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Adobe and Education

Adobe seems to have taken the education route as well in promoting its products through their Adobe Spark apps. As a teacher in a 1:1 school, this support from Adobe is very welcome.

Let me first admit that I am not an avid user of Adobe mobile apps. I am familiar with Adobe Voice (now labeled as Adobe Spark Video), I love it, but have not integrated it in my classes as of yet. I do have some ideas on how to use these Adobe Spark apps in school.

Adobe Spark Apps

I think Adobe aptly names these apps “Spark” apps because their amazing templates are perfect to “spark” the creative fire in its users.

Adobe Spark Post

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Adobe Spark Post allows you to create amazing posters that promote a product, inspire, or even educate in a single image. The templates are diverse, but generally contemporary, that it is attractive to any viewer. It is similar to other amazing photo editing apps like Studio (Free) or Retype (Paid), but what Spark Post has that the other doesn’t it is its integration with Adobe Lightroom mobile app and animating your picture with built-in amazing transitions. You can then save your creation as a picture (without animation), as a Live Photo (for iOS devices), or as a video, and share it to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

For school, you can ask your students to use this app to create a poster promoting the importance of learning a specific lesson. They will then have to be able to send the message in a brief, but witty statement, and choose an image that matches the message. Of course you can do other things.

Adobe Spark Video (formerly known as Adobe Voice)

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Adobe Spark Video enables everyone to become an educator, a storyteller, and an inspirational speaker. It has amazing storyboard templates for inspirational videos, educational how-to videos, and narrative videos. The app itself already has a pool of rights-free icons, images, and music that you can already use without worrying about copyright issues.

As an educational tool, this is a no-brainer. You can easily use this app in the following subjects:

  • Social Science/History Classes: You can ask students to create an advocacy video, an informational video on a specific period in history, or a how-to video on economics.
  • English/Language Classes: Easily integrate with Social Science for their videos and assess their script writing abilities. You can also use this for creative writing where they turn their stories in videos.
  • Math Classes: Ask students to create a how-to video in solving word problems.
  • Science Classes: Ask students to summarize their understanding of a theory or concept using a how-to video, or even advocacy video.

There are tons of outputs our students can create using this app. What limits its use is our own lack of imagination as teachers.

Think outside the box, because the world outside it is infinite.

 

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Our do-it-yourself Europe Itinerary

This is a do-it-yourself (semi-backpacking) Europe trip we made. It wasn’t perfect because our trip started on a Wednesday in Rome. Better start this itinerary on a Monday so you won’t miss the Papal audience scheduled on Wednesday mornings.

Rome

Day 1: Ancient Rome Tour

  • Santa Croce in Jerusalem (Relics of the True Cross)
  • St. John Lateran (Seat of the Bishop of Rome, get a relic of Bl. John Paul II at the Offices behind the Church)
  • Scala Santa  (walk up the stairs on your knees that had blood drops of Jesus on the steps)
  • Colosseo (appreciate the geometrical genius behind the making of this structure)
  • Roman Forums (Imagine how the Romans spent their time before the age of technology)

Day 2: Vatican City and Across the Trastevere

  • Vatican Museum (spend 2 hours at least, appreciate the passion of artists to glorify God in their amazing art works – especially Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel)
  • Santa Maria in Trastevere (Oldest Church dedicated to Our Lady)
  • Santa Cecilia (Remains of St. Cecilia, patron saint of Music)
  • Santa Maria in Cosmedin (Bocca Verita)
  • Circus Maximus (Imagine how the races were held)
  • Castel S’ant Angelo

Day 3: Florence (Day trip)

  • San Lorenzo Market (Buy tons of leather goods, murano glass)
  • Basilica of San Lorenzo
  • Duomo/Baptistry (Appreciate the design, the mosaic, sheer human work of art)
  • Basilica di Santa Croce (see tombs of Michelangelo, Rossini, Galileo, Dante)
  • Piazza Della Signora (Statue of Medici on a horse, Fountain of Neptune, Replica of David, Loggia di Lazi, Uffizi Gallery
  • Ponte Vecchio (Classic Florence background)
  • Walk along Via S. Maria for shops
  • Visit Dante Alighieri’s house

Day 4: Revisit/Shopping

Must eat: Pizza, Gelato, Lasagna

Vienna

Day 1: Schonbrunn Palace and Gardens (Relax, unwind, visit the zoo, climb up to see the Victory arc uphill)

Day 2: Heart of Vienna Tour

  • Hofburg Palace (Government palace)
  • Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral, appreciate the roof, the colorful stained glass)
  • Spanish Riding School guided tour (For the equestrians, learn how riders are trained and how they take care of their white horses)
  • Mozarthaus (Learn about the life and works of Mozart)
  • Beethoven’s Memorial (picture-picture!)
  • Dinner at Naschmarket (try a Schnitzel)

