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Showing posts from October, 2011

filet mignon is NOT fish fillet

I got to meet Fernando Zobel de Ayala today! Aside from being from one of the most prominent families in the country, he is also the chairman of the Bank of the Philippine Islands Foundation. It is this foundation that gives the BPI-DOST Science Awards (then known as the BPI Science Awards the year I received it).
Wow, that was almost ten years ago!
Today's encounter with Mr Zobel de Ayala brought back good old (read: blooper) memories of when the 2002 awardees were gathered at the 1851 Club in Makati...
It was the first time I was going to eat lunch at such a fancy restaurant, and without my parents at that. I, with my fellow UPLB awardees, was looking at the menu and decided to get the filet mignon, thinking that this was a fish dish. Yes, my only other encounter with 'filet' at that time was Fillet-o-Fish.
When the filet mignon arrived, I was so startled that I blurted out loud what I was thinking: "Filet mignon is NOT a fish?!?" Instead, on my plate was a pi…


I had an idea of what I was in for when I went to STOMP's performance on the 22nd. A few days before the show, I heard the ensemble grace "The Morning Rush" radio show (RX 93.1) and make music using matchboxes. The performance was nothing short of AMAZING!
Watching the group perform on stage at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo, though, was a whole lot better than just listening to the group on radio. A lot of Filipinos who have seen its shows described STOMP's act as "astig". Truly, it was.
The cast tapped danced and used everyday things -- yes, including the kitchen sink -- to make music. While watching the cast, I remembered steel drum bands from 1980s children's shows. The opening scene made such an ordinary activity as sweeping the floor sound nice (forgive the pun). Even crumpling newspaper was made melodious!
An hour and forty minutes of percussion music could seem very long and monotonous if it weren't for the accompanying visual comedy. It&#…

the CCP: beyond the theater experience

I've been to the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) several times before but only to watch at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (the main theater) and at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (the Little Theater). It was a real treat for me when my sister and I visited the other parts of the CCP because I've never seen them before.
Pasilyo Victorio Edades While waiting in line at the balcony of the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo, I noticed a blank white wall which looked like it was being prepared for an exhibit, or just had seen the ending of a previous one. Maybe I'll see something posted here when I go back.Museo ng Kalinangang Pilipino The museum features a collection of traditional instruments from the Philippines, Korea, Japan, Thailand, China, India, and Indonesia. A look at all the instruments on display made me think that musical culture in Asian countries must be very similar: gongs, drums, stringed instruments, wind instruments. What makes each country's music u…

halloween came 10 days early

Halloween is typically celebrated every 31st of October. This year, however, grade school kids went trick-or-treating ten days before the real Halloween. Naturally, lollies were prepared in time for their arrival. When adults finish off the Halloween loot. Trick or treat!! πŸ˜ˆπŸ‘ΌπŸ‘ΈπŸ‘ΉπŸ‘ΊπŸ‘½ In the small spot in the Philippines where I stay in, Halloween is not as widely celebrated as in other nations. All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day are the bigger holidays in the country; people flock to the cemeteries to visit the departed. Hence, it's been a long time since I've put on a costume for Halloween (the other times I've donned costumes were Christmas events). Today, I wore my trusty Mickey Mouse (as the Sorcerer's Apprentice) costume while I handed out candy to kids guised as superheroes, princesses, and Hogwarts students. Their teachers, on the other hand, came as nuns and witches... they too got some candy.

"scientists are not necessarily good extension workers"

If research work by agricultural scientists do not make an impact in stakeholders' lives, then all that research has been in vain. In a world where agriculture is becoming more and more knowledge-intensive and technology-driven, farmers (who are not as well-educated as these scientists) may not understand the advances in agricultural science that could help them grow more produce with less investment and less environmental damage on increasingly limited land.

Thus, one of the most important people in scientific discovery and application is the agricultural extension worker.

One of the presenters during the GRiSP Global Science Forum was Phil Abrahams, the market development director of CABI. CABI is a non-profit company that aims to bridge the knowledge gap between the scientists in the lab and the farmers in the fields. It thus functions as an extension worker. During his presentation, Mr Abrahams mentioned that scientists are not necessarily good extension workers.

