Saturday, March 28, 2009

Kite Flying this Summer

When i see kites in the sky, i enjoy watching them. Honestly, i don't know how to fly one. I grew up in the city and did not get the chance to learn how to fly a kite. Good thing i met my wife who taught me how to do it. I tried it more than once and i enjoyed doing it. Hopefully, we can also teach our son to fly a kite when he is big enough so he too will experience the feeling of knowing how to fly a kite.

When i was employed at Haribon Foundation, we had an event in one of our project sites in Antique Province. It was called the "Bird Kite Festival". Participants will make kites in the form of local birds and will be judged according to their creativity, showmanship and its air worthiness. After a year, Haribon partnered with Kite Association of the Philippines and organized another Bird Kite Festival in The Fort Global City. The Kite Festival was participated by kite makers as far as Bulacan and Pampanga and was featured in local tv station programs. Because of the success of the event, Haribon continued organizing the event for 3 consecutive years plus several invitations from different cities and municipalities. Kite enthusiasts attended the event, paraded their kites and got awards from different sponsors. We also got a lot of walk ins who just want to watch kites or try to fly a kite themselves.

Nowadays, we seldom see kite flyers in the city. I guess, one of the reasons is the lack of space to fly a kite. People are limited to fly kites only near the Manila Bay area (Luneta Park), University of the Philippines Diliman Grounds and at the Fort Global City. Plus kids are more interested in playing games at home with their PSPs, Nintendo or PCs. I wish that someday, kids would also learn to play outdoor games, be physically active again or at least enjoy learning how to fly a kite.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Earth Hour March 2009

We have been seeing a lot of publicity and information about the Earth Hour advocacy in print, billboards, tv and even in the internet that it is hard to ignore. Personally, the first time i knew about it was from the blogosphere and since then, i see it on streamers, billboards and even at moving billboard announcements in Makati City. As an environment conservation advocate, i already marked the date and time on my calendar at work and at home.

I do commend WWF's project and their ways to invite the public to be aware of conserving energy but i have to ask what will happen after 9:30pm on Saturday? If, for example, 1 million Filipinos join the activity and simultaneously turn off lights and all other electrical appliances, what will be the major effect? Being aware of environment conservation efforts is one thing but doing more than just turning off your lights is another thing. If 1 million Pinoys turn off their lights, we will save megawatts of electricity in a span of 1 hour. Saving electricity will lessen our dependency on fossil fuels. I do hope that after 9:30 pm, people will remember the advocacy of conserving energy and not just go back to their regular energy consumption.

What can we do to further support the project? I still believe planting a tree is one of the easiest and best way to help conserve our environment. Whether you plant a tree in your own backyard or join environment NGO's to other project sites, it is still a part of a long term solution. This summer, we can help the environment by doing very simple things. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Turn off unnecessary lights and electric equipment when not in use (monitors, tv, radio, fans)
2. Recycle your trash (plastics, bottles, old newspaper, boxes, cell phones)
3. Segregate biodegradable and non-biodegradable trash (please do this at home not just when going to malls)
4. Conserve water when washing clothes, dishes and even while washing you car.
5. Bring your own bags when you go shopping or when you go to the supermarket.
6. Bring your own mug or tall glass when buying coffee, a coffee shop gives discount if you provide your own container.
7. Maintain your car regularly. Have oil change and tune up regularly to avoid engine deterioration which causes smoke belching.
8. When going to the beach, diving or snorkelling, avoid getting coral souvenirs.
9. Avoid buying exotic animals for pets.
10. Try to maintain your gadgets (mobile phone, camera, music players, gaming consoles) for 2 or more years. Buying gadgets increase the manufacturer's demand for plastics and metals which pressures the mining industry. Mining as we know is a major player in environment destruction.

