Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Amor Patria: A Review of Gawad Kalinga Founder Tony Meloto's 'Builder of Dreams'

 “When your dreams came true, you are great. But if others’ dreams came true because of you, you are noble.”

Gawad Kalinga Founder Tony Meloto's Builder of Dreams
In a third world country like the Philippines it is undeniable that negative political and social issues are prevalent, as well as the intricate challenges faced by Filipinos all left undone; and indeed, “transforming leaders” are needed for they bear the good heart enriched with volunteerism and love for others. These are those people who are propelled into meaningful actions and purposes. Despite the fact that a united prayer can make this all settled, Gawad Kalinga founder Antonio “Tony” Meloto proved doing more than this can make everything better.

As Tony Meloto’s living revolves over his life as an entrepreneur and a Couples for Christ servant, being a loving father of five and a caring Lolo of three grandchildren, he felt the need to do something that could make the slum-dwellers’ life better. He desired to mold his ideals and goals into something that would benefit larger groups of Filipino people. And one of his ways in order to achieve this is to write the book “Builder of Dreams” which he dedicated to Ninoy and Cory because their nationalism has inspired him since 1986; when democracy was restored in the country.

The “Builder of Dreams” is “about faith of common believers who choose to act rather than to preach, about citizens wanting to correct what has been corrupted rather than blame, about people who chose hope over cynicism by planting their dreams on the ground and learning to do it with others.”  Through this book, Tony Meloto had reflected what patriotism and good deeds are truly all about. The book embodied the hope of Filipinos who dreamt better times after living as second class citizens within 400 years. It definitely emerged the Filipino spirit and unleashed its greatness. The book also recognized the growing armies of Filipinos who vowed to bring the dream together.

                His primary goal is to revive what was lost and to bring the best out of it. He narrated how his efforts created the very first Gawad Kalinga village. It transformed the ever known Bagong Silang in Caloocan City into a neighborhood that endowed new, safe, and attractive homes for the needy; unlike how it looked like before— where gangsters, young and old, and crimes sickened the place. He shared how his actions paved way for the rehabilitation of the youth who had led wayward lives. His movement blossomed; adults learned acceptable ways of earning money and the kids who were once crime-makers decided to go to school. “There was no blueprint, no road map and no budget when we ventured into unknown territory, just a lot of faith, a strong intuition and the conscience to do what was good and right; the impulse to act and the instinct to survive.”

                The book sparked hope and consciousness as this country is a gift from God. It identified proper recognition of who the real character is and who will support him on the play of his objective. “The government is not our enemy; neither is business or rich landowners or, the criminals in the urban slums, and the rebels in the countryside. Poverty is our enemy, along with all the evils that cause it—the peaceful way to vanish this is to discover winning formula where rich and poor benefit from caring and sharing.”

                Tony Meloto has never been a fictional-story-writer or even a superb novel author; but his writing style is real good. It caught souls that will soon embolden nobility. Each word reflected how reality looks like. It helped readers to understand what Philippines has to be and how Filipinos should be. Sharing real life stories in the book also helped Meloto in his pursuance of his aspirations and beliefs.

                In this book, Tony also revealed his heart-melting sacrifices just for the accomplishment of his vision. Sacrifices not only in his own self, but as well to his family, friends and the usual society he’s living with; the parameter where true-blooded Filipinos dwell. And these encumbrances caused him to attain what he was aiming for.

                “In writing this book, I remember with fondness the friends I have lost along the way. I carry the burden of losing people I treasured, in exchange for the friendship to the poor. The fault is mine, but the gain is mine as well. In time we will be wiser and we will gain our friendship so nothing is lost at all.”

Gawad Kalinga villages in the Philippines. 
                The three major steps in the attainment of the goal— Social Justice, Social Artistry and Social Progress, as designed by Meloto’s Builders of Dreams, are therefore the key steps to help every Filipino for major survival and to make a big leap on our journey way back home—to a greater country that we are proud of and with the people that we loved and always will.

Never stop hoping for our country,
Don’t stop caring for our people,
Demand greatness from yourself as a Filipino,

Inspire greatness in other Filipinos.

Minamahal kita, Pilipinas!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Dear John: Life, Love and Lost

Nicholas Sparks has become a trade name for a certain kind of love story—lush, bittersweet, carefree, passionate—semi-sweet tear-jerker stories that cause heartbreak intact; all in one heartfelt tome that makes us all flip the other page. Stories that totter on the edge of something sticky, but pull us back in the real world.

Dear John is of a sad romance and of a father-son reconciliation theme. A surprise third-act-twist introducing a surprise tragedy weeping the romantic joy of The Notebook, Message in a Bottle and A Walk To Remember. A Nicholas Sparks masterpiece about love that aches sometimes but still continues to exist. A great work of art with the same semi-sweet sensibility.

