Red Ocean, Blue Ocean

In 2009 when I took an improv acting workshop, our mentor Jourdan Sebastian told us about “red ocean, blue ocean”. This was adapted from a business strategy book called Blue Ocean Strategy, which posits that instead of attempting to compete within the existing market (a red ocean full of sharks in a feeding frenzy), a business should create new demand in uncontested market space (a blue ocean).

Improv Acting Workshop 2009

improv workshop activity


Instead of business, though, we applied it to ourselves as actors, performers, and artists. What could we offer that was new to the industry? What did we each have that nobody else did?

After the workshop period ended, we each went our ways. My batchmates went on to make (bigger) names for themselves:

  • Abby Asistio, musician and alopecia awareness advocate
  • Gee Canlas, speed-talking TV host and Amazing Race PH contestant
  • Miko Pepito, spoken word artist
  • JB de Leon, professional photographer
  • Teddy Corpuz, musician of Rocksteddy and co-host of It’s Showtime
  • Roxanne Barcelo, actress

To tell you the truth I felt out of my depth in that workshop. Everyone there had a “blue ocean”; for instance, Abby could sing and rap, and now that she’s open about her alopecia it to set her apart. Gee could talk a mile a minute, which attracted attention from TV networks that cast her as a host.

What was I good at? What did I have that nobody else had? Looking back now, I didn’t turn out the way I thought I would in 2009. But I think I’ve found my blue ocean, and it’s online. It’s not going to be without difficulty that I make my own mark; I’m not the first female running blogger, nor the most famous. But I do have my own unique skills that no one else has. I’m hoping that makes the difference for me this year. 😉

Tea Time

I used to say that I only had one cup of coffee a week. Then it grew to two. Then three. Before I knew it, I had a full-blown dependence on Starbucks lattes. It didn’t help that for the previous month I’ve been trying to rack up enough stickers to claim a planner.

So I went cold-turkey. And that’s where this belated Christmas basket from Lipton Philippines comes in.

Thanks Lipton for the Christmas basket!

Thanks for the Christmas basket!

I go through phases of what kinds of drinks I prefer. I had this whole orange juice phase, and I’ve just gotten past the coffee phase. The cycle’s coming back to tea, and as I write this entry I’m brewing up a cup of Lipton Yellow Label. Read more

Shopping with My GCash-AMEX Virtual Card

I use my credit card for online payments especially when I purchase apps for my iPod Touch. However, there are websites in the US, like Amazon.com, that won’t ship to the Philippines — or if they do, there’s a hefty shipping charge.

That’s why when Globe Telecom introduced the GCash-AMEX virtual card last October, I jumped on the chance to order some books and DVDs I’ve been dying to get for the longest time.

Activating my GCash-AMEX virtual card
using an iPad to activate my GCash-AMEX virtual card

Along with media and bloggers, I was invited to the launch and learned that Globe had struck up a partnership with American Express and My Shopping Box to make shopping from US stores easier. Read more

Goodbye, Old Friends

This is a secret I rarely share with anyone, but I love stuffed toys. We’ve moved house twice in my life, and I’ve always brought my little friends along.

But there always comes a time one has to let go of them. There just isn’t a lot of room in our condo. I asked over Twitter where I could send these six stuffed toys for charity. I didn’t want to dump them in the trash, and I know there are children who don’t have any to call their own.

stuffed friends
I will miss you *tear*

It’s also been shown that integrating stuffed animals into therapy for young children can provide a sense of security. Remember last year after Typhoon Sendong? A little girl started a toy drive for the children in CDO and Iligan affected by the typhoon.While there are a number of places I can send my toys to, most people recalled that Jollibee launched the 18th “MaAga ang Pasko” charity drive. So that’s where my well-loved friends are going. May they make another child’s life as happy as they did mine.

Driving in the City

I drive a lot around this city of mine, which in reality is a cluster of 16 cities all huddled together near the mouth of Pasig River on the eastern coast of Luzon island. Metro Manila is my ‘hood, yo, and negotiating the maze of streets is almost second nature to me.

It is, however, a nightmare to get around if you don’t know exactly where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there. I have a few friends who shy away from meeting up if they’ve never been to the venue or area, and I still get lost on occasion. No, wait, I don’t get lost. I just temporarily find myself in a different location from where I want to be. 😉

Today I attempted to get to the Manila Diamond Hotel where my mom is booked because she’s attending a medical society conference. I’m not familiar with establishments and roads in the Roxas Boulevard area, so I attempted to use Google Maps to find an acceptable route.

Turns out, I know the ins and outs Manila better than Google Maps. I was driving on Gil Puyat (Buendia) heading towards Roxas Boulevard, but Google Maps told me to take a U-turn and head back to EDSA, and only at the endpoint of EDSA would I be able to get onto Roxas. The Buendia route I was already on was shorter and more straightforward, so I ignored Google Maps. By doing so, I also avoided the usual horrendous traffic build-up near the EDSA-Taft intersection.

Traffic’s another thing you’ve got to master when getting around Metro Manila. I’m thankful there’s a handy smartphone app from the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) which shows you at a glance how heavy traffic is on major roads, particularly C-5 and EDSA. But only the uninitiated would take these roads during rush hour (which is actually rush two-, three-, or four-hours, depending on whether there was an accident or if it rained).

The roads less traveled parallel to the national highways can cut hours off travel time. You may already have traveled those roads before, but would never have connected them together into an alternate route unless you take a chance on them. There was one time I picked my mom up from the airport in Pasay and was driving her northbound to her office in Greenhills. A huge traffic jam had built up on EDSA-Guadalupe, so I took the off-ramp towards Rockwell/Estrella Street. From there, we took a bridge over the Pasig River, wove through the streets of Mandaluyong, and emerged on Wilson Street in Greenhills just a kilometer away from our destination. It had only taken us 30 minutes to negotiate, and in a city where it takes an hour to get anywhere, that’s major.

I do wish there were a way to get around the city faster, cheaper, and environmentally-friendlier than driving a car. I hope I live to see the day an extensive rail line and efficient public transport can get me around town. Or someday maybe I could even bike to work safely?

David Guetta in Manila

I’m an electronic dance music (EDM) lover. I haven’t really thought of why; in this country, among my age bracket, hip-hop was always the big thing when it came to clubbing and dancing. But when I look at my playlists from way back when I first could download MP3’s, there’s always an EDM track in there somewhere.

One of the oldest EDM songs on my iPod is this track called “True House” which I first heard in a movie called “True Vinyl“. According to the end credits, it was spun by David Guetta. I have a habit of googling other songs an artist has recorded or collaborated on, so it wasn’t long before I’d built up a collection of other Guetta tracks.

Fast-forward to about 10 years down the line; I’ve become a BODYJAM instructor who dances to EDM day-in, day-out, and I’m hearing Guetta not just in EDM playlists, but on Top 40 radio due to his collaborations with pop, rap, and urban music acts such as the Black Eyed Peas, Nicki Minaj, Snoop Dogg, and Usher. And so the scene was set for me drooling for tickets to his massive show last Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

David Guetta in Manila: At Work

Read more

Why I Oppose the Cybercrime Law (Even if Mainstream Media Doesn’t)

I’m not a miscreant — someone who wants to cause trouble. So why am I against a law that supposedly is for the protection of those who may be hacked, or subjected to cyber-prostitution, or whose reputations may be wrecked online?

While Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 may project itself at face value to be just those things, reading its provisions coupled with understanding one’s constitutionally-guaranteed rights will reveal that OMGWTF how did that happen?!

For a layperson-friendly account of what’s wrong with the law, check out Spot.ph/GMA Network’s article “Digital Martial Law: 10 Scary Things about the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012“.

