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Showing posts from May, 2007

Mad about beauty

This is my column today.

Since I am still recovering from surgery, I was able to watch the live telecast of the 2007 Miss Universe pageant from Mexico City yesterday. I think the last time I actually sat through a whole Miss Universe pageant—and it was the primetime telecast that I caught—was when Miriam Quiambao won as first runner-up. It was the last time the Philippines came close to winning the international beauty contest.

Crowned Miss Universe was 20-year- old Riyo Mori from Japan.

And no, Binibining Pilipinas Anna Theresa Licaros did not make it. Four Asians were among the 15 semifinalists: Thailand, Korea, Japan, and India. The two other candidates with Filipino blood in them, Miss Germany (whose father is 100 percent Filipino) and Miss Finland (whose mother is Filipino), did not make it too. Why do I know these obscure facts about Mesdames Germany and Finland? Because ABS-CBN, the station that bagged the franchise to telecast this year’s Miss Universe pageant, went to town wit…

Classroom shortage

This was my column yesterday. Sorry for the late post.

The opening of the school year happens in two weeks’ time. We all know this because the department stores and everyone else who stand to profit from this annual event have been reminding us in many subtle and not-so-subtle ways. Not that we need reminding; it is an annual event that comes regularly, pretty much like clockwork. Whether we like it or not, kids need to go back to school. The only thing that is variable is the specific date in June when it happens. This year it falls on June 11.

I do not mean to sound callous but the opening of the school year and the expenses that come with it are expected. It is not an emergency. It is not something that happens unexpectedly.

Thus, just like child delivery, parents have had time to prepare for it. I don’t understand parents, who whine on public television about how unprepared they are to deal with the financial requirements that go into paying tuition, uniforms, school supplies, and o…

Torture, sheer emotional torture

Why do we put up with it?

Because reading is not prescribed and other forms of strenuous effort is disallowed (including sex, hehe), my choices of recreation and diversion has been limited to sitting up in bed (or in a couch) in front of the television set. Believe me it is difficult to spend more than 12 hours a day sleeping. I used to think that being able to catch up on my 40-year backlog in sleep would be bliss. But after more than a week of forced rest, sleeping has become such a bore.

Anyway. Back to television. We do have cable TV at home, but I like to surf channels and sometimes curiousity just gets the better of me - I like finding out what our local creative people are up to lately. I am afraid there's really bad news.

In the last week, I have been following some local teleseryes and boy, oh boy, are they just so.... stupid. Watching them is pure, unadultered torture.

Since last week, I tried (yes, that is the operative term - tried, as in unsuccessfully) to watch t…

Feedback

The following is a comment made by Domingo, a fellow bisdak.

Bong,

In 1978, a catholic priest, Fr. Jorge M. Kintanar of Cebu, was among the candidates under Pusyon Bisaya that swept, 13-0, the regional (and block voting) elections for the Interim Batasang Pambansa assemblymen, representing Region VII (Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor).

Together with the lone winner from Mindanao, Cagayan de Oro Assemblyman Reuben R. Canoy of the Mindanao Alliance, the Pusyon Bisaya became the opposition voice in the interim Batasang Pambansa from 1978-1984.

Among the 13 elected was Atty. (later Supreme Court Chief Justice) Hilario G. Davide, Jr., and among those defeated, running under Marcos’ KBL, were the Cebu dynasties of Osmena, Gullas and Cuenco.

I remember this first election held after martial law was declared in 1972 very well, Bong, since I was then serving my third 4-year term as councilor of Lapu-Lapu City (a member of the Liberal Party and, allow me to add, one of only 3 incumbent ci…

Making sense of it all

Now that the elections have come to pass, it is time for anyone with an access to media to come forward and offer his or her two cents’ worth on the outcome of the elections.

Brother Mike Velarde of the El Shaddai religious community has offered advice to the President to listen to the voice of the people as expressed in the results of the mid-term elections.

I think the results are mixed, and in a number of cases, expected.

I am not quite sure that the results categorically say that people are tired of the political system or political leadership in the country. The senatorial elections do show that the same old faces are leading the tally. The frontrunners are either re-electionist candidates or traditional politicians from the House of Representatives. The same can be said of the race for seats at the House of Representatives, or even for local government posts. Even the choices for party-list representation generally indicate that except for a token few the same groups are returning …

Brush with mortality

This is my column today. I am still at home trying to hasten the recovery.


I was wheeled in promptly at 8 a.m., the appointed hour. Getting to the assigned operating room (I think it is officially called a theater, but let’s not complicate things here) involved a quick, unintended, but definitely anxiety-inducing tour of the other operating rooms along the way, which, to my utter surprise, didn’t have closed doors. So theoretically, if I were so inclined, I could have walked in on any of the ongoing surgical procedures and engaged the doctors and nurses on a spirited debate on the ethical implications of the so-called God complex among surgeons.

I really didn’t know what I expected, but whatever it was, I guess it’s irrelevant in the Philippine setting. Watching too many episodes of “ER” and “Grey’s Anatomy” has warped my sense of reality. I probably expected an environment that was more antiseptic for self-preservation reasons. I am not saying the operating rooms were not sterile. I w…

Back home and recuperating

I got home today from the hospital after undergoing two surgical procedures immediately after the elections. I am okay and hopefully on the way to recovery. No complications so far, thank you God.

I will write about the experience as a column on Monday - I have to shoot several birds with one stone - my way of updating my friends, colleagues and students; ensuring that I don't miss out on my column, and updating this blog.

Will be back soon. Promise.

Election report

My column last Wednesday, May 16, 2007.

While preparing to leave the house last Monday to go to Palma Gil Elementary School in Vito Cruz where I had been voting in the last 12 years, I tuned in to a local television station, which expectedly, had been doing a spirited update on the conduct of the elections.

If we were to go by the reports, the threat of total anarchy was hanging in the air and was about to break loose any moment. All reports from the field hewed closely to this spiel: “The conduct of the elections in this area has been peaceful so far, but there is fear that something sinister will happen soon.” Later in the day, this spiel would continue to be used but with a minor revision “The conduct of the elections was generally orderly and peaceful, but people fear that the canvassing will be marred by irregularity and chaos.”

I know that the media are simply performing their social role, but the preoccupation with the exceptions rather than the norm, the tendency to highlight the…

Music Meme

It's been sometime since I did a meme. But I had some time in my hands today so I bloghopped and came upon this interesting meme from one of my favorite bloggers, Gigi. It required taking out my ipod and doing a shuffle for each question. Here are the results of my efforts:

Opening credits?
Time in a Bottle - Bo Bice, American Idol

Waking up?
Time After Time - Tuck & Patti

First Day of School?
When She Loved Me - Sara Mclachlan

Falling in love?
Won't You Be My Number Two - Paolo Santos

First song?
I Am Changing - Jennifer Hudson

Breaking up?
Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 - Johann Sebastian Bach

Prom?
Making Love Out of Nothing At All - Carrie Underwood American Idol

Life?
Everytime I See You - BLT

Mental breakdown?
Purple Rain - Prince

Driving?
If I Loved You - Charlotte Church

Flashback?
After The Love Has Gone -Earth, Wind and Fire

Getting back together?
Hyperballad - Bjork

Wedding?
Got To Believe In Magic - Christian Bautista

Birth of a child?
China - Tori Amos

Final battle?
I Cried For You - Ella Fitz…

Subliminal messages

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

Elections should be about issues. It’s about personalities, yes; but ultimately, it should be about the issues behind the personalities. It should be about platforms, ideologies, principles, etc. Thus, in an ideal world, an election campaign is meant to bring about an enlightened discussion of issues, highlight what the candidates stand for, and in general aim at helping the electorate see beyond the fluff and static that inevitably surround candidates.

When I was growing up, the electorate would troop to public plazas to listen to candidates make long and often exuberant discourses about their platforms. People got the real thing—no fuzz, no sleek packaging, no subliminal messages—direct from the candidates themselves.

Technology, specifically, media technology, has changed all these. Thus, today’s election is significant for a number of reasons. The pundits have already gone to town with their lectures on the im…

How not to get votes

This was my column yesterday at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard Today. Again, sorry for the late post. It's a long story.

Many people were late for work yesterday, thanks to the monstrous traffic jam created by party-list hopeful Batas. One of the campaign strategies I hoped would not happen has come to pass. Not only do we have vehicles aimlessly driving around the country to parade the faces of candidates and annoy people with blaring jingles and litanies of the candidates’ supposed virtues, we now have organized caravans going around the country with thousands of vehicles participating.

Yesterday’s caravan was purportedly designed to bring honor to the country as it sought to earn a spot in the Guinness Book of Records for longest caravan of vehicles. The objective, we were told, was to get 5,000 vehicles to participate. I don’t know if they achieved it, and quite frankly I don’t think many among us care. Out of exasperation, I refused to listen to the running updates …

Two names short

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

There’s only six days left before the mid-term elections and I still don’t have a complete lineup for senators. What I have in my list, so far, are 10 candidates; two names short of the total number I am supposed to write on the ballot.

I wanted to finalize my list and post it in my Web blog before the elections because I committed to do so a few months back to promote a more enlightened discussion about the elections, at least among those who visit my blog.

There are at least 36 senator wannabes to pick from, how can choosing a mere 12 be that difficult? But, sigh, completing the list of 12 is so much more difficult than I had initially thought.

The sad—nay, tragic—part is that my inability to complete my senatorial slate is not because I have difficulty choosing one candidate for the other. It’s not a case of the classic walang itulak-kabigin (each one is a good choice). Such would have been a more desirable d…

It's not just about language

This was my column last Wednesday, May 2. I was out of town starting last Tuesday and just got back to Manila today.

A group of concerned educators and some parents filed a petition last week requesting the Supreme Court to stop MalacaƱang and the Department of Education from implementing a policy designed to strengthen English as a second language in the Philippine educational system.

The group is of the strong opinion that MalacaƱan’s Executive Order 210 and Department of Education’s EO 36 do not merely promote the use of English as a second language, but actually strengthens the use of English as the main medium of instruction in the country’s educational system.

According to the group’s petition, both executive orders patently violate the Constitution, specifically, Article 14 Section VI which, they say, expressly prescribes that “the Government shall take steps to initiate and sustain the use of Filipino as a medium of official communication and as language of instruction in the …