            Despite its being obvious with the common genre Sparks used to get with, it still poses another kind of clash with another saving grace to procure. With similar comfort of his words, the broach of the ironies of life and the great life-lessons that can be earned.

Dear John paperback edition.
Dear John is about a buff-stuff soldier John Tyree who meets the love of his life: the gorgeous goodie-goodie type Savannah Lynne Curtis while on leave from the army. Their mutual attraction flourishes despite of their differences over the summer. While John’s away, Savannah waits longingly. But 9/11 changes everything. And sadly, “Dear John,” the letter read… with the two words, a heart was broken and two lives were hanged forever.

This book is not just around the blooming garland of montages—walks on the beach, first kiss in the rain, gazing at the moon, writing letters, waiting for them—but has yet another theme, patriotism, whose impossible pull creates a further problem for the main characters. It explains how army is keeping away a soldier from true love and from the other things that they desire.

Nicholas Sparks writing style is still inevitable, with the great help of the unique personalities of the characters. It steered away from the usual sure tragedy that befalls between the character and a joyful ending ahead.

All the Sparks elements are there—the small town setting with beaches and pier, the “symbolisms” of love, great precedence for fathers and the “tragedy” that will test everyone.

Dear John reflects real life circumstances as well. The father-and-son knot with John’s relationship with his father, a coin-collector who is chatty about his interest (coins) but turns away speechless from normal human interaction like his close relationship with his son. The common teenage matter, as of John’s case, rebellion, school problems, being troublesome and promiscuity—but the resolves in the latter and changed for good.

The whole premise written is well-founded. It succeeded in tapping the emotions of readers for most of us have gone through a moment of a long distance relationship. The genuine chemistry between the writing style and the story is surely a vibe that makes this book different from other Spark’s offerings.

After all, it is another Nicholas Sparks’ magnum opus; despite the basic formula, the book has something more to extend.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Art of Parkour: Take Risks, Flaunt!

Given its birth on France, parkour is now a magnet for many willpowered enthusiasts making its way on a grown popularity. It is such a new mix for negotiating with obstacles—a blend of adopted gymnastics, athletics, free climbing and accelerated tai-chi movements executed on the move.

Parkour is the flight in the fight-or-flight response; it is an enhancement scheme for achieving self-confidence, critical thinking skills keen spatial awareness, leadership adeptness, energetic or virile senses and moral attitude. This is the perfect sport where winning splendid, flexible, nimble, skillful, enduring and resistant body are given emphasis.

The term Parkour was coined by David Belle with his friend Hubert Kounde from the classical obstacle course method of military training proposed by Georges Herbert—the parcours de combatant. They also come-up with the term “Traceurs” as a term for Parkour enthusiasts which was originally from a slang French verb “tracer” meaning “to go fast.”

According to the American Parkour Community Definition, parkour is not just quite a sport; it requires physical discipline in order to be geared with efficiency and speed. Parkour requires consistent, disciplined training more on functional strength, physical conditioning, balance, creativity, fluidity, precision and looking beyond the traditional use of objects. Traceur’s training focuses on safety, longetivity, personal responsibility and self-improvement. It discourages reckless behavior, showing-off and dangerous stunts.

While they also value community, humility, positive collaboration, knowledge sharing and the importance of play in human life, they also demonstrate respect for all people, places and spaces.

Parkour imparts sheer athleticism and ideal sportsmanship. An effective traceur redistributes body weight and uses momentum to perform seemingly difficult or impossible maneuvers at great speed. But more than this, physical and mental elements are the real appeal of parkour to every traceurs. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Gustatory Delight: The Baby Back Ribs of Johanna’s Grille

Johanna’s Grill is located at the heart of Batangas City— along P. Burgos street where most of commercial establishments around the city are located.

The restaurant is classical Filipino-themed. What I like about their resto are the very eye-catching Capiz windowpanes and chandeliers.

Their specialty— their own version of fall-off-the-bones Baby Back Ribs with garlic rice and corn kernels! Something to die for, really. Their version of this American recipe is really tender, fairly spicy and very tasty. This is something you have to try for yourself!

Their homemade sweet Blueberry cheesecake is also remarkable!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Way Back Home

I just tried capturing Bokehs while in the car going home. I used Canon 450D for these photos. Enjoy! :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Day When I Wasted 250 Bucks

Last Sunday, my friend Aileen invited me to watch a movie with her ex (who is also my friend). I told her that I want to watch Angel Locsin's In The Name of Love because I've been hearing a lot of positive reviews 'bout that one. 
In the Name of Love
Most of my friends have already watched that and they told me the story was nice and it offers something different. As you have noticed to my movie reviews, I am a sucker for romantic movies. But Aileen hesitated with that one because as she have said "Ala, napanood ko na yan. Iba naman."

