Centuries-Old Logs Believed from Manila Galleons Trade Discovered in Albay


It’s quite sad that an illegal activity should happen first before this place is realized that it has more to brag than its fine beaches. Barangay Sula, which is 20 km. NE of Legazpi City was the center of the lucrative Spanish galleon trade and provided safe haven for ancient ships during typhoons centuries ago. November last year, a 22-wheel truck was seized for carrying 14 square old logs with a total volume of 16.47 cubic meters. The owner failed to show legal transport documents.

Early this year, national and local media visited the site to investigate the illegal logging activities but a bigger story surprised them.  In Sitio Picadero 7 km. from the town proper, this place used to be a shipyard or where the Manila galleons were made during Spanish time. Evidence of sturdy logs was dug under the soil and under the ocean sometimes seen floating but the residents don’t mind at all saying these are ordinary sight to them. The barangay chairman said that he knew about this since he was a kid but it seems nobody cares to explore about this either because of lack of interest or they thought these logs has a curse.

From  talisay, narra, apitong, molave, makiling and mapilig trees, these logs according to  carbon-dating testing done by a US-based laboratory, were cut and buried from 1650 – 1950. These may no longer sturdy therefore not useful anymore except the mapilig logs which even if it’s exposed to elements still achieve better quality but the historical significance is priceless with a length of 15 – 20 feet. Aside from the logs, spoons, forks, plates, axe made of gold and more antiques has been found in the site too.

A formal case has been filed and a hearing is currently on going against the persons involved. Now how about these ancient logs… is there or will there be people who would have the heart to make a difference at these historical treasures that a source once said “FEW WRECKS HAVE BEEN FOUND SO FAR OF THESE WITHIN THE PHILIPPINE ARCHIPELAGO BECAUSE OF TWO REASONS: either it sank in the deep, hard to explore waters or the Philippine Law discourages active exploration of these historic wrecks. “


Image from Galleon Andalucia, a replica of a ManilaNews sources:
‘Centuries-old’ logs found in Albay, Maricar Brizuela, Philippine Daily Inquirer and Sula Channel Sa Bacacay, Albay, Mayaman sa Century Old na mga Kahoy, Bicol Peryodiko galleon from Spain that visited the country during International Dia del Galleon, Oct. 2010


Paris Students Share their Urban Design Proposal for Manila

“Manila used to be one of the ten best managed cities in Asia during 1950’s under Mayor Arsenio Lacson.” says Dr. Butch Zialcita of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the Ateneo de Manila University during a presentation of urban design proposal made by Architecture students of Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris La Villette from Paris, France at the National Museum of the Filipino People. For the past 20 years, students from this university studied different cities in Asia-Pacific region that are in the process of rapid change due to forces of globalization, including urban system and transportation. Manila’s five districts: Intramuros, Paco, Sta. Ana, Malate and Navotas were chosen to come up with ideas on how to revitalize these historical places.

Perhaps the most challenging proposal that night is to create more parks instead of malls which raised few eyebrows. This is for the growing trend of people that are slaves of capitalistic empire in forms of giant freezers spread everywhere. One student boldly asked why do people should be encouraged to stay on parks which is hot in temperature when they can go to malls and chill out? “Simply because, we can’t aircondition all the places in Manila!” says Dr. Butch. Statistically-speaking, Manila has the least if not, one of the places with the least number of parks and open spaces in the world. And the most awaited question for the night “Is this proposal already or will be submitted to LGU’s (local government units)?” The answer is “Not yet.”

The questions asked were overflowing mostly scrutinous in nature that it was almost forgotten that these are a proposal from students not in-depth analysis but a detailed recommendation from the views of people who are not living in Manila. But a study like this inspired a few local initiatives like the fleshing out of a plan about Escolta which used to be a commercial business center of Manila. This place has an organized association of private property owners so it won’t be hard to implement the findings in the future. It will focus on the cultural, political, social, architecture and design aspects of the place.

“In 1990’s there was a plan for central Manila to attract heritage tourism but was never enforced. We have too much bureaucracy in the country that those planned are not implemented and vice-versa. We have to educate our local officials to stop tearing down our historical places. We have to lengthen the terms of their office since these cannot be done overnight. We invite individuals, schools and its students to join us in formulation of plans to revive Escolta and if this succeeds, more will follow” Arch. Nathaniel Von Einsiedel, president of Heritage Conservation Society shares his closing remarks for the night.

For the gist of findings about the proposal you may read Yahoo Philippines’  article French study: Manila needs more parks, promenades please click here

Image taken from a paper table mat of a French-named bakeshop but 100% Filipino made

A Philosopher’s Book That Helps Understand Mathematical Equations in Reality

Dr. Robert Crease of Stony Brook University, New York is the author of “Great Equations in Science from Pythagoras to Heisenberg” book in 2009 about how 10 mathematical equations have symbolic value in reality but he reminds that he is a philosopher and science historian NOT a scientist or mathematician. His work The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments in Science” book in 2003 inspired one of the halls (named exactly as his book) of the-soon-to-open The Mind Museum late this year. He wrote the book specifically for non-scientist readers to help the public gauge the complexity of science and tell the stories behind them.

Here are the equations:

E = mc2    : The Celebrity Equation. Mariah Carey’s album was named after this, has been in the Time Magazine cover and the Dalai Lama mentions this as one of, if not the only equation he knows. This is also the equation that almost everyone knows but nobody knows what it is exactly is.

Euler’s Formula    : This is not an equation but does everything an equation does. One of the few equations ever used as evidence in a terrorism case trial 5-6 years ago and was discovered in a diary of a 14-yr old boy.

Maxwell’s Equation    : The most significant thing that happened in 19th century that even the wars like the American Civil War is less compared to this.It gave way to analogical reasoning in the history.


2nd Law of Thermodynamics : Simply explained this way. 1st Law means ”You can’t win” then 2nd Law means                                              “You can’t get even”


Pythagoras Equation    : A very funny and short equation. Everyone almost associates lots of things in this equation.

F = ma            : Equation that took thousands of years before discovered.


Equation of Gravitation : The famous Apple fall story.


Equation of Relativity This is where Einstein reached his summit and became famous. He used reasoning that very few people understand him.


Schroedinger’s Equation    : Intermediate levels of reality.


Uncertainty Principle    : The entire genre of this kind of principle can be pointed out in jobs and job hunting.

If there’s a person in his mind that this book was made because of, he said it’s his wife because she is a musician. Art works and music have uniqueness that can’t be related to mathematical equations. He also shares the word “beauty” or “beautiful” are always used a lot by scientists in laboratories. And it meant the same way the people use it in their everyday conversation like another author who said that “jokes are beautiful mathematical proofs” and his book also mentions this word in “The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments in Science”.

When asked what is his stand about the academic celebrity and theoretical physicist Stephen  Hawking’s view that God does not have something to do with the creation of the universe, he chooses not to comment. Dr. Crease is a monthly contributor for the international physics magazine “Physics World”. He also wrote articles for “The Atlantic”, “New York Times” and “Wall Street Journal”. The book is currently available in Fully Booked bookstore, Taguig.

Photo credit from Ms. Alex Limcaco of The Mind Museum

Paris-Manila 2010-2011 & Heritage Networking Night

A gathering of heritage advocates you should not miss!
Ecole Nationale Supérieure D’architecture de Paris La Villette students present their findings about metropolises in Asia-Pacific and for 2010-2011, it’s about Metro Manila together with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the Ateneo de Manila University. They come from all over the world:   Archs. Christiane Blancot, Guillaume Marchand (who lived in Inner Manila), and Wang Seng, led by Arch. Shin Yong-Hak. They will be in Manila February 7-March 9, 2011. On February 25, they will show the detailed plans and proposals they made in 2010 for revitalizing five sites in Metro Manila.

PARIS-MANILA 2010-2011 (5:30 to 7 p.m.)
France-based architectural professors and students discuss their study of Metro Manila
COCKTAILS & NETWORKING NIGHT (7 to 8 p.m.)
Registration fee is Php200 which covers the talk and networking night. For more information please click here

Art Deco in the Philippines book: A Study of Heritage & Architecture



Dr. Gerard Lico, UP – Diliman’s celebrated architect as described during the IMPERIAL MANILA: American Colonial Architecture and Urbanism, 1898-1942 photo exhibit talks about rare digitized images as the narrative way of how our country was transformed through colonialism. These photos are compiled into a book entitled “Art  Deco in the Philippines” which shows the techno-cosmopolitan transformation of our country from an urban squala to present time modernity.


The Art Deco in the Philippines book is a lavishly illustrated publication tracing the heady Commonwealth years (1935-46) through the forgotten and vanishing architecture produced when the Philippines was at last looking outward, away from its island shell. At the same time, “the country was falling in step with the world, having moved out of the Spanish sphere and into the American orbit. The American-established educational system produced its first graduates. Filipinos no longer wobbled when speaking English.” (Source Philippine Daily Inquirer, Art Deco in the Philippines, Jan. 17, 2011)

One of the most important contributions of the American colonization aside from medical science and hygienic knowledge is producing the first Filipino architects and their works which are also included in the book. Art Deco in the Philippines is edited by Lourdes Reyes Montinola, and with contributing authors Gerard Rey Lico, Manuel Maximo Lopez del Castillo-Noche, John Silva and Augusto Villalón.


