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Not All Drivers are Scammers

We boarded a 5 pm Nok Air flight from Phitsanulok to Bangkok today. Upon arrival at Don Muang Airport, we headed straight to their taxi stand outside the waiting area to go to PratuNam. The trip from the airport to PratuNam took longer than expected. Thanks to Bangkok's heavy traffic that literally ate our time. 

Since we have quite a few luggage and presents packed in plastics, i didnt realize that I put down my camera whilst getting them out of the taxi. In my understanding, that was the first time i took it off my neck while traveling. As it was supper time, we decided to enter the New Mabuhay Restaurant to eased our hunger while enjoying the chit chats of people coming and going - thinking everything was well.
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Upon realizing that the camera was nowhere to be found when Joy asked me to take a photo of her, the food served on the table seemed tasteless, the appetite was lost, and the sweat started to come out even inside an air-conditioned room. My instinct instructed me to call the number written on the receipt given by the taxi system at the airport. After about three rings, the person on the other line picked up the phone. He spoke good English which made both parties understood each other easily. He said he will call me back and that he needs to verify with the driver of the taxi first if there is a cam. Ater about five minutes, he called back and confirmed that the driver got hold of the cam, and is on his way to meet me. Thank GOD! My breathing was back to normal.

Two or three hours ago at the time of this writing, the taxi driver returned my camera to me. It was one of my happiest moment in Bangkok. Thanks to Mr. Somchai! You deserved to be acknowledged. I wish you more blessings and happiness in the coming years. You set a very good example that not all drivers are scammers. 

PS: This is the third time that something loss or forgotten was returned to me here in Thailand. Thank you very much!

82-Year-Old-Pinay Looking For Her Former Teacher

I find it weird upon reading a news of an 82-year-old Pinay who is looking for her former high school teacher just to say "thanks". The Department of Education (DepEd) posted on their website that Teresa Alvina, an executive of a publishing company is looking for Carmen Geronimo Pascual, her former high school Home Economics teacher.

I wonder as to when did she start her search. And if she just started searching, why just now? Why didn't she thank her when she was still studying or even before her teacher's retirement in 1980? I know she has her own reasons behind but reality check, if she is 82 at the moment, her teacher may be over a hundred. In today's age, being a century alive is way too difficult. 

But still, be it late or not, her effort of finding her teacher is commendable. There are some who graduated, became successful, yet forget those people who somehow changed the course of their fate. 

I wish you luck in finding her Madame and may you find peace right after.

Full story here: GMA-NEWS 

Pirated Software in a Computer School

Nowadays, being knowledgeable with computers sets a person apart from the others. It is something that employers look for and is given a high regard by many. Parents wish their children to develop their skills and talents. Thus, they educate their kids in computer schools.

Unfortunately, one of the well-known computer schools in the Philippines is allegedly involved in an anomaly. The authorities raided the AMA Computer College, Inc in South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) on Tuesday.They are accused of using pirated software on their computers, and are now facing charges of violating copyright infringement laws under the Republic Act 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code. 

According to Atty. Angel Enrico Mira, corporate secretary of the AMA Education System, the raid was conducted in a “Gestapo-like manner”, adding that “students were threatened, reason why we were forced to suspend classes.”

“Issues on the alleged unauthorized software are without basis considering that these are software that can be downloaded through the internet by any student using the internet laboratory, operating similar to any internet café,” the statement said. (SOURCE)


Atty. Mira has a point. There are several software companies which offer free programs that can be downloaded online. However, guilty or not, this will really create a negative image to one of the top computer schools in the Philippines.  

Visit ABS-CBN to read the full story.

New Life Aboard a PAL Flight

If you're pregnant where would you like to give birth? Would you like to be in the comfort of your home or be in the hospital where nurses and doctors are available 24/7? What about giving birth aboard a flight? Yes, a woman gave birth to a healthy baby boy with the help of cabin crews aboard a PAL flight on Tuesday (Manila Time). 

