Monday, December 26, 2011

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY Disaster response program for the victims of Typhoon Pedring

Last September 2011, Metro Manila and some parts of Central Luzon experienced another dose of destruction brought about by Tropical Storm Pedring which left areas along the western shoreline of Manila like Baseco, Malabon, Navotas, Caloocan, and some parts of the Bulacan Province, flooded with up to chest-high water and hundreds of families homeless. Baseco Compound, a reclaimed area measuring 56 hectares and inhabited by more than 12,000 families, was not spared from the havoc caused by the typhoon.

A few years ago, in 2004, Baseco experienced a massive fire that practically wiped-out all the informal resettlement houses, leaving the hectares of marshland areas a barren wasteland and thousands of families living in shanties homeless. But a year after, a concerted effort of the local government and NGOs like Habitat for Humanity and Gawad Kalinga, gradually transformed a big portion of Baseco into a clean, safe, and highly organized urban low-cost housing community. Kuya Lito, one of the community team leaders and a Habitat for Humanity housing recipient shares, “The condition of our community was difficult when typhoon Pedring came, but things are a lot better now because our houses were built to withstand yearly typhoons”.

Unfortunately, not all families living in Baseco share Kuya Lito’s comfort. They’re the ones living in the outskirts and outside of the low-cost housing village known as Old Site Block 9, an informal resettlement area. About 5,000 families squat in this underdeveloped area where there are no decent roads, no sewerage system, and where houses are built using makeshift shelter materials. Small shanties with dimensions measuring 8ft x 9ft are built with patches of scrap boards, second hand lumber, and plastic tarpaulins for roofs are considered homes by most of the families living there. When Typhoon Pedring came, hundreds of these houses were easily blown away and families had no choice but to evacuate to the nearest elementary school.

The Disaster Response Program of Habitat for Humanity heeded the cries of the settlers in Baseco and conducted a relief and rehabilitation program to once again help rebuild homes that were lost in the calamity. With the help of Habitat’s corporate donors such as JP Morgan and Harvest Aid Organization Foundation, the Disaster Response Team headed by Mr. Dabs Liban and with the cooperative efforts of the community leaders - Kabalikat, they distributed Shelter Repair Kits amounting to P5,000 each to the affected community. 

The kits consist of assorted slabs of good lumber to replace the foundation beams that hold the houses together, galvanized iron roofing to replace the plastic tarpaulin makeshift covers, sturdy Hardiflex ply boards for more durable walling, and even basic tools such as a wood saw, hammer, and screw drivers and nails. The shelter kits are sufficient enough to help families fix their homes.

The Kabalikat Home Owners Association is a Peoples Organization composed of the local town folk of Baseco who served as volunteer workers for the project. Prior to the distribution, Kabalikat identified the families that will receive the shelter kits. Each was given a written agreement and certification duly singed by Habitat, the Kabalikat president, and a family representative to use the kits solely for house repairs and not for other purposes. According to Kuya Gerogie, the president of Kabalikat, the written agreement was necessary to prevent people from selling the materials as this happened in previous relief distributions in the past.

All the kits were organized and placed all over the covered court. Families were given tag numbers for an orderly distribution. Each representative of the recipient families brought with them hired tricycles as transport to help them haul the materials.

The distribution of the kits lasted for half a day and the Habitat team is already making preparations for the next batch of families to be given assistance. Habitat for Humanity is targeting 1,000 families this year but, according to Mr. Boyet Dalipat, a Habitat for Humanity Disaster Relief staff, “Of course, the shelter kits are not the ultimate solution but a full low-cost housing development much like the one we already have here in Habitat Village and we can only do that if more donors will partner with us in making our vision for Baseco a reality. For now, we will continue doing the shelter kit distribution because this is what the community needs at this point in time.”

Friday, December 23, 2011

Race Announcement: Subic International Marathon 2012

One of the best ways to start a good and healthy lifestyle this coming New Year is to run in the Subic International Marathon 2012. The SIM is currently up on its toes preparing for its 6th year run. This marathon will be held on January 21-22, 2012 at the SBMA Complex and will offer various race categories including 3k distance for beginners and kids, and for those runners who may want to bring their families along. The race will be divided into two parts. The 3k and 5k runs are set on the 21st while the 10k, 21k and 42k runs will happen on the 22nd.

The SIM 2012 is geared to commit to all runners a more satisfying race next year. It also forged a partnership with two groups as beneficiaries for the race and these are the CORPS Movement Foundation and Dilaab Movement.

CORPS Movement Foundation is a non-stock non-profit organization that has been providing community development programs in various places in Metro Manila and in different regions in the Philippines since 1992. It is powered and run by hundreds of volunteers from faith-based groups and are deeply involved in God-centered, service-oriented and family-based communities geared towards achieving holistic transformation in the lives of the community residents.

