10 Ways Bohol Feeds Your Body and Soul (ClicktheCity.com Travel)

A year-ender trip to Bohol with my “writing sisters”, thanks to Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay Miles, re-introduced me to the island’s many charms, as well as to the benefits of being almost obsessive-compulsive about tracking one’s miles. There, I found the perfect place to let my hair down, catch up with friends old and new, and ground myself for the year ahead. As we begin another year of travel planning, I’d like to share my list of personal favorites from this island getaway—but don’t take my word for it. Head out there to explore Bohol the way you want to, and make sure to bring along your favorite people for a truly soulful ride.

Bluewater Panglao's pool makes you want to lounge the whole day
Bluewater Panglao’s pool makes you want to lounge the whole day

1. Bluewater Panglao: The perfect backdrop for detoxing from city stress.For three girls who had been working and beating writing deadlines all year ‘round (including weekends!), the accommodations and the ambience at Bluewater Panglao provided a fitting backdrop for stress-free mornings and all-night girl talk over wine and juicy morsels of gossip and life stories. A 30-to-45-minute ride from bustling Tagbilaran City, the resort is practically hidden from prying eyes and makes the perfect tropical retreat for couples, families, and intimate groups in search of some quiet time. The resort’s pool welcomes guests with its strategically situated lounge chairs, but what I enjoyed the most was waking up early in the morning to take a “Zen meditation” walk around Bluewater Panglao’s manicured garden. If I were to go back, I’d definitely try Amuma Spa’s Signature Hilot (Massage).

 

The author (center) with her writing sisters Nikka Sarthou and Ana Santos from Writer's Block Philippines
The author (center) with her writing sisters Nikka Sarthou and Ana Santos from Writer’s Block Philippines
Taking a Zen meditation walk at Bluewater Panglao's lush sprawling garden
Taking a Zen meditation walk at Bluewater Panglao’s lush sprawling garden

Bluewater Panglao Beach Resort
Address: Barangay Danao, Panglao Island, Bohol, Philippines
Website: www.bluewater.com.ph/panglao
Phone: (+63 38) 416 06 95 to 96

2. Aplaya Restaurant: Gustatory indulgence, Bluewater-style. From its honest-to-goodness smorgasbord of breakfast treats to its vegetarian-friendly dishes for the health-conscious, Aplaya Restaurant at Bluewater Panglao gives everyone a good reason to indulge and feed the tummy well. My healthy favorites were the Mixed green salad in guava vinaigrette and fresh fruitsand the Native fresh lumpia, while the meat-eater in me enjoyed the Minute steak in herb red wine sauce and the Pork roulade in cranberry sauce. For breakfast, I indulged in Cinnamon-sprinkled French toast; rich, darkSikwate (Filipino hot chocolate); deep-fried danggit and dilis; and all the other sinangag (fried rice)-based goodies that Pinoys love to pile on their plate. For those with sweet teeth, you have to try (and bring home) some of the Double-chocolate peppermint or the White Chocolate with pecan cookies. Since we were going on tour for the rest of the day, we didn’t mind piling on the carbs. The dishes and goodies were worth the calories!

Aplaya's Mixed green salad in guava vinaigrette and fresh fruits
Aplaya’s Mixed green salad in guava vinaigrette and fresh fruits
Desserts at Aplaya make you want to indulge and forget your diet
Desserts at Aplaya make you want to indulge and forget your diet

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This is an excerpt only. To read the full article, visit ClicktheCity.com’s website HERE.

Suite Vollard: Finally, Picasso Up Close and Personal in Manila (ClicktheCity.com)

One would expect that a monumental exhibit such as that of Pablo Picasso‘s Philippine debut would be accompanied by years of preparation and much pomp and fanfare. After all, Picasso is one of the world’s most important visual artists of the 20th century, and the Philippines is a country starved of exhibitions of such proportions. It is ironic, then, that the staging of the exhibit Suite Vollard—one of Picasso’s most important collections, preceding his world-famous Civil War piece, Guernica—took all of six weeks and happened purely by accident.

A serendipitous start According to Chaco Molina, Executive Director of the Fundación Santiago, which co-organized the exhibit with insurance giant MAPFRE and the Metropolitan Museum of the Philippines, the exhibit that was supposed to be launched at the Met in November was a series of photographs by Spanish and Filipino photographers depicting Filipina women from the 19th century to the present. Entitled Mujeres Filipinas, the exhibit was composed of pieces to be collected from different photographers and subjects. However, several weeks before the exhibit was set to open in Manila, Fundación MAPFRE called Chaco to inform him that it was impossible to meet the deadline.

Mr. Jose Ricardo Molina, Director-Fundacion Santiago and Shirley Banquicho –Executive Director,European Affairs-DFA
Mr. Jose Ricardo Molina, Director-Fundacion Santiago and Shirley Banquicho –Executive Director,European Affairs-DFA

“They realized that they couldn’t bring it (to the Philippines) on time because it wasn’t their collection,” Chaco recounts, “Then they asked us, ‘Would you settle for our own collection of a hundred prints of Picasso’?”

This is an excerpt only. To read the full article, visit the ClicktheCity.com website HERE.

A Witness to Vietnam’s Charmed Life (asianTraveler)

Article By: Jim Sullivan and Niña Terol-Zialcita
Images By: 
Courtesy of Life Heritage Resort Hoi An

Image courtesy of Jim Sullivan / Life Heritage Resort Hoi An
Image courtesy of Jim Sullivan / Life Heritage Resort Hoi An

Inside the resort gate, just minutes from the whirl of downtown, the pace instantly goes languid amid tropical garden paths and riverside vistas. Each individual accommodation in the 94-room compound is a sanctuary unto itself, spacious and split-level with sleeping quarters above, lounge area below, and private veranda just outside the door. The bathrooms provide still another level of retreat with sunken terrazzo tubs and discreetly positioned windows for maximum natural lighting.

Lost charm, found

The rest of the resort exudes Old World elegance that is far from contrived and, quite frankly, difficult to manufacture. Although the resort had undergone a massive renovation in 2008, the rework of the interiors, undertaken by top hospitality designer Pisani Designs, only sought to recast the property in a more authentic light and allow for more space in the rooms, more light in the baths, bespoke furnishings, and an upgrade that transports the Life Resorts visitor to a more genteel era.

Life Resorts Hoi An’s Heritage Bar celebrates the history of the most exquisitely preserved 19th century trading port in Southeast Asia and provides an outdoor perch on one of the town’s most quaint streets. A series of archival prints explores the town’s past, and cigar aficionados hold court in segregated spaces, seasoned by the finest imports and Life’s commitment to a wine list that does justice to the finest New York hotels.

“Life is what you make of it, and we’re making the most of it on the Thu Bon River,” declared Chris Duffy, general director of the Life Resorts.

Image courtesy of Jim Sullivan / Life Heritage Resort Hoi An
Image courtesy of Jim Sullivan / Life Heritage Resort Hoi An

This is an excerpt only. To read the full article, visit the asianTraveler website HERE.

Lost (and Found) in Prague (ProPinoy.net)

And on to your left we have the coffin of King Ferdinand V of Bohemia…”

Our tour guide’s voice drowned in my head as I fumbled with the controls of my borrowed camera. The room that kept King Ferdinand’s coffin was dark, and I wanted to get a good-enough photograph using the camera that I had started using only the day before that. A click here, a snap there—I turned around to ask my classmate, Eva, a question about using the camera in low light…

… And then they were gone.

All of them.

I was in the middle of St. Vitus Cathedal, in Prague’s historic Hradčany Square, with what looked like hundreds—even thousands—of Sunday tourists, and I couldn’t find our tour guide or any of my classmates.  It was my second day in a country whose language I did not speak and whose signs I could not decipher, and I was lost.

Prague Castle, Hradcany Square, Prague, Czech Republic (Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita)
Prague Castle, Hradcany Square, Prague, Czech Republic (Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita)

This is an excerpt only. To read the full article, visit the ProPinoy.net website HERE.

Cultural Convergence and the ‘Age of Can-Do’ (Manila Bulletin)

Indeed, “culture” is difficult to define and even describe. Here in the Philippines, it could mean many things — from the colorful fiestas and festivals that reveal our rich history, to the many, cross-continental influences that have found their way into our daily lives, to our food and music, to the kind of pop culture that keeps our youth and masses hooked, to the everyday expressions and celebrations of beauty.

Percussionist and performance artist Paul Zialcita rendering the Lupang Hinirang on the Kalidrum, a drum fashioned out of a recycled trash can and played using Filipino Martial Arts techniques | Photo by Allan Penaredondo
Percussionist and performance artist Paul Zialcita rendering the Lupang Hinirang on the Kalidrum, a drum fashioned out of a recycled trash can and played using Filipino Martial Arts techniques | Photo by Allan Penaredondo

Marian Pastor-Roces, a noted curator, editor, and cultural worker, describes one definition of culture as such: “[It does not] refer to a pure, authentic, idealized, past state, nor an essence to be preserved. The word encompasses change and volatility: how a people create and absorb or reject transformation.”

Or, simply put: “Culture is a moving thing. Culture is wiring.”

A conference designed by Pastor-Roces dared to challenge traditional notions of culture and give its audience fresh but rooted perspectives on the subject. Dubbed, “Reimagine: Pilipinas Bukas,” it asked its participants to look at the future through the lens of the living, dynamic thing that culture is, and to reimagine the Philippines 25 years hence.

It also brought together these virtuosos from various genres to embody this “reimagination” and make us take a closer look at the influences that have brought us here, and the ones we need to carry us forward.

Aga Mayo-Butocan, esteemed Maguindanaoan Kulintang master, enchants the audience with her own version of "jazz improv" on this traditional instrument | Photo by Allan Penaredondo
Aga Mayo-Butocan, esteemed Maguindanaoan Kulintang master, enchants the audience with her own version of “jazz improv” on this traditional instrument | Photo by Allan Penaredondo

In celebration of Arts and Culture month, we asked these artists: How do they reimagine the state of Philippine arts and culture 25 years from now? What future will we present a new generation of creative souls seeking expression and sustainability?

This is an excerpt only. To read the full article, visit the Manila Bulletin website HERE.

French Retreat (Manila Bulletin)

Sunset at Vieux Port (“Old Harbor”), one of La Rochelle’s main tourist destinations, falls at about 9 PM in the European summer. (Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita)
Sunset at Vieux Port (“Old Harbor”), one of La Rochelle’s main tourist destinations, falls at about 9 PM in the European summer. (Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita)

It was seven o’clock in the evening, and the sun was still shining as brightly as if it were three o’ clock back home. I was in a second-class coach on a train from Paris, but, luckily, I had the aisle all to myself and could stretch and take photos and contort as I pleased. In front of me, beyond the glass that reflected the blurred faces of a cute French guy reading a book and an old man with a white beard, were wide open spaces as far as my eyes could see. We had passed what seemed like endless fields of golden wheat, followed by sunflower fields, grass… and more grass under an infinite expanse of blue. It was so blue, in fact, that my eyes hurt just looking at it. There were long stretches where not a cloud could be seen in the sky.

Yet it was seven in the evening, and my day was just about to begin.

I left Paris at around five in the afternoon on a TGV train bound for La Rochelle, to visit one of my dearest girlfriends, Michelle Tandoc-Pichereau, and her husband, who prefers to be called just B. Before Paris, I had come from a grueling one-week journalism scholarship program in Prague, and then made an equally tiring 24-hour pit stop in the City of Lights to pay a courtesy call to the royalty of French landmarks. But my real destination, the real jewel of this European adventure, was La Rochelle, where I felt that I could finally hop, skip, jump, stretch, sleep, and just…breathe.

