Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Latest Survey Results

75% of the Filipinos believed they are living a more difficult life now; 64% believed lives would not improve in the next 12 months; and 86% Filipinos said the national economy worsened in the last three years

-Pulse Asia Survey, 1,200 Respondents, July 1-14, 2008

The cartoon I posted is one of my computer free-hand drawings done recently using CorelDraw. I used the ordinary mouse instead of the pen mouse where the task could be done with fluidity and ease.

Begging for Support

Mrs. Arroyo's 8th State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 28 which her allies and supporters applauded 100 times, did not help boost her popularity. Instead, it opened up more discussions as it showed, according to some quarters, the problem of this country - a leadership that is callous to the true condition of the poor. Hmmm. I tend or want to agree.

It could have been of help if instead of talking about the achievements of her administration she presented indicators on life expectancy, percentage of children going to school, health situation, environmental integrity, high income level, business activities, etc. which may have directly referred to the improved quality of life of the Filipino people. There were no facts about these indicators. The achievements of some of those she invited to stand before her supporters and allies during the SONA could not represent the entire situation of the farmers in this country. Live with the farmers for a day and you or she will know.

Meanwhile, the clamor for PGMA to resign reverberated from the four corners of the country. Talk to anybody - from drivers to sidewalk vendors or businessmen. But there was never a solid front to push the ouster move. I don't know why. So the opposition begged for support from the people. But the support never came. That's the point of my editorial cartoon. So maybe the message is for the opposition or those against her to wait until 2010.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mouth-watering Fares

I draw editorial cartoons that mirror the sentiments of the common tao – ordinary people like you and me. If I appear to be seemingly partial from the way I presented my cartoons, I can’t help it because very often my cartoons represent one side of the multifaceted economic and political issues in the country. I always empathize with the underdogs – the poorest of the poor who composed the majority of our population - believing without being so political that noone, for intance, in this country should starve. Hmm, what I am trying to say? LOL. I’m lost. In line with the SONA of PGMA yesterday, I would like to quote Dienn’s comment which should stop us to think over:

I watched PGMA's 2008 SONA through TFC. Her speech focused on how determine she is in uplifting our economy despite of getting the lowest approval rating from the public and being deemed as the most unpopular president (since 1986). She even compared herself to a housewife/mother who carries all the burden just to make her family survive. Haaay... It's really sad to think that we have no other recourse but to accept the fact that our country has been buried deep in poverty... with this kind government, I don't know if RP still has hope. (again, tabi-tabi po... *wink*).

Well, said. I know very well that many of our people do have the same reflection. Meantime, if you want to go hungry through different way, visit Dienn’s Kitchen that posts mouth-watering fares showing her culinary prowess. Let's go! :-).


The photo I posted here is a grab from her site.

EVAT Issue



I edited the visual elements of this editorial cartoon I did in 2005 to give focus on the image of Juan dela Cruz (ordinary Filipino) who did a great escape from the cross (cut out from the drawing). But his escape was proven useless as big nails remained piercing his hands and feet. Substitute nails for economic crisis, etc that our people suffer.

I drew this in line with the issue of Expanded Value Added Tax (EVAT) which Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo mentioned during her State of the Nation Address (SONA) this afternoon before the entire Filipino people (including those who didn't pay attention) as necessary to support important government programs.
EVAT contributed so much to the oil price increase to become onerous. But the government or PGMA, for that matter, in her SONA had emphasized that they intended to continue with the EVAT despite clamor to scrap it. Well, why not. This government is trying to eradicate poverty and EVAT according to some sectors, is anti-poor. They jibe LOL.

Life-Changing Career

Internet has opened up various opportunities that are available to all of us who have goals in life. One opportunity today is definitely in the information technology (IT) as an important hub in the information superhighway. In my opinion, the internet’s opportunities are not yet fully tapped as there is still a vast potential to improve one’s life in the world wide web. I was never into formal schooling as far as internet-related training is concerned. Maybe like you, I did my own exploration and experimentation and I recognized the limited knowledge I got from this type of personal training.

But why settle for less when we can change that. I realized this when I stumbled on an opportunity that anyone can avail of and that is through training with Cisco certification programs and training. With Cisco, you can carve a career path in the promising field of IT that will change your life forever. In my case, I should have gone to formal training to boost my potential in the world of IT. We can always do an "oido" in learning IT but it would be that reliable as compared to having strong background as basic requirement - one that I really missed. But I think with Cisco’s offer, the opportunity to catch up is available. Knowing the basic on IT and its application is important when you want to pursue a promising career with IT. I am one of those who eye at a future training with Cisco on information technology. With their Cisco good training and program, definitely we will end up having good advantage with other IT training providers. Visit Cisco in their website to check the requirements in undergoing IT programs and carve success with them as a life changing decision.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

SONA

Come July 28, Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will give her State of the Nation Address (SONA). In a scale of ten, her economic adviser Joey Salceda gave her 8 rating over his admittance that there were promised made during the previous SONA which were not fulfilled. Sorry, I don't see the logic.


In a peptalk I had with NGO friends, they expressed disappointment over her administration alleging that all miseries (read fuel price increases, rice shortage, reproductive health, scams, graft and corruption, etc.) besetting the people and women ironically happened in a time of a lady president. Is she? LOL. Well, let's glue our ears this Monday to her report card and the promises she would make again.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Blogging to Earn

This is one of the recent drawings I did for a cover of an NGO publication. Perhaps, the publication will discuss the supposed graft and corruption permeating the Philippine bureaucracy - from top to bottom. I am not really sure of that as I only drew the main theme of the visual they needed for a fee.

Side Trip: Everyone or every blogger on Earth is agog about monetizing their blogs. I am one of them. I admit that. LOL. I explained my stance in my previous post. Ok, my stance was to make money out of blogging. If not instantly, I can wait. But I hope not forever though. Anyway, this is a quick note for you as a blogger who is looking for an opportunity to monetize your efforts through this blogging thing. I am a neophyte to blogging and I don't have much knowledge yet on how to earn from this hobby. Online, you can read bloggers claiming they made much monies from blogging. That is of course a source for envy. :-) Maybe I can share with you more about it later. 


Momentarily, I know that one way to earn is by registering with google adsense although there are a lot of possibilities with other sites but I know that google adsense is reputable. Anyways, you can check the site of Blog Earner. The site has lots of advices to share on how to monetize blogs.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pricy Coffee, Civet

Coffee berries from animal’s feces, anyone? James Zamora shared to me these photos on their planned project for the indigenous peoples communities in Makilala (North Cotabato) – the Civet Coffee Project. I have no personal encounter yet with the cat-size mammal but I know it has the penchant of eating coffee berries and that the partially digested berries it discards through fecal evacuation are priced coffee beans. How much per kilo? It was not mentioned but these berries command price higher than ordinarily collected. I want to try coffee brew from such process. I love coffee.


I culled from Wikipedia related article on this animal. I don’t know if this is the one but scientifically, it is called Paradoxurus hermaphroditus.


Based on the photo, the animal fits to the description as an Asian Palm Civet. It has no ring marking that is more often present from similar palm civet species. A native in Southeast Asia and Southern China, it is in the family Viverridae, averages 3.2 kg (7 lb), body length of 53 cm, tail length is 48 cm, has long, stocky body covered with coarse, shaggy hair (usually a grayish color), with black on its feet, ears and muzzle. It has three rows of black markings on its body while the markings on its face resemble a raccoon's. The animal is a nocturnal omnivore. Back to the project, my uncle said they are now working on its feasibility study in consultation with the target stakeholders in Barangay Cabilao, Makilala. It already earned support from a funding agency MIVA Holland after Rev. Nonoy Cabazares, MIVA Holland representative, paid a visit to the coffee project recently.


MIVA representative challenged them to make the project successful so that it can become a show window in the Mt Apo slopes. While there are millions for the project, Rev. Cabazares said that he wanted to see that community project should start from a small initiative, infused with dedication and seriousness and most importantly honestly in the management of the fund. He said that funding agencies worldwide have been supporting smaller communities to the billions but he said that this did not change the condition of the poor. James was a VSO regional volunteer once assigned in Bangladesh years back.


Goodluck to your endeavor, guys!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Jammed Traffic

Took a shot of this reminder from the guy named Thomas Edison. Actually this was posted in the door of my former organization when I went there the other week. The message runs in contrast to what I am about to say soon. I started blogging March last year but I never paid much attention to the hit counter thing. If I did, I might have actually posted 10 thousand traffic by now. Just maybe as this is just pure speculation because when I put a counter a year after I hit considerable visits through the support of friend bloggers and surfers who visited my site. When I put the pagerank icon, I immediately had 2/10 and then it improved to 3/10 early this month. Recently, I tinkered on the pagerank icon trying to improve its image by choosing another counter. I noticed my pagerank was stuck to 3/10 but when I double-checked it with the checker, it did not give the "real score." I was shocked to see the page turnout as 0/10. Whew! What went wrong I don't know, my friend. Where was my rank? Desperate as I was, I tried to recover by updating the code. Alas, the pagerank was/is still 0/10. Too bad. Tooooo bad. Well, anyway I will just enjoy my time blogging and seeing friends in the blogosphere. Forget the ranking :-( in the meantime. I'm sorry Mr. Edison but you cannot convince me now. I leave this to Google guys.

BTW, if you want blogging tips, visit http://betabloggerfordummies.blogspot.com.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

War Bird Picking "Peace" Up

My Uncle James shared to me a news on supposed tension in North Cotabato following its local leadership calling on its residents and communities to brace up against the alleged MILF attacks. But Vice-Gov Emmanuel Pinol claimed that the call, backed up by a local legislative resolution, “was not a Declaration of War.” The reaction was fueled by the bombing incidents on the 2 towers of the National Power Corporation two weeks ago, the newsreports claimed.

Thru the local radio station, MILF Spokesperson Eid Kabalu explained their presence in Cotabato is a "show of force." It was also reported the MILF leadership unified with MNLF SEMA wing in a conference in Sultan Kudarat held earlier this month. Kabalu denied this. More or less, this is saber-rattling that might endanger again the war-weary region. By the way, the editorial cartoon I posted was drawn years ago. It tackled the peace crisis in Mindanao.


Side Trip 1


I received an inspiring message when a neophyte editorial cartoonist Pol informed me by posting a message in my friendster page that he won in an editorial cartooning contest he joined. No details were given when and where it was done. But he was thanking me for the tips and samples
on how to draw cartoons as posted here. Congratulations, my bro! I think you are just talented the reason you won the contest.

Side Trip 2

Splice n Dice commented on the undying OPI issue:

Congress can opt to abolish the EVAT on oil products. Or, at least, it can adjust the EVAT, from the standard rate of 12% to, say, a fixed price of Php5 per liter. Giving it a fixed rate would address the continuing soaring of oil prices without depriving the government of revenues. The gov't won't actually lose from a fixed tax, given the fact that the EVAT was created some years back when the price of oil was not like today.
I think the rule of thumb is to be more lenient or relaxed on tax system that may have direct domino impact on the basic commodities or necessities of the people. The government should stop jockeying over the oil companies' back - extracting taxes (a conceptual visual for an editorial cartoon) there - while the poor people are being pinned down by the latter. It should not add insult to injury. If the government cannot live without tax on oil products, a more sensible proposal would be much reduced tax percentage.

Go for the Best

Where to place products or services information? That’s every serious advertiser is trying to answer. Today, internet is one of the best places to tap for marketing strategy by advertisers like you to today. Here you have higher percentage to produce sales from netizens and netsurfers who run to the world wide web when they are looking for products to buy or services to avail of. In my case, I always look for products related to my chosen field as editorial cartoonist in the internet. While there are land-based stores selling art materials and small art equipment, more often they lack in terms of special tools that cartoonist like me needs. This reality prompts me to surf online to see where I can possibly buy my special tools for my craft. That is the reason why opt to look for my materials from online stores.

You can advertise anywhere but I think one quality you are always looking for is whether the firm can be fully trusted in terms of reaching to your target niche and translate such possibility into sales. I have full trust that with its creative and aggressive marketing strategies to share information on products and services online, SocialSpark.com is one of the online publishers to tap to help penetrate the online market. Go for the best.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Helpless Government

In this cartoon, the oil price hike is agressively pounding on the poor consumers while the government, portrayed as referee calling for a stop to the onslaught, is helpless. This scenario is happening again todate as new rounds of OPI caused prices of basic commodities and transport fare to hike. Actually I drew this cartoon eight years ago. History... er... government helplessness to protect us from the abuses of oil companies repeats itself. By the way, the "bingka" that flew off the mouth of the consumers was his fave rice cake and not a boxer's mouthpiece.

Monetize Blog

In today’s advent of the world-wide-web, blogging is a new way of expressing personal opinions on various issues affecting us or the global community and as a way of showing what we are doing to inspire others. That is what I am doing with this blog. However, one reality about blogging is that it needs financial backing to fully support regular blogging or posting activities. Only moneyed bloggers can forego monetization of their sites. Not in my case who cannot stretch out further my shoe-string budget which is already reserved for the needs of my family. This had prompted me to look for ways to monetize my blogging in order to sustain this online crusade. As I see it from various blogs and sites, there are lots of opportunities and one is by registering with the PayPerPost. My faith is that PPP will be true to all its claims and I see over the net blogs carrying PPP badges, ads, sponsorhips, etc. giving me an idea that the organization is one trusted in the industry of online marketing. I still have to hear or read from other bloggers to cast aspersion on PPP or whether they are not paid as publishers. I really thought that PPP is one answer to my goals with this blog the reason that I signed up with PPP. More, I like the idea that one is get paid per post. That is what PPP all about. So try to where you can get paid for your blog or get paid to blog.

Friday, July 11, 2008

WTO / GATT

As a freelance graphic artist, there were occasions that I drew for various publications of Mindanao-based non-government organizations. Part of their information, education and campaign materials or publications discussed about the perceived ill-impact of 1995 World Trade Organization (WTO) that succeeded the general agreement of tariffs and trade (GATT) on underdeveloped countries or those so-called “third world countries.”


I visited the office of Alternate Forum for Resource in Mindanao (AFRIM) yesterday to submit a set of drawings they needed for their upcoming quarterly publication. I took a snapshot of a publication that carried my drawing displayed on the publication rack. AFRIM is an NGO engaged in various socioeconomic researches in Mindanao. The cartoon I drew was my interpretation of the negative impact of the free trade on the Philippines especially the farmers who cannot surely compete under a liberalized atmosphere that WTO’s agricultural agreement wanted to push improving market access and reduction of agricultural subsidies. The local farmers are ill-equipped in various endeavors of their crop production and they don’t have the necessary preparation to survive under this free trade as defined by the moneyed countries.


Tech-Tip


My adobe photoshop got corrupted and I could not possibly reinstall it because my CDrom was also out of service too. I wanted to crop the image but I could not do it because it was tilting to the left. To run around, I opened the CorelDraw and imported the image where I skewed it and invoked the capability of “printscreen” key and pasted it to the Paintbrush to crop it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Finger-pointing

The Lower House committee is investigating one of the worst maritime tragedies in the country when the MV Princess of the Stars capsized last June 21 killing over 200 passengers. There are many issues that the house committee wants to dig.


But I guess the testimonies of the experts about the altered design of the ship are upsetting. Whether it was well-equipped in terms of communication facilities or that ship captain observed safety protocols, the ship in the first place did not meet sea-worthiness. On this account, the vessel was all the while a floating coffin being dispatched by the shipping line. Now I wonder how many floating coffins we have now.


Those who are supposedly tasked to check on the sea-worthiness of the vessels in the country should be held liable for this tragedy.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

All Rice, Please!

From the blog of my friend Janoz Laquihon, I grabbed this post on food issue. The post was his response to the alarming food security in the country. I posted it here to emphasize that there is a need to really look for alternatives or address this matter. An expert also in agriculture issue, Mr. Laquihon said in his blog:

Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, CBCP head, lately called to have alternative food for energy such as sweet potato (camote), corn, or cassava. Further, Ma. Teresa Ungson, Regional Coordinator of National Nutrition Council XI, also stressed that Filipinos should practice dietary diversification. I agree with them.

Is there really rice shortage? I don't believe so! Not in Mindanao! We still have fertile soil. We can plant root crops that has higher energy than rice. And mind you, if you happen to visit Davao City, have dinner at barbeque restaurants there is a signage saying "UNLIMITED RICE". Sounds unbelievable but true. Not only that, Davao City is the only City in Philippines that serves IRON-FORTIFIED RICE too in food establishments.

The real question is? Are we managing our soils enough to maintain productivity? or we just want to produce more and sacrificing the fertility of our soil? If we continually use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, doesn't practice crop rotation, and doesn't practice soil conservation, I believe in a decade, Philippines would not only have rice shortage but food shortage as well. Who is to blame? Our Government? GMA? or the Farmers it self? No one is to be blamed at rather we (each and everyone) should do our best and exert every effort to have a sustainable food supply. We often finger point our leaders yet we don't realize we also have a role in food stability. I suppose the senators would do there role too and not only tinker of 2010 elections. Read on
.
Credit: The first photo is a grab from my friend's blog.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

You Want to Draw Editorial Cartoons?


If you want to draw editorial cartoons, these are some of my pointers. But wait yet. If you want to make money, don't draw editorial cartoons. Look for a more stable job. In the country, editorial cartoonists are not well-compensated. They are or we are underpaid, to be realistic about it. To boost our morale, we say this is a crusade to carry until the drop of our black ink.

Anyways, Wikipedia defines editorial cartoon as a political cartoon, an illustration or comic strip containing a political or social message, that usually relates to current events or personalities. I think that's enough for a definition.

1. Since editorial cartooning requires or needs effective visuals, you must be a good artist or strive to be a good artist. This is no fast rule. If you are not born artist, don’t be discouraged, you can develop skills in cartooning if you have the best motivation -  determination. It can be learned 100 percent. Look for basic cartooning manuals or read book about popular cartoonist (I was able to read Bill Mauldin's story) that you can have from various sites in the internet. Your determination will definitely push you to become an artist or cartoonist.

2. Study the works of the masters, so to speak. Study their visuals, elements and approaches in dealing or tackling issues. Not all cartoonists are the same. They always vary in style or approach. You can adopt and throw some styles and develop your own. You can develop characters by copying from a mirror infront of you while drawing. That would be masterpiece. LOL.

3. Be familiar yourself with the various issues and concerns in the local, national or even international level. Depending on issues, all updates and news stories are sources for your daily editorial cartoons.

4. Analyze the issue to take up and then decide what stance to take for you editorial cartoon. Remember that editorial cartoon is a critique to various issues. While some papers maintain a policy of uniformity in dealing with issues, this is not a rule. You can jibe with the editorial write in terms of issue but with another point or else you will reduce your cartoon into mere illustration of the article. Avoid this.

5. With the stance to take or point to tackle, decide on effective visual elements to draw. Define your purpose if you want to put forward an acidic criticism through effective humor or satire, then use effective visuals. You can draw a caricature of you subject but know whether you can run fast if he gets mad at you. LOL. Use pencil in drawing the elements. After the pencil drawing, carefully study or review your elements and the editorial cartoon in general. Review the point you want to drive home.

6. Finalize by inking the pencil drawing. When done, reevaluate your work. Double check the spelling and review the stance. Be in the shoes of the readers or the subject of you cartoon if it talks about politician, etc.

7. No publisher yet? Try sending sample works to target newspapers. Be aggressive in selling your cartoons and evaluate to improve especially when are turned down. Try and try until you die.. er... succeed. :-) Goodluck.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Lanog.04

Scanning old files, I found this conference card from the College Editors Guild of the Philippines which invited me to discuss about basic editorial cartooning as contextualized in the campus journalism. The activity was the 4th Mindanao Student Writers Convention / 8th Davao City Student Press Congress. It was held in Mountain Breeze Resort, Catalunan Grande this city from October 21-24, 2004. Lanog loosely means "reverberate."

Campus journalism is one of the best training grounds for those who are interested in journalism. I also started off as contributor in our campus paper, The Crossroads, during my college days and then as editorial cartoonist/editor-in-chief for a semester.

Homeless, Hopeless

Am I my brothers' keeper? A biblical passage rang out in my head when I saw these two street children sleeping on the sidewalk along Legaspi Street this afternoon. A feeling of guilt crept in me. And perhaps in order to ease up such feeling of guilt when I have nothing to do with this, I tend to be tolerant when it comes to handing them small amount I can readily give whenever I meet their kind. For now, that is the only way I can immediately help. I know that the local government is doing something for the kids who ahve been abondoned by their parents but seeing them roaming around the main thoroughfares or sniffing rugby in their hideouts simply indicates that much efforts have yet to be done to squarely deal with this problem. Reports on street children engaging in petty crimes are so common and this should be addressed comprehensively and sustainably.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Round-house Kick

Sun-Star Davao also publishes a daily vernacular edition called Super Balita (balita is word for news) where my cartoons also appear. This one seen printed under the Op-Ed section of the paper features oil companies delivering a round-house kick on the consumers.

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