Monthly Archives: October 2011

No PH university makes it to this year’s list of top 400 schools worldwide

by Mark Pere Madrona

As of this writing, no local media outlet has reported on this.

A newly published report (dated October 6, 2011) by British magazine Times Higher Education indicate that no Philippine higher education institution made it to the list of top 400 universities in the world for 2011. This comes a month after a similar report released by Quacquarelli Symonds, another education organization also based in the United Kingdom, showed that the two Philippine universities which made it to last year’s top 300 list – Ateneo de Manila University and the University of the Philippines – fell sharply from their previous rankings.

The year’s top five universities are the following: California Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Stanford University, Oxford University, and Princeton University. University of Cambridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Imperial London College, University of Chicago, and University of California-Berkeley complete the top ten. The highest ranked Asian university is Japan’s University of Tokyo (30th) followed by University of Hong Kong (34th), National University of Singapore (40th) and China’s Peking University (49-50). There are 62 Asian universities in this year’s top 400 list.

Screenshot from the website of Times Higher Education World University Rankings

According to the Times Higher Education website, universities were ranked based on 13 separate performance indicators “designed to capture the full range of university activities, from teaching to research to knowledge transfer.” The 13 elements were further classified into the following  five headline categories:

  • Teaching — the learning environment (worth 30 per cent of the overall ranking score)
  • Research — volume, income and reputation (worth 30 per cent)
  • Citations — research influence (worth 30 per cent)
  • Industry income — innovation (worth 2.5 per cent)
  • International outlook — staff, students and research (worth 7.5 per cent).

For the second straight year, The Times teamed up with finance giant Thomson Reuters to do data analysis and the ranking. The Times and Quacquarelli Symonds did the rankings together from 2004 up to 2010. “Expert input” from more than 50 leading figures in the sector from 15 countries across every continent were also utilized for this study. This ranking system, the website states, is “the gold standard in international university performance comparisons.”

For his part, Dr. Jose Wendell Capili, Director of UP’s Office of Alumni Relations, said that similar to previous years, the state university did not participate for this year’s survey. He added that UP may join in such surveys soon, but “the decision to participate will come from UP system president Alfredo Pascual and his executive staff (the vice presidents) and chancellors like UP Diliman chancellor Caesar Saloma,” and after very hard internal and external preparations.

On separate occasions the past few years, officials of higher-ranked Philippine universities have voiced reservations about these rankings for various reasons. This includes Ateneo de Manila University president Fr. Bienvenido Niebres (, UP vice president for public affairs Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo (, and Engineer Alberto Laurito, assistant to the rector of the University of Santo Tomas (

Times Higher Education self-introduction:

This year’s full list:

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Lessons on leadership from Steve Jobs – a tribute

What a shock to know about Steve Jobs’ sudden death just this morning (Philippine time). Tributes poured in from the world’s who’s who: from United States President Barack Obama (“The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented.”), Microsoft Corp. Chair Bill Gates (“For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.”), HP CEO Meg Whitman (“He will be remembered for the innovation he brought to market and the inspiration he brought to the world.”), Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (“Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you.”), and many others.

Steve Jobs (1955-2011) - screenshot from

Late last August, Jobs resigned as Apple CEO. Here’s his brief resignation letter:

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee. As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role. I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.


Tribute to Steve Jobs from

For all his leadership acumen and innovativeness, Jobs is totally aware of his limitations. In this letter, he indirectly acknowledged that his declining health (without dwelling on the specifics) has adversely affected his capability to meet his duties and responsibilities as Apple’s CEO. Just like any good leader, he not only thought about his legacy – he also made it perfectly clear that the company he founded will be able to march on even without him by nurturing potential leaders within his organization. All leaders must not only know when to relinquish power – he/she must also be able to guarantee continuity. This is another lesson we can learn from Steve Jobs.

Tribute from Apple, Inc:

Obituary from CNN:

Obituary from Wall Street Journal:

“Ligo Na U, Lapit Na Me” – a movie review

by Mark Pere Madrona

Despite the excessive narrations at certain points, I’ll give “Ligo na U, Lapit Na Me” 4 out of 5 stars – mainly because I see myself in Intoy, the movie’s lead character and storyteller. As you’ll realize after reading this, having “discovered” sex during our senior year in college is just one our similarities. Looking back now, it is funny to think that prior to last Saturday, I am not aware of this indie movie.

The film, based on a novel of the same title written by Eros Atalia, was one of the films shown during the Cinemalaya Festival a couple of months ago. The movie features newcomer Edgar Allan Guzman and Mercedes Cabral (from the movie Serbis). They play the role of Intoy (full name: Karl Vladimir Lennon J. Villalobos) and Jenny, a popular campus beauty, respectively.

Far from being a household name, people probably know Guzman more for being “Mr. Pogi” and as the other half of the male duo that revived Michael V.’s Mas Mahal na Kita Ngayon. Aside from showing off his body, he also showed his acting chops. He didn’t do a Christopher de Leon or a Cesar Montano, but he was recognized as the Best Actor for Cinemalaya 2011. The appeal of Guzman’s acting emanates not from his ability to cry, shout, and throw punches – but rather because his actions are just too natural.

Edgar Allan Guzman in the music video of "Mas Mahal Na Kita Ngayon" (with Andrew Miguel))

This is also why the movie is so catching particularly to the younger generation. The film is full of familiar scenes, pick-up lines, personalities, and human reaction to life events. The witty approach to erstwhile taboo subjects like premarital sex and friends with benefits, coupled with hilarious paper drawing chargens, are undoubtedly the movie’s greatest assets. Let us enumerate five other ways where the movie mirrors present realities among Filipino youth:

1.) Irony – At home, Intoy is rather timid, which is not surprising since his parents are both very religious. In fact, prayer meetings are held in their house. However, the moment he steps outside of that world, he transforms into a guy made vulnerable by his sexual urges (at least when he’s with Jenny).  Who wouldn’t be able to relate to this?

2) FWB setup – More and more people are finding out that one can enjoy the pleasures of sex without having to be in a committed relationship. In one of the scenes, Intoy’s school buddies were ribbing him about his supposed relationship with Jenny. The former took great pains to deny that they are an item. Picture this: you have a female friend with whom you spend a lot of time with exclusively. You also have sex occasionally, and other people know about this. You will certainly be hard-pressed by others to describe the nature of your relationship.

Later on, Intoy lamented that he and Jenny does not use term of endearments (fruitcake, anyone?) for one another. This is known as friends with benefits. At one point, Jenny declared that she is “canceling” all “benefits” Intoy enjoys – only to restore them days later.

A "Ligo na U, Lapit na Me" poster in SM North EDSA

How many times have we heard of couples out there who refuse to attach labels about the real score between them (some of those may be ex-lovers themselves)? What you see is not always what you get. Defining one’s relationship status is not always as easy as Facebook makes it appear to be.  As someone who has been there, I can say it is not easy.

3) Motel scenes – I have wrote before that premarital pregnancies are on the rise in this country. Well, not only that. Non-committed sex is far more frequent, for sure. The sexual trysts between Intoy and Jenny are condemnable from a conservative perspective for two reasons: first, they are not yet married, and second, they are not even in a relationship. And, as one can surmise, their respective parents are totally unaware of these. The motel room, therefore, provided them a venue where they can achieve sexual liberation.

4) A liberated woman – There is nothing new with Filipinas openly declaring their love for sex. However, Jenny takes this to the next level. After moving heaven and earth to get Intoy’s attention, she asked him to have sex with her, and she even footed the motel bill (is it just me, or is this an indication of who wants to have sex more?)! Intoy’s world turned upside down after Jenny revealed her pregnancy. To top it off, she declared: “Don’t worry, this is not yours.” After this, Jenny disappears from the movie. Intoy can’t help but wonder: “Ginamit lang ba niya ako? Ano ako, tagakamot ng kati?” (“Did she only use me to satisfy her sexual needs?”)

5) How to recover – Just what stupid things can you do out of broken heartedness? Intoy wasted his parents’ cash gift to him for his graduation on things he thought would be able to make him forget Jenny, like engaging in a drinking spree and having sex with an underage prostitute. His efforts to move on proved futile, however. In one of the last scenes in the movie, Intoy questioned why the word closure was even invented. The movie ended with Intoy meeting Jenny once again while he is job hunting. Just when he is raring to start a new chapter in his life, here comes a remnant from his past. No closure, indeed.

Recommended links:

Official movie profile from Cinemalaya:

Movie review by Julien Merced Matabuena for Manila Bulletin:

Movie review from

The Ten Largest Islands in the Philippines

The following are the ten largest islands in the Philippines (or in Filipino, ang “Sampung Pinakamalaking Pulo sa Pilipinas“). Figures were obtained from the Island Directory Tables (world islands by area) list in the United Nations Environment Program website. Hope this can be useful for researchers and students alike. :-)

1. Luzon – 109,964.9 sq. km. (or “kilometro kuwadrado“)

2. Mindanao – 97,530.0 sq. km.

3. Negros – 13,074.5 sq. km.

4. Samar – 12,849.4 sq. km.

5. Palawan – 12,188.6 sq. km

6. Panay – 12,011.1 sq. km.

7. Mindoro – 10,571.8 sq. km.

8. Leyte – 7,367.6 sq. km.

9. Cebu – 4,467.5 sq. km.

10. Bohol – 3,820.7 sq. km.

Source: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Island Directory Tables (world islands by area), 1998 –



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