Social Spark

Friday, August 31, 2012

The "Hit Man" Hoax

Just received this email from someone with an email address-  I copied it exactly word per word, so just forgive the grammar or any offensive words, if there are some...
Sent: Friday, 31 August 2012, 6:10
Subject: Do You Want To Dead or Alive?

Usually i don't do this but this is the only way I could contact you for now, I want you to be very careful about this and keep this secret with you until I make out space for us to see. You have no need of knowing who I am or where i am from. I know this may sound very surprising to you but it’s the situation. I have been paid some ransom in advance to terminate you with some reasons listed to me by my employer. It’s someone I believe you call a friend, I have followed you closely for a while now and have seen that you are innocent of the accusations leveled against you. Do not contact the police or try to send a copy of this to them, because if you do, I will know, and I might be pushed to do what I have been paid to do.Besides, this is the first time I turn out to be a betrayer in my job. I took pity on you and your family. That is why I have made up my mind to help you. Reply me as soon as you get this mail or i will be left with no choice than to terminate you.

If you are willing to help yourself and not make your family attend your untimely death reply me asap.

There is no time to waste..

Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad..

Though threats or extortions like this must not be taken lightly,  stiill we should choose to be skeptical and wise  in dealing with such matter.   Googling "hit man scam or hoax", we found a lot of messages with similar word patterns received by different people around the world.  A site even said that Federal agents are already investigating this unsolicited form of spam.  Further, they warned recipients not to reply to these messages as aside from asking for a sum of money, they may persuade you to share personal data to steal your identity.

In the first place, you shouldn't get scared or affected by such threats as long as your conscience is clear and you are not stepping on somebody else's foot.

What people would do, just to take advantages of others and earn easy cash.  I hope authorities would capture these perpetrators as to give justice to their victims, especially to those who suffered a lot... financially or emotionally.  May Yahweh open these people's eyes as to their wrongdoings. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Grandma's Healing Touch

Our Lola Nacing was "manghihilot", a Filipino term for someone who uses a type of massage to help heal illnesses, joint and muscle aches, sprains, or those caused by supernatural beings, if you believe in such.  I remember when me and my brothers were still young, whenever we got ill of fever or overdue cough, we were always brought to her for a "hilot" session. 

The session begins with a deep tissue massage using "lana" or coconut oil.  I remember how uneasy it was, but she will always remind us to endure the pain for it was needed to loosen and put back the nerves in your muscles in their  proper position.  She will also find a lot of muscle bonds in your body termed as "lisa or pilay".  And how painful it was when she concentrated kneading on that part, that sometimes I couldn't even help myself not to cry.

A tuba-tuba plant
She would then heat "tuba-tuba" leaves using a lighted candle or fire from the stove.  She would usually put it in our forehead, back, or to cover the injured portion of the body.  The purpose of it was to protect the main body parts from the cold air, preventing it from entering the covered portions of the body, as she believed it to have a negative effect to the body, thus making your illness longer or worst.

And to end up the ritual, she would rub and blow a peeled ginger in our head, back, chest, palms and soles of our feet.  She would then divide it to halves, one for protection which will be attached in our clothes using a safety pin, and the other to be thrown away with her chant, "sakit uban aniang luy-a" meaning- may the illness goes with the ginger's other half.

One more thing, we were not allowed to take a bath for 24 hours after the session.  She would always remind us, that taking a bath would definitely give us "panuhot" (flatulence), which believed to worsen sickness or injury.

I guess, above these ancient massage and herbs we considered as alternative treatments and medicines that may  help in the healing process, was feeling the loving touch from our grandma's hands.  That as if she's telling you, "you'll get well, apo (grandchild), I'm just here to take care of you".  And that gave us the feeling of warmth and security that it won't be long before we get well...

We missed our lola, but knowing she's now resting in peace and her soul in the hands of our Heavenly Father, we just can't help but smile remembering those pleasant memories when she was still with us.  Yahweh bless.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Day Two: Wrapping Up The Team Building Activities

In as much as a lot of us were still so sleepy from last day's activities, not to mention, sleeping late... we needed to jump out of bed for an early activity in the sea.   The facilitators were already checking each room of the participants just to make sure everyone's prepared.  So, off to the beach...

The facilitators explained that there will no longer be groups but all will be playing as a team against time.  The objective was to get all the balls out of the sea, one by one, at the shortest time possible. We had some stretching, then the timer started as the swimmers came rushing to the sea.  While others, put themselves in the position where the swimmers could easily pass the balls to them.  We did pretty well by the way... and successfully retrieved all balls at a time yet to beat.

After, we had our breakfast along the sea before we were given time to wash up and change for our final team activity, another game called "perfect square".  The objective was quite simple, all participants must make a perfect square.  We had 32 members, that would be easy if we're not blindfolded.  Well, we told the game master we had a perfect square even before we reached the allotted time... and guess what, we almost had a square.  But we did good said the facilitator, for the previous group made an oblong... hehe.

We then had our learning session in the resort's conference room for the activities we had.  Everything was about the communication process that we usually encounter at work.  Sometimes, we need to be swift in transmitting messages especially the important ones but we must also do it with due care to be efficient.  Otherwise, we will be doing the whole process from the start and lose quality time.  And for it to be effective, we need all our senses working.  The activities showed how hard it was being not able to speak, hear or see.

We were also given an overview about time management; it's benefits, obstacles, the things we can do to overcome such obstacles and how to be effective and efficient in doing our tasks.

This was followed by the awarding of certificates for the participants and prizes for the winners.  And who would have thought, we would win in the cheering event, but we did.  I guess we just had the least unprepared chants among the groups... or was it that we we're the ones who created the most noise... LOL.

We had a sumptuous lunch afterwards, then were free to go.  We're just thankful for the company for giving their employees time like this.  Giving their employees a time away from work while enjoying the company of their co-employees, at the same time, a learning activity.  I think, that is what team building is all about.  To Yahweh be the glory, as always.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

One Family, Working Together For Progress

This was the theme for our corporate team building held just this month at Camp Holiday Resort in Samal, having the aim of strengthening the relationship of employees coming from different departments and affiliates by bonding together as a team.  It was a two day affair scheduled just for fun, games, fellowship and learning ... all in the spirit of camaraderie.  Here's how we spent it:

Day One

We arrived at the site early afternoon for registration as proof of our attendance since the time we spent for the activity was considered as  official working hours.  We were designated to different teams using a random envelop with our color inside.  As in every activity, orientation then followed for the roles of the handling facilitators, house rules, and program of activities.

We had a short chanting competition per team, colored our faces like warriors, completed a number of "takyan" kicks to get our first clue... And before we knew it, we were already rushing for our very first game... the strenuous and challenging but so much fun, our version of "Amazing Race".  Using the resources around the place, we rode tricycles per group to race in getting the 3 special flags containing portions of the words of our team building theme.

Since it was a race, we had a lot  of running and rushing.  And along the way we did a lot of tasks... puzzle solving,  relay with picture posing, finding and collecting hidden objects, did some limbo, and returned dashing to where we started with the 3 flags on hand to finish the game... we did all these under the pouring rain.  We didn't win first place but at least everyone returned safe and sound.

As we thought we're done, we were immediately tasked to play another game, where all team members were blindfolded except the one that had to give instructions on how to find items in the field.  Laughters echoed as the game progressed and everyone forgot how tiring the games were.  Then we were given a free time to rest and relax for a while.

After then, we had our much awaited fulfilling dinner.  And guess what came after, another game... LOL.  A team challenge, a modified charade, where we had to act a word out to a teammate, then the same teammate acts it also to another. And it went on up to the last member, where he would relay to the game master what the word is.  We really enjoyed it as everyone looked so funny in acting out difficult words and how the words differ as they were relayed to the game master.

Then at last, all activities were done for the day.  Others spent time mingling with their co-employees, and doing leisure activities with them.  While others took this opportunity to rest in preparation for the activities for the following day.

Just thanking our Lord for a day well spent, and prayed for my family's safety as I was not with them.  Day Two on my next post.  Yahweh bless.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rest In Peace, Mistah

Almost exactly 3 months after the ill-fated flight of a mistah, Niel's body finally surfaced and was found by a fisherman in the seas of Bataan.  Giving closure to his family, especially to his wife and children.  Giving them the opportunity to give him a proper burial and send him to his final resting place, along with our heroes... And to give him the honor he rightfully deserved from the country he loyally served with his life...

The late Maj. Neil Tumaneng was just one of our classmates in PMA who's in the Philippine Air Force and died of plane or helicopter crash, either doing a proficiency flight or delivering goods and passengers.  Without a doubt, I believe that they were among the finest and bravest pilots in the world considering they were able to fly our available aircraft. 

What are the possible reasons why these aircraft fall down crashing from the sky?

Human error.  Although there is no question that all of our mistah who died were selected among the most able lad and lass of the country and are considered the "cream of the crop" just to enter PMA, hurdled the harsh training along with the equally challenging academics, finished the 4 year course requirement in the academy with flying colors, mostly topped their flying course and were well decorated in their field, still, humans as we are, are not perfect... maybe.

Weather condition.  Mostly, flights conducted during proficiency training and deliveries are scheduled on clear weathered days.  But the weather may change and sometimes are very unpredictable... slightly possible.

