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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Troubling New Year Trend

Tsk, tsk, tsk. . . As the new year approaches, while reports of injuries from firecrackers and pyrotechnics are nothing new, there is an apparent rise in cases of random or stray shootings and some stabbing incidences as well. 

Just a heads up: if you live near or are neighbors to a policeman/law-enforcement, military or shooting enthusiast type, especially if he tends to get a severe case of "tarantado" with his drinking buddies, watch out! OR if you are that type, pare, itago mo na yan! You really don't need that to have fun for the New Year. As someone already said: Iba na lang yung iputok mo!

Keep clear and indoors. If an argument or conflict will happen, don't make things any worse! There'll be plenty of time to sort things out the next day. Have a wholesome time and be safe as 2011 comes.

Ingat po tayo!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Exorcising the Manila Hostage Fiasco

Before we finally say good-bye to 2010, I felt the need to undergo a catharsis so to speak on what is without a doubt, a regrettable and tragic event. I've held off trying to express my own thoughts on this since it seemed like everyone including his uncle had something to say about it (valid or not).

When I saw the whole thing unravel on that fateful day some months back, it didn't even take me two minutes before I walked away from the TV in disgust. From a tactical stand-point, I knew that everything had already started badly and could only go downhill from there. It was the very definition of FUBAR. Not to mention all the finger-pointing from all sides that happened afterwards. 

Previously, a British pundit already posted his views on operational lapses that occurred. 

Now, my own humble opinion on the matter is in terms of organizational perspective since at the end of the day, this is where many things in the world get done. As it has always been the case with the ills of our country, we need to clearly define and set our goals and work out ways of achieving them. If not, everything becomes extremely academic afterwards.

WHO does what exactly? (concerned personnel or agency) 
WHEN precisely will it be done?/WHEN to explore other methods or approaches? (scenarios and conditions)
HOW is it going to be executed? (strategy and tactics) 
WHAT are the factors that need to be taken into account? (command and control structure, agency interoperability, training and equipment, etc.)  

Policy is set in motion by operational guidelines. Clearly-defined operational guidelines translates into logistical and tactical  readiness. Tactical and logistical readiness is achieved by training and support mechanisms. This is what enables favorable outcomes. Thus, a prepared and ready continuum is established. 

Policy > Operational Guidelines > Tactical and Logistical Readiness > Training and Support

That is all. Let's all move on to 2011. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Men That Don't Fit In

I've been an outsider most of my life. I always felt I didn't fit in with the crowd. I've made peace with the fact that I often have to go at it alone. Its not an easy way I admit, but that's just me.

I've also been the restless kind. Maybe its because I've never been good with the "what you're supposed to do" idea as with most people ("you're supposed to be like the rest, get married, get a good job, be rich and successful, etc, etc, and so forth"). I suppose I'm looking for my own little niche somewhere. I'm glad though that there are also other restless guys out there like me.

One such guy is the American poet and writer Robert W. Service. He felt he didn't fit in too and wrote some good words about guys like us. 

To the "restless" and "outsiders". . .

The Men That Don't Fit In
by Robert Service

There's a race of men that don't fit in,
A race that can't stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain's crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don't know how to rest.

If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they're always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: "Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!"
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.

And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It's the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.
And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that's dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.

Steripen UV Water Purifier

EDIT: Bwiset! Some FUBAR in the "CATEGORIES" got this entry re-posted again. Oh well . . .

Ang tubig ay buhay. 

This is one functionally cool and handy gadget for that most essential element of life. It only takes a very short while to get dehydrated and after three days without any of it, you die! 

I can think of innumerable ways this could prove useful and convenient, such as for tourists bound for locations where the facilities or amenities might range from sub-standard to non-existent or soldiers out in the field or even those whose jobs assign them to remote areas. Let's also not forget that in this disaster-prone country of ours, you may not always have the time or resources to boil your water immediately and chemical purification tablets often have an unpleasant aftertaste. The neat thing is that it uses UV (ultraviolet) light to kill those nasty microbes.

As it says though on the final part, it does not filter out "floaters" or the bigger stuff in the water. You have to first decant (pouring the water slowly so that the sediments settle down the container and get left behind) and then filter it by improvising any cloth material at hand. 

It comes in different models. I spotted one on!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Some Christmas Facts Revealed

We all know the religious background of Christmas and how it evolved into a world-wide cultural festivity. If however, you've ever wondered about the factual and historical elements behind this season, a US scientist (astronomy) and researcher reveals some enlightening facts. What kind of heavenly body was "The Star of Bethlehem" exactly? Was it really a star? A comet? Maybe a divine light in the heavens? Who were the so-called "Wise Men" mentioned in the Nativity accounts? Was Jesus really born on December 25th in the 1st century BC

Read on for an interview with Dr. Michael Molnar and his findings about Christmas. 

A very Merry Christmas from the Grove everybody!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Maverick Comedian


The late George Carlin was a stand-up comedian in the US. Despite being peppered with foul language and biting sarcasm, I like his style because he makes you think about things while driving you delirious with laughter! His influence is felt through the younger generation of comedians for his courage, rebelliousness and irreverence to take on sensitive issues like society's conventions, the law and it's regulations, religion and politics (e.g. - apparently he was the one who started the joke about the oxymoron in the term "military intelligence"). In his last years he was still active with his angry, curmudgeon-style of comedy.

Below are some videos of his routines:

He reduces The 10 Commandments (Warning: Utter blaspemy and insensitivity towards religious beliefs ahead if you dare watch it!) -

He talks about "stuff" -

More biting brilliance from the late, great George Carlin

And some food for thought about the hotly contested RH Bill. . .

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Monday Afternoon "Lessons Learned"

This is just to share what I went thru just some hours ago.

I just came out of a mall for some Christmas shopping. The local jeepney transport was crawling thru traffic in the late afternoon. I sensed something was wrong since people were looking up ahead at the source of the bottleneck: a mishap with two bikes banged-up. I saw a body lying in the middle of the road along with the typical usiseros. 

Having had a brief background in first responder training, I quickly found myself "reacting" and jumped out of the vehicle. Like I said, it was reaction without much conscious thought going on. 

As is expected in crisis situations, you begin to have a focused mindset, even a "tunneling" of your perceptions. Not so bad and not so good either. The taking-over of gross motor movements along with the adrenaline dump was steadily building too. I couldn't even wear my gloves properly the first time! Good thing there was a pulis nearby and little later another one came.

Here's some of what I went thru along with some realizations: 

1. Scan and secure the area - We were in the middle of the road and vehicles were dangerously skirting us from both lanes. I shouted to someone who looked like he a gave a damn and ordered him: "Control the traffic! Redirect the vehicles!" so as afford us some safe space to address the victim. Besides the mangled metal of the bikes, sharp shards of plastic and glass from the lights were strewn all around. I cleared as much as I can, especially a large 2" triangle piece from a tail light.    

2. CROWD CONTROL - As expected with usiseros, they were enveloping the victim, choking the space to work with and causing even more traffic. Now I've never been the alpha-male, "he-man" kind of guy as those who know me will agree, yet there are also certain times when even some who know me best say that I can get a wild, crazy look in my eye. Maybe this is what the crowd saw when I barked at them to "GET BACK, NOW!" 

3. Rapid Assessment and Call for Help - The man was lying face down in prone position. Kneeling down, I saw red on top of his head, but NOT gushing. A coagulated puddle of blood also formed in pavement below his mouth. As is protocol, DO NOT MOVE THE VICTIM IMMEDIATELY. He might have unseen internal injuries, especially a broken spine. In this particular case thankfully it was a good sign that he was able to lift his head and feet up. The victim was a large "tubby" man and seemed conscious yet difficulty with talking. I did a global assessment feeling with my gloved hand throughout his body (DCAPBTLS). I had taken into consideration how thick my gloves were but it was sort of balanced by his shorts and thin boxer shirt he was wearing. As the policemen were there, I immediately asked them to radio for the ambulance.  

4. Assure the victim/patient - An important in all of this was I was constantly assuring and telling the guy "Kuya, don't worry. WE'RE (as opposed to just YOU) all here to help and take care of you. WE (again, several not just you) can't move you but the ambulance is on its way" while I ask the police officer "Sa'n na ba ung ambulansya!?" 

5. STAND YOUR GROUND - You are the light to bring order into the chaos so to speak. In all of this I was resolute in my voice and bearing. By resolute I mean knowing when to bark/shout orders, when to talk in a straightforward manner to my co-responders and bring assurance to the "victim." When I finally heard the ambulance finally coming in the distance, it was kind of funny when I barked at the crowd trying to envelope us again to "GET BACK!" around 60 pairs of feet immediately stepped back at the same time! I told the EMT's what I figured in my assessment (suspected internal injury with tenderness and swelling in the lumbar region, probably because of the the fall).

6. Equipped - As I wanted to go ultralight for my EDC that day, my bare minimum would always be my large folding knife, mult-tool, led/incan-combo flashlight, and work gloves. Gloves are a regular part of my EDC and mine were sturdy, rubber-lined and bright yellow for color contrast. Besides for handling hazards, these prevent direct contact from any liquids or substances that could infect you (BSI in medical terms). A bandanna or large kerchief is also a regular part of my EDC. Makes for serviceable, though not perfect, pressure bandage/sling/tourniquet in a hurry. 

7. DAMAGE CONTROL - Not really part of the equation but at least some semblance of it afterwards. As the ambulance was leaving, the splatter and "blob" of gooey blood was still on the road. Knowing human nature, there will always be that kind of gawker who'll be drawn to the lurid and macabre (again, another damn traffic hazard). I saw a bank security guard nearby who looked willing to help and told him: "May hose ba kayo? Paki-hose mo naman yun!" He immediately reacted and came out with a bucket of water, but I told him to ask the two pulis's "OK" first since one was taking photos with his phone and the other making his incident report and asking the witnesses/spectators.

As in most cases afterwards, I found myself just a tad shaken and my gut felt acidic, though I didn't feel the need to throw-up. In fact I found myself very calm now. It's the skills you know and default back to when a crisis happens.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Short But Sweet TacMed Video

Although this brief training video is more for HIT following TCCC rather than for civilian protocols, there are some valuable points to note and gives us a closer look at "care under fire."

XO Knives

Pinoy knife knuts (which I am BTW) will have one more outlet to get well-made cutlery in Manila.

XO Knives and Cutlery offers a wide selection ranging from production models of well-known, major manufacturing brands to rare customs from master knife-makers and everything in between. The Crawford's Large Custom Kasper below for example. Click to see its full beauty -   

  (Photo from XO Knives)

Their website below - 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Electric Eel Powered Christmas Lights

Yes! The title says it all! In Helsinki, Finland they got a bit creative with a "green" slant on Christmas decorations.

The photo taken from the original article HERE

Malaysian Food Favorites

Typical scene at a mamak eatery

Of course having grown-up in this part of the world, the SE Asian flavor is a beloved fare personally. With a just a hint of spice in the sauce bathing the still-hot rice and wrapped in banana leaves is not only traditional but also tasty and filling. Click below to know the top meals -  

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Animal Form Drills

More excellent body weight conditioning exercises from some Brazilian jujitsu guys mimicking the motion and gait of animals. I've done something similar to the "spider" in my own routine sometimes. All of them look interesting and I think would be fun to do. At the very least it will make your body explore a whole new range of movement.

Exercise wisely though. If you're willing to explore them, some moves look more challenging than others, requiring a lot more flexibility. Take careful note of the descriptions on the video on how to perform them for proper form (it enhances the benefits and lessens the chances for injury). The "triple S" reminders of stretch first, then keep it slow and gradual and  sip plenty of water afterwards still apply!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Another Forest Falls~Russia

Photo from the Associated Press

While the pursuit of preserving the South-American rainforests have become old-hat (which is NOT a good thing), the ecological structure the world over is slowly dwindling and being unduly disturbed. I have no problem with the "progress" we want to achieve, but when it boils down to the usual corruption and selfish short-term thinking, we become the losers in the long run. 

The story HERE

Monday, December 13, 2010

50th Anniversary of "To Kill A Mockingbird"

Scout and Atticus Finch from the movie

I just found out about this in the opinion column of Ramon J. Farolan (REVEILLE/We-could-use-a-Truth-Commission) from yesterday's copy of the Inquirer which was an excellent read BTW.

I admit I've never read the book considered as one of the greatest American classics delving into the themes of racism and justice, but I have seen the film many years ago. It deserves recognition as well (it won an Oscar for the brilliance of Gregory Peck in the lead role). It is told from the eyes of a precocious 6-year old, "Scout" and of how her courageous father, lawyer "Atticus Finch", was faced with having to defend a "negro" accused of raping a white woman. One has to consider the setting for all of this which was in the 1930's in a southern state of America. It was a bad time in a bad place to be a black man as mob lynchings was common. It was author Harper Lee's first and only book.

I found a Youtube vid with the powerful words of Finch's defense in the movie. It centers on the citizen's final refuge, the court of law, where justice supposedly resides and where we all are equal regardless of what we are.

Excellent Training Dummy

This is from a US practitioner and how he addressed a training need with a "can do attitude", a bit of innovation and a lot sweat. He says it's still a work in progress and welcomes comments about its design. I like how anthropomorphic or how closely it resembles the human form and proportions (an important consideration in developing specific attributes) as well as the added feature of mobility.  All padded as well to minimize injury. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Design Discussion on Multi-tools

Susmaryosep! Ummm. . . no thank you. 

I've had a few of these innovative and very useful tools in my life, specifically the ones that are "pliers-based" in their design platform (since a Swiss Army folding knife could also be considered a multi-tool). 

My first was a Leatherman PST which was the original and base design by the American company that invented these kinds of tools. Then, I got the tiny Sebertech M4 from a kindly relative which I didn't care for too much and gave away.  Later, I got a used, early model SOG Powerlock in black finish which was more robust and better equipped, also American. The ones from the Swiss Victorinox seem to be made with a high grade of fit and finish. 

Beyond those three better-known brands I mentioned, there are dozens more from other manufacturers with their own variations on the theme. It's those three, IMHO, that seem to be the best of the bunch. The video below is by a well-known gear reviewer from Youtube. It's more than a half-hour long though, but he does present good points regarding design, application and daily use. 

"The Multi-tool Continuum"

History's Most Overlooked Mysteries

The quiet sentinels of Rapa Nui

Some interesting reading not based on pseudo-science. Click HERE

Friday, December 10, 2010

It's That (Vulnerable) Season Again / 2010

UPDATE: Some new things added.

Ok the blessed season of Christmas is almost with us again. It's also the time when money, no matter how tough the times are, flows freely with all the bonuses and spendings going on.

