Tuesday, March 31, 2009

True Love Waits Impacts the Philippines

This article caught my attention today. True Love Waits, an abstinence before marriage ministry is making significant impact to Filipino youth. They say the ministry have reached out to almost 2,000 Filipino students and have reported 432 profession of faith to Christ recently.

This is great news and a good reminder that we need more ministies like TLW in the Philippines (see Basta Love Life and Lambat) that knows the importance of teaching Filipinos develop a Christian worlview in all aspect of their lives.

A sobering report showed that of 1.7 million babies born in 2004, almost 8 percent were born to mothers aged 15-19 or almost 30% of Filipino women become mothers before reaching their 21st birthday. In 2000, young mothers gave birth to 818,000 babies a ratio of 1 of every 10 babies born to a teenage mother. The next census will be in 2010 and its not too late for ministries and the local church to step up its game to teach young Filipinos how to live their love lives according to God's principles and stop or at least slow down the growing number of teen pregnancies.

(Image from Children at Heart Ministries)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fireproof... Best Drama

We saw the movie Fireproof last Saturday night with our Pinoy "dabarkads" in Virginia. I must say its a must see movie. I am pleased to learn from my in-laws that Fireproof is having its run in Philippine churches because of its redemptive love story that all Pinoy couples should see. Pinoys are not new to drama and Fireproof has all the elements of a typical melodramatic film that many can relate to. "Sabi ko nga sa DVD menu pa lang nakakaiyak na." Although the movie may seem too preachy on the spiritual aspect (it looks like makers of the film wants to make sure no one misses the Biblical message), I am pleased with the film's strong Christian worldview and moral message. The film is well plotted with a powerful and unexpected ending that left everyones eyes wet. The marriage scenarios shown on the film are on-target and can actually stimulate conversations after the film as what happened to us last weekend. What's valuable for me is that the film made me reflect on my own marriage, on how I can be right before God and my wife and why my marraige to Praise is worth fighting for... something I want to be and do for the rest of my life with her.

(image from fireproofthemovie.com)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What's Up with You Manny Pacquiao?

With Manny Pacquiao's recent brouhaha on which Philippine network has the TV rights to air his upcoming fight with Ricky Hatton (see related story here), its dissapointing to realize that after all the celebration that united the country on his victory, this recent recent event is a sign that it still all comes down down to money for Manny Pacquiao. I just hope that money and unethical business decisions will not destroy his reputation as an athelete and a national icon.

Message to Pacman...Would you please concentrate on your training against Hatton and not against TV network executives? Leave the business decisions to those who are trained to do it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Twouble with Twitter

As I posted on The Point Blog the other day, this video on Twitter shows a good example of using humor to expose the flaws of mankind -- see Zoe Sandvig's article in BreakPoint WorldView Magazine (click here for a free subscription).

Similar to Filipinos being all over the globe, Pinoy are also dominating the social media sphere with many starting their own blogs and joining networking sites such as Facebook, Multiply, Friendster and Twitter. But with all its popularity, one can’t still avoid the truth that if uncontrolled, social networking sites can be isolating and addicting -- just as in the video, where many are “randomly bragging about our unexceptional lives… and have become reliant on this constant state of self-affirmation.” Or in Biblical terms, committing idolatry.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ignatius Coming to the Philippines?

Ignatius from travis hawkins on Vimeo.

Here's a funny video that MAY reflect a trend or an unhealthy church culture in the Philippines if Pinoy church leaders forget their true purpose and distinction from the world. Enjoy!

This is a video we produced for a free event for youth ministers. It was conceived as a satire for what I consider to be an unhealthy "rock star" culture that has been growing inside Christendom, as well as an encouragement for the unheralded heroes on the front lines of ministry. Shot by Taylor Robinson and George Wiley, with video post by Jason Poole and audio by Eric Chapman and Nate Dregger. The role of Ignatius is played by our friend Josh Keefer.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Why There's Still Hope for the Philippines

Senator Kiko Pangilinan posted a brilliant article on his 10 reasons why there is genuine hope for the Philippines. You should go to his site to read the full article.

He focuses on various qualities our country and the Filipinos possess that makes it favorable to bring prosperity back to our beloved nation. My favorite and what I think is more important is number 10. I really believe that enhancing the Pinoy's traditional family and Christian values should be strengthened to bring real and long-lasting change in the Philippines. Kung lahat ng Pinoy ay may pananaw at namumuhay ng maka-Diyos sa lahat ng aspeto ng buhay, malulutas natin ang karamihan ng ating mga problema sa bayan, dahil tayong rin namang mga Pinoy ang dahilan ng mga problemang ito.

