Category: News

Persian Melodies: The Traditional Music Of Iran (Free Concert at UP Asian Center)

The UP Asian Center will be hosting a free concert, Persian Melodies: The Traditional Music of Iran on 7 February 2017, 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., GT-Toyota Asian Center Auditorium, UP Asian Center. The concert is open to the public, but seating is first-come, first-served.

Persian Melodies: The Traditional Music Of Iran at UP Asian Center

About the Concert

The concert will feature performances of traditional Iranian music, which is generally performed by small groups that typically consist of a vocalist and (an) instrumentalist(s) for the rhythm and melody.

“We are happy to bring the venerable musical culture of Iran to UP,” says Dr. Henelito Sevilla of the UP Asian Center, who obtained his Ph.D. in International Relations at the University of Tehran. “This is a rare opportunity to discover a rich musical tradition from the Western side of Asia. The concert offers a great educational and cultural experience, helping Filipinos, especially musicians and music lovers, recognize the similarities and differences between Iranian and Philippine musical traditions.”

The vocalist of the group, Chavous, will sing traditional Persian melodies accompanied by several native instruments such as tar, setar, nay, dulcimer, and daf. Chavous is a five-member musical group led by Reza Gholamhosseinpour. The members include Sajjad Dabestan Pour, vocals and dulcimer; Morteza Ghanbar Nasab Behbahani, flute; Abdolhamid Sarvarizadeh, setar and tombak; and Hamed Zamanian.

About the Organizer

This free concert is organized by the UP Asian Center, The Cultural Center, Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Philippine-Iran Cultural and Scientific Society (PICCS). Sign up today and be part of this event! For inquiries, email

This post originally appeared on the UP Asian Center website. Minor revisions were made.

Save for your next trip

1 in 4 Wi-Fi Hotspots Just Waiting to Be Hacked, Kaspersky Lab Stats Show

After analyzing information on more than 31 million Wi-Fi hotspots around the world, Kaspersky Lab has found that every fourth (28%) is unsecured and poses a risk to users’ personal data. That means all the traffic transmitted over those networks, including personal messages, passwords, documents and much more, can be easily intercepted and used by attackers.

According to Kaspersky Security Network, 25% of the world’s Wi-Fi networks have no encryption or password protection of any kind. In other words, the information they transmit is completely open and can be read by third parties. 

Another 3% of hotspots use Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) to encrypt data. This unreliable protocol can be “cracked” within minutes using tools that are freely available on the Internet.

WiFi security

The rest of the nearly three-quarters of Wi-Fi hotspots use a more reliable form of encryption based on the family of Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) protocols.

The effort required to hack these networks depends on the settings, including the strength of the password. For instance, if it’s a weak or publicly accessible password (e.g., on display in a cafe), a criminal will also be able to decrypt any transmitted traffic.

It’s worth noting that the top 20 countries with the highest percentage of non-encrypted Wi-Fi hotspots includes many popular tourist destinations – Thailand, France, Israel, the US and so on. Travelers are among the most vulnerable because the nearest available Wi-Fi hotspot is often the only way for them to stay connected.

At the same time, another study suggests only 57% of Internet users are concerned about their data being intercepted during a Wi-Fi session.

“We advise all users to remain vigilant when connecting to Wi-Fi. Don’t use hotspots without passwords and don’t use public hotspots to perform high-risk activities such as online banking or shopping, logging on to sites or for transferring confidential information. If that sort of traffic is intercepted by a third party, it could result in serious losses, including financial losses. And of course, we strongly recommend using additional measures to protect traffic, such as Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology,” explains Denis Legezo, Antivirus Expert at Kaspersky Lab.

The flagship solutions Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Total Security now integrate the new Secure Connection feature that encrypts all data sent and received over a communication channel.

Depending on the user settings, Secure Connection can be run automatically when attempting to connect to an unsecured network, or when performing potentially vulnerable operations online.

About Kaspersky Lab

Kaspersky Lab is a global cybersecurity company founded in 1997. Kaspersky Lab’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise is constantly transforming into security solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments, and consumers around the globe. 

The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection and a number of specialized security solutions and services to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky Lab technologies and we help 270,000 corporate clients protect what matters most to them. Learn more at the official website of Kaspersky Lab.

Hairspray Live!

