Showing posts from February, 2006

De Quiros Says He Loves Cory, And I Feel Like Throwing Up

I was pleasantly surprised that the open letter that I wrote and posted yesterday is going around various email groups. Thank you to those who forwarded it to others.

That was a very long post, so I will try to do a short blog today.

I have stopped agreeing with Conrado de Quiros a long time ago, but I continue to read him every now and then (actually, I scan through his column in the PDI, and then decide if it is worth reading or not – usually not! This is a man who has become bitter and grumpy in his old age).

But his column today was hilarious because he ended it with "what can I say, I love Cory!" referring to Cory Aquino. I was tempted to bring out my copies of de Quiros’ books (compilations of his PDI columns) which contain essays where he actually called Cory a lot of names (and they were not endearing), lambasted her for incompetence, and in general came this short of calling her boba and tanga (I actually believe he did).

And today, because they are on the same side, he…

Open Letter To Our Leaders

Dear Tita Cory, Senators, Congressmen, Businessmen, Media people, Leftists, and all Bleeding Hearts Out There:

I am angry. And I know that there are many out there who are angrier than I am for the same reason. And that reason is simple. I am sick and tired of all you guys claiming to speak for me and many Filipinos. I feel like screaming every time you mouth words about fighting for my freedom and my rights, when you obviously are just thinking about yours. You tell me that the essence of democracy is providing every citizen the right to speak his or her mind and make his or her own informed judgments, but you yourselves do not respect my silence and the choices I and many others have made. In other words, your concept of democracy is limited to having your rights and your freedoms respected, at the expense of ours.

I am utterly flabbergasted that you still do not get it: we already responded to your calls, and our response has been very clear - we chose not to heed your calls to go to…


There was no coup attempt? The government over reacted? They were just celebrating the anniversary of the people power anniversary? They just wanted to pray at Fort Bonifacio? Read this TIME magazine article.

Inside the Philippines Coup Plot
A TIME reporter witnesses a meeting of opponents
of Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
BY Bryan Walsh

Friday, Feb. 24, 2006Twenty years ago tomorrow, Filipinos took to the streets and brought down a president. Could it happen again? Capping a week of tension and coup rumors, Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo proclaimed a state of national emergency late Friday morning, announcing on television that she had crushed a coup attempt by several prominent military officers. Arroyo appealed for calm, even as security was tightened further at the presidential palace and at military bases around Manila. Earlier in the day, the army detained three high-level officers—Brigadier General Danilo Lim, the commander of the √©lite Scout Rangers…

Just Another Weekend in Chaotic Manila in dear Old RP

For many Pinoys, Friday and Saturday were quite stressful, thanks to the antics of politicians and media people. They huffed and they puffed and tried to create pandemonium. In the end, what I and many others have been saying all along came to bear - people are just tired of this people power thing. People just want to move on.

So I was looking forward to a stress-free Sunday.

Alas, it wasn't meant to be. By 5:00 pm, the TV stations were again breaking their regular programming to report on a supposed brewing incident at Fort Bonifacio. Again, lots of huffing and puffing and spellmaking. The usual suspects immediately descended on the scene like vultures on the lookout for blood. Imee Marcos, Teofisto Guingona, Nino Muhlach, and the leftists were all there. Media people tried to make it appear that there was something truly worthwhile happening that justified all that precious airtime being laid to waste (the kids in the house could not understand why Going Bulilit was bei…

Of coups and other Pinoy pastimes

Talks about a coup run high towards the weekend. On Friday morning, classes were cancelled and the roads were deserted. I travelled to Antipolo from Manila in less than 40 minutes, a feat short of a miracle. I passed by EDSA and turned right to La Vista and Katipunan right in front of the People Power Monument and was met by a phalanx of military men all geared up for war. Wow. A showdown was looming. I wondered if people would come. More to the point, I wondered if I would show up at EDSA if someone did call for people power again. The fact that I actually thought about it was indicative of just how people are tired of the whole thing.

By lunch time, the television sets at the Training Center's dining rooms were all glued to the media coverage of the "events at EDSA." The TV stations cancelled their regular programming to devote full coverage of the "unfolding" events. By merely listening to the hysterical running commentary of the broadcasters, one would concl…

Being harassed under the guise of faith

I was in Antipolo Friday and Saturday to help run a training program and before coming down to Manila Saturday noontime, we decided to drop by the Cathedral of the Lady of Good Voyage. It's been almost seven years since I last visited the Cathedral and I thought it would be great to spend a few quiet moments in contemplation before a miraculous image. Plus of course, buy pasalubong for the relatives in Manila.

We were coming up to the Cathedral from the Marikina side. A kilometer away from the cathedral, there were men and boys by the road making the Thai "thank you" sign (both hands clasped in front) and running after vehicles. Of course it struck us that they were making the "praying" sign but my passengers and I could not agree on exactly what it was they were offering. Surely they were not doing it as a form of touristy welcome. I thought these people made a living out of taking commissions from vehicle blessings (this is the church of the Lady of Good Voyag…

115 things about me

This post is lifted from my friend Jerome's blog. The idea was actually simple - find out how many items apply to you (and hopefully help you get to know yourself better). I know, I know I am intellectualizing it (a common lament about me! hahaha). So here's my version of it - naturally and very typical of me, with corresponding comments and opinions (shempre pa!).

01. I miss somebody right now.
I actually miss many people right now. Five of the people I miss the most: my youngest brother Cy who is somewhere in the waters near Pakistan, my College best friend Arthur who is at Louisiana State U (am very proud to add that he has a Ph.D. already and is Assistant Professor there), best friend Franz who is Department Head at Bicol U, Tatay who is probably the person who understands me the most, and someone I used to do baby talk with.

02. I watch more tv than I used to.
The TV is always on in my room. Even when I am not watching it. Even when I am listening to music. Bad, I know.

03. I…

Stop logging now!

Seeing footages on TV of the landslides in Saint Bernard (Southern Leyte) sent me into panic mode - it's a town a few kilometers away from the town of my birth (Abuyog). In fact, my parents still live in Abuyog along with three siblings and a whole caboodle of nephews, nieces, aunts and relatives. Thanks to texting (yes, my parents also communicate through SMS although deciphering their text messages takes some time but at least they try to keep up with technology) I was reassured that everyone is well except for the usual laments that aging people inevitably gets into - the weather is cold, a sibling is a pain in the neck, etc., etc. Sometimes I do think that the older people get, the more the need for a sounding board for their various complaints.

What got me worried about my hometown is that just like Saint Bernard, it is a town whose forest cover is already gone, courtesy of years of wanton illegal logging by its elected leaders. When I was growing up, the main industry of the …

Through Reading Glasses

I knew it was bound to happen; I just did not think it would happen twice in a year.

I am talking about upgrading the lenses of my reading glasses. I started wearing reading glasses only in May lasy year (I started wearing glasses for astigmatism since I was in Grade 5 though). Months after, I started having headaches, which meant getting new reading glasses again. And then this week, the symptoms came back and I had to march to the opthalmologist's clinic (again!). She prescribed higher grade reading glasses. Arrrghhh.

I do not like wearing reading glasses. I abhor the idea of having to take off my regular glasses and wearing a new pair just for reading. I know, I know...I should get progressive glasses (I am not very vain but wearing doble vista glasses just won't cut it for me). Problem is, I am also a person who wants instant gratification. I do not like waiting four days for a new pair of glasses - I want them pronto.

Sigh. I am getting old.

Mass hysteria on CD

A friend and I (both loveless but not necessarily lonely) talked over the phone last night and somehow the conversation drifted towards which artist (or pseudo artist) is holding a valentines concert and where. I am told that valentines day is the time when concert artists and producers make tons of money from suckers out there. He ticked off the list - from Richard Merck and Isabella, Sharon Cuneta, Gary and Zsa Zsa, Regine, etc., etc. Then he asked me "don't you miss going to a valentine's day concert?" I was stumped, because truth to tell, I can only recall one and only one valentines day concert which I and a significant other actually went to. But yes, I do wonder what music they sing at those concerts - must be a collection of the truly cheesy musical pieces ever written (King and Queen of Hearts? Can This Be Love? Endless Love? aarrrghhhhhhhhhhh). Then he said "well, you can always buy the cd." Most artists today scrimp on recording costs and just pr…

In Memoriam (Abes, 1996)

It being valentines day today, I decided to unearth that long lost column in a regional newspaper which I wrote in 1996 for my very dear friend Abes. As I wrote in a previous blog, my assistant at the office asked me last week what to do with a whole bag of clippings of previous columns. I have forgotten about these clippings and thought I already lost them. But well, the clippings surfaced and now I do not know what to do with them.

Requiem for Abes

WE can all feel bad about losing money to a thief, or belongings to a fire. We can all feel bad about losing a bet, or an election. Losing is always a painful experience no matter what perhaps because it makes us come to terms with the fact that in this world nothing is finite, that everything eventually comes to an end. Losing jolts us to the very sad reality that in this world, there are certain things that we can not hold a claim to forever, that everything is fleeting and temporary.

The painful thing about losing someone is that very of…

Thoughts on valentines day

Is it time to fall in love again? This question occurred to me over the weekend. The boy in the house (who has had a girlfriend since last year) was asking about how to get to Dangwa (the depot for fresh flowers in Manila) and about prices in general of valentines day gifts and I could not relate. In the college where I teach, I scheduled a major examination on Valentines Day (and warned students that failure to show up would result in dire consequences). Bah! I was in SM window-shopping for a new backpack and I found the valentines day displays cheesy and tacky. I have become the valentines day equivalent of Christmas’ Uncle Scrooge. Nooooooooooo!
Not that Valentines Day was ever a big deal in my life the way Christmas or Good Friday is. And please do not get me wrong, I am not exactly heartless. I can be romantic when the situation is ripe for it. I think my problem is something similar to performance anxiety - I can not be romantic on cue. For me, valentines is best spent with frien…

A Movie Review

I wanted to watch the movie on the big screen and in a regular moviehouse because I would have wanted to see how the audience would react to it. But I came across the DVD copy and I had some time in my hands today so what the heck, I decided to watch it. It blew me away.

Brokeback Mountain is a love story and more. It is a modern epic, a gripping commentary of life, a major work of art. Yes, I am gushing here and please forgive my unabashed admiration of the film. Very few films have affected me the way this movie has. Come Oscars time, I would be terribly disappointed if it loses in the best picture race.

What I truly like about this movie is its honesty. It tells a heartbreaking story of two people - and the fact that they are both men (cowboys at that) is forgotten halfway through the movie. Of course, the fact that they are men (and I must stress that word strongly because the two characters break all stereotypes about gay men) is central to the story. If there is something…

Spooked by Carrie and other high school stuff

Just got back from a workshop that totally drained my batteries. Ever been on one of those gigs that left you emotionally, mentally, creatively...wasted? This was one of those, but multiplied ten fold. Anyway.

I had a few minutes between meetings and decided to check my friend's blogs. Jerome's blog had this short entry reminiscing about his high school days which, true to the spirit of blogging, was inspired by another blog (tin's). These got me into thinking about my own high school days.

Let's cue in Sharon Cuneta's "high school days, oh my high school days how exciting kay ganda..." Yup, I was in high school when Sharon hit national prominence courtesy of that song Mr. DJ. So here are the things I remember most about my high school days.

1. I played xylophone in the school band. I was a freshman when I was picked to be the xylophone player - mainly because I could read notes and played the piano although how this was related to playing the xylophone was …

Monday Rage

I am sick and tired of the way those idiots at ABS-CBN are churning out all kinds of senseless yarn. Please, enough of this "nobody wanted it to happen," "we just wanted to entertain and make people happy," "we are all victims, here" line of reasoning. The only official statement that makes sense is this: we are responsible and we will face up to the responsibility. All anyone needs to do is review all the footage of Wowowee days prior to the stampede and see for yourself how they enticed and practically promised everyone a reward just for them to go to Ultra. They did it for the sake of ratings!

Cut the crap and sentimentality, pay up, and make sure this does not happen again.


I am up to here with these so-called experts that say desperation and poverty caused people to line up at Ultra and get crushed. Oh puhlease! It is insulting to the poor. The people who were at Ultra did not even comprise .1% of the total number of Filipinos living in abject pove…

Random thoughts on a stampede

I work in Ortigas and go home to Manila, which means I pass by Ultra everyday on my way home. Since Wednesday this week, traffic in the area has started to get unusually slow as a growing number of people have started to camp out in the sidewalks around Ultra. I actually meant to write about it in this blog. I also caught Willie Revillame on TV once enticing more and more people to go to Ultra and promising all kinds of rewards. In his words "rather than stay home and do nothing, you are better off at Ultra where you have the chance to win a million pesos, taxis, and tricycles." I guess that pretty much summed up why thousands went.

Didn't any one see this coming?

The ABS-CBN executives and broadcasters kept on repeating that "this was an incident that nobody wanted to happen." Of course. Who doesn't know that? But what exactly did they do to make sure that what happened would not happen? They enticed people to dance with death.

In fairness, however, I do th…

When Violence Comes to MacDo Across

As I am writing this blog at the College where I teach, everyone is in a state of agitation over a shooting incident which happened just a few minutes ago at the MacDonalds outlet. The air is thick with all kinds of speculation.

Here are the sketchy details so far:

The Assistant Manager (male, 37 years old) of the store walked into the office of the Manager (female, no other details yet) and shot her twice. She was dead on the spot. Then the Assistant Manager climbed on to the roof of the store and committed suicide by shooting himself. One report says he is fighting for his life at a nearby hospital, another says he has expired.

A case of work rage? Or a lover's spat? Or personal grudge? No one knows. But this is a MacDo outlet - a place for kids! What is more, this is an outlet that is always full of students from nearby schools - DLSU, CSB, St. Scho, etc. There are kids there at all hours!!!

What does it say when violence comes to MacDo and to school in the Philippines???

Yuck Time

Nobody can tell what the universe will send up your alley. Yesteday I came across a compilation of newspaper columns I wrote for a weekly regional newspaper in Leyte from 1996-1998. These are essays written in another time - and I do not just mean this in a literal way. I thought I have lost these columns - I knew I had copies of the newspaper somewhere, but I thought they got lost when we transferred houses. But such is life. One day someone simply comes forward to ask you what to do with a bunch of old newspapers stashed in a box that has not been opened for five years and voila! the past has come back to haunt you.

I do not know what to do with these columns. There is a part of me that says I should burn them to protect myself from unnecessary public ridicule. But there is also a part of me that somehow believes history should not be tampered with and thinks these columns should be thrown back into the box and left to the designs of fate.

Anyway. But in fairness, there are so…

Who Actually Knows?

I stayed up late last night watching a documentary on Stonehenge. This is one place I would truly love to visit the moment I win the lotto jackpot (yes, I have started betting although not regularly). The others would be the Inca temples, The Great Wall of China, The Red Square, The Leaning Tower, The Grand Canal, The Ankor Wat, Ayers Rock, The Pyramids at Giza, The Grand Canyons, and The Vatican. There. Too many places to visit, too little resources. Sigh.

But back to Stonehenge - how did they do it? They have theories including that bit about Martians doing it with superior technology. There are some things in this world that are beyond comprehension. I think some things are best left that way - they should be enjoyed and appreciated even if they are not fully understood.

Slow Food - romancing philippine cuisine

I am currently reading "Slow Food: Philippine Culinary Traditions" a compilation of Philippine essays on traditional Filipino cooking. I must say that this is a very scrumptious book and a delight to devour from cover to cover. The concept of the book is profound in its simplicity - get people to write about food that is prepared the old-fashioned way, which means, no short-cuts. The idea is actually admirable when one comes to realize that many kids today just do not have memories of hours spent in the kitchen helping put together family heirloom recipes. Today, even coconut cream comes in cans and there are all sorts of powdered mixes that has taken away the tedious manual labor of having to pound, squeeze, grate, marinate, etc.These are essays I can relate to on many levels; essays that evoked powerful personal memories from my childhood and growing up years - of countless family reunions and special occasions, of terribly-longed for family recipes and delicacies (just …