Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Job opening: Communications Officer

Project Communications Officer (Quezon City, Philippines office)

The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) is a growing global alliance of over 800 members in 90 countries whose vision is a just and toxic‐free world without incineration. GAIA was founded in 2000 in South Africa and brings together grassroots organizations who are fighting for environmental justice, waging and winning campaigns against multimillion dollar waste corporations, taking on the corporate-driven “take-make-waste” model that is destroying our planet, and advancing bottom-up solutions that are good for communities, workers, the environment, and the climate. (To learn more, see

We are looking for a creative and experienced Project Communications Officer that will develop and implement communications strategies and campaigns in the Asia‐Pacific region, and support GAIA’s communications internationally.

A  successful candidate should have strong writing and communication skills, with experience developing and implementing communications strategies and campaigns. The candidate should also be an effective networker and organizer with a commitment to the principles of environmental justice, who is excited by the opportunity to increase GAIA member engagement, regional strategizing, and cross-border solidarity. The communications officer is expected to contribute to the planning and implementation of campaigns and projects to promote Zero Waste as an environmental health and justice solution and work with communities to stop pollution from waste burning.

The Communications Officer will work primarily with GAIA’s Asia Pacific team who are composed of staff from the Philippines, Australia and India.  He/she will also work closely with GAIA’s International Coordinator based in California, USA and GAIA’s communications team based in the US and the UK. She/he will be part of GAIA’s international coordination team, which includes people based in Chile, the Philippines, Australia, India, US, UK and Belgium.


Please note that specific responsibilities and time allocation will be determined based on skill levels. All staff members globally, regardless of position, are expected to carry certain responsibilities to maintain our network infrastructure and online platforms. Candidates with many years of experience will be expected to provide higher-level strategic guidance and will work with junior level staff to produce written and visual content and maintain online platforms.
•    In coordination with other staff and members, help strengthen and improve how GAIA communicates its vision and campaigns to target audiences. This includes crafting audience-appropriate messaging, determining appropriate tactics and platforms for sharing our messages, shaping and sharpening GAIA’s brand, and providing both ongoing and campaign-specific communications guidance to staff and members.
•    As part of the Asia‐Pacific team, lead the development and implementation of regional communications strategies and materials;
•    Tap into the wealth of stories and expertise in the GAIA network and leverage these network resources to both support member campaigns engage GAIA’s varied audiences around the world, with a focus on the Asia‐Pacific.
•    Ensure the effective us of GAIA’s online platforms in order to reach target audiences and achieve our desired outcomes(including our website, blog, and social media.);
•    Develop and supervise the development of written content and creative visual work such as articles, memes, photo galleries, short videos, infographics, etc.
•    Track relevant issues in the media and online, as well as on our email lists, and seek hooks and openings related to communications goals;
•    Develop and maintain relations with traditional and new media contacts and partners in Asia‐Pacific especially in key countries such as India, China, and the Philippines among others;
•    Ensure high-quality reports, articles, and other written materials from GAIA offices in all regions.
•    Help develop communication strategies and products to keep GAIA membership informed, involved and supported in their campaigns relevant to GAIA goals and advocacies.
•    Build the capacity of GAIA’s grassroots membership to effectively communicate their campaigns and victories with a broad audience.


•    At least three (3) years of experience in developing and implementing communication strategies, and in media relations work in Asia‐Pacific;
•    A strong understanding and knowledge of Asia Pacific regional media, as well as key global media markets;
•    Collaborative team‐player with strong interpersonal communication skills and demonstrated experience in working with people from different cultures and nationalities in the region;
•    Demonstrated capacity for issue analysis, and strong writing and public speaking skills including advanced skills in communicating complex issues to the public;
•    Highly computer literate, and experienced with new media technologies and social networking tools;
•    Fluent in English (ability to speak or write in other regional languages a plus);
•    Demonstrated ability to turn projects around in a timely manner, maintain attention to detail, and adhere to deadlines;
•    Passion for social and environmental justice, and a commitment to communications strategies which elevate the work of our grassroots membership and create space for communities to speak for themselves; and
•    Willingness to travel internationally on a regular basis, and flexibility in working with international staff, including biweekly calls outside of regular work hours.