Because she's the only girl in the group, and she was acting like a boss :) we all agreed to watch Kung Fu Panda 2 3D. Just like before, I lost the chance to watch the one I wanted to watch. So we bought the ticket, foods and everything was ready. We only have to wait for the showing time.
Kung Fu Panda 2
The ticket which costs 250 bucks
There was a free drink with every ticket purchased but the redeeming lane for it was in long queue. It was already 2:50 (showing time) and Kevin (Aileen's ex, my friend) was still in line. We entered the movie house at 3:02 and we're definitely late. The movie had already started.

As I took my seat, with 3D glasses on, I thought to myself "You sure you're watching this one?" because I do not like animated movies so much (Up and Toy Story are exceptions). Then I felt bored. I just focused with my popcorn and with my soda. Then after a while, I didn't noticed that I have already slept in Aileen's shoulder. 

Imagine that! I slept to something I paid for. I supposed to be wide awake! That was not a hotel. HAHA. :)

Then the movie ended without a satisfaction feeling in myself. Maybe if I watched In the Name of Love, i'll be kind'a happy. So that was the day when I wasted 250 bucks. :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Scotty McCreery is the Newest American Idol!

So Scotty McCreery hailed as the new American Idol.

I admire this man’s choice of music. Country music for our age (we’re both 17 years old) is not that so-appealing but Scotty still preferred to stick with it. Thus proving that music knows no generation and each genre applies to anybody. In Filipino, walang makaluma.

Season 10’s finale had a great line up of artists which made this season one of the bests of all American Idol finales. From Beyonce to Gaga and even JLo and Steven, themselves. It was also nice to see the top 13 of this year’s Idol. With my early bets, Pia Tuscano, Casey Abrams and Thia Megia.

Looking forward to see and hear more of Scotty McCreery and also Lauren Alaina.

Below is Scotty’s first single, I Love You This Big.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Batangas City Environmental Code, Ordinance No. 16, Series of 2010

Can BatangueƱos make it? 

I was riding a jeepney going to school when I first heard about No Styrofoam and Plastic campaign of Batangas City. Indeed, this is a good move to protect and preserve the environment. With the increasing rate of environmental degradation due to human actions and its aftermaths, this campaign can really help a lot. 

But many are asking how would this be possible? Here's the full scripture of section 84 of the Batangas City E-Code (Ordinance No. 16, Series of 2010). This can enlighten us about the code and can also remind us on the actions that we will do for the next month. 

Section 84.  Regulation on the Use of Plastic and Styrofoam Materials for Packaging

The City hereby adopts the following regulation on the use of plastic and styrofoam materials for 
packaging in all business transactions within the City.

The use of plastic bags as packaging materials for dry goods is prohibited.  All business establishments shall pack dry good products in biodegradable materials such as recycled product carton boxes and paper bags. Dry goods maybe packed in plastic bags or non-biodegradable packing materials provided that such packing materials were supplied by the costumers. The use of plastic bags on wet goods (e.g. fresh fish., meat products) is regulated. Plastic bags maybe used for such products as a primary packaging material. No business establishment shall offer or sell plastic bags to be used as secondary packaging material or as primary packaging on dry goods. 

The use of Styrofoam as packaging materials or as containers for food, fruits and vegetables containers is also prohibited.

Plastic bags and Styrofoam containers are hereby de-categorized under non-biodegradable wastes and hence shall not be collected during the collection schedule for non-biodegradable waste products under the regular Solid Waste Collection program. These waste materials shall be surrendered to their respective barangay MRF provided that these materials must be cleaned and dried prior to its turn over to the Barangay.

The City ENRO shall monitor the effective implementation of the banning of plastic after six months of massive information campaign and coordination with affected business establishments. Gradual implementation of banning of use of plastic materials shall be observed on following stages;

Stage 1 (6 months from approval of this E-code) – Implementation shall cover Market 1, 2, 3 and all local government institution and all enterprises within its premises.

Stage 2 (8 months from approval of this E-code) – Implementation shall cover all educational institutions.

Stage 3 (2 years from approval of this E-code) – Implementation shall cover all business enterprises within Urban Areas of the City.

Stage 4 (3 years from approval of this E-code) – Full implementation of the banning of use of styrofoam and non-environmentally accepted and thin plastic materials.

Information Education and Communication Campaign - The City shall promote this regulation though the conduct of massive information education and communication campaign using media (print, radio, television and internet) for six month upon approval and effectivity of this code.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Havaianas brings two Havaianaticos to the paradise islands of Hawaii!

Havaianas "Always Summer: Race to Hawaii"

Two Havaianaticos will surely experience the most memorable and exciting summer ever as Havaianas, the world’s best flip-flop brand, bring them to the beautiful exotic islands of Hawaii as they finished on top and reign the strongest of this year’s Havaianas “Always Summer:  Race to Hawaii.”

