Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Only in the Philippines: A New President, by personal acclaim

AMID persistent reports of coup plots to oust President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a retired general proclaimed himself president of a transition government shortly before midnight on Tuesday.

General Fortunato Abat described his action as peaceful takeover, even as he called on police and military forces to withdraw support from President Arroyo and "protect the sovereign right of the people."

The 80-year-old retired general made the announcement before an audience of about 300 people at the Club Filipino in the municipality of San Juan, in Metro Manila.

Arroyo, attending a summit of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Kuala Lumpur, has been haunted by a monthslong drive to remove her from power, and coup rumors rose to a new crescendo in the days before her departure Sunday.

Addressing a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, the President declined to comment on the reported coup plot.

But security officials in Manila dismissed the supposed military takeover as "blind rumors" even as Philippine police chief General Arturo Lomibao on Tuesday placed police forces on a full alert status, convened the crisis committee, and directed the intelligence services to validate the reports.

Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Generoso Senga said the soldiers remained loyal to the Constitution and the chain of command.

Abat, a former Army chief and defense secretary, is convener of the right-wing Coalition for National Solidarity which has been calling on Arroyo to step down.

When the wiretaps scandal broke out in June, Abat called for the establishment of a civilian-military junta and offered himself to head it.

The 117,000-strong military has a history of unrest and played key roles in the ouster of dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 and jailed former president Joseph Estrada in January 2001.

Two years ago, about 300 soldiers, led by young officers, occupied the ritzy Oakwood Hotel and a nearby shopping mall in the capital's financial district and rigged the area with bombs. They surrendered peacefully after about 20 hours.

The coup rumors have been swirling since June, when vote-rigging allegations against Arroyo prompted several cabinet members to resign and key political allies and left-wing groups to call for her resignation.

She survived an impeachment attempt in September when her majority allies in the House of Representatives junked three impeachment bids on a technicality. Opponents continue to call for her resignation and hold occasional small street protests.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

One more for the family (Stan Van Gundy)

Stan Van Gundy resigned as Miami Heat coach. The "legendary Pat Riley" will coach the Heat again. But what is amazing is Van Gundy's reason to "go home." Great!


Van Gundy has always professed to being a family-first man, someone who abhors road trips and the idea of spending holidays away from his wife and four children. He said that because of travel, games and practices, he would have seen his children at home only 49 days out of 170 this season.

"That's just not enough any more for me. It's just not enough," Van Gundy said. "I mean, it's been like that for my kids' entire lives. I've got a 14-year-old daughter and it started to hit me when I started thinking about her birthday, which was last month. I've got four more years left with her. Four. And then she'll be off to college and I'm just not willing to sacrifice any more of those four more years."

Van Gundy said he began wrestling with the balance between job and family during the preseason, and told Riley after the regular-season opener at Memphis that they needed to talk about the future.

"I can't believe people have that big a problem actually believing that someone would actually want to spend time with their family," Van Gundy said. "I don't know why that's so hard for people to buy into."

Watt's wrong?

Watt's wrong?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tiger wins his 7th PGA POY

Tiger wins his 7th PGA Player of the Year award. Go Tiger!

Monday, December 05, 2005

SI's Alan Shipnuck says it well

Alan Shipnuck says it well.

My Sportsman Choice: Jack Nicklaus

By Alan Shipnuck

Jack Nicklaus bid farewell to the Masters this year.

In 1980, Jack Nicklaus was honored by SI as Sportsman of the Year. The then-40-year-old Bear had just completed a season during which he won the U.S. Open and PGA Championship, quieting talk that his epic career was entering its twilight. That Sportsman was a celebration of his golf. Now Nicklaus deserves the award again, and it has nothing to do with birdies and bogies. In the past year no athlete has displayed more grace or humanity. Nicklaus has long been known not only as golf's greatest champion, but also its most dignified loser. As Jack has said his goodbyes this year it has been a reminder of how much he has meant to golf, and how much he will be missed.

Nicklaus's game may have rendered him a ceremonial golfer, but he can still command the spotlight. This year he stole the show at two of sports' grandest stages, Augusta National and the Old Course. His final Masters was particularly wrenching because only five weeks earlier Nicklaus's grandson Jake had drowned in a hot tub. Most athletes come into view during their youthful prime and then disappear before they fade away. But generations have grown up watching Nicklaus as he has evolved from overpowering prodigy to doting father to middle aged warrior to dignified elder statesman. We are in an era in which the game's best player has built a fortress around his inner-self, but throughout his life and career Nicklaus always let the public in. When he teared up striding his final fairway at the Masters, a nation cried along with him.

His final British Open was no less emotional. The putt of the year in golf may have been Nicklaus's birdie on his last hole at the Old Course, which was witnessed by dozens of players who ringed the green in a showing of appreciation and respect. You may not root for any of them, but Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els all have class, a precious commodity in pro sports. It's no accident that all of them grew up idolizing Nicklaus and have been mentored by him throughout their careers.

The true measure of Nicklaus is not his unprecedented 18 major championships, but his relevance in a sport that he has been shaping since 1960. In September, at the Presidents Cup, a U.S. team that has long been ripped for its apathy played its collective heart out for Capt. Jack, bringing him a victory that he claimed was the most satisfying moment of his career. A second Sportsman would be a nice way to end this momentous year. Only one other person has won two Sportsmans, and for a change wouldn't it be nice to see Jack tying one of Tiger's records, and not the other way around?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Impending storm

Rain was about to come. It poured a few minutes after these shots were taken. But it was short-lived.

Sunset at Bantayan Island

I was waiting for the Manila Bay sunset type all week. It came on Friday, but I was so far out into the water that I had no time to take a shot. I settled for these shots on other days.

Back again

Came back from Kota Beach, Sta. Fe, Bantayan. Took charge of a seminar. It was work. The sun and sand were too good to pass. I had my tan (burns, actually!)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Tiger's 2005 golf year

Here's SI's Chris Lewis in Inside Golf ... The Year In Review: The Tour season's over, so time to hand out awards. He gives Tiger Woods 6 "awards" in 20 categories.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Annika Sorenstam and Tiger Woods (tie)
There's no arguing with two majors in a single year, but in 2005 two players got it done. Annika had three more total victories (9 vs. 6), but Tiger balanced the scales by virtue of the resurgence factor, bouncing back from his worst-ever season.

MOST MEMORABLE SHOT OF THE YEAR: Surprise! Tiger's chip-in at the 16th at Augusta
My favorite thing about the videotape is how the picture shudders after the ball drops in. Folks, that camera was fixed to the ground. The usually reserved Augusta patrons went so bonkers that the earth actually moved.

HAIRDO OF THE YEAR: Tiger's Presidents Cup leopard spots
Which leads directly to another category -- Unasked Question of the Year: Tiger, if you lost that bet, who won it?

Watching how hard Woods had to work to earn two majors this year made the idea of winning three virtually inconceivable -- and therefore made his 2000 season even more mind-boggling. Woods hates it when we compare him to his old self, but he shouldn't blame us -- he's a victim of the magic he made five years ago.

FREAK OCCURRENCE OF THE YEAR: Notah Begay and Tom Pernice throttle friends (and playing partners) Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh at the Funai Classic
It was like Robin beating up Batman twice in the same comic book.

It wasn't just the pairing of the game's best player (Woods) and the only guy who rivals him in the category of Refusal to Give Up (DiMarco). It was the depths they rose from --Tiger putting off the 15th green on Thursday, and DiMarco finishing his third round on Sunday morning with a slew of bogeys. But most of all, it was the way it ended, with Tiger's tearful dedication of the victory to his ailing father. It was the most emotional we may ever see Woods, and retroactively seated the entire event in a more profound, almost mythic context.

Keeping our fingers crossed

Experts: 12% VAT to unleash bull run, P52:$1

First posted 01:21am (Mla time) Nov 10, 2005
By Gil C. Cabacungan Jr.
Inquirer News Service
Editor's Note: Published on page A1 of the Nov. 10, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

RAISING the value-added tax (VAT) rate from 10 percent to 12 percent by January next year will ignite a three-month rally of the peso and the stocks, according to market experts.

"Raising the VAT to 12 percent will solidify investors' view that this government is committed to putting its fiscal house in order and erase lingering doubts about the President's political resolve," said Jose Arnulfo "Wick" Veloso, treasurer of HSBC Philippines.

The British banking giant is the world's fifth largest in terms of assets.

"It will unleash a bull run across the board for at least three months," he said.

In the three-month burst of investor exuberance, Veloso expects the peso to hit the 52 to the dollar mark and interest rates on T-bills to go down by as much as one percentage point, or equivalent to P25 billion.

The VAT law, the centerpiece of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's economic reform program, contains a provision empowering the President to raise the tax rate to 12 percent by Jan. 1 should the VAT collections as a percentage of the previous year's gross domestic product (GDP) exceed 2.8 percent or the national government deficit as a percentage of GDP exceed 1.5 percent.

Finance Secretary Margarito Teves had said that based on current performance, it was inevitable that Ms Arroyo would increase the tax rate. The tax is aimed at reducing the government's massive budget deficit.

'Flood of funds'

At the stock market, raising the VAT to 12 percent would jack up the Phisix, the key Philippine stock market barometer, by at least 25 percent to the 2,600 level or back to the bourse's peak in 1999, according to former Philippine Stock Exchange chair Wilson Sy.

"The move will unleash a flood of funds from portfolio managers hungry for a recovery play in the region. Investors will look at the Philippines in a different light," Sy said.

Largely because of the implementation of the expanded VAT on Nov. 1, Philippine stocks are now back on portfolio managers' radar screen after six years, according to Sy.

The stock market yesterday hit its highest level in eight months because of heavy foreign buying.

The imposition of the VAT on fuel and power and the increase in corporate income tax from 32 percent to 35 percent have buoyed up Swiss banking giant UBS' outlook on the Philippines.

It projects the peso to hit 54 by the end of the year and 53 by the end of the next. It also expects interest rates on Philippine foreign debt to drop nearly 2 percentage points.

Long ride on bull's back

The market euphoria could extend beyond three months, according to Veloso.

"After three months, investors would know by then whether the 12 percent VAT has translated to higher revenue collections. If it has, then the Philippines will be up for a very, very long ride on the back of the bulls."

Veloso said the market's exuberance could peak in the first full year of implementation of the 12 percent VAT when investors would have confirmed whether the tax was indeed the panacea for the government's chronic budget deficit.

"We expect a significant change in the market outlook, an inevitable upgrade in the country's credit rating," he said.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


I'll be in Singapore for two weeks beginning tomorrow. Let's see if I can spend time to do some blog while there. Training/workshop. Killer schedule


It's been a long time. Been busy with trips and other stuff that made blogging very difficult.
So what's up?
The Rossoneri: 6th (quotient) in Serie A (1-1); 3-1 win over Fenerbahce in their Champions League group stage opening game. They have new shirt designs this season.
Tiger is still number 1. That's for sure.
Masha lost to KimC at the semis of the US Open, who eventually won her first grand slam event against Mary Pierce. Davenport is still number 1, I think.
The US got back the Solheim.

PGMA sneeked past her impeachment complaint (158-51).

Wednesday, August 24, 2005



8/23/2005 9:12:00 AM
Everyone involved with the Rossoneri will remember the letter received from UEFA after the Champions League final. It thanked Milan for the part they played in the competition and in a way was an acknowledgment of a moral victory on that cruel night in the Ataturk against Liverpool where from neutral eyes both sides deserved merit for the quality of play. Milan have been awarded in type in the 21 nominations for the UEFA Champions League Awards 2004-05, with three defenders, two midfielders and an attacker which works out at least 30 per cent of the shortlist. Naturally, there is Kaka and Andriy Shevchenko, the former the star of the first half in Istanbul, the later having what looked like a good goal disallowed in the second. Significantly, two great veterans of the game, Paolo Maldini and Cafu are amongst the candidates as is Alessandro Nesta in defence. Then there is Andrea Pirlo in midfield and of course, Nelson Dida, who made a major impression throughout the competition, vying for the goalkeeper position. Each one of Milan’s candidates at the Montecarlo gala event will be looking ahead to the 2005-06 Champions League season and will be giving it their all to reach Paris and lay Istanbul to rest.

8/23/2005 9:06:00 AM
MONTECARLO - Here are shortlists of the nominations:

GOALKEEPERS: Buffon (Juventus), Cech (Chelsea), Dudek (Liverpool).

DEFENDERS: Cafu, Nesta and Maldini (Milan), Carragher and Hyppia (Liverpool), Terry (Chelsea).

MIDFIELDERS: Ballack (Bayern), Gerrard (Liverpool), Kakà and Pirlo (Milan), Juninho (Lione), Lampard (Chelsea), Van Bommel (Psv).

STRIKERS: Adriano (Inter), Eto’o and Ronaldinho (Barcellona), Park (Psv), Shevchenko (Milan).

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

What Madonna and I have in common

... a broken collarbone

from CNN

NEW YORK (AP) -- Madonna's 47th birthday celebration was marred when she suffered several broken bones in a horse riding accident at her country home outside London, her publicist told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The superstar was hospitalized with three cracked ribs, a broken collarbone and a broken hand, according to Liz Rosenberg, her spokeswoman based in New York.

The accident occurred Tuesday at Ashcombe house, her estate outside of London.

Madonna and an assistant were riding horses, when Madonna, on a new horse she wasn't accustomed to riding, took a tumble. Her children, Rocco and Lourdes, were at the home but were not with their mother at the time, Rosenberg said.

"The whole family was out in the country, celebrating her birthday," Rosenberg said.

Her husband, director Guy Ritchie, took Madonna to an undisclosed hospital, where she was treated. Rosenberg said the entertainer was expected to be released later in the evening.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

ACM beats Juventus


8/14/2005 10:56:00 PM
Milan came from a goal down to lift the 15th edition of the Luigi Berlusconi Trophy at the San Siro on Sunday evening, thanks to second-half goals from Kaka and Serginho. Juventus took the lead on 20 minutes when Patrick Vieira latched on to a through-ball before lifting his shot over the advancing Dida. Milan came back into the game and Kaka went close on two occasions. However, the Rossoneri took control after the break and the equaliser was finely executed as Clarence Seedorf slipped the ball wide on the right for Andriy Shevchenko who checked back before rolling a pass to Kaka who finished precisely with a low first-time shot. Rui Costa was then only denied a spectacular goal by the inside of the post as the Portuguese playmaker received a chipped pass from Andrea Pirlo and fired a thunderous shot off the woodwork. And it was Rui Costa who set up the Rossoneri winner, with a diagonal ball over the top of the defence for Serginho to run on to and the Brazilian finished with a crisp left-footed shot into the corner of the net to round off a convincing performance from Carlo Ancelotti’s side.

Monday, August 15, 2005

First woman hired as White House head chef

CNN reports that the White House has a new head chef . . .

... Cristeta Comerford -- the first woman to take the top spot in the executive kitchen.

Comerford has been an assistant chef at the White House for 10 years, working under former executive chef Walter Scheib III, who resigned in February.

Mrs. Bush has been trying out applicants for the job in recent months, asking them to prepare test meals at special functions and private meals at the residence.

Comerford developed the menu for last month's honorary dinner for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The 134 dinner guests dined on chilled asparagus soup and lemon creme; pan-roasted halibut, ginger-carrot butter, basmati rice with pistachio nuts and currants and herbed summer vegetables; and salad of Bibb lettuces and citrus vinaigrette.

"I am delighted that Cris Comerford has accepted the position of White House Executive Chef," Mrs. Bush said in a statement. "Her passion for cooking can be tasted in every bite of her delicious creations."

A naturalized U.S. citizen from the Phillipines, Comerford has a bachelor's degree in Food Technology from the University of the Philippines. She has worked at Le Ciel in Vienna, Austria and at restaurants in two Washington hotels -- the Westin and the ANA.

CNN misspelled Philippines!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Cool Lizard

Liz was cooling off. Stayed on for about an hour as my family was in a get-together (CdO).

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Adidas buys Reebok

Adidas is set to buy Reebok. The two companies will retain their brands however. Your original Reeboks will not be collector's items yet.

Here's from . . .

Adidas to buy Reebok in deal worth $3.8 billion

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- By combining Adidas' popularity in Europe among soccer and athletics fans with Reebok's appeal to U.S. fans of basketball and football, the architects of the $3.8 billion sportswear and athletic gear deal hope to create a more muscular rival to world leader Nike.

Adidas-Salomon AG said Wednesday it has agreed to buy Reebok International Ltd. for $59 a share that combines two major brands with links to both athletics and lifestyle. That was a healthy 34 percent premium over Reebok's closing price Tuesday.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Thursday, July 28, 2005

More than 50% say PGMA is acceptable

Nearly 1 in 2 say Arroyo 'unacceptable' person to lead RP
26% say De Castro 'best person to lead' RP

By Joel Francis Guinto

NEARLY one in two Filipinos (47 percent) consider Arroyo as being an "unacceptable" person to lead the country now while one in three believe her resignation and impeachment to pave the way for snap elections is the "best" way out of the political crisis, according to an independent survey released Thursday.

While only 17 percent of the 1,200 respondents nationwide favor the constitutional succession of Vice President Noli de Castro once Arroyo resigns or is impeached, 26 percent believe the ex-television broadcaster is the "best person to lead the country now," Pulse Asia Inc. said in its Ulat ng Bayan (Report of the Nation) survey conducted from July 2 to 14.

The study covered the period after Arroyo apologized for improperly calling up an elections officer during the canvass and after influential personalities and groups joined calls for her resignation. It had a margin of error of +/-3 percent at a confidence level of 95 percent.

It was done before Arroyo's State of the Nation Address, where she made a big push for a shift to a federal-parliamentary form of government.

When asked what the "most beneficial or constructive political scenario" is, the top response was Arroyo's resignation or impeachment and the holding of snap elections (34 percent), followed by Arroyo's resignation and impeachment and De Castro's succession to her post (17 percent), Arroyo's finishing her term until 2010 (16 percent), Arroyo's resignation and the establishment of a junta (15 percent), Arroyo's serving as a transition leader who will oversee charter change (10 percent), and Arroyo's removal from office through whatever means, constitutional or extra-constitutional (7 percent).

When asked what is the "most inimical or destructive political scenario" is, the leading answer was Arroyo's finishing her term until 2010 (22 percent), followed by a military takeover (19 percent), foreign government intervention (17 percent), snap elections (16 percent), the military installing a group of politicians into power after a coup (14 percent), and De Castro's succession to the presidency (11 percent).

Placing second to De Castro in the list for "best person to lead the country now" is Senator Panfilo Lacson (21 percent), followed by former president Joseph Estrada (11 percent), the late Fernando Poe Jr.'s widow, Susan Roces (10 percent), Arroyo (7 percent), Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. (4 percent), former president Fidel Ramos (3 percent), evangelist Brother Eddie Villanueva (2 percent), Senator Rodolfo Biazon (2 percent) and former defense secretary Fortunato Abat (0.03 percent).

In second position in the list of "persons not acceptable to lead the country" following Arroyo is Villanueva (28 percent), Ramos (25 percent), Abat (21 percent), Roces (20 percent), Estrada (20 percent), Lacson (20 percent), Davide (18 percent), Biazon (12 percent), and De Castro (12 percent).

When asked who is the "best person" to lead the country, the respondents were allowed one response. On the question of "unacceptable" persons to lead the country, the respondents were allowed three answers.

If only the first of the three answers to the "unacceptable" leader question were ranked, Abat will top the list with 21 percent, followed by Arroyo (14 percent), Estrada (12 percent), Davide (12 percent), De Castro (9 percent), Biazon (8 percent), Lacson (8 percent), Villanueva (3 percent), Roces (3 percent), and Ramos (3 percent).

Additional buzzwords some here in RP like to use ... very often

"moral ascendancy" and "credible leadership"

Estrada asks court to grant him bail

Estrada asks court to grant him bail. My, my, what will it be next time?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Pres. GMA State of the Nation Address

Every year, we meet on this day in this great hall to celebrate democracy and take stock of the nation: the country and its condition; the government and its performance; the people and their well-being.

Ours is a country divided; the story of our nation is a tale of two Philippines; almost, as it were, two countries under the same name.

One is the Philippines whose economy, after long years of cumulative national endeavor, is now poised for take off. The other is the Philippines whose political system, after equally long years of degeneration, has become a hindrance to progress.

As a country on the verge of take-off, our storyline would surprise many at home and abroad. The story includes an economy that grew more than 6 percent last year and that has continued to work in the teeth of the biggest oil price hikes in history, while generating four million jobs in the last four years.

The story includes marked improvements in tax collections, infrastructure housing construction, shelter, security for the urban poor and indigenous peoples, and rice productivity.

The story includes 69 million beneficiaries of health care insurance, including 30 million indigents, whose re-enrollment started early this year and is still ongoing.

That same story, over four years, saw the drug menace cut in half, the rash of kidnappings become a thing of the past, and insurgency in the South abated.

This story should work itself out as one about an economy as resilient and full of potential as its people are patient and hardworking, guided by a government--with the executive and the legislative hand-in-hand--that is able to pass a no-nonsense budget and make the tough decisions to put our fiscal house in order.

I specially refer to our recent titanic struggle to enact the three laws that comprised the biggest fiscal package in our history, the biggest revenue increase in a generation that will break the vicious cycle of financing development by borrowing and having to borrow again just to service those loans. This is the one reform that will snap the chain that has bound our future to a profligate past and the debt-burdened present. The Filipino's strong sense of family has given Congress a stronger resolve not to pass on today's debt, and bankrupt our children and grandchildren tomorrow. That struggle has done the House and the Senate great honor. Congratulations.

Abroad, the story continues. We’ve worked long and hard to restore our country to the prominent place it once held as co-founder of the United Nations and the Free World's first line of defense in the East. We won a seat in the UN Security Council, where we presided over the landmark resolution calling for democracy in Iraq. The Philippines chaired the historic conference on interfaith cooperation for peace at the UN, the fruit of a bold and creative initiative by your Speaker of the House.

We head the APEC anti-terrorism task force. Our victories in the war on terror have been acknowledged by no less than president Bush before the US National Defense University. The Jemaah Islamiyah and the Abu Sayyaf can only pick up the pieces of its broken backbone in Mindanao.

We’ve worked with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to forge peace with our Muslim brothers. Eighty percent of our peace talks with them have been completed. Permanent peace in Mindanao is within reach.

Indeed, our story as a country on the verge of take off is real. Analysts need only to look at our stock market, and even the peso-dollar exchange rate, to sense the strong anticipation of significant improvements, if only we would overcome the tendency to be our own worst enemy.

Thus, with investors both here and abroad in mind, I invite you all to join me in sending them a strong message from this great hall: We will not waver in our commitment to economic reform and fiscal discipline, whatever the political cost.

The other message to send is that we will address the burden that the other Philippine story imposes on our anticipated take-off. I refer to the story of how our political system has now become a hindrance to our national progress.

Over the years, our political system has degenerated to the extent that it is difficult for anyone to make any headway yet keep his hands clean. To be sure, the system is still capable of achieving great reforms. But, by and large, our political system has betrayed its promise to each new generation of Filipinos, not a few of whom are voting with their feet, going abroad and leaving that system behind.

Perhaps we politicians have done our best; But maybe our best is not enough, given the present system. Perhaps we have strained the present political system to its final limit.

It is time to turn to the people, bring them into government -- and change the way that government is done.

The people want government that works for them at every level. They want good government that begins at their doorstep in the barangay [village-ed], and does not end before the closed door of a bureaucrat in Metro Manila.

The system clearly needs fundamental change, and the sooner the better. It's time to start the great debate on charter change.

We must address such questions as how much more government is needed for the greater safety and economic security of our people, and how much less government is more conducive to free enterprise and economic progress.

The mode of Charter change is the exclusive prerogative of Congress. But a constituent assembly may well give our people the quickest reforms.