Another beneficiary of the run is the Dilaab Movement. Dilaab, meaning “fire” for the Cebuanos, is a faith-impelled Church-based movement advocating Filipino heroic and Christian Leadership. Dilaab Movement began with three programs, one reaching out to OFWs and their families, another one is promoting a narcopolitics-free society, and the third is advocating corruption-intolerance among men in uniform and people in public service.

The SIM 2012 is certainly a break from the usual city urban runs where most of the running circuits are set. It will cover areas in SBMA’s sprawling lush green of Remy Field. Runners, most especially for the 21k and 42k distances, will experience running in the protected jungle forest of SBMA where natural wild animals like exotic birds and monkeys freely roam around the area. However, runners can expect a safe and clean race course with its guides and safety marshals in every turn-around point for all distances.

Organizers of the SIM 2012 are focused on making sure that participants will have a memorable and satisfying running experience. With its world standard marathon course, the SIM expects to have more international runners joining the race and thus making the Philippines a recognized member of the global running community.

Organizing this event is eXtribe Inc., the very same outfit that organized popular international marathons and triathlon competitions including the Ironman 70.3 Philippines 2009-2010. As a co-producer of this event, eXtribe guarantees world class marathon experience for all runners.

The Subic International Marathon 2012 is also in partnership with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Armed Force of the Philippines (AFP), and the Philippine National Police (PNP). It is supported by PAGCOR Casino Filipino and ABS-CBN Sports as its official TV Partner.

Runners can still register until January 15, 2012. The registration sites are at New Balance Glorietta, New Balance Shangri-la, New Balance Trinoma and New Balance Marquee Mall Pampanga.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gym Review: FTX Fitness Exchange Center

I love staying fit and healthy. I tried doing some “gym-thingy” when I was still young, strong and had the enthusiasm to impress girls many years ago. But it was short lived because I never really enjoyed it. The constant repetitive actions of weight training done in several sets bored me, that’s why I thrive in recreational outdoor sports like running, mountain biking, and climbing. The only sport I enjoy doing in the confines of a gym is indoor wall climbing … until I discovered a different kind of fitness center.

Just recently, I was invited to visit the launching of FTX Fitness Exchange in Makati City where we got to watch a comprehensive demonstration on how training can be a challenging body workout and yet where one can have fun doing it. The equipment are quite different from the usual machines traditional gyms have. FTX features 15 signature exercises which are very effective in any level of training you’re in and which mostly use your own body weight.

The Cirqfit exercises start with a simple treadmill running for a minimum of 30 seconds or more. It is a form of a low impact warm up just to set your body for the upcoming continuous series of exercises. The next one was the kettle throwing which at first was quite tricky when it comes to getting the right form of hip-throwing action. After 30 seconds, one moves to the Rip60 exercise. It is a contraption using web-straps and harnesses hanged on the ceiling and all the exercises can be done using your own body weight. Coach Connie Fortich, a resident trainer at FTX, showed me several exercises one can do with straps and webbing.

Up next, a more challenging workout was introduced starting with sandbag snatch-lifting. It’s a duffle bag filled with sand where it is handled with a quick lift much like in weightlifting competitions. This was done for several repetitions for another 30 seconds. This exercise is good for back leg strengthening. After which, I was introduced to a unique exercise that involves big long ropes. The ropes are jiggled with the hands to form different types of waves. You can do it alternately or simultaneously. It is for core strengthening and arm toning.

FTX offers other exercise classes including the gravity yoga, zumba aerobics and hip-hop dance classes. They also offer Muay-Thai and boxing classes for those who want to have more than just aggressive workouts.

FTX is the only gym that offers these unique and fun exercises in Makati. For a runner like me, this is certainly an ideal cross discipline workout most especially when the weather makes it bad to run. FTX is now offering special promotional discount rates for those who are interested to enroll in groups.

* Thanks Orange Magazine TV for the use of the photos

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Movie Review: MI4 Ghost Protocol

In a nutshell, MI4 is, by far, the best MI film that has ever hit the big screen!

Early this week, members of the press and other guests got to see Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, the fourth installment in the MI series starring Tom Cruise at the IMAX Theater in SM Mall of Asia. I was very fortunate to be invited by Solar Films Entertainment to watch this special premiere. To our delight, we were surprised to know that MI4 opens in the Philippines one week ahead of the US screening!

Before the movie started, Solar Films Entertainment President Mr. Wilson Teng shared some insightful information on how the Philippine Cinema industry has prospered despite the ever-present threat of film piracy among other economic-related factors our country is facing today. Audiences applauded when he announced that Solar Film Entertainment Philippines alone made a staggering gross income of P1.8 billion this year! That’s great news especially since we get to see some films ahead of other countries. Congratulations Solar Films!

