Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Necessary Spark

“… A single spark can start a spectral fire!”

- (defunct) At the Drive-In -

A few days from now, we Filipinos (assuming that most of us still have that thing they call “sense of history”) will be celebrating the birth of one of our heroes, Andres Bonifacio.

Bonifacio, or Supremo as he is commonly referred to in history books, is known to us as the founder of the revolutionary group KKK (not to be confused of course with the secret society from the US) which fought against the oppressions of the Spanish colonizers.Many stories have been told about him – his early life as a vendor, the issue of him being a member of the middle class, his rage over Tirona’s objection on the Tejeros meeting, and the often-mentioned comparison between him and Aguinaldo (see my entry about Aguinaldo here: "Uncovering Real Philippine History Details..."). In one way or another, he was destined to make his mark in our history.

Let us do away with the incompetence in battles that is always associated with him; the only point I have to make here is that history would be entirety different if KKK was not founded on that fateful 1896. I have always appreciated people who initiate new things, even if he or she would not live to see the fruits. Certainly, he did not see the outcome of the revolution he conceived and actually started, but the spark he made in fact grew into a wild fire that spread through the country battling against the oppression.

He may not be our National Hero today (which I would not contest anymore after attending PI 100 class) but it is only to him that I would attach a unique title – the Necessary Spark.

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Listen to a radio show program about Bonifacio. Visit

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Illusion of the Mysterious Stranger

[I’ve reread a number of books on my makeshift bookshelf which I discovered are related to the philosophical movement I am quite interest with today. Although this story which I am to talk about is pretty much a work of fiction, it nevertheless gave me a chance to connect a previous entry and that philosophical movement with what the story is talking about.]

The first things that come into my mind when Mark Twain is mentioned are of course the adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. I could still remember when I used to dig in that thick Tom Sawyer book in our elementary school library and was really having a hard time reading it because of the unfamiliar English words.
It was only during my sophomore year in college when I sort of “rediscovered” Twain. Armed with a substantial amount of money thanks to a scholarship, I made my debut to the Manila International Book Fair (achoo!) and bought a ‘box set’ of Twain. In there I found one of the stories that surpassed my awe of Tom Sawyer’s adventures.

The story is entitled The Mysterious Stranger, a narration of a certain man recalling his boyhood in a town in the middle of (sleeping) Austria, Eseldorf. He was particular in relaying the events concerning the visit of a certain youthful stranger by the name of Satan – an angel from heaven.

The story proceeded with describing the remarkable things that Satan could do, even to the point of changing the lives of the people of Eseldorf – shortening their lives or suffering, relieving them of heavyheartedness, among other. For the whole stretch of the story the narrator, Theodor, was able to follow the workings of this attractive angel.

In the end Satan finally bade good bye to Theodor as he has to attend to some other work in another corner of the universe (take note, not world but universe). It was at these last pages of the story that Satan sort of revealed to Theodor that all of the things that he has experienced, seen, or heard are but only illusions. He himself and even Theodor are but illusions. I could only imagine the swift change in the feelings of the innocent Theodor from that “vague, dim, but blessed and hopeful feeling”* to the “great hope that was struggling”* in him.

Whether or not Twain derived the parting words of Satan from his own beliefs, it does not really matter; although I have a growing suspicion that it was, since the story is described as “a monument to the misanthropy and pessimism of his later years”* and “Twain’s grim views of God, man and the universe”*.

The point is that I don’t find it surprising to know that there are people who believe in divine providence, as if it is as common as the clouds I see outside my window each morning. But I found it really electrifying (believe me, that adjective is not enough to describe what I felt) to read the very things I’ve thought already, as if we were of the same mind. Now don’t take this as if I could have written Mysterious Stranger myself. I am concerned with the gist of the story – that pessimism in the seeming orderly world which have been inculcated to me (I would avoid using the word “us” here).

I find it more meaningful to take note of that dream-like character of our existence – a race which conceived of a god from whom emanates rays of questions and contradictions instead of light and wisdom – rather than accept them as they are. I gain a greater sense of freedom and knowledge of myself in trying to ask about the things about the life, the world in which I found myself…and I become much more human.//

“Strange, indeed, that you should not have suspected that your universe and its contents were only dreams, visions, fiction! Strange, because they are so frankly and hysterically insane – like all dreams; a God who could make good children as easily as bad, yet preferred to make bad ones; who could have made every one of them happy, yet never made a single happy one;…;who created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man’s acts upon man, instead of honorable placing it where it belongs, upon himself; and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites this poor, abused slave to worship him!...”

*Twain, Mark (Samuel Langhorne Clemens). The Mysterious Stranger and Other Stories – Unabridged. New York: Dover Publications, 1992.
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Congratulations Nuevo Maestros y Maestras!

Be proud you are a teacher, the future depends on you.
-Ricardo T. Gloria

Who would not recall this quote that decorated our elementary school walls? This, to a certain extent, proves to be an outstanding truth. One only has to ask people who have taken the stormy path of the education curriculum (I could still recall the overnight works of my mother). And perhaps to get a clearer picture, ask teachers to a drink and coax them into telling the hardships of speaking all day to hundreds of students or so and inhaling a thousand chalk particles. I do believe it takes a full heart and a lot of guts to man the classrooms.

And so I hai
l our new teachers, those who have just passed the recently-concluded licensure examination. You deserve the honor and glory of assuming one of the most dignified professions of the world.

Congratulations to you Bleysz, Dex, Jheycee, Leah, Sugar!

(I do hope that I will live to witness the salvation of the poor conditions of the education system of the country. Sec Lapus? have all the chances of entering the history.)*puffs cigarette*

Pa-pizza, pa-inom naman kayo! Woo!

See for the complete lists.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The McObama Deal

My momma always said, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."'

- Forrest Gump

I personally do not care with the way the American government moves its arms across the globe to extend its imperialist aims but I am making a short note here on what seems like a turning moment for these white guys.
We’ve been bombarded of its story on the newspapers and on the internet (any frequent Yahoo! user would definitely notice the polls on their site): the US Presidential Elections 2008.
This coming event would make their people hold on to their seats as a White and a Black battle for the Oval Office seat. Even at this moment, when the election is just a few days away, they are still plying the states to win the votes of the people. Obama, the black guy, seems in the lead of this office race but the McCain camp says otherwise. We’ll see, we’ll see, in the marked day of November the Fourth.
As to why I labeled it a turning moment, well in the event Obama wins, that would be at least a triumph for the earlier people there that fought during the dark times of discrimination and disregard on some of its people. A modest reader would definitely recall the struggle of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement. A serious history lover would then make mention of Freedom Riders, and perhaps the story behind United Farm Workers, and the San Francisco Ethnic Strike, among other.
All the lights seem to fall down now on this black guy. Accounts say the other is more competitive for the post but well, whoever wins the office would definitely face a mammoth task of changing the face of his country marred with issues of imperialism (gggrrrr!), wars and occupations (darn, not new) and economic crisis (hmm).
The Superpower will get its Tuesday makeover. (Laughs)

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