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1 Million Students Use Quipper e-Learning for the K-12 Program

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The Philippines is actually the last country in Asia and one of the last three countries in the world implementing the old 10-year pre-university program. With this in mind, it is high-time the country institute the K-12 program which covers 13 years of basic education in the following key stages – Kindergarten to Grade 3, Grades 4 to 6, Grades 7 to 10 (which is called Junior High School) and Grades 11 to 12 (called Senior High School). The Kindergarten stage began in 2011 while the enhanced curriculum for Grade 1 to 7 started in 2012; officially, the K-12 program was enacted in 2013.

Today, the Philippines is on the fifth year of the implementation of the K-12 Program. The last mile is the Senior High School. All 221 divisions of the Department of Education (DepEd) have finished planning and have figures on enrolment a year in advance. The increase in the number of years for pre-university requirements means the College General Education curriculum will have fewer units. Subjects that have been taken up in the K-12 Basic Education will be removed from the College General Education curriculum.

But where does online education or e-learning come into the picture for the K-12 program? This is where Quipper.com helps both the teacher and his or her students.

Quipper helps teachers manage classes, send assignments to their students and get analytics on the performance of their students.

Quipper helps students build their knowledge through ‘mastery’ of topics, modules and courses, earning rewards and having fun as they go.

Quipper allows teachers to simply and painlessly publish their own educational content for their schools or classes.

In short, Quipper empowers both teachers and students by supplementing traditional methods with a platform that’s powerful and exciting, but simple too. It aims to use technology to improve the quality of education by creating the best teaching and learning experience by creating a world where everyone has easy access to quality education and is thus empowered to create a better future.

Quipper is Free

Quipper is a free e-learning platform for teachers and students with ready-made lessons and quizzes. There are also online video lessons and assessments for students to learn anytime anywhere. The online class platform for teachers and students is where lessons are interactive and real-time.

Quipper was founded in London U.K. by Masayuki Watanabe and began operations in Japan in 2013. The following year, Quipper started in the Philippines and launched its flagship product “Quipper School” mid-2014. Indonesia and Mexico were the next countries that started using Quipper. In April of 2015, Recruit Holdings bought Quipper; afterwhich, Quipper Video and Quipper Live were launched.

What is Quipper School?

Quipper School is a free e-learning platform that helps teachers manage multiple classes and assess each student’s individual performance. For the students, Quipper School allows them to go through a series of Q&A’s until they fully understand and master the topic at hand while doing it in a fun way.

There are ready-made materials for teachers created by local subject matter experts aligned with the K-12 curriculum. As mentioned, all lessons come with built-in assessments. But teachers can also create their own content, create assessments and share these with other teachers. They can create assignments and exams by selecting topics from ready-made content, including schedules and timelines for these assignments and exams.

Teachers get to see their students’ scores, strengths and weaknesses in real-time through its various analytics reports that can be downloaded as an Excel file format.

A dashboard is part of Quipper School which allows teachers to manage multiple classes and groups of students. With this, they can broadcast announcements to everyone, particular groups or individual students.

Students, on the other hand, get real-time feedback in the Quipper School quizzes and exams, knowing if their answer is correct or otherwise. They can try answering the questions, especially the incorrect ones, over and over again until they fully comprehend and master the topic at hand. But what makes Quipper School interesting is it is “gamified.” Quipper’s gamified learning system allows the students to earn points or coins to encourage them to study more and answer correctly.

Today, there are a little less than 1 million students registered and using Quipper in the Philippines, with about 200,000 actively learning using Quipper School every month. Majority of these students are enrolled in public high schools, mostly from the National Capital Region (NCR) – 95% are from public schools, 74% from high school, and 68% from NCR. There are 6,000 teachers logged into the Quipper School program with more than half of them creating assignments and exams. As of September 2015, 270 schools are already using Quipper School.

The Quipper K-12 content is fully aligned with the Department of Education (DepEd) K-12 curriculum consisting of six subjects – English, Math, Science, Filipino, Araling Panlipunan and ICT – for Grades 4 to 10. There are already 2,112 lessons in Quipper School with 28,620 questions including NAT and Assessment content. All the materials or content inside Quipper have been developed locally and are vetted by DepEd School Division subject matter experts.

For Grades 11 and 12, also known as Senior High School, content is under development that includes oral communication, reading and writing, 21st century literature from the Philippines and the world, Komunikasyon at Pananaliksik sa Wika at Kulturang Filipino, Pagbasa at Pagsusuri ng Iba’t Ibang Teksto Tungo sa Pananaliksik, general mathematics, statistics and probability, Earth and Life Science, and Understanding Culture, Society, and Politics. The educational division of Quezon City is also using Quipper to develop a “Work Ethics” content.

Quipper Video and Quipper Live are premium services. The former is scheduled to be launched in April this year that will initially be available to Senior High School students for math, English, science and Filipino subjects. Quipper Video will allow unlimited access to hundreds of hours of video lectures by the best teachers in the country.

Quipper Live, on the other hand, is conducting trials today for Grades 6 to 10 in math and science subjects. Live is a channel where real-time, online lectures are conducted by trained teachers.

Quipper was researched and studied through the leadership of Dr. Ferdinand Pitagan of the University of the Philippines, comparing traditional teaching methods (no Quipper School), multiple regression or intermittent use of Quipper School, and an experimental group where constant exposure to Quipper School was implemented. With the criteria of quizzes, submission of assignments, exams and attendance rates used, classes exposed to Quipper School showed better results in all four criteria.

Dr. Ferdinand Pitagan summarized, “Both the pilot and NCR findings suggest that students with constant or intermittent exposure to Quipper School are more likely to foster higher mean-score scores and higher passing rate in tests, and higher attendance rate.

“Although there is lack of facilities and access to technology, students, teachers and principals involved were all convinced that Quipper School is a very helpful tool for teaching and learning. They are also very satisfied of the features of the Quipper School platform.”

The office of Quipper in the Philippines is located at the 23rd floor of GT Tower, Ayala Avenue and H.V. dela Costa Street, Makati City. Visit their website via www.quipper.com or e-mail them at support@quipper.com.

Sources: Quipper Presentation Deck | quipper.com | DepEd.gov.ph

Photos and images provided by Quipper Philippines

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Finding The Perfect Pint in Manila

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How you see The Perfect Pint inside and out.

There’s a new kid in town and his name is “The Perfect Pint.”

I tagged along with my friends, together with bloggers and media people, to attend the official opening and inauguration of a new gastro pub in Bonifacio Global City, today’s gotta-be-there place in a new wave of bars, clubs, diners and restaurants sweeping the skyscraper residents. We were there on time, which means we were too early. LOL!

This new bar and restaurant (my old school term) is the brainchild of a band of brothers, namely Alec, Noel Jr. and Raymond Tempongko whose intent is to get the dining and beer-drinking world of Metro Manila to savor handcrafted beer. But it does not stop there. Much like wine is paired with different types of food, so then did the brothers decide to have “craft beer” paired with a variety of food. For this, they brought in Chef Gene Gonzalez, made famous for bringing us the iconic Café Ysabel.

Chef Gene meticulously paired one type of food that goes with each of the craft beers The Perfect Pint is offering. Some of the mouth- watering pairings include Truffle Fries with Czech Weizen, Kapal Muks with Pale Ale, Liver-wrapped Bacon with Dark lager, Smoked Angus Tapa with Egg with Pale Ale and Stinky Pizza with Weizen. Even their dessert, freshly-baked caramel smores are paired with dark pilsen. And Chef Gene not only set up their kitchen but made sure to personally be involved in hiring the chefs and assistants. Everyone from the two shifts were there on opening day.

L-R: Me and Chef Gene Gonzalez, my chef idol from the time he set up Cafe Ysabel.

My favorites were the Truffle Fries, Liver-wrapped Bacon and Stinky Pizza. Oh, boy! The pizza is a five-cheese-layered pizza for all slices! I mean, many of us are served a four-cheese pizza but divided into two slices per cheese flavour. This one’s all of them! And this one’s a must try with the Weizen beer, of course.

This 5-cheese pizza is undeniably the best cheese pizza ever. And paired with beer? OMG!

Going back to the craft beer, I asked Noel what the difference was with craft beer and micro-brewed beer, the latter of which was also the rave a decade or so ago but curiously disappeared only after a few years. For one, craft beer is handmade while micro-brewing is done by a machine. So, there’s probably the love and passion of a person brewing the beer, coupled with the human judgment call when and if the brew is at its perfection.

