Thursday, March 6, 2014

G2B - The Best Ending Ever: A Review By: James U. Sy Jr.

Negros Daily Bulletin writer James U. Sy Jr. with PBA legend Benjie "Papa Bear Chito" Paras during the Unveiling of the Alaxan FR "Court of Inspiration" last August 26, 2012 at Prk. Langka, Brgy. Taloc, Bago City (James U. Sy Jr./NDB photo). The first time I heard the song “Got to Believe in Magic” was way back when I was just a grade 1 pupil at Tay Tung High School. The song came from the same era when songs such as “Words” and “King and Queen of Hearts” were in vogue, a time when love songs were really love songs. I was watching Juan de la Cruz when I first saw the promo for Got to Believe (G2B), which aired starting August 26, 2013. I wasn’t impressed. What does a teen hanging another teen by her ankle upside down got to do with love? Well, the teleserye just proved that “first impressions last” to be not always the case. I accidentally watched one episode and I was hooked. I’m a teenager no more and I don’t get kilig because of the beautiful or handsome lead stars. What caught my fancy was the plot first and foremost. The idea of Joaquin being accidentally shot in the head gave a refreshing twist to an otherwise love story retold hundreds of thousands of times around the world. That single event unraveled, layer by layer, the path to which their undying love story will come to full fruition. In general, the storyline was based on reality. Well, at least with the exception of say, Lolo Isko showing up to Joaquin and then making him remember everything at just a snap of a finger when Chichay had to work a number of days to unsuccessfully rehabilitate Joaquin’s memory. I say based on reality in the sense that it shows the wide gap between the rich and the poor in the Philippine setting. Juliana and her father are typical of rich people who are eye poor (mata pobre, gets? ) while the Zaragosa couple exemplified the rich but kind individuals. Jaime symbolized the poor guy who worked hard and earned his place in society. The Tampipis were the epitome of the poor family that is full of love and aspirations in life. I can deduce that G2B was a hit to the masses because of this characterization. The average Filipino can easily relate to the circumstances shown in the teleserye. They get to feel more emotional as the setting of the plot is closer to their hearts, closer to home as you might say. I’m not saying that the characterization is the centerpiece of this particular masterpiece. On the contrary, it is the fairy tale romance between Chichay and Joaquin. The characterization gave their romance more life, more meaning. I could just imagine a young poor girl watching G2B, aspiring that someday her own prince charming, a knight in shining armor, will come to her aid and cover her body or to carry her in his arms after she falls down to the floor. What the story essentially wants to show is the purity of the love of Chichay and Joaquin. Love is not just about dating, dining out, and watching the moon. It’s much more than that. In fact, G2B subtly taught that love goes beyond the usual teenage stereotype of what love is. Chichay showed that love also means sacrifice as she was willing to let go of Joaquin and be hurt in the process so he might just live. Even Bechay showed sacrifice when she did not go between the relationship of Juliana and Jaime. I especially like the concept of Joaquin losing his memory but his heart still beating for Chichay. It’s kinda sweet and doesn’t fail to make hordes of girls and ladies kilig to the bones. Their love is also pure because it was not based on lust. Chichay and Joaquin slept in one room but nothing happened. The most that Joaquin did was kiss her in the forehead, which showed his respect for her, as one would kiss a grandmother or a mother in the forehead. The producer and director of G2B wanted to present love at its purest form and in the process presenting a more wholesome TV viewing for the whole family. Just like what ABS-CBN did with Juan de la Cruz, G2B was subtly teaching its viewers values that one can use in real life. Respect for parents and superiors, the caring of the elders, the value of education, the value of friendship, honesty, fighting for one’s right and principles, being righteous, and a lot more. In this sense, G2B did more than entertain, it taught as well, though indirectly and subtly. Over all, it’s two thumbs up for me (that would be two toes up for a friend of mine ). The cast and crew did a good job. As they say, all good things must come to an end. But the lessons and values that G2B gave to the consciousness of the Filipino nation will continue to inspire and give hope, especially when Filipinos will need “magic” in their own lives.

Culture Nurture: Banking: The Summarized Genesis By: James U. Sy Jr.

