Thursday, May 29, 2008


It all started with my mistake of thinking that the death of a certain activist just two days ago when it fact two years have already passed since it happened. I was just about to skim through a blog site of a certain local newspaper in order to assess if I could apply to them as a writer or at least as a contributor (money matters you know). I just don’t why I overlooked it. But it’s pretty much the same: late days of the month of May. Although I’m not the type of person who would allude such experience to something supernatural or spiritual, there’s still a germ of thinking in me that perhaps, that mistake was allowed to happen on purpose. For what, I am yet to find out.

And since I have already saved a number of related stories and websites about it, I continued anyway reading through the murder of this particular man. (I choose not to discuss the facts surrounding the incident for some personal reasons). Despite being connected the church works and community services he was not spared from being yet another victim of what they term as…well…politically-motivated stuff, I know dear reader that you would know what that means.

It is just now that I feel the mixture of the blood of those who have died in the streets, in the rice fields and haciendas for fighting for their rights, for fellow Filipinos’ rights; the angry shouts of the thousands taongbayan, students, workers who have rallied in the streets, schools and universities to voice out the oppressions they experience, justice for the unfair things done to them; the unnerving sounds of the bats, shields, and placards hammering on each other, on the familiar riot scenes where the authorities and the common tao clash when differences between them are not negotiated well; the cries of pain of those who have lost their loved ones who have chosen to fight and express their dismay in the way things are governed, wetting the coffins with their tears hoping that love can still bring them together as one. And add to that the other thousand cries of suffering due to hunger, poverty, hopelessness, disappointments, and rage for having found themselves in a country where most of the time, those who are in the pedestal gets the best of life while those who are trapped below – like in the infamous lower deck of the Bapor Tabo in Rizal’s novel – are just waiting for their own deaths.

Coldness, I believe, is what one would feel upon realizing such a thing. It’s like having a serial killer in your house. In our present situation, the saddest fact is that we are upholding the dirty and ugly business of crab mentality. And there is something more disgusting than that. Filipinos enjoy ‘killing’ (metaphorically used here) their fellow Filipinos.

My initial reaction was fear which turned into a huge disappointment and then to a bitter resolve to take a part in making things in the country more than just a better one. And I know there are more than a million ways into making it come true, aside from rallying out in the streets. Not that I detest those things. I’ve been there once or twice. Perhaps we could use our own industries, our owe careers, in contributing to the betterment of the Philippines. And most importantly, vote for the most deserving leaders. So that we don’t have to deal with the buwayas, or with whatever there are in the public offices. This thing can’t be that easy of course. Let us just be more vigilant I think when dealing with those supposedly public servants.

And finally, I realize that the deaths of those who struggled directly with the “p.monsters” are but just testaments of the ceaseless courage of the Filipino people in fighting what is right for them, that one cannot forcibly put a gag – a busal – into the mouths of the Filipinos, wherever they are. History has been one of the greatest recorders of those things. And I have this in me so that I may not stray far away and get distracted by other things not unrelated to our national progress. Being nationalistic to large extent is not a corny and is never a boring thing.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Question on Happiness

Sometimes during those rare nights when all things seemed so still, and the only sound you could hear is the steady expanding and relaxing of your own lungs, thoughts would flood on me like wild fires. In no particular order, regardless of themes, they would attack my sleepy mind and hook you on those what other call playing with your thoughts.

And I cannot quite remember when it came to me, this sudden question of mine. Perhaps it grew out of being too drowned with the thoughts of existentialism and other related stuff. Who could blame me? I mean, who would not enjoy beautiful books by Camus and philosophy stuff by Nietzsche (not that I’m professing that some higher being is dead or what, hehe). Or maybe it was just the product of some of the mounting problems that I have for the past few months now (which I am not going to discuss of course – private lives, private lives). Or ultimately, perhaps it was simply the fruit of my mind being too playful, more so ignorant on the principles surrounding my ‘cheap question’. This will not be too long. Just an innocent one anyone can freely ignore, argue about, or agree with. As the title says it, it concerns happiness. Well as I’ve said, it popped up during a particular night and just grew into this somewhat coherent tone of question.

I would look into the faces of children and see how the world seems to be a paradise to them. They would respond to the environment by simply crying and sucking the milk available in the immediate vicinity. And they would soon grow old and experience pain, most likely suffering, and in time, even for just a single second, they would wish that they could go back to their childhood, where they could frolic in the park, play in the streets, eat candies and other sweets, and just sleep onto the laps of their loving mothers after those bedtime stories. Lovely, as I picture those childhood years.

Now here comes my question. Is it possible that happiness is just a form of response and not an absolute thing in itself? That happiness is by nature not found in this world but simply a medication for the feelings received by the humans? And following this thread of asking, that life, and perhaps the whole of our world and existence, is really a lonely and pain-stricken one and we just use the concept of happiness to make it through every single day of our mortal exist

I began to entertain the possible answer of seeing things in different perspectives. Remember the famous issue of the half-empty or half-filled glass? But, it seemed to me that we ought to stick to the truth, to the pursuit of the truth. I mean if we really have to state that things are not really that good, why would we insist on saying it’s alright and we can make it through? Darn, don’t you think that it is better to face experience, facts, etc. as they are – however painful they may be – and from that move to resolve them? If it is really a lonely and painful existence we are having, then I am more inclined to believe that life is indeed ultimately set to find happiness as its end. And not talk as if happiness is a living being just lying around us.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

World Bank Essay Results!

