Archive for September, 2006

Typhoon Milenyo: Youtube videos

The views of the typhoon most people in Manila didnt get to see on youtube during the storm because of power outages. While most of us stayed glued to radio reports. Those lucky enough to have had a web connection were able to watch these views – some posted almost as soon at they happened.

I n total some 71 people died in the this storm as of reports this saturday afternoon coming out of areas around the metropolis. Even today many parts of the capitol don’t still have power yet.

One strong point – was the 3G wireless networks which for SMART telecom allowed a lot us with web enabled phones in those areas where the twoers had adequete emergency power to stay online.

The weather was tough on parked cars – many suffered damage from falling tree limbs and power lines as well other windborn objects.

These gals – meanwhile – seemed to be enjoying the filming of the storm from inside a dorm or office building of some kind. At least they were high and dry.

The storm was pretty heavy in many areas – a few more videos show the effects from many places in the area.

and another…


September 30, 2006 at 2:25 pm Leave a comment

Technology, Typhoon, atbp….

It’s been a week long break for me from this blog- not by choice mind you – the long break has been both work and technology problem related.

Also factor in – “Milenyo, the Laotian word for elephant, is the 10th typhoon this season, and the strongest to hit Manila in 11 years.” – Milenyo if I am not mistaken is also the Tagalog word for Millenium – but I could be wrong – indeed it felt like being in the last millenuem – no lights, phone, web, and only my little wind up and pump based hand power dynamo flash lights- neat little things really – til you have to crank and pump them time and agian.

Anyhow – people are still cleaning and clearing up – power is up and running the web is back and lets hope for the best as people slowly take stock of the losses and damage wrought by this storm.

An amazing sight for me, was saturday, seeing the ELII communications center building near where I live and where I used to work – out of power.

It amazes me that a building named after a major developer of electrical service in this country and when built designed to be the most modern most advanced and most redundant building in the Philippines – could actually fail to provide its tenants with power.

Call center workers were croweded in the lobby – most complaining they could not see what they were doing or being able to move around in the dark because the emergency lights had failed.

The lobby shop area – the loop was dark too.

In the days I worked there-  if something like that happened – heads would roll – people would be fired on the spot.

Every available rentable generator rented and hooked up. Even the basement parking was dark.

No emergency lights left with enough battery power? That’s  strange in of itself.

The call center side of the building has been the bright spot for the corporation – bringing in people – sales and cashflow.  That services to them were less than normal seems absurd -  but then again after the ‘Ketchsup’ gang hit that place worse than any storm what else can one expect? Looks like they need another revamp to deal with the effects of the last revamp!
So while other tech centers even some shopping malls had pwer and ope n dooors even at the hieght of the storm – the one place you would expect to be a beacon of light – was dark – except for the executive floors – and the fancy dining room. Which I saw had light the night before.
In the decade or so I worked there, I never saw that – even through coups, calamities, and, and much worse disasters. one wonders who is charge and what damage the restructuring has caused. sitting at Starbucs – many of the foreign executives who had located there were complaining – while talking on cell phones to the cunterpart firms based in other places who had power – like in Eastwood and Ortigas – where there was power.
But this blog too was bogged down problems were mostly with bandwidth problems of my ISP that for a time left my formerly 1mbps connection slowed to trickle of less than 20 kpbs – the ISP I use I understand had been linking to the main web via a Thai company and the recent coup there caused some ‘problems’ for subscribers.

Hence- while I was able to surf and view and download at high speed – the high amount of bandwidth being used and uploaded via the Thailand ISP T3 provider for my Philippine ISP, so for some reason had clogged the web upwards for my little pipeline out and up.

Anyhow – problem solved – or so I hope went through a rough last three days without or with limited power and web access thanks to the ‘typhoon mylenio’ – as well. So in all a week has gone by almost with an update. Ah yes… it is good to back.

And now the news I think people will look at in the days ahead…

It’s going to be rough time for smokers ‘down under’ at of all places the Australian department of tourism, when new rules make it a violation of ‘time rules’ for taking smoking breaks.

