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Defining "Vonjobi"

vonjobi --


Tastes like fried chicken

'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at QuizGalaxy.com

There's something very wrong. While I eat a lot of chicken, it's hardly ever fried. Besides, since when did my handle become an adjective? (via Blah!)

Category: About Vonjobi


Budget Realities

All government agencies suffer equally when the budget is reenacted, right? Wrong.

The following is from "Go, figure" by Juan Miguel Luz (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 27 February 2006):

A delay in the approval of the budget hurts because it places unnecessary administrative limits in the first quarter of the new year. For all other agencies, the first quarter (January-March) is the start of a spending year and the fiscal managers try to keep government spending down during this quarter. But for the DepEd, it is the end (or the last quarter) of its spending year, which is reckoned with the school year. It is the time that DepEd needs the money in order to finish strongly by making sure children are meeting their competency levels.

Category: Education


Anniversary Comments

There are, at present, 31 comments on my anniversary post. Excluding my own comment, there were 29 unique commenters: 23 were Filipino, 20 bloggers, 15 friends and acquaintances, 14 cyber-friends, 13 not based in the Philippines, 9 librarians. Of the 23 Filipinos, 6 are based overseas; of the 9 librarians, 4 are foreigners.

[Updated on 28 February 2006: I forgot to mention that while Zarah did not leave a comment, she did wish this blog a "Happy Birthday" on her blog. Meanwhile, AsianSmiles, who did leave a comment, also included this blog in her series of posts on "High-Valued Blogs."]

There were, of course, those who emailed me privately or through the Filipino Librarians Googlegroup, but let me just focus on the comments and commenters now:

Mike said that, "Librarians are the original Google." It's good and it's bad. It acknowledges our role, but at the same time emphasizes how we've been left behind. Then again, it would be a mistake to think of Google as the enemy. I use Google all the time =)

Dominique flatters me too much by saying that, "Yep, definitely an A-lister." It really all depends on how you define the A-list. Rickey is, of course, the A-list blogger who was my classmate for eight years. Jonas and Drakulita designed the "Yan ang Pinay" logos in the sidebar.

Ayeza, Bugsybee, Jayred, Mia and AsianSmiles are Filipina bloggers whom I "met" because of the "Yan ang Pinay" campaign. I haven't seen any of them in person, but I've spoken with Ayeza on the phone. And maybe that's why she wishes me 100 more years.

Tobie and I had lunch after we discovered each others' blogs. And now, you might say that I'm even closer to him than his mom, who used to be my boss. DCS is a foreigner who found this blog at the time of the landslide. Carlos Celdran uttered the words on which I modeled this blog's "mission." Click on the flag in the sidebar =)

Christina Pikas and Marydee are librarians I met at last year's SLA conference in Toronto. I'm still hoping I can make it for the Baltimore conference this year. Walt Crawford and Jessamyn are two of the most respected bloggers in the biblioblogosphere today. And I'm flattered to know that they even know this blog exists.

Arnold C. Zafra and Igor are blograrians, Grace is a colleague, Ian Flojo is my student, and Cres was one of the first librarians who left comments on this blog. Eric the Viking, the boyfriend of a former classmate, is someone I haven't seen since I left my former job. The same is true for Chickie who says, "You're the only librarian friend I have and I'm proud of it." I should have lunch with her again and introduce her to other librarians.

Vanny is another former classmate, who is now a book mogul. Andiy and Petro Vich are friends I met online, both are overseas. Ivy sounds familiar, but I'm not quite sure who she is. Meanwhile, It's Your Turn seems to just have wanted a linkback.

Thanks, everyone, for joining the celebration!

Category: About Filipino Librarian


Edsa 20/20: Tayo Tayo Rin

The MDG Anthem—or "Tayo Tayo Rin" ("No One Else But Us")—is about the Millennium Development Goals, but it seems to be very relevant to our situation today. The song asks, "Sino pang magdadamayan kundi tayo tayo rin?" (Who else will help us if not ourselves?).
Click on the arrow in the middle of the screen if you'd like to watch the video. It will take some time to load, so I suggest you click on the "pause" button while waiting. The video will stop playing, but it will continue to load.
The singers include, in order of appearance: Sharon Cuneta, Gary Valenciano, Martin Nievera, Lea Salonga, Aiza Seguerra, Joey Ayala, Kuh Ledesma, Janno Gibbs, Pops Fernandez, Freddie Aguilar, the APO Hiking Society, Sarah Geronimo, Christian Bautista, Bayang Barrios, Kitchie Nadal, and Rico Blanco.

If you'd like to listen to the "anthems" of the EDSA Revolution, "Magkaisa" is available as the 11th message on the Pinoy.us board, while "Handog Ng Pilipino Sa Mundo" (mp3) is available via the blog of Jim Paredes. The lyrics for all three songs follow:

Tayo Tayo Rin
Lyrics by Cecilia Datu
Music by Rico Blanco
Sino pang magdadamayan
Kundi tayo tayo rin?
Kung may pagkakataong tumulong
Huwag palampasin

Simulan na ang magtanim
Ng mabubuting gawain
Dahil sino pang aani
Kundi tayo tayo rin
Kung dumaraing ka
Masdan mo ang musmos
Gusto sanang mag-aral
Ngunit nanlilimos

Kung nagigipit ka
Masdan mo ang dalaga
Di maabot ang pangarap
Dahil babae siya

Bawat tao’y may problema
Ngunit bawat tao’y may lakas
Magsikap ka, magsama-sama
Lahat ng iya’y may lunas!

Repeat Chorus

Kung nalulungkot ka
Masdan ang isang ina
Di mabigyang buhay
Ang sanggol niyang dala

Kung nangungulila
Masdan ang may sakit
Hangad niya'y unawa
Ngunit walang lumalapit.

Repeat Chorus

Halika, kumilos ka, sabay tayo
Tara may oras pa, tulungan tayo!

