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Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Fading Art of Balisong Making



 The iconic "beintenueve" (29), the street name of the balisong folding knife


With a lot of traditional crafts and hand-made industries world-wide succumbing to both the pressures and preferences of modern times, it's not surprising that balisong-making in Batangas would follow. It is no less sobering though. I still remember the one in my family from my uncle that could puncture a one peso coin, the traditional indicator of good tempering in the blade steel.
Click HERE here for the news bit.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Urban Ready Keychain




Never leave home without it!


The "5 C's" of an Urban Ready Keychain are: 

1. Cut - A SAK (Swiss Army Knife) Explorer. Good selection of tools at the just the right size and can be carried almost anywhere.

2. Combustion - a Bic lighter (in sheath)

3. Cord - 10" long paracord. The "chain" should be knotted in such a way as to be quickly deployed if needed for emergencies.

4. Call Attention - For signalling, a metal whistle and small coin-battery flashlight near carabiner attachment. 

5. Convenient Carry - All packaged small and compact enough to be brought along always, attached to your pants or inside your EDC bag.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

On the Ethos of Norse Heroes and Myths



The only sustaining support possible for the human spirit, the one pure unsullied good men can hope to attain, is heroism; and heroism depends on lost causes. The hero can prove what he is only by dying. The power of good is shown not by triumphantly conquering evil, but by continuing to resist evil while facing certain defeat.  

- Edith Hamilton
Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes

Friday, November 4, 2011

Last Javan Rhino in Vietnam Killed

 
UPDATE: This deserves a lot more attention. See the painful video below -



Picture from www.worldwildlife.org


No words. Utterly tragic. Another species gets closer to extinction yet again, and here in this part of the world no less.

News video HERE





Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Packing Like A Pro


Very efficient folding for a month's worth of travel.






Friday, October 28, 2011

19th Defense and Sporting Arms Show PART 2




November 17 - 21, 2011
Megatrade Halls, Bldg. B
SM Megamall
Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong
Metro Manila


Check out the seminars on prepping and readiness. Lots of stuff to learn and re-learn.  

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Threats vs. Vulnerabilities



Got this from a great systems security blog. A good read (PDF file) on which is which exactly and how it helps to know the difference. Click below -

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Goldern Tiger Emergency and First Aid Gear


Golden Tiger International has recently released its product line geared for law enforcement, emergency professionals as well as prepared civilians. Click on the pics below to view some of their offerings.













For more info, please call Ms. Vivien Chau at (02) 411-05-41 and cell no. 09228619046

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Charlie Chaplin Movie Speech


From the 1940 film The Great Dictator written, directed and starred in by the legendary American actor himself.




Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Moscow Rules



Supposedly, the CIA laid down this set of unwritten rules to guide their agents/operatives during the height of the Cold War. It's considered as the commandments of tradecraft. 

I'm certainly not an American spy, and I suppose neither are the the majority of those who come across this blog. There are things though that we could adapt in our daily life in terms of personal protection and security.   

