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Library Student Journal

Library Student JournalThe first issue of Library Student Journal (LSJ) is out. It's an "international peer-reviewed journal for future information science professionals." The editorial explicitates what the previous description does not: LSJ is an open access journal.

Eli Guinnee, the founding editor, writes that "a combination of volunteer staff, server space from the University at Buffalo, and small donations from a variety of sources allows LSJ to publish without cost to authors or readers." He believes that "libraries can be publishers, and librarians can take advantage of our diverse skills and the many resources at our disposal to be directly and actively involved in the publishing of high quality scholarly information... We hope to be, in our own little way, an example of the future of scholarly publishing: open and free."

One feature of LSJ that I'd like to highlight is the fact that readers can actually leave comments on the articles. A few open access journals are already doing this, but not a lot.

The contents of LSJ's first issue include the following in both html and pdf versions:

Internet filtering and the adolescent gay/lesbian patron
Holt, David Brian
The role of skepticism in human-information behavior: a cognitive-affective analysis
Giarlo, Michael J.
Babies and libraries: serving the youngest patrons of a community
Oser, Cynthia
Internet filters in public libraries: do they belong?
Gottschalk, Lana
Its IM time: a case study of instant messaging reference for teens at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Slimon, Licia
Open (and free) for business: letter from the editor, September, 2006
Guinnee, Eli
Why content analysis should be used more in library and information studies research
Robinson, Leith
The knowledge entrepreneur, by Stan Skrzeszewski, 2006
Hockenberry, Benjamin

Disclosure: I'm a member of the Editorial Board.

Category: Technical Services


Life Trumps Blogging

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you've probably noticed that I'm not blogging as much as I used to. You might want to consider subscribing to this blog via RSS or inputting your email address in the box in the sidebar so that you can be informed when a new post goes up.

To all those who've emailed me with requests, I try to respond as much as I can, but you're probably better off asking your questions on the Filipino Librarians Googlegroup (see sidebar to join the group).

Until I'm able to get used to my new lifestyle as a PhD student at the University of Toronto, posts will probably just be limited to one or two a week. I actually just made my first presentation in class (pdf slides | text) last Monday, and I expect that there will be many more. Not to mention other not-quite-scholarly projects and just plain dealing with the new environment.

By the way, if you point your mouse at the links in the previous paragraph and look at the URLs, you'll see that I have a new blog and a new wiki. I expect that there will be more, so stay tuned.

I think it's also worth noting that the number of hits this blog has received has not fallen off even though I stopped posting daily. I thought the talumpati searches would decline after Buwan ng Wika, but I guess I was wrong.

Finally, the title of this post is from an essay by Walt Crawford (Cites & Insights 5:13, Mid-Fall 2005) on bloggers who take breaks. Which reminds me that I wanted to write about Crawford's First Have Something to Say (2003), where he says: "If you have a weblog, post an 'out to lunch: back next week' sign on your site." The contexts of the essay and the book are quite different, but his advice gives me some assurance that this blogging slow down will probably be good for me... and you =)

Categories: About Filipino Librarian, About Vonjobi


Blogging Toronto

Toronto is probably better known around the world for its film festival. But as I've learned over the past few weeks since I arrived, the film festival is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cultural events in this city. It even has a hip Live With Culture campaign, and not just an oh-so-serious National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

The Word On The Street Toronto (WST) is an annual books and magazines festival. But unlike the Manila International Bookfair, WST is an outdoor event and it is specifically a festival for the reading public, not an industry affair.

Anyway, I didn't have time to go to all the booths, but I made it a point to go to "Blogging Toronto" because, in case you haven't noticed, I'm a blogger =) Also, one of the speakers was Filipino-Canadian Rannie Turingan, whom I've been wanting to meet.

Tim Shore, Sarah Hood, Rannie Turingan, Alexa Clark, Matt Blackett
The photo above shows, from left, panelists Tim Shore, Sarah Hood, Turingan, Alexa Clark, and moderator Matt Blackett. Below are some of the points I found interesting at the too-short session. I won't comment on them anymore because I still haven't finished what I need to do for tomorrow =(

In answer to the usual question about how blogging has changed their lives, Clark paid tribute to the community that has grown around her blog and even maintained it for her while she was gone for one and a half months; Turingan now gets recognized in the street, and says that about half of his friends now are those he met through his blog; Hood commented that the more she likes what she's writing about, the less money she gets for it, and expressed delight at the old ladies who rushed to tell her that Hairspray was filming in their neighborhood so she could blog about it; and Shore admitted that he spends so much time on the computer that he probably needs to go into a self-help program.

Then there was a question about how blogging changed their fields. Clark mentioned that people are now eating more cold food because bloggers are taking photos of their meals before eating, and sharing their finds; Turingan observed that blogging has made it easier for people to share their photos taken with their digital cameras, and Blackett added that he now looks for photos to publish through Flickr; Hood noted that people are now more self-conscious about what they do while they're doing it because they're thinking about blogging about it; and Shore talked about how he built up his network of blogs on arts and culture by hiring bloggers—whom he still hasn't met after many months—via Craigslist.

But the most interesting—not to mention scary—thing I learned is that Toronto winters are colder than those in Siberia. Olga Goubar, whom I chatted with while waiting for the panel to start, emigrated from Siberia five years ago. Quite a few people's stories have made me wonder about just how cold winter gets in this city, but Goubar's casual comparison of the weather in Toronto and Siberia was the most chilling.

Category: Blogging


FO: Martial Law Documents

Martial Law

September 21 was not the day on which Filipinos officially learned that martial law had been declared. It was, however, the day when then-President Ferdinand Marcos signed Proclamation No. 1081, which placed "the entire Philippines as defined in Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution under martial law." The following sites may prove useful for those who wish to know more about this event, especially those who have no idea what it was like because they had not yet been born 34 years ago—like me =)

The Lawphil Project
Read the full text of Proclamation No. 1081, and compare it with current President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's Proclamation No. 1017 or former President Jose Laurel's Proclamation No. 29, which was signed during the Japanese occupation on 21 September 1944.
Philippines Free Press
The Free Press was one of the first to be padlocked when martial law was declared. It's interesting to note that as early as 30 January 1971, Napoleon Rama was already asking "Will there be Martial Law?" This magazine declared Marcos its Man of the Year for 1965, and said that the Marcos administration would either be, "a record of futility and ignominious shame, or a testament to Filipino pride and greatness." Its Man of the Year for 1971before the imposition of martial law—was Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr., who was chosen because "he stood for the people’s will to resist tyranny, drawing upon himself all the fury of its wrath without flinching..."
Time Magazine
Due to the crackdown on local media, only correspondents for foreign publications were able to immediately write about what occurred after the imposition of martial law. If you would like to know how Filipinos reacted—remembering, however, that outsiders looking in are not the same as insiders—read "Marcos' Martial Law" (2 October 1972), "Life in a 'New Society'" (20 November 1972), and "In Search of Normalcy" (1 January 1973).
National Security Archive
A National Security Study Memorandum indicates that the US government guessed that Marcos declared martial law due to "uncertainty of being able to remain in power beyond 1973 under normal legal arrangements." The communist insurgency, the memo adds, could have overthrown the government at a future time, but notes that "it clearly does not have that capability at the present time."

Categories: Filipiniana Online, Events


Lulu Barnachea: Filipina

Filipina: Lulu Barnachea
In March 2003, I sent an email to the Newlib-L listserv, "a discussion list for librarians new to the profession... those who are considering becoming librarians, and to those established in the profession who might wish to mentor newcomers":
Hi! I'm new to the list. It's my first semester taking a Masters in Library and Information Science at the University of the Philippines. I'd be interested to know if there are any Filipinos on this list (whether inside or outside the Philippines). Thanks.
I got three replies, two of them from Filipinas. One of them was Lulu Barnachea at University of Maryland.

Lulu and I exchanged a few emails, but it would be more than 18 months later, when I got another email from Lulu, that I realized just how much the world had changed—and hadn't:
Hopefully your email address is still active. I just got a copy of the ILS newsletter which is a few months old and noted that there is a recent graduate of MLS with your namesake. I thought it was you. So I thought of emailing you and extend my congratulations...
And so, while we found each other via email, it was a newsletter that she received via snail mail that revived our online friendship.

To make a long story short, I finally met her three months ago—on her birthday. She took me around the University of Maryland campus, and told me about her work as a coordinator for the technical services division at the McKeldin Library. By the way, Lulu is rubbing the nose of Testudo, the university's mascot, in the photo above. It's supposed to bring good luck.

More than three years after we first "met" online, I got to meet Lulu in person. I've encountered other librarians online then met them offline, but the email-snail mail combination—and the fact that I never thought I'd ever be in the Maryland area to meet her in person—made this meeting very memorable.

Categories: Filipina, Librarians


LLE 2006: Information Technology

Mark I
That's a photo of an exhibit at Harvard University. It's not the Mark I; it's part of the Mark I. For more about the "largest electromechanical calculator ever built," see "IBM's ASCC (a.k.a. The Harvard Mark I)."

If you're preparing for the Librarians' Licensure Examination—or maybe you're just plain interested in the development of computers—you may want to take a look at the following:

From Gutenberg to the Internet

Presents an "annotated chronology of the history of information" taken from the book by Jeremy Norman. It's not very user-friendly (e.g., the timetable appears after a long introduction, and the search box appears only on one page), but the annotation and the links provided are very helpful. From 30,000 BC to 2006.
Computer History Museum
Its "Timeline of Computer History" is very user-friendly. Click on a year to see everything that happened that year, or click on a category to see photos and descriptions of "Computers," for instance, in chronological order. From 1939 to 1994.
The History of Computing Science
Slides (with annotation) for a lecture originally delivered in 1994, and has since won awards. Perhaps because it was part of "an introductory course designed primarily for students from other disciplines... [and] not intended for the computing science major student."
National Museum of American History
Provides an introduction to the Internet for beginners, including illustrations of how the different parts of the computer are connected and interact with one another, issues to consider, and a glossary of terms.
Sacred Hall of Computer and Internet Terms and Acronyms
This will be useful for determining what certain abbreviations and acronyms mean. There are other sites available, but this seems to be the most user-friendly.
A very simple matching game that will be useful for those who are not familiar with the meanings of ten common terms.

For information on library software, check out "Integrated Library Software."

Category: Licensed Librarians


Twilight Dancers

The film Twilight Dancers is social commentary (un)dressed as a sexy movie. So it makes no sense that the MTRCB gave it an X rating (see "'Twilight' gets 'X' on first review," Philippine Daily Inquirer, 10 September 2006). After seeing it this morning, I had to wonder what all the fuss is about.

True, a few penises are shown in the movie, but you'd hardly notice them because they're like Sharon Stone's leg-crossing in Basic Instinct—make sure you don't blink. I haven't seen many porn movies, but this film is far from one. Maybe it was the politics that aroused the MTRCB board members? =)

Anyway, I never saw Macho Dancer or Midnight Dancers, so I can't really say whether this one is better, more political, or even sexier. What I can say is that this one isn't shy about getting its "message" across in an in-your-face manner—which is probably appropriate considering the profession the leads are in.

There was one dancer who kept telling his mother that he was working at a call center (as a call "boy," perhaps?). It seemed at first that it was just a joke, but as the film warmed up to its "message," it became clear that the "joke" fit into the film's larger theme regarding globalization. I found it interesting that the lead character, the dancer played by Tyron Perez, was told that he needed to learn to "dance" in the new global economy. I guess I need to learn this, too, now that I'm in Canada...

The most ironic thing about the movie was that even though it was really focused on the men, the best performances were turned in by the women, namely, Cherry Pie Picache as Madame Loca, and Ana Capri as a mute mother and separated wife.

Subtitles, as with Kubrador, were a problem. This time, there were some very common Filipino mistakes (e.g., never winning a "price," "sandali" translated as "for a while," and "customer" spelled as "costumer"). I was able to ask Ricky Lee, the scriptwriter, about the subtitles after the screening, and he said that the subtitles weren't as good as they could have been because of the deadline the film had to meet. This is probably the same reason the subtitles to other Filipino festival films that I've seen weren't so good.