Another “debut” worth celebrating is the new director of the film, Brad Bird, who made animation blockbusters like The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and the Iron Giant. The fourth MI movie finally gave Bird a first action film he deserved to direct. The highlight set of the movie was of course Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, currently the tallest building on the planet.

Teaming up with Tom Cruise (Ethan Hunt) are new faces of agents like Jane Carter played by Paula Patton, the technical support sidekick Benji Dunn played by Simon Pegg, and promising “kick-ass” defense espionage analyst agent William Brandt played by Jeremy Renner from the action movie Hurt Locker.

The story was more like a slice of the cold war era between the US and Russia. It basically revolves around having a Russian high level rouge syndicate getting hold of nuclear bomb launch codes, blowing up a big portion of the Kremlin, and putting the blame on IMF operatives thus heating up the situation and leading countries into the brink of a nuclear war. After the US Secretary of Defense was assassinated, the US government invokes Ghost Protocol and disavows agents leaving just the four main characters to save the day.

In every Mission Impossible I watched, one element is certainly evident in each film and that is the awesome stunts of Tom Cruise that leave the audiences at the edge of their seats. The new MI film surely tops all the past MIs and other action packed films making them all quite mediocre. One thing that was absent this time though is the bed and skin scenes that were very notable in past MIs. I guess they left those out to give room for more action scenes which is quite ok with me.

Over all, this film is definitely one of THE “must watch” movies of this year. It starts showing on December 16 although next week, cinemas have to give way as the Philippine movie industry celebrates the annual Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) where local film makers and productions get to feature their masterpieces and vie for the best film of the year and other awards.

So, from Dec. 25, 2011 to Jan. 8, 2012, in support of the MMFF, cinemas all over the country will allot all screenings to featured local films. However, for this year, SM Cinemas is making an exception and will be showing Mission Impossible: Ghost protocol in IMAX theaters in SM Mall of Asia, SM North Edsa, SM South Mall and SM City Cebu. Regular screening resumes on January 8.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Announcing the Don Henrico Run 2011

The Philippine General Hospital is a place where I have dozens of unforgettable memories when I used to cover doctors there as a med rep for nine years a long time ago. During the Christmas seasons, it always saddens me when I pass by the charity wards of PGH, most especially the Pediatric and ICU sections where most of the confined patients and their relatives have to spend their Christmas eves and days at. In many cases, these indigent patients have some of the worst illnesses, hoping to get well, and have the resources to pay their way out of the bills because, although PGH is a government-run hospital, not all medicines and treatments are free of charge.

Don Henrico’s Restaurant, a popular pizza hub that brings the best tasting pastas and pizzas in and around the metro is gearing up for its first Don Henrico’s Run that will benefit the Sagip Buhay Foundation. This local organization focuses in providing medications and medical treatment to less-fortunate Filipinos admitted in the medicine and ICU wards of the PGH in Manila.

The race venue will be held at the grounds of CCP Complex, Pasay City on December 17, 2011. This is a rare afternoon race that will take place at 3:30pm. It’s also the best time to catch a glimpse of the famous sunset while cruising and running around the scenic views of Manila Bay.

Interested runners can still register for race categories 3k, 5k, and 10k distances at all Don Henrico’s outlets in Metro Manila. After the race, finishers will receive exciting loots from participating sponsors including cash vouchers and slices of pizza courtesy of Don Henrico’s. For those who will vie for ranks and medals, cash prizes await the fastest runners.

Improving the quality of life in every Filipino is one of the core CSR statements of Don Henrico’s. Its goal is to bring a Christmas atmosphere in the wards of PGH where patients can have all the quality treatment and medication they need to have better lives when they go home. Come join this worthwhile advocacy. Register and run for a good cause. See you there!

Monday, December 5, 2011

WWF-BPI Research Assessment Report

Baguio City is the country’s summer capital no more while Davao becomes the Philippines’ new business capital …

Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) in partnership with World Wide Fund - Philippines (WWF-Phil) has recently released the results of a one year data gathering research on selected key cities that will impact business, environmental, and socio-economic conditions caused by a global concern on the worsening climate change.

This research, entitled Business Risk Assessment and the Management of Climate Change Impacts, has identified four key cities in the Philippines that have been tagged as most vulnerable: Baguio City, Cebu City, IloIlo City, and Davao City. The research used three vector analyses to gauge the level of vulnerability as a city, climate and environmental exposure, socio-economic sensitivity and adaptive capacity. The scope of these analyses has a historical data of more than 20 years within the period of 1990 to 2010.

