Thursday, December 31, 2009

The World's First Multimedia Stamp

Technology has again taken a front seat when China came out with the world's first multimedia stamp in September this year.

One can listen to the great poems from the Tang Dynasty that include works by Li Bai, Du Fu and Bai Juyi with the mere touching of the stamps by a special device called the aigo pen. This pen is a unique gadget that combines an infrared recognition system, mass data storage and an MP3 player,

We can expect other countries using this new technology on their stamps soon. Can you imagine a Philippine stamp showing the Philippine Flag and once the aigo pen touches it, the Philippine National Anthem is played? Or a Cory Aquino or Ninoy Aquino stamp that can play their famous lines? How about a stamp of a Philippine President that plays the president's inauguration speech?

Monday, December 28, 2009

My TPF's Star Wars Keychain Collection

A wonderful gift I got for myself this Christmas is being able to acquire the last four pieces of the Star Wars Keychains from The Promotions Factory of Australia. I earlier talked about these keychains in one of my blogs some months ago. Click here to open that previous blog.

The 21 keychains featuring well known Star Wars characters like Yoda, Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker, C3P0, R2D2, and Queen Amidala are a welcome addition to my Star Wars treasures.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Sherlock Holmes Movie and Stamps

Fans of Sherlock Holmes, a legendary detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Boyle are in for a treat this month with the release of the Sherlock Holmes movie and Guerney Post' Sherlock Holmes stamps.

The movie directed by Guy Ritchie is now a box office smash after grossing $24.9 million on Christmas day.

Robert Downey Jr. plays Sherlock Holmes while Jude Law is his sidekick named Watson.

Here is the story of the movie:
Detective Sherlock Holmes, the most brilliant investigative mind in all of England together with his pragmatic and trusted colleague named Watson must stop a malicious mastermind who sets in motion a plan that could threaten England's future. Holmes and Watson must not only show off their mental prowess, but also roll up their sleeves and throw a few punches to save the day.

Meanwhile Guernsey Post adds a new twist to the character with the issuance of the stamps celebrating the 150th anniversary of Sir Arthur Conan Boyle.

The postal authorities commissioned Keith Robinson, an illustrator and animator, to do the design of the stamps who suggested that a new plot has to made to enliven the commemorative issue.

Guernsey Post decided to sponsor the writing of a new mystery story called Sherlock Holmes and the Curious Case of the Alderney Bull.

Click here to read more on the Guernsey Post' Sherlock Holmes stamps. Open this link to view the movie trailer

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Pope's Christmas Message to Filipinos

Pope Benedict XVI gave his Christmas Day blessing hours after he was knocked down by a woman during the start of the Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

His "Urbi et Orbi" speech, which means "To the city and the world" in Latin was followed with Christmas greetings in 65 different languages that included a special message for the Filipinos.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to All!

This Christmas day, I would like to wish all the readers of this blogpage a very merry Christmas.

May all of you have countless joys and blessings. Happy holidays everyone!

Featured above is the October 20, 2009 Christmas stamp issue of the Isle of Man Post featuring Father Christmas himself.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Letters to Santa a hit!

The United States Postal Service (USPS) came out with a limited edition cd that features 13 holiday favorite songs by contemporary and classic stars.

The Letters to Santa cd includes the hits:
"Let it Snow" – Michael Buble
"The Christmas Song" – Nat King Cole
"Sleigh Ride" – Diana Krall
"White Christmas" – Rosemary Clooney
"The Christmas Waltz" – Frank Sinatra
"Santa Claus is Coming to Town" – Ray Charles
"Christmastime is here" – Vince Guaraldi's classic from A Charlie Brown Christmas

USPS says that the cd is now the best selling holiday collection of all time with 70,000 copies sold. It is also at number 15 in Billboard's holiday chart.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cebu Stamp Club's CSCI Newsletter December 2009 Issue

Cebu Stamp Club, Incorporated's CSCI Newsletter December 2009 Issue is now available. This is the club's last issue for the year.

The e-newsletter is available for free to Cebu Stamp Club members and non-members who love stamps.

Download a pdf copy of the newsletter by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The 5th East Asian Games

To celebrate Hong Kong's hosting of the 5th East Asian Games, Hongkong Post came out with a set of 6 stamps featuring different sport competitions in the Games that include cycling, wind surfing, snooker and bowling. The stamps were issued on December 5, 2009.

The East Asian Games is held every four years and this year is Hong Kong's turn to host the games after winning the bid in November 2003.

Held on December 5-13, 2009, over 2,377 elite athletes from China, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Mongolia, Macau, North Korea, and Guam compete for the gold in 292 events in 22 sports.

China was the top winner in the games after garnering a total of 113 gold, 73 silver and 46 bronze.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cebu Stamp Club's Christmas Party '09

During the December 13, 2009 regular stamp meetup of Cebu Stamp Club, Incorporated (CSCI), members decided to hold the club's Christmas party on December 20, 2009.

At 2:00 pm yesterday, Cebu Stamp Club stampers came to the function room of Fisherman's Net Restaurant in Gorordo Avenue, Cebu City to spend time with each other to celebrate Christmas.

Philatelic giveaways were in store for everyone along with parlor games, good food, karaoke singing, soda drinks and some beverages, and exchanging of gifts.

Dinah Potolin who came with her husband led the invocation while I did the opening remarks.

British member David Taylor and wife Marichu, Ricardo Teves, Richard Beethoven "Bob" Uy, Sharee Ann Trapa, Edison Go, Richard Guimbarda, Eyan Yu with son Polky, Gina Turner, Janice Benolerao and Aileen Liwat were all there for the occassion. German member Edmund Gruenbaum came a little later with a friend.

All of us had fun! Sharee did a good job in initiating some games for everyone. I never thought Sharee, Edison, Bob, Janice and Richard Guimbarda could all sing well.

Earlier, the 2010 officers and members of the Board of Trustees were announced. They are as follows:

2010 Officers
Richard Allan Uy - President
Ricardo Teves - Vice President
Sharee Ann Trapa - Secretary
Reina Tugot - Treasurer
Edwin Al Cuizon - Auditor

2010 Board of Trustees
Richard Allan Uy - Chairman
Ricardo Teves
Sharee Ann Trapa
Reina Tugot
Edwin Al Cuizon
Richard Beethoven Uy
Edison Go
Aileen Liwat
Richard Guimbarda
Janice Benolerao
Eyan Yu
David Mario Blair Taylor - Official Club Representative to the U.K.
Edmund Gruenbaum - Official Club Representative to Germany and Europe

By 5:30 pm, we said our goodbyes but not after planning to have a summer beach party in April or May 2010.

My personal thanks to Paul Kevin "Polky" Yu for providing me the photos of the party.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The American Turnover of Olongapo to the Philippines

The development of Subic Bay in Olongapo as an American Naval Station began after the Philippines was ceded by Spain to the United States for $20 million.

At the end of the Second World War, the U.S. spent more than $170 million just to make Subic the homeport of the U.S. Seventh Fleet that became Asia's largest American installation.

As the years went by, a lot of Filipinos felt the need to retrieve Olongapo from US rule to the Philippine government. This led to the creation of the Philippine and United States Olongapo Committees that met in August 1959 to tackle the different issues concerning the turnover.

On December 7, 1959, the United States government relinquished Olongapo to the Philippine Government after holding on for 61 years. Charge d’ Affairs George M. Abbot signed for the United States while Secretary of Foreign Affairs Felixberto Serrano signed for the Philippines.

That same day, President Carlos P. Garcia came out with Executive Order No. 366 that calls for the creation of the Municipality of Olongapo in the Province of Zambales.

This historic turnover event is recreated in a se-tenant stamp issue by the Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost) released on December 7, 2009.

The first stamp features the turnover ceremony with the Official Seals of the Government of the Philippines and the United States of America. The second stamp shows the Parade of Philippine and American Flags and the official seals of the two countries.

I have featured above the official first day cover of this commemorative issue.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pheepoy, the Philpost Mascot Makes a Comeback!

We first saw him on the July 27, 2009 definitive stamp of the Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost).

Pheepoy, the official mascot of the Philippine Postal Corporation appears again in the December 11, 2009 definitive issue.

This lovable mascot was conceived to attract public attention and promote the different services of Philpost.

Aside from his outgoing spirit, high energy and passion, Pheepoy also personifies the honest, ever dependable and dedicated postman of the Philippine Postal Corporation.

The stamps above feature the July and December Pheepoy issues.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Formula 1 Racer Ayrton Senna Appears on Monaco Stamp

Among the latest stamps from Monaco is that of Formula 1 racer Ayrton Senna. The stamp celebrates Senna's 50th birth anniversary.

Ayrton Senna da Silva was born in Sao Paulo on March 21, 1960. He is one of the world's greatest drivers in Formula 1 history. He was three times world champion, was 65 times in the pole position and won 41 grand prix races.

The Brazilian racer died on May 1, 1994. His death resulted from a crash while on the lead at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix in Italy.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mayon Volcano Alert Level Status Heightened

As Albay's Mayon Volcano continues to threaten residents in it's surrounding slopes, close to 20,000 people were evacuated to safer grounds today.

The Philippines' most active volcano shot plumes of ash and oozed lava that authorities said would continue even after Christmas. Those evacuated will be spending their Christmas in evacuation centers.

Albay Governor Joey Salcedo announces, "Whatever the volcano does, our target is zero casualty."

The most violent eruption occured in 1814 that claimed the lives of 1,200 people and burying the town in mud.

There are a number of Philippine stamps that feature the majestic Mt. Mayon. The first was issued on May 3, 1932 (see photo).

The latest was issued by the Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost) on July 23, 2006 for the 50 years of Philippines-Japan Friendship.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tennis Star Maria Sharapova Collects Stamps

Yes, you read the header right! Pretty Tennis Sensation Maria Sharapova loves to collect stamps. She has been at it since she was a child.

In one of her interviews regarding her collection, she was quoted as saying "It is something introduced to me when I was very young. I have been very lucky over the years to travel to some amazing countries and I always try to collect stamps from every place I go. I am hoping one day that I will be able to hand my collection over to my kids."

Maria Sharapova of Russia was the World's No. 1 professional tennis player and a three time Grand Slam singles champion.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cebu Stamp Club December 2009 Stamp Meetup

The Cebu Stamp Club regular stamp meetup is one activity I always look forward to attending every month. It is a meeting where we get to bond and interact with each other through our stamps.

The December meetup was held a week earlier taking into consideration the Christmas season. It's really great to see fellow members taking their time out just to be with the group.

Earlier today, my son Jerald Kervin's school Colegio dela Inmaculada Concepcion-Mandaue celebrated their Famvin Day. It's an annual school affair where families, students, teachers and friends come together so we had to be at the school since 8 a.m. till 1:30 p.m.

Good thing I arrived on time for the stamp meetup at 2 p.m. David Taylor and wife Marichu, Kenneth and Gina Turner, Eyan Yu, Dinah Potolin, Sharee Ann Trapa and Richard Guimbarda were all at the 2nd floor of McDonalds Jones, Cebu City.

I have to personally acknowledge the effort of Ken and Gina Turner who both have to take a 2 hour ride from their place in Catmon just to attend the meetup in Cebu City. I take my hats off to you guys!

David Taylor, our official representative to the United Kingdom brought a lot of stamps. He packed them by countries and topics and gave it all to everyone who were there. Thanks David for the freebies!

Aside from the upcoming stamp competition, we all agreed to have fun by holding a Christmas party this Sunday, December 20, 2009.

Our next stamp meetup will be on the second Sunday of January instead of the third owing to the annual celebration of the Sinulog festival of the City of Cebu. All roads in the parade area will be closed to traffic and incidentally, our meetup place is located right at the heart of the parade route.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hong Kong, China and Brazil Joint Stamp Issue on Football

Hong Kong Post authorities reveal that it has released on November 5, 2009 a joint issue with Brazil featuring the world's favorite sport of football.

The block of 4 stamps shows Brazilian and Hong Kong football players in action.

Brazilian football players are very popular among Hong Kong fans because of their great footwork.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Sea Slugs of the Philippines

On December 4, 2009, the Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost) came out with an issue on Philippine Marine Biodiversity featuring Sea Slugs of the Philippines or Nudibranchs.

The beautiful block of 4 stamps are all priced at 7 pesos each and highlight Hypselodoris apolegma, Glossodoris colemani, Chromodoris sp. and Chromodoris elisabethina.

The souvenir sheet valued at 7 pesos each include the Jorunna Funebris, Chromodoris lochi, Noumea alboannulata, Chromodoris hintuanesis, Risbechi tryoni, and Chromodoris leopardus.

This issue is a great addition to those who collect stamps on marine life.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Stamp

Some weeks ago, more than 50 journalists and relatives of a political clan were brutally murdered in Mindanao. This dastardly deed is now known as the Maguindanao Massacre.

The alledged masterminds are now in government custody but other perpetrators numbering more than a hundred are still being hunted down by the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the National Bureau of Investigation.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Proclamation No. 1959 declaring Martial Law in Maguindanao last Friday night. This move has made everyone apprehensive. The Senate and the House of Representatives convened yesterday as one body to tackle the issue.

Filipinos have a bad experience with Martial Law when President Ferdinand Marcos declared it in 1972. A lot of atrocities and human rights violations were committed during those years.

As the whole world celebrates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights today, I hope that the rights of the people in Maguindanao will not be violated and all the perpetrators be brought to justice.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights stamp was issued by the Philippine postal authorities on December 9, 1988.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The 25th Southeast Asian Games

Laos hosts for the first time this year's 25th Southeast Asian Games in Vientiane with eleven countries competing against each other in around 25 sports events.

The Philippines, considered as among the top contenders after proving to be the over-all champion in 2005 aims to garner 30 to 40 gold medals.

Lao National Post and Telecommunications Authority head Mr. Phueay Sadalom announced that they have come up with the "Put Your Own 25th SEA Games Stamp On It" that will be a perfect personalised souvenir for those seeking to preserve memories of the 25th SEA Games in Vientiane.

He further explains "Many people believe that stamps are only to be used for mailing letters through a post office, which of course is their primary function. However, they are also valued very highly by people who collect them.”

Update: Team Philippines hauled a total of 38 gold, 35 silver and 51 bronze medals.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception

My son, Jerald Kervin who is in kindergarten at the Colegio dela Inmaculada Concepcion-Mandaue excitedly told me last night that they won't have classes today.

Today is a big celebration for the Roman Catholic Church being the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

The Church Dogma of the Immaculate Conception is the conception of the Virgin Mary without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmas in Roman Catholic Mariology.

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception that is celebrated every December 8 was established as a universal feast by Pope Sixtus IV in 1476.

Pope Pius IX solemnly defined the Immaculate Conception as a dogma on December 8, 1854 in his constitution "Ineffabilis Deus".

The dogma is supported by Holy Scripture when the Virgin Mother was greeted by Angel Gabriel "Hail Mary, full of grace.."

To highlight the closing of the Marian Year in 1954, a Philippine stamp was released on December 30, 1954 featuring Murillo's painting of the Immaculate Conception.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Justice Cecilia Muñoz-Palma

Another great Filipino is honored on Philippine stamps recently by the Phililippine Postal Corporation (Philpost).

The P7.00 stamp issued on November 22, 2009 features Justice Cecilia Muñoz-Palma, the first woman Supreme Court Associate Justice.

Cecilia Muñoz Palma was born on November 22, 1913 in Bauan, Batangas.

On October 29, 1973, President Ferdinand Marcos appointed her to the Supreme Court. This made her the first woman to be appointed to the highest court of the land.

After her retirement from the court, Muñoz-Palma became a staunch critic of Marcos. She became a prominent figure in the anti-Marcos opposition.

During the Aquino presidency, she was appointed by President Corazon Aquino to be one of the members of the 1986 Constitutional Commission tasked to draft the new constitution. She would eventually be elected by the members to the their President.

By the time she was 85 years old, President Joseph Estrada appointed her to head the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office until 2000. A loyal supporter of Erap, she strongly denounced the circumstances of Estrada's ouster from power and the assumption of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo into office.

She passed away on January 2, 2006 at the age of 92.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Welcoming the Year of the Tiger

Those who collect stamps of the Chinese Zodiac will be glad to know that the Philippine Postal Corporation (Philipost) has released on December 1, 2009 two stamps to welcome the Year of the Tiger.

These beautifully designed stamps valued at P7.00 and P20.00 are a nice addition to a Chinese New Year theme collection.

Try to check out the stamps in your nearest post offices.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Philippines-India Joint Stamp Issue of 2009

In my previous post, I featured the stamps released by India featuring that country's joint issue with the Philippines to commemorate 60 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Today's post highlights the Philippine stamp version of the endangered marine animals released by the Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost) on November 27, 2009.

The se-tenant stamps valued at 7 pesos each feature the Butanding or Whale Shark and the Gangetic Dolphin. The souvenir sheet (see above pic) shows the Butanding with a 20-peso value and the Gangetic Dolphin at 7 pesos.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sir Rowland Hill

December 3 is Sir Rowland Hill's birthday!

Sir Rowland Hill was not only a teacher and an inventor but a postal reformer as well. He was a man ahead of his time.

We stamp collectors have a lot to thank Sir Rowland Hill who was born in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, England in 1795. His efforts for postal reforms led to the issuance in May 1840 of the Penny Black, the world's first adhesive postage stamp.

As a tribute to the inventor of the postage stamp, different post offices worldwide always come out with issues featuring him. Above photo is a first day cover of an August 22, 1979 commemorative issue released by Great Britain to celebrate the death centenary of Hill.

Read more about him here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

An Expensive Red China Stamp

A BBC News report revealed that a Chinese stamp issued in 1968 that was pulled out from circulation immediately after it was released after authorities found out that the map of Taiwan was not included in the China map was sold for a considerable amount.

An unidentified buyer picked the stamp at an auction in Hong Kong for HK$3.68m (US$475,000 / £290,000).

“The Whole Country is Red” stamp features a worker holding a book that shows Mao Zedong's quotations with a red map of China in the background. Taiwan was left uncolored by the designer Wang Wei Sheng.

“For a long time I was really worried that I would be jailed,” he adds “Officials told me that it was a really big mistake, but in the end nothing happened."

Lucky for Wang, he was not punished for his mistake.

Taiwan split from China in 1949 after the end of a civil war, China has always claimed that Taiwan is a renegade province of its own.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cebu Stamp Club Executives to Judge "Pasko Sa Sugbo" Anew

For the third consecutive year, Cebu Stamp Club executives will serve as judges in the Christmas Decoration Competition of the Cebu City Government's "Pasko sa Sugbo".

Ricardo Teves, Bob Uy and this blogger were informed of this development by the Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission (CHAC) of the City of Cebu.

The "Pasko Sa Sugbo" (Christmas in Cebu) is spearheaded annually by the City Government of Cebu. Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña together with Vice Mayor and CHAC Chairman Michael Rama will lead the launching ceremony today December 1, 2009 at the Fuente Osmeña Circle.

A giant Christmas tree inside the circle will be lighted along with a fireworks display and a series of nightly activities from December 1 to 30.