Friday, August 31, 2007

Awesome September 2007 events at Avenue Square

It's Time - for the Standards of Richard Poon
Friday, 7 September 2007
Al Fresco area

Don't we love the standards? Don't we love to rediscover and bask, time and again, in the warmth, the eloquence, and the undying greatness of the timeless classics?

Don't we want to listen to the splendid musical works from the likes of Frank Sinatra, Harry Connick, and Tony Bennett? How about some new, fresh arrangements of the other well-loved standards of Rod Stewart and Michael Bubl
é, the crooner himself?

If we do, then we will appreciate and even allow Richard Poon (pronounced P
ün) to take us to a cruise through the various eras of great music and wondrous memories - amidst the soothing ambiance of Avenue Square's al fresco dining area.

For the younger ones or souls, do not fret, because he also has a repertoire of contemporary hits, albeit arranged in an "old school" way, that delights and warms the hearts.

It's time - for the standards of Richard Poon.

Coming to you this Friday, September 7. Admission is free.

Just be there; and - of course - enjoy.

Nine Days of Penafrancia (Bob Mendoza Images)
September 7-16, 2007
Main Lobby

September, as we know, is the month of Peñafrancia festivities, a regional fiesta drawing in countless devotees from all the Bikol region as well as pilgrims from all over the country, to Our Lady of Peñafrancia, our Ina.

This September, we will also witness a one-of-kind photo exhibit dubbed as 9 Days of Peñafrancia: Bob Mendoza Images. The exhibit marks many firsts: it is the first-ever one-person photo exhibit to be held in the Bikol Region and the first-ever single-event photo exhibit on Our Lady of Peñafrancia.

9 Days of Peñafrancia: Bob Mendoza Images is a product - a certain culmination- of a 10-year coverage of Penafrancia festivities by Dr. Bob Mendoza. A practicing eye doctor in Naga City, Dr. Bob, as he is fondly called, is a native of Pasay City. He moved to Naga City in 1997 and has since then become a devotee of Our Lady. Uniquely, the doctor expresses this devotion through photography. He was, in fact, the chief photographer of the coffee-table book Ina and the Bikol People published in 2002.

Dr. Bob Mendoza has selected the 50 of his best photos for the exhibit in a range that captures the dimensions of faith and arts: from the profane to the sacred, from the human and the divine, from the festive to the solemn. Images abound in the event, including those around the novena to Ina, the Traslacion, when the Virgin is carried to the old cathedral; and the Sakay, when She is brought back to her Shrine by the river.

This photo exhibit is sponsored by Canon Philippines , Avenue Square, and organized by Ina nin Bikol Foundation.

The activity is also a fund raiser. All photos to be exhibited are for sale, with proceeds going to a fund to be used for the poverty alleviation programs of Ina nin Bikol Foundation, the foundation Dr. Bob has been supporting since 2000.

The exhibit will be formally opened on September 7 at 9AM and will run until the 16th."

-- Most of the information come from Fr. Wilmer Tria himself, Founding Chair of Ina nin Bikol Foundation and Project Director of Ina and the Bikol People: A Journey of Faith, via email to The Quackroom.

Cidade de Bossa (City of Bossa)
with Sitti Navarro

Thursday, 13 September 2007
Avenue Convention Plaza

(Full story/article coming, as we are making final all our 'surprises' for all of you, you see we just keep on adding and adding 'surprises' (like, hmm, who knows we might give away some famous signature flip flops? *winks*), as this Brazilian-inspired event also serves as our way of saying thank you to all Cidade de Bossa denizens, the part of our clientèle who are into good music, new things/concepts, theme parties, Bossa Nova, or Samba, or anything Brazilian. Meanwhile, rest assured that this one will be better, way much better, than Sitti's first stint here at Avenue Square. Prettier, bolder, lovelier, Sitti will surely caress your ears and win your hearts again for the nth time in a more special and intimate way (with new songs to boot!). Plus, things to watch for include the fine Brazilian bar chow to be prepared by our resident chef; Brazilian cocktails; the other fascinating and invigorating sounds, music, and even 'images' of Brazil; the chance to meet up with fellow 'denizens', many of whom I've known to be, by experience, really beautiful people inside and out; and other fun gimmicks to help you 'loosen up', 'mingle', 'chill', and 'indulge'. The only question is: voce faz parte disso?)