As a result, among the cities identified, Baguio City has been placed in the highest risk. Looking back in history, Baguio City was built by the famous architect and city planner Daniel Burnham in the 1900s to be a rest and recreational place for American Soldiers who want to have a feel of the cool weather of the US without necessarily going stateside. In the original plan, the city was designed for a population of 25,000 and not to the extent of what Baguio now has which is over 300,000 people crowding a 57.5 square kilometer land area. Among the four cities, Baguio is the most densely populated.

Due to its cool climate, Baguio also has the highest rainfall that subsequently caused countless landslides, soil erosions and sink-holes resulting from underground erosions. For thousands of years, this city, located 1,500 meters above sea level, continues to experiencing extreme flooding.

With these worsening problems of the city, business and socio economic conditions also declined. Although for many years, Baguio has been noted to be the most popular destination in the country, tourism has now declined to 25%. The city is accessible with only three roads namely Marcos Highway, Naguilian Road and Kennon Road which are all prone to landslides. In addition, the city doesn’t have an airport. Ironically, the city’s local government has made it a priority to promote tourism as its primary revenue despite the decline and even if the present structure of the city can no longer support it. However, agricultural capacity has been sustained although produced in the outskirts of town such as Trinidad and Naguilian but they are not prioritized by the LGU.

Among the four cities identified, Davao City came out to be the least vulnerable and has proven to have more room for improvement. To begin with, the city does not have any recorded typhoon in hundreds of years. It also has the lowest crime rate and has a systematized area development. Among the four cities, Davao has the highest immigration percentage both residential and business because of its promising and lucrative opportunities. Even with tourism up by 75%, the city considers local industries as a priority for growth and revenue. The city also has an international airport and seaports to cater to international trades. There are even Asian countries in the far south using the ports of Davao as their export entry and not the Manila ports. With the bright future Davao is now facing, it won’t be too long before it becomes the country’s new business capital.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Event Coverage: Nuvali’s Dirt Weekend 2011

On its third year, Nuvali, the premier residential and nature inspired destination in the south, has once again put the pedal in full cycle with Dirt Weekend 2011. With bigger, better, and more challenging mountain bike courses, the Dirt Weekend gathered more than 2,500 participants from different parts of Metro Manila and other regions in the country who competed in four different mountain bike challenges.


With 1,860 hectare of trails to offer, crossing three municipalities Cabuyao, Calamaba and Sta. Rosa, the Cross Country Race is certainly a mountain biker’s haven for extreme challenge. It’s a test of cross country skills as bikers navigated themselves along the deep single track trails and marsh courses of Nuvali. Bike challengers were exposed to steep climbs with technical scrambling of dirt, grass, rocks and a mix of hard pavement all throughout the race course.


Experience moto-cross action on a mountain bike. The Four Cross is a controlled landscaped race course designed for mountain bikes. It’s a 1.3km loop of high jumps, steep descent and zip through berms as bikers sprint through this course in a head-to-head challenge among the most competitive riders in the country.


Mountain Bike Orienteering offers another level of mountain bike challenge. It is a combination of two outdoor sport disciplines mainly mountain-orienteering and cross-country mountain biking. Seven teams competed in this race of navigational skills, map reading and cross country biking along a 21km extreme trail in Nuvali.


The most challenging of all challenges is the 24-Hour Mountain Biking activity. More than a hundred participants joined in this gruesome extreme pedaling test of endurance. This race ran a 3.5km trail-route loop where riders stretched their physical limits to make the most number of laps in 24 hours of biking. Among the hundreds of participants who joined, only a handful was able to complete the 60 tiring laps of the race. This particular race was so challenging that it drew a lot international riders to join including Mr. Tas Laurie, an airline pilot/ extreme outdoors man who shared his excruciating ride experience where he mentioned dozens of crashes along the way before completing the 60 laps.

The Dirt Weekend biking competition is a yearly event of Nuvali that promotes its culture and advocacy on environmental sustainability. Given the place’s lush green surroundings, wide open landscapes and not to mention fresh clean air, Nuvali is the perfect venue for such an event much to the delight of health buffs and nature aficionados. Nuvali is surely a haven for healthy and balance living.

*Photos used with permission by JM Bueno of

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Race Review: Run BGC

Run BGC, on its third year, has raised its game a notch higher by introducing a twist in the usual running circuit. Apart from the traditional 3k, 5k, and 10k race categories, race organizer RunRio included a game of Flag Football for 3k and 5k distances.

Flag Football is an innovation of the real American Football where a player gets to play inside a football zone and be tackled by defenders. But instead of “full-contact” tackle, players get to wear a belt with flags on the side. Participating runners for the Flag Football categories will try their best to go to the end zone without losing any flags that can be pulled by the defenders. After which, a runner will proceed to his running route to finish the race.