[] … “Aussie agency bans cigarette breaks Australia’s Department of Tourism, Industry and Resources has banned cigarette breaks, forcing nicotine-addicted workers to wait until lunchtime. …. []

So while my little break has had nothing to do with nicotine… the thing above might be seen more and more in many government an private companies.

Good in a way – bad if like me you smoke!

September 30, 2006 at 11:29 am Leave a comment

thai coup affects my blog!

i seem to have just found out how coup in thialand affects my blog nased in manila… seems the ISP I use is somehow routed through manila via singapore to thailand. Nothing like censorship – just crowded in email and upload traffic.

Either that or my PC is acting strange or something of that nature.

Hence uploading or posting is weird slow this last couple of days.


September 21, 2006 at 1:34 pm Leave a comment

CAKE TV: New kids show at CBS fil-am host

Cake TV. Cake TV is a new kids show on CBS that comes out on Saturday mornings (noon eastern).  It stars Ana Maria Perez de Tagle, grandaughter of Sylvia La Torre.

For some, you might need to click on preferences and click on “LOW”.
Then hit the arrow for ‘play’.

September 20, 2006 at 1:49 am Leave a comment

Landing at NAIA – just something I found on youtube about the flight many people take; a welcome sound for millions of OFWs are the words “Maligayang pagdating sa paliparan ng Maynila…” sweetest sound to many who toil overseas so far from home.

September 15, 2006 at 6:10 pm Leave a comment

‘Bon Voyage’ Sheila: look out big apple!

I often wonder how time flies like it does – it seems only a few years back when I heard about aSheila and  PCIJ

It was about the same time I started working with TV Patrol’s special reports group and risking my kneck on undercover work- being ‘undetectable” and tourist looking- doing investigativer work under the ‘SRG’ brand led by Gen ‘Pregenia’ Reyes -and of course supervised by ‘Tita A’ as we called MGB and TVP boss Arlene De Castro and managing anchor now Philippine VP Noli De Castro.

Henry Omaga Diaz and Jade Lopez were main correspondents- but others worked though as well like Jun Del Rosario and a host of others- Anna Reyes our Ap/PA mama-papa and everything in between!

For crews we had Ben Rus Pascual, Val Ceunca (mild mannered clark kent type- put a camera on his shoulder it’s superman!, ) Rowell Pascual. Jimmy Incarnacion, Isagani Taotao and who could forget Rudy Yuggumyugum (casenova of the bat cave!) anyhow all the shooters are now legends.

The reporters who came through the ranks include Maan Macapagal, Jay Ruiz and others… I’ll do another blog on SRG in the days ahead.

I later went on to the weekend news as a reporter- then ASYM as anchor/news producer- then the desk. Teen ANC- then FREEDOM!!!! or freelance freedom (ergo I do a lot of stuff for free like this blog!)

But in all that time I watched from a afar- (sound scoring 70′s song: “my eyes adored you…” ) the PCIJ gang. they always seemed to have so much fun and have fun with controversy. Anyhow – we were not in competition – ABS-CBN bought a lot of stuff from PCIJ as did othr networks.

I often wished ABS-CBN had set up SRG in the same way. But anyhow… our group had to function in a corporate set-up with-in a environment of some of just 10 people within a huge news organization of over 3,000 employee’s and talents.

in comparison – PCIJ seemed fast, nimble, and, innovative.

Anyhow – PCIJ’s Sheila Coronel was always a fun interview- its sad shes leaving in a way , she led the way or followed similar paths that our corporate masters allowed us to – in the “Big Leagues” of network TV.

But with her going to Columbia it leads me to predict that in the months ahead the Columbia ‘U’ based “Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism.” ; knowing Sheila’s rep will most likely bring exposes in the that may lead to Bush’s impeachment! hehehehe…

Oh well… she’s done it here why not there in America>

and so – New york watch out… Sheila’s coming to town! Bon Voyage!

