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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

UP shutout in the 2011 Bar Top 10

For the first time in many years, the University of the Philippines College of Law was shutout in the Top 10 of Bar Exams. I just cannot believe it. Maybe the new exam format did not suit well for UP Law grads.

Here is this year's Top 10:

1st PlaceAtadero, Raoul Angelo D.Ateneo de Manila University85.5363%
2nd PlaceBolong, Luz Danielle O.Ateneo de Manila University84.5563%
3rd PlaceRafal-Roble, Cherry Liez O.Arellano University84.4550%
4th PlaceBañaga, Rosemil R.Notre Dame University84.1226%
5th PlaceGonzales, Christian Louie C.University of Sto. Tomas84.0938%
6th PlaceBandal, Ivan M.Silliman University84.0901%
7th PlaceAcosta, Eireene Xina M.San Beda College84.0663%
8th PlaceQua, Irene Marie P.Ateneo de Manila University84.0575%
9th PlaceLaceda, Elaine Marie G.Far Eastern University-DLSU (Juris Doctor-MBA)84.0401%
10th PlaceAquino, Rodolfo Q.San Beda College83.7276%

Congratulations to all new lawyers!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sports Event: 9th Thirsty Cup

A couple of weeks ago, I was able to watch some games of 9th Thirsty Cup held simultaneously in USC Talamban and San Roque Football Grounds. I went to USC Talamban to check out the games. There was a low pressure area at the the time over Mindanao, so Cebu was experiencing some rains. Because of the rain, the field became very muddy. The condition of the field did not dampen the spirits of the participants, as they played with passion and skill. 

The competition in the girl's Under 17 was fierce. The girls did not mind being muddy after each game. There were many spills and minor injuries but all in all, the games were very competitive and I could see these players giving their all.

Going Bald by Choice

At the beginning of the new year, I decided to make some drastic changes in my life. The first thing I did was to go bald.  I wanna know how it feels like being bald. Growing up, I saw some friends and family going for the bald haircut and I never really caught on the "fad". My wife was even discouraging me when I told her about my plan. After some hesitation, I went to the barber and when he asked what haircut I would like. I said, "opao" as in zero and there goes my hair. After my session at the barbershop, the first thing I felt is that you will feel cooler in the head when you have no hair. When I went home, I grabbed a camera to take some pictures.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Food Trip: Feelin' Japanese at Kotobukiya

I love Ramen. One time, while exploring this new mall in Mandaue, I found this new Japanese place named Kotobukiya Restaurant. I browsed on their menu and saw that their ramen cost around 235 pesos. I realized that if I should there, I should take my wife. For February, we actually ate at Kotobukiya twice already.

 The restaurant is located at JCentre Mall.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ash Wednesday Reflections

Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent for Catholics. Today, I will go to church to have my forehead marked with ash. This day marks the Catholics period of prayer and fasting. It is time to reflect, repent, and restore. Unlike our Muslims who are strictly fasting during Ramadan, the lenten fast is more personal than imposed by an authority. It is not compulsory. What can I give up on these 40 days?

Nobody is perfect and just like everyone, I feel that i have a lot to improve in life. For me, lent is not just about not eating meat on Fridays. It is time to realize that you can survive with less. You can actually let go of many things that you have now in life. So what should I give up? Maybe, I can give up the things that I love so much like eating out or playing computer games. I could do that but I cannot write down here in my blog the things that I should give up. I am making a list and hoping and praying that I can truly give those up even if its only for 40 days. It's tough to kick bad habits and vices but lent is the perfect time to do some 180 degree turns in life. For people who desire to change, today will be a nice day to start. Have a blessed Lenten season.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Finally, there is a 2nd Filipino saint soon

The Philippines has always been proud to be the only the Catholic country in Asia. For almost five centuries, Filipinos have been christianized and most of us have christian names. Countless of Filipinos have served the church as priests, missionaries, catechists, sacristan, and lay ministers. The first Filipino saint was canonized in October 18, 1987. The late Pope John Paul II canonized San Lorenzo Ruiz as the first Filipino saint and martyr.
25 years after the first Filipino saint was canonized, Pope Benedict XVI approved the canonization of the 2nd Filipino saint. Blessed Pedro Calungsod will be one of the seven new saints to be canonized on October 21, 2012.
Both Lorenzo Ruiz and Pedro Calungsod achieved their martyrdom outside the Philippines. San Lorenzo went to Japan while Blessed Pedro went to Guam. Even in the 1600s, Filipinos go to far places to find their calling. Their lives could be a testament on how committed are Filipino even in foreign land.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Caloy Reflections: Appreciating Linsanity

Just this month, a new NBA hero was born in Jeremy Lin. The buzz on the game of this young Asian-American can rival Lebron James' rookie season or Yao Ming's heydays. For the past seven games, Linsanity swept the New York Knick's world and the NBA. His rise to rock star status could be a tale for the ages. His story is all about breaking stereotypes and following your dreams. Here some lessons I learned about Linsanity.

