Saturday, December 30, 2006

Tawa Muna Tayo with Manny Poohkiaw!

This one is very funny...let's all share a good laugh this time..and for those who were able to watch it already, cherish this hilarious Pinoy TV classic one more time..Happy New Year everyone! Cheers!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Pasko sa Kabikolan Songwriting Festival

28 December 2006

I am attending this event tonight. I think it is just right to support our very own Bicolano songwriters and in my humblest way, be able to help - in the words of the organizers - "keep the flame of BIKOL CULTURE alive".

And why not?

I am someone who finds joy and contentment in wishing and working for development of self and my community.

And I personally believe that a rich and vibrant culture is a sine qua non for development not only of a person, but more so, of an entire society. And the arts hold a very special role in making and keeping a certain culture dynamic, significant, and splendid. Indeed, who could ever discount the critical place occupied by the theater in, say, New York and London? Or by film in Japan? Or by visual arts and opera in Italy? Or by literature in Greece? Or by ballet in France?

Yet, who could ever undermine, much more deny, the importance of music to our very own Bicolano culture? And of our culture to our growth as a society? And of our artists to our history, our unfolding saga, and our destiny as a nation?

With this having been said, UP President Emerlinda R. Roman's rather interesting take on this comes into mind. She recently said --

"A people without art are a people without soul. We keep complaining that our nation seems stuck in crisis after crisis, and that neither politicians nor priests, nor economists seem able to do anything about it. Perhaps it is to our artists that we should turn for guidance, for it is the artists who remember our past, interpret our present and imagine our future."

'Makes sense, right?

And so, while, for some reasons, I have the greatest deference for writers, filmmakers, and musicians, I personally have so much respect for the artists of the world...

--- Such beautiful souls, and beautiful minds.

See you all there!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

'Chilled' City

Freezing breeze kept all of us in our comforters, pajama pants, socks, gloves, and jackets the entire night. While we intended to wake up very early this morning to maximize our time in visiting the city's tourist spots, the cool climate made it very hard for us to do so. And so we ended up waking up late and almost 'frozen'.

See, weather conditions here could be really nippy -- especially at dawn and even during daytime. I must say though that it's a great way to unwind and cool off (both figuratively and literally) after a whole year of hard work. The clean and green scenery make this travel all the more fun and relaxing. Today we will try to visit all the famous tourist spots of this city. For the meantime, we are just enjoying this unique SM mall that they have here. From its 'terrace', you could actually see the entire city which, I was informed, is about 5,000 ft above sea level. Tonight, we will cap our stay here by relishing a fireworks display that SM City Baguio has prepared for all its clients.

Tomorrow, we shall be traveling back to Manila to spend Christmas eve there. Until then, we shall be immersed in the wondrous sights and sounds of this 'chilled' city.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Stepping Back -- for a time

I believe that at some points in my perennially busy life, I just have to step back, ease up, and take care of 'home' and my 'sanity'. For the past months, I have been so swamped by work and other issues - both professional and personal. The last few weeks were killer ones as I have been working not only for my company but also for my community groups. As I left Naga yesterday, an Ayala mission was on its way to be of service to the victims of the supertyphoon. Sad as I was that I could not join my fellow Ayala Young Leaders, I felt that I must go -- for my loved ones and for my own good and sanity. At any rate, I believe I have also done what I could possibly do to help our fellow Bicolanos -- the last one being involved with the Paglaom Alliance that was able to raise more or less 2.5 million for the victims of Reming. Upon my return, I shall once again take lead in the local project of AYLAB-U for those greatly afflicted by the recent calamity. Subsequently, I asked AJ Apuyan to lead the Bicolano AYLC alumni in my absence in the said Ayala mission to Albay.

Meantime, I am now in this beautiful city of Baguio with my loved ones enjoying the quiet moments, the breathtaking views, and the chilly climate. On the 24th, we shall be in Manila to meet up with more family members for a Christmas celebration.

