Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Madness in Imaginings (1999)

He came from the land of thieves and demagogues where the sun rose strong and set down in pain. There, each day was a blasphemy in itself where everyone spoke about their gods yet had never really known them.

He was a man born out of a family both well-known for its dignity and tragedy. His father was a merchant, once the mightiest among his peers with an enterprise that reached almost all corners of that strange land, until the day he suddenly found himself with nothing except for his wounds, his empty adventures or at least the memories of them, and the stars which he always believed to be his own but ceased to shine for him in the dark. His mother was an Isil, a princess whose beauty and grace were beyond compare; but whose being was tainted with some horrifying mysteries no one ever dared to delve into.

When he was born, balls of fire came crashing down from space; the oceans cried in horror; the forests trembled in fear; and the winds punished the lands. Many were burned and eaten alive by the flames. Others tried to struggle and survive but were just consumed by their own folly. Others tried to abscond but were taken away forever. Some just chose neither to wake up nor sleep again. There were whispers that talked about a few who were able to make it through - and become heroes and heroines of their own madness. His mother wept for the countless deaths, the unimaginable chaos, and the senselessness of it all. She wept harder for that monstrous catastrophe that she ever since knew would come about - as her beloved first-born opened up his dark eyes for the first time. His father stayed by their side all throughout that fateful night. He was seen grinning. He was proud of himself. He was proud of his wife. He was proud of his child.

And as the heavens unleashed its wrath and a thousand lightnings cut their way through the pitch-black skies directly towards his family, his father anointed him and named him Yána which means SANCTUARY.

Photo credits:

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Philippine Daily Inquirer reports about Avenue Square

After all the hardwork, the perseverance, and the commitment to always make things better based on our positioning, is there any other sweeter thing than the affirmation that comes from other people, much more independent and reputable individuals and institutions like the multi-awarded City Goverment of Naga under Mayor Jesse M. Robredo, the Bicol Mail, and the Philippine Daily Inquirer?

Here is the PDI report.

Bicol Mail's version here.

Given above, May I just take this opportunity on behalf of Avenue Square to say:


Thank you to all especially to those who spoke in the report; to Mr. Juan Escandor Jr. for taking interest on us and writing about us; and of course, to BM and PDI! Thank you also to our beloved "Avenuers" (Avenue Goers) because we could have not done it without your support and patronage. Above all, thanks God for whose Greater Glory here on Earth we ultimately dedicate whatever success we are enjoying right now and we aim to achieve in the future.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Lost in Translation

Via my blog reactions tracker, I found out that my latest post "Ina's Journey and ours too" was translated into some of kind of foreign language (probably German). I just did not expect it. I was so surprised when I found about it. Mixed emotions actually but my initial reaction was: "WHAT THE!?"

Here's the link by the way:

Or click here.

It is German, is it not?

What do you think of this?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ina's Journey and ours too

As I write this, the fluvial procession is going on. Ina's pagoda is already on its way here in Magsaysay area. Awhile ago, I bumped into one of the visiting officers of Shakeys and had a little chat. What struck me about our short conversation was his comment about our festival and the rain that came last night. He said: "Parang ganun daw talaga yun; pinapataas ang tubig sa river". At first I thought, in my dreamy mood right now, he was trying to say that may be that is the reason why the fluvial procession is set in the afternoon so that the water is already higher. But then, when he clarified -- "Endi yung umuulan talaga para mas tumaas pa ang tubig", the text of Mike Padua, our very own typhoon tracker and owner of the famous website, to me last night when I inquired about the rain that threatened our SMB Grand Party leaped into mind. He said, in effect: "Bigla nga may nadevelop na LPA (low pressure area) sa south of Luzon. Biglang may nadevelop ng mga clouds. Ang hirap i-forecast". I also recalled before when I was a kid, my grandparents and other elders would always tell me something like, "talagang pinapauran yan ni Ina ta ngani maging madali an pag-uli Nya sa Basilica, saka para dae masakitan an mga tawo."

As of the moment, looking outside from our conference hall, I could see dark clouds in the gloomy sky. This the reason why I was jolted to go down suddenly a few minutes back and proceed to the photo exhibit of Doc Bob Mendoza that features images of the Penafrancia festivities which the photographer has been covering for ten years now as his own way of expressing devotion to the Patroness of Bicol. You see, there is a picture there showing voyadores on the top of the pagoda carrying the image of "Ina", and behind them are the same dark clouds that are present now. And the caption asks: "Are those rain-clouds, or are they human hearts heavy with her Return?"

