Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dr. Manny Pacquiao?

On my way home after lunch today, I was surprised with the number of students gathered around the gate of Southwestern University. What's more surprising is the multitude of ROTC uniformed students lining in formation. Obviously, someone "big" is expected to come.

Then, as if by on cue, all the girls started to shout (or more appropriately, shriek) on top of their lungs. That's when I realized, today is the day that the university is awarding an honorary doctorate in human kinetics to Manny Pacquiao.

Of course, the decision of the university is not without objection. Some professors are questioning the conferment. "Dr. Aparicio Mequi, dean of the graduate school of Foundation University and a former chair of the Philippine Sports Commission, said on Friday that while Pacquiao had brought honor to the country through his victories in boxing, the planned conferment on him of a doctorate in human kinetics (honoris causa) might be a violation of a policy of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd)," an report said. (Click here to read the entire report)

I will leave it up to the CHED to determine the validity of that honorary doctorate. My only question is, what's next, Congressman Pacquiao?

When Pacman decided to run as congressman before, he enrolled in a college course (after passing the equivalency test of DepEd for high school), taking up political science. That was before the election, probably to show that he is doing something to counter his critics that he is not built for politics. After he lost by a large margin, it was not pursued anymore (unless the school excused him for months when he was training for his de la Hoya fight).

Now, with the doctorate, there is no need for him  to pretend to enroll in a univeristy. If you have  a drop out (Erap) for a president (and another one, an evil corrupt alien calling herself as president), why can't you have a doctor, albeit an honorary doctorate on human kinetics, run for congress?

Or maybe Manny doestn't need the title anymore. He previously registered as a resident on a remote (at least compared to Gen Santos City) area, a move that critics believe is in preparation for his second try at politics. Why the transfer? He has a house in Gen San, he is frequently in Manila and in the US for his trainings and fights, so why register to vote in a remote area?

We can only guess, of course. Maybe there is no Darlene Custodio-like opponent who would beat him to humiliation again; or maybe money talks more in that area (as compared to Gen San again, as money talks everywhere in the Philippines, especially during elections, and especially in the halls of Malacanang and Congress)? It's not so hard to imagine.

You are considered a national traitor if you wished that de la Hoya would win last time (like I did), but maybe a humbled Pacman will realize that just because he is a great boxer, it doesn't mean he can win all his fights. I hope this time Hatton shows him that.

If Manny really wants to help his country, as he claims to be the reason why he is running, there are a lot of other ways that he could do so. He can get inspiration from other super stars, with the like of Jet Li and his One Foundation or many other Hollywood stars (we are sadly lacking examples of stars in the Philippines).

If he is bent on running, his kind of friends already showed us the kind of politician he will be. Mike Arroyo, Chavit Singson, and Lito Atienza? God bless this country!

Patuloy na umiibig sa Pilipinas,
At naniniwala sa Pilipino,

Froilan Grate | GreenMinds

Monday, February 16, 2009

Why No Bystanders?

After a short break from blogging, I have decided to transform this blog into something that would represent my true reasons in having this blog in the first place. Thus the birth of NO BYSTANDERS.

I felt that the original site was a bit self centered, first with the URL "everythingfroi;" and second with the site name "A Glimpse of Poy's Crazy World," when in fact this site is not about me but rather of my thought, views and advocacies. Things that are bigger than me.


I got the inspiration from reading Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point. In the book, the concept of Bystander Effect was discussed, and basically what it says is that people tend to help or to act less when they know there are other people who might do it (I will try to discuss the two concepts later and in succeeding posts).

And upon reflecting on the concepts of "the tipping point" and "bystander effect," I came to realize that these concepts aptly explains some of the basic social problems that we have. Take for example GMA's stay in power. Why is it that after so many scandals, she is still in power. People power fatigue maybe? Maybe we have not reache the tipping point? Or is it the Bystander Effect at work?

Same goes for all our environmental problems. I believe people are not acting because they believe somene will do it anyway.

To explain futher the concept of Bystander Effect, below is an excerpt fro Wikipedia:

"The bystander effect is a social psychological phenomenon in which individuals are less likely to offer help in an emergency situation when other people are present. The probability of help is inversely proportional to the number of bystanders.

The bystander effect was first demonstrated in the laboratory by John Darley and Bibb Latane in 1968.[2] These researchers launched a series of experiments that resulted in one of the strongest and most replicable effects in social psychology. In a typical experiment, the participant is either alone or among a group of other participants or confederates. An emergency situation is then staged — examples include smoke pouring from a vent in the room, a woman falling and becoming injured, a student having an epileptic seizure, etc. The researchers then measure how long it takes the participants to act, and whether or not they intervene at all. These experiments virtually always find that the presence of others inhibits helping, often by a large margin.

There are many reasons why bystanders in groups fail to act in emergency situations, but social psychologists have focused most of their attention on two major factors. According to a basic principle of social influence, bystanders monitor the reactions of other people in an emergency situation to see if others think that it is necessary to intervene. Since everyone is doing exactly the same thing (nothing), they all conclude from the inaction of others that help is not needed. This is an example of pluralistic ignorance or social proof. The other major obstacle to intervention is known as diffusion of responsibility. This occurs when observers all assume that someone else is going to intervene and so each individual feels less responsible and refrains from doing anything.

There are other reasons why people may not help. They may assume that other bystanders are more qualified to help, such as doctors or police officers, and that their intervention would be unneeded. People may also experience evaluation apprehension and fear losing face in front of the other bystanders. They may also be afraid of being superseded by a superior helper, offering unwanted assistance, or facing the legal consequences of offering inferior and possibly dangerous assistance."

So in writing this blog, I proclaim to the entire world:

I refuse to be a bystander!

And I will make it my life's mission to be an example to the world, or at least to my circle of influence, that they too can choose to be not a bystander. Then, probably, we might see a better world someday.

Patuloy na umiibig sa Pilipinas,
At naniniwala sa Pilipino,

Froilan Grate | GreenMinds

Is Academic Freedom Dead in the US?

From the Ecowaste Egroup:

This Action Alert came from Ann Leonard (co-founder of GAIA) who helped the EcoWaste Coalition a lot in terms of introducing us to grantmakers in US who are into public health and environmental justice issues. The Time Magazine in its 6 Oct 2008 issue cited Ann as one of the "heroes of the environment" for her work on Zero Waste and, of course, "The Story of Stuff." Thanks in advance for your support. Manny C. Calonzo

Dear Friends,

You all know that U.S. consumption rates are out of control and driving much of the ecological devastation on the planet. With 5% of the world's population, the U.S. uses 30% of the world's resources and creates 30% of the world's waste.

I created the film The Story of Stuff to inspire people in the U.S. to think about the hidden environmental and social impacts of our out of control consumption patterns here. I have been delighted that many teachers have adopted it for use in classrooms in the U.S. and around the world.

Recently though, a high school teacher in Missoula, Montana showed he Story of Stuff to her high school biology class. An irate parent complained to the school board, which late last month voted that showing the video violated district policy-in effect banning the film.

You can read about this growing controversy here: and we will post updates to our blog at

This is a dangerous precedent.

At a time when every reputable scientist and organization agrees that the future of the planet is at risk, educators need to help students to think critically about the causes and consequences of environmental degradation, especially climate change. School textbooks and mainstream media have failed to adequately address the environmental crises we face, and teachers like Kathleen Kennedy in Missoula should be commended for seeking out alternative materials like The Story of Stuff to encourage critical thinking and action for sustainability.

Fortunately students, parents, and teachers in Missoula and elsewhere are organizing to demand the school board revere its decision. Please join them!

Please take a minute to send an email to the Missoula school board to ask that they reconsider their vote. I've pasted a sample letter below or you can write your own comment.

Email the school board at and send a copy to the local newspaper, the Missoulian, at Please blind cc me at

Stay tuned and thank you for helping!


Annie Leonard
The Story of Stuff

Patuloy na umiibig sa Pilipinas,
At naniniwala sa Pilipino,

Froilan Grate | GreenMinds

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Real Man

Some guys feel the need to love a thousand different women, BUT a real man knows how to love one woman, a thousand different ways.

Copied from a shout of a friend in facebook :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

RP military welcomes shorter soldiers

Why just now? And I wonder if this applies to the Air Force too. Hmmm... Maybe it's  not too late for me.


RP military welcomes shorter soldiers

Agence France-Presse
First Posted 12:13:00 02/14/2009

Filed Under: Military

MANILA, Philippines -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines has lowered its height requirement in order to attract more recruits with technical skills, the military said on Saturday.

The minimum height has been reduced to five feet (1.52 meters) for both genders from five feet, four inches for men and five feet, two inches for women, it said in a statement.

The move was part of "an effort to accommodate soldier-applicants who are not blessed with height but are skilled and qualified (in) carpentry, masonry, computer technicians/programmers, electricians, mechanics, heavy equipment specialists, etc.," it said.

Philippine troops are battling communist guerrillas in the hinterlands of the country and various Muslim armed groups in the south.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Words of Wisdom?

Too often, we lose sight of life's simple pleasures...
Remember, when someone annoys you,
It takes 42 muscles in your face to frown
BUT, it only takes 4 muscles to extend your arm 
and smack the asshole upside the head.

25 Random Facts + 1 truth

OK, I resisted from doing this but I'm kinda feeling down tonight, so what the heck! Here it is:
(from Facebook)

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose at least 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you.

1. I am proud of my skin color. Nuf said.

2. I was the shortest guy in my batch in HS, but I was the CAT Corps Commander. Everyone was under my "control" every Wednesday afternoon, but I never did any power trip. (Though I know they wanted to shoot me then hehe)

3. I was a member of the school Choir. It's been years.

4. I was the News editor of the school paper, and I almost didn't graduate because of a column I wrote. I was asked by the school president (a nun!) to revise it, a few days before graduation. I did not. But someone revised it without my knowledge.

5. Three things I wanted to be when I was young: a priest, a lawyer, and air force pilot. John Grisham made me realize I don't want to be a lawyer, PMA rejected my height (when I was graduating in HS) and I'm still thinking of being a priest.

6. I have not regrets whatsoever. I only learn from the stupid things that I do. If there is something that I can change, I wish I am still a virgin (at 25!).

7. I have no capacity for hatred. I only loose respect for people, but I don't know how to hate them. I easily forget the details of their sins.

8. I don't wanna grow old. I wanna die at 50, or 60 years old, the latest. I don't want to be "ulyanin" and smell old.

9. I believe GMA is evil, but we deserve her for we are not doing anything to stop her. Stop me now.

10. My measure of success: if straws and plastic are banned and phased out - at least in this country in my lifetime.

11. I was lost in Beijing once, and I was standing on the street for 2 hours asking about 200 people who passed by if they speak any English. EVERYONE ignored me. This was 2 years before the Olympics.

12. In connection to 11, I paid the value of 800 pesos for a "tricycle" ride to my hotel, which was on the next street where I was standing for two hours. Pretty stupid for a 20 year old, but hey, it was my first international travel. And I was alone!

13. I once bargained with God, when I was young (like 11), to let me see Bohol, Palawan and Batanes first before I die. I've been to Palawan and Bohol, so I'm trying to stay away from Batanes.

14. I am proud of the fact that I am friends with ALL my ex's.

15. My shortest relationship was 1 day (or more like 6 hours) in HS. She said yes in the morning, at the school library. We broke up in the afternoon. The reason? POLITICS! She was the class president, I was the VP.

16. I had 3 near death experience so far: 1. while swimming in UP Visayas campus after 3/4 of the class failed the algebra exams (i happen to pass it, but was sympathizing hehe) and the waves "swallowed" us to the deeper part. 2. While sitting on a rock/island facing the Pacific and a big wave "swallowed" me again (My hands were bleeding holding on to the rocks) and 3. When I chose a different route to a mountain summit and I found myself holding on to a single shrub on 90 degree slope, with a ravine the height of a 5 story building. I don't know how I ended up there.

17. I am always skinhead. Less shampoo, less water pollution, no sachets, no gels, no bottles. Gay magnet pa! haha (Kidding)

18. I only have 1 vice: SPA/ massage. I don't smoke and rarely drink (I aim to refuse any and ALL alcohol when I'm 26).

19. I am a shy person, meaning I wouldn't volunteer to take the stage. But when, for any reason, I am on the stage, I OWN IT! I do enjoy public speaking, only because I believe in what I am saying as an environmental advocate.

20. I am unemployed since 2007. I have work (tons of work!) but I don't have any employee-employer relationship with anyone. And I like it that way.

21. If we will have a constitutional convention soon, I will run as a delegate. I have to be part of history - and I will make sure that the new constitution will have provisions against political dynasties.

22. I want to get married next year(10-10-10), or enter the seminary. I have a few months to decide.

23. I want to live in Singapore for a short time. I'm a sucker for order, people abiding the law, and taxi drivers who are not rude or greedy (at least they have receipts!).

24. My work always involved handling people who are a lot OLDER than me, and that is the most challenging (and sometimes frustrating) part of my work ever since.

25. I don't want to call my self a vegetarian (I hate labels, of any kind), but I choose not to eat PORK, BEEF, chicken and anything that crawls, walks, runs, hop, fly or anything that breaths air directly. Someday, I will be able to give up seafood also.

And I don't like reading what I wrote, so please pardon the typos (wait, this is no. 26! HEHE)

One Truth: The greatest love of my life so far is with a Swedish girl. And someday, I'm gonna go to Sweden and find her, just to tell her just that. But I'm sure she's married now.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Crazy February

As they say, February is the month for all the crazy people in the world. But this February may just be the craziest month for me. It's nice to get out of Manila once in a while, but when it's this crazy, I do look forward to some "boring" moments back in Manila (hehe). Not that I'm complaining, believe me. In these times, when thousands of people are loosing their jobs, how can I complain about mine when it involves a lot of traveling, learning to skate and surf, and meeting the most varied (and sometimes extreme) people to work with.

So to all my friends in Manila, I doubt if I will be able to spend some time with you this February. But promise, I will make it up to you this March (hopefully), and to those I owe coffee or lunch, I will fulfill my promise soon.

Just so you see how crazy it is, below is my schedule:

Feb 1 - 4: Manila
Feb 5 - 8: Baguio
Feb 8 - 9: Manila
Feb 9 -15: Cebu
Feb 16-19: Siargao
Feb 19-20: Cebu
Feb 20-21: Bohol
Feb 21-22: Dumaguete
Feb 22-23: Cebu
Feb 23-26: Puerto Princesa, Palawan
Feb 26-27: Manila
Feb 27-28: Iloilo
Feb 28-02: Guimaras
Mar 02-09: Manila

So, sorry if I will not be able to answer your text sometimes. And if you happen to be in these places on the said dates, please let me know. I'd love to have a break, please please.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Lost Generation?

A very powerful video.

Lost Generation

I am part of the lost generation
and I refuse to believe
that I can change the world
I realize this may be a shock but
Happiness comes from within
is a lie, and
Money will make me happy.
So in 30 years I will tell my children
They are not the most important thing in my life.
My employer will know that
I have my priorities straight because
is more important than
I tell you this
Once upon a time
Families stayed together
but this will not be true in my era.
This is a quick fix society;
Experts tell me
30 years from now I will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of my divorce.
I do not concede that
I will live in the country of my own making
In the future.
Environmental destruction will be the norm.
No longer can it be said that
My peers and I care about this earth.
It will be evident that
My generation is apathetic and lethargic
It is foolish to presume that
There is hope.

And all of this will come true unless we choose to reverse it.
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