinos with wife and Friend( next door neighbor)
Sunday Morning-to Church and lunch (restaurant) and in the afternoon baby sits for granddaughter.

As a summary, on the average I use the Internet 5 hours a day(about 15 minutes or less in FB). So do you think, I am a Face Book or Internet addict ? The following is an article I found in the web recently. These are the five symptoms of FB addiction. I do not believe, I am experiencing any one in the list, so I think I am not addicted to Face Book , but a mild addiction to the Internet. How about you ? Are you a FB/Internet addict? If you are, you should get some help from Addiction Counsellors.

You know you're a Facebook addict when:
1. You lose sleep over Facebook
"If you're staying up late at night because you're on Facebook, and you're tired the next day, Facebook may be a compulsion for you," Lipari said. "You shouldn't be neglecting yourself because of Facebook."
2. You spend more than an hour a day on Facebook
Pile says it's hard to pinpoint exactly how much is too much time to be spending on social networking.
"I can't imagine that anyone would need more than an hour a day on Facebook, and probably no one needs more than 30 minutes," she said.
3. You become obsessed with old loves
Reconnecting with old friends is one of the great attractions of Facebook, and there's nothing necessarily wrong with "friending" an old boyfriend or girlfriend. But Pile warns that it can get out of hand very quickly.
"One of my clients met up with an old boyfriend on Facebook. They started spending hours and hours into the night talking to each other on Facebook. She made some really inappropriate comments about how unhappy she was in her marriage," Pile said. "Her cousin saw the comments and told her parents, and the parents told the husband, and now they're in the process of getting divorced."
4. You ignore work in favor of Facebook
"If you're not doing your job in order to sneak time on Facebook, you could have a real problem," Lipari said.
5. The thought of getting off Facebook leaves you in a cold sweat
Sarah Browne, who writes the Guru of New blog, gave up Facebook for Lent last month when she realized that she had a "mild" addiction to the site. She's come up with "Seven Signs You May Be Ready for a Social Media Detox."

Friday, July 23, 2010

My Ten Favorite Sunsets -All over the World

1. Sunset from Balcony of the Chateau Du Mer Beach House, Amoingon, Boac, Marinduque, Philippines

Over the years, I have seen and photographed several dozens of sunsets in several countries that my wife and I have visited. We have been to Marbella, Spain, Rome, Italy, London,England, Vancouver, B.C., Cancun, Mexico, Aruba, Hawaii( Maui, Kawaii, Big Island), Puerto Rico and most of the US big cities, New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago, Kansas City, St Louis, Miami, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, NV, Houston, TX and other small cities . But the two most beautiful sunsets that stir my emotion are the one at Amoingon Bay (#1- taken at the balcony of our Chateau Du Mer Beach house-top photo) and the one over Manila Bay(# 9 photo). You will probably say, I am partial since I am a Filipino-American, but judge it yourself. Above are ten of my favorite sunset pictures for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy! Comments, anyone?

2. Sunset, Eagle Beach, Aruba

3. Sunset, San Juan, Puerto Rico

4. Sunset, Hanalei Bay, Kauai

5. Sunset, Kaanapali, Maui

6. Sunset, Kona Village, Big Island, Hawaii

7. Sunset, Marbella, Spain

8. Sunset, Cancun, Mexico

9. Sunset, on Manila Bay, Philippines

10. Sunset, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Picture is worth more than Thousand Words

While surfing on the net, I found the following photos(www.rockingfacts.com/funny pictures)worthy of sharing. Enjoy the following six photos. No label is required.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Filipino Accents- is it Funny or Not?

Image from shutyourmouthtumbler.com
The following video (and related videos) explain why Filipinos like to joke about their Filipino accents. In my previous posting I discussed the numerous number of dialects in the Philippines. A stranger will usually guess what part of the country you came from by just listening to your accent. Some accents annoyed me, others I love to hear. If you are a Filipino-American, which accent annoys you? The Ilocano, the Ilonggo, the Batanganeo or the Cebuano? Enjoy the following videos.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Impact of Filipino Scientists on World Science


As retired member of the Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering (PAASE),I found the following article by Eduardo A. Padlan published in the Philippine Star dated July 15, 2010, very interesting and relevant to my life's experiences. Dr Padlan concluded that in the field of chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology, Filipino-American scientists have made significant impact in world science. This is indeed music to my ears, being a Filipino-American chemist myself ( http://theintelectualmigrant.blogspot.com). Here is the article for your reading pleasure. Thank you Ed, for a very informative and interesting article.

