Sunday, June 29, 2008

Philippines Rising!

Pambansang Kamao Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao has once again wowed every corner of the globe with his new belt, the WBC Lightweight Title, which he has just snatched from “Dangerous” David Diaz after the action-packed eight rounds of their fight.

And I can confidently say that each one of us Filipinos has this parcel of pride, having once again proved to the rest of the world that within this archipelago are people who are capable of making the most of of their talents.

Beyond the skyrocketing of his career, he actually did not forget the plight of his fellow Filipinos who have just went to a hardship, no thanks to the typhoon Frank. He even promised to visit those displaced people and help them.

In agreement to what Saul Alinksy said that a 'particular' means justify a 'particular' end, I am now in a state of joy that at least in the realms of sports, Filipinos get together to wave one flag – our bandila – and shout out as one, as one nation. If this could be the fuel to catapult the genuine unity of all Filipinos that some any of us has hoped for and sought for, then why would one not gladly nourish it?

I know there are still a lot of problems we are facing – high electricity prices, rice crisis, oil price hikes and a whole lot of other “hikes” – there is at least since a glimpse of hope what many of the Filipinos now achieve. From there one could actually take inspiration and build his own work for the sake of the country. I know it's pretty much difficult to be a hardcore nationalist in the face of trying times but we all need to put time in achieving something for the country; be i
t unity, solidarity if one permits to call it that, or freedom from the problems enslaving us.

The country needs genuine people who have genuine pakialam for it. It needs love, not fake attention. I am personally proud of these people who make it big in other parts of the world and yet not forget for a moment their roots, their being a Filipino, inside and out.

Sorry na lang sa mga nagtangka nang buharin ang kanilang pagka-Pilipino! (ggrrr!)

If they envisioned a dark future for the Philippines, then don't they dare step into the soil of this land when it will finally reap the fruits of the labors given by its people who have genuine care for it. (Do read this honest Young Blood article: "Race and Destination”).

I am proud that despite being a wounded and corruption-plagued country, we still carry our name: “Filipino”.
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Photo credits:

Monday, June 23, 2008

FRANKenstein: The FRANK Typhoon Aftermath

FRANKly, I feel more than glad that the recent storm named FRANK has finally got off the Philippine territory. No more lives to be sacrificed to its wrath and no more possessions to be wasted away. But FRANKly, I did not like the way he left us with a sunken ship (or is it a ferry?) and a bunch of dead and injured people. Kalikasan nga naman!

And I never ever realized the danger that unsafe ships (or ferries) pose until the sinking of MV Princess of the Stars. I've started traveling by sea in third year high school (to Marinduque) and been doing it since then and have always find it so amusing and relaxing. Never did it occur to me the idea of malfunctioning engines, busted pipelines, or anything that would lead to a disaster. Pooff! Another blind dream broken for me.

I watched the interview of a certain undersecretary connected with the authority and it seemed that there is a problem with regards to where the blame should be put on.

Storm Signal Number 1: in this case the shipping lines are still in control of the decision in allowing a ship to make its voyage or not. For the Storm Signal Number 2 and beyond it would be in the discretion of the Philippine Coast Guard.

Ah..the alarm raised during the scheduled trip of the MV Princess of the Stars? The fateful Signal Number 1...

And so now rescue (or possibly retrieval) operations are now underway. I just personally hope that the dead would not rise beyond what's reported already. Imagine 800+ people plunging together into the storm-sacked sea. Not to mention the babies aboard! Brr. Gives me the goosebumps. In the end of disasters, we would always want to hope for the best and let the culprits be punished accordingly. Especially to this one. Hmp!

I find it weird that the name of the sunken ship (or ferry, whatever it's supposed to be called) is Princess of the Stars. Is it perhaps that the ship was destined to carry those (yet to be found) babies into the stars, like a princess fond of those innocent little beings? Funny.

I could bet that there weren't any stars for those babies to marvel before they ascend to the heavens.

Photo Credits:


Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Southern Affairs

I woke up with the ringing of the cellphone alarm...
7:30 am.
Laguna Day.
Acad Holiday.
But has a meeting to attend to...only to decide to cancel it as we will not reach quorum after all.
So I went down to relieve myself of the bodily fluids I earned during the night and proceeded to the daily dose of pan de sal, dairy cream and coffee trio breakfast. And turned to the TV for the news that...

Ces Drilon and company are already freed and are now in Medical City for check-up. A little shaken, bruised here and there but they seemed intact from the video footages. A relief indeed for the ABS, their families, and the people of Indanan as the crisis is finally over. But the town's mayor and son was soon arrested, the news said, for being the prime suspects in the abduction. And so my mind soon wandered as I felt the issue is bound to continue for the next few days, perhaps weeks. No need to bother myself with too much details on the subject today.

