Monday, August 31, 2009

A backyard within a backyard

These past few days, I have been following the story of Jaycee lee Dugard who was kidnapped and reunited with her family after 18 years. In the International News, it was said that she was held in captivity for 18 years. She was 11 years old then, now at 29 with 2 daughters who were fathered by her kidnapper, Philip Garrido who was an ex-convict and a sex offender. Unbelievably, Jaycee Lee Dugard did not manage to escape where there were possible opportunities. As I have been reading the news, I found out that she lived a normal life with her kidnapper. I was really filled with overwhelming surprise or shock when I have learned that she really bonded with his captor and in fact she considered herself being married to him. She was able to live for 18 years in the backyard within a backyard with a tent as her house as if she was just camping(see photos Further about the news, Jaycee lee Dugard is experiencing a "Stockholm syndrome" which is a psychological response seen in abducted hostages, in which the hostage shows signs of loyalty to the hostage-taker, regardless of the danger or risk in which they have been placed. I have read some stories similar to this one where a captor later had a relationship with his captive during the course of captivity. This is really happening nowadays. A lot of children are being kidnapped not for any monetary issue but for some reasons that could not be explained. In my own opinion, these things are very rampant because people are falling apart from God's love which is the consequence of being attached more to this world than that of Spiritual needs. It is very sad that most children are victims of this kind of crime wherein at their young minds they experience deep hurt and can lead to more devastating life. This reminds me of how people nowadays are becoming so cruel and selfish. Sometimes, I fear for my children because of what is happening around us. Good, that I have God who can control everything and will protect me and my family from any danger in life. If everyone would only cling to God what a perfect world would it be.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Unforgettable encounter with the King of Pop