"As a nation, we are not publishing as many scientific papers as many of our neighbors do. Yet, individual Filipino scientists, here and abroad, are making significant contributions to world science. How much are our scientists contributing? How do their contributions compare with the best of the world? What impact has Filipino scientists made on world science?

There are numerous measures of the impact of the scientific work of a scientist. An analysis of the various metrics used in the evaluation of a researcher and his work is the topic of a recent Nature magazine special (print edition: June 17, 2010; available online at http://www.nature.com/news/specials/metrics/index.html. (With apologies, I’ll just use the male reference for writing ease.) One is the number of papers he has published, especially in peer-reviewed journals. An often-used gauge of the quality of one’s work is the number of his publications in “high-impact,” i.e. frequently cited, journals. Another measure is how often his publications are cited by others. There are arguments against the use of any of the measures currently being used, since there are inherent difficulties in the proper assessment of the impact of one’s scientific publications. (The reader is encouraged to read the articles in the Nature special, as well as the article by Peter Lawrence (2007), appropriately titled “The mismeasurement of science.”)

For one thing, the number of papers a scientist has published is a measure of his output — not necessarily the quality of his work. We all know of several individuals in the past who had published only a small number of papers, but whose work is still remembered to this day. One example is Francis Crick of the double-helix fame, who did seminal work not only in molecular biology but also in protein crystallography, but who published only 87 papers (listed in PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/) — several times fewer than the output of a number of scientists I know. Further, the number of papers in which an individual has published as a co-author does not necessarily reflect his true contribution to science.

Indeed, a major difficulty arises from the question of authorship. There is no problem when there is only one author. In a paper with multiple authors, proper attribution of credit is often not straightforward. What did each author contribute to the project and how can it be quantified? One could think of a measure that is somehow related to the order in which the authors are listed. But there is no uniform convention in the listing of authors. Sometimes, the listing of authors is done alphabetically — this is especially true in the old days. These days, the first-listed author is supposed to have contributed more to the project and the last-listed author (the senior author) is supposed to have been the originator of the idea behind the project. That is not always the case. More and more, we see papers where two or more of the authors are noted as having contributed equally to the work. Further, more projects are collaborations of several independent groups, so that the listing of authors is often the result of negotiation and does not necessarily reflect the contribution of the individual authors.

And there is an inherent difficulty in judging the quality of a paper that was published in a “high-impact” journal. A journal’s “impact factor” is based on the number of times the articles in that journal are cited by others, so that it represents the average impact of all the articles which appeared in that journal and is not a measure of the impact of any individual article. The “impact factor” is so misused that the European Association of Science Editors has recommended that “journal impact factors be used only — and cautiously — for measuring and comparing the influence of entire journals, but not for the assessment of single papers, and certainly not for the assessment of researchers or research programs either directly or as a surrogate” (European Association of Science Editors 2007).

A more appropriate measure of a paper’s impact is probably the number of times that that paper is cited by others and a good measure of a scientist’s impact would be the total number of times his publications had been cited. One measure that is gaining acceptance is the “h-index”, which is defined as the number h of a scientist’s publications with at least h citations (Hirsch 2005). Interestingly, the “h-index” appears to obviate the need to correct for the problem associated with multiple authorships and self-citations (Hirsch 2007). But any measure that is used to estimate the impact of a scientist that is based on citations depends on his field or discipline. For example, since there are fewer mathematicians than biologists, the number of citations of a mathematical paper would be expected to be fewer than that of a biological paper. Any comparison should be limited to those in the same or closely related disciplines.

I have chosen to use the “h-index” in assessing the impact of some Filipino scientists on world science — with all the appropriate caveats.