If you have other tips, please share. Our environment needs all the help it can get. Try not to blame politicians anymore. Politicians and government will always be there. Start within your own home and family. Let us focus on what we can do to at least make a difference in providing a healthy environment to our children and the next generations to come.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Progressive vs. Traditional Schools

For several years now, progressive schools has been multiplying all over Metro Manila. Parents have been enrolling their children to these schools rather than putting their children to traditional ones. How can we differentiate one school from another? Do children really benefit from these schools compared from traditional ones which were dominant during 1970's-1990's?

I have limited knowledge with regards to these types of schools but basing on the experience of my nephews and nieces, i sometimes wonder if the teaching techniques in progressive schools are effective compared to traditional ones.

My nephews and nieces are studying from a school founded by a German named Rudolf Steiner. The school, i think, was established during the 1990's. It is a co-ed school but students are limited to just 15-20 children per teacher. Subjects are taught in months basis, for example; math and science are taught for 2-3 months straight, no other subjects. For the next months, english, grammar, foreign language for another 2-3 months. A student's teacher in grade 1 will be his or her teacher until grade 6. As i mentioned, foreign language is taught as early as grade 2, musical instruments like recorder (flute), violin, guitar, etc. are also taught. Kids are exposed to 2-4 days of outdoor camping (outside manila) as early as grade 3.

Other non-traditional activities: Kids are highly discouraged to watch TV (even cartoons) and play video games. Kids are not allowed in school to wear clothes, shoes even bags to have cartoon characters printed on it. Milk products (except fresh milk) are discouraged to be taken even for toddlers, they only recommend breastfeeding up to 2 years then straight to solid foods, fruits and vegetables. Formula milk is a no-no.

Reading comprehension is not pressured up to grade 4, they believe that children will learn how to read when they are ready and there is no need to initialize reading. You can just imagine my mom's (my nephews' grandmother) frustration in teaching her grandchildren how to read since she still believes traditional school is better than progressive ones. So, since reading is not a priority, spelling and writing skills are all put behind.

There are a lot of differences between these two types of schools. What progressive schools offer are totally different from their traditional counterparts and they believe that children should not be too pressured to learn in their early years. Progressive schools still believe play is an essential part of learning and they don't believe that kids as early as grades 1 and 2 should be burden by advanced mathematical problems and science concepts. For them learning should be fun and the last thing they want is for their students to give in to school pressures, requirements and exams.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Walk The Green Mile

ELRO Commercial and Industrial Corporation, the exclusive distributor of Ipanema GB (Gisele Bundchen) Seeds Collection (Ipanema slippers) will have an environment awareness campaign together with Haribon Foundation on March 21, 2009, Saturday at the parking lot of Le Souffle, Serendra, Bonifacio Global City. The " Walk the Green Mile" project is a walkathon around the fort in support of Haribon Foundation's Road to 2020 project.

Registration is FREE, starts at 3pm and the walkathon will start at 5pm. I highly recommend the event so people could know the importance of supporting an environment awareness project within the limits of Metro Manila. It is also a good sign for a corporation to support a project by a non-government organization which also aligns them to have good corporate social responsibility efforts.

If you are anywhere near Makati or Taguig, you can drop by, observe and if you think you are interested to join, sign up and be a part of this environment awareness campaign. Who knows? You might get a gift pack or a pair of slippers from Ipanema if they decide to give a few slippers to lucky participants.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

25 Random Things

I got tagged by Dee to talk about 25 random things about me. Thank you Dee for passing the tag.
Here it is:

1. My name is lemuel but i like people to call me M. I'm not really fond of my name. People usually ask again if they hear my name for the first time.

2. We are only 4 in the family, my dad, my mom, my sister and me. I am the youngest obviously.

3. I love my parents and my sister. My sister is the best one could ever have. She never fails to support me when i need it and never fails to give advice to help.

4. My wife is the eldest among her siblings. i think we got along well because we balance each other.

5. i love technology, gadgets and automobiles. too bad i am not rich to buy what i want. but i guess its better because i won't have any more interest in them if i can buy them whenever i want.

6. i am an animal lover and i love dogs most. i like big dogs than small ones. i once had a golden retriever and he was the one i talked to every night after a break up with a long time girlfriend.

7. i love to travel and i appreciate nature around us. i got addicted once in hiking, mountain climbing and snorkelling that i schedule my trips even during the rainy season.

8. i love to cook. i guess it runs in the family. my sister now has a good business catering to a regular event using several recipes she conceptualized.

9. i love pizza and pasta. i once joined a pizza eating contest and finished 24 big Pizza Hut slices. i lost though.

10. i also love ice cream, i joined a contest too. finished 4 pints of strawberry flavor (i hate this flavor!) i lost too, but still placed third. i swear, my tongue and gums were so numb i could not taste the ice cream.

11. i was in college for 7-8 years... i think. i enjoyed it too much. took courses in my own time. i only panicked when my friends started to graduate.

12. i always enroll P.E subjects first. i love sports. i took these courses eventhough i am exempted from them because i also excelled in my ROTC days (military training)

13. i love sports but i hate dancing. i don't know why... too awkward for me.

14. i also don't sing. i hate hearing my voice when i use the microfone. it's hard here in our country because videoke is one of Filipinos favorite hobbies. parties are not complete without singing and getting high scores.

15. i love basketball but have never been good playing the sport. i really tried. no natural movements for me.

16. i love racket sports. i am a bit good in badminton and table tennis. have little exposure in tennis but i know i would also excel in that sport.

17. i enjoy bowling! it is too addictive and expensive to play here. again, i could have been good if i had good training.

18. i love swimming, but swim slow. have difficulty in breathing. that's why i love snorkelling. you can stay underwater as long as you can hold your breath.

19. i also enjoy running and biking. joined a couple of races before.

20. i love music, rnb, alternative, rock, pop, jazz even classical.

21. i enjoy watching movies. from suspense, horror, comedy, action, cartoons and sometimes love story...

22. i also enjoy reading books. i like dan brown, dean kootz and james patterson. enjoyed harry potter series, haven't tried twilight series yet...

23. i also enjoy watching car races. circuit and drag racing. have been to racing events before. watching car races near the tracks gets your adrenalin pumping!

24. i don't like horse racing... its boring for me.

25. one of my goals is to be good in photography. as i mentioned before, i really enjoy nature and animal life.

Now i am passing this blog to jeff, jen and hahai who have influenced me to start blogging and so far enjoyed every minute doing it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Do You Love Your Job?

When we were just studying, our parents would always remind us to study well to get high grades, graduate with honors and get a high paying job. To most Filipinos, this is a common practice, to some, parents would teach their children the value of money and the advantage of having their own business instead of working for someone. Others would just support their children whatever they want when they finish school and just pray that they would get married, have kids and be happy.

Honestly, i am one of the millions of kids who did not take their studies seriously. I was one of those who were serious with my friends, girlfriends, outings, parties and other extra curricular activities outside school. Hell, i just went to school to get my allowance, meet my girlfriend, watch movies and attend drinking parties. For me, school is a big party. Totally different from my cousins who took school very seriously.

What happened? I got a job even when i was studying. Partly to support my studies and partly to escape school. I stayed for 5 years, got promoted and eventually resigned because it got boring. After a few months, i decided to put up a business, but got caught with too much competition. Another few months and i decided to work again, this time related to my interests---the environment. I figured if i enjoyed my work, work would not be work, true enough, i enjoyed everything about it but i noticed i was not getting any younger. I met my wife from this organization and after a couple of years, decided to get married.

After the wedding, i figured i have to get a high paying job to support my family and start planning about our future. I got a good one, got a decent starting salary and got a nice raise. But honestly, i did not like the job. In fact i hated it. Once in a while, i got miserable, during breaks, call my wife at home and ask her support for me to call it quits. Eventually, i quit. I got an offer from another non-profit organization and decided to accept it. Again for the second time, i loved my job, but being non-profit, the pay sucks. How would i support my family?

