Not just a camera phone: Sony Ericsson K800i

Not just a camera phone: Sony Ericsson K800i 
By Walter Ang
November 29, 2006
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Apart from the K800's dandy camera capabilities, it's also packed with multimedia capabilities and lots of features that lets the user maximize wireless connectivity.

It's capable of 3G video calling as well as internet access. For insta-info junkies, it has a built in RSS reader. RSS, or Real Simple Syndication, is a way to find out the latest updates of a website (for example new entries from a blog, the latest articles from a news site or even emails from a Yahoogroup) without actually visiting the website. Instead, links to the newest articles are sent to your RSS reader.

The camera is also integrated with software so that you can send your photos to your account. If you don't have an existing account (like, the phone will create one for you. It also allows you to edit photos (cropping and such) as well as add text before uploading to the web.

With 64 MB (megabyte) of memory, you can store up to 2,500 numbers. If you're using another brand and want to transfer your phone book entries, one way to do it is to sync your phone to Microsoft Outlook first and then sync the info to your K800i.

On the other hand, you can also store video files or up 124 photos at the highest picture setting. You can upgrade to Sony Ericsson's Memory Stick Micro M2 which provides another 1 GIG (gigabyte) of memory. This memory stick format is new to the market, so let's hope they incorporate it into other Sony Ericsson and Sony products for best long-term value.

The unit comes with headphones that have an FM radio tuner built in. The phone can be plugged into a speaker unit (sold separately) if you want to party. Using Bluetooth, you can control your phone remotely while transferring music files from your laptop or computer. The phone comes bundled with a USB 2.0 cable for more conventional file transfers. It also infrared-capable and can stream MPEG4 and Real video.

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First ever Student Advertising Congress held

Advertisers of tomorrow, first ever Student Advertising Congress held
By Walter Ang
November 29, 2006
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The first ever Student Advertising Congress, with the theme "By the Youth, For the Youth," was recently held at the Aliw Theater in Pasay City.

Philippine Information Agency director Conrad Limchaco gave the keynote speech and pointed out that there are currently 2.7 million students in advertising-related college courses like communications arts.

He cited the potentially "tremendous" contributions these students are capable of delivering for the Philippine economy once they graduate.

Opening remarks were given by Matec Villanueva, an officer of the Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies (4A's), who reminded that students and teachers that advertising is "not glamorous and sosyal," and that it is "first and foremost a service industry" wherein the excitement comes from "creating communications that work."

The congress began with a call to use advertising and other marketing communication disciplines for corporate social responsibility. Campaigns Advocacy and Public Relations (Capri) president Bong Osorio opened the first day's line-up of activities with a backgrounder on the said topic.

Avenues for expression
Philippine Daily Inquirer president Alexandra Prieto was also invited to speak to the over 2,000 participants about the available venues open to them for speaking their minds. Prieto cited PDI's various sections that "address the need of the youth to be heard."

She pointed out the broadsheet's "In the Know" series of "fast facts" that help explain background information on issues to readers, usually highlighted in a box and using layman's terms. Prieto then featured the "Talk of the Town" section that comes out every Sunday that "aims to address current issues from the views of various sectors. The page gives readers a comprehensive and balanced understanding of a current issue."

Most interesting to the congress participants was when Prieto listed PDI's initiatives specifically for the youth such as the Youngblood column in its Opinion section and 2bU!'s "Change the World" series of articles in its Lifestyle section. She urged the participants to take advantage of these opportunities to let their voice be heard and to make a difference.

The first day's activities featured a forum, dubbed "Saan ka Swak sa Advertising?," where industry experts helped students figure out what kind of advertising-related work they are most suited for apart from the most known creative positions of copywriter and art director.

Moderated by journalist Che-Che Lazaro, the panel consisted of Juliet M. Mendoza of Mediaedge (media planning and buying), Alex Syfu of Dm9jaymesyfu ad agency (account management), Oli Laparel of RS Video and Productions and Sid Maderazo of 88Storey Films (production work), Meckoy Quiogue of GMA Marketing and Production (TV network), Jun Nicdao of Manila Broadcasting Company (radio network), (production).

The second day showcased the awarding ceremonies of the student competitions. Judging was made by officers of the Creative Guild of the Philippines.

Team Espresso from Lyceum of the Phils. University, with Brandy Mae Coco, Ramir Cambiado, James Milo Gamoning, Myra Mirasol Magante and Ruth Luciano, took home the Best Sound Production award (PDI's single medium radio category); and Best Editing and Best TV Ad awards (PDI's single medium TV category).

Pantheon Advertising of Lyceum of the Phils. University, with Jonah Brocka, Jonalyn Balderas, Leenard Delegero, Luela Marie Almazan and Jovy Intal, won the top honors for Philippine Daily Inquirer's single radio and print categories.

