Friday, February 29, 2008

Church Fees for Weddings Are Just Too Much.

I sometimes pretend that I am Steven Spielberg and do video coverages for my friends’ weddings. (Channeling Quentin Tarantino wouldn't be a good idea.) Now, if its one thing I notice is that these churches sure charge a hefty fee for the event. Imagine having to pay something like Php 15,000-35,000 (i.e. USD $400-900) for the event just for the church expense alone (at least here in Metro Manila).

Let’s do the math. There is at least one wedding for weekdays. On weekends, there would be about three for each Saturday and Sunday. That means that churches here in Metro Manila could be making as Php 200,000 per month (about USD $5K) or Php 2.4M a year (about USD $60K).

Hot diggity man, I'm in the wrong business.

All I can say is that I thought matrimony was a sacrament like baptism, communion, confirmation and confession. By logic, since I have to pay for weddings, does this mean that I have to pay for my baby to be baptized into Catholicism, for each time I receive communion and for each time I confess to a priest how many times I cursed in the past month?

I guess what I am appalled at is the prices that these churches are charging for weddings. I could probably take paying at most up to Php 4,000 to cover for the paper work, labor, electricity and the re-used flowers that the church incurs for my red carpet two-hour life event. I don’t see the justification in charging above Php 15,000 and all the more Php 35,000.

This is just too much to pay for a sacrament.

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Guiness 9-Ball Asian Tour 2008

Today's the start of the Guiness 9-ball Asian Tour 2008. See various nationalities play the "alternative golf". Watch as players apply analytical geometry and skillfully putt a ball-with-chickenpox into fruit-colored round objects until they sink into a hole.

Show your support for our Filipino players by watching (and cheering in spirit). First leg is at Chinese Taipei from Feb.29 to March 2. Last year's first prize per leg was USD 15,000. (Now, that's a lot of dough to make in just three days of competition.)


3rd UPDATE: Joven Bustamante of the Philippines made it to the finals. He fought back from trailing Ko Pin Yi of Taipei to win 9-7. He will face Chang Jing Lun of Taipei for the title of the 1st leg.


Final UPDATE: Chang Jing Lun won the first leg of the Guiness Asian 9-Ball Tour. He won with a score of 11-5 over Joven Bustamante of the Philippines. We still have 5 legs to go. I hope a Pinoy wins one of the legs this year.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Amazing Race Asia and Philippines Tourism

I enjoyed watching the second season of Amazing Race Asia. It was because of this show that I now know how beautiful Prague looks and it is now definitely on my future must-travel list. This weekly show turned into my Discovery Travel channel which I unfortunately do not get on SkyCable.

What I am disappointed about is why of all the things or places to show in the Philippines they had to show the contestants eating Balut, riding jeepneys, putting together bicycles and sticking their legs in muddy rice paddies. This was our chance at promoting tourism in our country at a show that definitely has a regional if not a global following.

If they wanted to just stay within Metro Manila or Luzon, they could have used Corregidor instead. It could be something like “Corregidor was the last bastion of freedom …” where at least there was world history significance. If they wanted to show a “sport” (i.e. putting bicycles together), they could have used billiards being that we hosted the World Pool Championship the past two years in addition to it being one of the unwritten national sports. Our Filipino players are among the best in the world.

As I said in an earlier post, Balut eating should only be shown on Fear Factor and jeepneys are not vehicles you would want to be promoting to a world audience. In addition to being old and decrepit menaces on our roads, they run on diesel and discharge a tremendous amount of carbon monoxide into the atmosphere.

If the producers wanted to show water sports, we could have shown Subic. If they wanted cable cars and races up a hill, they could have shown Tagaytay Highlands.

My point is why do we keep screwing up these opportunities for promoting tourism to the Philippines. I sincerely don’t believe that the Philippines is just all about rice paddies and eating Balut. I know that but the viewers in other countries don’t know that.

Just like the recent World Pool Championship that was held last November 2007. The PAGCOR banner was in the middle of everything facing the main camera. The organizers forgot that this was an international event viewed on ESPN for a straight two weeks. If I was a TV viewer not from the Philippines, I’d be saying “What the F is PAGCOR?”

The Department of Tourism missed a lot of brownie points with these two shows. I hope they would keep a better eye out for the next one… assuming there would be a next one.

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