Friday, October 21, 2005

E-VAT Crap!

The Supreme Court of the Philippines recently lifted the TRO on the E-VAT bill. E-VAT will be effective starting November 1, 2005 as long as the bill is passed before that date. The E-VAT or Extended Value Added Tax is additional taxes imposed on fuel, electricity, and transportation among other previously VAT-exempt goods and services. The immediate effect of the E-VAT law's implementation will be to remove VAT exemptions on petroleum, electricity and professional fees of doctors and lawyers, among other vital sectors. This will automatically mean higher pump prices and electricity bills, not to mention charges for legal and medical services.

As a consumer, I am not in favor of the E-VAT since it will raise all the prices of gas and electricity which are considered basic needs nowadays. Not only that, professional fees will increase and surely the consumer will feel the blow of this especially those less-fortunate who couldn't afford normal tax-exempt fees, let alone legal and doctor's fees with E-VAT. I am speaking in terms of the consumer side, but when you look at the E-VAT on a long-term basis... I think it would be beneficial for the country and somewhat cure the fiscal crisis the Philippines is experiencing (IF!).

Thinking about the fiscal crisis... This crisis was caused by corruption in the first place. Truthfully, the Philippines is a very rich country in general but because of corruption, the rich get richer and the poor gets even poorer. The money of the Philippines as we all know is all underground (well sometimes, it can be seen and be so obvious but nobody can or wants to do anything about it)... think about the money moved during the elections, campaigning is big business and money movement is very very big. They can give millions of dollars to certain people to make them win but they can't give money to the poor instead. I don't get it?!? The government can pile-up cellphone bills upto 13 billion pesos but they need the consumers to shoulder the fiscal crisis. Government officials can buy lots of Ford Expeditions, BMWs, Mercedez Benzs, and cars for their bodyguards and convoys but can't spend for the education of the Filipino children? Well, I'm not generalizing and I know there are still good officials out there but sometimes even good officials get swallowed by the system because they have no choice.

Corruption and UNNECESSARY expenses accumulated by the government started all this, so why does the consumer have to pay for it? Why would the consumer pay for the mistakes of the government? Why would the consumer give back to the government when they don't get anything but pain and headaches in return? Why would the consumer pay for E-VAT when they know that one of the most corrupt nations of the world would most likely put the E-VAT in their deep pockets? The fiscal crisis is a result of corruption and I believe it will end with corruption. With that, I can truly say that the Philippines will be left in the dust with regards to economic growth if the government doesn't change.

There's a saying that The only thing certain in life is death and taxes, in the Philippines' case it's death, taxes, and corruption. Hey, President Arroyo! The Philippines will never grow into a f**king STRONG REPUBLIC if you guys don't mend your ways.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Birthdays Celebration Of Sherlyne

Happy Birthday Sherlyne!!! The food at Centro was yummy, karaoke at Red Box was fun! We had a blast! Thanks!

Click here to view the pictures

Friday, October 14, 2005

Leaving You

ANOTHER ONE?!? This is getting sicker by the day... WTF is happening to our music industry?!? Check the song Leaving You by Session Road and then check out the song Garmonbozia by Superdrag. I think this is really getting out of hand. If indeed these bands are plagiarizing these songs, I hope their asses get sued! This is so so sad. Someone should put a stop to this crap!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Stay

Just when I thought that Filipinos were creative beings, here comes another rip-off... Cueshe has been one of the hottest bands in the scene these days. Together with Hale, they topped the charts here in the Philippines. Little did we know, that they ALSO ripped-off music from other bands. Listen to Silverchair's The Greatest View and you'll see...

It's so sad that this is happening. I always thought that Filipinos were great composers and creativity is their edge but what is happening with our music today? Is it because we're running out of ideas? Is it because composers aren't inspired anymore to compose their own chords, riffs, and lyrics? Is it coincidence? I've heard of sampling but you need to pay for those? Did Cueshe or Orange and Lemons really pay for the rights to use the same chords? I guess Orange and Lemons didn't because they rejected the allegations and believed for themselves that Pinoy Ako is indeed different from The Care's Chandeliers. Good thing this hasn't reached The Care and Silverchair or these bands will be f*cked!

I guess you can't call our music ORIGINAL Pilipino Music (OPM) no more... what a waste!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Pinoy Ako

An article from Manila Bulletin Online

‘Pinoy Ako’ copied from a foreign song?

By KAYE VILLAGOMEZ

Orange and Lemons cleared issues on alleged similarity in melody of its current hit "Pinoy Ako" to "Chandelier," an original song of the ‘80s band The Care.

"As a musician who can transcribe music note for note and having an idea about technicalities, I can confidently say they are two different songs," Orange and Lemons’ vocalist and guitarist Clem Castro told Manila Bulletin via text message when asked for clarification.