This is just an installment. More events may be made final soon and should be posted here. Please click on the pictures to see bigger versions. Stories to follow. Dios mabalos po!
Update: "Cidade de Bossa" tarp design not the final one. Will just update tomorrow. Thanks!)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Of Avenue Plaza Hotel updates, plus, plus; MLQ3 link; Bicolano Bloggers Summit; grateful thoughts; and apologies

1. THE QUACKROOM. First of all, let me just thank everyone who has made me realized that The Quackroom, this humble site of mine which I still consider to be in its 'formative stages' if you may, is being read or at least being checked regularly for updates by a good number of people (na pala). I appreciate your emails and your text messages. Thank you for your comments and suggestions. Keep those insights coming, please. I also appreciate those who personally let me know that The Quackroom is within their radar, so to speak, and that I am not, after all, just talking to myself or just to my honey Erica who also writes, blogs, and wonders; Mr. Tim Capellan of Unscathed with whom I have had a series of discussions in the past, the most animated being on my post that first got a link from Manuel L. Quezon III (one of those young personalities whom I really respect; the country's leading pundit-cum-blogger; and someone I personally would love to have as a Guest-of-Honor/Guest Speaker/Special Guest in the proposed Bicolano Bloggers Summit with Ms. Janette Toral whose Filipina Writing project is another addition to her impressive list of creative and great projects, Ms. Shari Cruz, Ms. Bianca Gonzales, Mr. Jim Paredes, and the Neil Gaiman himself being in my personal wish list as well. Dream on Ducks.); or to my former seatmate/classmate Irvin of Filipinayzd, whom I would like to congratulate for his leadership, initiative, and efforts that paid off recently when his project, the Bikol Wikipedia, has been conditionally approved. I hope I could soon be of help to your cause bro. Malugaran lang talaga ako ning dara-dakula, makontribwer man ako. Pasensya na muna tabi Vin.

Big thanks also for those who voted for, campaigned for, and supported my entry in the Wika 2007 Blog Writing Contest spearheaded by I also would like to congratulate the men and women behind these noble projects (the website and the contest), some of them are proud Bicolanos too like Andianka and Bratyfly who celebrates her 2Xth birthday by giving away "a 1 year domain registration (plus a webhost?) and a surprise gift to two lucky commenters" as a "way of saying “Dios Mabalos Po!” for supporting her website. Happy Birthday again Braty -- ba ba bam! Ha-ha! :)

2. THE AVENUE PLAZA HOTEL. However with regard to some of the emails, I apologize to those who inquired about matters that concerned The Avenue Plaza Hotel because sadly, I do not have all the answers to your queries. Further, while I do have for some of your questions, I chose to refrain from answering to give way to the already activated management team of Naga City's newest hotel to function officially. I have already forwarded your emails to them. But rest assured that I personally asked them to respond to you as soon as possible for your convenience. Anyway, thank you so much for your interest. (Update: The Avenue Plaza Hotel website is now ready to be activated - very soon, as I was told by Mr. Pedrito Quiamjot, the general manager of APH. I'll update in awhile. I will just confirm. Thanks.)
(Update 2: Magno "Dude" Conag of Mobius Strip Studios just called me up and confirmed that there are still some nitty-gritty about the APH website that are being perused by the management. So in lieu of the official website, a "Splash Site", as what Dude calls it, or a temporary site will be activated tomorrow where you may view basic information about the hotel and reserve rooms online.)

Lastly, currently, the hotel, as revealed by my latest conversation with my immediate boss and G7Holdings Corp President, Mr. Allan S. Cu, is already almost fully-booked for September. And for all those who have been asking/raising their concerns about this, yes, the hotel will be operational this September (Update: September 7 to be exact, according to Mr. Ped,with the Philippine Association of Medical Technologists (PAMET) as its first institutional client. PAMET will have its Southern Luzon convention here in Naga City, as confirmed by Mr. Rexy Alvarez, the amiable RMT of G7Bank and the FLC Foundation, Inc, the corporate social responsibility arm of the FLC Group of Companies for which I previously worked as its Program Director/OIC). You may have already heard that it had its soft launch last July 28, this year, which I blogged about here although almost taciturnly. I promised more updates, but alas, they did not come. To which, I sincerely apologize again. Sigh, so many things to do, so little time.

