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A test of faith

I’ve been preoccuped this week with recent developments back home which make what I am doing probably illegal in my home country. Which makes me even more compelled to blog about it.

The Philippine government has enacted into law Republic Act 10175 or also known as the “Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012”. Originally drafted to crimminalize certain offenses made via digital means such as identity theft, spamming, cybersex and child pornography. There are no previous laws tackling this issue in the digital realm which makes these pretty much updating dating the current laws. However a line has been included that many find disturbing and that is the libel clause.

I’ll save you the trouble and fast forward through the pdf link above to page 7 on the pdf or page 13 of the scanned pages and read section 19.

Sec. 19. Restricting or Blocking Access to Computer Data – When a computer data in prima facie found to be in violation of this Act, the DOJ* shall issue an order to restrict or block access to such computer data.

*Department of Justice

This basically means, they don’t need a court order to shut the internet, SMS, mobile phones and anything that is in a digital medium down if they see fit. Not to mention that the penalties for commiting online libel is harsher than traditional media libel (newspapers, radio, tv) which ranges from 1 Million pesos (roughly USD $25,000) and/or 12 years in prison.

With this in mind I’ll refer to the 1987 Philippine Constituition which states in Article III, Section 3 and 4,

Section 3. (1) The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of
the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise as prescribed by law.
(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in
any proceeding.

Section 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of
the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.

I’m no lawyer but it’s clear that there is something seriously wrong with the law.

Ten motions for a temporary restraining order have been filed before the Supreme Court and they will meet on Tuesday to listen to the arguments. The law took effect yesterday.

So you can imagine what took place. My fellow countrymen were livid. They went to the streets in protest and changed their facebook profile to black in protest.

It has been picked up by the foreign press.

Let’s go even further that the Philippines joined the Open Government Partnership in 2011.

It seems that government and politicians can’t put a stop to the discussion going on about them and the way they behave and perform in goverment and that their only recourse is to just put a lid on it and put the entire country back in the stone ages.

Just recently, a senator was caught plagiarising his speech by the internet community and claimed he did nothing wrong. It was made worse as he did it again a week later. But this time, translating a speech delivered by Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1966 into Filipino. Oh yeah, he put the libel clause in.

Now lawmakers are quick to go on camera and state that “if” elected, they will change that provision. It’s an election year next year and they need the votes of the public.

Let’s look at the numbers.

So far, most of the protests I’ve seen are on Facebook and I’ve shared a number of them.

According to

Facebook has almost 30% of the general population of the Philippines or almost everyone with an internet connection.

With more than half of them are eligible voters. How many are registered voters is another issue but is it enough to change their minds?

Now for the interesting part. Now what?

Sharing Facebook is nice and all but in the end we are all just armchair activists. Sharing, liking and retweeting things we believe our readers and followers should know. But will it change anything?

This is an interesting turning point for the country. This internet generation has grown up used to the freedoms that my parents didn’t have between the years 1972-1986 when the country was ruled by a dictator. I know my history and what it took to get that freedom back. I am curious if this generation will stand up for their rights.

This is a challenge to our freedom and to our internet. The internet must be free and it is up to us to keep it that way. The government has much to learn from the internet. I would like you to watch ITP Professor Clay Shirky speaking at TED Global this year on what government can learn from the internet and it’s users.

2010 in review

WordPress has kindly sent this year and review stats to me. It’s very helpful to see how many posts you actually made in a year and how much traffic is sent. Thank you all for coming to the site and I’ll do better this year.

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,400 times in 2010. That’s about 13 full 747s.


In 2010, there were 82 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 439 posts. There were 64 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 6mb. That’s about 1 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was December 18th with 232 views. The most popular post that day was UP Lantern Parade 2010 Part 1.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for up lantern parade 2010, morbol, marlboro final fantasy, final fantasy marlboro, and lair of the shadow broker.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


UP Lantern Parade 2010 Part 1 December 2010


Final Fantasy XIV Fall Update October 2009


Dragon Age Origins Awakening coming in March January 2010


Hands on: Dragon Age: Awakening SPOILER WARNING!! March 2010


UP Lantern Parade survival guide 2010 December 2010

Can we finally get back to work?

Congress has finally dismissed the second impeachment complaint against Philippine President Arroyo with a unanimous vote of 173-32-1.