Hundreds of runners ventured out in this new and exciting game last Sunday, November 27, 2011. The Flag Football category is part of BGC’s promotion of its various developments in the coming months. A part of the seven new developments now under construction is an actual Flag Football field that will serve Filipinos who may want to experience the feel of playing real American Football and might find their niche in this kind of sport.

But for serious runners like me, I stuck to doing the usual 10k run on barefoot. For me, running this distance is a great challenge as it is, because prior to this race, I already covered a 10k barefoot run at the One For TREES fun run in Binangonan, Rizal just a day before. Despite the mild fatigue I had, resulting from the previous run, I didn’t mind because I’m confident that BGC is a very barefoot runner-friendly course, at least the ones I’m used to running on.

But then again, I spoke too soon, because the course of this year’s Run BGC was quite different from what I expected. The routes, most especially the 10k, cover a different area of BGC where most of the on-going constructions are located. So, the roads were mostly wet, peppered with sand and cement, much of which were damaged by heavy equipment. For a moment, I wished I had taken my chances on the 3k Flag Football instead. But it’s too late and the path I was on was already at hand and there was no other way but to conquer the obstacles.

The stretch of the construction site was long so I proceeded with extreme caution. So far so good in the first 2k and, after the stretch, I was on a pavement I’m quite familiar with. After a quick inspection of my soles, I got back on my game. The whole race route for the 10k was a big loop around BGC. For any consolation, at least the dreaded Kalayaan flyover was not part of the route.

After the race, most runners stayed for a while to witness one of the race’s highlight which was the grand raffle draw of the trip for two to Australia. Not only that, the lucky winner gets to join a marathon in Sydney with all-expenses paid!

Prior to this, while the hosts where raffling off some minor prizes courtesy of BGC and its sponsors like RioVana and Soleus watch, the audience was treated to an unusual dance showdown entertainment at the expense of the participants themselves. It was a contest between ten female and male runners in the tune of “teach me how to douggie”. As much as most of the contestants were too reluctant to participate at first, things suddenly started to heat up when some of them almost went overboard and danced almost half naked just to win a prize. That scene surely blew our socks off :)

* Photos to be updated soon. Edit - Dec. 26: Some photos borrowed from Run BGC's Facebook album

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Movie Review: The Adventures of Tintin: The Secrets of the Unicorn

A classic comic book novel by the Belgian artist Herge is finally resurrected as a motion picture and has finally brought to justice the worth of its relevance to the story immortalized in a comic book novel counterpart. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secrets of the Unicorn is a long delayed project of Steven Spielberg that can be traced back to the Indiana Jones movies decades ago. Spielberg is said to have become a fan of the investigative journalist hero when a bunch of movie critics compared Indiana Jones to the adventures of Tin Tin.

The Secrets of the Unicorn is one of the three original stories about Tintin. The other two were Red Rackham’s Treasure and The Crab with the Golden Claws. However these two are not part of the next Tin Tin movies that are currently under construction. After this installment, we will be seeing more of Tintin in the coming years. If there won’t be any changes, fans can expect The Seven Crystal Balls and Prisoners of the Sun pretty soon. Those will be alternately directed by Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg.

Personally, I think the delay of the production of this movie was timely for it to have a substantial appreciation from the fans. The cartoon version of the book in the seventies and eighties was not as good and was short lived that resulted to its cancellation. Thanks to new technological advances in cinematography, what can be created with CGI animation and 3D at present is just what this movie needs for it to be justified.

Popular actors who contributed their voice talents were also spectacular. Jamie Bell (who played the eager film crew Billy Elliot in King Kong in the 2005 remake), rendered the voice of Tintin. Incidentally, he was a second choice talent who replaced Thomas Sangster, the mischievous boy in the movie Nanny Mcphee. The voice of Daniel Craig for Ivan Sakharine of course was a giveaway and can be recognized immediately. However, Andy Serkis for Captain Haddock was completely a revelation for me because very few people knew his real voice. People would always associate him having the voice of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings which have earned several citations and awards.

As to the films revenue, in the first week of showing, The Adventures of Tintin has earned a staggering box office sale of $56.2 million in 21 countries. This film is a very close contender for Harry Potter – Deathly Hollows part 2 because in the first day alone in three countries, UK, France and Belgium, the film already earned $8.5 million. At a very early state, the film has gained recognition in some of the US broadsheets dailies as the Best Animated motion Picture for 2011 and best motion picture for mix media.

The Adventures of Tintin is still storming all major cinemas all around the metro. I'd bet it would capture more fans, old new ones alike.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Event Coverage: Launching of Kaspersky EndPoint 8.0 and Kaspersky Center 9.0

Last November 17, 2011, Kaspersky Lab unveiled the newest defense and protection software in its arsenal -- the Kaspersky EndPoint 8.0 and Kaspersky Security Center 9.0. This special event was held at the function room of the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City.