3. BLOGGING & MORE APOLOGIES. Thankfully, Naga City's most essential blogger, Willy Prilles, fluently reported about the event on his blog. On the same post, by the way, Willy also told us about Dr. Danilo Gerona's conferment of the rank Professor by Fr. Joel Tabora, Ateneo de Naga University's president, "in a celebration that overflowed with food and wine". Highly deserving; my congratulations to Professor Danny and his family. The read brings me back to the many meaningful encounters that I had in the past with him, one of which I even blogged about. I am not sure if you have noticed but in that post I once again stated that the article would be continued. Until now, the continuation is yet to be written. Sigh, you know what's coming your way, more apologies. The reflection of Dave Bercasio, my cousin and former Executive Director of Naga City People's Council (and whom I wish would resume blogging again soon), about the need of a blogger to actually allocate certain portion of time everyday to blog leaps into mind. But then again my failure to follow through some of my posts is not just about the lack of commitment on my part to allocate time, but also about the lack of time/available time altogether especially during those times when I was very busy with a lot of things (which even induced me to step back at the end of the year). Good thing that I am already joined by another Atenean and Development Communication graduate,Mr. Stephen Paul Dichoso, in the Marketing/Events department of Avenue Square. Paul is a former Disc Jockey for Ateneo's Beat FM, former Media Studies Society officer, and former trainer for Governor L-Ray Villafuerte's English Proficiency Program. Watch for his own blog to come out soon, or so he says.

4. BICOLANO BLOGGERS SUMMIT. There is a proposed Bicolano Bloggers
Summit, tentatively set for November. I have been meeting with Mr. JR Relloso, a seasoned Marketing instructor from Ateneo de Naga who is volunteering his group to help Bicolano bloggers organize this event. I wish Bicolano bloggers can close rank and make this dream a reality. Avenue Square's Convention Plaza can be a possible venue for this event. Avenue Square is a possible sponsor. If there are Bicolano bloggers out there who may have stumbled upon this post, please feel free to air your ideas regarding this proposal. We are set to meet again probably next week, so I wish to invite any Bicolano blogger who might be interested to help organize this to join us. Just let me know, please, in advance if you wish to attend.

5. AWESOME SEPTEMBER 2007. Awesome September, one of our most successful campaigns last year, is in for another run this year. In my previous post regarding this, I revisited the events that took place under its banner and also called on possible corporate sponsors that may want to partner with us this year. I am happy to share that a number of reputable companies have already joined us for this year's staging of Awesome September events, which include San Miguel Beer Corporation, Smart, Studio 23, ABS-CBN, MOR Radio, Coca-Cola, Goodyear, Suzuki, Bayan Telecommunications, Energizer, Eveready, Schick, Shakeys, Max's, and The Coffee Beanery. In connection with this, let me say that I am quite impressed with the aggressiveness of homegrown business houses like Naga Orienatal WOK (Naga City's only authentic Chinese restaurant) and Lisam Enterprises (Bicol's largest and most trusted one-stop-shop for car owners/buyers) and its newest sibling, the Autoyard Detailing Center. Of course, we are also happy to know that our long-time partners are still there for us like the City Government of Naga, the Camsur Watersports Complex, Bicol Mail, Soleil/Havaianas, and my favorite news and current affairs radio station, DWNX. Not to mention all our tenants here at Avenue Square. Negotiations are still on-going with other groups, institutions, and companies.

6. AWESOME SEPTEMBER EVENTS. Details tomorrow. Promise na talaga. Sure na yan. For the meantime, here is a peek at one of the events everyone should look forward to here at Avenue Square, Bicol's first and premier lifestyle c
enter, via this teaser placed hereunder.

God bless everyone

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Love Generation, Let's be!

Here's to all bloggers, all people, and the Pinoyblogosphere (and Bratyfly)!


Be well! Be the Love Generation!

Come on! Let's all be the "Love Generation" bababam!

Bam, bam, baba bam, bam,
baba bam, bam, baba bam babam.......

