Facebook persona

Her voice was earnest, almost pleading. “Kung mamatay mo, madala na ninyo inyo sakyanan? Ang inyong balay? Ang kwarta?” (When you die, will you be able to take your car, house, or money with you?)

“Unya ang basil?” I thought to myself. (What about the basil?)

I was waiting at the border controls in Barangay Cabancalan in Mandaue City for a plant seller doing the rounds in Cebu City. I bought 4 basil seedlings and we were to exchange it, like soldiers swapping hostages, at the border of Cebu City and Mandaue City.

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“Ayaw sultii si Fionah ha? Ayaw tagai si Jasmin,” I used to tell sources when working on a story I was sure would be an exclusive when I covered Cebu City Hall for The Freeman with Zeny Jainar.

This was in 1996, about the time The Freeman first connected to the Web.

Fionah Bojos, now a lawyer, and Jasmin Ginete, now a communications executive, handled the beat for the then Sun.Star Daily.

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Live and unfiltered

Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama still uses the same personal phone number that I called to contact him some years back. He unwittingly confirmed it to me and gave it to thousands of other people on Facebook Live.

Rama attended the meeting Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia called for mayors of the different towns and component cities of the province.

Cebu City is an independent city and Rama volunteered to attend the meeting to improve coordination among Cebu City, Capitol, and the other component cities and towns in the massive effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.

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“Fake news” and Labella’s overreaction, abdication

Authorities arrested artist Maria Victoria Beltran yesterday over allegations of spreading “fake news” when she posted on Facebook that there were 9,000 new COVID-19 cases in Zapatera, making Cebu City “the epicenter in the whole Solar System.”

The post is clearly satirical with its galactic reference. But the point of contention and the crux of the case against her is the claim of 9,000 new COVID-19 cases in the city.

What can be inferred from the turn of events and chain of posts is that she based it on news reports quoting health officials as saying the entire sitio was deemed “infected.”

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Tuslob Buwa® and HTML entities

“How do I add ® to my post?” an acquaintance posted on Facebook as everyone piled up on Azul for trademarking Tuslob Buwa by posting their own versions of trademarking Cebu products and delicacies.

It’s so much easier now. You can just copy and paste special characters, including the registered, trademarked, and copyrighted signs, and even emojis. Most phones also have an option for an additional keyboard that will allow you to enter emojis, clipart, and GIFs.

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Eau de toilet

It’s a tester stock, the Lazada seller explained. I’ve heard that explanation before-from the owner of a perfume shop in Parkmall that also sells “tester” stocks.

It’s the real deal – in this case, a genuine CK One, the seller said. Perfume makers release a special batch for promotions and to serve as testers, the seller explained.

The Parkmall shop ran out of it. It was selling at abut P1,800. The actual price of the bottle is P2,500, on sale in Rustans.

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Interactive history

Every day, thousands of tourists visiting the Magellan’s Cross are told that the cross you see there “Encases the Original Cross Planted By Ferdinand Magellan On This Very Site.”

That’s not true. But that’s what tourists are told by guides and that’s what they read on the sign.

We just installed our interactive tourism markers at the site as part of our Digital Tourism initiative geared toward the 2021 commemoration of the introduction of Christianity into the country.

The markers are installed at the cross and at the nearby Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño. If you have an iPhone or an Android device that supports it, all you need to do is open your camera, point it at the marker and make sure the viewfinder covers the entire code. You will then get a prompt to open the information about the Magellan’s Cross.

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I have suffered. But there’s a Bosendorfer here so let’s see what happens.

Late in her life when she was broke and reduced to hiring men for sex and the affections she craved, Nina Simone performed My Baby Just Cares For Me in Montreux. The song was used in commercials for Chanel No. 5 “unfortunately of which I have none,” Simone said before she started her performance.

She then said she wished she was as wise (financially) when she made the album with the song as “I have become now.”

“I have suffered,” she said. “But there’s a Bosendorfer here so let’s see what happens.”

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How AI led me to Carla Bruni

It had to be Edith Piaf, Madeleine Peyroux, or Joan Baez. It could also have been Eva Cassidy, Janis Ian, Sarah Jarosz or Joni Mitchell. More likely, it was my listening to all these artists that led Spotify to recommend Carla Bruni to me earlier this month. I have been listening to her songs since.

Before Spotify, I don’t think I would have listened to Bruni. All I knew before she ended up in my Discover Weekly recommendation was that she was a model married to the former French prime minister Nicolas Sarkozy.

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The case for chatbots

Are you open today? What’s the number of your Ayala branch? Answers to these questions are easy to program as chatbot routines. Instead, here I am, after more than an hour of calling and searching on mobile on my way to and now attending an event, and none the wiser as to whether any of Union Bank’s branches in Cebu are open today and until what time.

Nobody answers the phones of the different branches I called (may be an indicator) and the branch listing on the site is a non-responsive table and text is garbled. I went to the Facebook page to send a message but saw the indicator “typically replies within the day.”

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