An Easter Sunday Message

 

 

As we celebrate Easter, may we realize

  • the weakness of our body; 
  • the irrationality of our feelings;
  • the folly of human pride;
  • the ugliness of egoism;
  • the vanity of ambition;
  • the limitation of our wealth;
  • the finiteness of our knowledge; and,
  • the shortness of our breath.

 

Only God can fill the emptiness of our lives. Let us return everything to God – with sorrow for our sins, holy fear, humility, hope and joy.

Rejoice.

Christ is Risen!

Alleluia.

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Visita Iglesia 2012 – Churches You May Want to Consider

Visita Iglesia and the Way of the Cross

During Lent, we observe a Catholic tradition of visiting various churches to recite and meditate on the Way of the Cross, a practice more popularly known as Visita Iglesia.  We normally visit seven churches and recite two stations of the cross in each church, although there were years when we covered more tha seven churches. 

 

Visita Iglesia is not just a religious experience. It  also provides a historical and cultural perspective esepcially if you are visiting old churches.

In today's post. l list combinations of Churches you may want to consider during your Visita Iglesia this Maundy Thursday. Have a good day!

 

Visita Iglesia on Foot  

If you live in one of the neighborhoods around the Old Manila area, you can just walk around these set of churches. Of course, make sure you have a good pair of walking shoes, umbrella or hats, drinking water, hand towels and an extra shirt or two. You can cover at least seven of these churches within one day. Watch out and observe the various Hijos de Nazarenos doing their Visita Iglesias in these churches during Maundy Thursday. These churches are:

  • The Twin Churches of Bustillos: Our Lady of Loreto Church and The Church of St Anthony de Padua
  • Basilica Minore De San Sebastian at San Sebastian
  • Abbey of Our Lady of Monserrat Church at San Beda
  • St. Jude the Thaddeus Shrine near Malacañang
  • National Shrime of St Michael and the Archangels near Malacañang
  • The Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene  at  Quaipo
  • FEU Chapel at the FEU Campus
  • Santisimo Rosario Parish Church at the University of Santo Tomas
  • San Agustin Church – Immaculate Conception Parish
  • Manila Cathedral – Basilica of the Immaculate Concepcion
  • Sta Cruz Church at Sta Cruz, Manila
  • Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz – the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish more popularly known as the Binondo Church

 

The Pasig-Mandaluyong Churches

These are the set of churches near our place of residence.  After visitng our Parish Church, San Antonio Abad, the route and set of churches to visit are largely determined  by the availability of parking spaces near the church grounds. But we normally select from among the following churches, chapels and oratories:

  • San Antonio Abad Church at Stella Maris Avenue, Maybunga, Pasig
  • Sta Clara de Montefalco Church at C Raymundo, Caniogan, Pasig
  • Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Pasig 
  • Sto Rosario de Pasig, Ortigas Ave. Extension, Rosario Pasig.
  • Holy Family Chapel, East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig 
  • Sancta Maria Stella  Orientes Oratory, at  UA&P, Pearl Drive, Ortigas Center, Pasig 
  • St Francis of Asissi Church, at Shaw Boulevard near EDSA Shangrila Hotel and Mall
  • EDSA Shrine, EDSA cor Ortigas Ave.
  • Sanctuario de San Jose, Buffalo cor Duke Sts., East Greenhills
  • Mary the Queen Church at Madison St., Greenhills West
     

The C5-Katipunan-Roxas Boulevard Set:

 These are churches located along the a strecth starting with the UP Chapel in Diliman to the Shrine of St Therese at Newport City in Pasay, then to churches along the Roxas Boulevard all the way to Tondo as the end point. It is a combination of modern and heritage churches.  You start out with the UP Chapel which showcases the works of various national artist and end at the Church of the Sto Nino of Tondo where various old-time residents of Tondo go back every January to attend its feast. The list are as follows:
  • UP Chapel/Church of the Holy Sacrifice (UP Diliman, QC)
  • Sta Maria de la Strada Church, along Katipunan near the entrance gate to La Vista Subdivision
  • Church of the Gesu, in Ateneo de Manila University
  • Sta Clara Monastery Church, Katipunan Avenue
  • St. Padre Pio Chapel in Libis
  • Christ the King Church at Greenmeadows
  • Shrine of St Therese, Doctor of the Church,right across the main entrace of NAIA III
  • National Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual help – Baclaran Church, along Roxas Blvd
  • Church of Jesus the Way the Turth and the Light, near Mall of Asia
  • Church of Our Lady of Remedies – Malate Church at MH del Pilar, Malate 
  • Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestra Senora de Guia, – Ermita Church in Ermita, Manila
  • Sto Nino de Tondo Church, Tondo

 

The East Road Churches of Laguna and Rizal:

 If you have a whole day to spare and do not mind driving around the towns of the lake's shorelines, you may want to try the various churches around the Laguna lake.  You have 3 options on where to start the drive tracing the twons around the lake  (1) the SLEX-Calamba route;   (2) the Taytay-Angono route; or,  (3)start with Antipolo Church (which is strictly not within the East Road), drive to Teresa and then Morong.   In our case, we avoided the traffic at the Angono stretch and took the Antipolo Church as our first stop.  From early morning to around 8pm during one Maundy Thrusday,  we managed to visit the following churches: 

  • Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, Antipolo
  • St Jerome Parish Church, Morong
  • Our Lady of Candelaria Parish  Church, Mabitac
  • St Peter of Alcantara Parish Church, Pakil
  • St James the Apostle Parish Church of Paete
  • St Gregory the Great Parish Church of Majayjay
  • St John the Baptist Church of Liliw

And here are pictures of these Laguna-Rizal churches in Maundy Thursday, 2010

1, Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Church of Antipolo

Picture 1 of 8

 

In future blogs, I will post more pictures of churches that I have been to, as soon as I will find them from my various picture files.

 

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Alzheimer’s Assessment Test

A Test If you will Ever Develop Alzheimer's

 

Normal Brain vs. Brain with Alzheimer's (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

 

Alzheimer's Test was developed as a mental age assessment by the School of Psychiatry at Harvard University. Take your time and see if you can read each line below without a mistake. The average person over 40 years of age cannot do it!

 

  1. This is this cat.
  2. This is is cat. 
  3. This is how cat.
  4. This is to cat. 
  5. This is keep cat.
  6. This is an cat. 
  7. This is old cat.
  8. This is fart cat.
  9. This is busy cat.
  10. This is for cat. 
  11. This is forty cat.
  12. This is seconds cat. 

 

 

Now, lets use the same same set of sentences, but this time read the third word in each line from the top down.

 

  1. This is this cat.
  2. This is is cat. 
  3. This is how cat.
  4. This is to cat. 
  5. This is keep cat.
  6.  This is an cat. 
  7. This is old cat.
  8. This is fart cat. 
  9. This is busy cat.
  10. This is for cat. 
  11. This is forty cat.
  12. This is seconds cat. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HAPPY APRIL FOOLS DAY!.

 

 

 

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To the Graduates of 2012

 

 

A friend of mine sent this piece via email and suggested that I post it in in my blog. He claimed it contains excellent advice for the young graduates of 2012.   It turns out that this material was the famous essay written in the late 1997 by Mary Schmich, a columnist of  the Chicago Tribune.  In 1999,  Baz Luhrmann released a song called Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)  in which Schmich's column is read word for word. Today, such song has various MTV versions on You Tube. 

The essay provides a discursive advice for living without regret.  This may not make sense to most young graduates now.   But as a they will grow older, they will start to appreciate its message.   And yes, it is as relevant in 2012 as it was in 1997 when it was first written.

