In My Pocket

true tales as told by Noelle

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Terrazas de Punta Fuego

I was supposed to go on a surfing trip to La Union with my girls Jenny, Bianca, and Sheila last weekend. We conceived the idea over Twitter more than a month ago but for some strange reason, none of us ever got around to actually booking a room at any of the resorts over there or making transport arrangements. And so, last Monday, we figured we might as well just do a day trip to Punta Fuego in Batangas, where Jenny is a member.

Punta Fuego

Batangas is about three hours away from Metro Manila, if you’re traveling leisurely like we were. There are a number of beach and country clubs in this area. The one I’m more frequently at, Pico de Loro at Hamilo Coast, is about an hour away from Punta Fuego and is a bit too far-flung to be a day trip spot. In this respect, Punta Fuego was a good day getaway because it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to get there.

What did we do there? Well, not the water sports since we don’t really like banana boats, and jet ski rentals were overpriced. We just rented a small cabana and the girls snoozed and read the day away. I wandered off to the infinity pool and did a bit of swimming and tanning there.

Poolside

I would have wanted to swim in the sea, but walking on the sand was off-putting because a lot of rubbish lay around on the sand. The beach isn’t protected by a cove that keeps trash from washing up onshore, and there are resorts bordering Punta Fuego that aren’t scrupulously careful with waste disposal. Additionally, it was stressful fending off hawkers and vendors who had walked up from the other resorts.

It’s sad that in a country that’s an archipelago, there are not a lot of quality beaches a short hop away from Metro Manila, unless I go off the beaten path.

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

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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.

Finding Food with Foursquare

I never used to understand the allure of Foursquare. I mean, for obvious privacy and anti-stalking reasons I don’t want strangers seeing where I usually go or where I am at a particular time. Yet I still see many of my friends tweet their locations because they’ve linked their Foursquare accounts with their Twitter feeds.

So what’s the deal with Foursquare, anyway? I decided to take the plunge. Since I’m on Globe’s Blackberry Max plan, I can use any app that requires an Internet connection at no extra charge. I took my precautions by choosing not to publish anything to my social networks, and adding only those friends I trust with my location. (Odd how that shrunk my friends list down considerably.)

I started off by checking into my places of work, and noticed the Explore tab.

Foursquare on BlackBerry 9360

Foursquare on a BlackBerry 9360 (with Otter Box casing)

Clicking it revealed the Top Picks around my current location. I could also switch between Top Picks, Specials (if any nearby places were offering deals for Foursquare users), Trending (places with many Foursquare users gathered at that moment), Food, Coffee, Nightlife, Shops, Sights, A&E, and Outdoors.

Foursquare on BlackBerry 9360

Explore options

When I selected Food, I realized there were so many places around me I hadn’t yet tried. I’m the kind of person who finds one restaurant in a certain place, always goes there and always orders a specific item on the menu. I’m not the adventurous foodie type at all. So if you think about it, Foursquare’s the perfect thing to jostle me out of my comfort zone and go food-tripping. And the information on Foursquare is crowdsourced; this means regular people leave tips recommend these places and dishes, and can disagree with unrealistic and untrue tips. That’s quite unlike review websites which sometimes have dubious reputations for talking up a lackluster restaurants.

This was put to the test when I dropped by Greenbelt 5 last Wednesday and didn’t want to eat at my usual haunt *coughcoughKFCcoughcough*. So I hit Explore and was overjoyed to find a Toast Box that I didn’t know existed in the mall!

After that initial success, I started checking in at other restaurants to see what dishes had good reviews. I had a late lunch with a friend at Texas Roadhouse in Bonifacio High Street last Saturday, and before we ordered, I saw that three previous Foursquare users had left tips saying their Southwestern Cobb salad was delicious. And it was!

Next week, I’ll probably check out restaurants near here in Pasig, like Bullchef in Kapitolyo which Foursquare users say serves an amazing and filling bulalo stew. I salivate in anticipation.

Noelle De Guzman is a Globe mobile data services brand ambassador.

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!


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