Day 3: Tribute to Musicians and a return to the Heart of Vienna

  • “Musiker” group of graves at the Central Cemetery via U3 to Simmering and Tram #6. Enter through the main gate, walk 150 m straight toward the Church. Walk along the left side of the street. Watch out for “Group 32” of graves. You’ll find the graves of great composers in that group. (Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Strauss)
  • Back to Heart of Vienna: St. Peter’s Church (appreciate Baroque architecture, if you’re lucky, watch a free concert)

Must eat: Kasenkreir (yummiest cheese dog!), Sausages, schnitzel, more gelato

Madrid

Day 1: Plaza Mayor and nearby places

  • Plaza Mayor (be entertained by actors)
  • Mercato San Miguel (try artisan foods – pastries, tapas, drinks, fruits, vegetables, wine)
  • Almudena Cathedral (appreciate this newly-renovated Church and be awed by the image of Our Lady of Almudena inside)
  • Palacio Real de Madrid (See the kind of palace the Monarchs of Spain live in during May of each year)
  • Chocolateria de San Gines (Churros con chocolate!)
  • Parque Del Buen Retiro (This is one heck of a Park!)

Day 2: Museum Day

  • Prado Museum (appreciate the works of Spanish artists like Greco, Caravaggio, Velazquez, Murillo, Rubens, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Goya, Dürer, and Brueghel
  • Reina Sofia Museum
  • Thyssen Museum

Day 3: Segovia

  • Roman Aquaduct
  • Alcazar (See a real Castle in the medieval ages)
  • Eat Cochinillo (Spanish version of Lechon) – tastier than Lechon, really!
  • Visit minor churches
  • Segovia Cathedral

Day 4: Shopping (Shop typical Spanish brands)

  • Mango
  • Desigual

Must eat: Churros con chocolate, cochinillo, Paella (Try Cafe e Te), Tapas, more gelato

Paris

Day 1: Shopping Center

  • Champs Elysee
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Opera House
  • Pont Alexandre III

Day 2: Museum Day

  • Louvre (see the Mona Lisa, Pyramid, Venus de Milo, Code of Hamurabi, Rameses II, Winged Victory of Samothrace)
  • Jardin de Tulieres (Relax like a native)
  • Musee D’Orsay (Expressionists and Impressionists: Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, Cezanne, Degas, Manet, Delacroix, Gauguin, Seurat and avant garde works)

Day 3: Paris Center

  • Saint Chapelle (Attend a concert there)
  • Notre Dame Cathedral
  • Basilique de Sacre Coeur de Montmarte
  • Moulin Rouge (Blanche station)

Day 4: Shopping (or Window shop!)

  • Luis Vuitton
  • Yves Rocher

Must eat: Crepes, Foie gras, French breads, all the French words you can think of!

London

Day 1: Buckingham

  • Buckingham Palace (witness the changing of guards)
  • Churchill (Imperial) War Museum
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Big Ben
  • London Eye
  • Parliament Square
  • Relax at the Park

Day 2: Museum Day

  • Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Science Museum
  • Natural History Museum
  • Kensington Gardens/Princess Diana Memorial
  • Watch a show at the Royal Albert Hall

Day 3: London Bridge

  • Tower Bridge (the real London Bridge)
  • Ride a double-decker to Charing Cross plaza
  • Appreciate the water fountain
  • Admiralty Arch
  • Picadilly Circus (a rotunda) – Ripley’s Believe or not, walk along the “Broadway” Street (West End) of London
  • Oxford Circus (Oxford St. and Regent St.) and start shopping!

Day 4: Musical and Shopping

  • Shop along Regent St. and Oxford St.
  • Watch a musical

Must eat: Fish and chips

This is a summary of all the major places we visited during our 22-day trip. We allotted one day in each trip as allowance for shopping and if we want to revisit some places. I think this is a pretty relaxed itinerary. I’m sure we still missed a lot of places we should have gone to, but we can’t possibly visit all of them unless we want to stress ourselves out on our vacation. 😉

We need not wake up early to catch a tour. We woke up at our pace, and my sister even had time to do her jogging and gym.

Share your thoughts and suggestions on this itinerary. 🙂

Want to know how much this trip costed? Click here.

Issues on the Revised HB 4244

Reposting a commentary and critique of the amended version of the RH Bill being circulated around the internet recently by a concerned Filipino. I did not write this piece, though I share some questions that the writer posed on the effectivity and intentions of the RH Bill.

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One of the graphics pointing out the abortion-connection of the RH Bill from a recently made FB Page supporting the Bill.

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The amended version of HB 4244 has been circulated in public.  The following are some observations and questions on the latest version.   

1.     Amendments.  It would be a misnomer to call the acceptance by the anti-RH camp and the CBCP of the amendments offered by the sponsors as “compromises”.  The word “compromise” presumes that opposite sides while having different starting positions share in a desired outcome (peace in Mindanao for example in the case of the Bangsa Moro framework).  Given the intrinsically evil nature of contraceptives and contraceptive acts and the adverse consequences on families and society of a contraceptive culture, the anti-RH position can hardly agree with the inevitable outcome of the RH bill for Philippine society. The Aquino administration however seems determined to deliver an RH bill which happens to coincide with the position of Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the MCC, and as manifested by the heavy-handed way in which the period of debates in the Lower House was drastically ended last August.  If the pro-RH camp goes ahead and rams the bill through Congress, the proposed amendments may have to be accepted tactically as damage control to reduce some of the “nasty” aspects in the bill, such as the coercive provisions and the distribution of abortifacents.     