Here  is Mary Schmich's column published in the Chicago Tribune on June 1, 1997:

 

Inside every adult lurks a graduation speaker dying to get out, some world-weary pundit eager to pontificate on life to young people who'd rather be Rollerblading. Most of us, alas, will never be invited to sow our words of wisdom among an audience of caps and gowns, but there's no reason we can't entertain ourselves by composing a Guide to Life for Graduates.

I encourage anyone over 26 to try this and thank you for indulging my attempt

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of 1997.

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are  reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85. Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

 

And here is one of the versions of the various music videos. It is 6 minutes long but I am sure you will enjoy watching and/or listening to it.

Now, please me what you think of this piece.

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The First Serious Challenge to TV Patrol’s Supremacy

Weakened by Predictability and a Daily Soap Series
From 1987 to 1995, TV Patrol lorded over competing programs in its time slot.  The word DOMINANT is an understatement to describe the extent at which  the newscast’s leadership position in the early evening block. On an average day, it captured sixty to seventy percent of  TV viewers, higher if there was a big news story. It anchored ABS-CBN’s primetime ratings with the bulk of ABS-CBN’s primetime audience comprised of viewers of the news program.
But in the mid-90s, TV Patrol  faced the biggest threat to its supremacy as the following factors come into play:
  1. Predictability brought about by too many sponsored segments. With high ratings, advertisers lined up to buy commercial spots and booked these for long periods of up to one year.  All of TV Patrol’s  major segments were fully sponsored. Because of these commitments, the producers were contract-bound to produce and air  contents associated with a sponsored segments even as the situation called  for a longer treatment  of  another news item. For example, a sports segment is aired even if there is no significant sports news item or issue that is worth airing.  The sequence of TV Patrol’s segments became so  predictable that audiences who surfed to other channels knew when to switch back to the news program to catch up on the TV Patrol  segment they want to watch.
  2. Counter programming via an evening soap gained traction.
    Villa Quintana Logo (Image from Wikipedia)

    In 1995, GMA-7 introduced a daily soap opera against the first  30 minutes of TV Patrol.  The show was Villa Quintana, a co-production with Viva Films.  It is a story of young lovers, Isagani Samonte (played by Kempee de Leon) and Lynnette Quintana (played by Donna Cruz). It followed a popular plot:  boy and girl very much in love with each other despite the feud between their families. In the end, they will die (suicide) for love.  Villa Quintana failed miserably during its first few months on air, but since it was a co-production with another company, GMA -7 cannot just cancel the program. In the meantime, because of  the predictability of the sequence and the length of segments in TV Patrol, viewers had a chance to take a peek at Villa Quintana.   And some of them liked what they saw and  eventually become followers of the  soap.  Thus, Villa Quintana, after several weeks on air, started to gain traction and hit a double-digit audience share level. This was the first time a competitor of TV Patrol hit such shares levels.Moreover, it showed that TV Patrol can be beaten, not by a news program but through a daily soap opera.

  3. The entry of Marimar.
    Marimar - the most serious challenge to TV Patrol in the mid-90s (image from Wikipedia)

    Marimar was introduced into the Philippine programming scene by an advertiser, Procter & Gamble, who peddled Televisa soaps into the country in exchange for free spots within the program.  It  was first offered to ABS-CBN but at a price which the network felt was so exorbitant compared to what was spent producing  its afternoon daily soap opera Mara Clara or its evening serials. It was also rejected by GMA 7,   so that  P&G partnered with RPN 9 and aired Marimar at the slot opposite the second half  of TV Patrol and GMA’s early evening newscast.

    Marimar was the first program that challenged and almost toppled TV Patrol’s supremacy of the early evening time slot. Its story developed quickly. It  has a fast pacing, and offered new elements such as a talking dog and a carefree, beautiful character played by Thalia. The audience loved the novelty that Marimar offered.

    Marimar caught the Philippine TV industry by storm. It ate up not only the ratings of TV Patrol but also those of  the entertainment programs after the newscast.  RPN9  cashed in on the program. They overloaded the program with commercial spots, so that the 30-minute episode extended well over an hour. The total running time of commercial spots within Marimar were longer than the program content.  Initially, the audience doesn’t seem to care. They love the new soap and continued to watch it, day by day.

