Thursday, August 26, 2010

4th Runner Up Miss Universe Venus Raj

4th Runner Up Miss Universe Venus Raj
August 24, 2010 -- I was up early that day to witness the live coverage of the Miss Universe 2010. Just like every Filipino, I was hoping that Ms. Venus Raj, the country’s representative would take home the crown. Ms Raj journey to Miss Universe has been full of trials and controversies making her very famous and an item to each and every household.

I turned the TV on and turned on my laptop to check my daily emails and update my facebook. Right after I have posted a shout out saying that I’m watching Ms. U – I am getting more updated details of the MsU coverage so I tried to watch an online coverage instead.

Venus has been a crowd favorite. Well not to mention a huge crowd of Filipino supporters in Las Vegas that night – she was one of the candidates that stood out. Aside from Miss Philippines, I was also rooting for Miss Jamaica.

Venus made it to top 5 – enough for every Filipino to be proud of her.  Unfortunately, most of the people were not satisfied of her answer.  Because of that, she became a talk of the town and people in every corner of the country are not saying good things about her because of frustration. She could have been the next Miss Universe.    

My personal reaction to what happened was posted to my facebook account.  I find it difficult to understand why people has to blame her.  This was my posted shout out where I got so many comments.  
 just a thought : if there was one person who wanted to win the title so bad - it was her - the pressure was not easy to handle- so give her a break - she deserves the applause and even a standing ovation not endless criticisms - if that was you, i bet you can't even make it to the final 15. (Peace and love!)

Different people has various reactions.  However, what's good about what happened is that Venus gained instant popularity (more popular than Miss Mexico).  Anyway, Miss Venus Raj -- you did well.  I give you a well-deserved applause and a standing ovation.  Philippines is proud of you.

Other videos worth watching  :

On the lighter side.  Check these Venus Raj fans.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Supposed Open Letter from Bang Lu Min (Survivor, Quirino Hostage Bloodbath)

7:45 pm Wednesday, April 25, 2010 
- just a few hours right after I have published the adapted article "An Open Letter from Bang Lu Min", I received a comment from an anonymous person. The comment is as follows  :
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "An Open Letter from Bang Lu Min (Survivor, Quirino...":
the name of the alleged survivor in the blog (bang lu min), it isnt in the official tourist manifest
please remove this fake letter 

So I tried to search for an official list and and true enough, the name Bang Lu Min is not in the official list.  This left me wondering how can anyone write a fake letter about that hostage taking?  What is the author's intention behind authoring this letter?
I have no wrongful intentions about publishing the letter.  For future references, you can see how people have reacted to this very sad event.  If true enough that this is a fake letter, I truly wonder why and what lead this author to write this.  

Today is a national mourning day for the victims of this tragic event.  And I am offering my prayers to the family of the victims and their families.  

*  *  *  *

Quirino Grandstand hostage drama - August 23, 2010

Warning  : Letter is unverified - read and believe at your own risk.

Mr. Mendoza was already upset even before he saw on television what the policemen did to his brother. The other tourists who remained inside the bus were complaining. Wei Ji Jiang wanted to go to the bathroom. Dao Chi Yu was hungry and the rest were just groaning and whining like they have forgotten that our lives rest in Mr. Mendoza's hands.
The hostage taker, as you know him was really nice. He treated us okay and even let the elders and the children leave the bus. He said your policemen treated him unfairly. He was a policeman too and was accused of doing something he had no knowledge of. But your government didn't listen so he used us to get everyone's attention.
Things would have never turned for the worst if he didn't see how his family was dragged out of their house and taken into custody. He was watching the news all the time as we huddled around each other behind the bus. He shouted some words in your language then started shooting in the air. A girl about my age started screaming. Mr. Mendoza demanded her to stop but she didn't understand English. God, he had to slash her neck with a knife just to put her to rest. Her boyfriend who tried to hit him was shot in the head.
Tension was rising. You can see in his face how scared and confused he was. The bus driver ran away leaving him alone with strangers from a distant land. I can see him walking across the aisle, sometimes pointing his machine gun to one of the tourists. But he tried his best not to hurt us, especially those who really cooperate.
I guess its in your nature not to inflict pain on others unless it was necessary. I remember him saying that he will free us before sundown and implored us to forget everything when we return home. But his words don't matter now. The policemen were trying to force their way in, while we all lied down to shield ourselves from bullets. Mister Mendoza blindly shoots at his enemies which I think kept them from rescuing us. I hear sobs under the chairs. Some were even shouting the names of their loved ones even when the air merely eat their words. Kevin Tang tried to escape when the glass door was was shattered, but one shot and he slumped on the floor with blood gushing from his mouth.
Heavy rain pitter-pattered on the rooftop. In old Chinese saying, it means an end to a struggle. Finally, somebody was able to open the escape hatch at the back of the bus. Freedom. But I knew Mister Mendoza was still alive. I knew he was just waiting for a chance to strike back at his enemies. So I told those around me not to escape. Let the authorities come for us instead. Then there was gunfire. He was firing at his enemies with a machine gun. Those who were at the escape hatch fled abandoning us once again. It's like a nightmare with no end and to wake up means a certain death. Then somebody from outside the bus threw a canister. It forced out a black smoke that is so painful to the eyes and putrid smelling to the nose. People started screaming. We cannot breathe. Some ran in front of the bus but Mister Mendoza warned them of stray bullets. It was too late. One was hit on the head, the other was hit on the shoulders. Bullets were now flying. Its like the authorities thought we were all dead. Mister Mendoza finally realizes his mistake and said sorry to everyone, dead or alive. He then ran towards the front of the bus where he would meet his maker. As he passed by my chair with bullets whistling overhead, I clutched my hand on the velvet curtain and wrapped it around my face. All I could think of was to stay alive - for my child who is waiting for me back in Xinjang. I know I will survive, I will come home.

---- CREDITS TO GMASeven blogspot where article was adapted

Quirino Hostage Taking Drama

Rescue attempt: Philippine policemen take position as they start their
assault in a bid to free hostages from Hong Kong who remain on the
hijacked tourist bus, yesterday which was seized earlier by an ex-
policeman armed with a high-powered assault rifle in Manila. Pic/AFP
August 23, 2010 - I was in front of my computer trying to cope up with the backlogs of my job when a news flashed and announced a hostage-taking happening in Quirino Grandstand. That was around noon. What caught my attention was the fact that the hostages were Chinese nationals.

Personally, I have a passion for the Chinese people. Not only that I was married to half-Chinese and I've got two half-Chinese girls but I have made so many Chinese friends from years of living in Chinese mainland.

It was all over the television. Even CNN covered it.

Adapted and credits belong to

Manila Hostage situation: High drama in high definition

President says media coverage helped hostage-taker, as he monitored events on TV and radio

President Benigno Noynoy Aquino III is seeking further refinements in the parameters of media coverage during crisis situations following the dramatic hostage crisis that ended in carnage yesterday.

President Noynoy Aquino said he plans to meet with media organisations to forward his agenda after he lamented that full media coverage of the hostage crisis apparently gave the hostage-taker a "bird's eye view" of the situation and hampered government actions to resolve the problem.

Rescue attempt: Philippine policemen take position as they start their assault in a bid to free hostages from Hong Kong who remain on the hijacked tourist bus, yesterday which was seized earlier by an ex-policeman armed with a high-powered assault rifle in Manila.

President Noynoy Aquino, in a press conference early this morning at the Palace, explained that the government did not impose any news blackout during the 12-hour standoff since it violates the freedom of the press.

But he later recognised the need for "a redefinition of the limitations" set for the media to allow the government to do its job during a crisis situation.

"If we ordered the news blackout, you'd tell us that we were guilty of censoring you which is frowned upon by the Constitution. We cannot censor you for things you are bound to do. We did not vow transparency. But that actually points out to the possibility of further refining the rules after the Peninsula incident," the President said.

"We will be talking to you. We'll come up with terms and conditions that will help each of us achieve our objectives," added the President, who has expressed condolences to the families of the eight tourists killed in the hostage crisis that unfolded live on television.

Mendoza, who demanded his job back, was killed during a gunfight with police commandos that stormed the bus filled with Hong Kong tourists. He reportedly used his captives as human shields.

"To a certain degree, he might have a bird's eye view of the entire situation which does not help the security forces in carrying out the mission," the President said.

Mendoza was monitoring the events in the television and radio "all the time" with the "nonstop coverage of all media outlets," he added. He noted that the hostage-taker was distressed and "something pushed him to the edge." "Who were the people he was talking to? What were the limitations imposed on media? None," he said.

"Everyone wants to get latest tidbit and each time he got a new piece of information that obviously factored into his equations and it didn't help our security forces. But at the same time you have to balance the need for people to know. There has to be limits as to what should be divulged to somebody," he added.

The President earlier defended the actions of government forces, saying the police initially thought the hostage-taker would surrender but the situation later deteriorated.

Aquino also disclosed that he has apologised to the government of Hong Kong.

Survivor Slam
A survivor of the hostage siege accused the authorities of acting too late. The woman, who identified herself as Leung, told reporters that her husband was killed as he tried to stop ex-policeman Rolando Mendoza from attacking other passengers on the bus. Leung, still in shock, as she was carried out from the bus following a 12-hour standoff, demanded to know why Manila police came to their rescue so late. "It's too late. Why were there no one to help us after so many hours?" she said. 

MiD DAY provides readers with a blow-by-blow update of the hostage crisis:
10.00 am: Police receive a report that former senior inspector Rolando D Mendoza commandeered the Hong Thai travel bus with license plate TUU 799 bus with an M-16 rifle and several short firearms.
Minutes before noon: A seventh hostage was released.
2.19 pm: The eight hostage was released. Around this time, the Philippine National Police (PNP) assigned Superintendent Orlando Yebra and Chief Inspector Romeo Salvador to negotiate with Mendoza.
4.37 pm: Another Filipino on board the tourist bus, was released.
Around 6.30 pm: Two gunshots were heard from the bus. Over a radio interview. Mendoza threatens to kill the hostages if the SWAT teams would not vacate the area.
7.30 pm: Alberto Lubang, the driver of the bus, was released. He later told the police that all of the hostages in the bus were shot dead.
7.37 pm:  The police assault team start to surround the bus. They start to smash the main entrance door and front windshield of the bus with a mallet.
8.40 pm: SWAT members throw a teargas into the bus through a side window.
8.41 pm: Gunshots are heard. Eight Hong Kong nationals come out from the bus alive.
Around 11:00 pm: Health Secretary  said the hostage crisis killed nine, including the hostage-taker, and injured eight others. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Walk the Extra Mile...

We have been hearing this phrase every now and then but do we really know what it means?  Let me explain this in a way how I understand it.

My life has been through a lot of challenges, ups and downs, and dramas you can ever think of.  Was I sorry about them? I do sometimes but mostly, I’ve learned a lot on what life had offered me.  I believe it made me realize and understand other people more.  It made me stronger.  It made me a better person.  And more importantly, I learned to walk the extra mile. 

What exactly is “walking the extra mile”?

At work, walking an extra mile means simple things such as displaying a cheerful and positive attitude even when you are feeling down.  That is not easy.  It is putting extra work without expecting an extra pay.  In other words, walking an extra mile is working beyond what is expected of you.

In relationships, walking an extra mile happens almost all the time.  In times of arguments or misunderstandings, one has to try to understand the other even if it means understanding what is impossible.  Or maybe one has to give up something important to make the other happy.  Walking an extra mile means sacrificing something to make the other happy.

For friends, walking an extra mile is almost equivalent to being BFF’s (best friends for life).  Walking an extra mile is simply being there whatever happens.  Lying and standing up for your friend regardless he or she is doing the right thing.  Walking an extra mile for friends is camaraderie all the way.  It’s the same as “I’m with you all the way”. 

I have walked my extra miles in all different kinds of relationships.  I worked, I was in relationships, I’ve got great friends --- I will walk an extra mile for anyone I love and for anyone important to me. 

Walking an extra mile I would say would bring wonders to you and your life.  It brought me good jobs that I will always be grateful of.  It gave me two wonderful girls who are considerate and sensitive of my needs and other people's.  It gave me friends who are always ready to be there with me at all times.  All these years, I’ve walked an extra mile….and I know my family, my kids, my friends are willing to walk an extra mile for me.

What are you waiting for? Walk that extra mile…….it’s all worth it. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Be Grateful for The Helpers Around You

All my life, I grew up with one or more household help. Seriously, being the youngest, I grew up with someone doing almost anything and everything for me. I’m fortunate I would say. I grew up with a family driver to take us to and from school and household maids to cook, clean, and do the laundry for us.

Then the big decision came when I need to move abroad tagging along my 2 and 5 years old daughters. The big challenge came. I have no one to rely on except for myself. I’ve got no nannies (we call them yaya in the Philippines) that would look after my little kids while I work. I learned to do everything. I learned how to cook (I know how to – but I’ve never been a full-time cook for my family since). Do the laundry --- which was quite easy because of the washing machines. I learned how to iron our clothes (which I hate most). And I learned to clean and keep everything in order. (I guess you’d agree that it would be impossible to keep everything in order when you have two toddlers). But I survived. I had 8 wonderful years abroad learning to become independent.

Now, I am home. I am back to the comforts of having someone do almost everything for me. Since I got back in 2007, I have a personal helper that wash our clothes, prepare my kids’ things, and keep everything in order. Honestly, I have never felt so grateful. She has been with me and my girls for three long years now. It saddens me to think that she needs to leave her home to help me raise my kids, while she has two younger sisters just having the same ages as my daughters. I have never treated her as a mere help. I have always treated her as part of my family. I would always joke about that we’ll grow old together.

I am thankful for my help, Inday. She’s the most reliable person I have ever met. She is very honest and she never complains. I have big plans for her. I want her to go back to school to get her own degree. I don’t want her to leave me and my daughters but I know time will come when she needs to go out and have her own family. I wish that day won’t come because I don’t know what to do without her. When I decided in 2007 to really make it on my own as a single parent, she had been there for me --- up to now.

I am grateful of Inday and I will forever be. Thank you Father God for giving me a help like her.