Bicol is where I will spend Christmas however -- the place that I could leave for awhile but I could never replace in my heart, albeit the exhausting responsibilities and the incessant weather disturbances.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Urgent SMS from AYALA

"3 truckloads of relief guds 4 2,500 families, on its way to Bicol. Pls pray 4 d success of ds ayala endeavor."

- Ralph Morales
Ayala Foundation

May I ask everyone to pray for the success of this noble mission. God bless all the donors and volunteers...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Poem for Bicol (from Tim Capellan)

My sincere gratitude goes to Mr. Tim Capellan, a kindred spirit, for this beautiful poem he sent to me for all of us here in Bicol via my friendster account.

I am sending you this poem that I wrote in 2001. I feel that it is very relevant now as you are experiencing one of the most difficult situations in Bicol


It is when we see the light that the woes of this world become bearable.

It is when we never stop from believing in human spirit, of hoping and weaving dreams that we will always emerge victorious, though sometimes wounded.

It is when we see the light that the pains in our heart become endurable.

It is when we continuously swim in the murky waters, full of hurdles and questions that mold us to become stronger and dauntless to face life's battles.

It is when we see the light that we start weaving our dreams even if sometimes we are in the verge of surrendering

It is when you see the light that you will once again start from hoping, and face every morning with renewed hope and energy

It is when we realize that everyone is imbued with a great spirit to soar and declare once more ... I will overcome.

thru his own friendster account

Mr. Tim Capellan, a management and marketing guru, is the managing director of Manila-based InAsia Management + Consultancy firm.

Development Communication defined

My earlier entry about Development Communication elicited comments and questions from friends who would like to learn more about this field. In response to their queries, I am posting hereunder the definition put forth by wikipedia for Development Communication for their reference.

"Development Communication refers to a spectrum of communication processes, strategies and principles within the field of international development, aimed at improving the conditions and quality of life of people struggling with underdevelopment and marginalization. Reflective of the field’s historical evolution, Development communication is characterized by conceptual flexibility and diversity in the application of communication techniques used to address the problems of development. Some approaches in the “tool kit” of the field include: information dissemination and education, behavior change, social marketing, social mobilization, media advocacy, communication for social change, and participatory communication. Communication for informed decision.Development communication is for the betterment of the society though raised from a particular group but affect the whole mass for better."

of my reflections about Development Communication and its handiworks in the coming entries.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Official Statement from Paglaom Alliance re: Pacquiao Event


With regrets, we would like to announce that the “Bangon Bicolandia Benefit Dinner with Manny Pacquiao” has been cancelled because Manny Pacquiao has backed out at the last minute and could not come to the scheduled event. Mr. Pacquiao cited the following reasons:

  1. Security risks and death threats to his life and those of his family.
  2. He is afraid that something may really happen to him due to a superstition that he believes in which says that it’s ominous or dangerous to travel within five days after transferring to a new house.
  3. Impending weather disturbance here in Bicol this coming week.

In this light, Paglaom Alliance had offered to return the money to its donors but most of them did not accept it and donated the same amount instead to support the cause of the group.

According to ABS-CBN, our partner on this event, Manny Pacquiao has issued a public apology on video which we plan to air once we get hold of the said material. Subsequently, he is also deeply sorry because he would not be able to come over naming the aforementioned reasons. And to compensate for his absence, Manny Pacquiao pledged to donate 1.5 million pesos instead for the victims of Supertyphoon Reming through Paglaom Alliance.

So as of this writing, we are happy to reveal that Paglaom Alliance has already raised 2.5 million in pledges and actual donations. This is a good 500,000 pesos more than the targeted amount. All of these shall go to programs intended to help the victims of the recent calamity as earlier announced.

All of these having been said, we would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to those who willingly shared their blessings even after knowing that Manny could not come anymore. Likewise, we would also like to sincerely thank Manny Pacquiao for his generous donation and we pray for his safety and the end of these threats to his life and those of his loved ones.

Thank you also to those who, in one way or another, supported the event and the alliance since the start. We hope to see more of you in the coming days as we move on to the next phase of our engagement. This is just the beginning.