Hit on air. Might be unlikely being hit by a missile or anti-air ammunition from an enemy aircraft or ground force, or maybe a planted bomb on the plane during war, insurgency, sabotage or terrorist attack.   But then again, who knows, even in a peaceful and clear sky, a foreign object (birds or meteorites) may suddenly appear and accidentally hit the aircraft... very unlikely but still possible.

Mechanical failure or defect.  These aircraft were first manufactured way before our generations were born.  Some were even Vietnam war vintage.  The trainer planes were first delivered in the early 70's and then we received second hand units from allied countries in the late 70's.  Some of the planes received an engine and avionics upgrade in the mid-90's.  And 18 new-build SF.260F were just delivered last 2011.

There's really no problem with the model we're using.  For me, the older the model, the more trusted it becomes since it's tested by time.  But that's the total opposite for the unit (plane/ helicopter) itself, the older the unit is, the more susceptible it is to mechanical failure, engine trouble or part damage due to "wear and tear".  And facing reality, our nation cannot afford the state-of-the-art aircraft as that of the other countries.  So we rely on repair and maintenance and part replacement, if needed, to preserve our remaining aircraft...

But, just like any machine, it must use the prescribed fuel and lubricants, original or more durable replacement parts and serviced by mechanics from or trained by the manufacturers themselves.  Simply saying, authorized manufacturer mechanics.  Otherwise, we will be putting valuable lives and resources at risk.

We know that there are risks in anything we do, but the degree of risk varies and we can definitely lessen it by how many folds if those on top always think of the welfare of their men by giving them what is just for them, a good working environment, safe and facilities, equipment and machinery to work with and modernized, if necessary.  And these can only be possible if the taxes we pay goes exactly to what they're intended for.  There's nothing wrong in dreaming...

We hope and fervently pray that we will soon have better aircraft in our armed forces for the safety of our pilots and more, for the feeling of security of their family that they will return home safe and sound...

In memory of our brave pilot classmates who died while performing their duties to serve our country:

To a family friend, Patricio Claur Jr., also aboard the C-130 aircraft last August 25, 2008.  And those people who died along with them.

Your sacrifices will always be remembered, bok.  Your family, the mistah, the corps, and the nation will forever be proud of you.

And may we all be guided and blessed by our Lord of Courage to fight for what is right, Integrity to values and principles we learned, and Loyalty to God, country and people.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Going Out For Kadayawan

We had no plans of going out to witness the floral parade since my wife is currently on bed rest and we wanted to be with her.  But when the kids saw how fun the parade was, they requested if we can see the floats.  So my wife told me to go with the kids and enjoy the festivities.  I also asked my mom to go along with us to help me with the kids.

I remembered the TV commentator said that the floats will be at Roxas Street up to 3 pm but when we got there by 1:30 pm, more or less, only a few floats were left in the area.  We were even lucky to get there on time, since some even were already preparing to leave when we got there.

Also, people were already getting flowers and fruit decorations from the floats.  That might be the reason why the other floats left early.  I just don't get it, why people can't wait before everything is over.  They left some of the floats already messed up.  We can wait for the owner to give permission before getting  things from their float, right? oh well,  maybe I was kind of pissed off and frustrated because I  wanted people to retain  the beauty of the floats for there were still a lot of people, both locals and foreigners, wanting to enjoy and take souvenir pictures with them.

Anyway, we still managed to take some nice shots with the remaining floats before we had some snacks with the kids in one of the malls nearby.  Here are some of it:


Then, we bought some stuff and "pasalubong" (bring home) for mommy.  And when we got home, the kids were so happy to tell their mom about their Kadayawan experience and eagerly showed her the pics we took.  Happy Kadayawan day, Davao.  Yahweh bless.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Temple Run's PermaWings

New Temple Run game updates were recently installed to our phones.  My kids really were excited to try the new stuffs in the game.  Especially the new utility added, a special resurrection wings called "PermaWings". 

PermaWings are characterized by an orange colored wings, to differentiate it from the white resurrection wings.  Although its purpose is still the same, that is to give your character another life after being doomed to death, PermaWings can only be used once in the whole duration of a game.  It must be used at the very start of the game or you can no longer use it.  It will appear at the upper center of the screen, then blink 8 times, which after it'll disappear when not clicked or used.  But don't worry, it will appear in every start of the game until it's used.  Also, unlike the white wings which only last for 30 seconds, it is active until your character dies in the game.

The update also include additional objectives to achieve.  Giving the gamer more challenges to conquer and reason to keep on playing the game.

Until the next update, guys.  Yahweh bless.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Cool Breeze Of Baguio

Reminiscing the times when I was still studying in Baguio City, I can't help but remember how cold it was there.  It was really a struggle to take a bath with an ice cold water especially during breaking dawn, the only time we're allowed to take a bath, being still in first year at a military school.  But the good thing was, the weather was very conducive for sleeping.  It's just like having a centralized air conditioning turned on the whole day 24/7.

Coming from a not so cold part of the country, it was such an experience for me to wear woolen clothes and thick jackets, to see the warmth of your breath like smoke as it meets the cold air, and to sit in front of a fireplace as you look at the thick fog covering the city from a glass window.  These were things I just usually see in the movies before.

So, when I bumped to this website, I remembered what was it like back then when I used to spend some of my vacation leaves at my foster parents' home.  They had this elegant looking fireplace in their living room, where we spent time sharing some thoughts over a cup of hot beverage.  Then, ever since, it had become something I kept on looking forward to.

It was such an experience worth remembering.  Since as a child, I kept dreaming of how cool it was to have a fireplace where in it's chimney Santa could easily get in to give me a lot of gifts.  But then my parents helped me realize that it was impractical and unfit for our place.  So you can just imagine how happy I was to experience it firsthand in Baguio.  

And now being back to our city, whenever I see a fireplace, I can't help myself missing it.  There's no question if I want to visit my foster parents again, but as to when and how, only Yahweh knows.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Goodbye Birdie

I bought a Martinez (Crested Myna) bird for a pet just a couple of days ago and now it's gone.  I bought a cage for it which had sliding door and windows and it just took one mistake, by forgetting to clip the wire we made to secure one of the openings, for it to easily raise the unsecured window and fly away.  So it flew, flew away with whatever it cost me.

I was really dismayed when I was about to feed it and saw that the cage was empty this morning, for it's only been there for 3 days.  Now, I'm again left with an empty cage and as soon as my little boy finds out that the bird is gone, with a cellophane bag on his hand, he'll again ask me to catch birds with him... ha ha ha, now I find a need to buy a replacement just to fill up that empty cage and avoid being nagged about it, tsk 10x.  I just left the cage open for the meantime, maybe the bird will get hungry and be back for food... another wishful thinking... haha.

When I went to work, I  jokingly asked the one who sold the bird to me for refund, for giving me a bird trained to escape and go back to his previous owner.  We just laughed.  The down part was asking him again if I can buy another one.  I just hope he'll give me a discount for being an avid customer.

What lesson did I learn?  Never forget to secure the lock or be sure to buy a damn bird that would not try to escape if there is such... LOL.  Oh well, with what had happened, now I have something to write about and share, at least I have this as a consolation...

That was what I thought until I got home to clean the cage.  Sadly, I found the bird lifeless in the floor.  It was very active last night when I fed it, so I was really surprised.  I didn't notice it since the floor was a blind spot from where I'm looking at.  Maybe the bird got stressed from its travel and had not recovered.  Honestly, I would rather like to think that it escaped at least it's already free wherever it is... than finding out  that it's dead leaving me clueless of the cause. Yahweh bless.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Kindle Fire Giveaway

Are you longing for a Kindle Fire tablet but just don’t have the budget yet?  You are in for a treat... Bitrix24 is holding a contest and they’re giving away Kindle Fire tablet by just following these 3 simple procedures:

1. Register at

2. Send the following information to

    - your Bitrix24 ID

    - the feature you liked (used) the most

    - what you found difficult/disliked the most (could be the existing problem or something lacking). If you liked everything, don't feel forced to come up with the problem.

3. Use 'Bitrix24 Kindle Fire Giveway' as your subject line.

Moreover, if you are one of those people who’ve used their Bitrix24 account in the most unorthodox way, you’ll get a chance to win a special second prize - Kindle Touch giveaway.

Also, are you a startup and like to use one of Bitrix24's paid plans for free? You might just get it by sending an e-mail to the same address with 'Bitrix24 Startup Initiative' as the subject line.  Then, include information about your startup and how you plan to use Bitrix24 for your business.

The contest ends on September 1, 2012.  Thanks.  Yahweh bless.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Bless His Artistic Hands

My son has always been an avid viewer of fictional, computer games and cartoon characters like Barney, Ben 10 Alien Force, dragons, Plants vs Zombies and Angry Birds.  He would constantly request me to draw him some of it whenever I'm home after work.  But there are just busy times that I couldn't do it for him.  So during those days, he would settle with watching videos or playing computer games instead.

Until, they had watercolor in school.  He would show us his paintings (out of his imagination) and he's good at it.  Now, he's no longer asking me to draw, he just asks us to cut his drawings.  His work is really promising.  He has good brush strokes and the images he made were clear and recognizable.  He definitely has a talent with it, with just a little support and harnessing, I'm sure he will make wonderful drawings or paintings someday.

While doing his masterpieces...

A known painter, architect, or maybe a cartoonist in Pixar or Walt Disney?  Too soon to tell... but for now, we are just enjoying these simple things that make us proud as his parents.  May Yahweh continue to bless and guide him with his talents.