My heart is heavy now. I could feel something that I could not contend. It is taking over; overpowering. I 'succumb'.

She is near.

On my way here as I walked together with a Tito from my pad west of Magsaysay Avenue, we passed by jeepneys with signages indicating that they came from the provinces of Albay and Sorsogon. We saw people inside them, and on top of the vehicles' roofs or taplod. The people look tired, perhaps due to the long travel from their hometowns; and have weary eyes. But it dawned on me that they look at peace and assured of their purpose.

They await.

And I could not look long into their eyes.

My Tito blurted: "Ang malungkot nito marami sa ating mga taga-Naga, hindi na tulad nila. Masyado nang nag-eenjoy e. Ang iba puro na lang business. Nakakalimutan na si "Ina"."


I thought of saying something, but ended up just making a few nods.

True enough, a lot of us, every year, become star-struck with all the personalities and celebrities that come to visit and perform here in Naga City. And then we focused more on the business/commercial side of the festivities. And so we ask, how many of us, Catholics, are still into the Central Reason of the occasion?

I once asked a visiting friend from Manila what he felt after witnessing the Traslacion and the fluvial procession, and he said:

"Napaiyak ako. Na-star-struck ako kay "Ina" at saka sa mga pangyayari. Hindi ko nga maintindihan talaga, pero may naramdaman akong kakaiba, napakaganda, at -- tunay"

The riverside is now filled with people and candlelights.

I must go.

Ina calls me "home"...towards HIM.

Viva la Virgen!


Sa mga nadramahan; naweird-dan, pasensya na. Kung hindi nyo po lubusang maintindihan ang lahat nang ito, pasensya na dahil ako ay ganun din. Pero ito lamang naman ho ang nararamdaman ko ngayon. And this is under Raw.

But then again, may be this article from the Bicol Mail can help:

Ina journeys back to Basilica
Voyadores to escort her back in a regal fluvial procession
Bicol Mail (
13 September 2007

NAGA CITY -- Once again on Saturday, barefooted voyadores will trek back to the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral in downtown Naga where the miraculous icon of the Blessed Virgin of Penafrancia begins her journey back to her home at the Basilica via a fluvial procession.

At about 1:30 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 15, throngs of burly voyadores will once again bear on their brawny shoulders Bicol’s most revered icon in a foot procession that winds up at the foot of Tabuco bridge where the flower-decked pagoda waits for her over two-kilometer long journey upstream the Naga River, where on both banks of the river will swell an immense crowd, with lighted candles held on one hand and the other waving white handkerchiefs to witness the passing image amidst shouts of “Viva la Virgen!”

The whole spectacle which has been captured by camera lenses so many times is “one that is sublime, poetic, and enchanting portrait, difficult and almost impossible to describe” unless your heart and soul are there to personally witness the passing of a religious event.

At about 5:30 p.m. when the pagoda reaches the arrival berth in Bgy Balatas that leads to the Basilica, a mass will be concelebrated by bishops from the different dioceses in Bicol amidst thousands of devotees, pilgrims and fiesta visitors who came from as far as Ilocos in the north and Mindanao in the south who will honor her, thank her for the blessings received, and ask for her intercessions as they pray for safer and better days ahead.

The deep seated faith and devotion of the Bicolanos to the Virgin, whom they fondly call “Ina” can best be felt in the pageantry witnessed in Naga every September.

A historian wrote that how solemnly the feast is celebrated is better described by those who could pass as mere observers, like one seated in a modern-day cultural center witnessing an opera or a stage production.

The big difference, according to him, is that the latter is stage-managed while the former is welled up by the spontaneity of human emotion borne out of centuries-old tradition of faith and love.

The culmination of this year’s festivities begin with the Sunday mass the following day at the stately home of the Virgin of Penafrancia who would now be safely installed in her precious temple, the Basilica.

CREDITS: Photos by Ric Perez (first photo showing the culmination - accentuated with a fireworks display - of last week's 'Traslacion' where the Church also launched its 3-year preparation for the 300th year celebration of the Bicolanos' devotion to the Virgin of Peñafrancia in 2010 ) and Fr. Louie Occiano (second photo showing the fluvial procession where the miraculous image of Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia is brought back to the Basilica after a 9-day novena at the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral) from the the Bicol Mail website.

Not Born Yesterday

I think some people forget that some people were not born yesterday. Some people learned from school; but there are people who learned from life. Better still, there are people who learned from both.

Why the need for some insult or misguidance just because you want him/her out of a particular scene?


Or maybe I am just being over-sensitive. I hope so too.

(Update/reflection after some introspection and prayers - just arrived from the mass in Basilica; should you wish, you can read my latest post: The culprits: Oversensitivity which may have been caused by SO MUCH stress, my idea that maybe I needed some break (God knows how much I need it though I know) and so I took the opportunity to unwind a little last night, some of those "Itaas Mo" and "Walang Katulad moments" if you know what I mean, and weak tolerance for the latter - that had been further weakened by the second culprit. My apologies to all those whom I may have inconvenient by this post and my kakulitan last night. I was planning to delete this post; but decided otherwise. Let it be. We learn and grow from facing our shortcomings and doing something to correct them, not from making them appear that they simply disappeared into thin air and forcing ourselves to believe that they are really gone.)
(Update/reflection number two - Sabi ni Cielo at ng iba ko pang kasama last night, nothing to apologize naman daw - as far as the kakulitan part is concerned. Haay, salamat 'kala ko talaga makulit na ako! Cielo also said that its good daw that at least I was able to unwind. It's good daw na nakasigaw ako. Sila daw nakaiyak naman. Teka...pero good for you also Ciels.
Anyway, salamat sa True Faith, one of my all-time favorite Pinoy bands, sa magaganda at nakakarelax na awitin at sa matagumpay na pag-pump up ng crowd at pagpapasigaw sa amin ng "Viva", "Wooohh", "Cheers", at "Mooooorrrrre" - at kapalit nito ay isang magandang performance at ilang dagdag na songs pa. Salamat, syemps, sa lahat ng mga naka-sound-trip at naka-jam ko tulad na lang halimbawa nina Kass, Marfie, at Meeno , ang tropang BEAT FM, si Gary Martin at Al Ubana ng RMN (Radio Mindanao Network), ang SMB boys sa pangunguna siyempre ni Glenn Yuboco, pare congrats ulit ha - at sa lahat ng dumating dito sa Avenue Square. Si Deejay ng Humanshredder andito din kagabi, mabalos Bes. Sa susunod na post, kwento ako tungkol dun sa iba pang events namin this September. Happy Fiesta sa gabos!)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Cidade de Bossa plugs

Cidade de Bossa (City of Bossa) featuring Sitti Navarro
13 September 2007 Thursday
Avenue Convention Plaza
Avenue Square, Magsaysay Avenue
Naga City

The radio plug:

The TV AD:

See you there!

ALSO ---

Havaianas flip flops to be raffled and be given to lucky "denizens"!

9 Images of Penafrancia

What I do offer? What do I give?

Our solemn body of faith tilts

In whose firm love shall She give her nod?

The rigor of faith and the symmetry of redemption

There is turmoil, there is passion, and the tenderest of devotion

The boat carries Her as She carries us, through hopes and histories

The dying river comes alive with the fires for the Virgin

She is once more home and we stay with here with our heart like fireflies whose lights shine briefly but truthfully

Photos by Bob Mendoza
Captions by Tito Valiente


More photos at the "9 Days of Penafrancia: Bob Mendoza Images" photo exhibit at Avenue Square, Magsaysay Avenue, Naga City. Around 50 photos are on display both at the lobby and at the second floor of Avenue Square from today, September 7 to September 16. Some of the photos are being sold. Proceeds will go to the Ina nin Bikol foundation.

Raffle tickets are also being sold for only TEN PESOS per ticket. Lucky winners will get premium Canon products such as power shot digital camera, multi functional printers and many more surprises.

For the other details of event, click here.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Avenue Plaza Hotel temporary site already up

Given the desire and intention of G7Holdings Corp*, developer of the Avenue Plaza Hotel (APH), and of those of the hotel's management, the official APH website is being reviewed to make sure that everything is running as planned. As I shared in my August 30 post related to this (item no. 2), in the place of the soon-to-be-launched official website, Mobius Strip Studios owned of my buddy and former fellow instructor in the Ateneo Magno Edilberto R. Conag III aka Dude and the one commissioned by G7Holdings to create the said web page, is setting up a temporary site.

Click here to go there, please, as it is already up and ready.