Ang pag aalis ng kahirapan
Pagpapabuti ng edukasyon
Pagsulong ng patas na karapatan
At kalusugan ng lahat
Ang pag-aalaga ng kalikasan
At pandaigdigang pagtutulungan
Ito ang ating Millennium Development Goals o MDGs
Sikapin nating maabot ang mga ito!
May kanya-kanya tayong lakas!
Tulungan tayo!

Repeat Chorus 2x

Composed by Tito Sotto, Homer Flores, E. dela Pena
Noon, ganap ang hirap sa mundo
Unawa ang kailangan ng tao
Ang pagmamahal sa kapwa ilaan

Isa lang ang ugat na ating pinagmulan
Tayong lahat ay magkakalahi
Sa unos at agos ay huwag padadala
Chorus 1:
Panahon na ng pagkakaisa
Kahit ito ay hirap at dusa

Chorus 2:
Magkaisa (may pag-asa kang matatanaw)
At magsama (bagong umaga't bagong araw)
Kapit-kamay (sa atin s'ya'y nagmamahal)
Sa bagong pag-asa
Ngayon, may pag-asang natatanaw
May bagong araw, bagong umaga
Pagmamahal ng Diyos isipin mo tuwina

Repeat Chorus 1 & 2
Chorus 3:
(Magkaisa) May pag-asa kang matatanaw
(At magsama) Bagong umaga't bagong araw
(Kapit-kamay) Sa atin s'ya'y nagmamahal
(Sa bagong pag-asa)

Chorus 4:
Panahon na (may pag-asa kang matatanaw)
Ng pagkakaisa (may bagong araw, bagong umaga)
Kahit ito (pagmamahal ng Diyos isipin mo tuwina)
Ay hirap at dusa
Magkaisa at magsama
Kapit-kamay sa bagong pag-asa


Handog Ng Pilipino Sa Mundo
Composed by Jim Paredes

Di na ko papayag mawala ka muli
Di na ko papayag na muling mabawi
Ating kalayaan kay tagal na nating mithi
Di na papayagang mabawi muli

Magkakapit-bisig libu-libong tao
Kay sarap pala maging Pilipino
Sama-sama iisa ang adhikain
Kelan man di na paalipin

Handog ng Pilipino sa mundo
Mapayapang paraang pagbabago
Katotohanan, kalayaan, katarungan
Ay kayang makamit na walang dahas
Basta't magkaisa tayong lahat
Magsama-sama tayo, ikaw at ako

Masdan ang nagaganap sa aming bayan
Pagsasama ng mahirap at mayaman
Kapit-bisig madre, pari, at sundalo
Naging langit itong bahagi ng mundo

Huwag muling payagang umiral ang dilim
Tinig ng bawat tao'y bigyan ng pansin
Magkakapatid lahat sa Panginoon
Ito'y lagi nating tatandaan

Repeat Chorus 2x

Categories: The Philippines, Filipiniana Online


Edsa 20/20: Betrayed

Allow me to let the Philippine Daily Inquirer's latest editorial (25 February 2006) to speak for me:
WE CONDEMN, in the strongest terms, the latest plot by misguided members of the military. In the same breath, and in the very same terms, we also condemn President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's declaration of a state of emergency...

We condemn both the coup plot and the presidential proclamation as acts of violence against the body politic...

We condemn both the plot and the proclamation as assaults on democracy...

Not least, we condemn both the plot and the proclamation as betrayals of the highest ideals of the Edsa People Power revolution.
But to those who think that martial law has already been imposed, I have to disagree... at this time. This is what Lualhati Bautista wrote (followed by my own translation) in Dekada '70 about the period before the imposition of martial law in 1972:
Isang linggo bago ibaba ang martial law ay nagkaro'n ng maraming pag-aresto sa mga lider estudyante sa kampus... Ikinandado ang Free Press, Leader, Manila Times, at iba pang "subersibong" babasahin. Sinuspindi ang mga student councils... pati paglilimayon ng mga tao sa kalye pagpitada ng alas-dose ng gabi.

[One week before the imposition of martial law, many student leaders were arrested... The Free Press, Leader, Manila Times and other "subversive" publications were shut down. Student councils were suspended... and a curfew was imposed, forbidding people from being in the streets after midnight.]
The Tribune may have been raided, but if GMA were, in fact, doing a Marcos, then the Inquirer wouldn't even have been able to print the editorial I quoted above. In fact, Marcos probably would have found a way to shut down even bloggers like me. GMA hasn't shut down the Inquirer or any bloggers... yet. And I pray that she never will.

This is not a political blog. But these are very political times. Don't worry, though, unless the current crisis turns into a full-blown disaster, this will be my last post on politics for the next few months =)

Category: The Philippines


Edsa 20/20: Worth Dying For?

From "Philippines tears itself apart" by A Lin Neumann (Asia Times, 25 February 2006):

The Philippines is marking the 20th anniversary of its finest political hour with a demonstration that its democracy remains brittle, its political institutions on the point of collapse, its economy as corrupt as ever and its leaders embroiled in endless rounds of infighting.
Neumann tends to exaggerate some things, but I can't really say that he's wrong in what he wrote in the paragraph above. But he seems to be rather biased.

For instance, he makes much of the fact that, "none of the leaders of the first People's Power movement will appear together publicly to commemorate the events." But he fails to mention that Cory Aquino, whom he says is "the closest thing the Philippines has to a moral leader," now has no qualms appearing with the likes of Jinggoy Estrada and Satur Ocampo.

Like daughter, like mother?!!!

Category: The Philippines


The Pinoy A-list

Is there a Pinoy A-list? It seems that "Blogs to Riches" by Clive Thompson (New York, 20 February 2006) equates being on the A-list with having thousands of hits every day AND making lots of money. Walt at Random and librarian.net don't quite think the same way. Maybe because they're librarians (like me), but especially because neither has ads on their blogs (unlike me).