I present the h-index of some of the most published Philippine- and foreign-based Filipino chemists, biochemists, and molecular biologists. The list is necessarily incomplete, since I do not know all the Filipino scientists in those fields, and I apologize for any omission. For reasons of space, I have chosen an arbitrary cutoff. The numbers were obtained on June 2, 2010 (a scientist’s h-index changes with time) and my source of information is Google Scholar (http://scholar.google.com/), which is free and available to anyone with access to the Internet. The numbers may be different if a different citation database is used (I have no access to other databases other than Google Scholar). An important aspect of a Google Scholar search is the possibility of including citations from patents and I chose that option because those citations reflect the significant contribution of an article to novelty and practical use. The compilation should be made more complete and for all fields, and updated periodically, if we wish to see how our scientists continue to impact world science. At the end of the list, I have added the h-index of two well-known scientists in those fields.

Here’s the list: the h-index (shown in parentheses) of Rigoberto Advincula (33), Lourdes Cruz (40), Sevilla Detera-Wadleigh (39), Pedro Jose (40), Bienvenido Juliano (44), Carlito Lebrilla (31), Baldomero Olivera (63), Michael Purugganan (33), and Florante Quiocho (57); and those of Francis Crick (49) and Linus Pauling (81).

Again, I must emphasize that this is an incomplete list and only for those in the fields of chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular biology.

The reader can draw his own conclusions. My conclusion? Our kapwa-Filipinos are making a significant impact on world science. The future of Philippine science is bright"!

My congratulations to the above listed Filipino-American Scientists. May your tribe Increase and Keep up with the Good Work! Mabuhay ang PAASE!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pork will not be eliminated, but allocations Published

Here is today news on the PORK-main source of corruption in the Philippines. It is written by Aurea Calica for the Philippine Star and dated July 13, 2010.

"MANILA, Philippines - The Aquino administration will continue to provide lawmakers with Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel funds, but how the allocations are utilized will be meticulously recorded and published, according to Budget Secretary Florencio Abad".

“We will release the names of those who received pork barrel,” Abad said, adding President Aquino had spoken with allies in Congress regarding the matter, including the Liberal Party’s bet for House speaker, Quezon City Rep. Feliciano Belmonte Jr.

Abad said the disbursement of the funds would have to be disclosed to the public, including details like the amount of cement, steel or other materials used for infrastructure projects.

“We have to know where they are putting the money and if the projects were worth the declared expenses,” Abad said.

He recalled that the President, in his inaugural address, had promised to make contractors accountable for the integrity of their projects.

“If there is irresponsibility, the contractor will not be paid in full,” Abad said.

House members get P70 million each in PDAF while senators are entitled to P200 million each.

Mr. Aquino had said in his first press conference that his administration would not cut or remove pork barrel, but that its release would be limited.

“Spending will be constricted into items that can be visible and demonstrable as having adhered to the principle of judicious use of public funds,” Mr. Aquino said.

“In the briefing prior to my assumption to office, my economic and finance teams were telling me that the amount of releases are already above 60 percent. Significantly above 60 percent,” he said, adding that calamity funds supposedly for release this year had already been allocated in advance.

He said the government would have to find a system that would not deprive congressmen of their budget entitlements while ensuring that funds allocated to them were spent judiciously.

“Before we spend, we have to check our obligations and how much more money we have left and how we should spend our remaining funds,” he said.

If this is followed, it may be one way of reducing corruption in the use of these funds by our representatives and senators. God Luck P-Noy!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Marinduque Governor Involvement with the Fertilizer Scandal

The following news article from GMA News attracted my attention, after I heard in TV GMA News,a few minutes ago, a list of four names of congress representatives and other government and private individuals, that had been charged for illegal use of funds in connection with this fertilizer scandal. This is one of the biggest scam and scandal in The Arroyo administration. One of the names in the list is our former Congresswoman and now Marinduque Governor Carmencita Reyes. There are other famous names in the list, so my feeling that all politicians are crooks are indeed reinforced by this news. I realized that these politicians spent a lot of money to be elected ( buying votes). So one of the easiest way of getting their money back is to get involved with scandals. Here's the news for your reading displeasure. Shame!Shame! to all you politicians. I hope your conscience will bother you till the end of your days!

"MANILA, Philippines - The Office of the Ombudsman has filed a complaint against public officials allegedly involved in the multimillion-peso fertilizer fund scandal.

The agency’s Task Force Abono (fertilizer) charged Quezon City Rep. Nanette C. Daza (4th district), Marinduque Rep. Carmencita O. Reyes, former Malabon-Navotas Rep. Federico S. Sandoval II and former Batangas Rep. Oscar L. Gozos for illegal fund use.

