SOMEBODY sent me an email chiding the method chosen by "two stage-4 cancer half-heroes" in the movie Bucket List, to spend the last few moments of their lives.
"In the movie, a great deal of time was spent on mundane sensual thrills. Except for family relationship perhaps and their new-found friendship, their bucket list lacked spirituality," the email went.
The email was forwarded by someone I knew who already had a bypass and just recently survived another attack on his heart.
I hoped that by forwarding an email about dying, it spoke less of my friend's physical health and more of another philosophical way of reminding me of my own march towards the inevitable.
The email, nonetheless, advises those who know they would "kick the bucket," or die, so to speak, to "strengthen your soul as your body ages and recedes…kick the bucket not with a bang but with quiet gentleness…go for enduring spiritual concerns…renew old songs, old movies, old friends, old places."
"Meditation, prayer, forgiveness, humility, giving, sharing…do not seek joy for yourself but for others which becomes your joy…give hope to the desperate," the email went on.
Finally, it advises that we "kick the bucket with a smile."
No shit.
This person maybe ignorant of the pain a cancer patient feels. Fortunately, I haven't been diagnosed as yet of having the big C. Unfortunately, I know people who did. One of those is someone dear to me and died after her ovarian cancer spread throughout her body.
Believe you me, I know it wasn't as painful to see her in pain as the pain she physically felt.
Besides, who are we to judge the "spirituality" of the dying?
Would it be less spiritual for people to choose Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson characters' methods of "kicking the bucket"?
I haven't died but I don't think I'd give a shit anymore to whether I had a smile or not on my face. Besides my health care plan and bank account can only afford me to watch Freeman and Nicholson's characters tick off their things-to-do-before-I-die list.
"He's drooling, doc, should we give another morphine shot?" I'd like to hear the nurse say.
But the things the email sender advises people to do before they "kick the bucket" should be done even if the doctor gives us a clean bill of health or hold off the psychedelic juice.
Don't make imminent death an excuse to suddenly call for a group hug and sing Kumbaya. Rather, I suggest make Life the reason for giving hope to the desperate, for seeking joy for others and making it a personal happiness.
I always believe that what matters most is not the days spent before death but the life lived from the first breath.
We are merely mute witnesses on the periphery of history's passage; the ones who can only meditate how we will also be judged by time.
Waiter, 'sang bucket pa nga!

[Photo by Dennis D. Estopace, October 2009)

F'd Companies

The book F'd Companies (Simon & Schuster, 2002) by Philip J. Kaplan "captures the waste, greed and human stupidity of more than 100 dot-com companies." His book sells for just under $4 in some BookSale branches. When asked if I can reprint this page, Kaplan, known also as Pud in twitter, said: "Sure".





I'd make Fuckedcompany.com smell like peas.

That was the thinking behind Digiscents' flagship product, iSmell.

iSmell was a peripheral you could plug into your computer that would make websites and other computer programs smell. The device contained a palette of 128 different scented oils. When triggered, iSmell would internally combine selected smells and expel a puff of scent.

So yeah, there's something that's both really cool while simultaneously intensely stupid.

The idea was that there would be smell-enabled games –smell the caverns, the sweat, the dead bodies...Problem is, even with their seventy employees and $20 million in funding, they never got around to releasing the thing.

Besides, potential customers weren't too keen on having a bunch of nasty-smelling chemicals pumped up their noses.

Another idea was that perfume websites would smell like perfume. Okay...just a thought here, but would a company like, say, Gucci, trust this little box to accurately reproduce their fragrance? And if so, wouldn't people then just use the fuckin' smell from the box rather than actually buying the perfume? Further still, WHO THE FUCK GOES TO PERFUME WEBSITES. We can't leave out the obvious...

Still, this is cool, but so far the only applications that anyone can think of don't translate to $$$.

That's until now. I propose BURNINGSHITBAG.COM. This is a virtual burning bag of shit, delivered right to the email box of your favorite fucked CEO. The synergies are "overpowering" and the market seems just right.