Lastly, we would like to announce that instead of the benefit dinner with Manny Pacquiao, we are going to have a benefit concert featuring Jericho Rosales (with his band, Jeans) and Heart Evangelista with some of our top local performers. This shall be held at the Plaza Quezon on the same date and time, December 19, 8:00 PM. Admission is free.

Monday News and Nostalgia

Alright so now, it can be told, Manny Pacquiao could not come primarily due to security reasons and the "Bangon Bicolandia Benefit Dinner with Manny Pacquiao" was subsequently canceled. Paglaom Alliance's president, Carlo Buenaflor, had already announced the news during his interview at radio station DWNX this morning.

We had a prolonged meeting last night with him who is our president, Mr. Allan Cu, our Vice President; and other stakeholders regarding this.

After a little more than a week - the time given to us - of 'going through hell', if I may put it this way, preparing everything for this event, would it boil down to this? Our principal guest, the human symbol that we chose to lead us in making a dent on the lives of our afflicted brothers and sisters, won't be here. Could this be possible? This seems so surreal.

But any rate, cliché as it may sound, but there is really a reason for everything and that every cloud has its silver lining.

I don't want to talk more about this for the meantime, because in a while, Paglaom Alliance will post its official statement here and on its website so for those interested, you may just check back later to know the real score.

On the lighter side, although I slept at 4:00 AM already awhile ago, I woke up with high spirits after a good six-hour sleep. For some reasons, I love this kind of weather - cold, dusky, and even nostalgic. Just this one, without that wicked rain and strong wind associated with storms and typhoons.

And I had some good news both about/from work and about/from home. God is really good.

Have to run though, Mr. Buenaflor is inviting me for coffee (and most probably, another meeting regarding our other event tomorrow) at his new posh restaurant, Peaberry, which can be found at the ground floor of Avenue Square, Bicol's first, only, and premier lifestyle center.

We had wine last night at the same place with DWNX Station Manager Al Ubana, and the storm-chaser himself, Mike Padua and must say, that was one nice way to cap the night with the company of such reputable, amiable, and accomplished gentlemen. Not to mention the good-natured railleries and stories of travels, explorations, comings-of-age, marketing, fine dining, and of course, with Mike around, STORMS that made it all even more interesting and engaging. It also made things lighter for me given the latest development on the project.

Now, this time, a hot, invigorating coffee would surely be great to further stir up my day.

Ducks, Carlo, Mike, and Al at Peabery Fine Dine Restaurant

Sunday, December 17, 2006


This shall be all about my 'naked' sentiments and feelings as they occur inside of me; catching and dishing them out fresh - sometimes sizzling, may be chilled at times.

This is raw. This undiluted. It's anything goes.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

On December 19, Noypi Pride shall be at all-time high here in Naga! Don't miss this very rare yet gigantic moment in local history!

You have successfully made us believe that your fight is our fight, your troubles inside the ring (and perhaps even outside of it) have metaphoric connections to our own plight as a nation, and your triumphs celebrate and affirm the resiliency, courage, and greatness of the Filipino people. Your great love for our country and its people makes you an icon and champion of Pinoy pride. Indeed, you are a national treasure. And your coming over here in Naga City could be the biggest positive news and the biggest event as of late here in our locality. So, we deeply thank you Manny for inspiring us to get up every time we fall, for making us believe that dreams do come true only if we put our hearts on them and we cast our lot on God's grace and mercy, and for showing to us that we could be united after all if we only see ourselves as brethren through a shared past and stakeholders of a common destiny. Also, we deeply thank you for accepting Paglaom Alliance's invitation and for showing that you care for our fellow Bicolanos greatly afflicted by the recent calamity that struck us here. Your heart and soul really is of that of a true People's Champ. Mabuhay ka Manny! Mabuhay ang noypi!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Thursday, December 7, 2006

A Gathering for Solidarity and Prayer for the Victims of the Supertyphoon Reming: An Open Invitation