In a press conference, Assistant Ombudsman Jose T. de Jesus, Jr. said the fact-finding committee found sufficient evidence that of the P728-million budget for farm inputs/implements program, P14 million was spent for farm implements not included in the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani rice program.

In addition, the Commission on Audit (CoA) found out cheaper items that were then available from other suppliers. Mr. de Jesus said this constitutes technical malversation.

The purchases did not undergo bidding under the Government Procurement Reform Act, which, Mr. de Jesus said, constitutes technical malversation.

Other respondents were Agriculture officials Dennis B. Araullo, Balagtas J. Torres, Juvylee C. Obice, Rodolfo M. Guieb, Marie Paz Jasmine C. Cabucol, Raymundo E. Braganza, Abelardo Bragas, Felix Ramos, Ofelia Montilla and Gregorio Sangalang.

Private respondents included officials from the LCV Design and Fabrication Corp., namely, Linus C. Villanueva, Remus C. Villanueva, Phydias B. Bañez, Fernando F. Gallarte and Frederico B. Quevedo.

Similar complaints have been served for former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn "Joc-Joc" I. Bolante, former Agriculture secretary Luis P. Lorenzo and incumbent Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap.

The investigation stemmed from allegations that Mr. Bolante diverted funds for the Agriculture department’s rice program to allies of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to ensure her election in 2004 presidential elections.

House probe

Meanwhile, the House committee on agriculture issued invitations to Mr. Bolante, Budget Secretary Rolando G. Andaya, former Budget secretary Emilia T. Boncodin, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas Secretary-General Danilo Ramos, CoA Chairman Reynaldo A. Villar and Agriculture Undersecretary for finance Belinda A. Gonzales to attend Wednesday’s hearing on the fertilizer fund case".

Here's the Filipino news version published July 11, 2010 in the GMA News.

MANILA – Kasamang ipatatawag ng Office of the Ombudsman si dating Agriculture Sec. Luis “Cito" Lorenzo sa mga personalidad na kasangkot sa umano’y maanomalyang paggamit ng pondong inilaan na pambili ng pataba sa lupa.

Isinama si Lorenzo sa Supplemental Complaint Affidavit na isinumite ng Office of the Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office (OMB-FIO) nitong Biyernes.

Kasama ni Lorenzo si dating DA Undersecretary Jocelyn ‘Joc-joc’ Bolante sa inakusahang lumabag sa Art 217 ng RPC (Malversation of Public Funds or Property) at Sec 3(e) of RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act). Akusado rin sina Belinda at Emma Gonzales dahil sa paglabag naman sa Art 220 ng RPC (Technical Malversation) at Sec 3 (e) and (g) ng RA 3019.

Ang iba pang alegasyon kay Bolante ay paglabag sa Art 171 ng RPC( Falsification by Public Officer); Bolante, Assistant Secretary Ibarra Poliquit, Undersecretary Belinda Gonzales, Regional Directors Reinerio Belarmino Jr., Gumersindo Lasam, Cesar Rodriguez, Dennis Araullo, Ricardo Oblena, Leo Caneda, Oscar Parawan, Roger Chio, Sumail Sekak and Eduardo Lecciones, Jr. sa paglabag sa Sec 3(a) ng RA 3019; Bolante, Jaime Leonzon Paule, Marilyn Araos, Joselito Flordeliza, Marites Aytona at Jose Barredo sa paglabag sa Sec. 3(b) ng RA 3019.

Bukod pa rito ang kaso kina Bolante, Leonicia Marco-LLarena, Deonilla Misola-Gregorio at Redentor Antolin dahil sa paglabag sa Sec 3 (e) ng RA 3019; at Belinda Gonzales, Belarmino, Lasam, Rodriguez, Araullo, Oblena, Caneda, Parawan, Chio, Sekak, at Lecciones sa paglabag sa Paragraphs A.2 (Neglect of Duty), A.3 (Grave Misconduct) at C.3 (Reasonable Office Rules and Regulations), Sec. 52 ng Resolution No. 991936 na, “Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service."