I am posting this article here in my blog page because it's very touching and shows how a man so popular and wealthy could be so caring, down to earth and generous at the same time. It really makes me sad that we are only hearing these stories now that he is gone. This was written by a PR officer in one of the finest Hotel in the Philippines and was published in a local newspaper. This happened during MIchael Jackson's History Concert tour in Manila on December 1996. Here it goes... Manila Hotel's former PR officer Gwen Cariño writes about her close encounter with hotel guest Michael Jackson in December 1996 When I was a PR officer at Manila Hotel, I was assigned to head the annual Orphan's Christmas Party where 300 children from different orphanages around Metro Manila were treated to a day of fun and surprises. It was one of the biggest projects on my plate and it was such a challenge to focus on work the day before the big event, knowing Michael Jackson was billeted in the hotel. Two nights before, I had been fortunate to be part of his welcome line at the hotel lobby together with the rest of the PR and sales staff but was content enough to see him walk by. The day before, a guy claiming to be Michael Jackson's aide from Mamarao Productions came to the office. I couldn't recall his name but he looked for the "person in charge" and said his boss had read the announcement about the event in the Dear Guest flyers we had circulated to all the rooms a week before. Michael wanted to know how he could help. His aide went up to the Penthouse and down to the PR office several times after we gave our suggestions. Michael offered to fill up the 300 loot bags with goodies and toys, candies and chocolates. But after getting close to 50 sponsors, it was actually a problem for us to dispose of everything. The King of Pop, Michael Jackson. So I thought can the King of Pop meaningfully join the affair? I couldn't possibly have him be with the kids in the palayok game or the pabitin as he might end up being mobbed! And since the annual event was really all about giving, I mustered all my courage and told the Mamarao guy that the best thing I could think of was for Michael to literally be present to help distribute the loot bags, sign autographs and pose with the children for photos. "Wow, that may not be easy. You're talking about handing goodie bags to 300 children and I can just imagine the chaos. We'll see, Ms. Jacinto. I'll get back to you," he said. Lunch break came and it was the most hurried one I ever took in my entire life. It wasn't until after 5 p.m. that Michael's aide came back and said, "Michael is more than happy to do whatever you suggest. How do we go about it tomorrow?" I wanted to scream. I had to calm myself and regain composure as the Lizzie Maguire in me said, "Get real, get back into focus." We agreed that Michael would join after the games, musical program and snacks, and at the last part to give out the loot bags. My colleague Annette Africano and boss Dulce Agnir requested for additional security around the garden and the stage area as this was where we decided to distribute the gifts. We made sure the children would form an orderly line. Then the moment arrived. It was at the Champagne Gardens on Dec. 7, 1996. I was surprised to see him walking towards us, guided by his aide. Michael came up to me as I had to brief him. "Hi, how are you? Thanks so much for letting me in, I know I'm early 'coz I didn't want to miss the program." I said, "Are you kidding? Thanks so much for volunteering! Here's what Michael, why don't you just sit here and watch the musical numbers before we get into the gift giving. I will have to tweak the program a bit." He replied, "Sure, anything you say... (pausing to look at my name tag) Gwen!" I was stunned at how incredibly sweet and modest he was. And in my mind it was, "Oh my God, this is really happening!" Amazing how he patiently sat through the whole program. Carol Banawa, then an Ang TV mainstay couldn't believe MJ was watching her perform. She had her red blouse signed by him right after her number. Then followed Stefano Mori's dance number. Later, his back up singers and dancers came up on stage followed by select kids from different orphanages who danced to the beat of Billie Jean. Oh, the smile on Michael's face was just amazing. Then we announced that Michael will be distributing gifts onstage. I explained to him that there's a loot bag for the younger kids and another for the older ones and he nodded. The thrill and excitement he gave those children was incredibly touching. It was in between the gift bag distribution that I caught a glimpse of MJ, not as a performer but as a person. It was one in the afternoon. Santa Claus (David Endriga, a friend of fellow PR officer Francis Capistrano) was with us. The heat was scourging and I was worried that Michael felt so hot with his black long-sleeved signature attire and hat. "Are you alright Michael? We can let you take a break," I asked. He said, "I'm cool Gwen. Just imagine how Santa feels inside his velvet suit and beard. We'll be fine." I never heard him complain or say a word about how hot it was or how long the line was. He had the most beautiful manners. He didn't even ask for a drink or a towel to wipe his sweat but one of our banquet staff made sure he got a glass of fresh orange juice. An hour passed and we were halfway through gift-giving when we noticed that the garden was getting filled up. Suddenly, there were people from media, politicians, officials and hotel guests including those in a wedding reception at the nearby Champagne Room who deserted the newly-weds just to get a glimpse of the King of Pop. "Oh oh, this isn't supposed to be, I'm so sorry," I said. It's all right, we'll get through it," Michael said smiling. As we finished giving out the last loot bag to an 11-year-old orphan, a new line of more kids and adults formed. Michael's bodyguard, Wayne, said. "We can leave now." Michael replied calmly, "We can't leave when there are still people in line. It's Christmas, dude." I felt my heart beat faster and the hair on my arms and the back of my neck stood up. He wasn't just the most electrifying performer, but the most generous person. One of the most memorable moments was when a lady came up to him for an autograph. Laughing and holding his tummy, he said "Hey Gwen, you've gotta check this out. He whispered, "It's a blank check. The lady is making me sign on a blank check." We laughed hard and little did we know that it wasn't even half of the comedy. He later showed me and Wayne other stuff people would use or pick up on the ground when they couldn't find paper for him to sign on. One lady made him sign at the back of her elegant, designer Filipiniana gown. One teenager came up to him holding a dead leaf and another one, a popped balloon. Imagine how our laughter ballooned as well. It was an amazing, genuine experience. At one point he asked if I was going to catch his History concert and I said "tomorrow night." "Oh, you'll have a blast!" Michael told me. At this point he became concerned about the stage as adults outnumbered the kids. His face had nervousness written all over it but he still didn't complain. He tapped the wooden floor with his foot several times making sure it was sturdy enough not to fall apart. "I've experienced the stage collapse and I just want to make sure we're all safe here," he explained. Half of me wanted the line to finish because we were literally melting and worried about our safety, but half of me didn't, knowing that once the line ended, Michael will leave. At some point it did end. I managed to get an autograph for my sisters and me before our general manager, Clem Pablo, requested him to sing Give Love on Christmas Day. Cesar Sarino, one of the hotel's officials, addressed his thank you note to the King of Pop. Then I saw his guards and aides whisking Michael off stage. I said in my mind, "Oh man, I didn't even have the chance to say goodbye." Suddenly, I saw Michael return on stage and say, "Thanks so much to you and your team, Gwen. This really means a lot." Then he held me beside him and said, "I'll see you at the concert." As Michael Jackson is laid to rest and returned to pristine condition in the afterlife, these two incredible acts of the King of Pop - volunteering for charity and unselfishly spending time with the less fortunate, will forever be the way I will remember this man. -- Gwen Cariño

Happy Birthday, Jacko!

If he's still alive today, he will be turning 51. I wonder how he would celebrate his birthday today if he's still alive. On his 5oth birthday, he chose to celebrate it watching cartoons with his three children without any lavish party. As my birthday gift, I recalled some of his songs which I really love so much. I have listed here my top 10 songs in which I gave my personal insights for every songs. 1. Heal the World is the best song of all time which speaks about giving ourselves time to care for each other that in our own little way we can help achieve what's best for the human race. My daughter Giselle has learned to play it on the piano and it is such a wonder song and it has a beautiful medley very inspiring. 2. You are not alone. It tells of being apart from his loved one and he never knew the reason why she left. I wonder who would that be? She must be lucky enough to had his song. Well, anyway it's a promise kept that he will love her even if they are far apart. He will stay and promise to love her forever. 3. Someone in the dark is very popular to me not only it was made as a theme from the movie ET an all time hit movie but the lyrics itself was so touching that tells of someone who is longing for a friend. I dedicate this song to my daughter Giselle who really had hard time making friends. This song is really meant for my daughter. 3. She's out of my life. It really cuts like a knife for someone who lost a loved one. I have learned that this was written for Karen carpenter by his ex-bf who after they broke up had realized how much he loved Karen Carpenter who later on died of anorexia. While Michael was doing the music video he became so emotional that he really cried so much while singing the song. 4. Rock with you. How I love the melody of this song. The lyrics are so amazing. The beat was really unbeatable which can really make you dance away until sunlight. When I was in High school we danced to this song and it was so cool to dance it all the way. 5. Smile. Although, he only adapted the song but he sang it with so much passion and you can feel its thought the way he sang it. MJ was able to deliver this heartfully. I know that this was his favorite song and so do I. 6. Smooth Criminal. This is a real knockout! So amazing. I am so much glued to this song. Here, he created his dance step anti-gravity lean which was really applauded by millions of his fans. 7. Billie jean. Who would not want this song? 8. Thriller. A creation that made the world appreciate MJ and made him so famous and rich. Unbeatable in so many aspects. It so lively and very timeless. 9. Black or white. I am so in love with the lyrics, melody, beat and all of it. In fact, I am using this as my phone's message alert tone. 10. Man in the mirror. it tells of Michael's life. How he was treated and was a victim of selfish love. He challenged himself to change his ways and be the better person. These were only few of the MJ Songs but all of his songs would remain my favorites and will pass them to my next generations. I love you so...MJ

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Who will take to change a life?

Have you ever been asked to sacrifice your life for the others? Have you ever been forced to make a decision that will cause the life of a loved one? Just last night my daughter had asked me to watch a short film ( Most the Bridge) about a man who was forced to sacrifice his son to save the passengers in the train from meeting an accident. As I have watched the film which only runs for 33 minutes, I really felt so sad and had a hard time imagining myself as the father. This movie really brought tears into my eyes. It reminds me of the love of God to the mankind that He gave His son to save us from death through His own blood. I was left with a question that if I were the father would I do the same thing? My daughter asked me who will I save? After a minute of silence, I said that I am not God nor a hero to sacrifice my son, after all will they care about me & my son? I may sound selfish but I do not want to regret it all my life losing a loved one over people who do not care a bit. But I realized that God wants us to be Christians and sacrifice our life for others. It's really hard to follow Jesus. We need to have a great faith in God.Truly, only God can do that, but as God commanded as to be like him it would really take a great faith to do such. This film has definitely brought tears to my eyes. If anyone doubts GOD'S Love, he should think about it the way they portrayed it here. (see