In addition to what the site says about APH which, by the way, is located along the historic Naga River, it will also, as my fellow business communicator, G7Holdings colleague, executive assistant par excellence to the chairman Mr. Zandro Babol puts it:

"...complement the lifestyle center (Avenue Square) and convention plaza, and feature facilities and amenities for the cosmopolitan traveler and the chic Bicolano: 68 pleasantly appointed rooms and suites, infinity pool and activity park, wellness center and fitness gym, business center and café, meeting and function rooms, manicured gardens and wide parking bays."

Not to mention all the hard work, the vision, the passion, and the love poured into it personally by the Cu family, especially the chairman himself, visionary Bicolano businessman Mr. Fidel "Totoy" Cu; the conglomerate's young, progressive, and dynamic president Mr. Allan S. Cu whose management prowess and magnetic personality will, in my opinion, cinch a continued success for the flourishing FLC Group of Companies; and ASC's talented and lovely wife Ms. Gwen L. Cu whose aesthetic and strategic skills have been so handy during its construction having been educated/trained as an Interior Designer and having been assigned to many executive positions in various companies owned by the family over the years, that make APH a very special aggregate-cum-product of an enormous gusto for the realization of a dream, of noble intentions, and of a great love for an unmistakable purpose. Boy, I personally see how vigorously they labor everyday, being the very hands-on owners themselves, for the said project which they describe, aptly enough, as a "gift" to Bicol and their fellow Bicolanos.

Now before I call it a day, may I go back to the website, and offer my own, humble thoughts about it vis-a-vis the hotel, the road to take to achieve its targets, and marketing in general.

A great website - which among other many benefits makes transactions faster and more efficient; or affirms and supports your company's positioning or branding, the latter is my fancy, if I may share it, being a brand/branding enthusiast myself - for a hotel like the APH that caters to mostly discriminating, broadband-connecting, and internet-loving businessmen,tourists,and locals, should be a big boost to its campaign to attain desired business goals.

Case in point, the website of Cebu Pacific (CEB) - the "low fare, great value" local aviation industry leader - which is the country's first real-time, online booking engine. Something I hope the APH website would be capable of. Since its inception last January 2006, it has become the Philippine's top travel website and largest e-commerce website as of May 2007 - greatly helping Cebu Pacific beat Philippine Airlines for Passengers domestically the first half of this year. This was announced to us by Candice Alabanza-Iyog, VP for Marketing and Product of the Gokongwei-owned airline company and also a 2007 Young Market Masters (YMM) awardee, during one of the latest marketing conferences I attended in Manila recently. One more thing that makes CEB's website highly effective is its deployment of an "easy-to-use, Web-based booking service", as highlighted by this month's edition of the Entrepreneur magazine (whose leadership in the business magazine category is being threatened by the SME Insight, a newcomer but owned by the formidable Inquirer group that also has a enormous presence in the internet) aside from its cheaper rates, of course.

But then again, given the aforementioned, why do we still hear a lot of complaints about CEB and its services (which were also raised during the open forum after Ms. Iyog's talk, and which were answered calmly and adequately by her)? Or see something like this? (Talking about the internet being either a boon or bane for a company eh?)

Well for one, I believe the website, no matter how greatly advanced, impressively designed, user-friendly, or real-time it may be, at the end of the day, can not stand alone in the fierce battle for the customer 's preference and loyalty. It should always be complemented, foremost as the case may be, by real-life, honest-to-goodness customer service that tells us as customers, we are truly appreciated. Because, in Marketing, while the 'Price' directly brings home the income; the 'Place' can give you an upper hand; the 'Promotion' does a lot of wonders; or perception is reality - like what Dondi Gomez, a newly promoted Managing Director of Unilever, another YMM awardee for this year, and a favorite speaker of mine (and whose marketing genius, great/inspiring personality, and admirable programs in Unilever would be sure subjects of a future post), emphasized during the same conference - the 'Product' (which also includes the variety, quality, design, features, brand name, brand equity, packaging, and services) can not be overlooked anytime and should validate what the company promises, or projects to give/deliver, or purports for the same Product.

Here, Corporate Social Responsibility comes into the picture. But that is one for another post.

Good night Naga.

*Golden 7 Holdings (G7Holdings) Corp is the investment arm of the FLC Group of Companies. The FLC Group is a Bicolano conglomerate with interests in rural banking, real estate development and management, as well as food service.

Also, please watch for the relaunch of the new Avenue Square website soon, if initial plans do materialize.