Ang alegasyon laban kay Lorenzo ay bunga ng kapabayaan umano nito na ipagkatiwala lahat kay Bolante ang paggamit sa pondo. Lumitaw na naghanda umano si Bolante ng listahan ng mga bibigyan ng pondo ngunit walang listahan ng farming zones.

Sumabit din sa kaso ang mga regional director dahil sinunod nila si Bolante at mayroong mga pinaborang supplier.

Sinasabing ginamit ang bahagi ng P728-milyong fertilizer fund sa kampanya ni dating pangulong Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo nang tumakbo itong presidente at nanalo noong 2004 elections.

Mula sa pagsasampa ng reklamo na itatala sa Central Records Division (CRD), ipagpapatuloy ang imbestigasyon ng Preliminary Investigation Administrative Adjudication and Monitoring Office (PAMO). Maghahanda naman ang PAMO ng pinagsamang Supplemental Complaint na isusumite sa Special Panel na magsasagawa rin ng preliminary investigation at administrative adjudication.

Batay sa naunang reklamo na inihain ng Task Force Abono ng OMB-FIO, ang mga kinasuhan ng Technical Malversation, Violation of Sec. 3(e) at (g) ng RA 3019, at Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service sa ilalim ng Section 46, Chapter 7, Title I, Book V of Executive Order No. 292 (Administrative Code of 1987) ay sina Carmencita Reyes, Araullo, Balagtas Torres, Juvylee Obice, Rodolfo Guieb, Mari Paz Jazmine Cabucol, Raymundo Braganza, Abelardo Bragas, Felix Ramos, Ofelia Montilla at Gregorio Sangalang.

Sina Nanette Daza, Federico Sandoval II, at Oscar Gozos ay kinasuhan ng Technical Malversation, at Violation of Sec. 3(e) at (g) of RA 3019. Samantalang ang mga private respondent na sina Linus at Remus Villanueva; Phydias Bañez; Fernando Gallarte; at Frederico Quevedo ay isinakdal sa Violation of Sec 3 (e) at (g) ng RA 3019.

Sina Bolante at Poliquit ay kinasuhan din ng Technical Malversation at Violation of Sec 3(e) of RA 3019. May hiwalay na kaso rin kay Poliquit na Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service.

Halos tapos na ang preliminary investigation ng Special Panel na nagsisiyasat sa fertilizer fund mess nang isumite ng Senate Blue Ribbon Committee na pinamunuan ni dating Sen. Richard Gordon ang kanilang ulat.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Latest Article on the Pork Barrel System in the Philippines

Here's the latest article by Neal Cruz on Pork Barrel published in today's issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. It is indeed sad that perhaps even the new president P-Noy can not change this corrupt system in the political life in the Philippines.
What do you think? Is there a way to eliminate this corrupt system?
"BRIBERY IS A CRIME and a form of corruption that presidents, including the incumbent, P-Noy, routinely promise to stop and punish. Yet every year, when the president presents his administration’s proposed budget to Congress, he/she commits bribery. That is by including in the budget proposal appropriations for the congressional pork barrel disguised in innocent-sounding names like Priority Development Assistance Fund or Countrywide Development Fund.

Congress is prohibited from adding appropriations not in the original budget proposal of the executive department. It can only subtract from or transfer funds in the original budget. So that if there is no allocation in the budget proposal for pork barrel funds, there will be no pork, no theft of the people’s money, no corruption. That is not hard to do, is it?

But why is it that all presidents include in their budget proposals every year allocations for pork? Because it is their way of bribing legislators to do the president’s wishes—vote for pet bills, elect certain legislators to be Senate president or speaker, vote down impeachment complaints, etc. etc. Cooperate and your pork barrel gets released pronto; don’t cooperate and you get nothing.

By doing so, presidents, of all people, commit bribery. They become conspirators in corruption. Not only conspirators but the original sinners in the pork barrel thefts by including allocations for pork in their budget proposals. This is in addition to the shopping bags full of cash that a previous president was caught handing to congressmen summoned to Malacañang.

“Pagbabago” (change) is the promise of P-Noy and the theme of his inaugural speech. Will there be a change in his budget proposal to be submitted to Congress this month? Will there be no allocations for pork, or will it be “business as usual” and “tuloy ang ligaya”? I fear it will be the latter, considering that both P-Noy and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad are former congressmen who most likely benefited from the pork barrel system.