2.      Welfare economics. It seems that the House leadership has bought into the view shared by many proponents of the RH bill that they don’t really mind if the higher income couples do not practice family planning but it’s the poor who should be targeted for the government’s birth control programs.  Thus in the name of recognizing reproductive health as “universal basic human right” the key amendment to the revised  bill is the free reproductive services and supplies for the poor:  

 “[THE STATE] SHALL PRIORITIZE THE NEEDS OF POOR WOMEN AND MEN IN MARGINALIZED HOUSEHOLDS … WHO SHALL BE VOLUNTARY BENEFICIARIES OF REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE, SERVICES AND SUPPLIES FOR FREE”  

 While this revision finally owns up to the ulterior motive of HB 4244 to discourage the poor from breeding, they immediately raise a lot of welfare economics questions.   

 a)   Is this really the first best, or even second-  or third- best way to help the poor?  Why prioritize free condoms, IUDs, and pills? Why not free anti-TB, anti-malaria, anti-diarrhea medicines; cheap bottled water; oral rehydration powder, etc. which would be more directed at the leading causes of illness and death among the poor?   

 b)   How will the poor be identified? The revised bill proposes: “… THROUGH THE NATIONAL HOUSEHOLD TARGETING SYSTEM FOR POVERTY REDUCTION (NHTS-PR) AND OTHER GOVERNMENT MEASURES OF IDENTIFYING MARGINALIZATION…” Is this part of the Conditional Cash Transfer apparatus? Will acceptance of contraceptives now be one of the conditions?  This NHTS-PR appears about 8 times in the revised bill and will be relied upon for eligibility for pro-bono services, anti-poverty programs, procurement and distribution to LGUs, etc.  

In effect the bill contemplates creating a class of poor Filipinos certified as such for the purpose of getting qualified as non-paying recipients of reproductive health services and supplies. This raises more questions:  

 a.     How will they be documented?  Will they be given IDs or plastic swipe cards which they can bring to drug stores to get free condoms and pills? (Unless the NHTS-PR is geared up to certify their poverty each time before they want to do the marital act).    

 b.    Will there be one ID per couple? Will they have to show a marriage certificate?  Who will keep the ID, the wife or the husband?  Shouldn’t the wife be given control of the ID?  Will a separate ID be issued to the husband who might then use it for extra- marital pursuits? 

 c.     Will an ID be issued to the other members of the poor marginalized family who have reached reproductive age?

 d.    What will be the cut-off income?  How will the government prevent poor couples from selling in a black market their free pills and condoms to non-poor couples who do not qualify?

 e.     How will the quality of the free contraceptives be controlled? Will the COA criteria apply to procure least-cost condoms that might however have high failure rates? (This will play into the hands of pro-abortion camp:   as cheap  condoms fail  there will be an increase in unwanted pregnancies among the poor.  Before long illegal abortions multiply and there would be political clamor to amend the constitution for the legalization of abortion.   This is the same slippery slope that has happened in some Catholic countries that have legalized abortion.)

 f.     The bill provides that the “(FDA) SHALL DETERMINE THE SAFETY, EFFICACY, AND CLASSIFICATION OF PRODUCTS AND SUPPLIES FOR MODERN FAMILY PLANNING METHODS PRIOR TO THEIR DISTRIBUTION, PROCUREMENT, SALE AND USE.”  Many contraceptive pills are classified as first class carcinogenics. Since the bill requires the FDA to ensure the safety of  contraceptives, when the incidence of cancer increases from the free pills distributed to the poor, will the government accept the liability and provide free cancer treatment? Or will there be a legal disclaimer at the back of each ID stating that the recipient takes the pill at her own risk and discharges the government of any liability for any harm that the pills could cause?

 c)   What is the estimated cost of providing free reproductive services and supplies to the poor?  Using round numbers 25% of Filipinos are below the poverty line according to NSCB, or 5 million of 20 million families.  Assuming 80% acceptance of free contraceptives, and P500/month cost of contraceptive supplies per family, this translates to P24 billion a year.  If you use the SWS self-rated 10 million poor families, the number goes up to P48 billion. Of course the P500 can be higher or lower depending on the contraceptives supplied.  

 a.     Following the principle of fiscal responsibility will there be revenue measures identified to fund this new expenditure program?  Will the funding come from taxes collected from the general public, including Roman Catholics?

 b.    Or will the funds come from of grants or loans form the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, Millenium Challenge Corporation, etc.?  

