Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Cover: "To Where You Are" by Josh Groban

Video Format Converter!

I've finally gotten a hold of a video format converter so now I can convert AVI to MPEG to make the file size smaller and easier to upload on Youtube!

I now know how to make vids and convert them to mpeg > upload to youtube and then post on my blog. So, I got excited at the prospect of making video blogs or vlogs...but then I realized I still have to get a video editing software and learn how to use it. Heheh.

But at least I've made progress right? SO, I've made a test post!

"To Where You Are" by Josh Groban

Last week (July 31), on my way home from Batangas, the traffic was horrible on C5 that I got bored and started singing to the songs on the radio to entertain myself. I saw I had taken my Canon Ixus 90IS with me in the car, so I snatched it up and decided to take a short clip of me singing in the dark. Hehe. Since I have zero knowledge about editing, this is raw unedited footage... :D

Still looking for a mentor to teach me editing (and maybe give me an editing software, hehe!) In the meantime, here's me singing a sample of "To Where You Are" by Josh Groban. (I realized later that I was singing on a higher key, but what the heck!)

What do you think?

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Monday, August 03, 2009

I sang for President Cory Aquino, for the first and the last time

On Saturday, August 1, I woke up to an sms from my co-UP Concert Chorus Alum, Ging, that our dear former President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino or Tita Cory, had passed away. Her message was quickly followed by another one, asking if I was willing to come over and sing for the 8pm mass set that evening in La Salle, Greenhills where the late President's body was brought for public viewing. It was going to be the first mass for the wake of Pres. Cory Aquino...

I knew there was going to be a lot of people, tight security because of all the VIPs coming, parking was going to be difficult, not to mention I haven't sung with the UP Concert Chorus in a long time...but there was no hesitation when I replied: Yes, I will go.

After some errands in Makati and a light KFC take-out dinner in the car, Liz and I made our way to La Salle, Greenhills. Along the way, we could already see the yellow ribbons on the vehicles around us, on the branches of trees along Ortigas Ave, even on lamp posts and road blocks, all leading us to where we needed to go.

When we got there, we found La Salle had been closed for entry so we parked across the street and walked to the gymnasium where the mass was going to be held. There was already a long line of people waiting under the rain, hoping to get one last look at the beloved former President.

Inside the gym, the lights were bright but the mood somber and respectful. There were chairs arranged in rows in front of a makeshift stage, and in between was the casket with the remains of Tita Cory. There were 2 cameras on extensions, several more cameramen going around, and there was a row of tables with laptops and other gadgets on them which I assumed were the press people.

I looked around and saw her family: I saw Kris Aquino was being interviewed, I saw Jiggy Aquino-Cruz, one of her grandsons who I happened to read about in a magazine just before going to the wake, Mikee and Chynna Conjuangco were there too.

Mayor Sonny Belmonte was there, VP Noli De Castro, Mayor Alfredo Lim, Sen. Loren Legarda, former President Fidel Ramos and a host of other political figures were present. Media personalities and celebrities were also in attendance: David Celdran, Charo Santos-Concio, Bianca Gonzalez, Tessa Prieto-Valdez. Singers Jose Mari Chan, Jaime Rivera and Gary Valenciano were also present, and later gave tributes and sang after the mass ended.

Being inside the "VIP" area, we did not have to line up from outside to view the remains of the late President. So we took a short queue from inside the barricaded area, Liz and I went together, to see her in person for the first, and for the last time.

Cory looked peaceful, her face bright, her hands clasped and holding a golden rosary. I uttered a short prayer for her, and before we left, I gave her a small bow to show my respect. I would have preferred to have sung for her in a different setting, but I guess it must be this way. Even though I was singing with 20+ other people in the choir, it felt like it was my personal tribute to her. It was an honor to sing for her. I will always remember her as a shining symbol of hope and democracy for the Filipino people and for the world.

Thank you for the inspiration, Cory Aquino.

Here's the only Youtube video I found of the mass with us singing in the background: Click here.

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Saturday, August 01, 2009

How to prepare for your first Bloggers meet

Next week, I will be attending my first ever bloggers meet - the awarding ceremonies for the Top Emerging Influential Bloggers for 2009, and I am at a loss for how to prepare for it. But being the (mild) OC that I am, I have decided to make a list of things to do, to bring, to internalize and externalize (lol) for the bloggers meet.
Feel free to add your suggestions and your advice in the comments section below!

What to bring:
- Bring a pen and a small notebook, in case you have to write down names and blogs.
- Bring your blogging card with your blog's name and website on it. (lol! I did not know how to call it - it can't be a calling card right?)
- Bring your camera!
- Bring enough cash for taxi and coffee. (Because people will probably be having coffee after that!)
- Bring an ID in case you need to "authenticate" your identity. Or to prove that you're above 18. (we'll be in a Casino after all, you might want to try some slot machines)

What to think about before going:
- Have an agenda - what is your objective in going to the bloggers meet? Is it just to meet your new blogger friends? Is it to tell everyone about your blog to gain more traffic? Is it to learn new insights and technologies for blogging? Is it for the free food? All of the above?
- After you've identified your priorities, set up actions to achieve your objectives. (i.e. the cards?)
- Think of questions you want to be answered - by the hosts, by your blogging peers, by the sponsors, etc. I'm sure they will let you ask questions.

What to do during the event proper:
- Dress appropriately, in case you get called to the stage to receive a raffle prize. Powder your nose, wear some cologne, comb your hair and brush your teeth. :D (This is more for my benefit, lol!)
- Arrive a little after the scheduled start time. It's not cool to be the first one to arrive. (hehe, this applies to all parties!) Also, don't be the last to leave. Instead, go for coffee. :D
- Be friendly, be open, be nice: smile, shake hands, and talk talk talk.
- Talk some more. Don't limit discussions on blogging.
- Listen to the speakers, you might learn a thing or two.

The 2009 Emerging Influential Bloggers meet will be on August 8, Saturday, 6PM to 11PM at the Forum Hall, Casino Filipino, PIRC Bldg. Ninoy Aquino Avenue, Parañaque City. If you are planning to attend, you should confirm your attendance HERE!

See you all soon!

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The Uber Prestigious Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs for 2009

I have edited this post (7/11/09) because I'm happy to announce that I have finally (FINALLY! yes..) completed my noms for this year's uber awesome, uber prestigious top emerging influential blogs. I started out with just two nominations, and begged my readers to send me links to their favorite newbie blogs (and this explains why most comments here are suggestions!) and in the process, I have made several new blogger friends (and some jedi masters), improved my readership (to a staggering 30 visits per day! lol..), and most importantly, connected with people who share a true passion for blogging.

Without further ado, here is my uber awesome and eccentric list:
WOOT! CONGRATULATIONS! You're all winners in my book (or post)!

Awarding will be on August 8, 6pm at Casino Filipino in Paranaque. Confirm your attendance to this event here.

If you're STILL clueless about what I am blabbering about, visit Influential Blogger by Janette Toral: Join the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs for 2009 Writing Project and consider nominating the people in my list! They really deserve it!

Oh, and before I forget, please do visit the following sponsors: Absolute Traders, My Brute Cheats, Business Summaries, Fitness Advantage Club, Events and Corporate Video, Events at Work, Dominguez Marketing Communications, Red Mobile, Budget hotel in Makati, Lucio C. Tan Group of Companies, and This writing project will not be possible without their support! They're awesome! (And rich too! Hehe.)

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Solar Eclipse Photos - Philippines July 22

It wasn't a total solar eclipse in the Philippines, but nevertheless, the partial Solar Eclipse today (July 22) still elicited some excited giggles from my female colleagues, some expressions of awe and wonder, and some feelings of minisculity.

I half-ran back to my office after a meeting, glancing at the sun, but just hurting my eyes in the process. I stopped and squinted to see if there was anything happening up there, only to be betrayed by my eyes, tearing up from the glare.

When I got to my office, I found a couple of my colleagues had taken out some x-rays of pipelines (I work in a refinery) and were using those to watch the ongoing eclipse. When I got my turn to look, I was hugely disappointed! It was already 830AM by then and all I could see was a small chip on the upper-left portion of the circle that was the sun, so small it was virtually unnoticeable! Bah!

But I was sure that it was going to be amazing. So sure in fact that I did not, could not, stop watching, waiting for the awesomeness to happen.

A few minutes passed. Then I realized... the eclipse was not ending, it was only beginning. :D woot! And my spirits picked up.

I still had to work, but for that hour before my 10AM meeting, I went out every 10 minutes or so to see the eclipse in progress. A few colleagues passed by after learning that we had some materials for viewing the spectacle. They left with exclamations: "beautiful!" "amazing!" and "awesome!" reflecting what I had been shouting in my heart as well. The moon's shadow covered about one fourth of the sun's face at it's "peak". Not much, but still remarkable.

Yesterday, I was reading the Time magazine's article on the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the first moon landing, and today I was floored in amazement, seeing the shadow of the moon run past one side of the sun. Wow, the moon's really there even though we can't see it. It really is! Haha.

I felt small, watching the solar eclipse. Tiny. And awestruck. And now I wait for the next one, the countdown to the next Total Solar Eclipse begins today!

*Thanks to Boks for the photos!

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Syzygy Watch: July 22, 2009 Total Solar Eclipse

Bring your solar filters and cameras, a Total Solar Eclipse, one of the rarest celestial events on Earth is happening on Wednesday, July 22, 2009! It will be visible between around 8AM and 9AM on that day (at GMT+8hrs, just compute for your own country's time! ;p) in the following countries: India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and China. The moon's shadow will then blot out our sun in Japan's Ryukyu Islands before hovering over the Pacific Ocean and eventually disappearing. The solar eclipse will be partially visible for the most of Eastern Asia (including the Philippines! woot! woot!), Indonesia and the Pacific Islands.

Packaged Tours are available in places in the world where the eclipse will be completely visible, like in India, where they will witness the "100% solar eclipse with diamond ring." It is only the third total solar eclipse to be visible in India in the past 15 years and one has to wait for another 78 Years, to witness such a spectacle again. The next total solar eclipse will occur in 2087.

In the Philippines, I remember 2 solar eclipses in my lifetime. The first one was the total solar eclipse on March 18, 1988, when I was a young (and innocent, hehe) 6 year old kid (I just turned 6 the week before that!). I remember my mom brought out a basin of water and told us to look at the reflection on the water and not directly at the sun. Some of my neighbors brought discarded film negatives and looked through those.

I had excitedly anticipated the partial solar eclipse of June 11, 2002, but the sky was uncooperative. The clouds hid the sun completely so I didn't even partially see the partial solar eclipse.

I did not know about the most recent partial solar eclipse, visible from the Philippines. Apparently there was one last January 29, 2009, but that it was at sunset.

Now the next total solar eclipse will be on April 20, 2042. Mark your calendars folks. lol. I'll be 60 by then, but I promise you, I will watch that solar syzygy with my children and my grandchildren and I will tell them all about my first total solar eclipse when I was 6 years old. :D

I'll tell them all about syzygies too, and how I was, well, born on a syzygy. :D

Image from here.
Solar eclipses in the Philippines

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