Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mikey Arroyo and FaceBook

At the height of Bagyong Ondoy, someone posted a picture of Mikey Arroyo "allegedly" buying liquor in Rustans Supermarket in Katipunan. The caption said that while people were falling victim to Bagyong Ondoy, Mikey Arroyo was oblivious to everything and was buying liquor in Rustans Supermarket. Within minutes, such picture was "shared" in the FaceBook community and thousands and thousands of people were reacting violently to it.

According to, Mikey Arroyo, on Tuesday, pushed for tighter regulation of FaceBook, after he claimed to be a victim of "malicious attack" by one of its members.

The original post in FaceBook had the following caption: "Was buying food for keeps… then we saw Mikey Arroyo in Rustan’s liquor section asking the salesman for a brand of hard alcoholic drink. Effin’ crazy! Just a few kilometers away from Katipunan, people are needing help for search and rescue, and there he was buying bottles of alcohol. See for yourself and tell me what you think.”

Mikey Arroyo claimed that he was not anywhere near Katipunan on Saturday and that he was in Malacanang, helping out in the relief operations for the victims of Bagyong Ondoy. He said that he could not have been in Katipunan for it was impossible for any cars to pass through that area during the height of the storm. Thus, Mikey lashed out against his critics and said that FaceBook and other social networking sites should be regulated. He even went as far to insinuate that bloggers and FaceBook users were not helping in any way in the relief operations.

I think Mikey Arroyo is forgetting the fact that one of the main reasons why youth volunteerism was so high, and is still so high, is precisely because of these online social networks, primarily FaceBook. It is because of the popularity of the Internet and FaceBook that many people were able to know what they can do to help not just here in the Philippines but abroad as well. More than that, people were able to post their concerns regarding their situation or ask about updates of the storm. People were posting videos to the extent that looking at the news was no longer as necessary and people were posting hotline numbers as well as the situation of their loved ones in certain areas so that others could help.

I am aware of the fact that FaceBook and other social networking sites may be and is a breeding ground for malicious attacks as well as identity theft (take the Filipina OFW who "allegedly" posted a maliciou comment in FaceBook at the height of Bagyong Ondoy). But yeah right Mikey, let me see you attempt to regulate it!

Abuse due to Facebook post

A couple of days ago, I posted a blog regarding a Filipina from Dubai who posted a malicious comment regarding the victims of Bagyong Ondoy here in the Philippines. She said, and I quote:

"buti n lng am hir in dubai! maybe so many sinners bak der! so yeah deserving wat hapend (sic)."

Within minutes, thousands of Facebook users bombarded her inbox and wall of malicious comments, even death threats. Some even went to the extent of creating a "hate" group against her where membership grew in thousands within minutes. Not only that, Internet users were able to locate her Friendster, Multiply and other social network accounts and even her personal profile.

ABS-CBN news reported that the same Filipina in Dubai claims that someone hacked into her Facebook account and manipulated its contents since two years ago. She claims that she has already deleted such account to no avail and that she has already sent a complaint to the owners of Facebook. Furthermore, she claims that her Multiply and Friendster account are also not hers and that the same person made the bogus accounts using her personal information and pictures.

She said that due to the threats against her life, she was forced to transfer houses and literally "hide" because she was so scared of the violent reaction that "her" post triggered. She said that she is currently pursuing any legal action necessary to clear her name and she has asked for the help of the Philippine Embassy in Dubai.

Although I did not post anything in her Facebook account nor did I attack her, I admit that I reposted her comment in my Facebook Wall and joined the "hate" group against her. I was one of those people who spread "her" comment around the Internet (guilty).

Some are saying that what she is doing now is simply a backhanded attempt or an afterthought to clear her own name. Some are saying that she is doing this in order to correct her mistake when she posted her comment in Facebook while some are shamefully lowering their heads and muttering an apology to her.

A part of my brain is saying that this is merely a belated attempt for her to clear her name in front of the entire Filipino online community. However, we always seem to forget about how easy it is for some known or unknown person to create an account on our behalf and attack just about anyone we know - not to mention hack our very own accounts.