Hairspray Live! Dances Its Way to DIVA Tonight

Get ready for a one-of-a-kind television experience as Hairspray Live! dances its way to DIVA– Same Day as the U.S. on Thursday, 8 December at 9:25 PM.

 Featuring a stellar cast of Hollywood A-listers (Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson), Tony Award winners (Kirstin Chenoweth, Martin Short and Harvey Fierstein) and up-and-coming Disney alumni/millennial favorites (Garrett Clayton and Dove Cameron), the latest stage-to-screen production will see Broadway’s finest creatives team up to breathe new life into the beloved Tony Award-winning musical.

Hairspray Live!

Filmed at the sprawling backlots of Universal Studios Hollywood, Hairspray Live! marks the first time the musical is being adapted for a television audience, culminating with a special duet by stars Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson. The two powerhouse vocalists will take on “Come So Far (Got So Far To Go)”, originally sung by Queen Latifah in the 2007 Hairspray film.

Hairspray Live! stars exciting newcomer Maddie Baillio as the iconic Tracy Turnblad, alongside Dove Cameron (Amber Von Tussle), Kristin Chenoweth (Velma Von Tussle), Garrett Clayton (Link Larkin), Harvey Fierstein (Edna Turnblad), Ariana Grande (Penny Pingleton), Derek Hough (Corny Collins), Jennifer Hudson (Motormouth Maybelle), Martin Short (Wilbur Turnblad), Ephraim Sykes (Seaweed) and Shahadi Wright Joseph (Inez). Additionally, the musical will feature special appearances by Billy Eichner, Sean Hayes, Andrea Martin and Rosie O’Donnell.

Hairspray Live!

Not only was an open casting call held for the lead role of Tracy Turnblad – which was eventually won by accomplished singer and dancer from League City, Texas, Maddie Bailio – residents of Baltimore in the U.S. were also given the opportunity to audition for a dance role filmed in Los Angeles during the live telecast.

In Hairspray Live!, teenager Tracy Turnblad’s dream is to dance on “The Corny Collins Show,” a local TV program. When against all odds Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight and meets a colourful array of characters, including the resident dreamboat, Link (Garrett Clayton); the ambitious mean girl, Amber (Dove Cameron); an African-American boy she meets in detention, Seaweed (Ephraim Sykes); and his mother, Motormouth Maybelle (Jennifer Hudson), the owner of a local record store. Tracy’s mother is the indomitable Edna (Harvey Fierstein), and she eventually encourages Tracy on her campaign to integrate the all-white “Corny Collins Show.”

Hairspray Live!

Acclaimed live television director Alex Rudzinski (“Dancing with the Stars”) will join Tony-winning director Kenny Leon (“The Wiz Live!”). Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Oscar-winning ”Chicago,” ”The Wiz Live!” and the upcoming “A Few Good Men Live!”) serve as executive producers of “Hairspray Live!” Harvey Fierstein will also provide a new teleplay and Tony winner Jerry Mitchell (“Kinky Boots,” “On Your Feet”) will serve as choreographer for the live production with music and lyrics by Tony winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (“Smash,” the upcoming feature ”Mary Poppins Returns” and the Broadway-bound “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”).

Get your dancing shoes ready for Hairspray Live! premiering on 8 December, Thursday at 9:25pm on DIVA– Same Day as the U.S. broadcast!

“Tie a String Around the World” Opens at the Vargas Museum on Dec 9

Tie A String Around the World invitation

Tie a String Around the World
UP Vargas Museum, 1F & 3F Galleries
Opening on December 9, 2016, Friday at 6 p.m.
RSVP:, (+632) 527 2175

The UP Vargas Museum opens Tie A String Around the World on December 9 at 6 in the evening. This homecoming re-stages the Philippines’ official exhibition at the Venice Art Biennale in 2015, 51 years after its first national participation in 1964. It will present the works of Manuel Conde, Carlos “Botong” Francisco, Manny Montelibano, and Jose Tence Ruiz; and a documentation of the collateral initiations of David Medalla in collaboration with Adam Nankervis. Objects that broaden the discourse on worldmaking, such as maps and the lingling-o, as discussed in the Pavilion catalog will also be exhibited.