 3.     State interference in the family.  The revised version has the following clause: “THE STATE SHALL ALSO PROMOTE OPENNESS TO LIFE, PROVIDED THAT THE PARENTS BRING FORTH TO THE WORLD ONLY THOSE CHILDREN THAT THEY CAN RAISE IN A TRULY HUMANE WAY.”

 a) There is no definition of “TRULY HUMANE WAY”.  Who will determine and define this, the State? Will the State set quantitative criteria such as minimum nutritional requirements, square meters of living space per child, ownership of appliances, etc?  Will the State use present earning capacity or the expected permanent income of both parents?  How will it allow for the possible increase in income of the breadwinner in the future?

 b) Based on this clause, will the State then withdraw any support for openness to life if parents bring children whom they cannot raise in a “truly humane way”? 

 4.     Coercion to  cooperate in evil.  There is an amendment the purports to lessen the coercive nature of the section on “Prohibited acts” in the case of health care providers who may not refuse under penalties to extend family planning services, “Provided that the conscientious objection of a healthcare service provider based on his ethical or religious beliefs shall be respected; however HE/SHE SHALL, WITHOUT IN ANYWAY AGREEING OR ENDORSING THE FAMILY PLANNING SERVICE OR PROCEDURE REQUIRED BY THE PERSON CONCERNED, immediately refer the person seeking such care and services to another healthcare provider within the same facility…”

 a)   How can the State dictate the mental reservations of the health care provider? Conscientious objector na nga, eh.

 b)    Why is the state requiring the healthcare provider to violate his/her own internal disagreement  by requiring him to refer the case to another health care provider?

 c)    To whom or how will the health care professional report or register her “WITHOUT IN ANYWAY AGREEING OR ENDORSING” the contraceptive or IUD or the sterilization?   To her Mother Superior? To her Confessor? At her Particular Judgement after death?  

 5.     Other issues, new or carried over from the previous version.  Many of the provisions duplicatethe Magna Carta for Women which is already a law. The issue of penalties for doctors who refuse to treat failed abortions is already be covered by professional medical malpractice regulations and do not require a separate provision in an RH bill.  

In sum, while the revised bill has taken out some coercive provisions and tries to de-emphasizeabortifacents, it is a hodgepodge of awkward attempts to make it seemingly acceptable and reasonable.  It puts State power behind widespread distribution of morally and medically harmful contraceptives.  Unfortunately it now uses questionable welfare economics in the name of supposedly helping the poor. 

OTHER CONCERNS

1. What does the Bill say about effectiveness?  Does it provide equality to protection of life BOTH for the mother and the unborn child from conception?

2. Once a drug enlisted to be one of the very general term “Modern Family Planning Methods” has established doubtful effectiveness, does the Bill provides mechanism to remove it from free circulation?

3. If the Bill does not promote abortion, then any “abortifacient” or effect to increase likelihood of abortion (chemical or mechanical) within the list of “Modern Family Planning Products” must also be removed.  Is there a mechanism for this provided for by the Bill?

4. It is true that in the amended version of the Bill, the “Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is charged with the determination of the safety, efficacy and classification” of the Modern Family Planning products, however the same Bill must place criteria for “safety” and “efficacy”.  Moreover, products that are neither “drug” nor “food” such as condoms must also be taken cared of, unless this product is under FDA authority.

 5. Once becoming a law, will it automatically revise or amend, the Revised Penal Code?  Part of every new law is to amend or change pre-existing laws contrary to it, except the Constitution.  If “yes”, then the assumption that abortion is “already” illegal seems to become invalid eventually.

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The Phantom of the Opera – Manila 2012

I again have the fortune of watching another West End hit at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) with my family yesterday, September 9, 2012. What I like about Broadway shows is that they are already coming to Manila. Filipinos need not go to New York or London or even just Singapore to watch West End and Broadway shows. I’m just also glad that CCP has allowed these tours to use the main theater, and that the CCP Main Theater has the requirements of the tour.

In my New York visits, I was not able to watch The Phantom of the Opera, and now I am able to see it here in my own home country! It is a joy to be able to watch famous musicals in the Philippines. My family and I were looking forward to this day. I was just raring to watch my favorite Phantom songs sung on stage as opposed to just listening to them.

First impressions

I have not read in full the plot and sequence of events of the Phantom. In my experience, I would normally see a glimpse of the beauty and majesty of the set design upon entering the theater. What I saw was a gloomy set filled with gray curtains.

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The stage set upon entering the theater.

The first scene is the auctioning of the items from the closed down opera house. The stage was so dark you could hardly see the faces of the characters, but you could still, though faintly, recognize the emotions from the main character. This first scene lasts for just 5 minutes and as the story flashbacks to the glory days of the Opera House, the gray curtains reveal its original majesty.

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The majestic stage design with the trademark chandelier.

First impressions don’t last. They lasted only 5 minutes for this one. 🙂 Now, I don’t want to spoil your viewing of the show by giving too many details, so let me go straight to my humble appreciation for the production.

Set Design

The set is just amazing. They probably have three different curtains they play with. The effectively used these to fill the stage. In certain scenes, the curtains are half-drawn, almost alluding to the scarred half face of the Phantom. It also effectively covered the other half of the stage for the element of surprise most especially in the opening of Act II with “Masquerade”.