Since October 3 (when the law took effect), 10 petitions have been lodged at the Supreme Court asking to have it declared unconstitutional. There are two petitions that articulate my opinion about the said Act: the petition from bloggers and netizens, and the petition from the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, and the Philippine Press Institute.

I object to the Cybercrime Law on the grounds that it tramples on the right to speech and expression, the right to privacy of communication and correspondence, the right to due process, and the right to be secure of unreasonable searches and seizures. It violates the Constitutional rule against double jeopardy by allowing separate prosecution of the same offense under the Cybercrime Law as well as the old Revised Penal Code. It is a bill of attainder because it singles out a definite class (those who use information and communication technology such as the Internet and computer systems) and punishes that class without benefit of judicial trial by granting the Department of Justice power to block access to a website or computer system if it even looks like a cybercrime is being committed.

Additionally, the penalty for a crime committed with ICT is one degree higher than if it had been committed by traditional means, which implies that merely using ICT is an aggravating circumstance and is a bad, bad thing. I’m of the opinion that the Internet and communication technology are tools, which are neutral.

The Cybercrime Law also fails to provide any procedural safeguards and standards in constructing the Implementing Rules and Regulations, which may be changed by the agency involved in its enforcement without public consultation — ripe for abuse.

I’m grateful that my education opened my eyes to my rights under the Constitution and instilled in me the value of fighting for those rights. My training in media ethics says that journalism gives a voice to the voiceless and can be an effective tool for exposing injustices — thus, vital in a democracy.

That is why I was dismayed that this is how mainstream media (consumed by most Filipinos) is covering the fight against the Cybercrime Law. Below is a clip from the very popular showbiz show The Buzz, in which I was one of the people interviewed.

Note how this “special report” conveniently glosses over all the objections by saying we just need to give the Cybercrime Law a chance. If that’s how it’s presented to the masa media consumer, no wonder people are wondering why we’re so upset about this.

School Pride

I can’t recall if I watched my first UAAP Cheerdance Competition live, or if my brain just thinks I did but I really watched it on TV. All I can remember is that in my first year of university, we were required by our P.E. classes to attend a number of UAAP games. Our school drums formed the beat to which we shouted our cheers as games were won and lost. That year, my alma mater placed third despite being the most unique in its approach — no canned music, just the drums.

Since then I’ve tried to make it a point to keep up with news on the yearly competition results since it’s the only high-profile one in the UAAP my school always seems to have a chance of winning. (Yes, kulelat kami sa basketball.)

So I’m super happy about this year’s results. It’s our eighth win, and second three-in-a-row. U-nibersidad ng Pilipinas!

Hello, Chilling Effects!

Given the recent enactment of the Anti-Cybercrime Law (which threatens Internet freedom), I was kind of expecting some takedown notices on content posted online. But I didn’t expect that a two-year-old reblog of mine on Tumblr would warrant this kind of action:

Anti-Cybercrime Law in action?

Anti-Cybercrime Law in action?

If you’re interested in reading the supposedly libelous post, it was a reblog from another person’s Tumblr, to which I just added my own commentary, which was “Hmm. Should I hit him with my bachelor’s degree in Political Science cum laude, or my master’s degree in Media Studies – Journalism? Maybe I should just make fun of his use of quotation marks.” I was reacting to someone else’s comment on a post he made on Facebook. In no way was I the source of any comment that could be construed as libel.

So, lawyers and media practitioners out there, what are my options? I have three days daw.

UPDATE 10:04 p.m.:

UPDATE 10:30 p.m.:

UPDATE 11:31 p.m.:
I’ve screencapped the Tumblr reblog instead of linking to it from here and blotted out names and faces. The guy probably thinks it’s hurting his hireability. It really would have been better if he had asked me nicely to remove the post. However, I’m not a spiteful person; what he did was two years ago and on reviewing the original post, kinawawa sya. So I removed it from public view because I felt sorry for him, which is more than what he deserves for threatening me with legal action. But that doesn’t mean the original post doesn’t exist elsewhere and isn’t still searchable.