Separated at birth?

Having been staying in Thailand for 1 year and 6 months, I have observed that there are many similarities between Filipinos and Thai probably because both countries are in South East Asian region be it in terms of culture and traditions, way of life and physical features…as for the physical aspects maybe its because there are also many Chinese or Caucasian looking people in both countries due to interracial marriages or migration.

Below are some of the popular celebrities in Philippines and Thailand which has a lot of similar physical be the judge who is better looking…

First picture  is popular singer-actress-model KC Concepcion while the next picture  is model, actress Sonia Couling. Interestingly, both are former MTV VJ’s.

Picture on the left is hugely popular Pinoy actor, Piolo Pascual who has been a household name for many years. On the right is Laotian-Australian but Bangkok born actor, Ananda Everingham who became immensely popular with the hit horror movie “Shutter”.

Maybe not too many people will agree with me about these 3rd match-up. First picture is actor-model John Estrada and second picture is model and former MTV VJ Utt (sorry forgot his last name). I see very striking resemblance between the two especially during Estrada’s younger days.

So there…not sure if there are many more Pinoy-Thai celebrity look alikes out there cos I don’t know too many celebrities in Thailand.

I eat by hands!

While browsing local news, I came across an article about a Fil Canadian boy named Luc Cagadoc in GMA website who according to report felt discriminated when the principal of the school was quoted as saying “you are here in Canada…you should eat the way Canadians eat”…at first I was confused thinking how does a typical Canadian eat their food??..since throughout the article it was said that the boy actually used spoon and fork eating his lunch so I thought, what’s wrong? I think it is quite acceptable. Then I realized, oh ok…because now the trend is to use Fork and knife when eating which many people consider the more proper way of eating food..even many Asians now do the same whenever they are not using chopsticks to eat.

To counter the issue, the principal claimed that the boy was disciplined for being disruptive and not for using spoon and fork at the same time per se. Of course everyone can state their claim but at the end, the court will be responsible to prove these claims.

Now my question is…what is really the proper way of eating food?

I googled and found out some interesting articles about Table manners in various parts of the world:


Silver International

In summary, many countries observe different table manners. In India, Pakistan and Bangladesh even in Philippines, eating by hand is a common practice and a good way to savor the taste of the food and not rude at all.  Some countries burp or slurp the soup as loudly as possible to let the host (or chef) know that they are enjoying/enjoyed the food served.

Eating with Spoon and Fork at the same time is not as rude or annoying as let say talking when your mouth is full or filling your plate with too many foods but at the end cannot even finish half of the food.

It may be true the said incident was really taken out of proportion but I believe as an individual we have the right to enjoy the food or any blessing that is given to us. Respecting cultures and tradition is very important as well. On the contrary, if we live in a foreign country or consider a foreign country as our second home, we must also exert efforts to adjust to their customs and traditions so our old ways will not be considered taboo especially if locals of that country is not accustomed to our style. As the cliche goes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do..However, this doesn’t mean we forget our roots cos we should not, no matter what.

As for me, I am not ashamed to say I eat by hands whenever at home enjoying Mom’s home cooked food with the family. I use chopsticks when eating Chinese or Japanese food or some Thai food for that matter. I eat with spoon and fork if there is no available knife and lastly I can eat with fork and knife during social functions or if no spoon is available in the table.

The key is balance. We adjust our way of life a little and do our old ways a little. Then we can enjoy both worlds.


CNN Hero of the Year: Efren Penaflorida

As I was about to call it a day, I saw a video link from a Facebook Page I joined called “Definitely Filipino” about the CNN Hero of the Year. It say’s: Acceptance speech of OUR 2009 CNN HERO and the thumbnail picture of Efren Penaflorida was attached to it.

Prior to being feted as such, Efren is relatively unknown. At such a young age of 28, he has accomplished something that not many people his age or even older had accomplished or will ever accomplish in their entire life..that is, changing the lives of others–for the better.

He created the group called “Dynamic Teen Company” which aims to teach basic reading and writing to children living on the streets in the hope that it will be a diversion to hooking up into gang activities like vandalizing, bullying others or even raping young girls.

Their classroom is a ubiquitous push cart wherein volunteers teach children with age ranging from 2-14 years old. Since 1997, approximately 10,000 members had taught over 1,500 “children of the slums”. To sustain this activity, they make and sell crafts or collecting items to recycle.

Moreover, those children that they taught upon getting the inspiration to learn more and strive to have a better life has also become volunteers for future students.

CNN selected 10 nominees for this year’s Hero of the Year which is now on it’s 3rd year. These Heroes as what the tagline says “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Impact” was selected by a distinguished panel comprising of leaders and humanitarians such as Gen. Colin Powell, Whoopi Goldberg, Sir Elton John, Phil Jackson, Shakira among others.

The Gala Tribute attended by an audience of 3,000 was held in Kodak Theatre, Hollywood last Saturday, November 21 and will have its premiere on Thanksgiving, November 26.

Apart from the prestigious recognition, Efren received USD 100,000 to continue his advocacy. More than 2.75 million votes were received online in in a span of 7 weeks. Proof of the impact CNN Heroes of the year has brought us in 3 years time.

Presenters include Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Neil Patrick Harris, Pierce Brosnan, Dwayne Johnson, Eva Mendes, Randy Jackson, Greg Kinnear, George Lopez and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Here is Efren’s acceptance speech. While delivering it, he was visibly shaken and emotional maybe upon realizing he won such a great recognition and soon will be watched by millions of people worldwide.

“Our planet is filled with heroes, young and old, rich and poor, man, woman of different colors, shapes and sizes. We are one great tapestry,” Peñaflorida said upon accepting the honor. “Each person has a hidden hero within, you just have to look inside you and search it in your heart, and be the hero to the next one in need.”

“So to each and every person inside in this theater and for those who are watching at home, the hero in you is waiting to be unleashed. Serve, serve well, serve others above yourself and be happy to serve. As I always tell to my co-volunteers … you are the change that you dream as I am the change that I dream and collectively we are the change that this world needs to be.”

His speech is short but so meaningful and inspirational. May this recognition give him and his team more energy and passion to continue helping needy children have the education they deserve. It is such a pride and honor to the Filipino people to be given such award. Hope this would also open the eyes of many of us to help someone in need whenever we can. All the small efforts we exerted can be a life-changing experience for others.

For the full story of the CNN Hero of the Year gala night, please click the link below.


Update: According to ABS-CBN news report, Efren said 90% of the prize money will go to his organization and the remaining 10% to the Church and none for him..really a selfless act. May your tribe increase.

Mabuhay ka Efren! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! Mabuhay ang lahing  Pilipino!

Manny Pacquaio ruled em’ all…

Manny Pacquiao defeats Miguel Cotto (AP Photo by Mark J. Terrill)


Today, November 15, 2009- Manny Pacquiao made history by capturing his 7th world title belt in 7 different weight division in a very exciting if not nerve-wracking 12 round match vs. Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico in MGM Grand Arean, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Pacquaio’s sheer speed and determination is his best defense against Cotto whom Manny acknowledged to be a tough boxer. Referee Kenny Bayless stopped the fight 55 seconds of the 12th round which many observers think should have been stopped earlier.

Cotto admitted that he fought hard but Manny is one of the best of all time.

In the Philippines, everyone is in euphoria upon learning of Manny’s victory. Many Filipinos in every corners of the world called their family back home to bring the good news, me included. It was really not a surprise but such a disappointment to hear and to learn that in most part of the world they know the result of the fight already because of live telecasts in their country or through the internet but many Filipinos who only rely on local TV, they heard about it or are able to watch the fight the last because of the very very late telecast of GMA-7 due to tons of commercial gaps. Talk about commercialism to the max!

Because of the win, everyone expects Pacquiao to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr.  Of course, it is inevitable as their match-up is long overdue. Even Manny’s trainer-coach, Freddie Roach said,  since the whole world wants to see Manny fight Mayweather it is..

The fight will add minimum USD 13 million (approx. PHP 607 million) to Pacquiao’s purse while Cotto reportedly gets USD 7 million (approx. PHP 326 million).  More importantly, I hope the win will bring Manny a bit more respect from the boxing world cos even how hard he tries to prove he is a great athlete, still many boxers are trying to belittle him or still considers all his victory caused by sheer luck.

Once again, Manny was able to literally stop the Philippines for a day where many people decided to stay at home and glue themselves in front of the Television. For sure crime rate will almost be zero as what past Pacquiao fights proved to be– “an instant crime buster” that is.

I’m sure Mommy Dionesia prayed hard and called all the Saints for help before and during the fight as well as danced joyfully upon seeing her son dominate his Puerto Rican opponent..

Indeed Manny ruled em’ all.

I Dreamed a Dream- Les Miserables

The other day I was watching the charity concert of Kamala Sukosol, the owner of several hotels in Thailand and a popular performer as well. Her daughter Marisa sang a nice rendition of I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables and I remembered that this song actually made Susan Boyle become a reality show phenomenon.

Now, I am sharing various versions of I Dreamed a Dream all sang by good performers including one of the Philippines’ greatest pride, Lea Salonga which I was so fortunate to be able to watch a live performance in Bangkok recently.

Of course, these singers have different styles so take your pick which one is the best and enjoy the videos!

Manny Pacquiao in Time Magazine

Manny Pacquiao in Time Magazine

Manny Pacquiao is hugging the headlines ones again..this time in the cover of the prestigious Time Magazine Asia Edition in a full article entitled, “The Meaning of Manny Pacquiao”. As an athlete, Manny has really gone a long way. From the very skinny lad doing rounds in local boxing in his hometown and many other places thereafter claiming title after title and raking money beyond what his coffers can handle. Indeed, Manny is an icon in the boxing world and is up to even more with his attempt to claim a 7th world title in the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas this November 14 (November 15th in Manila) against Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto.

Of course his road to success is not easy..he has gone through a lot. Physically for that matter. He has fought many weight classes and has to endure big punches from equally capable opponents. At the end, he is victorious and has been the pride of the Filipino people ever since. He tried his luck in politics as well but to no avail. For many of his fans, he is better of as a boxer than as a politics. For sure he wants to help many but helping them can be in another form and not necessarily having to test his feet in the dirty waters of politics.  Being an inspiration to many by excelling into spots and avoiding drugs or other vices is good enough contribution.

He is the 2nd Filipino to be in the cover of Time Magazine, the first being the late President Corazon Aquino then feted as “Woman of the Year”. Time said he is a demigod in the Philippines with his myth of origin similar to a Greek or Roman hero. This may be true. Only he can literally stop not only the traffic in the Philippines but the crimes as well during his fights. It is always reported that whenever Manny fights in the ring, the crime rate is almost zero in most parts of the Philippines.  He may be the Achilles of modern times. Only thing is that we hope his opponents will not discover his Achilles’ heels.

Manny truly deserve this accolade and we pray for his success in his forthcoming fight as well as the hope that success will not change his humble ways. For us, that’s the true meaning of Manny.

Update: I have been visiting several bookstores and news stands here in Bangkok trying to get a copy of the Time Magazine Asia Edition with Manny on the cover. However, I can only see the one with Hillary Clinton on it although the full article of Manny is still inside the pages of the mag..Could have added it to my personal magazine collection. Not that I am disappointed to see Hillary on the cover cos she is such a powerful and respected figure but I was expecting to at least see  a copy of the mag with Manny on the cover..of course as a Filipino it is my pride to see him on the cover of the prestigious mag..

Help needed!


These past few months, I had the chance privilege to listen to some problems of my friends. This chance privilege is important for me because not only are these people my friends but the fact that they entrusted me a piece of their story is a great pride so to speak.

The problems I had been listening too are mostly relationship problems..problem with marriage, bf or gf, ex(es), parents or even close friends. I’ve seen some of them cried their hearts out…some desperately need some bashing and a frank opinion so they can gain realization while some just need some ears to listen to them.

Truly, it’s a difficult task to be a listener because at certain point you are stressed yourself and tends to become shock absorber of their emotions. What’s harder is that after listening, they need a sensible advice.  Well to begin with, I cannot say I have smooth relationship. It’s even double hard for me because how can they expect me to give a sound advice about marital problems if I myself has not been into that situation before since I am single and never been married.

What about those who have problems with their parents or siblings? I have very loving and wonderful parents that I find it difficult at times to be in my friend’s shoes.

Well sadly, there are also some who judged my capacity (or worth) as a friend. They’ve known me not too long and not too well anyway so it’s hardly my cause of concern.

To sum it up, I guess the key to giving out good advice is not mainly because of the “been there, done that” situation but also because if you generally have a good life, you can share your happiness and satisfaction to a friend in need so they can have the positive outlook in life as well. Moreover, if you have an open mind and sensitive to the feelings of others plus still know the boundary of what’s good and what’s not, then being a counsellor is not a bad idea at all!

What’s more satisfying is that after very long discussions and your friend had come to a realization, then you achieved your goal and you will be greatly appreciated.

As for me, I really have few close friends whom I can trust and can say they are real friends and are willing to help me whenever I need it. I am not in a rush to add as much names into that list and I know I don’t need to call an emergency number cos I can count on them.

This Is It- Michael Jackson

This is it
This afternoon, I watched the movie (actually a documentary film) This Is It, a tribute to the late King of Pop- Michael Jackson. The whole film is about the concert series, mostly the rehearsals to the concert which was supposed to be held in the O2 Arena in London to a sold-out audience in all 50 concert dates.

The concert should have happened last July 2009, only 8 days to go from the day of his untimely death last June 25, 2009. As expected, the concert is full of the spectacular fireworks, magnificent lighting and one-of-a-kind musicality you can only find from an icon like Michael. The stage design and concept in all of the songs are superb. I like the supposed performance of Smooth Criminal, Black or White and Earth Song for sheer originality in terms of foot work, graphics and overall production. I also liked the concept wherein some of his dancers are literally tossed out to the stage like a bread popping out from the bread toaster. Really ingenious.

In the movie, you can see Michael is really a music genius. He is very hands on and knows what he wants and sees to it that it is injected in the production numbers.  He is very spontaneous too. He sometimes just stop and say he is absorbing the moment so he can bring out the best. Big as he is, he shows humility to all members of his production crew. He is firm with what he wants but is not at all bossy. He is even childish as depicted in the videos.

It is just ironic that with all the magnificent songs and dance being played in the big screen, what is missing is all those excited screaming fans and the very energetic atmosphere. What is present in the movie house is the very silent crowd being awed by what they are seeing in the screen but of course it is not proper to shout or cheer while in the movie house. It is really sad that we will not have a chance to see Michael perform again even for the last time. Could have been the greatest live spectacle of our lifetime..

Michael will truly be missed by his fans the world over..he is gone too soon..and This is really it.