Here's Sen. Pangilinan's 10 reason why there is genuine hope for the Philippines:

1) WE ARE LOCATED IN THE 'CENTER' OF EAST ASIA. We are strategically located at the heart of East Asia. North East Asia (Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, HK) and South East Asia (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos) combined makes East Asia. Every major city in East Asia is 4 hours or less away from the Philippines by air transport. If ours were a real estate venture in a commercial area, ours is a location to die for. We can be the shipping and air transport hub of East Asia. We can be the top tourist destination of the region. We can be the cultural center of the region for performing arts.

2) WE ARE NO. 1 in AQUAMARINE RESOURCES WORLDWIDE. We have the most diverse aquamarine ecosystem in the entire world that if managed properly will feed not only our hungry people but will be a source of huge revenue coming from a world in dire need of aquamarine resources such as fish, seaweed and other similar products. The Seafood basket and aquamarine resource center of the world. We can be the aquamarine resource powerhouse of the world.

3) WE HAVE A HUGE TOURISM INDUSTRY POTENTIAL. Our people are by nature extremely friendly and hospitable. We are only doing/achieving some 3M tourist arrivals annually while our neighbors are doing four or five time more with 12 to 15 Million tourist visits annually. It has been said that other countries in the ASEAN are doing so much more with so little in terms of natural wonders and beautiful sites while we are doing so little with so much. With the right infrastructure such as highways and airports and seaports in place we can be the number one tourist destination in Asean if not Asia.

4) WE ARE NOW NO. 2 IN THE BPO INDUSTRY WORLDWIDE AND CAN BECOME NO.1. We are, I am told currently second to India in the Business Process Outsourcing Industry. I am told as well that this industry expects 30 percent growth this year despite the worldwide recession as foreign companies look aggressively to lowering costs of doing business and therefore look to business outsourcing.

5) WE ARE AN EXTREMELY CREATIVE AND ARTISTIC PEOPLE. We have been called the songbirds of Asia. Our reputation as performers is legendary throughout the world (although we have never been boastful about it). We can be the center of performing arts in Asia wherein millions would visit the country annually to marvel at our cultural performances and our artistic productions.

6) WE HAVE THE EMERGENCE OF A NEW GENERATION OF PROGRESSIVE AND RESULTS ORIENTED PUBLIC SECTOR LEADERS. Since the restoration of democracy in 1986 and the passage of the Local Government code in 1991 (or some 20 years now), public officials have began to work with new resources (40 percent of national taxes are now plowed back to LGUs compared to less than 10 percent in 1986) made available by decentralization. Today a new generation of public sector leaders is emerging that is empowered, that is vision driven and results oriented. This explains why we have successful Local Government initiatives in Marikina, Makati, Naga City, Davao City, Iloilo City, Cebu City, Calbayog City and General Santos City among others. Hence from a generation of public sector leaders that by and large was corrupt, lacking in vision, lacking in creativity and innovation, we now have the emergence of a new generation of public sector leaders with integrity, with proactive leadership and with a commitment to reform and genuine change. New governance models and templates that are solving age old problems in the field are being forged, being tempered as we speak. A new brand of political leadership is emerging focused on solving age old problems in governance. The old, failed methods utilized by the trapos will soon be crushed and defeated.

7) INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY ADVANCEMENT IS ENHANCING OUR SENSE OF NATIONHOOD. We are fast becoming one nation, rather than a 'country' of many languages and many islands, now being connected by information communication technology. The ethno-linguistic barriers that used to keep us divided are being shattered by the interconnectivity of information technology. Today an entire generation of Filipinos fully understand and can connect with the Filipino language because of 2 decades of television news in Filipino (all TV news used to be English until 1986). The 3 elements of nationhood are common language, common territory and common economy. We are now becoming a nation because information technology is breaking the barriers that have prevented us from becoming united as a people. It is also now reconnecting some 10 Million Filipinos overseas to the motherland. We are becoming one nation and one people.

8) WE HAVE A RE EMERGING MIDDLE CLASS MINDSET. After over three decades of the OFW boom, we now have a new generation of citizens steeped with modern ideas coming from the highly successful host nations like Japan, Honh Kong, Singapore and the United Sates. Europe too has become host to hundreds of thousands of OWFs. The OFWs who have experienced life in these highly developed nations can now compare and contrast these experiences with the experiences in the motherland. In highly developed nations there is to a greater extent, a greater sense of accountability and a greater sense of justice and fair play.Our OFWs bring all that back home and having been enlightened by the experience will demand greater of their leaders back home. People are beginning to say enough is enough and are actually doing something about it.