As I tried to enjoy the morning silence (despite the worry that the water will soon run out which our local water district announce will happen), I cannot help but think of the present situations again in the country. Here is relative peace, in a city tucked between mountain in Luzon. But down in the south, just a plane ride away, is all but horror, fellows Filipinos kidnapping unsuspecting Filipino journalists for money. Reports say that kidnappings in Mindanao usually concern religion or politics. But this last one was purely on matters of money.

Perhaps it will be a personal requirement for me to go have a direct look at how the events unfold now in this war-torn island in the south. And so correct (perhaps erase) my opinion on the people's states of affairs there: that their religious culture (if ever there is such a term!) seems to wreak only division and misery to our kababayan there, making their body of beliefs only as an excuse to put forward their respective ideologies or precepts and (personal) aims. No wonder I've heard so many people pray for peace on the island.

It took a somewhat personal to
uch to get a feel of Mindanao's plight (my mother have been with Ces once in a resort where she used to work) and the REAL risk people have to take for the sake of money, work, family, public service, country. The idea is cool: that life is indeed a form comprised of people's actions. But most of the time reality comes a long way off the life that we have idealized, considering the the things happening in our surrounding. I leave the responsibilities to the local officials and the government there to at least keep the southern lands safe for their children.

Photo credit:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Costume Connection

[I can relate to what Einstein said once: that he loved traveling, but hated arriving. Indeed you get to experience different things in travels – from the hilarious ones, to the harrowing (yeah, I still haven't recovered from that Laglag Barya Gang encounter), to the most memorable ones. This recent one left me quite confused on the issues of travels and judgments.]

To reach the university would require passing by these two towns, Calauan and Ba'i (hehe, the original name). I boarded a jeepney from the terminal on this particular afternoon to go there. Though full when we left, almost half of the passengers dropped off already in Calauan which inevitable led to one thing...staying for awhile in one of the loading zones there to pick up some passengers.

I wasn't in a hurry at that time and so chose to just be as relaxed as I could possibly be (being a self-confessed choleric, hehe). It was at that moment that this man in ragged costume composed of what looked like an old black jacket and maong pants boarded the vehicle. He sat next to me and so I moved a distance away, purely for “cleanliness” purposes.

Then an old man in glasses opposite the dirty guy signaled to the driver, using his right hand to trace out a circle on the side of his head. “May lukong sumakay,” he meant. So the driver promptly returned the vagrant's fare and asked him to step off the jeep. The man stayed on his seat.

Upon further insistence of the driver, the man grew angry and snapped, Iderecho mu na, may nag-be-brainwash lang sa 'yo! Iderecho mo na!” (And from the way he talked, he didn't seem to me the ordinary type of wanderer, he seemed to me like a learned man.) To add to the drama, one of the passengers was in fact has handicap and upon realizing the scene, butted in: “Ayaw nya sa 'yo!” Then proceeded to let out a sarcastic laugh.

Feeling it was hopeless to argue, he finally stepped off, a seeming triumph for the spectacled old man.

It gave me a disconcerting question: "What would happen to me if ever I find myself in such a situation, when I would be in dirty clothes but had to board a public transport like a jeep? Would the people shove me away just like what they did to the man?"

(Sighs). It just left me wondering how far now has “judgment by apperance” affected (or perhaps destroyed) the lives of some (perhaps a multitude) of people.
Photo Credit:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Morning Moments of a Budding Teacher

[There is sometimes beauty in some of the smallest details in life – some of which we don’t really appreciate unless we put our attention to them…]

1. Before five-thirty, everyone would be awakened by the alarm clock set on the cellphone (which would be usually issuing “battery low” message already).

2. You would then try to have a view of her as she goes up to fix the things on her side of the bed.

3. You have almost dropped off to sleep again when the noise of the water (ice cold no doubt) rushing out of the recently-fixed water faucet, just two doors away, distracts you.

4. The door of the room would then creak with all its might to let you see the newly-bathed already on an after-bath costume. As a new towel is not available yet, she would just use a small (face?) towel just to dry the hair that already smells of the usual shampoo with conditioner on the bathroom.

5. Then rush to the stove to heat some water for the coffee. With the Gardenia Pan de Sal already set on the table, partnered with Lady’s Choice Mayonnaise (2-in1?), the only problem would just be how much of the water is to be poured on the cups – half-filled or all the way to the brim? (Milo of course for the Beauty and the usual 3-in-1 coffee for the Monster.)

