Friday, March 17, 2006

Silicon Valley legend inspires entrepreneurs

This Silicon Valley millionaire has shown how Pinoy ingenuity is part of the engine that drives swift advances in information technology.

Entrepreneurs and educators got a rare, close-up glimpse of engineer and venture capitalist Diosdado Banatao, who is in the Philippines on a brief visit from Palo Alto, California, where he runs the $300-million Tallwood VC fund that invests in technology startup firms.

Banatao was known as one of the pioneers of the worldwide technology boom that began in the 1980s and has yet to stop.

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The Philippine Star 03/18/2006


Diosdado Banatao (born May 23, 1946), popularly known by his nickname Dado, is a well-known serial entrepreneur as well as a recognized engineer working in the high-tech industry. A three-time start-up veteran, he co-founded Mostron (PC Motherboards), Chips and Technologies (PC Chip Sets, eventually acquired by Intel), and S3 Graphics (originally 2D graphics chips, renamed to SonicBLUE). It is Silicon Valley folklore that he choose the company name S3 to mean "Start-up number 3".

He is currently a managing partner of Tallwood Venture Capital. Prior to Tallwood he was a venture partner with the Mayfield Fund. He has served on the board of directors and as chairman of several emerging companies, including Marvell Technology Group (MRVL), NewPort Communications (acquired by BRCM), and Cyras Systems (acquired by CIEN).

Dado holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Mapua Institute of Technology in the Philippines and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Stanford University.

Bio from / Photo from

The difference is Manny's heart

More than the power, the conditioning and the skills, the size of his heart is what makes Manny Pacquiao the champion that he is.

No fighter has more guts, courage and determination than the 5'6", 27-year-old southpaw from General Santos City. His spirit is what propels him to victory against all odds.

Pacquiao's life has been a constant struggle. From humble beginnings, he battled his way to the top. He never blinked in the face of adversity. He never backed down from any challenge.

Today, Pacquiao is known as the "People's Champion." He is a legend in his own time. There is no feistier fighter in the lighter weight divisions and no more exciting dervish in the ring.

In his home country, he is a hero - a man who has given national pride a new meaning through his exploits as a fighter. Abroad, he is a phenomenon from a Third World country, someone who has captured the imagination of boxing fans regardless of ethnic origins with his irrepressible will to win, his charm and his derring-do.

"When I fight I know I'm fighting not just for myself and my family but for all Filipinos. There is a lot of pressure on me to win. But it's a reality I have to face. I will always give my best because I'm fighting for my country," he said.

Pacquiao was born in Kibawe, a small Bukidnon town, the second of four children. His mother Dionisia of Tampakan, South Cotabato, had two children, Lisa and Domingo, from a previous relationship. His father Rosalio is from Pinamungajan, Cebu.

Pacquiao grew up in a vegetable farm in the mountains overlooking General Santos City with sister Sidra and two younger brothers Bobby and Rogelio. He finished up to Grade 6 at the Labangal Elementary School, then made a living as a bakery boy while fighting on the side when his father left home, never to return. Pacquiao fended for himself and became preoccupied doing what he did best - taking on all comers in fistfights.

Boxing was Pacquiao's ticket out of poverty, as it was for townmate Rolando Navarrete, who once reigned as the world junior lightweight titleholder. He racked up a 60-4 record as an amateur and caught the eye of local promoters Rey Golingan and Fabian Javier. Golingan said Pacquiao was not extraordinarily skilled as an amateur but showed a lot of spunk. He was called Kid Kulafu by fans.

In 1994, a call was made by Malabon businessman Polding Correa to General Santos City "talent scout" Yolanda Pareon, whose two sons were fighters. Correa asked Parcon to send to Manila a bunch of young and promising fighters and promised to make champions out of those with potential.

So in a slow boat to Manila rode Pacquiao and nine other aspiring, wide-eyed fighters with visions of fame and fortune in the big city.

Pacquiao landed in Port Area with not even a centavo in his pockets.

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By Joaquin M. Henson
People Asia Magazine 03/16/2006

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

MiG AyEsA : INXS true ("Filipino") WinNER

MiG Ayesa: A winner in his own right

"Was I disappointed? No. On the contrary, I was relieved."

MiG Ayesa was smiling widely – no, sir, there wasn’t any trace of bitterness in his face at all – when he said that, in answer to Funfare’s question on how he felt after he placed only third to Canadian JD Fortune in Rock Star: INXS, the recently-concluded three-month search (aired locally on Star World TV) for the lead singer of the famous Australian rock group to replace Michael Hutchence who died in l997.

"You know what," he continued, "I knew that winning that gig would really be great. But at the same time I realized that the competition was so fierce...All I wanted to do was hang in there till the end and be in the Final Three. Before the show started, I thought that just to be among the Top Five would be great. I never thought that I’d get into the finals. It was an extremely stressful competition so I felt relieved when it was over. I don’t think I’ll ever join a similar contest again."

MiG arrived early Monday morning on a PAL flight from Los Angeles and is going back Friday night. He came for the Ad Congress now going on in Cebu City and he’ll be back end of the month to participate in this year’s MTV Staying Alive Music Summit for AIDS/AIDS slated for Dec. 1, coinciding with World AIDS Day, at The Fort Open Field, Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, Metro Manila.

Miguel Alfonso Ramon Legarda Ayesa was born on Jan. 12, l970 in the Philippines. Among his relatives is topnotch lawyer Katrina Legarda, MiG’s cousin. The Ayesas migrated to Australia when MiG was two years old.

Funfare sat with MiG at the MTV Studio at The Fort the other day after he shot a plug for the Music Summit. (Thanks to MTV exec Rod Nepomuceno for arranging the interview.)

Here are excerpts from the 20-minute one-on-one (which will also be seen on GMA 7’s Showbiz Stripped next Saturday, Nov. 26, starting at 11:30 after Hokus Pokus):

Why do you spell your nickname with a big M and a big G, with a small "i" in-between?

"Well, all my friends call me Mig, so I decided to just adopt that nickname instead of Miguel. However, using a small ‘g’ looks incomplete, so I decided to make it a big G. Also, I happen to be a plane buff and I just loved those MiG Soviet fighters. MiG stands for Mikoym Gurovich."

When was the last time you were here?

"Honestly, I spend a lot of time in the Philippines. Every Christmas, my grandfather would fly me over here to spend time with my cousins. I’ve been coming and going all my life. Most of my Christmases have been spent in Manila and Baguio."

You left the Philippines at an early age.

"I left when I was two years old; I grew up in Sydney. But I’ve been living in London for three years now, with my wife, Simone de la Rue (whom he married in 2002; they are childless). For the past four months, I’ve been working in L.A. – yes, on the Rock Star: INXS contest. And now, I’m in the Philippines. I don’t know anymore what country I am in."

So you’re in touch with your relatives, one of them lawyer Katrina Legarda, probably the best and the most well-known lady lawyer in the country today.

"She’s Superwoman! I’m very proud of my cousin Katrina."

So when was the last time you were in the Philippines?

"In January 2001. I haven’t been back since then."

Tell us more about Rock Star : INXS.

"I auditioned for Rock Star: INXS early this year. There were seven auditions all in all. There were auditions around the world – London, Manchester and Liverpool in England; all over the USA (New York, L.A., Chicago and Seattle); Australia; New Zealand; and even in Dubai."

Have you always been an INXS fan?

"Yeah, always been. Growing up in Sydney, I became attached to the INXS. I consider INXS music as the soundtrack of my youth. The first kiss I had with a girl was in a high school dance and the song that was playing was INXS’ I Send a Message. So I remember that song vividly."

Was that kiss torrid or tender?

"Oh, that was the most tender kiss you’ve ever seen. It did last for three hours, though."

Three hours!?! That should have made it to the Guinness Book of Records!

"Yeah, three hours. It was a very long kiss."

Were you chewing gum at that time so your lips must have, you know, stuck to each other?