9) WE ARE A YOUNG NATION. Close to 30 million of our 45 million voters are 18 to 35 years old. Very young. If harnessed effectively, these young voters can usher in the political and electoral change that we need to happen for genuine political and economic reforms to take place.

10) WE ARE A PEOPLE WHO LOVE TO LAUGH, WHO LOVE OUR FAMILIES. We are a resilient people. We can draw unimaginable strength and fortitude in times of difficulty in order to move ahead. We know how to survive despite so much pain and suffering. We know how to cope. We are willing to sacrifice so much of ourselves in order to provide for our family, our loved ones. This strength will not only bring us out of the mess we are in but will ensure that we are able to reach greater heights in our collective desire as a people to have a better life for those we truly care for, for those who mean the world to us. Our resilience in the long run will not only make us survive but will also ensure that we will triumph in the end.

Any thoughts?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Thank you from Pag-asa Lambat

Thank you to all who attended the 1st Pag-asa Lambat Benefit Dinner last Saturday night. We appreciate all who helped to organize the event, all the volunteers gave and most specially those who commited to pray and financially support the ministry this year. We gained tons of new friends and partners in just one night. Galing talaga!

As for me, its my first time to emcee such an event and to challenge people to give their money to a non-profit organization. Very convincing daw ako at pwede na raw akong Boy Abunda... naku, Paolo Bediones na lang sana LOL!

To learn more about the ministry and how to bring the Christian worldview message to the next generation of Filipinos, please visit http://www.lambat.com/.

I'll post pictures of the event next time.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Most Beautiful Filipinas

Filipinos are fond of beauty pageants and according to this blog, the Pinoy's enthusiasm for beauty contest has become cultural. With this said, I’m sure many Filipino eyes will be glued to the three recent Binibining Pilipinas winners hoping either one of them will bring home a crown and follow the footsteps of Gloria Diaz or Miriam Quiambao.

I always tell my wife that Asian women specifically Filipinas are among the prettiest in the world (my wife of course is No. 1). I really do believe that! I find the Pinay's petit, gentle and friendly facial features and fair skin qualities very attractive.

Unfortunately, my thoughts on beauty reflect how our society prides too much on physical attractiveness. The hard truth is no amount of makeup or fancy clothes will hide the fact that beauty is temporary. Sooner or later age will rob us of our beauty. The good news is inner beauty is the true measure of ones good looks and it will last not just our lifetime but forever. My hope is that more Filipino women (and men) will focus in the inner beauty of their character by working to be more like Christ.

Just for fun, who do you think is the most beautiful Filipina?

(Image from Straitstimes.com)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Kapuso, Kapamilya, KaBlog

A Church is Not a Social Club
Thoughts from blogger and technology/theology enthusiast Arnold Gamboa on what the local church should be and should not be.

Blogger James of Firebrands talks about our direct access to God's grace. No middleman needed.

Top 5 Proposed Plots for the Next Episodes of ABS-CBN "Maalaala Mo Kaya"
The Professional Heckler's follow up blog post on controversial "Maalaala Mo Kaya" episode that offended UPLB.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Filipino Drivers Are Road Terrorists?

I've been meaning to post this for a long time but I only had the opportunity to do it today. Its an article from Conrado Tolosa of Lambat. He shares his observations and thoughts on the Filipino driver. Please read and dont forget to share your thoughts and visit the Lambat website.

Marami ang nagsasabi na ang mga Pilipino ay mahusay magmaneho. Para sa akin, hindi yan totoo. Sa aking obserbasyon, ang pangkaraniwang Pilipino driver ay barumbado kung magpatakbo ng sasakyan.

Ang tanong ay ito: Bakit?

Ang clase ng pamumuhay ng tao ay may pinag-uugatan. Ito ang tinatawag na pananaw sa buhay at mundo. Ang ugali ng tao ay namumula sa kanyang mga pinahahalagahan, at ang kanyang mga pinahahalagahan ay nanggagaling sa kanyang mga pinaniniwalaan.

Ang isang driver ay hindi magmamaneho nang pabarumbado kung ang buhay ng tao ay mas mahalaga sa kanya kaysa kanyang panahon at gustong puntahan. Maraming mga batang Pilipino ang nagiging biktima ng mga terrorist drivers sa ating mga lansangan. Basahin natin (RP Has Asia's Dealiest Roads).

Paano makatutulong ang ating gobyerno sa suliraning ito?

1) Higpitan ang pagbibigay ng driver's license. Mayroon akong isang kaibigan ang may lisensya ngunit hindi naman marunong mag-drive at walang sasakyan.

2) I-enforce ang batas. Kapag hindi natitikitan ang mga reckless drivers lalo pa silang magiging reckless.