In fact, this is what attracts most politicians to run for Congress. Imelda Marcos, elected as representative of Ilocos Norte, has already made it known that she would collect her pork, although she qualified it by saying that she would use it “wisely.” Neophyte Rep. Manny Pacquiao, a multimillionaire, already has plans on what to do with his pork. A party-list representative, as soon as he set foot in the House of Representatives, was heard to ask a staff member: “How do we get our pork? I need it.”

To be fair, a few senators have spurned their pork allocations, and some congressmen, particularly those from militant party-list groups, have been denied by GMA’s Malacañang their pork.

Which brings me to these questions: Should party-list representatives get pork allocations? Where will they use them? They don’t have territorial districts that need infrastructure projects. Are pork barrel funds audited by the Commission on Audit?

Speaking of audits, do you know that the in-house auditors of most government agencies are sometimes co-conspirators in the theft of the people’s money. The auditors are the watchdogs of government spending, the guardians of the people’s money who are supposed to see to it that the money is spent properly. But they are co-opted into the immoral activities by being given shares in the bonanza.

For example, when giving themselves new cars at taxpayers’ expense, board members of government agencies or councilors of local government units also give cars to their auditors. That way, the auditors pass the expenditures in audit. Some auditors even teach the officials how to justify their expenses. The watchdogs have become lapdogs.

And why give vehicles, at the people’s expense, to board members and councilors who attend sessions only once a week and who already have one or more of their own vehicles.

I remember when senators gave themselves brand-new cars and there was a public uproar against it. Then Senate President Jovito Salonga told them to return the vehicles.

This penchant of public officials to give themselves unwarranted benefits is not confined to members of Congress. It is spreading to other branches of government. Councilors of Quezon City already have their own pork barrel allocations in the millions of pesos. I am sure other councilors and provincial board members also have their own pork and, if not, will soon follow Quezon City and have their own. Why, even barangay officials have their own pork. So you can imagine how much of the people’s money is leaking to private pockets.

The question is, where do they spend their pork barrel funds? Quezon City is already full of concrete roads. In fact, streets in perfectly good condition, like Edsa and España, are periodically torn up so that contractors can cement them over again. Why on earth do they do that, wasting the people’s money? Answer: To give the private contractors contracts for projects. Otherwise they would have no money to share with the congressmen and councilors. And because the pork is there waiting to be spent.

So we see so many concrete arches at the entrances of barangays with the names of the congressmen and barangay captains etched in stone as if they were the Ten Commandments. So we see so many waiting sheds with the names of councilors painted on them in big bold letters.

Yet we see no improvement in the living conditions in squatter colonies. On the contrary, squatters are increasing in Quezon City. What are the congressmen, councilors and barangay officials doing with their pork? Why not use them to provide homes, or at least sanitary toilets, for the squatters? Or why not organize livelihood projects for them?"

An excellent article and a Food for your Thoughts.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

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Happy July 4th America-234th Anniversary

Fortune Magazine listed 100 things that American can be proud of to remind us of today, 234th Anniversary of US Independence. The following is the top 25 which I can really identify. As an American, the family is celebrating today with a barbecue ( hot dogs,hamburger and a couple of rib eye steaks) in my backyard and watching my grand daughter swim in our pool with abandon. I hope you all have a safe July 4th. Looking forward to see the fireworks this evening from our front yard from the nearby mall.
(Note: My personal comments are in BOLD)
1. The Internet
Oh yes, invented in the USA -- maybe Al Gore helped.( you would not have read this without #1)

2. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights

3. Baseball
America's pastime…steroids or not

4. Mount Rushmore
Home of the original "your face here" gimmick

5. Food in New Orleans
If you can remember it the next morning( Flip food is better)

6. Rock and roll
Find a Beatles or Stones song uninfluenced by American music. Just try.( I like classical music better)

7. Hawaii
Mauna Kea, Kaua'i…you gotta see it to believe it.(I prefer Marinduque-My Island Paradise)

8. iPod, iPad, and everything Apple

9. Barbecue
Carolina, Mississippi, K.C., Memphis…it's all good.( this is what we are doing today)

10. Ford Mustang
Who needs a German car? We'll take the classic.

11. Wikipedia
This article that mentions a popular fact site is a stub. You can help us by expanding it.( very useful indeed)

12. Buffalo
Because this is a real sentence: Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. Don't believe us? Check on #11.