[]…Sheila Coronel leaves PCIJ

Sheila Coronel, the indefatigable executive director of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, has quit the center and moved to New York to teach at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia. She explains here her decision to leave. The question now is: Will the PCIJ be the same without Sheila, or will Sheila be the same outside the PCIJ? Abangan! …[]

September 15, 2006 at 4:28 pm Leave a comment

Philippine Dengue upsurge:21 Dead 1,400+ cases in one Week

The news is something most people might take in as part of the normal season bursts of information about dengue until the tally becomes clear. There is a large number of people infected perhaps beyond official figures who choose not or cannot afford to go to the hospitals or doctors primarily in poor urban communities so these figures could be much higher than official ones.

It is not because anyone is deliberately trying to downplay this – it is because some people do not know what dengue is as to most people it seems like a normal high fever. I know of one case of in a high end subdivision near Ortgas center – not far from Wac-Wac golf and country club where in a home five cases came suddenly – and was thought to be only caused by season flu’s.

Dengue can be treated at home – but is best treated with medical attention and diagnosis – hospitalization is the only way the highest lecels of infection or when the deasase is at a critical level.

[]“….”Dengue cases up 1,447 in a week in Philippines People’s Daily Online, China -The Philippine Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday reported 1,447 new dengue cases and 21 related deaths a week after it sounded the alarm on the disease’s. …”[]

On the news Mike Enriquez is reading a report about a group of shops near a pair of schools the shops small sidewalk stalls were demolished- the center of controversy – the vendors items being confiscated by the MMDA. The demolition was based on reports the stalls were the source of Dengue mosquito’s. Understandably the situation became tense the stall owners defending their livelihood – the Government needing to clean up a source of the decease. Rightfully so – GMA7 led with te story on the newscast – Political issues can wait when a killer is on the loose like this. Whats needed is more information – no wonder they’re number one.

The Country’s tourism programs also face a major risk to the situation unless massive efforts are taken some countries may issue advisories on the destination some travel agencies and services have already raised alarms:

[] …” [3 dengue fever cases, infected during a group tour to the ...

There have been reports of Japanese travelers who visited dengue endemic countries, ... Philippines Travel* Substances Antibodies, Viral Immunoglobulin M ...

Travel Health Service Year 2006Philippines: Dengue fever. City health officer in Zamboanga City disclosed that there were a total of 125 Dengue fever cases registered, with 2 deaths ... - 28k

Reports in the past few days show the extent of the problem:

Rains bring out squadron of airborne killers
Manila Times, Philippines - Sep 10, 2006
the Philippines brings with it a variety of mosquito-borne diseases that pose a serious threat to the health of all Filipinos. One of these diseases is dengue
Being clean is dengue deterrent
Manila Times, Philippines - Sep 10, 2006
to Dr. Lyndon Leesuy from the Infectious Diseases section of the Department of Health, there were a total of 16,162 dengue cases in the Philippines in 2002.
Philippine health department raises alert against dengue fever
Monsters and, UK - Sep 10, 2006
can be checked at once.’. Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease that is endemic to the Philippines. Its symptoms are high fever that
Philippine Health Department Raises Alert Against Dengue Fever, Romania - Sep 10, 2006
can be checked at once.”. Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease that is endemic to the Philippines. Its symptoms are high fever that
Philippine health department raises alert against dengue fever
Raw Story, MA - Sep 9, 2006
can be checked at once.”. Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease that is endemic to the Philippines. Its symptoms are high fever that
Fogging operations worsen dengue spread: Philippine authority
People’s Daily Online, China - Sep 7, 2006
The Philippines‘ health authority warned on Friday that fogging operations against mosquitoes carrying dengue virus should be stopped, because the method could

Overall the dengue problem is something that is growing concern in particular because of the overall impact and spread of the disease is highest in the capital. It raises serious concerns about public cleanliness and effective basic services needed in a mega city like Manila :

Dengue/dengue haemorrhagic fever

- Impact of Dengue
- DengueNet
- Dengue activities
- Information resources

Dengue is the most common mosquito-borne viral disease of humans that in recent years has become a major international public health concern. Globally, 2.5 billion people live in areas where dengue viruses can be transmitted. The geographical spread of both the mosquito vectors and the viruses has led to the global resurgence of epidemic dengue fever and emergence of dengue hemorrhagic fever (dengue/DHF) in the past 25 years with the development of hyperendemicity in many urban centers of the tropics.

