06/30/16

Wishing For Change In Metro Manila

Today marks a new chapter in our country’s history as a new leadership formally assumes office. The leadership itself is a historic one, with a Mindanawon assuming the presidency for the first time in the person of longtime Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

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The Urban Roamer joins the entire country in celebrating this peaceful transition of power, along with the hope that better things are ahead for the country under the Duterte administration. As far as Metro Manila is concerned, the last six years were quite a disappointment as the metropolis saw a a lack of mass transit infrastructure built, broken trains, worsening traffic, as well as having to bear witness to the incompetence and ineptitude of a (P)Abaya at the Transportation Department and an ang(h)el(l) in charge of Manila’s airport.

With that said, I hope people put in charge by the Duterte administration, namely Arthur Tugade as Secretary for Transportation and Ed Monreal as General Manager of the Manila International Airport Authority, would be able to do better than their incompetent predecessors. Then again, considering how standards fell at a really low level during the previous adminhistration for these agencies, there should be no way to go but up I suppose. Continue reading

02/24/16

A Walk Along The EDSA 86 Trail

With the risk of betraying my age here, I was wee little toddler when the first People Power Revolution of 1986 happened. As such, I have no recollection of what happened during those historic 4 days in February save from what I eventually read in history books, in school, and the stories my mom who was there told me.

(courtesy of Gel Santos Relos on Typepad)

As such, I must admit I have no idea what it was like for the millions who flocked to EDSA despite the danger that loomed, who only had hope and prayers as their weapons against tanks and guns. Instead, what I feel about it is frustration and cynicism, that it was an opportunity wasted by those same people. Now some of them have the gall to generalize that those who are supporting the son of the president who was overthrown 30 years ago are “zombies” and “retards.” While others have made the symbols of unity and freedom in 1986 become symbols of divisive politics in 2016.

With such mixed sentiments, I needed to be reminded myself of what made the People Power Revolution a defining moment for the country. I needed to understand too why we failed to follow through the ideals the revolution wanted to put in place. And the best way for me to do this is to take a walk right along the great historic avenue that is EDSA where it all happened in 1986, a walk along the EDSA 86 Trail. Continue reading

02/15/16

Manila 1945: Remembering A City’s Bloody Feburary

Originally posted on February 3, 2015, this post has been rewritten to add some new stuff and make the piece more “timeless” and less constrained from being a 70th anniversary post as it was originally written.

February has been a traditionally known worldwide as the “love month,” as well as being as being historic month for the Philippines, especially in recent years due to the events of 1986 which culminated in what we now know as the first People Power Revolution. But not many people of another historic event that happened years back in 1945, one of the darkest and most devastating chapters in the history of Manila and of the country as a whole: the Battle of Manila in 1945 in which American and Japanese forces fought for about a month in a bloody, devastating battle in a bid to liberate Manila from Japanese control.

(courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

This was the singular event that would change Manila forever as the city once known as the “Pearl of the Orient” became one of the most devastated cities during World War II.  Hundreds of thousands of lives were lost  and many of the city’s important infrastructure and landmarks were heavily damaged, if not totally destroyed, many of which would not be rebuilt ever again.

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10/27/15

Cyberpreneur Philippines: Soon Off the Shelves

It started with a blog post I published here in The Urban Roamer early this year. Soon enough, it got quite a lot of attention that a book publisher contacted me to contribute for an upcoming publication based on my original blog post. After some back and forth with the publisher, I eventually agreed to take part in it.

The rest, they say, is history. And history was indeed made with the release of that aforementioned publication, a groundbreaking book called Cyberpreneur Philippines.

The publication of this book is quite a personal milestone for me. For one, I am now considered a published author, even if I wrote just a chapter there. Second and most importantly, it is a great honor and privilege to be part of groundbreaking work, one of the first books in the country, if not the first, that deals with the ins and outs, the whys and hows of making it in the online economy as a cyberpreneur or being an online business owner and/or freelancer that takes into account the Philippine setting and experiences of fellow Filipino cyberpreneurs. Continue reading

10/12/15

Notes From TEDxDiliman 2015

The Urban Roamer was honored to be among the chosen to be invited to this year’s TEDxDiliman which was held last Sunday, October 11 at the Diosdado Macapagal Hall (AKA the auditorium) of the School of Economics of the University of the Philippines Diliman. It was a very enlightening event, having learned a lot from this year’s speakers who have shared their experiences in relation to this year’s them; “Paths Less Traveled.” And I have to say, it is a theme that rings close to my heart at the moment as I am currently in the midst of that journey myself.

But before I go on, some of you may ask what TEDxDiliman is all about. Well, TEDxDiliman is one of the independently organized TED events in the country. Now you might ask what is a TED event then? TED (which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a conference being held in different parts of the world that aims to spread ideas and perhaps inspire to support worthwhile ideas or spearhead such themselves. Thus, the slogan of TED: “Ideas Worth Spreading.”

Being an independent TED event, TEDxDiliman is organized by Canvas, a nonprofit organization founded by Gigo Alampay that aims to “promote children’s literacy, explore national identity, and deepen public appreciation for Philippine art, culture and the environment” with the help of the creative community.

Gigo Alampay of Canvas serving as the host of TEDxDiliman

With that said, on with the highlights of this year’s TEDxDiliman. Eventually, the full videos of each presentation will be uploaded by the organizers in the coming days, which will be added here.

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