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11.01.2014
His music is what some would call a€?adult acoustic rock,a€? full of catchy phrases and big hooks. Recently, Grega€™s new album, Maybe the Sun, drew the attention of WFUVa€™s John Platt, who featured Greg on his a€?Sunday Breakfasta€? radio show and in his monthly a€?On Your Radara€? live show at the revered East Village songwriter mecca, The Living Room. Elements of bold performance, musical chops and clever wordplay in the family lineage hint at what was to come for Greg and his brothers. Louis Tannen, Grega€™s grandfather, was an influential magician who opened a magic shop in New York City in 1925.
At around 9 or 10 years old, Greg studied clarinet, but said, a€?I was terrible at it.a€? After maybe a year of cacophonic practice, he switched to guitar. After that, they both left Colorado and together went to North Carolina, where the third Tannen brother, Robert (today a successful screenwriter), was living.
Greg and Steve wrote together quite a bit in Colorado and, in New York, theya€™d hang out together at their respective apartments and at open mics.
Greg was visiting Steve at his place and while jamming, the basic riff emerged and by the end of the evening, they had the melody and the chorus.
Roam, released in 2000, was about traveling around and it kicks off with a€?I Feel Lucky,a€? a joyous and twangy guitar rocker that matches anything Tom Petty ever wrote.
Maybe the Sun, released in late 2010, is a lot less New York-based and wide-ranging in its themes. One time, however, when Greg was in California, he appeared with them during one episode as part of a sub-plot on the TV series Dirty Sexy Money (2007-2009).
After eight hours of hanging around, they got all of three seconds of screen time, playing secretly in a hotel room for the Lucy Liu character, who couldna€™t be seen in public attending a concert with her illicit lover (deep-pocketed, since how else are ya gonna afford a private Weepies concert?).
Although Greg went on tour in late 2010 for two weeks behind the new album and played some one-off shows, performance plans at present are minimal. We want to encourage our readers to order Grega€™s CDs online and look for upcoming appearances in our listings pages in the months to come. In high school, he got his first band together called Talking to the Wall, with Greg on vocals and his Fender Telecaster (which he still owns). Returning to the States after one year, he settled in Boulder, Colo., (a€?A fairly good music towna€?) for about two years with older brother Steve. Given Grega€™s uncanny knack for radio-friendly tracks from the first album on, our conversation turned to songwriting.
A few phone calls, and a hurry up shift on the Limo companies part, and we were all in the stretch limo headed for Toronto. We found the second-story, enclosed passageway, that leads from the three airport terminals to the Airport Hilton.We walked its length, passing the rail terminal, where we found an ATM and got some needed Euros. We arose early, the differences in time zones not yet acclimated into our circadian rhythms. We bought some cappuccino and croissants, in an airport restaurant, and watched the giant aerial behemoths land and take off in this busy airport. We climbed these ancient steps, enjoying the surreal experience of viewing the huge sculptures flanking the stairs headway and wondering at the many who had come this way throughout the ages.
Just up the rise, behind the triumphant arch of Constantine, we could see the now familiar broken circle of the remains of the coliseum.
Hunger was gnawing at us, so we stopped at a cute little trattoria labeled a€?planet pizza.a€? We ordered two slices of pizza and continued on, walking the narrow streets as we munched on our pizza. We sat for a time, watching the tourists, and enjoying the sunshine and 62 degree temperatures. After lunch, we walked about the piazza, enjoying the controlled tumult and browsing the artists with their easels and the colorful souvenir vendors. We were becoming foot weary from the line of march, but headed southeast from the Piazza Navona, in search of the fabled Pantheon.
Soon, we turned a corner and stood still for a moment, appreciating the classic lines of the Pantheon, a former pagan temple that had been constructed in 183 A.D. From the Pantheon, we followed our map to the Via Corso and headed back towards that huge monument dominating the skyline, the Vittorio Emmanuel II, in the Piazza Venezia. We walked the small and narrow streets nearby, looking in on the small vegetable and food shops.
The ten oa€™clock bus into Rome looked like the Kowloon ferry at rush hour, so we opted to walk over to the train station to catch the express run into stazione terminal. At Stazione Terminal, we detrained and walked through the large terminal that connects the surface railways with the two principal subway lines which crisscross underneath Roma. Next, we came upon one of the ancient Italian Monsignors celebrating mass at one of the side chapels. Even the sophisticated stand here quietly unsure of exactly what they are seeing, but respectful of the idea that the remains of so noteworthy a historical figure lay just a few yards away in plain sight. We walked up the nearest boulevard to the Tiber, in search of one of the more storied edifices in Rome, the Castle San Angelo. We emerged into a small courtyard, at the top of the castle, where a statue of St., Michael the archangel, stands ready to protect all with his sword and shield. On our way down, we espied several small exhibit rooms where huge a€?blunder bussesa€? and small cannon of many sorts lay on exhibit.Their fired lead must have cut down many attacking marauders in ages past.
We crossed the Tiber at the Ponte Cavour and walked three blocks over to the Via Corso.We were headed for one of the more spacious and beautiful Piazzas in Rome, the Piazza Del Poppolo. The Parkland is well cared for and looks like a pleasant spot for Romans to gather on a spring or summera€™s day.
We stopped by a station restaurant and bought some wonderful vegetable paninis (sandwiches) for later. We enjoyed another swim in the hotel pool and then stopped by the hotela€™s atm for another 100 euros. We retrieved our luggage from the bus and stood in line for a brief 20 minutes of check-in procedures.
We walked the decks, exploring our ship and enjoyed the lounges, shop areas and the many other nooks and crannies of entertainment and activity spread around the decks. Deck #11 aft holds a smaller restaurant called the a€?Trattoria,a€? and serves Italian food every night. We met in the Stardust lounge on deck #10 and got tickets for our 10-hour tour of the Tuscan Countryside and the fabled walled city of Siena. As the tour bus careened down the highway, we looked at the pastoral scenes, of groves of olive trees and vineyards, dotting the gently rolling landscape.
Marco walked us from the bus parking area to the Chiesa San Domingo where we met our local guide a€?Rita.a€? She launched into what was to be a colorful and informed narrative of the Sienaa€™s history and development.
We walked through the narrow, cobbled streets and admired the well preserved walls and quaint shops that appeared around every turn. We walked slowly along the medieval streets, admiring the ancient framing and well preserved architecture.
Just next to the Duomo, Rita pointed out an entire area that had been laid out to expand the church. Marco led us to the ancient a€?Spade Fortea€? ristorante, on the periphery of the Piazza, for lunch. We still had time left after lunch, so we walked back to the Duomo and, for 6 euros each, entered the Musee da€™Opera, next to the Duomo. The bus drove by the walled city of San Gimiano and we caught a glimpse of the open gates of what marco called a a€?medieval disneyland.a€? It looked like a great place to wander when the crowds were less intense. We dressed for dinner this evening in a€?business attire.a€?It was one of the two a€?formal nightsa€? on the ship. The seas were calm that night and we walked topside, enjoying the night air and each othera€™s company.We never lose sight of how fortunate we are to be with each other in these exotic and interesting locales.
We passed through Recco, a Ligurian center for cooking, and then exited into the a sprawling town of Rappalo for the coastal ride into Santa Margarita, where we would take a small ferry to Porto Fino, the heart of the Italian Riveria. The Castello Brown is everything your imagination could place it to be, sited on the high promontory over a picture book Mediterranean village. In the quaint village below, we browsed the pricey shops, like Gucci & Ferragamo, noting the breath-taking prices listed in euros.
The Canne waterfront surrounds the marina, a central square, filled with Sycamore trees, and replete with several cafes and their ubiquitous outside tables and chairs.
We entered the A-8 Autostrade and drove through Nice and on towards Monaco, some 90 kilometers miles further along the fabled Cotea€™ da€™azur. From quaint and medieval EZE, we descended to the Middle Corniche Road for the picturesque ride into nearby Nice.
From the Palais, Patrick threaded the huge tour bus through the narrow streets, fighting the Easter-morning, Mass traffic. I thought that I had a pretty good command of French, but at moments like these, it seems to desert you.
Pat and John were accompanied by friend Joanne, a retired teacher, Al and his mother Cora, also from celebration Florida and the Two Australians, Mike and Carmen Harchand. Revelry aside, the injury was throbbing insistently, so we returned to our cabin, with my hand elevated in the a€?French salute but with the wrong finger.a€? The seas were running rough this evening, with ten foot swells and 25 knot winds. We passed by the entrance to the Las Ramblas, the broad pedestrian promenade that extends into the city, and continued on.
The first wonder that we passed is Antonio Gaudia€™s a€?Batlo House.a€? Built in 1906, it is several stories high and has a delightful facade of painted ceramic tiles.
Next, we passed the Casa Mila, another Gaudi masterpiece, with its distinctive wavy and flowing, tiled facade. Then, we came to the sanctum sanctorum of architecture, the Cathedral of the Segrada Familia. The four seasons and many other symbols are represented in this flowing montage that is more enormous sculpture than architecture. Restless, we wandered the decks, met and talked with the Martins and then found a nice photo of ourselves, taken in Sienaa€™s main Piazza, in the photo gallery. We stopped for a time, in one of the deck ten lounges, and read our books, enjoying the quiet mode of the ship at sea. We walked topside, enjoying as always the collage of sun, sea and sky, as we knifed through the rolling swells.
The Devonshire spread ( as in butt the size of) still engulfed us, so we did another five laps around the deck # 7 promenade. NYC’s City Hall Subway Station was first constructed over 100 years ago, a part of New York’s earliest underground transport network.
Lee Plaza Hotel, once one of the most luxurious residential hotels in Detroit, closed in the 1990s. 76-foot Brazilian yacht named Mar Sem Fin (Endless Sea) that sank off the coast of Antarctica, likely due to ice compression and strong winds. Remains of a house built in the early mid-twentieth century by a New York showgirl with the local nickname of Madam Sherrie.
The Park of the Monsters (Parco dei Mostri in Italian-language), also named Garden of Bomarzo, Italy. World War II anti-aircraft gun towers in the Thames Estuary which were placed there in a not very successful attempt to protect the approaches to London from German bombers. Theme park submerged by Hurricane Katrina, the former Jazzland, bought by Six Flags and became known as Six Flags New Orleans prior to the hurricane. Many thanks to Mike Allsup for offering corrections and details on so many of the images and to the many others who have taken the time to send corrections and added info. The flight was full and two of Marya€™s colleagues, who had made their reservations nine months earlier, almost got bumped.
We again went through security interviews, at our gate, before boarding flight #34 to Orly Airport. Finally, we checked into our room, which was small but adequate, and set off on our first day in Paris. We sought out and found the Paris Cityrama bus tour at 4 Place De Pyramids, near the Louvre. While strolling through the avenues, we encountered Vince and Pat Mancuso who had been in our French Class. After our return, we stopped for coffee at the Cafe' Soleil D'Or and then proceeded to the Conciergerie on the Ile De La Cite. Across the avenue, we found another old church, Saint Germain DePres, where we heard part of a Mass in Spanish. We then ambled along the narrow alleys of the Latin Quarter, with its myriad of Greek, Italian and ethnic restaurants. We walked the two miles back to the hotel and again retired early, tired yet pleased with the day. For three and one half hours, we wandered amidst the French crown jewels, sword of Charlamagne, Mona Lisa, paintings, statuary, silver and gold that words are poor descriptors for. Continuing on, we arrived at the old Opera House, a magnificent edifice of marble statuary, carpeted elegance and subdued granduer. The restaurant was typical of most we saw, in that it was small and all guests sat within inches of each other.
The interior rooms are lined up along connecting hallways, apparently the a€?public roomsa€?. After returning to Paris, we walked through the Grand Palais and Montmarte to Printemps Dept.Store.
We walked past the Opera again and stopped in a€?Fauchonsa€?, a storied provisioner of wines, cheeses and all other delicasies. Wandering back along the Rue Royal, we repaired to our hotel and made our own dinner of wine, cheese and bread. There are several other shrines, with statues, commemorating the death of Marshal Foch, Napoleona€™s brother Joseph and others.
There is always a line to enter the museum, but once you enter, the place is big enough to spread out.
After dinner, we wandered up to the opera district in search of Harry's New York Bar, a literary hangout for American expatriates in the thirties. We traversed the Pont Michel and the Pont D'Artists, watching the painters ply their trade with tourists.
Eleven million tourist buses, with their aging cargos of international Shriners, were parked everwhere. The popular pastime is sipping coffee or wine, at an outdoor cafe, and watching life stroll by. We felt fairly safe, at all hours, in the central arrondisements, but like all large cities, caution is warranted. On our next trip, I would like to experience an opera at the old theatre and some of the more sedate nightlife, that really isna€™t compatible with a full day of sightseeing.
As a final post script, I found the French, in Paris at least, to be friendly, helpful & genuinely pleasant, if you met them half way. Resigned Customs Commissioner Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon on Monday asked the Sandiganbayan to dismiss his pork barrel scam charges as he denied receiving kickbacks from accused mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles. In his urgent motion filed before the anti-graft court Seventh Division, the Liberal Party stalwart asked the court to dismiss his malversation, graft and direct bribery charges, as well as defer the issuance of an arrest warrant. He denied that he received P1.95 million kickbacks from his Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) for his alleged dealings with Napoles to convert his pork barrel to ghost projects for commissions.
Biazon also denied having any dealings with his alleged agent Zenaida Ducut, the former Energy Regulatory Commission chief accused of being the middle person between Biazon and Napoles. The former Muntinlupa representative said there is no probable cause for the court to try him for malversation because he as a former lawmaker has no custody or control over his pork barrel. Biazon said his only task is to endorse the project to the implementing agency, which will be receive the special allotment release order from the budget department. He added that there is no probable cause to try him for graft because his mere endorsement of the pork barrel project does not cause injury to government.
Finally, Biazon said the court cannot try him for direct bribery because he categorically denied receiving any commissions, gift, kickbacks, offer or promise from Napoles. He said there is no evidence in the Ombudsman resolution that would prove that he received kickbacks from Napoles. The Office of the Special Prosecutor filed one count each of malversation, graft and direct bribery against Biazon for his alleged criminal activities as Muntinlupa representative in 2007.
Charged with Biazon is his alleged agent Ducut, a former Pampanga representative who purportedly acted as an agent for Napoles in the House of Representatives. Ducut was said to have toured Napoles in the House of Representatives, according to whistleblower Merlina Sunas.
According to the malversation charge, Biazon with Ducut and Napoles “willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously appropriate, take, misappropriate, and or allow Napoles to take public funds” worth P2.7 million. Biazon allegedly misappropriated P3 million of his PDAF to Napoles’ bogus foundation Philippine Social Development Foundation (PSDFI), which implemented Biazon’s pork barrel funds intended for livelihood projects for the barangays (villages) of Muntinlupa. Biazon and his respondents were also charged with violating Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for causing undue injury to government in coursing his pork barrel funds to the spurious foundation without public bidding, committing evident bad faith, manifest partiality and gross inexcusable negligence. Biazon was also charged with direct bribery for allegedly receiving P1.95 million from Napoles in exchange for his endorsement of her nongovernment organization to receive his pork barrel funds.
The prosecutors said Biazon endorsed the foundation to the implementing agency which was supposed to implement the project without conducting a public bidding. Biazon chose the implementing agency Technology Resource Center (TRC) to course his PDAF to the bogus foundation. Also charged with Biazon were Napoles and her employee Evelyn De Leon for preparing the acceptance and delivery reports, disbursement reports, project proposal, and other liquidation documents to “conceal the fictitious nature of the transaction, to the damage and prejudice of the Republic of the Philippines,” the prosecution said. The prosecution also charged TRC officials for failing to verify the qualifications of the bogus foundation—director general Antonio Ortiz, deputy director general Dennis Cunanan, group manager Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana, group manager Francisco Figura, budget officer Consuelo Espiritu, chief accountant Marivic Jover, and internal auditor V and division chief Maurine Dimaranan.
For expediting the issuance of the special allotment release orders to release Biazon’s PDAF, budget undersecretary Mario Relampagos was also charged with his staff Rosario Nunez, Marilou Bare, and Lalaine Paule. According to the charge sheet, the bail is set at P30,000 for one count of graft, P40,000 for one count of malversation and P20,000 for one count of direct bribery. Biazon is the next to be formally charged before the Sandiganbayan from the second batch of lawmakers sued before the Office of the Ombudsman for their alleged involvement in the scheme of diverting their PDAF to ghost projects for kickbacks.
Revilla and Estrada are detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center after their bail petitions were denied, while the elderly Enrile was allowed by the Supreme Court to post bail from hospital detention due to humanitarian considerations. DUMAGUETE CITY– Three of the four inmates who escaped from the Negros Oriental Detention and Rehabilitation Center (NODRC) in Dumaguete City, were killed in a shootout with police officers on Sunday afternoon at a village in Tayasan town, Negros Oriental. Killed on the spot following a 30-minute exchange of gunfire at Sitio Tinibgan, Barangay Saying in Tayasan, were Maximo Aspacio, Richard Balasabas and James Magdasal. Lacandula  said concerned residents reported to him the presence of strangers at Sitio Tinibgan on Monday. When presented the photographs of the fugitives, the residents confirmed they were the same persons they saw roaming in their community. After a briefing, the teams proceeded to Bandico’s house in Sitio Tinibgan, about four kilometers away from the town proper, where the fugitives were hiding, said Lacandula. The fugitives allegedly refused to surrender and instead engaged the police in a firefight that lasted for about 30 minutes.
The fatalities were brought to the Bindoy District Hospital in Bindoy town, while a Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) team was dispatched to the scene. Recovered from the scene were a .38 caliber revolver, a “sumpak” or homemade firearm and two grenades, said Lacandula. Obama noted that no wall could stop outbreaks of infectious diseases like Ebola and Zika, or help the United States remain competitive in a time of globalization. The US president also denounced politicians who hold themselves up as examples of straight-talkers but shun political correctness. SENATE President and Liberal Party (LP) candidate Franklin Drilon has grabbed the front-runner post in the senatorial races, according to the partial and official count by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) sitting as the National Board of Canvassers for senators and party-list groups. According to the second national canvass report with 121 certificates of canvass admitted Monday, Drilon got 18,307,801 votes. Following them are: former senator Juan Miguel Zubiri (15,788,531), Sarangani Representative and boxer Manny Pacquiao (15,735,079), former PhilHealth director Risa Hontiveros (15,673,393), former Agriculture Modernization czar Francis Pangilinan (15,665,050) and Valenzuela City Representative Sherwin Gatchalian (14,726,503).
Making up the “magic circle of 12” are reelectionist Senator Ralph Recto in 11th place with 14,030,498 votes and former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in 12th place with 13,894,048 votes. Meanwhile, according to the canvass report, the top 10 party-list groupst which have gained the highest number of votes are: Ako-Bicol (1,658,063), Gabriela (1,354,180), 1-Pacman (1,297,157), Act-teachers (1,157,825), Senior Citizens (976,132), Kabayan (822,130), Agri (816,364), PBA (769,147), Buhay (754,876), and Abono (729, 897).
The canvass report noted that there are a total of 54,449,802 reported registered voters while only 43,895,329 voters actually voted.
BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental — Communist rebels owned up the ambush in Toboso town in Negros Occidental that killed three soldiers and wounded two others on Saturday.
The Roselyn Pelle Command of the New People Army Northern Negros Guerilla Front on Monday claimed responsibility for the ambush of the soldiers belonging to the Alpha Company of the 62nd Infantry Battalion who were patrolling Sitio Carbon, Barangay San Isidro, Toboso.
Killed were Private First Class Teddie Alcallaga, PFC Reggie Taleon, and PFC Ramel Perasol.  Wounded were Corporal Rosevil Villacampa and PFC Jethro Niervo. Roselyn Pelle Command spokesperson Cecil Estrella said that aside from the death and injury of the Army soldiers, the NPA seized three M-16 assault rifles, two pouches and a lot of M-16 rifle ammunition.
Estrella claimed that the ambush was in response to the request of residents to stop the alleged  human rights abuses committed by the soldiers.
Estrella warned Army troops that those who committed human rights violations would be priority targets of the NPA. He said the police and Army were preparing charges against 15 rebels involved in the clash with the Army soldiers in Toboso.
THE camp of leading vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo clarified on Monday that she is not being “presumptuous” of her victory in the race, saying the Camarines Sur representative never asked rival candidate Senator Bongbong Marcos to concede defeat. Hernandez also reiterated what Robredo said on Sunday that they are not claiming victory yet as only Congress could proclaim the winners in the presidential and vice presidential races. A 54-year-old cleaner who tirelessly worked for nearly a decade in a college in the United States  graduated from the very school he worked for. In an interview with CBS News, Vaudreuil narrated his inspiring story of hardship and sacrifice. In 2007, Michael Vaudreuil’s plastering business went bankrupt and was unemployed for six months.
Vaudreuil ran out of options and ended up as a custodian at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. After eight years of classes all day and cleaning all night, the former cleaner graduated as a mechanical engineer on Saturday, together with a roster of students half of his age. Upon receiving his diploma, Vaudreuil hopes for a change of path in his life as his graduation symbolizes a spark of hope for his career. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) is set to ask the Supreme Court to nullify President Benigno Aquino III’s appointment of two associate justices to the Sandiganbayan. In a 27-page petition on Monday, the IBP, a mandatory organization of all lawyers in the Supreme Court’s Roll of Attorneys, said Mr. The petition, which was approved by its board of governors, will be submitted to the high court Tuesday. The IBP said Econg and Musngi should be restrained from exercising their duties and functions as Sandiganbayan justices.
The JBC submitted to the Palace in October last year six separate shortlists for each of the six vacancies in the Sandiganbayan emanating from Republic Act 10660 (An Act Strengthening the Functional and Structural Organization of the Sandiganbayan), which created two new divisions in the anti-graft court. ZAMBOANGA CITY – The assistant vice president of the Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology (ZCSMST) died in a fall from the third floor of one of the school’s buildings early Monday. Chief Inspector Helen Galvez, information officer of the Zamboanga City Police Office, said the body of Dr. Parents will be held directly accountable for the actions of their children, presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday. Duterte, during a televised press conference in Davao City, reiterated that curfew for minors will be mandatory under his watch. Duterte, during the press briefing, said the village chair will be tasked to coordinate with the police in identifying and arresting the parents. The tough-talking mayor said the rule will apply to everyone, regardless if they are his supporters.
Presidential candidate Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte delivers his speech during the Makati Business Club forum held at Manila Peninsula in Makati City. WHEN Rodrigo Duterte was campaigning for the highest post of the land, a big concern in the business community was his lack of an economic program. Last week, a broad outline of the incoming administration’s economic program came to light, to the delight of the business community. For ordinary wage-earners and corporate taxpayers, the good news is that the incoming administration is planning to lower income tax rates to 25 percent from the current 32 percent, which is among the highest in the region.
This makes sense, as one of the economic thrusts of the Duterte administration is to make the investment climate more attractive to foreign investors.
Ease of doing business, another common complaint especially from those dealing with local government units for their various permits, is also high on Duterte’s agenda. Also on the agenda is the plan to develop the rural areas, basically the agriculture sector, by providing support services to small farmers to improve their productivity. Other aspects of Duterte’s economic agenda involve the continuation of two pillars of President Aquino’s administration—the slow-to-start public-private partnership program and the hugely successful conditional cash transfer program more popularly known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. Among the names floated as possible members of the Duterte Cabinet, one stands out as far as the business community is concerned: Carlos Dominguez, a member of the Duterte transition team and former Cabinet secretary during the administrations of Presidents Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos.
FIRST OF all, let me thank the teachers and volunteer workers who contributed their personal time and effort to making the last elections one of the most credible in recent years. Upon arrival at our voting station located near the Immaculate Conception cathedral in Cubao, Quezon City, I immediately proceeded to line up at the precinct indicated on our voter’s card. A week after the elections, I seem to notice more “Duterte for President” stickers on cars passing by.
One of the more graceful concession speeches I have ever come across was that of losing candidate Mar Roxas.
The only face that is familiar to me from among the newcomers who are reported to be part of the transition team of presumptive President Rody is former agriculture secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez. When Sonny was agriculture chief, I was assigned at the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta, replacing Ambassador Manuel Yan who moved back to Manila as foreign affairs undersecretary.
Among the many duties and responsibilities of an envoy posted abroad is that of greeting and sending off high government officials especially those of Cabinet rank attending regional or international conferences.
I particularly recall one Asean Ministerial Meeting in Jakarta because the Cabinet representative sent by Manila arrived attired in a T-shirt appropriate for a golf or tennis appointment.
The one Cabinet official I remember most, however, was our agriculture secretary, Sonny Dominguez.
Since Dominguez had no check-in baggage we would proceed straight to the embassy vehicle and head for the city.
THERE IS nothing extraordinary in the electoral triumph of Rodrigo Duterte if the percentage of the total votes cast he obtained and the winning margin he garnered are both compared against those achieved by Joseph Estrada in 1998 and by Benigno Aquino III in 2010. In 1998, Estrada won 40 percent of the votes and had a 24-percent winning margin over his nearest rival, Jose de Venecia. In contrast, based on unofficial vote tallies, Duterte won 39 percent of the votes and garnered a 15-percent winning margin over his nearest rival, Mar Roxas. But what makes Duterte’s electoral triumph remarkable is that he managed to achieve a huge win even after he repeatedly sabotaged his own chances by issuing foul statements that could have doomed any other candidate.
Voters who prefer a strongman for our next president cite the need for an iron fist in order to instill discipline among the people.
But it would be a terrible mistake to conclude that an iron-fist rule is the magic ingredient that brings about economic progress. From February to April, I went around Southeast Asia for consultations with nongovernment organizations on human rights issues in the region.
