Blog Posts by VERA Files

  • Mark Meily: The director as teacher and student

    2Mark Meily with Jericho Rosales on the set.

    By Pablo A. Tariman, VERA Files

    The director who won top honors for “Crying Ladies,” “La Visa Loca” and “Baler,” among others, opines the basics of filmmaking can be learned but its essence cannot be totally taught.

    “You can introduce the subject, you can guide the students but from there, it’s up to the beginner to explore the world of filmmaking,” director Mark Meily adds.

    Meily has been both an assiduous student and teacher of filmmaking he can now share what it was like to be a student and what he now enjoys as a teacher.

    “I love teaching. I got many insights teaching in the film school of Marilou Diaz Abaya and at La Salle and I tell you it is in school where you are guided. But everything else will depend on what you get outside the school. I always remind my students, ‘When you want to tell a story, don’t verbalize it. Simply visualize it,’” he says.

    What the students don’t realize is that teachers learn from them as well. “You get many inputs from them when you interact in the

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  • Bloggers equally protected as journalists


    What is a blog Universal McCann

    By Harry L. Roque, VERA Files

    Bloggers enjoy the same protection as journalists.

    This was the recent ruling of the US Court of Appeals in the case of Obsidian Finance Group v. Cox. In this case, Crystal Cox, a blogger, claimed that Obsidian finance company was guilty of tax fraud. The US District Court earlier found Cox guilty of defamation and awarded the finance company $ 2.5 in damages. The lower court issued its ruling anchored on the assumption that since Cox is a blogger and not a journalist, a complainant in a defamation suit is entitled to the presumption of” legal malice or a presumption that the defamatory statement is presumed malicious.

    Further, Cox, as a mere blogger is not entitled to invoke the definition of actual malice established in the New York Times vs. Sullivan case. The 1964 US Supreme Court ruling set the precedent for the rule that journalists can only be held liable for false information if they knew of its falsity or in utter disregard of the

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  • The challenges of watercolor and live portraiture

    Members of watercolor group each working on their portraits of model Loren Burgos.

    Text and photos by Elizabeth Lolarga, VERA Files

    Even seasoned painter Jonahmar Salvosa admits that watercolor is a medium difficult to master.

    The Agos Kulay Maynila president said, "It is the hardest of all the media. If you make a mistake, that's it. You can't paint over your mistake or erase it. You have to start with a new sheet of paper. A mistake can be spotted, unless you're developing a new style or venturing into the abstract."

    He described watercolor as having "a mind of its own. It takes awhile before you can tame it." When would-be painters ask him for lessons, he starts them off with watercolor. After a few sessions, even only three days, depending on their interest and commitment, they can level up to oil or acrylic. He said, almost jokingly, "Instant artist agad. They learn three media in one setting."

    Agos Kulay (Watercolor Society of Manila) has been around since 1992. Its on-spot portrait sessions used to be held weekly at the Army and Navy Club in Manila before the

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  • Dialogue with Sumi Jo

    Sumi Jo as Lucia di Lammermoor

    By Pablo A. Tariman, VERA Files

    From the looks of it, the opera odyssey of internationally acclaimed Korean diva Sumi Jo would make a good material for soap opera.

    Her mother enrolled her for a piano lesson at age four and voice at age six and spent eight hours a day studying music.

    Although the family lived on rented place, her mother bought her a piano she could practice on.

    Her mother dreamed of becoming a singer herself but decided her daughter Sumi Jo would pursue that dream. Obedient daughter never let her mother down and got the highest grade when she auditioned at Korea’s National University.

    She only had $300 when she went to Italy to study at St. Cecilia Academy and fainted on an Italian street probably from lack of sleep while diligently studying music and the Italian language.

    She was equally close to her father who died on the night she had a singing engagement in Paris. Her mother reminded her not to cancel the concert and instead offer the concert in memory of her

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  • Tips from experts on how to achieve financial stability

    By Patrick King Pascual, VERA Files

    In life, it takes more than just talent and skill to succeed.

    As important as physical and emotional health is financial stability.

    ABS-CBN News Channel's, On the Money (airs on ABS-CBN News Channel every day at 3:30pm ) recently gathered a group of financial planners to share their expertise in managing personal finances.

    Online definition of personal financial planning is "a process of determining an individual's financial goals, purposes in life and life's priorities, and after considering his resources, risk profile and current lifestyle, to detail a balanced and realistic plan to meet those goals."

    Alvin TabañagRegistered financial planner Alvin Tabañag advises to start with the children. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone because teaching children about managing their money properly will also force parents to be also more responsible when it comes to their finances.

    “Even if you can afford it as a parent, do not give in to their every demand. If

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  • The feast of the Santo Niño of Tondo

    Photos by Little Wing Luna, VERA Files

    Text by Mitch Meñez

    Last Sunday, just like all the third Sundays of January of years past, the streets of Tondo teemed with devotees carrying the images of the Santo Niño.

    One of the oldest images in the country, the Santo Niño or the Holy Child, represents the Filipinos’ faith in the Divine Being.

    Sto Nino2

    The feast of the Santo Niño, a demonstration of faith and devotion, dates back to the colonial times when the Spaniards ruled the Philippines. Images of the Holy Child, dressed in the best outfit by the devotee- from the ornate to the silliest- are carried, hoisted up above their heads and marched to the Tondo Parish where they are blessed with Holy Water. The devotees talk of miracles in their lives attributed to the Santo Niño .

    (VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”)

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  • A walk to remember with a special brother

    Carlo Deogracias

    By Isaiah Maru C. Deogracias, VERA Files

    I am no special kid, but I joined the Angels' Walk for Autism again last Sunday as I do every year.

    It's the18th year of kicking off the Autism Awareness Week with a walk with angels around the mall. But last Sunday was a treat to special children and their families as we were seated in the newest ultimate world class entertainment and sports venue, the SM Mall of Asia Arena. Among the most expensive dance concert held here was that of Jennifer Lopez, the kind that may not have a space for special children.

    When I stepped in The Arena for the first time, I began to imagine my favorite bands in a concert there, what a joy it could be. And I saw up close that joy in my brother in the songs and dances we both watched in celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Autism Society of the Philippines there.​

    So what am I doing in this event and every year before this that I'd wake up early just to be here? It's for my brother. This means a lot to him.

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  • How to help OFWs make hard-earned money grow

    OFWs arrive in NAIA

    By Norman Sison, VERA Files

    It is a question that has perplexed government policymakers and academics for years: where has the money been going?

    Since 2006, Alvin Ang, an economics professor at the University of Santo Tomas, has been conducting research into the Filipino migrant worker diaspora for aid agencies, the World Bank, the International Labor Organization and other institutions.

    “All these years we’ve been receiving a lot of money, but how come nothing is happening. In general, lots are happening in the economy. It has pushed everything up. It has encouraged a lot of investors to come in,” says Ang. “But for the ordinary person who has a family — who is working abroad — not much has changed in his life.”

    It is an all-too-familiar story line for generations of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs): a member of the family leaves for better pay abroad, hoping to build a better life for those left behind — only to come home years later with little or no savings.

    An estimated 10

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  • Some things about Sumi Jo

    Sumi JoBy Elizabeth Lolarga, VERA Files

    There is something about international operatic superstar Sumi Jo who's a vegetarian. If she were to sing about Mary Moon in the Deadeye Dick song "New Age Girl," it would take on a magical quality in the sincerity she puts into each tune, whether classical, pop or a Korean folk song. Sincerity is often used to describe her singing.

    Jo makes her Philippine debut in a one-night concert Feb. 1 at SM Aura's Samsung Hall, Bonifacio Global City of Taguig, for the benefit of Tanging Yaman Foundation that is rebuilding lives and infrastructure in post-Yolanda Samar and for future workshops by international teachers to train young and talented classical music singers. Najib Ismail is her collaborating artist.

    Asked what makes sopranos appealing worldwide, she told, "A high-pitched soprano has the most feminine and sophisticated vocal tone in terms of virtuosity. I don’t like the high-pitched tone of a female singing voice, rather the vocal range of

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  • Commentary

    Liaoning. China's first aircraft carrier back from test mission in Hainan waters.

    Alarm bells rang again with the announcement last week by China that Hainan, its southernmost province, was implementing a Fishery Law that requires foreign fishing boats to get its approval when venturing into the South China Sea starting Jan. 1, 2014.

    Hainan, with an area of 32,900 square kilometers, is China’s smallest province. Yet the Fishery Law, which China claims to have been adopted in 1993 and amended in 2008, puts under Hainan’s authority two million square kilometers of the vast South China Sea (estimate size is 3.5 million square kilometers), parts of it are also being claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan.

    The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs said “This new law reinforces China’s expansive claim under the 9-dash line (map)” which it has questioned before the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal.

    “It is a gross violation of international law. This development escalates tensions, unnecessarily complicates the situation in the

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