But going back to the question, the following may be used to determine the Pinoy A-listers:
According to Pinoy Top Blogs, the top 5 would be Rickey.org, Lyrics!, Inside PCIJ, Bryanboy, and Pinoy Rickey. Others who would probably make it into the A-list if we use 1,000 hits per day as a basis would be Pinoy Cook and Retzwerx. But where are About Web Logs, Sassy Lawyer, Jessica Zafra’s Twisted, Ala-ism, Manuel L. Quezon III, Asiapundit, Kwentong Tambay, and Ambot Ah!, which all happen to be in the top 5 of the Technorati lists AND have more links than the top 5 of Pinoy Top Blogs?

Could it be that the Technorati blogs that don't have the Pinoy Top Blogs button have fewer hits? Rickey.org, Bryanboy and About Web Logs are by Filipinos, but hardly ever have any posts on the Philippines. Incidentally, Asiapundit may have "Philippines" as a tag, but the owner doesn't seem to be Filipino; he just happens to write about our country occasionally. And then there's Ambot Ah!, who seems to be too modest to include his own blog in Pinoy Top Blogs because he happens to have been the one who set it up.

I suppose there are a few among the blogs mentioned above that get the hits AND make money, but the question that needs to be resolved is the one asked by Dave Starr on Random Takes: "Can only Filipinos produce ‘Philippine Blogs’? What about joint Phil-Am efforts were both parties contribute regularly? What about non-Filipinos who write exclusively about the Philippines?" In short, what makes a blog "Pinoy"?

Category: Blogging


Edsa 20/20: Podcasts and Articles

There is, of course, PCIJ's series of podcasts in relation to its "Edsa 20/20" special edition of iReport. You can download interviews with major and not-so-major players, as well as ordinary citizens, who participated in the EDSA Revolution.

And then there's the BBC series entitled "From Dictatorship to Democracy," which includes the following:

You may also wish to listen to the BBC's two-part Music Biz special, one of which is already up, which tells "the story of how rock’n’roll helped bring about a political revolution in the Philippines."

Newsstand has a series of posts entitled "Edsa 20," which includes information gathered for a documentary and commentary on what Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is doing or has not done in connection with the EDSA anniversary.

Finally, INQ7 has an archive of its most recent articles and features on the twentieth anniversary of the EDSA Revolution. It would have been better if the news articles had been separated from the reminiscences, but it's better than looking through all the search results on Google News, Yahoo! News, and Topix.net.

Category: The Philippines


The Blogga Song

Blogga SongIf you want to see the different kinds of library blogs, listen to a song, read its lyrics and laugh out loud, try and sing along to "The Blogga Song." If you've ever wondered what librarian humor is like, this is as good as it gets.
(via aczafra.com)

Category: Humor


FO: Church Documents

Twenty years ago, the late Jaime Cardinal Sin, Archbishop of Manila, called on Filipinos to go to Camp Aguinaldo to "defend" Juan Ponce Enrile and Fidel Ramos, who had withdrawn support for then-President Ferdinand Marcos. Many heeded Sin's call, and what happened after is now referred to as the People Power revolution, the EDSA revolution, and even EDSA 1.

I do not know whether Sin's call is available online, but there are quite a few Church documents on the Internet that convey a sense of the Church's role in the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship.

As early as 1971, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) was already calling for electoral reforms. After the declaration of Martial Law in 1972, the bishops expressed satisfaction with "the assurance of the President that he was concerned not to prolong martial law unduly." Unfortunately, some presidents are not known for keeping their promises.

And so in 1978, the CBCP had to state that, "there was ample evidence of fraud and deceit, of connivance... to tamper with the results and to frustrate the will of the people" in the Batasang Pambansa elections. It would take a visit from Pope John Paul II for Martial Law to be lifted.

But not much changed, and that's why before the snap elections of 1986, the bishops had to say, "this election will be judged not only in terms of the persons and issues involved, but also by the way it is conducted and the way we respond to its conduct." Finally, after the elections had taken place, the CBCP proclaimed that, "The people have spoken. Or have tried to... the polls were unparalleled in the fraudulence of their conduct."

During the same period in the 70s and 80s, Cardinal Sin as head of the Archdiocese of Manila was also making his own pronouncements. Before the 1978 elections, he urged Filipinos to "go out and vote according to your conscience." After the elections, he called on the Commission on Elections to "investigate all charges brought to its attention, to give everyone a fair and public hearing, and to punish the guilty..." Still, not much happened with regard to election reform.

In 1986, Cardinal Sin told his flock before the snap elections that "MONEY OFFERED TO YOU IN NO WAY OBLIGES YOU TO VOTE FOR A PARTICULAR CANDIDATE. ALWAYS VOTE ACCORDING TO YOUR CONSCIENCE" (emphasis in original). There was probably no more time—or need—for another document on irregularities after the elections. A few weeks later, Enrile and Ramos made their move, Sin called on Filipinos to go to EDSA, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Note: The documents available on the website of the Archdiocese of Manila and the CBCP are not complete. Some of the documents, in fact, have erroneous URLs or need to be cleaned up.

Categories: Filipiniana Online, The Philippines, Religion


Academic Libraries

In 1986, very few academic libraries in the Philippines, if any, were using computers, much less automated. Twenty years later, many of the bigger academic libraries are not just automated, but have a significant presence online (see "Online Catalogs" in the sidebar).

John Hickok, a librarian and instructor at California State University, visited more than a dozen major Filipino university libraries last year. The "report" below, reprinted with Hickok's permission, comes from the email he sent regarding his visits.

Hickok will be presenting a more comprehensive picture at Consal XIII. His report is entitled, "A 1-year Qualitative Analysis of Libraries in Southeast Asia: Commonalities, Challenges, and Opportunities for Regional Cooperation." By the way, if you have not yet registered for Consal yet, you may do so online. Payments, however, will need to be made offline.