Even if we set aside the issue of whether presumptive President Duterte is clean or not—an issue that was not resolved during the campaign—he will preside over a huge government machinery in which key departments have a deeply ingrained culture of corruption, inefficiency and unresponsiveness to people’s needs. If there is any need for Duterte to flex his style of governance symbolized by a clenched fist, it should be used to instill discipline in the government workforce in order to change the prevailing culture. People know the drug dealers, jueteng operators, and criminal syndicates in their communities, but these criminals continue to operate because many policemen, mayors and governors behave as if they know nothing about what everyone else knows. ATLANTA—Conventional wisdom lays much of the blame for the rise of Donald Trump on angry American voters, who have allowed him to break every rule in the political playbook without paying a price. All along Trump’s march to becoming the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, partisan commentators spun and respun his countless outrageous statements, sometimes with just a tut-tut of disapproval, while other on-air pundits all too often treated his malignant demagoguery as worthy of serious analysis.
Even with the rise of the internet, opinion polls consistently show that some 60 percent of Americans still regard television as their primary news source. For media companies that own local stations, reaping the financial bounty from political ads is one thing; investing in news operations another. Because of consolidation, fewer TV stations actually gather and report the news; instead, stations share staff, facilities and even stories, reducing not just the number of newsrooms, but also the competition that brings diversity and depth to reporting. According to the Radio and Television Digital News Association, a quarter of US television stations that present local news receive their programming via “news sharing” arrangements.
More troubling, research suggests that as local stations reap revenue windfalls from election campaign advertising, reporting on the candidates’ claims becomes off-limits. In Denver, for example, local stations took in $6.5 million to air nearly 5,000 ads paid for by the 2012 presidential candidates’ political action committees (ostensibly independent fund-raising groups that shield their donors’ identity).
Vigorous political reporting is vital to democracy because it enables voters to understand the issues and evaluate their choices. Kent Harrington, a former senior analyst, national intelligence officer, and chief of station at the CIA, also served as the agency’s director of public affairs.
After Marcos won 14 million votes, the martial law thingy can no longer be dismissed as ignorant sacrilege.
I was struck by a conversation with Aiya Balingit, a Technological University of the Philippines 2013 graduate and an aspiring painter. I suggested she publish her thoughts on behalf of the 2010’s youth in a discussion dominated by the 1980s youth. Carmma’s (Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacanang) viral video featured interviews with 19- to 22-year-olds who praised the martial law that took place before they were born.
Second, the claimed narrative implies it is illegitimate for millennials to be more conscious of the 2000s than the distant 1970s. Marcos’ near election and hundreds of thousands of #LabanLeni tweets have spurred calls to review history textbooks and open martial law museums. One hopes our education is extended from the end of World War II not just to 1986 but to 2016.
The tone of our democracy’s story will now be set by Twitter’s Aika Robredo-Sandro Marcos rivalry and salaciously subversive #RP69fanfic more than the iconic 1997 documentary “Batas Militar.” It will now be retold by those not present, just like the gospels. GRACE POE lost the presidential election, but she has won a place in the history of Philippine elections.
Then his message, as reported by the media: “Let us begin the healing now… Let us be friends. What the mayor of Davao City was saying was “Take it or leave it,” or, in the language of the common Filipino, “Believe me, I’m sincere,” implying that he would be most disappointed should his goodwill be rejected. The senator’s gesture touched off a series of concessions and conciliatory statements that bode well for the incoming administration. Of the six vice presidential candidates, four have conceded defeat: Senators Francis Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Gregorio Honasan. Defeated Filipino candidates very rarely concede defeat, and never mere hours after voting had closed. A precedent has been set in this presidential election, hopefully to be followed in succeeding elections. The interesting question is: Had Poe not started the ball rolling seven hours after the voting had closed, could this “first” in the history of Philippine elections have happened? Presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte now has a clear path toward the “change” he envisions for the Philippines.
GIUSEPPE MAZZINI, considered one of the important political agitators of the past century, in his most famous work, “The Duties of Man,” writes: “Education is the great word that sums up our whole doctrine.
A transitional or imperfect democracy is characterized by the fragility of its institutions and the dissatisfaction of the people with respect to the prevailing sociopolitical order.
Kristina Wesseinbach says that “political parties launch certain issues and discourse into civil society, providing the public with the possibility to discuss matters and form opinions.” But in the case of the Philippines, most people still view political parties and most politicians as untrustworthy. Voters find great comfort and inspiration in Christian charity, but they do not see the value of political party affiliation. Wesseinbach correctly notes that “a fundamental role of political parties—in almost all democratic polities—is to motivate people to go to elections and participate in the electoral process.” Many Filipinos are politically active, but they have no sympathy for political parties. Perhaps, we can also point to the reality that we do not have a strong sense of nationhood. We have now seen the election to the Senate of a new breed of young leaders, Bam Aquino, Joel Villanueva and Sherwin Gatchalian. The success of democracy in any modern state will depend on the quality of knowledge and information possessed by its electorate. Thus, to be able to truly gain ground, political parties must have a social impact, both in theory and in practice. Christopher Ryan Maboloc is assistant professor of philosophy at Ateneo de Davao University.
Can you imagine that as President Aquino told the awardees, “I know that any medal, any praise, any colorful words are not enough to the contributions in your respective fields and our society,” he was virtually speaking more to the dead than to the living? Admittedly, posthumous awards cannot be totally avoided.  Nevertheless, I particularly find it not only quite surprising but also kind of intriguing that Manuel Conde and Francisco Coching had to be conferred their National Artist award only in 2009 and 2014, respectively, or practically two decades after their time. That said, I do not intend to pass judgment upon the selection committee of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts which, along with the Cultural Center of the Philippines, has been the government agency officially authorized to administer the conferment of the National Artist Award. Meanwhile, the plain truth is government saves much when the awards are bestowed upon the already dead than upon the still living. Could the savings be the reason the awards are mostly given posthumously?  Most probably not. FOR ALL intents and purposes, we need to stop the practice of certain religious sects or organizations that exploit the gullibility of their loyal members by dictating on them to vote for their endorsed candidates who they expect to do them “parochial,” personal and political favors in return. Block-voting has nothing to do with church unity, but it has everything to do with perversion and religious slavery.
This abominable act in the guise of “religion” has been ongoing for decades now, one of the reasons being why we are a suffering people and corrupt nation to this day. Contrary to the claim of France, the Balikatan exercise does not include a fishing ban; rather, a safety zone is declared in the exercise area for the protection of our fishermen. On the other hand, China has taken over territory that belongs to us under international law as confirmed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
France’s equating the Balikatan exercise with the Chinese aggression in territory that belongs to us is too outlandish that not even the official spokespersons of Beijing will make such claim. I am confident that our countrymen are discerning enough to recognize articles that, undoubtedly, China is disseminating in our country through agents of disinformation who may be doing it on purpose or who may have been manipulated by the Chinese to do such things unwittingly.
SINGAPORE — Eight budget airlines from Southeast Asia, Japan and Australia said Monday they have formed what they called the world’s largest alliance of low-cost carriers, enabling customers to book connections using a shared platform.
The announcement comes at a time of increased popularity for budget carriers in Southeast Asia, which industry players say is a key growth market for low-cost air travel. The alliance will serve more than 160 destinations with a collective fleet of 176 aircraft, the statement said. Members of the alliance together served more than 47 million travellers from 17 hubs last year, according to the statement. The increasing popularity of no-frills airlines, which typically do not offer free meals or in-flight entertainment, is driven by the region’s growing middle class, many of whom are travelling for the first time. Shukor Yusof, founder of Malaysia-based aviation consultancy Endau Analytics, said the alliance will benefit carriers more than passengers. Amid the financial market volatility that marked the quarter, AUB and its subsidiaries continued to intensify lending activities and generate deposits from a wider branch network nationwide, the bank said on Monday.
The bank said that its increased presence in commercial lending, as well as in the auto, mortgage, small and medium enterprises and salary loan segments, led to a P1.8-billion interest income during the quarter. THE LOCAL stock barometer surged to the 7,500 level for the first time in nine months on Monday as the market bet on rosy domestic economic results while weighing future economic programs along with the recent MSCI weight rebalancing. The market likewise weighed in the remaining corporate earnings results for the first quarter while betting on a good first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) report for the Philippines later in the week.
SMIC, DMCI and MPI all gained over 1 percent while AC, GTCAP, URC and PLDT contributed modest gains. Buenaventura, 63, will succeed Lorenzo Tan, who had resigned from his post to give RCBC a free hand to direct the course of its business following the money laundering incident involving the bank’s Jupiter branch, which has been the subject of a Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing. Described as “soft spoken and a quiet worker,” Buenaventura is seen to bring with him a wealth of experience in universal banking and large operations deemed critical to RCBC’s further growth. Before heading the DBP, Buenaventura was a former senior executive vice president (EVP) and chief operating officer of the Bank of the Philippine Islands. He was likewise president and chief executive officer of Prudential Bank when it was acquired by BPI and EVP at Citytrust Banking Corporation. Buenaventura was a Citibanker for 18 years where he started as chief of staff to the country head and rose to become vice president, group head and senior credit officer. This veteran banker obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of San Francisco and his MBA in Finance from the University of Wisconsin. RETAIL magnate Lucio Co-led Cosco Capital grew its net profit in the first three months by 12 percent year-on-year to a quarterly record high P1.08 billion on higher earnings across retailing and other businesses.
Cosco’s consolidated revenues in the first quarter amounted to P28.79 billion, up by 12 percent year-on-year. In the first quarter, the retail business segment from Puregold and S&R contributed 86 percent of the total revenues followed by specialty retail business from Liquigaz while office warehouse had a share of 9 percent. Puregold is the country’s second largest retailer while Liquigaz is the second largest liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) player in the country. As of end 2015, Puregold group had a total of 298 stores which included the 17 stores from NE Bodega and Budgetlane acquired during the year. Including share of earnings by minority interest, Cosco’s three-month net income amounted to P1.66 billion, up by 11 percent year-on-year. The decline in net income was mitigated by controlled expenses as well as the increase in PSE’s other income source. CONGLOMERATE Lopez Holdings posted a 24 percent year-on-year growth in first quarter net profit to P1.35 billion, driven by a double-digit expansion in its power generation and media businesses. Higher efficiencies accounted for the gains with FPH costs and expenses falling by a faster 16 percent following an 11 percent decline in revenues, the group said. RRHI disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Monday that net income attributable to equity holders of the parent company recorded a flattish growth at 0.5 percent to P785 million in the first quarter.
Robinsons Retail operated a total of 1,514 stores (+158 stores from April 2015 to March 2016) and expanded its total gross floor area by 7.8 percent year-on-year to around 967,000 square meters.
With this partnership, customers can order their grocery requirements from within a 5-kilometer radius of 20 selected Robinsons Supermarket branches in Metro Manila. The parliamentary standing committee in the finance ministry has called for global pressure on Manila-based Rizal Bank to retrieve the $81-million fund wired illicitly to the Philippines from Bangladesh Bank’s account with the New York Fed. The suggestions came after the BB presented a detailed report on the measures taken since the cyber heist took place in early February– to recover the stolen money at the meeting.
The standing committee members sought to know from Finance Minister AMA Muhith how the cyber heist took place and who were involved. Many foreign nationals were involved in the crime, Muhith told the meeting, adding that he would give a detailed statement on the heist in parliament. The Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit or BFIU has sent a list of suspected persons and institutions in the Philippines to 151 member countries of the Egmont Group, an informal network of national financial intelligence units.
The BFIU has requested them to freeze the accounts and identify any suspicious transactions on them. Besides, it has sent the list of the suspects to the CID for issuing a red alert through the Interpol. BB Governor Fazle Kabir has already sent special letters to a host of related officials informing them about the heist and seeking cooperation in retrieving the money laundered to the Philippines. We began in June of 1999 with a cover story on Steve Tannen, the older brother of this montha€™s featured performer, Greg Tannen.


Over the years, while I kept getting distracted by Fast Folk Musical Magazine alumni or someone new whoa€™d catch my ear, Greg just kept getting better and better, winning and placing in songwriting competitions (John Lennon, UNISONG, USA, ISC) and awards in festivals (Sierra Songwriters, Telluride, Rocky Mountain Folks).
However, after reacquainting myself with all of Grega€™s albums, I found that ita€™s really a continuation of a body of beautiful and compelling songs. Although Louis died in 1982, there is still a Tannena€™s Magic showroom near Herald Square and a Tannena€™s Magic website where magic products are sold. His family moved to Toronto right after his first birthday and stayed for around six years.
The first names to come tumbling out of Greg were: a€?a lot of Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Bill Evansa€? (Pete is a huge Bill Evans fan). The band played covers of the Rolling Stones and REO Speedwagon, among others, and some of Grega€™s original songs.
At home, in more private moments, he was writing on acoustic guitar, focusing on songwriting, under the influence of acoustic-based songwriters such as Bob Dylan and those in Dylana€™s lineage. Taking his acoustic guitar and travel bag, he went to Australia, a€?doing the vagabond thing,a€? staying in youth hostels part of the time. They played gigs together as a duo called The Kahluas (named after the familya€™s dog) and made a recording.
Then, as Greg tells it, during their respective a€?crap part-time jobs,a€? at their computers, they started emailing lyrics back and forth to each other. This is followed up with the gorgeous a€?Everything I Said,a€? a haunting reverie about a girl named Vanessa who stands by the clock in Grand Central Station with her hair up. An attempt to do an extended riff turned into a laugher and is tacked on as a short bonus track. The title track is another soulful rendering of a breakup that somehow seems a bit more sharply rendered than its predecessors.
I posed the idea that brother Roberta€™s screenwriting connection had something to do with it. He said, a€?Ia€™ve made a bunch of trips down there, written with some great people, had some great meetings, buta€¦ they want me in Nashville, and Ia€™m just not ready to live there.a€? Thata€™s good luck for us. All passengers casually look up at a large electronic tote board that lists gate assignments. I could see the white cliffs of Dover as we crossed over the English channel and flew across to France. It seems that they had left an entire baggage cart, from our flight, at Heathrow during one of the a€?beat the clock a€? scenarios.
Sounds of French, Italian, Spanish and several other languages swam around our ears as we sat musing about where we were. At the top of the steps, we crossed a small terrace and looked down into the elegant rubble that is the remains of the Roman Forum.
Its several tiers, all filled with open arches, even now reminds me of the many sports arenas we had visited. Then, we set out over the very pricey Via Condotti, browsing the windows of Bvlgari, Gucci, Ferragamo and a score of other trendy shops. We were tempted to enter the a€?Tre Scalinia€? and order a€?Tartuffo,a€? that wonderful roman delight that is a€?fried ice cream,a€? but passed on the opportunity in the interests of fitting into our clothes.
We wandered the back alleys, consulting our trusty map and once asking a merchant for directions.The trouble with asking questions in passable Italian is that the hearer assumes you speak the language fluently and rattles off a response in rapid fashion.
We showered and prepped for the day.NCL was putting on a buffet breakfast in the hotel for the early cruise ship passengers. Three hundred and fifty cruise passengers had booked a few days in Rome and were expected this morning. We sought out and found the a€?Aa€? line that would take us up to the Vatican and the Chiesa San Pietro (St. We could see the walls of Vatican city up ahead of us and the huge dome of Saint Petera€™s against the skyline. Petera€™s held a long line of pilgrims, school children on holiday and other penitents from the four corners of the globe. We were debating where we would head next, when we noticed that the line had lessened for St.
Petera€? stand in their wooded splendor, for all the world like an outsized throne for some race of giants. We sat through the mass understanding much and received communion, saying a prayer for Brothera€™s Paddya€™s repose. I said a brief prayer for all of those whom we had lost and moved on to the marbled hallway. It is a circular and high walled fortress that has served in different eras as a castle for the Caesara€™s, a prison, a church and now a stone monument to antiquity. A small pile of stone cannonballs lay next to what must have been the remains of a medieval catapult, used to bomb the attackers with. A few tug boats and a single scull, powered by a lone oarsman, were all that broke the surface of this venerable and storied river.
We slowly climbed the winding steps, to its heights, noting the occasional bum sleeping in the park bushes. We walked along the parkway, dodging the odd service truck, and admired the imposing bulk of the Villa Borghese, sitting on a hill above us.
A group of Spanish school kids were singing happy birthday to one of their group amidst much laughter.
I signed up for an hour with the hotels internet station ( 20 euros) and sent a number of messages to friends and relatives across the ether of cyberspace. Then, we settled in with paninis, chips,acqua minerale con gassata and a good bottle of Chianti, while we read our books and got ready to join The Norwegian Dream for an itinerary we had long anticipated. On deck #12, aft, we found the a€?Sports Bara€? a small buffet-style restaurant that served all three meals daily. Like all liners, the boat is equipped with motorized, ocean-going tenders that are wholly enclosed and hold up to 128 passengers when full. It was followed with a nice spinach salad, a grilled tuna steak and a delightful cannolli and decaf cappuccino. Its most famous Saint, Catherine of Siena, had been a dominican nun who was a a€?close associatea€? of the reigning pope in Avignon. Then, we walked into the small piazza that holds the most prized treasure in Siena, the Duomo Santa Maria da€™ Assumption. We fell in with and enjoyed the company of two colorful residents of Celebration, Florida, Pat and John McGoldrick, former Beantown (Boston) residents and fellow Irish Americans.
Ensconced within are all of the original statuary and murals from the exterior of the church.As the marble became worn, throughout the centuries, artisans had replicated the original statuary and remounted them on the facade. We elected to choose again the Trattoria for dinner, where we were seated with Ray and Sarah from Atlanta.
Geographically, the rocky headland of Porto Fino separates the gulfs of Tivuglio and Paradisio.
We enjoyed the colorful front street of nice hotels, shops and restaurants, as we exited the bus in the rain. The harbor area rings a small marina, with wonderful sailing yachts scattered amidst the smaller craft.
Christiana took us through the commercial center of Genoa , stopping at the central a€?Piazza venti septembre, 1870a€? which commemorates the date of the Italian unification. A light rain and a 42 degree chill greeted us, as we stood topside to watch the Dream get underway. The Mediterranean Sea sparkled a dazzling blue against the bright sun and lighter blue of the sheltering sky.
Francois Grimaldi, the founder of the line, came to the area in 1297, with a small army of soldiers, all disguised as monks.
We followed a nicely trimmed walkway to the a€?Rochea€? (rock) area, so named because it had literally been carved from the cliffside rock.
The crenelated battlement of the original castle had been added to over the generations to produce an odd hybrid. Along the roadside, at several intersections, sit scale, bronzed models of Le Mans race cars, denoting the world famous auto race that roars through the streets of Monaco every May.
We skipped breakfast and had coffee topside, admiring the Marseilles harbor and the surrounding mountains, in the bright, Easter-morning sun. It is now the second largest city and largest commercial port in France, with one million people living in the metropolitan area. We set off from the port area, stopping first at the a€?Old Cathedrala€? in the a€?vieux port a€? area of the harbor.
A score or so of fishermen were minding stalls that sold fresh fish, everything from whole squid and lobsters, to eels. The kind and elderly woman, perhaps a nun in mufti, helped clean the wound, put antiseptic ointment on it and dressed it in gauze. The city had erected three separate, exterior walls, for defensive purposes, as the city evolved over the centuries.
Unfortunately , Antonio Gaudi was killed, in a traffic accident, at a young age and construction was interrupted.
Built for a 1929 world exposition, this elegant structure and plaza is now an art museum. The theme for the evening was a€?American Presidents and their favorite foods.a€? We chose a Gerald Ford, Norwegian, salmon appetizer. John’s Hospital, a former mental asylum in Lincolnshire, England, which closed its doors in 1989.
Designed by Karl Langhans (also known for The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin) built in 1796-1797 in Zeliszow, Poland. We found that checking in on international flights is a little different, in that you are never allowed to leave your bags unattended. The mansion was an upscale 18th century prison, whose most famous prisoner, Marie Antoinette, stayed there briefly before they escorted her to her beheading.
We dropped off a role of film, from yesterdaya€™s tour, at a ' bureau da€™change', for processing. A ticket for Versailles and the Cathedral tour at Chartre was 360 F.each, fairly reasonable.
But, one would do better to go without a tour, in the late afternoon, to avoid the horrendous crowds which can ruin a visit. In this area around the church of the Madelaine, there are several inviting food delia€™s, which sell everything for fairly reasonable prices. It is more like a small bazaar really, with hundreds of people wandering around the narrow streets.
Artists, replete with easels and smocks, perpetrate alfresco paintings on the luckless tourists. Then, we took one last walk along the Seine to the Eiffel Tower, to drink in the scenery for the last time. He resigned as Customs commissioner in 2013 after the Department of Justice included him in the pork barrel scam complaint. Fourth place was copped by former senator Panfilo Lacson with 16,687586 votes while former senator Richard Gordon placed fifth with 16,444,672 votes. Francisco Delfin, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander accused the NPA of making false accusations to justify their murderous attacks on soldiers. It’s only him who could discuss his concession,” Robredo’s spokesperson Georgina Hernandez said in a media briefing at the Ateneo de Manila University on Monday.
Instead, they were just providing updates in the latest vote count, which shows that there is a “mathematical certainty” that Marcos cannot catch up with Robredo’s numbers.
To utilize his time, he registered for tuition-free classes his college offers for its employees. Aquino violated the Constitution when he appointed to the Sandiganbayan Cebu City Branch 9 Regional Trial Court Geraldine Faith Econg and Undersecretary Michael Frederick L. Aquino violated Section 9, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution when he did not appoint anyone from the shortlist submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to fill the position of 16 Sandiganbayan Associate Justice. Aquino signed into law Republic Act 10660 or the Act Strengthening Further for Functional and Structural Organization of the Sandiganbayan, two more divisions have been added to the original five anti-graft divisions thus creating six vacancies for associate justice. Aquino, however, disregarded one of the five shortlists and appointed two from another shortlist. Aquino’s action is a “culpable violation of the Constitution,” which is a ground for impeachment of a President. These are the very evils proscribed by our Constitution, and are a clear act of grave abuse of discretion subject to the Honorable Court’s review,” it stressed.
Lourdes Sereno, chair of the seven-member JBC, allowed the questionable appointment and even administered the oaths of office of three of the six justices last Jan.
Aquino, namely, Judges Philip Aguinaldo, Reynaldo Alhambra, Danilo Cruz, Benjamin Pozon, Danilo Sandoval and Salvador Timbang Jr. He ran—and won—mainly on the promise to address the peace and order situation and solve gut issues neglected by the Aquino administration, such as the horrendous traffic situation in the metropolis. Duterte’s transition team presented an eight-point economic agenda focusing on investments, infrastructure, tax reforms, social services and rural development. An important highlight of the announcement to calm fears in the business community is that the presumptive President will continue and maintain the country’s current macroeconomic policy.
As one of Duterte’s economic advisers pointed out, the Philippines needs to align its tax system with those of other members of the Asean to be competitive.
The plan is for the national government to follow the “Davao model,” where licenses needed to start and operate a business are issued in the shortest possible time. The new regime will encourage more investors to put up processing businesses in the agricultural areas. The incoming administration has yet to formally name its economic managers, or those who will hold the trade and industry, finance, public works, energy, budget and economic planning portfolios.
For me personally, it was one exercise of a public duty that saw my status as a senior citizen upheld with all its privileges and considerations.
A young man walked up to me and courteously advised me to move to the head of the line, signaling his coworkers inside that I was a senior citizen. This also includes the volunteers of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting and the men in uniform—the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines—who kept the peace for all of us.
It goes to show that the old saying “Victory has many fathers and followers; defeat is an orphan” remains as true today as in the past. When the airport is located a good 40 minutes away as in the case of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta, the whole operation, including settling down one’s guests in a hotel, can take up much of your time, leaving your schedule in shambles. Fortunately, since I met him plane-side some distance from the terminal, we had time to scrounge around and slip on a barong. His office would send me a cable a few days in advance informing me of his arrival and he would usually show up on a Friday or Saturday evening. His meetings were usually in the offices of an Asean joint-venture fertilizer project in Aceh, the northernmost province of Indonesia where he sat in as the Philippine government representative. Antonio Andrews of Class 1949 of the PAF Flying School, one of the pioneers of the Philippine Air Force. In 2010, Aquino won 42 percent of the votes and had a 16-percent winning margin over his nearest rival, Estrada. We can only imagine how much bigger his winning margin could have been if he were not as reckless in making those outrageous remarks.
But what bothers people is the substantial number of voters who went for him because of a yearning for a strongman who will have no qualms taking shortcuts in order to achieve results that benefit the greater number of people, even at the expense of trampling on the rights of a few. The city-state of Singapore may have attained economic prosperity under an authoritarian government, but virtually all the other Southeast Asian countries suffered economic misery under iron-fist rulers. The overwhelming sense I gathered from all countries that experienced or are still experiencing iron-fist governments is that strongman rule is not only a curse on human rights but also a scourge that brings about economic misery.
Duterte will implement his directives through a government workforce steeped in this culture. That is the kind of governance that will bring about real change in the country, and make Duterte truly deliver on his “change is coming” election promise. Many government bureaucrats create difficulty in obtaining permits, licenses and government contracts as a means to squeeze grease money from the people. He must not curtail people’s freedoms and instill fear among the citizenry, because if he plans to confront the formidable criminals in the government and the very powerful syndicates in the business sector, he will need a noisy and quarrelsome citizenry behind him.
But more responsibility arguably lies with the American broadcast journalists who amplified his schoolyard name-calling and bizarre policy views.