However, it was Team Adversingko from University of Santo Tomas, composed of students in the Fine Arts major in Advertising course: Raymond Olano, Jeslie Anne Esperas, Stephanie Mangalindan, Arabella Beltran and Joy Mongado, that took home most of the top awards that included Globe's Single Medium categories for TV, radio and print and the top spot in both Globe and PDI's tri-media category.

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REVIEW: Distilling Dulaang UP's 'Hamlet'

Distilling Dulaang UP's 'Hamlet'
By Walter Ang
November 27, 2006
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The world of Hamlet, prince of Denmark, is thrown into a doozy when he learns of his father's death and when his mother Getrude marries his uncle Claudius. He encounters his father's ghost who accuses Claudius of murder. Hamlet must now to find a way to confirm this claim and exact revenge.

In Shakespeare's most quoted play ("To be or not to be," "something is rotten in the state of Denmark," "murder most foul," "the lady doth protests too much," and so on.), death is assuredly a constant shadow hanging over the characters.

In Dulaang U.P.'s staging, dubbed "Hamlet: Redux," director Tony Mabesa couples death with its most famous partner: sex. He prologues the play with a bacchanalia of beasts and phantoms with oversized sex organs, then proceeds to immerse the characters in a world of sexual tension filled with shades of incest, Oedipal love and even voyeurism and cross-dressing.

With English and Tagalog shows, this production also attempts to bring the Bard closer to our times by having the cast wear modern dress and occasionally using pop-culture references like rock-and-roll music, cellphones and drugs, as well as utilizing a set design that incorporates video montages designed by Winter David. Mabesa uses these devices to effectively tighten the action and point out possible motivations of certain characters.

English and Tagalog
Mabesa has created this layered, complex world where his dual-language production offers subtle differences for each version.

Jeremy Domingo leads the English cast that channels a bit of good old British reserve, their emotions broil under the tough facades their characters so valiantly try to put up. Domingo imbues Hamlet with a constant rumbling interior confusion, he is torn by what's going on around him. Richard Cunanan as Claudius is incredibly at ease with the Bard's lines and uses them with great clever timing.

The Tagalog cast, led by Arnold Reyes, as Filipinos are wont to do, wear their emotions on their sleeves. Reyes takes Hamlet on a more frenzied path and lashes out at everyone around him. Angeli Bayani as Gertrudes and Cherry Canton as Ofelia deliver powerful nuanced characterizations.

Both casts maneuver through Mabesa's judicious editing of the text, sustaining the suspense and dread in this abridged two-hour version
(uncut, it runs for four hours).

We feel for Hamlet. He is grieving, he's in torment, his loses his girlfriend, etc. Serious themes, for sure.

However, one trick to watching a Shakespearean tragedy is to mine it for all its inherent ridiculousness. On the other hand, if you think about it, Hamlet is paranoid, neurotic, suicidal, sees and believes in ghosts, and is prone to exaggeration and theatrics. After all, this is the guy who pretends to go insane and employs an acting troupe to help solve the mystery.

There's the rub. While the poetry makes us smile, the underlying melodrama makes us smirk. In fact, in National Artist for Theater Rolando Tinio's translation, some scenes unintentionally become quite funny as the Tagalog exposes a fresh take on how silly some of the situations or the English lines can be.

This is where we experience Mabesa showing us the "wink, wink, nudge, nudge"-ness of it all. He presents Hamlet's childhood friends Rosencratz and Guildenstern as bumbling pansies that recall Tin-tin's detective friends, Thomson and Thompson. He also chooses strong actors Alan Palileo (English) and Jacques Borlaza (Tagalog) to portray the "lowly" clown/gravedigger, whose flippant remarks about death mocks all the "high" characters and provides perspective for the audience.

For a cheeky coup d' grace, Mabesa stages the final duel in a way that's inspired by a widely emailed video of Japanese ping-pong players manipulated like bunraku puppets by men in black. Definitely a Hamlet for our times.

Hamlet runs until December 9. Call Dulaang U.P. at 926-1349.

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Confessions of a 'Jewel in the Palace' addict

Confessions of a 'Jewel' addict 
By Walter Ang
November 15, 2006
Philippine Daily Inquirer

By the time the first run of "Jewel in the Palace" was about to end earlier this year, I had become so enamored with the show that when two of its actors visited the Philippines, I waited three hours amidst a throng of fans to catch a glimpse of them.

When they finally appeared onstage, they were as small as ants from where I stood. They scurried away after only about three minutes in the spotlight.

I was first encouraged to watch this Koreanovela (the show is on its encore run, weeknights at 6 p.m. on GMA network) when a friend told me how funny it was. I remembered the seminal "Betty La Fea" back in the '90s and how hilarious it was, so I asked for more details.

"It's about Jang Geum, a little orphan girl who wants to become a kitchen chef in the King's palace. She's the 'jewel' the title alludes to," he explained. "When someone steals the flour she needs to use for her final exams, everyone cries."