Preliminary Findings
John Hickok

Some common characteristics and strengths:
  • A strong commitment to automation & technology. Nearly all academic libraries have their online catalog Web accessible (or are in the planning process to do so) and many likewise with their e-resources.
  • A strong commitment to reference service. Whether at a single reference desk or at multiple service points, librarians are always available for assistance.
  • A professionalized status. The licensure/professional status of Philippine librarians is something to be proud of. It is indeed a characteristic that sets Philippine librarians apart from other Southeast Asian librarians.
  • Innovations in services. These are almost always due to the creative, proactive efforts of the Library Director (rising above a status-quo attitude, even with challenges like limited budgets or such).
Some common challenges:
  • Philippine student culture. As many library directors reported, student culture in the Philippines tends to be very oral and social, creating a challenge—students don't seem to want to read as much anymore (i.e., now just want quick cut-&-pastes); and students frequently want to "just borrow from other classmates' work" instead of researching information independently.
  • Need for more continual user education. Nearly all academic libraries offer some sort of new student orientation (1-2 hour presentations/tours), or a presentation tied to a introductory freshman course (like an "English 1" type course). But often, that is the extent of user education. Continual user education endeavors (open workshops throughout the year, custom instruction sessions for lecturers' classes, or training brochures/Webpages custom-created for specific topics or majors), are less common at many universities.
  • Need for more Subject-specialization endeavors. While some universities provide subject-specific reference in separate libraries, and some create subject-specific bibliographies, other valuable endeavors—like creating research guides for specific majors, or pairing librarians to departments/schools for subject-specific instruction sessions—are ideal for being developed.

The above challenges can also be viewed as opportunities.
  • Student culture + user education. These two challenges are directly related to each other. By increasing/improving one (user education), the other (student culture toward reading/research) automatically increases/improves, as well. Certainly, there are valid concerns regarding continual user education (i.e., "but students don't come to workshops"), but with creative marketing and incentives, along with networking with instructors for endorsements, the success rate, and benefits realized, are dramatic.
  • Subject specialization endeavors. Technology is allowing this to be much easier to achieve. Common objections to subject-specialization have usually been: "there is not enough staff for that" or "it is too costly to print such guides." But with databases/online catalogs/search engines being able to quickly generate custom lists, and Web guides not incurring any paper/printing costs, the opportunity for pursuing subject specialization endeavors is much more available.
Please realize this is only a short summary, and not all trends are necessarily reflected at each of your particular libraries. While there are many commonalities among the academic libraries in the Philippines, each one has its own special character, challenges, and achievements.

Category: Libraries


Edsa 20/20: Kris and Borgy

Kris Aquino Borgy ManotocIf a picture paints a thousand words, then what does this photo say to you? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

For those who aren't Filipino or don't know who Kris and Borgy are, Kris Aquino is the daughter of Ninoy and Cory Aquino. Ninoy's assassination in 1983 is said to have been the spark that led to the EDSA Revolution, which allowed Cory to become president of the Philippines from 1986 to 1992. Kris is a celebrity.

Borgy Manotoc is the grandson of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, and son of Imee Marcos-Manotoc. Ferdinand was president of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. Imelda was elected to the House of Representatives in 1995 and served until 1998. Imee is currently on her third term in the House of Representatives. Borgy is a model.

The billboards in the photo above are not the ones referred to in "Edsa 20/20." The photo was taken by this blogger yesterday from the Quezon Avenue MRT Station on EDSA.

Category: The Philippines


Epifanio de los Santos Avenue

Republic Act No. 2140

An Act Changing the Name of Highway 54 in the Province of Rizal to Epifanio de los Santos Avenue in Honor of Don Epifanio de Los Santos, a Filipino Scholar, Jurist and Historian

Section 1. The name of Highway 54 in the Province of Rizal is changed to Epifanio de los Santos Avenue in honor of Don Epifanio de los Santos, a son of said province and the foremost Filipino scholar, jurist and historian of his time.

Section 2. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

Approved, April 7, 1959.

The second post ever on this blog was "Epifanio de los Santos," where I quoted from a book that described Don Panyong as an "obscure librarian." Anyway, I am posting the republic act here because it does not seem to be available online at all, and because it shows clearly that Don Panyong was not just an "obscure librarian."

For more information on Epifanio de los Santos, the story behind the renaming of the former Highway 54, EDSA's role in Philippine history and the current condition of EDSA, see "EDSA: Freedom highway is country's busiest artery" by Elizabeth Zambarrano (Manila Bulletin, 16 October 2005). For information on the EDSA Revolution itself, see Chronology of a Revolution by Angela Stuart Santiago. Online biographies of Don Panyong are available at Filipinos in History, Pipol... and their legacy (cached page) and Aguador Online (Part I II).

In another post, I declared April 7, Don Panyong's birthday, "Epifanio de los Santos Day." To quote myself: "This day will be observed—if not by anyone else, then at least in this blog—by telling or reproducing a story about a living Filipino librarian doing her/his job well." Please leave a comment below if you would like to nominate someone to be featured on this blog on 7 April 2006. Make sure that you have a specific story about the person doing her/his job as a librarian, and not just a list of achievements.

Thanks to Nelia Balagapo, who sent me the full text of Republic Act No. 2140, which according to Balagapo, a long-time law librarian, is the shortest republic act she has ever seen.

Categories: The Philippines, Librarians


Filipino Librarian is One Year Old!

This blog is one-year old today. I hope you'll join me in celebrating this anniversary by leaving a comment below. Tell me what you think about this blog, how you found it, why you return, how you visit (RSS? email?), your favorite post, etc.

One of the most amazing things that has happened over the past year is that this blog, which some would probably deem "boring" just by looking at its name, is now among the top 30 Pinoy Top Blogs. It's also in the top 40 of Technorati’s Philippine Top 100 Blogs. And then there's the fact that even Spanish and German blogs have linked to this blog. What this means is that it's not just Filipinos or librarians who are reading this blog. If you're neither a Filipino nor a librarian, I hope you'll leave a comment below.