I agree with…

Review: Le Bistro

One Saturday, my sister, Anna, and I opted to eat lunch at the Paseo Uno de Calamba, a commercial complex that features newly opened restaurants. Tucked within the commercial complex is a coffee shop called Le Bistro. We got curious about this restaurant because it's the most accessible coffee shop for us, at least currently (a mere five-minute drive on a good day); not to mention that the restaurant's subtitle is "Sustainable Coffees". According to the serving staff we asked, "sustainable coffees" mean that the coffee beans they use are sourced from local farmers.

This, to me, is an example of helping farmers lead better lives -- something that isn't far from what Jollibee Foods Corp. is doing with its local vegetable and rice farmer-suppliers. Both companies ensure that these farmers have income by providing a stable market for their produce.
Ironically, we veered away from the coffee selections because we went there for lunch and because I don't d…

listening in at the GRiSP Science Forum 2011

A lot of scientists in the different agricultural think-tanks within the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) work on developing new and improved crop varieties to help reduce hunger and poverty all over the world. One of the research programs within the CGIAR is the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP). It makes efforts on rice improvement more structured across the different CGIAR centers that work on this particular crop. Ultimately, GRiSP aims to help rice farmers adapt to climate change and to make rice production more profitable for farmers and healthier to the environment.
Last week, participants in GRiSP gathered at the International Rice Research Institute headquarters for the Global Science Forum and the annual program review of the Asian part of the program. The major theme of the lectures and the discussions can be summed up, in my opinion, through Steve Jobs' message at the launch of the iPad 2:
“... Technology alone is not enough—it’s …

bye, Steve!

He's one of the people I regard very highly because he's a great leader (and I've mentioned him as an example in the leadership course I attended a month back). He had a vision for Apple, Inc. and he cleared a path for the rest of the people in the company so they could share in his vision. 
Leadership skills aside, I look up to him because I think that he's one of the most gifted communicators around. True, there are a lot of accomplished scientists who publish in high impact journals in their specific fields; but their so-called impacts are not as tangible as Steve Jobs': despite being a computer science genius (a nerd, if you will), he achieved pop icon status in his lifetime, something not every published scientist accomplishes. He did this by effectively sending a clear message every time via uncluttered slides and an engaging story. He never talked in tech-laden sentences during the expos; his focus was always how to make the people understand and want the p…

motorcade with lots of motorbikes; very few helmets

While on the road one morning, I came across a long vehicular procession which is part of the anniversary celebrations of a fraternity. I am not a fan of fraternities I've encountered so far and I'm definitely NOT impressed by this particular one because of its disregard to road safety.
Most of the participants in the motorcade were riding motorbikes. Most of these motorbike riders were not wearing protective gear on them. In lieu of such personal protective equipment (such as the required helmets), a lot of these bike riders chose to wear Chewbacca/ewok wigs (to my chagrin). To make matters worse, the riders drove carelessly, at high speed, on the freeway.

Dear motorbike driver: looking like an ewok may be fancy and trendy but it will not protect you in a road crash, especially when you're driving like a drunk person on the fast lane of the freeway, endangering both yourself and the other commuters on the road!
How does this apparent lack of concern for safety reflect up…

a decade of tried and tested road-trip playlists

On long drives, I normally listen to one album one way, and then I switch to another album on the return trip. Since I just got two more albums to listen to recently, with one of them being Maroon 5's Hands All Over, I thought I'd list down the albums that have been, or still are, in my road-trip playlist. It's become an eclectic mix of musical genres in the ten years that I've been driving.
In chronological order of year of release...
Hands All Over, Asian tour edition
Maroon 5 (2011)

Live in Berlin
Sting (2010)

David Cook
David Cook (2008)

Christmas Chants
Gregorian (2006)

18 Singles
U2 (2006)

Il Divo (2005)

The Masterpieces
Gregorian (2005)

Side A (2004)

Greatest Hits
Eraserheads (2004)

Il Divo
Il Divo (2004)

Santana (2002)

The CompanY (2001)

Much Afraid
Jars of Clay (1997)

Live! 10th Anniversary Concert
Side A (1996)