Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Metro Manila Film Fest Winners

Here are the winners/awardees of the on-going Metro Manila Film Festival ( MMFF ):

Best Picture – “Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story;”
2nd Best Picture – “Enteng Ng Ina Mo;”
3rd Best Picture – “Shake Rattle & Roll 13;”
Best Actress – Maricel Soriano (“Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow”);
Best Actor – Dingdong Dantes (“Segunda Mano”);
Best Director – Gary de La Cruz  (“Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story”);
Gatpuno Villegas Cultural Award – “Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story;”
Best Screenplay – Roy Iglesias and Ray Ventura (“Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story”);
Best Story – Chris Martinez and Marlon Rivera (“Rain, Rain, Go Away,” Shake, Rattle, and Roll 13);
Best Supporting Actress – Eugene Domingo (“My Househusband”);
Best Supporting Actor – John Regala (“Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story”);
Best Child Performer – Bugoy CariƱo (“Shake Rattle and Roll 13”);
Gender Sensitivity Award – “My Househusband;”
Best Cinematography – Carlo Mendoza (“Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story”);
Best Original Theme Song – “La Paloma” by Ely Buendia (“Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story”); Best Musical Score – Jerry Lazaten (“Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story”);
Best Sound Recording – Mike Idioma (“Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story”);
Best Editing – Jason Canapay and Ryan Orduna (“Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story”);
Best Production Design – Fritz Siloria, Mona Soriano, and Ronaldo Cadapan (“Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story”);
Best Visual Effects – “Ang Panday 2” (Riot Inc.);
Best Make-Up – Florencia Penero, Niccolo Medina, Jayvee Flores (Enteng Ng Ina Mo);
Best Float – “Ang Panday 2”;

New Wave Section

Best Full-Length Film – “Pintakasi”; Best Actress – Iza Calzado (“HIV”);
Best Actor – JM de Guzman (“Pintakasi”);
Gender Sensitivity Award (Full-Length Category) – “HIV” by Neil Tan;
Gender Sensitivity Award (Student Category) – “Speechless” (Miriam College);
Best Student Film – “Payaso” (De La Salle Lipa) and “Mate” (Colegio de San Juan de Letran);
Special Jury Prize – “Biyahe Ni Barbie” by Kookai Labayen (Dela Salle College of St. Benilde);

Special Awards

Lifetime Achievement Award – Eddie Garcia; Posthumous Award – Lito Calzado;
SMDC Most Glamorous Stars – Iza Calzado and Ryan Agoncillo;
Male Face of the Night – Richard Gomez;
Female Face of the Night – Iza Calzado;
Male Celebrity Sexiest Appeal of the Night – Jeorge Estregan, Jr.;
Female Celebrity Sexiest Appeal of the Night – Judy Ann Santos;
Male Kutis Ganda Award – Ryan Agoncillo;
Female Kutis Ganda Award – Ai-Ai de las Alas

Congratulations to all the winners. I hope there will really be a revival on the Filipino Film Industry and that that industry players will come up with more relevant stories and world-class productions. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


As the year 2011 is about to close, it is time to take stock of what has transpired during the entire year. I wouldn't say it is the best year for me. Neither could I say it is the best year for the Philippines and the world.

Personally, the year was a so-so. Okay lang ... and shrugged.  I had many plans but only a few materialized.
On the national level, well, the economy stumbled as per information from projections that economic growth this year would be less than half of last year. P-Noy can always blame others except himself! There were also the historic calamities, i.e. floods that almost inundated Bulacan and Pampanga and killed thousands in Cagayan De oro and Iligan cities, typhoons that destroyed crops in many provinces.

Worldwide, there is the economic fall-out from the debt load of some European countries that stunted economic growth. But the Arab Spring provided a glimmer of hope that people around the world can now decide their futture in a democratic way.

And yet I must concede that not everything was gloomy this year. There is room for gratitude! And allow me to count my blessings ...

1. I am grateful because of my health and economic well-being. I have the nerve to say this even though I piled up tons of debt.
2. My online income has tripled though it is still way below expectation.
3. I still have my loving mother and siblings who are all in good health.
4. I was able to read more books and went on to finish a month's course on film-making.
5. I had more time to enjoy drinking and singing in karaoke bars and at home.
6. I bought some new clothes courtesy of credit card reward points.
7. I met new friends at the Theosophical Society and in other places.
8. I think I have grown wiser. Ha ha ha. This is one is harder to prove.

Of course the list is not complete without mentioning that I learned more from the many failures I had this year. So I say thank you dear life. Thank you universe. Thank you spiritual masters. Thank you all who are always there to help and guide and accompany me in my journey. Thank you fellow bloggers for the visits. I look forward with great hope that next year would be better!

 Image above is from


Monday, December 12, 2011

Chief Justice Corona Is Impeached by The House of Representatives

Today, the lower house of congress has secured a majority to sign an impeachment complaint against Justice Renato Corona. I think this is a sad day for Philippine society.

Here are my reasons why I call it sad:
1. This is the ultimate case of disunity among Filipinos. Imagine two co-equal branches of the government fighting each other?
2. Speaker Belmonte admitted that the impeachment of Corona was ordered by Malacanang. Oh my God, so the house of representative is not a co-equal branch, it is just really a rubber stamp of the present President. Dear Congressmen, are you so afraid of the president that whatever he wants, you follow willingly?
3. Most of those who signed were former supporters of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and are now members of Liberal Party, the party of the president. Talk of political butterflies or in local parlance, mga balimbing!
4. From hereon politics will take center stage. We will again  witness a political telenovela which has nothing to do with improving the lives of the Filipinos but would only cause more division.
5. All three branches of the government will now be focusing on the impeachment and no longer on governance.

I cry for my beloved country, for the poor Juan De La Cruz, and I long for a change in Government!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Philippine Society : Same Yesterday, Same Today

Last Sunday, I was reading an article regarding the respected writer F. Sionil Jose. In the article, he asked why the Occupy Wall Street Movement is not happening here in the Philippines when it should because of the deteriorating social conditions.

The Occupy Wall Street Movement started from you-know-what country and it spread to many other nations. It is a protest movement against Big Business which are the prime cause of the world wide economic difficulties being experience by the poor and the oppressed. 
Next day my blogger friend Reese at
posted an activity at Mendiola which is very similar to that mentioned above. Hmmm at last some Filipinos realized the need to import something from the land of flowing poisons and origin of weapons of mass destruction. And they want to do it at historic Mendiola where once upon a time innocent farmers were butchered in broad daylight during the regime of the mother of this present KING of Malacanang.

Because Mendiola and Recto Avenue are just a stone's throw away from where my cave is, I decided immediately to attend. So I was there yesterday.

The demands of the rallyists are not new. They are older, much much older than the rallyists themselves. Issues such as right to education, higher wages, poverty alleviation were the hot topics during my student days (ehem that was way way back). Now, several presidents have come and gone. And the youth of today are still at it!  

So I joined the young one's in shouting SAWANG-SAWA NA KAMI!!!

Personally, I can choose to live comfortably having a college degree and have worked for several years. But what about the millions of urban and rural poor? There is so much talk of love of country.

My former comrades are no longer here in this land of gold and silver and pearls and squatters. Some are now residents of the country they ranted against when we were marching in the streets before. A few opted to stay but I would be too polite to say they were eaten by the system. Ask them why and they would tell you in your face they need food for their 2 or 3 children. Okay...

I did not stay very long at the rally site due to my aching feet. So I left Recto Avenue with this question : What is the end of all these shouting  and fist-clenching? Will the KING listen to his avowed BOSS?

The answer seems to be depressing but my stomach is already revolting.

Youth activists come to face to face with policemen who prevented them from reaching Mendiola (December 6, 2011)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Search For Happiness

"I'm inward, outward, forward, backward happy all the time..." goes the lyrics of a popular song.

But is it possible to be happy all the time? Some people say yes. Happiness is just a choice which means you can choose to be happy regardless of the situation. "Don't worry, be happy!" is their mantra.

Yet it is a fact that there are millions of human beings who are still searching for that elusive feeling of being happy. Happiness...Where are you? So they spend a lot of time looking for it.

Is it present in money? If so, then all the rich fellows should be the happiest people! But the reality shows otherwise.

 Is is present in power? If so, then all the powerful individuals should be happy! Apparently not.

Can it be found in marriage? Oh, the answer can be found in the increasing number of divorce and separation cases.

Unhappiness is an integral part of life. In fact, life on earth is always a duality. Loneliness and happiness go together. Without experiencing loneliness, we can not appreciate happiness. So it is normal to feel lonely as long as it is not prolonged.

Many times the search for happiness is the obstacle to attaining the feeling of being happy. If happiness can not be found within, it can not be found anywhere else. So why search for it? Happiness is found along the road of our earthly journey, not just at the end of it.

It is an illusion to say that one can attain happiness if one gets one wants. For if this is true then nobody can be happy for as long as desire resides in his or her heart.

As for me, I want to be happy here and now. Not in another place. Not tomorrow for it may not come. 

(image courtesy of                                   

Sunday, November 27, 2011

How To Become Rich

Being an ambitious person, it has been my pre-occupation to read the lives of many famous businessmen. I also listened intently to speeches of rich people whenever there is an opportunity. From them, I could say that following are the means by which these rich people achieved their wealthy position:

1. Hardwork
2. Thrift
3. Intelligence
4. Education
5. Talent
6. Political Connection
7. Inheritance

When I mentioned the above reasons to a Chinese friend, he just shrugged his shoulders and said that there is only one reason why some people become rich, they are lucky. He went on to say that he knew many hardworking, thrifty, intelligent, and educated people but they are just ordinary, not very wealthy.

He challenged me to think of the farmers and professors. He claimed his driver is intelligent and his maid is very hardworking yet they are both poor. He also told me of a professor who is highly educated yet he could not afford to buy a car for himself.
For this Chinese friend, a person who become rich due to inheritance, talent, or political connection is just plain lucky. It is his destiny.  And for those rich businessmen, luck is on their side. They have been at the right place at the right time. They also attract the right people to help them.

When I told him that I witnessed some rich businessmen who are very hardworking, he said that hardwork is secondary.  The thing is no matter how hard you work, you will not get rich unless lady luck is on your side.

Does this Chinese friend of mine make sense? I still take his words with a grain of salt. What about you?

Photo above belongs to

Friday, November 25, 2011

Manny Paquiao and Crab Mentality

There is this article that came out in the Manila Bulletin last Sunday (November 20) where pound-for-pound king Manny Paquiao appealed to his fellow Filipinos to stop having crab mentality. This is his response to some of them who regarded him as the real loser in his last fight with Manuel Marquez.

As quoted by the article, Manny said "Bilang Pilipino, alisin natin 'yung crab mentality kasi napakapangit sa atin...Sana maalala nila dapat 'pag Pilipino ka is kailangang suportahan mo."

Just what is crab mentality? It is an attitude of crabs who pull down their fellow crabs in their attempt to rise up in a container.

When some Filipinos voiced their opinion that it was marquez who really won, are they having crab mentality?

I, for one, believes that Manny really won. I think there is an unwritten rule in boxing where the challenger must knock out or at least he must have outboxed decisively the title holder before he could be proclaimed as the winner.  In the last Pacquaio-Marquez fight, it was a close fight and since Manny was the title holder, then using the unwritten rule  he must be the winner.

For some Filipinos who still believe that Marquez was the real winner, I think Manny Pacquiao should not take it as crab mentality. Perhaps they are just echoing what to them is fair. It is not also correct to keep on supporting a fellow Filipino if it would amount to being unfair to other nationalities. It is one thing to be nationalistic but it is another thing to hurt other nationalities.

These Filipinos may still have a high regard to Manny Pacquaio but in all fairness, they think Manny should be humble enough to admit whatever deficiency he has. After all, he is a public official and should not be easily be affected emotionally by criticisms. 
(image above courtesy of   )

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Search Engine Optimization - Some observations and Lessons Learned

Promoting a website through words of mouth, mass e-mails, social networks, and chat boxes can only do so much to bring traffic. But if the website ranks very high in search engines, there is no doubt the website will have the most number of visitors. Hence, a website owner needs to be careful and will have to perform many tasks called search engine optimization (SEO) to achieve that higher rank.

In my experience at, it took me several months to learn the ropes. I launched the website without any knowledge on the importance and techniques of SEO. As a result, the website languished at the bottom of Google search. Some pages even ranked at #250. But after tweaking some codes and changing the titles and description of each page,  the website now have hundreds of pages in the top ten or top 20 depending on the search term and traffic has increased many times over.

The most important lesson I learned here is that care must thoroughly be given to the title. The title must reflect or at least approximate what a searcher would type in the search box. For example, I did not start the title of this post with the words observation because I have the assumption that anyone who would search for SEO will definitely not start or even use the word observation. (Actually, the title of this post should only be Search Engine Optimization. I just added the "Some Observation" for discussion purposes.)

Of course having a good title alone will not suffice for a web page to rank high. There are other and more important factors involved in the algorithm such as a link from a well-visited or authoritative site like  But using a good title is a good start.


I decided to post this topic because I noticed that there are some bloggers who make the habit of linking their site in guest books via google search. I am not sure of their purpose but I could assume that they want to show that their site is ranking high or that, by doing so, they will improve their ranking. Are there other reasons.

For the first purpose, i.e. to show-off their ranking, I think there is nothing to be proud of here because the term or words they used in the search box is unique so by default, they rank #1 even if they did not do any SEO task.As an example, if you the only website owner using "love123" and you search this in google, I am sure you will rank number 1. But who else in the world would search this?

I am interested in the second purpose, i.e. improving the website rank. Does it really improve one's website if by presenting the search page and showing it's number one rank and more visitors click on it, the website will have a higher rank regardless of the search term being used? At the moment I doubt very much but I am not sure.

For me, it would only give the visitor an additional task which does not help in anything. It might even annoy the visitor especially during times when loading a page is taking a slow motion.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Google Search

I am having a big big problem with this blog. I do not know why this blog is Restricted by robots.txt such that googlebot can not crawl it.

I checked the settings of this blog and allow search option is a yes. So what is the problem? Anybody out there who can help me with this technical problem?

I also made some inquiries in webmaster tools but to no avail. I found out there are others who have the same problem as mine.

At blogspot, I understand the robots.txt is autogenerated. A user may not revise it. But why should blogger generate a robots.txt that would restrict the crawling of my site?

To be included in google search is very very important if this blog is to have more visitors.

Monday, November 21, 2011

GMA, Pnoy and the Street Boys

"What does profit a (wo)man if (s)he gains the whole world and loses her/his own soul?" 

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

The first quote is from the Sacred Book of the Christians while the second are words of wisdom from the Spanish philosopher George Santayana. These quotes are old but they have become more relevant today in the light of current events in the Philippines, specifically the filing of charges against the former President Gloria Arroyo (GMA)  and her subsequent arrest.

I am not going to discuss the legal technicalities involved here. I leave that to the experts.

My concern is the obvious lack of a sense of history on the part of many politicians and the lack of political maturity of the majority of Filipinos. Nobody is accusing GMA of stupidity. She has pedigree being a former president's daughter. She has a PhD diploma from the premier state university (UP) and a former classmate of US president George Bush. She became a professor of Economics, appointed as undersecretary of DTI, elected twice as senator and topped her second election, and finally elected as vice-president and eventually became president for ten long years. She is by all measures a brilliant woman married to a scion of a rich and landed family.

With all these accomplishments, where is she now? She is now a  pitiful, sick, and incarcerated person with no one to publicly express support for her except family and loyal employees. How much power and money can one have to be satisfied?

Could it be that she became what she is today to serve as a bad example? That we Filipinos never learn? This is something I would like to explore.

To be practical, she was arrested because the present president (PNoy) made it his priority to make everyone accountable. While his actions seemed to look admirable, not a few people suspect that he is doing all these more out  of revenge than  of a sense of justice.  Pa-pogi point is a local term for this, knowing fully well that GMA is very unpopular.

 Be that as it may, won't PNoy realize that he is in office for more than 500 days with very little accomplishment so far? What happen to his Public Private Partnership program? Until now not a single project under PPP was implemented. What about the CASH OUT program? Recently, newspapers brandish results of surveys showing more and more Filipinos going hungry. What about the misused COCO LEVY FUND? Can't PNoy do a passionate crusade to give justice to millions of coconut farmers who were deprived of their hard earned money? What about the victims of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre? Oh never mind all of these, PNoy still gets the highest approval rating in history, his supporters seem to say. It's politics as usual.

Dear fellow Filipinos, when can we learn from history? What lesson did we get from our experiences under the Spaniards, Americans, Japanese? What about lessons from Marcos? Erap?

Kailan magkakaroon ng bahay, pagkain at edukasyon ang mga kababayan kong Street Boys na nasa litrato?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Photos of Luneta Park, Manila

For those who have not yet visited Luneta Park or for those who have visited it but it was years ago, here are some pictures in my album. Hope you like them.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Prayer for Blessings

Oh Divine Almighty, all praise belongs to you;
And to you, people come to fulfill their vows.

All mortals ascend to you, oh Lord, who answers prayers.
Though our faults prevail over us, you forgive our sins.

Blessed is the one you choose and take to dwell in your courts;
In your house we are satisfied with all the good things that you provide.

By your power the mountains were formed;
And by your strenght the seas are calmed.
You lull their roaring waves and the turmoil of the nations.

You water the land and care for it,
Enriching it with natural resources.
The streams are filled with water;
People are provided with grain;

You soften the soil with showers and bless its crops.
You crown the year with your goodness;
Abundance flows everywhere.