I was also surprised to find out that this blog was one of 60 blogs included in the study of the biblioblogosphere conducted by Walt Crawford. And then I learned that this blog even made it to number 2 on PubSub's "The Librarian List." Maybe it was because of the occasional posts that I shared on LISNews and the Carnival of the Infosciences, my having a card in the Librarian Trading Cards pool or pinpointing my location on Frappr's Blogging Librarians map. There's also the Filipino Librarians Googlegroup, which I set up on this blog's sixth monthsary and is now turning into a real community. In any case, I guess this blog's initial objective of "establishing a presence for Filipino librarians on the Internet" has been achieved.

A lot has happened to me in the past year. I would say that most, if not all, of the things that occurred in connection with my profession as a librarian would not have happened if I had not started this blog. I've learned a lot just by blogging. I've also met quite a few people—online and offline—because of this blog. And I've also felt good about comments posted here and elsewhere that let me know how the small change that I hoped would add up has, in fact, helped quite a few people.

Finally, let me end by quoting a comment I left on another blog: "the best thanks are those that come without even knowing that you had been of help. thank you!"

Category: About Filipino Librarian


Disaster Prone: Landslides, Stampedes, Earthquakes, Eruptions

For the latest news on the landslide that occurred today in Leyte, check out the following: Google News, Yahoo! News (see also images), and Topix.net.

It's rather frustrating that the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) still has "Kawal Kalinga: Housing Revolution for Filipino Soldiers" as its "latest news," while the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center already has "Landslide in the Philippines," which comes with a map signifying the location of Leyte relative to Manila. Forgive me for being dense, but what exactly does the NDCC press release have to do with disaster coordination?

If you would like to know more about the history of disasters in the Philippines, you can check out Txtmania.com's "Philippine Disasters," which reads more like an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records, or you may wish to spend some time going over the 62-page "The Philippine Disaster Management Story: Issues and Challenges" (html, pdf, Word), which traces the history of our disaster-prone country "from the pre-colonial period to the present time." The report was published in 2001, but with the recent stampede and now this landslide, it's very clear that there is still more that needs to be done.

Category: The Philippines


Ortigas Foundation Library

Check out its new website.

See also "Vintage Filipiniana Photos."

Another Filipino library has made it to the front page. "Hidden Ortigas treasures now open to public" by Tina Arceo-Dumlao (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 16 February 2006) traces the transformation of several collections into the Ortigas Foundation Library and highlights some of the more interesting books and documents available. Sadly, the library seems to have organized itself. No librarian is quoted in the article.

If you would like to know the library's address, telephone numbers, hours, and even the name of the librarian, check out "Ortigas Foundation" on the website of the League of Corporate Foundations. (The page doesn't seem to be up at this time, so you may want to go to the cached page.)

Category: Libraries


IFLA's World Library and Information Congress

The 72nd IFLA General Conference will be held in Seoul, Korea, on 20-24 August 2006. The theme for this year's World Library and Information Congress is "Libraries: Dynamic Engines for the Knowledge and Information Society."

If you would like to apply for a travel grant, check out the grant financed by the Korean government for ten citizens of selected Asian countries, including the Philippines. Please note that the grant will cover "travel, registration fee, accommodation and meals." In short, everything! The deadline for applications is on 15 March 2006.

I would have wanted to apply for this grant, but there was this provision: "Priority will be given to younger professionals with a minimum of 5 years of experience in the field of libraries" (emphasis added).

Category: Events


Love in the Library

The Romance of LibrariesHappy Valentine's Day!

Check out The Romance of Libraries, edited by Madeleine Lefebvre, which gathers personal narratives from around the world "about romances that developed in a library setting," and some are even "about romances with libraries themselves." See the book review on LISNews.

If you have a story about love in the library, share it with us by leaving a comment. If we gather enough stories, maybe a Filipino publisher will want to turn it into a book =)

Category: Libraries


Filipino and Indian Crabs

It seems that crabs are the same all over the world...

Every child knows the story of the basket of Indian crabs: it did not need to be covered because every time an ambitious crab came close to the top, the other crabs pulled him down. It is no accident that many of the men who feature most often in our business magazines are nonresident Indians who live beyond the clutches of the bureaucratic establishment. But much of it also has to do with us. We are still a society that does not prize excellence and one that demands too little from our bureaucrats and politicians. Elections are still won and lost on populist slogans. Voters seldom reward good governance with renewed mandates. And Parliament and state assemblies are full of legislators with criminal records who neither believe in ideology nor bother about performance.

—Vir Sanghvi, "Why Do So Many of India's Stars Live Abroad?" Time (13 February 2006)

Category: The Philippines


FeedBurner and FeedBlitz

It used to be that the number in the blue button (FeedBurner) on the sidebar was about one-fourth of the number in the orange button (FeedBlitz). The former tells me how many are subscribing to this blog's RSS feed, while the latter indicates how many receive emails when this blog is updated.

In "Small Changes," I said that the numbers show that many of this blog's readers "prefer to receive updates via email rather than RSS feeds." Well, two days later, the blue button had a larger number than the orange button. What happened? Could it be that I had gained around 200 subscribers in two days? It turns out that FeedBurner included the FeedBlitz number in its total.

Anyway, if you don't know what RSS is, don't worry, it looks like it doesn't really matter. As this blog's numbers show, email still trumps RSS. See the following for more info on the current discussion on why RSS isn't catching on:

Category: About Filipino Librarian


FO: Tagalog-English Dictionaries

"Mahal" is a Tagalog word that may be translated into either "beloved" or "expensive." It is, in my opinion, the perfect word for Valentine's Day =)

The following online dictionaries will be useful depending on the users' needs:
Tagalog Dictionary is probably the best starting point for beginners. It may be limited to a "general vocabulary of more than 1,000 words & phrases," but it's reasonably accurate with the word "mahal" and provides related meanings, including antonyms. Plus, users can look for English and Tagalog translations just by clicking on "Search."

