MANILA, January 2, 2005 (STAR) HIDDEN AGENDA By Mary Ann Ll. Reyes  -  If you were to ask me what, in a single word, defined the homestretch of the year 2004, I would have to say it would be, tragedy. In quick rapid succession, our country and our region was hit with one tragedy after another blindsiding the most festive season of the year. FPJ’s sudden death, KC’s tragic demise, the tremendous losses to our brothers in Quezon province due to flashfloods and landslide, and the massive destruction of life and property to our Asian neighbors caused by powerful tsunamis.

Images of people celebrating were instantly changed to images of people mourning, even weeping in anguish. You can actually feel their heart breaking in front of your very eyes.

But that was the end of ’04. We have just entered a new year. One thing wonderful about a new year is we can do just that –start over with a new beginning.

Life need not end in mourning or weeping. Nothing stops us from picking up the pieces of a shattered today and building a new tomorrow. The power of the human spirit is a powerful thing indeed. It is built to withstand the strongest assaults, devastating losses, huge failures and bring each of us back on our feet, stronger than before.

What is important is to start rebuilding. And there’s no perfect time to start than the new year. A clean calendar offering fresh hope.

It can be a great ’05 for all of us. Actually, let me rephrase that. It WILL be a great ’05 for all of us. We take with us the lessons of the year that passed, and use it to strengthen and guide us in the year ahead. How can we fail, when we are one more year wiser and stronger.

Famed patriot, Sir Jonathan Edwards started each year by resolving in his heart the following :

To live with all my might while I do live

Never to lose one moment of time

Never do anything I should regret

Never think ill of another

Never do anything out of revenge

Never do anything I would be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life

Not a bad list to take with us through the year.

A phrase popularized by the movie "Dead Poets’ Society" is, "Carpe Diem" or "Seize the day." If I may offer something to us all for the new year, don’t just seize the day, seize the year!

Blessed New Year, everybody.

National Telebabad Day

PLDT gave its subscribers a surprise treat last Christmas and New Years Day. For just P20, they allowed their subscribers to call each other anywhere in the country, UNLIMITED.

I heard they are coming up with an enhanced offer this coming January 5, 2005. Dubbed as National Telebabad Day, PLDT will allow its subscribers to call each other anywhere in the Philippines and to the 19 million Smart subscribers for just P50, UNLIMITED for that day.

I also noticed that they have special offers for subscribers in Bacolod, Batangas, Cavite, Cebu, Iloilo, Makati, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Pasig, and Taguig. I was trying to figure out what’s so special about these areas, such as bill wipe-outs (a chance for your whole phone bill to be paid by PLDT), and special computer subsidies for new DSL subscribers for those visiting PLDT booths in SM malls in these areas. The only link I see is that these are Globelines areas.

I was also told that there will be a nationwide sale of DSL at greatly reduced rates for that day also.

Globelines on the other hand will launch its free NDD calls to its subs on Jan. 5. Great plan except for a small hitch. Globelines just has one-tenth of the subscriber base of PLDT, and they are located in limited areas only. This was highlighted by PLDT’s recent ad showing a very thin phone book of Globelines and a towering photo of PLDT’s phonebooks nationwide (naughty ad but effective). So if I may borrow a phrase from another movie, Ghostbusters, "Who you gonna call?" But if this catches fire, their subs base can definitely increase and give PLDT a run for its money.

What encourages me is that the landline seems to be alive again. I actually almost left it for dead already. But if I can make cheaper unlimited calls using my landline, get special packages for DSL, get connected to the Internet, download music, videos and pictures, send e-mails with attachments to my friends worldwide, play the hottest online games, text for free via my computer and more, then even my cellphone can’t beat that.

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Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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