There is no definite number for the doctrine. International Spy Museum in the US lists 10 Rules:
  1. Assume nothing.
  2. Never go against your gut.
  3. Everyone is potentially under opposition control.
  4. Don't look back; you are never completely alone.
  5. Go with the flow, blend in.
  6. Vary your pattern and stay within your cover.
  7. Lull them into a sense of complacency.
  8. Don't harass the opposition.
  9. Pick the time and place for action.
  10. Keep your options open.
Besides another version listing 13 items, there is a much longer and comprehensive set since some things were added or modified over time
  1. Assume nothing.
  2. Technology will always let you down.
  3. Murphy is right.
  4. Never go against your gut.
  5. Always listen to your gut; it is your operational antennae.
  6. Everyone is potentially under opposition control.
  7. Don’t look back; you are never completely alone. Use your gut.
  8. Go with the flow; use the terrain.
  9. Take the natural break of traffic.
  10. Maintain a natural pace.
  11. Establish a distinctive and dynamic profile and pattern.
  12. Stay consistent over time.
  13. Vary your pattern and stay within your profile.
  14. Be non threatening: keep them relaxed; mesmerize!
  15. Lull them into a sense of complacency.
  16. Know the opposition and their terrain intimately.
  17. Build in opportunity but use it sparingly.
  18. Don’t harass the opposition.
  19. Make sure they can anticipate your destination.
  20. Pick the time and place for action.
  21. Any operation can be aborted; if it feels wrong, then it is wrong.
  22. Keep your options open.
  23. If your gut says to act, overwhelm their senses.
  24. Use misdirection, illusion, and deception.
  25. Hide small operative motions in larger non threatening motions.
  26. Float like a butterfly; sting like bee.
  27. When free, In Obscura, immediately change direction and leave the area.
  28. Break your trail and blend into the local scene.
  29. Execute a surveillance detection run designed to draw them out over time.
  30. Once is an accident; twice is a coincidence; three times is an enemy action.
  31. Avoid static lookouts; stay away from chokepoints where they can reacquire you.
  32. Select a meeting site so you can overlook the scene.
  33. Keep any asset separated from you by time and distance until it is time.
  34. If the asset has surveillance, then the operation has gone bad.
  35. Only approach the site when you are sure it is clean.
  36. After the meeting or act is done, “close the loop” at a logical cover destination.
  37. Be aware of surveillance’s time tolerance so they aren’t forced to raise an alert.
  38. If an alert is issued, they must pay a price and so must you.
  39. Let them believe they lost you; act innocent.
  40. There is no limit to a human being’s ability to rationalize the truth.
Since you're not James Bond/Jason Bourne or even Mata Hari, how can you apply them in your life?

Bottomline: keep everything low and simple, including YOU! 


Thursday, September 8, 2011

The 5 Worst Photos To Post Online





I posted something similar HERE. This latest entry though expands on it, specifically the dangers of friendly fraud (i.e. - friends, even family or anyone familiar taking advantage of your personal information). The rest are simple common sense measures that needs revisiting from time to time.

Click THIS.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Asian Squat

 
Millions of folks here in Asia do it, and it's not just for doing #2 mind you. It's an evolved utilitarian default position. Apes do it, birds perched-up on a branch are great at it too.
 
Sadly though, as cultures and societies change, more "modern" people are less accustomed to doing it, including me! But that's going to change. It's a simple workout of sorts for everything chest down. Try to hold it as long as you can. Don't forget to breath fully afterwards.  

Click HERE to see this short and funny film clip on the mechanics of the Asian squat. 

Giant Croc Captured!



(Photo from the AP)

While it may be true that the Burundi native "Gustave" is mentioned with notoriety as probably being the most successful and long-lived animal serial killer, frankly one can't sort out which is fact, hearsay and folklore. Is it even still alive?  

Reptile-wise, besides the recently discovered bitatawa monitor lizard species sometime back, we Pinoys have one more thing we can tell the world about. This 21-foot salt water croc captured in Agusan del Sur has been in the news for the past couple of days. Of course taking advantage of the hubbub, local officials have kept it and made it into an attraction of sorts. That's a lot of boots and handbags huh?

There's local talk though that it may have a mate: an equally big or even be bigger female. Frankly again, that's jumping the gun a bit and just more talk adding to the excitement of the moment.

That being said though, I think I wouldn't be going in the water anywhere near those parts any time soon!  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Signs of Depression


UPDATE: I found another another great article focusing on men's depression and linked it below.




A well written article on subject and condition that's close to me. It may help you or someone you know.

Click HERE

12 Signs of Depression for Men

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sunscreen

Remember this? Some things I can't relate with, but overall, encouraging bits of wisdom.



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hasty Hanson Harness


UPDATE:

An excellent video tutorial below. God forbid you should ever need to do this, it works best if you have an actual LOAD BEARING carabiner (I use one for by key chain).

Again, please refer to the DISCLAIMER prominently featured in two areas of this blog, above and on the sidebar.




----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


First of, here's a quick link to the DISCLAIMER above not to mention the other one in the sidebar on the right. These skills are best learned with 3 important elements: the right training, instructor, and the tools or equipment. Attempting it without any of those previously mentioned and well, as Forrest Gump would say: "Stupid is as stupid does!"  

Having said all that, the ability to quickly effect a rescue, egress or quick descents as safe as possible is an invaluable skill for both professionals (soldiers, first responders, firemen even field-research academics) as well as hobbyists (mountaineers, outdoorsmen, flyers/pilots). 