This was the first major issue Congress tackled since it was formally opened by the President just last month.

According to the Philippine Constituition, another impeachment case cannot be filed within the same year the first one was cast.

Now the opposition has a year to file another one. Can we finally get back to work?

But on the eve of an election year, I seriously doubt that would happen. We are about to see all of the grandstanding and publicity moves up until the elections next year. And we’ll never get anything done. I wish congress will prove me wrong.

Prove me wrong for once. I want to be surprised that they will pass the anti-terror bill. I want them to start debating about digital security, copywright and internet privacy. That they will finally pass laws that will matter.

Stop with the bickering and media grandstanding. File those claims of election fraud in the proper venue. That is why we have the courts. That is not the job television.

There’s a lot of work to be done. The president has started. Now can congress?

So what else is new?

After President Arroyo of the Philippines gave her State of the Nation address, her supporters and detractors have once again stepped forward and gave their point of view on the situation.

It’s a sad sad sad world that these people live in. That the be all and end all solution to the current problems facing our nation would be the simplistic ouster of the President. They accuse her of selling false hopes to the people. But at least she has a plan. A solid plan on how to get things going.

What have they promised? Only false hopes as well. Promising that things will be better once she’s gone. Practically the only thing that they can promise. They have no plan for the people but their own.

Another year for our congress and another year of delayed bills and useless bickering instead of helping the country grow. When can everyone finally get on the same page and work for the people for a change?


Just recently, it was disclosed to the Philippine public on how inept the elected members of legislature. Can you believe that in past 365 days the Senate only passed 9 bills!?!?!
And my tax money goes to pay these unproductive people!! And worst of all, the people voted for them!!! Don’t even get me started on congress.
Two years ago I believed that the presidential elections that took place would be a turning point for Filipinos. It was a choice they had to make. I believe that the result of the elections was fair though it was very close. Unfortunately it sharply divided the nation. With the masses feeling more oppressed largely by the propaganda by the of the opposition. It saddens me that they can easily be fooled by these so called “defenders of the masses”.
Many do not see how these people live. Many do not see the fancy cars and the tens of bodyguards they bring along with them. They do not see the big houses and the lands that belong to their name. They accuse the majority party of having those things, when they have it too. They are all just the same. It is their motives that are only slightly different.
The senate and congress have done nothing in the past two years but to get the president impeached. Their propaganda has spread so far that the ordinary person does even want the president out. But with no real alternative to the presidency, they do not have support of the people. Why? Because the alternative is worse. It would plunge the country into chaos and bring us right where we were in 1986 before the elections.
Next year is another election year. Think what your congressman or senator has been doing the past three years before you vote. They have done NOTHING FOR YOU.

Why don’t I feel sorry

This afternoon’s headlines just made me shrug it off. “Congressman’s SUV carjacked!”

I don’t know the congressman personally or even heard of him until today. But when I heard that a congressman’s SUV was jacked! The first thing that popped in my mind was, “go ahead who cares. That’s probably how he got his in the first place.” But maybe not in such violent means. But for me to think of that sort of thing. Such horror!

Such horror that I would think that a congressman would steal a car. But still, why would I think that way? Would I think that way if they actually did something to help the country? Would I think that way if they can spend MY HARD EARNED TAX MONEY on something else rather than LIVING INSIDE CONGRESS HIDING FROM THE POLICE! Can they spend more time writing and passing bills that would protect our rights on the web and content that we create such as movies and music and ideas.

Maybe if they did something more productive than just grandstanding on television about how the president should resign. I would probably feel sorry if their car got stolen. Maybe finally someone will do something about it now.


Yada, yada, yada.

People keep complaining about the things that were allegedly taken away by Proclamation 1017 and keep comparing it to Martial Law and so on.

Ever count the stuff that we do have? You never look for it until it’s gone. Maybe we really don’t deserve the freedom we have if we take it foregranted.

Puhleeaaazzzeeeee. The only ones who lost over the past few weeks were honest people trying to make a living but these so called “defenders of our liberty” just ruined everything. Scared off a ton of foreign buyers from Manila and went to Singapore. Do an honest days work for once. I dare you. Not one person who went to the streets last Friday had an honest job to begin with. Don’t call yourself defenders of liberty when you don’t even live in it.

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.


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.

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.