WE are still celebrating National Book Development Month and National Reading Month this November, with the last week of the month being made more special for it is also the 89th National Book Week. To take part in the advocacy, everyone is encouraged to nurture their passion for books and reading by supporting the events being held in celebration of these festivals, going to book fairs, joining storytelling activities, and supporting local libraries.
It’s very common to see on TV or on the Internet the many stories about people falling victim to investment scams. Scammers target everyone, but often they focus on OFWs and other individuals who are looking to invest part of their hard-earned savings. Many of them are working extra hard these days to capture a piece of the bonus pie that many workers are earning at yearend.
WE are almost halfway through November and many families are now preparing for the holidays, while some have actually started the celebrations with early get-togethers. According to Fitch Ratings, the country will maintain economic stability in the latter part of the year due to its “strong medium-term growth prospects, slowly declining debt, macroeconomic stability, and sound economic policies.”
The members of Gen Z, those who are now 18 to 26 years old, are in a special place as they are inheriting the world’s huge challenges, as well as global opportunities. The biggest issues would be economic and political stability, climate change, mental health crisis, and technological advancements, among many other things.
There was a forum on Artificial Intelligence (AI) held recently at the Blackbox Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines in celebration of the 2023 PEN Philippines Congress. It was a discussion about how AI affects writers—literary and commercial—as well as students.
Two environmental NGOs, Kahugpungan Para sa Kinabuhi ug Kinaiyahan (Kinaiyahan) and Friends of the Environment in Negros Oriental (FENOr), along with five coastal community members in Brgy. Tinago, submitted a 44-page complaint before the City/Provincial Fiscal last September 29. They are asking the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate the Pantawan 2 extension reclamation project.
The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) officially opened the 2023 IP Month Celebration and 26th Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act Commemoration at the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) Building in the City of Manila on October 2, 2023. The IPRA or Republic Act 8371 was signed into law by then President Fidel V. Ramos on October 29, 1997, to promote the rights and welfare of 110 ethnolinguistic groups found in seven ethnographic regions. Proclamation 1906-A, s. 2009, signed by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, declared October as the National Indigenous Peoples Month. Presidential Proclamation No. 486 s. 2003 also declared October 29 of each year as National Indigenous Peoples Thanksgiving Day.
Many of us fail to realize what a tremendous gift it is to be able to read books, to go to book fairs and bookstores to buy the books that we like. It seems like an ordinary thing to do, nothing special. But people who experience difficulties reading—for reasons such as blindness, visual impairment, dyslexia, cerebral palsy, and so on—may not be able to enjoy these activities and therefore cannot experience the joy that reading brings.
Some days ago several places south of Manila were blanketed by “smog” or vog (volcanic particles in the air) that came from Taal Volcano in Batangas. Many classes were even suspended and about 50 people were reported to have fallen ill because of the “bad” air. The experts advised people residing in the affected areas to stay home if they didn’t have any important appointments and to wear N95 masks if they absolutely needed to venture outside.
Dumaguete is a beautiful place that is rich in the arts and culture of the land. Aside from its natural attractions, it is home to prominent educational institutions, historical spots, and a vibrant arts community. There are many people who choose to move to or retire in Dumaguete, the sea offering a balm to weary bodies and souls, and the laidback culture granting excitement, inspiration, and relaxation to adventurous spirits.
The recent earthquake in Morocco underlines the fact that disasters can strike anytime and anywhere, and that preparedness may spell the difference between life and death. It is the nature of disasters, they are almost always unpredictable and they are more common than we think. It’s precisely why preparation for any type of disaster—be it flooding, earthquake, fire, and so on—is very important. Every person and every household must be ready at all times for the unexpected. It also reduces the burden on rescuers, especially if the community’s resources are limited.
There are dishes and delicacies that we remember from our childhood but that we cannot find anymore today, or they may still be around but are more difficult to find. For example, a tamarind-based dessert that our grandma used to make, or a sweet treat that used to be popular in the local market.
Today marks the 40th anniversary of the martyrdom of Sen. Benigno S. “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. There will be a Holy Mass today to commemorate his sacrifice at the Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City at 10:00 a.m. This is being organized by the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation and will be celebrated by Archbishop Socrates Villegas.
Last week, our economic managers released a joint statement on the country’s economic performance for Q2 2023. And while they recognize that the economic environment will still be quite challenging for the remaining months of the year up to 2024, they are also optimistic about the Philippines’ overall economic performance. They also mentioned that since we were able to surmount the challenges caused by the pandemic, we are now better equipped to face both external and domestic risks and challenges.
‘Res Ipsa Loquitur: The Lines That Define Me” is the title of my art exhibit opening on the 11th of August at ArtistSpace in Makati. The show will run until August 27, 2023 and will feature an Artist Reception on its second day, August 12, at 4:30 p.m. I would like to invite you all to the opening and/or the reception the following day or to view the artworks anytime until the 27th.
Today we remember the life of former president Corazon Cojuangco Aquino who died on the first day of August in 2009. She is largely known as the first female president of the Philippines, a leader of the People Power Revolution of 1986, and the main personality involved in the restoration of the country’s democracy. Aside from the big things she is known for, she had many other accomplishments, some of them subtle, others have been forgotten, and yet they cannot be labeled small or insignificant.
Today at 4:00 p.m. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivers his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City. To ensure the public’s safety amid forecasts that Typhoon Egay will intensify into a super typhoon, as well as to save the public from difficulties arising from the scheduled transport strike, Malacañang has decided to cancel work in government offices and classes in public schools at all levels in the National Capital Region for today, July 24. Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte also issued Executive Order No. 23, suspending classes in all levels, for both private and public schools in Quezon City.
An interesting event is happening in the realm of sound artworks. It is called The Listening Biennial (TLB) and it’s dubbed “an art and research initiative focusing on questions of listening”. The second edition of TLB opened in early July 2023 (the first one happened in 2021) with an exhibit at PAROLA UP Fine Arts Gallery, which will run until the 11th of August this year.
With the speedy development of AI language models like ChatGPT, along with automation and the proliferation of AI-powered applications and programs, traditional industries and the job market itself are facing likely disruptions. This is already being felt in many industries, not just abroad but also in the country.
There are valid reasons why some people are afraid of AI because, in fact, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an estimated 1.1 billion jobs could be “radically transformed” by technology in the next 10 years. A report from the World Economic Forum states that by 2027, 43 percent of work tasks will be automated. It’s easy to see why people should invest in reskilling and upskilling, while there is still time.
How are we supposed to prepare for the hottest years that are about to come? This year, the natural climate phenomenon El Niño is expected, but even without it, it is already very hot. We do experience unnatural heat even when there is a typhoon raging nearby or even when the weather bureau has declared the start of the rainy season. Something strange is, indeed, happening.
Our celebration of Philippine independence is special this year because we are commemorating the 125th anniversary of our sovereignty. From establishments and companies to organizations and families, everyone is taking part in this celebration, whether by prominently displaying our national flag or attending events like concerts, parades, and bazaars. And the celebrations are not just happening here, Filipinos from all over the globe are one with us in celebrating this special day. Here are some of the events and activities related to this occasion.
Twice a week, Juliana goes to Silang, Cavite to oversee the business that she is co-managing—a 2-hectare estate consisting of a European restaurant, a coffee and pineapple plantation, an events venue, and a 5-cottage bed and breakfast. On other days, she goes to school in Metro Manila as a junior college student taking up Business Management.
A few times a week, Riza would go live online to sell China-made apparel, most of them brand-new items that are very affordable. She buys them by the sack and sells them online for cheap. She was able to buy a small e-bike so her husband could handle most of the deliveries more easily. Riza is just one of the Philippines’ adult workers who are currently unemployed (19 percent as of March this year; that’s 8.7 million Filipinos). But because she has three children and plenty of bills, she needed to find a way to earn money while staying home to take care of the kids.
Happening next week in Manila is the “largest traveling Pinoy book festival in the Philippines”—the Philippine Book Festival (PBF). There will be two legs to this national event, the Manila leg from June 2 to 4 (World Trade Center) and the one in Davao from August 18 to 20, 2023 (SMX Davao).
One of the things we realize with the unfolding of the writers’ strike in America is that, as one of the strikers said in an interview, creativity starts with the writers, and the rest of the industry simply can’t move forward without the words on the page. Those were the words of a writer from California named Mercedes. The witty hosts and engaging actors we admire would be empty personalities on screen were it not for the words that the writers supply them with, along with the ideas or concepts that they usually infuse into a show, episode, or film.
May is National Heritage Month. In Filipino, Pambansang Buwan ng Pamana. By virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 439, s. 2003, the Philippines celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. NHM aims to foster among us Filipinos the awareness, respect, and love for our own culture and history.