The Perfect Pint will not serve local commercial beer you usually buy in convenience stores. Instead, it will only offer craft beer, mostly of which are brewed locally by Filipino-owned independent breweries. Local beers from Katipunan Craft Ales, Craftpoint Brewing Company, Pivo Praha Corporation, G Point and Fat Pauly’s will be available on tap and bottles.

None of the usual, local beer bottles you buy in convenience stores are sold here. Only handcrafted beer.

Beer Pairing. I mean many of us are beer drinkers rather than wine connoisseurs, and today is your lucky day to have beer and food paired together without the snobbish ambiance from wine drinkers. Just kidding! I saw about four or five large screen televisions hanging in all corners of the place, which can probably mean a place to watch live sports telecasts while pairing craft beer with food and shouting Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole!

Oh, by the way, The Perfect Pint is giving away 10 percent discounts to weekday lunch patrons up until May 31 this year.

Here are more photos…

L-R: Me and one of the three brothers who owns The Perfect Pint, Noel Tempongko Jr.

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The inside of The Perfect Pint. It’s letter-U shaped with a bar in the middle.

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Table setting and the menu on a clipboard as we arrived on time and too early.

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I was trying to get photos of the bar but this girl was in the way. Heck! I decided to take her photo, too. LOL!

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The many things you’ll see and crave for at The Perfect Pint.

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The Perfect Pint is located at the second floor of the Crossroads Building along 32nd Street in Bonifacio Global City. If you know where the stand-alone Starbucks with the drive thru is, then the building is right beside it, which also means MC Depot is right at its back. They are open seven days a week, from 11:00 AM up to 2:00 AM the following day.

Photos by @raffypekson and #PerfectPintPH

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35 Years of Café Adriatico – The Tradition Continues

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It has been 35 years since my parents and I first trekked into the iconic Café Adriatico. During that time, it was still a ground-floor restaurant serving good food and a great ambience. To note, my parents were a strictler to Sunday family days – no dates or work on that holy day, everyday. So, our holy family (yeah, I’m an only child) would try one new restaurant at a time within the city or outside, even if it’s like a two hour drive. Café Adriatico was one place we always came back to, especially when planning for the next Sunday’s new restaurant wasn’t accomplished.

It was also a “date place” during my adolescent and yuppie days, though note I did not date many. Monogamist, anyone? But it was a staple fine dining place for my wife and I during the courtship years, pretty much eight years before we got married. Also, friends and I will make sure to dine there or just make the trip for their Chocolate Eh!, Mango Jubilee or Crepe Samurai.

The late antique dealer and journalist turned restaurateur Larry J. Cruz concocted the idea of opening his first café in Remedios Circle of Malate district, City of Manila, in 1979; I was like second or third year high school then. Larry wanted a place where he and his friends could meet, enjoy good coffee, tasty food and drink while chatting about the day’s news. Upon the recommendation of his father, Emilio “Abe” Aguilar Cruz, Larry named his first restaurant, Café Adriatico, after the street it was on. The café emulated the Parisian sidewalk cafes. Since its opening, the café became the watering hole for Manila’s who’s who and has remained to be a hub for artists, celebrities, foodies, even politicians, enjoying its all-famous dishes like Spareribs Adobo Rice, Salpicao, Callos, Lola Ising’s Adobo, Knockout Knuckles in garlic and chilies, or a fresh cup of Chocolate Eh!, hot rich Spanish chocolate drink.

Speaking of Chocolate Eh! my first time trying it reminded me of my very younger days when my parents and I spent Christmas eve and morning my aunt Fely Pekson’s ancestral home in San Fernando, Pampanga. She’d make sure to buy chocolate blocks and carabao’s milk from the nearby market and lots of ensaymadas and hamon serano in time for our Christmas morning breakfast. After being taught how to cut the chocolate blocks into pieces and cook them on a ceramic vase, it was my role every year to melt the chocolate until it was just thick enough to drink, using a wooden mixer that I’d spin using the two palms of my hand, while mixing it slowly with the carabao’s milk. That’s exactly how Chocolate Eh! tasted.