URINALCAKES.COM coming soon.


what the is this: my own shots of the pullman putrajaya lakeside hotel (daytime, auto digicam)
disclosure: Bayer Philippines Inc. spent for the 2-way plane ride to KL, f&b, and the f---ing P750 airport tax
what to bring next time: adapter for laptop, 60 ringgits for 24-hour broadband access, lighter, toothpaste, toothbrush
reason for posting: nice place, cool pix, need for content, wanted to brag


Photo shows two children checking a black plastic bag containing their catch of the day: trash from garbage cans and plastic bottled drinks from pedestrians at the shopping center inside the University of the Philippines Diliman campus. On the foreground is a plastic label the taller scavenger tore from a plastic bottle and threw on the grass. Photo by Dennis D. Estopace, Oct. 14, 2009/ Quezon City, Philippines

WombRock 2

GOT my free beer last night.

Yup, two bottles, in fact, and a dinner of mechado and tokwa’t baboy in tausi sauce. Yum!

Even got a free ticket for the official launch Friday, October 16, of “WombRock;” thanks to Tony Gutierrez, its main fund-raising man.

WombRock,” as the invite goes, is a year-long fund-raising campaign that mobilizes young people to take active role in reducing overall maternal mortality as well as pregnancy-related deaths of young mothers.

Wednesday night, October 14, some members of the media -including Gil Nartea and the QC Times publisher- were treated to a sneak peak of the whys, the hows and wheres of the campaign.

I wrote a story about the launch and, hopefully, it gets to see print in my paper BusinessMirror.

Hemingway, the campaign is aimed at raising P5 million, the surplus of which would help the 40-year-old Family Planning Organization of the Philippines provide services to poor young Filipino women and raise awareness on reproductive health.

The launch Friday starts at 1800H (6pm) at The ‘70s Bistro Bar and Restaurant (#46 Anonas St., Project 2, Quezon City.

Tony’s invite said they’ve asked the following musicians to perform for the launch: Color it Red, Bayang Barrios, DJ Alvaro, Luigi De Lara, Lynn Sherman Diyosa Espina, Tao Nono Aves, Chikoy Pura, Kevin Roy, Kez, Paraluman, and Live Mission Band are those mentioned in the invite.

An entrance ticket of Php200 (US$4.30 at P1=US$46) goes with one free drink. The rest of the ticket payment goes to the campaign, according to Tony.

For reservations or more questions, he advises calling Nestor Marayag at (02) 4343597.

Joseph Taylo, band manager of Brownman Revival band, announced the following schedules for the tour:

23 Oct - Mag:Net, The Fort
24 Oct - Mag:Net, Katipunan
30 Oct - 1002 Bar, Timog
31 Oct – Penguin Bar, Malate
31 Oct – Absynth Bar, Makati
07 Nov - Guerilla Radio, Pasig
13 Nov – Conspiracy Bar, QC
11 Nov - Bamboo Giant, Manila
17 Nov - Java Café, Los Baños Laguna
25 Nov - Bamboo Giant, QC
04 Dec - Naga City
05 Dec - Naga City
11 Dec - Baguio City
18 Dec - Pampanga
19 Dec – Palawan

Please call Mr. Marayag to confirm the schedule as this blogger just reported what Joseph announced during the press launch Oct. 14.


MAYBE I’ll get a free beer by posting this. But that’s a BIG maybe.

I'll probably get it from Ton, a good friend of mine since the GST-for-Men training days. He's also connected with Bistro70s, the 20-year-old Quezon City home of real Pinoy Rock.

Tonight, October 14, rock and roll will play there again but this time to kick off the year-long fund raising campaign of the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP).

According to the invite I got, this year, apparently, marks the 40th Anniversary of the FPOP. The group claims itself to be the “acknowledged pioneer of the family planning (FP) movement and of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery in the country.”

The gig at Bistro70s, the invite read, starts a nationwide bar tour to encourage “young people to take active role in reducing overall maternal mortality as well as pregnancy-related deaths of young mothers.”

As I gather, the money raised is expected to reach the poorest of our people through support services related to reproductive health.

Ton said in his letter they invited musicians “who have committed themselves to championing the same cause through their music.”

These musicians include: Aiza Seguerra, Cookie Chua, Bayang Barrios, Cynthia Alexander, DJ Alvaro, Skarlet, RJ Jimenez, Noel Cabangon, De Lara, The Jerks, Razorback, The Dawn, Color It Red, Session Road, amng others.