I shall work with Congress, civil society groups and local government executives who are convinced that Charter changes are needed to enable the country to surmount the unprecedented challenges of the 21st century.

I take this opportunity to acknowledge the local government executives who have brought about an LGU power revolution through transformative leadership.

The economic progress and social stability of the provinces, along with the increasing self-reliance and efficiency of political developments and public services there, make a compelling case for federalism.

Perhaps it's time to take the power from the center to the countryside that feeds it.

I recognize that our form of government will be the decision of the body constituted to undertake Charter change. But we should consider that legislation could be quickened and laws made more responsive to the people under a parliamentary system, similar to that of our progressive neighbors in the region.

But even as we make a serious start in Charter change, I hope we can still work together on other initiatives to the lasting benefit of our people.

In the area of education, we've spent our increased resources on better trained teachers in more classrooms, teaching students in more effective ways. We’ve laid a strong foundation by building almost 30,000 classrooms in the past four years, providing computer access to more than 3,000 high schools, and beginning a "healthy start" breakfast program for our young school children.

I ask Congress to pass the Pre-Need Code to rehabilitate, reform and regulate the pre-need educational programs that worked so well in the past as a major vehicle for youth education entitlement.

College education is the great Filipino dream. But in a world of rapid technological change, getting a job or keeping it depends as much on how well one reasons as how well one uses his hands. I have issued E.O. 358 so that hours spent in vocational training can be credited towards a college degree. That will combine job readiness with the dream of a college education while increasing the competitiveness of our nation.

But our competitiveness is greatly endangered today by the global oil crisis. I call on Congress to pass legislation encouraging renewable and indigenous energy.

In the area of national security, I urge the swift passage of an anti-terrorism law that will protect rather than subvert, enhance rather than weaken, the rights and liberties that terrorism precisely threatens with extinction.

These examples serve to highlight that there is much work to be done.

Now is not the time for divisiveness, and while there's no avoiding partisan politics, there can be a determined effort by all sides to limit the collateral damage on a country poised for take-off.

Let’s call on the Lord. Let us ask Him for the grace to make us worthy of His healing our land.

Alam kong tayong lahat ay naghahangad ng isang makabuluhang pagbabago para sa ating bayan. Tayong lahat ay nagsisikap para matamo ang kapayapaan at kaunlaran. Kung kaya't ako'y nakikiusap na tulungan ninyo ako, para sa kapakanan ng taong bayan.

We may disagree among ourselves but let us never lose sight of that greater battle for one people, one country, one Philippines.

Not the country of this or that president but the Philippines of our shared and passionate affections.

Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.



Milan made their debut in the 2005 World Series of Football in front of a passionate American crowd. The first friendly against Chelsea in Boston did not end as expected for the Rossoneri who were edged out by Jose Mourinho’s Blues thanks to Arjen Robben’s strike on 13 minutes. The game, however, offered plenty of emotion for the 25,000 fans gathered in the Gillette Stadium and also gave Carlo Ancelotti the occasion to test the three-man defence in the second half, which gave positive signs for the future. There were an array of stars on show, with Hernan Crespo coming up against Bobo Vieri - Milan’s attacking past against the present. Kakhaber Kaladze played from the first minute, while the playmaking pairing of Manuel Rui Costa and Serginho were called up to support Vieri. The first half produced the most spectacular and open football although tiredness from the early pre-season camp took over in the final stages. Coach Ancelotti was satisfied with his men's display despite the outcome, and said: 'I'm happy, we are testing new solutions and I saw an excellent organisation on the flanks in the first half.' Manuel Rui Costa was on the same wavelength: 'The opponents were ahead of us in the preparation, bue we were able to do what the coach claimed from us, as long as our legs stood. We did well with ball possession and just lacked in speeding up the tempo.' The next game is at Chicago Fire on Wednesday, July 27.

Four-star attack
Andriy Shevchenko, Pippo Inzaghi, Christian Vieri, Alberto Gilardino. This is the sweet reality of the Milan attack, the dream come true. The Golden Ball winner, the 252-goalscorer chasing Alfredo di Stefano's record in Europe, the left-footed striker so-much missed after Mark Hateley, the promising young talent. This is the new Milan attack: complete and totally prestigious. Even Carlo Ancelotti admitted: 'Yes, on paper it is stronger than last season.'

Typo error?

Calling Ed!

What's eating him?

Can you tell me which one is not like the other?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The fastest way to peace

One of the most important management concepts I have learned and live is: the worst decision is not to make a decision. Many have spoken in the present state of affairs in the Philippines, all giving us the solution to the problem. Many have said that the fastest way out of this stalemate is that the President resign. I think the fastest way to peace is to stop all the talk, and we all go about doing our share for the good of this country. I believe that asking our President to resign will take time, a lot of time. And if she does, putting us back on track will take even longer.
Better, let us shut up and go about our business.
I do not think this is the same as not making a decision.
Sadly, many times, shutting our mouth takes longer.

Friday, July 08, 2005


Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods became the first player to go over $50 million in career earnings, which led British golf announcer Peter Aliss to say, "Money isn't everything, but it's right up there with oxygen and food."

Michelle Wie

It's been 60 years since a woman made the cut in a PGA event, but Michelle Wie is out to change that. Wie, 15, carded a 1-under 70 in Thursday's first round of John Deere Classic.

President Arroyo's radio message July 7, 2005

Full text of Arroyo radio address

Mga minamahal kong kababayan:

When I was young and my late father Diosdado Macapagal was president of our country, I thought of him as the “good guy” and his political opponents on the other side were the “bad guys”.

Because of my father’s influence, I had always thought of myself as on the side of good,. Thus, it is very painful for me to know that among many of our countrymen today, I have been demonized as the ‘bad guy’. This is unfair, but is a cross that God in his wisdom has given me to bear, so I will bear it. I have never questioned God’s ways before and I will not do so now.

When I first entered politics in 1992, little did I know that within a decade, I would become president of our country, and little did I expect that within another five years, there would be calls from a civil society for my resignation from my office or for the formation of a ‘truth commission’ regarding some of my political actuations.

When I spoke before the nation some two weeks ago, I did so against the advice of my legal counsel. But I thought that speaking before you, the Filipino people, was the right thing to do. Shameless people have peddled the lie that I confessed to cheating. What I disclosed was that I talked to an election official, but that this had taken place after the certificates of canvass had already been used to proclaim the winning senators, and it was those same certificates of canvass that showed that I won by around a million votes. That is the truth.

Indeed, it is right for our country to confront the truth, but if we do so, let’s confront the biggest, most painful political truth. The big truth that we are aware of deep in our hearts, but that we collectively sweep under the rug. The big truth whose debilitating effects on our country, year after year, decade after decade, have developed into feelings of disgust, hopeless and even despair among large segments of our society.

The truth that I discovered from my beginnings as a neophyte politician in 1992, rising to become a veteran politician through the years, is this: over the years, our political system has degenerated to such an extent that it is very difficult to live within the system with hand son totally untainted. That is the truth. In addition, our system has degenerated to such an extent that more often than not, it is political agenda first and national interest last. For example with endless investigations and scandals in aid of politics and media projections, rather than in aid of legislation or executive action. That is the truth. Because of this system of politics, our country has been left behind by other countries in the region and our best and brightest, the cream of our youth are voting with their feet to leave the country. That is the truth.

I did not blame any individual or political block for this sad state of affairs it is simply the truth that the political system that I am part of has degenerated to the point that it needs fundamental change. We are collectively to blame, so we must collectively be the solution. Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone. To those who feel that they cannot cast the first stone, I invite you to help in the solution.

My proposed approach to reform our system of politics and governance is something that I had wanted to bring forth during the upcoming state of the nation address. However, because our country is hungry for a resolution to the political uncertainties that have plagued us these past few weeks, I will bring it up now.

First of all, I am not resigning my office. To do so under circumstances that connote an Edsa 3 would condemn any successor to the possibility of and edsa 4, then an edsa 5,and so on, unless sour political system were first reformed to make it more responsive to the people’s will, such that changes in leadership come about in an orderly and stable manner.