After the success of Café Adriatico, LJC pressed on creating one brand after another. Café Havana came in at the same area across Café Adriatico, a Cuban bar where its patrons can enjoy tapas, hearty meals, mojito, and live Latin music. I remember Bistro Remedios opening in Greenhills and that was another Sunday trek for the family of three. There was also Larry’s Cafe and Bar, a cozy place where one can unwind, enjoy continental dishes and a wide range of wines and spirits. Abé opened up in Serendra (I think that was the first location) which was a tribute to the memory of Larry’s dad, Emilio “Abé” Aguilar Cruz, serving cuisine from the province of Pampanga (where I was born) or Capampangan. Eventually, other restaurants opened up like Fely J’s Kitchen, dedicated to the memory of Larry’s mom, Felicidad De Jesus-Cruz, offering Asian and home cooking; Lorenzo’s Way, a tribute to Larry J. Cruz featuring dishes that Larry himself conceptualized and that became favorites in the LJC restaurants, and his personal preferences such as baklava, paellas and tapas; Abé’s Farm, a restaurant, resort, accommodations, spa and museum nestled at the foothills of Mt. Arayat.

For the last three decades, The LJC Restaurant Group introduced dishes that caught the fancy of diners at its many restaurants. Among these are:

  • Binukadkad na Pla-pla, butterflied whole tilapia, fried to delightful crispiness served with fermented rice or “balo-balo” and fresh mustard leaves;
  • Sinuteng Baby Pusit, baby squid sautéed in olive oil and seasonings;
  • Paco Fern and Tomato Salad, young rainforest fern with tomato and red egg in a light salad dressing;
  • Bamboo Rice, mountain rice cooked with shrimps, wood ear mushrooms, and bamboo shoots steamed in a bamboo shell;
  • Sikreto ni Maria Clara, a tempting creation of suman and ripe mango in cream and panocha;
  • Fely J’s Dilis-cious Rice, deep-friedilis with taosi topped on steaming rice;
  • Crispy Tadyang “D Original”, marinated beef ribs deep-fried to a delicious crispiness;
  • Fely J’s Temple Crab, fried crab on a mound of rice topped with fried garlic in olive oil;
  • Akuwa (Yemeni Oxtail), oxtail stew cooked with special spice; and Spareribs Habanera, baked spareribs served with a unique guava sauce.

Today, the LJC Group is run by Larry’s daughter Lorna Ambas and the consistency of taste for all its sumptuous food is managed by Chef Lizares. To celebrate 35 years, they invited bloggers in one night of fine dining experience. Oh, the food was magnificent! It brought back memories of my late father, my NYC mom and I, and even the dates with my wife. Lorna loved the noise and banter of the bloggers which she said was a far cry from traditional media being amongst themselves in small groups. We were all given the biography book of Larry Cruz and a medium-sized decadent chocolate cake. I went home in divine acclamation of Café Adriatico and Lorna’s passion to continue what her dad started.

If anyone would like to make their reservations or hire their catering services, you can call their Manila telephone number at 522-0403 or go to their website at http://www.ljcrestaurants.com.ph. While you’re in to it, like their Facebook Page at http://www.facebook.com/LJCRestaurantGroup.

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THE LJC BRANDS

CAFÉ ADRIATICO

The flagship of the LJC Restaurant Group, Café Adriatico serves a full menu of Filipino, Spanish and continental fare. Its menu also includes a variety of light options such as salads, sandwiches, omelettes and fondues. Among the Café’s specialties are: Chicken ala Kiev, Spareribs Adobo, Salpicao Rice, Callos, Lengua Estufada, Classic Café Adriatico Burger, Pancit Palabok and authentic Spanish hot chocolate “Chocolate Eh”. The restaurant at the Remedios Circle is open from 7am to 2am on weekdays and 7am to 4am on weekends. Cafe Adriatico has branches at Malate, Gateway Mall and SM Mall of Asia.

CAFÉ HAVANA

The tapas way of life and the Cuban mojito typify the dining experience at Café Havana, Larry J. Cruz’s homage to Cuban life and everything people associate it with: hearty dishes that are easy on the pocket, drinks that go well with your food and cool you down on a sultry night. At Café Havana at Greenbelt 3, you can indulge your passion for things Cuban, whether it is for salsa and rumba, pan-fried Spanish chorizo and paella, a hand-rolled Julieta, or just plain fun. Enjoy live Latin music nightly and a mouth-watering lunch buffet of international dishes served Mondays to Fridays, 11am to 2pm.

BISTRO REMEDIOS

Experience great country cooking in a chic bistro setting at Bistro Remedios. It is the best dining experience foreign guests should try if they are looking for local home cooking. It also has function rooms for private dining and meetings. Bistro Remedios is located at the Remedios Circle in Malate, Manila.

LARRY’S CAFÉ AND BAR

Larry’s Café and Bar in Serendra is a cozy place to dine or to unwind. Its continental cuisine and wide selection of cocktails and beverages are perfect anytime of the day or to prep up for a night of partying on the town. Larry’s Café and Bar also offers breakfast and shisha.

FELY J’S KITCHEN

Fely J’s Kitchen, a restaurant dedicated to the memory of Felicidad de Jesus-Cruz, mother of the LJC Founder Larry J. Cruz, features Fely J’s treasured recipes, which she picked up in her travels. The restaurant offers a variety of Filipino and Asian dishes served Fely J’s style: fresh, natural and attractive. The restaurant also has function rooms for private meetings and get-togethers. Fely J’s Kitchen is located at the 2nd level of Greenbelt 5.

ABE

Abé is the restaurant dedicated to the memory of the artist-writer, gourmet and bon vivant E. Aguilar “Abe” Cruz, father of the late Larry Cruz. The restaurant serves traditional Filipino food, mostly Kapampangan, and gourmet dishes inspired by Abe’s travels around the world. Its concept and design provide the ideal setting for friends and family who wish to dine comfortably and have a good time. Abe has branches in Serendra, Trinoma, SM Mall of Asia, Alabang Town Center, and SM Megamall.

LORENZO’S WAY

Lorenzo’s Way is an experience of LJC’s legacy of good food and great service. The restaurant serves dishes that Larry himself conceptualized and that became favorites in the LJC chain. Lorenzo’s Way has function rooms at the Bonifacio High Street. It also has a branch at Greenbelt 5.

ABE’S FARM

Abe’s Farm is a lifestyle destination nestled at the foothills of Mt. Arayat in the heart of Pampanga. Guests may relax and stay overnight in air conditioned Ifugao huts or regular huts; have a therapeutic spa treatment, and enjoy the culinary delights of the gourmet province of Pampanga. Abé’s Farm is located in the town of Magalang where the famed writer, artist and father of LJC, E. Aguilar Cruz was born. It also has a museum featuring the works of Abé. Abé’s Farm is available for wedding banquets and other social and corporate functions.

THE LJC GROUP CATERING SERVICE

The LJC Restaurant Group became a popular purveyor of Filipino and international dishes, bringing favorites from its signature restaurants to the comforts of your home or office. With over 30 years of experience in food and beverage service, the LJC Group Catering Service draws extensively from the menus of celebrated and acclaimed LJC brands such as Café Adriatico, Bistro Remedios, Abé, Café Havana, Fely J’s Kitchen, Larry’s Café and Bar, Lorenzo’s Way, and Abe’s Farm.

Sources: LJC PR, LJC Facebook Page, Wikipedia.

Photos by @raffypekson and LJC Group.

Addendum: This has got to be the best Crispy Pata I have ever tasted! I just had to post it before ending this article.

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Stronger Philippine Tourism Campaign in Ottawa

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Filipino folk dance presentation

The Philippine Embassy participated in the recent 18th Ottawa Travel and Vacation show held on March 10-11, 2012 at the Ottawa Convention Centre in Canada. The participating travel services company includes Tours Hai International, Jade Tours, Handa Travel, and Royal Scenic, among others. At the show, there was palpable interest in selling more Philippine destinations as demonstrated by Uniktour, Travel Professionals International and Family Travel Scoop.

Besides tourism, the Philippine Embassy took the occasion to promote Philippine products and food. Filipino shell craft, baskets and the turon were the top drawers inviting queries and compliments from visitors. Philippine participation in the travel show was organized by the Philippine Department of Tourism office in New York represented by Ms. Mitchelle T. Dy, Deputy Director for Marketing.

Read more at Philippine Embassy Ottawa

Photo by pong0814 at Flickr.com

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Written by Raffy Pekson II

March 14, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Fil-Am Cuisine at Metro Orlando

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Fil-Am Cuisine along W. Vine Street in Kissimmee, FL

The message reads: “Drop into Fil-Am Cuisine for good times and great food. The restaurant is a neighborhood favorite, and offers a casual, friendly dining atmosphere that you and your friends are sure to enjoy. Fil-Am Cuisine also features a friendly, professional staff of great people, who will make sure your visit is memorable and that Fil-Am Cuisine lives up to its reputation for pleasant dining and superb cuisine. The menu offers an inspired array of selections that is sure to satisfy everyone in your group, every time. Be sure to ask your server about new selections, daily specials, and special chef’s creations. Whether you’re in the mood for casual dining or a special occasion, Fil-Am Cuisine is sure to please.”

Fil-Am Cuisine
3197 W. Vine St.
Kissimmee, FL 34741
Phone: (407) 847-7121
Cuisine: Asian
Price: $

Hours: Mondays through Saturdays, 11:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday: Closed
Amenities: TV
Atmosphere: Family / Children
Attire: Casual
Service: Sit Down, Carry Out

Meals: Dinner, Lunch
Parking: Parking on Site
Reservations: Suggested
Special Features: Booster/High Chairs, Non Smoking Area, Wheelchair Access
Payment Methods: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Cash

Source: Restaurant.com

Photo from Restaurant.com

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Written by Raffy Pekson II

November 15, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Filipino-American Victims to be Remembered at 9-11 Anniversary Memorial Services

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Second plane strike at the World Trade Center on 9/11

Filipino-American organizations are commemorating and remembering the 20 victims of the World Trade Center collapse on September 11, 2001, twenty people who had Filipino origins. Two of those were actually on board the planes that hit the twin towers. Their biographies will be read at the 9/11 Tenth Anniversary Vigil for Filipino American Families on Sept. 9, 2011, from 7pm to 9pm at the Asian American Writers Workshop, 110-112 West 27th Street, Sixth Floor, New York, NY. This event is open to the public.

The sponsors of the event are as follows:

  • Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) Metro New York Chapter;
  • Filipino American Human Services, Inc. (FAHSI);
  • Kalusugan Coalition, Inc.;
  • Damayan Migrant Workers Association;
  • Collaborative Opportunities for Raising Empowerment (CORE);
  • Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE);
  • UniPro, BaranGAY, NYU International Filipino Association (IFA);
  • Outstanding Filipino Americans (TOFA) in New York Committee.

There was also one other Filipino-American who died in the plane crash in Pennsylvania.

The name-reading activity was suppose to be part of the upcoming memorial celebrations but Mayor Bloomberg decided to scrap this tradition. A lot of the family members were angered when this announcement was made, saying the reading should remain part of the ceremonies. Still, there are others who agree to discontinue it as a requirement.

Half-way around the world, Marie Rose Abad, a New York-born daughter from an Italian immigrant family and one of the victims of the 9/11 attacks, has her name emblazoned in a village in the Philippines called the Marie Rose Abad Village where her Philippine-born American husband, Rudy Abad, had a community of about 50 one-story houses built in 2004 in her memory. Marie Rose was a senior executive at the 89th-floor office of the investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods when the second plane slammed the building.

The 21 Filipinos and Filipino-Americans who died in the World Trade Center attacks and the Pennsylvania plane crash were the following:

  • Grace Alegre Cua;
  • Cesar A. Alviar;
  • Marlyn C. Bautista;
  • Cecile M. Caguicla;
  • Jayceryll M. de Chavez;
  • Benilda Pascua Domingo;
  • Judy Hazel Fernandez;
  • Ramon Grijalvo;
  • Frederick Kuo Jr.;
  • Arnold A. Lim;
  • Manuel L. Lopez;
  • Carl Allen Peralta;
  • Maria Theresa Santillan;
  • Rufino Conrado (Roy) F. Santos;
  • David Marc Sullins;
  • Hilario (Larry) S. Sumaya;
  • Hector Tamayo;
  • Cynthia Betita Motus Wilson;
  • Ronald Gamboa (plane crash);
  • Ruben Ornedo (plane crash);
  • Manolito Kaur (plane crash).

Both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama are expected to attend the Ground Zero memorial services. The 9/11 attacks claimed the lives of 2,977 people, including 246 victims on the four planes and 411 emergency workers from the FDNY, NYPD, PAPD and EMT.

Sources: Inquirer Global Nation | Filipino Reporter | Huffington Post | Wikipedia

Photo by stevenbaker at Flickr.com

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A New Social Media Website for the Filipino Community

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Home page of PinoyKubo.com

I’m wondering what Canadian company Astraqom, describing themselves as “a world leading provider of online community platforms leveraging IP communications,” is doing playing a “me, too” venture with the Facebook vs. Google+ world of social media networking by coming up with PinoyKubo, its social networking platform beta-tested in June this year. Here are some of the quips I’ve seen so far:

PinoyKubo is home to several online games, Filipino e-cards, chat, blogs, videos and more.

PinoyKubo is a global online meeting place reaching people of the Philippines around the world.

PinoyKubo offers the following applications: Chat, Video Chat, Photo and Video Uploads, Online Games and a lot more!

“The online community’s audience, membership, and market include Filipina and Filipino expatriates, business people and students who are in the Philippines as well as abroad. It also is popular with those who are in a position to develop business with those in the Philippines and those who wish to learn Tagalog or just be immersed in the exciting Philippines world culture.” I do hope it’s not one of those Match.com-wannabes touting “Filipina” (notice that was the first word description talking about membership).

What does it have that Facebook doesn’t have? That should be one of the first few questions that comes into mind. PinoyKubo has an answer:

“You can record your own audio and then save it and load it as message to your friends. You can enjoy a lot of our OPM songs or choose and play with something like 20,000 games. Take a test or make a test. But most people really love how they can draw and write a message literally and send it via the PK chat! Sing-along on the Karaoke! Make friends and have endless chatting, gaming or listening fun.”

PinoyKubo touts groups, too, but it relates it to businesses and organizations becoming popular, or as champions, via sponsorships, ads, partnering options, and special events. Add the phrase “…and be an important part of 2011 and future image and branding.” The list of companies who are taking part in the new Filipino social networking site are Astraqom (obviously, the creators of PinoyKubo), Manuel S. Enverga University, Virtual Phone Line, Globe Telecom, Smart Communications and Sun Cellular.

There’s an e-commerce component mentioned by PinoyKubo. “Any PinoyKubo member can start and operate his or her own electronic store and sell services and products online. Because of the company’s emphasis on empowering Filipinas and Filipinos in the Philippines and abroad and also those who enjoy the culture, there are no fees for transactions. Payments are made via Paypal.” (Again, the emphasis on Filipinas. Why not use a generic, non-gender term?) Their PR.com publication writes, “The PinoyKubo e-store is available to retail brand names or home hand-crafted items. The PinoyKubo community members do not have to buy their own store website, nor do they have to install anything to get started. With a minimal few minutes of effort, they are up and running with their own stores.” Click here to watch a YouTube video of a demo in setting up an e-store.

Jonathan Sowah is the founder of PinoyKubo and AstraQom. He is reported to say that the PinoyKubo social network’s stores is an effective way to expand entrepreneur and businesses’ reach into the benefits of social media.

TMCNet contributor Rahul Arora writes that with PinoyKubo’s features and tools, the participants can easily meet long-term social and entrepreneurial goals. They can make friends to collaborate with, get appreciated for one’s talents, accomplishments and abilities, and discover and employ new methods and tools to reach social and business (also may be entrepreneurial and financial) goals. But most of what he writes are copied from the Astraqom website.

Let’s summarize. PinoyKubo is:

  • Social networking site, like Facebook (photo, links, chats, etc.)
  • Online gaming site, like Friendster;
  • Blogging site, like Blogger or WordPress;
  • Meeting place, maybe like LinkedIn Groups
  • e-Cards? Plaxo.com comes to mind
  • e-Store, like Multiply
  • Video uploads, like YouTube
  • Anything else I missed?

PinoyKubo today has about 50,000 members (they call it “friendships”) after three months of beta-testing. They are planning a comprehensive game archive with over 14,000 different games and activities, plus social-oriented ones.

AstraQom Corporation merged with Aon Communications (Canada) Inc. in 2009 and has operations in Ottawa, Montreal, Maniwaki, Toronto, Miami and Mexico City (Mexico). It is a member of the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA).

I salute a Canadian company offering a service for Filipinos, worldwide. I advocate cloud-based applications and social media for the workplace. I’m not much of an online game afficionado but maybe it’s a carrot to the younger generation who are prospective buyers of its e-stores. So, join http://www.PinoyKubo.com and see what a predominantly Filipino market can do for you and your small business.

Sources: Facebook Page | PinoyKubo Info & Fansite | SGE Entrepreneurs | PR.com | TMCNet.com | American Banking & Marketing News

Image of Home Page at PinoyKubo.com

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