Intrigued, I dutifully tuned in to see what the fuss was all about. I figured that I, too, could have a good laugh over all this melodramatic silliness of crying over spilt milk, or in this case, stolen flour.

First time
The episode I caught that fateful night had Jang Geum (already one of the junior kitchen staff since she was able to pass that exam by making her own flour) playing detective in an attempt to find out what was causing the paralysis of the King's son. Ah, a mystery as well!

As it turned out, one of the ingredients used in the prince's meal, while medicinal in small amounts, became a paralyzing agent when its effects were magnified by another ingredient in the recipe. How did Jang Geum prove her theory? She cooked the recipe again, adjusting the amount of the paralyzing ingredient, ate it herself, and promptly fell to the floor as she lost all feeling in her extremities.

The episode ended with her friends chiding her, "I don't know if you're smart or stupid." I was laughing so hard I thought I'd end up losing all sensation in my limbs myself. And I was hooked.

How could anyone not fall in love with this naive but determined heroine with a heart of gold who struggled at all costs and endured all to achieve her dreams? If that's quite a mouthful, it is. In the grand scheme of soap operas, her plight is nothing new. But finally, here is a fresh take on the same old themes and archetypes.

Production values
Jang Geum's trials, travails and ultimate triumph when she is forced to shift careers and becomes Korea's first lady doctor is based on a real historical figure. The show is set in another culture and in another time?something fanciful to take the mind away from our daily grind. Production values include gorgeous costumes, detailed sets and inventive camera framing. Let's not forget all those wonderful sequences dealing with food preparation!

However, it was the superb Tagalog translation and dubbing that really kept me glued. The emotions conveyed by the dubbers were spot on. The voice actors of Jang Geum's adopted parents had perfect comic timing to match the facial expressions of the Korean actors. They were absolutely hilarious.

Lessons learned
The translation also brought "deep" Tagalog closer to a huge audience. We have to admit, who among us can actually construct Tagalog sentences with correct grammar and syntax?

So it was great to hear the lyricism and poetry of our own language come to life. I don't know by how many notches my Tagalog skills went up during the run of the show, but I now know the Tagalog word for sulfur (from the episode when Jang Geum had to cook sulfur-fed ducklings for the King).

"Jewel in the Palace" came into my life at a time when I was dealing with my very own cast of dubious characters with ill motives. With Jang Geum, I could have some de-stressing entertainment and also pick up?hokey as this might sound?tidbits of inspiration as she outmaneuvered the many hurdles thrown her way.

I spent the next several months living vicariously through Jang Geum, screaming and shaking my fist at her enemies, laughing at their repeated comeuppances, and smirking at their eventual downfall. For all the months the show was on, I followed Jang Geum through her multiple stumbles and cheered her at her every rise. And, yes, I refused to attend weeknight meetings if it meant I would miss the show.

We all need a Korean fairy tale every now and then.

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Kitchie and Barbie in back-to-back concert

Kitchie and Barbie in back-to-back concert 
By Walter Ang
November 8, 2006
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Barbie Almabis and Kitchie Nadal recently performed back-to-back for the first time, albeit only a handful of selected people got to see the performance. The two musicians actually headlined a private concert for 19-year old Veron Samonte and forty of her friends and family.

A 19-year old nursing student from Kestergard College, Veron was treated to a free private concert as her winning prize in Sunsilk's "Great Hair Day" promo. Used to taking care of other people as part of her academic tranining, Veron said she enjoyed having the tables turned. "[The Sunsilk staff] made me feel special," she said. "Up until the concert ended, they gave me and my friends VIP treatment."

The concert was held at the intimate Teatrino Hall in Greenhills Promenade where a dinner buffet was also served to the guests. "I've always loved rock bands," exclaimed Veron. "That's why it was such a treat to watch Barbie and Kitchie sing their wonderful songs, just for me!"

As a bonus, Veron was even invited onstage by the two musicians to jam with them in a cover of Erasherheads' "Ligaya." And to think that Veron didn't initially believe that she had won. "It was too-good-to-be-true," revealed. When she was finally convinced that it was no hoax, she wasted no time in inviting her friends. "They said that I'm really lucky. I've never won anything in raffles or that sort of thing. Yup, winning Sunsilk's contest makes me a lucky girl."

In addition to the free concert, part of Veron's prize included outfits from Genevieve Gozum and shoes from Celine as well as a make-over package from David's Salon.

The Sunsilk "Great Hair Days" promo is still ongoing. Participating partners include Jollibee, Celine, Cinderella, Nafnaf, National Bookstore, YRYS, 99 Store, David's Salon, Netopia, Dunkin Donuts, Kamera World, Western Union, Odyssey, Toby's Sports, Super Ferry, Sari-Sari Store, Genevive Gozum, Marcela, SWATCH, and RRJ.

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