Showing posts from March, 2009

Going beyond hype

This is my column today.
If we are to believe Tourism Secretary Ace Durano, the Philippine tourism industry is making great headway, supposedly even more so now that we’re making a bid to become the medical tourism destination in the world. I hope we’re not staking our fortunes on Vicky Belo and the Calayans, though. I’d hate to elevate to the global community the question of whether or not Boy Abunda is fit to become an endorser of beauty.

Of course this latest development is a little confusing because it seemed only yesterday when we were making a pitch for ecotourism. And just before that, we were proclaiming to the world (remember Wow Philippines?) the wonders of our mainstream tourism spots—Boracay, Palawan, Chocolate Hills, etc—and gloating about how they were better than other more popular tourism destinations in other countries.

But I’m not going to quibble with marketing messages in this piece although I am of the belief that a more consistent, a more integrated, and perhaps a m…

Too much victimization

This is my column today.

Now that “Nicole” has supposedly recanted her story— I say supposedly because there’s a lot of unanswered questions and naturally a lot of speculative drivel around her latest affidavit—there are now a lot of people saying they doubted her story all along. Actually, the word “doubt” does not even begin to describe the vitriol that’s being heaped on her person in the comment sections of various Web logs and Internet sites. It seems it is now politically correct to splash her face in various media, reveal her identity, bash her, and call her names because apparently she is no longer a victim. I don’t really know what it was that made media people decide that it was now okay to reveal her identity since everyone else is saying that her current affidavit is not material to the case anyway. Nevertheless, she has seemingly jumped from being the symbol of the oppressed to being a harlot who has betrayed her country and her people. Worst, there are now people who thi…

A crisis of values

This is my column today.The crisis that has the whole world in its grip today is no longer just a financial crisis. It has become so much more complicated as we begin to see its residual effects on the rest of the world, particularly developing countries whose economies are dependent on the developed world. For instance, the crisis has now evolved into a human development crisis and countries are now in a tight race to find viable ways of addressing the needs of their people, foremost among them gainful employment. Perhaps more importantly, the crisis has now evolved into a values crisis as the world tries to come to terms with what had been widely seen as the main causes of the crisis - recklessness, unabated greed, overdevelopment, etc.A number of news stories that came out last week in various media brought to the fore concrete indicators of this crisis of values.Locally, there’s been the series of horrendous stories about how the Legacy Group victimized thousands of people of thei…


As my contacts in facebook very well know, I am in Pacquiao country.  Got here last Friday and will be travelling to Davao City later today.  It's sweltering out here.  Really.  As in.  I now have great affinity with OFWs who work in Saudi Arabia.  
But the food here is great.  Dirt cheap.  My bestfriend who has chosen to be based in Gensan updated me on the prices of vegetables (yeah, we are weird in that way) and I couldn't believe how cheap they are here.  My favorite veggie is asparagus sprouts - and in manila, a bunch of about 12 stalks cost a whooping 40-50 bucks.  Here - hold your breath - a bunch of about 50 stalks cost a measly 20 bucks.  And when there's heavy rains daw and the plantations get flooded, the prices go down to a ridiculous 10 per bunch.  It's so cheap here that they use it as feed for their hogs.
Needless to say, I've been stuffing myself to the gills with asparagus sprouts and tuna since Friday.  Yum.  Yun lang.


This is my column today.Senator Ping Lacson finds himself in the middle of a major controversy today. And it is one that seems to have most of the requisites that would ordinarily—had it happened to an ordinary mortal and not a senator like himself—would have already merited congressional inquiry and a major dressing down and scolding from senators and congressmen.Perhaps now the senator and his colleagues would have a better appreciation of that old truism that says everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.Actually there are more truisms that come to mind as we witness the senator squirm, proclaim to high heavens his innocence, point fingers somewhere else, and invoke all kinds of conspiracy theories.One really wishes he would stop doing all these because quite frankly, a simple “I don’t want to dignify dirty tricks” or “I am innocent so I will not react until I have been accused formally” would have done the trick. He still enjoys high credibility anyway, even despite previ…

They think it is clever

I was having lunch with my colleagues at Wendy's at the Mall of Asia today when this poster advertising their shrimp sandwich caught my attention. I took a picture of the poster using my cellphone. It was lunchtime so I couldn't take a good shot without the reflection from the glass wall. Anyway the quotation on the poster, which is enclosed in quotation marks is pretty clear. It says "Take this all of you, and eat it."

Abstaining from meat during this season of lent is supposed to be good for our souls, thus they are pushing their shrimp sandwich with clever advertising. A colleague thought using the words Jesus Christ said at the Last Supper is sacrilegious.

You be the judge.

People are capital, not cost

This is my column today.We all know we’re right smack in the middle of a global crisis because everyone has been making references to it nonstop—it’s practically coming out of people’s ears. Of course we’ve also become aware of the crisis because contrary to what some so-called experts so brazenly claim, we’re not deaf and blind. And we’re definitely not stupid.The effects of the crisis are quite obvious.I still have to watch a newscast, read a newspaper or magazine, listen to a radio talk show, or even sit through a briefing or lecture without someone making a reference to the global crisis and use it as some kind of a justification for all kinds of arguments and decisions—many of them horrendously unwarranted. Obviously, many of the messages being put out there are not even empowering or inspiring.And horror of all horrors, there is now a cottage industry of business organizations and individuals cashing in on the crisis, under the guise of providing expert advice on how to survive …


This is my column today.Two separate but related events caught my attention recently. Both happened in cyberspace and had to do with cyberbullying. I know. Bullying by itself is already a complicated problem and in a country such as ours, one that is largely ignored as one of those things that most kids have to go through to survive or become tougher. We all know bullying happens and that a sizable percentage of kids are bullied in school. And now we have yet another phenomenon that adds further complication—cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is pretty much like ordinary bullying except that it is done with the aid of technology such as cellular phones or the Internet. The intent, however, remains the same, which is to humiliate another person for the purpose of proving superiority or power. Much of the behaviors around bullying happen under the surface—bullying is usually done covertly and in the case of cyberbullying, often anonymously. The first incident that caught my attention …

Mindless and tacky

This is my column today.A sizable percentage of all our newscasts are already devoted to the pranks and tomfooleries of our local celebrities.Over at GMA-7, Pia Guanio sashays into our living rooms several times every day during the early evening newscast, dressed in contraptions that defy logic and gravity to give us our daily dose of inanities. It seems Chika Minute!!! is a matter of such national significance because she is acknowledged as an anchor of the show.ABS-CBN has an equivalent in the person of model Phoemela Barranda who also pretty much does the same stuff, albeit in more tasteful fashion statements. Mercifully, she and her Star Patrol segment are not given the same prominence as the other segments.The weekend gabfests, I can understand.I know there are better ways to spend a Saturday or a Sunday afternoon than to listen to some hapless celebrity justify why he or she flunked a lie detector test—while still strapped to the device, mind you—or witness someone squirm in em…


I've been having high blood pressure since last Thursday. I had to come home early from work last Thursday because I had a splitting headache and my bp was hovering at 140/120. It eventually went down to 130/90, which in my case is still quite high since my regular bp is 100/70. I've been in bed the whole day yesterday and today - trying not to be stressed out. And yet, my bp is still at 130/100 levels. Sigh.

I would have wanted to join my friends on a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Manaoag, but I was afraid the four-hour trip would aggravate my hypertension. Besides, I had a scheduled visit from a reflexologist who claimed to have healed so many with his healing touch. I figured the massage would be relaxing (yeah, I know and he knew that he had to be careful about putting pressure on the nape area).

So let's talk about the reflexology experience first. What can I say, I wish I had the same level of faith as this particular reflexologist. He kept chattering on and on a…

Farewell to a great Filipino artist

I actually liked him both as an artist and as a person. I liked what he stood for. Kaleidoscope world is one of my favorite OPM songs. I remember being asked once who I thought are the male Filipino celebrities who haven't aged and probably won't and I remember mentioning Francis M as one of them. Why? Because we were born on the same year - 1964, but he really never looked his age. He always looked baby-faced specially in person. Good night, Francis M. (Photo taken from wikipedia)

Signs of the times

This is my column today.When a very well-traveled friend—he has been to practically half the major cities in the world—sent me a text message to tell me that he was passing through my hometown in Leyte on the way to a lecture engagement in Southern Leyte, I groaned inwardly and hoped he would be distracted enough not to notice the marker that greets everyone that passes by our hometown.But as fate would have it, not only was he not distracted. He was in fact, stupefied by our town marker. To be honest about it, it is kind of hard not to notice the marker because one, it is strategically located at an intersection, and two, it is a sculpture of mammoth proportions.Just as I feared, my friend’s next text message was to tell me the vehicle he was riding in had just passed by the town marker and that he was still ROFL (that’s cyberspeak for rolling on the floor laughing). At least he didn’t get traumatized by having to behold a hideous image and didn’t threaten to sue the town officials f…

Gordon responds

This is my column today.A couple of weeks back, I wrote about Senator Richard Gordon in this space. I wondered why the Senator was not a front-runner for the 2010 elections. I listed the man’s qualifications in terms of traits and track record and argued that a major test of our maturity as an electorate is choosing who should be in the shortlist of candidates for the 2010 elections. So while my column was about Gordon, it really was more about the sad state of the electoral system in our country.The senator has written a rather long reply to my column, which I am sharing with my readers below. I would like to state for the record that I am not endorsing Gordon for the presidency. While he has indeed expressed interest in and availability for the highest post in the land, he has not openly launched his bid yet. I haven’t decided on whom to support, myself.He says that he is still busy with his legislative work as chairman of the Blue Ribbon committee. We should note that this committe…

Fleeting encounter

Wala lang. Just thought I'd share this nonsensical bit with you on this sweltering Sunday afternoon.
I was at National Bookstore Shangrila EDSA last night around 8:30 quietly browsing around when I thought I heard a familiar voice in front of me.  I looked up...and there was this woman in an all-black get up, wearing HUGE as in HUUUGGGE sunglasses (at night!).  The first thought that crossed my mind was that this woman had flawless, creamy skin.  And then I noticed that she had two little girls in two.  I actually recognized Frankie and Miel before I recognized her. hahaha.  This I can say for a fact:  Television does not do Frankie justice.  I think she would make a really pretty lass someday.  
She was just passing through NBS although the kids seemed really interested in buying school supplies and I overheard her admonishing them about buying unnecessary stuff.  Everybody in the store was stupefied by her presence.
And then she and her coterie of security people were gone. Just li…