Sunday, December 13, 2009

Grande Island Resort

Spent Friday-Saturday at Grande Island Resort, on an island right in the middle of Subic Bay.

A view of the beach on Grande Island, with the untouched mountains of Zambales in the background.

This is the 17th island of the Philippines that I have set foot on.

Also, it was my first time to travel the new Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, which was just as amazing as I dreamed it would be.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

2010 Presidential Roundup

There are six months to go, election season seems to have properly begun. Around a hundred dudes have filed their candidacy for president. Filter out the jokers and no-hopers, and it we seem to have a four-way race.

Here are my quick, tentative, oversimplified thoughts on the four candidates to rate higher than 1% in the latest SWS survey:
  • Noynoy Aquino. Currently perceived as the frontrunner, his most positive trait seems to be his clean image which can be a potential unifying force for the country. His famous name recalls the heroism of his father and the sincerity of his mother. Unfortunately his positive qualities seem to stop at his name. He has had a poor record as a Senator, a poor record as a Congressman, and an undistinguished private life before that. I have nothing particularly against him myself, but the empty zeal of his supporters is off-putting.
  • Manny Villar. Previously perceived as the frontrunner until the death of Noynoy's mom. He has a distinguished record as Speaker of the House of Representatives, President of the Senate, and an extremely successful career in real estate. His rags-to-riches story of a self-made billionaire is something that I can appreciate. However his omnipresent self-funded campaign feels forced, and his very noticable absense from the recent forum of candidates due to a "business meeting" is disillusioning, as is his partnership with coup leaders and leftists.
  • Gibo Teodoro. Perhaps the most qualified of the candidates. His policies and his record have so far been bulletproof, and his educational history is outstanding-- bachelor's degree from DLSU, law degree from UP, master's degree from Harvard Law, and topnotcher of the Philippine bar exam. That said, he is relatively unknown, has no compelling life narrative, and as a result he lags far behind the pack. His connection to our current unloved president means he can never be a unifying force, and his presidency would undoubtedly be subjected to the same barrage of nonsense the opposition constantly aimed at Gloria.
  • Joseph Estrada. He is lazy, dishonest, incompetent, divisive, and found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of plunder. His candidacy makes no sense, is probably unconsitutional, and you'd have to be nuts to support him.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Metro Manila EZ Map

A few days ago I bought a new EZ Map street map of Metro Manila. My previous four year old map was getting outdated in places like Bonifacio Global City and the Mall of Asia complex.

Spot the three things wrong with this image:

1. The majestic highway depicted in this picture is the South Luzon Expressway and Metro Manila Skyway, at its intersection with the C-5 road near the airport. The view seen here is actually facing towards the south, and away from the City of Manila, not heading directly towards it as the picture would have you believe.

2. For whatever ridiculous reason, the image of the Manila skyline has been horizontally flipped, such that 1322 Golden Empire Tower (the tallest building in the City of Manila) is seen at the right of the skyline. This means that this particular view of the Manila skyline is impossible to see in real life.

3. The image of the Manila skyline used here is the panorama that I took myself and uploaded to Wikipedia, used here in a derivative work and sold commercially, which would be fine if not for the fact that I remain unattributed. I give and I give...