Ton added that women musicians who are also SRH champions will be the major performers of the bar tour.

The gig is only for journalists.

If you’re one of these insignificant denizens of this cosmos (like me), drop an email to Brayant Gonzales fpop1969@yahoo.com.

If you’re lucky enough to have avoided this pitiful career called journalism, drop by the bars or restaurants the FPOP will host.

And give: it’s a fund-raising campaign, after all.

Hey, maybe I won’t have a free beer.

Ah, tough luck.

Oh, well, here’s to the music and the babies.


I’M going for the first time to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday (October 9), to cover the Asia Pacific Hemophilia Camp 2009.

The trip is sponsored by pharmaceutical firm Bayer Schering Pharma Asia Pacific. This means they are forking over the cost of my plane ride, stay in the hotel (Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside: www.pullmanputrajaya.com), and my ride to and from where I stay and the airports of Manila and KL.

I and another journalist from the Philippines will meet, according to the welcome letter from Bayer, the 20 "Hemophilia Heroes" across Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand who won the “Design-Your-Own-Hemophilia-Heroes” cartoon/video contest.

I was told local journalists will also be covering the 2-day event where “hematology experts will speak on the standard of care of hemophilia in Asia Pacific.”

The camp is expected to identify how this standard could be further improved “so that young people with the lifelong bleeding disorder can manage their conditions and grow up to lead normal and fulfilling lives.”

“Patient and parents support group dialogues/forums are also scheduled to discuss the standard of care of hemophilia in Asia Pacific and what is being done to deal with the situation, all in the hope of improving the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of children and young people with the disease.”

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services website, hemophilia (heem-o-FILL-ee-ah) "is a rare bleeding disorder" usually inherited -passed from parents to children through the genes, and "occurs only in males (with very rare exceptions)." [http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/hemophilia/hemophilia_what.html]

According to the briefing letter, the Asia Pacific Hemophilia Camp is themed ‘Love.Learn.Live.’”

It has “fun-filled with activities intended to raise emotional quotient and deal with negativities (‘Love.’); inventions and entrepreneurship (‘Learn.’); health and nutrition (‘Live.’); as well as an ‘Amazing Race’ challenge (‘Love.Learn.Live.’).”

I will try to write from KL beginning tomorrow night, if I still have the energy since the program says we go back to our rooms 9pm after a day's worth of activitis. The time in the Philippines and Malaysia is the same, to note.

But I think I'll be staying up all night because, as I always experience whenever I travel overseas, I'll miss my wife and daughters Katha and Laya.

It won't help that I'll be with young people always searching in themselves the strongest will to remain victorioua over their illness.

This is a coverage that I hope can dispel the cynicism that tries to embrace journalists in their search for the next story.

As they would say in Malay: Jumpa lagi (see you again).

Searca Photo Contest 2009

The Los Baños, Laguna-based Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study in Agriculture and Research (Searca) announced in a statement that it extended the deadline for submission of entries for its Photo Contest on Climate Change 2009 until October 30, 2009 (Friday).

For photo contest guidelines, visit http://www.searca.org/web/photo-contest/.

The institute’s last statement said the contest is open to amateur and professional photographers and all Southeast Asian nationals, except Searca employees and immediate family members.

Disclosure: This blogger has in no way received any compensation of any kind in posting this information. This blog post should not in any way be construed as an endorsement of Searca or the contest. The blog post should be read as a for-your-information type. This blogger is in no way connected to Searca, the contest, or the people behind the institute and its contest. This blogger has currently no information that would negate the preceeding assertions.

Disasters, info

Here are press releases (PR) and statements to the media related to disasters beginning with tropical storm Ondoy/Ketsana.