 After competing with other 19 pairs, Michael Balcita and Bernard Rebollido of Team Rosa from Baguio City hailed as the top team of the race. They were the only team to finish all the challenges in the final  leg without incurring a time penalty. With a style luggage from American Tourister, they will now rock Hawaii for a 6-day/5-night, all-expense-paid vacation.

Identifying the ingredients of the delicious mystery shakes by Jonah’s Fruit Shake and Snack Bar (A Taste of Boracay), digging into the sands to find secret summer items (Summer Search), spotting certain individuals roaming around the beach (Spot Me), discovering famous Boracay landmarks (Sea the Signs) and inflating a bright yellow and green Havaianas Flip-Float (Havaianas Flip-Float Challenge) were the challenges posed among the 40 participants of the final leg. The final leg was held at the beautiful island of Boracay.

The finalists of the final leg received summer essentials from David and Goliath, Hawaiian Tropic, Sony and Havaianas. They stayed at the Tides Hotel Boracay during the whole race.

“The challenges were really fun and challenging and we had a hard time accomplishing everything,” Balcita and Rebollida stressed. “We’d like to thank Havaianas for everything.  We really had a great time.”

The Havaianas “Always Summer: Race to Hawaii” is one of the highlights of the Havaianas “Always Summer” campaign. Havaianas believes that every day is summer—that summer never goes out and every Filipino can live with the summer sense of enthusiasm and positive attitude all year round.

For more exciting details on Havaianas “Always Summer: Race to Hawaii” contest, visit or follow our Havaianas Philippines Facebook fan page at and celebrate a stylish summer to the fullest with your favorite pair of Havaianas flip-flops!

Photos from Havaianas "Always Summer: Race to Hawaii" Final Leg

Digging through the sand to find secret summer items was one of the challenges posed to the participants of the final leg of the race. Their energy and strength were kept constant with the help of the hydration stations provided by Powerade Sports Drink and Viva! Mineralized Water— both advocating for an active & healthy lifestyle for Filipinos.

It was Michael Balcita and Bernard Rebollido of Team Rosa from Baguio City who topped the race. The triumphant cousins were the only team to finish all the challenges without incurring a time penalty. Kudos Michael and Bernard, have a great vacation to Hawaii! J

Upon arrival, the finalists were stylishly clad in their Havaianas flip-flops and they were greeted with special summer essentials from David & Goliath, Hawaiian Tropic, Sony, and Havaianas.

The fun game called “A Taste of Boracay” wherein they have to identify the ingredients of the delicious mystery shakes provided at the famous Jonah’s Fruit Shake and Snack Bar was also one of the challenges of the race.

The 20 teams with the fastest time in the Havaianas “Always Summer: Race to Hawaii” regional leg held last April 9 in Bonifacio Global City, Metro Manila, were the participants of the Havaianas “Always Summer: Race to Hawaii” final leg. They were flown to Boracay with the help of Seair.

One of the unique tasks the teams have to accomplish was the inflation of Havaianas-shaped floats in the Havaianas Flip-Float Challenge.

The Havaianas “Always Summer: Race to Hawaii” is one of the highlights of the Havaianas “Always Summer” campaign. Havaianas believes that every day is summer—that summer never goes out and every Filipino can live with the summer sense of enthusiasm and positive attitude all year round.

Make Hiccups while watching Love at First Hiccup

Love at First Hiccup (2009)

Boys, can you remember that moment in your high school when you fell in love for a senior while you’re still in your freshman year? I’m sure most of us had experienced the thing. But more than this, did you pursue the feeling or just lest it slipped away?

The 2009 film Love at First Hiccup starring Scout Taylor-Compton and Devon Werkheiser showed that love really knows no boundaries. It can be fashioned between two people regardless of their age, status and all.

The movie is a twist of funny romantic scheme which can bring us to the old memories of our teenage years. The movie reminded me of all the tender memories my high school gave me. Moreover, it also gave me the chance to recall how I was dumped by some and how my journey went through until I found the one I deserve to be with.

The story is quite usual; but glad to say, there are elements in the movie which are very dreamy and effective. The humour in it is effective for it made me do some hiccups in laughing. (Kind’a weird, right?) Especially in the scenes of false sex between Anya (Scout Taylor-Compton) and Peter (Ken Luckey) and the condom dilemma of Victor (Devon Werkheiser). Furthermore, symbolisms used in the film are very creative—like the cactus, video camera and the hiccup itself.

The movie also posed some important reminders for teenagers. That they should always be ready for whatever thing that might happen because accidental things can lead us to something we don’t deserve to have right now. It also highlights fame and riches will never always cause bringing us the things we want. 

Some scenes from Love at First Hiccup