Guests from the IT community and members of the quad media were invited to witness and share the celebration of this launch with a comprehensive presentation from key people including a major from the PNP Anti-Transnational and Cyber Crime Division (ATCCD); Peter Beardmore, Senior Director of Product Marketing Kaspersky Lab; and Suk-Ling Gun, APAC Director Corporate Sales also of Kaspersky Lab.

Major Felix shared that even though the country’s anti-cyber crime group is young compared to its international counterparts, this law enforcement unit has proven its capacity in digital forensic or handling of digital evidences and pursuing cyber criminals. In partnership with Kaspersky Lab, the ATCCD is loaded with the ultimate protection and defense from any malware attacks that might come their way.

Peter Beardmore presented some updates on how these malware and other viruses work and grow and how Kaspersky’s 2012 EndPoint 8.0 and Security Center 9.0’s amazing features can give the best protection and defense to a company’s valued data. At the very least, approximately 70,000 new threats are made every day or one new virus every 1.2 second. With the fast growing global IT trends in terms of mobility, consumerization , cloud virtualization, and IT infrastructure, the ever-prevailing threats are likewise on a fast track and are seemingly one step ahead.

However, Beardmore further explained that the End-point 8.0 and Security Center 9.0 is always ahead of the latest threats with its superior intelligent protection and comprehensive management thus improving business efficiency and productivity. With the latest in cloud computing technology, businesses can maximize their protection capability through Kaspersky security networks.

Ms. Suk-Ling Gun shared with everyone how Kaspersky is moving alongside the more popular key players in the IT security industry. Though its present revenue does not surpass others’, in terms of market share, it ranked #2 among the bigwigs. This means that KL products are more affordable and yet provide the high superior protection and defense that everyone needs.

Later in the afternoon, guests and partner vendors of Kaspersky Lab were treated to a fast-track adventure in the cart-circuit in Park Square where everyone got to experience cart racing and a glimpse of how Formula One race car drivers feel during races.

*The Kaspersky EndPoint 8.0 and Security Center 9.0 are server protection software that covers networks of computers for businesses that depends a lot on IT requirements.

*Photos borrowed from Orange Magazine TV's Facebook page 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Movie Review: Twilight - Breaking Dawn Part 1

The long awaited final segment of the blood-sucking chick-flick movie Twilight ends with its fourth installment Breaking Dawn. This romantic love-triangle between Bella, Edward and Jacob has been the source of excitement of many young moviegoers who have been avid followers of the movie since its inception a few years back.

My wife and I had the opportunity to finally be immersed in the Twilight phenomena for the very first time last week in a press screening courtesy of friends from Jollibee. Understanding the details of a sequel from a four-part story was a bit tough for us since it’s our first Twilight experience. So, this review would only be confined in the context of the series’ fourth chapter: Breaking Dawn Part 1.

I’ve read several movie reviews of this film from other movie critics and majority was not as satisfactory. I assumed that their reviews were based from past Twilights movies which I’m not very familiar with and which is why my version would be a little different.

I realized inside the movie house that there are two factions. One group belongs to the Bella-Edward team and the other one for the Bella-Jacob team. I also discovered that since the beginning, it has been a battle of “fangs vs. abs”. After all, Bella is one fickle-minded damsel who can’t make up her mind whether she would settle owning a “dog” or loving the centuries-old “undead” boyfriend.

As expected by many, she ended up marrying Edward, the cutie vamp. After the wedding, the real story began when Edward brought Bella to a luxurious villa in an uninhabited island near the coast of Brazil for the traditional honeymoon getaway. Prior to this, a “taboo” was mentioned in the first part of the movie where Edward and Bella made Jacob freak out which I didn’t get at first. Soon after, I realized that it meant Bella would die if the couple does the sex part while she is still human. Later, Jacob’s premonition took form in a graphical, out-of-this world conception that cut the honeymoon short.

Back in Edward’s house, Bella tried to adapt to her fast-tracked conception as the baby inside her grew every minute. What I like in this part was the CGI and cinematography of Bella’s transformation into a deteriorating state as the fetus-vamp drains her from inside which forced her to drink plasma to feed her baby.

Meanwhile, the werewolf pack alpha male Sam went against the standing truce between vamps and werewolf and planned to kill all the vamps while Jacob, along with his disloyal cohorts, watch the perimeter of Edward’s house as self-declared watchdogs/security guards ever ready to stop him. In the midst of all this chaos between the vamps and werewolves, and keeping Bella alive on the side, the story was not that bad because the CGI effects were really good. For me, the film can stand alone even in the absence of the three previous parts.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Who Won the Sponge Cola Album Giveaway?

