Friday, July 17, 2009

Storm 'Isang' leaves three dead, two missing

MANILA, Philippines — Three people died and two others were reported missing due to floods generated by storm “Isang" this week, officials said Saturday.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) identified the fatalities as Joemar Ligar, 13, of North Barangay 160 in Caloocan City, and Lomer Fernando, 32, of Barangay 12, Palpalicong, Batac, Ilocos Norte.

In its early morning report, the NDCC said Ligar drowned when the Tullahan River overflowed, Fernando died of electrocution.

Still missing are Arnold Julian, 9, who fell into a manhole in Silangan, San Mateo in Rizal province; and Joanthan Hormeneta, 22, who slipped while crossing a bridge in Imus, Cavite.

Not included in the NDCC report was a nine-month old baby who, radio reports said, drowned when flood inundated their home in La Paz town of Iloilo province in the central Philippines.

The baby was believed to have fallen off her bed while the whole family was sleeping Thursday night.

NDCC said floods sent a total of 94,856 individuals or 25,555 families from the Ilocos region, Southern Luzon and Metro Manila fleeing to higher grounds.

It said a landslide in Buntong Palay, San Mateo, Rizal destroyed five houses and damaged three more.

Several roads remained impassable to traffic, including those in northern Metro Manila, Mountain Province, Baguio, Cagayan, La Union, and Pangasinan, it said.

Isang spawned torrential rains on Thursday and Friday in the northern and central Philippines.

In its 4 a.m. typhoon update Saturday, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration’s (Pagasa) said “Isang" was moving further away from the country.

Even as the eye of the storm was estimated 260 west-northwest of Basco, Batanes, Pagasa said Metro Manila and most of Luzon will continue experiencing rains until Sunday due to the southwest monsoon.

Residents living in low-lying areas and near mountain slopes under storm warning signals are alerted against possible flashfloods and landslides, the weather bureau said. - GMANews.TV

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

DoTA (Defense of the Ancients)

Warcraft Frozen Throne was released more than a couple of years ago but still it is a big hit not only here in the Philippines but also in other Asian countries because of the custom map "Defence of the Ancients" or DoTA.

DoTA is a team strategy game where players can choose which side and hero will he/she be playing. Players on the same side fight the other players on the opposing side to win the game. The objective of the games is to destroy the opponents’ base together with AI controlled units called creeps. Heroes start at level 1 and levels up to level 25. Heroes level up during the game while killing opposing heroes and creeps. Heroes gain skill when they gain additional levels. DOTA can be played as starting 1v1 up to 5v5. This could be against human players or AI controlled heroes which can be played on DOTA AI maps.

DOTA was originally developed by a mapmaker named Eul. There were different DOTA variations that time. The most popular one is DOTA All Stars which was developed by Guinsoo. When Guinsoo retired, IceFrog took over as the main programmer for the map.

DOTA is more on strategy than individual play. Even though players have their own heroes, it is their teamwork that is very important to winning the game. Although factors like individual skills also matter, a very good player with team mates that doesn’t care a lot about the team can’t just win by himself against all his opponents(unless of course he’s far too good and his opponents are new to the game).

DoTA can be played through a local area network, through Battlenet, or LAN oever the internet with the use of Hamachi or the most pupular Garena.

Since DoTA is a custom Warcraft 3 Frozen Throne map, it follows the same system requirements,

Minimum System Requirements:

* 400 MHz Pentium II or equivalent, or a 400 MHz G3 processor or better.
* Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows 2000, or Windows XP. Warcraft III requires Mac OS® 9.0 or higher, or Mac OS X® 10.1.3 or higher
* Warcraft III requires 128 MB of RAM. Virtual Memory should be enabled on computers running pre-Mac OS X versions of the Mac OS®.
* A keyboard and mouse are required.
* A hard drive with at least 550 MB of free space

* 8MB 3D video card (TNT, i810, Voodoo 3, Rage 128 equivalent or better) with DirectX 8.1 support. For Mac OS® systems, a video card consisting of an ATI Technologies or nVidia chipset with at least 16 MB of memory is required.
* A DirectX-compatible 16-bit sound card is recommended. Warcraft III will work with the built-in sound features of the Mac OS®.

Recommended System Requirements:

* 600 MHz processor or better
* 256 MB of RAM
* 32 MB 3D Video card

Multiplayer Requirements:

* Access to Blizzard Entertainment's online gaming service,, requires a low-latency, active Internet connection rated at 28.8 Kbps or faster.
* Multiplayer games played over a LAN require an active connection to a TCP/IP network.