Nation, Border, and Territory

Tie A String Around the World is a line taken from the Manuel Conde film Genghis Khan in which the eponymous conqueror promises her beloved to conquer the world and lay it at her feet. The exhibition pivots on Conde’s seminal film, which was re-edited and annotated by the American writer-critic James Agee, and screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Venice Film Festival in 1952. Conde collaborated with Carlos Francisco, who co-wrote the script and produced the set designs. Recalling this passage by which Venice first recognized the country through the moving image, the exhibition invites reflection on the changing configurations of the world via the Philippines, and the contentious meanings of nation, border, and territory.

Vargas Museum invitation

Jose Tence Ruiz responds to Genghis Khan by evoking a spectral ship made of metal and wood, and calls it Shoal. The installation references the vessel Sierra Madre, a military garrison, and security detachment deployed by the Philippine government in 1999 that floats on contested waters, and prevails both as “saga and shipwreck.” Manny Montelibano’s multi-channel video titled A Dashed State focuses on the West Philippine Sea, part of the disputed South China Sea. Juxtaposing images of a lush locale and the seemingly slow and ordinary life in the islands with the sound of epics and actual radio frequencies from China, Montelibano’s work probes the history of worldmaking and the history of the sea in the long duration and in relation to the formation of empires, nation-states, and regions.

Visit the Exhibition at the UP Vargas Museum

The exhibition will run until February 18, 2017. Please visit the Vargas Museum website and its official Facebook page. E-mail the museum at or call at (+632) 928-19-27 for more information.

Tie A String Around the World homecoming exhibition is organized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Office of Senator Loren Legarda, in partnership with the UP Vargas Museum.

Freelancer Fair

What I Learned from The Freelancer Fair 2016

On November 19, Saturday, I attended The Freelancer Fair 2016, which was held at The Tent in Acacia Estates, Ususan, Taguig. Organized by Manila Workshops, this event comprised many informative talks and workshops for freelancers and small businesses.

At the main expo hall, participants were welcomed by many booths and stalls from various sponsors. What excited me, however, were the premium talks that I’ve been raring to attend.

Freelancer Fair 2016

Premium Talks

From 10 AM to 5:30 PM, three industry leaders facilitated discussions on three hot topics: digital marketing, content creation, and design thinking.

Rey Baguio at the Freelancer Fair

Marketing Track

For the Marketing Track, Rey Baguio of Zarangola Media discussed how to prepare digital marketing plans and what the field looks like at present.

My key takeaway from this talk is that digital marketing is no longer optional. Any SMB or freelancer worth their salt should have an idea on how to use digital marketing for the benefit of their enterprises. As Mr. Baguio said, digital marketing is a beast that should be tamed.

Ana Santos

Content Track

Next, Ana Santos of Writer’s Block Philippines talked about how to create effective content that will sell and get the message across. In addition, she emphasized the importance of thinking as a creative entrepreneur rather than a freelancer.

Personally, I found Ms. Santos’ talk to be inspiring and relevant. Aside from giving us tips on how to improve our writing, she shared interesting stories and anecdotes on how she transitioned from having a lucrative career in banking to becoming an independent journalist. 

In addition, Ms. Santos emphasized the importance of establishing one’s “digital reputation” and how to maintain one’s credibility. She also reminded the group that we should market ourselves and hone our skill in writing. 

Philip Smithson

Design Track

Finally, Philip Smithson, Director of On-Off Design & Technology, covered the basics of user experience and design thinking in a productive mini-workshop.

Talks at the Freelancer Fair Expo Area

At the expo area, other talks were held simultaneously for the rest of the participants. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend any of the talks, as I spent the day in Casa Real for the premium event. 

Here is a list of all the talks presented by thought leaders and influencers:

  • Building Alliances: Freelancing in the Philippines with Evan Tan, Freelancing Advocate
  • Keynote Speaker: Government’s Role in Building Alliances with Freelancers with Monchito Ibrahim of DICT
  • 7 Steps to a Successful Freelance Business with Marvin De Leon of Freelance Blend
  • How to Stand Out: Branding 101 with Fitz Villafuerte of
  • Art of Pricing with Francis Guintu
  • How to Get International Clients with CJ Maturino of Online Filipino Freelancers
  • Government Benefits for Freelancers with Dandy Victa of Manila Service Review
  • 7 Tools that Multiply your Freelance Earnings with Genesis Reonico of
  • Business Correspondences and Maintaining Key Relationships, a panel discussion with Charlie Aquino of Sophie Creatives and Pau Lagura of RIS Philippines