3) i-educate ang mga pedestrians. Tikitan ang mga nagje-jaywalking at sumasakay sa bawal na lugar. Ipaunawan ang kahalagahan ng pagsunod sa traffic rules sa pamamagitan ng mga public service announcements sa TV.

Paano makatutulong ang Media?

1) Magpalabas ng mga documentaries tungkol sa a) defensive driving, b) ang mabigat na bunga ng reckless driving, at c) kahalagahan ng pagsunod sa batas trapico.

(image from Macuha.com)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What Will Pinoy's Give Up for Lent

Catholics are urged by the Vatican to give up texting for Lent. I wonder if this will fair well in the Philippines which is considered one of the texting capitals of the world.

My family didn't fast because of our "born again" background but many Filipinos still practice it usually giving up eating meat for the Lenten season.

But fasting is more than giving up a something. The real essence of the tradition is to practice spiritual discipline, repent for our sins and remember Christ's death, ressurection and our dependency on Him.

You and I should consider dedicating some time in prayer and fasting this Lent but remember, God cares more of our broken and repentant heart than merely giving up meat or texting.

The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:17, NLT)

What will you give up Lent?

(Image from http://www.daylife.com/photo/0ekO5Iu6xh9MN)

May "moral amnesia" ba ang maraming Pilipino?

Do you agree with this comment from a recent blog post?

In the Philippines, the most popular people are politicians and movie stars and producers. So if one observes the political and entertainment landscapes of the country, then one can have a good view of its moral fiber.

May mga Pilipino at politicians din naman na magaling at honest sa kanilang kinauupuan - at saludo ako sa kanilang lahat. Pero hindi mo talaga maiwasan makarining ng hindi magandang balita tungkol sa ilan nating kababayan lalo na sa gobyerno. Parang walang pinagbago kundi mas lumalala pa nga.

May "moral amnesia" na nga ba ang maraming Pilipino at tuloy nakatatak na ang corruption sa politika ng ating bayan?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tips on Social Media

Change topic muna tayo. Because many Filipinos, local businesses and non-profit organizations are turning into social media (blogs, FaceBook, Youtube, Twitter, Freindster, etc.) to introduce their brand to the public, thought I'll post something on the topic. The article below was also a writing requirement for my class. For more discussion on social media, please visit Social Media Philippines.

Social Media Must
A common mistake companies and organizations commit when engaging in social media for the first time is their wrong focus on technology rather than their business objectives. Companies are quick to conclude that a presence in the social media environment such as blog, FaceBook or Twitter is final end goal of their social media campaign. However, choosing a technology or the online platform alone is a weak goal and the campaign is bound to fall short or not reach its full potential.

It’s Like Water
A bona fide communication strategy is vital to ensure strength and sustainability in the growing and complex social media environment. As CC Chapman of Managing the Gray Podcast described “social media is like water… don’t just jump in.” Companies and organizations need to think twice and carefully look at the bottom of the swimming pool before they dive into the social media waters. Without assessing the depth of the pool, the water, a creative public relations campaign, may look clear and safe until the company leaps in and realize the campaign hits rock bottom or drowning from overwhelming messages from the web community. The main objective is to swim not to dive. Thus, the organization needs to be strategic in social media. Look before you dive. Cautiously check the water first then decide which side of the swimming pool is safe to dive in.

Technology Takes a Back Seat
Social media begin with the end in mind. The communication strategy is not the goal. It’s the path an organization takes to get there. The organization’s goal is fuel that runs the social media bandwagon. It is imperative for an organization to differentiate social media technology from social media strategy. Determining the social media channels are good but what’s more important, understands who to reach out to and how to use social media channels to engage a better, collaborative and creative two-way relationship with potential stakeholders. As Chris Brogan said, “a strategy aligns the path we’re going to take and develop with an understanding of how to reach the goals. Where are we going? How are we going to get there? How do we know we’ve arrived?”

Listen Before You Speak
In laying out a social media strategy, effective research must take place to get a bigger picture of the organization, brand or cause. Listening to the social web community is the most effective research methodology. The organization need to listen to find out if someone or no one is talking about your organization or cause. Listening can be done through blog or search-engine search.
In conclusion, a communication strategy is fundamental in any social media campaigns. A well-established strategy is a well-informed strategy and it can only be done through effective listening. Listening will answer important questions essential in designing a plan to reach the organization’s social media goals. Questions such as: Why do you need a social media campaign?; Who are your consumers or stakeholders? How do you want to execute a campaign (i.e. FaceBook or Youtube)?; How do your stakeholders perceive your organization or cause? And, are you ready to openly communicate with your stakeholders and most especially with your critique? Once the organization has strong, honest and realistic answers to these questions then it is safe and clear to dive into social media head first or feet first.