Philippines Online Journal

Subscribe to Philippines Online Journal: eMailAlertsEmail Alerts newslettersWeekly Newsletters
Get Philippines Online Journal: homepageHomepage mobileMobile rssRSS facebookFacebook twitterTwitter linkedinLinkedIn

Top Stories

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 This article originally appeared in NOW Magazine, which retains all rights. Follow the author at or   Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 This reporter ran into counter-cultural techies early in his career, during his mid-80s stint as managing editor of UNIX Review. Trade shows were glorious fun in those days, with entrepreneurs in roller skates, companies with names like mt xinu (read it backwards) and the Canta Afforda Computer Lab, and a young Bill Joy cutting a hip figure in his black leather jacket and trademark genius-speak. It is from these roots that today’s forest of open-source advocates, idealists, and companies grew.   Discussions about open source revolve around the perception that open ... (more)

Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) and Floods Hit the Philippines

I was lucky that Typhoon Ondoy did not affect my apartment. We are out in Pampanga two hours from Manila but we did not have a flood in my little neighborhood. But so many people died in this typhoon, and now the world knows what can happen in the Philippines. We get more than 20 typhoons each year and they cause many problems. Typhoon Feria back there in June damaged many houses in Samar Province where I am from. I was visiting then and it was very scary. You know we don't have a radio there or any way to know when a typhoon is coming. We just hope for the best and we know that no one will help us. Two other typhoons in August and September gave us rain for more than one week. A lot of floods and some people died then, too. But I think that nobody outside of the Philippines knows about these things unless they are very, very bad. As I said, my family and friends ... (more)

Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) Hits the Philippines (Part 2)

The Philippines on Ulitzer I have received so many visitors to my post about Ondoy. So I want to talk a little more about the calamities in the Philippines. First, here are places you can go to help: - I mentioned this one before. - This is a newspaper website. They have a lot of information about the Ondoy Relief Drive. - Yes, they are very active here just like in the US and other places. I want to let everyone know again that this is not the only time that we have trouble in the Philippines. We have so many typhoons every year. Many people die each time we have a bad typhoon. Houses fall into the rivers. Children and old people drown. Little boats sink in the ocean. This happens so many times each year in the Philippines talaga. You can see in my blog here that I wrote a story about Typhoon Feria back in Ju... (more)

PCGAUX Aids Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) Victims in the Philippines

The Philippines on Ulitzer There's been an outpouring of concern and aid from many people in the US and elsewhere to help victims of the flooding caused by Typhoon Ondoy in the Philippines. One place to send aid--an organization that's not as well-known as it should be--is the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary. The Auxiliary is not part of the Philippine government. Rather, it is a group of seaworthy, dedicated volunteers who assist the Philippine Coast Guard in many areas: search and rescue, public education, environmental protection, and several other civic-minded functions. I spent several years with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and got to know many people around the world who volunteer for similar organizations in their countries. One of the great people I met along the way is Commodore Harold Wolf of the Philippine auxiliary. I've just been... (more)

Ulitzer Aid Campaign for the Typhoon Ondoy Victims Yesterday morning I checked the Ulitzer home page on my iPhone on my way to the office and I realized two of the top three stories were about "Typhoon Ondoy" in Philippines. Thirty-six hours later we still have three stories filed from Manila on Ulitzer's home page. Top Ulitzer stories on Ulitzer from around the 25 distinct subject categories it covers are processed every 60 minutes and displayed by an algorithm which we believe is more sophisticated than, say, Google News algorithms. Early this year, seasoned news man Roger Strukhoff, whose family owned and published their town newspaper in Wisconsin, launched the Ulitzer topic Philippines Online Journal. Strukhoff logged close to three million Ulitzer page views with his articles. Inday Vinas is a struggling young writer who grew up in a very poor area of the Philippines. She sta... (more)

Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng Wreak Economic, Political Havoc in Philippines

The images were beamed to a worldwide audience: a big typhoon had hit the Philippines, several hundred people drowned, and floods covered much of the nation's capital, Manila. "Ketsama" (or "Ondoy" as it was known locally) had dumped a month's worth of rain in about 12 hours. In a country that is hit by about 20 typhoons each year, this one caused the most destruction seen in decades. In addition to tremendous loss of life and property, the storm and its aftermath have caused, and continue to cause, a very serious loss of credibility to the presidential administration of Gloria Magapacal-Arroyo. GMA, as she is known, had already been facing relentless, severe criticism for years, fueled by allegations of massive corruption, a travel budget that includes serial travel to all corners of the world for purposes that often seem opaque, and a fecklessness that makes her ... (more)

Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGAUX) Continues Efforts After Typhoons Leave

The volunteer members of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary continued to do their work after the headlines faded in the wake of the dual typhoons that the Philippines in September. A more recent storm approached the northern tip of the country, dithered, then moved northeast toward Japan without making landfall in the Philippines. The latest potential typhoon is brewing as I am writing this article. Current projections show that it may head for the country's mid-section, where rains occur regularly throughout the year, in contrast to the traditional six-month rainy season (May to October)  on the northern island of Luzon, the island on which the capital city of Manila is located. Commodore Harold Wolf sent along the numerous pictures attached here. He also referenced a stirring article that was written by Commodore Daniel G. Cabalde, District Director for the regi... (more)

It's a Lovely Evening Here in Pampanga, Philippines

It's a lovely evening here in Pampanga. The dewpoint has been down the past few days, as relatively dry air has been pouring in from the South China Sea to the west of here. This air also drove the latest typhoon, Lupit (known locally as Ramil) away from the Philippines before it could make landfall here, and toward Japan. The next potential typhoon sits out there near Guam somewhere; we should know in a few days whether it will cause a problem here. Just as you can't sit around in California thinking about earthquakes all day long, or sit in my native Illinois and think about tornadoes, you can't obsess about typhoons in the Philippines. Human nature has many quirks, one of them being a continuous alternation between apathy and over-reaction. I attribute it to the fight-or-flight reaction that's still wired into our lizard brains and which drives so much of our beh... (more)

Christmas (Pasko) Approaches in the Philippines; But First, Undas!

Christmas lights have been up in the Philippines since early October. Commercials for Pasko, as the holiday is called, have appeared on TV, and the malls are full of people getting a head start on their shopping. There's a particular form of lighted star (known as a parol) that's ubiquitous, in many variations, and for sale at innumerable roadside stands along the major roads here in Pampanga. The large Christmas trees found in most American homes are a luxury here, and not as critical to the tradition as the parols and the creches (called belens) and, as always with the Philippines, the family. Pasko is also centered around the Catholic Church, a series of Masses and feasts in the days leading to Christmas Day; the celebration continues through the Epiphany (you know, The Three Magi) in early January. Verily, the Twelve Days of Christmas (and more) are celebrated h... (more)

CCT CEO Jonathan Rosenberg Drives Revenue Through CRM in the Philippines

Cyber City Teleservices ( is the most venerable of the CRM call-center firms in the Philippines. Dating back to 1999, it was co-founded by longtime industry executive Jonathan Rosenberg, who spent two decades in the US in the direct response industry. "The first thing I want to be clear about is that we don't view ourselves as a solution for companies to reduce costs," he told me in a recent interview at CCT's headquarters in the Clark Special Economic Zone, a couple hours north of Manila in the state of Pampanga. "The most important issue for business executives is driving topline revenue, and we help our clients do that." I met Jonathan during an event called Convergence 2009, part of a convention at Clark that was sponsored by the Philippine government. The event attracted local business leaders and foreign executives, as well as students eager to ... (more)

MDeC CEO Badlisham Ghazali Helps Drive Innovation, Malaysia's Knowledge-Based Economy

Datuk Badlisham Ghazali is the CEO of  Malaysia’s Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC).  (“Datuk” is an honorific term in Malaysian society that can be used as a rough approximation of “Sir” in the UK.) MdeC is responsible for the country’s MSC, or Multimedia Super Corridor, as it was known when it was conceived in 1996. The MSC covers an area of about 175,000 acres, stretching approximately 30 miles from the famed Petronas Towers in the center of Kuala Lumpur, through a planned “Silicon Valley” region that encompasses the district of Sepang (and the palnned cities of Cyberjaya and Putrajaya), to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. A comprehensive story about the MSC would require at least one book. For now, we just decided to focus on getting some initial thoughts from Mr. Ghazali. With a renewed, recent focus on the potential of Southeast Asia as a major ... (more)