There are several methods for tying hasty harnesses with rescue webbing. This short instructional is probably one of the quickest, but still uncomfortable, methods:




Friday, August 12, 2011

GoRuck Packs = WANT!


UPDATE: See the last bit below. . . 




Pics from the GoRuck Challenge


I have only three words GoRuck packs: Simple, tough, efficient. 

badass bag review HERE.

The founder, a former US Special Forces soldier explaining the flagship model: GR1 Explained by Jason, GoRuck's Founder   

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Tao Of Travel




THIS is a good and practical read for the wanderer in all of us.


Solar Storms Heading Our Way





Click HERE

Supposedly the sun is building up to, if we're not already there yet, a very bad solar maximum, something the well-known physicist Michio Kaku was saying sometime back.





Listen to the projected time he says for "another Big One". So is this the dreaded end-of-the-Mayan-long-count-calendar-2012-phenomenon coming true?


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Spain vs. France: The First Ladies' Match

 

Nothing new but a worthy re-post. Carla Bruni-Sarkozy (blue dress) and Princess Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano (I don't know what color that dress is!)

Another Vintage (circa 1950's) Arnis Video


Je regrette que mon français est un peu terribles mes amis!

Thankfully though, it was translated with the appropriate subtitles. An old French documentary showing an idyllic, rural town in the province of Tarlac in Central Luzon featuring truly "old school" arnis de mano and their senior practitioners



Monday, July 25, 2011

The Norway Incident: Familiar Realities Revisited



Anders Behring Breivik in full-on macho fantasy mode.


Once in a while, certain events happen that shakes us out of our complacency. Of all places, Norway? As of last count, the casualty has been pegged at upwards of 85 people killed.

Terrorism literally is everywhere and can come even from within.It can also wear a familiar face, which to the Norwegians this time meant a blond, blue-eyed, Nordic-type, not a dark-skinned Middle-Eastern man from a far-off land with a culture they couldn't relate with.

If this fact still hasn't sunk in yet in our delicate everyday sensibilities, hopefully this latest incident will.  Norway is one of the most vibrant economies in the world today located in Northern Europe which, despite it's Viking heritage, has enjoyed relative peace and prosperity since recent history, boasting of a populace that ranks as one of the most educated (100% literacy and free education) and frequently included in the "World's Happiest People" index.  

If it could strike there, where else is safe? The "safety" of security is nothing but an illusion and all dependent on how much we're willing to make it real.  

Profile

So far, the details currently reveal that that Breivik acted alone, fuelled by his resentment for the apparent Islamization, immigration and multiculturalism of Europe via the influx of immigrants. Here is where we zero-in on the subject's profile: 32-year old, single Anders Behring Breivik. More and more, the trend for a particular lone-actor's act of terrorism is emerging. Consider that rather than being influenced externally by fundamentalist, extremist groups because of their lack of education or insight, on the contrary, they tend to be intelligent or intellectually-inclined at best, unremarkable in their stature or bearing making them "blend-in" more, yet passionate in their beliefs or ideals, and known to be self-absorbed or loners. It was reported that he immersed himself a lot on online games and fantasy, finding solace in his hobby than the reality he has distanced himself from. It is a sense of being unattached and unwillingness to go along with the mainstream or existing way of things. They have a feeling of resentment or being disgruntled, often with government/authorities or anything resembling foreign to them (which could delve into further xenophobia) and often a resistance to the new or latest trends. In fact they tend to go against the grain, as if longing to go back how things were "much more simple or uncomplicated". 

These are the more dangerous kind of terrorists as they're more likely to act alone and can't be clearly or readily identified a large group. It was learned also that the accused was inspired by previous "actors" of terrorism, particularly Ted Kaczynski, the infamous Unabomber in the US. 

Frankly it is more than just the familiar ideological and religious motivations of similar incidents. The irony is that as the world becomes much more smaller and connected via the world-wide web and international migration, being confronted by these unfamiliar peoples and cultures may be a trigger for those already suffering psychologically to act out their anarchic and violent tendencies. For our species, change can be threatening indeed.     

Tactics

As it has already been established, the individual/s who undertake these acts are often meticulous and careful in planning. Setting-up these attacks requires time and resources, even the locations of their hideout and targets.  Like those before him too, he kept a low profile, blending-in, maintaining an air of normalcy to maintain the secrecy of their plans.

Coordinated attacks and the use of secondary explosions is nothing new though. Included in security protocols is to maintain being on heightened alert even after a bombing has just occurred since there might be a secondary device which could go off or be triggered remotely. This method is employed to distract or misdirect attention or even "bait" first-responding/intervening groups, making them targets to add to the damage.  

Reports have it that we have a double-whammy here employing two distinct methods; a bomb attack, in the capital Oslo, and an active shooter scenario at the second target location, an island where a youth camp was being held.  He couldn't have picked a more vulnerable area; an isolated piece of land surrounded by water targeting the young and defenseless. Furthermore, he even impersonated a police officer by wearing a uniform and lured the children to come to him first before starting the killing spree. At least half an hour passed before responding forces arrived. 

Readiness and Intervention

Thankfully, we haven't really had similar occurrence/s here in the Philippines yet, although we've had plenty of cases since long ago of men running amok outdoors with a blade weapon hacking everything in it's path.

Would you know what do? As we've previously tackled the subject of bombing incidents HERE, let's try to address what to do in an active shooter scenario:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings, events and people. Trust your gut if you feel that something is wrong. Preventing something from escalating by letting the authorities know beforehand is always a better alternative than trying to mount a proportionate or heightened response afterwards.   
  • If an attack occurs indoors, evacuate outside immediately! Know and get to your EXITS and leave your belongings behind. No use in being locked-up with someone intent on killing everyone he comes across with. 
  • Keep your hands up so that if the police do arrive in time to respond, they'll be able to pick-out the shooter better from the rest of the crowd. Follow their instructions and try not to incite further fear or panic.
  • If there are already casualties, try to remember where they are exactly and notify the police/first responders. Don't try to move them yourself. Try to help instead by clearing everyone from the hallways since they might be a hindrance to the police/first responders' movements when they do arrive.
  • If you can't escape immediately, seek cover! Run to a secure location like a room with a single door that locks from the inside, reinforce by barricading yourself and your companions. The more distance and strong shielding you have between the shooter's bullets and yourself, the better.
  • Call for help immediately. Don't assume someone already did. Give as much detail and information about the shooter as you possibly can. Details like is he alone or with a group? What weapon/s is he/they using? How many were shot? Does he/they seem to be targeting or hunting down a specific person or group?    
  • Check yourself and your companions if you have any injuries and treat them as best as you can. Prioritize on stopping bleeding wounds and breathing accordingly. Try to be calm and reassure everyone.
  • More than likely, the attacker is already in a "point of no return" state-of-mind having undertaken this desperate action. It wouldn't be wise to try to plead or negotiate with him. It's best just to keep still, hidden and quiet.  
  • During a situation, maximize your hearing for the times when the attacker is reloading or possibly having a weapon/firearm malfunction. Non-stop clicking and then is being fidgeted or tinkered with, coupled with words of frustration/cursing might also indicate this. This might be an opportunity to escape or respond, although for civilians, the former is definitely preferred than the latter.    
  • If you do attempt to respond or intervene, buddy-up. Two is better than one in any ratio of force. Act violently in trying to subdue him. Restrain him and confine to quarters, under guard until the police or authorities arrive.
  • Remember: if you are caught in such a scenario, try to hold-out as best as you can. This is a specific scenario unlike a hostage-taking.  Historically, active shooting incidents have the elements of only one, usually male shooter, engaged in randomly killing unarmed people inside a building. The attacker is a familiar face to the occupants, which is why he knows the structure and location and can gain free entry/access to it. The attack itself is basically a suicidal run until the shooter ceases the attack for any reason like an impediment, a malfunction of his weapon, runs out of ammunition, or is stopped/killed. All of this point to a short period of time for the event to end, roughly less than an hour by some estimates.   

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Storm-Proof Blunt Umbrellas




So it's currently raining outside like, um, cats and dogs? Or so goes the expression. . .

As we're right in the middle of the monsoon season, getting wet necessitates having a rain coat or an umbrella along when going outside. Personally, I prefer a water-repelling coat or jacket as it allows you   freer movement, then folds-up and carries well stowed inside a bag. I've had my share of losing (i.e. - forgetting) a LOT of umbrellas too for many years, much to the dismay of loved ones.

There are of course certain advantages too for carrying an umbrella. The archetypal Englishman walking along London's busy and perpetually rained-on streets has one as a walking cane. In a tight spot, you can whack a threat with it, regardless of how many legs it has. Large enough, there's also the chance you could share it to aide a damsel in "wet" distress if you're lucky.

Sadly, there aren't that many out there durable enough to "weather the storm". A gale-force wind could simple turn it inside-out and render it useless. Umbrella-repair technicians aren't all that common either for anything so cheap and cheaply-made.

Then comes the Blunt umbrella from New Zealand. VERY cool design! Tough enough to take-on a typhoon (almost)! From the name itself too, the tips that we've come to dread when being in a crowd are virtually gone and blunted. 

Here's a good review - 


How tough is it? Wind tunnel tests!



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Dalai Lama On Facing Adversity


His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, the spiritual and inspirational leader of Tibetan Buddhism sharing his insights along with a bit of his humor. What he says beginning 2:03 is so simple, it's profound.  





Sunday, July 10, 2011

19th Defense and Sporting Arms Show


July 14 - 18, 2011
SM Megamall, Bldg. B
Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong
Metro Manila

Click the Facebook  page for more info.
 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What To Do: Trapped-In-An-Elevator Emergency

Patay! Got this from the forums and it's too f***ing funny!



(Click on the comic strip to expand)

Friday, June 10, 2011

June 12: Araw ng Kalayaan (Declaration of Independence Day)



Sa totoo lang, sa sobrang hirap natin, sa lahat ng kamalasan na dinaanan natin, sa lahat ng katarantaduhan ng mga opisyal natin at sa dinami-dami ng mga sakit ng ulo na tayo mismo ang gumagawa, nakaka-enganyo pa bang magmalaki tayo sa buong mundo?

Ewan ko lang.

Pero ganun pa man. . .

THIS is our country.

WE have a history.

MEN of courage, honor and dignity have died for it.

IT is filled with God-given natural resources envied by others.

WHEN all is said and done, despite our failings, we have only each other to rely on.

Alalahanin nating lahat ng ito dahil ARAW NATIN NGAYON!






Friday, June 3, 2011

Veteran US Soldier Thwarts Bank Robbery

Just click below for important "lessons learned."


Monday, May 30, 2011

Slow Burn Breathing For The Abs

Two approaches for developing the abdominals. First is from traditional martial arts, specifically from Goju Ryu's advanced kata (form) called "sanchin". It is performed by no less than Morio Higaonna whose name is revered in the world of Okinawan and Japanese karate-do.  



Next is from a modern approach that's a "crunch-free" exercise; the Cat Vomit. You could imagine why it's called as such.  



Notice anything similar on both methods? It's the mechanics of slow intense breathing coupled with the focused muscular tension (isometrics). 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Arnis The National Sport Now In Stamps


Photo from ph.news.yahoo.com

Read the full story here.


Energizer 7 LED Advanced Headlight



As I'm always on the lookout for functional, durable but inexpensive gear, I've had this headlamp roughly about three months now and so far, it’s proven to be quite useful in satisfying the conditions I've mentioned.

Although the Energizer brand has been known more for their battery products for consumer electronics, for the past couple of years they’ve been releasing several lines of lighting gear for both civilian and military applications.    

I saw this model marketed as an “advanced” headlamp for outdoor and all-weather use. It has several LED lights and marked with an IPX-4 rating standard which means that it is water “splashproof” and can handle the rain. That certainly got my attention. 

IMPRESSIONS AND DESCRIPTION

Headlamps are neat. Their obvious difference from hand-held flashlights is that they free your hands and focus the brightness to where your attention is, like when performing certain tasks. I had an old, cheap one from an unknown brand that ran-off of two AA batteries and while the brightness and quality of its light left a lot to be desired, it did serve me well especially during emergencies when blackouts and flooding were at their worst.    



