The Inbox
  • 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

    Read More »from Dialogue with Sumi Jo
  • 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

    Read More »from Tips from experts on how to achieve financial stability
  • Liars all


    Bong Revilla delivering his speech.By Ellen T. Tordesillas

    Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr., one of the three senators charged with plunder before the Ombudsman in connection with alleged anomalous use of Priority Development Assistance Fund, related Monday an incident that took place in December 2012, a few days before the conclusion of the impeachment of ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona.

    Revilla said Roxas, who was then secretary of Transportation and Communication, invited him to a morning meeting at his residence in Cubao. From there, they went to Malacañang’s Bahay Pangarap, Aquino’s residence, with Roxas driving the SUV and he was seated at the back seat.

    Revilla said Roxas had the license plate of the SUV removed.

    At Bahay Pangarap, they were joined first by and Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad and later by President Aquino. They were served breakfast and he remembered everything on the table: pan de sal, kesong puti, egg, ham, dried beef, friend rice and fruits. The main fare was Corona.

    Aquino in ANC presents dec 2011

    Read More »from Liars all

  • 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.”)

    Read More »from The feast of the Santo Niño of Tondo
  • 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.

    Read More »from A walk to remember with a special brother
  • Save the children from perverts



    By Ellen Tordesillas

    One of the memorable movies shown last year was “Alagwa: starting Jericho Rosales as the widower Robert Lim and Bugoy Cariño as the boy Brian.

    Directed by Ian Loreños, it’s a heartbreaking story of the young father’s search for his son who was kidnapped in a mall.. Lim (Rosales) left the son in the Men’s Room to attend to something. When he returned for the boy, he was gone. Later, in the CCTV which the police officers obtained, they saw a man approach his son as the boy stepped out of the Men’s Room. The man must have said something to convince the boy to go with him. (Warning to parents: never leave your children, even for a moment, in public places.)

    In Lim’s search for his son, he stepped into the harrowing world of child trafficking. Years later, he found his son a beggar in Hongkong.

    AlagwaIt is shocking to know that Alagwa is true. VERA Files has a project “Trafficking Casewatch “ supported by Embassy of the United States and the Embassy of Canada and

    Read More »from Save the children from perverts
  • 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

    Read More »from How to help OFWs make hard-earned money grow
  • A celibate Kris Aquino as president will eradicate poverty in PH


    By Ellen Tordesillas

    I cannot imagine the Philippines without Kris Aquino. It would be boring.

    I want Kris Aquino for President.

    Everybody talks about the need for out-of-the box solutions to the problem of poverty that is the lot of almost a third of the country’s 99 million population. Kris Aquino has found the solution: don’t have sex and you will be blessed with money beyond your dreams.

    In an interview last Tuesday with best friend Boy Abunda in her classy all-white house, Aquino couldn’t contain her joy for all the blessings coming her way: the box-office success of the movie of her son, Bimby, even if critics said it was inane (one critic said it was “contempt for the audience”); a hefty new contract with ABS-CBN after she floated the rumor that she was considering the job offer of businessman Manny V. Pangilinan to head TV5; plus many more.

    These are her choice quotes:

    "Ngayon ko na-realize pala talaga na it's possible na 'yung kaligayahan mo it doesn't come pala

    Read More »from A celibate Kris Aquino as president will eradicate poverty in PH
  • 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

    Read More »from Some things about Sumi Jo
  • China’s smallest province plays big role in South China Sea claim


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

    By Ellen Tordesillas
    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

    Read More »from China’s smallest province plays big role in South China Sea claim


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