The world embraced Edsa 1 in 1986. The world tolerated Edsa 2 in 2001. the world will not forgive and Edsa 3 in 2005, but would instead condemn the Philippines as a country whose political system is hopelessly unstable and the Filipinos as among the finest people in the world, but who always shoot themselves in the foot. Under those circumstances, who would invest money in the Philippines? How would we weather the difficulties arising from the price of crude oil being at its highest in history?

What I intend to do is work with legislators and civil groups who believe that changes in the fundamental law of the land are necessary in order to confront such basic issues as federalism, the character of our legislative process, reducing red tape in government processes, running for public office under a two-party system and with less need to raise campaign funds, modernizing the economic provisions of our Constitution, and so forth.

At the same time, I will restructure and strengthen the cabinet, giving it a free hand to meanwhile reform and manage our day to day governance with as little political interference as possible, even from me.

This is how we will proceed.

First, I am asking my entire cabinet to tender their resignation in order to give the Executive a free hand to reorganize itself. I’ll ask our sectors to give me names of candidates that we can invite to replace those who will not return to the cabinet, or even to help out at other levels of the Executive.

Second, the cabinet will be given a free hand on governance, while I focus on the fundamental changes that we need to put in place.

Third, I will reach out to the political and civil sectors that have an interest in the various advocacies that are relevant to our Constitution. Federalism, for example, is an advocacy that o had espoused long ago.

This is neither a political ploy or gimmick. I believe that this process will quickly lay the foundation for deep reforms in our society, including reforms in our political way of life. This would be a legacy that our generation of politicians and citizens could collectively be proud of. I now have grand children to play with and to help bring up. Like all of you, I want our children to grow up in a better Philippines. I have prayed on this and I hope that I have discerned God’s will properly.

Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Visitor 52

Last Sunday, a couple of friends and I visited an inmate in the jail of a southern city. That wasn't the first time I've been in a jail, but this recent one was a different experience. I was coming from a city one hour and a half away by bus, a friend having invited me to accompany him for the visit. We were met at the bus station by another friend and off we went to the jail.

We were asked to leave anything that could be used by the inmates for anything -- we left cellphones, ballpens, coins, etc in the car. Even our belts were not allowed in -- since I had lost some weight over the past months, my pants were quite loose on me!

I was Visitor 52 (see the picture for my marks!).

The inmate, VL, has been charged with the murder of a neighbor. They say everyone in prison says he is innocent. But VL, a decent man -- truly! -- nearing 70, claims he shot his neighbor with a vintage gun his father had owned, unused for such a long time, kept under lock and key.

It was the result of a land dispute. Turns out the neighbor wanted to move his fence two meters into VL's property (perhaps claiming VL was actually encroaching). And when VL proposed that they get a new survey on their properties, the neighbor refused. This land and his previous employment with a government corporation allowed him to support his wife and their 12 children, and now his pension even helps support children of his widowed daughter.

Later, Mr. Neighbor wants to pick a fight, carries a .45, and brings along his son and two male employees, for persuasive action. A handgun with that caliber, I think carries with it the implicit intent to kill. And with three others, that would be more like coercive action.

VL senses trouble, gets his gun, and ends up shooting Mr. Neighbor. He says he could have fired more, but his gun jammed.

Meanwhile, he surrenders to the police and brought to jail. His case is pending.

The neighbors are off to claim revenge, so VL sends his family to Manila, with Marine escorts from their house to the pier. Not catching up on the family, the neighbors burn VL's house and property. All is lost.

While VL is in jail, facing an unbailable charge of murder, his family is in hiding, and his younger brother and a helper are the only ones helping him out.

He says he is being treated well (he does not really need much) in his cell, by his description, around 3 by 5 meters, shared with about 20 others. He gets to lie on one of the beds. He only has two sets of clothes (everything else got burned). In jail, they are allowed 5 sets maximum. If new a set beyond the 5 is given by relatives or friends, one of the old sets is brought out.

We asked him what he wanted, what we can tell his children (my friend knew some of them) -- tell them to pray for me, he says.

Let's pray for VL too.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Gloria Sevilla

Philippine actress Gloria Sevilla visits my school. She sits in the TESDA Board. TESDA is the government body in-charge of schools offering technical.vocational courses.

She looks kinda angry, noh? But she isn't really.

Prayer for asking graces through the intercession of the Servant of God, The Pope John Paul II

O Blessed Trinity,
We thank you for having graced the Church with Pope John Paul II
and for allowing the tenderness of your Fatherly care,
the glory of the cross of Christ,
and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him.

Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary,
he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd,
and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life and is
the way of achieving eternal communion with you.

Grant us, by his intercession, and according to Your will,
the graces we implore,
hoping that he will soon be numbered among your saints. Amen.

Pres. Arroyo says sorry -- attagirl!

Full text of Pres. Arroyo message

Mga minamahal kong kababayan.

For the last several weeks, the issue of the tape recordings has spun out of control. Tonight, I want to set the record straight. You deserve an explanation from me, because you are the people I was elected to serve.

As you recall, the election canvassing process was unnecessarily slow even after the election results were already in and the votes had been counted.

I was anxious to protect my votes and during that time had conversations with many people, including a Comelec official. My intent was not to influence the outcome of the election, and it did not. As I mentioned, the election had already been decided and the votes counted. And as you remember, the outcome had been predicted by every major public opinion poll and adjudged free, fair and decisive by international election observers, and our own Namfrel.

That said, let me tell you how I personally feel. I recognize that making any such call was a lapse in judgment. I'm sorry.

I also regret taking so long to speak before you on this matter. I take full responsibility for my actions and to you and to all those good citizens who may have had their faith shaken by these events. I want to assure you that I have redoubled my efforts to serve the nation and earn your trust.

Nagagambala ako. Maliwanag na may kakulangan sa wastong pagpapasya ang nangyaring pagtawag sa telepono. Pinagsisisihan ko ito nang lubos. Pinananagutan ko nang lubusan ang aking mga ginawa, at humihingi ako ng tawad sa inyo, sa lahat ng mga butihing mamamayan na nabawasan ng tiwala dahil sa mga pangyayaring ito. Ibig kong tiyakin sa inyo na lalo pa akong magsisikap upang maglingkod sa bayan at matamo ang inyong tiwala.

I took office with a mandate to carry out a plan for the nation. Since that time, I have focused on making the tough but necessary decisions to make up for years of economic neglect. We passed a comprehensive, fiscally responsible national budget; raised new and necessary revenues to reinvest in the people; and implemented new anticorruption measures that have led to the highest collection of taxes in history.

Nothing should stand in the way of this work, or the next phase of my reform agenda, which includes new investments in education and social services with our new revenues; and an expansion of our successful anticorruption and lifestyle checks.

That is why I want to close this chapter and move on with the business of governing.

I ask each and every one of you to join hands with me in a show of unity, to help forge One Philippines, where everyone is equal under the law, and where everyone has the opportunity to use their God-given talents to make a better life.

Our nation is strong and getting stronger. The progress is steady and I ask you to walk with me on this journey to rebuild our great nation. I remain your humble servant and promise you that I will fulfill my constitutional oath of office to serve the people to the best of my ability.

God Bless the Philippines.

Now. let's really work for this country, okay guys?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Tiger Woods claimed the World No. 1 ranking, without doing anything. He goes to Pinehurst this weekend for the US Open.
Annika won her 9th major, and she's halfway to a Grand Slam this year. Some say she's the best golfer ever. Michelle Wie is slowly catching up, placing second to Annika in the LPGA last week.
My Spurs in 2-0 against the Pistons in this year's NBA Finals.
My Rossoneri did not take any championship this year, but they did well. Forza!