RockYou slideshow | View | Add Favorite

And that's it for me for the Toronto International Film Festival. Maybe next year, with more money, I'll be able to watch more movies, including non-Filipino ones.

Category: Books and Movies


Kubrador (The Bet Collector)

Seeing Kubrador with a theater full of non-Filipinos made me realize that some things I've always taken for granted aren't really as common as I thought they were.

Take jueteng, for instance. I used to just shrug it off as a fact of life. But when the introductory titles began to roll, and I was reminded that a former president was impeached—and subsequently deposed—on jueteng charges, and that the current president's husband and son have been implicated in jueteng, too, I began to wonder what the people in the audience thought. Most of them probably knew, at the very least, about Imelda Marcos and her shoes. What conclusions could they have formed regarding the electoral choices of Filipinos?

Then there was the opening sequence. I couldn't help but think of Spider Man and how different its rooftop chase sequences were from the one presented in Kubrador. There were the rusting iron sheets that practically flowed into one another, so that it was not really necessary to jump from one roof to another. There was the fact that the chaser and the chased were very human beings, neither super nor heroes. And finally, the chase ended not when the chaser caught the chased, but when the chased fell through a roof—into a "bathroom," where the woman taking a bath called him a pervert.

The film was so authentic that I was not quite surprised when the lead character passed through very tight alleys, encountered lots of children and adults in those alleys, and even stepped on some dog poop. It must have looked like a very different world to the audience, whose subway trains at peak times are not even half as packed as LRT/MRT trains in Metro Manila. And they have laws penalizing the owners of dogs whose poop is not picked up right away.

There was probably a lot that the audience missed, too. Because, one, the film did not make a big deal out of the facts of Filipino life (e.g., the Nazareno, Sto. Nino and Virgin Mary side by side), but presented them as, well, facts of life; and two, the subtitles weren't very good. The first was most likely intentional, but the second is something that I've noticed in a lot of subtitled Filipino films. There were some very good translations (e.g., "Your cock has a birthday?" in reference to a man preparing for a cockfight), but some were just plain bad, and in some cases, no translations were provided at all.

But one thing that got highlighted in the Q&A after the screening was how difficult it was to shoot in the squatters' area. Not because it was tight, but because Filipinos just love cameras. Jeffrey Jeturian, the director, talked about doing so many takes because someone in the scene looked at the camera. Contrast this with my experiences with Canadians who do not bring cameras to social gatherings and, when asked if it's okay to take group photos, say "no."

Anyway, below are some photos that I took of Jeturian and Gina Pareno, the lead, after the screening. It took a while before I could take the photos because there were so many people who came up to them to congratulate them... and have photos taken with them. Guess who the latter were? =)

RockYou slideshow | View | Add Favorite

The photo captioned "Souvenirs" includes my ticket and autographed photos that the talented, but very down-to-earth Pareno gave me. Read more about her in "Gina PareƱo hits the jackpot" by Eric S. Caruncho (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 2 August 2006).

By the way, the ticket for Kubrador, at Can $21 (945 pesos), is the most expensive one I've ever bought. But it was worth it =)

Category: Books and Movies


Talumpati: Ferdinand Marcos

See also the category "Talumpati." And whether you found what you were looking for or not, please leave a comment below so I can help you better.
Before September 11 was hijacked and became 9/11, the day was better known to Filipinos as the birthday of Ferdinand Marcos, former President of the Philippines.

There is a lot that has already been written about Marcos—and there's probably a lot more that will never be written—but this post will focus only on his inaugural address on 30 December 1965.

He talked about "a young patriot... [who] fell from a tyrant’s bullet and out of the martyr’s blood that flowed copiously there sprang a new nation." He was, of course, referring to Jose Rizal and the birth of the first Philippine republic, but he may as well have been predicting the death of Ninoy Aquino and the end of his dictatorship, too.

The excerpt below is taken from the Marcos Presidential Center. The translation is mine.

To Be Great Again
Ferdinand Marcos
Sixty-nine years ago today, a young patriot and prophet of our race fell upon his beloved soil. He fell from a tyrant’s bullet and out of the martyr’s blood that flowed copiously there sprang a new nation.

That nation became the first modern republic in Asia and Africa. It is our nation. We are proud to point to our country as one stable in an area of stability; where ballots, not bullets, decide the fate and parties.
Thus Kawit and Malolos are celebrated in our history as acts of national greatness. Why national greatness? Because, armed with nothing but raw courage and passionate intelligence and patriotism, our predecessors built the noble edifice of the First Asian Republic.

Today the challenge is less dramatic but no less urgent. We must repeat the feat of our forebears in a more commonplace sphere, away from the bloody turmoil of heroic adventure – by hastening our social and economic transformation. For today, the Filipino, it seems, has lost his soul, his dignity and his courage.

This nation can be great again. This I have said over and over. This is my article of faith, and Divine Providence has willed that you and I can now translate this faith into deeds. I have repeatedly told you: each generation writes its own history. Our forbears have written theirs. With fortitude and excellence we must write ours.

This is your dream and mine. By your choice you have committed yourselves to it. Come then, let us march together towards the dream of greatness.

Muling Maging Dakila
Ferdinand Marcos
Sa araw na ito, animnapu't siyam na taon na ang nakalipas, namatay ang isang batang bayani at propeta ng ating lipi sa kanyang minamahal na lupain. Isang bala ng diktador ang pumaslang sa kanya, at mula sa pagdaloy ng dugo ng martir ay tumubo ang isang bagong bansa.

Ang bansang iyon ang naging unang makabagong republika sa Asya at Africa. Ito ang ating bansa. Ipinagmamalaki nating matatag ang ating bayan sa isang rehiyong matatag; kung saan balota, at hindi bala, ang humuhusga sa kapalaran at mga partido.

Kung kaya pinararangalan natin sa ating kasaysayan ang Kawit at Malolos bilang mga halimbawa ng pambansang kadakilaan. Bakit pambansang kadakilaan? Sapagkat itinayo ng ating mga ninuno ang matibay na haligi ng unang republika sa Asya na taglay lamang ang tapang, talino at kabayanihan.

Ngayon, ang hamon ay hindi na gaanong mapapansin, ngunit ito'y mahalaga pa rin. Kailangang ulitin natin ang mga ginawa ng ating mga ninuno sa isang mas karaniwang panahon, malayo sa madugo at dakilang pakikipagsapalaran – sa pamamagitan ng pagpapabilis ng pagbabago ng ating lipunan at kalakalan. Sapagkat ngayon, tila nalimutan na ng Pilipino ang kanyang diwa, dangal at tapang.

Maari pang muling maging dakila ang bayang ito. Paulit-ulit kong binabanggit ito. Ito ang aking pinaniniwalaan, at ninanais ng Poong Maykapal na tayo'y magtulungan upang isakatuparan ang ating panalangin. Maraming beses ko nang sinabi ito: sinusulat ng bawat salinlahi ang sariling kasaysayan. Naisulat na ng ating mga ninuno ang kanila. Tangan ang lakas ng loob at kahusayan, kailangang isulat natin ang atin.

Pangarap natin ito. Sa pagpili sa akin, inaako niyo ito. Samahan niyo ako sa pagkamit ng pangarap ng kadakilaan.

Category: Talumpati


Kubrador and Twilight Dancers

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) begins tomorrow. I won't have the time or money to watch many movies, but I'll try and see The Bet Collector (Kubrador) and Twilight Dancers, if only because I have not seen—and will not be seeing—any Filipino films on the big screen for a long time.

I've heard and read quite a bit about Kubrador—the usual "good movie but no one watched it"—but not much about Twilight Dancers, maybe because, as I just found out, its world premiere will happen at TIFF. Without seeing either film, I think it's rather ironic that the two films are going to be shown at TIFF at the same time. One is about a woman engaged in an illegal activity but earns very little (because she never takes off her clothes?), while the other is about a man engaged in an illegal activity and earns quite a lot (because he takes off his clothes).

One other thing worth mentioning is that the TIFF organizers have noted that, "The macho dancer story has become a small genre within Filipino cinema." And if you put this together with the fact that last year's lone Filipino entry was The Masseur (Masahista), I wouldn't be surprised if some Canadians start thinking that all Filipino men are as good-looking as the macho dancers they've seen on the big screen. Actually, I wouldn't mind being mistaken for one =)

For more about the "the most important film festival after Cannes and the largest and most successful public festival in the world," see the TIFF Group's website.

Category: Books and Movies


9/11 Obituaries

In "Ground Zero 9/11," I linked to pages devoted to the 15 individuals from the Philippines or of Filipino descent who died at the World Trade Center towers on 11 September 2001. The pages on September 11, 2001 Victims, however, were limited to a few sentences about the deceased and some comments from relatives and friends.

Now, a few days before the fifth anniversary of the tragedy that has become known as 9/11, it is perhaps appropriate to link directly to the obituaries published in the New York Times and other newspapers, as reproduced on Legacy.com.
Grace Alegre-Cua, 40
Cesar A. Alviar, 60
Marlyn C. Bautista, 46
Cecile M. Caguicla, 55
Jayceryll M. de Chavez, 24

Benilda P. Domingo, 37
Ramon Grijalvo, 58
Frederick Kuo, 53
Arnold A. Lim, 28
Manuel L. Lopez, 54

Carl Allen Peralta, 37
Roy F. Santos, 37
David Marc Sullins, 30
Larry Sumaya, 42
Hector Tamayo, 51
The movie World Trade Center helped me appreciate what it must have been like for those who were at the towers on that day. It will probably be nominated for a few Oscars, but it's a feel-good movie that felt bad most of the time.

You may wish to remember 9/11 in a different way by participating in the September Project, a library-based "grassroots effort to get people together on September 11th to talk about issues that matter." There does not seem to be an equivalent effort in the Philippines, but last year I was able to join an online event organized in Singapore, which is having a multimedia non-contest this year.

If you would like to revisit 9/11 coverage in print, on TV and online during and immediately after the attacks, check out Newspaper Archive and September11news.com

Category: Events


FO: Philippine Idol on YouTube

If you're not in the Philippines—or maybe you missed the live telecast on ABC—but would still like to watch Philippine Idol, there's always YouTube.

The video above is of the show featuring the top 12 male semifinalists uploaded by jrpjnoyako08 (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8). The four male finalists have also been announced in the results show (1 2 3), but I don't think it would have been fair to start with that =)

Other versions of the show have also been uploaded by shadowhide and simoncowell26 (!), but jrpjnoyako08 has the most complete coverage and the fastest turnaround time.

The quality of the video leaves much to be desired, but it will have to do. And then, of course, there's the copyright issue, which may mean that the videos will not always be available.

Category: Filipiniana Online


Book Covers

I've said it before, and I'll say it again:
...no matter how much we say, "Don't judge a book by its cover," people who have no idea what a book is about will, in fact, start forming opinions about a book even before they touch it.
In "Ugly Philippine Book Covers," Jules writes,
Besides the fact that many Filipinos do not read local fiction (in book form) for the sheer pleasure of it, another factor that scares away potential readers is the very ugly and uninspired covers that adorn perhaps 95% of local books.
He then proceeds to skewer publishers and graphic designers, complete with examples of good and bad book covers and acid commentary. He cites the cover of Dean Alfar's Salamanca as an example of a bad cover, and says that it "lacks inspiration and clarity and looks as if it was just made overnight." To understand a bit more about how book covers are decided upon, take a look at Alfar's update on "the road of publication," where he posts an early cover and writes that, "ultimately the cover is just a cover, and what matters is the content."