It seems God always listens to my prayers and i got another offer. Not so high, but a little better that my previous job. Things were getting better, we were starting to build our savings again but after a year, tragedy struck my wife's family. We had no choice but to use our savings to help. Since then, we have never recovered financially and i am worried about my family's future. I am now thinking of ways to earn extra or try to look for a higher paying job. But being not young anymore, competition is tough. I am now thinking of working abroad. This has never been my option because i never want to be separated to my family. But things change. My son is getting bigger and sooner or later he will go to school. We might have another child in a few years but 2 kids is our max. Eventhough, my salary combined with my wife is not enough. And i don't want my kids to grow up with yaya's. Values should be taught by parents, specially the mother. If i have a high paying job, my wife can quit working and will have more time to watch our kids.

I have to make a decision soon, like i said, i'm not getting any younger. I really hope i would get another opportunity. I love my family so much and i don't want my kids to experience the hardships i had when i was a child.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Eraserheads - Should we be proud or not?

If you were born Filipino from 1970's-1990's or early 2000, you could have been one of the million of Filipinos who were fans of this band. You could have bought a tape or a cd, download it to your music player or even saved a video to your ipod or pc. The Eraserheads has been one of the famous Pinoy bands during my lifetime and i would not deny that i too loved their music and style.

Too bad all good things had to come to an end. Even after getting lots of awards from MTV and other award giving bodies, even after selling millions of copies of their albums, the band decided to split up. The reason? Just like every disbanded bands, differences among the band members.

How come this band be apart after touching so many lives? Why wouldn't they be like U2 and Metallica? After being so successful in their music, and being millionaires themselves, they are still together. For pinoy groups, why wouldn't they be like APO Hiking Society and The Dawn? Is pride really the reason?

For me, Eraserheads could have been one of the best bands in this country and could have left a legacy for all aspiring artists. They had so much impact to the music world that young and old singers made a compilation of their songs to make an album just to pay tribute to them. They even have 2 concerts (one will be tonight) after they disbanded just to please their fans and show their gratitude. Ticket prices for their concert are not cheap (for the 1st concert) but still, i heard that the tickets were sold out. Hopefully this time, they finish the concert so that their fans will get their money's worth.

I read a magazine before that featured a number of band singers and Ely (lead vocal of Eraserheads) was one of them. There were a lot of questions about the band break up and he was so sensitive with the topic that he even refused to say his band's name. He was also asked how was his finances after being one of the most famous singers around and he said that he was not a millionaire as people thought he would. How come? Was he just a singer and all their income went to their producer, manager and recording company? Didn't they had an adviser when it comes to their finances? For me, sayang yung pinaghirapan nila. Buti na lang their fans are still loyal to them and if they look back, they can somehow be still proud of their achievements.

I am still a fan.... but not like before. I am proud that i lived the time when their music was great and i would still play their songs once in a while. I do think they could have done better because I know they can. I sure hope that someday, when another Pinoy band reaches their achievement, they must be better role models for the youth who idolizes them and their music.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It's My Son's Birthday!

Yesterday was my son's 2nd birthday and we were very happy to celebrate the day with him. Although i had to go to work and attend to our clients, my wife just applied for a leave to prepare pasta, chicken, cake and ice cream for our simple celebration at home with my son's cousins. It was such a simple treat but everyone enjoyed Leon's birthday party.

Leon was particularly enjoying cutting his birthday cake (with a bread knife) up to the point where we actually took the cake away from him because he was cutting it in different sizes and shapes. He also enjoyed eating ice cream but he still prefers eating the cone rather than the ice cream itself. After dinner, upon receiving a couple of gifts, he really showed his appreciation by saying "Wowwwwww" and trying to wear the t-shirts he received from his mom and his cousins.

We are truly grateful that our son has been very healthy because he has not been sick since his 1st birthday, which we just classified as "lagnat-laki". He is always cheerful, playful and full of life when we are around that is why my wife and i are really thankful that God gave us such a wonderful gift. Leon is such as amazing kid that even after a stressful and tiring day, he always make us smile and be thankful for all the blessings we received all these years.