1. You can go beyond what your school/diploma is known for.

Where did this boy come from? For college, he is from the famous school called Harvard University. A school more known to produce Presidents and CEOs more than it can produce an NBA player. Your odds to become a Supreme Court Judge is way higher than becoming an NBA player when you study in that school. The school counts JFK, Theodore Roosevelt, George W. Bush, Barrack Obama, Bill Gates, Matt Damon, US Chief Justice John Roberts, and Facebook founder Mark Zukerberg as proud alums.

A lot of people are guilty in stereo-typing people because they come from a certain school. If Lin had such strict parents, he would not be allowed to pursue a basketball career after graduating at Harvard. He could have been in Wall Street handling mutual funds or starting a career in international banking. He went undrafted in the NBA, partly because he played in a relatively weak basketball program. His basketball ascent actually could be comparable Lyceum's Gary David in the Philippine Basketball Association. Smaller schools can actually produce high-caliber players. What happened to Lin reinforces my belief that people from lesser schools or college dropouts can have strong careers in business and sales if given the chance. Your diploma and school cannot limit you on how high you can go (conversely, how low you can go in some cases). Go BEYOND.

Monday, February 13, 2012

My wife's Valentine reply

February 14, 2012

To my dearest Carlo,

When I prayed to God to let me get into UP, little did I know that I would meet the man whom I would be spending the rest of my life with.    I thank God for you.   You are the light that fills my days.   You are quite simply my beacon.    When I lose sight of things, as I often do, you are there to pull me right back.

For sixteen years, we've experienced the wonders of falling in love, of finding each other irresistible, of always wanting, even needing to be together, to discovering each other's faults and learning to accept the other wholeheartedly.   I never expected to find someone as devoted, loving, generous, and as accepting as you.

Happy Valentines Day, my Beloved!

In 2 hours time, it will be Valentine's Day. You may or may not have someone special but I do. I dedicate this post to my wife, my valentine in the past 18 years. 

I still remember the first time I visited you in your dorm way back when you still hated me. I was in my bowling class and probably got my worst score ever because I was so in a hurry to see you. You still hated me then but nevertheless I started my "pursuit".  Months later you became my girlfriend. I still remember one time while in college when our school fair coincided with Valentine's day and we had a "picnic" in the sunken garden.  I have so many fun memories in your favorite "holiday".  years gone by and now, you are my wife. 

When we went back to Cebu, I remembered that one time we spent V-day in Joven's Grill because I was once again dumb not to reserve a special restaurant for you. I admire how you take in stride and still made the most of the night. I cherish all those memories. 

We had a challenging year and we are still facing many challenges in life. I know that I can overcome it all with you by my side. I LOVE YOU very much and I thank you for loving me who is opposite to you in so many ways.

Indeed, as I write this post I realized that I became determined to make you my wife on Valentine's Day 18 years ago. Happy Valentine's Day and let us make more wonderful memories together.

Monday, February 6, 2012

AM Radio Stations in Cebu

After the earthquake yesterday, I realized the importance of AM Radio stations. I was able to monitor the situation by listening to AM radio. I knew right there and then what Tsunami warning No.2 meant and what are the affected areas. I knew already that there won't be any tsunami in Cebu City that is why I posted warnings about the false information being circulated on the streets.

In the past, we were taught that we should a battery operated transistor radio to monitor calamities like typhoons. With the advancements in technology, a lot of people neglected the importance of the radio. We have been dependent on the internet and television. What if there is a blackout/brownout? How would you know the actual situation?

As a lesson, you may buy an IPAD, Blackberry, or laptop but keep a transistor radio in case of emergencies. Here are the AM stations in Cebu (from Wiki):

The FM Station 101.9 is a news station of TV5. I was also able to tune in to this station to receive updates on the earthquake yesterday.