•    Experience with grassroots organizing or networking strongly preferred.
•    Website content management experience preferred.
•    Experience supervising junior staff and/or interns.


This position will be based in Manila, Philippines – the country with the world’s only national ban on waste incineration.

We offer a competitive salary, leaves, health insurance and other similar employment protections. We take pride in our ability to support one another's work in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect, and look forward to introducing the successful candidate to our welcoming and highly motivated team and members.

We are seeking candidates who are excited to make an initial commitment of at least one year to this work.


GAIA is committed to the principle of Equal Employment Opportunity for all employees, regardless of sex, marital status, nationality, religion, age, sexual orientation and any other characteristics unrelated to the performance of the job.    People from historically marginalized groups are strongly encouraged to apply.


Please send your resume, letter of intent, and two different writing samples and/or communication products demonstrating different communications skill sets to Froilan Grate at froilan(at)

This position will be open until filled.   Screening and interviews will begin on July 11, 2016.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The most fuel-efficient cars in the Philippines

The Philippine Department of Energy (DOE), in cooperation with Petron, conducted a fuel-efficiency test of cars available in the Philippines. I understand the test was an initial effort of the DOE's program to beef up its Philippine Energy Standards and Labelling Program, a very laudable initiative from the DOE and a huge help to local consumers shopping for cars.

The test conducted was for highway driving with air con turned on. It was voluntary and the car manufacturer provided the driver, albeit with an independent observer in tow. The results therefore are to be taken with a sizeable degree of caution. For more details on the test look here.

Among 38 gas-fed vehicles, the Suzuki Celerio A/T (PHP 549,000) was the most fuel efficient car consuming 29.14 kilometers per liter (km/L). Among the 32-diesel-fed cars, the winner was Isuzu D-Max (PHP 872,000) registering a 38.46 km/L consumption. But if fuel economy in pesos is what you want, given the price differential of diesel and gasoline in the Philippines, you might want to consider: 1) Audi A3 2.0 TDI FWD 6AT (Diesel) at 28.46km/L; 2) Accent Sedan 1.6 FWD 6MT (Diesel) at 29.41km/L; 3) Peugeot 301 1.6 FWD 6MT (Diesel) at 29.35km/L; and 4) Volkswagen Jetta 2.0 TDI FWD 5MT (Diesel) at 28.08km/L.

 Here is the complete result of the test run:


