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Lakaw is a journey is a step is a move. I love to travel around the world and this is my travel and travel gadget site. Welcome and Enjoy!

0 comments | Friday, August 31, 2007

Venturebeat reported not long ago about the social network Friendster experiencing a 40% page view growth rate in May. According to the report, Friendster currently sits in 4th place on the list of popular social networking sites, behind MySpace, Facebook and Hi5. While the growth may be evident, the worms are also multiplying.
This is in reference to the many Friendster accounts plagued by computer worms, as claimed by Friendster staff. Even my own profile was hijacked by these so-called self-replicating computer programs. It is clear that worms exploited the vulnerabilities of Friendster.

I just logged-in. I was dismayed when everything I wrote/posted/designed since I started the account in 2003 vanished into thin air and was replaced by something new. My age was changed to [a much younger] 16, my location from South Dakota to Oregon, and worse, my sexuality to female. After the attack, I posted this in my profile:

"I used to have a very long "about me" section here. On August 28, 2007, at exactly 12:30AM U.S. Central Time, my Friendster account was hijacked! Friendster doesn't have a safe protection for member profiles. Was it a bug or virus that attacked slash hacked slash wrecked my profile and layout? I am not sure which one. What I am certain at this moment is that, my profile is gone."

I contacted them via email and got this reply in two days:

IF YOUR ACCOUNT HAS BEEN “HACKED” WE NEED THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:
WE NEED THE ACCOUNT ID OR THE PROFILE URL OF THE “HACKED ACCOUNT” :
Please give us as much the following information as possible for the HACKED account:
Account First name:
Account Last name:
Account Email address:
ACCOUNT ID#:

I supplied them the details and requested that my old profile before the attack be restored. The answer came a day later:

Eric:
There was a worm on our site and when it infected a profile it resave the edit profile page. Once that was done the original content was over written. We apologize for this and we've patched that issue as well as moved profile off to a separate domain for them to be served from. If you feel you need to cancel your account I've included cancellation directions.

Log in to your Friendster Account>click “Settings” – upper right of page>scroll to bottom of this “Settings” page and click the blue “cancel” link >follow the instructions on the cancellation page.

We apologize for this problem.

That was it. No way that they can restore my profile. Strange though that they suggested canceling my account instead of writing a new profile.

I may have lost the long profile but, thanks still that my 458 friends are intact. I've decided to keep it and redo it.

I wish Friendster will release a security update to patch this vulnerability sooner if they intend to continue their growth.

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2 comments | Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"If you fall in love with another and he falls in love with you and then love chooses to leave, do not try to reclaim it or to assess blame. Let it go.", says Kent Nerburn from his book Letters to my Soul.

Reactions from love stories in movies, novels, comics and magazines, TV soap operas and radio programs are overwhelming especially when touching one's heart is at stake, well, at least for a short while. But nothing compares to the feeling of what love has to bring to you when you try and experience it yourself. Let me tell you about childhood and teenage stories that I had once told - what I did for love, how I managed to cope with the demands of love and eventually made me what I am now.

It hurts each time love has to go. Love has chosen me for many times in all my years of existence and many times love chose to leave. I do not know, and still asking, if my well being has got something to do with all of it. Like my being too friendly with other girls. Or my being not-too-jealous-type guy. Or perhaps I was just too loose or maybe too tight in a relationship that my partner and I could hardly breathe. Maybe...

LOVE AT FIRST TRY. Let me call her Lyn, the brightest star in the Narra section back then when I was still in sixth grade. Take note: sixth grade! Enchanted with her charm, captivated with swaying hips each time she was in the dance floor, I was always left wandering around restless yet so inspired. Friends called it puppy love. I called it childhood craze.

Dad never objected nor stopped me from developing such a feeling of hearts bursting out, full of motivation, mostly happening whenever she was a hand-reach away. She could be liken to a "supergirl" who brought magic and hope to a superhero who was about to lose a terrible fight. When everything seemed so dull, she was the light, so to speak. While other boys rejoiced at the news of a coming holiday or no class day, I stayed on a corner thinking of about anything to let the day not come or praying it would be canceled out totally. Those days, my prayers didn't work, in a way. So I had to content myself to seeing her picture, which she gave me in one of those morning music classes.

She was an inspiration to a young boy with a youthful heart. Whenever she wore that red flower-designed dress, I could not help but drool over her beauty that never seemed to fade. She was a choir member, and so was I. She was involved in the dance troupe, and I was too. With regards to our likes and dislikes, no question, we’re very much compatible.