Here's the email I made especially for my Ateneo communities including Xavier Honor Dormitory and Gabay Scholars Organization, my organizations when I was in college (Above is the soft copy of our invitation) in connection with the 'Prayer and Solidarity Gathering' that we have organized for the victims of Supertyphoon Reming. Please feel free to make what I like to call "posts of support" for this project, for our less fortunate brothers and sisters greatly afflicted by this tragedy and even for all those who have volunteered their service in aid of the victims. However, expressed concern, empathy, and commiseration through a prayer of your own from whenever you are right now would help a lot --- doesn't matter if you are an Atenean or not. Iisang banka tayo dito. And for those who would like to help through donations and cash aid you may want to check my previous posts regarding this topic. Dios Mabalos po!

To my dearest Ateneo and Xavier Dorm community,

Greetings in Christ!

With the blessings of His Grace, Most Rev. Leonardo Z. Legaspi, Archbishop of Caceres, and the full support of the Church especially our clergy and brothers at the Holy Rosary Minor Seminary through Rev. Fr. Peter Berina, the 'artistic community' led by Mrs. Amelita Zaens, and the local government unit led by our city mayor, Hon. Jesse Robredo, we at Avenue Square pushed through with our plan of coming up with a prayer-filled gathering that aims at benefiting, uplifting and drawing all of us who were affected by the onslaught of Supertyphoon Reming more closely together. It shall also dedicate special moments to remember our less fortunate brothers and sisters who were afflicted the hardest and together as one community, be inspired and be of help to them in any we can.

Now with only a few things to make final, I am happy that such plan -- which was prompted by the all too moving sights and sounds of pains and sufferings, big and small, that we all have to endure in the aftermath of the storm -- is now about to be materialized. During these crucial moments, like when the monster storm was battering our place and its full strength was upon us and all seemed hopeless already, we, in the organizing committee, believe that our real hope and comfort rest in Him and His great love, mercy and benevolence and on our being one with Him and our ever-loving "Ina" through our heartfelt prayers and solidarity.

These having been said, I wish to invite all of you, on behalf of the men and women of Avenue Square and G7Holdings and all our partners on this project, to join us in this solemn gathering of people representing all sectors who are humbled by the calamity but emboldened and united by faith and concern for others other than ourselves.

This prayerful gathering will be on Saturday, 9 December 2006, 8:00 PM at Avenue Square ground, Magsaysay Avenue, Naga City with our beloved city mayor and archbishop to give their special messages for us. It shall be a very special night of heartfelt prayers, moving images, gentle moments of solidarity, and uplifting music.

Please see attached invitation.

Thank you very much. I also hope you could pass it to other 'Ateneo communities' especially in cyberspace/on-line.

I have the greatest hope that we shall be together again and come in full force with our prayers, our love, and that great Atenean Spirit to once again brighten up this battered and darkened home of ours.

Premum Regnum Dei!


Donald "Ducks" Bercasio
Marketing Communications Officer
G7Holdings/Avenue Square
ADNU Alumnus, Development Communication 2005
Xavier Dormer (Alumnus)
GABAY alumnus and former president

For more convenient viewing and "posts of support" to this project, please visit my blog. Dios po an magbalos!=)

December 19

Something really really BIG's gonna happen on this date at Avenue Square, Bicol's Premier Lifestyle Center, Magsaysay Avenue Naga City...that will surely KNOCK Naga City OUT of its normal life!

With this, we also hope to KNOCK OUT despair, sadness, and some, if not all, of the sufferings of those hardly hit by Supertyphoon Reming.

Bangon Naga! Bangon Bicolandia!

Stay tuned!

Another storm has developed just outside the Philippine area of responsibility!

According to our ever-reliable, Naga-based weatherman, Michael Padua, through his website, another storm is about to enter the Philippine area of responsibility tomorrow (Dec. 8), if not tonight. This tropical disturbance has already passed the South of Guam and has since then become active. It may hit Surigao, Samar & Bicol Region either Sunday or Monday (Dec 10 or 11) unless, perhaps, changes occur with the said system.
(See this satellite photo from the same website: Tropical Disturbance pointed by the yellow arrow)

According to another renown stormchaser, this potential typhoon was formed in the same place where Reming (International codename:Durian) did -- with the same conditions that paved the way for Reming to become a supertyphoon still there existing!