This is an excerpt only. To read the full article, visit the Manila Bulletin website HERE.

Paris in a Hurry (asianTraveler)

Words by Niña Terol-Zialcita

Images by Niña Terol-Zialcita

Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita
Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita

I have to admit: it was a rather foolish decision to make Paris only a short pit stop between my trip to Prague, Czech Republic, where I had spent a week on a scholarship program, and the French seaside town of La Rochelle, where I was set to make a long-awaited visit to friends. Divided into 20 arrondisements (administrative districts), Paris is certainly a city that takes days—even weeks—to fully explore and enjoy. Even with enough time and cash on your hands, you will never run out of new experiences to savor in the City of Lights.

Still, my itinerary specified that I had less than a full day to enjoy Paris, so with my (broken) luggage in tow and with my spirit resolute to make the most of my Parisian experience, I set off to explore the city like a soldier on a mission.

Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita
Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita

The must-sees: The Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe, the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, the Paris Opera House, and the Musée Louvre

I planned my trip around courtesy calls to the royalty of Parisian monuments. From my hotel in rue Cambronne (on the light-green Nation-Charles de Gaulle Étoile metro line) I took a long, leisurely walk to the École Militaire, the military school whose walls still bear deep, visible scars from the Second World War. The école sits right across Champ de Mars, a large, expansive park from where you can get an unobstructed view of the Eiffel Tower. Although named after the Roman god of war, the park is tourist- and family- friendly and also boasts a large Wall of Peace.

After ogling at the Eiffel Tower and snapping away with my camera for about an hour or so, I found my way to the Invalides metro station to take the train to Avenue des Champs-Élysées (where I was lucky enough to catch the tail- end of the Tour de France). The strip is also the city’s shopping district, home to many of the world’s most famous brands such as Louis Vuitton, Maison Guerlain, Zara, Adidas, Benetton, Sephora, and even the Disney Store, among many others. during the summer months, almost all on sale-up to 70% off, during the summer months. Right at its end sits the tall and proud Arc de Triomphe, which Napoleon had commissioned in 1806 to celebrate the victories of his army. Completed in 1836, it had once been called by the French literary great Victor Hugo as “a heap of glory.”

Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita | Special thanks to Pierre et Mimi Duhamel
Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita | Special thanks to Pierre et Mimi Duhamel
Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita
Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita
Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita
Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita

This is an excerpt only. To read the full article, visit the asianTraveler website HERE.

Why We Need The Joker… and 4 Other Political Lessons I Learned from The Dark Knight (Inquirer Blogs)

(Originally published in the blog Out of the Universeand in Inquirer Blogs)

 

The Dark Knight: The Joker
Photo from Filmsketchr.blogspot.com

In his piece on Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight for Time, Richard Corliss writes, “Nolan has a… subversive agenda. He wants viewers to stick their hands down the rat hole of evil and see if they get bitten. With little humor to break the tension, The Dark Knight is beyond dark. It’s as black—and teeming and toxic—as the mind of The Joker.”

Having watched the film twice—first on Imax and next on a regular theater—I can’t help but agree that The Joker is a better reference for the film than its real protagonist, Batman. Spawned right from the center of Limbo, with all the qualities we find loathsome, pitiful, and yet terrifying, The Joker is a reminder of everything we DON’T want human beings to become. Quoting Corliss again, the late Heath Ledger’s Joker “observes no rules, pursues no grand scheme; he’s the terrorist as improv artist.”

But I’d take it a few notches further and say that The Joker is the film’s “inverted social conscience,” the dreaded, deadly disease that makes society work together to find a cure. It is he who asks the hard questions, he who challenges the taken-for-granted assumptions, he that pushes humanity to see how low they would really sink—or how far they could really rise. He is the ultimate “necessary evil” that forces us to see just what we’re really made of. A composite of everything that is wrong, perverse, and twisted in our society, it is he who nonetheless shows us our true potentials for greatness.

It just goes to show that, in the movies—as well as in politics and the rest of real life—there’s a lot we can learn from the bad guys. We cannot simply turn our eyes away from them, or pretend they’re not there, or make believe that they will simply go away. They will not—for they are here to stay. But instead of ignoring them because they’re such “bad examples,” we should study them, dissect them—even if we don’t understand them—and see how we can stop the rest of the world from joining their ranks.

Crooks (trapos included) DO have a purpose. They’re there to show us what can happen if we let ourselves slide too deeply.

Which brings us to Lesson # 2: Harvey Dent.

The Dark Knight: Harvey DentGotham’s fearless, charismatic new district attorney is the ultimate tragedy of human potential. He starts out as everyone’s hero, Gotham’s “White Knight” who has come to save the day—except that when he collides with the dark forces we find that his foundation was too weak to stand against the very forces that ultimately subsumed him. This is what happens when we depend on one person to be our Messiah. People are people—even in this age of celebrities, icons, and “modern-day heroes”—and they will slip, or slide, or sink (sometimes very, very low). When we pin all our hopes on just one person (or one entity, or one ideal), the results can be tragic. The solution is to empower everyone to be the source of the solution. (Which, ironically, is what The Joker attempted to do in the hospital and ferry scenes—regardless of his twisted definition of the “solution”.)

Lesson #3: When push comes to shove, trust people to do the right thing.

Speaking of the ferry scene, another point the movie made very well was that everyone, even the lowest scoundrels of society, has some emergency button of goodness within them that they can access and activate even at the most desperate times of their lives. Just give them a compelling reason and just enough time (but not too much) to think through their decision, and people will almost always gravitate toward the good. I’m no expert in human behavior and so I cannot vouch for this as truth, but I believe that when we put our faith in people—and they know how important their choices will be for everyone else on board—they will do their best to make the right decision. It won’t be easy, but it’s possible, even outside of Hollywood.

Lesson #4: Sometimes, the “right thing” (or person) is difficult to understand, or even recognize.

How will you know that you’ve done the right thing? How will you know that you’ve chosen the right person? You won’t—not at the onset, or not always. Because, sometimes, the person whom you thought was the answer will leave you disappointed and asking more painful questions. If Harvey Dent had lived and had been allowed to unleash the fullness of his newfound glory upon Gotham, what would have happened? We don’t know for sure, but we do know that we cannot allow something like that to happen HERE. We cannot allow ourselves to be bought by the winning smile, the boy-next-door look, or the Messianic pronouncements. Even when looking at one’s track record (as in Harvey Dent’s case), we have to go over every detail very, very carefully.

Conversely, we also cannot simply discount the “dark horse” as a nuisance entity or a subversive force that must be stopped. It’s possible for the totally misunderstood rebel to be exactly what we need. Sometimes, collective understanding arrives so slowly that we are not able to recognize a hero when we see one. So we cannot trust our gut or our intellect alone. When looking at people we need to understand the context of their actions, and also the context of the decisions we need to make. In Gotham, as in real life, nothing is truly black or white.

Lesson #5: Sometimes, we need to live with lies in order to find our truth.

The Dark Knight: BatmanNobody understood this better than Batman himself. He has had to perpetuate a lie in order to allow justice to prevail, even allowing Two-Face to be seen as the Knight in Shining Armor that everyone needed him to be. Sometimes, we need to live with a lie in order for truth, justice, and goodness to prevail—so that the delicate threads that weave our social fabric do not disintegrate and explode into chaos.

The challenge, then, is discerning which lies we need and which ones we should never entertain.

Filipinos dared to ask: Why not?

(Originally published in Inquirer Blogs)

 

It was an ordinary Thursday night, and yet Warehouse 135, the hip warehouse-turned-club on Yakal Street in Makati, was filled to capacity. Only it wasn’t filled with clubgoers and party scenesters—it was filled with young professionals, creative minds, thinkers, and dreamers who all dared to ask a question that would set the tone for the entire evening’s talks: Why not?

The WhyNot? Forum, according to founders Mark Ruiz and Bam Aquino, is a “smorgasbord of great, brave ideas—an open-source innovation soup that will hopefully inspire other Filipinos all over to connect adjunct thoughts, take impactful action, and weave together new breakthrough ideas.” Inspired by the TEDTalks of the United States (www.ted.com), it is based on the simple idea of gathering some of the best minds in the country to share their respective ideas for 15 minutes each. By asking The Question and challenging outmoded assumptions, it is hoped that WhyNot? Forum will spark a thought revolution that will encourage people to “think new thoughts, share big dreams, do brave things.”

Seven Great Minds, One Big Question

The first WhyNot? Forum, held on September 27, gathered a group of leaders, achievers, doers, and dreamers from diverse fields. There was Dondi Gomez, the “Marketing Maverick,” who is the youngest-ever Managing Director of Unilever Philippines at age 35; Gang Badoy, the irrepressible and bubbly lady behind RockEd Philippines, tagged the “Alternative Educator”; Professor Jay Bernardo of the Asian Institute of Management, the “Rainmaker” and “Entrepreneurship Guru” who owns the distinction of being the first-ever Filipino to have been named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (TOYP) by the Junior Chamber International; “Technologist” Dr. Greg Tangonan, who teaches Innovation and Technology at the Ateneo de Manila University and has garnered 49 patents and numerous awards for his inventive work; Brian Tenorio, the creative genius behind the designer shoe label Tenorio Manila; Quark Henares, the “Filmmaker-on-the-Edge” who directed his first feature film at age 21; and Fr. Ted Gonzales, SJ of the Center for Family Ministries (CEFAM), labeled the “Dreamer Priest.”

Even the creative forces running the event are achievers themselves: Ruiz and Aquino are part of the visionary group behind Hapinoy, an aggregated value network built around sari-sari stores, microfinancing institutions, and key partners in industry and civil society; event documenter Ditsi Carolino is an internationally acclaimed filmmaker ( Minsan Lang Sila Bata, Bunso, Riles); and guest performer Radioactivesago Project is a groundbreaking musical act that fuses jazz, funk, and spoken-word poetry in discussing a variety of social issues. Supporting the project from behind the scenes are industry giant Smart Communications, Web and multimedia company Softrigger Interactive, and Young Public Servants (YPS), a group of young, dynamic individuals focused on promoting “Good Governance and Democratic Citizenship among the youth.”

In opening the forum, Ruiz asked the audience, “What does the world think of when they think of the Philippines? … Maybe the WhyNot? Forum can be our megaphone to the rest of the world [to showcase the ingenuity and the innovative spirit driving us Filipinos]… Why not?”

Of challenges, opportunities, irritants, rock, beauty, passion, and baboy

Gomez, in defining “maverick marketing” in the experience of Unilever Philippines’ groundbreaking campaigns for Rexona, challenged the audience to adopt a non-conformist stance when it came to developing and presenting their ideas. “Great marketing gives people a taste of what could be… It provides imagination and courage to hope and to dream.” He cites the worldwide success of the out-of-the-box campaigns First Day Funk and its follow-up, First Day High, which set record sales figures, won for Unilever Philippines numerous global awards, and established Rexona as the market leader in deodorants.

Dr. Greg Tangonan, for his part, discussed the worldwide movement marking the early 2000s the “Decade of the Mind Initiative.” He shared experiments in mind control, mind mapping, “out of body experiences” in the virtual world, and other brain experiments. He ultimately asked: “[If brain activity could be measured,] could the Filipino concepts of hiya (shame) or pakikiramay (empathy) also be measured? Can this be our contribution to the ‘Decade of the Mind Initiative?’ Why not?”

When it was Gang Badoy’s turn to speak, a technical glitch disabled her from using her Powerpoint presentation, but she masterfully held her own and gave the crowd an entertaining and engaging talk about the experiences that led her to found, and therefore commit herself to, RockEd, an alternative education movement that seeks to get young people involved in social issues through music. “We don’t have to unite to progress,” she challenges. “Even if we don’t get along, as long as we get the job done, it’s okay.”

True to her signature style, Badoy brought along a group of musicians to drive home her point and entertain her audience. Radioactivesago Project rendered the thought-provoking intermission number, singing their hit songs “Gin Pomelo” and “Gusto Ko ng Baboy (I Like Pig),” among others.

The next speaker, Fr. Ted Gonzales of CEFAM, seemed to have been struck by Sago’s quirky lyrics, often quoting them in his talk about integrity, passion, and “[embracing] the inner movements of your heart.”

Hindi tayo mga baboy (We are not pigs),” he asserted. Fr. Gonzales was the obvious crowd-drawer in the room, as many of the audience members were “graduates” of his hit retreats Life Directions, Agimat, and On Fire.

During designer Brian Tenorio’s 15 minutes, the audience was transformed into an intimate group that listened closely to his ideas on love, luxe, lust, and beauty. Ironically, this shoe meister, who has gained fame for his beautiful and bewitching creations, maintained that it’s not what you wear or the details that you place on yourself that matter as much as what’s going on around you. “Beauty is not oppressive,” he states. “Beauty unifies… It should allow growth. Beauty should allow love.”

Unfortunately, the natural beauty around us is constantly being threatened by natural and man-made disasters. Mr. Ramon Isberto, Head of Public Affairs at Smart Communications, disclosed a groundbreaking project meant to help local communities around the country prepare for storms. “The Philippines has the highest number of Category 5 typhoons in the world,” he reveals. “Why not be prepared for it?”

Likewise, entrepreneurship guru and AIM professor Jay Bernardo encouraged budding entrepreneurs to develop business ideas by seeking solutions to “irritants” around them. Citing the Chinese word and symbols for the word “crisis,” he urged his listeners to “look at the opportunity before looking at the dangers… because once you see the opportunities, you will no longer see the dangers.”

Quark Henares might not have been a student of Prof. Bernardo, but he exemplified the attitude of risk-taking in his talk about the experiences that brought him to the forefront of the filmmaking world. From the psychologically disturbing movie that he saw at age 11 (David Lynch’s Eraserhead), to his “Eureka moment” after watching the cult classic Pulp Fiction, to making the movie that bombed at the box office but was praised by his idol, Quentin Tarantino ( Keka), Henares’ candid insights proved to the audience that some rewards can simply never be equated to fame or fortune.

Why not more?

Although this event is only the first of what promises to be a long-running series of thought-provoking discussions, it seems to be coming in at the right time. Regardless of their inclinations, educational backgrounds, or lifestyles, Filipinos simply have become tired of turning to the government (or to the streets) for answers to society’s nagging questions; they are now looking to themselves to develop long-term solutions to problems that have unfolded over several generations.

Indeed, the world is teeming with opportunities. Prof. Bernardo cites the “kanto boys” whom people look down upon during ordinary days, but who become reliable comrades and trusted allies in times of calamity, pushing cars and shuttling pedestrians over flooded waters for a small fee that anyone would be willing to pay. Anyone can achieve great things; anyone can make a difference. It only takes one simple question, and the guts to embrace the answers.

 

The next WhyNot? Forum will be held in November 2007. For more details, email[email protected], call (0928) 5055713, or  SMS ‘whynot’ to 2948. All videos from the WhyNot? Forum will be posted on www.whynotforum.com and may be viewed free of charge.