Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ire

We, young people, are sometimes held back when we propose something. Too young for us to decide on things, they say, we still have a long way to go. But there are times when others fail to see that they don’t really know anything about other things. I hope they realize that.

Age doesn’t necessarily equate to knowledge. And wisdom for that matter.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ocho Cincuenta: The Philippines’ Flight towards Higher Fare

The term in the title should have been ‘plight’ which would have described the reality more accurately: that the fare hike is one of the devastator events in our time. And by simply thinking of it, one pulls in a constellation of events and people who or which, in one way or another, contributed to this additional headache to the Filipinos.

A fifty-cent increase in fare doesn’t seem much. But in extending this to long trips, additional fare will surely cut deeper into our pockets and budget. It would be foolish to compare the fare that we have at this very moment to the ones we had before because the conditions were different – different world market oil prices, different peso value, and different political atmosphere, among others. But one can’t help but wish that ‘sana katulad na lang ng dati.’ But it is something that we cannot grant right now.

Drop back to the blame games: the drivers who are seeking for a level playing field, for a compensation equal to the work (and resources) that they invest? Or the government again, for ‘idling’ and for making no sharp moves to tackle to ever-present oil price problems? I bet my blame on four numbers: 8479 (see it here). Something that was crafted for healthy competition amongst oil companies but which seemed to have been anointed by some evil and ended up being used to justify almost constant oil price hikes.

I may be speaking half ignorant of the other facts on oil price and market mechanisms but one drops all such complexities when you deal with people who rack their brains everyday just to have the money to buy daily food for their families. The government should not pose as an identity shrouded in mystery and bureaucracy. It should get hands-on with the lay Filipinos’ concerns. This may sound cliché but it is good to be reminded of such things every now and then.

At least now we’ll have some use for our spare coins in our bags and piggy banks.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Deadlines, Readings, Drafts, Notes, Etcetera

This is what you get when you stall your reading schedules and when self-imposed writing deadlines were not followed. I took a shot of my table just before I arranged them to a neater state. Cheers to entropy!

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Downside of Highway Renovations

The frequent road renovations that one see during travels is a sure sign of the fact that: 1) roads never last that long and so they need constant maintenance and, 2) these allow other people to produce the best and the worst out of them.

One such worst example is the bad timing of road renovations in the area of Maharlika Highway in Batangas province leading to Quezon. I once experienced being stranded in that area more than four hours due to road asphalting on a weekend. That was, to some extent, understandable since an underlying assumption was that there are no classes and work during weekends.

But to have road (my mother said it was bridge) renovations on a Friday afternoon, during the rush hours (sometime between 4pm and 7pm) was definitely a loser act. What could have been a free-flowing one-and-a-half-hour-ride from Turbina (in Calamba City, Laguna) to San Pablo City became an almost four-hour of being stranded, yet again, in that general area of Maharlika Highway.

Time management and a semi-long-term projection of the project would be just a few things that could have been considered. In any case, being optimistic is my initial reaction and I do hope it will not happen again, at least for the rest of the month.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Exceedingly Filipino

I often notice dialogue lines in different movies that allude to expertise of a particular country (or nationality). The most common is the allusion to the technical prowess of the Japanese when it comes to electronic devices. “This is exceedingly Japanese. They never make it easy” (Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon). This seeming simple line brought to me an immense jealousy, if not a strong hope, for the Philippines.

It doesn’t have to be technology-related stuff. Perhaps a strong regard for our culture, history, or heritage would do. (We may see our past in the context of the Spanish times in the country, but that is another story). It would be really great to be still alive when I get to hear something like this: “This is exceedingly Filipino.”


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Miriam Defensor-Santiago and her Brand of Fools


The impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona is proving to be a case-in-point in these kinds of high-profile trials. But more than that, the performance of the prosecution and defense panels and the senator-judges are being digested by the watching public.

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has been in the spotlight for the past sessions of the trial – from her increasing blood pressure to her sharp remarks regarding some events and people associated with the impeachment trial. Recently a seeming verbal sword fight ensued (albeit indirectly) between her and the spiritual adviser of a former president. This was brought about by the senator-judge’s open berating of the prosecution team, tagging them as ‘fools’ with regards to their claims of evidence sufficiency worthy of the Chief Justice’s conviction. A berating which agitated the calm waters on the shores of the religious who almost condemned her to the eternal fires of ‘hell’.

We cannot blame Senator Santiago for reacting to the seeming relaxed stance of the prosecution team. We cannot also blame the religious for their seeming endurance in upholding their beliefs. But the impeachment trial is purely ‘legal’ in nature and any side comments made outside the walls of the session hall regarding the people involved there can be automatically relegated as immaterial. The fact that it came from the ranks of the religious, particularly from the Roman Catholic fold, makes it more it bothersome.

The separation of the State and the Church is already enshrined in our Constitution and it is still a wonder why this fact is out rightly ignored by so many people with ranks and titles. Senator Santiago’s berating can (or must) be understood in the context of the impeachment trial. She may not have deliberately done that to cause any strife. Perhaps those who continually make noises against the senator-judge are simply OAs (over acting) and/or KSPs (kulang sa pansin; lacking in attention).

The impeachment trial is highly technical already and perhaps those who make criticisms in the comfort of rostrums or pulpits would do well to respect the occupation, and indeed the profession, of those involved in the trials and let them do their work.

* Photo Credit: newsinfo.inquirer.net

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Transforming Safety of U.P. Los Baños

Or more precisely, the transforming safety of Barangay Batong Malake. But whatever name you use, it doesn’t change the fact that the area in and around UPLB has morphed into an environment whose very air reeks of death. The viewpoint of this change is grounded on the fact that I have been a student for several years in that university.

Twelve semesters in all. And perhaps more than a hundred hours of them spent under the night sky of Los Baños. I remember taking walks inside the campus in the wee hours of the morning with faculty members, treading the length of Lopez Avenue after some org-sponsored parties, or even walking the darker streets of Umali Subdivision just to accompany an acquaintance or an intimate home. The main buster of worry was the fact that LB seems not to sleep at all. People walk the Grove area even after midnight to go to a computer shop, or eat, or sometimes just to idle beside those stalls selling balut and cigarettes.

But times achanging. Several deaths in a span of one semester and the UPLB world seem now a dangerous place. The media may be honking their noisy horns now but it seems a necessity. Authorities better heed to all these clamors for tighter security inside and around the areas of UPLB. One cannot simply blame the highly heterogeneous population in that area. The presence of the university draws people from different parts of the country. It is up to those tasked to uphold peace and order and prevent untoward events to continually adapt to these conditions. After all, it is their call, it is their duty.

Let this concluding semester serve as a hard lesson for the authorities and for the people as well and remind them that safety is not something we only talk about in idle times, but something we should keep in mind all the times. And something which must begin in ourselves.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Stereotyping the Philippines: “It’s a Terrible Country”

With the volume of books I’ve read since I discovered my passion for it, I have often been neutral, if not positive, when it comes to commenting on the books I have read. But this time I have a rather discouraging remark regarding a book I am reading right now. Susanna Moore’s “In the Cut” is a mixture of erotic thriller / mystery which is a particularly good read for me as I am in the desire to widen my perspective regarding the use of the concept of sexuality in literary works.

However, lodged inside the pages of the book is a short dialogue which has a rather unsavory flavour into it. A part of the dialogue mentioned the Philippines being a terrible country. Although I know that a disclaimer is usually placed in the opening pages of books, there may been have been some deeper reason beyond that passing remark. Why not other country? It’s not that I am overreacting over such use. It’s just that I am maintaining a blog which intends to promote our country’s rich history and culture. And it’s disheartening to know that a thought is in existence (however semi-fictitious it may be) which sees our land of ours as something terrible.

Be as it may, let us pick up the bad line and make the country ‘El Terible’, notorious for its hunger for growth and development and a strong motivation to uphold its culture and tradition. In the end, let us make something bad a bit more positive.