The legal definition of a bank in the Philippines, as established in the General Banking Act, requires four elements for an entity to be considered as a bank under Philippine law. The institution must be 1) authorized by the Monetary Board (MB), the policy making body of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), 2) to engage in the lending of funds 3) obtained from the public through the receipts of deposits of any kind, and 4) all entities regularly conducting such operations. Thus, non-banking financial institutions (NBFIs), such as financing and lending firms, differ from banks because they lack at least one of these elements. The word bank was derived from the Latin word for “bench” since money lenders sat on benches in any Roman forum in the past. Thus, being bankrupt meant that the money lender’s bench was literally broken so he could no longer sit there anymore. Cognates for the Latin bank are the Spanish banco and the French banc, both of which also mean “bench” (Latin, Spanish, and French all came from the Romance family of languages). The concept of banking was already in existence for thousands of years. However, it was not exactly in the form that we know of today. As early as 2000 B.C. loans were recorded in the temples of Babylon. In Egypt and Mesopotamia, people kept their valuables in temples. Temples were sacred places under the protection of the Gods and were not likely to be robbed. Thus, they were safe depositories. However, since these valuables were not circulated within the community they served little value in improving the local economy. Furthermore, those who read the Bible will remember that Jesus Christ got angry because people were conducting business inside the temple. By the 12th Century, banking activities were recorded in Genoa and other Italian cities. In 1587, Banco della Piazza de Rialto, the first real public bank, was established in Venice. King Charles I of England was in great need of money in 1640 so he seized the deposits of city merchants worth 200,000 pounds of bullions which had been deposited with the mint for safekeeping. The merchants panicked and took measures by entrusting their valuables to the goldsmiths. Goldsmiths were individuals who made and/or sold jewelries such as gold. The goldsmiths of that era also lent money using their own funds. Due to the nature of their business, goldsmiths were usually the only ones who had a vault in their premises, making them the ideal keeper for the city merchants’ valuables. Goldsmiths issued receipts for the valuables entrusted to them and these receipts later became the medium of exchange, the first banknotes if you will, at least in Europe (The Chinese invented paper and unsurprising, were the first to use paper money). Then the goldsmiths started using the funds given to them for safekeeping to expand their lending businesses. As banking continued to evolve, elite banking families, such as the Fuggers, rose to prominence. They lent to noblemen like kings, queens, dukes, etc. It reached a time when these banking families in Europe became more powerful than the monarchs or kingdoms they lent money to. Utilizing their money, they started manipulating the political, economic, and financial environments. They subtly bought influence within the governments for control. These elite banking families destabilized existing monarchies if the king didn’t serve their purpose best. They paid people to cause trouble in the royal court or to cause a revolution, ultimately leading to the ouster of the king and the ascension of a new ruler whom they have control over. These elite banking families also stirred up unrest between nations, lending vast sums of money, usually to both sides, so that war could be waged. The weapons purchased by both sides were manufactured by the industrial wing of the banking-industrial cartel. Usually the outcome of a conflict was controlled by regulating the loan of money and the timing of the delivery of weapons. Sometimes artificial economic crisis was created by contracting/hoarding the money supply, leading for the population to clamor and lose faith in the government in power. The artificial economic crisis also served to increase interest from at least 12% to as high as 45%. These unscrupulous and unregulated banking practices that caused havoc to the ruling governments caused the creation of central banks in different nations to control the activity of a country’s financial system. The Riksbank of Sweden, the oldest central bank, for instance, was founded in 1656. In 1694, the Bank of England, considered as the first real central bank, was established as a joint stock company by an act of Parliament. It served as the model for most modern central banks. In the Philippines, the Philippine National Bank (PNB) (founded Jul. 22, 1916), a government-owned banking institution with headquarters in the old Masonic Temple along Escolta, Manila, served as a de facto central bank prior to the creation of the Central Bank of the Philippines (CBP), as mandated by Republic Act No. 265 (The Central Bank Act), and its formal inauguration and opening on January 3, 1949. The CBP was officially replaced by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) with the signing of Republic Act No. 7653 (The New Central Bank Act) by President Fidel V. Ramos into law on June 14, 1993. The explicitly stated primary objective of the BSP is the maintenance of price stability in the country.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Kali-Kalihan Explodes With 1st Mayor Joemax Ortiz Arnis Cup Part I by: James U. Sy Jr.

Some of the officials, grandmasters, masters, demontrators, and fighters together with Mr. Danilo E. Diaz, executive Assistant to the Mayor, at the lunch break of the 1st Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB) Arnis Championships "1st Hon. Mayor Joemax Ortiz Cup" last February 7, 2014 at the DSB Public Plaza and later, at the DSB Multi-Purpose Gym in Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB), Negros Occidental, held as part of the town's 31st Founding Anniversary and 24th Kali-Kalihan Harvest Festival (James U. Sy Jr./CMAS photo). The Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB) Office of the Mayor under Hon. Mayor Joemax Ortiz and the DSB Department of Tourism under Tourism Officer Lloyd Carator successfully hosted the 1st Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB) Arnis Championships "1st Hon. Mayor Joemax Ortiz Cup" last February 7, 2014 at the DSB Public Plaza and later, at the DSB Multi-Purpose Gym in Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB), Negros Occidental as part of the town's 31st Founding Anniversary and 24th Kali-Kalihan Harvest Festival. Jun Siason, Founder/Grandmaster of the Siasopn Arnis Club, was designated as Chairperson of the event. GM Siason sought the assistance of Founder/Grandmaster Felix A. Guinabo of the Guinabo Arnis and Combat Sports (GACS) to make the tournament a reality. GACS, which is one of the most active member schools of the Negros Occidental Baston Federation (NOBF), Inc., invited its allied organizations to present the first display of multiple systems of indigenous Negrosanon Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) with established histories and linaages in the town's famed Kali-Kalihan Harvest Festival. The Kali-Kalihan Festival is a harvest festival with street dancing showing the cultural and martial heritage the town has adapted, the indigenous Filipino art of self protection, Arnis/Eskrima, more popularly known as Kali to foreigners. A total of 11 Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) organizations From Bacolod, Bago, La Carlota, and Talisay gave support to the exposition cum tournament.All groups except for two are members or are allied with the NOBF which is headed by its Founder?President Emeritus Atty. Col. Grandmaster Marcelo C. Jalandoon, Ph.D., and its Current President INP P/Sgt. (Ret.) Estanislao “Eslao” T. Guarra. DEMONSTRATIONS. Mandatus Arnis Sikaran Kali (MASK) of Founder/Grandmaster Romeo Postrano started the exposition with a display of anyo (form), solo baston, and doble baston which are composites of the styles of Grandmasters Teomtimo Buenaflor and Hortencio Navales. The Tanique Arnis and Combat Sports (TACS), now headed by Master Arman Tanique, provided two arnisadors to showcase their style of anyo, single stick, and double sticks which were taught by the late brother grandmasters Bernandino and Teotimo Tanique. Master Stephen Roy S. Dedel, Co-Founder of Pangamot International, with the assistance of Billy Aligonza and Phillip M. Rivera, demonstrated the efficiently brutal use of the knife in the Dedel Pangamot System. Show were sundang contra sumdamg and pangamot contra sundang. 1st Generation Inheritor Grandmaster Benefredo “Bebing” M. Lobrido, President of the Original Filipino Tapado Long Stick Fighting Association 9OFLSFA), Inc., with the help of Master Joeffrey S. Deriada, demonstrated the indigenous long stick fighting art Original Filipino Tapado founded by his late uncle Founder/Grandmaster Romeo "Nono" C. Mamar of Taloc, Bago City. Shown were the basic uno and dos strikes and the direct hitting linyadas. Master James U. Sy Jr., Founder of Conceptual Martial Arts Society (CMAS), Inc., gave tribute to his 30 teachers by showing elements from their arts that are integrated into his composite Conceptual Arnis System. Among those demonstrated were live blade anyo, largo defensa & ofensa, corto disarmada, and pangagaw baladao kag pusil. He was assisted by Master Deriada of CMAS and Master Joselito Guzon of GACS. The Tribu Hangaway Association, Inc. (THAI) of Master Roy R. Flores was represented by his son Arjay Flores and Instructor Jimmy Soqueña in an exhibition of the saiz teros and their defenses, doble baston, and pang-agaw as practiced in their Hangaway system of Arnis. Organizer Guinabo Arnis and Combat Sports (GACS) of Founder/Grandmaster Felix A. Guinabo so far gave the most number of exhibitions with so far the most number of eskrimadors, of all ages and of different genders. The demo team was composed of GM Guinabo, Master Joselito O. Guzon, Christian Decena, Vincent Española, Janber Guinabo, Rene Cyril Indonila, and Jerwin Palma among others. Showcased were the solo baston, doble baston, espada y daga piga-piga, disarmada, trangkada, and pangkuga of the Trece grabes Piga-Piga System of Arnis.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

1st Mayor Joemax Ortiz DSB Arnis Cup This Kali-Kalihan by: James U. Sy Jr.