From Jamaica (Philippines) to the world,
this is just love,
this is just love,

Why must our children play in the street,
With broken arms and faded dreams,
These all's up to everyone that you meet,
don't you worry, it could be so sweet,
Just look to the rainbow, you will see
sun will shine till eternity,
I've got so much love in my heart,
No-one can tear it apart,

Refrain: *****

Be the love generation,
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,
Be the love generation,
C'mon c'mon c'mon c'mon LOVE!,

Be the love generation,
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Be the love generation,
(You know what i'm talking about?)
Ooohhh yeah-yeah,
(It's out loud there,
Be the love generation,
But we gotta love!)

Don't worry about a thing,
it's gonna be alright,
Don't worry about a thing,
it's gonna be alright,
Don't worry about a thing,
it's gonna be alright,
Gonna be, gonna, gonna, gonna be alright,


It's all love, you know...
It's all love,
From I and I to everyone
We got to love,
But we got to love, yeah,
There's no need to cry, ohh
We got to love,
But we got to love, yeah,
Gotta live,
Gotta love, huh, haha,
You know what i'm talking about?
Don't get hooked up,(haha) on what you see,
Cos the greatest thing (huh) is spirituality!
Share that love,(haha)
Baba bam...
Share that love,(come on!)
Baba bam...
Share that hope,(come on!)
Share that dreams!
Baba bam...

(Love Generation by Ben Sinclar)
[Love Generation lyrics on]

PEACE to the WORLD! Come on!

Baba bam! :)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Posible Kaya?

Dito ako nag-umpisa. Dito sa pagsulat, pagtalumpati, at pagpapahayag sa sariling wika. Kaya nang mabasa ko ang anunsiyo tungkol sa timpalak na ito, ako ay napahinto; napatigil nang matagal-tagal. Sa ilalim ng damit at dibdib na ito na bagama’t nabasa ng ulan sa labas, may kung anong bagay ang sumiklab, pagkatapos ay umalab; at hindi naglao’y, tulad ng bunton ng kahoy na nabuhusan ng ga-as, ito ay tuluyang nagningas.

Nadadramahan na ba kayo? Hayaan nyo na ako. Matagal na – sobrang tagal na – nang huli akong sumulat at nagpahayag nang ganito. Subalit hindi ba’t tunay na masarap bigkasin ang mga salita ng ating Wikang Pambansa?

Cinco de Junio. Ah, sa Pasay ito. Sa may FB Harrison at malapit sa Cartimar at Libertad. Dekada Otsenta. Dito ako dinala ng aking alaala. Dito nag-umpisa ang paggamit ko ng wikang pambansa, ang Tagalog o Pilipino kung tawagin noon. Bagama’t Bikol ang unang wikang natutunan, madali naman akong natuto ng wikang aking ginamit nang maraming taong pag-aaral ko sa Maynila. Sa pamamagitan ng wikang ito, nalaman ko ang kwento ng ating kasaysayan; naipakilala sa akin ang ating nakaraan bilang isang lahi at ang ating mga magigiting na ninuno’t bayani; at naipaintindi sa akin ang mga samu’t saring bagay pa dito sa mundo. Sa pamamagitan din ng wikang ito unang umusbong ang hilig ko sa Arte o Sining. Sa kanyang mapangpukaw na diwa sumibol ang aking pagmamahal sa ating Inang Bayan – at ito’y ipinakita ko sa pamamagitan ng pagsulat, pagtalumpati, at kahit pag-arte sa entablado.

Kaya itong aking pagsali ay, una sa lahat, isang pagpapasalamat, pagkilala at pagpaparangal sa ating Wikang Pambansa. Pangalawa, ito rin ay isang pagkatig sa kahalagahan ng aking wikang unang natutunan at patutuloy na minamahal – ang Bikol – at sa iba pang mga wika, tulad ng Ingles, na sa tingin ko ay makakatulong din sa ating paglalakbay sa buhay sa mga panahong ito. Pangatlo, ang aking paglahok dito ay itinuturing ko ring isang oportunidad upang makapagpahiwatig ng aking damdamin tungkol sa tema natin ngayon.

