The Ghost of Ayala Underpass in Makati

Don't worry. This ghost is not scary at all. In fact, when I saw it in the photo that I took, I thought of what Philippines like in the past.

10 April 2009. Good Friday. Around 3:00 PM.

I just came from a Thanksgiving Mass celebrated by a friend at St John Bosco Parish Church in Makati. My friend, who was just ordained a priest at the Church of Gesu in Ateneo de Manila University six days ago, had chosen to celebrate his first Mass at Don Bosco in Makati. After the event, I decided to walk home instead of taking a ride.

Like A Ghost Town

The Ayala business district in Makati is a very busy city. However, during Lent, the business district is like a ghost town. And this is what I like so I could take snapshots of Makati when it is almost empty — quiet and peaceful, almost no people in the streets, no honking cars and public buses and jeepneys that block your way.

That day, Good Friday, was one of those beautiful days.

The Ayala Underpass

This is the Ayala underground walkway near Makati and Ayala Avenues intersection. It crosses the Ayala Avenue. Inside, it is a good subject to show perspectives.

As I ambled the underground walkway that day, I was the only one there and I thought it was a good opportunity to take a photo of it empty; ie while there were no pedestrians. I turned my camera on, pressed it on my tummy, then clicked. Viewed the photo afterwards, I thought it was just okay. Then, I continued strolling the streets of Makati while it was peaceful and quiet.

That time, I was just learning how to take pictures with a digital camera. Simply reading tips from professional photographers on the Web, one tip was to have a keen eye on perspective. I thought that the underpass was a good subject for a perspective shot.

The Empty Passage and the Black Woman

Back home, I immediately uploaded to my laptop all the photos I took on that day. Viewing the photos one by one, I was disappointed to see the Ayala underpass snapshot blurry. I remembered that I didn't pause when I took the picture. I took it while walking; or maybe, I forgot to change my settings.

While looking at the photo, something I noticed that shouldn't be there – a figure of a person. So, I zoomed in the photo to examine it further. The figure was that of woman as if peeking from a corner of a wall.

She was a black woman wearing a head wrap, perhaps African or Jamaican, wearing custom clothes common in Africa. If you're familiar with the Mexican soap Marimar, there was a character there named Corazon. How she was costumed in that soap is similar to the woman in the photo that I took. (Google Marimar Corazon to get an idea.)

If you are going to examine the photo, the underpass was empty. It really was when I took this photo. I wanted it empty because it's the reason why I took a snapshot. I didn't want people in the photo. I was more interested in the structure of the underground passage.

Zoom It In To See The Ghost

The photo is blurry so I uploaded the photo in its original state and size so that when you zoom in the section where the ghost is, you can figure out what it looks like. Don't worry. This is one ghost that is not scary at all.

Zoom in the photo and pan to the left. There you will see which I believe is a ghost.

The streaks of light are just reflections caused by the camera settings.

The Strange Thing About The Woman

Imagine yourself peeking behind a corner of a wall avoiding to be seen. You will be slightly bending forward, partly hidden behind the wall while your face is a little bit exposed so that your eyes could peek through the open space. The strange thing about the ghost was that, she was peeking through a solid wall instead of behind the wall. If she was peeking behind the wall, I would have taken a shot of her back. But it is not the case in this photo. She was peeking through a solid wall while her body was in the open.

A Strange Thing Happened While Blogging This

Here's another strange thing. I mentioned that what I saw in the photo was a black woman somewhat in her 50s.

When I examined this photo back in 2009, what I saw was a black woman, perhaps African because of the type of dress she was wearing. I still remember the colour of her head wrap; it was blue with white print, perhaps floral. Her blouse was tucked in under her skirt, which almost touched her ankles. The black woman was overweight, perhaps in her 50s.  In fact, back then, I was thinking that the Spaniards brought with them African slaves; and it is for that reason, why a ghost like of an African woman could be picture taken such as in my photo.

But here's what gave me goosebumps when I was blogging this.

For the purpose of this blog, I cropped the section of my photo where the ghost can be seen so I could present it well to you. To my surprise, the black woman was not there. Instead, it is a woman that you see in the photo now, perhaps Filipino, dressed in the 40s or perhaps 50s.

Believe it or not!


How To Block The Globe Broadband Malware From Your Browser

If Globe broadband may have hijacked your browser recently, and has been annoying you each time you open your browser, here's a way to stop this malicious malware from pestering your online quality time.

Reset Your Browser

Resetting your browser means setting it to its original clean state. It's like having a just installed browser. For Chrome, you go to settings and click Advanced Settings. Down below you will find the Reset command. For Firefox, from the menu click the help icon (?), choose Troubleshooting Information, then click the Refresh Firefox button.