13. Slam dunks
Thanks to Doctor J

14. Broadway
If the Lion King ever closes, Cats will come back.(Have seen both and really enjoyed it)

15. Bluebirds
Listen to mine sing ( I have four in my backyard since April)

16. Google
Because no one stands up to China better( I use this almost daily)

17. Mark Twain
The original American bad-ass

18. The national anthem

19. Iced drinks
When will the rest of the world figure this out?

20. Beaches
Cape Cod, Kiawah, Zuma -- ours are better.( Mine is better-Chateau Du Mer-Philppines)

21. Madison Square Garden
A little threadbare but still the biggest stage in America's biggest city

22. Delivery pizza ( sometimes better than chinese food delivery)

23. The Grateful Dead
Long may the followers of Uncle John's Band live on.

24. YouTube
We keep clicking on home videos even after Charlie bit our finger -- again! ( I can not live without it and also HULU movies)

25. The Super Bowl
The parties, the ads -- oh and a sports game, too ( Better and more exciting than soccer)

I am delighted to see items 15 ( Bluebirds in my Backyard), # 16 Google, #22 Delivery pizza and #24 YouTube and most of all #9 Barbecue!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Dialect of the Philippines and Marinduque

The tagalog speaking region of the Philippines-Katagalugan Region of the Philippines

Friends and relatives here in US often ask me how many dialects are there really in the Philippines. My answer is usually 7 to 8, since that was what I learned in elementary school in the late 1940's. However, I found out today, I was wrong. I found the following article from the web stating there are 12 major regional languages in the Philippines. In the article there are over 170 dialects, one of them is the local Marinduqueno dialect( colloquial) spoken only by the natives of Marinduque. Hopefully a dictionary of Marinduque dialect( colloquialism) will be published soon. Note that I have meet other Filipinos here in US who does not even know that Marinduque is known as tagalog speaking province. Most of these non-Marinduquenos believe Visaya is spoken In marinduque. Here is the article that I found interesting and even informative not only to non-Filipinos but also the other Filipinos living outside the Philippines.

"In the Philippines there are over 170 dialects of which about twelve, belonging to the Malayo-Polynesian language family, are of regional importance. Of all these languages only Filipino and English are considered to be official in the country.

The twelve major regional languages are the auxiliary official languages of their respective regions, each with over one million speakers: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon, Waray-Waray, Kapampangan, Bicol, Pangasinan. Kinaray-a, Maranao, Maguindanao and Tausug.
Most of the country’s languages are closely related, belonging to one of several subfamilies of Austronesian - more specifically, Western Malayo-Polynesian languages. The major languages of the country generally correspond to the largest ethnic groups.

Tagalog is the most widespread language of the Central Philippine subfamily, with the bulk of its native speakers concentrated in Manila, central and south-central Luzon, and the islands of Mindoro and Marinduque. The national language of the Philippines, Filipino, is based on Tagalog and shares a place with English as an official language and medium of instruction. Tagalog (including Filipino) has the most extensive written literature of all Philippine languages.

Cebuano, also a Central Philippine language, is used widely in Cebu, Bohol, eastern Negros, western Leyte, and parts of Mindanao.

Ilocano is the most commonly spoken language of the Northern Luzon subfamily, and its speakers constitute the third largest language community of the Philippines.

Other prominent languages of the Central Philippine group include Hiligaynon and Waray-Waray, both spoken in the Visayas, as well as several varieties of Bicol, spoken in southern Luzon.

Tausug is widespread in Palawan and the Sulu Archipelago.

Kinaray-a is spoken mainly in Antique Province. It is also spoken in Iloilo province and certain villages in Mindanao.

Kapampangan (Pampango) and Pangasinan, both Northern Philippine languages, have many speakers in central Luzon.

Notable languages of the Southern Philippine subfamily are Magindanao and Maranao, which are spoken in parts of Mindanao.

Both Spanish and Arabic are used as secondary languages in the Philippines and the use of Arabic is prevalent among the Filipino Muslims. The Lan-nang-oe version of Min Nan Chinese dialect is widely spoken by the country's Chinese minority".

