July 21, 2011

Hometown Online Visiting

Filipinos who have long been away from their country can virtually "return home" through the popular social networking site Facebook.

The online pages have become venues for prospective "balikbayans" who want to be updated on happenings in the places they had left for work abroad or for good. They may give comments and suggestions on how their hometowns may improve.

"San Vicente is a little community in the Philippines, on the main island of Luzon, 350 kilometers south of Manila," reads a Facebook account of the town of San Vicente in Camarines Norte in welcoming "fan" or "friend" to view and post.

As of July 10, the page has been "liked" by 462 people, including the town's mayor, Joseph Stanley Alegre. Persons who "like" the page can post.

Hundreds of people with roots in the small municipality have already posted.

"I miss Mananap," says one Facebook user, referring to a village that has a waterfall.

"Then go here so you won't miss it," the page administrator tells the user.

The conversation goes on and on until the discussion boils down to the fiesta and the reunion of users who have liked the page.

Also posted are photos of tourist attractions or landmarks that, evidently, make people long for their hometown more.

In the Facebook page of Daet in Camarines Norte, one user says, "I am proud I am from Daet where the Bagasbas Beach, the number one surfing destination in Bicol, is found."

But he was quick to say that he was missing his hometown. The user works as a management trainee in a food company in Qatar.

In the page of Milagros, Masbate, many persons are exclaiming love for their hometown.
"How is there in our place?" asks a user, who works as a security guard in Malabon City.

"I feel sad that I have to leave Milagros soon after the town fiesta. I miss the place," says another, who is working in a health facility in Quezon City.

Progress check
In the Facebook page of San Ramon, Uson, Masbate, many have expressed gladness over the progress of the barangay in a photo of two traders on board a motorcycle that is overloaded with what appears to be farm produce.

"I salute San Ramon for the development," comments one user, an interior designer based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

"The people in San Ramon are lucky now. In my time, it's hard because the road is very bad," replies another.

In the page "Cawayan Masbate Watch," one user posts: "I really miss my birthplace ... But I'm counting the days to be there again! Hope that it will be soon ..."

"How are you Pio V. Corpus. My birthplace," says a user in the Facebook page of Pio V. Corpuz who is now living in San Diego, California.

"Wow, I miss the place. Maybe five years from now, I'll go there on a vacation," says another now residing in Cebu City.

Home soon
The Facebook page of the town of Balud, Masbate-the westernmost town of Bicol-is full of posts from persons missing the far-flung town.

"Things have changed in Balud. I'm missing it," says one user.

"Balud, I'll be home soon. I've been gone for almost three years. You have changed much," says another.

Still another commented that he suddenly missed his hometown upon seeing a photo of its pasture lands. He now lives in Calamba City in Laguna.

In the Facebook page of San Fernando, Masbate, one user tells all other persons who like the page "The only thing that changed in San Fernando is the mayor [who runs it]."

Richard Gacu, 24, of Talisay, Camarines Norte, who has been a Facebook user since last year, "liked" the page of Camarines Norte in May.

"I did it because I am proud of my hometown," he said. He now works as a documentation officer in Metro Manila.

Dustin Sierra, 21, the administrator of the Facebook page "Tamban Camarines Sur" said he created the page to update all those who were born in and spent a part of their lives in Tamban on what has happened in the place long after they left.

"It is also meant to update them on important local developments."

The page, he said, was for those who who had ties to Tamban who were missing their families, looking for childhood playmates, craving for native fares and missing the good times of the bygone years.

Anyone who is not a minor can create and administer a page in Facebook, the social networking site founded by Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Hughes, Dustin Moskovitz and Eduardo Saverin in 2004.

As of July 2011, it has at least 750 million active users around the world.

Philippines seen to remain No. 3 in global outsourcing

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - The Philippines is seen holding on to the third spot in the global offshoring market, with revenue for the year expected to reach $10.7 billion for a 7.4-percent share of the market.

According to Canada-based research firm XMG Global, India will continue to be the world leader, with an estimated global take of $61.5 billion, or 42.5 percent of offshoring revenue in 2011.

China will come in second with a 31.5-percent share of the pie and $45.7 billion in offshoring revenue.

XMG Global forecasts the global offshoring market to hit $144.8 billion this year. Including onshoring, the overall outsourcing market should register $464 billion in revenue, 9.2 percent better than the $425 billion posted a year ago.

According to XMG Global's mid-year report on the global outsourcing market, industry players in the Philippines and India had started to feel the adverse effects of the weak dollar. Both countries were highly dependent on their United States-based clients for their revenues.
"The US economy, which remains to be a large market for offshoring, is still on the road to recovery with a forecasted 2011 (gross domestic product) growth rate of 2.6 percent, slowing down from last year's 2.9 percent," said XMG Global chief analyst Lauro Vives.

