Showing posts from May, 2006

It's not your set, folks

The late night newscast is what it is supposed to be - late; in fact, very, very late. And on many occasions, "early morning" since Arnold Clavio and Vicky Morales (or Ces Drilon and Dong Puno, depending on one's taste) usually get to read (or discuss, in the case of Ces Drilon) the news only after midnight. Just one more proof of how skewed people's priorities have become: we have to sit through Korean telenovellas and mature guys horsing around like pre-pubescent kids before we get to know about what's happening in this country.

Extra Challenge ceased to become challenging and had to say goodbye although the station insists that they continued to dominate the ratings game up to the end.

PBB is ending its teen edition this week and many people are glad it is going to be over - at the rate they are going (sneaking celebrities into the house almost every day or bringing the housemates out somewhere where at least some excitement can be had from the environment) - th…

The Rise of Vigilantes

Death is always a sad occasion. Murder can never ever be justified (which is the reason why I am against capital punishment). And even if sometimes I do feel like beating some journalists senseless (in a manner of speaking, of course) for sheer irresponsibility, I am against any form of censorship. Because of these, I am alarmed at the increasing number of media people being killed in this country.

I have a college best friend who is a media person, working with a radio station in Tacloban City renowned for taking up controversial topics and for being some kind of a court-of-last-resort for the desperate and the helpless. This radio station lost their main commentator (Kuya Monching Noblejas) to a gunman a few years back. The buzz was that the killing was ordered by some powerful businessman who felt aggrieved at having his reputation dragged across the coals of public opinion. I think the same circumstances pervade the other murders.

Over dinner and red wine a few days ago, we expresse…

Tacky, gaudy, ugly

There must be a logical explanation somewhere.

Perhaps at some point in the last few months, the Mayors of Metro Manila came together to organize a contest as to which one of them can come up with the tackiest, the gaudiest, and the ugliest streetlamps. This must have been a tall order, of course, because the benchmark set by Manila Mayor Lito Atienza already qualified for the Guinness Book of Records in all three categories. But then again, this is the Philippines and if there is something that we can never ever be found wanting in - it is the desire to raise the bar at anything - longest suman, biggest strawberry cake, largest bibingka, most number of billboards in EDSA, etc.

When those UFO looking street lamps began sprouting in Adriatico and Nakpil at Malate a few years back, we thought it was... weird. But at least the streets looked a little less dangerous although a number of Malate denizens complained about the extreme cruelty flourescent lamps inflict on those in dire need of …

The Da Vinci Coup

I used to get all worked up over people who choose (yes, I believe it is a choice) to see things from one and only one perspective. Now I only feel sadness bordering on pity for them. It must be so hard to live an existence where everything is pure black and white - where things are uni-dimensional. It is such a pity because there is just so much diversity in this world, there is absolute wonder to be had from being able to see things from various perspectives, there is breathtaking beauty and awesome possibilities in appreciating differences.

A case in point is all this madness over The Da Vinci Code. If we are to go by the froth and hysterics that has accompanied the showing of the film, Dan Brown is The Anti-Christ and the novel and film have rewritten history.

The main criticism about the book and the film is that it makes one question his or her faith, but the critics are quick to say that this did not happen to them, supposedly because they are made of harder stuff. Oh pleas…

Mail call

EAL, a regular reader of this blog emailed me four "simple questions" (ha! when were political questions ever that simple in this country?) that he said he wanted someone "politically sober" like me (ahem) to comment on. There are a couple of things I want to write about such as this national predeliction for coming up with absurd labels for our national headaches (con-ass?!? unidentified flying objects!!?) but my brain is still on vacation mode and I thought I should indulge EAL. So here goes.

1. "Why is the middle class not enraged and out into the streets like they did in the past?"

This is a actually a question that has been paraphrased in various ways in the last few months to the extent that some people's impatience has given way to annoyance and in some instances, outright dismissal of the value of the middle class as a potent force for change in society. I do not believe that Filipinos are tired of people power, or that Filipinos do not believe …

Back, kinda

Am blogging from an internet cafe in Tacloban where the ambience is that of a warzone. I wonder why they still call it an internet cafe when practically everyone here except for the college student in uniform at the far corner and myself (we are a sorry minority) are so engrossed decapitating limbs and spraying bullets - virtually, yes, but then imagination is far more potent that reality. I actually am a little deaf now - and I have only been here 20 minutes.

This cafe has signs all over announcing that minors are not allowed inside unless there is parental consent. I am tempted to ask the girl at the counter if they ask for a notarized parental consent or if they simply take the kids' word that they have it because practically half of the people inside this cafe are below 12 years old. I wonder what kind of adults they grow up to become - half deaf I suppose, and violent.