When it came to the chores of professional journalism —fact-checking, providing historical background, and offering impartial analysis—television news channels failed to fulfill their election-year responsibilities. Spending on political advertising is skyrocketing, boosting profits at broadcast and cable news networks which have been struggling with declining viewership and lackluster revenues.
News consumers are twice as likely to express the most trust in local broadcast and cable news compared to social media, attesting to voters’ reliance on television journalism to inform their thinking. Campaign spending on political advertising is expected to top $5 billion in 2016, nearly quadruple the total in 2008. And in dozens of this fall’s battleground states, where the rival campaigns will blanket the airwaves with political ads, broadcast news departments are increasingly ill-equipped to assess either the candidates or their political claims. In 2014, five companies owned one-third of the 1,400 local TV stations in the United States. According to the Pew Research Center on Journalism and the Media, the number of local television stations originating their own news programming has fallen 8 percent since 2005.
A study by the public-interest group Free Press of political advertisements during the 2012 presidential election found that stations in the six sizable television markets examined undertook virtually no reporting on the claims made in the political ads they aired. The same Denver stations devoted only 10 minutes and 45 seconds in total to examining the accuracy of the advertisements’ claims. But this year, America’s media industry seems more inclined to bank its profits than bolster its reporting on a presidential campaign that even its senior executives acknowledge has become a circus. In postelection frustration, she asked why, after the Edsa Revolution, one had the Mendiola massacre, the Hacienda Luisita massacre, the Ampatuan massacre, and countless extrajudicial killings. But she felt constrained by an unspoken social convention that all became right again after Edsa, Tita Cory Aquino in her yellow dress, and the crowds singing “Bayan Ko.” Perhaps she will ask her questions in a painting and wrap it with a little of the comfortable vagueness of visual art. This has been the tone of public commentary on millennials, martial law and the election, down to the 2014 attacks on Ateneo de Manila students who took selfies with Imelda Marcos. A vulgar meme for the 2016 elections asked that if Cory was elected after Ninoy Aquino died, and Noynoy Aquino was elected after Cory died, should Mar Roxas assassinate his wife? Education Secretary Armin Luistro has fortunately outlined that students must be taught how to check primary sources for themselves and form their own judgments, instead of institutionalizing a sermon. When youth appear receptive to moving on from that martial law thingy, they do not intend to forget it.
No one knows how a critical new generation will choose to immortalize it, but if the election social media frenzy is any gauge, it will surely be as impassioned as the first drafts. As a graceful loser, she made “a first” happen since the first election under the Commonwealth government in 1935. Miriam Defensor Santiago, the tail-ender with 1.4 million votes, has yet to concede to Duterte. Soon after voting had closed, Duterte called out to his opponents to forget the “travails” of the “quite virulent” election and to “begin the healing process.” His offer of “goodwill” was accepted.
But for making the move no losing presidential candidate has ever done before, Poe has notched a significant victory. More so now that President Aquino, his fears for a Duterte presidency notwithstanding, has personally congratulated the winner and offered a smooth transition and cooperation.
In our present scheme of things, the issues hampering the country are income inequality (or the lack of decent jobs) and the apparent absence of national solidarity. People from many walks of life, most especially our young professionals, now have greater influence in terms of amplifying political issues.
They are only inclined to glorify the personal attributes of a candidate, but not his or her political principles.
Politics in the country has remained personality-based and is wanting in terms of principles that catapult nations into progressive societies. Whether they will be successful in helping dismantle “artificial hells on earth,” to use Victor Hugo’s word, will not depend on the number of laws they will be able to pass, but on the collective and discursive rationality of our age. There cannot be real empowerment in a society that is ignorant of the basic role of civil society and its important function in holding all those in positions of power accountable. For as long as millions of Filipinos wallow under the gutter and live in misery, dissent in whatever form will not be useless.
His career in the movie industry spanned from 1935 to 1963, while the National Artist awards began only in 1972.
Caparas, another prolific comic-book illustrator, who was surely still a kid when Coching was at the peak of his career, got the visual arts award in 2009. It just so happens that I have always been in the habit of searching for logic in everything I read or hear or see around. A cash emolument of P75,000 is all that goes to the heirs of a posthumous awardee while P100,000 is given a living awardee plus lifetime pension, medical and hospitalization benefits, life insurance coverage if still insurable, and state funeral and burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani—on top of a place of honor and recognition at national state functions and cultural presentations. Still, there is wisdom in the saying: “Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo (Of what use is the grass to a horse already dead)?” But haven’t the cash emoluments been the same from Day 1? Funny, they usually support a presidential candidate who is a front-runner in voter preference surveys. After each election, the demigods of these mundane kingdoms or the so-called “churches of the Lord Jesus Christ” are held “omnipotent” and “untouchable,” such that they can oblige our national and local leaders to grant their beckoning on matters of official appointments, judicial favors, government contracts, “referrals,” patronage politics and other religious malpractices and political crookedness. China’s possession of our territory is in perpetuity, and the ban it has imposed on our fishermen is permanent. This is a tendentious conclusion, given the concomitant outcome of  China’s intrusion into territory that belongs to us. Hopefully, we will maintain our vigilance about the articles which will be continually spread in our country by Beijing’s agents.
The group reached out to more customers through its consolidated distribution network of 229 branches, of which 208 belonged to the parent universal bank and 21 to the rural bank. SM Prime rose by 3.15 percent while Jollibee, Megaworld and FGEN all advanced by over 2 percent. The rest of the revenues came from liquor distribution and real estate leasing business units.
Locally, the pendency of the national elections kept some investors and potential issuers at bay,” PSE president Hans Sicat said on Monday. Similarly, ABS-CBN’s expenses grew at a slower pace of 14 percent compared to an 18 percent rise in revenues. This was attributed to the booking of P73 million in unrealized foreign exchange losses from the US dollar denominated available-for-sale investments on the back of the appreciation of the peso against the US dollar at end-March this versus the end- 2015 level. This will initially be offered to residents of Metro Manila and eventually to other urban centers in the country. At the moment, nothing can be said conclusively about the matter,” a meeting source said quoting Muhith.
Since wea€™re only now getting around to younger sibling Greg, you might say wea€™re running a little bit late. Ia€™d run into Greg often over the years and hea€™d greet me warmly, seemingly knowing it was only a matter of time before Ia€™d recognize his mastery of the songwritera€™s craft.
Pete had been admitted to the Berklee School of Music for jazz, but his parents told him, a€?Therea€™s no money in music,a€? so he didna€™t attend. He picked that up and started playing it, saying he didna€™t want to study clarinet any more, and began taking guitar lessons from a female jazz guitarist. When Greg was 17, the band came into New York City and recorded its first (and only) album a€” material that a€?will never see the light of day,a€? he wryly states. Toward the end of high school, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, he performed his original work at open mics and at the end-of-the-year senior talent show.
While at Oberlin, Greg did more performing on acoustic guitar, doing small gigs and open mics. He always had his guitar out and busked in Sydney and Cairns (up the coast from Sydney near the Great Barrier Reef). After less than a year, Greg moved to New York City, and Steve followed a few months later. Rosanne has been very supportive of Greg, twittering to her fans about him during his opening sets, and generating lots of CD sales. His take is that when you collaborate with someone, a different style emerges, a hybrid of two people.
Grega€™s in the middle of a writing spurt and hopes to have enough material for a new album next year.
When Greg was 17, the band came into New York City and recorded its firstA  (and only) album a€” material that a€?will never see the light of day,a€? he wryly states. We had finished packing the evening before, so we had time to stop at a nearby restaurant and had bagels and coffee, while reading the paper.
Traffic was light, at the peace bridge and on the Queen Elizabeth Expressway, so we breezed into Torontoa€™s Pearson airport in 90 minutes, well in time for all of us to relax and check in for our afternoon flights.
The plane was a€?sro,a€? every seat was filled.A few of the piccolo mostro (little monsters) squawked a bit during the flight but it went quickly enough. The neatly outlined farms, of the French country side, flashed below us in a well ordered array. Once, this small area had been graced with rows of gleaming white marble structures, the business, commerce and affairs of much of the western world had been waged here daily. We dodged their insistent sales pitches and walked out onto the Via Imperiali, walking towards the Vittorio Emmanuel II monument. The fascination of Rome is that you stumble upon these grand and ancient monuments so casually when you turn a street corner. We were headed in the distance towards the Fiume Tiber and the Piazza Navona, another famous gathering place and site of three majestic Bernini fountains.
We smiled, strained to understand and thanked the man for a€?su aiutoa€? (his help) As a parenthetical, I dona€™t know that we have ever found a people as gracious, patient and willing to help as we have the Italians. It has classic greek columns in the front and a large dome that has at its center and open a€?occulia€? that lets light enter the dimly lit church. You got so your ear could hear them approach and you knew you had to run like hell to get out of their way. We relaxed in the room, wrote up our notes and then went for an invigorating swim in the hotela€™s pool.
Four blocks over, we spilled into one of the most famous squares in the modern world.The Piazza San Pietro was already crowded with pilgrims by mid morning. We walked about the piazza enjoying the semi-circle of the grand columns with their statues of popes and saints standing atop them. A line was gathered near a tombed figure with an open, glass side, so we stood patiently in line to see what drew the attention.
The frescoes on the walls, the gilded and painted windows and the wealth of two thousand years held us in awe. I figured a mass and a lighted candle at the Vatican might give him some juice in the far beyond. For 5 euros each, we entered and walked around the inside periphery of this two thousand year old castle. Off the courtyard lies a circular verandah that overlooks all of Rome.We sat for a bit and enjoyed the view, then found a tiny cafe where we had a cappuccino with other pilgrims who visiting the fortress. We retraced our path, down the circular ramp, and exited onto the esplanade along the Tiber, replete with cadres of africans hawking all manner of souvenirs. It is a functioning museum, with a collection of intersting sculptures and art works, but we were tiring with the day and wanted to push on. A swirl of languages provided an auditory bath for our ears, as we walked amid the crowds, enjoying the life and laughter of so many around us.
We had to ask how the Italian key board works, to find the ampersand symbol that is used in e-mail addresses. The lobby was awash with businessmen, attending some conference or other, and hundreds of other cruise-ship passengers wandering about. The surrounding countryside was devoted mainly to agriculture, with many vineyards running along the coast. The papal states took possession of the harbor in the 14th century and it had evolved into the chief commercial port of Rome during unification in 1870. We stood in our orange life vests, with whistle and water activated light, and listened patiently to the crew member assigned to us.
It is our custom, when cruising, to have a drink at the topside bar and watch the ship leave port.
We were seated at a small table for two and ordered a bottle of Meridian Merlot from a Ukranian wine steward named a€?Igor.a€? We exchanged several comments in Russian and enjoyed the conversation with him. Siena is south and east of Florence, a beautiful city of art and culture that we had already visited and enjoyed on a previous trip. We stopped in the Piazza Tolomei, the home of the aforementioned banking syndicate, Monte Dei Pasche.
Finished in the late 1300a€™s, this Romanesque, white and green striped, marble epiphany, with roseate trim, is impressive. A lively lunch, well seasoned with several flagons of the local Chianti, consisted of pasta and mushrooms in sauce, asparagus risotto, (no carne for four), cheese, green beans and salad,finished off with a ricotta cheese desert that was wonderful and accompanied throughout with aqua frizzante.
Looking at these originals gives you an appreciation for the odd seven hundred years that the place had been around.
A huge, victory-arch framed three floral gardens that are dedicated to Christobal Colon (Columbus) and his three ships on their voyage of discovery to the Americas in 1492.
The lights, of the whole amphitheater of Genoa, were twinkling in the dark as we eased from the harbor and set off Westward along the Ligurian Coast. We drove down the grand boulevard, Avenue Crossette and viewed the huge hotels, the site of the international film festival and even a statuesque column to the emperor, Napoleon. They attacked the surprised Genoese defenders and overwhelmed them, taking possession of the area and declaring it the Principality of Monaco. We walked along the Boulevard San Martin, passing two pricey homes that housed the royal daughters, and stopped to visit the Church of the Immaculate Conception. Reluctantly, we left the a€?Rochea€? area, with its palace and fairy tales, and returned to the bus.
We parked at another huge garage and took the elevators and escalators up to a small plaza that houses the Monaco Opera house.
Parked out front today, were an Aston Martin, two lamberghinia€™s, several Jaguars, the odd couple of lesser Mercedes and a row of other luxury cars, with an attendant to watch over them. Czar Nicholas of Russia, and Queen Victoria of England, and scores of lesser roalty, had been frequent visitors to the area. It is of green and white striped marble construction, like the church in Siena, but much less ornate.
We watched as several fishermen worked around their small fishing dories, cleaning and mending nets. By now, I was recovering a bit and managed to remember enough French to thank her and say that she was a€?very kind for helping me.a€? I kept my hand elevated, in a position of a€?The french salute, but with the wrong finger,a€? as we walked around the grounds of the cathedral. Was this not the land from whence the phrase had originated a€?waiting for Godot?a€? We stopped by the a€?slop chutea€? for a salad and then sat topside for a bit, admiring the harbor on such a bright and sunny day. Mary took over the job of transcribing my travel notes and agreed to take notes on the next few days tours, until I could manage to grip a pen well enough to write. Portions of all three still existed and had been added to architecturally over the years in something the guide called a€?architectural lasagna.a€? It is a nIce turn of phrase. The a€?newer sectionsa€? of Barcelona are laid out in a geometrical grid, with broad boulevards and more green spaces. The streets in the area have ornamental wrought iron lamp posts and the buildings are adorned with ornate metal floral designs. Originally planned as a 60 residence housing project for the wealthy, only two homes were ever built. It is flanked by a lovely parkland that stretches along the edge of this hillside and looks out over the city and harbor.
We squeezed into a table with two charming Southern Belles from Kentucky, Sandy and JoQuetta. We were bouncing messages off satellites, all over the world, and in instant communication with friends five thousand miles away. Now, it has a few beautiful fountains and is overrun with traffic and dozens of tour buses. Nearby, is Sainte Chappelle, a superbly beautiful church whose stained glass windows are magnificent (36F.ea. No doubt, the Aquino administration takes credit for a sustained expansion in gross domestic product averaging a decades-high 6.2 percent anchored on a stable fiscal and monetary regime.
Currently, foreigners are barred by the Constitution from investing in certain industries reserved for Filipinos or restricted to owning no more than 40 percent in other sectors. It promises a regime in which the government will actually help investors put up businesses instead of being a hindrance. It is hoped that Duterte will carefully deliberate on those being suggested to head these agencies.
At the desk manned by teachers, I was provided with a folder containing a ballot sheet and directed to a chair nearby instead of a booth for stand-up voters.
This provides valuable insight into the character of some of the people surrounding the new president. Incidentally the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport is located at Cengkareng, about 28 kilometers west of Jakarta.
We then proceeded to a crowded VIP room where other Asean ministers in coat and tie were being welcomed formally by protocol officers and the local media. Without much ceremony, Sonny would emerge from the plane carrying a garment bag which was all he had.
Nevertheless, 16 million voters disregarded his foul words and instead judged him based on what he has done, or is perceived to have done, in Davao City. The summary killing of criminals in Davao City to ensure peace for the majority proved attractive to many voters in towns and cities troubled by the drug menace and all the crimes it generates.
Singapore is presented as a model country in which an authoritarian government imposes discipline among its people, and which supposedly enabled it to achieve economic progress. The Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Burma (Myanmar), and Cambodia are countries that suffered economic misery under authoritarian governments.
And he will wield iron-fist powers that will be implemented by a government workforce that treats power as an instrument of corruption.
It is not the lack of discipline among the people that stalls the country’s progress; it is the undisciplined corruption in the government that has always stunted economic progress and allowed criminality to become widespread in our society. The presumptive President should slam his fist on the tables of these rogues in the government. In a highly competitive market, in which legacy media companies are under pressure from Internet news sites and social media platforms, news programs quickly realized that they could leverage Trump’s outlandish behavior to attract larger audiences and strengthen their bottom lines. The impact of this restructuring on journalism and its role in the political process should not be underestimated. And local television is on track to get the lion’s share; more than three-quarters of that spending—some $4 billion—will be earmarked for political advertisements on local broadcast and cable television channels. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s near win as vice president, the Edsa generation now bequeaths the narrative’s framing. Marcos won 45 percent of OFW votes compared to opponent Leni Robredo’s 19 percent, and there are few very young OFWs.
This unconsciously implies millennials must be guilty for not yet being born in 1986 and not learning the facts of martial law from textbooks prescribed by their elders. However, can one similarly dismiss a young idealist who wants to talk about the SAF 44 or the Kidapawan farmers more than martial law? Underneath this black humor, however, lurks the question of whether it is time to add events beyond 1986 to the narrative. Or pati iyon, nanakawin mo pa rin (Or will you steal even that)?” But individualistic millennials note that criticism of Bongbong Marcos still returns to martial law. At that time, returns from 81.18 percent of the precincts nationwide had been reported in the unofficial count and Duterte was leading her (at third place) and Mar Roxas (at second place), by more than 6 million votes. When I offer [peace], that’s without exemption, but if they don’t accept my goodwill, fine; then I will accept it. Speaking in Filipino at a press conference and referring to Duterte by his nickname, Roxas said: “Let’s respect and accept the will of the people. The first is simply a result of the noninclusive type of economic growth in the Philippines. The young have become a great source of rich philosophical commentaries and pleas for sociopolitical reform. Yet, given our situation, the desire for change can be used to inspire transformation in terms of mainstreaming the role of political parties, the hallmark of most modern states, in transitory democracies like the Philippines.
Beyond one’s right of suffrage, nation-building will require the meaningful involvement of every citizen in the state. Political reform in the country can be realized only if active citizen participation is sustained. Clearly, then, Conde’s great works antedated those of film category awardees Gerardo de Leon (1982) and Lino Brocka (1997). Then, alas, what a whale of another kind of savings the government has kept amassing from the horrendous inflation throughout the last 44 years! China’s ban embraces not only a limited area but the entire South China Sea as defined under the spurious nine-dash line. No wonder, these cheap Chinese arms are weapons of choice of insurgents not only in the Philippines, but all over the globe. He also managed the bank’s special business units and several subsidiaries and exercised direct oversight over non-revenue areas including information systems, human resources, and central operations.
Listening to his father play and hearing the melody digressions in jazz were a big part of Grega€™s formative experience (still a€?a€¦my favorite thing to listen toa€?). His most rewarding experience was working as a first mate, cooking and playing guitar on an 80-foot charter sailboat that was also an Americaa€™s Cup challenger. Stevea€™s song a€?Brother Uptowna€? on his debut CD Big Senorita describes him coming in late and crashing at Grega€™s apartment. Although free of drug references and busts, to these ears, stylewise, ita€™s a cousin to the Grateful Dead hit, a€?Truckina€? with some a€?Friend of the Devila€? thrown in. Two tracks later, wea€™re treated to the award-winning a€?Mary,a€? in which wea€™re young again and transported to a summer night car ride with a girl in a white dress. They think that the head of the show was a big Deb Talan fan and wanted her on the show, so The Weepies were written into the script. He good-naturedly referred to the results of the combination of his efforts with others as a€?Frankensteina€? in nature. At that instant, the entire passenger compliment, for that flight, drops what they are doing and sprints for the assigned gate, some as far as a 15 minute walk away. Then, the Italian Alps crowded the skyline.They are hills of the craggy and black granite variety, much like our own Rocky Mountains.
The line was long and passengers were annoyed,some engaging in delightful histrionics, replete with loud voices and wild gestures. My minds eye could picture the parade of legions and cornucopia of other traffic that had passed this way before us in the 2700 years of Romea€™s history. Now, it took an active imagination to look into the dustbin of history and see what once was mighty Rome. The Coliseum looked majestic, as we looked over our shoulders, like some ancient mirage that would vanish the moment we stopped looking.
We were headed to the most famous meeting spot in all of Rome, The a€?Spanish Steps.a€? They are a series of broad stone stairways that lead from the Piazza Espanga to the five-star Hotel Hassler, once the site of the Villa Medici, with its distinctive twin towers. We sat in a small park on the Piazza Venezia and looked out over the monument with its huge Italian flags wafting in the afternoon breeze.


It was busy with flight crews coming and going and scores of other travelers from everywhere.The airport location is ideal for weary passengers arriving from all points of the globe. We sat down with a couple from Toronto and had a pleasant conversation.He is a retired fire fighter and she works in food service. Long lines waited to get into the Vatican museum and its moist desired visual prize, the Sistina Chapella (Sistine Chapel). The appeared for all the world like a semi circle of stone hawkers calling forth the faithful to come in and see what was cooking inside. We jumped into line and soon were admitted into the venerable wonder that is the church of St.
We scurried over to the entrance to the underground crypt, thankful for the empty bellies of the many pilgrims who now donned the noon feedbag. A long marble hallway, opened every few yards into a grotto with a marble sarcoughogus that housed the remains of another Pope. The stone work had been mended throughout the years, but reflected differing styles of stones and means of repair from the many eras of its menders. The ornate facade of the Palace of Justice, just up ahead, looks like something from 19th century Paris, in its dirty-gray limestone majesty.
Part of the ancient wall of Rome, with its standing city gate, frames the North side of the piazza. At its peak, we looked out over the Piazza del Poppolo and enjoyed the view of much of Rome. We found the subway entrance nearby and walked down into the bowels of Rome, to catch the a€?Aa€? train back to the terminal. At 9 A,M, we walked through the lobby and again dined at the buffet breakfast put on by NCL in the hotel. The cabin was compact, but included a small sitting area, sliding doors onto a balcony and a small bathroom and shower.It was to be our home for the next twelve days. If you ever needed this sucker, in an emergency, it might well pay to know how to hell to get on board the craft. The powerful tug a€?Eduardo Roacea€? helped nudge the dream in a 180 degree pivot, so she was bow first and able to steam more ably from the congested harbor area.
He was to be one of several of the mostly Phillipino and eastern European wait staff with whom we were to interact. After dinner, we strolled the decks and now open shops (they close when in port) and enjoyed the comings and goings of the passengers in the lounges. The Pisamonte range hemmed the flat coastal plain into a narrow strip of tillable land, where farmers grew large commercial crops of grapes, sunflower seeds, olives and wheat.
She had been so venerated by the church, that when the Sienese wanted her body interred in the Chiesa San Domingo, Rome had only sent her head and a finger to be buried there, retaining the rest of her remains for veneration in Rome. We enjoyed the McGoldricka€™s company and were half lit from the Chianti when we emerged into the central piazza some 90 minutes later.
I am not much taken by religious art, but had to admire the pure artistry in stone so casually laid before us.
We were high in the hills and caught pictorial visages of the valleys surrounding Siena, San Gimiano and the nearby towns. Topside, we looked out and viewed the amphitheater of Genoa, that surrounds the busy commercial port. A land road now reaches Porto Fino, but in the early part of the century, it had only been accessible by boat, increasing its attraction for those looking to a€?get awaya€? from it all.
We saw a sign with an arrow for a€?Castello Browna€? and walked the steep and terraced steps leading above the village.
It is impressive enough, but the real treasure, for Americans, is to walk by a simple grave stone, amidst ancient Monagasque royalty, embedded in the floor near the main altar.
We were having lunch in a€?La Chaumiere,a€? a picturesque, mountainside restaurant with a killer view of all of Monaco and the mediteranean beyond. Cap Da€™antibe, and the sparkling blue Mediterranean, are things you could look at all day. Along the waterfront, pricey hotels dominate the grand boulevard for a stretch of seven kilometers. We much enjoyed the Martina€™s company and talked long enough for us to be the last ones in the Trattoria. We had the option of a full day tour in Provence, but had decided that too many full day tours were wearing us a little thin.
Byzantine in style, like sacre Coeur in Paris, it sits on the site of a much older church first established there in 1100 A.D. Elaborate gates , with decorative iron works guarded the palais.Three marble lions strode atop the impressive gates. It stands high on the summit of a hill, and features a huge gold tinted statue of a€?Notre Dame,a€? Mary, the mother of Christ. It was the McGoldricks 24th wedding anniversary and we had been looking forward to joining them. My right hand was swollen, black and blue but felt well enough to get through the daya€™s tour. It is apparently the local custom for Godfathers to purchase ornate cakes for their godchildren on this day.
The impression we got was of a very clean and well ordered city, with little graffiti, litter or urban blight.
The three other facades of the church are radically different in design, all reflecting the dynamics of the Spanish church and government in different periods of the cathedrals construction. The ship gathered speed and we reluctantly waived farewell to a beautiful and unique city in Catalonia.
Calamari, risotto with shrimp, penne pasta, cannoli and decaf cappuccino all accompanied a Mondavi Merlot. The stitches and wound looked icky, but the tissue was already showing signs it might grow back together.
I uncorked a bottle of champagne, that the cruise line had given us, and we toasted our good fortune at being here with each other. Relaxing these restrictions had long been suggested by various business organizations, which contend that opening more sectors to foreign investors will hopefully bring an end to inefficient or underperforming monopolies in the industries.
So is the strengthening of the basic education system and the provision of scholarships for tertiary education, which, Duterte’s team believes, is relevant to the needs of the private sector, or matching what is taught with what is demanded in the field. The people he will name to these posts will largely determine the success of his economic agenda. The airport is named after the late president Soekarno and his vice president and one-time prime minister Mohammad Hatta. He struck me as a hardworking, no-nonsense type of person, although unlike other workaholics he had a warm and friendly disposition that made it easy to get along with him. And now Malaysia and Thailand are experiencing economic decline by reason of authoritarian rulers. To give Third World governments iron-fist powers will only give people in the government more powers to commit more corruption. The 168 stations owned or operated today by Sinclair Broadcasting, the largest of the five, are a case in point; Sinclair broadcasts in 81 local markets, reaching nearly 40 percent of the US population. In four of the television markets the researchers assessed, nearly 100 percent of the stories broadcast by “news sharing” stations used the same videos and scripts. It will be shaped by young voters who do not disbelieve martial law’s horrors, but are critical of how much work remains to make democracy real.
When Bongbong Marcos trumpets his 1998-2007 track record as governor of Ilocos Norte, the response is “Never again!” When Bongbong Marcos debates the Bangsamoro Basic Law in 2015, the response is “Never again!” This is unimpressive engagement of a democratically elected senator.
The second can be traced to the problem of regionalism and the unresolved Bangsamoro issue. Still, the problem is that our political parties have remained a nonfactor in our democracy, when from a theoretical and a practical point of view, political parties are supposed to be the heart and soul of political discourse. Good citizenship, rooted in the pursuit of the common good, should be instrumental in making every Filipino politically informed. With offense or malice toward none, one wonders how these two “movie greats” got their awards for film quite a long way ahead of Conde. If that does not lead toward a continuing “trivialization” or virtual devaluation of an otherwise so highly revered Pambansang Alagad ng Sining ng Pilipinas, I do not know what else will. It turned out that one main feature of the communist system was to use agents of disinformation to undermine countries which had been selected as subjects of subversion. This is no longer the case with the airfields in the artificial islands that China constructed barely 200 kilometers away.
Now with these Chinese artificial islands only 200 km away, China can distribute these arms on an overnight trip by speedboat to our insurgents. A never-opened wooden a€?mystery boxa€? Abrams got as a boy at Tannena€™s Magic Shop played a seminal role in shaping his suspense-heavy career vision. Over a throbbing bass line we hurtle down the road and, the dash board lights set our sights way up higha€¦ hold on tight to mea€¦ Mary. The Caribbean flights all fly out of Toronto in the early hours of the day and the European flights in the early evening hours. The hills were laden with snow beneath us as we soared over them.They looked cold, jagged and forbidding. We had decided to eat at the Hotela€™s a€?Taverna,a€? rather than risk ramming around the area when we were this tired.
We collapsed into a dreamless sleep of crowds, noisy children and the other bugaboos of travel crowding our heads. We dressed for the day and walked the half mile over to the airport terminal.Throngs of people were scurrying about. The remaining spaces are crowded by large brick apartment complexes, stretching all along the train line that runs from the airport to Rome. The painted frescoes and saints statues had replaced the many ancient and pagan deities that had once adorned the niches in the walls. We sat in the Antico cafe and enjoyed a cappuccino, looking out over the ancient Theater Marcello, another gracious ruin where the Caesars had enjoyed theater productions.
The train was just about to leave the station, so we sprinted down the track and jumped on board just as the conductor gave the engineer the wave off. Complexes of brick condos and apartments signaled the arrival of the local stations, which we breezed through without stopping. We had already viewed this wonder on a previous visit and were not ungrateful that we didna€™t have to stand in the two-hour long line. He had loomed large in my child hood and now I was here staring at his elegantly clad remains, like some rural Russian first encountering Lenina€™s tomb in Red Square in Moscow.
A 60 foot high cliff, with grecian columned buildings, marks the eastern edge of the Villa Borghese and frame much of the remainder of the piazza. Then, we came upon the top of the Spanish steps and the storied Hotel Hassler and a few other four star and elegant small hotels. The winds were freshening and the waves were splashing high above the seawall, as we glided from port, waving by to Roma until we could return once again. It is from these small range of mountains that the world-famous Cararra marble is quarried. The olive trees took thirty years to mature enough to yield sufficient fruit for a pressing. Many were small walled villages from the middle ages, replete with castle walls, church and bell tower. Nearby Florence and the beautiful walled village of San Gimiano also sit on this road and prospered from the pilgrims and commercial traffic that flowed along its length. It all sounds a bit grisly to us now, but it was the time-honored custom of the medieval church in Italy. One large center and two smaller flanking triangles, of painted Murano glass, project colorful scenes of the Virgin Mary. The Piazza is cobbled, and slanted to funnel into a flat area just in front of the Siena City Hall.
Oysters Rockerfeller, salad, lobster tails and peach cobbler, with merlot and cappuccino, were wonderful. The Norwegian Dream would motor 118 miles North, to Genoa this evening, arriving by early morning. The city is shaped like an alluvial amphitheater and carved from the surrounding mountains, like Naples far to the South. The bus traversed several large tunnels, through the surrounding mountains, in our passage south to the Ligurian coast. The coastal hills rose steeply, behind the narrow strip of road, as we motored past the Porto Fino headland and coasted towards the small harbor area that is Porto Fino.
Bougainvillea and other flowers were in bloom here and gave an aura of color and warmth even in the rain. Flagons of Chianti and a soft, white wine accompanied fried mushrooms, pasta in pesto sauce, seafood lasagna, fried fish cakes (for the vegetarians.) Strawberries in lemon ice, with Decaf cappuccinos finished this tasty repast.
It is glass walled and occupies three terraces and the entire rear of the ship on deck # 9.
It would be a long day for us, so we headed to the cabin to read and retire from another hard day of touristing.
The wholea€? countrya€? is carved from the cliffa€™s side, with terraced sections up and down the mountain. It reads a€?Gratia Patriciaa€? and houses the remains of Philadelphia-born film star, Grace Kelly. I smiled momentarily, remembering an episode from the Television series, a€?The Sopranos.a€? The main character had unknowingly parroted a remark he hard from his shrink, referring to a€?Captain Tebesa€? as an elegant place to visit.
Across the roadway , from the hotel and along the seaside, run a similar lengthy of beaches.
Mary and I reversed course and walked along the marina and haborside, into the main square of Canne. The waiter was too polite to ask us to leave, but I had been thrown out of enough places already to recognize the imminent nature of the a€?buma€™s rush.a€? We made our goodnights and returned to the cabin, to read and relax. The guide wasna€™t doing any hand flips over the architectural style and there didna€™t appear to be any large crowds around on this, an Easter morning. Andre Dumas, a native of Marseilles, had written the a€?Man in the Iron maska€? using these prisons as his locale. Strollers, tourists and shoppers were already out and about the small a€?old harbor.a€? The restaurants were open, and the chairs put out, for the coffee drinkers.
My hand was throbbing to beat the band, but hey, no one likes a whiner, so we went and were glad we did. A former Roman outpost, from the first century, Barcelona is now the heart of the Catalonia region of Spain. Gaudi offers a unique marriage of art and architecture that is elegant in composition and a delight to the eyes. The front facade rises in four towering and conical spires of dark brown sandstone, that narrow into tapered and brown-stone, laced pillars.
I could write several chapters on this elegant sandstone epiphany, but suffice it to say that it is a conceptual marriage of architect Antonio Gaudi, and painter Salvatore Dali. A large fountain, floral gardens and a well-ordered square complete and compliment this lovely square. I managed, in my best high school German, to tell the Germans that a set of my mothera€™s grand parents had come from Munich and that Buffalo has a sister-city relationship with Dortmund, a mid sized city near Dusseldorf. When pressed for more information on the mysterious connection to the incoming administration, my friend recalled that during his campaign sorties, Mayor Duterte would always say, “I will iliminate the criminals and drug lords in six months. In the early days of their revolt against the Dutch, the two men complemented each other perfectly.
I was reminded of former US president Jimmy Carter who was once photographed lugging his own garment bag in the early days of his presidency.
I said to myself that it is people like Sonny Dominguez who can make things happen whether in the private sector or in government, and any undertaking could use more of his kind. For instance, given the noninclusive nature of Philippine economic growth, the platform of continuity has not worked. Unless the electorate realizes this vital element, all those social media wars will be pointless. The presence of our democratic institutions must be felt in the margins of our society and by the most disadvantaged sectors. A worse outcome of the near presence of these Chinese bases is it facilitates China’s ability to subvert our country. Our long coastline and the limited resources of our Navy and coast guard will make it near-impossible for us to stop these arms supply runs.
About that magic booka€¦ it sits on a shelf and, when pulled, it opens the door to Abramsa€™ secret bathroom (really). When faced with enormous expenses for his kidsa€™ college tuition, he spent years as Creative Director of various advertising agencies in New York City, Sydney, Australia, and Toronto, Canada. To many of their fans, ita€™s their most popular song and they still perform it together when touring schedules coincide.
It centered around relationships and darker themes crept in, albeit always with beautiful melodies. It was here that we encountered the curious version of what we were to call a€?beat the clock.a€? Terminal # 1 is the jump site for many of the shorter European flights from London. How the heck the luggage guys can figure this out and bring the right baggage to the quickly assigned gate appeared to be problematic, as we were to find out. We waited resignedly for our turn and then filled out the appropriate forms, with the besieged agent at the desk.
We recognized the bleary look in some of their eyes and knew that they had just flown in from far away. Throngs of tourists, from all over the globe, swirled around us in a multi-cultural sea that was dizzying to the ear. The Romans had staged sea battles, gladiator contests and all manner of spectator sports in these halls. It was one of those magical moments when you are very glad to be alive and with a loved one. After our swim, we read our books and soon fell into the arms of Morpheus, where we slept like dead alligators in a swamp, for a blissful eight hours. We crossed over the Tiber River and smaller streams, noting the unique triangular, truss-supports on some of the more rural bridges.
We hung on to over head straps and looked out into the gloomy subway, eyes unseeing like the most veteran romans. We had purchased rosaries on a previous trip and wondered again at the whole a€?blessed at the vaticana€? scam. I looked on amused and amazed at what i was seeing, as the temporal veil of two thousand years of recent history raced through my mind. Inside, we followed the circular walkway that rose gradually up the 90 some feet into the air, to the castles battlements high above us.The ramp was designed to carry popes and caesars in coaches ,high above us, where they could be walled in from besieging marauders.
Twin churches on antiquity, now banks, guard the entrance to the Via Corso to the South, and the rest of Rome.
Further down the parkway we knew lay the hotel Hassler at the top of the imposing Spanish Steps. We thought about stopping at the Hotel Hassler for coffee or a drink, but were convinced that they would recognize me for a scoundrel and give us the heave ho.
We found a spot where we could hang from over head straps and enjoyed the ride back to the Airport. Nazaire France from 1991-1993 for $240 million dollars and originally named the MS Dreamward.
After dinner, the stewards would take whatever portion of the bottle of wine that you consumed and save it for you in a central repository where you could call for it from any of the several restaurants on board. Michaelangelo had been a frequent visitor in the quarries, to select blocks of marble for his sculptings. This treasured fruit would yield 19 kilograms of oil from every 100 kilograms of olives pressed. I dona€™t think we, as Americansa€™ have much of an appreciation for this a€?quiltwork of principalitiesa€? that made up a region, each warring with the other over the ages. The Monte Dei Pasche, a commercial banking syndicate of Siena, had also become the bankers for the papal states and collected both interest on their loans and outstanding debts for the popes for centuries.
Around its periphery are a series of hotels, trendy shops and restaurants with awnings and chairs for tourists and Sienans to enjoy the Tuscan sun. A series of large ravines, carved by glacial or ancient river action, were speckled with housing complexes and spanned by lengthy bridges, now loaded with morning traffic. We could see Castello Brown high above the village.It looks like a medieval fortress, but later proved to be but fhe fancy digs of a former 19th century British ambassador.
Afterwards, we walked along the narrow harbor path, looking in the various shops and taverns facing the sea.
Meridian Merlot accompanied a three-berry compote, a lemon fruit soup, salmon and risotto, with chocolate cake and decaf cappuccino.
Several eighty and hundred-foot power yachts lay at anchor in the upscale marina, attesting to the citya€™s glamourous reputation. The police were cordoning off a route from the Palace to the Church, for the royal family, and clearing traffic from the streets.
Several flagons, of a decent , house, red wine, accompanied salad, pasta, cheesecake and cappuccino. We passed on the privilege and watched for a time the ebb and flow of tourists walking in and out. Above the beaches runs an elevated promenade upon which throngs of natives and tourists were walking. It had been a long and enjoyable day, in a fairy-tale setting, that evaporated from our consciousness with the setting sun.
Some places were elaborately laid out, with formal tableware, perhaps in anticipation of Easter Brunches later in the morning.
The site had been built to commemorate the arrival of water, in underground pipes, to Marseilles. The sight lines, from the elevated promontory, were gorgeous, but our attention was a bit distracted.
The doctor was away from the ship, so she further cleaned and disinfected the wound and wrapped it in sterile gauge.
He didna€™t think much of the tissue would survive, but put five stitches along the underside of my ring finger, disinfected the wound, wrapped it in sterile gauze. The entire front facade, beneath them, is engraved with images of the life of the Holy Family, the birth of Christ, the adoration of the Magi, the crucifiixtion and death of Christ and the last judgment. After dinner, we walked the decks for a while enjoying the comings and goings of so diverse a population of passengers. Her English was better than my German, so we talked for a bit about the usual pleasantries.