Star Records’ Jamie Hipe admitted that the band may have been influenced by The Care but after studying both songs they resolved that each has its own identity. "We studied the two songs and concluded that they are two different songs. Orange and Lemons may have been influenced by The Care but no, they did not copy The Care’s song. Yes, they wrote the melody and used ‘Chandelier’ as their peg," stated Jamie of Star Records.

This negative observation began circulating last month inside the band music circle but it’s only now that the band has made a comment on it.

"Pinoy Ako" was a collaboration between the band Orange and Lemons and songwriter-record producer Jonathan Manalo who told the Bulletin that he only penned the lyrics of the song and entrusted the rest to the band.

"I can’t comment as of the moment because the melody and arrangements are all from Orange and Lemons. Though I produced the record, there hasn’t been any discussion between me and Orange and Lemons about a certain song called ‘Chandelier.’ I’ve given them 100 percent creative freedom to interpret and arrange my song," Jonathan disclosed.

The songwriter added, "After they (members of Orange and Lemons) finished the song, I had the assurance that it was from an original material."

Orange and Lemon’s Clem may have been irked by Bulletin’s inquiry prompting him to give the following message: "Do you actually think/believe that the melody lines are similar? You know Star Records will not declare it as they did without consultation and deliberation, which believe me, they already did."

Orange & Lemons is composed of Clem Castro (guitars and vocals), Mcoy Fundales (guitars and vocals), Ace Del Mundo (drums), and JM Del Mundo (bass).

Here's a copy of the song Chandeliers by The Care

Something To Inspire

Guys this is a long read but it's worth it. It's a speech by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005 to the class of 2005 at Stanford Stadium. I always read this whenever I need a little push in my life, to inspire me to do better, and to do what I truly love.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Movie Critique: The 40 Year Old Virgin

It's been more than a month now since I watched my last movie. I'm not used to this since I love movies and I make it a point to watch one once a new week starts and a new movie screening begins. Last night, I wanted to watch The 40 Year Old Virgin with Dang but she wasn't available (as usual) so I went with my sisters Steph and Nikki. The movie stars Steve Carell and it's about this nerdy guy who haven't had sex his entire life. The film is hilarious and Steve Carell is a really funny guy. I was laughing my heart out when he underwent his very first body hair waxing. This is great movie to watch if you want a good laugh. Given these past few days, I believe I needed this laughtrip.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Lucky Hero

Someone emailed this to me and made me smile... This is Bayani "BF" Fernando, the Philippines' MMDA (Metro Manila Development Authority) Chairman with a sexy star named Anna Leah Javier. BF is a funny guy (AND lucky)! Hahaha! BF FOR PRESIDENT!!!

Song Lyrics = Life Experiences

It's amazing how some songs and lyrics are so appropriate with what you are feeling in a certain situation. Lyrics portray life and I think there is a "life soundtrack" for each and everyone of us. Last night while I was driving home, I was listening to my iPod and I came across this song that hit me hard. The song painted a vivid picture of what I am currently going through right now and what I was feeling deep inside. Here are some excerpts from the song, The Closest Thing To Heaven by Carl Anderson:

...all you had to do was call
And I came running
Why did you have to throw it all away
Leaving me wondering what to do or say

Your the closest I've ever been to heaven
I'm the furthest thing from your mind
And though we make believe that we're still together
I know it's just a matter of time
I keep hoping we won't have to let it slip away...

...was I dreaming?
Maybe I should have realized from the start
That it was leading to a broken heart...

... if you only knew how much I cried
i want you to stay...

... don't let it slip away...

Sniff! Sniff! Right on the button folks. Dang and I haven't broken up but I feel that we're drifting apart. I just really hope that we won't let it slip away. I love her too much to let go.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Missing my Ipod

I miss messing with my iPod. Currently uploading the following songs on my iPod:

1. Love Generation (Club Version) - Bob Sinclair
2. Life In A Northern Town - The Dream Academy
3. Cool - Gwen Stefani
4. Stars - Switchfoot
5. Pinoy Ako - Orange and Lemons
6. Sweet Serendipity (Eric Kupper's Extended Mix) - Bonnie Bailey
7. Safe (Claude Bareau Mix) - Bonnie Bailey
8. Firefly - Bonnie Bailey
9. Rise (Beach House Mix) - Bonnie Bailey
10. Maybe - Kaskade
11. Sweet Love - Kaskade
12. Right Now Baby - Kaskade

What do you guys think?
Comment/Suggestions are accepted below...

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Leaving on a Jetplane

Dang just told me that she is gonna get her interview for Dubai this week. I miss her already just thinking about her leaving. I know long distance relationships are really hard work and I would really miss her but this is what she wants. It would be hard for me but I will support her in anything she wants because I love her so much. I hope I could really get to spend more time with her now that she's leaving. We're having some communication problems lately and being far apart wouldn't make it that much easy. Honestly, I don't want her to leave but if this is what she wants then I'm with her 100%! This is gonna be one hard year for me without her...
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