The baby boy filled the cabin with his cries while passengers cheered. According to PAL, giving birth aboard a flight is a rarity but they were trained in this type of instances. Passengers especially those who are pregnant shouldn't worry.
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In her flight incident report, flight purser Antonia Castañeda described the baby as having "good skin color" and that the "baby started to breast feed" and gave a "loud cry" upon getting out of his mother's womb (SOURCE).

Since the mother gave birth to a healthy baby boy aboard a San Francisco-bound Philippine Airlines flight, one person commented "I wonder which nationality will the child carry since the birth happened en route to its destination?"

That left me thinking. Yeah, which nationality really? 

Read the full story. Click the link below.

GMA NEWS 

Warning: Acid Attack in Bangkok

Most of us are familiar about acid spray in movies. It makes the plot more interesting and sets a heart-stopping scene. Unfortunately, this does not happen to movies alone. It happens to people who have grudges over the other in real life setting. But what if it happens randomly? What if it happens to anyone who does not have any grudges or anything like that? What if it happens to foreigners here in Thailand?

Elizabeth Briel in her twitter account
Scary, right? But yeah, it happened in Bangkok to two westerners at the Asoke skytrain station on September 15. Elizabeth Briel (photo inset) said her husband's eyes were damaged but will be fine. She said the acid was directed at them from the stairway leading to the station near Robinson shopping mall.They were already treated in a hospital. 

Here is an excerpt of what she wrote on her website:  

The person who tossed that liquid at us aimed straight at Roy's eyes: that is where most of the chemicals landed. Whomever-it-was didn't see us as people, but as the incarnation of something s/he resented. Who knows what sparked it – maybe Roy reminded this person of another foreigner who took away a girlfriend, or is sleeping with a girlfriend, or the chemicals could have been a prelude to a quick mugging, in which case we were nothing more than a walking wallet. (A sentiment familiar to many male tourists here.) 

Read her full story by clicking the link below. 

Elizabeth Briel 

The Arrogant English-Speaking Pinoy!

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.  

Nelson Mandela 

Filipino is the official language of the Philippines. The language of the "tindera" on the streets and the language of the "katulong" if you want to make an "utos." These skills were required to survive in the outside world, because we are forced to relate with the tinderas and the manongs and the katulongs of this world. If we wanted to communicate to these people — or otherwise avoid being mugged on the jeepney — we needed to learn Filipino.

How did you react upon reading those lines? Was it offensive? Was it degrading? What if the writer is a Filipino? What if this Filipino despises his own language to the extent of blatantly denouncing his use of the language? Would you still claim to be Filipino and use the language; or would you condemn the writer and wish for him to rot in jail? Wish there is a law about language use hehe. Sorry for the choice of words but these were the words that first came to my mind after I read the article. I consider this an attack, an attack of a person to his own people!

Click the name below to read th full article!

JAMES SORIANO

Guinness and The Monster!

I wonder what the feeling would be if Guinness will include my name to their prestigious world records. Aside from becoming popular, my name will also be included in the list of trivia answers in quizzes or anything similar to that. 
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The fate of Lolong will be determined in the coming days or weeks from now. He is, as what many people claim, the largest salt water crocodile captured alive. And you know what is more shocking? It took a team of 30 men to subdue the monstrous creature in Agusan del Sur. Just the thought of it scares the crap out of me.

Guinness team will be arriving anytime soon to verify the authenticity of the claim, and to do a special story when it was captured on September 3. 

This is gigantic! The picture says it all!!

More here GMA NEWS

Thailand Braces for more FLOODING

Photo By: Jiggs Paradero
Two months passed but Thailand hasn't escaped the heavy rain that is pounding the country almost everyday, making the rivers to overflow. According to the Department of Disaster Prevention & Mitigation, the death toll rises to 92 with 30 provinces remain submerged.

Many schools canceled their classes especially those who are near the river. Everyone is afraid of venturing out.

The Photo is of Triamudomsuksa School of the North in Phitsanulok. As you can see, the football field doesn't look like a field anymore. It looks more of like a pool than of a field to me. Also, the Nan River which shows no signs of stopping is scary indeed. Check out below a video about Phitsanulok's fate which is circulating to the entire populace of the province and the most watch video on facebook (shared by many).


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Thailand Education Ministry - The Problem?

In order to avail the best quality education there is for their kids and to have a brighter future ahead of them, exclusive and high caliber schools are what Thai parents think of. But the very thing that makes them worried are the five, six, or even seven figures of tuition fee per semester.That's a lot of money, yeah?

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I find this very alarming due to the fact that there are students who hailed from poor families with the ability of helping their country but wouldn't have a chance to finish their studies due to lack of finances. This is what we call disdain for the poor and exploitation of the weak. I also believe that Thai education is a lucrative business that prompts people to put up language schools like cockroaches springing rapidly anywhere. Do you agree?

A contributor of Bangkok Post wrote a very interesting article about the Thai Education, specifically the Education Ministry as being the problem. It highlights the flaws and the many things that the ministry needs to change.

Click the good read link. Bangkok Post

Talk Show Queen's Reservations

No other name rings louder than Oprah Winfrey when we talk about talk shows. She is what other famous personalities considered a US cultural phenomenon. What she buys people buy, and her favorite books, movies, whatever, becomes other peoples' choice as well.

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Forbes always include her as one of the most powerful women in the world. She might be having issues with her own cable company but she is still the world's wealthiest black woman. She even asked one airline company to delay its take off because she was looking for someone. That someone is Charice! Our very own talent who is making waves in the international scene. Thanks to who? To Oprah of course who paved way for her success. 

Oprah is not a Filipino but why is she the featured person here? Well, everyone is going "gaga" about the recently concluded Miss Universe 2011 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. My facebook feed is being flooded with post about Oprah's reservations of the pageant. According to her, Miss Philippines Shamcey Supsup deserves to win the title.

This is exactly what's being posted.
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"I have reservations with the results. If the only basis is the Q and A portion after having been trimmed down to 5, Ms. Philippines deserved to win. What made her different from the rest is that she had no seconds to rethink of her answers as she had no interpreter to break the ice. The rest had their interpreters and having breaks on seconds to think about their answers. Hands down, Ms. Philippines answered straight to the point."

What are your thoughts?  

Oops, i might forget. Congratulations to Ms. Susup! Wink ;p

Tightening Pinoys Bound for Bangkok

Several months ago, I've heard about the fate of many Filipinos who were off-loaded because of strict immigration officers. Some who even had their documents handy were questioned. I don't exactly understand as to why those who had their documents with them were off-loaded as well, and much worse was the fact that they were questioned. I wish the report was not true. Question those who can't present documents but please...not those who have.
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What made me write this? Read on! This one below is latest and true.

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) released a statement ordering the immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to tightly screen Pinoys bound for Bangkok. There were reports about Bangkok being used as a transit point of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) who wish to go to countries labeled as banned countries for deployment. Thus, the strict screening was ordered. It is a bugger for some. But looking on the brighter side, it's a form of protecting our countrymen from countries who are at war internally.

Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. issued the order to BI Airport Operations Division acting chief Lina Andaman Pelia, after learning that many travelers off-loaded at the NAIA in recent months were bound for Bangkok and were profiled to be “tourist workers.”

“Tourist workers” are undocumented OFWs who attempt to leave the country as tourists. (Italicized words were quoted from pinoy-ofw.com)

Visit Pinoy-OFW


A Decade After 9/11

The 2001 September 11 attack was one of the worst terror attacks in the modern day history of the United States. According to Wikipedia, the attack resulted to 2,996 deaths, including the 19 hijackers and 2,977 victims. Among those who were killed were our eighteen kababayans (countrymen), and two others who were on board the two planes that crashed into the building.

Today marks the 10th year anniversary of 9/11. Hundreds of people visit the Memorial Museum to get a sneak peak of the debris of the collapsed tower, photos of victims, condolence notes, and a lot more.

Maximo Laminoza of San Diego, California was qouted saying, "I feel bad and devastated". Marilyn Agustin on the other hand said, “I think this is the place where those who lost their son, or their brother, or their sister can console themselves, which is good."

You may no longer be with your families anymore but your memories will live on!

Source ABS-CBN

MakingTHEM Happy

You give but little when you give of your possessions.  It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.  ~Kahlil Gibran
 
I am very pleased to blog about a charitable foundation in Bangkok that is reaching to people especially those who are needy. This foundation started in 2008 and has since acquired locals and foreign volunteers. They offer livelihood training program, healthcare, family counseling, and free English lessons.

What made me even happier is the fact that 2 Filipinos are behind this foundation. They went all the way and beyond to reach as many families as they can without expecting anything in return. These very people are the ones who put smiles on every faces at the HAPPY COMMUNITY FOUNDATION.

I don't think they need recognition or be interviewed by international media companies. But I am sure as the bright sun smiling down to us that if you can help, be it small or big, will be greatly appreciated.

Check out their website to learn more of what they do.

Thailand Faux Pas (Part 1)

Just to make the title similar yet not entirely the same in terms of spelling lol,  i named this entry "Thailand Faux Pas". This is in connection to Raya' s entry entitled Thailand Bloopers. It talks about her blunder experiences or tactless mistakes and misunderstandings as she experience more the many funny yet memorable faux pas in the amazing kingdom of Thailand.

Although she's been living here for 2 years and studied written and spoken Thai formally, she still gets occasional frowns and a big "HUH?" from the locals. It's like their way of saying "What is wrong with your tongue? Are you an alien?" That kind of thing!

She also had a share of the smokey ears and nose thingie. Perhaps it didn't come to that point really, but because she ordered a spicy food with lots of chillies in a restaurant one time, thinking she could empty the plate just like locals do, it can be likened to that. (Smiling here)

And who would not notice the road especially when we are crossing? I almost got myself hit by a car many times because i failed to look on the right. In Thailand, people drive on the left side of the road and the driver sits on the right side of the car. That in particular happened to her as well.

These are just some of the many bloopers of Pinoys in Thailand. Next will be Enzo's turn. He will be writing his own bloopers in the land of smiles. Can't wait to read it.

Check out Raya's entry from the link provided.

Bloody War in Southern Thailand

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Just like the Philippines who have problems of its own in the southern part of the archipelago, Thailand is of no excuse. The war between the Buddhist and the Islamist guerrillas has been going on for years, and has since took thousands of lives.

Despite the military presence in the dangerous provinces in the south, several people suffered a deadly fate from the Islamist assassins. They had killed people of different occupation from different walks of life who oppose their demands for autonomy or independence. What shocked me the most was the fact that even religious leaders like monks and imams were of no exception.

And to say that teachers are safe there is an understatement. On September 6, a teacher was shot dead on the head and set his body on fire after helping students in an academic contest. Seriously, i don't want to teach there.


Teachers declare chalk holiday

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I felt saddened upon reading an article about the fate of our teachers back home. As a teacher myself, i am very much sympathetic to them. They are only getting P3.50 per day or P700 a year for their chalk allowance. They want the government to raise it to P9.85 per day or P2,000 a year.

If their wish will not be granted teachers are going to declare September 16 as National Chalk Holiday. "They are going to teach but will never use their chalks to accentuate their need," ACT Vice Chairperson Benjie Valbuena said.

"It's about time that a component of our campaign called ACT NOW for Greater Education Budget must be included in the national budget," he further said.

This request would mean that the government has to allocate or add an additional P1 billion to cover a roughly estimate 500,000 public schools nationwide. It is a lot of money, i know, but i think teachers should be compensated.

Comparing the teaching loads and paper works of Pinoy teachers in the Philippines and of Pinoy teachers in Thailand - teachers there work longer hours yet receive less. But i don't think the request will be granted the soonest. Acording to Education Secretary Armin Luistro, “We will increase the chalk allowance if we are granted an increase in the budget.

Sad, right? More of it here ABS-CBN

P'lok Pinoyz Spiritual Survival Camp 2011

P'lok Pinoyz
The Filipinos in Phitsanulok and neighboring provinces initiated the first "spiritual survival camp" at Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park in Nakon Thai District, Phitsanulok on September 3 and 4, 2011. The camp which lasted for two days was a blast as the 39 attendees shared moving and worth pondering insights and life experiences. "We may be different in some other aspects (belonging in three religious sects), yet united in so many ways. That is to thank, serve, and glorify the LORD!" One of the members was quoted saying.

