You can call me a liar (not #Amalayer) but I never won anything significant in my life from the local numbers game to the PCSO 6/49 Lottery so the idea of getting the nomination from the Best Cebu Blogs Award for the second time is very special. The nominees are also great and experienced bloggers, even better than me in terms of style, creativity, and form. I am a mere mortal in the Mount Olympus of personal and travel blogging.

Last year, I was nominated but never got to stand on stage and talk about my half-written acceptance speech. Fast forward, I learned so many things and written new and thought-provoking topics in the past few months from my exclusive interview with Miss Estonia (my second interview actually, just a lucky bloke...) to the occasional history and pop culture tidbits that I publish from time to time.

As much as I would like to join the fun and interact with fellow Cebuano bloggers, I'm still stuck in Bangkok, Thailand for work so I won't be able to grace the awards night (as if I'm the shoo-in winner! haha..). Whether I win an award or not, I am grateful that my readers have continued to inspire me to write something new and interesting day in and day out. I will take this opportunity to thank everyone who made this award possible.

I am just wondering if it will be possible for the organizers to contact me via Skype that is if I would win. Instead of flying to Cebu, I will probably in a crowded bar in Khaosan Road or sipping my latte at coffee shop in Siam Paragon. Imagining Sunday night at the Insular Center grabbing that award would only rest in my head until December 9.

The sponsors have made it possible so I would like to spell out my Christmas wishlist if I do win:
-an iPhone 5 from Globe
-a year supply of GT Cosmetics
-free 3-day stay at Diamond Suites & Residences
-home delivery from Orange Brutus (bring it Bangkok baby!)
-gift package from Heart Tea
-extensive PR campaign for my blog from PR Works
-a big Chinese buffet dinner from Choi City Seafood Restaurant
-lifetime discount from Starbucks (my outrageous wish!)

As the old saying goes, the mailman always rings twice. So if Karl Malone is sure ball when it comes to basketball that I'm hoping two times the charm is the sign that I'm looking for!

The guys at Cebu Bloggers Society (have yet to join) have inspired me to continue blogging that's why it has helped me travel to different places I never been. Experienced things that I haven't had in my life. Of course, got an amazing job that pays me well just by writing stuff - you know what copywriters do! No the Sotto way but you know what I'm saying.

Do you think I deserve to win?

Many women have this fascination of becoming a beauty queen? Living the glamorous life of a real-life fairy tale princess and all the attention and adulation that goes along with it. It cannot be denied that some have went great lengths just to fulfill their dreams - from plastic surgery to emulating Barbie doll for real! However, beauty queen life is not that different with normal, everyday life. Just ask Miss Estonia, Xenia Likhacheva on how she live her life like a normal person like you and me.

Istoryadista has this exclusive interview with this talented lass from the Baltic city of Tallinn in Estonia. Let's hear it from her as how she tries to balance her life as an ordinary girl and her responsibilities as her country's representative to the recently-concluded 2012 Miss International held in Okinawa, Japan. Here are her thoughts and insights about what is like to live in style.

Thanks for agreeing to have this interview, hows life? What keeps you busy nowadays?

:) Everything is good. Now, after MI beauty competition I'm not so busy. In December I'm going to Malaysia (Kuala-Lumpur) so, my main task to preapre my body in gym. I do sport every day at least 3 hours and also play musical instrumenst (piano and saxophone), so I can name it like - engaged in self-development :)

Was it your dream to become a model? If so, why?

No, my first dream was to become famous pop singer and after musician. I didn't know that I can be a model, I discovered it not so long time ago..

When did you start joining beauty pageants?

In 2011 :)

What inspired you to become a beauty queen? An inspiration to many young girls and women.

I think all girls and woman dream to be a beauty queen, as for me I want to be happy and I want to make everyone to be happy.

How do you see yourself as a role model? How do you promote the idea that "beauty" is not about how you look but what's inside you?

I think that "miss" or "role model" had to prove that she is beautiful not only outside but also inside. I try to show some action, not only words and in 21 centure it's very easy. I can do it (for example) with internet.

What's a typical day for a beauty queen like you? What makes it special?

:) I think love makes all my day special.

Do you consider yourself as a normal person even though many people recognize you?

Of course. I think all people are different, but all people are equal.

Beauty pageants are quite competitive, how do you keep yourself in competitive condition?

I think that girls are friends, not rivals. I just be myself that's it.

What's your opinion on transexuals joining beauty pageants that were supposed to be for women?

I don't understand it and I don't want to support it. For me it's very wierd. I think beauty pageants had to be for natural people.

Finally, what is your advice for aspiring beauty queens out there?

Firstly, believe in yourself. Secondly, always smile. Thirdly, try more and more persistence and work always to win.

If you're not a beauty queen, what would you be?

Businesswoman as well as musician.

Many beauty queens have their social responsibilities, what are yours?

I think all beauty queens had to be beautiful inside. For example I'm vegeterian, I don't eat meat all my life. I also support the fight against real fur. Every spring I give free music concerts in orphan houses, plant trees and I also clean streets by removing the rubbish.


It's Philippines versus Thailand in the opening match of the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup. A very interesting match to follow because it will be my first time (hopefully) to see a live football game for quite a while. It is a very special rivalry game between these two countries even though Thailand is way much better when it comes to football. They have their crowd behind them at the Rajamangala Stadium while a handful of Filipino supporters will be there on the November 24 curtain raiser.

It will be a tall order for the Azkals, composed mainly of half-foreign players from Europe and North America, to beat the fancied home side with lots of professional experience. But we may never know if they can pull out their magic like what they did to the stunned Vietnamese in Hanoi a year ago. We may never know! Although the Azkals have already risen in the FIFA rankings and even taking the second spot in the regional ranking, the group of death will always be the acid test that Filipinos need to prove that their rise to ascendancy is no fluke. They have to prove it against Vietnam and Myanmar too.

Although we lost 2-1 to a team determined to impress their home crowd. The loss and the rainy evening didn't dampened our spirits because we managed to sneak in near their dugout to get glimpse of the stars themselves. Of course, when the Younghusbands play, you will definitely barge into screaming female fans.


















I have been fortunate to have English as my lingua franca, something that many non-English people don't have. I mean not all people speak English well and many of them have to get specialized language lessons just to get better at it. In my case, as with millions of Filipinos, speaking English (in different shapes and forms) is already ingrained to our heads due to our five-decade American "mentorship." Let's face it, Filipinos are the little brown Americans (no race pun intended).

Working here in a non-English speaking country where your work relies on your mastery of the language seems to be the perfect place to showcase what I know. I'm still quite surprise by the way people think about us Filipinos. Brain drain has forced the diaspora of the skilled and talented people from the archipelago to all corners of the world for a better life and I hate to admit that I'm one of them. Forced by circumstances to leave my homeland to some place foreign to me. Yet I cherish the opportunity to be able to bring about positive change to places I only dream in my life. Some people here to tend to smile with disbelief on why I speak "perfect" English when I look like any one on the street. Just one of them? One person dared to ask when I started speaking English then I said before I started school. The person only laughed because they learn their basic English only in university. Some who studied abroad still has their distinctive accent. Of course, they have difficulty pronouncing certain sounds that any English speaker do.

Koreans have come in droves to take advantage of our English mastery and the cheap school fees. Many nursing students, who couldn't find jobs, work on call centers to serve callers from North America and Europe. We haven't diversified on our economy because we depend too much on BPO and English-language schools so what if many of these foreign students know English well enough that they don't bother visiting the Philippines anymore? What we will do? Still cashing in our English proficiency?

Wells will always run dry. We can't be dependent on this because sooner or later, other countries would become more competitive than us. As their educational system pick up and our colleges and universities deteriorate because of the massive brain drain with our best teachers going to other countries to each other people to become better than us. Soon, we will lose Uncle Sam's birthright. We may be on the losing end of the stick.

BBC recently reported in this article that the Philippines is the best place to learn English on a budget. I already mentioned the Koreans coming in record numbers, there is a growing trend of Eastern Europeans (particularly Russians) visiting the country to learn the language. On the other hand, more younger Filipinos have irreversibly transformed the local pidgin English (Taglish) into a confusing quasi-language mixed with tech speaks, gay lingo, jejemon, and other obscure deviations of the language. Sometimes, people speak in cryptic words that some people don't even understand.

Is it because we are used to getting more loan words from English rather than developing a vocabulary for our national language? The sad thing is that we don't have local words for even the basic things we see every day, we tend to use Filipinized English words out of convenience. Celebrities often used Taglish and bastardized versions of things we know. Take "explaining" for example, it should be "nagpapaliwanag" but many use "nag-eexplain." The use of superlatives and a Tagalog word from "sobrang saya" to "sobrang happy." We may have a good grasp of English but we slowly but surely killing our own language.

Soon, everyone in the archipelago will have a cacophony of language and a babel of ways of explaining the same thing.

Photo Credits ( |

I have previously penned an article about the emergence of Eat Bulaga as a regional TV phenomenon as the first Filipino TV show to be syndicated in another country. Although, we have a long list of shows being televised in Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, and even in Africa but this is quite different. A show being copied (with license of course) to fit their local milieu and that is the successful Eat Bulaga Indonesia.

There were rumours that it will be syndicated in other countries as well but I haven't seen other versions yet. I haven't keep track of my blog for quite a while but I have noticed a huge interest in this lovely Indonesian host based on the search queries made that eventually landed on my site. Thanks to my Indonesian readers for taking the time to scour my blog for her. Well, without further ado I might as well focus my attention on Bianca Liza!

Who really is she?

I really don't know but this SCTV presenter is obviously an Indo (half-Indonesian, half-European) but correct me if I'm wrong. How many guys would love to see her in the flesh? She reminds me of this hot ex-MTV Asia VJ from the 90's, fellow compatriot, and current Asia's Next Top Model judge - the half-Aussie Nadya Hutagalung. Although most references to her are in Bahasa Indonesia, I do believe that she's one popular celebrity in a country of 240 million people. I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of fan pages of her as well countless searches made on "Bianca Lizza."

Here are a couple of her snapshots:

I have been living the life of a nomad in today's digital age where a president can won because of the power of social media, where governments are toppled because of online activism, where society is changed because of a crazy Internet dance meme, and where people kill themselves because of cyber-bullying. Been away from Cebu, my hometown, for quite a while now and so many things have changed even faster than the remarkable developments of the Industrial Revolution of a bygone era.

Amidst these societal shifts and technological breakthroughs, life remains the same or perhaps people remained contented with the status quo. The rich are becoming filthy richer and the poor became threadbare poorer. People in power refused to go with the changing nature of the winds of change. I have always remain an optimist because I still believe life can be better if we truly want to achieve change.

Lighten up a bit. So many hotels and malls are sprouting up like mushrooms. BPOs and call centers are providing jobs to growing unemployed college graduates. So many young teenagers are on a tight rope between unemployment and unfortunate parenthood. No more job choices because the only high-paid work are in the claustrophobic confines of a graveyard shift call center job. Let's face it, there is no diversity in the job market these days. If you want to have a piece of mind, try becoming a freelance - a e-mercenary of some sorts. Doing business is difficult because of the red tapes and all the unexpected surprises.

The never-ending long stories of rags to riches success of working abroad will do the trick. Indeed, I admit that it pays well than the job I had back home but your personal connections have to be momentarily cut off because you have to start from scratch. Getting uprooted from your comfort zone is not easy and saving money for your family is even more challenging than working back home. Statistics have shown that OFWs tend to squander their money more than those left behind.

Cebu may have grown but it has so many things that it needs to address. Affordable public housing projects like what Singapore did to its citizens. We need massive infrastructure projects like highways, freeways, LRT, MRT, BRT, and train systems like Bangkok has. Stop building so many unnecessary bridges and flyovers. We've got too many malls, why not develop more tourist attractions. Clean up the streets.

The world is changing, we don't want to do all the catching up like where down 20 points in the fourth quarter. I just hope that my children would live to see a better city and see a legacy for them to live with.

Photo Credit:

Ever since the dawn of civilization, man has always been a meat-eater. A carnivore among the beasts of burden. A hunter among prey.

Things have changed when man decided to settle down and gave up the meandering ways of a wandering nomad. Civilization and sedentary lifestyle was born when man decided to plant and settle in cities. Man has ceased to be an exclusive meat-eater. Diseases and epidemics have come and go, destroying cities and leaving population decimated.

Fast forward to few centuries, man has reached new heights with the Industrial Revolution as everything we eat or drink are now mechanized into precision assembly-line efficiency. What it takes a month to gather enough food to feed a family now takes a second just to go to the fridge to grab something to eat and drink.

It may sound like a long introduction but as someone on the opposite edge of the spectrum, I realized that we are going back to the start of everything we thought was the start of our remarkable journey as a race of intelligent, yet sometimes dumbfounded, race. Natural resources are dwindling and many have tried to developed new sources of food, finding cure to diseases, and ultimately develop the elixir of eternal life.

I'm far away from home and living alone without the benefit of people who can help you get things through everyday life, I've learned to adapt. Out of my comfort zone, I decided to try new things that I've never done before. For the first time, I thought vegetarianism is like a hopeless struggle of the bulge for diet-crazy celebrities or a fashion-statement for fame-hungry individuals. Although I haven't full embraced this lifestyle, I found new respect to this style of living even though my favorite reality chef Gordon Ramsay would disagree.

A vegan can't change the world but a former carnivore would! Omnivores are the worst, they are voracious and consume anything. The ozone layer has already slowly but surely thinning caused by the CFCs on the refrigerators cooling our beer cans. Farmlands have replaced precious virgin forests. Ranching has transformed green grasslands into deserts. All the food that we eat are products of these destructive processes that keep our population growing in exponential lengths.

Becoming a vegetarian is not a life-changing experience but changing your life around it is. Don't something because you have to do it, do it because you want to effect positive change. Sometimes the positive change we want in life doesn't turn out to be the way we wanted.

Butterfly effects happen all the time. No one can make sure if we killed a baby Hitler then the Holocaust won't happen and the flames of World War II would become a pigment of your imagination. Whatever Marty McFly did in Back to the Future, the past will never go in line with your future expectations. The days of the future past would be something that happens because it will happen.

There is no hero in this world because no matter how hard we develop the most advanced medical technology and ground-breaking pharmaceutical panacea, people die every single day! Even if we push the extreme limits of human vitality, we can't save lives because we all gonna die one way or the other.

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{picture#} JP Canonigo is a historian, professional blogger and copywriter, online content specialist, copywriter, video game junkie, sports fanatic and jack-of-all trades. {facebook#} {twitter#} {google#}
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