What was I doing when an earthquake rocked Cebu on Feb. 6, 2012

It was just supposed to be a typical Monday when suddenly at around lunchtime an earthquake jolted Cebu. I was in Caravan Coffee wrapping things up before going to a meeting at 1 pm. My table was shaking and a foreigner told me that it would be a good idea to get out of the café. We did and we saw people from the other establishments going out as well.
After the initial tremor, I tried calling some friends and loved ones. I cannot seem to get in. I was able to receive and send some text messages though.  After a few minutes, I decided to drive and listen to the news.
I was planning to go to Summit Circle for a meeting and I decided to pass by Ayala to withdraw some money. I saw the people outside the Pag-Ibig building.  I realized that it would be scary to be in a tall building during an earthquake. Just imagine you are in the 40th floor, it would really be swinging hard. Going down the stairs might feel like you are running a marathon for your life.
After getting some money, I heard from the news that classes have been suspended in many schools and parents were told to pick up their children. I decided to skip the meeting which probably would have been cancelled anyway and pick up my wife in school.
During my drive, I learned about Tsunami warnings and I got more information about the magnitude 6.8 quake.  Cebu and Negros were under Tsunami Warning 2. For people who do not know the meaning of the warning, it sounds harsh. Tsunami Warning No.2 is basically a precaution for people living in coastal area to stay 20 meters away for the sea. Waves of as high as 1 meter maximum could occur. The warning was issued to Cebu and Negros more specifically in the western coast of Cebu island and the Eastern coast of Negros.
After picking up my wife, we just went home. At around 2 pm, my mother in law called asking if I heard the news about tsunamis. She said some are panicking because some crazy people are spreading news about water in Carbon and Colon. I told her, it is not going to happen. I listened to the news if there truly is water in those areas. Well, the news only talked about the panic of some people because of the false information.  It is quiet amusing why some people make up stories to cause some panic. I felt bad for those who ran towards higher ground after hearing the rumor.

Here is the Mercalli intensity scale for earthquakes from Wikipedia:

I. InstrumentalGenerally not felt by people unless in favorable conditions.
II. WeakFelt only by a few people at best, especially on the upper floors of buildings. Delicately suspended objects may swing.
III. SlightFelt quite noticeably by people indoors, especially on the upper floors of buildings. Many do not recognize it as an earthquake. Standing motor cars may rock slightly. Vibration similar to the passing of a truck. Duration estimated.
IV. ModerateFelt indoors by many people, outdoors by few people during the day. At night, some awaken. Dishes, windows, doors disturbed; walls make cracking sound. Sensation like heavy truck striking building. Standing motor cars rock noticeably. Dishes and windows rattle alarmingly.
V. Rather StrongFelt inside by most, may not be felt by some outside in non-favorable conditions. Dishes and windows may break and large bells will ring. Vibrations like large train passing close to house.
VI. StrongFelt by all; many frightened and run outdoors, walk unsteadily. Windows, dishes, glassware broken; books fall off shelves; some heavy furniture moved or overturned; a few instances of fallen plaster. Damage slight.
VII. Very StrongDifficult to stand; furniture broken; damage negligible in building of good design and construction; slight to moderate in well-built ordinary structures; considerable damage in poorly built or badly designed structures; some chimneys broken. Noticed by people driving motor cars.
VIII. DestructiveDamage slight in specially designed structures; considerable in ordinary substantial buildings with partial collapse. Damage great in poorly built structures. Fall of chimneys, factory stacks, columns, monuments, walls. Heavy furniture moved.
IX. ViolentGeneral panic; damage considerable in specially designed structures, well designed frame structures thrown out of plumb. Damage great in substantial buildings, with partial collapse. Buildings shifted off foundations.
X. IntenseSome well built wooden structures destroyed; most masonry and frame structures destroyed with foundation. Rails bent.
XI. ExtremeFew, if any masonry structures remain standing. Bridges destroyed. Rails bent greatly.
XII. CataclysmicTotal destruction – Everything is destroyed. Lines of sight and level distorted. Objects thrown into the air. The ground moves in waves or ripples. Large amounts of rock move position. Landscape altered, or levelled by several meters. In some cases, even the routes of rivers are changed.

Here is the video of false tsunami scare:

Is the Property Bubble bursting?

Reading the said article makes me realize that the same thing can happen in Cebu in the near future. A lot of developers here are starting to build pricey condos with agents marketing these properties for its rental income. I even had a friend contact me in Facebook telling me that she would like to buy a condo and have it rented.

Well, rent is hard to project. Law of supply and demand will definitely dictate how much you can charge. With so many condos being “pre-sold” now in Cebu, the supply side of rentals will not be scarce in the near future.  I expect the market to turn in favor of the buyers in a few months time. If you are buying a condo, wait it out a bit and for sure, the developers will start offering discounts (don’t expect a 40% cutback like what CJ Corona had though), perks (trip to somewhere or a free stay at a nice resort), and other freebies (TV, gas ranges, other appliance). Once the nicest units are taken, the developers will be hard-pressed to push the less attractive units.

Do not buy though if your main consideration is rental income. In Cebu, there are still so many alternatives for a 15,000 a month, 26 sqm. condo unit.  At that price, you can still find a decent-sized 3-bedroom apartment in a good place in Metro Cebu.  With over a thousand condo units set to be delivered in the next couple of years, you can expect a lot of competition. For people who are really bent on buying a condo soon, here are some things to consider: