Cebu bloggers meetup

If you’re a blogger based in Cebu, please drop by at the iBrowse Internet Cafe near Cebu Doctor’s University at the North Reclamation Area on Thursday, Feb. 7 at 6:00 p.m. We are organizing a short blogger meet-up there with the indefatigable DigitalFilipino founder Janette Toral.

Janette will be in Cebu for a workshop on Web 2.0 applications and Internet marketing on Feb. 7 and 8. She is also working on a project for bloggers’ involvement in the 2010 elections. We talked about it last year and agreed it would be great to gather Cebu bloggers to talk about blogging and the elections.

Continue reading “Cebu bloggers meetup”

Mobile Internet and Globe Visibility, a demo

In the run-up to Sinulog, the biggest festival in Cebu, I was invited to a demonstration of Globe Visibility, Globe’s HSDPA or High Speed Downlink Packet Access mobile Internet service.

The service, marketed by Globe with buzz phrases such as “3G plus,” “better than 3G,” and “mobile broadband,” promises download speeds of up to 1.4mbps. In the limited time that I observed the demo, Globe Visibility was browsing at breakneck speeds. Heck, it was even faster than the faltering and intermittent Globelines Broadband connection I had at home.

Continue reading “Mobile Internet and Globe Visibility, a demo”

Mapping Cebu’s Wi-Fi hotspots

I’ve been meaning to map Cebu’s Wi-Fi hotspots for more than a month now. It is a project that I’ve kept putting off, mainly because of work deadlines and other tasks.

For a while, I planned to set out–and was on the verge of doing so at least twice–and go through 4 or 5 coffee shops and restaurants in a day to find out 1.) whether they provide free Wi-Fi access and 2.) how good the connection is. I am a recidivist coffee drinker, having kicked it out of my system for a few weeks last year, but still, the prospect of a caffeine overdose (not to mention wrecking my poor excuse of a diet) kept stopping me from starting with the Wi-Fi mapping.

Continue reading “Mapping Cebu’s Wi-Fi hotspots”

A fire, a map, and a WordPress theme

Fire gutted the landmark Plaza Fair building early morning Tuesday. Reports say the fire caused P20 million in damages. The blaze broke out just as we were finalizing the day’s newspaper issue. We no longer had time to include the story in the issue.

But I admit it was tempting to copy Michael Keaton in The Paper-the whole “Stop the press!” bit. Of course you couldn’t do that in Sun.Star Cebu, our printing plant is kilometers away and if you needed to “stop the press” for a late breaker, you’d either have to call or text the plant manager. Somehow texting “stp d prs” isn’t as dramatic as barging into the plant and screaming the words.

The fire was visible from our office canteen, two blocks away (check photos and map below).

Continue reading “A fire, a map, and a WordPress theme”

Close encounter of a different kind

If you looked up the Cebu sky last night, you’d have the crap scared out of you. At least seven balls of light were clearly visible in a linear formation (if you squint hard enough and connect the dots, it could be the Grim Reaper’s scythe.) The lights were stationary and stayed visible for minutes.

Text messages were being sent around, asking people to look up the sky. I ran to our office’s canteen and saw the lights for myself. It was eerie and beautiful. (Click on the photo to view the larger image.) Across the street, people were stopping to look at it. I couldn’t make out their faces, whether they showed awe or fear or fascination.

Continue reading “Close encounter of a different kind”

Cebu artists strip for Budoy

Cebus reggae king Budoy is a candidate for eviction from the Pinoy Big Brother show. To express their support and generate votes for Budoy, artists in Cebu, including UP Professor Raymund Fernandez, stripped in Kahayag Cafe. To view the photos (warning: may be not safe for work if you have as boss someone like Dr. Rene Josef Bullecer, who thinks he was appointed by God to be Cebus morality guardian), click here. Help spread the word: text BB BUDOY to 231 for Smart and BB BUDOY to 2331 for Globe.

Iring is Bisaya for cat, iring-iring is…

Something else. I’ve been trying to find its English equivalent but failed. It’s close to flirting but without the sexual connotation. It shares shades of meaning with courting but is less formal and doesn’t mean that the person wants to go steady with the object of the iring-iring.

My kumpare and colleague Myke Obenieta says there isn’t an equivalent English word for iring-iring. Myke will launch his book “Iring-iring sa tingbitay sa iro” on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. in Kahayag Cafe.

Now, tingbitay sa iro is a curious phrase. It literally means “the time to hang dogs.” It means hard times. Cebuanos now just say “tingbitay” to describe hard times. I suspect, and Myke says this is the case, that Cebuanos of old slaughtered their dogs for food during hard times. Maybe they hang the dogs to kill them or to prepare the meat for cooking, I don’t know.

Continue reading “Iring is Bisaya for cat, iring-iring is…”

Looking for the Cebu megadome? Use your nose

The Cebu Provincial Government is working on a really tight deadline to finish the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) in time for the city’s hosting of an Asean summit this December.

Capitol had long planned for an international convention center and even held an architectural design competition for a megadome but the project was stalled during the time of then governor Pablo Garcia because the Provincial Board refused to approve it.

The project has already been approved and awarded to a contractor this year. It will be built on a lot in the reclamation area in Mandaue City. And there’s the rub. It is located in a spot in Mandaue City notorious for its suffocating stink.

If you’re on your way to Cebu City from Mandaue, here’s how you can spot the site of the megadome.

Continue reading “Looking for the Cebu megadome? Use your nose”

CEGP seminar: putting campus newspapers online

Among the things that I’m really passionate about is encouraging student publications to go online. Not only is online publication cheaper than dead-tree publishing, it’s also very easy to pull off right now because of the existence of easy-to-use content management systems.

Online campus journalism also allows student publications to go beyond the one-issue-every-few-months-or-so publication cycle typical of campus papers.

I discussed online journalism with members of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines yesterday and I was a bit surprised that in a group of 20 plus participants, only two have blogs. I had expected more bloggers in the group, in fact I assumed more than half would have blogs.


Continue reading “CEGP seminar: putting campus newspapers online”

The glass cannot be half-full

Either there is press freedom or not, according to Sun.Stars pooled editorial.

The editorial points out the danger of making police the evaluators of media.

Why do cops make poor evaluators? They dont know the craft and its nuances. Their mind-set is that of victims, whipped frequently by media for lapses and offenses.

The paper (disclosure: I work for Sun.Star Cebu) says “The Government cannot claim to be free and democratic when it gags media by threats of takeover or shutdown.”

Proclamation 1017 declaring a state of emergency in the country has been described as a harmless weapon that should not instill fear among the law-abiding.

We disagree. It is a lethal weapon in the hands of those who exceed or abuse the power–out of ignorance, spite, or meanness.

Read the full article here.