I'm Back

After almost a month out-of-town, I am back. It was also good to take a break from my PC and blogging. I was on vacation.
Today, classes start in my school. Traffic to school was bad.
The country, while showing some signs of economic improvement, is facing political bickerings. What else is new.
I'll have some pictures from my vacation uploaded soon.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Tsk Tsk

The Rossoneri lost to Juve at San Siro Sunday... here's from


Milan went down to a first-half goal from David Trezeguet in the top-of-the-table clash. Coach Carlo Ancelotti made just one chance from the side that started at PSV Eindhoven in midweek, with Jon Dahl Tomasson partnering Andriy Shevchenko in attack. It was an even opening period as both sides probed for an opening. Dida got down to save a Pavel Nedved shot from the edge of the area on two minutes while at the other end Shevchenko was caught offside as Milan looked to spread play wide. On 19 minutes, Andrea Pirlo released a precise long ball through the middle which set Shevchenko running into the area but Gigi Buffon forced the striker wide and Gianluca Zambrotta got back to block the attempted cross. Juve, however, took the lead on 28 minutes when an Alex Del Piero overhead kick from the left edge of the area found Trezeguet totally unmarked in the area and the striker headed past Dida who got a hand to the ball. The Brazilian goalkeeper was called into action soon after as he dived to block Del Piero’s long-range effort.

Serginho came on for Pirlo at the start of the second half and immediately caused panic in the Bianconeri defence, with curling cross which just evaded Tomasson and Shevchenko. Cafu then arrived on the right of the area and swung in a low shot which curled wide of the far post. Filippo Inzaghi was introduced on 55 minutes in place of Tomasson and almost grabbed the equaliser when he latched on to a Shevchenko pass, only for Buffon to half-block the first shot and then Zambrotta got back to clear the ball off the line. Juve almost doubled their lead on 65 minutes as Del Piero rose in the area to send a header against the crossbar. Seedorf was replaced by Rui Costa as the Rossoneri chased that vital goal and Shevchenko whipped a header just over the bar. Cafu went down in the area under a challenge from Zambrotta but the referee waved play on although replays suggested there had been a tug on the Brazilian’s shirt. However, Inzaghi was whistled for a handball inside the area as he turned to shoot. With five minutes added on at the end of the game, Milan threw everyone forward and Alessandro Nesta headed over from a Rui Costa free-kick while Serginho’s surging run was cleared at the last moment. Then in the dying seconds Buffon was grateful to dive on Inzaghi header that bounced in front of goal.

Celtics lost miserably to the Pacers in Game 7.
Maria is out of Berlin after she lost 2-6 4-6 to Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium in the quarters. She is top seed in Rome Open.

Thursday, May 05, 2005



Milan left it late but made it through to another Champions League final as the Rossoneri booked their ticket for Istanbul on the away goals rule at PSV Eindhoven. Massimo Ambrosini’s last-gasp header was enough to bring the score on the night back to 2-1 at which stage Milan led 3-2 on aggregate. The Dutch side produced a heart-stopping finale when Cocu scored a minute later but coach Carlo Ancelotti’s side held out and can now look forward to final against English Premiership side Liverpool on May 25 in the Turkish capital in what will be their second appearance in Europe's showcase occasion in the last three years.

Liverpool won 1-0 against Chelsea in the other semifinal.


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Still anybody's ballgame

The Rossoneri still maintains top position on quotient (tied in points) over Juve in Serie A play. I think this will end up in a great showdown at San Siro. They are preparing for their second round semifinal at PSV in Champions League.

Here's from

5/2/2005 10:42:00 AM
Milan have got the first leg out of the way, just like the Serie A trip to Fiorentina, and have a small advantage going into the Champions League semi-final return at Eindhoven on Wednesday. The Rossoneri players may not be relaxed and confident, but that is how they are approaching their next encounter against the Dutch rivals. PSV demonstrated that they are an excellent side who have plenty of respect within the Rossoneri dressing room, so nothing will be taken for granted until the final whistle is blown at the Philips stadium. The tie is still open and even though Paolo Maldini, Kakha Kaladze and Massimo Ambrosini will be all back to the team, the side will have to focus their concentration on the game, showing the same willingness for the task as they did last week in the first round. The players were back in training following the league win at Florence, with the same professionalism they always possess. If they keep going on like this, then there is nothing to stop them from competing on two fronts. It is going to be a fascinating and arduous run-in until the end of the season. The duel at the top of Serie A with Juventus is both tough and stimulating, the same can be said about Europe. However, the fans seem just as determined to give their all in getting behind the side in the final weeks of the season.


Celtics 2-2 Pacers
Spurs 2-1 Nuggets

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

I Rossoneri e Wie

The AC Milan side goes to Holland with a 2-0 advantage in the second round of the semis against PSV Eindhoven in Champions League play.
Here's from


Milan take an important 2-0 lead into their Champions League semi-final second leg against PSV Eindhoven, thanks to goals at the end of each half of the home first leg. Andriy Shevchenko put the Rossoneri ahead on 42 minutes in a first period that Carlo Ancelotti’s side dominated. However, the Dutch champions were much more dangerous coming forward after the break and the Milan defence were under plenty of pressure, but the course of the tie changed in the dying moments as substitute Jon Dahl Tomasson swept home a loose ball from close range to send the San Siro into raptures of delight.

. . . . . and look at the opportunity for Michelle Wie, from bbc

Wie could be first woman at Open

Wie could gain qualification at the John Deere Classic
American teenager Michelle Wie could become the first woman to play in The Open at St Andrews later this year.

Organisers have agreed for the first time to allow women to enter if they qualify through the normal channels.

The ruling opens the door for the 15-year-old, the only female golfer who has so far targeted an Open place.

She has accepted an invitation to play at July's John Deere Classic, which gives an Open place to the leading player who hasn't already qualified.

Until Tuesday's ruling, the Royal & Ancient Golf Club would have been forced to refuse Wie entry even in the unlikely event she had won the John Deere Classic because it has a "men-only" restriction on the Open entry form.

The only Olympic sport where the two sexes compete together is equestrianism and it is not surprising therefore it is taking a long time
Peter Dawson
R&A chief executive

The R&A has already voted to remove it in time for next year's tournament at Hoylake near Liverpool although it was too late to remove the restriction for this year's event.

But on Tuesday officials said they would waive it if the Hawaiian youngster qualified.

Monday, April 25, 2005


The Rossoneri are still tied with Juve on points, but on top under the quotient system.
Here's from


Milan turned on the style to record a 3-0 win over Parma at the San Siro. It was the first time the side had scored three times at home since January. In what was an all-round quality performance, the Rossoneri opened the scoring through Kaka for his seventh goal of the season. Jon Dahl Tomasson then doubled the lead, getting back on the scoresheet for the first time since the trip to Messina and Marcos Cafu hit his first of the campaign to round-off the evening. It was also a night of celebration for Pippo Inzaghi who came on as a late substitute. However, the only black marks were the first-half injury which forced Jaap Stam off and the bookings for Kakha Kakaldze, Massimo Ambrosini and captain Paolo Maldini who all miss the next league game at Fiorentina.

Spurs lost to the Nuggets at home. Golly.

Thursday, April 21, 2005




Milan are back joint-top in Serie A after a 1-0 win over Chievo as Juventus lost at home to Inter. Clarence Seedorf scored the only goal of the game midway through the second half after playing a neat one-two with Kaka on the edge of the area and breaking two challenges to fire home. The Dutch star was playing in the Andrea Pirlo role following injury to Rui Costa and then Massimo Ambrosini but did not disappoint. The Rossoneri enjoyed the majority of the possession but the visitors proved difficult to breakdown and were dangerous on the counter-attack although the defence held firm and once again Carlo Ancelotti's men proved that this title chase will go down to the wire.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Pope Benedict XVI

Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Pope, and takes the name Benendict XVI.

Dear brothers and sisters, after the great Pope, John Paul II, the cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble worker in the Lord's vineyard.

The fact that the Lord can work and act even with insufficient means consoles me, and above all I entrust myself to your prayers
In the joy of the resurrected Lord, we go on with his help. He is going to help us and Mary will be on our side. Thank you.

Sometime in the past, he had said (about his confidence in the Magisterium) . . .
“I can be obedient because it is my fundamental conviction that my intelligence is limited and the church is wiser.”