The opera within a musical was a great opportunity to showcase elaborate designs for the three different operas within Phantom. Aside from that, the operas came in the right frequency to break the drama since they also served as a comic relief, and the climax of the show. Genius this Andrew Lloyd Webber indeed!

What you need to watch out for in this production are the visual effects. You would be amazed and you are left to wonder how they would execute the boat ride scenes (how will the boat move on stage?!), the hundred candles that appear suddenly on stage without burning anything. The best scenes and those that require most technology are those set in Phantom’s lair. My favorite scene though is the scene where Christine Daaé bowed down to the audience after her opera performance because suddenly you are brought “backstage” instead of having the feeling of being the audience for the operas. That kinda tickled my brain. 🙂

Another favorite set is Christine’s dressing room with a big mirror where the Phantom appears. The mirror was angled properly to make the tiny dressing room look to have more space.

Performance

There is nothing to comment much about set design since standards in design are pretty much dictated upon by the original designers and directors. Same goes with the fidelity to the original script and even acting and dance sequences. What remain are the skills of the members of the cast.

Since I have no basis of comparison for Phantom other than the soundtrack which I have been listening to for many years now, I will give my simple critique of the performers.

The singing is just superb. I should say that their voice quality is comparable and at par with the original performers’. I had a difficult time distinguishing the singers on the live show from the CD. Both are just as good. For the die hard fans, they would probably be disappointed with some singing style that differs slightly from the original, but they are negligible and you should be able to give some leeway to the actors.

I would like of course to give much credit to Dondi Ong, the sole Filipino member of the Phantom cast. I was fortunate to get his insights regarding his stint with Phantom because he was my brother’s good friend. We called him up and met with him outside CCP’s artists’ entrance. A tenor from UP Diliman, Dondi’s classical execution of his parts was spot on. His performance is nothing short of professional. He was able to rehearse and get into his role quickly, and delivered it humorously at that. You also have to give it to him because he is one of the few who needed to do eight – EIGHT! – costume changes during the 2 hour performance, and two major make-up changes which he said he already did on his own. Add to this, he had to bear 5 pound heavy costumes each time. He confessed that he already lost 10 pounds since his joining the cast. You also know that he’s that good, that on the day he auditioned, they were already showing signs of their preference for him. According to Dondi, the casting director already framed his profile and judged that his looks fit the role. They also asked him to sing a portion of the musical on the same day other than his prepared audition piece. To prove further he deserved the spot, they signed him as well for the Korea and Singapore tour (I don’t remember if he’s already going to the Australia tour). It was just supposed to be a token role for a local artist to fill, but they contracted him for other tours as well.

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With Mr. Dondi Ong, Tenor

For Phantom fans used to listening to the voices of the original cast, you won’t be disappointed by this casts’ performance!

What is impressive with Christine Daaé’s actress is that the role requires training in classical ballet. I’m impressed with the actress’ natural ballet dancing skills, but definitely not a Lisa Macuja-Elizalde. It didn’t require complicated arabesques and lifts, but the basics were executed nicely.

Conclusion

I just simply love the fact that you can somehow (of course, not entirely) appreciate both musicals and opera in one show. According to Mr. Ong, people have looked down on his decision to take part in this popular West End musical because they think that it belittles his talent as a classically trained Tenor. I would agree, however, with Mr. Ong’s opinion that this is the best way to reach to more people. With this show, people come to watch because they want to watch it, and not because they are required to watch an opera. It’s the best way to reach out to the teens and influence their taste for higher culture. I just couldn’t agree more.

The Phantom of the Opera doesn’t come to Manila often having an international cast chosen by an accredited production staff. Every Filipino who can afford should afford to watch this. Hopefully, after we have exhausted all the popular and top-grossing musicals to show here, we can start importing the not-so-popular ones, but are worth watching as well, and still people go and watch.

International tours being welcomed in the country, Theater courses should begin flourishing in our country. Younger people become more interested in theater, and taking it up as a legit course in college, taking minor in singing, ballet, jazz dancing; thus, taking theater acting a notch higher. No matter how noble it is to act out plays with social dimension and that speak about politics, they still do not appeal to the pop culture generation. We have to use more popular media to reach to them, to educate them ultimately to appreciate a different kind of culture that is more lasting, and which does not change even after 25 years, just like this classic musical, The Phantom of the Opera.

Take advantage. Watch.

Upcoming shows in Asia:

May-June 2013: Bangkok, Thailand

August-October: Singapore

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Budget already in place, why harp on passing of RH Bill?