    Moreover, P&G has several Thalia soaps in its inventory. With the success of Marimar,  the telenovelas of Televisa have become hot properties up for grabs by the highest bidder. For the first time, not only TV Patrol but the whole ABS-CBN primetime block is facing a serious challenge.

     

ABS-CBN’s Counter-Attack 

To be sure, ABS-CBN was not caught flat-footed with the developments.   ABS-CBN Research and Business Analysis, which I headed then,  had been providing top management with a regular monitoring and analysis of the shifts in audience preferences and of  the week on week viewership of various programs. In various memos and personal briefings we pointed out the threat faced by our early evening  slot. We also discussed extensively the development in various management and programming meetings.  As head of research I had very long discussions and strategy sessions with the chief programmer of the network, Freddie Garcia.

There were reasons, internal to the network, why it  failed to react quickly to the threat(maybe in future blogs, I will write about these). Nevertheless, we agreed on the following principles as a working bases for the subsequent network moves:

  1. Evening soaps is now a reality. We need to have one evening soap to counter Marimar.
  2. We have to stop TV Patrol’s predictability. It should not be tied up to airing pre-set segments day-in and day out.
  3. We have to buy all the other Thalia properties and similar telenovelas.

 

And the programming moves were as follows:

  1. Freddie Garcia negotiated with P&G and got the rights for Thalia properties.Predictably, P&G  bundled these with several other telenovelas of Televisa. The price was exorbitant  but it was a paltry price to pay versus what would have happened if another network will have gotten hold of these properties and programmed them versus ABS-CBN’s primetime slot.
  2. Then, he instructed the production group headed by  Charo Santos to prepare Mara Clara for its transfer to primetime pitting it against Marimar.  Mara Clara started airing in 1992 and was a Monday to Friday afternoon series about two girls who, by a twist of fate, each lead the life that should have been the other’s, and only a diary can put an end to the mess.  It was daytime’s most popular program, rating even higher than the top evening programs at that time. It also has strong following among women – mostly housewives, who were not about to give up the television to anybody specially if they were watching their favorite shows.  I told Freddie these core audiences will follow Mara Clara to primetime.  And if we will make its pace faster  and not overload the program with commercials it will beat Marimar! (which it did)
  3. The third move is to cut TV Patrol to 30 minutes. The strategy was to initially do away with segment sponsorships to make the newscast more fluid and less predictable. It will also use only one anchor. Most of the guys at the news department did not agree with the changes. I attended that meeting with the anchors, reporters, producers and other key staff of the program and I almost fell off my chair when after hearing the objections of most of the people in the room, FMG said something to the effect of  “pagbigyan nyo ako sa decision ko na ito. If this will not work, I will resign!” .  The changes was scheduled to start April 1, 1996.      And so it came to pass that on  April Fools Day,  April 1, 1996, Noli de Castro became the sole anchor of the newscast, and  TV Patrol’s airing time was cut to 30 minutes. (I told some of my staff then that there is a built in justification for the the move: If it  will not work, we can easily claim that it was just an April Fools Day joke).

 

Fortunately for ABS-CBN,  the counter programming strategy worked.  We had the other Thalia telenovelas in our inventory so there was nothing the other channels can offer viewers. After Mara Clara,  ABS-CBN TV production started producing a lot fo 30-minute primetime soaps, the first of which were the back to back tandem of Mula sa Puso and Esperanza. TV Patrol retained its leadership, but we can longer say with certainty that it anchored ABS-CBN’s primetime..

But the TV landscape has already changed.  Daily series has become a new feature of early evening programming. A typical weekday evening primetime programming would have three distinct blocks: an early evening newscast; a daily telenovela or drama block; and, a once a week program or movies.    Today,  the once a week program block has been replaced by even more daily dramas, telenovelas or koreanovelas.

 

 

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