Showing posts from March, 2006

Light at the end of the tunnel?

One of the great things about having a blog is that it helps keep me abreast of the tons of information out there in cyberspace, which I normally would not catch given that my occassional trawling in the net is limited to visiting favorite sites. From Rhochie (who leaves short but insightful comments in this blog) comes this link:

Bear Stearns & Co. Inc. Retains Positive Economic Outlook on Philippines

US-BASED investment bank Bear Stearns & Co. Inc. has retained its positive outlook on the Philippines despite recent political turmoil, projecting that the economy will even grow at a faster rate of 5.8 percent this year. Last year, the economy grew 5.1 percent.

In a paper on its assessment of the country, the investment bank said the ability of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration to weather political problems, including so-called coup attempts, gave the institution reason to believe that the economy was not in danger.

"One important reason (why a segment of the Philipp…


At a business lunch meeting of HRM professionals today, I had the wonderful privilege of personally meeting and then listening to Atty. Alexander Lacson talk about his book "12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country."

I first came across Atty. Lacson’s name in an email that circulated late last year. That email was actually a soft copy of a Max Soliven column where Soliven narrated how he was rescued by the author in the middle of a Makati thoroughfare during rush hour when his (Soliven’s) car broke down. Soliven’s email went on to talk about Lacson’s book, which at that time, was not yet available at National Bookstore and was being sold out of Lacson’s house. (It was already available at National when I went there last week, so naturally I picked up a copy. I finished it in one night. But the experience of reading a book does not quite compare to hearing its author talk about it – there is just something amazing that happens when one is able to put ideas an…

60 minutes on ANC

Last Thursday, I was the guest at Ricky Carandang's show at ANC (The Big Picture). I will not go into the other reasons why I chose to come out in that show (a major reason is because Ricky is a blogger like myself and I feel some kinship with members of the blogging community out there), but I must say that the experience was not altogether traumatic, on the contrary, it was quite fun and somehow liberating. Although Ricky and I disagree on various issues around the GMA controversy, we were able to hold a very civil and cordial discussion - further proof indeed that just because people belong to opposite sides of an argument, they need not call each other names or consider each other enemies.

I am told that the show has been replayed at least thrice already (Friday morning at 11 am, Saturday evening, and this morning). I am also told that there are people out there who have taped that show and are reproducing vcds of it for distribution among their friends. I hope someone out ther…

Top 12 Things I Could Have Learned In the Last Three Weeks

If I did not have a brain, the following are lessons I could have learned in the last three weeks.

1. A brain drain in the fields of psychiatry and psychology is something this country will never suffer from. It is a great relief to know that there exist so many experts in these fields of specialization and I have been truly blessed to have been the subject of so much analysis - my motivational factors, the state of my mental state, my IQ, and even the state of my sex life have all been sufficiently analyzed. Dra. Margie Holmes and Dr. Randy Dellosa need not have to worry about having me as their patient ever, I have had enough analysis to last me a lifetime.

2. When people disagree with you, they do not necessarily just have a different perspective. They are 101% absolutely right. Therefore, you are automatically stupid and a moron. But when they actually call you those things, they refuse to see it as being judgmental either. They call it freedom of expression. They think their opinio…

If We Hold On Together...

A comment in this blog about Dinky Soliman got me laughing so hard. He said Dinky and Enteng should not have been arrested at Baywalk, but her future employer should fire her the moment she begins singing "If We Hold On Together."

The reason why I laughed so hard was because, coincidentally, a fellow teacher at the College where I teach works at Malacanang. And just yesterday, this co-teacher was narrating to us (in full emote mode - you know -gesturing frantically and acting the scene out in an exaggerated way) just exactly how that infamous choral rendition played out. Picture this in your mind: Dinky so overcome with emotions she was practically sobbing when she led in the singing. In the first place, I really can't picture cabinet secretaries singing that song while trying to look dignified (yay!).

A company that I consult for used to have that song as their company "theme song." They would hold hands and sing that song at the end of their social gatheri…

So Where Do We Go From Here?

Writing for this blog used to be a walk in the park. I could write about anything (theoretically, I still could since this is my space). Since my brush with pseudo fame, I had to watch what I write about because it seems anything I write is now open to a lot of interpretations. There is always someone out there watching out for a simple grammatical slip or a mixed metaphor that they can throw at my face with all the righteous indignation they can muster.

Not that I lose sleep over it. It's just that sometimes I do feel sad that it seems people can not argue or debate anymore without losing their temper. This is why I can't sit through a whole episode of Debate on GMA7 - I get the sense that what happens in that show is symptomatic of the state of this country - lots of people pontificating and not really listening to each other. Perhaps it is time to remind ourselves, yes, myself included, that God, in His infinite wisdom, gave us two ears and one mouth and that there is a powe…

Freedom and Responsibility

Since that letter got forwarded to the world, a number of sweeping and often reckless generalizations have been made by some people perhaps in their desire to put a convenient handle to the context and the issues engendered in that letter. In this post, I will simply focus on one generalization that rankles: that the middle class is a bunch of unpatriotic and callous Filipinos who are only concerned about not being stuck in heavy traffic caused by the rallies and demonstrations.

Although I never claimed in that letter (and in the rejoinders that I have written) to speak for the middle class, or for anyone else for that matter (I said "I" and "many among us" in that letter; if memory serves me right, that middle class assertion was made by the other letter -that anonymous letter written in Tagalog), but nevertheless, I do feel that this rush to make judgments and to categorize people - particularly those with a contrary opinion - is at the very least uncalled for and…

In Search of Closure

One wizard who has a very strong influence in my life, a man who goes by the name Max Edralin, texted me this week to alert me about a column someone wrote about me and that letter in BusinessWorld. Perhaps to caution me from possible disappointment, he advised me to always take comments - good or bad - with a grain of salt.

I actually got to read a photocopy of that BW column posted at the De La Salle RCBC Graduate School of Business Bulletin Board. I read it with a bunch of grad students who did not know they were standing next to the very person who was the subject of the tirade (anonymity certainly has its advantages). We had a good laugh together.

The column tried to trash my letter by asking questions that were mostly rhetorical. I couldn't make sense of some of the questions. For example, he asked: since I am President of a Foundation, then I must be influential and that my office must be near the Senate - why didn't I just personally convey to the Senators the diatribe c…

Jamby weeps and I was moved

All those negative comments about me must have transformed me into an emotional robot. This is probably a mean thing to say, and I am truly, truly sorry Senator Jajajajamby Madrigal, please do not cry again, but I just have to tell you that drama does not suit you. Do not do it again please. Weeping buckets and Judy Ann Santos may go together, but she is not in the Senate, even if many actually voted for her. It was her image that you paid for, not really her persona, so no need to bring the actress into the halls of the senate, please.

But it was a very moving experience to watch the Senator being overcome by so much grief because Senator Enrile accused her parents of partying with the Marcoses. I never laughed so hard in the last two weeks.

Dear senators, you are funny. But if we wanted comedy, we would pay people who are funnier for a teeny-weeny percentage of what we pay you. So please drop it.


My schedule this week is truly hectic - I have workshops to run every day and lec…

How That Letter Came To Be...

I had some time in my hands last night. I bloghopped. For the very first time I got to read in detail what people are saying about that letter and about me in other blogs. I have already responded to most of the comments in this blog. However, I cannot possibly answer all comments given that I have only ten fingers and there are only 24 hours in a day. It is very tempting, but this blog is not my life and contrary to the overactive imagination of some people, I do not have the resources to do that. I cannot possibly monitor the thousands of blogs out there. Besides, the comments in this and other blogs (and even in the newspapers) do tend to answer each other, and I do not fancy myself as an ultimate arbiter or judge with the final and definitive opinion (I do not think anyone is qualified to do that unless that person died on a cross and resurrected in three days), so there is really not much to say after reading the various pros and cons. Some people do a better job at it anyway.

I d…


This blog was visited by MLQ one of the few people I have profound respect for (which is why his blog is linked to this blog - I read him as often as I could) and naturally, MLQ being The MLQ, traffic here has multiplid algebraically. I am deeply honored. Thanks for the visit, Manolo.

Finally, someone with something else between his ears other than a cute face pointed it out: these are blog entries and people should stop reading too much into them. If I wanted to indulge in intellectual swash-buckling, I would write a piece on the Gloria Presidency and the Prices of Swamp Cabbages, and write my full name on it - all three first names, mind. Which is not to say I am telling people to shut up, merely telling people to stop hyperventilating and losing sleep tyring to analyze if I want to run for Senator or if I had sex last night simply because I wrote a letter for this blog, and then ask if I deserve the attention.

The link has resulted in a barrage of comments, three of which I will a…

Subjective realities

Yesterday, the Inquirer reported that a certain group of people who go by the cause "anti-pornography" has filed a complaint against the MTRCB for allowing the showing of the movie Brokeback Mountain. The MTRCB gave the movie an R-18 rating which essentially makes it For Adults Only, meaning exactly that - only adults will be allowed to watch the movie. But the group is not happy with that – they think that even adults should not be allowed to decide for themselves what they can and can not watch.

See what happens when certain people are allowed to impose their moral standards on other people?

*** *** *** *** ***

In the Manila Standard Today, Antonio C. Abaya’s column says "from information divulged in the mainstream media, there seems little doubt now that the February 24-25 happenings were financed by no less than deposed President Joseph Estrada, with the express intention of overthrowing the incumbent government.

