Saturday, 7 March 2015

Australian Study Grants 2016 for Filipinos

 Australia Awards Scholarships 2016
Australia has supported the Philippines through study grants by sending Filipinos to the best and world class Australian universities. The Australian Government-funded scholarships like the Australia Awards Scholarships aims at future Filipino leaders – regardless of gender, ethnicity or disability –with the passion to spark positive change in the country.

I was lucky to be one of the recipients of the study grants in 2002, and I successfully completed my MPhil - Environmental Engineering at the University of Queensland, Brisbane. So if you want to acquire the brightest and well advanced education, then you can apply online now. Application ends on 30 April 2015.

CLICK HERE to find out your eligibility to avail this such rare opportunity to be educated in down under for free!

Friday, 2 January 2015

Welcome to my E-library

I am building up my e-library providing a list of various books and authors that really inspired me to read more and be an avid fan of their characters.

Someday in my hometown back in one of the islands in the Philippines, I will be able to have a mini-library of my own where everyone could visit and of course to spend time to read my collections for free! Most of the time Im living abroad so I collected alot of these books and mags which give me headache when it comes to packing and sending home to Philippines. It costs me alot of money, BUT Im determined to collect more and share it with my kababayan...

If you want to donate books, I'm very please to arrange for partnership which will acknowledge your involvement and generosity to take part in my project. Please don't hesitate to contact me privately or you can leave your message in the comment box.

"Learning is a continuous process and reading is a lifelong learning experience...and books are our best companion to make it happen, ultimately to be treasured forever!"

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Book Review: Shine of Candy Gourlay

 Shine of Candy Gourlay
Candy Gourlay is currently visiting the Philippine for series of book signing and talks about her latest novel, Shine. She will be at Glorietta 1 National Bookstore on Saturday, 27 September for the final leg of her book launching in the Philippines. Check it out.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Greatest stories ever told...the most controversial man who ever lived - holy week good read!

 Manga Messiah

DO YOU DARE to read His story? Even if it may change your life forever? From the biggest-selling book in the history of the world, comes the greatest story ever told. This is about the most controversial man who ever lived. His life is presented in the most popular graphic novel format on earth.

Monday, 14 April 2014

23 April - World Book Day in the Philippines

 World Book and Copyright Day 2014The World Book and Copyright Day 2014 was launched by UNESCO eighteen years ago. This year, the Philippines thru the sponsorship of the National Book Development Board (NBDB), the event will showcasing creative performances, musical acts, exhibitions, workshops, seminars, and more!

The event will also features some of the Filipino artists and performers such as the UP Guitar Trio, Sipat Lawin Ensemble, slam poets from Speak! Philippines, the Balagstars Balagtasan group from Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo (LIRA), and comedian RJ Ledesma. This year's venue is the Bonifacio High Street, Taguig City and everyone is invited to participate in the promotion of reading and writing.

Click the image (top) for additional information. By the way, this is also coincides with the 4th year celebration of the World Book Night in the UK, Ireland and USA.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

2014 World Book Night Invitation

 Book Giver

Take part in this year's biggest celebration of book sharing and giving. If you are interested to join as a community book giver, click the image above for details or click Registration. As a prospective giver, you can give away any any book you want - one you already own, or one you buy specially, new or second-hand.  You can also choose whoever you want to give the book to – a friend, a member of your community, a complete stranger.  What the World Book Night organizer ask is that you give your book with the aim of helping someone develop the same love of reading that you have.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Mega Book Sale at National

 National Bookstore
This is something not to be missed. I visited the store last night and unexpectedly, I saw a big crowd - busy browsing and reading from the huge files of assorted books and school supplies. After an hour, I brought home 8 books worth total 292 pesos only! Aside from pocketbooks there are academic books and reference materials, including children publications.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Free ebook on how to conduct research projects: theses and dissertations

Introduction to Scientific Research Projects is a concise introduction on how to conduct an undergraduate research project. It also explores different components of dissemination such as poster, oral, viva, and thesis.Thus, it makes an easy and enjoyable read for both students and teachers.

BookFace: Read my mind by Atty Mel Sta. Maria

My 6-year old niece browsing the book...
ONE OF THE FEW BOOKS I HAVE READ recently authored by a Filipino. The book contains essays and commentaries originally posted on-line ( The writer, Mel Sta. Maria is a legal adviser/lawyer, a professor and a radio/tv commentator (Relasyon at TV5).

Because of curiosity I bought the book from National Bookstore (Cubao branch). Even though, I am a regular listener of his radio program, I do not even read his regular column in 

Just a few things about the book:
1. The book has 15 sections with timeless subjects with personal and national importance. Straight forward commentaries... The first section on Sabah is perfect to be in the first few pages of the book. Atty Mel's opinions are relevant and with substance that for ordinary people could understand and encouraging us to come up with our own judgment. His criticisms are not "below the belt", but witty, especially with sensitive issues;
2. I suggested that this book is a timely and special Xmas gift to our dear President, P-NOY and his advisers to address the Sabah conflict, and other political concerns. (If someone close to our President and Cabinet members wants to give a gift);
3. I am also an educator and do feel same with Atty Mel's teaching experience on how we inspire young kids to be of service to unfortunate kababayans and inspire them to be professional on their chosen careers;
4. I do agree with Atty Mel's stand concerning Carlos Celdran's case, and VP Binay for his future candidacy as President in 2016 election...and of course the author's advice on how the government will address Sabah's territorial conflict is commendable;
5. On a lighter note, there is something lacking in the author's commentaries regarding "Inspirational Loss" and "MVP-Ateneo Misunderstanding". Finally, I did smile while reading his Jesuit's anecdote - even GOD S.J. cannot help but to get a side! And finally, the author's hilarious teaching situations with his students... they were really funny but witty;
6. Finally, Atty Mel's collection of photos with big personalities/celebs are authentic, absolutely they were "not photo shopped"; and
7. By the way, just one minor suggestion. A list of references or bibliographies should be added in the book for readers familiarize with the various laws and legal documents (including original sources) referred/cited in the text. 

OVERALL, the book is an eye opener to current events and issues facing the country... Commentaries from Atty Mel provided a better understanding of the issues presented in each of the essays and much an appreciation of the Philippine legal system.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Unusual story of Beatrice and Virgil (Yann Martel)

“To my mind, faith is like being in the sun. The shadow is doubt. And it goes wherever you go as long as you stay in the sun.” 
 Beatrice and Virgil
This is about Henry's fate when he met a professional – a taxidermist who preserves, treats, and mounts different kinds of dead animals. Beatrice and Virgil are the main characters of a play written by the taxidermist. He (taxidermist) shared their story by reading the script during Henry's regular visits to his Okami Taxidermy shop. Henry became obsessed with taxidermist's storytelling on the lives of a donkey and a monkey which also led to the former discovery of the latter strange behavior.

Yann Martel's story has a disturbing and unhappy ending with strange turns of events. At the end of the book, he included the games that Beatrice and Virgil enjoyed to play. For instance, Game #1: Your ten-year old son is speaking to you. He says he has found a way of obtaining some potatoes to feed your starving family. If he is caught, he will be killed. Do you let him go?

For Game #11: Of your community of 1,650 souls, 122 have survived. You hear that your entire extended family is dead, that your house has been taken over by strangers, that all your possessions have been stolen. You also hear that the new government wants to turn a new page and address the errors of the past. Do you return home?

And finally, Game #12: A doctor is speaking to you: "This pill will erase your memory. You will forget all your suffering and all your loss. But you will also forget your entire past." Do you swallow the pill?

This book was registered in Bookcrossing and released/received in March 2011 during a Bookcrossing-Northern Ireland meet-up in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It took me more than 2 years to finally read and release it here in Manila. Click the image above for the release notes and the book journey. Hope this book will travel well and inspire others to release more books in the wild...!

Monday, 9 December 2013

My personal donation to a community public library in the Philippines

I HAVE COLLECTED A NUMBER OF MAGAZINES during my residency in Northern Ireland. For almost 3 years, I did not subscribe to any publication, but I buy every issue per month. These magazines include: Stuff (the world's best-selling gadget magazines), Digital Camera, Practical Photography, T3 (The gadget magazine), Digital Photo, and many others. More than a hundred copies were collected and sent back to the Philippine after I completed my studies.

 Quezon City Library (Philippines)Lately, I decided to donate these magazines to our local community library, Quezon City Public Library located in Cubao, Quezon City, Metro Manila. Instead of keeping them in the box, it is more useful if these mags will be displayed and share to other local residents who regularly visit the library.

Aside from these mags, a number of pocket books are also donated. Some of these books were also registered at BookCrossing to track down their journey. The officer-in-charge was happy enough to accept my personal collection.

I am just hoping that this contribution to the library will increase the readership and inspire others to travel and take photos while traveling.
 Quezon City Public Library
Note: I got an official letter from the librarian, thanking me of my donation. Some of the copies of the magazines will be displayed in the main library of the city. I also decide to donate copies of my postgraduate theses to the library very soon. 

Saturday, 30 November 2013

No Limits the will to succeed – Michael Phelps with Alan Abrahamson

So many people along the way, whatever it is you aspire to do, will tell you it can’t be done. But all it takes is imagination. You dream. You plan. You reach. There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work, with belief, with confidence and trust in yourself and those around you, there are not limits - Michael Phelps
 No Limits
Michael is considered as one of the greatest American athletes that we have known today, especially after his unprecedented eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. In 2012 London Games, he continued to excel by surpassing his previous world swimming records.

This book somehow reveals Michael’s personal strategy to achieve these great successes in the pool. As sections of the book, he identifies the key attitudes and factors that influence his remarkable performance, namely: perseverance, belief, redemption, determination, confidence, courage, will and commitment.

Michael says that:
I just wanted to make sure I took every single moment in and every single swim in, every single moment with my teammates, so I would remember them. I don’t want to forget anything that happened.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

BookFace: Battle Hymn of the tiger mother

The author, Amy Chua fearlessly concludes that a Chinese mother believes:
(1) Schoolwork always comes first; (2) An A-minus is a bad grade; (3) You children must be two years ahead of their classmates in maths; (4) You must never compliment your children in public: (5)  If your child ever disagrees with a teacher or coach, you must always take side of the teacher or coach; (6) The only activities your children should be permitted to do are those in which they can eventually win a medal; and (7) The medal must be gold.
She adds up that,
there’s another huge difference between raising dog raising and Chinese parenting. Dog raising is easy. It requires patience, love, and possibly an initial investment of training time. By contrast, Chinese parenting is one of the most difficult things I can think of. You have to be hated sometimes by someone you love and who hopefully loves you, and there’s jut no letting up, no point at which it suddenly becomes easy.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

ENRICH (healthy lifestyle and living): Very enriching publication

October and November 2013
THIS IS MY FEW REVIEWS FOR MAGAZINES posted online, but it might be the first ever full review of Enrich in the Philippines. The magazine is distributed locally at Mercury Drug – a Filipino drugstore with almost a hundred 24-hour branches nationwide.   Enrich is published monthly by Mercury Media Corporation and produced by Skittles-Broke Media (Hong Kong). 

I came across with the magazine during my regular visits to Mercury to buy medicines and groceries last year. At first, I was surprised to find this at the check-out counter, just beside the cashier's machine. Not quite a common location, but I think this is something that customers could grab at the last minute of shopping, or to get the attention of customers and tempting them to browse its pages while waiting for their turn to pay. Who knows, one of them grabs a copy for only PhP65 (100 pages including cover) which is cheaper than that of other leading glossy publications available in the supermarkets and bookstores.

Lately, I decided to buy its October and November 2013 issues for personal reasons: (a) the mag featured Louvre Museum (were I spent 6 hours just to explore the entire building and meet Mona Lisa in person); (b) it featured places like Siargao (Surigao del Norte) - reminded me of my first surfing lesson in San Juan, La Union, and Dublin (Republic of Ireland) - part of my PhD thesis on urban regeneration; and (c) it offered 20% discounted rate for Mercury Suki cardholder - absolutely a big saving!

Well, because of these reasons, I was encouraged to post a comment on its Facebook account ( just to inform the publisher that I finally read the magazine! Eventually, it inspired me to write a detailed review (as you are reading now) and also to share my travel experiences for those places that have I visited in the past as featured in the magazine.  Honestly, I think this is the big factor that pushed me to buy it. But I'm sure that the magazine is different from those popular travel publications even though Enrich's front cover is showcasing travel destinations locally and abroad, its main features also focusing on health, sports and medicine which others do not cater.

My first surfing lesson at San Juan, La Union
These two issues, (Volume 6, Issues 63 and 64, October and November, respectively), contain interesting places that I had the opportunity to explore in the past.  In particular, October issue featured Siargao Island (Surigao del Norte), Dublin City (Republic of Ireland), and Louvre Museum (France), while November continued to carry-on with Louvre Museum's artwork. 

Siargao's article reminded me of my first attempt to surf in San Juan, La Union last year. What a surprise, I did well in my first ride on board and instantly, it made me think to consider it as a regular holiday sporting event! To find out more of my surfing adventure, CLICK HERE

One of the hostels at the Temple Bar area
"Georgian & Gorgeous Dublin" (written by Shalini Mitra) highlights city's tourism infrastructure – from historical buildings to downtown night life. I was a little bit disappointed of the article because of the limited attractions (with photos) covered in the article. I thought that, the author missed-out some of the most relevant attractions at the city center like the Irish colorful doors, statue of James Joyce, Stephen Green Park, monuments, and other prominent old buildings (aside from Trinity College). She did not mention the "special token" given to visitors upon arrival at the viewing deck of Guinness Storehouse, aside from a free sip of the Irish "black beer". Until now, this small gift is safely kept and one of my most priceless souvenirs.  If you are interested to find more about my Dublin escapades, please CLICK HERE and HERE.

I love reading pocket books, and Dan Brown's books are always in my top list, including Da Vinci Code which is featured in both issues. Interestingly, the article entitled, " Following the Da Vinci Code: Trail at the Louvre" highlights the factual truth why Dan Brown chose Louvre as one of the settings for his former book.  The two parts of the article somehow reminded me of my 6-hour stay in the museum 5 years ago. Indeed for 9Euro, my admiration to more than 35,000 pieces of decorative art, sculptures, paintings, drawings, and antiques is indescribable! I took hundreds of photographs but these images are enough to capture the richness of Louvre's collection. Indeed, another visit to the museum is something to look forward to in the future. Again, more stories of my tour to Paris, CLICK HERE and HERE. 
Other enriching and informative sections of the mag include "This Month in History" which showcase important historical events and personalities that shape our civilization;  "Physical Fitness Formulas"  that covers a simple techniques, exercises and workouts for various body parts; "Our Weird and Wonderful World  is a "quirky news" that highlights
some of the unusual and strangest things happening on Earth; and "" provides a quick review of useful Pinoy websites available on the worldwide web.
And most importantly, the sports, medical and health sections are very educational and helpful. I think Enrich is commendable on this regard! Why? These articles can help increase the level of awareness for healthy lifestyle and simple living among Filipinos. 

The glass dome -entrance to the museum
For example, October and November issues featured the following topics: indicators of stress, diabetes as so called lifestyle disease, thyroid disease, stem cell therapy, common health problems that affect call center agents, recognizing genius abilities among children, sweet addiction, and hormonal fluctuations and dominance.  It is also interesting to mention the article (November issue) that tells us the on-going health caravan project of the Philippine Department of Health which started in 2011. This "Journey to a Healthy Life" aims to increase the awareness on practices related to maternal and child health and nutrition. This is a very noble cause of the Philippine government in combating malnutrition and malpractices on family planning.

Not to be the least, Enrich has promotional offers that are available to Mercury Drug valued customers.  There are discounted coupons (detachable from the magazine) to be collected and redeemed anytime for specific products available in the drugstore in a limited promotional period.
I have only one comment for the cover story and front lay-out of Enrich. This is not really a downside of the publication, but rather to enhance the marketability of it. In order not to be mistaken as a "travel" magazine, I suggest that the cover photo/page should have bigger thumbnails of the regular health featured articles, having the same importance with the featured travel destination sections. But so far, the current lay-out of the pages (articles versus ads), quality of the images, font color/size are technically above the standards for a wide spectrum of readership, not only in the Philippines but also abroad.
FOR PROSPECTIVE READERS out there, there is a special promo for a one year subscription.  At Php624 (Metro Manila area) for 12 issues, you get a free Mercury Drug Suki card plus a copy of the 13th issue. A 20% discount (Php52) per issue is also extended to existing valued Suki card holders. The Suki card allows customers of the drugstore to accumulate points from purchases and these points will be converted into cash as payments for future purchases. Monthly newsletter is also available and it can be downloaded from its website at: