June 25, 2011

Stranded in Manila.

June 23, 2011 - I woke up early morning with only 3 hours of sleep because the electricity went out the night before and although the weather was windy, it wasn't enough to keep my room bearable. As I thought any other Thursday would start, I woke up at 8 a.m. and prepared for my 1 p.m. class. I usually go out of the house at 11 to reach Manila just in time for my class.

When I got to Manila, it was raining normally with the wet season doing its duties pouring down the lovely city. I went in my class and that's when the rain started pouring pretty hard, our class was in the basement but we can hear the drops from there.

After class (1-4PM was the only time I have class) I stayed at the school press office where I work as a writer. It's where we eat our lunch, sleep, rest and have fun with my other co-workers.

This was taken in 2010 just to show you when rain starts pouring in Manila, expect pocket floods.
By 6 p.m. the school issued a suspension of all classes and advised students to go home, but as they tried to indirectly force students out of the campus (indirectly meant locking the classrooms and telling everyone to go to the lobby.) the rain just slammed the city as hard as it could. It caused minor panic for those who were not used to staying at school late at night and of course the freshmen students who's in for a rare experience.

Now when rain hits hard in Manila, every street is like this. Photo taken by me in 2010.
I thought the rain was going to stop at around 9 p.m. so I just relaxed in the student press office along with my friends and watched the Thailand classic horror film "Shutter". After a while my dad called me and said not to pass by E. Rodriguez anymore because the river had just overflowed and the streets were flooded, he advised me to take a higher route, much longer but safer, I said yes and he put down the phone and I continued watching.

I thought only a few were still in school but when the Student Council President invited us to dinner down the school canteen I saw the reality of what was going on outside the school. I saw people's pants were wet up to the knees and said they couldn't get out cause of the flood. There were at least 80 students stranded and the school served them free dinner (Well at last, we can get something free from the school) Rice and Sardines for everyone.

8:30p.m. - Our school paper in which I am part of has a twitter account so that we can get news feeds from government and media bodies. There was a twitter account for MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority) which was a Government agency that is responsible for the road's cleanliness and overall public drainage and road safety of Metro Manila.

From the twitter account we were slapped by reality really hard this time. The longer route that I was planning to take was flooded 21 inches, I couldn't believe it because it was higher grounds but it was flooded and the rain just continued on and on as I read the MMDA's tweets one by one, streets were flooded there was massive traffic jams, people were stranded and the only way to go were the Transit lines which you can use IF you can reach it.

So I told my Mom that I would most probably stay in school for the night. It was safe in our school and they were very  understanding. Our office is not any ordinary office, it is small and could only hold up to 6 people, our air-conditioning system are exhaust fans that suck air from the Student Council office. We budged in the tiny office space we have, updating traffic tweets while some watch movies and some busy playing video games and as for me, I was multi-tasking. I was watching at one minute and then look at the gamers and then at the tweets and then regularly asking my friends if they were alright.

You can see me having a few laughs with my friends.
I didn't feel scared or anything, I was comfortable, just not with what I've been wearing for almost a day already, the thick uniforms get itchy when worn a little bit longer than expected. There was an ambiance of comfort with one another with my classmates and friends, we were all stranded and would stay for the night for sure.

This is it, that's the office and 9 of us had to sleep there.
As the rain stopped from time to time, the cold rush of wind gushes in the corridors and gives that spooky feeling, we kept laughing, screaming from the horror movies we were watching and all sorts of other movies, at around 4 a.m. we actually decided to sleep for a few hours to recharge ourselves, some slept at the floor like me, some at the bench and someone actually slept on top of the table! So it was 9 of us sleeping in a small room.

When we woke up roughly around 7 a.m. we realized that we were the only ones in the school (well of course there were the guards and the people serving food for the stranded people) but we were the last ones in the building, they served us a much better meal for breakfast, Hotdogs, Eggs and Fried rice! They had a lot of time to prepare it that's why it was good. After eating we prepared to go home and said thanks to whoever and bid goodbyes and I was proud and somewhat happy to experience being stranded in school.

Sorry I had to blur some of the background but that's us and the guard at the rightmost in his sandals :)

*Last 3 photos were taken by Justin Jovellanos.

The Newsroom Experience

There comes a time in our lives when the excitement of seeing new things once in a while is such a delightful thing to do. That time came when I started in college, everything was new! I can remember when I was a freshman and everyday I would ride the transit going to Manila and the city's beauty was just right in front of me in a rush.

Now in my final year as a college student, things get old if you've been seeing the same city for almost 4 years, but not for me because Manila has so much history in it. Old establishments and facades are such an eye-candy for me especially in the walled city of Intramuros and in it is the Manila Bulletin.

Manila Bulletin or formally known as the Bulletin, Bulletin Today and Manila Daily Bulletin, is the second oldest newspaper in the Philippines only almost two years behind "The Manila Times". Manila Bulletin's current Editor-In-Chief is Mr. Crispulo Icban Jr. 

Lucky for me, as a Journalism student of the oldest college in the country, our professors are practitioners and benefits of having professors like these are free tours and first person experiences being passed on to me not just theoretical teaching but hands-on.

Last week we toured the Bulletin's newsroom in the afternoon, first was our professor's office where one can see some of the most advanced technologies in the world, including mobile phones that are not yet released in the country.

