Saturday, January 14, 2017

My Day at the Maybank Arts Center Festival

When I was invited by the PR Mr. Toots Tolentino for the BGC Arts Center Festival, I never realized that there is a venue that will staged productions in the business district of Taguig. I am about to learn more than and not just from watching theatrical productions of this event. After having a delicious light lunch at McCafe which is the only business establishment in the building premises, I began touring the facilities.

Maybank Performing Arts Center and Alveo Central Plaza

Maybank Performing Arts Center is a venue that can cater all seven art forms. The purpose of the Arts Center is to promote the Filipino performance arts accessible to the public make a contribution to the community just like The Mind Museum which was made possible by Bonifacio Foundation.
Kinetic Sculpture

The Maybank Arts Center has multi-purpose areas that can adjust the arrangement of the facilities. Maybank is the primary donor which is why it was named after. It is very flexible in stage design and can adjust the seating capacity depending on the production. This is a good thing because it can make the stage and theater experience more engaging and memorable.
Sun Life Amphitheater

Just looking at the building, you can already see that it is a work of art with its non-traditional structure. The Alveo Central Plaza is park in front of the building is also a work of art. There is a kinetic sculpture that simply describes all forms of art. The Sun Life Amphitheater is also located in the park can also be good for outdoor performances. There is also an Art Market in the park area.
Globe Auditorium

Inside the building, I was ushered to the Globe Auditorium. It is also a multipurpose area. It can adjust the stage for the specifications of the production and the seats can also be adjusted. It has the maximum capacity of 500 and has three levels. This is the biggest theatrical facility the Maybank Arts Center has to offer.
Happiness Is A Pearl cast(seated) with director, composer and author.

Since there is no show scheduled yet in the Globe Auditorium, I was led to the Zobel de Ayala Recital Hall. It is a smaller venue with no traditional stage and the audience is sitting on individual chairs that can be arranged accordingly. It is good for experimental theater productions. Speaking of experimental theater, I was able to watch Happiness Is A Pearl by Rody Vera again in this venue. I watched it first in The Little Room Upstairs which is a cramped venue but it was also intimate. I enjoyed watching it again in a bigger area since some of the play has sequences with a tango.

May Arts Center is truly a good venue to watch performances and stage productions and I believe with its advocacy that it should be not be limited to the class A audience but to all walks of life that can appreciate it. This will help championing the Filipino arts scene.

For more updates in Maybank Arts Center and more stage productions, follow this blog and like L.E.N.S. blogs on Facebook.

Monday, January 9, 2017


Press release

Firing off a passionate start for 2017, the BGC Arts Center will celebrate its identity as the home of the Filipino artist. 

True to its word, it will launch a 2-day Arts Festival on January 14-15, hosting performances and events that will illuminate  the many layers that modern Filipino artists are animating to give voice to the range of the human condition.

The BGC Arts Center is the centerpiece of BGC’s Cultural District. A project of the non-profit, Bonifacio Art Foundation, Inc., it is the first and only stand-alone theater established through private donations. 

It is dedicated to providing a cultural and educational experience that will inspire the public to explore their creative side and embrace Filipino artistry. 

A collaboration by award-winning architects and designers, the BGC Arts Center is composed of the Maybank Performing Arts Theater, the Alveo Central Plaza, and the Sun Life Amphitheater.

The BGC Arts Center Festival is aligned with how the Bonifacio Art Foundation, Inc. (BAFI) recognizes the integral role of culture, 
the appreciation of art and its meaning, in a city’s identity. 

Aiming to keep art alive and accessible through various cultural activities,  BAFI endeavours to make art a way of life that everyone can share together.

Making BAFI’s mandate come alive is the range, from totally original Filipino creations to brilliant local adaptations of works  with universal themes, that the BGC Arts Center Festival is offering.

As such, the festival will have children’s plays from Artist Playground and Kids Acts Philippines,  several dance performances by STEPS, staged readings of selected scenes by The Egg Theatre Co.,  a performance of an original play by Artist Playground,  a supremely engaging performance by a pioneer Filipino Improv group,  SPIT Manila, an acclaimed local production from Twin Bill Theater,  an award-winning original Filipino musical from Philippine Stagers,  and opera pieces from MusicArtes, Inc.

Completing the Arts Festival are art talks, outdoor events such as BGC Art Mart  that regularly feature the work of local artisans and other surprise offerings at the Sun Life amphitheater.

Check out the BGC Arts Center Festival event page on Facebook for the schedules and details of the performances.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Microsoft holds “Hour of Code” for Gawad Kalinga students

Press release

Microsoft believes that all young people should have the opportunity to learn new skills that will prepare them for the future workplace and an ever-transforming world.