Abaya then writes about the subsequent subterfuge about m…

The Demolition Team Becomes Personal

It has been more than a week since that open letter was written. I am told it is still going around and around and around. I have received hundreds of "thank you emails" from people who took the trouble to trace the return path of that email so that they can get in touch with me to personally expresss their agreement and gratitude "that someone finally articulated what they have been feeling for sometime now."

The consensus I am getting from those who have written, texted, or even talked to me in person is this: "When I read that letter, I kept saying - this is exactly how I feel!" And so they forwarded it to the world. I would like to think that that letter is going around because people could relate to it and that it captures exactly what is in their hearts.

Some friends have warned me that there will be a backlash - that there will be some people who will put me to task for writing that letter. I knew the demolition teams were on their way. I hav…

The marginalized majority

(Bong's rejoinder - March 11, 2006. Although there are people who thought that the use of the word "majority" in this post is appropriate, I now take the view that this has been a lapse in judgment. My use of the word was meant to refer to people who are sick and tired of the whole situation. But I realize that the generalization has no scientific basis. But I have decided to let it be rather than correct it, because I think that a lapse in judgment is not necessarily a crime, specially if the person admits to it. :-))

I meant to take a respite from the din and dynamics that my open letter has created. But I keep getting SMS messages from my friends updating me when and where my letter was last seen or read. One friend texted me to tell me one guy she knows has photocopied my letter and distributed copies at a church. Another one from Cebu said she was in a symposium where my letter was distributed and read publicly to loud applause. My email boxes are swamped (both c…

And the plot thickens...

One person (I will not mention his name kasi baka sumikat pa) wrote a very detailed rejoinder to my letter. He essentially debunked the points. This is my response.

I wrote the letter Sunday evening, right after the "standoff" at Fort Bonifacio was supposedly resolved. I wrote it in an hour's time. I wrote it for my blog, and sent it to 20 of my closest friends. I did not send it to this or other email groups; others did that on their own. I am amazed that that letter has gone around the world, been read on television, and published in newspapers.

I am amazed that many people wrote me emails thanking me for expressing what is in their hearts and expressed complete agreement. I am equally amazed at the savagery and the personal attack-mode of those who did not agree with the email (I got about three from more than a hundred). I am told that Randy David tore my arguments to pieces in one forum where I was not invited to. I chose not to nitpick.

I expect that there will be pe…

Getting Infamous

I never thought a simple blog entry would create such furor. The open letter that I wrote has spread like wildfire. I was told it was the topic at a talk show at ANC today with Pia discussing the contents of the letter with Randy David. Some of my friends were able to watch it, and they said my letter was read phrase by phrase and Randy was asked to react. As usual and as expected, Randy intellectualized and ideologized the discussion daw. Ho humm. In the end, sabi daw ni Randy "mukhang galit na galit itong si Mr. Austero." Obvious ba, Randy, eh yun nga ang first sentence nung letter eh!!! If you are reading this ANC people, next time invite me! I would love to square off with those morons.

I also got an inquiry from a group who wanted to know if I would allow them to use the letter in a paid advertisement which they will pay for. I said yes, provided, I get to see who the other signatories are. Mamaya eh mga pulitiko din, wag na lang, anonymous na lang.

I get an average of 2…

Coming Out and All That Hoopla

Okay, so I admit I was riveted to the TV set last night wondering how Pinoy Big Brother will "treat" Rustom Padilla's coming out. Overall, I would say they tried to sensationalize it, but unfortunately for them, two factors got in the way which were beyond their control. One was Keanna Reeves. The other one was a mariposa (butterfly). Of course, ABS-CBN will go to town with the revelation and PBB will keep on referring to the incident as if that house was a truth processor or something to that effect. Already, DZMM was talking this morning about how wonderful it would be if politicians would be locked up inside PBB so that they would also own up to their lies. Ehhhhh?

I have to hand it to this woman named Keanna Reeves. First of all, anyone who is willing to take on such a ludicrous screen name must either be so dumb or possessed with such a great sense of humor. I realize now that this spunky woman from Cebu is not dumb. No sir, she is anything but dumb. And she is so hi…

More rants.

The open letter is still spreading around. I got a number of emails thanking me or asking for permission to spread the email around. Yes, please. Spread it around. Spread it to all. You can even sign it if you want.

There is a part of me that says I should shut up today about this whole political rigmarole and move on to other issues (like Rustom Padilla's impending coming out tonight in Pinoy Big Brother). But the nutcases in Congress are still at it, and our concerned friends in media are still giving them a pulpit to fontificate on. So I will continue to rant.

Here are common scenes that I find ridiculous:

There is a rally. Any rally. All rallies in fact. There is a standoff as a phalanx of police men with shields and batons face off with the protesters who taunt them and scream all kinds of provocative propaganda slogans. There is a negotiation. In the end, the protesters agree to disperse. They go through the motions of dispersing, but actually, they just regroup two blocks away…