Archive for the ‘education’ category

APPLAUSE TO UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS ON ITS QUADRICENTENNIAL

February 16, 2011

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

This writer hereby extends Big Kudos to the Dominican-run University of Santo Tomas on its 400th Anniversary!

The University of Santo Tomas or UST, established 400 years ago in the Intramuros district of (old) Manila, has finally grown, matured, and reached international acclaim as an institution of higher learning. It had added milestones to its earlier feat as the oldest university in the Philippines, which renders it worthy of the accolades on its quadricentennial.

I still recall as a young school boy in the 1960s, that my teachers as well as history & geography textbook authors cited the UST as the nest of brilliant youth who later became great minds. Our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, obtained his first level of university education from the UST (he took up advanced studies in Europe after the UST stint).

More patriots followed after the footsteps of Dr. Rizal later. The late Manuel L. Quezon, president of the country during the USA’s colonial occupation, was among them. A visionary whose thoughts were to linger long after he was gone, Quezon is among the great patriots of the motherland. He underwent collegiate education in the noble UST.

The UST did not only churn out great men in past eras. In this current context, we have the likes of Bienvenido Lumbera, one of the literary giants of the ASEAN and a National Artist, among UST’s alumni. And so is Brilliante Mendoza, CANNES Film Festival awardee as Best Director, among the long list of upcoming luminaries of the Philippines and the ASEAN.

If there is any coterie of minds that I would give due credit for re-inventing UST that enabled it to be among Asia-Pacific’s top 200 universities, it is the Filipino Dominicans and the Filipino professors who resonated with the innovative designs of their priestly sponsors. The new breed of Dominicans dared to transform the university’s teaching force from one of purely teaching tasks to one of scholarly research faculty broke the long tradition and moved the UST out of stasis.

Without meaning to denigrate the White Dominicans from Europe who dominated UST’s echelon for too long a time, I would have to state candidly that it was during their stewardship that UST stagnated. Thus, it was known for its oldness bereft of the qualitative substance of being a progenitor of new philosophies, arts movements, and scientific R & D.

UST’s faculty was merely tasked to teach, and was assigned huge teaching loads (e.g. teaching 24 units), hence disabling them from engaging in productive research and/or artistic productions. It was during the stagnation phase that the much younger universities—University of the Philippines, Ateneo De Manila University, De La Salle University—became international universities, breaching the UST’s records by several notches.

I asked some pals of mine in the 80s and early 90s—who were teaching in UST—to share their own opinion regarding the relative stagnation of the UST. Without batting eyelashes, they blamed the over-bearing and subtly racist predominance of White Dominicans for the long stasis. Accordingly, the latter were of the mindset that they came to PH to civilize the Filipinos, a condescending if not arrogant attitude.

I was appraised of the situation within the campus and of the arduous efforts of Filipino Dominicans to make their dent in a context where Jurassic colonial tradition was still strong. By the 1990s the innovative Filipino Dominicans and UST professors were finally making headway. As a result, the UST made it to the top 200 universities in the Asia-Pacific in the late 1990s.

Research institutions have since been evolving within the present campus in the Sampaloc district. Some professorial pals of mine, who were products of the U.P. and DSLU and who took up doctorates in top universities abroad, have decided to base themselves in UST. They are now taking up the cudgels of re-engineering their respective departments, thanks to the new policy environment crafted by Filipino Dominicans.

Finally, as UST’s professorial pool has been up-scaling their research & development capabilities, building research institutions and generating research & publications products, the university is on the way to move UST to the next level, which is that of ‘world university’ status. I am highly supportive of the re-engineering, even as I’m confident the university will get there in the foreseeable future.

[Philippines, 15 February 2011]

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Come Visit E. Argonza’s blogs anytime!

Social Blogs:

IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com

UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com

Wisdom/Spiritual Blogs:

COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com

BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com

Poetry & Art Blogs:

ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com

ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com

Mixed Blends Blogs:

@FRIENDSTER: http://erleargonza.blog.friendster.com

@SOULCAST: http://www.soulcast.com/efdargon

Website & Mixed Blogs:

MULTIPLY: http://efdargon.multiply.com

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FILIPINO FASHION DESIGNERS IN HOLLYWOOD: SHOWCASING MANILA AS ASIA’S FASHION CAPITAL

February 16, 2011

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good evening! Magandang gabi!

Manila media just recently released the good news about Filipino fashion designers making it good in Hollywood. Led by Monique Lhuiller, who hails from an entrepreneurial family back home, Hollywood entertainers’ eyes marveled over the works of the Pinoy fashion designers worn by some famous Hollywood personalities.

As a sociologist and economist, this is what I can say of the matter: Philippine fashion design had already reached a very high level of maturity at this juncture. Both domestically and overseas, Filipino fashion designers are making waves precisely due to the mastery of their respective crafts.

Like their counterpart in motion pictures & mass media production, who are able to found institutions of higher learning—inclusive of graduate schools—for motion pictures & tri-media production, the fashion designers have reached a level of mastery and esteem enabling them to teach the craft to enthused learners. I have no better wish, as a sociologist studying popular culture, than to see couples of fashion institutes rising sooner or later in Manila and Cebu, the nation’s top metropolises.

Just recently, the fashion design guru Pinoy Moreno won his National Artist Award. Some people in the art & culture circles raised some eyebrows about the matter. There surely are people with astigmatic interests, who just couldn’t see the very positive implications of awarding a fashion designer as National Artist. The Award is a testimony of the maturing of the fashion industry itself, and should be welcomed without reserve.

The wave-making trend of Filipino fashion designers is also a testament to the rise of Manila/Philippines as the Fashion Capital of Asia. This trend should be stressed to the world, at a time when the global economy has grown. Filipinos are no longer the copycat morons as far as fashion is concerned, we have graduated to that of trend-setter or avant garde in the fashion & culture domain.

Not only is the Manila/Philippines the Fashion Capital, it is also the Shopping Capital of Asia. It boasts of malls that are spacious and exquisitely designed in architecture, malls that serve as retail outlets and/or display centers for some of the works of fashion designers.

The Jurassic trend of Filipinos having to fly overseas just to buy some good fashion and quality garments is long gone. The trend now is for Filipinos to invite kins and friends overseas to come visit Manila and other key cities to do a shopping spree and appreciate the fashion designs done by our topgun designers who are also Asia’s fashion gurus today.

Incidentally, around 6/7 or 84% of fashion designers are in the couture business. So any enthused appreciator of our designers’ works should deliberately visit the couture shops to enjoy the exquisite works of the fashion masters. Only 1/7 or roughly 16% of the fashion designers are in the RTW business, either as consultant designers or as designer & owner of the business.

The likes of Ben Chan, for instance, are among designers who also own RTW chain of shops. The Bench brand owned by Chan happens to be the forward linkage for his design works. Both high end and mass markets are catered to by the Bench brand, and I’d say my own kudos to the likes of the noblesse gentleman.

Those in the fashion design as well as the shoe design should better look up to the motion pictures & tri-media production their models of institutional strengthening. The challenge is for both sectors to set foot in the universities to install special departments or institutes for fashion design. Fashion design should better broaden to integrate shoe design into it, and the broadened sector should establish a presence in the University of the Philippines or U.P. as exemplified by motion pictures & media production.

Clothing technology is already present in the U.P. The presence of clothing in my alma mater should be a stepping stone to opening up a learning institute for fashion design since this new domain of arts & culture is giving a very positive name for the Philippines.

As a long-time educator, I recognize that setting foot in the premier university is a yardstick of the maturity of any sector in the country. Fashion designers, from couture to shoe design, better count me among their appreciative allies. May the tribe of fashion gurus—coming from our masters of the fashion craft—increase and multiply.

[Philippines, 13 February 2011]

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Come Visit E. Argonza’s blogs anytime!

Social Blogs:

IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com

UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com

Wisdom/Spiritual Blogs:

COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com

BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com

Poetry & Art Blogs:

ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com

ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com

Mixed Blends Blogs:

@FRIENDSTER: http://erleargonza.blog.friendster.com

@SOULCAST: http://www.soulcast.com/efdargon

Website & Mixed Blogs:

MULTIPLY: http://efdargon.multiply.com

FOR YOUR CONTINUING ESTEEM OF ME AS TOP BLOGGER, BLESSED 2011!

January 31, 2011

Prof. Erle Frayne D. Argonza / Guru Ra
January 2011

Manigong Bagong Taon! Prosperous New Year!

I hereby send my goodwill greetings to enthused readers and fellow analysts who continue to appreciate and spread my notes about social life, wisdom, arts & culture.

About three and a half years ago, there was scarce information about me on the internet. Today, as I’ve spread my messages of Light and hope to all of the corners of the globe via the blogs and social networks, many enthused souls responded through reading, exchanges of notes, and citations of my works. Finally, after your appreciation and support of my cyber-crusade, information about me on cyberspace increased by gigantic strides.