English<=>Tagalog Dictionary is the next best option. Just type in the word for which you need a translation, choose whether you need to translate from Tagalog to English or vice versa, and press "Search." There's even an option to look for words that "Starts with." But it's rather troubling that one of the definitions for "mahal" is "v. expensive." No, I don't think it's short for "very expensive."

Philippine On-Line Dictionary declares up-front that it can only "look up single words." What is left unsaid is that the same, one-word translations in English, Cebuano, Hiligaynon and Tagalog will be presented in a table. While the dictionary claims to have "over 30.000 entries," the numerous duplicate translations for "mahal" suggest that the number of entries is overstated.

SEAsite is the least user-friendly among the dictionaries consulted. First, the user must decide whether he needs a small, medium or large dictionary. Second, searching for the word "mahal," leads to a not-so-clear suggestion to try "mahal1" and "mahal2"! Finally, the user interface becomes more confusing as you go from the "small" to "large" dictionary. This will probably be most useful for patient linguists and scholars.
If you're looking for online dictionaries in other Philippine languages, check out the links on the following sites:
Category: Filipiniana Online


Google Book Search and the Philippines

A lot has already been said about Google Book Search by authors, publishers, librarians, and just about everyone who likes, buys or sells books. Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan (UM), joins the debate in a recent speech defending Google's digitization project.

What Filipinos might find interesting is that Coleman cites her institution's relationship with the University of the Philippines as an example of UM's commitment to the public good:
The Japanese occupation of the Philippines during the war claimed many victims, including the campus of the University of the Philippines and its renowned library. Troops torched the books, destroying all but a handful of the 147,000-volume collection. The librarian of the Filipino university described this incredible loss as an "intellectual famine."

Because the University of Michigan had a long history of Filipino scholarship, we immediately went to work helping to rebuild the University of the Philippines Library. We filled box after box with books from our library, from our students, from the University of Michigan Press and from other publishing houses. And we rallied other institutions to donate books that would form a core of scholarship for Filipinos.

Over the course of seven years, more books were acquired for the University of the Philippines Library than had been collected in its 31-year history prior to the war.
Read the entire speech (html via Not Liz; pdf via Searchblog), or if you'd like to read a brief summary of the issues involved, see "Google's Great Works in Progress" by Burt Helm (BusinessWeek, 22 December 2005).

For a more technical analysis of the copyright issues involved, check out "The Google Book Search Project: Is Online Indexing a Fair Use Under Copyright Law?" by Robin Jeweler (Congressional Research Service, 28 December 2005). To see what bloggers are saying about Google Book Search, try Technorati and Google Book Search.

Category: Libraries


Small Changes

This blog will be turning one-year old on February 18. And it is because of this that I have started making small changes here and there, most of it in the sidebar. Any feedback you'd like to give on any of the changes would be very welcome.

For instance, the blue (FeedBurner) and orange (FeedBlitz) buttons that display numbers in the sidebar indicate that more readers of this blog prefer to receive updates via email rather than RSS feeds.

The next two subscribe buttons, though they look similar, are for two different things. The first (courtesy of FeedBlitz) is for those who wish to receive updates from this blog via email. The second (via Googlegroups) is for those who want to join discussions between librarians and others interested in the Philippines and libraries. If you used to receive email from either of the two, but have not gotten any in the past week, you may have been unsubscribed for various reasons. Please subscribe again.

The yellow-orange button is actually a recommendation. I am now using Firefox browser as my default browser because it allows me to right-click on a link and open a new page without having to open another window, preview a webpage before printing, and block most pop-ups. If you're already using Firefox, you may as well download the Google Toolbar, too.

I hope you've also tried clicking on the blue boxes. Each one contains links to pages from this blog or other websites. The newest links are those for online catalogs and resources, library associations, and my advocacies. The scripts (?) I used are from Dynamic Drive (via psst, yosi tayo...).

The feeds for Library Link of the Day, recent referrers (i.e., incoming links or how readers found this blog) and INQ7 Breaking News are all courtesy of blogtricks (via School Librarian in Action).

Meanwhile, Top 5 Links (courtesy of MyBlogLog; via Rickey) refers to the outgoing links on which readers are clicking. This list tells me whether readers are looking at the sites I point them to.

Just in case you're wondering about the dollar valuation for this blog, that's just a bit of an ego-booster. Thanks to Business Opportunities Weblog, I can daydream about selling this blog based on the number of sites that Technorati can find that link to it. But that, of course, is just wishful thinking =)

Finally, thanks to FeedBurner's FeedFlare, the option to "Add to del.icio.us" is now available for every post, and links to posts will now be displayed automatically via Technorati, even if no trackback is made.

Category: About Filipino Librarian


Fr. Archie Intengan on the Church Today

Romeo J. Intengan, SJ, is a man who embodies many seeming contradictions. He is a priest and a doctor who supported the need for armed struggle in the 1970s. He is a former political detainee who had to flee the country in 1980, returned after the 1986 Edsa revolution, and is now in a position to recommend the abolition of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP).

If you'd like to know more about Intengan, please buy the latest issue of iReport. You may also listen to excerpts of my interview (21.2 MB) with Intengan through the PCIJ Channel.

Due to space limitations, the following paragraphs did not make it into the latest issue of iReport. Here, Intengan talks about women, homosexual priests and the relationship between population growth and poverty.

Romeo J. Intengan
by Vernon R. Totanes

Archie, Intengan’s nickname, is short for archbishop—the title bestowed on him by his pre-med classmates in Iloilo after he made a pronouncement regarding their less than exemplary behavior. It is unlikely that Intengan will ever become Archbishop of Manila—or even be ordained bishop because Jesuits are not supposed to seek or accept such appointments—but many would probably welcome an archbishop who shares Intengan’s views. He does, however, make it clear that as a "Catholic Christian, Jesuit, and social-democratic Filipino," he speaks for no one but himself.

While Intengan believes that the Church hierarchy is exercising the right kind of leadership in the current political impasse, he does have some doubt about the Church’s capacity to shepherd its flock in the near future. He speaks, for example, of the dearth of priests and asks, "If the people of God are entitled to the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and baptism, where are the priests, where are the pastors? If they are not there, then probably the way the Church understands ministry and forms ministers has to be changed."

It may be time, according to Intengan, to seriously consider the ordination of women. He says, "Right now, the attitude in much of the Church is to shut out the [possibility of ordaining women] as a non-issue, not to be talked about." He asserts that a serious discussion is needed, "if only to reiterate the policy later on." After all, he adds, "Women do more than half the work in the Church, but they are underrepresented in decision-making in the Church."

With regard to the Vatican’s position on homosexual priests, which seems to be hardening, Intengan points out that outstanding priests are not necessarily heterosexual, that problematic priests who prey on people are not necessarily homosexual. As a former provincial superior of the Society of Jesus, Intengan believes that prospective seminarians should not be evaluated on the basis of their sexual orientation, but on "their psychological and spiritual health, and their motivation to serve God."

When it comes to sexual reproduction, it must be noted that Intengan once wrote an article that asked whether Filipinos are poor because they are predominantly Catholic—but did not mention the word "population" even once. He now observes that although poverty in this country is caused largely by poor governance, "Large family size is also a possible cause of worsening poverty." The impact of Church teaching and the combative stance of many Church leaders on contraception is that, "It may have deterred our legislators and Executive [Department] from crafting a comprehensive national program on responsible parenthood and population policy." He cautions, however, against purely technical fixes—like the distribution of condoms—which is what many bishops fear. "There’s a defect," he says, "on both sides."

Category: Religion


Edsa 20/20

It doesn’t help that an oversized billboard of chat-show queen Kris Aquino stripped down to her underwear has taken over the Edsa skyline. In another portion of Edsa, the fashion model Borgy Manotoc is similarly displayed... Is this how it all ends, one wonders, all the drama and history of the past 20 years lost to the glitter of advertising and the glamour of celebrity?
The quote above is taken from "Remembering Edsa: 20 People and their Lives 20 Years since People Power" by Sheila S. Coronel, which appears in the latest issue of iReport, which is published by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ).

Twenty years ago, Filipinos from all walks of life came together and gained their freedom. Twenty years later, some are saying that we were better off if we had stuck with the Marcoses. Well, read the stories of the 20 people profiled in this collector's edition and see for yourself whether this claim is true. But frankly, if Marcos were still in power, Kris Aquino wouldn't be on that billboard on Edsa =)

Disclosure: I wrote the article on Romeo J. Intengan, SJ, in this issue of iReport.

Category: The Philippines


Raging Stampede for Ratings

Here's the news all around the world about the stampede that resulted in the deaths of at least 70 Filipinos who lined up to get their chance to win money at a game show: Google News, Yahoo! News, Topix.net.

But no, this post is not going to be about the news. It's going to be about corporate and social responsibility. Last night, I was at a party where an ABS-CBN employee attempted to deflect blame for the deaths by saying that what happened was comparable to the crush that occurs when MRT and LRT trains stop to load and unload passengers at stations. His conclusion? There were just too many people. It was their fault.

I was, of course, at a social event, and so as politely as I could, I had to insist that the analogy was false. There is, in fact, no money involved in getting on or off a train at rush hour. But, to be fair to ABS-CBN—whose executives have been apologizing all over the place—it seemed that it was just this employee who was clueless because he couldn't understand why people at his network were so distraught about the tragedy.

The willingness to make amends, however, does not get ABS-CBN off the hook. Important questions beyond culpability and remuneration are the following: Is it right to prey on the poor's desperation to win the ratings war? Is it correct to just make an announcement that those who get in will automatically win 5000 pesos and not plan for accidents? Did the company's responsibility to the people it sought to exploit not extend to making sure that the procedures for getting the chance to win were reasonable and humane?

Enough. I don't really know what to say anymore...

Category: The Philippines


Who Can Take the Librarians' Licensure Exam?

The Philippine Librarianship Act of 2003—also known as Republic Act No. 9246 (or RA 9246)—was signed into law while I was still in library school. When I first read its provisions, the thought that I could already take the licensure exam even though I had not finished my degree entered my mind. This was based on my erroneous reading of the law and gossip among equally clueless classmates. I was, of course, wrong.

Another rumor that has been going around is that after five years, those with master's degrees in library and information science (or MLIS) will not be allowed to take the exam anymore. Not true. Only those with master's degrees other than MLIS (e.g., MA Library Science) will be prevented from taking the exam by 2009.

But don't take my word for it. Read "The Professional Librarian: Who and How" by V.V.M. Aguirre (ILIS Newsletter [pdf], July-December 2005), a reader-friendly article about the provisions of RA 9246 that have generated the most speculation among those who want to take the exam. Aguirre, a lawyer-librarian, is also my colleague at the Institute of Library and Information Science.

For those who can't or don't know how to download files, the article is reprinted in full—with the author's permission—below.

The Professional Librarian: Who and How

by Prof. V.V.M. Aguirre, M.L.S., LL.M.

In the course of my teaching and lecturing in various fora for librarians and would-be librarians, I have been asked many questions about the implementation of Republic Act No. 9246, otherwise known as the Philippine Librarianship Act of 2003. No question has come up with more frequency than the question of who and how one may be included in the roster of professional librarians.

Let us walk through the relevant provisions of RA 9246.

According to Sec.3, par. (a), a Librarian is “a bona fide holder of a Certificate of Registration and Professional Identification Card issued by the Professional Regulatory Board for Librarians and by the Professional Regulation Commission in accordance with this Act.” [Emphasis supplied.] The import of this definition is that one becomes a librarian not through performance of functions generally attributed to librarians but only through official recognition granted by the state through the agency of the Professional Regulatory Board for Librarians who must give the recognition in accordance with the provisions of RA 9246.

Among the powers and functions of the Board for Librarians is the authority to “promulgate and administer rules and regulations necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act.” These rules and regulations acquire the force of law only if they are not incompatible with the basic law passed by Congress.

What does RA 9246 say about the qualifications of applicants to the profession? The law provides for two (2) ways by which one may be admitted to the profession: with examination, and without examination. Let us first deal with the latter: registration without examination. To quote Sec.19:

Upon application and payment of the required fees, the Board shall issue a Certificate of Registration and Professional Identification Card to an applicant who, on the date of effectivity of Republic Act No. 6966, is: [emphasis supplied]
(a) a practicing librarian who has completed at least a bachelor’s degree and a librarian or supervising librarian eligible;
(b) a practicing librarian who has completed at least a bachelor’s degree, eighteen (18) units in Library Science, five (5) years experience in librarianship, and a first grade eligible or its equivalent;
(c) a practicing librarian who has completed a masteral degree in Library Science or Library and Information Science, and a first grade eligible or its equivalent; or
(d) a practicing librarian who has completed at least a bachelor’s degree, eighteen (18) units in Library Science, and seven (7) years experience in librarianship
Any practicing librarian, therefore, whose qualifications fall under any of the above enumerations shall be qualified to become a registered professional librarian without examination. The use of the word “shall” in the law does not make this discretionary upon the Board. Note, however, that the qualifications for exemption must be possessed by the candidate for licensure on the date of effectivity of RA 6966, that is, in September 1990, on the day RA 6966 was published in a newspaper of general circulation, and not after.

RA 9246 further states that “those who qualify under this Section shall be given three (3) years within which to apply for registration upon the effectivity of this Act.” Since the Act was approved on February 19, 2004, practicing librarians considered exempt by the provisions of sec.19 may apply until February of 2007. The exact date depends on the publication date of the law.

After February 2007, practicing librarians who possess the qualifications enumerated in Sec.19 can no longer be exempt. The question is, can they opt to take the licensure examination without complying with the provisions of Sec.15. The answer is no. The law is clear on the qualifications of those who may take the licensure examination. Under Sec. 15, the applicant must
(a) be a citizen of the Philippines or a foreign citizen whose country has reciprocity with the Philippines as regards the practice of librarianship;
(b) have good health and good moral character; and
(c) a graduate of Bachelor’s degree in Library Science and Information Science (BLIS) [or] a holder of a master’s degree in Library and Information Science (MLIS).
Nevertheless, within five years from the effectivity of RA 9246, or until February 2009, holders of the following degrees may be allowed to take the licensure examination:
(a) Bachelor of Science in Education or Elementary Education; or Bachelor of Arts with a major or specialization in Library Science;
(b) Master of Arts in Library Science or Library and Information Science; or
(c) Any masteral degree with concentration in Library Science
This difference in the treatment of BLIS/MLIS from a BSE/BSEE/MA Library Science and Information Science is justified by the difference in the curriculum content. The former (BLIS/MLIS) are professional degrees proper to librarianship while the latter are mere majors or specializations.

It is hoped that the foregoing has somehow clarified these rather confusing provisions of the law.

Category: Licensed Librarians


FO: MapCentral

It's not quite Google Maps, but MapCentral is much more useful if you're looking for a particular place, building or street in the Philippines. Did you know that there's a "Hello, Garci?" building? Well, there isn't =)

But there is a Garci Building in Davao City.

Philippines mapsYou can use the "Find what" and "Where" search boxes to find what you're looking for. If there's only one place, building or street with that name, then you'll be taken directly to the map. If not, one map will be shown, but all other options will be listed in the sidebar and all you have to do is click on what it is you're looking for (e.g., island, street, landmark) and—voila!—you'll have the map you need.

Please note that using the search boxes (including "Geographic Search" in the sidebar) will lead to maps where you need to click on arrows to see the adjacent areas. But if you click on "Map Online," you can actually zoom in on a certain area and—without having to click on any arrows—just click on your mouse and drag it to see the adjacent areas.

You may consult the Help page for more specific information on how to use the site's features. There is an option to register, but it is not really necessary.

Category: Filipiniana Online


The History of Libraries in the Philippines

Not much has been written or published about the history of libraries in the Philippines. A few articles that are available online are:

But the most important resource that has been published so far is History of books and libraries in the Philippines 1521-1900, the book written by Hernandez based on his graduate thesis. Sadly, the book is out of print. But guess where you can find a copy? =)

Anyway, R. Dante O. Perez has written a thesis on "Philippine Libraries and Librarianship, 1900-2005: A Historical Perspective," and will be sharing the results of his research on 22 February 2006. For more information, please click here.

Category: Libraries


Notes on the Oscar Nominations

In case you didn't know it, this blogger is an Oscar freak. This year's list of nominees was announced a few hours ago and as expected, Brokeback Mountain ended up with the most nominations. What does this mean? It will most likely win the Oscar for Best Picture. There are, of course, a few movies that won the Best Picture award even though they did not have the most number of nominations (The Silence of the Lambs comes to mind), but they are very rare.

Something else worth noting is that the nominations for Best Picture match those for Best Director perfectly. This is not as common as you may think. All members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are allowed to vote for nominees for Best Picture, while only members of the directors branch can nominate for the Best Director category. So in this case, if you're looking for a Best Picture nomination for Walk the Line, it's hard to make a case for its inclusion.

Finally, just a few disclaimers: I have not seen any of the nominated movies in any of the categories except for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Batman Begins (so sue me!). And no, I don't need to see all the nominated movies to make predictions because the Oscars are not purely about quality; there's also a lot of sentiment involved... and campaigning, of course. So if you're an Oscar freak like me, know your Oscar history and have a reasonable idea of how the campaigns are going, you can make all the predictions you want.

Incidentally, anyone can make predictions =)

Category: Books and Movies


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