Monday, April 18, 2005




Milan fell to a 2-1 defeat at Siena to put a dent in the title chase with Juventus who moved to three points ahead at the top of the table following victory over Lecce. Coach Carlo Ancelotti had called for nine points from the next three games and Milan certainly enjoyed plenty of possession against a home side that were very dangerous on the break. Sheva had an early goal ruled out for adjudged offside while Nelson Dida was forced to watch an Igor Tudor header hit the bar. The Rossoneri had chances throughtout the second-half as Sheva saw a shot blocked and Kakhaber Kaladze went close with a header. However, Hernan Crespo made the breakthrough on 63 minutes, scoring from a tight angle, for the Argentinian’s 11th goal in the league. Just as it looked as if the game was there for the taking, Enrico Chiesa drew the Tuscans level and with time running out, Francesco Cozza headed in the winner at the end of a quick counter-attack.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Forza Milan

Milan move into last four
Tuesday, 12 April 2005

By Matthew Spiro at Giuseppe Meazza

AC Milan booked their place in the last four of the UEFA Champions League in unsatisfactory circumstances after the second leg of their quarter-final with FC Internazionale Milano was abandoned due to crowd trouble.

The Rossoneri will play the winner of the PSV Eindhoven vs Olympique Lyonnais second leg quarterfinal in the Champions League semifinal round..

Monday, April 11, 2005

Forza Rui Costa


Rui Costa celebrated his contract renewal with a wonderful goal to put Milan ahead against Brescia, but it was not enough to take all three points as the visitors scored a late equaliser. The Portuguese midfielder followed the lead of Andriy Shevchenko, Clarence Seedorf, Kaka and Serginho, who all netted after extending their deals. The Rossoneri were looking for their ninth consecutive league win, but came up against a well-organised Brescia side that conceded little in all areas of the field. Coach Carlo Ancelotti was without injured captain Paolo Maldini, while Jaap Stam and Kaka were both suspended, but Milan started brightly and Rui opened his account for the season in delightful fashion, curling a spectacular shot into the top corner of the net. However, on a heavy pitch, the exertions of the mid-week Champions League tie against Inter started to play their part and Brescia came back into the game and overall, were well-worth their eqauliser which came with just three minutes left of the game.

Oh, I just got an acmilan shirt, not the play shirt, but a shirt from Adidas. With the 10 at the back (my favorite number). That's Costa's number.


Tiger Woods birdied the first play-off hole against Chris DiMarco to win the Masters at Augusta. He should be No.1 again.

Friday, April 08, 2005

John Paul II: Santo Subito!!!

John Paul II: Santo Subito!!!
What can I say? Subito! Subito!


4/6/2005 10:41:00 PM
Milan took control of their Champions League quarter-final tie with Inter after a 2-0 first leg win thanks to headers from Jaap Stam and Andriy Shevchenko. Coach Carlo Ancelotti welcomed back Shevchenko for the striker’s first outing since fracturing his cheekbone back in February. The Ukrainian lined up in attack alongside Hernan Crespo in a more familiar 4-3-1-2 formation. Paolo Maldini reverted to left-back, leaving Stam and Alessandro Nesta in the centre of defence.

After this win, the Rossoneri are preparing for their game against Brescia in Serie A play. They still tie Juve on top in points.

Tiger is out of the first "sheet" of the leaderboard at the Masters. Whew.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Go Tiger!

Here's from . . .

Tiger to the rescue when Parnevik forgets his clubs

Tiger Woods to the rescue
Tiger Woods was nice enough to deliver Jesper Parnevik's clubs on Monday -- and not charge him a courier's fee.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Jesper Parnevik brought a week's worth of his outrageous outfits to the Masters. And he made sure his wife, four children, nannies and friends were all accounted for.

But when he arrived at Augusta National, he realized he left something behind: his golf clubs.

"I flat out forgot them in the garage," Parnevik said Monday. "I don't know how you could go to Augusta and leave them in the garage, but I managed to do that.

"I will make history one way or another. I'm sure I'm the only one who's ever done that."

Parnevik pleaded chaos in his defense.

He had to lease two private planes to get his crew to Augusta. He wasn't in charge of loading the luggage, and a set of clubs did make the trip -- but they belonged to his business partner, Chris Rosen.

Only after a call to his neighbor in Jupiter, Fla., did the Swede confirm his clubs were still in the garage.

Parnevik called an old friend -- Tiger Woods -- to return a favor.

Woods was in Palm Beach County, and agreed to swing by Parnevik's house to pick up his clubs. He brought them Monday morning, and all was well in the zany world of Parnevik.

"I called him up and asked if he could do it," Parnevik said. "After he laughed for about 10 minutes, he said, 'I'll do it.' Everything worked out."

Woods didn't even charge him a courier's fee.

Then again, Woods is still in debt, because it was the Parneviks who introduced him to his future wife, Elin Nordegren, once a nanny for the Parnevik kids.

"I still think I'm on the credit side with him," Parnevik said. "I have a few mishaps to go without being even."

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

John Paul II

Many things have been written about the Pope John Paul II. One that is most said of him is that he had the courage to remain steadfast in what he believed was right. I think we have to qualify this, otherwise it would be an understatement of who he really is. In matters of faith and morals, John Paul II had the courage, the steadfastness to fight for what is TRUE and GOOD, not only because he believed them to be so. Believing does not make things true and good. The truth and goodness make us believers.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Lucky 13 encounters with John Paul II

Lucky 13 encounters with John Paul II

1. Urbi at Orbi, St. Peter's Square, Easter Sunday, April 15, 1990
2. UNIV '90 get-together at Cortille San Damaso, Vatican, April 15, 1990
3. Inauguration of the Olympic Stadium, Rome, sometime June 1990 (preparation for the World Cup 1990)
4. Sunday Angelus, Castelgandolfo, sometime August 1990
5. Wednesday Audience, Aula Nervi, sometime September 1990
6. Priestly Ordinations, St. Peter's Basilica, September 1990
7. World Youth Day 1995, Manila Apostolic Nunciature
8. World Youth Day 1995, UST
9. World Youth Day 1995, Luneta Park, encounter with the youth, January 14, 1995
10. World Youth Day 1995, Luneta Park, Holy Mass, January 15, 1995
11. Audience for St. Bridgit, St. Peter's Basilica, October 4, 2002
12. Canonization of St. Josemaria Escriva, St. Peter's Square, October 6, 2002
13. Thanksgiving Mass and services on the occasion of the Canonization of St. Josemaria Escriva, St. Peter's Square, October 7, 2002

As soon as I heard news of the failing health of His Holiness Pope John Paul II, like many of us, I started to pray for him. And when finally he left us for his reward in Heaven, I started praying to him, a great intercessor for all of us in Heaven.
Together with these prayers, I began to recall the occasions when I was fortunate enough to be close to him, to be in the same venue, the same event as Pope John Paul II. I know there are more of you who have been more fortunate than me in terms of the number, proximity, and duration of encounters with this Pope, whom many have started to call John Paul the Great. Nevertheless my encounters with him, thirteen as well as I can remember, have left me with the thought that, yes, I am blessed to have had those opportunities.
All of those encounters have been memorable to say the least. What everyone has said about those occasions with the holy John Paul II are true. One is in awe.
The first time I saw that Pope in person was on Easter Sunday 1990, April 15, at his Urbi et Orbi message and blessing. I was in St. Peter's Square, my seventh day in Rome, as a participant to the UNIV Congress sponsored by ICU. I wasn't close to him at all, but close enough to feel his warmth and love for the faithful. I would have wanted to be closer, but this wasn't the time. Later, I told myself.
Later was at 5:00 pm, a special get-together that the participants of the UNIV had with the Pope. We had lined up for sometime at the area of the right columns of St Peter's Square. When the doors were opened, I remember we were hurrying up some steps that, like in many places in the Vatican, seemed endless. At the end was a courtyard, the Cortille di San Damaso. There was a small balcony at the far end, with a chair in the middle of the balcony. That was his place. We found our places (not very far from the balcony, just behind the first group of ladies. Not long after, John Paul II came out, with a red cape over his shoulders. It was just about spring, and the weather was still cold.
That get-together lasted about an hour. Chosen participants performed for the Pope and for the rest of us. I do not remember much of those except for the clown and his antics -- the same clown that we saw on Fox News Channel on Saturday, that made the Pope laugh heartily, that was UNIV 1990. My eyes were fixed on the Pope. After the presentations, the Pope spoke. I remember that he said that he had a prepared speech, but that he was not saying it but will speak what his heart wanted to tell us in that gathering. He was true to form.
I had to stay in Rome for six months as part of the preparations for the technical school ( the we were putting up in Cebu, through the help of the Italian Government. I had four other opportunities to be with the Pope, as if living in Rome, very close to him, was not enough.
Sometime in June, Centro ELIS Scuola Sportiva (sports school) received an invitation to the inauguration of the newly-refurbished Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Italy was hosting the 1990 World Cup of football, and renovated the Olympic Stadium for that purpose. But more than that, Pope John Paul II was to bless it. We were carrying white or yellow plastic sheets (the Vatican colors) to wave. After some formalities, the Pope entered in his open limousine, blessing the crowd and the stadium. He must have said something later, but the noise (joyful noise) from all of us was too much. Several videowalls were set up (something not many of us in the Philippines were familiar with) and these helped us see close-ups of the Pope.
In the summer, the Pope spends time at his summer residence in Castelgandolfo. It was not far-fetched that I would have to go there that summer. And so it was, one Sunday in August, a lawyer friend Mario brought two Italian-African high school students staying in the student residence at Centro ELIS (Bortot and de Coelho), and myself to pray the Angelus with the Pope and listen to his Sunday message to the pilgrims. We entered the covered courtyard (with a white polyester sheet, it seems) shortly before 12:00. At noon, the Pope came up to his window and led the Angelus. In his message, he talked about the gospel of that day, the story of Martha and Mary, and the Holy Father talked to us about being of service to others and of being humble in our endeavors.
In September, I was invited to attend the priestly ordinations at St. Peter's. John Paul had been doing annual ordinations at St. Peter's. Some friends of ELIS were to be ordained then; who will refuse an invitation like this. I was hoping against hope to receive communion from the Pope. It wasn't meant to be, but again, being with the Pope, only about 50 meters away was enough to be thankful for.
Parishes in Rome get regular invitations to the Wednesday audiences with the Pope. The Parish of San Giovanni al Collatino, the parish church close to ELIS, and under the care of priests of Opus Dei, in the Tiburtina District south of Rome Centro, were given invitations sometime in September. With my Filipino companions undergoing training at ELIS, Ben and Domeng, and our invitations secured, we went to Sala Nervi, the Paul VI Auditorium on the left of St. Peter's Square. He greeted the people in many languages, because as always there were many pilgrims (this was summer in many parts of the Western world). Later he went down the center aisle to greet the pilgrims, talk to some of them, shake hands, like any father seeing his children again. That is usually when all hell breaks loose (forgive the words)! I was near the aisle so I was a little calmer, for I know I could be very close. But when everyone started to move closer to the aisle, I had to make my move as well. I remember these German girl scouts on my right with the aisle to my left, in an instant they were at my left jostling for positions -- standing on the chairs (although we were told not to) to get a better view and a better picture. I am sorry for those that I had to nudge. I would not have been able to touch the hand of the Pope, if I were too slow. And I did. I have a picture that shows precisely that moment. The Vatican through its newspaper L'Osservatore Romano usually sends out proofs of these pictures to some photo shops in Vatican City, and anyone can select pictures and order copies of them -- it took me about an hour to find three pictures from the shop called Foto FELICI in via Scipioni, 53, and waited a couple of weeks to get them. They may also send them to your home, yes, even in the Philippines, if you are in Rome only for a short stay -- with the proper fees of course.
I digress. But then again, what can I say, I was mesmerized -- I held the Pope's hands! The feeling was awesome. There is a Hallmark thank you card that said: Thanks. I was touched by your kindness. Oh, not like if I was touched by a movie star and never washed that spot again, but touched. Well, I held the Pope, and vowed never to wash again. That kind of experience!
Shortly thereafter, I had to come home to the Philippines to start the school. I never thought that I would not see him again. Somehow, I knew there would be other occasions.
In the 1994 World Youth Day in Rome, the Vatican announced that the next World Youth Day was going to be held in the Manila. That was the chance to see the Pope again! And maybe get close to him again!
So it came, January 1995. I was with a small group of students and young professionals. We were planning to go to the airport or the Roxas Blvd area to see him pass, but decided later on to just wait for him at the Apostolic Nunciature. It was a good move. We positioned ourselves on the road opposite the Nunciature. Everyone was upbit. When he finally came, the cheers were deafening (John Paul II, we love you! Viva el Papa!). But it was a quick entry to the nunciature grounds and we were not satisfied. Someone suggested that we cheer even more. I could not remember how long we did that. Everyone believed that the Pope will come out, greet us from the balcony. Well, he did. They had set up a microphone, he spoke some words, but I do not think any of us heard what he said. The cheering was extraordinary.
The following day, we positioned ourselves near UST, not having secured any invitation to the gathering there. We saw him pass by on the Popemobile, waving to us, blessing us. We were with him in the encounter with the youth on the afternoon of Saturday, the 14th of January, and stayed on for the Holy Mass the following day, the feast of the Sto. Nino -- it was better to be there than in the Sinulog, huh?
I had to wait until 2002, on the occasion of the canonization of St. Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, that I will be able to visit Rome and see the Pope again.
On October 3, I left with friends for Rome. We arrived the following day. Four of us had to stay in a smaller hotel (Scott House), a lesser star, and right smack at the area of Stazione Termini, Rome's central train station. The area isn't precisely the best place to be staying in Rome, nevertheless, we realized as well that being a short walk away from the train and subway station was consolation enough (since we were not with the main group, we had to fend for ourselves, no special buses or pulmini -- their version of the v-hire, fx, and the like). Since we could not check in into our rooms at the hotel since we were early, we went to the Basilica of Saint Eugene, where the remains of then Blessed Josemaria was transferred from the central offices of Opus Dei. We decided to go to St. Peter's later in the afternoon to attend Holy Mass after we had finally checked-in. I was certain that there would be many masses in the different altars and chapels of St. Peter's Basilica.
When we reached St. Peters, we observed that the chairs were arranged, with the wide central aisle barricaded. That was unusual. I thought that probably the arrangement was related to the canonization. So we sat. I took the booklet that resembled many of the missals used in special masses in the Vatican. I realized it was not going to be a mass, but a special prayer service for St. Bridgit of Sweden. To be officiated by His Holiness Pope John Paul II. I told the guys. We stayed near the barricade. The Pope was definitely walking down that aisle. He wasn't.
At about 5:00, many more lights turned on. We readied our cameras. Near the entrance of the basilica, cameras started clicking. The Pope was coming. He was standing on a cart that was being pushed fromn both sides by Papal aides. He was slumped. Deep in prayer. He was not waving back or blessing us. Later on I thought that he could not do his usual greetings because he had to support himself. The prayer service went on. I was distracted. I was making sure my cameras were ready when the service ended, ready to click away again. When the ceremony ended, he left by another way.
On October 6, he presided over the canonization of St. Josemaria. Many have said that he was stronger that day and he led the rites serenely but full of joy. Many were doubting that he would make the rounds, considering that the ceremonies must have tired him so. But true to form, he did.
There was some confirmation of that when I saw the Italian police was making sure that the barricades along the Via della Conciliazione were secure. I was at the end, or I should say, the entrance to the Via (the farthest from the sqaure) where a little cul-de-sac was formed by barricades. That was the point he would have to make a u-turn.
He came around on an open popemobile, amidst the clapping and the cheering, and the picture snapping. Riding behind him was Arch. Stanislaw Dziwisz and Bishop Javier Echevarria, the Prelate of Opus Dei.
The following day, also at St. Peter's, His Holiness also came around after Holy Mass in Thanksgiving for the canonization of St. Josemaria was celebrated by Bishop Echevarria. I could not get close to the Pope this time, but I saw all the movements of the Pope on the video monitors that were set up in the square.
Those were my lucky 13 encounters with Pope John Paul II, the Great. For pictures: