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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cattleya Resort (Dominique), Antipolo City

Cattleya Resort is located at Sitio Ibabaw, Barangay San Roque, Antipolo City. It’s like a private subdivision with several pools. We had our team building here last July 21-22, 2014 (overnight) and it’s a nice place.

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The pool area that we got is named Dominique and the main selling point of this resort is the fabulous view of the nearby cities of Pasig, Quezon and Marikina. Dominique has a “kubo”, two smaller “kubo”, shower room and toilet, a kitchen and grilling area, and the main dining/videoke area. It also has a small gazebo, seesaw and swing, and of course, a nice pool area with an outdoor tub.

Unfortunately, Dominique is available only for 12 hour duration (until 7am the following day) although we are allowed to come as early as 5:00 pm the previous day. The only downside to this resort (aside from the time) is the lack of sleeping areas. I guess, they really intend to keep the guest awake the entire 12 hours. Good thing there were 4 beds (generally used for sunbathing) that we used to sleep.

From Pasig, I rode a jeep to Tanay passing by Antipolo. From Ligaya in Pasig, it’s around P22 to Unciano Hospital (Circumferential Road) in Antipolo City. There’s a tricycle station that took me to Cattleya Resort for P15. We’re 4 people in the tricycle so if you’re going solo, it will be P60. I walked around 100 meters to Cattleya Resort and just to the right of the gate is the Dominique Pool Area.

The water of the pool could be very cold since this is on top of a mountain and it could be foggy during the morning. I visited their Facebook page after our team building and they have a discount in August and September. I guess those are their off-peak months. The price we paid is P7,500 and that includes the overnight use of the videoke.

Having tried Pansol, Laguna for overnight swimming, I would still prefer Pansol for overnight team buildings. Cattleya Resort’s advantage is that it’s near Manila (around an hour or two depending on traffic). The view is also great. The price could also be pricey for 12-hour duration.

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The signage to Cattleya Resort.

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Some of the houses you’ll passed by as you go to Cattleya Resort, Antipolo City.

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One of the numerous gazebo of Cattleya Resort. To the right of this gazebo is Dominique.

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View of Manila.

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The pool (Dominique)

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More views of Manila

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The two smaller “kubo” of Dominique.

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Capiz shells were used for the lanterns

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The pool (viewed from the elevated portion of Dominique where the kubo are located.

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Is this considered as a gazebo?

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The pool was swarmed with “gamu-gamu” around 6-7pm. Good thing the pool attendant cleaned it before we swam.

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Although it said that the use of the videoke is up to 12 midnight, we were able to use the videoke until we left at 7am the following day.

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There’s a half-court at the entrance of Dominique.

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I love the use of Capiz shells in their lanterns

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The kitchen and grilling area of Dominique, Cattleya Resort.

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A foggy morning when we left Cattleya Resort.

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The two smaller kubo

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This kubo is the only sleeping quarters Dominique has, which sucks. Most of the resorts I’ve visited in my previous team buildings has 2 or more rooms for sleeping.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

State of the Freedom of Information Bill

I was at The Mind Museum of Taguig last July 21, 2014. I attended the State of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill with Senator Grace Poe as keynote speaker. It is one week before President Noynoy Aquino’s SONA, thus, the title of the forum.

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Senator Grace Poe gave two analogies during her speech – that of the Lifeline Options in Who Wants To Be A Millionaire as well as Guess The Weight of the Cow. In these two scenarios, it was proven by studies that the Ask The Audience option is more accurate that Ask A Friend. Senator Poe’s point was that the collective wisdom of the crowd is superior that even the smartest friend of the contestant. It’s the same analogy in the Guess The Weight of the Cow – the average guess of the crowd is close to the actual weight of the cow.

Senator Grace Poe also pointed out the highlights of her version of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill:

  • Right to information
  • Upload the SALN of the government agencies
  • Declassification
  • Criminal and administrative penalties
  • Archiving of the information
  • Protection of privacy
  • Disclosure of the information of private contracts with the government
  • National security control

Senator Grace Poe repeated her belief that “the masa is not dumb” and “people are craving for information”. She wants these information be posted and in downloadable form from government websites. She is also encouraging people to participate in government affairs. She also mentioned that having the FOI Bill is like “having pest control in the government” and that it should include all areas of government.

Gemma Mendoza, Research and Content Strategist of Rappler, presented a study they’ve conducted on the status of the FOI in other countries including our neighbors Thailand and Indonesia. She also explained the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in the country and also emphasized that the 1987 Constitution guarantees the right of the people to information. She also explained the difficulties of asking public records and mentioned that 95 countries have Freedom of Information law.

The event was followed by two panel discussions – the first one was facilitated by Vergel Santos and includes German Ambassador Thomas Ossowski, Dr Juli Minoves (President of Liberal International) and Gemma Mendoza of Rappler. They’ve discussed “the right of the people to information” as guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They also emphasized the importance of a Freedom of Information Law to detail how this right to information will be implemented.

The 2nd panel discussion was facilitated by John Nery, Editor of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and includes panelist Rep Leni Robredo (Co-author of House Bill 3237), Nepomuceno Malaluan (Co-Convenor, Right to Know Right Now Coalition), Nadia Trinidad (ABS-CBN News Channel) and Dr Roberto de Ocampo (Vice President of the Makati Business Club). They’ve mentioned that SALN should be displayed (posted online) whenever an individual is joining the government. They encouraged good citizens to look into the details of the FOI Bill.

Representative Leni Robredo mentioned how they introduced the Naga City Citizens Act. They published a book containing the city’s services and was given to each and every household. They want ordinary people to understand and that the Naga City officials are exerting more effort to reach out to their citizens. Naga City is after all, “Maugmang Lugar” (happy place).

Maria Ressa, CEO and Executive Editor of Rappler, gave the closing remarks. She gave 5 points on how we could pass the Freedom of Information Bill: Culture

  1. Culture
  2. Processes
  3. Resources
  4. Technology
  5. Institutionalizing

Maria Ressa also mentioned that 94% of Filipinos have access to the Internet and that we should put everything (government transactions) online.

The State of the Freedom of Information Bill ended with a lunch for the media and supporters of the Freedom of Information Bill like me. I’m glad that I’ve attended this event and I feel proud to participate in this kind of forum. I also believe that as good citizens of this country, we should really participate in how the government is conducting its business.

This event was organized by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, FNF Philippines and Rappler.

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Jules Maaten, Country Director, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

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Senator Grace Poe – one of the senators I’ve voted during the last senatorial election. She was the Keynote Speaker of the State of the FOI Bill.

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(L-R: Maria Ressa, Sen Grace Poe, Rep Leni Robredo and Jules Maaten)

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Gemma Bagayaua-Mendoza – Research and Content Strategist, Rappler.

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Vergel Santos, Chairman, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility

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H.E. Thomas Ossowski, Ambassador (German Embassy Manila), Gemma Bagayaua-Mendoza and Dr Juli Minoves, President, Liberal International.

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Break!

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John Nery, Editor, Philippine Daily Inquirer

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Panelist Dr Roberto de Ocampo, Vice Chairman, Makati Business Club; Nadia Trinidad, ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC); Rep Leni Robredo, Co-Author, House Bill 3237; and Nepomuceno Malaluan, Co-Convenor, Right to Know Right Now Coalition

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Right to Know Right Now. Pass the Freedom of Information Act.

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Maria Ressa, CEO and Executive Editor, Rappler

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Rep Leni Robredo (n green) and guests

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Dessert!

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The Mind Museum at Taguig was the venue of the Statement of the Freedom of Information Bill.

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