Not all our classmates knew about so many things between us. Only those classified as close peers. Not even Mom. But when mom knew all about it, she gave me a dose of back-to-back motherly advice, enough to get me into thinking about the pros and cons of loving the opposite sex. Too late, it was. There was no need for someone to tell us the exact time and season for love, for one way or the other, we had discovered and learned the secrets on our own, at a very young age. One lesson was to enjoy childhood days, free from commitment and all-time promises. So, bounded by young ages, time had to move on for the two of us. Happy days had to go. After graduation, we parted ways and went to different schools. Though we talked at times, it was so hard for us to bring back the blissful moments again.

THE SECOND TRY. After more than a year of forgetting what happened on my first try, I told myself to let go of that 'love affair' thing and concentrate on what I was, in the first place, aiming for - to be on top of the honor list. Besides, love was a kind of diversion for the likes of me who run for books and novels rather than being with the gimmick gang after the last sound of the bell. But guess what, love wouldn't allow me to be inactive for a minute even: I was love-struck (again?) and love took hold of me in my most depressed time.

Ours began in friendship (how else would it be?). We were seatmates then. We shared things common friends do – notebooks, papers, snacks, even love notes and lines. She always had my books scripted with "Take Cares" at the back each time she would borrow and bring it at home. How sweet of her.

Time slowly nurtured both feelings inside us, that one afternoon, as we were about to go home, unexpectedly, we were made "more than just friends". As it never happened before, this time my heart pounded so differently. It was so far-out and awesome, more than just flying to the seventh heaven and being in cloud nine. It was inexpressible joy that as I trekked home (this is one good thing above love), everybody's face seemed to look like hers.

We lasted for a year though. We both decided to give a little space for other things and spare much of our time for studies. "We're too young for this and there is still more room for love", she said as I had my last kiss. It pays off at the end. I graduated with honors, as I dreamed of. She too was so happy as she proudly received her diploma. We shook hands and looked at each other for a short while. I didn't say anything, but she knew I was trying to say thank you.

TEENAGE LIFE. There was nothing more exciting on my first year in college than to be in the Dean's list. I was preoccupied with books and more books that I had no time for finding a girl that would perhaps inspire me more to reaching that banner at the end of the pole, which my friends suggested was the best inspiration for a college dude.

Being exemplary in class was indeed an asset for me and a sort of edge for men who would like to draw attention from the opposite sex. In other words, there are a lot of ladies out there who would ask for a personal or private tutorial. Not that these men would take advantage of the situation, but com'on, if the girls are quite dazzling and winsome in and out, then saying no would mean losing the chance of knowing them.

What happened to me was an exact example of a love that blossomed out from lecturing mathematics and physics. We were just best of friends, the likes that would go out together to watch movies without any commitment or promises or engagement that we hold so dear. We cracked jokes as though we've known each other for quite sometime and without so much fear that one of us may get hurt. We felt we could easily gibe to our own actions and consequences. On late afternoons, I was in her boarding house for math tutorials. Or let me say a group study, only that there were just the two of us, eager to learn things together. I had to leave her for the dorm at nine, or ten if there was a need for extension.

The irony behind was, I was actually eyeing for another girl in our batch who happened to be her best friend. In short, she was just my "backer" whose job was to report heartening news that eventually would make me restless for the rest of the night. Out of friendship, we did stuff like this for almost a year.

Second year. I never expected my best friend would turn out to be my lover. All our pranks made me see something in her nobody cared to notice and appreciate. I was kind of a fool to let a year pass by before realizing that I really didn't have to look far to find a treasure. All I had to do was to dig it out and abracadabra, there it was, laid all for myself. We were both surprised honestly, that we found ourselves asking so many whys. Ah, we're just one of those love pairs agog to discover something new.

That was the beginning of it all. All the more, we became the closest friends we never planned or hoped for. We went out to malls and trekked places we seldom travel when we were still 'friends'. We shared the same pains and joys and drenched ourselves with lots of fun and adventures. But least we expected, something just went wrong which needed a major fix: our studies. Somehow we set it aside, forgetting that mine were under a scholarship grant and that her sister supported hers.

Sad, she had to say goodbye. Hurting though, I had to set her free. I did. We had to untie the bond that we so much value for years, for some good reasons. Our other important priorities just could not wait the needed attention they have been deprived of for quite a long time. We had given up something, yet we gained trust, confidence, and a guaranty of strength in ourselves that we could truly be proud of. I lost her, maybe physically. But memories of her would go on and always be inside for me to look back and to reminisce all the days of my life.

I still have many teenage love stories of my life to tell. But I have decided to keep it to myself first, for what love is--when it strikes, when it begins to rattle, when it tells you what life is without her, cannot just be written or expressed in a page or two. For the story is more than just going together and having fun, more than sharing pains and heartaches and greater than just saying 'I love yous' and sweet goodnights. I tell you, it's different and so special.

For now, I am without someone to spend my loving touch with, yet extensively happy and contented - for a good-paying job, for a family that cares, for friends who never cease to give me a hand when situations seem too difficult to go through and for a life blessed with so much excitement and joy.

I am glad that love came to me for a moment in my life and held me through rough times. And just as life itself is a gift that comes and goes in its own time, so too the coming of love must be taken as an unfathomable gift that cannot be questioned of its ways.

As Kent ended his article, "Love has its own time, its season, and its reason for coming and going... You can only embrace it when it arrives and give it away when it comes to you... Love always has been and will always be a mystery...If you keep your heart open, it will come again."

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0 comments | Tuesday, August 28, 2007

There are just few inspirational and motivational blogs that I visit in every intermission I do while blogging. Just like food, I need few touching inspirational moments to feed my emotional side.

In the process of seeking, I stumbled upon Karl's blog. The blog is owned by Karl Moore, who is a writer and entrepreneur. He is a three-time MVP award winner and the author of the two best-selling books - "Karl Moore’s Visual Basic.net" and "The Ultimate Code Book".

Here is what I like most about Karl's blog, every Monday, he posts a "Random Act of Kindness". Some of the random acts of kindness he already posted were "Become a Conservation Volunteer!", "Donate Your Groceries", "Take Someone Out for the Day", "Thank Your Mentor", and a lot more life-changing challenges for you to perform each week. The good thing about these challenges are, they're not difficult to perform. So, why not try and get on with the challenge?

On a Friday, he posts a "Friday Factoid." You read something you never knew yet. In one post he had this question, "Can blood be passed from one generation to another?" he explained the fact about it. You will learn new each week.

Join me as we together enrich our lives with with inspirational and motivational thoughts.

Visit Karl Moore's profile. Visit Karl's blog.

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3 comments | Monday, August 27, 2007

Two sleepless nights in the Windy City of Chicago, Illinois was, whichever way I see it, pure fun. Okay, maybe there were few stolen naps here and there, but two straight nights of bar fun made my lately-not-so-exciting life ten years younger and sweeter.
The perfect-looking couple, Mark and Xai, had the perfect tour recipe for the new Chicago wanderer like me. As my initiation to the windy city, I was brought immediately to a Filipino-owned karaoke bar on my first night, after over four hours of road trip from Michigan. The couple knew exactly what I needed - few booze shots for the karaoke trippin' to start rolling.
It was like I was inside one of Cebu City's night bars, like I was never been away from home to start with. Seeing so many Filipinos commingling into a 10x20-meter pygmy place felt a little kooky at first instance - probably because I don't encounter so often such a Filipino crowd here in South Dakota. Right then and there, I met few acquaintances inside the bar. There were ladies whom I found physically attractive. Attractiveness doesn't always mean just having a coca-cola, to-die-with figure. It has to brew with cute smiles, soft and tender whispers, little flirting and carry-to-the-max attitude.

I have no exact recollection how many times I had the microphone in my hand. I do recall the clapping of people around. Whether they liked my singing or they wanted me to stop was beyond my recognition that time. But who cares how I really sounded! When people are intoxicated past midnight, the ugliest could become the prettiest and the off-notes could be the most beautiful music ever created.

Fun, I had. Xai surprised me with such superb, angelic, high-pitched voice. Sexy, pretty and talented, Xai and her pretty voice could give more established stars a run for their money.

The first day ended at 5AM. Just few hours later, I was feeling the drawing force of the windy city - touring each spectacle Chicago is known for. In between rain episodes [rain pestered my trip the whole day], Mark and I quickly took pictures as if not bothered at all that our cameras would soak in the rain.

We've been to so many places in so short a time. Chicago is never that huge if you tour it by car.

I must say the most magnificent experience was the one at the Chicago Bean [others call it the Cloud Gate of Chicago]. We went there in the evening. So sensational it was that you'd lock your jaw in total amazement. Daytime might be awesome to visit the spectacle too. But the reflections of surrounding lighted buildings to the mirror-like exterior of the Bean that could only be seen when the sky turns dark and the heavens are starry, added to the already eye-catching shape of the structure.

The enormous bean offers an ever-changing reflections of the city skyline situated at Chicago's Millennium Park. I've read that it weighs 110 tons and has a final building cost of $23 million. The futuristic egg-shaped object is indeed a great work of art that no tourist should ever miss to see!

The night after the city tour was no different. Still with groggy eyes, Mark, Xai and I ventured to meet few other Filipino Americans. Most of them, if not all, were employed professionals. I was introduced to Vanessa and Chepie, two women Xai wanted me to rub eyeballs with. Mark and Xai teased me that the next time I'd be in Chicago, it would be because of their gorgeous lady "playmates".

I left the windy city full of memories to share. From the monumental sculpture to the interactive water fountains, Chicago is a 'must-see'.

Early in the morning, at around 5AM, I took a train to St. Louis Missouri for the next leg of my trip. I gave the couple a hug and promised to come back.

Chicago photo gallery 1 and gallery 2 for more.

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1 comments | Sunday, August 26, 2007

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Taking the first step will be easy as there are support groups, message boards, member forums, recipes, tips for success, nutrition education available for you. Everything is covered for a happier you. That guaranteed results are for life.

Thank you to my sponsor JourneyLite.

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1 comments | Saturday, August 25, 2007

So when was the last time you cried?

A poster, with big bold texts, glued to a door of a downtown store caught my attention – "there is always time for everything, a time for joy and a time for tears". Call it impulse. I hurried home and organized my thoughts.

After moments of quietude and deep inspiration, this article was made, one stressful afternoon.

The verse was much enough to get me into thinking about sorts of things and memories of the years that passed. Surely, sweet and tearful memories and priceless possessions - all left for me to reminisce right now.

Rewind, many tears ago.

I wasn’t that kind of a cry baby when I was young. My cradle years, mom told me, were spent on thumb–sucking, toy-biting and the likes, but not so much on crying. I always had my tears reserved for bigger things.

The elementary years carried most of the few significant events there are to share about my life. Let me take you to a declamation contest I participated in for the sake of a teacher who insisted on the idea that I could be a good orator, if not best, and was so certain (even during the elimination round) that I could land no less than the first place. Madam Calderon, as I remember, taught me the art of being strong, confident and to never doubt my self-capability most especially.

Thus my mind was set on two things – the prize and the teacher's expectation. "I must win this!" For a while, I thought I would. So timely it was that the school was celebrating Linggo ng Wika, and I had to wear Barong Tagolog (its fashion outdated and goes back to grandpa's era) and a Salakot headdress (rattan made, its top pointed like what kundiman dancers usually use). There I was, standing in the middle of a crowd feeling rather confident, hmmm...a little bit confused and of course afraid of not living up to the crowd's expectations of Mrs. Calderon's pupil.

The first few lines got off to a good start. The middle part was the worst. Gosh, as I raised my arm for an excellent shout (emphasis on the lines was the key), a good smack hit my Salakot right then and there, covering my face of what seemed to be a perfect picture of a frowning clown. With knees trembling and insides banging so indescribably, I peeked through the salakot and saw friends heavily laughing, including my kind of frustrated adviser.

It was the moment of truth. Droplets of tears, ready to burst out any moment, started to form around my trained-not-to-weep eyes. Hadn't I been in front of classmates and mentors, the poor kiddie could have poured out sentiments and cried up there on the platform where I tasted my first shame. I did cry at the top of my lungs when I reached home and nobody had stopped me. That precious moment of being alone, wailing, turned out to be an experience of really knowing the best pain reliever of heartaches and pains - that's crying.

It was not the last time I cried. I cried for reasons - trying my very best and being beaten. Or giving everything for the first time in my life and then losing it. Or simply circumstances would just allow me to explode out in tears.

Take this example of my older brother Noel at six. He was sent by Lolo Nayong to an afternoon errand to buy food for supper when on his way he fell upon a very close comrade he had not seen for over a year. Out of friendship, he went out with the other strolling, trekking their usual "hideouts" and doing just about anything friends do. And the rest was all fun.

As I expected, later in the afternoon, Lolo Nayong’s leather belt met him at the door. But look what my big brother did! Before a great swing of rage hit his prepared buttocks, he already spent minutes crying outside the house – a perfect strategy of lessening my grandfather's fury. The night seemed to go ad infinitum as he was sobbing with all regrets of the afternoon's fate and saying he would never commit the same offense again. I just left him in such a situation, as I knew from experience that few moments later he would be back to his 'normal' senses again. It did happen.

Many of us cry because of unresolved problems and burdens. Or when in deep waters. Or maybe for reasons of anger or fear. We cry for days or even weeks when someone we love so dearly dies. Or when we miss someone we care so much or people close to our hearts.

Also when in moments of deep prayer, there is a tendency for us to cry and sob like a child wanting mama's attention. Like my friend who spends hours praying and all suddenly you'll hear her weeping - alone. Ask what she felt during those times: abundance of God's love and mercy. It is her unexpressed gratitude for God's limitless outpourings and bounty of blessings that make her cry.

Peter had this grudge for his late father that often he was moved to tears each time he remembered the life he had with him. His tears permitted him to express his emotions and hurts deep down, which eventually enabled him to lessen the pain and after sometime, learned to forget and wipe out the bitterness in his heart and the wrongdoing his father had done.

Tears may sometimes spring forth at the vision of what is purely natural and beautiful. For someone, they are more than just the emission of anguish and anxiety. They come at times of being free from pain and in moments of outpouring of joy. Tears of joy – for seeing flowers blossom across green and forested mountains and hills, birds that feed their young, fishes that swim on clean rivers and streams and for anything nature is left unaffected.

Some mothers, if not all, are moved to tears at the slight touch of their babies. Parents weep at the sight of their daughter walking down the aisle on her wedding day. Tears that spill forth happiness that their daughter will have a family of her own and kind of sadness that they have 'lost' someone who has long been part of their lives.

We weep toward sympathy like that when we are watching dramatic movies. "Sad movies always make me cry..." remember Sue Thomsom's song? We pity the bidas and tend to cry whenever we see them enslaved in the hands of contrabidas. We are moved by our emotions, by what we feel. These unaccountable tears tell personal wisdom and can teach us much about our hidden selves.

Tearful situations catch us by surprise at our unlikeliest times. We fight back the tears, suppressed and silenced our own emotions and passions – afraid that people around us will think us "soft" and mushy (especially us, guys). We pretend to be strong and wrap ourselves under a cloak of pride and egoism. We try to live on the facade we make though what we want really is to cry out and shout our sentiments from deep down.

An article once quoted "...tears of nostalgia can lower down the blood pressure. People who are afraid to let themselves pour forth their heartaches, doctors find the suppressed tears can trigger the outcome of ailments such as asthma, migraine headache and many others."

Finally, tears are just outward manifestations of our being human and weak. Just remember this: a teardrop of distress and affliction, of commiseration and compassion, of unsqueezed joy and deep appreciation - it simply discloses the desires of our hearts – our need to love and be loved, to be washed away from all troubles and uptightness, to be happy and fulfilled, to be strong and not weak and be restored from the present state of despair to hope.

So when was the last time you cried?

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3 comments | Thursday, August 23, 2007

Online, I thought she is as old as my mom. Truly. That explains why I always addressed her as Ma'am or Madame and never by her name.

However, the first time I met her in Michigan barely a week ago, I have decided to call her just Miss Carlota.

Carlota is a Filipina graphic designer/illustrator in Michigan. I came to know few things about her through our Bisdak [Bisayang Dako] community online - a group blog for Bisdak bloggers [and non-bloggers too]. When I announced my short trip to Michigan via a post, this lady responded as fast as a lightning bolt. We corresponded. We exchanged emails. We gave out phone numbers.

I had to apologize to Carlota. It was so incautious of me to let her wait for more than an hour at a parking lot. I didn't intend to be so very Pinoy and use the accustomed "Filipino time" when we always come to an appointment an hour late. Mark, another Filipino who promised to give me a ride, was caught in an eleventh hour deadline and had no option but to extend his working hours.

Carlota traveled tens of miles just to meet me. I thought, if I had to make her wait so long, she might become violently angry and run amok on the parking lot, shouting "where the hell is Eric!" Then she would take a knife and hostage someone. LOL. Kidding aside, I really thought she would lose her patience, leave and never ever see me again.

But Carlota survived a grueling ordeal of waiting. Thank God! And thanks to her! Had she not persisted, I would have not realized that calling her Madame Carlota online is a bit offensive. Seeing her the very first time with a polka-dot-a-little-tight top made me admire how gorgeous she was. Gee, she's so much more than what her online pictures say. Did I hug her? I think so. Even Mark [oh no, he's married] liked her.

Carlota is composed and very professional. She knows how to carry a good conversation with bits of laughters here and there. Over a Thai dinner, she shared stories about blogging and tips on how to be real successful in monetizing the blogs. As predicated, the lady is talented and has many things to offer.

We had fun in quite a short meeting. We bid goodbye but not without taking few more pictures at the parking lot.

From now on, I will address her as Miss Carlota. It is just right for such a young and gorgeous lady.

Photos from Carlota's blog.

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1 comments | Thursday, August 16, 2007

As I am writing this, I am surrounded by pissed-off passengers. I am on my way to Detroit, Michigan via Chicago, Illinois. It was just announced that the flight is delayed for 1.5 hours due to a missing pilot. Where the goddamn pilot is the big question. Passengers with connecting flights in Chicago are worried that they might miss the connection and, not to mention, their business meetings.

As for me, I am quite confident I could be in Chicago in time for the connection flight to Detroit since I took a much later flight. I had a bad experience with this type of hassle before and somehow I am learning the tricks day by day.

It is almost 3PM and I am supposed to be in the plane by now. Well, thank God for the airport wireless internet, a one and a half hour more of waiting is worthwhile.

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0 comments | Tuesday, August 14, 2007

This is now www.lakaw.com. Sorry for the error page while visiting this site for the past days. For me, it was a depressing process of transferring to the new domain. I hate it truly not to access my own blog. But it is now running and I am happy for its new name. Thanks for the visit and don't forget to change your blogrolls/lovelinks.

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0 comments | Monday, August 13, 2007

Most of my high school classmates pursued a career in education. They said that it was the cheapest and the easiest in town – good for average students. Most of those in the class honor roll settled for the medical courses. Only a few, including myself, took up a degree in engineering.
I knew from the start that my ideas were never parallel to a teacher’s. Piles of unchecked papers and lesson plans are just few of the many things I hate to see. I dislike the way teachers would stay overnight to finish a class grade. Moreover, I never liked being with students, either.

What I truly love revolves in numbers and complex solutions. The ones I crazily crave for are mind-boggling formulas and mathematical theories. I always go where Pythagoras, Des Cartes and Pascal abound.
I should know how an elementary teacher works and does his/her job. Mom and Dad belong to the same profession and have been very devoted to their more than 30 years of ardent teaching.

Mom told me so many good things about the profession in all the years I was with her. If she would be invited to give a talk in a career symposium, she could easily lured everyone’s mind towards pursuing the teaching profession and making them believe it is the only immediate course in town.

Her passion for teaching could be the reason why she was never supportive of my own career plans. All she wanted me to become was an elementary school teacher. Her plans for me include pursuing a Masteral degree, taking up doctorate in Education and eventually landing a good supervisory task in the Central school in our hometown.

Dad is much different with regards to ideas and viewpoints. He loves the profession as much as mom does, yet he never told me to follow his own path or to suffer a rather tragic fate like he did. He once had a mild stroke while teaching a rowdy grade five class that sent him to a nearby hospital and eventually made him quit and resign from his teaching career. The sadness in his face then was a revelation of how much he suffered at that time when all he could do was to eat through his nose, sleep in agony and sit on his bed (with our aid).
Mom became unhappy when her drive of getting me into her own career path failed. I ended up enrolling to an engineering course. You should have seen Dad’s expression – he was celebrating.

The story didn’t end there. Mom still had the chance of winning the next race – through my sister, that is. Indeed, she made her way so easily right straight to her daughter’s heart. Unfailing in all her helpful hints and guidance, Mom was ever present in situations where my sister seemed to be in real need of support.

Five years later, I had become a full-pledge engineer. I worked for about a couple of months in a construction company. Finding myself unsatisfied, I transferred to another. And another - like a bee discontented from a single sip.

But here comes the unexpected twist. A friend suggested that I should take a part time job knowing that I had ample of time after work. Earning extra money seemed a good idea but the type of job was, well, unexpected. It was simply becoming a teacher.

I laughed at myself. Of all people, why me? I would never dare to try something I have never loved. So I thought. Before I knew it, I was eating my own words. I accepted the after-five job, got myself hired and tried what Mom kept on bugging me about for years.

So what was interesting in the field of endeavor? The students questioning the strange and far-off? A student showing signs as if he's more knowledgeable than you are? What about students who tend to underestimate your competence and skill for that matter? Young, sexy and beautiful girls giving you an enticing look, asking for a private tutorial?

Truth is, teaching is fascinating and challenging. My patience was tested all the way but I loved it. One time I almost walked out in a middle of a discussion when my class of 50 students made such intolerable noise.

At that time, I didn’t give them an exam to sort of discipline them like what other teachers did. I just sat in front, kept my silence for a while and waited for the noise to calm down.

With students so unmanageable at times, I did not expect myself to like what I was getting into. What kept me strong and firm every single day and each time I sensed my students were on their “exceptional” attitudes again, was Mom’s perseverance and love of her work.

Most people say that teachers don’t earn much. It is an understatement and I do not care. I also do not care at all if they say that only the average-IQ people venture into teaching - I can always prove them wrong. Teaching is for everyone who has the conviction of sharing one’s life and values, knowledge and information. It is for everyone who loves to feel the warmth of a student’s ‘thank you’ on a very hectic day.

Teaching is for someone who believes in sweeter rewards after a sacrifice of patience. It is for anyone whose idea of sharing is not necessarily losing something.

I miss teaching already!

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0 comments | Friday, August 10, 2007

I saw one of these smooth modern design leather furniture in a friend's home. At first sight, I fell in love with it. Maybe I should start planning for my living room. I browsed online and found this: [please see image].

Isn't it adorable? The beautiful dark-colored and manly reclining sofa set is the best way to compliment your office or home theater! While you watch your favorite TV series or perhaps read your book, you can recline the furniture and the footrest to the desired angle you want, far more comfortable than the desk chair. More than that, if you're having guests over for an evening of movies or even for a casual dinner party, you can use your sofa to your full advantage by providing them comfortable and expandable seating arrangements in an instant. It can even serve as a bed, if need be.

The arm rests are also wide enough to keep arms relax in style.

With this gorgeous piece of furniture, it is guaranteed to bring luxury into your home and a wonderful dramatic effect in addition to that. Indeed, an excellent value for the money!

If you visit Gallery Furniture , you will see a variety of this reclining home theater furniture in different colors to blend your room and to fit your style.

Visit one of the biggest furniture retailers in the country and start planning your home now!

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6 comments | Thursday, August 09, 2007

I was born in Argao. The far-flung town has yet to be swayed by civilization and advancement, or exploitation perhaps.
Bugasok Falls, Argao Cebu, Philippines

In this southern part of Cebu, Philippines, houses are situated beneath green slopes, mostly concealed under a lush shade which seems to have existed long before my great-grandfathers. My own home lies up the field, a kilometer or so away from the town proper and across meadows.

So what’s worthy of reminiscence in hometown with no street shops filled with popular goods, or karaoke bars or KTV’s to spend the night away in? Sizzling disco houses are still big dreams for the place even.

Bats circle the trees at night. Unpaved roads are traversed on barefoot. Pedicabs and trisikads [3-wheeled vehicles] roam the place. Horses gallop in unison. And where can you find five persons clinging to just one motorcycle, holding their breath as it dashes along a rocky trail? Dozens of these motorcycles convey commuters from the lowlands to our version of the Himalayas.
Riverstone Castle, Lowac, Argao Cebu Philippines

The people beat the sunrise, feed their hogs and chickens, tend the farms, and wash clothes in the nearby riverside spring. They don’t worry about the water supply being cut off due to an unpaid bill.

They cross roads, minus the fear of parting with a hard-earned P20 bill for jaywalking. Anyone is free to paint the town red, without fear of catching respiratory diseases from smoke-belching vehicles. And if one happens to be along the shore on early mornings, he may give fishermen a hand and go home with kilos of fish, free of charge.

Many years ago, I left for the city to earn a degree and to unload a 16-year-old boredom with my hometown. I wanted to make a difference in my life, to pursue my dreams. It’s a different thing seeing Terminator or Rambo kicking big on the big screen, or maybe going shopping till you drop, or at least checking out the latest craze in town. I longed for the pleasure the city had to offer.
Hall of Justice and Argao Plaza

But one day, I went hiking with a couple of friends in one of the exploited mountains in the metropolis. Terrible it was. The royal blue sky hovering over the city was partly covered with dark fumes. The city below and its wonders – towers and skylines, crowded streets, entertainment centers – seemed to be compressed into a small space.

In the vicinity were trees that offered no shade. Birds could not sing. Butterflies hungered for flowers. Lizards panted for rain. It was very hot.

At that very instant, I was reminded of home.

I recalled my first trek to Cansuje, one of the mountainous barangays in Argao. I passed through a lot of quilt scenery: Mount Lantoy, famous for its "Maria de Cacao" myth, the rivers and the currents, and the thick woods all profoundly green. The cold morning breeze benumbed me. Like what you see in jungle movies, monkeys used vines everywhere like a trapeze. Along the way, I saw people fetch drinking water from a nearby spring.

I used to climb our chico tree with my brother Noel when we were still in grade school. Who could ever forget "Tiririt"? She was the cute, little bird we restored to her nest.

The chico tree is still there, with the birds that fly in summer skies, mountains that never fail to give a hush-hush morning greeting, and water in abundance.

I emptied myself into the city, then came to love a place I should have always loved. Home.

Visit Argao Tourism.

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This site is really something different. Here, real gothic members are looking to meet other like minded goth friends.

Gothscene.com is dedicated to bringing gothic singles together in a totally free atmosphere. Features of the site include: Emailing other members, Instant Messaging other members, or adding them to your blackbook.

Once a member, you can meet other hot and sexy gothic singles who have interests in the gothic lifestyle. Many members love techno, punk rock, and goth music.

It is a user-friendly site. You can search the site for members in terms of distance from you or in terms of age. Then you can click on their profiles and if you like what you read or saw, you can send them a flirt or an instant message to inform them of your interest.

Registration is free. Visit Gothscene.com, search through thousands of profiles and find your match in goth dating.

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0 comments | Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A Sunday in my province in Cebu Philippines, is not only for a househelper to enjoy pastime at Plaza Indepedencia or Fuente’s square, not only for a devout person to go and hear mass, nor only for a student to have a break from a traumatic exam, but also for a sabungero to exercise his gamecocks.
The smell of fighting cocks, the sight of vehicles and the crowd, the sound of their shouts – everything is telling me the same thing. There’s got to be a “derby” going on.

Cockfighting [it's "Sabong" in Cebuano dialect] is a sport in which two gamecocks battle each other in a fight to the death. It is one of the few things people in far-flung provinces and even in some areas in the city do every Sunday. It is the specialty of every sabungero, sure to say. A weekend is no fun for them without seeing a cock leaping high, flapping its wings and stabbing another in the air. Then they all get very excited.

I know all about it. My father was once a dedicated "cockfight lover" (now he has slowed down). He skipped out of the house, dashed to the town’s cockfighting arena, and there got stuck the whole Sunday afternoon.

When I was still at a tender age, I used to wonder where my father went. I thought he was doing something very important. "He is in his Sunday school," my mother often quipped. He, in fact, was into further studies – studying every cock's flight.

One time, I had to fetch my father from the cockpit. If it hadn't been because of my mother, I would never dare enter such place. I looked for my father. Yells of "Sa pula, sa puti! [for the red, for the white]", echoed all over the place. There were screams "Sa biya!" in every corner. Spectators placed bets on their favorite gamecocks. I noticed how bills flew from one had to the other, then someone said "shoot".

There in the midst of sabungeros I stood, looking about rather confused.

How shocking it was to see for the first time two fighting cocks fly a few feet off the ground with their "bulang" (a sharp, pointed artificial spur attached to the leg of each gamecock, usually steel or brass), to rip and tear at each other.

Then there was the clash. The sound of their wings crashing as they bumped on each other in the air and gave everyone the urge to roar for more. As one of the cocks weakened to death, smiles of victory started to break through the grinning faces of some. In my father's face was sadness, a sign of misfortune, of loss.

We had many of high-bred fighting cocks. My father looked after them when they were still chicks, nursed them when they were sick and nurtured them so they'd grow strong legs, wings and thighs ready for combat. They were specially bred to attain speed of movement, valor, physical strength and acquire the killer instinct. Indeed, he saved to buy vitamins and feeds for the daily maintenance of his combative roosters.

Cockfighting is part and parcel of Philippine fiestas, in the barrio or sitio. This is an assembly of people gathered in a certain place, usually outdoors, where betting and cockfighting is held. A cock is paired with another of the same built, allowed to peck at each other and when the birds are angry, they are released – then the clashing begins.

Majority in our town have fighting cocks raised in their homes. When one has time, he visits other houses and looks for other cocks that would match his. In this way, a cock could practice its flight and, eventually, is stabbing techniques.

The breeder generally trims the long spurs down. When the comb or "tapay", a soft red growth on top of its head, is old enough, it is being cut off or detached using a sharp blade. Others trim the gamecock's brightly colored feathers to add more beauty to its arrogant stand.

Some breeders believe that cocks, with a unique formation of scales in their legs, are lucky ones. Even a deformed claw is treated as good fortune.

Cockfighting is said to have begun in Asia thousands of years ago. The sport came to ancient Greece and Rome by the way of China and India. It spread throughout Europe. During the 1600s, the sport became popular in England, where the training and the breeding of fighting cocks became an important industry.

So are you into cockfighting?

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0 comments | Monday, August 06, 2007


A Garden of Roses
by Eric Ariel L. Salas

I saw a garden of red roses,
blooming
so tempting for a pick
yet leaving me only the admiration for the beauty of it.
Just an illusion it was. A dream.
Then a dream I had.
A butterfly, red in its fullness
magnificently flying
diving and dipping
oozing and sipping
the nectar
from one red rose to another.
It was the sweetest nectar the
butterfly had ever tasted. It was red.

The juicy taste
and the candy-coated fragrance
the garden had to offer
made other butterflies
dropped by
and again dropped by.

A lone white butterfly then came.
How it flew so freely,
hopping from one red petal to another
not minding the scene nor its color not fusing
or melting with the others around,
leaping as though it was in a group of whites.

I was excited of a coming fight,
red butterflies versus whites.
Reds must win, so I thought.
It’s courage, it’s vibrant
yet sweet.

I waited for the reds to start off the clash.
Thorns gathered.
Stems pointed.
Leaves formed like breastplate.
Antennas sharpened.
Balls of nectars prepared.

All set.
Between the boundaries of their gardens,
they flapped their wings and raised their weapons
shook their legs,
fluttered their wings,
flickered their tails,
sharpened their eyes
poisoned their pollens and
looked at each other for the very first time.

But so surprising a scene I saw
With their legs shaking,
wings flapping,
tails wiggling,
eyes brightening,
pollens now perfumed
they
blended like one perfect orchestra.

As one happy family now,
they each flew again to sip nectars
to the garden of roses.
The whites didn’t go to savor whites nor the reds to their own.
Instead, the whites brought in some white nectars
and rained them over to the garden of the reds.
So does the reds.

Shaking each other’s legs,
hugging its other’s wings,
pollinating each other’s gardens,
one
no, no, it’s two
no, it’s five
no, a hundred
No! All of them,
Yes, all of them happily chorused
“ This is blending and it feels good.”

****
Note: This poem was made after an incident that almost got a very close relationship of two persons broken. She said there would be no chance that we could ever blend as one. She likes white, I like red. Then I said softly, “Let’s try it, we could.”

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