There should be no problem with these requirements since computers nowadays are way over qualified for this game.

Start playing, invite your friends. I play through Garena everyday. I run a small Computer Cafe so blogging and playing DoTA is what I do everyday.

You can add me as your buddy if you play Garena, these past few days I play on Singapore and Vietnam rooms, of course to learn new tricks and strategies.

I will be posting updates, map download links and logs as well as tools and utilities that we can use to make our DoTA gaming more enjoyable.

You can download DoTA maps here

And Garena here




Australian study finds out what makes romance last

ADELAIDE, Australia – If you're looking for happily ever after, Australian researchers have a suggestion: Find a partner who shares your smoking habits.

Researchers at Australian National University studied 2,482 married or cohabiting heterosexual couples over a seven-year period to pinpoint what the relationships that were still going strong had over ones that fizzled.

So what predicts romantic longevity? Age, for one.

Couples in which the man was one year younger or up to three years older than the woman had less than half the separation risk of couples where the man was nine or more years older. Couples in which the man was two or more years younger than his partner also showed a higher risk of splitting up.

The study released this week – called "What's Love Got to Do With It?" – also found that relationships in which the man was at least 25 at the time the couple got together were more likely to last. So were ones where both partners shared a desire to have children – or shared a desire not to.

Money, too, plays a role: Couples with low household incomes were more likely to split than those with moderate or high incomes. Men who were unemployed had less stable relationships, as did men whose parents had separated.

A nicotine habit can have a profound impact. Relationships in which one partner smoked and the other didn't saw their risk of separation shoot to more than 75 percent of those in which neither partner smoked.

The study found, however, that religion, education levels, and alcohol consumption had no effect on marital stability.

The researchers used data from the "Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey," conducted by the government from 2001 to 2007. - AP

PSC chief calls for unity to avoid Laos debacle

MANILA, Philippines – With less than six months left before the 25th Southeast Asian Games (SEAG), Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Harry Angping is calling for unity and sobriety since the RP delegation is facing an impossible mission in Laos this December.

“I don’t want to come back here and hear people with the same old alibis that bad officiating and so on, and so forth were the reasons why the Philippines suffered a debacle in Laos," said Angping.

“I think that it is impossible for the Philippines to win the same number of gold medals that we won in Thailand," Angping added. “But it is not too late."

Angping said that in order to avoid getting embarrassed in Laos, he is asking all National Sports Associations (NSAs) that will compete in Laos to meet with him. “I want to start a dialogue with the NSAs immediately. I’m offering myself, forget partisan politics and let us work together."

Angping said that the PSC is ready to help the NSAs meet their targets in the Laos SEAG but he added that they must be open to cooperate with his agency. “Handa po ang PSC na makipag-usap."

The Philippines will be competing in 25 sports events in Laos: aquatics, athletics, boxing, volleyball, archery, billiards, badminton, shooting, football, golf, table tennis, karatedo, muay thai, pencak silat, weightliftng, cycling, fin swimming, taekwondo, pentaque, lawn tennis, wushu, judo, wrestling, sepak takraw and shuttle cock.

Among these events, it is only in medal-rich aquatics that the Philippines have a fighting chance of getting a good share in winning gold medals.

“It is only in swimming na may malaki tayong pag-asa dahil dito lamang tumaas ang performance natin from 2005 to 2007," said Angping.

Based on 2005 and 2007 SEAG results, Filipino swimmers had the most successful stint during the last two editions. Filipino swimmers won a combined total of 12 gold medals, eight silver and 13 bronze.

The medal production of athletics and billiards, another source of medals for the RP athletes, dipped from 2005 to 2007.

The RP tracksters posted a 9-11-9 finish when Manila hosted the 2005 SEAG but could only muster a 5-7-9 output in 2007.

Billiards also failed to sustain its 2005 8-2-1 medal haul and only managed a 3-2-4 finish when the games returned to Thailand two years after.

“I object to the game plan of just participating. We must compete," added Angping. “But with the current records of our athletes, I think we need to pray for a miracle that we can win more gold medals and at least give the Philippines something to celebrate in December."

But Angping’s call for unity may fall on deaf ears as the NSAs have already made a stand not to deal directly with the PSC until Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Peping Cojuangco have given them the marching orders.

