Friday, October 31, 2008

Helaena's Debut

After she and her mom gave lola and tita a scary, sleepless night last October 28, Helaena finally made her debut at the CMC Nursery yesterday (October 29, 2008) at 5PM. And just like her mom Irene when she was born, Helaena was also the cutest baby holding court at the nursery.

And no, I am not being biased. She IS the cutest baby there ;) I overheard a bunch of people talking as I was walking along the hallway on my way to the nursery, "pinaka-cute yung De la Fuente ano?". Yey!!! Proud tita *wink*

We actually first saw her at 3AM, about 4 hours after she was born, while we were waiting for news of her mom outside the delivery room. My mom buzzed the nursery (which is just in front of the delivery room waiting area) every hour asking if we can see Helaena already until the nurses finally agreed. And then during the first nursery viewing schedule at 11AM, Helaena was still in an incubator so we were only able to see her from afar.

It was long wait for 5PM when the nurses told us that they will be putting Helaena at the nursery with the other babies. And then there she was... a bit red, a bit wrinkly with little hair... but cute just the same!

I hope she looks like our side of the family *snub*. Hahaha! She is a Mendoza-Serrano AND a De la Fuente after all ;)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

UP did not Participate in the THES-QS University Rankings

I blogged about this a few days ago after I saw Raimon's blog about it.

Times Higher Education and Quacquarelli Symonds recently released the top university rankings for 2008 where, though both UP and Ateneo rose in rank from the previous year, Ateneo got higher marks.

Then today, Mg forwarded this email to me:

From: sergio cao <>*
Date: Mon, Oct 20, 2008 at 10:34 AM
Subject: [Faculty] For your information and guidance

For Immediate Release
Contact Person:

Isabelita Reyes: Asst. Vice President for Public Affairs
Director, UP System Information Office

Contact Numbers: xxx-xxxx*


In the 2008 university rankings recently released by the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) and Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), the University of the Philippines rose from 398 in 2007 to 276 this year. Ateneo de Manila University rose from 401-500 to 254. De La Salle University was ranked 415th and the University of Santo Tomas was ranked 470th.

This is the third year that such a survey has been conducted and its results given prominence by local dailies. But according to UP Vice President for Public Affairs Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, UP has never agreed to participate in this survey. In fact, this year, President Emerlinda R. Roman did not even receive an invitation to be a part of it. Nor did she receive any questionnaire to answer.

What she did receive was an email message from QS Asia Regional Director (Asia Pacific), Mandy Mok, informing her that UP had "gone up in the rankings" for 2008. The email also contained an invitation to buy "an attractive package" from THES-QS. The "package price," which includes a banner on <> , a full page full color ad in Top Universities Guide 2009, and a booth at Top Universities Fair 2009, amounts to $48,930.

Since UP was not invited to participate and therefore had not provided any data, UP officials do not know where and how the figures were obtained on which the ranking was based, Hidalgo said.

"UP can hardly be expected to spend more than 2 million pesos on publicity for itself involving a survey conducted by an organization that refuses to divulge where it obtains its data," she added.

In 2007, UP was invited to participate in the survey, but when THES-QS refused to explain where it obtained the data used to determine UP's rank in the 2006 survey, university officials decided not to accept the invitation to be part of the 2007 survey. In 2006, UP was ranked No. 299, and Ateneo was ranked No. 500.

UP wrote THES-QS in July 2007, informing them of UP's decision not to be a part of the survey; and again in September 2007, requesting the organization to respect UP's decision. In response, research assistant Saad Shabir wrote back saying that if it did not receive the information it would be "forced to use last year's data or some form of average."

Surveys and rankings obviously have their usefulness. But, as the National University-status officially granted to it with its new Charter on its centennial year-UP feels that before it agrees to participate in such an exercise, it must carefully examine the indices by which it is to be evaluated. It also needs to be convinced about the reliability of the methodology used in the exercise.

The THES-QS ranking is supposedly meant to serve as "the definitive guide to universities around the world which truly excel." In evaluating institutions it computes half of the index based on its reputation as perceived by academics (peer review 40%) and global employers (recruiter review 10%). Since it does not specify who are surveyed or what questions are asked, the methodology is problematic.

In an earlier statement released in August this year, and carried by several national dailies, UP said: "Even peers require standardized input data to review. But according to the International Ranking Systems for Universities and Institutions: A Critical Appraisal, published by BioMed Central, the Times simply asks 190,000 'experts' to list what they regard as the top 30 universities in their field of expertise without providing input data on any performance indicators (
Moreover, the survey response rate among selected experts was found to be below 1%. In other words, on the basis of possible selection biases alone, the validity of the measurement is shaky." (See Pano, "Only Two RP Unviersities Made It..." UP Newsletter, August 2007, p. 5.)

According to the statement, the other half of the index is based on such indicators as student-to faculty ratio, the number of foreign faculty and foreign students in the university, and the number of citations in internationally accredited publications. "Data for these indicators depend on the information that participating institutions submit. An institution's index may be easily distorted if it fails to submit data for the pertinent indicators, or if it chooses not to participate."

Sergio S. Cao, PhD
Professor of Finance
College of Business Administration
University of the Philippines
Diliman, Quezon City
Philippines 1101
Telephone: (xxx)-xxxxxxx*
Telefax: (xxx)-xxxxxxx*

*numbers and email addresses were removed. If you receive the original forwarded email, the details are there.

Uh... shoes

I was complaining to my friend Beng about the apparent lack of creativity of shoe designers here in the Philippines. Year in and year out... year after year... it's the same old designs and forms re-made into different colors and materials but still, it's the same old shoe.