While I disagree with some of Jules's examples of good covers (e.g., the Noli and Fili covers may look good but the text is hard to read) and the US-Pinoy comparisons that tend to turn people off, he's actually right about the paper ("Toilet paper has a better consistency than some of the Philippine publications I’ve seen"), and the fact that lack of money is not an excuse ("...many local book covers are printed in FULL color which means they have little reason to curtail on the artistic expression of a graphic artist").

There are a few good cover designers working in the Philippines that I know about. There's Robert Alejandro, who has designed coffee table and children's book covers; Lambert Alfonso, who turned a title like Episcopal Collegiality and Vatican II into a cover that contributed to increased sales; and Ulysses Navarro (It is the Lord! and Beyond the Physical), who worked with authors' ideas and a small budget to produce stylish covers for not-very-commercial publications. Disclosure: I was the book producer for the covers that Alfonso and Navarro designed.

If you know of other good graphic designers, please leave a comment below. And if you'd like to say something about how book covers can be used to discuss the image of libraries and librarians, be my guest =)

Category: Books and Movies


FO: Peso-Dollar Exchange Rate

Peso-Dollar Exchange Rate"Wala kang mabibili" (You won't be able to buy anything) is what Filipinos who live overseas usually tell visitors from the Philippines, many of whom keep converting prices into pesos while shopping. Then there are those who can't keep themselves from reminiscing about how expensive everything is now.

The following sites will be useful for those who can't help but convert prices into pesos, and those who need some perspective when comparing prices from long ago. The websites are listed according to the earliest year for which rates are available. Guess what the exchange rate was in 1945?

Provides the latest peso-dollar exchange rate from the Philippine Dealing System. See "Peso surges vs dollar for 7th straight session" for good news or bad news, depending on where you live and what you do for a living.
The "world's most popular currency tool" (according to them) allows users to calculate the value of any amount in 85 currencies using "live, up-to-the-minute currency rates." Historical currency tables for all currencies may also be viewed. Data for the Philippines is available beginning 16 November 1995 (PHP26.25-US$1).
International Currency Converter
Provides exchange rates for 270 countries, but is most useful for its graphs and summaries of historical rates (see image above). Data for Philippine graphs begin 16 November 1995 (PHP26.25-US$1).
Exchange rates are available for 164 currencies based on "up to date exchange rates provided from leading market data contributors." Historical daily exchange rates for the Philippines start from 23 October 1993 (PHP29.50-US$1).
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines)
The BSP's Online Statistical Interactive Database includes "Exchange Rates" in its menu, from which "Philippine Peso per US Dollar" may be chosen. Rates are available on an annual basis from 1970 (PHP6.44-US$1), and on a monthly and daily basis from 1945 (PHP2.00-US$1). Exchange rates for other currencies are also available.

Category: Filipiniana Online


Pinoy Top Blogs: August 2006

Basang panaginip held the top spot on Pinoy Top Blogs (PTB) for one whole month on the strength of one post that got Dugg and drew in the kind of non-Filipino readers that very few Pinoy bloggers get. Raincontreras.com traversed a similar path to the 22nd spot, which seems to suggest that sex toys aren't as interesting as vector art. Then again, maybe not having the necessary bandwidth after getting BoingBoing-ed held back its rise.

That takes of care of the how-to-rank-higher-with-one-post part, but how do you stay there? Based on my experience with this blog, paying attention to how readers find your blog—and acting accordingly—pays off. For instance, I'd noticed for many months that one post with the word "talumpati" (speech) kept getting a lot of hits, but never really did anything about it. (See the bottom of this blog's index page to see what I'm using to monitor the top 20 referrers to this blog.)

Last month, I thought I'd try to post some speeches and see what happened. Well, my posts on "Talumpati" now get the most hits, unique hits are up by about 200 a day, and pageviews are significantly higher, too. But I don't know whether students will still be interested in speeches now that Buwan ng Wika is over. We'll find out at the end of this month.

Or you could try what some of the new PTB Top 50 blogs have been doing. Photojunkie takes great photos of the people in the city where he lives, and just started a portrait series called "My Toronto Includes…" that is guaranteed to have the people in the photos telling their family and friends to visit the blog. Incidentally, it's puzzling that Photojunkie joined PTB in April but only made the Top 50 in August. Maybe the button didn't work right.

And then there's Make poverty history! whose anonymous owner takes the slogan seriously and writes: "I hate the baho masa / orcs. Obliterate them all!" The very search-engine-friendly blog name plus the put-downs in not-quite-authentic-colegiala language attracts those who appreciate the humor and those who think it's sacrilege. And this makes the comments very interesting.

Other observations:
  • Unique Hits (UH) for the Top 50 went down 3.71 percent, from 1,266,865 to 1,219,911, while This Month's Hits (TMH) declined 1.49 percent, from 3,037,191 to 2,991,949. Did the fact that many students and office workers weren't able to go to work during stormy August have anything to do with this? Just asking =)
  • UH for the Top 10 blogs bounced back to almost the same level as June 2006, even though, as stated earlier, UH for the Top 50 went down.
  • In terms of the TMH/UH Ratio, Pinoy Cook (4.93 percent) showed Philippines For Men (4.83 percent) who's ander da saya =)
The following are the raw data as of 29 August 2006:






Basang Panaginip
Bryanboy: Le Superstar Fabuleux
Motorcycle Philippines
Pinoy Cook
eRadioportal Blog
Philippines For Men
Inside PCIJ: Stories behind our stories
Retzwerx - Ang Inyong Pinoy Big Blogger
Pinoy Tech Blog
Leon Kilat: The Cybercafe Experiments
Ellen Tordesillas
Kwentong Tambay
The Sunday Punch
EntrePinoy Atbp
Now What, Ca t?
Filipino Librarian
Composed Gentleman
Pinoy R.N.
Manila's Daily Grind
Pinoy Travel Blog
Notes from the Peanut Gallery
WeddingsAtWork.com News Blog
The J Spot
sacha chua :: wiki
buhay sa korea
Ivan About Town
Miss Universe Blog
The Man Blog
Walk this Way
Make Poverty History
Stepping on Poop
Random Takes






Category: Blogging


FO: Ang Bagong Alfabeto at
Patnubay sa Ispeling

The New Alphabet and Spelling Guide

2001 Revisyon ng Alfabeto at Patnubay sa Ispeling ng Wikang FilipinoToday is the last day of Buwan ng Wika (Language Month).

If you've never heard of the 2001 Revisyon ng Alfabeto at Patnubay sa Ispeling ng Wikang Filipino, then you're probably like most Filipinos.

If you're a parent who is as confused as your child about what alphabet to use for Filipino assignments, you may want to check out Filipino: 2001 Alphabet Revision & Spelling Guide, which is a blogger's effort to make the full text of the document issued by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) more widely available. Note: There is no reference to the Revisyon on the KWF wiki.

I have not had time to go through the entire document, but the only thing I can say after skimming it and other articles about it—and a blog that is actively implementing its suggestions (see link below)—is that, after so many years of trying, perhaps language cannot be "legislated" into existence.

Theologians talk about the "reception" of Vatican II and other Church documents when they evaluate whether these have been embraced by the people of God. While some documents create controversy but are eventually welcomed by the people (e.g., masses are now said in the vernacular, as decreed by Vatican II), many more—like some Philippine laws—just disappear after a while (ever heard of Liturgiam Authenticam?). Either more work needs to be done to spread the word about the Revisyon or its proponents need to think about why it has not been adopted by Filipinos.

If you'd like to know a bit more about the Revisyon, take a look at the following:
"Wikang Filipino: Kumusta na?" by RJA Asuncion and RRT Calbay (Varsitarian, 18 August 2006)

"Ang Estandardisasyon ng Wika at ang Pagsusulong ng Filipino sa Akademya" by Galileo Zafra (Introduction to Gabay sa Editing sa Wikang Filipino, 2004)

"Ang 2001 Revisyon ng Alfabeto at Patnubay sa Ispeling ng Wikang Filipino: Paglilinaw at Paglalapat" by Lakandupil Garcia (Paradimo, May 2003)
Finally, drop by Filipinayzd to see what the Revisyon's Filipino looks like in practice.

Category: Filipiniana Online


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