Chinese outsourcing service providers, meanwhile, were hardly swayed, as most of them relied more on East Asian clients such as Korea and Japan. Even the Japan crisis had little effect on China's outsourcing revenue, despite the temporary halt in the implementation of some outsourcing contracts from Japan.

"The disaster may, in fact, open more opportunities, as Japanese companies consider increasing offshoring contracts for non-core operations to reduce business risk," XMG Global said.
According to the Business Processing Association of the Philippines' Road Map 2011-2016, revenues from information technology and business process outsourcing in the country could hit at least $20 billion by 2016 and even as high as $25 billion with stronger public-private partnership.

A $20-billion industry could provide employment to as many as 900,000 individuals. A $25-billion industry, on the other hand, could give jobs to as many as 1.3 million people.

Fighting draw will be huge for Azkals against Kuwait

A victory will be “massive” but a fighting draw against Kuwait will also be enough for the Philippine Azkals to leave this oil-rich country with a big measure of satisfaction.

As heavy underdogs in their second-round World Cup Qualifying clash, the Azkals are opting for a more conservative approach that could turn Saturday night’s match into a cagey encounter at the Mohammed El-Hammad Stadium in Hawalli.

“A 1-1 or 0-0 result will be huge for us,” skipper Aly Borromeo said. “If we let them whip us here, then the series is over. We are more worried about the first leg (on Saturday). It will set the tone for our home leg.”

The Azkals will have their turn hosting the Kuwaitis on July 28 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. Tickets for the match are reportedly sold out.

For now, though, the focus is on neutralizing a vaunted Kuwaiti attack, which is enjoying a high level of confidence following impressive victories over Iraq and Saudi Arabia in a four-nation tournament in Jordan last week.

Borromeo said the pressure is on Kuwait to deliver a comprehensive win before its home fans.
“We’re always underdogs, so we’re not under pressure,” said the skipper, who is still awaiting the final decision on his one-game suspension for getting two yellow cards in the first-round win over Sri Lanka.

Though deprived of a complete lineup, Azkals coach Michael Weiss said he’s pleased with the buildup of his squad.

Leftback Ray Jonsson, who missed the Sri Lanka tie, was expected to arrive here yesterday, while goalkeeper Neil Etheridge will fly in on Friday.

“I’m quite content,” said Weiss. “I think that the boys are now counting the hours toward the match. As they say in England, it’s a massive match. It will give us an idea where we stand and I’m quite positive we can do well if we play the way we want to play.”

Weiss’ confidence stems from the fact that they have scouted the Kuwaitis well. “We have studied the opponent very carefully,” Weiss said. “The players know exactly what they are dealing with.”

The German mentor also shrugged off earlier fears that the warm weather here would pose a problem for his team, after supervising their first training Wednesday night where temperatures hovered from 32 to 38 degrees.

“It’s even more pleasant that the heat is not an issue,” said Weiss. “If (Wednesday night’s weather) is the same on Saturday, we would be fine.”

Kickoff is scheduled at 7 p.m. on Saturday (12 midnight Sunday in Manila).

Weiss acknowledged that a perfect execution of the game plan will be needed to stymie Kuwait.
“We have to be aggressive and tight and not let them start their game. That’s a thing that takes 90 minutes and we’ve seen before, small mistakes get punished immediately. They will not allow us to switch off our computer, as I always say, for one second.”

By Cedelf P. Tupas

CBCP Website Hacked

A website of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines was defaced anew Thursday, the third time since November 2010.

Visitors to the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Health Care website Thursday afternoon were greeted with an image of a gagged person, with a black background.

"Hacked ... By:ASEROH ... You Must Be Better ... In The Next Time :)" read the message on the defaced site (www.cbcphealthcare.org).

The title bar of the browser window or tab displaying the defaced site read, "HackEd By ASEROH <~ Don't Stop."

The defacing came less than a week before pro-life groups were to hold a "Congress of the Faithful" on Monday, hours before President Benigno Aquino III delivers his second State of the Nation Address.

However, the defaced site had no indication it was directed at the planned gathering. While the CBCP is against the reproductive health bill, its health care commission is more involved in health care than in "pro-life" activities.

It was the third time the site was defaced since November 2010.

On November 27, 2010, the site was defaced hours before a major pro-life Catholic group was to hold a vigil against the RH bill.

At the time, visitors to the site were greeted by an image of a man with his back turned to the viewer.

"HackEd BY LordDem0n EgYpT!0n - H4Ck3r ... Your Security Can Not Face Us !!!" read the message on the defaced website.

In some instances, the defaced home page even prompted visitors to download a plug-in.

Last June 9, the site was again defaced, with visitors greeted with the message "DEATH_K1ng." — TJD, GMA News