Unfortunately criminals or those that feel disadvantaged out there know this too and take advantage of it. They may even be bolder or more daring now. Don't think because you're in a crowd or with many people means you're safe already.

Some simple reminders:

1. Do a self-check before going out. Look for jewelry, accessories, gadgets or exposed items that could look attractive to the bad guys.

2. Busy and pre-occupied shoppers in malls, tiangges and market places are prime targets. Be especially vigilant and not too trusting with anyone. They may sometimes pretend to be part of the sales staff or crew (an M.O. of some groups like the Salisi Gang). Some use taxi's as well for their accomplices to "crowd" a victim.

3. Aside from who their intended victim is, they go when and where the money is. Some know when payday is and withdrawing money from ATM's has always been a favorite spot for them to select their prey. It's better if you can withdraw over-the-counter before the Christmas rush as well since sometimes ATM's run out of money because of too many withdrawals during this busy season.

4. TRUST YOUR GUT. When your intuition or that "little voice" inside you is pestering you that something is wrong, heed it! It comes in many forms; a taxi driver that looks suspicious or something doesn't feel right about his cab, a smiling stranger that suddenly appears offering to help carry your baggages, a feeling of being stalked or followed, etc.

5. If you do happen to become a victim and have thankfully come away unharmed, at least have a good look at him/her/them or take note of their appearance so you could offer a good description to the police afterwards.

6. Secure your home. While you may be having fun outside with friends and family, burglars might already be picking your house clean. Ask the the neighbors to keep an eye out while you and yours are away.

7. Don't overdo it with the Chrtistmas lights and decorations. This is especially true with the cheap ones made from poor wiring and insulation. Heat, electricity, paper and  plastic all combine into nasty combustion. Getting your home burned down can definitely ruin the good times and festivities.

8. Don't stay out too late if you don't have to. You're not the only one getting overly joyous and celebrating. Close proximity with others out in the roads and public locations can make you bump into the annoying, drunken and hot-tempered kinds as well. Not worth the trouble and best to enjoy the season inside with the family.

Take note, be aware, be careful. Recognize your POV's.

Ingat kayo ngayong pasko! BE SAFE!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Deadly Diseases: Old and New

A startling but very real fact of life is that those that can do the most harm, even potentially wiping-out humanity, don't necessarily have to be the large-scale catastrophes or massive events. The pendulum of death can swing to the far end of the spectrum. They can be in the microscopic levels, specifically organisms like bacteria, biological toxins, certain proteins (prions) and viruses.

The Black Death bubonic plague was estimated to have taken conservatively 30% (even upwards of 60%) of Europe's population in the 14th century. Even with the advent of modern medicine today, we are not totally spared from localized epidemics to global pandemics, the irony being the relative ease and access to global travel that has made it possible for diseases to be transmitted farther and faster. Case in point: the well-known SARS epidemic some recent years back. There are however some positive steps and discoveries that have been noted, like in the case HIV that leads to AIDS which, while still fatal in the long run, allows for patients live longer with better quality of lives. An early, preventive campaign against dengue fever also allows it to be managed to some degree reducing the number of fatalities it causes yearly. 

There are also the exotic examples like Ebola, Marburg, Lassa fever, and the hantavirus which are  classified under the highest level of killer diseases since they are not only extremely contagious but also have a high mortality rate. These Level 4 diseases also have an added factor of grisliness as most most them are hemorrhagic diseases, causing the infected to bleed through the openings in their body at the late stages of the infection.

Now, researchers are trying to contain an outbreak of a newly discovered disease which has also appeared in Africa. Click below -

New Disease found in Uganda

The Mind of a Psychopath

Psychopathy is the popular term for a mental disorder (technically Anti Social Personality Disorder as categorized by the DSM IV-R ) and loosely applied to anyone perceived as being socio-emotionally "detached", unaffected by humanity's values and common sensibilities. Hence, a total disregard for the possible consequences of their actions. There is still some discussion as to whether a sociopath is the same species, though they are popularly considered so, but lets not get too technical here.

The very simple purspose of this entry to develop an awareness of these personality types which we may unknowingly come across. Take heed: they come in all forms and not just the overtly gradiose, violent types of both history and Hollywood. As manipulation is their most-often used tool, they can even be the sly, subtle ones you meet  and interact with each day!

Below is a good read that serves as a general reminder for identifying such sinister personalities. Spotting predators before they strike if you will. It is related to the Hare Psychopathy Checklist.

The Unburdened Mind

Monday, December 6, 2010

2010 CPR Video by the AHA

A little more than a month ago, the American Heart Association released the new protocols for CPR which I posted in a previous entry HERE. It's supposed to be a more accessible and easier approach even for those without training.  

Now that it's been given time to settle into popular consciousness, here's a video they released briefly explaining it - 

As always, don't rely on "Youtube University" to actually learn REAL skills!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Movie Review: Due Date

They say that the end of the world would be heralded by the coming of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. In return, I really think that Zach Gal . . .Galifin . . . Gallfinsiks (!?!!) or whatever that flabby, bearded, moronic source of insane humor with the Greek surname would herald theirs! Given enough time and with plenty of opportunities coming his way, that comedian (from hereon referred to as Zach G.) would surely conquer our hearts, minds and most probably our souls too if we let him. His comedic talent is so that it borders on being phenomenally world-altering!

I was really looking forward to this movie ever since I got wind of its previews some time back. Personally I haven’t really seen any fresh faces that have come along lately from American comedy films to have made such a splash on the public. This mind-mashing funny character who made me almost pee from laughing in last year’s smash hit The Hangover. I mean wow! I can practically still picture the scene where Mike Tyson gave him a mean swipe that knocked him out cold with Phil Collin’s song on the background.  

Following the hallowed tradition of the road-trip-cum-quarrelling-buddies genre, the comedic counter-point and other lead role falls on the chameleon-like yet always with a hint of neurosis acting of Robert Downey Jr. (recently starred in Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes) whose character plays an expectant father trying to hurry home from several states away to his wife (played by Michele Monaghan) who’s about to give birth. A brief series of teeth-clenching events gets him restricted from taking his flight or flying anywhere else for that matter, thanks in no small part to the aforementioned Zach G, who happens to be an aspiring Hollywood actor! Then the maddening misadventure starts when the two inconveniently start their semi-cross country travel together on the road to Los Angeles.

As expected, there’s plenty of laughs to be had, interspersed with marijuana, brawling with disabled citizens, some near-fatal accidents, an interlude with  Downey‘s long-time friend (Jamie Foxx in a brief role), more marijuana, Mexican law-enforcement, and something involving dead family members in powder form. The effect is like the taste from a concoction you get when you mix-in several different ingredients you casually find in your kitchen poured all at once in a blender and set in high-speed; a lumpy, slurpy, sometimes coarse, sweet, sour, a bit spicy, sometimes sickening but altogether indescribably unforgettable! And if all that hasn’t grabbed your attention yet, there’s a pet canine self-pleasuring act involved as well!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The "Man Purse"


A Perspective On Religious-Based Conflicts

Author Michael Baigent's name might sound familiar; in 1982 along with co-authors Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, they wrote the highly controversial, albeit speculative book The Holy Blood and Holy Grail. The writing in it drew varied reactions all-over, with obvious disapproval especially from Christians. Having read it myself, I found it interesting yet not really "shaking the foundations" of my beliefs since like I said, it was rooted much in speculation. They basically started the book with a proposition and ran away with it. It however was enough of an influence to inspire a later, more famous novel following a similar theme: author Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code (which became a Hollywood film later).

Baigent recently wrote another book and this video was an interview to promote it. It's a three-parter but I only focused on the third part which to me is the core of what his message seems to be.

In today's world, the nexus point of  conflict between the three major world religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam (the Abrahamic beliefs) is the city of the city of Jerusalem in Israel. The danger here is that one could look at it from a devout or even extremist believer's point of view as the culmination of eschatology or fulfillment of divine revelation from all three religions. Hence, its uneasy status as the source of potential conflict. Baigent offers insight into the possible way to solve this; a reverting to the  "inner" or mystical dimensions found in all three religions. By observing our beliefs this way, we break free from the rigid conventions or institutions that divide and isolate us from one another.


I have a love-hate relationship with burpees. It can be a chore to do, but the rewards physically are worth it being one of the most excellent fitness and conditioning moves ever. It involves the whole body and improves your resistance.  As for its origins of its unique name, Wikipedia says;

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the exercise was named in the 1930s for American psychologist Royal H. Burpee, who developed the Burpee test. Consisting of a series of the exercises performed in rapid succession, the test was meant to measure agility and coordination. It is not clear whether the exercise itself was invented by Burpee, or if his test merely popularized it.

Ok enough with the academics, click here for a demo.

1. Begin from standing then drop to a crouched position
2. Shoot out your legs to the back and drop your chest to the ground in a push-up position
3. Bring your legs back to your torso to finish the push-up cycle and then back to crouch
4. Jump as high from your feet as you can and reach up

5. Repeat

A variation I do is the crawling burpee: basically after the crouch, you crawl with your hands forward until you reach the push-up postion. Then pull up the legs to a crouch again and follow the same cycle. It's "gentler", lazier than the regular one.

Note: As with all exercises, warm-up and strech first! Taking it slow is also wise. As you progress you'll be able to increase how many you could do in a given time (i.e. - how many in a minute).

Have fun!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Metro Manila: "The 7-11 of Disasters"

Not really surprising given how vulnerable we really are, click below -

From Yahoo News

The question now is: how prepared do YOU want to be?

He Who Held the Bolo

Andres Bonifacio

I had planned on writing something earlier about the man known as "The Great Plebian" as we just celebrated the day honoring him (November 30th) but life got in the way. We either see images or actually get to pass by some statues of him frequently, frozen in a mythical stance of defiance, with pistol and unsheathed menacing itak (bolo) in either hand. But he was more than just a stone figure.  

We do have the great Jose Rizal of international renown as our national hero. If I had my way though, I think there's room enough for both of them to occupy such an honor. Looking at it from various points, he was nothing like Rizal. He wasn't born of privilege or landed wealth. He didn't receive higher education and learn from universities or converse with foreign intellectuals. He was born of humble stock and led a life that was marked by struggle and simplicity. Orphaned at an early age and being the eldest, he took it upon himself to give up school and support his siblings' studies by working and selling wooden canes and paper fans part time in the streets.

He had this silent fire burning deep down inside him. This is what enabled him not to to merely accept his "humble" stature in life and make something of himself. He never stopped reading and learning and had even amassed a collection of books including the Bible, Les Miserables, Religion Within the Reach of All, The History of the French Revolution, International Law, Civil Code, Penal Code, Lives of the Presidents of the United States among others. He would have had an understanding of Spanish, French and English, no mere feats for someone who only got the equivalent of the fourth grade.   

Most of all though, Filipino history remembers him as the founder, the "Supremo", of the Katipunan, the   revolutionary organization that spear-headed the resistance and struggle that ultimately won our freedom from the colonial oppression of Spain. While the rich and learned would've accepted being a vassal to Spain so long as their property and way of life would continue, that fire burning deep down Gat Andres inspired other "poor" men and women like him to unite and rise up, despite all the odds. He enabled them to dream something so fundamental in all of us that it was worth the great struggle and even certain death: freedom. Anyone who can inspire such a thing in people and work to attain it should certainly be held up high and be remembered. Again, no small feat for a mere "plebe".   

He was able to put into words this dream of freedom that grew out of a deep love for the homeland. It was a beautiful poem that stirs something inside the soul that makes us both proud and humbled as this nation's sons and daughters.  

He was and still is, the closest hero every common Filipino in this "poor" country of ours could look up to.

Maraming salamat po, Gat Andres Bonifacio!

Pagibig sa Tinubuang Bayan

Aling pag-ibig pa ang hihigit kaya
Sa pagkadalisay at pagkadakila
Gaya ng pag-ibig sa Tinubuang lupa?
Aling pag-ibig pa? Wala na nga, wala.

Pagpupuring lubos ang palaging hangad
Sa bayan ng taong may dangal na ingat,
Umawit, tumula, kumanta't sumulat,
Kalakhan din niya'y isinisiwalat.

Walang mahalagang hindi inihandog
Ng may pusong mahal sa Bayang nagkupkop,
Dugo, yaman, dunong, katiisa't pagod,
Buhay ma'y abuting magkalagut-lagot.

Bakit? Alin ito na sakdal ng laki,
Na hinahandugan ng busong pagkasi,
Na sa lalong mahal nakapangyayari,
At ginugulan ng buhay na iwi?

Ay! Ito'y ang Inang Bayang tinubuan:
Siya'y ina't tangi sa kinamulatan
Ng kawili-wiling liwanang ng araw
Na nagbigay-init sa buong katawan.

Kalakip din nito'y pag-ibig sa Bayan,
Ang lahat ng lalong sa gunita'y mahal,
Mula sa masaya'y gasong kasanggulan
Hanggang sa katawa'y mapasa-libingan.

Sa aba ng abang mawalay sa bayan!
Gunita ma'y laging sakbibi ng lumbay,
Walang alaala't inaasa-asam
Kundi ang makita'y lupang tinubuan.

Pati ng magdusa'y sampung kamatayan
Wari ay masarap kung dahil sa bayan
At lalong mahirap. Oh, himalang bagay!
Lalong pag-irog pa ang sa kanya'y alay.

Kung ang bayang ito'y masasa-panganib
At siya ay dapat na ipagtangkilik,
Ang anak, asawa, magulang, kapatid;
Isang tawag niya'y tatalikdang pilit.

Hayo na nga, hayo, kayong nagabuhay
Sa pag-asang lubos ng kaginhawahan
At walang tinamo kundi kapaitan,
Hayo na't ibangon ang naabang bayan!

Kayong nalagasan ng bunga't bulaklak
Ng kahoy ng buhay na nilanta't sukat,
Ng bala-balaki't makapal na hirap,
Muling manariwa't sa baya'y lumiyag.

Ipahandug-handog ang busong pag-ibig
At hanggang may dugo'y ubusing itigis;
kung sa pagtatanggol, buhay ay mapatid,
Ito'y kapalaran at tunay na langit!

The English translation as taken from this site:

Love of Country

What love can be
purer and greater
than love of country?
What love? No other love, none.

Even when the mind repeatedly reads
and try to understand
the history that is written and printed
by humanity, this (love of country) can be seen.

Holy love! When born
of a pure heart,
the humble and the backwoodsman, the poor, the unlettered
become great and respected.

Love of country
is always the desire of a man with honor;
In songs, in poetry, in his writings
the greatness of the country is always the theme.

Nothing dear to a person with a pure heart
is denied to the country that gave him birth:
blood, wealth, knowledge, sacrifices,
E'en if life itself ends.

Why? what is this that is so big
to which is dedicated with utmost devotion,
all that is dear
and to which life is sacrificed.

Ah, this is the Mother country of one's birth,
she is the mother on whom
the soft rays of the sun shine,
which gives strength to the weak body.

To her one owes the first kiss
of the wind that is the balm
of the oppressed heart drowning
in the deep well of misfortune and suffering.

Entwined with this is love of country,
everything that is dear to the memory,
from the happy and careless childhood
to the hour of death.

The bygone days of joy,
the future that is hoped
will free the slaves,
where can this be found but in one's native land?

Every tree and branch
of her fields and forest joyful to behold,
'tis enough to see them to remember
the mother, the loved one, and the happiness now gone.

Her clear waters --
they come from the mountain springs,
the soft whisper of the rushing wavelets
enlivens the sorrowing heart.

How unfortunate to be separated from the country!
Even memory is in sorrow's embrace,
nothing is desired
but to see the country of one's birth.

If this country is in danger
and she needs defending,
Forsaken are the children,
the wife, the parents, the brothers and sisters
at the country's beck and call.

And if our land, Filipinas,
is offended and her honor, reason, and dignity outraged,
by a traitorous foreign country;

What unhappiness and grief
will invade the heart of the Filipino?
And will not even the most peaceful
Rise to avenge her honor?

Where will the strength
to take revenge and to throw away life come,
if none can be relied upon for help,
but those suffering from slavery?

If his suffering and slavery
are in the mire of deceit and oppression,
one holds the whip, the chains that bind,
and only tears are allowed to roll down.

Who is there to whom her condition
Will not fill the soul with sorrow?
Will the heart most hardened by treachery
Not be moved to give her its life blood?

Will not, perchance, her sorrow
Drive the Filipinos to come to the rescue
of the mother in agony, trampled
underfoot by the mean Spaniards?

Where is the honor of the Filipino?
Where is the blood that should be shed?
The country is being oppressed, why not make a move,
you are shocked witnessing this.

Go, you who have lived
in the full hope of comfort,
and who reaped nothing but bitterness,
Go and love the oppressed country.

You who, from the stream of your breast,
have lost the holy desire to sacrifice,
Once more let true love flow,
express that love for the imprisoned country.

You from whom the fruit and flowers
of your life have been plucked
by intrigues and incomparable sufferings,
once more freshen up and love thy country.

You, so many hearts that... ?
of cheating and oppression of the mean in actions,
now rise up and save the country,
snatch it from the claws of the tyrant.

You who are poor without... ?
except to live in poverty and suffering,
protect the country if your desire is to end
your sufferings, for her progress is for all.

Dedicate with all your love --
as long there is blood -- shed every drop of it,
If for the defense of the country life is... ?
this is fate and true glory.

The moving song that put to life the equally moving words from the poem -

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Lifestraw

Ang tubig ay buhay, ulit!

I always approve of devices or methods that enable us to drink safe, potable water. It's a great bonus if they're simple to operate, compact and portable.

This device which looks like a musical recorder came about to answer a worthy cause. The inventor of the device was a Danish man who worked in Nigeria. Along with experiencing the difficulties and the great need of the people there, he tried to find a simple way for people in developing countries to get clean, potable water in real-time. The product has even won an award from a leading ad company. 

The design is basically a big straw tube. One straw is reported to be capable of purifying at least 700 liters (182 gallons) of water, removing an estimated 99.9% of bacteria and 99% of waterborne viruses. Click on the diagram below to show its inner-workings -

To date, the Lifestraw has been used and distributed by many humanitarian and aide groups in their efforts. There's another model for family or common use as well.

Click HERE for the Swiss manufacturer's site for more info.

The promo video below is the local distributor -

Their website below -

Insights on Airport Security

A busy scene at the Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv

As the basis of good security is preparation for eventualities beforehand, we Pinoys could probably learn from two interesting reads concerning the aviation sector.

First is an American situationer, specifically the highlighted section "Look for the Bomber, Not Just the Bomb"-

Aviation Security: Threats and Realities

Second, a revealing piece from an Israeli consultant on procedures and public perception. When it comes to coping with the reality of terrorism, I think everyone would agree that the Israelis know a thing or two about that. It's a closer look at the layered security approach and not just the use of machines and gadgets from a Canadian newspaper article. Remember the previous entry on "The Killer T's?" 

Abraham Maslow: Humanistic Psychology

A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.

If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail

A first-rate soup is more creative than a second-rate painting.

What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.

We fear to know the fearsome and unsavory aspects of ourselves, but we fear even more to know the godlike in ourselves.

The fact is that people are good, Give people affection and security, and they will give affection and be secure in their feelings and their behavior.

The human being is simultaneously that which he is and that which he yearns to be.

The loss of illusions and the discovery of identity, though painful at first, can be ultimately exhilarating and strengthening.

The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.

Victory depends on whether or not a duelist has the courage to fight until the bitter end.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Actor/Comedian Leslie Nielsen Dies

I laughed a lot watching his movies. Though he's well known for his Naked Gun films, he was also in the comedy classic Airplane! and did his share of TV and drama as well. The sad news below -


Saturday, November 27, 2010

The "Pacquiao Effect" on Pinoys?

Who doesn't know of Manny Pacquiao? Really. He's also now known as Hon. Congressman Pacquiao representing a district of Sarangani province.

Here's an article on a psychologist studying the "impact" of his world-standing on us Filipinos. I can sum it up nicely in an old saying: "Victory has many fathers while defeat is always an orphan." 

IMHO, I try to be realistic. I do think he's indeed a rare phenomenon in the history of sports and should rightly be acknowledged. Beyond that though, I think its just a matter wishful thinking for recognition for us and our country. "Pinoy pride" is what we make of it and not solely reliant on the shoulders of a single athlete.

Great Concept Aide-Delivery Vehicle

There's plenty of WOW factor with this design: its all-terrain, hauling capabilities and multi-mission role, including turning into a temporary shelter or a command and control base to deploy aide and recovery. This  was what it was envisioned to do (a possible role in the UN as it's depicted). If it does eventually become a reality, I believe it would accomplish a lot of good.   

More pics and info HERE

Friday, November 26, 2010

"The Killer T's"

As I alluded to in a previous entry (PDP: Do You Have One?) I’ve held the belief that the core principle of functional self-defense (FSD) is its being holistic. And just so I’d be annoyingly redundant about it: 


Makulit ba? What am I trying to drive at? By way of analogy, let’s consider the mechanics of a simple but amazing structure: the tripod. Yes, the three-legged kind that holds-up cameras, cooking pots, and the simple wooden stools we all sit on. Moreover, the next time you go to a restaurant, notice how many fingers the waiter is using to balance the tray with the food on? Do you see a common three-prong/legs theme in all of those? 

Going with how Goldilocks succinctly put it, three (3) legs was “juuust right” since anything less definitely isn’t enough while adding anything more might just complicate the equation. More to the point though, these were three distinct points working as an integrated whole to support a greater structure. The principle is how distinct elements by themselves might not work as successfully, yet when functioning together as a whole (holistic), the desired outcome becomes significantly more achievable. 

This is where the concept of the “Killer T’s” comes in. They are regarded as killers because we get into harm's way when we fixate on any one of them singly, turning our awareness and abilities to be applied in a disparate way. This can lower our "PDP quotient" considerably.  They are Tool, Technique and Tasks.

Tool – I’ve often come across questions from well-meaning individuals wanting information who ask a variation of: “What kind (gun/knife/weapon/gadget) is good for self-defense?” While it certainly is true that being empty-handed can be a disadvantage, you also can not simply rely on said tool thinking that it will solve all your problems defensive-wise. This is like saying there’s only one magical solution for every difficulty you come across. BTW, just how reliable is that tool? Specifically under stressful or adverse conditions? Do the bad guys out there have one (maybe several already [!]) as well? 

Technique – This is an extension of the above idea but in terms of individual skill and personal attributes. Just like with tools above, the bad guys out there also have their own techniques which are constantly refined by surviving the mean streets and living a harsh existence. Think you're tough enough? This is also where we unexpectedly get into fanatic debates about “Which martial art is the best (for self-defense)?” then is being zealously defended by its students or practitioners. Frankly, that’s all academic and can quickly devolve into a "pataasan ng ihi" (pissing contest) match. 

For those with little or no empty-hand training to speak of, merely “picking up” random techniques can adversely turn them into mere self-defense “tricks.” These are usually the quick moves you learned from your dad/uncle/brother/friend. This is probably worse since merely picking-up techniques becomes no different from fruit picking. What you end up with is just an accumulation or mishmash of moves that you have not really included into your core abilities. It might come as a rude awakening or tragic shock then to realize too late that you can’t really pull off such “techniques” without the benefit of practice, dedication and mindset when trouble actually finds you.

Tasks – Lastly, this might be the most successful killer among the three. They are the minor, routine or occupational “tasks” that capture our attention and which our lifestyle patterns revolve around. Because of our gross preoccupation with what we are currently doing, say trying to dig inside your handbag for your keys in the middle of the street or busy marketplace for instance, we become oblivious to our surroundings. These tasks can also be predictable because of their consistent nature; consider for example a fairly regular schedule comprised of the daily grind of leaving for our jobs in the morning, fetching our loved-ones or children from school, then buying groceries from our suki supermarket in the early evening. Herein lies the danger since predators know when to exploit certain precise vulnerable moments (POV's) when our guard is down. It is when our attention is engrossed too much on said tasks that our defensive readiness lowers. Many pickpocket victims became a “mark” in the first place because of either being engrossed or distracted by something else, a common dynamic exploited by thieves. 

Being holistic in FSD can’t be stressed enough as we have to harness our awareness, attributes and resources in building up our overall defensive readiness. On the whole this is also why in FSD, tactics supersede techniques . . . but that’s for another entry.