“We are ready to talk with the PSC," said Laos SEAG chief of Mission Mario Tanchangco of Sepak Takraw recently. “But the talks must start from the top not from the bottom." – Perry Legaspi, GMANews.TV

How overseas Pinoys can register to vote in 2010

The Overseas Absentee Voting mechanism was implemented in the Philippines in 2003 to provide an opportunity for Filipinos abroad to exercise their right in electing the President, Vice President, Senators and one Party-list Representative. [Click on the image above to activate the interactive guide]

With over eight million of them scattered throughout the globe, overseas Filipinos could decide the result of the 2010 national elections. After Congress approved the OAV in 2003, about 300,000 Filipinos abroad registered to vote in the two-month registration period.

But this number dipped in 2006 when only 142,000 Filipinos in the 13-month registration period for the 2007 elections.

GMANews.TV prepared this short interactive primer as a guide for the Filipinos living and working abroad on the voting registration process for the 2010 national elections.

The OAV registration process opened in February 2009. The government has set a goal of 1 million OAV registrants by August 31, the last day of the registration period. Only 115,650 overseas Filipinos had signed up as of end-June.

This OAV primer is the first in a series of information materials that the Pinoy Abroad team is producing so that the voice of overseas Filipinos may be heard in the polls. - The Pinoy Abroad Team, GMANews.TV

Remittances hit record high in May, BSP says

MANILA, Philippines - Money sent home by Filipinos working abroad reached a monthly record high in May this year, as demand for skilled labor continued to be steady, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said.

Remittances for May this year reached $1.48 billion, 3.66 percent from $1.43 billion in 2008, breaching the previous monthly record set in March worth $1.47 billion.

The latest figure brought the total five-month cumulative remittance at $6.98 billion, 2.8 per cent higher than the $6.79 billion reported during the same year.

Besides citing steady demand for Filipino labor, the BSP said that the hike in remittances was also the result of “expanded access of overseas Filipinos and their beneficiaries to a wide range of financial products and services offered by banks and other financial institutions."

United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Japan, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Italy, and Germany were major sources of remittances during the January-May period with remittances from sea-based and land-based workers growing by 4.6 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.

Remittances “continued to show signs of strength despite lingering global economic fragilities, providing some basis for cautious optimism regarding steady remittance levels for 2009," BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. said in a statement.

Demand for Filipino workers is expected to hold up as a result of hiring agreements forged between the Philippines and some host countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Australia and Japan, the BSP said.

Manila also entered into a bilateral agreement with Seoul with labor departments of both countries approving a hiring agreement.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Tripoli has started talks with the Libyan Health Ministry for the recruitment of about 4,000 Filipino medical workers in the North African country.

"Despite the relatively weak global economic environment, the Philippine government’s intensified efforts [such as employment facilitation programs] to assist retrenched overseas workers have contributed to the deceleration in the rise in the number of displaced OFWs," the BSP said.

For its part, New York-based GlobalSource said that remittances may slow further and possibly decline by three percent, citing its latest estimates as indicated in its July 10 report.

In April, the think tank said that remittances may be unaffected by the crisis since Filipinos abroad are employed in relatively recession-proof sectors such as healthcare, education, and government service, especially in the US.

It also said that Middle Eastern economies – particularly Saudi Arabia – continue to be resilient, helping sustain demand for Filipino labor.

Pump-priming efforts around the world have also been identified as among the reasons why Filipino workers will continue to the deployed abroad.

"…a drop in remittances, if it happens, will not be immediate and may be masked by a repatriation of savings and lump-sum benefits or, as we are learning, by a twist on the 'flight-to-safety' theme where a chunk of the inflows comprises accounts seeking safer shores [i.e. not current income]," GlobalSource authors Romeo Bernardo and Margarita Gonzales said.

GlobalSource is also looking at a stronger peso by yearend at P47.90 per dollar from an earlier projection of P49.

In its Market Call report in June, First Metro Investment Corp. and University of Asia & the Pacific said sustained demand for our migrant workers in different countries continues to help keep up these inflows of OFW remittances.

"Moreover, with the government’s employment deals with several countries in need of our workers – the risks from the continuing global economic recession affecting the remittances are being tempered," the report said.

Under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership (JPEPA), an additional 273 health workers have already been deployed in May, the June Market Call report said.

“Even the rise in retrenchments of OFWs has abated. And with the OFWs and the recipients of remittances having easier access to expanded and enhanced remittance-linked services, the inflows of OFW remittances can be sustained," it added. - GMANews.TV