For other browsers, the reset function does the same thing. It simply varies with the terms used by the browser.

What is this Globe BroadBandStatus2 Malware? 

The malicious URL, which is broadbandstatus2 dot globe dot com dot ph slash fup (warning: do not visit the site), shows your broadband data usage for the month. If your usage is almost up to the maximum limit, it reminds you that your Internet speed connection will start to slow down. So, it will ask you to upgrade to a higher maximum data usage, for a fee, of course. If you simply close the window-tab, it will show up again once you open a new window or tab. If you try to do a Google search, clicking any of the search results will direct you to the same malicious Globe broadband URL. In short, you won't be able to visit any web site.

In order to temporarily stop this malicious adware, there's a link in the upper right corner that you have to click in order that you can continue browsing the Net. Once you have done that, the annoying Globe broadband ad will stop showing up again, at least, for your current session. Meaning, the next time you open your browser, the malicious adware is there to pester your day. This repetitive task will annoy you for the rest of your life unless you stop it.

This type of malicious adware is called a "hijacker". What it does is that it hijacks your default home page and replace it with the malicious URL. For example, if you have set your default home page to a particular site that shows the current stock market or your calendar that shows your appointments and business meetings, your favorite home page will never show up again automatically.

Blocking The Site Is Not The Solution

You might think of an ad or site blocker as a solution such as block site or block URL extension or plugin for your browser. Yes, the blocker will be able to block the malicious web page from showing up but the annoying effect is just the same because what keeps on showing up instead on your browser is the blocker's message that it has stopped the globe broadband URL. As a result, you won't be able to browse the Internet either.

Legal Hijacker Versus Illegal Hijacker

Hijacking becomes ethical and legal if it has the permission of the user. Meaning, the owner of the script or app must first ask the user's permission if it will allow it to take over your browser's home page. For example, a wallpaper app or theme app that shows a new photo each time you open your browser. Another app would direct you to a customised web search. These apps are something you can install as your browser's extension or plugin which you disable or delete anytime. Without your permission, the app must not interfere with your browsing experience. So, one way to stop a malicious adware from hijacking your browser is by installing a legal "hijacker" – an extension, plugin, or app that takes over your home page legally, ethically and with your permission.

Who Owns the Hijacking URL

First, I thought, that a hacker was maliciously using Globe Telecoms to the advantage of the hacker. So, I simply notified Globe via its Twitter that there was such a hacker. The second time my browser was hijacked, I was so pissed that I had to investigate. First, I wanted to find out who actually owned the domain globe.com.ph. Using the whois service of dot.ph, I was surprised to find out that globe.com.ph is owned by Globe Telecoms. If Globe Telecoms owned globe.com.ph, it also own any subdomain of globe.com.ph such as broadbandstatus2.globe.com.ph.

So, when I found out that the hijacking URL is owned by Globe Telecoms itself, I complained via Globe's Twitter.

The Browser Highjacker Attacked the Third Time

For the third time, the highjacking URL attacked my browser once again. One thing I noticed, there was already an escape button. The button allowed you to escape from the loop. This means, when they launched this malicious URL, Globe's technical people didn't test it. They didn't know that their script was looping, which means, there was no way to exit from the script until I complained about it. That only proves, that the hijacking URL was not from a malicious hacker, but from Globe Telecoms itself. Given the benefit of the doubt, that the hijacking URL was not Globe's, why then they had not done anything to secure their servers? Didn't they know that their server was hacked, and that the hacker put a malicious script inside their server? Or, perhaps, an insider deliberately put it inside to Globe's detriment? Beats me!

Globe Broadband Malware Attacked the Fourth Time

I don't have an account with Globe Telecoms. I'm not a subscriber. I merely connect to the Internet via WiFi. Yet, I suffer the malicious intent of the hijacking script. If I were a neighbour, I would see my neighbour's WiFi details. There goes my neighbour's privacy open to whoever connects to his WiFi. I have shifted from desktop to laptop to Mac, thinking that I would be leaving the malicious script to my old computers. Yet, with a Mac, the malicious URL continues to attack which just proves that the script was coming from a malicious website. I have complained about this via Globe Telecom's Twitter account, Facebook page, and it's own forum, even mentioning @JAZA. It has been too much, I had to bring it to the National Privacy Commission.


Maligayang Kaarawan Sa Isang Kaibigan Sa Amerika

Maligayang Kaarawan, Ichu!

Panoorin mo ang pagbati ng iyong mga kaibigan sa iyong kaarawan.

It's around 5:00 AM. Got to get this done before sunrise.

Been working for two days now. Haven't got much sleep.

Time for me to rest!