She said that if she really did do it, why would she be stupid enough to post her profile, her pictures, her personal information and use her real identity?!? But then again, maybe she did post that comment and this is just her way of covering up for her obviously stupid mistake?

What do you guys think?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Rainbow, where are you?

When God promised that never again would He flood the Earth, He was probably too drunk like Noah. He must have forgotten all about that sacred covenant. I was trying to look for a rainbow awhile ago, but I haven’t found any. I hope I don’t sound too gloomy, but I don’t see the point. So what if great tragedies like these are eye-openers? We open our eyes to what exactly?

Okay, enough of the depression. Off to the bright side of things. Last Sunday, I received text messages from the LSG, WINLAW, dorm-mates, concerned friends etc. – all asking if my family and I were okay. The Bayanihan spirit is certainly alive. Radio stations and TV stations have cooperated to cull donations from people willing to help. Even Facebook, as pointed out by a classmate, has been used as a tool to lend a helping hand. We could see the synergy of technology and telecommunications in these relief operations. Unfortunately for some, the help came too late.

And the NEWS about these Philippine floods has reached the world through television and the Internet. Videos of these floods can now be seen in Youtube. The last time I checked, one video has already reached 55,022 views.

Well, actually this isn’t God’s fault. Blame our cars, our air-conditioners, our industrial plants etc. We have insanely contaminated most of the Earth’s resources. Mankind is probably the dirtiest of all species of animals that walked the Earth and she is fighting back.

Isn’t he a journalist?

Joshua Wolf is an American videoblogger who was jailed by a Federal district court on August 1, 2006 for refusing to turn over a collection of videotapes he recorded during a July 2005 demonstration in San Francisco. It included unpublished video footage he shot during a fight on the streets between SF police and anti-G8 protesters. Wolf posted some of the videos on his blog and some clips were aired on TV newscasts that later paid Wolf for the footage. But the Feds are demanding to see everything that wasn’t made public. They allege that the unused portion of Wolf’s video may show the patrol car being set afire. Wolf denies there is an attempted arson in his videotape. He served 226 days in prison at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin California, longer than any other journalist in US history has served for protecting source materials. So who qualifies as a journalist and what protection should they receive? Is John Wolf who is mainly a polical videoblogger considered a journalist when he regularly posts videos and commentaries on his blog?

Ligawan via txt

Courtship of long ago would involve the guy calling the girl’s house to talk to her or even visiting her in her home to spend some quality time together. Nowadays, everyone juts texts. Texting has become the principal means of communication between the younger generation. Because of the convenience of cellphones, it is no longer uncommon to exchange numbers in clubs, school, mall, etc. In fact, majority don’t even refuse to give their digits. At most, they would give fake ones. Texting has transformed the rituals of courtship. It seems to makes it easier Unlike talking on the phone or face-to-face, texting provides a screen that hides shyness and awkwardness. It emboldens the texter to appear “more” since there is a time lag to think of a seemingly effortless reply.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bagyong Ondoy and Facebook

Like all of us, I felt my stomach drop and a feeling best described as panic and disbelief spread throughout my body as I opened the news and watched the devastation and destruction that Bagyong Ondoy left and is still leaving behind.

I woke up late and was blissfully unaware of the destruction brought upon by Bagyong Ondoy until I looked out my window and saw a car being carried away by a huge amount of water. I had to blink twice because I could hardly believe what I saw – never ever has there been flood in my area. I quickly opened the news and felt cold all over when I realized that things were so much worse in other parts of the Metro.

Even until now I still can’t keep a coherent thought in my head so I’m just going to post random mutterings in the face of Bagyong Ondoy.

Like some others who wanted to help and was stuck at home, I helped through Facebook. I was never really a big fan of Facebook and only joined less than a month ago but this time, I really appreciate its value. I scanned through the posts and saw friends and friends of friends posting and requesting for help because they were flooded and trapped inside their houses. I joined the Red Cross group in Facebook and reposted all the messages that I could find there hoping that Red Cross and others could lend a helping hand.

Also through friends I was able to know the hotlines of all the Rescue Centers such as NDCC, Red Cross, etc. One of my friends was stuck on the roof of their house because the water has engulfed the first 2 stories of their house. Through Facebook I was able to learn of the hotline numbers and when I was unable to get through, I posted her plight in Facebook and some other person called NDCC and Red Cross for me. Thank you Facebook.

Not only that, you could see first-hand photos and videos from different people uploaded in Facebook. You could see the devastation in the videos and photos in Facebook that you couldn’t see in the news. Whenever I saw a video or photo, I didn’t hesitate to share or repost it so that others would know the seriousness of the situation.

Through Facebook, information regarding donation centers was disseminated and different groups were formed in order to help people still trapped by Bagyong Ondoy.

However, through Facebook a Filipino from Dubai managed to ridicule and mock the Filipinos suffering from Ondoy. She said and I quote, “buti n lng am hir in dubai! maybe so many sinners bak der!so yeah deserving wat hapend!”. Within minutes her Wall Post was disseminated from person to person and less than an hour later, a group against her was set up in Facebook and members are growing by the minute. And through Facebook I found out that Mikey Arroyo is such an a**hole. Someone took a picture of him buying liquor in Rustans Supermarket in Katipunan while hundreds of people were stranded because of the storm.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Facebook Bayanihan

"RP Appeal to those who have access to 4x4 or flatbed trucks for rescue. Please send vehicles to Greenhills Shopping Center in front of Unimart Grocery to await deployment strategy. Call or text 09209072902 to confirm your pledge. Thank you. Please repost and tweet."
This call for help has been reposted more than ten times in 30 minutes on Facebook. While it is not clear who is convening rescuers what is clear is the intention to gather as much helping hands as necessary to respond to the overwhelming calls for help from the hundreds of people affected by Typhoon Ondoy.
Typhoon Ondoy struck us while the whole metro was sleeping and continues to hit Luzon, currently majority of the streets in Metro Manila and nearby areas are flooded and not passable. Cristine Reyes was seen on top of her roof stranded just like the rest of the people. Hundreds, perhaps thousands are affected but cannot be rescued by teams of NDCC because there are just way too many people to rescue and so little help to apportion.
This initiative is bayanihan in its 2009 form. People convening, and pooling resources together to help others who are in need. But in todays world it is difficult to reach other people and ask for help if we were to rely on personal relationships and face to face encounters. Lucky for us we are so comfortable living in a digital world that we get to communicate our needs and resources to others in a snap of a finger. I asked one friend who posted what it was about and she said she actually didn’t know, she was just reposting. While what is needed is for us to volunteer resources such as 4WDs , a simple post and tweet makes us part of the bayanihan.
Please post the quoted message in your facebook wall or tweet it or put it in you YM status message.

The Fallibility of DNA evidence

Be careful of leaving traces of your DNA anywhere. A crime scene may just have your DNA on it. According to a NY Times article, scientists in Israel found that DNA evidence may be fabricated. Now this certainly undermines what we thought was a surefire way of proving “who-dunnit” in criminal cases.

“The scientists fabricated blood and saliva samples containing DNA from a person other than the donor of the blood and saliva. They also showed that if they had access to a DNA profile in a database, they could construct a sample of DNA to match that profile without obtaining any tissue from that person.”

According to Dr. Dan Fumkin (who was quoted in the said article), even an undergraduate Biology student could do this. However, there is a certain test called the Nucleix’s Test which would be used to distinguish real DNA from fake ones. While it is comforting to think that ordinary criminals (meaning those who have no knack for science or genetics) won’t be using this any time soon, but what about those who can afford to buy or corrupt people who can? They perpetrating a crime and blaming it on another person has just reached a whole new (high tech) level.

If DNA evidence is not all that infallible, then we should find a new method in the future or secure that the handling of DNA evidence from the crime scene is secure (meaning lesser chances of contamination). This surely casts doubt on the credibility of DNA evidence. However, for now, it remains to be the “golden standard of proof.”

Friday, September 25, 2009

Assassination via Wiki

"John Seigenthaler Sr. was the assistant to Attorney General Robert Kennedy in the early 1960's. For a brief time, he was thought to have been directly involved in the Kennedy assassinations of both John, and his brother, Bobby. Nothing was ever proven."
— Wikipedia

The Seigenthaler biography appeared in Wikipedia for 132 days.

I myself am a Wiki baby. When searching for random facts, I would first click on Wikipedia to get a general view of whatever topic I’m searching for. So for me, Wiki is simply wonderful. Obviously, the same sentiment is not felt by John S. The Wiki facts and entries are composed by contributors who may or may not have expertise or any particular knowledge in the area. More importantly, the contributors are unknown and virtually untraceable.

Apparently in the US, major communications Internet companies are bound by federal privacy laws that protect the identity of their customers. So even those who defame online are protected and their names will only be given up if a lawsuit resulted in a court subpoena. Amazingly, Federal law also protects online corporations such that they are not treated as the publisher or speaker. In other words, online service providers cannot be sued for disseminating defamatory attacks on citizens posted by others.

Hehe. Very explosive since the Internet is such a great avenue for free speech.

Oh Wiki – YouRe so Fine

Our speaker last week mentioned that between Encarta and Wikipedia who would bet on open source encyclopedia as something more viable than one that is created and sponsored by Microsoft. No one saw the success story of Wikipedia. Since its inception in 2001, its rise to online fame has surprised all of us. However, Wikipedia’s growth seems to have plateaued. Contributors have suddenly become too lazy to create new articles or to fix errors. At the same time, the contributors are trying to improve on Wikipedia’s trustworthiness. Case in point, the entry of John Seigenthaler which stated that he'd been a suspect in the John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy assassinations.

  • "John Seigenthaler Sr. was the assistant to Attorney General Robert Kennedy in the early 1960's. For a brief time, he was thought to have been directly involved in the Kennedy assassinations of both John, and his brother, Bobby. Nothing was ever proven.” --Wikipedia

Because of other hoax entries, the popular site started imposing editorial control. Because of the new rules, public participation has dwindled. Also, what more can you add when the site contains more than 3Million entries. So when I was in high school, I saw the rise & fall of Encarta. Now, I’m experiencing the Wiki Plateau.

Philippine Technology Transfer Act NOW!

Government scientists may soon profit from the fruits of their labor when a bill now before the Senate is enacted into a law that permits them to earn from any commercial spin-offs of their research and even to form companies that will sell the technologies they have developed.

Scientists and researchers in government institutions will be allowed to retain up to 40 percent of revenues. Government agencies will not own the research or technology if they fund less than half of the research and development (R&D).In cases of joint funding, ownership will be shared equally by the scientists and the government agency.

These are some of the features of the “Technology Transfer Act of 2008” filed by Senator Edgardo J. Angara and endorsed by the Departments of Science and Technology (DOST), Agriculture (DA), Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Health (DOH), Trade and Industry (DTI), Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Intellectual Property Philippines.

The bill is aimed to encourage innovation, promote scientific and technical knowledge and enhance economic competitiveness.

At the same time, it aims to protect the intellectual property rights that rightly belong to R&D-related government institutions and the scientists and researchers who undertake them.Granting R&D institutions the rights to intellectual property generated with public funds can lead to better use of research results that might otherwise remain unused, adding it creates start-up companies from the academe that generates more employment for the public.For R&D institutions, the benefits may include increased licensing and royalty revenues, more contract research and greater partnership between private industry and business-minded scientists and researchers.
The weakest link in the country’s innovation system is the process of transferring and commercializing the results of R&D particularly those undertaken by government-funded R&D institutions.

The bill as filed by Sen. Angara has been substituted by Senate Bill 3416 which is now pending second reading. While Sen.Lacson and Sen.Estrada are wasting our money bickering and digging up each other's skeletons in the closet good legislation such as this remain unattended.

Blaming The System

As a government employee and GSIS member, I'm really irked at how inefficient and screwed up the institution is. Due to circumstances that cannot be attributed to its members, loans are no longer available, premium payments previously made can't be reconciled, and retirees are having the most terrible time trying to process their benefits. What's worse is that GSIS won't even accept the error of their ways. Instead of trying to find a solution (if that's even possible); they blame the system -- IBM in particular.


Don't blame the system for your inadequacies! How do you expect people to believe that a well-known multinational computer giant like IBM could provide an absolutely defective system that would fry all of GSIS's records? I think it's much easier to believe that something fishy went on, especially if one would look into the lifestyles and assets of GSIS's executives. *cough* winston *cough*

Yes, system failures happen all the time: in corporations, telecoms, even UPD's own "CRS". But for it to mess up so bad that even after several months of trying to "fix" the system, still very few records have been reconciled, is an outrage! I am not a computer geek; but I do know that systems are built to have recovery programs or quick-fix, troubleshooting mechanisms. I refuse to believe that IBM could be at fault.

And so, to the people at GSIS, especially the old ones who (most probably) have a hand in creating this sh*thole we are in right now: please clean up your act. Don't let thousands of people suffer because of your incompetence, or utter lack of conscience. You may be enjoying life now, but people have souls which can burn in hell...

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Facebook, the hottest social networking site right now, has definitely given the term "stalker" a whole new meaning. There is the usual kind of stalker that requires a restraining order, and luckily for us, there aren’t too many of them out and about. Then there is the Facebook stalker who, whether you like to admit it or not, lives in every one of us.

Admit it, you’ve taken advantage of Facebook’s anonymous profile viewing when your ultimate crush from work posted pictures from his Saturday afternoon’s basketball game. Or what about that time when your former classmate from college posted those sexy pictures from her Boracay trip? Surely you took a peek out of curiosity. There’s something about it that wakes the voyeur in us, and it will not stop unless it gets its fix which Facebook happily provides.

On the other hand, there won’t be voyeurs without exhibitionists, and Facebook users take on this dual role. You secretly look at pictures of others, but you also post pictures for their viewing satisfaction. You kind of hope that they will be checking you out too, especially since you look particularly good in that pink halter top you’re wearing from that drunken Saturday night out.

It just goes to show how nosy yet narcissistic people are. We like to know what other people are up to, and we hope that they’re curious about what we’ve been up to as well. In short, Facebook has become the online version of that happening bar where people go to see and be seen. It’s a virtual runway where we all strut our stuff, where we are both the models and the viewers.

But it’s all in good fun.

Brining SciFi to Life

I wonder if, or how long before, someone discovers or proves that time is indeed a fourth dimension; if it hadn't already happened. Even for someone who isn't in law school, I sure watch too much TV. Or more appropriately, I buy too much of what they sell on the tube. But my thinking is driven by the fact that in Jules Verne's time, it was very much preposterous to think that anyone could go around the world in 80 days, much less to the moon! But now you can go around the world in a split second, compared to Verne's time frame, and man has been on the moon. Submarines and helicopters are so common, even my almost-2-year-old daughter knows of them. And back then, they couldn't have known that the internet would become a reality.

So I was thinking, you know how newer generations are more visual, maybe our version of Jules Verne novels could be oh, I don't know, Star Trek, Quantum Leap, or Terminator. Oh you know it; I've been dying to make an entry about Terminator. (How could it (TSCC) be canceled just when it was getting good???) I was just wondering what regulation on time travel would be like, or if it could even be regulated. I mean, it's time! It feels more intangible than the internet, and consequently more open and free? A lot of things as we know them today would have to be changed, like the game of lotto and elections.

I've not lost my sense of reality. I was just thinking how science fiction and technological advancements are related in an egg and chicken kind of way. (And I was just hoping to try time travel.)

DOST Scholarship

I took the DOST scholarship exam before graduating from high school. It was actually more like my classmates and I were forced to take the exam. I was lucky enough to have gotten a scholarship. Or so I thought.

Back then, the aid from DOST was 3,500, and UP would subsidize the rest. So I really felt lucky. Until the contract ended and I found out that I couldn't go anywhere outside the country without clearing my name at the DOST, NBI, and BI. It was such a hassle, that whatever sense of gratitude I had was diminished.

Unfortunately, I only encountered this problem years later, when my sisters had already gotten DOST scholarships. So we all have to have the clearances from DOST, NBI and BI whenever we travel, just in case their system doesn't reflect it.

With the internet and all, you'd think that this wouldn't be a concern anymore. In the first place, it wasn't such a nice thing to put DOST scholars on the hold departure list and not take them out automatically once DOST clears them. After all, it was DOST who put them there. The scholars who have been cleared don't have to be embarrassed at the airport just because the 3 agencies don't coordinate better. My friend had to pay a huge amount of money just so she could go to med school, and she was stopped at the airport after she had been cleared. These agencies also don't have to be embarrassed for inefficiency or insufficiency of their system, when all they have to do is make better use of the internet, which is not even expensive.

when you just can't connect

I used to buy internet cards and go dial-up in order for me to surf the web. I was late in the game in discovering the joys of the net so I didn’t mind the snail speed of dial-up. I just really cared about how many hours I could get with my 100 peso bill. I tried gas, isp bonanza, pldt but I stuck it out with blast since my land line was bayantel and the net disconnected infrequently with this system.
After a time, we decided to upgrade to broadband since dial-up sucked. We asked around about what good service providers we could get. We tried globe wireless because I guess our place is too undeveloped and rural for new cables to reach. (I live in banlat st. in tandang sora by the way…. Ban-where? I know). Also, my household members were all satisfied globe cell subscribers so we had a notion that globe net would be awesome. We were wrong. Globe developed an indoor apparatus for receiving wireless signal. Thing is either Globe didn’t develop their internet service that well back then (3 years ago) or banlat just wasn’t in the map (ban-where again?). so we switched to smart bro. it was better. WAS. At that time, no one in this area cared about internet service. This was a legitimate assumption because cables didn’t reach our area and Globe wasn’t any good and I could see that no houses had tall Smart Bro receiver devices on their roofs. It was great. WAS. But since internet ads have been so aggressive, my neighbors had no choice but to join the craze. To our dismay, Smart Bro apparatuses sprung up like mushrooms. So yeah.. Smart Bro WAS better. And now that it has been raining like crazy, internet has gone from bad to um.. patayin ko nalang comp ko. So when or if you read my entries this week, y’all should know that I tried to publish earlier. It’s just that Smart Bro sucks or this place is not part of the Philippine map.

mix tapes

I’m a music lover. ask a seatmate of mine an annoying thing about me and you’d receive a response saying that I sing during class. sometimes I’m not even aware of it.
I learned to love music from listening to the radio. our karaoke and a walkman were my favorite things. I would listen to rx, lsfm, magic 899, kool 106, 939 kcfm, nu107, cross over 883 and a bunch of other stations whenever I could. And since as a student, I never had enough money to buy 500 peso cds, I recorded music from the radio. I made my own mix tapes. And once I finished a whole cassette, I’d feed it to my sony walkman and forget about everything. Opm, pop, rap and rnb were my favorites, but I’d give everything a shot. As I got busier with my studies, and other activities, I had less time to record music. I still listened to the radio but skept the recording. At this point in time, I found the necessity of buying albums. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford spending money on them.

I’m sure this is exactly why piracy is rampant. Downloading is effortless and cheap if not free. i understand what makes file sharing and piracy (I do not use these two terms synonymously) attractive to consumers. Mahal ang cd eh.. kahit 250-275 nalang ang opm. Mahal parin.
On the other side of things, one of the artists I grew up listening to… yano (or just dong abay now) is out of the business because no one bought his cds. This often makes me think how many great acts have vanished or how many talents do not get a break because of these activities. I mean as far as the new talents thing publishing or making things available on the net could go both ways, it could make or break them. But in the long run, I don’t think it would do them great in terms of their careers. Personally I don’t know a solution to this problem. I would say, maybe for the opm artists at least, taking the indy road could be a good thing.. maybe put up a website and sell records online so all the money goes to them except for taxes and stuff. But it could also be that no one would even know or hear or find out about them by taking this route.
*this is a reflection after reading lily allen’s blog about piracy

Imitating Style Websites: Another Local Fashion Faux Pas

There’s just something about the Philippine fashion industry that bothers me so much I don’t believe we have a fashion industry: it’s the sheer lack of originality. Yes there’s the fact that it’s usually uninspired and repetitive, but I, with awesome passion, just hate the imitation!

Apparently, this undesirable trend has gone into other aspects of the industry.

While looking for research materials for my SLR on fashion and patents, I came across what claimed to be a resource for Philippine fashion. I initially thought I just clicked a wrong link to one of my favorite websites online, or its sister website. But no, lo and behold, turns out I was looking at a local “fashion” magazine’s website! What I initially thought was, then, turned out to be a really, really bad imitation! How wrong is that?

You see, the new trend in major fashion corporations is to keep an online resource or equivalent for the major fashion magazines. Condé Nast Publications is one such corporation essential in the fashion industry, only because they publish what is the biggest fashion magazine, in fact what some recognize as the only fashion magazine, in the world: Vogue. They also publish the other must-read’s (or must-stare-at’s) for the style savvy such as Vanity Fair, GQ,

and Details. As the forerunner in the industry, they realize the importance of keeping an online presence, so they then published and its male equivalent,

And soon everyone followed suit. Clearly some websites went beyond taking inspiration from, and so went for a similar lay-out, similar contents, and hey, a similar name! Actually, it’s not just a similar name, but a popular moniker for Vogue across the world!

The imitation has to stop at some point. I mean as if it’s not enough that clothes are copied, magazines are duplicated but with different names and models, and now, even the websites.

The Imitator however, can rejoice in the fact that the Original is totally oblivious to her existence.

(I originally wrote the name of the local magazine and the website, but that may be fertile ground for a libel suit.) ;-)

So..I’m not alone..SEARCHING for LOVE…

It seems that the indefinable and unfathomable word “love” just placed the Philippines into the world news headlines.

RP has just been declared as the Love Central of the world. You don’t believe me?

Google it!

Google, the search engine giant, has become every info-seeking Web user’s one-stop-shop solution to every unanswered question. Capitalizing on the consumer’s dependence on its services, Google now lets users search what fellow users are “Googleing” with a tool aptly called Google Insights for Search.

Since Google has a “commitment to localize all of our products and services,” Insights for Search also comes in Filipino.

Formally launched in the Philippines last September 10, 2009, the Philippine-specific tool “can compare search-volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties.” Offering a glimpse into the spirit of the times (in real time)”, this service enables one to:

  • view a forecast of future searches for many different queries,
  • watch how interest on a subject has changed over time through an animated map;
  • embed comparison charts on your website;
  • see how user interest rises and falls in a particular subject;
  • see which countries, cities, and regions are most interested in a certain topic;
  • find the most popular queries related to one’s inquiry; and
  • refine one’s worldwide Insights searches by category

The best part of it- it is for FREE. Thus, whether one is a company contemplating on launching an expensive marketing campaign, an advertiser looking to expand keyword lists, an economist analyzing economic trends, or simply an info geek just looking to settle a popularity contest between Taylor Swift and Beyonce, Google Insights for Search can help provide the answers in at no cost. Despite its limitations due to “stringent-privacy-rights-policy”, its real time data results can still very much lure scores of users.

As Google executives claim that Insights for Search reflects how offline incidents affect online behavior, it is worth to ponder on how our country has become the Love Central of the world. Why do we SEARCH for “LOVE”? Although the recent Inquirer lifestyle article endeavors to provide rationalization, there are still questions left unanswered, and more questions yet to be asked. Perhaps that is the mystery of LOVE.