Saturday, August 22, 2009

nobody, nobody but you from wonder girls

I first heard this song from my eldest daughter Abie who is a certified Korean fanatic sometime in September 2008. She always watched the video on Youtube 10 times a day. I always get mad at her every time she sang it in Korean. I told her, "what a senseless song!", how could she understand that song? Little did I know that Korean song will be in the airwaves almost every hour in the local radio station now. What a phenomenal stardom the Wonder Girls acheved from the Filipino audience. I really cannot believe how this Korean song has invaded our local music industry. Even in my office, my colleagues would sing it with full of energy and passion. It reminds me of how Sandara Park captured the heart of the young Filipinos. It's so sad to think that Korean entertainment has made big waves here in the Philippines and so many Filipinos are dying to follow Koreanovela and its music than that of our own local shows. I cannot blame our people for liking Korean stuff because they are so attractive and very catchy. There is another famous boy band from Korea that would also make a big blow to the Filipino audience soon just like how it is for Wonder Girls. From what I heard from my daughter Abie, Super Junior will release their Album in September and I am afraid that our young citizens including my daughter will be captured by their kind of music which also reminds me of the F4.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bohol Getaway April 30-May 8, 2009

My last summer vacation with my family was a real knockout. After 5 years, I went back again to the place where my hubby was born. A real good place to see. The last time I was there the place was not so populated. You could see a lot of unoccupied land waiting to be hibernated. But as I came back, so many commercial establishments rose up to the city that I once knew as very serene. Now, whatever things we have in Manila are also visible there. From fashion, cars, leisure, gadgets and so so were everywhere. But, I think there is a town where in Boholanos are so proud of which remains so beautiful as ever. I am talking about the beaches in Bituon, Guindulman, where my family had a chance to stay over night. Its sugary white powder sand is no match to other beaches not only here but around the world. Bohol has been blessed with beautiful ocean. As of the moment, so many foreigners are flocking to see the beauty of the Island in Bohol. I am so excited to say that this coming December, with the Cebu Pacific Air free round trip tickets ( which my family fortunately acquired )we will be able to see Bohol again. See you in my next blog...ciao

That's my Michael

No one can ever replace the King of Pop in my life. I grew up following his music from Ben, One day in your life and many more up to this day. It's almost 2 months since he died of a cardiac arrest and I am still mourning his loss. There are mornings when I wake up and I feel so sad that MJ is already gone;that I can no longer see his great moves, listen to him while he talks about what's going on with his glamorous life. All I can see are his memories while he was still alive in magazines, books, videos etc. MJ somehow touched my life in a very extraordinary way. I really can't explain the feeling I have right now. All I know is I will miss him forever and I will remember him. Michael has written so many songs that advocates humanitarian causes, love, loneliness, adventure and many more which gave me so much inspiration. Sometimes, I would wonder what if me and Michael met sometime when he was still alive. I would take care of him, love him without asking anything in return, just be with him. But that will never happen. He's gone and only his music will stay with me. I love you Michael, I know how good you are, that you have a great faith in God. Thanks for the music that you have shared to the world. Thank God that he used you to channel the wonder in music.You're such a genius in your field. You did it with flying colors and you were always at your best. I will miss you Michael, but in the end God will always be on top of everything.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bed and breakfast in Carmen, Bohol

The cheapest way of spending holiday is to stay at a place where you are not really away from home. If you are going to see Chocolate Hills in Carmen Bohol, drop by at Bed and Breakfast located in Villa Luisa Carmen, only 2 kilometers away from one of the famous tourist spots in the Philippines. Bed and breakfast originally started in United Kingdom. Tourists prefer to stay in a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and breakfast, but usually does not offer other meals. Typically, bed and breakfasts are private homes with fewer than 10 bedrooms available for commercial use. Here in the Philippines, there are bed and breakfasts too. In Bohol, Edna Ballesteros owns one. It has 3 bedrooms each with bathroom, has a loft and a basement where you and your family and friends can have fun. Our family stayed there overnight and we really liked the place. It was very nice. The caretakers were so kind and very accommodating. We were accommodated in a bedroom which has two big beds that suit our family. In the morning the breakfast was served in the host's kitchen. Bed and breakfast in Bohol offers a homely and wholesome atmosphere which will make you feel relaxed. Well, if you feel like going to this place you may vsit for some photos or just send an email thru ;)