In defense of today’s newspapers

Originally posted on

News about the execution came too late for many newspapers in the Philippines. (Image from The Guardian;  Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images) News about the execution came too late for many newspapers in the Philippines. (Image from The Guardian; Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images)

Filpinos rejoiced after Mary Jane Veloso was spared from execution in Indonesia, and then laughed at national newspapers which got their headlines wrong.

Veloso, sentenced to death in Indonesia for drug smuggling, was scheduled to be executed by firing squad early morning Wednesday.

Indonesia proceeded to execute eight death row prisoners but spared Veloso at the last minute. Veloso had maintained she did not know about the heroin found in her suitcase.

Filipinos around the world signed online petitions, joined street protests, and participated in night vigils. They woke up to learn about the positive development as well as to read morning papers with wrong headlines.

Facebook teemed with posts ridiculing newspapers’ frontpages. Inquirer’s banner headline read: “Death came before dawn.” Manila Bulletin had: “No delay in execution.” Abante…

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10 Super Simple Ways to Be a Better Writer

Originally posted on TIME:

themuselogoThis post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

By Alexandra Franzen

Do you enjoy writing? Does it come naturally to you? Do colleagues praise you for your crisp, articulate, Nobel Laureate-worthy email updates?

Congratulations! Because if you work in an office or run your own business, you’re likely to spend about a quarter of your workday doing one thing:


Oh, and that’s just the portion of your day that you’ll spend writing emails.

That figure doesn’t account for reports, proposals, best practice guidelines, blog posts, Facebook updates, tweets, texts, chapters of your forthcoming memoirs, that TED Talk script you’ve been tinkering with for the last 18 months, and the occasional hand-written “thank you” note.

We live in an era where the written word is King.

And if you’re going to write 40,000+ words this year—at minimum!—you…

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Not a Happy Jan After Blog Suspension

After more than two years of hiatus, I decided to revive my blog life on what I thought was a perfect timing–the anniversary month of Blogbastic or seven years since I started blogging. August is the Philippine National Language month, so I thought it will be better to blog in Filipino partly to celebrate the occasion. What a great comeback post it would have been as I blogged about the very political Philippine Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). I was calling on fellow Pinoys and expats to support the call for its abolition or any move towards a more transparent and more responsible way of assisting poor Filipinos.

Alas, after about three hours from posting (probably less than that), a friend gave a heads up that flagged my blog as violating its terms of service  and advertising policy. This is what I saw on my dashboard.

Screen shot 2013-08-26 at 3.13.38 PMI checked my blog. My horror to find out that after more than five years of active blogging on and on the 7th year anniversary month of my blog, Blogbastic fell silent.

Blog was suspended due to alleged violation of TOS and advertising policy

Blog was suspended due to alleged violation of TOS and advertising policy (Click on image for a better view)

I panicked and was emotionally stressed because of this. I thought one of the minions of the Philippine government got hold of my post and flagged my blog. So, I messaged from my dashboard and here. I also could not help it but rage tweeted about this. The timing could not be perfect as it was night in the US. So it took 15 excruciating hours of Blogbastic’s silence for them to get in touch with me.

Finally, Kris from emailed me and said that my blog was flagged by their bot but he failed to explain how and why my blog was flagged. My long time hiatus probably sent red flags to the bots and given that I blogged in my Mother Tongue and had so many links in my earlier blog post, it may have been enough for the bots to pull the trigger.

I’m just glad that I’m back and hopefully blogging away again, this time till death. ;) :P Oh and I’ll blog again in Filipino next time. :D

Isang Milyong Bayani ang Mamartsa Ngayon

ImageSa ngayon ay alam na ninyo ang animo ay pag-aaklas ng mga Pinoy laban sa katiwalian sa Pilipinas. Kumulo ang mga pangyayari dahil sa isang sumbong ukol sa lagi na nating nirereklamo–ang pork barrel. 

Ngayong araw ng mga bayani ay may mga bagong bayani na lalabas upang ipadama sa pamahalaan na ayaw ng karamihan ang dayain, alipustain at bastusin ng ganun na lang. Kaming mga Pinoy expat ay nakikiisa sa mga bagong bayaning pupunta sa Luneta.

Sa takot ni PNoy sa magiging resulta ng pagtitipon ngayong araw na ito ay inunahan na niya ng anunsyo na kanyang “bubuwagin” ang Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). Alam naman natin na pinilit buwagin ang “pork barrel” pero lagi, palagi na lamang na ang suma ay ang pagpapalit lang ng pangalan. Ang pagiging kumplikado at supistikado ng paraan ng pandaraya at pagnananakaw sa mamamayang Filipino.

Ayon ako na kailangan na buwagin ang pork barrel o kung anuman ang tawag mo diyan pero malamang ay mahirap na basta-basta tanggalin ito sa ating sistemang baluktot gaya ng nakaugat na korapsyon sa ating kultura. Kung totoo si PNoy sa kanyang panawagan na buwagin ang pork barrel ay tama ang kanyang panawagan ng “transparency” at “accountability”. ‘Di natin basta-basta mabubuwag ang pork barrel hangga’t ‘di natin naayos ang maliliit na detalye na kailangang maayos sa gobyerno. Sa puntong ito isang Facebook user ang nagpaskil ng kanyang opinyon ukol dito. Suma ng kanyang opinyon:

The Abolition of pork barrel system cannot be done overnight. The decision of the President is the most prudent move, given the inherent limitation that the system allows. The important thing to do is to not let up.

Gayunpaman, ako ay sangayon na kailangang mawala ang pork barrel. Mabagal na proseso subalit kung magawa ng tama ay maayos din natin ito. Kung malapit lang ang Luneta, siguradong sasama ako sa Milyong Martsa Laban sa Pork Barrel. Kahit ano ang edad mo, dapat nandun ka rin.

Kahit nasaan ka, makiisa. The world is a global village and with social network, it is just one barangay.

Five years on…

March 2006 was when I first officially tried to make a mark of chronicling my thoughts online. This was when Friendster used to be a bustling online hang out of friends. Lynette was the one who introduced me to blogging after, if I remember it right, she distributed her poetry booklet(?) through email (yes she spammed me! LOL! Love you Lynette ;)).

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The Push for a Blogging Association

Blogbastic is on (a very long) hiatus but I am “plurkbastic/twittertastic” in ‘short,’ I am active in microblogging. Microblogging gave a good alternative to a bit time-intensive blogging here at blogbastic (not that I’m complaining, I love writing but I am busy trying to finish my thesis). Microblogs provided me with an avenue where I can post anything about current events here and back home (Got hooked also on instagram lately! You can find my posts here.) However, recent events are provoking me to resurrect Blogbastic! I will roll (hopefully!) those posts in the coming weeks. As I try to slowly blog again (here, that is), I think it is fitting to blog about blogging. This is a way delayed reaction when most of the bloggers are winding down discussing the issue of Willie Revillame, Merci and Marcos’ burial among others (well, old news by the time you read this).

When the buzz about a bloggers association in the Philippines came alive, I decided to just watch the exchanges. After all, I was on blogging “hiatus” anyway and I am really not familiar with all the issues presented. What I know is that the call for a blogging association was reignited when a mainstream journo/columnist revealed that a public relations firm in Manila has a blogger in its roster. The blogger allegedly threatened a restaurant owner of giving it a bad review unless they give in to his/her demand. This incident, as they say, opened a can of worms and gave Pinoy blogging a bad name.

As Ms. Janette explained the vision to have a bloggers association in the Philippines was discussed about two years ago. Who wouldn’t support the idea? There were already groups of bloggers nationwide who formed their local associations anyway. And as pointed out by other bloggers, these bloggers associations are very active that some have regularly sponsored Word Camps and bloggers’ training in their localities or Region. While some associations or informal group persisted some group died naturally. However, I reckon that the purpose of forming a bloc persisted, i.e., promote blogging and support one another technically among others.

Some bloggers had merits in their decision not to join this initiative while others have taken a (very) personal reason not join, which I really pity. I think I have nothing more to add to the issue. If you want to read more, following are some links to some good reads about it as suggested by Jayvee:

I am not aware of any bloggers association here in Australia but I am aware that there was a bloggers’ conference held recently. This is different from the Word Camp of WordPress. My point here is they did not need an association to organise a big event. They were united by the blogosphere. However, the case of the “big bad blogger” should be treated as a red flag for every Pinoy blogger anywhere in the world. We know that one person or group can manipulate laws, regulations, policies or guidelines in the Philippines. So, the idea of a National Bloggers Association might be a good one. I think we need it to protect ourselves and help one if one needs it.

I do question, however, how the “manifesto” was circulated secretly and this does not sit well really to most bloggers, I reckon. While Tonyo explained the move behind this, I think this inadvertently showed that blogging used to be a class A-B activity and the move to ‘circulate’ the manifesto to a ‘chosen few’ implied that those at the C, D or E might muddle the thing. Despite this however, I strongly believe that it is in the best interest of everybody, whether you’re against it or not, to get the ball rolling. As I have pointed out earlier, unless we can trust our lawmakers and/or we are certain that there are laws that can adequately protect bloggers, then certainly we do not need any association that will promote and protect our rights as Pinoy bloggers.

If you agree with me, I believe it is time that you sign up  now. I just did.

Not again… (UPDATED)

I’m quite busy these past few months as I try to finish my thesis writing, however, a recent event urged me to blog about this to warn others.

As you’ve learned in my earlier post, my father almost fell as a scam victim. I reckon he came close to being one again this time.
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