So...the finalists for the 2008 World Bank Essay Competition are now bound for that conference somewhere in South Africa. It was a good competition considering the number of entries that were passed. To tell you people the truth, I can’t still get out of my mind the fact that I’ve been one of the best 200s in the contest. (Yeepee!) The first time I’ve heard and tried to enter the contest, my entry was no more than a child’s idea and it soon evolved to something I can really be proud of. And one of these of course is my entry for this year. I am really happy for those chosen to contend in the final round and hope that the prize will go to the most deserving one. I salute also the writers from the Philippines who made it to the best 200:

Last Name First Name Country
Abdi Abdillahi Hassan Djibouti
Agyemang Julius Ghana
Ahodegnon Daniel Benin
Ajayi Shakir Nigeria
Akhundlu Esmer Azerbaijan
Akintobi Olutayo Nigeria
Akinwolemiwa Feyikemi Nigeria
Al-Muslimi Farea Yemen
Al-Nuzaili Samer Yemen
Alam Md. Mahmudul Bangladesh
Aleksenko Ilona Ukraine
Ali Neelam Pakistan
Ali Mohammad USA
Ali Maleehah Pakistan
Ally Salum Tanzania
Amadeo Desiree USA
Amanturlin Eldan Kazakhstan
Anyaduba Chigbo Nigeria
Araujo Bernardo Brazil
Arceo José Mexico
Basheer Jessim Oman
Boampong Michael Ghana
Borgogno Ezequiel Argentina
Bouazi Médard Kouao Cote d'Ivoire
Brum Masello Pablo Uruguay
Campos Josevaldo Brazil
Castillo Mendoza Javier Jesús Venezuela
Castrillon Riascos Javier Colombia
Castro Peña Libardo Colombia
Caviedes Torres Maria Camila Colombia
Chaparro Cabra Lubar Andres Colombia
Chiiko Darlington Zambia
Chikuku Kudakwashe Zimbabwe
Chiumia Pilira Malawi
Chukwudi Echeta Nigeria
Cowan Elizabeth USA
Crigan Nadejda Moldova
Dadivas Allain Philippines
Delgado Montes Mary Laura Peru
Dhanani Sabeen Pakistan
Dihayco Vida Luz Philippines
Dike Chiedozie Nigeria
Doshi Pratik India
Douvawi Monglo Blaise Togo
Duarte Bernal Diana Colombia
Duru Samuel Nigeria
Dziugys Stancheff Nicolás Uruguay
Edet Ekpo Nigeria
Edmund Byamukama Uganda
Ekenbarger Amy USA
Ekwuruke Henry Nigeria
Elhasbaoui Hind Morocco
Emralino Francis Philippines
Estrada Mariana Mexico
Fabo Ortega Josu Spain
Farooqui Arsalan Pakistan
Farouk Soha Canada
Fernández Mangones Adriana Patricia Colombia
Ficarelli Thomas Brazil
Fifield Kaitlin USA
Fleming Erin USA
Flores Escudero Andrés Ricardo Peru
Gabriel Mariel Philippines
Gafarou Myriam Canada
Galeano Chavez Raúl David Paraguay
Gasser Wesam USA
Gavric Igor Bosnia-Herzegovina
Gbodo Samuel Ghana
Gebremariam Abbay Ethiopia
Gervais Patrick Canada
Gregorio Alvin Clyde Philippines
Grosu Brindusa Romania
Guerassimova Lyuba Germany
Gulati Sahil USA
Gyeabour Kwasi Ghana
Hachhethu Subin Nepal
Himali Ashis Nepal
Hokou Hermann Cote d'Ivoire
Honvo Carmen Benin
Houella Nader Lebanon
Husna Asmaul Indonesia
Ibrahim Islam Egypt
Iha Marcelo Brazil
Iruemiobe Oluwatosin Nigeria
Johnson Erik USA
Kalandarov Hafiz Tajikistan
Kazimoto Tonny Tanzania
Khan Anas Pakistan
Kisenyi Julius Uganda
Korede Benedict Nigeria
Kpakpo Jephthah Ghana
Kuch Phearun Cambodia
Lartey Nicole Ghana
Lartey Foster Ghana
Laylo Aaron Philippines
Le Huyen Vietnam
Li Jing Canada
Lobo Rhea India
Lohani Sadichhya Nepal
Lohani Pranav Nepal
Lopez Freijido Delfina Argentina
Lozano Manuel Argentina
Lukwago Nakawuki Uganda
Lyakhova Elena Russian Federation
Machado Sara Brazil
Madjarova Margita Bulgaria
Maguo Kamdem Linda Cameroon
Manalo Jaime Iv Philippines
Manbor Joshua Chile
Martinez Serrano Octavio Ulises Mexico
Mbou Niamba Adan Gra
̂ce Dally Congo
Melebou Prenam Togo
Melo Leonardo Brazil
Mitra Ananya India
Mo Peng USA
Mohammed Saleh Mohammed Imran Singapore
Molina Garzon Adriana Colombia
Monakali Akhona South Africa
Morales Bianca Krishka Austria
Moreno Edgar Colombia
Mugisha Andrew Uganda
Munedzimwe Happiness Zimbabwe
Munteh Numfor Cameroon
Murillo Rayo Lady Tatiana Colombia
Musiwa Manyando Russian Federation
Musoke Elizabeth Kenya
Nacino Sharon Philippines
Nawa Peter Zambia
Nayak Abhishek India
Nazareth Ian India
Nelson Ana USA
Neo Candice Singapore
Neupane Rajiv Nepal
Ngo Duy Minh Vietnam
Niroula Aayush Nepal
Nkengfack Franklin Cameroon
Nugroho Katarina Indonesia
Obajeun Jonah Nigeria
Obiechina John Nigeria
Ogbinar Michel Onasis Philippines
Ogoti Neville Kenya
Okeke Chukwudi Nigeria
Okunuga Olabisi Nigeria
Ombatta Innocent Ukraine
Omid Safiullah Afghanistan
Orjuela Juan Colombia
Oshinuga Jesudamilare Nigeria
Otieno Juliet Kenya
Owiredu Kofi Ghana
Owolabi Taiwo Nigeria
Oyegoke Abiodun Nigeria
Pal Saptarshi India
Pandey Swagat Nepal
Panfilova Polina Russian Federation
Patiño Peña Sdenka Veronica Bolivia
Pedrozo Darlene Brasil
Perez Aparicio Mara Uruguay
Peter Irigoin Nathalie Uruguay
Phan Khang Singapore
Phan Sothea Cambodia
Phearun Kuch Cambodia
Phekani Ichiko Lesotho
Pingul Julie Ann Kay Philippines
Polite Sati USA
Pozo Buleje Erik Peru
Quinteros Alberca Desiree Peru
Rabemalanto Nathalie Malawi
Radu Lucia Romania
Rahman Nayyara Pakistan
Ramzan Ali Zahra Pakistan
Raymond Niyongere Burundi
Razente Bruno Brazil
Renie Rachel USA
Rodriguez Maria Colombia
Rodriguez-Ruiz Carlos Venezuela
Romero Tania USA
Rubio Yismelle Dominican Republic
Rudnicka Anna Poland
Safarova Vusala Azerbaijan
Safarovna Nigora Tajikistan
Sanchez Victor Venezuela
Sandoval Véliz Betzy Luz De María Guatemala
Sangare Ahmed Togo
Santos Davi Brazil
Saracho López Federico José Mexico
Sayer Mahmood Shah Afghanistan
Schneider Jessica USA
Schramm Sarah USA
Sebastian Thomas USA
Sedlakova Martina Czech Republic
Segonetso Ikanyeng Malaysia
Setlur Shubhang India
Sevciuc Iulia Moldova
Shahwe Chipo Zimbabwe
Shamirova Sofiya Kyrgyz
Siddiqui Fawad Pakistan
Silvanus Silvanus Nigeria
Simarmata Neng Indonesia
Socheat Chim Japan
Somannavar Apoorva India
Soto Santiago Uruguay
Stanley Amamu Ghana
Subbiah Chitra India
Sudarmanto Teguh Indonesia
Sultanova Sabina Azerbaijan
Sun Xiaopeng China
Sutarsa Nyoman Indonesia
Symonenko Illya Ukraine
Taher Ahmed Egypt
Takawira David Zimbabwe
Tambala Effie United Kingdom
Tourn Gastón Argentina
Unterstell Natalie Brazil
Vargas Bolívar Carlo Brando Peru
Vincent Akula Nigeria
Voragul Passaporn Thailand
Vujica Tanja Bosnia-Herzegovina
Wambua Geoffrey Kenya
Wang Harrison USA
Wang Mengting China
Wangari George Kenya
Wayar Noelia Argentina
Wells Michele USA
Welye Hamira Nigeria
Woleston Tamara Canada
Wong Zi Ying Singapore
Wu Yang China
Yangchen Nima Bhutan
Yates Elizabeth USA
Yusupova Navruza Uzbekistan
Zaharescu Loredana Romania
Zapana Vilca Dani Franklin Peru
Zheleva Mariya Bulgaria
Ziaolmolki Narjes Iran

Thursday, May 22, 2008

DEADliest DEADlines 2

Likhaan Journal 2008 Call for Submissions – May 31

Call for Pinoy Haiku by the Embsassy of Japan – June 12

The Anwarul Quadir Prize of 2008 Global Essay Contest for Bangladesh – June 30

2008 International Essay for Young People – June 30

ROMEO FORBES Story Writing Contest Winner

Congratulations are sent to Miss Eline Santos for her story “Doll Eyes” which won the prize for this year’s children story writing contest.

Friday, May 16, 2008

‘The Training’: A Recollection and Assessment

I should be traveling right now to office. Yeah, I know it’s a bit ironic to think of it because I always feel this certain resignation every time I go there. But now that I am off from that thing, I am now starting to miss it.
Just finished through one of the required trainings in life: the on-the-job-training. Yeehee! It was a mixture of feelings actually. One of expectation as I knew I have already finished the stuff I had to finish. And of surprise because I thought I am going to be released today. But no, here I am, still at the comfort of a makeshift bed and typing away my thoughts.
Learning-wise, I have learned a lot REALLY from doing things in that unit. I mean sometimes ‘to see is to believe’ is not a good principle I think. ‘TO EXPERIENCE IS TO BELIEVE’ is more applicable I daresay. And to enumerate…

One: that when you’re in the workplace, work is the only thing that you have to do, no add-ons or anything that may be considered extraneous. I’ve learned that at day one. Although not in its strictest sense, that is a thing that you have to maintain or to do every single day if you are vying for a higher position or if you just want to show-off to your boss.

Two: that an eight-hour of work is SUFFICIENT enough for one to learn something new in the workplace. If 8 hours would go by without you accomplishing or learning anything, it is indeed a day wasted.
Three: that there are indeed people who are workaholic, that there are workers who don’t mind domestic problems in the office and just go on with the work, and that there people who loves to make the workplace a play place. In short, you get to meet the people who have varying forms of perspective towards work. Work or play, one is bound to find a motivation for his or her work.

Four: that if you already have an output, just surrender it immediately so as to avoid being accused of laziness and other related sins, hehe.

Five: (and this is one of the best lessons indeed) that if an event is so hard and trying and you have overcome it, then that thing deserves to be called a CHALLENGE. But if you got out of that event fairly easy and you did not even feel any sort of hardship, I personally could not call it a challenge but a GAME. And it really feels good to know that you have such an accomplishment: overcoming challenges, that is. This where I have personally felt it necessary to call it ‘to experience is to believe’ which would pertain to certain sayings one usually reads at motivational books and stuff.

Six: And if you have done a good work and you were not complemented on it, just go on but if you were; then be happy. There is nothing more than having your hard works appreciated.

Yeah, I could feel that I could not really put down every single thing that goes into my mind right now about this experience. Perhaps every now and then I’d get to put it up in this blog.
Aside from work, I really enjoyed being with the company of international students, foreign interns, to whom I have dined with, talked with, and laughed with. There are lots of lessons tidbits that I got from them and I think talking with them gave me a broader view of what lies beyond the borders of this poor, corruption-stricken, and lonely country of ours. I would personally want to experience the way they are spending their time now, studying on different places and having to meet people, and know people and earn friends you would treasure for the rest of your life. I feel that this is beginning to sound quite childish but I really salute those people who brave unknown places for the sake of learning.’s back at the academe and I expect to finish this certain period of my life and give something back for this country of ours through the skills that I have acquired after all these studying periods. (Halo!)
(i'm gonna miss the free coffee and puto from tita zen and free milo from ate roselle and all the chikas when all things get so tiring, hay...)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

THE GRAIN HEADACHE: Musing on the Philippine Rice Crisis (Part IV)

Indeed a good break it was for me when our President GM Arroyo visited the International Research Institute. The visit concerned the signing of a certain memorandum between IRRI and the Department of Agriculture that aims to accelerate the rice production in the country in the face of the too-much-mentioned rice crisis. Well personally I believe it wasn’t just all for a show because the government should really act in response to the nation’s pressing problems. (One point plus.)
As usual, owing to the seeming inherent Filipino Time in each Pinoy, the President came a bit late of the appointed time. But all complains were extinguished when it was announced that she has finally arrived. I could not help but laugh when the audience kept on asking where the President was. Heck, what would you expect from a very short person? (Of course their view was being blocked by the taller guys all around her!) She was a number of feet away from us; viewing certain varieties of rice I know nothing of and then proceeded with the symbolic giving of the three new rice varieties to three farmers: 2 ladies and a man by the name of Diosdado.
After all these boring procedures the formal ceremony commenced with Dr. Ziegler, the Director General of IRRI, giving his opening message. His voice was really something; I mean I just felt that I was listening to a radio program. He thanked the Philippine government for the continued collaboration with their institute on rice research and production and helping each other out improve the lives of the farmers and with the present crisis do the necessary steps in overcoming this.
Then the DA Secretary manned the rostrum and talked of how well the Department has worked well in advancing the need of the agriculture sector, especially the things concerning rice. Well from him I learned that we are in fact producing more rice than the foremost rice exporter Thailand but left me wondering where in the name of the world are all our rice going if that is the case. Anyway, my mind drifted away as he seemed to me just explicating their past successes and mostly due to already searing heat.
Then came the memorandum signing with president witnessing it. After that? NOTHING. As in NOTHING. I was not quite surprised when I had the same reaction with the other people there. Why the president didn’t even give a speech or anything? I thought it quite awkward for her being there without even uttering a word, even of encouragement to the people to hold on or perhaps talk of the present steps the government is undertaking to overcome the crisis. Not even a simple hello? said friend of mine. Well, well, well. I was quite star-strucked at the time that I am just realizing all these things just now.
I shook hands with her mainly for the reason that I haven’t done that before although I have seen her for many times now (when she was still a vice-president wit her oh-so-beautiful car and when he was already a president following the overthrow of Erap from the position). I took pictures of her which I hope to put up here soon. But all these celebrity-type of dealings do not erase in me the contempt that I personally have about the cloud of legality of her present position and the issues haunting her departments and her tenure as a whole. Essentially none of them has been resolved yet and I think she better do something about it. It doesn’t mean that since it’s already nearing 2010, all things (pesticides stuffs, election fraud, foreign deals issues, etc.) will be forgotten just like that. Such a public office entails accountability to the people.

Photo Credit:

Women and Decency

Owing to the visit of Arroyo, certain changes were done in our workplace like the closure of the cafeterias. And I was quite dismayed when I had literally no place to eat to by 12 noon. I was beginning to feel regretful about ignoring the ginataang champorado of Tita Zeny that morning. (Could anyone blame me, a lactose intolerant?)
I was about to return to the office when I met Carlos again on the way up and relayed to him my plight. But he invited me to come over to the only cafeteria that was open at that time. Carlos is really one heck of a talkative guy and we went discussing food, rallies and demonstrations in Ecuador, governments and when were already on our seats munching our lunches, about bananas and the 101 ways of cooking them!
Topics varied until he told me of a PRESENT student from the University of the Philippines who said to him that ALL students from the university have in fact been involved in sexual acts and relationships. I vehemently disagreed with that statement and even Carlos agreed with me as he sees that Filipinas by nature are conservative.
I cannot actually put down the flow of our discussions as it actually popped up randomly and most of the time he relayed to me his past experiences and lessons learned from them.
The point is, he just laid bare right in front of me several of the precepts (for lack of a better term) that I decided to live by but consequently abandoned due to a number of disappointments and criticisms over them.
I agree with him that lessons need not be learned by committing mistakes, which sometimes prove to be so disappointing and shameful. Why not do the right things in the fist place?

(The women stuff)
Sometimes women became notorious for being easy-to-get (the kind of people you could easily take home from a bar and part with the next day with no hard feelings) and for being called “bad girls” as he termed it, not just because of not having been loved that much by their families but also by THE WAY MEN TREAT THEM. Perhaps the way men express (worldly) inter
est to those who have the seeming perfect curves and who show the most flesh compel these women to do things (often stupid things) that invite the tag ‘liberal’ to be put onto them. Add to that the blinding influence of the media who in reality give us the false ideas of what things are really beautiful or acceptable. Women, by virtue of their nature and men as well, oftentimes fall prey to these things.
I think it will come well if we treat them decently. I like the example Carlos gave. He said when someone would come and talk to him and seems to him decent enough to talk to, then he’ll deal with him like a human. But if the person is obviously trying to get his attention, perhaps showing off those parts that are ‘hers’, then he’ll just look up and look at her in the eyes - no more than that.
In this period where all values seem to get lost in the sea of materialism, liberalism and commercialism, it’s up to a person to uphold the ideals that he believes in. Minutes after that, as we walk back to the laboratory, things of the past flooded back into my memory and they pierced like new punctures of regret and shame. I came to the point where I have made the mistakes to learn my lessons. But as I always say, I’d just pick up the broken pieces of myself and proceed with life. And change of course.
If you chance upon this short narrative, I urge us to look at our women in different light. Maybe the bad sides of them are highlighted for now (the prostitution issues, sex slaves, etc.) but it would give each one of them a starting tinge light of hope if we change also. And perhaps with the help of the intended partners of women, we men, then we could actually give them back the appreciation that they deserve. The concept of women and decency isn’t a bad combination for all I know.

RACKETS aboard

Four cases, different stories:

Pretty old school: the salvation thing. Men are bound for hell without redemption from a true savior. The Savior came to die for all the sins of mankind. The message of salvation must be preached into the needs of the world and so we the unsuspecting passengers of the bus have to give some money. Without any complains whatsoever. Out came the brown envelopes. My action: I put in three 25 cents as I really don’t have any loose change in my pocket. But she did not ask for it later. Maybe she has forgotten it after all. I almost laughed when she coughed at the midst of her speech. I don’t know but there was something hilarious about that interruption.

Ingenious style. A man in semi-formal clothes handed out small pieces of paper containing a message. (See picture.) Then went on to show off his products. Well the people seemed to got along with his modus operandi as he seemed to had many sales. As for me, I did not buy any. I had no budge
t for such expediencies.

New one. A certain bus operation closed down because of the case filed against the owner. But upon the closure of the business, not an of the supposedly benefits for the employees was given back. And so they are asking for some help that the passengers can extend to them as they fight for what they think is due to them. Well I gave because I could relate to their difficulties. Panalo rin ang raket nila sa ibang pasahero.

Super old style. A member of a certain tribe in Sulu. And now he gave out envelopes asking for some help. Pure beggary. I did not give any. I have no money for such stupid and obvious advances to unsuspecting passengers like me. Besides, he seemed so strong enough to work for his money.

Just look at how poverty can move people to do weird things. (sighs)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Seeds of Discipline

Just recently I’ve became friends with a guy from Ecuador, a man by the name of Carlos. He is currently taking a masters study in a university from Germany and at present serves as an intern in the division in which I am currently undergoing training. The story of how he eventually end up in the country is quite long and so I would rather omit it for the sake of brevity and to help highlight my topic. There is danger if I am to divulge the events leading to our conversation (concerns time, he-he) and so let me proceed to one of the aspects of our talk that made a mark in me.

At first we were discussing studies and universities, how the concept of ‘professor’ differs from Philippines to the other such as Germany, to rice crisis and eventually to poverty. We both agreed that it seemed that rich countries are just doing the best they can right now to repay those nations whose riches and resources they had exploited in the past. Also, we both fell in the question of why, after all these years and the existence of numerous international organizations, a large chunk of the African and Asian continents are still in poverty. It was never explicitly mentioned between us, but it seemed to him that the choice was made either by these fake and puppet organizations or by the people themselves who are stricken by this evil poverty.

And so began the wandering of my mind and imagined that perhaps the fear that after all these poor nations arose from their dire conditions, they would eventually get better of these strong nation and eventually crush them. Don’t we see how some countries’ knees tremble as China rise now to power and influence? Most (W_ _ t _ rn) magazines and the like never fail to include events in the Chinese soil. I wonder why… (smugs)

Well that’s one thing. But what Carlos said later indeed etched itself in my memory. People choose to be in those conditions. A question began to form in me: and just how can you make these people go and fight the battle for survival and against poverty when they don’t even have the strength to go on because of hunger? Suddenly my mind hovered over the country just north of the Philippines, Japan. I thought hey, weren’t they devastated after the Second World War but where are they now? one of the best in the industrialization world, a far cry from the torn apart nation during the late 1940s.

Yeah, what he said contains a juice in it. I began to look inside and search for those things, plans, dreams, I have left rotting. Perhaps I chose not to fulfill them. I would agree that at some points earlier, I was made to believe that I already have no means of doing them and so I CHOSE not to pursue them at all.

In a country like the Philippines, where corruption is displayed without fears, there is a great need to create that solid resolve to end whatever thing that is needed to exterminate – corruption, poverty, rebellions, wars. Eventually I convinced myself that all things begin with a seed. And for this thing I imagined A SEED OF DISCIPLINE sown in each of the Filipinos.

From this they would START DOING THE RIGHT THINGS, however small, such as NOT SPITTING ON THE STREETS, FOLLOWING TRAFFIC RULES AND REGULATIONS, GETTING OFF THE DESIGNATED LOADING AND UNLOADING ZONE, and RESPECTING THOSE IN AUTHORITY AND THE ELDERS among other. Carlos termed the violations of such right things as CORRUPTION. (Imagine a ripe fruit having a small rotting part. This will eventually eat the thing and rip it apart.)

It is undeniable that we are a rotting nation. But for as long as there are still people who are more than willing to do something about the problems on the country (corruption, poverty etc.) the means would come handy, even if at first there seems to be nothing at all.

I personally do not want to come face to face with our forefathers who sacrificed a lot for the freedom of this country only to tell them that here we are, slaves to materialism, commercialism, and Western ideals; that we let corruption reside to the leaders; that we polluted all the natural resources; and that soon we will all going to kill the country along with ourselves and their memories.

We are wounded and mocked but we will battle on with the poverty and corruption and the vast array of problems confronting us. Lets the seeds of discipline be sown into each of us Filipinos. SHAME TO THOSE WHO HAVE RENOUNCED THEIR CITIZENSHIPS. From the shards of discrimination, the responsible, disciplined Filipinos would stand and actively fight for the glory of the Philippines.

THE GRAIN HEADACHE: Musing on the Philippine Rice Crisis (Part III)

Well, I was not able to put my thoughts on the current rice crisis in the country due numerous things I had to do, not to mention this training I am undergoing that consumes almost one-third of the hours of the day.

Anyway, for the past weeks I seemed to notice that I was back again in that disease in thinking, the thing I call the ‘boxed mindset’. In a nutshell, it is my behavior of thinking that involves just my immediate surroundings – describing things as they are and not realizing that it is just a part of a bigger scene that connects to the world.

That was the exactly the same thing with the rice crisis. Rice in IRRI blew up from 4 pesos to 6 pesos and I thought: heck, Philippine rice crisis seeping even into this international facility. But then as I’ve found, much to my surprise, it is but a panel in a one big picture of this crisis. It is a global thing that, no thanks to my shortsightedness, I unfortunately overlooked earlier.

Yeah, control over the export rice of several exporting countries is evident as I have mentioned before. The continued conversion of lands for commercial uses and industrialization is also there.

Care to see the extended end of this monster?

In some countries, increased demand in meat threatens the production of food in the form of grains. This would have severe impacts on the countries with that problem and at the same time in dire need of sustained food supply. Who haven’t heard of the ever-present poverty hovering over the people of Africa (I wonder why RICH AND HIGHLY INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIES can’t even made it a point to HELP END POVERTY, AS IN A PERIOD; AN END in such poor countries? That’s another thing I’d want to talk about.)
And add to that the problems related to weather and pests which effectively limits or even destroy good production of the needed food. One can already see in here the scope of the crisis that is now encompassing many countries, not just the Philippines. Ultimately of course, the decrease in rice stocks must have also made an impact.

This would lead us to what they call long term supply-and-demand imbalance which I’ve heard when Randy Barker from IRRI held his seminar there. Essentially, as he had put it: “We are eating more than we are producing.” How about that?: population increase at its best. And the Philippines is on the top list as they say that we are the country that eat rice three times and sometimes more in one day. (One can put this on the debate line though.)

Balance however can only be obtained with the necessary technologies that would increase, and I mean increase, the yield of rice production, utterly destroying the gap between the consumption and the production.

But the present head of IRRI mentioned the high-yielding rice variety being already introduced during the similar crisis in the 70’s. He speculated that perhaps GOVERNMENTS BECAME TOO MUCH AT EASE because of this and only in these times we are experiencing the effects of such neglect.

You see, there is more to just blaming our government. But that does not exclude them from the blame of course. Perhaps the perfect harmony among the factors – farmers, lands, scientists, governments – should be strengthened today more than any time of the year. I personally believe that upheavals would be inevitable if people were thrown into the false thinking that food would be in shortage very soon. I personally anticipate civil wars (for reasons I would not discuss) but not for such a reason. Food? Heck, that is so shameful to the government and to the people who let themselves be in such state.

I would not want to be in that state soon and perhaps for the rest of my life. There may be trying times such as his. But if there are necessary steps already identified to crush down the crisis, why don’t we harmonize and do them NOW?

Ok, activism may be blurred for now, but I personally expect the government to lay down the policies in actualities, and I mean policies that would be felt all over the country, from the high-rise buildings in Manila to the rural people in the provinces.

Photo Credits:

The Aftermath: Summer Slam 8 Recollection

[Four years ago, it was described as quite similar to a civil war. I haven’t believed that statement by Vernon Go ‘til Forever came. With blue bottles of differences shapes and sizes, there came an internal warfare – for fun and love of pure music…It is a specter that one attendee should never miss, never.]

The crowd is a lot calmer now, as compared to the past slams. And although the place has been essentially filled, the actual arrival of the attendees went a little late. There was a subtle element of fear and intention for peace. Indeed there was for the whole duration.

The usual freebies: beer, pizza, shirt discount, and Pepsi. But hey now, they included a Smart SIM and a raffle for a trip for two to Boracay with the band I am going to mention later. Well not bad for the 220 damage.

To start things up, there were Concrete Sam, April Morning Skies, Faspitch, and Manibela rocking out. Nice voices with essentially the same tonality but different drives in their music. (The Faspitch vocals seemed quite a celebrity-looking guy.)
Too bad for 6 Cycle Mind, the crowd was quite uncomfortable with them being on stage. And so they just had to put a show on those three quickie songs without bothering to connect to the crowd. (“..kapit sa patalim…”)
Oremuz reminded me of Evanescence if not only for the presence of that growling girl. Nice music, nice keyboards, but seemed to me a bit monotonous. Same notes, same chords. Achoo!
Rex is a show! Yeah, the music has the groove and style but one could only be moved by the oh-so big boobs of the vocalist. I’m not familiar with them, not even heard of their music before but sure they would haul lots of guy fans. Freebies are the best and they had it – shirts, stickers, etc. – although I was just able to get a curt pin with the band’s name on it.
New sound! Saw Gayuma for the first time after several thousand times of hearing them at NU, an exaggeration of course. (Hari ka ng inyong mundo…)
Well, talk of freebies, I think one of the things that made the Slam memorable was when Jumping Jacks gave one of their guitars on the crowd. (HOW I WISH I WAS IN FRONT!) They kept on saying that they’re gonna give one of the guitar for the one who would rock out the most and I thought that was just their way of arousing the people. And guess what, the guitar indeed went pass the protective net of the stage into the hands of one of the kids there. Wowowee!
Kamikazee is sure to put up a gag show anywhere they appear. Talk about making fun of Piolo (with him in the beach?) and of Champ of course, their favorite (“...muka kang tutubi…”) Four songs and the sea of people just went wild with it. Cheers to the clowns!
Basically King Lychee ( and Piledriver ( are into the same theme: unity and brotherhood. And it was so nice seeing Piledriver raise the torch of Laguna hardcore! The songs they performed reminded me of those times on that small Lumban rooftop and Cabuyao bar. =)
Thanks for the KL EP although I have already downloaded it from the internet. A good souvenir for SS8 (I practically went in front just to have that).
Typecast? Yeah emo rules, hehe. Same tricks but with the added beauty with the view of that nice white guitar and Wah pedals, definitely new flavors in these tears-driven music of emotions.
Cool Pedicab, although some of parts of crowd seemed to put no attention at all to their oh so cool gadgets making all those cute assortment of sound effects one can usually hear in old school computer games. Whhheeeeeessssshhhh! Said a sound effect. One of the fx guys was definitely Raimund but the other one? I dunno. Seemed to me that it was Ebe. I could only guess. =)
There was a bit of bad taste in the performance of Sandwich, something I haven’t seen from their earlier performances. I wonder where Irene was. And is the tattoo on Raimund’s the left arm for real? Sorry, I am not quite familiar. But beautiful Pin-up Girls bassist. =) (looked like Aya).
Define chilling out! Moonstar88 did just that. At least the novices in front had the heart to respect a woman in front. Well, well, well. Love songs indeed cut through all ages. As they hit Torete, almost all sang with it, with all the feelings and stuff. =) (I miss Acel though when she last there last at SS4.)
First time to see Kjwan and Marc scrap away the guitars. I like his choreo and the liveliness of their performance. Natural, from within so to speak. I wonder if the guitarist is the one seen in the music video of their song Daliri.

Cool, cool, cool Intolerant performance. With Vernon (I doubted it was him at first) the first song looked like a party. (Ogie look-alike? Hehe. Just kiddin’ EIC.) And hey how could one forget the fire displays? You don’t see that much here and so it was great to have witnessed it again.
I really don’t know why Urbandub’s music ( is so soothing in my whole being. Although I’ve watched them a number of times (the first time beside Reg Rubio wahoo!), they seemed all different and fresh. And hey Miss L, nice new hair cut and wireless bass guitar! So you get to go around the stage much now, eh? And cuter I think. (But you did not approve my Friendster request! Ggggrr.) Try and have a sip of music that’s doped with themes of love, hope, hopelessness, and night thoughts. Bow to the night sky!
Slapshock has the strength in its own respect. Take that with their power to move the people at watch. Although not already a prolific listener as was before, it’s still a good reminded of past musical tastes and influences.
Queso ( is one curious and serious show. With four familiar songs, it still compelled the awed watchers to head-bang. And talk about Ian jumping into the crowd! Whatta man he is indeed. It’s kind of a miracle that he doesn’t get his boners crushed. (Watch his UP Diliman Feb Fair 08 vid in YouTube ( where he fell off the stage and seemed not hurt at all. Ganja power mah man!)
I was bit quite turned off by the way Mahatma acted on stage. They seemed a bit bored and conscious. They were like staring at each other whenever there’s a technicality. But, but, but, technically, their music is solid, especially their drums. Heck, I found myself staring to their drummer, jaws dropped literally. One can feel the vibe of BS2 (a cable channel with Korean musicians) right in front you as you could sense the technical mastery of their respective instruments. Sad though that I did not understand any of their lyrics. At least I was able to hear the title of one of their songs “Violence” amidst the concoction of roars of the people, both of sarcasm and enthusiasm. Trivia: The first thing that you would notice from this band is that they look like much the boy band who stormed the country 5 years ago, from Taiwan. (Oh baby baby baby, my baby baby, haha!)
Well it’s pretty hard going over the performances of all the bands and perhaps one would be pretty much contented at saying, SEE FOR YOURSELF. And this I can say of Darkest Hour ( A professional in dealing with people, they have managed well the posers and kids in front. Hell was the word as their sound (was it noise?) almost ripped my ears! But it’s one thing that one should be anticipated from such bands: all loud and wild! And hey, cool cool drummer! Parang kumakain lang ng mani ah! (I wonder who went with them to Boracay last Tuesday?)
“Buhayin nation ‘to!” said Reg Rubio of Greyhoundz ( as people seemed to lack the energy as they pulled out they first song. Doble Kara made it successfully as hands and sweats and body odors mixed well with the music. And hey hey hey! It gave me the goose bumps as they performed one of the first songs I’ve heard from their album, Puppet and Clown and it was truly evil! Darn song, so soothing to the angst-full spirit! And to top it all up the guys just went wild for Apoy…which reminded me of Allen more than any other person. (I thought they were still setting up his guitar at every performance. Where was it? I didn’t see it.)
Practically after the Houndz, I’ve heard no more of the music, so to speak. I think COG and SIN played and that band from Cavite whose name I really don’t recall. All metal made it to the stage. Funny though, I think I haven’t seen Chicosci and VOC on stage. Were they out for some other gig? I wonder. (Vampires,eh? Hahahahaha.)
My consciousness was finally extinguished along with the music of End of Man in my ears.
Much thanks to my partner in crime; more than just a patient resource. Bow!