The Book 


Dr. Gerard Lico

Photos of Old Public Architectural Works





Photo source: IMPERIAL MANILA: American Colonial Architecture and Urbanism, 1898-1942 photo exhibit Feb. 15th, 2011 at UP College of Architecture, UP Diliman QC City



Philippine Travel Expo 2011 will be on Feb. 18 – 20

The country’s biggest event for travel and tourism industry will be held this weekend. With a theme of “Around the World in Three Days”, it is considered as the ultimate travel-shopping destination because more than 240 tourism-related companies will participate from Asia, Middle East, North America, South America, South Africa, and Europe.

An estimate of 450 booths of participants from travel agencies, airline companies, cruise operators, domestic tour operators, government agencies, embassies, national tourism organizations, hotels and resorts, international tour operators, travel shops, and many more will also join. Expect lots of cultural presentations, souvenir items and discounted travel packages which can be up to 70% off! A total of 80, 000 people visited the event last year and sales generated was at least Php 200M.

Information source from Travel Tour Expo 2011 Website. For more info please click here

In Love or in Lust: Poetry is the Answer!

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Either “in love” or “in lust, all turn to poetry when it comes to expressing whatever they feel inside.Poetry meant a boring thing nowadays because of social media but that night it was full of laughter as everyone shares their moderated naughtiness and the craziest thing they’ve done. A poetry reading that turned out to be a very cheesy conversation entitled Poetry Nights Love Thy Will Be Done with a theme of Love as Religion at Powerbooks, Greenbelt last Feb. 12th joined by writers, book authors, a musician, a composer and a visual artist cum blogger.

To not let the boredom kill the night, each poet was asked to answer a ‘love’ question. Monic, a pretty student shares the worst pick up lines ever said to her while she was solo in a bar waiting for her light beer. A guy approached her and said “Hindi tayo hayop, hindi tayo halaman kaya bagay tayo.” Syke, a rapper poet admits he is a “master” not a “slave”, wowed the crowd the most because of his pure Filipino lines commonly rated “baduy” if heard in ordinary days but for someone who feels “it’ could be a music to his/her ears. His final words are “Hindi po ako adik, nagmamahal lang.” Karen in her early-thirties, well her age speaks of her undaunted many experiences shares a poem that compares love as a Catholic mass and goes like this “I am open to take you in, so let the ceremony begin.” Raul, talks about daytime friends but nighttime lovers. Most of the crowds can relate as seen through their eyes.

Maegan Aguilar, daughter of famous musician Freddie Aguilar shares her song “Kasmalatinda”, term constructed backwards for “malakas ang dating”. She’s got a very nice voice and she’s a natural comedienne. Her second poem was in Filipino because she said “Baka sabihin ng iba eh di tayo marunong mag – Ingles. Oo naman noh, high skul grad ata to. ” Ginny, the blogger asked the moderator “Are you flirting with me?” right after he went on stage. The totally shocked moderator really blushed and laughed so hard as a defense mechanism. Ginny later said that, he just want to let the crowd know the proper answer for that is Well, you’re not paying attention. I guess.” He also mentioned he has a collection of poems about “bitter lovers” like the one he read which goes like this basag na ng dumating sa akin…” These letters are compiled in a blog entitled “Mga L[i]g[a]w n[a] L[i]h[a]m ng mga M[a]nd[ir]gm[a]ng Ngm[a]m[ay]ri ng It[i]m na Puso”.Very clever and short title.

The last poet Charmz, was introduced by saying “we save the best for last”. Well yeah, this girl is a writer of erotic stories and she proved she really  is.  She read a poem and comparing love as a food like that oozing coconut milk and tempting sweet honey and spicy curry flavor that might have stirred a few senses. So one may be  ilove, in lust or in lurve as said in There’s Something about Mary movie that night, it was also about preservation of poetry.

Writing Career in the Philippines: Is it Enough to Feed a Family?


“While abroad writing is considered a full – time profession, in the Philippines talented writers should have part – time jobs just to survive or make writing only as their part – time.” says Alvin Buenaventura, Executive Director of Filipinas Copyright Licensing Society, Inc. (FILCOLS) in a round table discussion on writing, publishing, intellectual property, copyright specifically on film and TV industry entitled “Huntahan sa Diliman” last Feb. 6th at Videotheque Room, UP Film Institute, UP Diliman, Quezon City. Joined by local TV and print writers, budding directors, script writers, a book author and a blogger, it was a moment of sharing real – life incidences where writing and copyright – a writer’s human right are often exploited.
Copyright
The famous “Anak” song copyright by Freddie Aguilar was bought by a certain publisher only to realize later that it was worth more than what the composer was paid for. It was translated to many languages, a film was made after it and to the point Freddie in an event, was sued when he sang his song because he no longer own the copyright of it. A leading food-chain in the country which is known for its birthday party package once refused to pay for every Happy Birthday song they play and decided to omit it from their package. Well, what is a birthday party without singing that Happy Birthday tune? So this company ended up paying theFilipino Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (FILSCAP) for it since it is every birthday celebrant’s wish. Same goes to every song being played in coffee shops, malls, restaurants etc. should have a sticker of FILSCAP anywhere visible in the store.
To explore the Philippines through coffee table books, one has to buy our neighboring countries’ coffee table books such as Singapore or Thailand since not much are being made because of either low interest or not enough to generate profit out of it. Jun Balde, an award-winning writer also shares his disappointment when he went to Thailand and some students approached him to ask his autograph in a photocopied version of his book! He refused of course.
Intellectual Property
“If there is someone who admitted responsible for that celebrated sex video scandals happened last year, he/she could have earned much out of it.” says Atty. Louie Calvario, head of Intellectual Property of the Philippines – a government agency under Department of Trade and Industry because it is still under the laws that govern copyright of an original work regardless of the content, quality and purpose. Idea is a product of human intellect while expression of ideas is through writing, composing a song, through painting etc. which requires originality. Idea, is not copyright protected but if it’s an expression of ideas, yes. So in the case of copying game show formats such as that of Willie Revillame’s controversial case filed by his previous TV station he worked for, in his personal opinion not officially representing his office it has no basis unless the technical details are too obvious that it is really a copycat. Copyrightable works refer to finished works NOT concepts.
Not much has been talked about blogger rights since blogging in the country is not fully established yet when it comes to legal matters but FILCOLS as a reproduction rights organization says to let them know for any copyright issues of bloggers. FILCOLS invites writers and bloggers to join them. The rants and raves of the attendees were noted and  Atty. Calvario says he will mention those relevant issues in his coming meeting with the National Commission of Culture and the Arts (NCCA) people. So why do writers deserve to be properly paid? Same as what UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights Art. 23 (3) meant, because they have a body to feed and a family to care for.
Photo courtesy of Gabby Villarama and FILCOLS

Dasmanila: Recycled Art to be exhibited in Sydney, Australia

“There’s a lot in the Philippines that is so not Asian like architecture, food, streets and languages etc.” says Dr. Rick Bennett, founder of Omnium Collaborative Communities, an online global design studio and professor from College of Fine Arts, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. “But the people are incredibly resourceful in terms of task submissions and meeting deadlines. It’s always a Yes culture.“ He continues. What used to be a few vacation trips to the Philippines led Dr. Bennett to help local communities through art and design projects. He said this task is basically composed of designers who “start something they haven’t done before, see where it goes but sometimes it goes nowhere.”

[re]frame Manila for the Women of Lumban, LagunaDr. Bennett describes the community of Lumban as very religious and where he learns to drink Tanduay with the locals. The main source of livelihood for the women is embroidery and for men is wood work. They were asked to submit designs to be installed in wooden frames as a permanent artwork in the hallway of De La Salle – College of St. Benilde’s School of Design and Arts in Malate, Manila. During the inauguration, these women were invited and most of them almost cried as they see their masterpieces beautifully arranged on top. It was all about respect and recognition. None of them talked about the money they were paid for. He remembers these women who never stops eating while doing it before. After the ceremony, though they were given hotels to sleep for a night, a number of them wanted to sleep near or under the artwork.

DasManila for the Women of Dasmariñas, CaviteDasmariñas is a community where a number of people recycle garbage by gathering, cleaning and weaving by hand. Interesting enough, Dr. Bennett searched those who can make a craft out of it and came up with a design of a flower where Manila is named after, the “nilad”. He shares what blocks him to keep his project on going smoothly is the rampant red tape for public places. He thinks that corruption in this country is probably the worst of all public concerns. Good thing he found Ayala Museum where the visibility is superb to display his art work. He received many positive feedbacks and on March 15th this year, DasManila will be exhibited in Sydney Australia.

One attitude that Dr. Bennett doesn’t get about Filipinos is during negotiation about payments, instead of getting a straight answer of how much they wanted to get paid, they look around or scratch their head and make confusing facial expressions. He thinks that this is a negative attitude, which makes a person weak and gives more opportunity to be screwed up. He has projects currently on – going and would like to do more. He ends his talk by saying “design is for global community, not to elite people only.”

Image taken from “Creative Outreach: Social Development Through Art & Design” with Dr. Rick Bennett of the University of New South Wales, Australia on January 29, 2011, 3:30 pm at the Luna Room, Ayala Museum in Makati City.