The 1st Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB) Arnis Championships "1st Hon. Mayor Joemax Ortiz Cup" will be presented by the Guinabo Arnis and Combat Sports (GACS) of Founder/Grandmaster Felix A. Guinabo and the Siason Arnic Club of Founder/Grandmaster Jun Siason for the DSB Office of the Mayor under Hon. Mayor Joemax Ortiz and the DSB department of Toruism under Tourism Officer Lloyd Carator under the sanction of the Negros Occidental Baston Federation (NOBF), Inc. under its Founder Atty. Col. Grandmaster Marcelo C. Jalandoon, Ph.D., and its President INP P/Sgt. (Ret.) Estanislao “Eslao” T. Guarra this coming February 7, 2014, starting 9:00 AM at DSB Public Plaza, Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB), Negros Occidental. The DSB Office of the Mayor is sponsoring this Arnis/Eskrima tournament as part of town's 31st Founding Anniversary and 24th Kali-Kalihan Harvest Festival. Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB) was founded on February 9, 1983 from three barangays previously under the jurisdiction of San Carlos City. Its Kali-Kalihan Festival every February is a harvest festival with street dancing showing the cultural and martial heritage the town has adapted, the indigenous Filipino art of self protection, Arnis/Eskrima, more popularly known as Kali to foreigners. Mayor Ortiz would like to higlight this cultural heritage which earned Don Salvador Benedicto fame not only in the local scene but also abroad. DSB is also known for its cool climate, thus it is dubbed as the "Summer Capital of Negros Occidental," akin to Baguio in Luzon. The town is also known for its local produce. The set of rules to be used in this tournament is the Intercontinental Federation of Filipino Martial Arts Schools (IFFMAS), Inc. Arnis Competition Rules, which is based on one of the traditional systems of playing Arnis/Eskrima in the old days in Negros Occidental where one player is inside a circle and defends and the other is outside and attacking. World Kali Eskrima Arnis Federation (WEKAF) regulation protective gear will be used. Weapons will be padded sticks. At least 9 Filipino Martial arts (FMA) organizations are expected to participate in this highly anticipated encounter of empty hands and weapon demonstrations and a test of skills in the sparring competition in both the adult and children's divisions. The tournament will be open to the public.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Commentary by a Master

" Aside from giving a commentary via dialogue, chief GM Benefredo Mamar Lobrido, headmaster and President of OFTLSFAI used a commentary by means of an example. Such was his comment during our recent visit. He commented on certain demonstrations wherein the performer  was doing injustice to the art that he was representing. In particular in showing espada y daga form or techniques. He recently witnessed a demo on espada y dag which he noticed that it was very far away from the form by the ancients master and those who really practices the form. He commented that such an action of the performer was doing injustice to the art. Such should not be done. He even commented that it was a shame that such an injustice was done to the art. He admonished us who are members of many styles that we should never do a demo in a haphazard way. We should give justice by doing it the traditional way. That is why after admonishing us, Chief Bebing, as we call him, took two sticks and demonstrated to us the way we should do it.
         He said that he might have not shown the ancient way but his performance was near to the traditional way. Practice before doing the demonstration that is what he told us. and his last word was, :Makahuluya, indi amo"

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Culture Nurture: Lloyd Luna on Financial Freedom by: James U. Sy Jr.

Lloyd Luna conducted Untangled: A Talk on Financial Freedom recently with the sponsorship of the Rotaract Club of Bacolod North in partnership with Rotaract Club of Bacolod-Metro USLS Chapter recently at the MM Auditorium A, University of St. La Salle (USLS), La Salle Ave., Bacolod City. The talk was attended by many students and professionals alike. Luna was one of four millionaires at age 25 to be featured in Korina Sanchez' Rated K which airs over at ABS-CBN. While others have inherited or acquired their wealth through fame, Luna got his through hard work. As a motivational speaker, he has given talks the Philippines, Bangkok (Thailand), Seoul (Korea), Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam), Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei), Singapore, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia), and Dubai (UAE). Luna emphasized that one must have a good reason why one would want money. If that reason is just to buy an iPod, then the drive to stop earning just stops when the iPod is bought. For him, earning is for the purpose of living life comfortably. Earning money, whether through employment or by entrepreneurship, requires that one has to love what he is doing otherwise it would be such a burden that one burns out and stops completely. Luna pointed out that if a person only relies on one source of income, such as a salary, and his bills are piling up, then there is always a possibility that he will miss a payment or two. For Luna, multiple expenses requires multiple sources of income. He gave himself as an example. He has a lot of sources of income to keep the funds coming in. That includes being a motivational speaker, an author, a multi-level marketer, and much more. Luna was not a boring speaker, as he immediately caught the attention of the audience right from the start. He has the uncanny ability to integrate humor into an otherwise serious subject. At one point he offered a freebie. "Who wants this?" Many raised their hands but only one was brave enough to stand up and get it from Luna. Luna drove his point that if one wants something he must stand up and go get it and not just to sit around. The close to 3-hours lecture was without a dull moment. The attendees had their bonding moment with Luna after the talk. The talk was organized with the leadership of by Jireh Benedicto Castillo, Pre3sident of Rotaract Club of Bacolod-North, and Jame Ann Almaiz, Pre3sident of Rotaract Club of Bacolod-Metro USLS Chapter. Also in attrndance were Rotarian Joel Jaranilla, PDRR Ruvinier Viñarta - District 3850, and IPP Sammy Uy Jr., VP JB Niño Barredo, PP Jude Quingco, and PP Johan Villanueva. Interested parties may check out Luna's innovative thoughts on financial freedom at his website or Facebook account