Transmitted by the main vector, the Aedes aegytpi mosquito, there are four distinct, but closely related, viruses that cause dengue. Recovery from infection by one provides lifelong immunity against that serotype but confers only partial and transient protection against subsequent infection by the other three. There is good evidence that sequential infection increases the risk of more serious disease resulting in DHF.

DHF was first recognized in the 1950s during the dengue epidemics in the Philippines and Thailand. By 1970 nine countries had experienced epidemic DHF and now, the number has increased more than fourfold and continues to rise. Today emerging DHF cases are causing increased dengue epidemics in the Americas, and in Asia, where all four dengue viruses are endemic, DHF has become a leading cause of hospitalization and death among children in several countries.

Currently vector control is the available method for the dengue and DHF prevention and control but research on dengue vaccines for public health use is in process. The global strategy for dengue /DHF prevention and control developed by WHO and the regional strategy formulation in the Americas, South-East Asia and the Western Pacific during the 1990s have facilitated identification of the main priorities: strengthening epidemiological surveillance through the implementation of DengueNet; accelerated training and the adoption of WHO standard clinical management guidelines for DHF; promoting behavioral change at individual, household and community levels to improve prevention and control; and accelerating research on vaccine development, host-pathogen interactions, and development of tools/interventions by including dengue in the disease portfolio of TDR (UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases) and IVR (WHO Initiative for Vaccine Research).


- WHO fact sheet
- Disease Outbreak News: dengue fever
- Disease Outbreak News: dengue haemorrhagic fever
- International travel and health: dengue

September 14, 2006 at 6:56 pm Leave a comment

Florida Fil-Am: ”America’s Sexiest Newscaster”

”America’s Sexiest Newscaster” was chosen by FHM magazine; a Filipina – American who won an onlie-poll sponsored by the magazine: Elta Loresca – Philippine born made it to the top of the listed candiddates besting other better known ‘figures’.

Miami Herald:

[]“… ‘Elita has done more than Ace Ventura to protect South Florida,” the magazine quips. “And she has also done it with a better figure than Al Roker.” Loresca, 29, born in the Philippines, is a former obit writer for The Orange County Register, FHM says. Among Loresca’s quotes: “People in Miami embrace curves. . . . Here, I can wear a cute sweater and still be professional.” …” []

I repost the entry you can click on the page grab to go to the article – I do admit its not the typical photo for the news set. But hey in florida you gotta be ready for the beach.


September 14, 2006 at 5:34 pm Leave a comment

Philippines: AFP finds ‘Terror DVD’s?’ in Jolo

If Iraq and Afghanistan is the main theater of operations in the war versus Terrorist extremists then the second front of the war on terror is none other then than Mindanao’s Sulu  province where over the last month Philippine forces have  been in pursuit of a resurgent Abu Sayyaf group that has seen heavy fighting and attacks on a scale that by Iraq standard may be low but the vigilance and pursuit rationale is shown in items recovered and found in last month.

First, small IED’s have increasingly been found in areas of Jolo in Sulu province and while thier effects have mostly been felt in the area of the fighting two areas over-run have seen recovered bombs made from Baby Formula or Powdered Milk cans, liquid Soap containers, tooth paste tubes, liquid containers as well and other common items. Other incidents show ominous tactics such as a device  found near a elementary school – although defused before it could go off – it was set- some say to time with a monday flag ceremony and would have gone off a few meters away from where 1st grade and Kindergarten students would have been lined up.

[]”…Abu Sayyaf Group targets young children Philippine Information Agency, Philippines - a terrifying new development, the radical Islamic terror group Abu Sayyaf has taken its vicious battle to the youngsters of the Philippines.,,,”[]

Troops pursuing the central core of leadership of the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiah in Jolo’s hinterland areas have recovered items believed to belong to bomb trainors – Dulmatin and Umar Patek – both believed to be in the area along with ASG leader Janjalani and other members of the group.

So far reports show say – items like personal effects and clothing some communications gear weapons and a bomb making kit have been uncovered. But also a guide on DVD or VCD to making bombs – videos – similar to those recovered across the globe from Israel to Iraq to Islamabad to now… Indanan in the Islands of Sulu.

The reports seem to show that the network that supplis information to those groups seen as part and parcel of ‘the islamic movement’ or Al Harakatul Al Islamyah aka the ASG or abu Sayaf are still getting the info they need via the information technology web network of Al Qaeda and Jemaah islamiah.

[]… “bomb training manuals seized

ZAMBOANGA CITY. A military official disclosed that Marines pursuing Abu Sayyaf bandits in Patikul, Sulu have recovered documents and computer disks containing alleged instructions on the use of explosives that were apparently left behind by two fugitive Indonesian terrorists hiding in Mindanao….” [] Bohol Chronicle

Following up the reports – the methods also seem to show newer techniques in bomb design than other disks found in the past indicating somewhere there is distribution net for the disks and videos. For now most of this information is kept under lock and key- but some information being reported in print, radio, and television seem to show a greater level of tech-savvy players in the mix.

Both the Military and Police are worried about the new discs and manuals – they indicate technology transfers still in effect. Which means a support base of some kind present for communications and delivery there even in the hinterland areas. 

September 14, 2006 at 12:08 am Leave a comment

Afghan Opium: Taliban & Al Qaeda’s ATM

A press release I got today speaks volumes about what many know to be the major source of funding for groups like the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The old ‘white horse’ of Vietnam is ridding in the hills of afghan poppy fields.

In many places the Narco – trade is rising as fast as the Taliban and Al Qaeda attacks indicating a direct link between the two- by engaging security forces – the Taliban takes the heat off of the Narco-bosses in areas that otherwise could be reached by poppy eradication teams.

The central Asian Drug lords don’t care about democracy just making people crazy- addicted to their product and getting this out of the zones of production to markets in Europe- the Taliban & Al Qaeda have never really cared about the trade so long as it affected people outside of the circle they were in.

The US House committee on Foreign relations chair Rep.Henry Hide, wrote a letter after seeing reports seeking reports of higher levels of the drug trade in the region. What Hyde hints at but has not directly laid out in his report / request to the President is the direct link that some soldiers based in the field in Afghanistan have told me on the swings through they make here in this part of theater of operations of the pacific area command and enduring freedom Asia theater- if they were directed to go after the poppy fields they could cut off the support base for the terrorists – meaning less cash flow. 

A old Vietnam era reporter told me that in that war – the failure to go after the drug income support base of the VC in many areas led to a lot of funds falling into rebel hands back then. He hoped that the situation in Afghanistan which has for the most part stabilized in most parts of the country-  still needs greater focus.

[]…”        ” In a letter dated September 7, 2006 to President Bush, U.S. Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL), Chairman of the House International Relations Committee, questioned current U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. Hyde remarked, “An increase of nearly 60 percent in illicit opium production in the course of the last year undergirds warlord support of anti-coalition forces, such as the Taliban. We have to revisit our counterdrug and counterterrorism policies in Afghanistan, or we risk creation of a “failed narcotics state.”  Hyde also welcomed the call by the United Nations Office of Drug and Crime “to bring to justice the big [drug] traders.”  Hyde proposed immediate action, stating that United States efforts in Afghanistan are failing, with Afghanistan facing its highest levels of violence and corruption since liberation. “Drug money continues to finance terrorism and threatens to destroy Afghanistan’s emerging democracy,” Hyde said. …[]

Hyde’s press release says action is needed – what he needs to say is each kilo to opium paste reaching cash sellers is ten more IED’s or another set of suicide bombers – more guns and RPG’s or more DV cameras and computers for al qeada ‘s propaganda efforts.

You need to spell it out Henry…  because the people you are sending a letter to are in stupor – addicted to another kind of drug… perhaps something called ‘power’? 

September 13, 2006 at 2:20 pm Leave a comment

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