* A3 2.0 TDI FWD 6AT (Diesel) - 28.46km/L

* Q5 2.0 TDI AWD 7AT (Diesel) - 20.79km/L


* A113 1.3 FWD 5MT (Gasoline) - 18.58km/L

* M20 1.5 RWD 5MT (Gasoline) - 15.48km/L

* MZ40 1.2 RWD 5MT (Gasoline) - 14.54km/L


* Sail 1.5 FWD 4AT (Gasoline) - 18.26km/L


* Fiesta 1.0 Sport+ FWD 6AT (Gasoline) - 23.39km/L

* Focus 1.5 Sport FWD 6AT (Gasoline) - 19.20km/L


* Toplander 2.8 RWD 5MT (Diesel) - 16.07km/L

* Toplander 2.8 4WD 5MT (Diesel) - 14.81km/L


* Brio 1.3 S FWD 5AT (Gasoline) - 24.78km/L

* Brio Amaze 1.3 V FWD 5AT (Gasoline) - 23.77km/L

* City 1.5 E FWD CVT (Gasoline) - 26.02km/L

* Civic 1.5 RS FWD CVT (Gasoline) - 27.56km/L

* CR-V 2.0 S FWD 5AT (Gasoline) - 20.59km/L

* HR-V 1.8 E FWD CVT (Gasoline) - 24.82km/L

* Jazz 1.5 VX FWD CVT (Gasoline) - 28.60km/L

* Mobilio 1.5 V FWD CVT (Gasoline) - 24.69km/L


* Accent Hatch 1.6 FWD 7AT (Diesel) - 25.64km/L

* Accent Sedan 1.6 FWD 6MT (Diesel) - 29.41km/L

* Elantra 1.6 FWD 6MT (Gasoline) - 27.83km/L

* Santa Fe 2.2 FWD 6AT (Diesel) - 22.76km/L

* Tucson 2.0 FWD 6AT (Gasoline) - 21.18km/L

* Tucson CRDI 2.0 FWD 6AT (Diesel) - 24.80km/L


* Crosswind XT 2.5 RWD 5MT (Diesel) - 20.76km/L

* D-Max 3.0 RWD 5MT (Diesel) - 38.46km/L

* MU-X LS-A 3.0 RWD 5AT (Diesel) - 23.53km/L


* Carnival 2.2 FWD 6AT (Diesel) - 19.20km/L

* Forte 1.6 4-Door FWD 6AT (Gasoline) - 16.65km/L

* Forte Koup 2.0 2-Door FWD 6AT (Gasoline) - 20.62km/L

* Picanto 1.2 FWD 4AT (Gasoline) - 19.55km/L

* Rio 4-Door 1.4 FWD 4AT (Gasoline) - 17.41km/L

* Sorento 2.2 AWD 6AT (Diesel) - 21.67km/L

* Soul 1.6 FWD 7AT (Diesel) - 23.28km/L

* Sportage 2.0 AWD 6AT (Diesel) - 21.31km/L


* Enforcer DC 2.5 4WD 5MT (Diesel) - 17.28km/L

* Xylo 2.2 RWD 5MT (Diesel) - 20.26km/L


* 2 R 1.5 FWD 6AT (Gasoline) - 25.95km/L

* 2 V 1.5 FWD 6AT (Gasoline) - 26.72km/L


* Cooper 3-Door Hatch 1.5 FWD 6AT (Gasoline) - 21.59km/L


* Mirage 1.2 FWD 5MT (Gasoline) - 25.64km/L

* Mirage 1.2 FWD CVT (Gasoline) - 27.05km/L

* Montero Sport 2.4 4WD 6MT (Diesel) - 18.48km/L

* Montero Sport 2.4 4WD 8AT (Diesel) - 17.79km/L


* Almera 1.2 FWD 5MT (Gasoline) - 21.26km/L

* Juke 1.6 FWD CVT (Gasoline) - 23.67km/L

* Navara 2.5 RWD 6MT (Diesel) - 17.85km/L

* Sylphy 1.6 FWD MT (Gasoline) - 24.18km/L

* Urvan 2.5 RWD 5MT (Diesel) - 15.41km/L


* 301 1.6 FWD 6MT (Diesel) - 29.35km/L

* Expert Tepee 2.0 FWD 6AT (Diesel) - 17.95km/L


* Cayenne 3.0 AWD 8AT (Diesel) - 18.48km/L


* Forester 2.0 AWD CVT (Gasoline) - 16.71km/L

* Legacy S 2.5 AWD CVT (Gasoline) - 20.01km/L

* XV 2.0 AWD CVT (Gasoline) - 19.46km/L


* Celerio 1.0 FWD 5MT (Gasoline) - 27.70km/L

* Celerio 1.0 FWD CVT (Gasoline) - 29.14km/L

* Ciaz GL 1.4 FWD 5MT (Gasoline) - 27.94km/L

* Ciaz GLX 1.4 FWD 4AT (Gasoline) - 22.93km/L

* Ertiga GLX 1.4 FWD 4AT (Gasoline) - 22.03km/L

* Swift 1.2 FWD 4AT (Gasoline) - 22.35km/L


* Indigo LX 1.4 FWD 5MT (Diesel) - 22.36km/L

* Manza Aura 1.3 FWD 5MT (Diesel) - 23.79km/L

* Vista Ignis 1.3 FWD 5MT (Diesel) - 23.51km/L


* Fortuner 2.4 RWD 6AT (Diesel) - 18.91km/L

* Hilux 2.4 RWD 6AT (Diesel) - 21.59km/L

* Innova 2.8 RWD 6AT (Diesel) - 25.25km/L


* Jetta 2.0 TDI FWD 5MT (Diesel) - 28.08km/L


* V40 2.0 Turbo FWD 6AT (Gasoline) - 16.31km/L

* XC60 D4 2.0 FWD 8AT (Diesel) - 20.82km/L

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Cinematheque Centre Manila

The Film Development Council of the Philippines runs the Cinematheque Centre Manila film theater on 855 T. M. Kalaw Street, Ermita, Manila. Cinematheque Centre Manila screens only the best films of Philippine cinema and is also a venue for different film festivals in the country, many of which are sponsored by foreign embassies.

The screening schedule is posted on the organization's website here and updates are also posted on Cinematheque Centre Manila's Facebook page. The theater seats around a hundred, and charges very minimally, definitely much cheaper than the theaters you find in shopping malls and for far better movies. If you have a lazy afternoon and nothing to do, or if you find yourself tired walking around the Rizal Park or touring the National Museum, the theater would be a good place to rest your feet and watch a movie as it is quite near both sites.

How to Reach it

Take the LRT 1 city train and get off at United Nations (UN) Avenue Station. It is a short walk from there.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Is Sen. Santiago well enough to be president?

There is, I think, serious reason to suspect that she may not be.

In July of 2014, the senator announced she had Stage IV lung cancer but that it was not spreading. According to her, her doctors former DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral and Ruth Divinagracia had recommended she take pills for "molecular targeting" of cancer cells. Now, Senator Santiago claims she had "licked cancer" and is now ready to run for president.

This is troubling because Senator Santiago's account of her diagnosis and her now buoyant pronouncement of being finally cured of cancer do not quite add up.

Why not?

First, Stage 1V cancer precisely means that the cancer has spread from the original site (see this information from Cancer Research UK on lung cancer number staging system). The senator's previous claim that she had Stage IV cancer but that it had not spread was, therefore, oxymoronic and did not make any medical sense. A lung cancer is  declared Stage IV precisely because it had spread.

Second, Senator Santiago was probably taking Tarceva (erlotinib) tablets in lieu of chemotherapy as her first-line treatment. Perusing the prescription sheet of Tarceva, you don't get the sense it can magically cure stage IV lung cancer. And cancer could always come back from remission. It would be too early to say that Senator Santiago is in the clear now.

What does this all mean? The greatest issue that will hound Senator Santiago's candidacy now will be the same issue that hounded her candidacy in 1992 -- the state of her health. The ruckus about her health in 1992 was probably baseless, fueled by malicious rumour-mongering, but this time it could be quite legitimate.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Mouse That Roared

In this 1959 satirical comedy, the fictional smallest country in the world declares war against the United States over a trade disagreement on wine. All the weighty issues are here: trade, international relations realpolitik, nuclear disarmament and deterrence, the Geneva Conventions, etc. Very funny and highly recommended for friends in foreign relations. Below is a clip:

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Heneral Luna

Many of us, by now, must have seen the sleeper hit of the year, Heneral Luna. You know those Filipino movies that they hype on Facebook and then when you bring yourself to the cinema to watch them, you regret being taken by  all the online buzz? Well, Heneral Luna is  not one of them. So if you haven't had the chance to catch it, I recommend you take the time.

It is surprising, but not altogether unwelcome, that the popularity of the movie has turned just about everyone into amateur historians. Because our respectful and understandably deferential school education has turned all our heroes into staid historical caricatures, it was refreshing to see something like Heneral Luna on the big screen transform the national heroes we see on those postcards from National Bookstore  into regular men faced with the extraordinarily hard task of securing the independence of the first republic in Asia in between the machinations of bigger powers Spain and the United States. And it is compelling to watch.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Eight Diagram Pole Fighter

If you like old kung-fu movies from Hong Kong (and are in the mood for some good, old-fashioned kick-ass fighting), here is one of the best that came out from the legendary Shaw Brothers studio: The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter (1983).

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The House at the End of Time

If you like scary movies, you would not want to miss The House at the End of Time, the highest grossing thriller of all time in Venezuela. It is the best horror movie I've seen in quite a while. If you happen to like great horror movies, you know how they are so few and far between . Don't miss this one.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Opportunity for electrical engineers and ECEs at the NGCP

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines is looking for engineering cadets. This is a good opportunity to work and learn for fresh graduates. 

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Imelda Marcos musical

Some of you might be interested to check out the songs on the Imelda Marcos musical "Here Lies Love" by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim. I found out the songs are all freely available on Spotify. For those not familiar with the show (which is now currently playing in London), this is the musical for which Mark Bautista temporarily left Philippine show business in order to play Ferdinand Marcos.

The all-song musical has gotten rather good reviews both in New York and London (read the New York Times, The Telegraph and The Hollywood Reporter). Check out the songs Here Lies Love, Every Drop of Rain, Pretty Face, and When She Passed By.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Essay writing contest for college and high school students

A. Eligibility
Essay Contest Rules on Overseas Filipinos

This contest is open to all Filipino students or of Filipino descent who are studying in the Philippines or overseas, ages 10 to 25 years old who are currently enrolled in high school and college.

B. Theme
The theme of the essay is “The Overseas Filipinos and their impact in the Philippines.”
The essay should focus on:
  1. The contributions of overseas Filipinos to the economy of the Philippines. The importance of the participation of overseas Filipinos in the Philippine elections.
  2. What are the social risks that the children and families of overseas Filipinos face due to long years of separation or long distance relationships?
  3. Why are the overseas Filipinos called to be the “new heroes” of the Philippines? Please describe the traits of overseas Filipinos which make them unique as global immigrants and Overseas Filipino Workers.
Contestants are encouraged to read books, publications, and the Internet on various articles regarding the theme.

C. Content and Format
  1. It must be original;
  2. It must not be previously published in print or online nor in any visual and/or auditory recording; and
  3. The essay must not be more than 1,500 typed words in English and in MS word format. It should be submitted by email only.
D. Submission
  1. Every student entry must contain the confirmation of the School Principal, College/University Dean or President that the essay is written by and originated from the student. (Click here to download the Official Entry Form)
Only one entry per person will be accepted and limited to one author. The entry must have the following:
A. Title Page which includes the Name, Date and Place of Birth; Email address if applicable. B. The Essay
C. Entry Form which is available at www.uspgg.orgD. Parental Consent, Authorization and Liability Waiver Form (for minor student)
E. Student Consent, Authorization and Liability Waiver Form (for adult student)
2. Entry will be submitted as attachments via email to with the Subject:
3. Only valid entries (completion and submission of Entry Form and Essay) will be accepted and reviewed. Submissions will be open from December 31, 2014 to February 1, 2015. Applicants will receive an acknowledgment of submission by email. Late and incomplete entries will be disqualified.

E. Criteria for Judging
  1. A panel of judges, selected by the US Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG) Ad Hoc Committee for Essay Contest on Overseas Filipinos, will make the final decision.
  2. The following criteria for judging are as follows: Substance – 60% * Writing style/Composition/Organization – 40%
F. Awards and Prizes
The winning essays will be announced in the newspapers and at USP4GG website by February 15, 2015. Winners will be notified by email. Awards ceremony will be held during the Third Global Summit of Filipinos in the Diaspora on February 26, 2015, at Manila Hotel, Manila, Philippines. The winners will be awarded a Certificate of Recognition and cash prizes in the different categories as follows:

High School:
  • First Prize – P12,000.00
  • Second Prize – P6,000.00
  • Third Prize -P 3,000.00
  • First Prize – P25,000.00
  • Second Prize – P12,000.00
  • Third Prize – P6,000.00
There will be 10 Consolation Prizes of P1,000.00 each and a Certificate of Appreciation. Winners under this category do not need to be in the awards ceremony.

The school/college/university of the First Prize winning essays will receive a Certificate of Appreciation and a cash prize of P10,000.00 each.

Expenses to be incurred in attending the awards ceremony such as transportation, food and lodging will be the winner’s responsibility. Winners will be contacted for the details of the awards ceremony. Winners who will not be able to attend the awards ceremony will be notified by email on how to claim the prizes.

G. Others
1. The USP4GG may use or publish in part or in whole the essays submitted by the applicants consistent with its mandate and objectives.

F. Signature of the School Principal, College or University President or Dean, address, email address and telephone number to authenticate the student entry.

Please direct any questions or inquiries regarding this contest to:

Dr. Celia Lamkin, Ad Hoc Committee Chairperson, USP4GG Essay Contest on Overseas Filipinos

Charmaine Calamiong, Secretariat, USP4GG Essay Contest on Overseas Filipinos
Telephone Number: (+ 632) 899-7938 or (632) 899-7939 * Fax Number: (632) 899 -2426
Norman Silvestre, Assistant Secretariat, USP4GG Essay Contest on Overseas Filipinos
Cellphone Number: (+ 63) 927-223-6804 * E-mail:

Monday, January 05, 2015

The Cebu Pacific fiasco was partly because of EDSA trafiic

That services suffer during the holidays is nothing unusual anywhere in the world. When people shop, dine and travel all at the same time, it is but natural and, quite frankly, to be expected that infrastructure and services  built and maintained to address everyday, normal business become congested and overstretched. Still, something has to be said about how bad things have turned out in Manila in December 2014.

For example, I was unfortunate to have travelled from Legazpi to Manila middle week of December. The flight was okay, but upon arriving at the NAIA 3, I had to spend six long hours just queuing for a taxi. I arrived 3 PM at the airport; it was half past 9 when I got out. The airport guard said that the it was past midnight when the queues let up the night before. One lady beside me who came all the way from Davao to give a talk at the University of the Philippines missed her talk altogether waiting for a taxi. So her flight all the way from Mindanao was for nought.

I gathered from the driver of the taxi airport that the reason for the interminable queues was that the taxis were all caught up in the traffic on EDSA and could not return promptly to the airport to fetch  the more recent arrivals.

Now, much has been made about the Cebu Pacific fiasco at the airport, allegedly with many passengers not being able to get on their flights and losing their purchased seats. I was also on Cebu Pacific for my return flight to Legazpi and I observed some of the heated arguments at the check-in counter. Two groups of passengers preceeding me in the line forfeited their seats and had to buy new ( and very expensive ) tickets because they went past the 45-minute cutoff within which to check in before their flight departure. And those passengers were holding the line because naturally they were arguing that since the plane had not yet taken off, the airline should show some leniency because it was the holidays after all, and the EDSA traffic was especially horrendous.

The point of this all is that much as we would like to blame an airline, we should not lose sight of the fact that partly to blame for the airport fiasco is the traffic congestion on EDSA. It is just that we have gotten so used to that problem, we have ceased viewing it as such.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013

N'Kosi Sikeleli Afrika was the anthem of the then underground  African Natl Congress (ANC) and a song of protest heard all over Africa. Singing it was illegal in South Africa and could land one in prison. When apartheid fell and Nelson Mandela came to power, it became the national anthem of South Africa. In my opinion, it is the best national anthem in the world. Here sang by Miriam Makeba, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Paul Simon: