My TV Interpreting and Former President Aquino

Former Philippine President Benigno Aquino III died on June 24. His ashes were laid to rest at the Manila Memorial Park today (June 26). I already posted my condolences to the 15th president of my country on Facebook and also changed my temporary profile photo in honoring him.

My Facebook Condolences….

However, I won’t be focusing in detail on the events leading to his untimely demise nor the other activities that followed. What I want to share with you is how, “incidentally”, because of him, we had our first inset sign language interpretation of a President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on national TV in 2010.

I placed the word “incidentally” between quotes because the ex-president never had a hand on this. These are the collaborative efforts of the deaf community, deaf advocates, deaf institutions, and like-minded individuals in partnership with national TV stations. Worth mentioning is the tireless efforts made by the Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD), Dela Salle – College of St. Benilde which is one of the pioneer institutions in advocating for this, and most of my colleagues in the interpreting world. It just so happens that he was the president at that time. Although the bill on Filipino Sign Language started to make headway during his presidency, the actual law was in full gear and eventually signed into law on 2018 during his successor’s time, President Rodrigo Duterte.

As I was remembering the former president, I googled photos of me interpreting for him. I was very much blessed that I was chosen by the organizers from Dela Salle-College of St. Benilde (DLS-CSB) to be one of the first sign language interpreters assigned for SONA together with DLS-CSB Dean Nicky Templo-Perez. The National Council on Disability Affairs even documented the first sign language interpreted SONA ever, on their official website. The site says,

NCDA lauds GMA7 for its history making streaming news on President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) with sign language interpretation, last June 26, 2010. The Council cheered with thousands of deaf viewers this country’s  first-ever SONA, heard live  by thousands of deaf citizens through a sign language interpreter, thanks to GMA7’s  kapuso  network. Mr. Jojo Esposa interpreting through sign language the State of the Nation’s Address of President Noynoy Aquino.

Excited MCCID Training Director and PWAG President Remberto Esposa Jr. tipped off the Council day before the President’s SONA, that GMA7 News tapped him to interpret the event, most awaited by every Filipino here and in many parts of the world. For the first time, deaf Pinoys, felt one with fellow Filipinos with and without disabilities everywhere in the world, the same great pride over the new President’s humble but noble pronouncements. Loud and clear through the interpreter, they too applauded his marching orders to ban undue use of “wang wang” (sirens) and his call to fight corruption in his inaugural speech. Most of all, his “Kayo ang Boss ko” (You, the Filipino people, are my Boss), got the biggest public cheer of all.

P-noy's SONA with sign language inset.

P-noy’s SONA with sign language inset.

Original article appears here: Pnoy’s SONA Reaches Thousands of Deaf Pinoys Nationwide – NCDA

As I was googling for the actual interpreting on TV, I never found one. Only photos. However, I was very much surprised that I was interviewed by GMA Network, one of the largest media organizations in the country and saved it on YouTube. The interviewer candidly asked me if I was scared to interpret and what I would expect from this activity. I honestly said I was trembling because I don’t know what he would say. Also, the reporter asked what interpreting language I would be using, which I answered in Filipino Sign Language. She followed it up with a query if it is the same as the Filipino language. I explained to her that it’s not the same. FSL is a separate distinct language used by native Filipino deaf users. I added that we are just there to bridge the communication gap between the hearing world and the deaf.

Here is the YouTube link of the said interview:

Behind the Scenes: Sign language interpretation of the SONA

This activity was a trailblazer of sorts because, on the succeeding years, all TV stations broadcast the president’s SONA with inset sign language interpreting. With this, I can probably conclude that this is one of the former Head of State’s impacting legacy. Condolence again to the family of the late President.

Happy 123rd Independence Day, Philippines!

My beloved country is celebrating its 123rd Independence Day today, June 12. We have been under the Spanish colony for 333 years and on that fateful day, our heroes decided that enough is enough. We need to break away from the slavery of the colonizers and establish our own identity.

Some leaders of each country greeted the Filipinos on its important day, one of whom is the personal greeting of current American President Joe Biden. After Spain, its the United States who took over and colonized our country until 1941 when the Japanese invaded us during World War II.

This year, Manila Christian Computer Institute for the Deaf made a special message greeting and posted it in our Official Facebook and Instagram pages.

“Maligayang Araw ng Kasarinlan, Pilipinas”

The oversized head of a small girl donning an “I-Love-You” sign is designed by our deaf teacher Ervin.

Last year, we created two special greeting image posts.

Pilipinas Kong Mahal, Filipino Sign Language Font using 1-4-3 Hand Sign holding the Philippine Flag
Happy Independence Day, Philippines with the comic image of one of the Filipino Heroes who is also a Person With Disability, Apolinario Mabini

“Happy Independence Day to Us!!!”

Happy International [Deaf] Women’s Month!!!

Happy International Women’s Month, everyone! What better way to celebrate this month than by knowing the Top 10 Deaf Women in History! 🤟🤟🤟

Here are the “Top 10 Deaf Women in History” by Deafniche. I was pleasantly surprised when I shared this in our Facebook feed. It was re-shared more than 50 times with more than 1000 people reached! Click on the image below to view the entire page. Cheers!

Want a cheap yet reliable webhosting? Try Hostinger!

I have been designing websites since 1997. During my early web designing years, I dabble only with popular free hosting sites back then like Geocities and Tripod, both of which are still existing as archive pages. Self-hosted websites were very expensive during those times.

Then in early 2000, I started paying shared hosted providers from companies that offer locally. I understand that most of them are just resellers of international hosting sites because I often receive warnings of “unusual bandwidth activity” and upload slowdowns due to the overwhelming of their systems even though I was only updating my websites in active mode. These experiences were very frustrating on top of that having a super slow internet connection.

By the mid-2000s, after learning WordPress and advocating for accessible websites, I started looking for international web hosting providers. GoDaddy was aggressively promoted here in the Philippines thru TV Ads and the like. But the price was in USD which is so expensive. SiteGround was another viable option because the price is a little less compared to GoDaddy. But still, it’s too prohibitive. Then in 2014, I tried Ionos by 1&1, a German-based hosting provider. At first, it was very enticing because you only pay $1 for one year (Php50 in Philippine currency which I paid a little over Php500 due to currency conversion, taxes, etc.) But after a year, I decided to look for a new provider since the Ionos renewal will be USD10/month or USD120/year (roughly Php6,000).

hostingerjojoEnter, Hostinger, a Lithuanian-based company. I started getting their service in 2019 although I have tried using their site in 2013 via their free 000webhost.com. I won’t be doing an in-depth review about their performance and features because they’ve already done that here, here and even comparing it with Ionos here, and here. All of these review sites gave very high recommendations for Hostinger. What I would do is to list down my personal experience in using Hostinger service and how I definitely would give this a “two-thumbs up” recommendation. Here they are

1. Insanely Low Price

Hostinger.com has a dedicated Philippine site Hostinger.Ph. Although they are just identical sites when it comes to content and features, the price range is very different. The first thing why I was enticed to get Hostinger as my web hosting company is because of their localized site approach. The web hosting plan is already converted to our Philippine currency (Pesos). This proves to be very attractive especially if I will market this to our Philippine customers. Converted to pesos, the price per plan is relatively cheap compared to other web hosting companies offering local currency.

hostingerusprice

hostingerpriceph

If you compare the two prices above and focus on the Single Web Hosting, the identical features offer a different price when converted. At Php 50 = $1 exchange rate,

$0.99/month x 12 months = $11.88 x Php 50 = Php 594

Php35 x 12 months = Php 420

You’ll get a discount of Php 174 or $3.48

The discount is even insanely huge when you renew their service. $2.99 x 12 x 50 = Php1,794 <=> Php79 x 12 = Php 948 for a discount of Php 846 or $16.92! That’s a lot of money for us Filipinos!

UPDATE AS OF March 1, 2021: The MONTHLY PRICE has been INCREASED TO Php 49.00. So the discount has been reduced to Php 6.00. I don’t know why they increased it. Probably because of this blog. (sigh)

2. Outstanding Support Team

hostingercustomerserviceI currently maintain six sites; the official websites of Manila Christian Computer Institute for the Deaf (mccid.edu.ph), MCCID Online Courses (mccid.edu.ph/online), Philippine Web Accessibility Group (pwag.org), Mark 737 Design and Prints (mark737.com), God’s Grace Overflowing Private Pool (godsgraceoverflowing.com) and MCCIDONLINE.NET. Before Hostinger, all of the websites were hosted on four different providers. After getting the hang of their service, I decided to migrate all of the sites under their server. I even transferred the domain names of MARK 737 and PWAG to Hostinger.

But migrating sites would always entail issues. I’ve had a huge one with pwag.org. The previous domain registrar is giving me a hard time transferring the site. Fortunately, Hostinger Customer Service gave me a walk-through of the process. Also, the email address of mccid.edu.ph is freely hosted by Google under the Google Apps for Education service, now Google Workspace for Education. I’m having difficulty connecting their service to Google. Fortunately again, they assisted me in changing my MX Records and pointing me to links to Google Services.

I also find this response very nice. Emily, the CS Operator, when she felt that her reply is taking a bit long, assured me that,

If you need to be away from your device, don’t you worry. We’ll email you the reply.

Also another cute Signature Comment I received,

P.S. To make my life easier, so I can make your life easier, please include your domain name blush

Btw, they emailed me the conversation notes as soon as we completed the interaction that’s why I was able to save their replies.

3. Incredibly Fast

I don’t need to put some performance metrics and bandwidth speed test measurements here. Take my word for it. Their servers are very fast with no downtime!

4. Everything Unlimited!

I selected their Premium Shared Webhosting Plan so I am currently receiving:

  • UNLIMITED BANDWIDTH
  • UNLIMITED DATABASES
  • UNLIMITED FTP ACCOUNTS
  • “UNLIMITED” WEBSITES – Well, I consider 100 as already unlimited because why would you store 100 websites on one account?
  • “UNLIMITED” SUBDOMAINS – Again, 100 subdomains are almost unlimited.
  • “UNLIMITED” TRAFFIC – Their service says, 25,000 visits/month. But it’s not a restriction but merely a point of reference. It depends on how you optimize your website and resource usage.

They even threw in these freebies!

  • FREE SSL CERTIFICATE
  • FREE DOMAIN FOR ONE YEAR
  • FREE GOOGLE ADS CREDIT
  • FREE WEEKLY BACKUPS
  • FREE EMAIL

5. User-Friendly Dashboard

Ah, the CPanel Webhosting Control Panel. Sorry! Hostinger does not have one. Instead, they have an even better and more user-friendly dashboard where you can find everything you need in one location. In it, you can track logins, update billing information, manage your domains, and monitor emails from your dashboard. The control panel isn’t a traditional cPanel, but large icons make it simple to find exactly what you need and when you need it.

6. Affiliate Offerings

Welcome to the Hostinger Affiliate Family
Welcome Email Image Sent by Hostinger.com

Oh yes, they do have. And I am a bona fide Hostinger Philippine Affiliate Partner! It’s easy to apply and I already included the link to all our YouTube videos, websites, and Facebook posts. I converted my Affiliate link to redirect to Hostinger.ph site.

After a long search, I believe I have finally found the ONE for me. One that will hopefully be “for keeps“. 😉

Note: All screenshot images and links that appear here are owned by Hostinger.Com.

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Infinix Hot 10 Play Unboxing in Sign Language

Unboxings and first tries by many video bloggers have been flourishing on many social media sites. Some of them became famous and have earned respect from other people due to their in-depth and creative insights about the gadgets that they explain to the public. Some became “experts” in these fields. They help us make wiser decisions whether we purchase them or not by making them “try first before we buy“.

Now, what about the deaf community? I am not aware of anyone from the sector who tried this. I tried googling it and found no one even in the international scene. I hope, our Filipino deaf can start the trend.

So without much fanfare, may I introduce you to the second unboxing of a smartphone by our deaf student, Kennel Alonzo… He will be explaining first hand Infinix Hot 10 Play, the latest budget phone of Infinix Mobile, a Hongkong based smartphone company . Launched last January 23, this phone was unboxed, tested, and reviewed. This YouTube video is shorter (more than 6 minutes) than the first one, yet packed a more complete information including sample camera photos and video tests.

Here it is:

Subtitle is already embedded while the voice is in our local Tagalog language. Still, Kennel signs using Filipino Sign Language.

To all my blog subscribers, please support our deaf video bloggers by watching this video and sharing it to your friends. To watch the first unboxing video, you may go to my blog link below.

Unboxing of a gadget the Deaf Way

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Hope you all like it! Cheers!

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