The light is in two parts: the main light itself and the strap used to retain it across your forehead. First, the strap is an inch-wide band made from elastic cloth and is adjustable to fit your head’s circumference. No surprises there. It’s a black band with a contrasting thin orange stripe in the middle with the “Energizer” brand written across it. The band could easily be replaced thru cut-outs in the attachment points. I would have preferred a brighter or more contrasting color to make the unit and your head more noticeable.  

For the unit itself, it fits into the palm of my medium-sized hand and is relatively compact. If it had been any bulkier with the lens protruding out as with other cheaper or imitation brands, I might not have considered it. Being handy and small enough to fit into a small bag or pocket is always plus for any gadget.

It is made up of not one, not two, but a mighty group of seven, yes, seven, LED lights! LED lights are inherently rugged since they are not bulbs which could break and are more efficient in harnessing battery power. It operates in four modes and cycles in five clicks of the switch to be completely turned OFF. 

The first click are for two small red LED’s intended for up close work during night or low-light situations since red light apparently preserves your night-adapted vision more than white light does. The second click cycles you to three large white lights in an inverted triangle pattern for a tight “spot” pattern. The third click gives off two white versions of the smaller LED’s and the last mode engages all five white LED’s for a wide “flood” effect illumination.

Honestly, all I really need are three light modes and don’t really care for switching too many times just to turn the whole thing off. I would have been just fine with three light modes engaged by four click cycles, but this light though has been growing on me. I didn’t mind one more click of the switch as time went on.   

I runs-off of three AAA batteries which fit snugly at the back of the unit and held in place by two little locks on both left and right sides. The locks are conveniently colored in orange and labeled “OPEN” with the appropriate arrow markings that intuitively tell the operator on how to open it. Inside the compartment too there is this thin strip of plastic film which as far as I can tell serves to retain the cap from being separated from the main compartment.

Finally, the lights can be angled to about thirty degrees downward to illuminate the ground in front of you which is especially useful when you’re not focused to look up ahead. It also has a rubber pad to where it contacts your forehead so as not to make it slip.
 
PERFORMANCE

I’ve been using this light during my night jogs. It stayed quite securely on my head despite the movement of running and sweat. The LED’s were bright enough and I usually have it on “spot” mode which gave ample illumination.  

As for its being weatherproof, it was with me during a slight downpour once and while I won’t be swimming with it, I’m happy to confirm it performed as advertised standing up to the wet and moisture.   

SUMMARY

While it’s not in the same league as the better known outdoor headlamp brands (Petzl and Princeton Tec immediately come into mind) it is certainly a useful bit of gear during the dark and even on some demanding situations. For its price point, it certainly is a nice addition to your emergency kit or recreational gear.

Pros:
·        Compact
·        Weather/splash-proof
·        Just enough lighting and cycling modes
·        Readily available batteries
·        Inexpensive price point

Cons:
·        The strip of plastic film retention in the battery compartment looks and feels flimsy
·        Strap could be wider and with a more noticeable design or color scheme

Personal Preference:
·        I would have preferred one less light mode just to keep it super simple



Friday, May 27, 2011

Breaking A Car Window With A Spark Plug


An interesting cross-over post, both for being cool along with the potential of such knowledge to save someone trapped inside a vehicle (possibly. . . if you do happen to have spark spark plug handy during such an incident?)

It's the ceramic's harder composition than the glass that makes this possible.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Blessed Vesak Day To All



Tomorrow May 17th, here in most parts of South and South East Asia, we commemorate the birth and life of one of humanity's greatest spiritual teachers: the Buddha, who was born Siddhārtha Gautama in what is now Nepal half a millenium before Jesus Christ.

While I don't consider myself an actual follower of the Buddhist religion, I find that the lessons he revealed in what he calls "The Middle Way" and his teachings dispelling ignorance, finding a righteous yet practical way to life and to cope with its difficulties and spread compassion to the world made my own life more meaningful.

May all things find happiness!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Two Gleefully Ambiguous Rants Today. . .


First, William and Catherine finally got hitched! Great! Congratulations kids, er, your highnesses! May you have a long and prosperous life and blah, blah, blah and all of that. I sincerely wish for them the very same things I would any newlywed, regardless of being nobility or commoner. Wills is definitely a lucky guy. Not since Grace Kelly of Monaco decades ago do I recall someone as striking as Duchess Catherine above. 