Just one last wrenching. So, exhausted! I slept like a log for 10 hours.
Pasensya na sa mga nag-submit ng powerpoint files. Hindi ko naisama mga messages ninyo dahil hindi ko mabuksan yung mga files.


The Sentiments of An Italian-American For the Filipinos

I am chronicling the events and activities related to the super typhoon Yolanda on The Yolanda Chronicles. While gathering information for the first anniversary of the super typhoon, I stumbled upon a sentiment expressed by an Italian-American for the Filipinos.

This Italian-American speaker from New York was invited by a Filipino-American organization, also in New York, to speak before them, most likely, about a topic related to the theme of the event, which was Filipino-American civic association in Staten, NY. In the middle of his talk, the president of the organization stopped him. Embarrassed, the speaker left the event.

Below is the speaker's sentiment verbatim which he wrote in the comments section of a news story related to his speech, which was about Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the Filipinos. If not deleted yet, you may find the comment here.
This is all a waste of time.

Last Saturday, I addressed a large group of Filipinos entitled "the Filipino-American Civic Association on Staten Island, NY. This group is mainly made up of prominent Filipino professionals. Doctors, Lawyers, etc. I started my speech with some American-Filipino History, dating back to World War II and how we fought together against the Japanese.

I reminded the group that the US government did not properly include them as with many veteran entitlements as promised. I further discussed the present Immigration problem as the Philippines is one of 4 countries in the world that are given the least access to US Visas, Green Cards and citizenship. I told them, it's a form of discrimination and should be given first priority due to the fact that we were always great allies, Filipinos always shown allegiance to the US. They are still a big presence in our Navy. Many are educated and skilled in health fields. They Speak English. They have a fantastic work ethic. Ninety-nine % are Catholic/Christian. Very low criminal history. Not only will they not be a burden to the US, but will [also be] a great asset. I said all that to tie in my next and final issue: TPS.

At this moment, the president of the organization interrupted me and said, "This speech of yours has nothing to do with this organization and we have no interested [sic] in these topics, but thank you for coming". I was speechless, I felt my face turn red. I just packed up my notes and left. I quickly realized that if their own countryman are not interested, what chance will they have with the US Government.

Please note: I am not Filipino. I am an Italian American born in NYC. Please generate this letter with all your contacts, newspapers, newspapers, friends and family. You can contact me at: stannenb2002@yahoo.com. Phone: 917-291-5544 Sonny


How To Tie A Windsor Knot Before You Wear It

Not every man knows how to tie a necktie. Most men know the simplest one — the four-in-hand knot, which can look lousy if the material is not right. If your necktie is short and its fabric is thick, use the four-in-hand knot. Otherwise, use the half Windsor knot. If the length of your necktie is too long for your body or its fabric is too thin to form an elegant knot, use the Full Windsor knot.

For some men, it is easier to tie a Windsor knot while the necktie is around their neck. What if somebody asked you to prepare his necktie with a half Windsor knot but does not want to wear it yet?

This video shows the trick. It takes practice to perfect it. Remember that the half Windsor knot is like a double four-in-hand knot. So make sure that the necktie is coiled twice around the narrower width. Also, while pulling the necktie to its perfect form, make sure that the back of the knot shows 3 perfect cone shapes – left, right, and middle.

How would you know if you made a perfect Windsor knot? To untie your Windsor tie, pull the narrower width of your necktie from the knot. If you leave a single knot after the pull, then, you failed to tie a Windsor knot.


Twitter Goes Commercial Other Than Social Soon

Currently being tested in U.S., Twitter will soon allow you to buy merchandise via popular Twitter accounts. This addon feature would not, however, rob you from enjoying Twitter the way you enjoy it today. Due to this commercial feature, the Privacy Policy of Twitter would be amended to include new sections related to your purchasing info. For the reason that your Twitter would now include your buying info, like credit card information, Twitter had to make stricter measures and procedures to protect your account, prevent spam, fraud, and abuse. In the future, Twitter also plans to include special offers that you can redeem at select stores.

I don't blame Twitter for planning to make Twitter commercial other than social. Facebook has ventured into that since 2007. We've been enjoying Twitter's free services since 2006; and I wondered how Twitter was earning for giving those SMS-like services for free. After 8 years, I believe Twitter has the right to enjoy return on its investments.

Twttr sketch-Dorsey-2006.jpg
A blueprint sketch, c. 2006, by Jack Dorsey, envisioning an SMS-based social network.
"Twttr sketch-Dorsey-2006" by Jack Dorsey - twttr sketch. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Nothing goes for free for good. One way or another, you need to benefit from your ROI.
Twitter is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called tweets.—Wikipedia
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