Last November 7, I decided to share my signed album of Sponge Cola's Araw, Oras, Tagpuan to a fan of the band because my son also received his own copy which we can both listen to at home. You can read my son's music review and blog post about meeting Yael, Gosh, Ted, and Armo here.

Thank you to the 21 people who joined this giveaway. The winner's name was chosen digitally via

Congratulations Joven Marasigan! I will send you a PM via Facebook so you can claim your prize. I'd appreciate it if you could take a photo of yourself with the album once you receive it and post it on your FB wall and on Trails Unlimited's FB wall so we'd all know you got it.

Thanks again, everyone! Please stay tuned to this blog and to my FB page for more giveaways coming up soon :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Event Coverage: Microsoft Family Day

Microsoft Philippines, the country’s subsidiary partner of Microsoft US and popular brand maker of computer software, recently held a Microsoft Family Day in the Microsoft office at the 6750 Building, Makati City last November 12, 2011.

This special event was where it was also announced the beginning of this year’s holiday campaign showcasing the various range of retail products using Microsoft licensed software including Windows 7, Microsoft Office, and Windows Phone 7. With the theme, “It’s a great time to be a family”, Microsoft exhibits how the advent of mobile and internet technology connects families closer together.

In the confines of the Microsoft office, the employees and guests of Microsoft Philippines were treated to a wide array of fun and excitement that both parents and their children went on to enjoy in a whole day of games and surprises. The event featured the latest in interactive video games for the Xbox 360 which both kids and adults had a wonderful time playing with. In other rooms, attendees got to try good-old fashioned parlor games where one can actually win prizes.

In a separate area, dads and moms got to enjoy trying out, and buying at discounted prices, the latest tech gadgets like laptops and desktops from Microsoft partners: Neo, Sony Vaio, HP, Lenovo and Dell. HTC also featured the Radar, their latest smart phone model which brings a energy-packed processing power and apps that would definitely compete with, or might even surpass, the most popular brands of smart phones in the market today.

One gadget that captured my attention is the latest computer mouse from Microsoft. This is no other than the Microsoft Touch Mouse that’s exclusive for Windows 7 users. As a highlight of its amazing features, this cool accessory revolutionizes the curser navigation by allowing the power of the fingertips to do the usual click, scroll or even pan functions of an ordinary mouse in a convenient wireless gadget.

One special element of the holiday campaign I mentioned earlier is that lucky winners can bag any of the fabulous prizes such as: a brand new Mitsubishi Montero Sport 2012; a trip for four to Singapore; and a family bundle of four HTC Radar Phones. In order to qualify, one must buy a genuine Window 7 from participating Microsoft partner vendors.

After a whole day of fun and games, Microsoft also prepared a wide range of food buffet for everyone’s enjoyment. The Microsoft Family Day is part of a campaign that shows all these technologies have become an intrinsic part of every family’s daily lives. After all, Filipinos are big believers that technology can help us to communicate better and do almost everything much easier. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Race Review: Rain4Africa Fun Run

Lifeline Foundation, a non-stock non-profit NGO, organizes volunteerism efforts through various activities such as feeding programs, medical missions, fundraising activities, and other volunteer efforts in various parts of our country where help is most needed. These activities are mobilized by ordinary but highly committed and dedicated individuals who are willing to go out and leave their own comfort zones to do volunteer work and help alleviate poverty in marginalized areas in our country.

As much as there are many poor Filipinos who are in dire need of help, it cannot be denied that there are people in other parts of the world who are experiencing far worst living conditions because of hunger. The horn of Africa is comprised of several countries that are considered hotspots for lack of food. Countries like Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, and Uganda are experiencing drought in the most terrible conditions.

That is why Lifeline Foundation forged a partnership with the World Food Program (WFP) to organize a year-long fundraising drive to support WFP’s efforts for Africa. As its first salvo, Lifeline Foundation initiated the Rain4Africa Fun Run 2011 which was held at West Gate Center in Filinvest Alabang, Muntinlupa City last November 13. All proceeds of this running event will be donated to WFP’s efforts in Africa.

As a media partner for this campaign, an invitation to run was also extended to me. Being a barefoot runner, I knew that this run will be a challenging one because the running areas in Filinvest are not as barefoot-friendly compared to other popular running circuits like the BGC. Nonetheless, I decided to run barefoot as a gesture of my support to the people who are living in the poorest conditions where shoes, or even slippers, would already be something luxurious for them to own.

For a year now, the Filinvest Corporate City has been my ‘home” when it comes to practice running. On many occasions, this is where I conduct my barefoot running training that is why I’m quite familiar with areas where sharp asphalt are more concentrated. At the turn of the last kilometer leg, I was cheered on by a long-lost friend of mine, Ms. Jill Nagtalon, who happens to be one of the founding members of Lifeline Foundation and organizers of the race.