Sponsors and Partners

The Freelancer Fair was presented in partnership with some of the biggest names in the freelancing industry:

  • The Department of Information and Communications Technology
  • Manila Workshops
  • Freelance Blend
  • Zarangola Media
  • Online Filipino Freelancers
  • The Virtual Nomad Podcast
  • Bloggers ng Pinas
  • Work-in-Freedom
  • Graphic Artists Philippines

To learn more about Manila Workshops, the organization behind this event, connect with them on Facebook and Twitter

For more information on the Freelancer Fair and any upcoming workshops, visit Manila Workshops’ official website.

Not an April Fool’s joke: fire hits UP’s Faculty Center

This morning, the University of the Philippines’ Faculty Center was gutted by a ravenous fire. According to news sites, the fire began around 1:15 AM and was completely put out by 11:25 AM. Investigators said that the fire was caused by the faulty electrical wiring on the third floor.

Designed by Carlos Arguelles, the Faculty Center houses the offices of most of the departments from the College of Arts and Letters (CAL) and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP).

UPD Chancellor Michael Tan said that no one was hurt in the fire. He must have missed the sound of thousands of hearts breaking at the loss of such a gem. Thousands of articles, drafts, paintings, antique furniture, and out-of-print books are stored in the offices of the professors, and I don’t want to know how much that would cost.

Sic transit gloria mundi

When I shared a photo of the raging fire with my officemates (who are mostly from CAL), some of them cried. I didn’t, because I couldn’t imagine how such a tragedy could fall upon my beloved university. I still can’t wrap my head around what happened.

Faculty Center UP
View from the jeep stop

After all, this was the building where I first read about Marx and Socrates. This was where I discovered literature and languages, history and sociology. I remember the smell of the moldy walls, and the soft light of the setting sun filtered by the grimy windows as I waited for my turn at the photocopying machine. I remember the first forum I attended there, the first time I visited our department’s office, and the crushing dread I felt at the end of every semester as I checked whether I failed a subject or not.

I’m rambling. I’m still upset. But as Sir Jun Cruz Reyes said on his Facebook page,

Jun Cruz Reyes

If you have any idea how we can help the current students or our faculty, please leave a comment.

UPDATE: Reach out to the administrators of the following Facebook pages to donate old books and readings:

DAS Book Drive
Rebuild the UP Diliman Faculty Center
Sagip Readings

The new e-passport: what you need to know

Last week, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced that a more secure electronic passport will be available in April 2016. Nothing makes my heart beat faster than good design, so I am very excited about this new and improved document.

Before you chuck your passport out the window to get a new one (don’t do that), read on to learn more about the updated version that will be rolled out by the government soon.

What It Looks Like

We all know that the current passport is drab and unassuming. The new design, however, contains illustrations that speak to the country’s history and biodiversity. These include Bicol’s Mayon Volcano, Metro Manila’s skyline, and Ifugao’s world-famous rice terraces, among others. It also contains words from the National Anthem and the preamble of the 1987 Constitution.

Philippine passport 2016
Photo credit: ABS-CBN Online News
Philippine passport 2016
Photo credit: ABS-CBN Online News

Improved Security Features

Aside from being pretty, the unique illustrations on the visa pages are actually an added security feature: these images are created using a process called intaglio printing, making it almost impossible to replicate. This is also the process used in printing banknotes.

In addition to these illustrations, the new e-passport will feature see-through holograms (or images visible at a certain angle), a microchip containing important details about the traveler’s identity, printed information visible only under UV light, watermark, and pages perforated with a unique document number (much like the old one).

Watch TFC’s interview with Ambassador Libran Cabactulan on the new e-passport’s features:

How to Get the New Passport

If your passport will expire anytime soon (like me), you’re in luck. By April, we’ll have the upgraded version of the Philippine passport. But if you just renewed yours, you’ll have to wait for five more years until it expires before you can get the new one.

For more information on how to obtain a Philippine passport, log on to the DFA’s web page for passport applications.

(UPDATE: It seems like the launch of the new passport was delayed. According to Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, the printing of new passports starts on August 16.)