The desserts have become pasture lands;
The hills are clothed with gladness,
The meadows covered with flocks,
The valleys decked with grain -
They shout and sing with joy.

- adapted from Psalm 65

image courtesy of

Why Luneta Park?

Some of my visitors might wonder why I chose to name  this blog LUNETA PARK ONLINE. Initially, I decided on using titles based on my nickname JUN.  Junesis was my first choice but it is already being used by another blogger. I thought of the title Junagenda but the word agenda has a negative connotation like personal agenda or political agenda.

Then I thought of some names that would reflect all the things I like to write. I settled on the current name for the following reasons :

1. Luneta Park is the premier park in the Philippines. Any Filipino who have gone to at least grade 3 would have heard of the name. So there is name recall.
2. The park is strategically located within Manila, the capital of the Philippines. This blog site is first a Pinoy site and most of its contents will be about the country and its people.
3. It is a beautiful park frequented by majority of Metro Manila's population. Who would not like to be a blogger whose site is frequented by many visitors?
4.  As a park, it has ample spaces for rest and recreation. Hopefully, my visitors would find this site enjoyable and contribute to developing peace - both inner and outer. I want to cater to the needs of seekers, searchers, and dreamers.
5. The park is a showcase of the country's history and cultural heritage. This blog intends to showcase the same things.
6. Many major activities of national significance are held inside the park's premises. I intend to post events here.
7. There are many tall buildings near the park. I would like to relate the words 'tall' and 'buildings' to success in business which will be the aim and at the same time become the content of most pages of this blog.
8. Finally, inside the park is Kilometer Zero. This spot is the starting point of road distances in the Philippines. I would like to extend the distance to all corners of the earth where the Filipino diaspora can be found.

Zero has many implications so does the term 'starting point'.  At this stage in my life, it is as if I am starting from zero. From nothing, the world was created as claimed by some books.

Pero hindi naman lahat ng post dito ay puro seryosong usapan. Sa katunayan, katatapus lang ang isang palabas na circus sa Luneta. At kapag kayo'y namasyal doon, makakarinig kayo ng maraming halakhak. At syempre, marami ding picture-taking bukod pa sa nagpipiknik.

In short, ang maaasahan dito ay mga kaba-blog-gustuhan tulad ng history, culture, politics, photography, food, fashion, spirituality, jokes. In other words, anything goes. (Iyon naman pala.)

Kung may censored please do not run to the MTRCB.  Kung may plagiarism, kindly whisper it to me. Pero hopefully wala. Kung may kabastusan, okay lang iyon. Sabi naman nila beauty is in the eye of the reader.

But after everything is said and done, gusto ko may kita. Dito ako masaya kaya suportahan niyo ako! he he he. Iyon na iyon at salamat sa pagbisita.

P.S. Sana huwag masyadong i-focus sa writing style o sa technical aspect of writing. Hindi ito thesis. Sabi nga ng iba, "write to express, not to impress." But I would gladly welcome any notice of correction especially sa grammar or on erroneous facts.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Natori Boutique Opens in Metro Manila

I open a new blog with a fitting first entry - the success of a  filipino fashion designer. Her name is Josie Cruz Natori. She is the woman behind the global fashion brand Natori.

Last Wednesday, the first Natori boutique outside the United States was opened at Rustan's, right here in the land of her birth - the Philippines. The store offers items on lingerie, high fashion, beddings,  fragrance and ready to wear clothes.

Josefina Cruz Natori is a Filipina who was born in Bulacan in 1947. She is a scion of Felipe Cruz, the founder of the construction giant FF Cruz. She attended Manhattanville College in the United States and later worked as an investment banker. In 1972, she got married to Ken Natori, another investment banker like herself. Then in 1977, she went on to become a fashion designer full time.

For her success in entrepreneurship, Ms. Natori was awarded the BPInoy Award in 2008 by the Bank of the Philippine Islands. Previously,  in 2007,  she was awarded the Order of Lankandula,  one of the highest civilian awards in the Philippines.   Also in 2007, Natori received the "Peopling of America" Award from the Statue of Liberty - Ellis Island Foundation. (Source :


I say this is a fitting entry because I really wanted this new blog to be a success, just like the Natori brand and the person or people behind the company.

And so I would like to dedicate this blog to all successful Filipinos here and abroad. I hope to be a messenger of success and in the process inspire everyone and not just my fellow Filipinos.