Ngunit “Maraming Wika, Matatag na Bansa”? Hindi ba ito ay halos puwede nang ituring na “oxymoron” ng iba? Maraming wika at matatag na bansa? Posible kaya? Hindi ba’t sabi ng iba kaya nga tayo’y hindi magkaisa dahil sa wika na lamang ay watak-watak na? Tapos heto ngayon ang Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) na nagsasabi: OO POSIBLE!

Sa ganang akin, ito ay posible nga. Hindi hadlang ang pagkakaroon ng maraming wika sa pagkakaisa ng ating bansa. Bagkus itong pagkakaibang ito ay isang kalakasan na dapat nating ipagdiwang. Hindi ba’t hindi maganda ang isang hardin na kung saan ang mga halaman ay pare-parehong anyo, kulay, at amoy? Ika nga ng isang banyagang manunulat:

“The garden which is pleasing to the eye and which makes the heart glad, is the garden in which are growing side by side flowers of every hue, form, and perfume, and the joyous contrast of colour is what makes for charm and beauty”

Hindi rin imposible na pagyamanin nang sabay-sabay ang wikang kinagisnan, ang wikang pambansa, at ang wikang gagamitin natin sa pakikilahok sa pandaigdigang pangangalakal, pakikirelasyon, at pagkakaisa. Mismo ang maimpluwensiyang pandaigdiganang organisasyon na Goethe-Institut (ito ay naka-base sa Alemanya) ay nagsabi na hindi lang may kakayahan ang utak na matuto ng maraming wika (multilingualism), ito rin ay paraan upang mas maging maunawain at intellectually flexible ang mga tao. Bagama’t ang kanilang pag-aaral ay ginawa para sa Europa, sa tingin ko ito ay makabuluhan din sa atin dito sa Pilipinas. Sa magkawangis na sitwasyon sa atin dito, ang Europa ay marubdob ding naghahangad ng pagkakaisa, upang maging mas matatag, sa pamamagitan ng European Union sa kabila ng mayaman din pagkakaiba-iba ng kultura, kaugalian, paniniwala, at lenggwahe ng mga tao dito. Ayon pa sa pag-aaral nila:

“To be fluent in two or more languages is an individual and social resource in contemporary Europe

Inaalala ko rin palagi na ang wika ay hindi lang behikulo para maipahayag ang aking saloobin, kaisipan, at damdamin, ito rin ay isang ekspresyon ng aking pagkatao o pagkakakilanlan. Ako ay Bikolano, Pilipino, at Tao.

Sa isang banda naman, buhay na buhay din sa puso't isipan ko ang minsang nasambit ni Propesor Randy David ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas, sa pamamagitan ng isang diskurso na kanyang binigkas sa 6th Ayala Young Leaders Congress noon taong 2004 na kung saan ako ay dumalo bilang isang delegado. Sabi ng ginagalang na propesor sa sosyolohiya:

“For better or worse, Muslims and Christians, elites and masses, and diverse ethno-linguistic communities have found themselves thrown together in A COMMON SHIP known as the Filipino Nation…a shared destiny.”

Sa madaling salita, iisang bangka lang tayo - kahit pa meron tayong mahigit sa 170ng wika at kadikit nito ay ang iba-ibang din nating kultura, paniniwala, at kaugalian. Ito ay isang katotohanan na hindi maaring itangi, ipagkaila, at pabulaanan - kahit nasaan ka man; kahit kailan man.

“Maraming Wika, Matatag na Bansa”?

"Maraming Wika, Matatag ng Bansa"!



(UPDATE: To vote, spend just ONE MINUTE, and please register here first. Kung naniniwala at naantig kayo sa tinuran ng iyong abang lingkod, SUPPORT naman po dyan o. Mabalos! ;>) | Pinoy Bloggers Society (PBS)


Wika2007 Blog Writing Contest

Theme: Maraming Wika, Matatag na Bansa

Sponsored by:

Ang Tinig ng Bagong Salinlahi

Sumali na sa Club

Sheero Media Solutions - Web Design and Development - Pinoy to p're

The Manila Bulletin Online

WikiPilipinas: The free ‘n hip Philippine Encyclopedia

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Lights Out

If not for a quiet moment here in Manila, I would not really notice that my posts about's Janette Toral's visit in Naga and the story of Brother Richie Fernando, a perfect personification of an all-important and long-standing Jesuit philosophy, "homines pro aliis" or "men and women for others", as Ryan affirms in his comment, is already my 96th and 97th post respectively. The inextinguishable Pinoy phrase: "tingnan mo nga naman; parang kailan lang" immediately leaps into mind.

As The Quackroom nears its 100th post, allow me then to step back for a while and ponder upon this blog, its "journey"; and where it sets to go from here, considering that only a few days ago, I was questioning myself about this blog, the reasons why I started to blog and why should I (or should I not) continue doing so (--- Should I really continue?; should I not?); the expectations (or the lack of the same) that I brought along into the blogosphere and the joys and frustrations that eventually tag along with them, the so-called "blogging community" (is there really such a thing?, I remember one of my friends asking me, or only for a few who by some means or status, inherent or acquired, found their way into an elite group of bloggers that is sensitive and supportive to its kind and grossly indifferent to the rest of the emerging "community"?) and its real meaning to me (which prompted me to fervently seek definitions about "community" in the internet, in books, and deep inside me); The Quackroom's impact ( if there's any or none, so therefore TQ becomes some sort of a waste of internet space or whatever it is more aptly called) to my readers (kung meron man, aside from the ones being revealed to me, although rather loosely and roughly, by my statcounter these days which I, while in the mood of trying out something new, set up just recently); and how it can ultimately contribute to the betterment of this world (alright, I know, I am getting carried away already. Let it be) or at least to my own development as a person or to that of my immediate communities, and many other things...

Lights out.

The Quackroom closes its doors. And windows. Chill and be blest.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Who is Brother Richie Fernando?

My last post regarding Ms. Janette Toral's visit here in Naga City paved the way for me to be able to revisit the story of Bro. Richie Fernando of the Society of Jesus. So, I thought, why not post his story here in my blog for anyone who might want to learn more about the man after and in honor of whom one of the buildings in Ateneo de Naga University was named? For me and for many others, Bro. Richie and his story never fails to touch and move. I hope that anyone who stumbles upon this post will also find some meaning, light, and inspiration in the story of this extraordinary Jesuit. He's Filipino, by the way, just like you and me.

"I wish, when I die, people remember not how great, powerful, or talented I was, but that I served and spoke for the truth, I gave witness to what is right, I was sincere in all my works and actions, in other words, I loved and I followed Christ. Amen."

Richie Fernando's retreat diary,
January 3, 1996

In 1996 Richie Fernando SJ was killed aged 26 years by a hand grenade released by a student in the Jesuit Refugee Service technical school for the handicapped near Phnom Penh. On January 3, 1996 Richie wrote in his diary:

"I wish, when I die, people remember not how great, powerful, or talented I was, but that I served and spoke for the truth, I gave witness to what is right, I was sincere in all my works and actions, in other words, I loved and I followed Christ."

Richie Fernando was a long way from home. He was a Filipino Jesuit in Buddhist Cambodia. He was educated and full of promise in a camp where refugees maimed by bullets and land mines and scarred by hunger and disease fought for hope. He loved life in a land where life was hard and death nearby.

Richie went to Cambodia in May 1995 as part of his Jesuit training. He had entered the Society in 1990 and finished the novitiate and collegiate studies. Before going on to theology studies and ordination, he was sent to work at Banteay Prieb, a Jesuit technical school for the handicapped not far from Phnom Penh. Banteay Prieb describes itself as a "place that enables the disabled to tell their own stories, to gather strength and hope from being with one another, and to learn a new skill that enhances a sense of dignity and worth." Here people disabled by landmines, polio, and accidents learn skills that allow them to earn a living. Banteay Prieb means "the Center of the Dove."

When Richie arrived, his devotion to the students quickly won their trust. He began learning their Khmer language and came to appreciate their religious traditions. And he loved to share their stories, stories of survival during Pol Pot's genocidal regime, stories of the devastation of their society through poverty, displacement, and the nine million landmines that still plague their land.

One of these survivors is Sarom. Already an orphan, at 16 Sarom became a soldier; two years later he was maimed by a landmine. Sarom finished his courses at Banteay Prieb and wanted to stay on there, but school authorities found him disruptive and asked him to leave. Richie Fernando mentioned Sarom in a letter to his friends in the Philippines, saying that although Sarom was "tricky" he still had a place in Richie's heart.

On October 17, 1996, Sarom came to the school for a meeting. Angered, he suddenly he reached into a bag he was carrying, pulled out a grenade, and began to move towards a classroom full of students; the windows of the room were barred, leaving the students no escape. Richie Fernando came up behind Sarom and grabbed him. "Let me go, teacher; I do not want to kill you," Sarom pleaded. But he dropped his grenade, and it fell behind him and Richie. In a flash Richie Fernando was dead, falling over with Sarom still grasped in his arms, protecting him from the violence he had made.

Only four days before his death Richie had written a long letter to his Jesuit friend Totet Banaynal. "I know where my heart is," he wrote; "It is with Jesus Christ, who gave his all for the poor, the sick, the orphan ...I am confident that God never forgets his people: our disabled brothers and sisters. And I am glad that God has been using me to make sure that our brothers and sisters know this fact. I am convinced that this is my vocation."

Three days after Richie's death, his shocked family and friends in the Philippines celebrated his funeral. At the same time, his shocked Cambodian friends carried an urn containing cloths soaked in his blood to a Buddhist funeral mound. In their shock they mourned; and in their mourning they gave thanks for Richie, the man they knew and loved, their son, their brother, their teacher, their friend.

Shocked by what he had caused, Sarom sat in his jail cell and mourned too.

In March 1997, Mr. and Mrs. Fernando wrote to Cambodia's King Sihanouk, asking for pardon for Sarom; somehow, someone had to stop the violence. Sarom had not wanted to kill Richie. "Richie ate rice with me," he said; "he was my friend."

Story from the Jesuit Mission website.

Janette Toral in Naga

Irvin has recently announced this in his blog, and has even mentioned me in his post. That particular post may have directed some folks interested about the concerned person's business in our place here in my humble site (---which it does actually according to my statcounter).

So, let me therefore offer some information regarding Ms. Janette Toral's visit here in Naga this coming Saturday, 4 August 2007.

Janette will be the resource speaker in a seminar on "Online Marketing" organized by the Junior Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) of the Ateneo de Naga Univeristy.

Ms. Toral, according to the letter sent to us here in Avenue Square by the officers of JCCI (some of whom are former students of mine in Ateneo led by Ms. Jennilyn Ludovice and Karen Felipe, the group's president and internal vice president respectively), is considered to be the "Mother of the Philippine E-Commerce Law (RA 8792) and the author of website and the E-Commerce Workbook". JCCI is moderated by the dean himself of the College of Commerce, Dr. Edwin Bernal.

Further, the letter states that the rationale of the project is:

"The business development of Naga City is expressively developing and more student-entrepreneurs are engaging in versatile world of commerce. The Business Administration Department of the Ateneo de Naga University rigorously educates students to develop and promote socially responsible businesses for the country and most especially for the Bicol Region. In line with this, the Junior Chamber of Commerce and Industry aims to further enhance the entrepreneurial skills of students by supplementing their classroom lessons with seminars from the country's renowned business gurus."

And the objectives:

1. To create a vibrant and business-friendly environment within and outside the Ateneo Community.
2. To further enhance the knowledge and skills of the students in advertising and promotion of their business through website marketing especially the student entrepreneurs of Ateneo de Naga University.
3. To be updated with the trends in software development that would allow student-entrepreneurs to be globally competitive.
Expected participants are the students of the College of Commerce and College of Computer Studies of the Ateneo de Naga University. Students of Universidad de Sta. Isabel and University of Nueva Caceres were also invited to attend.

Tentatively, I believe the venue is set at the Bro. Richie Fernando Hall inside the Ateneo de Naga University.

Ms. Toral is also the woman behind the The Top Ten Emerging Influential Blogs for 2007.

Avenue Square Management led by G7Holdings Corporation president Allan Cu and Avenue Square Managing Director Gwen Cu via The Quackroom has agreed to host a dinner for Ms. Janette Toral and JCCI moderator and officers here at Avenue Square, Bicol's very first and premier lifestyle center.

For more info, you can reach the group thru their email: