Archive for February, 2006

State of Emergency

As the President of the Republiuc of the Philippines declares a “State of Emergency”, and life goes on. The events of today ask Filipinos the question, do we deserve the freedom what we currently enjoy? If the events of today will be the basis then the answer would be no.

Filipinos have too much freedom.

Today we have just demonstrated the lack of respect the citizens have for the law, and I don’t mean the president.

While we as citizens of the republic are entitled to civil liberties and one of them is the freedom of speech and thought. Those who went to the streets today also have to respect the lives of many whom they have disrupted today. I, as a citizen of the republic also have the right to say no to what they have done and to what they have asked. They obstructed traffic and hampered the operations of numerous businesses and lives. That is time that can never be turned back or returned. All because they think they own the street. If they have no respect for those they aim to “liberate”. What
respect can they give the presidency.

As a President of a nation, she cannot just abandon or resign her elected post every time a group of people ask her to step down based on heresay and baseless allegations. It would mean that no one who would hold that position would get any work done. By stepping down, she would have failed the people who elected her and she would have failed the nation as well as the presidency.

Democracy is not just freedom. It also means respect. And that is something that Filipinos still have to work on. I just hope it doesn’t take another twenty years.

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EDSA

Twenty years ago I was a third grade elementary student in the University of the Philippines Integrated School. We didn’t go school anymore because it was senseless to go to school. Everyone was out in the streets waiting for the counting of the snap election to finish. The whole world was watching. It seemed that the dictator would never be overthrown, but then a sudden turn of events occured. The dictator lost control of the very army that helped him stay in power. Over the next few days, Filipinos will drive over the very same roads that twenty years ago brought freedom back to the Filipino people.

But twenty years on, where is EDSA?

It seems that we never learned anything. In the past twenty years, we’ve had coup de eta’ts, ousted a president, trying to oust the new one, an economic growth spurt and now we seem to be struggling in the mud. The same politicians that we wanted out in 1986 are the same people in power today. Who elected them? We did! It’s just so depressing twenty years on.

It deeply saddens me that young Filipinos have no concern for history, in particular, EDSA. It saddens me that the very freedom that many gave their lives for achieving is merely a holiday for many. The freedom that we have today has meaning and it has worth. There are many things that people are doing today that twenty years ago, you could not.

The news on radio and TV was all prepared. Why bother changing channels when all the channels will only be showing the same news.

Protesting in the streets is enough for some people to mysteriously disappear and never to be seen again.

We do not have government sanctioned curfew.

We can freely travel in and out of the country.

We can freely say what we think and feel (most of time it’s too much).

And the list goes on and on.

And we continue to do all of these things, without remembering how we earned this freedom.

The events of EDSA is not just a faded battleground where people gathered. Chances are, we travel on it everyday. We still use the same airport in the very same terminal where Ninoy Aquino died. Cars, buses and trains run on EDSA everyday and there are still signs of 1986. The two military camps are still there. The same intersections where sand bags where piled to stop the incoming tanks. The same streets where millions of Filipinos stood theiur ground against troops and tanks to protect soldiers defecting from the dictator. (Some in the coming months would try to unseat the government through violent means.)

It is there for a reason, so we would not forget.

As a nation, we inspired the world and got their attention. Until now, I still have some people asking what happened there. And what have we done with that? We just trampled on it. Greedy elements lustful for power used and is trying to use any means necessary to gain power. All at the cost of the Filipino.

These are people who are not worth calling Filipinos. For they mean to harm us.

These “so-called youth/ students” who oppose the current administration, those who lie down on the streets to drive their point across have a right to do so. But I too have rights. I also have the right not to listen to them. I have the right to tell them that they are wrong.

These rebel soldiers who are going against the very constituition they swore to protect. They are to protect the presidency, the people and the constituition. But their actions have done nothing but cause us harm. To dilute the seat of the president, to harm the lives of Filipinos, to reduce the freedom of our constituition to a mere military “junta”. Not to mention to ally themselves with the very communists that are determined to crush all that the very freedom we have fought for. It is insulting to think that our tax money went to pay for the education of these fools.

Politicians who want to grab power by any means do not deserve our votes, for it is clear they do not represent the people, but only themselves.

And most of all, people who forget why EDSA happened.

If we do not remember the reasons why the people went out to the streets to protect strangers from being killed, if we do not value the very freedom that we have then we do not deserve it.

Is the Filipino worth dying for? If someone had asked me that twenty years ago, I would have said “yes”. But ask me that today, I do not know the answer.

Bad internet

Why can’t anyone provide decent internet service in the Philippines.

Ever since I got broadband, I could never bring myself to go back to dial up. I mean let’s face it. Can you go back to internet speeds less than 56k? I don’t think so. So I’ve been on broadband since 2000 when I got cable internet. Just last year I went to DSL when I found out that my cable internet company was bought out by a company that I didn’t like their service. (I also quit my cable TV company when that happened. I had no choice but to switch to DSL which was giving more bandwidth for the same prices I was paying for cable internet. The hard part was parting from my former cable internet provider.

I called them up saying I wanted to end my subscription. They told me to fax or email a letter stating that. So I went to their website and filled out the email reply box and sent a fax. But that wasn’t the end of it. They still kept charging me for 4 months after that. Bills which I ignored. Then they send me a disconnection notice. Disconnection notice for not paying my bills! I told them to disconnect my line months ago and they still charged me!! All the more reason to get out of that lousy service.

While that was all happening, I switched to DSL which was faster and the installation was quick and painless. However, the frustration was soon coming.

Every now and then, particularly during the weekends, I would lose my dial tone. And my internet connection.

Like this is insane!! Plus the support is somewhat of a paradox. You can only reach their emergency hotline using a phone in their service. BUT HOW CAN I CALL THE HOTLINE TO REPORT MY DEAD PHONE WHEN MY PHONE IS DEAD TO BEGIN WITH!! Can some one please explain this logic to me? Can someone please provide Filipinos with true broadband service with great customer support!

Voyage in Vana’diel

The Road to Jeuno

I had all the maps going to Jeuno, even the map of Jeuno but I needed help to make the trek all the way there. We met in Bastok and walked to the edge of the Konschat Highlands and entered the Pashow Marshlands. We stood there for a while, I guess while he checked the area if it was safe to walk with a lvl 20 whm. He changed his mind and we walked to the La Theine Plateau. I told him of a story where an orc chased me all the way through the zone area of Valkurm Dunes. He pointed at an orc and said “It is this one?” and promptly killed him. I replied, “No, it’s that one.” and pointed at another orc which he immediately dispatched as well. Laughing all the way to zone and I picked up my Holla Gate Crystal.

We zoned into Jugner Forest and cautiously walked through the area. I kept getting aggro from the Tigers in the area and he had to keep casting sneak and invisible on me. It was a really long trek. We got through it and once we zoned, we had a chance to listen to the jazzy beat of Battalia Downs. From there we made a mad rush for the gates of Jeuno and there were a horde of people.

Everyone was just there. Selling, yelling, synthing and so on. It truly was the center of Vana’diel. First things first in Jeuno was to get the Chocobo License. That took 6 hours total to finish. From there I was able to get parties for Qufim Island. It took a while for me to get to lvl 25. I kept coming back there with my white and black mage. When I finally got to lvl 25, I immediately used my raise scroll. Now I could raise players who have been knocked out.

The nice Hume Dark Knight who earlier helped me get my sub jobs helped me get my Kazham Pass. Getting the pass was a bit challenging. It took 3 hours real time to get all the keys. Once we got the keys, I got my Kazham Airship pass and rode the airship for the first time.

Voyages in Vana’diel

I got back on Final Fantasy Online again this week. I had already been left behind a bit by my linkshell and now I have to scrounge up some party members to get the Chains of Promathia missions. Maybe I should start from the beginning. I wouldn’t want to share my server details or the players who have helped me over the past two years.

Yes, I have been playing on and off for two years now on Square-Enix’s massively multiplayer online RPG. I got the game when it came out. I purchased the PS2 version since I had no PC to play it on. The PC version was available six months before. I created a female hume white mage from Bastok. There are three countries where they can start their character. I started in the industrial Hume city of Bastok, a barren dry wasteland of a city. I had no idea on what to do. Luckily a male Hume warrior helped get around. I was able to level my chracter and slowly I learned the way of the auction house and the quests and missions. I got bored pretty fast since there was nothing to see in Bastok. It’s just rock and dirt as far as the eye can see. I wanted to see another city.

We went to Windurst. Windy, as it is often called by players is not a short trip for low level characters. We would have to trek northward from Gustaberg, go over the Konschat Highlands and cross the deadly sands of the Valkurm Dunes and take a ferry from Selbina. We would dock in Mhaura, try and cross the Bubumiru Peninsula, climb the Tahrongi Canyon and make our way through the grassy fields of Sarutabaruta to reach Windy. It took us two days to get there. It was quite a trek. I then played intermittently since I had to go to school and stuff.

I came back to the game six months later and all my friends either quit or were high level characters already. The same hume warrior who helped me was now a ninja and helped me get to Selbina. I was able to get parties in Selbina since it I was a white mage, it was relatively easy. I got myself to level 20 pretty quick and a party member helped get my sub-job items. It’s basically the ability to set my sub jobs. His high level character was actually a 65 dark knight which was pretty high enough to get me the stuff I needed. Once I got my sub job, I then leveled my subjob which was a black mage and once I did that, it was time to say goodbye to the dunes and make the long and dangerous trek to the Grand Duchy of Jeuno.

Japan

Konichiwa!

I just came back from a five day working trip to Japan. I haven’t been there since 1983 and I must say this trip was a real eye opener. Instead of doing all the tourist things. I met a lot of people and found out how they live in Japan. Taking the subway and taxis was quite an experience with thr language barrier but somehow I got through all of that. I was able to squeeze what little Japanese I knew into the conversation and somehow it helped.

There were a lot of places we went to that I didn’t go before. The Tsukiji Fish Market is amazing. Tuna can go as high as ¥7000 a kilogram. That’s more than $60.00! I saw live Fugu for the first time. The Philippine Tiger prawns were also being sold there. Every imaginable type of aquatic creature was on sale there. Who cares about salmon, everything here was fresh. The sweetest tuna I’ve ever tasted.

We weren’t able to go up to Mt. Fuji due to the snow. We went around the mountain in Hakone and rode the cable car down to Lake Ashi. It was quite cold. I’ve posted pictures on my iWeb site so drop by there and have a look see. Maybe I should rename this blog entry to “Procrastinating in the Cold”. The entire area is volcanic. The region is filled with numerous hot spring inns and sulphur springs as well. At first I thought there was garbage, then I realized the vast amounts of sulphur gas emissions due to the volcanic nature of the ground we walked on. The winds blew hard as I was almost thrown off the observation deck. We went up to the Buddhist peace shrine and it made me wonder if every temple had to be this high. I carried all my gear to the top of the temple and took pictures of my achievement.

We returned to the city by bus and I got some hot tea from a nearby vending machine by the shinkansen station. We got off Shibuya station where we were picked up by minibus and brought back to the hotel. I had a quick ramen dinner across the hotel where you had to order by vending machine and give the ticket to the server in the restaurant. The ramen wasn’t that great. I’ve had better. We then went to Roponggi Hills and shot some video. We passed by the Hyatt Hotel where the movie “Lost in Translation” was shot though I’m not too sure if the Jazz Bar really exists inside.

We had a guided tour of the Sony Center in Ginza and we saw some of their new consumer products. The staff at Sony were suprised on how much I knew about their products. I joked that they should hire me for their overseas sales. We couldn’t shoot their playstation line but the consumer products were cool enough.

We walked down at Ginza where I was finally able to get to the Apple Store and got myself an iTunes Music Card.

I’ll post more as I get more pictures from the rest of the team.