6. Morning jokes over breakfast. Sips from the cups, sharing of the palaman. Then…

7. Rush to the makeshift bed, flattening the blankets to be used as the platform for the ironing! Which slacks must be worn, which slacks? And off to the silly jokes about wearing the wrong attire for the day.

8. And the never-ending make-up process….and the lotions…and everything.

9. Appliances out of the outlets? Check. Windows? Check. Lights? Check. Ok.

10. Then off to a very beautiful morning where you could actually inhale fresh morning air, enjoy the still not-too-noisy street and the buzz of the children all going to the same place - the school.

11. With tender adieus, life will now move for the life of a new teacher…

[And sometimes…life’s cool lessons are often caught in those beautiful mornings..]

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Family

Just a few days ago I found myself still in the busy city of Calamba late in the night. I haven’t really noticed the metropolis’ activities until now, when I narrowly survived a gang of thieves during one of my travels.

As I was encircling this big block at the center of Crossing-Calamba to catch a jeepney home, certain red hues caught my attention. Even though this main street does not have adequate lighting, I easily recognized that those red colors belong to activists’ banners. They have made a small headquarters beside the thoroughfare using coconut lumbers and used their banners as the walls. I knew there were people inside because from one of the areas where there was no banner ‘wall’ I could see a small fire burning coming from a small stove – a kalan.

That made me proud and jealous of this people: proud because they are fellow Filipinos who chose to bring their respective fights for freedom, injustice etc. to the streets full time, and jealous because I have always wanted to fearlessly voice my sentiments just like what they are doing. But then as I continued to walk, a shaking question exploded into my mind out of nowhere.

Suddenly those street children fighting on the road seemed too distant…

And the concoction of vehicle noises and the buzz of the night people abruptly faded into the background of my already-inquiring mind…

What if I have found myself in the company of these young activists and these rally veterans? Would I really hold on to what we would be doing or just go home and brood in a corner?

I cannot really make any judgment on how they view the concept of fighting for the people’s rights or for asking what they deserve but were unmindfully taken away from them. Certainly they have their own grounds for going out and raging against the corruption in the country (or should I say in the government?).

I do hope that they succeed with the means they chose and to me who chose to educate myself and use it in return for the country. I do not, in any way, feel detached from them. Despite the road that separated me from their headquarters, I know I am part of that big circle, of those who acquired such fervent desire to make an impact to the society and perhaps change to the state we are in right now.

Photo credits: /

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Filipino Carol

I felt a bit awkward reading “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens primarily because it is still high summer (no thanks to the temperature). Reading the literary piece arose from realizing that I have downloaded so many free e-books from the internet (prior to discovering Project Gutenberg) but I don’t find the time to read them.

The story can really hook you up. It is about an archetypal bad guy – serious, choleric, ‘children-hater’ – who was visited by the ghost of his long-dead business partner and informed him of the coming of three more spirits. And soon I found out that these spirits were of the Past, Present, and Of the Things to Happen (of the Future for simplicity). These three allowed our main character see his past – how he once enjoyed the coming of the Christmas, see the present – how many people loathe him and even consider him an animal, and his future – dead; forgotten by the people.

He soon realizes his bad treatment to people and after waking from the seeming bad dream of his, he made it a point to reverse all those things. The story ends seeing him having a good time with his clerk.

What if chance allow the same thing to happen to the one with the highest power in our government? Perhaps a Filipino version of the Spirit of the Past (Multo ng Nakaraan) would take this ‘person’ to her (ahem) past and make her feel again the joy of being happy in a land that is free from oppression.

And then a Filipino version of the Spirit of the Present (Multo ng Kasalukuyan) who would let her see how much of the Filipino people are in dire condition – living below that ominous poverty line, and eating below the usual three meals, and finding no suitable employment for them – and let her hear, nearer to her ears this time, the angry shouts of the poor people agonizing over the oppression of the landlords of those vast haciendas, as well as those of the students who have found themselves now trapped between tuition fee hikes and fare hikes (I know, she allowed a certain law or something akin to that which temporarily holds tuition fee increase, but it is already the start of the classes; hello!? they have most probably paid the fees already).

Lastly, the Spirit of the Future (Multo ng Hinaharap) who I really hope would let her see if the people would genuinely join hands together and fight against corruption up to its bloody end (I am in the belief it is going to be bloody) and give her a vision of the future – dead and forgotten by the people her government has abused.

I see that it is kind of funny wishing corruption will be over now in the country. It has been a bitter fight, it is still a bitter fight, and it will be a bitter fight for those who would soon fight against it.

I may not fully understand still the things that Engels and Marx say, but for as long as I see Filipinos who have the world at the palm of their hands but do not mind having those fellow Filipinos suffer in the hands of those corrupt authorities, I don’t think I would put so much confidence in a bright future for all of us.

If those in power take the lead in doing the wrong things, how can we expect the whole team (the government) to follow the ‘right path’? Perhaps the answer would be to do our own thing?

I don’t think so.

I like Chaos Theory (the one connected with physics) but I am not inclined to find joy in the chaos that would ensue if we mind our own businesses. This country needs the cooperation of its people.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Which Color Kaya?

So now, I have decided to make a small change in this bloglife of mine
(if one can call it a life,hehe).

I'm trying to figure what would be the best color to use
in exchange for the black one.

This is to differentiate the entries from the news, bulletins etc.
on the left side of this page.

This is just a trial. =)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Nalaglag Barya ko; Wallet mo, Amin na To! (A Laglag Barya Gang Experience)

I was off to fulfill my last obligation for my training in a certain research institution and I personally felt it nnecessary. But then, as have always been the case, one can never say No to the boss (Yes boss, I’ll be there, no problem!).

And so I boarded a jeepney just like always. I now had a book by N.V.M. Gonzales (Grammar of Dreams) to keep me company for the travel. Also I felt it was unnecessary since for the past days I have managed to travel to and fro without getting too much bored. In fact it seemed that I am no longer used to reading while traveling because it gave me quite a headache.

But since I eventually got hooked up with the story of Layas (read the book! You won’t regret it!) I decided to finish it. We just passed UP Open University and I could say that we were around the place where there were a number of roadside vendor of buko juice, kropek, etc. when a big man in polo got it. He had an equally big bag pack and was drinking his buko juice.

As to the scene inside the jeep: I was on the left side and was second to the last and there a big space to my left. But this big man shoved me to the left and so I ended up being third to the last and he second. Just then a second man, a young man, got in and sat just opposite me. Then another man just got in again and sat beside the young man. And another one got in again who idled at the jeep’s tail for some time but eventually sat beside the big man. And so I ended up being fourth to the last.

Up to that time I was concentrating on my book but this young man opposite me started looking for something below my seat! I was quite annoyed because he kept pushing my legs to one side while he was looking underneath. What’s more annoying about that thing is that I didn’t remember anything falling under me. If there was, I’d surely notice it. But hey, this young man just seemed so determined to find what he was looking, if there really was any. Just then, the most surprising thing happened. I felt my wallet moved! And I looked to find a hand slowly pulling away from my wallet (the big man’s) and so my wallet was left half pulled out from my right pocket.

Have you ever felt the sensation when you get to solve a difficult mathematical problem? As if every thing in the world comes to you in full bright light? I in fact felt that right at that moment! Man, my wallet was being stolen by the Laglag Barya Gang! Having realized that, I immediately put my wallet in my pouch bag and this young man stopped pretending (ggrrrr). I then felt a punch in my face – the kind of punch that is not really intended but definitely shook my face. I can never forget that! And no thanks to that big man! “Kitang hinahanap ‘yung pamasahe eh!” commented the big man, obviously referring to my hesitation to the pushing of my legs. And then the big man and his now obvious accomplice to the right switched positions. Heck, they will try another attack. Whatever it was, direct assault or the same trick or whatever, I had no plans of seeing it. And so I abruptly shouted, “Para!” and just got off the jeep. I was a bit shaky but was quite proud of myself for getting away from those crooks clean. I just had to suffer the walk to the corner leading to our university which was about a kilometer, perhaps more. I just had to do it as I was not really in the mood to board again another jeepney! Whew. It was a small-time triumph for me and a big lesson punch for me to be more careful. I really haven’t experience anything of that sort in my four years of stay in the university and I realized it was not a guarantee that it will not happen to me in the future. Whew talaga!

I boarded a jeep home feeling a bit uncomfortable but certainly more alert than ever! What a country! I cannot disown my place of origin because it’s not actually different from other countries. They also have such things and sometimes even worse.

Maybe the good thing about the semi-harrowing experience is to put solidly in our minds that trust indeed is a valuable thing to give away easily to people, even to fellow Filipinos. Although I have become keener now on issues of poverty, I cannot really say that poverty is their driving force. Some people are just flat crooks! And worse, of criminal minds. And in this world that’s becoming more and more crowded and complicated, one should really expect bumping into such people. I was wrong in discarding their presence in the past. But not now. We just hope that the law will soon catch up to them and sip the punishment deserving of them.

Ingat Pipol!