Time for Cervantes and Sherlock Holmes

I LOVE  reading and I love books. I’ve collected thousands of books since I discovered the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and even Bobbsey Twins in the library of my high school in our little town in Mindanao. Robert Ludlum’s “Bourne Identity” and George Eliot’s “Silas Marner” later followed.

In college, I almost failed my philosophy subjects because of Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck and Yukio Mishima. Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Milan Kundera later captured my imagination.

Pablo Neruda, Charles Bukowski, Kurt Vonnegut and Hunter Thompson became my bedside companions. Tom Clancy, Graham Greene, Sidney Sheldon, John Grisham, Michael Crichton, lie beside Sionil Jose, Greg Brillantes and Danton Remoto.

There were others that are hidden under my bed with secondhand copies of Penthouse and Playboy.

There were just too many to read. Gone were the days when I can finish a Charles Dickens or a Thomas Mann novel in a week. Of course I have to struggle with textbooks, manuals and other non-fiction works that I collect from Booksale and during the annual book sale of National Bookstore.

This year, with the realization that I need to use glasses to read, I discovered audio books. I went crazy downloading the classics on my iPhone. I have the time and the chance now to enjoy “Don Quixote” and the “Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” while commuting to and from the office.

Reading is now only for newly-released books like Paulo Coelho’s “Aleph” and Roy Peter Clark’s “The Glamour of Grammar” and “Help! for Writers.”

Some time ago I worried that I would not be able to read the classics in my lifetime. With technology, however, I am optimistic that there is enough time. Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” will have to come after Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” next week.

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The Archbishop is on FB!

THE  Vatican is clearly doing more than just preaching about new media as a tool to bring about change in the Church.

Earlier this year Pope Benedict XVI made that “papal click” to launch the news and information platform News.Va, which sources information from the Vatican’s various print, online, radio and television media.

As well as that, he’s been on Facebook for some while with pope2you.

So it was no surprise to learn that the Vatican has named Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle – or “Bishop Chito” to his fans – as the new prelate of Manila. It’s especially appropriate as Manila is known as the texting capital of the world and one of the top sources of visitors to social media sites.

While some cardinals may still be meditating on what kind of animal new media is, Bishop Chito – and indeed many other Filipino priests and bishops – have already stamped their digital footprints firmly on the internet.

Bishop Chito is an active member of Facebook with 76,875 people liking his page. And as a regular face on TV, he uploads episodes of his appearances on the “Kape’t Pandasal” show on Youtube via the Jesuit community channel.

With his easy familiarity with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and whatever is just around the corner, we expect Bishop Chito to keep his flock fully and digitally updated.

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We nearly didn’t have an Apple

Steve Jobs, celebrated around the world as a visionary, was an adopted child. He was born to Joanne Schieble, a young unmarried college student who woke up one day and found out that she was pregnant.

It was the 1950s and the world was different then. Joanne had few options. But instead of aborting the child, Joanne decided to give birth to Steven, and in 1955 had him adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs.

Filipino commentator Bobit Avila is one Catholic who believes there is no need for the government to pass a law allowing the use of contraceptives to control the ballooning population. In this article, he says the life of Steve Jobs “is one of the best examples why we should not abort unwanted children.”

He adds that when the “unwanted children” grow up, God has a special place for them in this world “and Steve Jobs is our best example.”

Indeed, thanks to Mom Joanne for our Macs, iPhones and iPads!

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Camp Blog

It has been two years since the first Camp Blog at Pampanga Agricultural College. Some of the students who attended the first Camp are now in college. I hope they were able to make use of the skills they learned during the Camp.

I learned a lot from the activity. I learned to deal with young people, understand their interests, and their peculiarities. I learned to work with teachers from different regions of the country. I learned to talk before a mix crowd of young people barely in their teens and teachers, some of whom are in their retirement age already.

I also learned from the resource persons – the likes of Yvonne Chua, Luz Rimban, Glen Reales, Jaymark Tordecilla, Jimmy Domingo, and the others my sleepy mind has a hard time to remember right now.

I was in Panabo, Davao del Norte, last week to talk about transforming school papers into online publications for the Mindanao leg of this year’s Camp Blog. I was fascinated by the excitement and talent of the participants from Mindanao. Their creativity and dedication – especially of the teachers – are laudable.

And I learned later that everybody, including the facilitators and organizers, benefited a lot from the expertise of Keith Bacongco who taught photography and design.

I spent the past three days now with the Luzon leg of the Camp inside the SBMA Freeport. Another set of young minds are now in the middle of their six-day learning process on using ICT to reach to a wider audience for their school papers.

Next is Leyte for the Visayas leg.

There’s no end to learning and the adventure of sharing knowledge to the younger generation. I just hope that it would be not as rainy as this week in Baybay.

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Reporting the weather

Metro Manila residents experienced the hottest day so far this year, according to state weather forecasters as reported by GMANews.TV.

It’s hot indeed with the temperature going up to 37 degrees.

Sometimes it’s funny reading or listening to weather reports, especially when reporters/editors seem to just substitute new figures in old reports. It’s like reporting the opening and closing of the market – either the figures go up or down.

With weather disturbances and natural disasters brought about by global warming and other weather-related phenomena, journalists need to do more work on reporting the weather to make it relevant to the lives of people.

Meanwhile, drink a lot of water folks.

Benny Antiporda has a very informative column today on Remate.PH related to the weather. He reminds us to be careful with heatstroke. Heatstroke kills.

Read Benny’s column here.

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