These days, the number of Filipino Internet users is pegged at around 24 million and mobile phone users at around 63 million. Not surprisingly, candidates for both national and local posts have taken interest on those figures, and have been busy putting up complex, interactive websites of their own, even as they litter popular online publications, blogs, and social networks with political propaganda. Text-blasting, or the sending of unsolicited SMS messages, appears to be on the rise as well.
AN ONLINE business may have been more apt for Senate star witness Rodolfo ‘Jun’ Lozada, an engineer and self-described IT expert who somehow wound up heading a state-owned forestry firm. Then again, with the country’s electronic commerce (e-commerce) economy still lingering at the bottom, it’s not surprising that Lozada chose to worry about propagating tuba-tuba and jatropha instead of, say, selling roses online.
WHAT face comes with your favorite Pinoy blogger? PCIJ shows you two.
We recently had a chat with Bryanboy, owner of the two-year-old blog with the same name, and Nikki Alfar, who’s been blogging ‘Contradiction in terms’ since 2003.
I’M A CERTIFIED Nethead and I can get down and digital with the best of them. But Rochelle Lazarte and her five friends make me feel as ancient as a rotary phone. Formed only seven months ago, their barkada is basking in its newfound friendship that traces its beginnings — the same way that many relationships among young people are being born and nurtured today — in cyberspace.
TOO OFTEN the Filipino youth is viewed with the conventional eyes of our elders: we are the future of the nation, we are the agents of change. The government counts on us to help save the country, civil society exhorts us to be vigilant, the media remind us often enough that we are the hope of the nation. For the most part, however, they are disappointed. Especially when it’s convenient, we remain incomprehensible to our elders, and it’s easy to see why.
THE SINGLE-windowed post office in the Manara District of Jeddah opens only between ten o’clock in the morning until around three o’clock in the afternoon. That would cover the time of day when the heat from the desert sun is at its fiercest and just standing outside already feels like being inside a furnace. But until a few years ago, there was always a long line of men sweating it out in front of the post office. More often than not, the line would be made up mostly of Filipino workers, literally suffering a slow burn while waiting for their turn to mail letters and voice tapes to their loved ones back home. Mailing letters was probably the only advantage female OFWs had over their male counterparts, since women did not have to fall in line and were allowed to approach the window anytime and drop their letters.
SOME MONTHS ago, a Danish couple living in Australia created a tempest of sorts when they posted this message on the website philippines.com.au, an online forum for Filipinos Down Under:
Danish family is looking for a part time (3 days a week) amah in Jindalee…live out. Must be 100% trust worthy, independent, love our 2 chinese kids / 9 year old retriever and master of cleaning. Prefer non-smoker and QLD drivers licence.
Start late Jan 2005.
Email Sten & Ella
In all, the booming global services industry is providing job opportunities for Filipinos seeking employment overseas not just as health workers but also as caregivers, entertainers, domestic helpers, and chambermaids. The result has been the migration, in droves, of Filipino women who now make up 65 percent of those going abroad to work.
THE FUTURE of television is here. At least, its prototype is. Today we use our mobile phones for more than just communicating. We use them to take pictures, play games, share music, and download news and celebrity gossip. More and more, we turn to our phones to kill time when stuck in traffic, while waiting in line, or in the presence of boring company. Nokia, the global leader in wireless telecommunications, has spotted the trend. “Be entertained anywhere” is its new tagline, a radical departure from its roots as a mobile-handset manufacturer.
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