CBCP for Life has conveniently reported to us how Sen. Sotto, the most cyberbullied Senator in the Philippines, enumerated the different projects that address all the concerns outlined in the RH Bill. Pro-RH advocates claim the RH Bill needs to be enacted into a law so that mothers can be given necessary health care facilities for healthy birthing, to be given access to contraceptives. However, even without the RH Bill, the budget is already in place for Reproductive Health. Allow me to re-post the list of 2012 projects here from the CBCP For Life website:

Reproductive Health Programs totalling already P7B:

1. Health Human Resource Development – P1,905,105,000.00
2. Capability Building – P14,431,200.00
3. Support Maternal, Newborn at Child Health at Nutrition (MNCHN) Grants – P167,000,000.00
4. Health Facilities Enhancement Program to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of reducing maternal deaths – P5,078,000,000.00
5. Women’s Health at Safe Motherhood Project II, for maternity or birthing clinics – P122,857,000.00
6. Family Health and Responsible Parenting Leveraging Services, for family planning supplies, MNCHN Commodities – P300,000,000.00
7. Commission on Population, Grants, subsidies and contributions for population programs – P148,389,000.00; coordination of population policy and programs – P220,252,000.00
8. Family Health and Responsible Parenting, including seminars for birth spacing and responsible parenthood; reproduction of the Manual of Operation on Adolescent Health -P500,000.00; Family Health Guide – P35,000,000.00; Community Health Team (CHT) Organization, Training and Deployment Manual – P31,250,000.00; Community Health Team Guidebook (Helping Families Access Health Care)
9. Health Promotion – P153,230,000.00

Exisiting laws, Administrative Orders, Presidential Decrees and other Programs that make RH Bill redundant:

1. R.A. 9710 or An Act Providing for Magna Carta for Women
2. Republic Act No. 9262 or Anti-Violence against Women and Children
3. Republic Act No. 8504 or Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998
4. AO 2008-0029 Implementing Health Reforms for Rapid Reduction of Maternal and Neonatal Mortality
5. Children’s Health Program of the DOH
6. Family Planning Program of the DOH
7. Prevention and Management Control of Abortion and its Complications (PMAC)
8. PD No. 965 or A decree requiring applicant for marriage license to receive instructions on family planning and responsible parenthood
9. R.A. 7883 or the Barangay Health Workers Benefits and Incentives Acts of 1995
10. R.A. 7160 or The Local Government Code of the Philippines
11. AO No. 2010-0036–The Aquino Health Agenda: Achieving Universal Health Care for all Filipinos
12. Women’s Health and Safe Motherhood Project ng DOH
13. Republic Act No. 8504 or Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998
14. Republic Act No. 7875 o ang National Health Insurance Act of 1995
15. Republic Act No. 9502 o ang Cheaper Medicine Act
16. Executive Order No. 453 o Directing the Enrolment of 2.5 Million Indigent families pursuant to E.O 276
17. AO No. 2010-0010 o ang Revised Policy on Micro Nutrient Supplementation to Support Achievement of 2015 MDG Targets to Reduce Maternal Deaths and Address Micronutrient needs of other population groups
18. Botika ng Barangay Program of the DOH
19. PD No. 79 Revising the Population Act of Nineteen Hundred and Seventy One
20. PhilHealth Circulars and Policy Guidelines
21. CCT program of the DSWD
22. PD No. 79 Revising the Population Act of Nineteen Hundred and Seventy One
23. Administrative order No. 2012-0009 -National Strategy Towards Reducing Unmet Need for Modern Family Planning as a means to Achieving MDGs on Maternal Health

There are two things I’m sure why someone would want a law to be passed, these are for the sanctions and foreign pressure. It’s not a law if it doesn’t have any sanctions. Foreign RH Groups (which include abortion access advocacy) pressure local RH groups like pro-abortion Likhaan. Go figure.

And why is Sen. Sotto the most cyberbullied Senator in the Philippines? Because that’s the only ammo that the pro-RH advocates have against Sotto’s exposés. What happens to them when they get a taste of their own medicine? They go berserk

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Unheard of reasons why I am against the RH Bill

Conversations with pro-RH and watching debates on TV made me realize these new reasons why I’m against the RH Bill:

1) It condones negligent parents by saying: “Parents are irresponsible. Who else will teach the children on sex? The Government needs to intervene.”

2) It also condones corruption in government: “Alam naman nating mahirap pugsain ang corruption sa Pilipinas. When else will we start helping the poor?”

3) It demeans the ability of the poor to practice discipline in NFP. “Natural doesn’t always seem to work for the very poor that’s why they have 6-11 children :)” – Karen Davila

4) For the sake of choice, the pro-RH wants the poor to choose between natural and Group 1 carcinogens (contraceptive pills), and provide the latter for free.

5) The pro-RH are “not aware” of the abortifacient nature of contraceptive pills. Their comment? “In my opinion, they are not abortifacients.” Now medicine has become a matter of opinion. Add to that the opinion on where life begins.

6) The pro-RH will always downplay the obvious connection of contraception and abortion as if they are two different advocacies in the real pro-life stand. They will not answer the question of Plan B if contraception fails.

7) Rep. Hontiveros’ idea of sex education is contradicting: A – bstinence, B-e monogamous, and C-ontraception. Why put abstinence and contraception together? Why A if there is C? Why C if there is A?

8 ) Carlos Celdran is one name-calling pro-RH. No need to elaborate. (Rep. Hontiveros needs to tame him down.)

9) The pro-RH camp would last resort to destroying the person (and the Church) in their defense. These politicians do not know how to engage in a sustained reasonable debate. Can they just stick to the issue?

On NFP.
Pro-RH: “If it is so great, then why hasn’t the church teach about it with vigor like what they’re screaming about it now?”
Me: “Naku, you put in the Church na into our discussion. I wanted to keep the Church out of it. Now that you mentioned it, let’s put the Church in.”
Pro-RH: “My bad. I thought your linking it to there stand [sic].”

10) “Iba ang moralidad niyo sa moralidad ko.” – Dr. Sylvia Caludio. Aba! Then why should we let you impose your morality that contraception and abortion are okay on us? Dr. Claudio by the way is the chairman of WGNRR, an organization that supports abortion. “[Dr. Claudio] and her org can promote it all she wants. I don’t, and will not start advocating it.” – Ms. Lea Salonga.

11) The RH Bill is filed under the Commission on Population and Development. But they push on health benefits. It should then be files under Health, di ba? I smell something fishy.

Why I support the Catholic Church in its fight against the RH Bill:

1) The Church believes that the poor are human persons who are capable of practicing discipline.

2) She has been consistent in her arguments against the RH Bill. There is no need for strategy changes.

3) They protect the real essence of the woman, her uterus, by keeping the dangerous pills from destroying it.

4) The Church does help save the women’s lives by not promoting Group 1 carcinogens (e.g. contraceptive pills).

5) She supports PNoy’s slogan: “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.”

6) The pronoun for the Catholic Church is actually female.

7) The Church has always been pro-poor: Caritas. Visit the website, you’ll see the programs for the poor there. Some Catholics are active also in helping the poor: Gawad Kalinga.

A brief message for those who claim themselves to be Catholics but are pro-RH: Have you read the Catechism of the Catholic Church? For sure, you haven’t. I suggest you read it. It’s very reasonable. It is “faith seeking understanding.” Then, and only then, can we have a decent discussion involving the Church without destroying its credibility.

I am entitled to my own realizations, and these are just based on my experiences. For sure there are exceptions to these instances. When I sound like I am generalizing, I am only referring to the people I had been exposed to.

My blog, my rules. For a change, comments section will only be dedicated to understanding the side of those against the RH Bill. This blog will be dedicated to fully understanding the Anti-RH Bill side. I expect questions about and supporting facts for the Anti-RH stand in the comments section. Any comment posted that doesn’t follow the rules will not be posted. ☺

Cheers!

For those who are complaining that my opinion is not based on studies:
1. Legal critique of the unconstitutionality of the RH Bill

2. Economic effects of the RH Bill

3. Another opinion, but since we patronize US opinion: from the Wall Street Journal

4. Since we also treat UP Professors with high regard, we can give this professor the benefit of the doubt that she’s saying something sensible: RH Bill is anti-women

“The Big RH Swindle” by Sen. Kit Tatad

Below is the text of Sen. Tatad’s article entitled “The Big RH Swindle”.

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We can all probably agree that respect for the Constitution, the moral convictions, religious beliefs, human dignity and solidarity of our people is indispensable to the health and wellbeing of the nation. And that no democratic government ever enacts a law that is certain to divide its people.

Yet never before have we seen so many Filipino politicians trying to savage that view, and further divide an already divided nation. All in the name of a foreign-dictated Reproductive Health (RH) bill.

Many of the debates, arranged or sponsored by the RH patrons and funders, have been one big swindle. Often moderated by the uninstructed and uninformed, they have tried to discuss every tangential issue, while evading the central issue that will ultimately decide whether the bill, if enacted into law, could bind anyone in conscience.

They have tried to scare us with all sorts of doomsday scenario about our birth rate of 1.9 percent, and the country’s population density of 313 per square km, which are quite healthy, without ever mentioning the plunging birth rates and the rapid ageing and dying in the developed countries, which should terrify anyone living in this century.

They have tried to make us feel guilty that ten or so childbearing women are dying everyday for lack of proper obstetrics and maternal care, even though several times more women are dying everyday from cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, tuberculosis, and other diseases, without any medical or burial assistance from government.

Not every congressman or senator has read the RH bill. And not everyone who has read it has correctly understood its whys and wherefores. They say its purpose is “to protect the right” of women (and men) to decide whether or not to practice birth control and what method/s to use. But that is not true at all. It is patently false, a gross deception.

No law prohibits contraception or sterilization. Everyone is free to contracept or get sterilized on their own. No law distinguishes abortifacients from mere contraceptives either. A woman could commit abortion while ostensibly practicing contraception only. This has been so for the last 35 years.

Since the 1970s, the government has been funding what it now calls RH every year. At least P2 billion this year. Additionally, some LGUs are now implementing some foreign-funded RH programs. The constitutionality of these things has yet to be ruled on. But the nation’s contraceptive prevalence rate now stands at 51 percent and counting.

So what women’s “right” to contracept are they talking about? What need is there for this RH bill? We have the global population controllers and contraceptives and abortion providers to thank for.

At the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, there was a proposal that poor countries should assume at least two-thirds of the cost of their RH programs, which until then had been borne by the rich governments. This means two-thirds of $20.5 billion in 2010, and $21.7 billion in 2015, which were the cost estimates at the time. But even the ICPD document did not contemplate the totalitarian approach of the present RH bill.

The bill seeks to require all married couples to practice birth control as an integral part of marriage, regardless of their religious beliefs and moral convictions. This will revise the very nature and organic laws of marriage, an institution that precedes the State.

Indeed, the bill will allow individuals to choose what method/s of birth control to use, but it wants all married couples and even unmarried individuals to be part of a state-run program of population control. It also wants to impose a mandatory sex education program on schoolchildren from Grade V until fourth year High School, without parental consent.

However, these points have been muted in the debates. The proponents have tried to dance around the real issues, and many of those against have been lured into joining the dance too. Thus we have discussed the side issues, but left untouched the central issue, which is, Does the State have the right or duty to organize the intimate private lives of its citizens? Can Congress enact the RH bill into law without regard to the moral law and the Constitution?

The mandate of Sec. 12, Article II of the Constitution is clear and cannot be obscured. It needs no interpretation. “The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.”

Some people, including some supposed theologians and constitutional experts, have tried to muddle this issue by asking, “when does life begin?” Is it upon “fertilization” of the egg, or upon “implantation” of the fertilized ovum? That would be quite relevant if we were discussing abortion, which we are not.

The only relevant issue here is this: If the duty of the State is to equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception, does it also have the right or the duty to run a program of contraception and sterilization whose purpose is to prevent the birth of children? Can the State be the protector and preventer of childbearing at the same time? Clearly, the State can be one or the other, but not both at the same time.

Likewise, it parents are the natural and primary educators of their children, the State can only support, but not replace them in that role. It cannot, therefore, impose a compulsory sex education program on schoolchildren, without parental consent.

Now, Article XV “recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation,” and marriage “as an inviolable social institution,” “the foundation of the family,” which “shall be protected by the State.” Sec. 3 provides: “The State shall defend: (1) The right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood.”

This is where the Catholics and other religious believers come in. They have to defend their basic human right to their own respective religious beliefs. I am a Roman Catholic. I believe, with the Church, that contraception and sterilization are intrinsically evil, and I try to practice what I believe. My friend and neighbor is of a different faith; he believes that contraception and sterilization are good for his health. The absence of an RH law has not impaired, and will not impair, his “right” to practice contraception and sterilization. It will not hurt the practice of his faith. But the passage of an RH law will certainly hurt mine.

I do not want the State to act as the enforcer of my Catholic faith, and compel my friend and neighbor to believe what I believe. But I cannot allow the State to tell me to abandon my belief either and support with my tax payment a government program that attacks my religious belief. I would feel religiously persecuted, and I will have to respond accordingly.

I may or may not march against the government. I may or may not call or join any call for civil disobedience. But the so-called RH law would have no moral or constitutional basis and could not bind me or anyone else in conscience. It would simply further divide the nation. The law would have turned this country into a totalitarian state, and the government would, in the language of the February1986 CBCP statement, lose the moral authority to govern.

For these reasons, the House of Representatives would be well advised to simply archive the RH bill now, revoke the present RH program and appropriation, retool the Department of Health and the Population Commission, and begin to mind our more authentic and pressing national concerns.

From Dusk ‘Til Dawn

I wrote the following poem in 1997 when we first found out that Kuya had a brain tumor. We knew then that he won’t last long with us anymore and so I wrote this to reflect how I felt about it — trying to be optimistic and spiritual about the news.

Continue reading

Miguel Castro, Pianist +

You may view the live stream of the Wake below:

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The repressed side of Noynoy

The only thing we know about Noynoy is that he is not corrupt at pipiliin ang daan mat’wid. Here are some links to articles written by credible people about their opinion about Noynoy.

Kudos to Noynoy and his supporters for keeping his real track record and skills unknown though. Here are some of my food for thoughts on this “leading” Presidential candidate:

  • Proclaimed himself winner based on surveys.
  • Will call on People Power if he loses?
  • He will only lose because some other candidate cheated? (ang taas naman ng value ng surveys)
  • He is pro-minority: homosexual groups, anti-life groups.
  • Poisons the well: Talked bad about Jocjoc Bolante blatantly in one of his endorsements of one of his candidates. (Does he have to?)
  • Uses his parents’ reputation, symbols, gestures as if he has the same stand as his parents.
  • Pikon. Ang pikon ay laging talo. When his “Laban” cry was mocked by a famous sportsman, he had his sister, Kris, defend him. He didn’t even say something about it!
  • Yahoo! had a difficult time scheduling an interview with him. Y! wasn’t able to schedule one.

This is black propaganda? No. I am just stating my opinion based on my own research. I was a victim of black propaganda. I am just glad I read up.

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