'Wag naman sana!

With the entire region still suffering from the destruction brought about by Reming, a monster storm considered by many to be the strongest typhoon to hit Bicol and the country in living memory, another typhoon would surely make matters worse for all of us here.

God help and protect us!

(Posted today: 7 December 2006)

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

This On-going Journey and Development Communication

Almost two years have already passed since I graduated from Ateneo de Naga University with a Development Communication degree. Until now, I still look back at how I got into the course some years ago with fondness and intentness. I started out in college as an accounting student, with the dreams of passing the board, becoming a topnotch CPA; and then eventually proceeding to take up law to become a hotshot lawyer. But as fate would have it, I ended up traveling to Manila to begin a rather premature career in Network Marketing, Business Development, Sales, and Training in one of the tall buildings along Ayala Avenue (Rufino Towers); going around the jungle that is Manila and some other places outside of it; returning here from that adventure or misadventure(?); transferring from my old Alma Mater to my new one; and shifting course from Accountancy to Development Communication to start my life here anew.

I am not going into the details about what transpired from the time when I temporarily dropped out of school to accept an offer to work in Manila to the time when I decided to go back here in Naga. I would not also talk about the reasons why I changed courses and took up Development Communication, nor would I talk about just what in the world was I thinking during that time when I accepted that offer in exchange of my studies, my editorial duties (as Managing Editor of our college publication) and my outside job(s) that time (I was an independent guy as early as I turned my back from those good ol' but callow high school days). All of these deserved separate posts.

What I would like to throw out this morning is that, firstly, it dawned on me that the journey I am into right now which has been dependent on and sustained by faith, hope and vision has been one exhilarating ride - a roller coaster haste, a life-changing cruise, an eye-opening campaign.

It has not been easy, but it has been worthwhile. I still feel that the place I long dreamt about, or the place promised to me by my dreams if I may put it this way, is still somewhere over that skyline and it could still be a long way to go. But for me, it's okay.

As long as I don't stand still, as long as I become a better person along the way, as long as there are still some little sparks of hope that I could always hold on on some darkened days and nights, as long as I could still breathe and live, as long as my reasons are still intact and right, as long as the vision of a good ending still looms on the horizon ahead, I only got three words for the 'gods of fate' - BRING IT ON!

Secondly, in my opinion, Development Communication, combined with my past experiences with the jobs I had and the further studies that I have taken since I graduated, has been a perfect fit to what I do now and what I intend to do in the future.

This leads me to think of some things - and if you may, I am sharing them to everyone who might be interested.

We all are at the threshold of defining changes that could take the world by storm in a matter of seconds, or a push of a button, and having been educated on, and inspired by how we could harness the boundless power of human communication to usher in a better world (or the opposite of it) for everyone brings me mixed feelings of great confidence, excitement, and fear.

Nowadays, many forms of communication media have once again been shaping and reshaping the way people live their lives - and the way they live their dreams. Phenomenal changes have been occurring inside and outside of us that are being brought to us by these revitalized and new breed of communication tools (i.e. art films, digital animation, digital photography, edgy advertisements, a more creative and bolder public relations, more sophisticated mobile phones, blog, virtual chat, 3D chat, on-line gaming, social media and video, interactive tv, and others) and who knows what is going to happen next.

At the end of the day, I believe that the ever-powerful media would be as noble or as evil as the one who use it. A great sense of responsibility, selflessness, oneness-with-the-world, and conscience is therefore more needed now than ever as the power of communication media and processes becomes more advanced and in a lot of ways, efficient, thus, for me, mightier; and as the world becomes smaller because of this , thus, for me, more vulnerable or reachable depending on which side you are at. That is where the principles and mission of Development Communication would be most critical.