So for the love of God, could we finally move on to more important and relevant matters dito sa atin!?!! Frankly, sawang sawa na ako sa halos dalawang linggong puro "Royal Wedding" ang laman ng mga balita! My supply of royal fantasies and British romance dried-up early!    


Secondly, si Madame Gutierrez nag-resign na! 



If there was ever a real-life superhero dispensing justice and fairness in the world, the closest it would be is someone holding the Office of the Ombudsman, where the LAW is upheld supremely above all, especially by those working in government and the public sector. It literally is where "wrongs" must be "righted".

Supposedly, and I mean that in the strongest terms, we have the value of delikadesa or sense of propriety or decency imparted as an intrinsic part of our culture and upbringing. Tragically, the concept seems to be waning these past generations. This is especially true with people in government ("public servants") who seem to have evolved thick armor-plated skin supplemented by a lack of morals. Nakarami na tayong mga tulad nila!

Madame Gutierrez above cites the usual "family" excuse mentioning how her mother and husband and children seem to be already affected with her predicament and that such an action was in pursuit of the "the greater good". Susmaryosep naman! Madame, kung noon pa lang ginawa mo na ito at hindi pinahaba-haba ng walang kwentang pagmamamatigas, that would have been infinitely preferred! If it were some other country in the context of another society (Japan readily comes into mind), if you sense that you have fallen out of favor with your leader, not to mention being perceived by both your colleagues and the wider public as being ineffective in your post, and  resigning ASAP would be a very diplomatic way to save face! It's called a courtesy resignation. Rightly or wrongly, it's just that way it is, more so if your boss is the president of a country!

Good luck madame! You'll surely need it.     

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

China As The Emerging Dragon


Napoleon Bonaparte was supposed to have uttered something very prophetic about China: "There lies a sleeping giant in east. Let her sleep, for when she wakes up, she will shake the world."

An interesting news bit below on what some think is the imminent shift in global affairs in the next few years, not even a decade from now. The points it raises and implications being touched are intriguing to say the least. 



Putting A Handle On A Malaysian Parang

South East Asian blades have that function of being all-arounders, especially the mid to large-sized ones. They somehow combine trail clearing, wood carving/shaping/processing and food preparation into a single platform design. Their simple construction, thinner blades and lighter weight all contribute to their being  multi-taskers.

Below is a nice video of a Malaysian parang, a blade very much like our own itak, the difference being they usually have blunt and broader tips than our own native tools. It was made by an English expat who is into jungle survival and indigenous living. The actual maker though and the methods he uses could just as easily be a familar manong blacksmith and knifemaker in his backyard forge here.    



Saturday, April 16, 2011

World's Oldest Man Dies. . .


(Photo from NYDailynews.com)


. . . and imparts a lifetime of lessons, some of them earned during war and hard times.

Even though he's an Americano, the things he shares are universal and applies to whomever in the world. RIP lolo.

Click below -

Walter Breuning at 114

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The "Tactical" Pre-Departure Bag Self Check



The tragic story of the three Filipino "drug mules" who were executed in China is a sordid one. Namely, they were: Ramon Credo, Sally Ordinario-Villanueva and Elizabeth Batain. RIP mga kabayan.

That is the reality you will face if you choose to risk your life in this illegal venture especially in a foreign land. Whether you are dumb or desperate, it is what it is.

On the other hand, as it was being protested by some of the families of the executed Filipinos, Ordinario-Villanueva in particular, she was just an unwitting victim falling prey because of extending the kindness of doing a minor errand or being asked to deliver something (the Pinoy practice of "pakisuyo" or "padala" respectively) as she had no idea she was carrying contraband or an illegal substance. This unfortunate incident is something different altogether.

I linked an article below on a methodical checking of your bag's contents so as to prevent such an unwanted scenario. In spite of the language and the "tactical" (i.e. - intended for military or security personnel) tone, the method still holds even for the average traveler, whatever the occasion or the country.  

Click below -   


Some few things I need to add:

1. As it has been talked about already, we ought to be wary carrying packages and parcels as a favor for others, especially if we hardly know them. It always has been a social engineering tactic for criminal elements to zero-in on Filipinos' clannish, family-oriented, regional/provincially-identifying and "soft-hearted" ways. At the very least we ought to suspend or politely decline doing this practice for the mid-term.   