The "Bladeless" Electric Fan, using jet technology.
As of today this hasn't been released to the Philippine market, the Panasonic vid cam that you can create 3D FULL HD videos. AWESOME.

Moving on we went to the main newsroom of the broadsheet to see what goes around the backstage of the newspaper the citizens would see the next day. 

Once you entered the door, a different atmosphere grabs you and usually during the morning and early afternoon (based from my OJT experience and what I saw in the newsroom) the people around are easy going and laid back, just plain gathering news, people are smiling and there is infinite food at their tables.

When the print newsroom rush hour starts (most likely 3:30pm onwards) everybody is on their work descriptions, the phone rings endlessly and runners are going from one room to another. The printers are shaking and editors are wired with their articles and their reporters' stories.

One side of the big newsroom, I had to use my mobile phone camera because I was shy to take photos.

One person keeping the room organized and who makes sure that the work is synchronized is the Managing Editor, dubbed as the "Most Powerful" person in the newsroom. The Man-Ed does everything from updating and seeing the dummies up to the printing of copies, the most powerful person is also the busiest and most stressed person  in the newsroom.

We had to leave the newsroom before people start running over us because the newsroom was starting to fill up with pressure, I could just feel it. So we went out to Manila Bulletin's canteen and it has this reputation of having one of the best selling Ramen noodles in Intramuros so I tried it and voila! It did live up to its reputation.

Manila Bulletin canteen's Seafood Ramen. Tasty!
So all of us left the Manila Bulletin a lot heavier. A heavy brain and of course a heavy stomach.

June 17, 2011

So what if there's no technology?


Impossible, that is the only answer I can and will give forever. It is unthinkable that there is no technology, THE WHEEL is technology! Along with the pulley, gun powder and even the samurai! Yes! It’s old but it is still technology!

I was born in a generation where the internet wasn’t available yet in houses. The games I played in my childhood days wasn’t with a computer box, it was outside where I play around with other non-virtual beings. It was by far the best decade I can remember when Filipino kids still had their daily summer afternoons outside the streets.

Today technology has gone to greater heights and it is quite unbelievable that what we saw in movies a decade ago is actually becoming a reality.  Touch-screen mobile phones, High definition television and the wireless internet connection!

So what will we do if there is indeed no technology? What if tomorrow we wake up and the technologies we became dependent on was gone and unusable? What will we do? Where will we go? How will we feel? Where do we start? Why did it happen?

The new millennium has put their lives as slaves to technology, some are so wired to the internet they forgot who’s real from virtual. They don’t even have friends anymore because they sleep and eat and live in a desktop computer, they never go to parks on Sundays.

So what does really happen when technology goes out of business? I'll give you a scenario.

You wake up in the morning, you see your phone is dead, even the landline and television's out. There's still electricity but the communication's busted, how do you call with your client meetings or friends in a mall get together?

I say if there is no modern technology, well we just gotta do it the old school. With today's technology, we can connect to people across oceans in seconds but without it, it'll take months to send not electronic messages but the handwritten snail mails.

It'll be hard going back to the things we used before, especially we don't have the patience we humans used to have. The world revolves a lot faster than before because of technology, I can't imagine myself using a two-liner cellular phone without an address book, nor a MS Dos computer where in accessing it was more like encoding secret documents for the Government.

But when we speak of technology, it is everything! As I said before, the wheel is technology! Everything you see today and even the Pyramid is technology. Science and human have deep roots together, a man is born with the greatest technology, his brain.

Everything we see came from a man's imagination that became reality, the problem of today is that our lives is depended on technology, we have to look back and ask, have we become slaves for our inventions?

So what if there's no technology? - Simple, it is impossible.

Well having no electricity is possible, but look at what I have around me, all technology!

June 1, 2011

Baler - Part 3 - Surfin' it up!

One of Baler’s main tourist attractions is surfing, although in Manila La Union comes first in mind when one talks about surfing, Baler is slowly becoming the next big thing in surfing in the northern Philippines.

Me holding bundles of Suman.
Other than surfing, there are some small attractions compared to surfing (But I wouldn’t call it small because without these “small attractions”, Baler may be boring.) are the delicacies such as Suman (a rice cake) and of course the view of the rice fields that are so green all together with a backdrop of the mountain ranges.

Nothing beats a natural canvass.
My brother, his girlfriend and my cousins went out at the beaches to have surfing lessons with the locals. For PhP300.00 ($6) you already have an instructor and a surfboard for an hour! Yes! Learnings surfing in Baler is relatively cheaper than in other places in the country!

Surfer boy.
As for me, I didn’t take the surfing challenge due to fearing  that my right shoulder might be again dislocated just like what happened in my travel in Boracay, well you can read all about it HERE ß 

When age gets you, piece of mind rather than adrenaline rush is what you look for.
I just took photos and videos of people surfing around and enjoying themselves and I can only imagine what it feels like to feel the rush of water carrying me back to the shore, I was enjoying myself taking by just watching them.

Here's a video of the surfers of Baler:

As the Sun turns its back on us and as Baler readies itself to be engulfed in darkness, my mom took this photo while I was taking photos of the surfers, well thanks Mom!