People, especially communication specialists and media practitioners, should learn how to strategically harness the vast power of communication media and measures to bring about social and economic improvements, especially in developing countries like ours. Having said that, the same should not allow other people to utilize the same power to bring about the opposite for all the wrong reasons.

These people in whose hands this power has been 'entrusted', including myself, a DevCom grad, believer and practitioner, a community worker, and a Marketing Communication officer, and those who will, in one way or another, be engaged in some forms of media or communication works in the future, should take their journey up to a whole new level - with a vision not only for themselves but for others.

Sabi nga nila, kung hindi pwede ang BAYAN MUNA, pwede bang kahit papaano'y BAYAN DIN?

So what differs Development Communication from other communication-based perspectives or courses? For me, simply put, it's communication with a vision, with a heart, with a purpose, with a greater sense of responsibility. In business, it could be likened to doing business with a social conscience or pursuing business while espousing and championing the Corporate Social Responsibility and 'profit with honor or dignity' concepts.

Development should be the goal. Development of the human spirit and potential. Development of economic and human conditions. Development of the arts and culture. Development of local and international understanding. Development of vision and value-based leadership. Development of the other intricacies of life vital for the betterment of the human society.

I just hope Development Communication would someday enjoy the attention and the respect that, I believe, it truly deserves in this fast-paced, technologically-advanced, highly-wired, greatly-connected, yet oftentimes impatient, indifferent, troubled, and angry world.

(Note: This is a re-posted entry from my other blog.)

A Call for Help


Allow me first to take you out of your comfort zones and together let's journey through what is left of Bicol, particularly Albay, Legazpi City, Camarines Sur, and Naga City after Supertyphoon Reming ravaged our place.

The country has been declared to be under a State of National Calamity. This is practically due to the destruction brought by Super Typhoon Reming in most parts of our country, especially in the Bicol region which turned out to be the most devastated. As of December 4, 2006, more than a hundred dead bodies were buried in a mass grave in Legazpi City. The Philippine National Red Cross believes that death toll may reach more than a thousand. Records of the Office of Civil Defense show that 201,927 families of 832,549 individuals were affected. Of this figure, about 16,710 individuals are currently sheltered in evacuation centers. A big part of the region suffers blackout and is most likely to spend Christmas in total darkness.

Photo above shows a young survivor in tears. She lost her relatives to the mudflow that was triggered by the supertyphoon. More photos are uploaded here.

The Ayala Young Leaders Alliance (AYLA) has begun to collaborate with Ayala Foundation, Ateneo's Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan, Ayala companies, schools, organizations and institutions in launching a relief campaign to aid the victims of the super typhoon. We are one to encourage you to take part in this relief operation and be a channel to urge as many people to help.

Below are options to send in donations:

1. Thru Ayala Foundation's G-Cash:

Type DONATE_amount_mpin_AYALAFOUNDATION and send t0 2882.

Example: DONATE_50_1234_AYALAFOUNDATION and send to 2882.

2. Thru Direct Deposit Payment:

Deposit your cash donations to Ayala Foundation - Social Development, BPI account number 0011-1490-22.

Please fax us a copy of your deposit slip at (02) 813-4487, Attention: Operation Reming.

3. In Kind:

Donations in kind such as: Rice, noodles, canned goods, coffee, sugar, medicines (vitamins, paracetamol, mefenamic acid); bath and laundry needs (hygienic materials and detergent bars).

For Metro Metro Manila schools/companies, please advise the Ayala Young Leaders Secretariat of preferred dates for pick-up schedules. Manila Water Company's Sagip Buhay Team has once again expressed their willingness provide vehicles to pick-up donations.

Relief drive until December 15,

"Remember, if Christmas isn't found in your heart, you won't find it under a tree."
~ Charlotte Carpenter

Thank you very much in advance. Dios po an magbalos!


Ayala Young Leaders Bicol-Uragon (AYLAB-U)

thru yours truly, Donald Bercasio, Regional Coordinator


Ayala Young Leaders Alliance (AYLA)

thru Ralph Reuben C. Morales, Alumni Relations Coordinator