Without the unity of a people, lasting social and political transformation will simply remain a farfetched proposition.
The Apennines extend down the spine of Italy, appearing like some great skeleton on an exhibit, in a natural history museum.
We had some decent Chianti, very tasty caesar salads and bread, with cappuccinos afterwards. We watched amused at the scores of a€?smart carsa€? and compacts scurried in and out of the congestion, jockeying for position in the moving metal stream.
I could picture the Romans arriving late, complaining of the heavy chariot traffic, as the sat in their assigned seats, waving at acquaintances and craning their necks to see what dignitaries now sat on the elevated dais.
The Spanish Ambassador to Italy had once lived in a villa, just off these steps, giving them their name.
We admired the smooth marble and artistic workmanship and pondered for a time the march of civilizations that had come here to worship throughout the centuries, each praying to a a€?goda€? that they held dear. Then, we were standing in from of a glassed-in sepulcher that reputedly holds the remains of the founder of the catholic church, the rock upon which Christ had built his earthly church, Peter, the fisherman. A tunnel even supposedly exited underground.It ran from the vatican, some blocks over, to the fortress where popes could retreat in times of attack. We sat by the fountain, listening to a musical group playing nearby, and enjoying the whole panoply of activities that swirled around us in this huge meeting place in Rome. We walked about, enjoying the many artists who were painting alfresco portraits of the tourists, much like the Place du Tetre, behind Sacre Cour, in Paris. The first pressing is the most valued and usually labeled a€?extra virgin oil.a€? A killing frost had destroyed much of the local trees in the 1980a€™s.
It gives rise to our fascination with castles, moats and the whole medieval mythology that surrounds such areas. The syndicate was so successful that in later years the Siena City council had mandated that 50% of their annual profits were to be turned over to the city for a€?public improvements.a€? The annual rebate now runs to $150 million a year and funds much of the restoration of the medieval town. Each year, on July 12 and August 16th, a colorful horse race is run around the periphery of this wide Piazza, with ten especially trained horses and jockeys representing parts of the city.
We laughed a lot, enjoyed the food and each othera€™a€™s company and made a nice day from a soggy one. An interesting collection of brick-faced apartments, all shaped in the form of tan pyramids, caught our eye towards the shoreline.
Directly in front of the casino, and rising upwards to a level of the city some 50 feet above, are a series of terraced fountains and floral gardens all bedecked in colorful flags and pendants. We noticed that many of the stately older villas,along the roadway, were in some state of decline. The beaches sported colorful names like a€?Miami,a€? and a€?Opera.a€? In the Summers, this place must really rock and roll!
It was too chilly to sit in the outdoor cafes, so we walked the length of the area, drinking in the sights and sounds of a place that we would never perhaps return to. A detachment of the French foreign legion had been stationed at this imposing stone edifice. He told me to a€? take two aspirins and garglea€? and come back in a few days to see how it progressed.
The statue was supposedly pointing towards the West and the new world, but somehow, the statues orientation had been turned so he was pointing South. They do things like that in Europe where centuries are relatively much shorter spans of time than in America.
The homes, more Spanish style, Hansel and Gretel-type cottages, also feature elegantly tiled exteriors that are in the Dr.
We sat for a time in the star dust lounge, but the entertainment was just as lame as our previous encounter. At midnight, there were still throngs of people walking about and thousands of cars stuck in jams. The airport is probably the only such facility in the world honoring two individuals who were their nation’s first president and vice president.
Roxas’ protest against Binay in the 2010 vice presidential contest still stands at the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. We had had the foresight to pack some essential in our carry-ons and werena€™t too disturbed at the loss of our luggage. The bus let us off on the Piazza Campodoglio, just behind the Vittorio Emmanuel II monument, that enormous a€?wedding cakea€? that seems to dominate all of the Roman skyline. We wondered again at the many parades of conquering armies that had this way trod, dazed captives, strange animals and other trophies of victory shepherded before them, to the delight of the cheering throngs. The Romans had even engineered a means of stretching a huge canvass across the top of the structure, when the high sun of summer was beating down on the arena. They set out their chairs, under awnings, and wait for the tourists to come and sit in the Roman sun, dining and watching each other. I wonder if any of then considered the similarities of their exercise rather that the dissimilarities? The street was awash with people going to work and throngs more, even at this early hour, headed to the Vatican.
We had been here twice before, but stood silently in awe of Michaelangeloa€™s white-marble epiphany. As in most situations, when you find yourself overwhelmed by what you see, it soon becomes normal. We always do a double blink when we find ourselves in places like this, to remind us that we are really here and not meandering in some day dream in a place far away. It was getting late in the afternoon and we were thinking about making our way back across the city to the stazione terminal and the train back to the airport Hilton. The newer trees were only now approaching the proper maturity to deliver ripe olives for oil pressing.
On one hilltop, we espied the village of Monteregione, with its village wall and twelve turrets rising above the skyline.It is an outline much known in Italy and used on their former currency. A column stood in this piazza, atop which is the form of a she wolf, with two infants suckling her. That was to be the last time we agreed to a€?share a tablea€? with strangers when asked by the various maitre-da€™s.
Along the many coastal areas, we noticed the old fishermena€™s homes, that are painted in various bright Mediterranean pastels. We boarded and I stopped by the deck # 9 internet cafe to send a few message into cyber space.
We were now on the a€?middle corniche (cliff) road.a€? Most of the coast, in this area, is a very steep hillside that slopes precipitously towards the Mediterranean.
The population of the Monaco is comprised of 10,000 French, 10,000 Italians, 5,000 Monagasque (natives) and a sprinkling of other nationalities.
The sun was shining brightly overhead, the Mediterranean sparkled blue in the distance and a fairy tale changing of the guard was in progress for a fairy tale prince. We walked about the beautiful parkland, enjoying the flowers, the bright colors and the activity in and around the casino.
We wandered its narrow alleys, dodging other tourist who had been game enough for the walk. It was getting late and cooling off, so we walked back to the dock and stood patiently in the long line for the tender ride back to the ship. Looking out towards the fortress, on the very edge of the harbor, is a large stone arch built to commemorate French soldiers killed in the Orient.
Across the small plaza, from the Cathedral, sits a more modern building with a huge painting by Picasso, on its facade. Reliefs of fruits and vegetables, animals and other symbols of nature display a pantheistic overview of God and creation.
It is these chance encounters, with people from everywhere, that really make a cruise enjoyable.
It sits majestically, astride the Montmartre hill, with a commanding view of the Paris City scape. It is one of the pitfalls of travel.The airlines are usually pretty good about getting your lost bags to you in the next 24 hours. Now, throngs of people from everywhere come by daily and sit on the stairs, admiring the view and enjoying the throngs that come to sit by them.
We sat for a time near the a€?Four Riversa€? fountain and admired the artistry of the Master Bernini. Sadly, I informed them that it existed now but in their memories from that classic chariot race scene in a€?Ben Hur.a€? What was left was now a large rectangular park area, overlooked by the ancient palaces on the Capitoline Hill. We walked the length of the funeral chamber to its end where thoughtful officials had provided restrooms for the throngs.
It is always unnerving to sleep the first night at sea when there are high waves, until you got used to the rhythms of the ship. We stopped at a road side rest station called a€?AGIPa€? where passengers used the facilities and sipped cappuccino for 3 euros each. The entire effect of the cathedral is to catch your breath, at the artistic array of creations inside.Each had been created to show glory to god. Custom had dictated this as a means for the fisherman to espy their dwellings as they approached safe harbor and home.
By now, we were puffing with the exertion and wondering how the various workmen got up and down these paths every day. It is traversed, from East to West, by three roughly parallel roads called appropriately, the a€?Lower cornichea€? (closer to the sea) the middle corniche ( which we now traversed) and the a€?upper cornichea€?, higher above us. This was a Hans Christian Anderson day-dream flashing before us in the brilliant noon day sun. We found and entered an elegant hostelry called a€?Chateau de la Chevre da€™Or,a€? roughly, the a€?house of the golden goat. Across the river, on the rise of a hill, stands an old stone palace used by the French Royalty at differing times.
A smaller green-bronzed statue, of a maiden with her arms raised was erected, in front of the arch, to commemorate the French soldiers killed in North Africa.
The bus driver and a colleague did a credible imitation of the three monkeys, pointing to the church above and saying a€?medicine.a€? We staunched the blood flow with tissues and a few antiseptic hand wipes. My best guess if that the construction crew screwed up, at the installation, and it had been too costly to correct the error. Gaudi intended his creation to have 18 spires, 12 for the apostles, 4 for the evangelists, one each for Mary and Jesus.
This hombre had one fertile imagination, that he was able to sculpt into brick and mortar in structures.
We had momentarily mistaken the Capitoline steps for the a€?Spanish Steps,a€? until corrected by a friendly tourist. We walked out into the Piazza San Pietro and immediately noted the colorful costumes of the Swiss Guard, with their razor sharp pikes, standing before the entrance to Vatican city. Supposedly Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome who had been suckled by a she wolf, had fled Rome and sought sanctuary in Siena.
It sure did keep your attention, as Rita commented quietly on the many artistic and cultural aspects of the works that we were observing. Residents pay no income taxes, thanks to casino revenues, and are generally well heeled, even by Monagasque standards. I had the presence of mind to think of the huge swelling of tissue to come, and managed to slip the large college ring, from my finger. Unfortunately for us, both the Dali and the Picasso art museums were closed on that Easter Monday. Now, it lay like an ancient and broken sign post pointing faintly to a grandeur that once was Rome.
Throngs of other tourists from everywhere stood around us, as we too pitched coins backwards over our shoulders in hope of returning to Rome yet again.We had done this twice before and returned each time, so maybe the magic works. These hardy warriors are all trained infantrymen from the Swiss Army, who stand ready to rock and roll, with whatever comes their way, to protect the pope and Vatican City. They no longer asked for tips in the loo, they had sliding doors that only opened to admit one, if you inserted .60 euros in a slot . From this port, you can access Florence, Pisa and a bit further out, the medieval, walled city of Siena. No one had really ever substantiated the claim, but it made for great symbolism and interest both to the natives and the tourists. Christopher Columbus had been born and raised in these environs before he sailed to the new worlds for Espagna.
It was an elegantly manicured parkland from which to stare out over the sapphire blue Mediterranean. We repaired to our cabin to write up our notes, shower and prep for dinner with the Martins. Perhaps this was because the allies had bombed the port area back to the middle ages during WW II? I had visions of sitting in an emergency room, at some French hospital, with the boat sailing away for Barcelona without me. Barcelona had been an interesting melange of Moor, Jew and Spaniard until 1492, that pivotal discovery year. We watched and enjoyed the tourists, from many countries, snapping pictures of the fountain and each other. In past ages, their duty had not been ceremonial in the many times that both Rome and the Vatican had been under siege, from some particularly surly invader bent on plunder and mayhem.
Andrea Doria, a middle ages naval admiral, and figure of note in Italian history, had also lived here.
The ship had several of the motorized tenders shuttling passengers back and forth from the shore. As we sipped pricey cappuccino (18 euros),we gazed out over the sapphire blue of the Mediterranean far below.
The doctor offered me pain pills, but i advised that I would probably be drinking several glasses of wine for dinner.
Internal religious strife had generated the expulsion of the Moors and the jews from Spain that year.
We had an opportunity to stay and visit the Las Ramblas esplanade, but were tiring from today's and the many previous tours we had taken.
The buildings all around the piazza are replete with papal insignia and looked impossibly old to us, pilgrims from a land where three hundred years is a long time.
We were seated by deferential waiters and ordered, in our best Italian, Minestrone zuppa, pizza, with aqua minerale and cappuccino.
The guide mentioned something about him negotiating a treaty with Charles V of Spain, but it was getting a little too deep in Italian history for me to follow. We entered our boat and waited until the craft filled with passengers, then slowly motored into shore, where our bus was waiting.
Someone with our surname (Martin) must have either been on the ground floor founding this place or donated half of the land for its creation. Mary espied Phillip, our guide, and insisted that I needed some medical attention immediately. We lunched at the four seasons, on deck #9 ,and then repaired to our cabin, for a well earned conversation with Mr.
We ate slowly and enjoyed our surroundings and each other, never forgetting who we are and how far we had come to be sitting here under the Roman sun.The tab was a reasonable 40 euros.
He walked me into the offices of the cathedral, turned me over to an elderly woman and skittled away, the weasel. Fortunately, we had a very brief time to spend and had to leave before we put the money back into the machines. Far below in the village, a small shed houses two donkeys who used to ferry people and luggage to this pricey Inn, in the mountains above Monaco. I guess it becomes more understandable, of their recent posture towards conflict, in the middle east. It is here, in the village below, that we met and talked to Peter and Julia Martin for the first time. We had noticed them on a few tours and decided to ask them to join us for dinner this evening. They agreed, perhaps wondering at the forwardness of yankees in soliciting social engagements. Manners got the better of them though and they agreed to meet us later in the evening for dinner.




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