Showing posts from October, 2006

Proudly promdi

(I am still in Leyte and the internet connection in my hometown is so primitive - it is almost as if it runs on manual labor, like someone at the back of the cafe is furiously pedalling at some cotraption to make this thing run. That's the excuse for the late post of my column yesterday. And the failure to update this blog. Will be back soon. I promise. What follows is my column at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard Today yesterday, October 30, 2006).

As I write, my whole clan is savoring every bit of fun it could squeeze out of the very rare time when most of its members could be in the same place at the same time. The “official” affair was at lunchtime, but as of dinnertime, most of us were still around; some dancing, some drinking, and the rest gathered around in motley groups trying to catch up on what’s new in each other’s lives. Tomorrow we are all going to bring the left over food to the beach and continue the party there in a symbolic clean-up ritual. (I actually inte…

sorry folks

am in Leyte attending the wedding of my youngest brother. also on vacation. and will be here until all saints day.

will try to blog from here. but the cafe is a good 3 kms away... but who knows.

From milking cow to roast calf

The following is my column today at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard-Today.

There’s an interesting and potentially groundbreaking development emerging from the current imbroglio involving Mirant Corp. and its employees. On the surface, the case seems to be simply about employees demanding benefits from their employer. Actually, it is far more important than that.

And depending on whose version of the truth you happen to be partial to, either the Filipino employees are the ones who are greedy, insatiable, and selfish or the American owners and their Filipino counterparts are the ungrateful capitalists who have suddenly become blind, deaf and indifferent to the plight of the Mirant employees. You know how it is in our country, it is not enough that the other side is simply wrong, they have to be demonized, too. Otherwise, there’s no fun in the debate.

The dispute has been simmering since Mirant’s parent company, based in Atlanta, announced it was selling off Mirant Philippines. As …

just the usual corrupt scheme

The following is my column today, October 24, at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard Today.

Since Milenyo struck, the house has been without cable television. I figured that Destiny was having such a difficult time sorting out all those tangled connections so I was willing to cut them some slack. Besides, to be honest about it, I kind of learned to relish the solitude that I have come to acquire in my own room. Switching on the television was a terrible habit that had become part of my routine every time I entered my room— yes, even when I had no intentions of watching it. Television was my ever-reliable company.

But since Milenyo reduced the cable connections in our neighborhood into leftover spaghetti, I have learned to live a more quiet existence. So in the last few weeks, I have been blissfully isolated from the shenanigans of politicians, investigative reporters and broadcast journalists. I do not know what has been going on in the world of Super Inggo or Atlantika, or even i…

Sensory overload at Malate

I have not been in the area for quite some time. Perhaps a year or so. Oh I have been in the periphery of the area - I've had dinner at my favorite Italian Resto (Cosa Nostra) about a block south, and at the Robinsons Manila a few blocks north. But I havent set foot in the area bordered by Adriatico, Remedios, Nakpil and Orosa streets for quite some time. It was quite a shock for me to discover that the heart of Malate has undergone a major change.

Wednesday found me in the area with my bestfriend Jojo. A good friend, Andrew de Real owner of The Library and writer/director of many comedy shows was celebrating his birthday and went out of his way to make sure that all his friends were there. So we went. I reckoned it was a perfect time to revisit old haunts.

We parked along Remedios near the Circle. Or what used to be the Remedios Circle at least. It is still in the shape of a circle, but the old quaint park is gone. The place has been flattened and the old white structure …

Non-resident mayors

The following was my column yesterday October 18, 2006 at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard Today. We buried my mentor and good friend Celia yesterday so I had no time to go online. My apologies.

Yes, I will update this blog. Soon.

I am a resident of the City of Manila. For almost 18 years, in fact, I lived a stone’s throw away from the official residence of mayor Lito Atienza at San Andres Bukid. Of course I know the mayor doesn’t actually live there. Okay, I know his son Kim used to live in the area because I actually saw him a number of times, but in all my 18 years in that neighborhood, I only saw the mayor setting foot in the area once—and it was during a campaign.
In fairness to the mayor, though, he seemed to have omnipresent eyes and ears in the neighborhood because most problems were easily addressed and resolved although this did not negate the fact that he did not live in the area.

We moved to Leon Guinto Street in Malate two years ago. I am still living in Manila an…

No pork, please

The following is my column today, October 16, 2006 at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard Today.

Twelve zeroes. A trillion pesos. To be specific, P1.26 trillion. That’s the 2007 national budget approved last Friday by the House of Representatives. It is a staggering amount and one that is incomprehensible to ordinary Filipinos. I am sure our educational system does not teach mathematical problems that involve trillions. Heck, I am not sure they even teach high school kids to do sums that reach billions.

I have no doubt that we can spend that much money. The question is how much of the money will go into the private bank accounts of the people that walk the corridors of power?

Our representatives were so ecstatic that they were able to pass the General Appropriations Act. Speaker Jose de Venecia couldn’t restrain himself from dishing out motherhood statements about how our lawmakers rose to the challenge and yada yada yada. He came very, very close to declaring our representatives as…

Down, down, down

So sorry folks, I am in hibernation.

I tried to update this blog, but what I come up with are just so depressing. I think there is no need to drag more people down.

But to those who emailed and left comments they didnt want published...yes, I am okay, thank you for asking.

I will be back soon.

Tenacity and courage

The following is my column at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard Today, October 11, 2006.

Sigaw ng Bayan is still at it and I must say I admire the tenacity of the people behind the movement. The truth is, despite their claim that they have overwhelming support and that their cause is just and correct, there is hardly a stampede today to defend them against the onslaught of vociferous criticism. Although the tough sailing at the Supreme Court is not conclusive of how the judges would vote on the issue, it does seem that many of those who used to be vocal about their support for the movement have already started to distance themselves.

Of course, this can change drastically if the Supreme Court renders the initiative as valid.

Such is the nature of politics. There are no permanent enemies or friends, only permanent interests. Thus, when you are hot, you are everyone’s best friend. But when your cause becomes unpopular, you are dropped like a hot potato. When your cause is in limbo, …

Eid ul-Fitr

The following is my column at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard Today, October 9.

Oct. 24 this year will be a National Holiday. It will be the end of Ramadan and the Muslim world will be celebrating Eid ul-Fitr. It is actually a major holiday for our Muslim brothers, just like Christmas is to Christians. Unfortunately, the significance of the event will once again be lost on non-Muslims, who will most likely see it as just another non-working day, just another day to play hooky.

It is yet another sad commentary of our times that it seems nobody gives any meaning or importance to why certain days are celebrated as national holidays: In particular, why there is a law declaring the end of Ramadan as a national day of commemoration and celebration.

There are times when I am convinced that even Holy Week and the Christmas season, the two religious seasons in the Christian world, have simply become occasions for rest and recreation. I know many people who hie off to the beach during Hol…

billboards, anorexia, board exams

So it seems people are finally serious about taking down those darn billboards. The question is, for how long?

It was funny how ABS-CBN finally got the message. For quite sometime now, they have been guilty of duplicity; they have been harping about those darn billboards while conveniently forgetting that their own billboards litter EDSA as well. The station has announced that they are taking down their billboards. It must have been a major decision particularly because GMA has not said anything yet about taking down their billboards (and the GMA billboards are bigger both in terms of size and quantity).

And maybe the Catholic hierarchy can also show some moral fiber by removing their billboards along EDSA as well. It is difficult to preach from a higher moral ground when people know that you are guilty of putting lives in danger.


I was a little intrigued to read reports that detail Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago's bout with anorexia. Hmmm. I know that anorexia is a s…

Thievery and obstinacy

The following is my column today, October 4, 2006 at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard Today.

In a perfect world where balance is the norm, a storm is nature’s way of cleansing itself of whatever it is that needs to be expunged from the system. It can be a welcome thing. But since we live in an imperfect world, a storm is an inconvenience, a punishment, a nuisance, etc.

I do not want to make light of the hardships that many are experiencing in the aftermath of Milenyo. However, it is important to put the misery in context. Forces of nature cannot be controlled and our best hope lies in having the contingencies to deal with them and their consequences.

Thus, it is wrong to attribute our current difficulties to Milenyo. We are in deep trouble today because of the lack of foresight among our leaders, because of greed of some corporations and some people, general ineptitude and incompetence of certain people, apathy, etc. The storm was a force of a nature. Our problems are man-made.

I …

Froth, inaction and callousness

The following is my column today at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard Today.

I know you’ve had enough of people talking about where they were and what they were doing at the height of Milenyo’s fury, so I will not go there. I think that our collective resilience and fortitude as a people need no further testimony.

It is Sunday afternoon, I am sweltering and stuck inside a house that hardly has any water. I am desperately trying to hammer out a column on a laptop with the battery threatening to go kaput any moment. Thanks to Meralco’s impotence, the whole of Paco and Singalong is still without electricity as I write. Write and rant about how utterly unprepared our government institutions and utility companies are to deal with a crisis and its aftermath.

One would think that since we are on first name basis with crisis—for crying out loud, we have typhoons practically every month, landslides every now and then, flash floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other forces of nature…

the aftermath

And where were you when nature unleashed its fury on us, ordinary mortals?

I was cocooned inside the ballroom of the Crowne Plaza where the Personnel Management Association of the Philippines was having its annual conference. "Cocooned" however was not exactly the right description because by the time we realized just how strongly the typhoon was pummeling everything on its path outside, it was too late to get out. So we soon realized we were actually stranded. At least there was electricity where we were courtesy of the hotel's generators, although the airconditioning was not exactly working well.

Anyway, there is still no electricity in the house. It is Sunday afternoon and looks like we're the last remaining people in the Metro to have electricity. It is actually infuriating because the problem in 0ur area has nothing to do with power lines - they already were able to restore everything a day after the typhoon. In fact, we had electricity Friday morning. Unfo…