Day one activities include consecration, team building, trust walk, and war game. The consecration left most of the attendees in tears as sharers reflected about the things or people we might left, come the time of meeting our creator. Next was the team building which made each group member closer to each other and learned valuable life experiences. After that was the trust walk which reminded us that even if we can't see (being blindfolded), if you listen to the voice within and give your full trust to HIM you will find your way even in the darkest places. And the last activity done was the war game. It was a kind of game which taught to protect and defend something priceless in your life. For if taken, it's like everything about you is taken as well.

Day two activities were also a lot of fun. It was a morning full of bones cracking as they were being stretched in the let's get physical challenge. After that was the morning devotion at the rock nodules where again, sharers made everyone in tears. Although getting there was slippery and steep, the nodules were amazing plus the panoramic view of the entire place. A pure testament that HE is always around. Next to it were the sound of people running and shouting as the hunt for treasure started. Unity and determination made the white team arrived victorious in the treasure hunting game! Great job! Finally, just right after lunch, the book of life was read in the assembly. All people who made good deeds were commended but those who did the opposites were punished. :) And just before we head off, we gave evaluation forms to all the participants. According to the result, the first ever spiritual camp of P'lok Pinoyz was satisfactory, getting 8 out of 10 with 10 being the highest. Not bad for a start!

We would like to thank the P'lok Pinoyz Officers headed by Ms. Leah Doysabas. You guys rocked the camp! Special thanks goes to all the speakers, sharers, team leaders, and all the participants as well. Without you, this won't be made possible. Thank you once again and may GOD bless us all!

Special birthday greeting goes to Leah, Alex, and Edmund. And thank you for sponsoring our meal. It was so generous of you. Till next time! Mabuhay kayo!

Thai Construction Worker

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Those who have been here in Thailand for quite sometime knew that most Thais have problems with their English pronunciation.The most noticeable in my opinion is the rampant use of letters R and L interchangeably, also common in most of their writing. In fact, even I, had a share of confusion moment with my students (example right and light).

"Teacher, he meant LIGHT not RIGHT!" I still remember that.

As I was searching online for something to post, I came across an article about a French guy and a Thai guy who both work in a construction company. There was a misunderstanding between the Thai guy and his boss. I found it funny as i recall my own personal experience very similar to that. Read the article HERE.

Disclaimer: I value my work, my Thai friends, and all the Thai people in general. This post is not intended to insult, attack or anything similar to that. I just want to share what i read online as i was searching for a topic to post. 

2011 'Pride of Australia' award

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Another Filipina who works as a nurse in Australia made the Philippine proud and be all smiles. This is a complete testament on how Pinoys value their work and on how the word "HOSPITABLE" means to us.

She is Mica Alcedo, a Pinay nurse who went to Australia from the Philippines in 2004. She was awarded a medal on August 19, 2011 under the "Fair Go" category in Darwin, Australia.

From being a school nurse, she worked herself up and now enjoys being child and maternal health nurse in Tennant Creek.

DFA was qouted saying "Ms. Alcedo commits herself to helping disadvantaged youth and has developed the Filipino community's 'Ladies of Alice Springs' group." 

That is what we call, "a paid off dedication and hard work."

ASEAN Community - Thailand not yet ready

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The Association of South East Asian Nations are pushing for an ASEAN Community in 2015. Unfortunately, Thailand is not ready to join. According to Woravat Aupinyakul, Thailand's Education Minister,Thais lack foreign languages and analytical thinking as what studies shows.

The minister said they need to do a lot of restructuring in the ministry, managing, and adjusting, so as to cope up with all the shortcomings and to be ready when they join the community. He also added that it might take Thailand 10 more years in order to join.

I don't understand much about Thai government and how they sort things out. But 10 years is too long, at least in my opinion.

Anyways, standing together for the common good brings out the best in a community. It builds a strong foundation in achieving the goals, and topples down problems that hinders its progress.

More power ASEAN!

Read more of it here: Siam Daily News