"No, there was no room for chewing gum at that time."

Did you know that your Filipino fans were texting their votes for you on Rock Star: INXS?

"Oh yes, I appreciate that. I knew I had a lot of support from the Philippines and Australia. The producer of the show gave that information to me. He said, ‘I can’t tell you the exact figure but I can assure you that the Philippines loves you!’ That’s also one of the reasons why I came here – to show my face and to tell the Philippines that I’m proud to be a Filipino and to thank everybody for the support. It was overwhelming! It’s great to come home to the Philippines. I feel like a long-lost son being welcomed with open arms."

What do you remember most about the Philippines from your frequent visits?

"Oh, gosh! The food! But I do remember spending time with my cousins and Christmas shopping at Rustan’s and ShoeMart (SM). Spending time in Baguio, having fireworks on New Year’s Eve. I love the fresh smell of pine in Baguio. I spent a wonderful, wonderful childhood here."

Could you tell us more about your participation in the MTV Staying Alive Music Summit?

"The HIV/AIDS campaign is very dear to my heart. I knew several friends who died because of AIDS. I’ve been involved in shows that deal with it (AIDS). I was in a show called Brent which was staged in London’s West End."

Was Brent your first theater performance?

"No, it wasn’t. My first time on the West End was when I was 21. It was on a show called The Buddy Holly Story where I played Richie Valens (Played by Fil-Am actor Lou Diamond Philips. – RFL). I did it in Australia, produced by a London producer."

How many plays have you done so far?

"Three. The other play was called We Will Rock You where I played the lead role. I did that for two years. I left it to compete in Rock Star: INXS."

How long did the judging take place?

"Three months! It was like being in a job interview for three months. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, everything you said and everything you did and everything you wore and every thought you had was being judged. There were cameras everywhere, so you couldn’t relax. The only time you could relax was when you were in the toilet. It was stressful! We were judged not only during our performance onstage but how we conducted ourselves offstage. For three months, I averaged three to four hours of sleep every night. It was tough! It was harder than I had imagined. So I felt relieved when it was all over. I just wanted to return to my normal life again."

Of course, you didn’t end up empty-handed.

"Well, I got myself a recording deal with Universal Records in the US and we are busy with pre-production now."

Aren’t you doing any recording or a concert in the Philippines (aside from your MTV Staying Alive Music Summit appearance)?

"I plan to."

Aren’t you doing any Filipino song in your debut album?

"We’re still looking for songs for the album. Do you know any classic Filipino rock song?"

Are you familiar with any Filipino artist?

"I’m a big fan of Gary Valenciano and Martin Nievera. My cousin, Manuel Legarda, is a member of Wolfgang. In the future, maybe I can do a collaboration with Filipino artists."

Come to think of it, where do you think you went wrong in the Rock Star: INXS competition? Are you too wholesome to be a rock star?

"Possibly. That’s what they thought. But I tell you one thing: You think that rock is all about music; it should be all about music. Sometimes, people get confused when you get to live your life as a rocker. But I live the rock drama onstage; I don’t take it home with me. I’m actually very happy that I have a very stable life. I have a wife (who’s also into music and dance; born in England and grew up in Melbourne) that I’m in love with and we have a puppy. I think where I went wrong in Rock Star: INXS was the first time we had a chance to do an original song I did one called Do or Die. It was a heavy rock song, almost like a metal song. INXS said ‘It’s too heavy for us; we don’t think we can put it into our repertoire.’ The next time, I did a ballad, something light, called Home in Me which was very special to me. But I don’t think it was a very good choice."

Okay, how much of you is Filipino and how much is Australian?

"Biologically, I’m 100 percent Filipino. I’m a bit wholesome and that’s very Filipino, isn’t it? But, you know, I’m very proud to be an Australian as well. I love Sydney and once we have kids, I plan to move back to Sydney. We might have one in a couple of years, or sooner than that. I consider myself Filipino and Australian but I’m also a member of the Global Village."

FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo
The Philippine Star 11/17/2005

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Cheryl Burke and Dancing with the StArs

Cheryl, daughter of Manila-born (and raised in San Jose, Nueva Ecija) Sherri Bautista Burke, and Drew are duking it out in dance numbers against wrestler Stacy Keibler and partner Tony Dovolani, and NFL great Jerry Rice and partner Anna Trebunskaya Thursday evening (today at noon in Manila).

“A huge thank you from the heart to my fellow Filipinos,” Cheryl told us in an e-mail interview. Filipinos, especially those in the US, have been avidly voting for her and Drew via phone and online polls and are expected to rally for the dancing couple. Thursday is the last chance for viewers to vote. “Yes, Drew is very much aware of the Filipinos’ support and is very grateful. His band, 98 Degrees, has performed in the Philippines and he has some good memories of the Philippines and Filipinos.”

The winning pair will be announced in a special finale show on Sunday evening.

Cheryl said two Pinays inspired her to dance: “My mother, Sherri Bautista-Burke, dances and competes in ballroom dancing, amateur level, with my stepdad Dr. Bob Wolf. Regretfully, I didn’t get to meet my grandmother, Rosario Bautista, who passed away even before I was born. She was a high school Physical Education teacher in the 1950s and ’60s who brought beauty, grace and passion through dancing and inspired high school students in San Jose, Nueva Ecija. I believe I inherited her love for dancing.”

source: PDI 02.23.06

Pinoy's coconet tops BBC World Challenge

LEGAZPI CITY, Albay -- Agricultural engineer Justino Arboleda of the Philippines won the first prize in the First World Challenge contest sponsored by BBC World television in London on Nov. 17 for his soil erosion control net or coconet.

Coconet, made from waste coconut husk, was adjudged the best environmental grassroots project in the world. It was among 456 entries from 90 countries.

Malta, which introduced a biodiesel product, took the second prize, while Vanuatu was in third place for its rechargeable battery.

From 12 finalists, the field was cut down to three.

Fifty percent of one's score was given by the judges and the other 50 percent by votes cast on the Internet, according to Arboleda's wife Julie. She, however, could not give the exact number of the Internet votes her husband received.

Arboleda, who is still in London, told the Inquirer in a text message that he received the award at 7 p.m. (London time) on Nov. 17, [2 a.m. on Nov. 18 in the Philippines). He also received a cash prize of $20,000.

The winners will be featured by the BBC in a special program on Dec. 3 and 4 and by Newsweek magazine in its Dec. 3 issue, according to the agricultural engineer.

Arboleda said winning the first prize was a great honor for the country.

"With the world recognition, it would be very easy for us to promote our cocofiber products throughout the world," he said.

He expressed confidence that increased demand for coconet would help alleviate poverty in the country because more jobs would be created. He said demand for coconut materials would also benefit thousands of poor Filipino coconut farmers.

Coconet is manufactured by Juboken Enterprise, which Arboleda owns.

His coconut husk business was featured by the Inquirer in January. It has provided jobs for at least 1,650 families in the Bicol region and other parts of the country.

About 800 families have benefited from the venture in Albay province, 400 in Mindanao, 150 in Aklan and 300 in Southern Leyte.

Arboleda has also developed other uses for the different waste products generated by his coconut farm. These include doormats, stuffing for car seats and mattresses, and fertilizer (made from coconut dust).

source: PDI 11.21.05

Pinoy finds new red spot on Jupiter

A Cebuano amateur astronomer and astrophotographer gained recognition from the local and international astronomy communities, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States, for his recent discovery of a new red spot on planet Jupiter.

Christopher Go, a member of the Astronomical League of the Philippines (ALP) living in Mandaue City, found the spot on the planet using an 11-inch telescope and a CCD camera on Feb. 28 at 3:37 Philippine Standard Time (Feb. 27 at 19:37 Universal Time).

Go’s discovery, as captured in his photographs, was featured on various astronomy websites, such as (on March 6), NASA’s website, Sky and Telescope (March 6 news) and, among others.

Philippine Star 03/12/2006 | NASA 03/07/2006