Sunday, December 10, 2017

Book Review: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, New York: Simon & Schuster. ©1936 Dale Carnegie, Revised edition ©1981 Donna Dale Carnegie & Dorothy Carnegie

This book is a classic on human relations. It has influenced a lot of successful people like the American business magnate Warren Buffet, but it also helped the likes of Charles Manson (American cult leader). But don't get me wrong about the book there, it's up to the reader on how to use the information here. The principles are still based on basic goodwill and sound virtue.

Actually, the main points of this book can be summarized into two:
1) The Golden Rule: Jesus' words in Matthew 7:12 ""Do to others what you want them to do to you."
2) Appreciate, don't criticize.

I read this book with an expectation that I would discover the magical secret that would make me instantly likable and popular. I was surprised when the advice was simple, straightforward, and common sense. "Smile more,""Remember people's names," and "Listen more," were included and might sound simple, but the author includes entertaining anecdotes from his own experiences or from other people. The author often includes examples from the lives of famous influential people at that time like Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, Andrew Carnegie, Theodore Roosevelt, and John Rockefeller.

Since this book was written in the 1930s, some examples may be unfamiliar and outdated. It is not a boring read, it's entertaining and funny in places. There's something about the language of older books that's more beautiful and poetic than the language of most modern books. It's not that they are filled with purple prose, but the style is better.

The book is divided into four parts: how to be liked; how to influence and persuade; how to deal with arguments and disagreements; and the last part is how to be an effective leader. The Wikipedia page for this book includes a short summary of the most important points.

The book is simple and straightforward, the author writes in a motivating way that encourages you to try his practical advice. I tried to apply some principles in the book in my interactions with friends, and I feel that I've improved in them a bit. This book is helpful for someone who thinks that he or she needs to improve on social skills - the advice is encouraging and a few small changes in our interactions can have a positive effect.

Interesting to note that this book is the first one to be called "Self Help" and launched that genre. Here's a list of the book's main points (source):

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Book review: Yup, I Am That Girl by Maine Mendoza

Yup, I am that Girl by Maine Mendoza, ©2017 Summit Books

Let's get things clear first: I am a fan of Maine Mendoza. The KalyeSerye/AlDub explosion of 2015 was an unexpected moment in Philippine TV. I love her personality and the story of her accidental rise to fame. I like that she secretly dreamed of being a celebrity and achieved it, it's also an inspiration to those who have artistic dreams.

I also love that she writes. When she became popular I was an avid reader of her blog, The Pessimistic Optimist Bella. Maine admits that she's an introvert, which could be surprising to some who always see her in light and comedic roles. As an introvert myself, I'm happy to see that she shows that there's more to us than the usual negative stereotypes.

When she posted that she will have a book coming up, I always checked in bookstores if it was available. After trying to look for it in National Bookstore, I found a copy in Booksale for 295 pesos. Yup, I am that Girl is Maine's autobiography, her life written in her words. Maine reflects on her unexpected rise to fame, her family, her life, loves, and with some useful and colorful advice for her readers.

The book itself is good quality, with colored pictures and nice graphics. It has a very millennial feel. It tells Maine's life story so far and her thoughts and feelings about the journey. It has her bucket lists, her favorite things, and I like that the book also contains advice on our typical problems: how to make friends, how to deal with heartbreak, how to deal with haters, how to manage depression and negative feelings, and even how to do well in school. Maine's book gives us a glimpse to her personality that we don't see in TV.

It's not all about Maine talking about herself, but the book is also filled with helpful and inspiring insights. The design also reminded me of my pre-teen days when the grade school girls would pore over Candy magazine, but it's not overly girly. If you like Maine's makeup looks and fashion sense this book has enough pictures and fashion tips for inspiration.

For fans of Maine Mendoza, this book is a gem. Even if you're not a fan of hers, this is still an entertaining read and Maine is a good writer. If you need a feel-good book to relax with, this is the perfect afternoon read. As a fan and reader, the book is really worth it.

My copy of Maine's book

Friday, December 8, 2017

Elvira Lapuz: newest member of the CPD Council, Board for Librarians

Photo source: CPD Council Facebook post
Ms. Elvira Lapuz is the newest member of the CPD (Continuing Professional Development) Council of the Board for Librarians. She replaced Ms. Eimee Lagrama whose term ends this year. The CPD Council is composed of: Hon. Lourdes T. David as Chair, Dr. Avelina Larca Lupas as the member representing the academe, and Ms. Elvira Lapuz representing the professional librarians.

Ms. Elvira Lapuz is the current Deputy University Librarian at University of the Philippines Diliman and Senior Faculty of UP's School for Library and Information Science (UP SLIS). She was the President of the Philippine Librarians Association, Inc. (PLAI) in 2015-2016 and also served as the President of Philippine Association of Academic and Research Libraries (PAARL) in 2009.

According to RA 10912 or the CPD Act of 2016, each profession should have a CPD council (under their respective Boards). The CPD Council's responsibilities are: make sure that there are enough and appropriate CPD programs for the profession, and evaluate and act on applications for accreditation of CPD Providers and their programs.

Each CPD Council is composed of one chair and two members.

CPD Council, Board for Librarians Facebook page (Please check and like this page for the latest updates on CPD for Librarians)
PLAI Congress 2017 Program
RA 10912 (CPD Act of 2016)

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Murder on the Orient Express [movie reaction]

"The scales of justice cannot be evenly weighed." -Hercule Poirot

Murder on the Orient Express (2017) is a movie adaptation of Agatha Christie's 1934 novel of the same name. Christie is a legendary writer in the mystery genre. I've only read one of her novels before, And then there were none. It was a memorable read, it keeps you guessing until the last page and the conclusion was unexpected.

The star of this movie is Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh), a Belgian detective who just might be the "best detective in the world." He is one of Christie's well-known characters and has appeared in many of her novels and other media adaptations. In the movie, Poirot had eccentricities you would expect from a detective character. He's obsessive-compulsive, observant, and logical.

The movie begins in Jerusalem, where Poirot solves the case of a stolen artifact. Three suspects come up: a Catholic Priest, a Jewish Rabbi, and a Muslim Imam. He catches the thief and heads to Istanbul for a vacation. Once there, he receives an urgent order to return to London because of another case to solve.

He boards the train to London with other characters. A suspicious man named Samuel Ratchett tries to convince Poirot to work for him, saying that "there are people after him". Poirot refuses. The train then travels through picturesque but treacherous snowy mountains. The train gets stuck when an avalanche falls, and soon they find the stabbed and bloody corpse of Samuel Ratchett in his cabin. The murderer could be anyone aboard the train.

The possible suspects are: an old rich widow, a governess, a count, a professor, a princess and her maid, a doctor, a missionary, Mr. Ratchett's assistant, the train steward, a butler, the salesman, and the train owner. They seemed to be random passengers who took the train by chance, but Poirot soon finds out that each of them is not what they seemed. Those who looked like good people turned out to be liars, and those who gave a bad first impression also had hearts.

The victim, Samuel Ratchett, isn't innocent either. Poirot realizes that he was involved in a crime that started a chain of events that led to the death of a family. Soon, he finds out that all of these passengers are somewhat related to each other and to Ratchett. Poirot, who is confident in his ability to solve it, is now doubting himself and everyone on the train.

I don't want to spoil the ending but it doesn't end how you would expect a murder mystery to end. We expect the detective to solve the puzzle, point out the criminal to deliver justice. The mystery gets solved, but we are still left with unsettling moral questions.

At the beginning of the movie, Hercule Poirot said that "There is right. There is wrong. There is nothing in between." His belief will be challenged in trying to solve the murder. After the movie, we are also left with questions ourselves: what do we really consider right and wrong? Where do we get justice when the law doesn't give it fairly?

While I'm not really crazy about the film, I like its cinematography. The setting is beautiful but bleak. Most of the movie is shot inside the confined space of a train, and there are many smart camera angles all throughout that makes the most of the small space. We are transported back to 1930s and get to experience a first-class train ride even through a movie. While Hercule Poirot was entertaining, or they tried to make him, I wasn't emotionally invested in him. He's important in the story, but I felt that the other characters really stood out.

The story ends with Poirot going off the train to another mission in Egypt, while the Orient Express moves on to its destination, to the golden sunset amidst the cold dreary snow. The train seemed to have left with a heavy heart. Everyone who will leave the Orient Express once it reaches London will not be the same persons who have gone in. You will also leave the theater feeling unsettled. What would you have done if you were one of them, anyway?

Here's the trailer with a sneak peek at all the interesting suspects:

Saturday, December 2, 2017

PLAI Congress 2017: Libraries Take Action

Last November 21-24, 2017, the Philippine Librarians Association, Inc. (PLAI) held its National Congress at SMX Convention Center, Bacolod City with the theme Libraries take Action: Providing Access and Opportunity for All. This is the second PLAI Congress I attended ever, the first was in Ilocos (you can read about my experience in the PLAI 2015 Newsletter here). More than 1,000 librarians all over the country attended the event.

This is also the first national congress with CPD (Continuing Professional Development) implemented. For those who aren't aware, there is a new CPD law that requires all professionals in the Philippines to acquire a certain number of points to renew the professional license. One way to get points is attendance in CPD-approved seminars, workshops, and conferences. Professional organizations have to comply and PLAI is doing its best to provide CPD programs and activities.

Its good to see that PLAI also improved their registration and attendance systems. Online Registration before the event was promoted. Barcoded IDs were provided so we don't have to write our attendance for each session, we only have to scan the official PLAI ID. Even if there was some problems with the internet connection which caused people to wait in lines, I think this is already a big improvement.

Day 1
We took a fastcraft to Bacolod City from Iloilo, we left at 6:05 am and arrived around 7:30. The conference was in the SMX Convention Center right inside SM  City Bacolod, so it's easy to locate and convenient. Since the main registration was held the day before, the processing was quite fast.

The keynote speech by Ms. Elvira Lapuz was on the UN 2030 Agenda. The United Nations recognized libraries as important institutions that can help accomplish their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the decade.

There was also an MOU signing between Philippine Librarians Association and Thailand Librarians Association. I'm sure this is a milestone for libraries and librarians in both countries. I'm excited about the possible partnerships and other projects this collaboration can bring!

Day 2 & Fellowship Night
This day consisted of parallel sessions, and there were three different topics to choose from in each session. I attended the following:
  • Transcending Time and Space: Ensuring continuing access to digital heritage by Efer Nierras
  • Librarians' Role in the Reproducibility of Research by Maria Juliana Gasmen
  • Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for Libraries: Advocating free and accessible learning opportunities by Janny Surmieda
  • Technology-based experiences among teens and tweens: Challenges and opportunities for Librarians in Panay Island by Danilo Baylen
  • The Role of Librarians in Inclusivity and Advocacy Framework by Rysa Alenzuela
  • Political Campaign Videos in Social Media: Visual and Media Literacy, Librarians, and Library Services by Danilo Baylen and Rysa Alenzuela
  • Librarians from LMK Movement, Inc. take action in Poor Communities and Indigenous People Group by Ross Bachiller and Rhoel Rondilla 
These are diverse and interesting topics, but I'll write more about the ones that stood out for me. Prof. Danilo Baylen has visited our classes for MLIS and I've participated in one of these researches. He discussed how millennial teens and adolescents use technologies and how libraries can help facilitate their use. It was good to hear that groups like the LMK Movement promote literacy in poor communities and indigenous groups.

Prof. Baylen and Dr. Rysa Alenzuela also talked about their research on the political campaign videos of Presidential candidates in the 2015 Presidential elections. They started their research before President Duterte was elected. This study is more on Visual Literacy and analyzing the symbols present in these campaign videos that represent each candidate's platform. They viewed and analyzed campaign videos posted on Facebook and chose one video for each candidate that best represents him or her.

They talked about the use of color (for example, Grace Poe wearing white, Duterte using red, and Mar Roxas' yellow) and the visual symbols that usually trigger an emotional response in Filipinos. I think librarians should also be aware of these when we have to teach information literacy. This presentation is quite eye-opening and encourages critical thinking on what we see and hear during important events in the country such as elections.

Fellowship Night
Mary Grace & me (masked) with the new librarians Vince, Joy, and Donna
Photo credit: Mary Grace Oliveros
Every PLAI Congress has a Fellowship Night where librarians just get together and have fun. The night's theme is Maskara, inspired by Bacolod's famous Maskara festival. We wore all-black costumes and bright masks.

There was also the OathTaking of New librarians where many from Western Visayas attended. I am very happy to see my students in the review class march in the aisle and take their oaths as new professionals! It's great that they joined the PLAI Congress. Ms. Raia Tiongson of La Consolacion College Bacolod delivered a great speech on their board exam experience, which made us remember our own difficult time in preparing for the exam. My sincere congratulations again to the new librarians!

Day 3
PLAI-WVRLC. Photo credit: Rene Manlangit, RL [link to picture]
The first topic for the last day was refreshing, and its the first time I've heard it being talked about in a librarians' conference. Benedict Olgado talked about the topic "Coming out of the Stacks: The Role of Information Professionals in the LGBTQ+ Movement." It was interesting to learn that one of the early advocates of LGBTQ+ movement in the United States, Barbara Gittings, was involved in librarianship and a lifetime member of ALA.

The point of his talk that in our library work, we must also be respectful and if we can, plan our book collections to cater to the broad range of clients. He also introduced that there is an LGBTQ+ library book collection in UP Diliman's Center for Women Studies Library.

Dolores Carungui of the National Library of the Philippines also presented their programs for library access for persons with disabilities. The last presentation for the conference was promoting inclusivity in LIS Education presented by Marian and Carlos Eclevia.

The last part of the conference was the General Assembly with PLAI  updates and proposed changes. One of the notable proposed changes is revisions for RA 9246 and I've heard that they're thinking of removing Indexing & Abstracting from the subjects in the board exam. For me, I approve. It is one of the difficult subjects and it is one less burden for the test-takers. Though, its still in the discussion stage and revising a law is a long process. I do hope it pushes through.

Observations & Suggestions
First off, let's start with the good things. I only attended PLAI Congress once before, and I can say that there's a huge improvement on processing registration during the event. It wasn't perfect but its good to see progress. In events with a large number of participants, we can't help some problems.  I've been part of organizing events before, and it's not the easiest or the most enjoyable volunteer job. I applaud the committees who worked hard to make this event possible.

My suggestion is clearer rules on lines. Senior citizens, pregnant women, and PWDs should always be first in lines for registration, food, or claiming certificates, but due to people being in a hurry this was not always followed.  This is just a personal preference but I don't like how conferences are always so cold. I know that this is because there are many people and the air-conditioning must be turned up to accommodate everyone but I think it contributed to the fever I have now. My body doesn't do well in aircon, I'm really not used to it.

Instructions were not always clear. PLAI members had to manually sign a Red Book for the attendance in the General Assembly. It was announced on stage that it would rotate around while the meeting was going on, but this didn't happen. A really long line formed at the back and you can imagine how long the wait was with more than 1000+ people. Some people said it was required to sign it, others said it wasn't. Anyway, I didn't get to sign because the line was too long, it was the last day of the seminar and we were tired.

Other than that, the PLAI Congress was an enjoyable experience, I learned a lot of insights that I can apply to library work. We librarians should also care about issues such as inclusivity, and not just be content in our libraries. I've seen from the presentations that libraries and librarians can help the poor, the country's  peace process, persons with disabilities, and other marginalized groups.

Blind Panic!
This is unrelated to the conference, but we experienced a horror scenario at the hotel where we were staying. I and a friend transferred from Bacolod Pension Plaza to the newer East Square Inn (since we were planning to go to Campuestohan Highland Resort the next day with two other people). In the middle of the night when all four of us were asleep, the building's fire alarm went off! Of course, adrenaline shot up through our system, we immediately grabbed our bags and prepared ourselves to escape the fire. We ran to the ground floor and then…

There was no fire! We went back to our room shaking in panic and very much awake, and all we got from the girl manning the reception desk was that it was a false alarm. We were really disappointed and quite embarrassed. Turns out there was a party on the fourth floor and one of the speakers emitted smoke which alerted the fire alarm. Some people from the party even laughed slightly at our reaction, but it was no joke. The party eventually stopped because we complained.

Lesson learned: if we stay in another place, let's make sure to check the fire exits and know where to go in case of accidents. Even if we were disappointed with the false alarm, we were lucky that it was false. The last place I want to die is in a fire and when I'm just attending a seminar! The panic was real and all our survival instinct alarms also went off. Anyway, as they say, 'charge to experience.'

Bacolod Sight Seeing
We went to the photogenic Bacolod City Hall at night. I noticed that there are many restaurants in Bacolod City and each have eye-catching interior designs. We ate dinner in a place named Talyasi Bar with our BLIS course mates.

For our last day in Bacolod, we went to Campuestohan Highland Resort. It’s a resort with rides and activities like Zipline, Sky Bicycle, etc. The place kind of reminded me of Disneyland but in a smaller scale. The place was cool, but instead of going for the rides I just fell asleep in some wooden lounge chair. Anyway, I'm not the type who likes picture-taking but I prefer wandering around alone. I prefer taking pictures of objects rather than people.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

CineKasimanwa 5: Western Visayas Film Festival 2017

This December 1-15, 2017 will be the 5th CineKasimanwa, the Western Visayas Film Festival, the longest-running regional film festival. There will be eight films (four full-length and four short films) and student films to be showed in cinemas in Panay. The films were produced by CineKasimanwa and Department of Tourism Region 6.

The eight 'Centerpiece Films' revolve around the theme "Dekalidad sang Komunidad" (Quality of the Community). The festival premiere will be in SM City Iloilo Cinema 7 with the film "High Tide" by Tara Illenberger, which won in the ToFarm Film Festival 2017. On December 8-10, the festival will move on to Robinsons Movieworld Capiz in Roxas City; and on December 16-17 in Robinsons Movieworld Antique.

The following are the eight local films featured in the festival and their respective schedules in Iloilo City:

DALITAN ni Reymundo Salao (full-length / action-espionage) shot in Antique & Iloilo
Red Carpet World Premiere: Dec. 2, 2017 (Sat) 6:00 PM

MANGGAGARAB ni Kyle Fermindoza (full-length / horror-action) shot in Capiz & Iloilo
Red Carpet World Premiere: Dec. 2, 2017 (Sat) 8:30 PM

ILOY ni Gary Tabanera (full-length / drama) shot in Capiz
Red Carpet World Premiere: Dec. 3, 2017 (Sun) 6:00 PM

HIGANTE KAG ANG MGA MISTERYO SANG KUWEBA ni Ramjun Valasote kag Dane Arsulo (full-length / fantasy-adventure) shot in Aklan & Iloilo
Red Carpet World Premiere: Dec. 3, 2017 (Sun) 8:30 PM

SALIWAT ni Jay Palmares (short / millennial romance) shot in Antique & Iloilo
Red Carpet World Premiere: Dec. 4, 2017 (Mon) 6:00 PM

UGSAD ni Kenneth Borlan (short / magical realism) shot in Guimaras & Iloilo
Red Carpet World Premiere: Dec. 4, 2017 (Mon) 6:00 PM

LUHA SANG BULALAKAW ni Kenneth De la Cruz (short / romance-drama) shot in Guimaras
Red Carpet World Premiere: Dec. 4, 2017 (Mon) 8:30 PM

EMPYREUS: MGA GANHAAN SANG PAGTILAW ni Dennis Hubag (short / mystical psycho-drama) shot in Iloilo
Red Carpet World Premiere: Dec. 4, 2017 (Mon) 8:30 PM

Venue: SM City Cinema 7 (CineLokal), SM City Iloilo (All tickets at SM Cinema box office available starting Dec. 1, 2017)

ALL two-hour programs of the film festival only cost 100 pesos, so its very affordable. The films are under various genres, everyone will find something. There's romance, action, fantasy, horror, and drama.

Support Ilonggo cinema by watching these films. The films are written and directed by filmmakers in Western Visayas and shot in key locations in our provinces. Don't miss the opportunity! As someone who loves stories and movies, I can say that from the trailers, the movies look promising. I will also post my reviews and reactions in this blog when I watch these films.

Here is the omnibus trailer of all eight films and watch to know what movies you'd love:

See you there!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

When in Manila 2017

Before October ended, me, my mother, and my sister went to Manila for three days to visit my brother studying there. I admit that we did shopping a lot since there are things you can only find in Manila. We also went to places we haven't been to before and some great restaurants. Here are some places worthy of note.

Pinto Art Museum (Antipolo, Rizal)
This museum showcases art by local artists. It was a surprise because I expected one building but the whole museum is composed of several structures with different works of art. The small buildings are unique and can stand as works of arts themselves. Wandering around the place without a map can be an adventure, with art surprising you in corners and unexpected places.

The whole place feels like a surrealist landscape with white beds scattered all over the place. Be prepared for a hike, because it can be quite tiring to walk around and climb many stairs. We had lunch at Cafe Rizal, which had great food as well. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Hello Kitty Cafe (Uptown Mall, BGC, Taguig)
This coffee shop sells coffee and sweets with a Hello Kitty Theme. It's quite more expensive than the usual cafes but I guess we're paying for the *official* Hello Kitty. I wasn't disappointed with the food and the place was cute.

Din Tai Fung (Bonifacio High Street, BGC, Taguig)
Din Tai Fung is one of the top restaurants in the world, and every time we passed by this place before, it was always full. Their specialty is Xao Ling Bao, dumplings with some sort of soup inside. I ordered dry noodles with pork and shrimp wontons, and it was good. We had chocolate-filled Xao Ling Bao for dessert. It was also my first time to eat somewhere with fast, efficient, and systematic service. We had to get in the place early to avoid the lunchtime crowds, but it was really worth it. I will surely go back here the next time I find myself in Manila.

We ate the mascot.