Microsoft invited 30 students from Gawad Kalinga to the Microsoft Philippines office to participate in the Hour of Code, a global movement to encourage more youth to develop an interest in coding. The children were introduced to basic coding through Minecraft Designer, a free online tutorial on that teaches users to use computer science commands to bring the Minecraft world to life. The tutorial is set of 12 puzzles that includes creating their own game which can be shared with their friends or played on their phones.

For this year’s Hour of Code, Microsoft Philippines and Gawad Kalinga engaged with 6,000 youth and trained 250 teachers from La Union, Nueva Ecija, Iloilo, Davao, and Compostela Valley.

To try the new tutorial:
To learn more about how Microsoft Philanthropies is helping to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, please visit For more information about using “Minecraft: Education Edition visit

Friday, December 23, 2016

Who Do I Want To Thank This Christmas Season?

Who do I want to thank for this Christmas? My blogger friend JR. Exactly a year ago, she was offered a job but it was in Quezon City and it’s too far for her. She passed the offer to me and I applied and started the next month. It was a good opportunity since it was content writing for an advertising agency

What I didn’t realize that I was going to write for a client who happens to be a presidential candidate during the last election. After the elections, my next project was for a dashboard camera brand. This opportunity doesn’t happen every day but I should be thankful that I have a job and I hope it will prosper next year because I also met new contacts.

I already thank JR for this but it is also something good to blog because this is my big highlight for 2016 and I owe it to her. Thank you, JR. I was compelled to blog about this when I saw the advertising campaign of AirAsia.  Check out this video and you might also do the same.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Sophos Predicts Cyber Security Trends for 2017

Press release

Philippines - 2016 saw a huge number and variety of cyber attacks, ranging from a high-profile DDoS using hijacked Internet-facing security cameras to the alleged hacking of party officials during the US election. The year also saw a rising tide of data breaches, from organizations big and small, and significant losses of people’s personal information.

With the year almost over, Joergen Jakobsen, regional vice president for Asia-Pacific and Japan (APJ) at Sophos, looks into his crystal ball to predict the top cyber security trends for 2017:

Destructive DDoS IOT attacks will rise. In 2016, Mirai showed the massive destructive potential of DDoS attacks as a result of insecure consumer IoT (Internet of Things) devices. Mirai's attacks exploited only a small number of devices and vulnerabilities and used basic password guessing techniques. However, cybercriminals will find it easy to extend their reach because there are several IoT devices containing outdated code based on poorly-maintained operating systems and applications with well-known vulnerabilities. Expect IoT exploits, better password guessing and more compromised IoT devices being used for DDoS or perhaps to target other devices in your network.

Shift from exploitation to targeted social attacks. Cybercriminals are getting better at exploiting the ultimate vulnerability - humans. Ever more sophisticated and convincing targeted attacks seek to coax users into compromising themselves. For example, it’s common to see an email that addresses the recipient by name and claims they have an outstanding debt the sender has been authorized to collect. Shock, awe or borrowing authority by pretending to be law enforcement are common and effective tactics. The email directs them to a malicious link that users are panicked into clicking on, opening them up to attack. Such phishing attacks can no longer be recognized by obvious mistakes.

Financial infrastructure at greater risk of attack. The use of targeted phishing and "whaling" continues to grow. These attacks use detailed information about company executives to trick employees into paying fraudsters or compromising accounts. We also expect more attacks on critical financial infrastructure, such as the attack involving SWIFT-connected institutions which cost the Bangladesh Central Bank $81 million in February. SWIFT recently admitted that there have been other such attacks and it expects to see more, stating in a leaked letter to client banks: "The threat is very persistent, adaptive and sophisticated – and it is here to stay".

Exploitation of the Internet’s inherently insecure infrastructure. All Internet users rely on ancient foundational protocols, and their ubiquity makes them nearly impossible to revamp or replace. These archaic protocols that have long been the backbone of the Internet and business networks are sometimes surprisingly flaky. For example, attacks against BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) could potentially disrupt, hijack, or disable much of the Internet. And the DDoS attack on Dyn in October (launched by a myriad of IoT devices), took down the DNS provider and, along with it, access to part of the internet. It was one of the largest assaults seen and those claiming responsibility said that it was just a dry run. Large-scale ISPs and enterprises can take some steps to respond, but these may well fail to prevent serious damage if individuals or states choose to exploit the Internet's deepest security flaws.

Increased attack complexity. Attacks increasingly bring together multiple technical and social elements, and reflect careful, lengthy probing of the victim organization's network. Attackers compromise multiple servers and workstations long before they start to steal data or act aggressively. Closely managed by experts, these attacks are strategic, not tactical, and can cause far more damage. This is a very different world to the pre-programmed and automated malware payloads we used to see – patient and evading detection. 