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Money can buy one Form of Happiness

Here's the latest article on Money and Happiness. It was written by Rob Stein for the Washington Post dated July 1, 2010. Do you agree with this article?

"Pulling in the big bucks makes people more likely to say they are happy with their lives overall -- whether they are young or old, male or female, or living in cities or remote villages, the survey of more than 136,000 people in 132 countries found.

But the survey also showed that a key element of what many people consider happiness -- positive feelings -- is much more strongly affected by factors other than cold, hard cash, such as feeling respected, being in control of your life and having friends and family to rely on in a pinch.

"Yes, money makes you happy -- we see the effect of income on life satisfaction is very strong and virtually ubiquitous and universal around the world," said Ed Diener, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Illinois who led the study. "But it makes you more satisfied than it makes you feel good. Positive feelings are less affected by money and more affected by the things people are doing day to day."

Previous studies had suggested that money was associated with happiness. But the relationship appeared weak, and earlier work tended to focus on individual countries and global evaluations of life without parsing out the effects on specific positive and negative emotions or examining differences across nations.

The new survey -- the first large international study to differentiate between overall life satisfaction and day-to-day emotions -- makes that crucial distinction, allowing researchers to explore the elusive concept of happiness in much greater nuance.

"It's sort of a new era for the study of well-being," said Daniel Kahneman, a professor emeritus of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University.

The reason for the distinction is probably that when people are asked whether they are "happy," the first thing they do, wherever they are, is take stock of their lives by comparing themselves to their equivalent of "the Joneses" using the most obvious measure: income, several experts said.

"When people evaluate their life, they compare themselves to a standard of what a successful life is, and it turns out that standard tends to be universal: People in Togo and Denmark have the same idea of what a good life is, and a lot of that has to do with money and material prosperity," Kahneman said. "That was unexpected."

But day-to-day positive feelings depend a lot on other things, which also turn out to be fairly universal and therefore help clarify what makes people content, several researchers said.

"The thing I think is exciting about this is money can make you feel better in a limited way," said Barbara L. Fredrickson, a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "But positive feelings like enjoyment and laughing can do a whole lot more for people. They can help people grow and learn and become a more resilient, better version of yourself."

The new survey, dubbed the "first representative sample of planet Earth," was conducted by Gallup and involved detailed questioning in 2005 and 2006 of 136,839 residents age 15 and older. The samples in each country were designed to be nationally representative and represent about 96 percent of the world's population.

"What makes this paper so important is the sample is so huge and covered the entire world," said Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California at Riverside. "It's really interesting that if you look at countries that are so different -- from rural villagers to people living in a city like Stockholm -- they are all about the same in terms of what makes people happy."

The researchers gathered information about a long list of attributes, including income, whether basic needs such as food and shelter were met, what conveniences the subjects owned and whether they felt their psychological needs were satisfied. The survey asked people to rate their lives on a scale from zero for the worst possible life to 10 for the best. They also reported whether they experienced enjoyment, smiling, laughing, sadness, depression or anger the previous day, whether they felt respected and had family or friends they could count on in an emergency, and how free they were to choose their daily activities, learn new things or do what "one does best."

Life satisfaction was directly and strongly correlated with income, with the impact felt equally among all ages, men and women, and rural villagers and urban dwellers in virtually every corner of the globe, the researchers reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Although money also influenced emotions, the effect was much weaker. Both positive and negative emotions tended to be affected much more in relation to other psychological and social factors, such as feeling respected, having autonomy, strong social support and working at a fulfilling job.

"What we didn't know before is the extent to which life evaluation and emotional well-being are so distinct," Kahneman said. "When you look at the books about well-being, you see one word -- it's happiness. People do not distinguish."

The findings "are really significant" because "we are finally able to answer the big questions, such as 'What is a good society?' " Shigehiro Oishi, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, wrote in an e-mail. "If the goal of a society is to raise the daily enjoyment of its citizens, then, it seems critical to devise ways to increase the relational wealth of nations (e.g., stronger social network)."

This article corroborates and reinforces my feeling of happiness after I have given myself to help others specifically, my involvement with the Medical Missions to the Province of Marinduque for the last 10 years. I still believe that money is not everything. As a matter of fact the greed for money will cause you unhappiness. Do you Agree? Comments anyone?
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