In the last few hundred meters of the race, soreness in my forefoot became difficult to ignore and I began to imagine torn skin being exposed. But with a few minutes to spare, I didn’t bother to check it out and sprinted away to the finish line. After crossing the finish line at 57 minutes and 20 seconds, I immediately made some thorough inspection of my feet under running water. To my surprise, there were no blisters and the soreness I felt was something that was sub-epidermal. The outer skin of my soles was becoming thicker and has protected me from the blisters that I used to get.

The advice of a fellow barefoot runner Mike logico surely paid-off when running on sharp loose asphalt like in Filinvest. That is to lift the toes and forefoot to lessen the friction. But, personally, I would probably take a break from running barefoot in the Filinvest area for now.

* Photos borrowed from Lifeline Support Team Foundation Inc.'s Facebook page

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

One for TREES Fun Run

Thunderbird Resorts Efforts on Environment Sustainability - TREES will once again host the One for TREES Thunderbird Resorts Run for a Cause, as part of its month-long program celebrating their second year anniversary. TREES is Thunderbird Resorts Program for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a partner entity of local foundations such as SERANY Foundation and the Binagnonan Local Government in addressing the issues of environment that covers the scope of Binangonan, Rizal. 

For an added challenge, this year's fun run includes 21k distance, that would certainly appeal to many seasoned runners who wishes to push their running endurance to another level. This fun run will certainly bring a breath of fresh air to all runners wanting to have a change of running environment, away from the usual metropolitan racing routes because the circuit is practically set on the foot-hills of the Siera Madre Mountain range. Surely a breath taking site every runner would wish to experience.

For transportation assistance, Thunderbird Resorts will provide free bus rides for the first 200 registrants. Pick up stations will be at ROX Bonifacio High Streets and SM Mega Mall. The bus will depart at 4:00am. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Race Review: Race For Life

Last Saturday, November 12, I ran at the Race For Life fun run organized by Real Life Foundation, a non-profit organization instituted to provide scholarships to underprivileged high school and college students living in some of the depressed areas in our country. 

As a barefoot runner, I’m always glad to come back to the BGC running routes because it’s by far the most barefoot runner-friendly circuit in Metro Manila I know. To date, it was my 6th 10k barefoot run since I started this new running form which, I guess, is “a path few people dare to tread” as Col. Mike Logico of BRP says. I arrived a little excited and, at the same time, a bit nervous because I knew that the 10k route will cover the “dreaded” Kalayaan Flyover, known by many barefoot runners as a “barefoot-killer” road for its sharp asphalt texture. In a previous post where I recounted my experience at Earth Run 2011, I described in my writeup my excruciating first time encounter with Kalayaan. And knowing that I would pass through it again in this run brought a tingling sensation down my spine. 

The assembly area was held at the front grounds of Every Nation Building. As soon as I claimed my race kit from the organizer, I hurriedly positioned myself among the 10k runners. One thing I noticed there was the absence of Kenyan runners which was quite unusual because they normally participate in every running event and normally bag the first, second and third rankings in most of the races. I heard other runners grumbling before that getting all the prizes and medals has become a kind of lucrative livelihood for them already. Nonetheless, I felt relieved because at least many Pinoy seasoned runners will now have higher chances of winning with the Kenyans’ absence. 

The 10k runners set-off at 6:00am. The starting line area was a bit muddy but it was ok. I started slow at the beginning just to keep pace with the majority. As expected, I got a lot of questions and comments from others about why I run barefoot, if it hurts, etc. For me, it’s always a pleasure to share about barefoot running and the benefits I get from doing it. As soon as I got my core heated up, I began to increase my pace but with extra care knowing that the Kalayaan Flyover is not far ahead. 

The ascent on the flyover was a breeze; something I didn’t expect to feel what with all the sharp pebbles of asphalt scattered all over. Before I knew it, I was down on Gil Puyat Avenue already. As I increased my speed, I was assessing my feet for the soreness that usually comes after passing through the flyover and, surprisingly, I didn’t feel any. That certainly brought a bit of confidence that made me push a little further. After the U-turn, passing Kalayaan for the second time going back was not as discomforting compared to my last race. 

I kept my speed at a constant rhythm as I glided into the last few kilometers of the race. The second wind was certainly getting into me and running never felt so good. In the part where 10ks were merging with other categories, I met some Real Life Foundation scholars wearing special dry fit shirts that made me feel even better knowing that this running event would help the foundation’s scholarship program. 

The Race For Life is just part of a much bigger fundraising campaign to help poor, but deserving, high school and college students so they can have good quality education that would eventually help their families and community rise above poverty. 

 *Photos borrowed from Real Life Foundation's Facebook page



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...