World Vision (http://www.worldvision.org) said they began relief operations the evening of Oct 3 in Isabela Province. 3 Oct (Dateline: Isabela Province/PR)

Kansas City, Missouri-headquartered Children International (http//www.children.org) said it donated $2.1 million in relief -water, soap, shampoo, sandals, kerosene stoves, sleeping mats and cooking utensils- to poor families and children that CI supports. Survivors will also receive funding for basic home repairs and reconstruction. 2 Oct (Dateline: Manila/PR)

Hip-hop artist MC Hammer and precious metals buyer Cash4Gold said to support hunger relief organization Feed The Children (http://www.feedthechildren.org) 2 Oct (Dateline: Pompano Beach, Florida/PR)

Ayala Foundation sent an update on its relief operations last week (http://www.ayalafoundation.org/afie-news/e-news-Ondoy.html) 2 Oct (Dateline: Manila/via email)

Save the Children said they've put up food distribution and child friendly spaces in evacuation shelters as Typhoon Parma headed towards the Philippines. The group said to help victims of an earthquake in Indonesia, flooding in Vietnam, and a tsunami in American Somoa. 2 Oct (Dateline: Westport, Conn./PR)

The Hong Kong Taskforce Operations Relief for Typhoon Ketsana (Ondoy) Victims said they raised HK$155,468 (P0.94M at HK$1=P6.0211) in cash donations, pledges and from fund-raising activities of associations and individuals. Donations accepted, sorted, packed at the Sacred Heart Canossian College Sunday. 2 Oct (Dateline: Hong Kong, via email)

UN children's agency, UNICEF (http://www.unicefusa.org) said they have pre-positioned people and supplies for typhoon Pepeng/Parma. UNICEF said preparing $1.3 million in supplies esp. for an estimated 1 million children displaced by Ketsana. 2 Oct (Dateline: Manila/PR)

ChildFund said its Philippines staff is providing food, water, medicines, shelter, cookware and tools to flood survivors building houses after leaving local evacuation centers in the metropolis. 2 Oct (Dateline: Richmond, Va./PR)

The American Red Cross (http://www.redcross.org) said it’s contributing US$100,000 worth of supplies -including mosquito nets, jerry cans and blankets -- to the Philippines from the Red Cross warehouse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It added it is also sending a shelter specialist. 2 Oct (Dateline: Washington/PR)

Nashville-based group Soles4Souls (www.giveshoes.org) said it’s sending 15 shipping containers full of Shoe Carnival and Keds branded-shoes, clothing, food, blankets and medical supplies to victims of disasters in American Samoa, Indonesia and The Philippines. 2 Oct (Dateline: Nashville, Tenn./PR)

InterAction said 20 of its total 187 US-based member-groups “are responding to the crises in Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, preparing assessment teams and providing water, food, nonfood emergency items and health services.” It gives a guide on how to help at http://www.interaction.org/how-help. 2 Oct (Nashville, Tenn/PR)

A school sought a story about students doing relief efforts for ondoy –fil-am, lithuanian, Indian, chinese. "U myt want to ask ur editor to send u to intrvw …students. Good for ur good news section." 2 Oct (Dateline: Manila/via sms)

Funded by the USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, the Center for International Disaster Information CIDI, (www.cidi.org) encourages Americans to donate cash rather than clothing and canned goods. 2 Oct (Washington, DC/PR)

The Jesus is Lord Movement said it has called off its yearly celebrations to channel funds to relief operations. 2 Oct (Dateline: Manila/via email)

Western Union Foundation said it gave US$50,000-worth of relief good to 500 Filipino families. Cash will be given to ABS-CBN Foundation. The statement said it's working with World Vision. 2 Oct (Englewood, Colo./PR)

The Paco Catholic School Batch '85 group said they distributed goods packed at the PCS Alumni Office. 2 Oct (Dateline: Manila/via sms)

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) said through its PR that it has donated relief goods for the victims of typhoon Ondoy. It still asked for "any medicine requirements the community has." 1 Oct (Dateline: Manila/via sms)

US group AmeriCares (www.AmeriCares.org) said it delivered $3.2- million worth of antibiotics, pain relievers, water purification treatments, and other medicine to the Philippines. 1 Oct (Dateline: Stamford, CT/PR)

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (www.ifaw.org) said a water rescue team arrived in Manila Oct 1 to help "animal victims of the disaster," as requested by the Animal Welfare Coalition and the Department of Agriculture. 30 Sep (Dateline: Yarmouth Port, Mass./PR)

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) said it gave $1.1 million for the Philippines (www.usaid.gov/our_work/humanitarian_assistance/disaster_assistance). Also, it sent two disaster response experts. The US federal agency for disaster response added the Defense Department provided a helicopter and six Zodiac boats. 30 Sep (Washington, DC/PR)

Wells Fargo said it won't charge the $5-$7 fee to those sending money using to those affected by Typhoon Ketsana. The fee waiver would be lifted after October 12, 2009. Wells Fargo said it donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross. 29 Sep (Dateline: San Francisco/PR)

Binalot Greenbelt 1 accepting donations in kind 4 Ondoy victims. U may also donate cooked meals @50 pesos each 2 b delivered 2 evac centers. Spread the word! Tnx! -28 Sep (Dateline: Manila/via sms)

[Photo is of Quezon Avenue late morning of October 2, 2009, by Dennis Estopace]

Government study foresaw flood–Palafox

In http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/home/top-news/16610-government-study-foresaw-floodpalafox.html

Government study foresaw flood–Palafox
Written by Dennis D. Estopace / Reporter
Monday, 28 September 2009 21:39

THE government was warned 32 years ago that ceding control of urban development may have adverse consequences, such as the devastation experienced by the metropolis on Saturday.

“Some are saying it’s [the flooding of key Metropolitan Manila areas] an act of God. It’s not. It’s neglect on the part of the government,” architect Felino Palafox Jr. told the BusinessMirror on Monday as casualties of Typhoon Ondoy grew to more than a hundred dead and thousands of people displaced.

In the document sent by Palafox, the Metro Manila Transport, Land Use and Development Planning Project (Mmetroplan) already cited the Marikina Valley as among the areas deemed “unsuitable for development.”

The area that includes the city of Marikina were among those that sustained the most damage, according to news reports. In one hard-hit site alone, Provident Village, TV reports said 58 bodies had already been recovered, presumably people who never had time to leave their homes as floodwaters rose too quickly.

“Development should be restricted by the application of controls in three major areas—in the Marikina Valley, the western shores of Laguna de Bay, and the Manila Bay coastal area to the north of Manila,” said the report submitted in July 1977 to then-Public Works and Highways chief Alfredo Juinio.

“We’ve told government all along [that] this would happen because of the flooding [in] the same month in 1970,” Palafox said.

He said he was working for the government then when he and a group of researchers undertook this World Bank-funded study on a land-use plan that was finalized by Hong Kong-based consulting firm Freeman Fox and Associates.

Palafox cited a recommendation from the study that the government should monitor the Marikina Riverbank so that the water would not reach 90 meters. Likewise, no structure should have been allowed within nine meters from the riverbank, he added.

“Dahil hindi sinunod ’yun, parang massacre ang nangyari [Because the recommendation was not heeded, what occurred was virtually a massacre],” he said.

The three-volume report also noted that “urban development is spreading into [these] areas which are, in their present state, unsuitable for development—either because they are low-lying and liable to flooding, or because development is without adequate facilities for the treatment and disposal of sewage [the norm in Manila] and so will continue to contribute to the severe pollution of areas, such as Laguna de Bay.”

The study added: “The unsuitable areas for development, where pressures are nevertheless considerable, are primarily the flat coastal areas to the north where extensive areas are liable to flooding and where increased pressures for reclamation are likely to further exacerbate this problem.”

Another is “the Marikina Valley, to the east, where the land is liable to flooding and where development with inadequate provision for the treatment and disposal of sewage is contributing to the severe pollution of Laguna de Bay and where flooding is a problem in the adjacent areas.”

Finally, the study said the pressure for development, but requiring control, includes “the western shores of Laguna de Bay where development without adequate facilities for the treatment and disposal of sewage is contributing to the severe pollution of Laguna de Bay and where flooding is a problem in the adjacent areas.”

“In order to avoid development contributing to longer-term flooding and water pollution, it is necessary that the short-term development is restricted in these areas. Only when remedial measures to deal with the problems have been implemented, should the development of these areas proceed on a significant scale,” the study said.

“Lessons are to be learned, for sure, but these have been taught three decades ago,” Palafox said.


These are pages from the Metro Manila Transport, Land Use and Development Planning Project (MMetroplan) that architect Jun Palafox sent to journalists to point out government culpability in the flooding after typhoon Ondoy hit the metropolis.

The MMetroplan is a 1977 World Bank-funded study for the Department of Public Works, Transportation and Communications. It recommended that since Marikina Valley is prone to flooding, development there should have been strictly regulated.