More attacks using built-in admin languages and tools. We see more exploits based on PowerShell, Microsoft's language for automating administrative tasks. As a scripting language, PowerShell evades countermeasures focused on executables. We also see more attacks using penetration testing and other administrative tools that may already exist on the network, need not be infiltrated, and may not be suspected. These powerful tools require equally strong controls.

Ransomware evolves. As more users recognize the risks of ransomware attack via email, criminals are exploring other vectors. Some are experimenting with malware that reinfects later, long after a ransom is paid, and some are starting to use built-in tools and no executable malware at all to avoid detection by endpoint protection code that focuses on executable files. Recent examples have offered to decrypt files after the victim shared the ransomware with two friends, and those friends paid to decrypt their files. Ransomware authors are also starting to use techniques other than encryption, for example deleting or corrupting file headers. And finally, with "old" ransomware still floating around the web, users may fall victim to attacks that can't be "cured" because payment locations no longer work.

Emergence of personal IoT attacks. Users of home IoT devices may not notice or even care if their baby monitors are hijacked to attack someone else's website. But once attackers "own" a device on a home network, they can compromise other devices, such as laptops containing important personal data. We expect to see more of this as well as more attacks that use cameras and microphones to spy on households. Cyber criminals always find a way to profit.

Growth of malvertising and corruption of online advertising ecosystems. Malvertising, which spreads malware through online ad networks and web pages, has been around for years. But in 2016, we saw much more of it. These attacks highlight larger problems throughout the advertising ecosystem, such as click fraud, which generates paying clicks that don't correspond to real customer interest. Malvertising has actually generated click fraud, compromising users and stealing from advertisers at the same time.  

The downside of encryption. As encryption becomes ubiquitous, it has become much harder for security products to inspect traffic, making it easier for criminals to sneak through undetected. Unsurprisingly, cybercriminals are using encryption in creative new ways. Security products will need to tightly integrate network and client capabilities, to rapidly recognize security events after code is decrypted on the endpoint.

Rising focus on exploits against virtualized and cloud systems. Attacks against physical hardware (e.g. Rowhammer) raise the possibility of dangerous new exploits against virtualized cloud systems. Attackers might abuse the host or other guests running on a shared host, attack privilege models, and conceivably access others' data. And, as Docker and the entire container (or ‘serverless’) eco-system become more popular, attackers will increasingly seek to discover and exploit vulnerabilities in this relatively new trend in computing. We expect active attempts to operationalize such attacks.

Technical attacks against states and societies. Technology-based attacks have become increasingly political. Societies face growing risks from both disinformation (e.g., "fake news") and voting system compromise. For instance, researchers have demonstrated attacks that might allow a local voter to fraudulently vote repeatedly without detection. Even if states never engage in attacks against their adversaries' elections, the perception that these attacks are possible is itself a powerful weapon.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Young entrepreneurs hold green bazaar in Estancia at Capitol Commons

Press release

In this season of giving, students from Multiple Intelligence International School (MIIS) held a #4GreenPH KIDS CAN! Bazaar in Estancia at Capitol Commons to showcase their business ideas that advocate for a greener, more sustainable future.

The only “for kids, by kids” bazaar in the country is now on its 16th year, featuring products that promote Green Forests, Green Living, Green Christmas, and a Green Philippines. Children as young as 6 years old to 18 years old participated in the bazaar, which allowed them to create and share innovative solutions with an entrepreneurial mindset.
The four sections of the bazaar called Green Forests, Green Living, Green Christmas, and Green Philippines, featured around 80 products which ranged from locally-made organic produce by Filipino farmers; condiments and sauces for those with discerning palates; bath and body products to promote wellness; merchandise such as notebooks, bags, pouches, magnets, and tumblers with artwork designed by students; upcycled products from denim bags, recycled plastic, tarpaulin products, and storage boxes; and beautifully hand-crafted Murano beaded embellishments.
Brands such as Likha also promoted the weave of indigenous tribes through multi-foldable bags. Hiraya sold neck pillows that educated young children about endangered species, while Sewers of Sustainability (SOS) had anti-mosquito shirts.
“Honing the entrepreneurial mind among children and teenagers is an important link in the chain of national development. And we are glad to have Estancia and Ortigas Malls as partners in promoting this advocacy to the Filipino youth and their families,” says Joy Abaquin, Founding Directress of MIIS.
Ortigas Malls, for its part, also continues to help entrepreneurs flourish by enabling retail formats that highlight unique, specialty products.