2. Regard the final 2 hours before boarding your flight or actual travel as the "red flag" hours for heightening your alertness. If you've made sure the contents of your bag and packages are secure and compliant with air or sea port security checks, don't let your guard down until you've actually checked-in your bags and you properly seated or stationed in your mode of travel.  

3. Proximity is danger! As with time, being in close contact with anyone who might not even seem "shady" might cause you problems. Be alert with anyone or even anything coming into close range with you or your bag or belongings. Seasoned criminals can easily steal, switch belongings or slip something in an unsecured pocket of your bags.

4. If something untoward does happen, remain calm when being questioned by security people and authorities. "Suspect" can be any word or action that might be misinterpreted against you. Ask for a representative from the consulate or embassy.   

Mag-ingat po tayo! 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Filipina Maids "Discriminated" in Singapore!?!!



This news bit REALLY got to me. 

I can replace the idea of DISCRIMINATION ("panlalait" in proper Tagalog context) with some other ideas we Filipinos ourselves MOST OF THE TIME forget. 

How about sense of PROPRIETY (nasa "ayos" ayon sa lugar at pagkakatoan), SENSITIVITY (murunong umintindi) and RESPECT (pag-galang) especially if it is NOT your country you are staying in?

It is at the heart of the ills of the Filipino, both as a species and as a culture, is his/her search for IDENTITY. Having been a colony and experienced oppression by Spain, Japan and America, he has not found himself yet. One sure sign that someone has found his identity is that he conducts him/herself that draws ADMIRATION and a sense of DIGNITY from outsiders. All of that has nothing to do with being "edukado" or being "may kaya sa buhay." No relation whatsoever!

Want proof of this? Look no further than your typical kapit-bahay blaring his stereo or radio for all the world to hear, not minding if people want to rest in silence or approve of his choice of music. Same is true with being in a jeepney with the manong drayber not having a care in the world.

Self-respect encourages outward respect from others! 

I know the difficulty, loneliness and suffering (physically, emotionally) suffered by OFW's abroad, even in Singapore where I've been and even stayed with some briefly when I tried my luck there in 2010. I've even been to the "Ion Orchard" mall location they were talking about. Honestly, that's not where I'd like to have some serious fun!  
Pero hindi ako isang hinayupak na politiko na nagpapa-sipsip sa tinatawag nilang mga "Bagong Bayani" (which is nothing more than a political slogan to gain publicity and votes) dahil ang mali, mali parin, maging sino ka man, maging saan ka man. 


Saturday, April 2, 2011

That "Godforsaken" RH Bill


(Photo by Vincent Go taken from www.bulatlat.com)

The well-known story goes that once, one of the greatest Zen masters in history (who didn't have to be a Buddhist) was ambushed with a trick question by his enemies: "Teacher, is it lawful to pay taxes to  ceasar?" To which he plainly but profoundly responded: "Render unto ceasar the things that are ceasar's. . ." I think we know how the rest of it goes right? 

Somebody gave someone in my family some stickers that was against the hotly-debated "Reproductive Health Bill" (deep props to Carlos Celdran on his "Damaso" move!) Apparently, a central sticky point by the bishops of the CBCP representing the Catholic church here centers on the propagation of sex education to the youth.

Here's a visual representation of what seems to be interpreted from both sides - 

The "anti" group:


Sex Education


For the rest of us "pro" group:


Sex  EDUCATION!!!


EDUCATION which can directly contribute to the welfare, health, a myriad of opportunities and overall well-being of people, especially the younger set. 

Get the picture, mga fathers? A whole world of difference derived from the slightest tweak in one's perception. 

We CAN NOT allow national policy, especially if we are seriously considering the long-term impact for our country to be dictated by religious doctrine. Remember the "Separation of Church and State" under the "doctrine" of the Constitution?

It is a greater act of immorality and unconscionable sin to simply allow health risks and unwanted pregnancies leading to further overpopulation causing more burdens for our country and its allied ills of poverty, crime, food and national security and more strain on our resources. 

Of course the priests would never have known the price of milk and diapers these days or how much is it really to send a child to school, di ba?