Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Heart Tales

“And yet when all is thought and said,
The heart still overrules the head.”
 -  A.H. Clough (1849)

Being a romantic lot, Filipinos can always relate to this expressed sentiment. We love to be in love. And some of us are also in love with love. This is why we celebrate Valentine’s Day with all the pomp and frills, all supposedly reflective of our deepest affections.

Actually, Valentine’s Day began in various ways. It has been traced to an ancient festival called Lupercalia. The ancient Romans held it on February 15 to honor Lupercus, a fertility god. Goats and dogs were sacrificed at the lupercal, a cave in Rome, in a ceremony of purification. Goat’s blood was smeared on the foreheads of two young men and then wiped off with wool dipped in milk. Dressed in goatskin, the men ran through the streets of Rome, striking with goatskin strips any woman they met. These blows were believed to cure sterility and ease labor for pregnant women.

After the Romans conquered Britain in A.D. 43, the British borrowed many Roman festivals. Many writers linked the festival of Lupercalia with Valentine’s Day because of its connection with fertility.

Other experts connected Valentine’s Day with one or more saints of the early Christian church. The Roman history of martyrs listed two Saint Valentines who were martyred (beheaded) on February 14. One supposedly died in Rome and the other at Interamna, now Terni, 60 miles from Rome.

The St. Valentine who died in Rome seemed to have been a priest who suffered death through persecution of Claudius the Goth about A.D. 269. According to one story, the Roman Emperor Claudius II forbade young men to marry. The emperor thought single men make better soldiers. Valentine disobeyed the emperor’s order and secretly married young couples.

Another story said that Valentine was an early Christian who made friends with many children. The Romans imprisoned him because he refused to worship their gods. The children missed Valentine and tossed loving notes between the bars of his cell window. This tale may explain why people exchange messages on Valentine’s Day.

In A.D. 496, Pope Gelasus named February 14 as St. Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day customs or practices

In Norman French, a language spoken in Normandy during the Middle Ages, the word “galantine,” which means gallant or lover, sounded like Valentine. This resemblance may have caused people to think of St. Valentine as the special saint for lovers.

Many Valentine’s Day customs involved ways that single women could learn who their future husbands would be. Englishwomen of the 1700s wrote men’s names on scraps of paper, rolled each in a little piece of clay and dropped them all in water. The first paper that rose to the surface supposedly had the name of a woman’s true love.

Also, unmarried woman pinned five bay leaves on their pillows – one of the center and a piece to each corner -- on the eve of Valentine’s Day. It was said that this would enable them to see their future husbands in their dreams.

In Great Britain and Italy, some unmarried women got up before sunrise on Valentine’s Day, stood by their window, sometimes for hours, watching for a man to pass. They believed that the first man they see will marry them within a year.

In Derbyshire, a county in central England, young women circled the church 3 or 12 times at midnight and repeated such verses as: “I sow hempseed/ Hempseed I sow/ He that loves me best/ Come after me now.” Their true loves then supposedly appeared.

One of the oldest customs was the practice of writing women’s names on slips of paper and drawing them from a jar. The woman whose name was drawn by a man becomes his valentine and thus he paid special attention to her. Many men gave gifts to their valentines, some even gave fancy dress balls to honor their valentines.

Another custom during Valentine’s Day in the 1700s described how groups of friends met to draw names. For several days, each man wore his valentine’s name on his sleeve. The saying “wearing his heart on his sleeve” probably came from this practice.

Some historians traced the custom of sending verses on Valentine’s Day to a Frenchman named Charles, Duke of Orleans. He was captured by the English during the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. Imprisoned in the Tower of London, he wrote love poems or “valentines” to his wife in France.

The custom of sending romantic messages gradually replaced that of giving gifts. Sweethearts exchanged handmade cards during the 17th and 18th centuries. The practice of sending greeting cards reached its height in the latter part of the 19th century.

Today, sending valentine cards (or e-cards) is one way of telling a loved one of the sender’s affections. Some send flowers, chocolates and romantic gifts while others celebrate Valentine’s Day by dining out in choice restaurants or strolling in some of the metropolis’ romantic spots.

However way it started or is celebrated, Valentine’s Day will always be a day for lovers.

Photo credits:

http://www.aloveheart.com (free image)

@copyright: all articles in this blog are written by Grafflink

Friday, April 1, 2011

The "Modern" Winner!

First off, we'd like to thank you for joining our first giveaway. 

We would also like to inform you that we are very strict in enforcing contest rules because we wanted to be fair to the majority who followed our instructions (followed this blog and posted their answers). We also double-checked the GFC names stated in the comments/entries vis a vis  GFC names of this blog's followers. This is why there are only 62 qualified entries. We deleted one comment (a participant posted two answers) and we included only the participants who posted comments from March 20-31, 2011.

Whew! That was a lengthy explanation.

So, now, we'd like to announce the winner… (drumroll, please!)

Congratulations, LITO!!!

You are the winner of our Banana Republic "Modern" perfume giveaway!

Please respond to our e-mail the soonest possible. Again, congratulations!

To all who joined, thank you very much. We will be holding another giveaway soon. Don't forget to visit this blog and our FB page. :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Visuals in Our Midst

Traffic lights, neon signs, scoreboards, graphics...

They have become a part of our daily lives that we often take them for granted. But these visuals play important roles in our lives. In fact, they are indispensable. Without traffic lights and road signs, driving would be more hazardous to motorists than it is now. Going inside restrooms would create embarrassment if there are no “ladies” or “gentlemen” posted on doors. Watching sports would be confusing and less exciting without scoreboard, uniforms and identifying numbers. Shopping would be less enjoyable without product names or brand logos to choose from, making it doubly difficult to make logical choices.

Visuals are just as important in a manufacturing set-up. They ensure efficient production of quality products. Visual control systems in a production plant help control production abnormalities – they tell us how things should be and how they actually are – thus increasing our sensitivity to problems.

For instance, a hot melt input temperature control box gives an instant picture of the condition of the melt – whether it is too high or too low. Its meters and gauges give the operator the information he needs to monitor the process and respond immediately.

Visuals also improve efficiency by decreasing the time needed to find the appropriate tools or supplies for a particular task. Unmarked pipes, for example, can confuse a newcomer. They can also be the source of mistakes for veteran workers especially if these contain substances such as acetylene, oxygen, waste water. Using a color-coding system not only eliminates confusion but also helps in preventing accidents, thus ensuring the safety of employees.

So, aren’t you glad that they are there –serving as roadmaps, making our lives less stressful and a bit safer and convenient?

Photo credit: Petr Kratochvil www.publicdomainpictures.net

Are you a right-brained or a left-brained thinker?

Do you think rationally or intuitively? Experts say this is a question of hemispheral dominance, that is, if you are a right-brained or left-brained thinker.

Partiality in either hemisphere produces a specialized way of thinking. The left brain, psychologists and neurologists say, analyzes and reduces information and events to bits and pieces. The right brain relates, connects and synthesizes information into wholes. The left brain thinks verbally, analytically and rationally. The right brain thinks tacitly, holistically and synthetically.

Of course, we use both our left brain and right brain to some degree. And either hemispheral direction is not the absolute way of correct thinking. However, management consultants say that the left- or right-brain distinction is an important issue in achieving development and creating wealth.

Even national macro-cultures are now characterized through this hemispheral dominance theory. Charles-Hampden Turner, a consultant who studied macrocultures, says that the approach of nations that experienced early industrialization, with hostility to strong government, has culminated in a generally left-brain, individualistic vision of capitalism. On the other hand, the right hemisphere synthetic approach combined with later industrialization and more tolerant attitude toward strong government has culminated in a cooperative vision of capitalism, he explains.

The United States’ macroculture, Hampden-Turner declares, is “overwhelmingly left brain.” It emphasizes analysis, separation and isolation of elements from each other. The British business culture is also partial towards the left brain. Japan, however, is biased toward the right brain. Its leadership veers toward a broad, diffuse and holistic style which permits wider avenues of participation and interpretation by subordinates.

The left- and right-brain distinction also characterizes job functions. Studies and surveys suggest that finance managers develop strong left-hemisphere biases. They look to profits as the company’s ultimate goal, have the propensity to work alone, oriented to countable objects, and are much more insistent on higher income and greater personal responsibility. In contrast, marketing people are more holistic-oriented and focus on cooperativism, teamwork and relationships and reject profitability as the sole criterion of business success.

So which hemisphere can contribute more to wealth creation?

Experts stress that the mental processes necessary to business or economic success vary from one circumstance to another. The challenge, however, lies in the integration of right and left brain configuration to generate productive combinations and coherent meanings that are necessary for progress and wealth creation.

Banana Republic "Modern" perfume giveaway

1. Follow this blog.
2. Answer this question: What is your favorite perfume?
3. Post your answer in the comment section at the end of this article. Include your GFC username and your e-mail address so we can contact you if you win.
4. This giveaway is also open to provincial participants. But they must have a representative in NCR who is willing to meet with us to claim the prize. We don't want to risk damaging the product so we will not ship it to any provincial or Metro Manila address. This is non-negotiable.
5. Also, if we don't hear from the winner 3 days after the announcement of the giveaway results, we will be compelled to forfeit the prize.
6. Duration of giveaway: March 20-31, 2011
Note: This giveaway is not in any way sponsored by Banana Republic.

UPDATE: This giveaway is already closed (Time: 12:04 a.m. April 1,2011)

Destination: Bohol

Bohol, an oval-shaped island province, boasts of many natural attractions. But its premier attraction is its Chocolate Hills. None like them can be found anywhere else.

The hills are located on a plateau, bounded by the towns of Butuan, Carmen and Sagbayan. The hills rise separately from the surrounding lowlands. Each is distinct from the other, either in shape or size. From afar, they seem to be like huge candy drops.

Science can’t provide an adequate explanation on how these hills were formed. Some scientists explain vaguely that it is a geologic phenomenon associated with volcanism some 750,000 years ago. Others mention the “karst” theory. When these theories proved inadequate to explain such an occurrence, people resorted to legends and myths to somehow explain the unusual formation of these hills.

But Bohol has other attractions aside from these famous hills. Baclayon Church is known as the oldest church in the country. It was built in 1595, mixing the white of eggs with lime for its coral blocks. It has a stone arch and a 70-foot bell tower. Religious murals are painted on ceilings of the church dome. The Church also has a dungeon reserved for natives who violated Christian laws.

Another religious attraction is the Dauis Church where a well may be found within its confines. Legend says that the water gushed out at the center of the altar in answer to prayers and fasting made by the townsfolk when they were threatened by the enemies beyond the heavily-locked doors. The church is actually a few meters away from the sea coast.

There is also Badian Springs in Valencia. Often dubbed as the "spring of eternal flow", it is located 40 kilometers from Tagbilaran City, the province's capital. It was said to have been built by a giant eel whose body carved an opening where the forest waters gush forth.

Another famous landmark in Bohol is the watchtower and wooden cross of Punta Cross, Maribojoc. The wooden cross stands behind the moss-covered watchtower (built during the Spanish era) which served as a lookout for the marauding Moro pirates.

The Blood Compact marker in Tagbilaran City commemorates the historic Sandugo (blood compact) between Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, a Spanish conquistador, and Datu Sikatuna, a local chieftain. The two drank, from a common cup, a potion mixed with drops of blood from each other's arms to symbolize peace and friendship.

The Hinagdanan Cave is another interesting sight. It has an underground swimming pool with fresh, cool spring water.

Then there is also the President Ramon Magsaysay camp, a camping site surrounded by dense forests. Another park can be found in Barrio Maombong, Garcia Hernandez. Called Roxas Park, it has two natural swimming pools with mineral water gushing out of the rocks.

Bohol lies in the heart of the Visayas, between Cebu to the northwest and Leyte to the northeast. Dotting Bohol's entire coast are pristine beaches -- Bikini Beach, Doljo Beach, Laya Beach, Clarin Beach and several others. Ringing Bohol are several smaller islands known for their diving sites.

You can also find centuries-old houses and churches dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries.

Indeed, the province is an ideal place for adventure, for rest or contemplation or for simply having fun.

Photo credits:

Blood Compact photo taken from www.bohol-philippines.com

Chocolate Hills photo taken from wikipedia.org