I am going back to Manila tomorrow. In the last five days, I have not read a single newspaper nor wa…

Idiot boxed

My last blog netted a really interesting comment from Mommy Jo, someone whose comments in this blog I always look forward to because they are always sensible, warm and light. Here's what she said:

"It really gets my goat when Mike Enriquez in that annoying tone of his would spend a good 2 minutes introducing or making bola about Pia Guanio who would deliver the most inane showbiz bit that would get me screaming "Who the hell cares!" After his intro the camera would shoe this Pia clad in the most style-challenged (am being kind about it pa ha!) outfit. God! I wish she fires (or strangles) her stylist or doesn't she earn enough to get a non-fly-by-night stylist? Last night what really got me again was that Enriquez couldn't even pronounce Iran's Ahmadinejad correctly. He sounded really stupid, and to think he's some bigwig in GMA7's news dept! I said (no, screamed) I am so over local 6;30 news!!! Well anyway, I always tune in at 10pm in Channel 23 w…

Tit for Tat

"You are nothing but a second rate, trying hard, copy cat!"

This and other similar dramatic dialogues are standard fare in many Filipino movies - some so unbelievably camp and incredibly hilarious- they are brilliant! (Some that immediately come to mind: "magsisimba ka na may bulak sa ilong! - (FPJ)," "hindi ka na sisikatan ng araw - (FPJ again)," "para kang karinderiang bukas sa lahat ng gustong kumain (Vilma Santos, I think)." Too bad, Filipino scriptwriters seemed to have run out of similarly-inspired cinematic gems.

Fortunately for all of us, this "art form" may have disappeared from recent Filipino movies but they live on primetime television and jump out of the front pages of newspapers. One more proof that in this country, there is a very, very thin line that divides showbiz and politics. Thus, watching the news today has become such an interesting experience - not only because the shenanigans of tinseltown starlets and wannabes (…

Alarming numbers

Being aware of the level of stigmatization people living with HIV/AIDS are subjected to, I wasn't sure I should write about it. But the data was published in the papers today so I guess there is no point in keeping the data among ourselves in the HIV/AIDS prevention community. I am talking about the dramatic rise in reported incidence of HIV infection from an average of around 10 a month, to an all-time high of 30 incidences last month (statistical projections say that there are 100 other unreported cases for every single reported case of infection). This is alarming.

There are those who think that the dramatic rise in reported infections was triggered by the government's announcement that it would offer free retroviral drugs (the cocktail drugs that slow down the progress of the disease). But I personally doubt this because the general perception about HIV/AIDS is still that it is a "dreaded, fatal, incurable" disease. I doubt very much if the possibility of getting …

Random thoughts at an international confab

I found myself in the company of kindred souls this week at the International Conference on Reproductive Rights held May 3-5 at the Philippine Plaza where I put on my social-psych hat and made a presentation on Bridging Generational Issues in the Management and Development of Reproductive Health Rights Advocates. The session attracted an audience because of the metaphor we decided to use for the session ("When Woodstock Meets Ragnarok"). It was interesting to note that a number of people didn't have the faintest idea what Ragnarok is - and we all had a spirited discussion shooting down some myths about the so-called "generation gap."

What struck me the most while hanging around waiting for my session to be called and snooping into some of the other presentations:

1. There is major disconnect between social development and the business and political agenda in this country. If an alarm bell was rung for every single time an alarming trend was raised in any of the s…

Wala lang

I will be at the International Conference on Reproductive Health at Westin today (and I haven't finished my presentation yet) so as much as I wanted to write about how globalization has changed the landscape of Tagaytay I cannot. But here's something that caught my attention because it is funny. I don't like blond jokes (or Polish or other racist jokes) but I am making an exception on this one because it is funny and it intrigued me because of the traffic it brings.

Click here for the joke.

Wage increase?

I was out of town Saturday until Monday running a leadership program for 140 college students at this retreat house in Tagaytay whose main attraction (it seems) was that they did not have a single television set in any of its dorms and cottages. Because I am a person who always has the TV set in my room turned on (even when I am not watching it), it was initially uncomfortable being disconnected from the world, but strangely liberating after a while.

I texted my best friend to give me an update on what was happening in Manila and his terse reply was "Wala, korni nga eh." Neverthelesss, I got back to Manila May 1 afternoon dreading all sorts of worst case scenarios, which thankfully, did not come to pass. I guess this whole psy-war thing which the government, the opposition and militants have mastered is truly overrated.

May 1 being labor day, I expected that there would be a clamor for wage increases. This has been a tired constant refrain in the last decade. What I did…