Then I came upon this site and I think some people took creativity a bit too far.

Here's a preview

Here's another one:

To view other shoe designs, visit this site:

Which is prettier?

It's one of those days again when I feel that the only way I can be happy is if I buy something new for myself. I found these from one of my favorite online shoe stores, D&C Trends.

IMAGE 1: Multi-colored heels

IMAGE 2: Red Zebra Print Heels

Monday, October 20, 2008

Once Upon a Friendster

Ilang taon na din ang nakaraan simula ng mawili ako sa Friendster. Pano ba namang hindi? Sa Friendster na lang ako nakakakuha ng balita sa mga kakilala at kaibigan kong hindi ko na nakikita at malamang ay hindi ko na makikita pa muli.

O sige na nga... chismosa na ako.

Subalit sa paglipas ng panahon, medyo matagal kong nakalimutan ang Friendster. Bawal kasi ito sa mga naging opisina ko. Kahit naman dito. Kung maitatanong nyo kung paano ako nakakapag-Friendster ngayon... sabihin na lang natin na magaling kasi ang mga ka-opisina ko ngayon.

Palibhasa ay Lunes ngayon, likas na nakakatamad magbalik-trabaho pagkatapos ng dalawang araw na bakasyon. Idagdag mo pa na wala ang boss ko, at mamaya pang alas singko ang pagtitipon namin, sinubukan kong buksan ulit ang Friendster at tingnan kung ano na ba ang mga nagbago sa aking limang daan syamnapu't apat na ka-Friendsters. Ang mga ito ay ilan lamang sa aking mga napansin.

1. Sa unang tingin ay hindi ko na makilala ang karamihan sa inyo hindi dahil nag-iba ang itsura nyo kung hindi puro litrato ng sanggol ang nasa profile nyo. Matatanda na nga yata tayo dahil karamihan sa aking mga kakilala ay nagsipag-asawa at may mga anak na.

2. Sa unang tingin ay hindi ko na makilala ang iba sa inyo dahil parang nag-iba yata ang pangalan nyo. O maaring nagkaroon lang siguro kayo ng alyas. Samantalang ako, Kinder pa lang ay Janelle na. Hanggang ngayon, Janelle pa din. Apelyido lang ang nabago. Pero ok lang, pag nakita ko na ang mga litrato nyo, naaalala ko pa naman kayo.

3. Sa unang tingin ay hindi ko makilala ang iba sa inyo dahil... sa madami pang tingin, napagtanto ko na mukhang hindi ko talaga kayo kilala. Inalis ko na sa aking listahan ang mga iyon. Sa lahat ng aking limang daan syampnapu't apat na natitirang ka-Friendsters, kilala ko pa kayo lahat.

At sana ay nasa mabuti kayong kalagayan.

Yun lang po

*also posted on Friendster Blogs

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Unthinkable

It finally happened...

Ateneo ranked higher than UP in the Times Higher Education - QS (THE-QS) World University Rankings 2008.

Though both universities rose from their previous year's ranks, Ateneo overtook UP by securing rank 254 in 2008, from 451 in 2007, while UP ranks 276 in 2008, from 398 in 2007.

I remember my professor from one of my graduate classes who was always ranting about the lack of research and published articles produced by UP faculty, when those are things being considered when ranking a university.

Oh well... I hope my alma mater does better next year

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Circle of Influence

Being a constant worrier, I remember someone told me once about the Circle of Influence. This is an article I found about the subject.

Though this article discusses the Circle in terms of it's application in Project Management, I think the concept can be used in our daily lives.

Focus on Things You can Control

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

REVIEW: Google SketchUp

Google SketchUp is software that you can use to create, modify and share 3D models. It's easier to learn than other 3D modeling programs, which is why so many people are already using it.


I used it for the first time last night to design the bookshelf and entertainment center that I plan to have custom-made for my living room. It is easy to use. I was able to come up with a 3D model of my future entertainment center (drawn to scale, mind you).

I haven't mastered it yet, and am still having difficulty with the arcs.

To download Google SketchUp, visit

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The World is Just Awesome

If you are a Discovery channel fan like we are, you probably saw this video already. I saw this uploaded in MG's officemate Ruel's account.

I love this! The world truly is just awesome!

Click here to watch the video: The World is Just Awesome

On Stupid Stalking

This has got to be the stupidest thing I ever did in my entire life... EVER!

I was surfing Facebook earlier when I was hit with a sudden desire to check if this particular person has an account there. I tried to search for her using her last known email address and this was the result*:

*note: The email address shown is not her real email address.

I guess I didn't read what was on the screen and thought it was a preliminary page before they do the search or something. All I saw was that her email was still in the box in the middle so I hit Enter.

Big mistake. The next screen I saw nearly made me fall off my chair:

Oh... freak...

Facebook just sent an invite to the email address of the person I was secretly stalking!

I felt the blood draining from my face as I slowly realized what I did. I searched for ways to undo the damage but it was a done deal... an email invite has been sent. And I am so dead.

Well, not really. So she will know I was stalking her as I know she was stalking me. (I saw her checking my profile on Friendster a month back. In fact, that's what put her back on my radar after all these years.)

Yes, dears, I do have too much time on my beautiful hands .

But that's not the point! The point is I think Facebook's page has a bad design . Hmph!


1. If you plan to stalk someone online, create a dummy account with a dummy email to do so.
2. Read the fine print before hitting any buttons.
3. If you can, stalk in a platform that can not be tracked back to you.