Special thanks to the following online news, magazines and portals for citing my notes as among the top blogs on cyberspace:

http://asiafinest.com
http://clpl-india.com
http://humanitariannews.org
http://newestnews.net
http://pul.se
http://sociology.alltop.com
http://thedailyreviewer.com
http://topcityblogs.com
http://www.nonprofit.org

For recognizing me as Finalist-Best Society, Politics & History Blog, special thanks to the Phiippine Blog Awards:

http://www.philippineblogawards.com.ph

Thanks too to the following hundreds of sites that have cited, discussed and debated on various notes of mine about a diversity of topics and themes:

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ARGONZA BACK FROM THE HOLIDAYS, EXTENDS GOODWILL!

January 7, 2011

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

Good day to all ye global citizens, readers, friends & fellows of this enthused analyst from Manila!

I’m back from the holidays, recharged and refreshed. I haven’t returned though to my gym works, so I promise myself renewed gym burning late this week.

Ye fellows of mine who did intake so much food inputs this past holiday season, don’t forget to burn down those extra fats, cleanse away excess bad cholesterols, and regain back your regular weight. Go back to your physical regimen, or develop one if you have been neglecting your physical wellness in a long time or so.

There are so many exciting things to talk about this year, more so from where I’m located: Asia. Just sit and relax, sip coffee or beverage while you browse over my coming notes, share comments every now and then. We will be together in the excitement, like riding our roller coaster of blog thoughts.

Goodwill, good health, prosperity to all of you for the year 2011!

[04 January 2011, Philippines]

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Come Visit E. Argonza’s blogs anytime!

Social Blogs:

IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com

UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com

Wisdom/Spiritual Blogs:

COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com

BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com

Poetry & Art Blogs:

ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com

ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com

Mixed Blends Blogs:

@MULTIPLY: http://efdargon.multiply.com

@FRIENDSTER: http://erleargonza.blog.friendster.com

@SOULCAST: http://www.soulcast.com/efdargon

 

ARGONZA’S IKONOKLAST FINALIST IN PH BLOG AWARDS

December 16, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good evening from the suburban boondocks east of Manila!

I was just recently informed by the officiating committee of the prestigious Philippine Blog Awards that my IKONOKLAST blog landed among the finalists to the BEST SOCIETY, POLITICS & HISTORY BLOG category (see http://erleargonza.blogspot.com). The news ignited an instantaneous elation in me that bordered euphoria.

A social scientist, development expert and spiritual guru for some time, I found blogging as a perfect platform for the conduct of my messenger mission in advancement of the Light of truth, knowledge, wisdom to our fellow citizens of Planet Earth. Being a late-comer in the cyber-field, I began to blog and do social networking only in late 2007, so any news today of recognition as a top blogger, both nationally and internationally, is awesomely euphoric for this humble servant of the Almighty Creator.

Fact is, I wasn’t a born writer. A born warrior-leader, intellectual and healer I am, this I openly admit, avocations that were already optimized and practiced with fulfillment. But as a writer, I had to learn the hard way, struggling from my basic education grammar days up through my professional career era.

I came to discover the passion for writing along the way, as I was also learning the crafts of dancing, acting, story-telling, and musical presentation (song, composition, acoustic guitar rendition). No matter how flawed my writing was at the start, I was never discouraged by acerbic critics about mistakes. Love for the craft simply led me to work hard to perfect the art and practice of it….Until I got to where I am, scribbling notes and recondite peregrinations with erudition and skill.

But even then, my bent for technical-academic writing dominates my style. This makes me exude a truly humble mien when I contrast my writing to those of other writers and thinkers. The winners of the very prestigious Ramon Magsaysay for literature, National Artist for literature, National Scientist awards, Palanca Award (Filipino, English) appear as truly talented, born writers whose works I genuinely appreciate. Eminent persons they all ended up, some of them even became members of the very prestigious international writers’ organization PEN.

I would never imagine myself as being an all-top writer of sorts like the awardees of those aforesaid accolades, though I do envision myself as reaching out to enthused souls very efficaciously through the pen. So it surely comes as a surprise, sufficient to ignite elation, that certain online media sites would recognize my writings as among top sociology blogs.

And that was what happened over the last twelve (12) months of consistent blogging. Never mind the months when I rested from the craft for a while, for one reason or another. As soon as I resumed writing, dozens of internet sites cut-and-paste and discoursed on my social writings, while couples of others openly assigned certain articles of mine to the alltop sections of their online magazines, newspapers, or related media.

Amid such open recognitions, I would never imagine my writings as landing in the Philippine Blog Awards, a prestigious accolade-granting institution of late (see: http://www.philippineblogawards.com.ph). That is like winning a National Artist award to me, and I’d be humble enough to reckon with my blog’s status. Until one fine day this last quarter, when some benignly appreciative souls from my beloved Philippines brought my Ikonoklast blog—as official nomination—to the attention of the Philippine Blog Awards.

That nomination alone was ample cause to wobble my heart with thunderous beats of delight. I thanked the Almighty Creator profusely and endlessly for the nomination-type recognition as it already is proof enough that my advocacy campaigns have been achieving the desired results. It caps the profusion of subtle recognitions, as hundreds of internet sites today have already been discoursing on my writings. Most notable of those that recognized my writings are the following:

http://asiafinest.com

http://clpl-india.com

http://humanitariannews.org

http://newestnews.net

http://pul.se

http://sociology.alltop.com

http://thedailyreviewer.com

http://topcityblogs.com

http://www.nonprofit.org

 

The latest news about the Finalist status is a multiplier effect on my elation, and I do anticipate that I would go euphoric over it before Christmas Day. I likewise feel happy for my fellow Finalists, and for the one who will be declared winner among us. Win or lose in the championship, all finalists are already top bloggers, the cream of the country’s bloggers.

So I would conclude by extending my thanks to the avid supporters, the Philippine Blog Awards, and the Almighty Providence for this top blogger feat. This development has made my Yuletide holidays enormously wonderful, rendered as another milestone event in my making as a writer and messenger of Light-filled causes.

[Philippines, 14 December 2010]

 

[See: IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com,

UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com,

COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com,

BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com, ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com,

ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com]

 

 

 

PHILIPPINES & ASIA CHEER UP GLOBAL ECONOMY FOR 2011

December 9, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

The yearend Holidays are now nearing, and so we all better cheer up for the forthcoming holiday season. As early as November, Christmas trees and gigantic lanterns were already set up in malls and public places in the Philippines, a very thoughtful way of demonstrating love and generosity.

 

There is much reason for the global economy to cheer up for 2011 as indicated by our own very optimistic business environment and national economy here in the Philippines. Our region ASEAN is mightily growing at robust rates, India and Korea are doing good, and China is very heatedly growing.

 

As already discussed by various analysts and writers, ASEAN + China + India + South Korea—dubbed as ‘Asian economy’—have been the growth drivers of the global economy as a whole. High growth rates, well managed liquidities, healthy macro-economic fundamentals, and high foreign exchange reserves all converge as multi-factor drivers of growth in Asia. As a result, consumption is still moving up here, thus compounding the growth toward sustained heights all the more.

 

The Philippines has its own good news to share to the globe. A ‘Santa Claus’ list of glad tidings shows the following:

 

  • Philippine currency is the 2nd best in Asia. Strong and trustable, even treasuries and bonds denominated in Peso are selling like hot potatoes.

 

  • Foreign Exchange Reserves are at an all-time high of $56+ Billion (end of October), enough to buy almost a year of merchandise imports.

 

  • Growth rate as of the 1st two (2) quarters was at a whopping 7.9%, showing mightily good production levels. Yearend growth rate would be no less than 6.5% at the minimum, a figure that will be sustained well through 2011 and beyond.

 

  • Local bourse has hit a high-time figure of 4,200+ points recently. This is way above the psychological breakpoint of 2,000 points (that now looks very Jurassic), and will optimistically breach 5,000 points by 2011.

 

  • Overall GDP per capita (nominal) will breach $2,000 and will move up rapidly to the next levels over the next few years. Purchasing power parity or PPP per capita will exceed $10,000 around 2013-‘14.

 

  • State wages have been moving up by 15% per annum consistently for couples of years now. This move drives up private sector wages as well. Wages will again move up in strides from 2011 to 2016.

 

  • Inflation has been reduced down further, and will stay comfortably at the 2.5%-3.5% range by 2011. This is welcome news for a nation that is so fed up with hyper-inflations in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

 

  • Unemployment has been going down steadily, and will be at a manageable level of 8% or lower by 2011. Rising growth rate can then be sufficient to address the other problem of underemployment.

 

  • Exports and imports, or foreign trade, have returned to pre-global recession levels, thus contributing to more employment and higher wages.

 

  • Filipino businessmen’s investments overseas have moved up, and will continue to expand in 2011 and beyond. These contribute to overseas remittances and employment of Filipino labor and experts abroad.

 

The list is longer than the above-stated, though suffice us to take note of that short list. Those items are fundamental to sustaining the economic machine year by year, reduce poverty till the middle class dominates the population, and shoot up human development to notches higher than today’s indices.

 

Japan, USA and EU are on economic fires but the dampening situations there won’t totally hurt the global economy. Emerging markets have done their best to insulate themselves against the fiascos and fires of the northern economies, thus enabling them to serve as the hope of the world.

 

The cheery environment of Asia should better be the one focused upon by our global citizens, a cheer that serves as the ‘Santa Claus grin’ of the global economy as a whole for this year and the ones forthcoming.

 

[Philippines, 06 December 2010]

 

[See: IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com,

UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com,

COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com,

BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com, ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com,

ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com]

 

GLOBALIZING CHRISTMAS

December 9, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

Christmas is now nearing as of this writing. Christmas bell tolls, kids’ carols, merry songs & dances are now up in the air, inviting everyone else to share the spirit of fun and camaraderie.

 

A Christian and sectarian holiday Christmas is, no one doubts this. Granted that Christmas is a sectarian affair, is it possible to transform it into a global/universal, multi-cultural event? There are apparently two (2) perspectives that clash concerning the matter.

 

From the point of view of fundamentalist, ultra-conservative church practitioners, whether Christian or non-Christian, Christmas is a sectarian affair and should not veer into cultural spaces not meant for its observation. A Muslim fundamentalist would throw monkey wrench at any attempt to globalize Christmas, and the same may be true for those fundamentalists of other denominations.

 

From the vantage point of a non-fundamentalist, cosmopolitan person, Christmas is one occasion that Christians can share to others. It is a multi-cultural affair, and it belongs to the whole of humanity for that matter. Ergo, everyone on Earth better attunes to the Christmas spirit and feel the ‘family of mankind’ fraternal bonds that the affair espouses.

 

As to where I stand in that polarity of perspectives, I am among those who wish to share the Christmas spirit as a multi-cultural blessing. Born a Catholic, but now a freethinker who espouses post-church spirituality, I remain attuned to the Christmas holidays just the same for the reasons stated above.

 

Christianity is a cult of Jesus, and I will have nothing to do with following or propagating such a cult. Esoteric Christianity, however, isn’t the same as the folk Christianity of the flocks who regard Jesus as a cult figure, and I squarely stand on the grounds of this mystical version of Christianity.

 

Esoteric Christianity teaches universal brotherhood among its core lessons. Universal brotherhood, a battle cry of cosmopolitan esotericists, is still a very valid principle to stand up for. It is the ethos that permits a soul to go beyond the bounds of sectarian precepts, embrace fellow humans as co-family members, and build a culture of dialogue across the planet.

 

I do hope that the more cosmopolitan Christians would consciously invite non-Christians to be part of the holidays, truly embrace their non-Christian brothers and sisters, and allow the latter to participate in such year-end party rituals as gift-giving. And, invite the non-Christians to 24th of December midnight gathering, where they can sit by the Christmas tree and partake of the food blessings for the occasion.

 

Non-Christians who may not be invited by Christians in their homes on the 24th & 25th of December can also go ahead and celebrate the affair with their families and friends on the said dates. Nothing is wrong for them to put up a Christmas tree at home and party on the 24th midnight and on the 25th of December. And, at the end of the month, celebrate New Year’s Eve too.

 

In the Philippines, the transformation of Christmas into a multi-cultural event has already been going on in the 60s till 1972. Unfortunately, the Mindanao War came, a Christian-Muslim schism was propagated, and Muslims became reluctant to celebrate Christmas with their brethrens among Christians.

 

I just hope that the tide of cleavages is now ebbing and ceasing. We formally recognize Muslim and Chinese occasions in this country, and so it would be fitting for all Filipinos including Chinese and Muslims to celebrate Christmas as well. By Chinese I refer to those Chinese who are Buddhist, Daoist, atheist, or non-Christian.

 

The occasions for Christmas parties are now going on, from one organization to another, and so it is best for us all to participate in these events. And, comes the 24th-25th of the month, celebrate Christmas at home as a ritual occasion to solidify family bonds. Then, comes the New Year’s Eve, celebrate with a Big Bang accompanying a party or gathering.

 

Peace be with you! Advanced Happy Holidays!

 

[Philippines, 08 December 2010]

 

[See: IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com,

UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com,

COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com,

BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com, ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com,

ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com]