Showing posts from June, 2009

The death of innocence

This is my column today.I was too young to comprehend the outpouring of grief when Elvis Presley, Bruce Lee, and John F. Kennedy died. I never really understood what it meant when people, perhaps in an effort to articulate inexplicable grief, made big bold statements such as how the deaths represented the “passing of an era” or about how the deaths marked “the end of innocence.” How can the death of someone so far removed from their daily existence affect people in such a profound way that it becomes a metaphor for a life-defining moment?The sudden death of Michael Jackson last week made me come to terms with those big bold statements again.I was—am—a fan of the guy, but he really was more than just a celebrity I admired. He was someone who simply was part of my life’s journey. I practically grew up with him. Not in the literal sense, of course. But he was a large part of my childhood, my adolescence, and even my maturity process. As I wrote in my Web log last Friday, I could actually…

Heal the world

I didn't realize Michael Jackson was older until today.  I always thought we were the same age because, well, we sort of grew up together (okay, for the record, I am 45).  
I could actually chart my own maturity using his songs as some kind of soundtrack.  Let me see.  "Ben" was a song my playmates and I would sing with such gusto when I was in the primary grades.  "One Day In Your Life" was the sort of theme song (yeah, go ahead snicker) of my puppy love.  
My friends and I discovered musical instruments in high school (I studied piano, but lugged around a guitar to school and to our tambayan) and we would sing "Rock with You" and "She's Out of My Life" over and over again.
I was in College when Thriller shot to global fame.  Our class performed "Beat It" during one of those convocations.  
My first official job after graduation was with the US Peace Corps as Language and Culture Resource Person.  This was the time when MTVs were …

Leave her alone

I'm really swamped.  As in.  I'm up to my armpits with work.  This explains the late posts in this blog and the fact that I seemed to have been simply filling space in my column last Monday and Wednesday.  Yup.  There are days when writing a column feels like an obligation rather than a pleasurable experience.
I expect my workload to be a little more bearable next week so hopefully things will be little less hectic.  
But I feel an overwhelming need to blog about the Maricar Reyes reappearance now.
If there's a real victim in that whole sordid sex video episode, it's her.  We haven't really heard from her. No hysterics, no caterwauling, no hair-tearing appearances on TV.

But last Sunday, there she was on ASAP, looking as regal and as composed as a swan.  I am sure that little TV appearance was a nerve-wracking experience for her.  But she didn't show it.  And I admired her for it.
I wish people would simply leave her alone and stop this effort to pin her down for so…

Father's Day

This was my column yesterday. 
Last Sunday was Father’s Day. It was difficult to ignore the supposed significance of the day because as can be expected, people who were poised to profit by turning the day into a commercial event went to town with all kinds of not-so-subtle reminders for everyone to spend money in order to make his father happy. There’s something seriously wrong with the premise, but what can we do? There is a price tag attached to everything nowadays.Most of the popular restaurants and fast-food chains had various promotions designed to entice people to celebrate Father’s Day by spending money in their restaurants. Malls, bookstores, specialty shops all had the same idea. Even cable television networks adjusted their programming to show movies about fathers and their relationships with their children. Why do movies about father-son relationships (think Dad or Frequency) tend to be more melodramatic than movies about mother-daughters (think Terms of Endearment or Postca…

Hoaxes and fly swatters

This was my column last Monday, June 22.  Sorry, late post.
Two e-mails that furiously made the rounds last week illustrated just how easy it is for people to get “excited” even over far-fetched ideas and non-issues.I am not talking about the hyperventilating that’s been happening over the supposed indications that the President is preparing to run as representative of her district in her home province of Pampanga, supposedly as part of a larger scheme to eventually become Prime Minister of this country. It’s not a non-issue, of course; it’s a potentially explosive issue but the type that can only blow up on the faces of those pushing it.Still, in response to those who have been egging me to say something on the matter, my thoughts hew closely to the Supreme Court’s position on the constituent assembly—let’s wait for more concrete indications. Put more picturesquely, I would rather wait for those people pushing the inconceivable to tighten the noose some more around their necks; the be…

The social cost of technology

This is my column today.When people talk about how technology is reshaping the world and the way we live, the discussion most often centers on how technology has dramatically obliterated barriers of time and space. People talk about how technology has enabled us to communicate faster, process volumes of information quicker, even store, retrieve, and forward data in far more convenient ways than ever before.The impact of technology on people and social structures is often glossed over.For example, the emergence of e-mails and the widespread use of the Internet have spawned relational concepts such as e-mail etiquette and netizenship. Although most people have overcome the learning curve on appropriate use of emails, there are still those who annoy everyone else by continuing to forward all kinds of scams and chain e-mails, or using upper case letters, or generally displaying the virtual equivalent of boorish behavior.One of my professional e-mail groups is both virtually and literally …

Instant products and new gizmos

This is my column today.
In this age of consumerism, most of the things we need can now be bought from a store. There’s probably a product for anything and everything, both imaginable and unimaginable.Who would have thought, for example, that cooking something as basic as sinigang could be reduced to a few very uncomplicated steps, thanks to the wonders of pre-packed ready-to-cook concoctions that come in cubes or sachets? Thus, all one has to do today is boil some water, dump in some cubes or pour the contents of a sachet, put in the rest of the ingredients meat, fish or vegetables—into the boiling mass and then presto! sinigang is served.I used to agree with the advertising yarn that these pre-packed ingredients were the next best things that happened to culinary arts after fire was discovered. I am sure any working drone that has experienced a sudden hankering for sinigang sa sampalok in the middle of the night will agree with me on this. But when they started mass -producing concoc…

Hell on air

I am writing this while on official business in Butuan City.  The last time I was here, Martial Law was still in effect and I was still wearing short pants so I really didn't have any memory of the place.  But Butuan City (and Agusan, for that matter) has always intrigued me because of its rich archaelogical sites.  In case you don't know, they were able to excavate balangays (boats) that date back to pre-Spanish times, which further proves that the Philippines had its own civilization and culture even before Magellan came to the country.  
I intend to write about my Butuan experience in another post.  Right now, I will rant about one of the worst traveling experiences I've ever had: my flight coming here aboard PAL. Fortunately, it was a relatively short trip - 1 hour 15 minutes.
As required by company policy, we had to take PAL to Butuan.  I really don't have major issues with PAL - in fact, I've only flown Cebu Pacific a couple of times and only because there wasn…

What I think Lacson really wanted to say

This was my column yesterday and today.  It was too long so it had to run for two days.  I still haven’t been able to figure out what exactly the point of Senator Ping Lacson’s withdrawal from the presidential race last week was. I am not talking about why he withdrew, he spewed a sob story about how being virtuous can be a disadvantage in this country. What I am perplexed about is: How can someone withdraw from a race that has not officially started? The withdrawal would have made perfect sense if the period for the filing of candidacies was already upon us and he had already filed his candidacy. But the period is still several months away! And it’s not as if he was already picked by a party.
I know that by writing about his withdrawal from the race, I am raising more awareness about it. Quite frankly, there is a part of me that thinks a Lacson Presidency is not the worst thing that could happen to this country—the man does have strong traits. However, I still didn’t see the point of …

Risk and responsibility

This is my column today.

Traffic along Taft Avenue was particularly heavier than usual Wednesday afternoon last week. There was an unusually big volume of pedestrians around the area between Qurino Avenue and Vito Cruz street and a gazillion of private cars seemed to be desperately trying to get into the area all at the same time.

The reason: De La Salle-Manila (more popularly referred to as De La Salle University; actually, the De La Salle schools have long instituted a branding mechanism that required each school to be known simply by its location thus, De La Salle-Manila, De La Salle-Greenhills, etc.) closed down the Manila campus for 10 days and sent everyone home. Even the La Salle brothers had to pack up and evacuate to the De La Salle-Greenhills campus.

Students spilled all over the adjoining streets. Parents and drivers scrambled to pick students up pronto. As most everyone knows by now, one De La Salle-Manila foreign student was confirmed to have had AH1N1. Two other students a…


There are "small" places in the Metro that one knows is there - because they have been there forever - but which one ignores because, well, there are bigger, more publicized, and in some cases, more controversial and therefore interesting places.  
I've been ensconced inside Aloha Hotel for two Fridays now for marathon CBA negotiations.   I know the hotel existed - it happens to be situated strategically along Roxas Boulevard (right on the corner of Quirino Avenue), but up until now, I've not been inside the hotel.  Actually, to be honest about it, I didn't really think the hotel had anything interesting to offer.
Well, what do you know, it's actually a functional quaint hotel - a bit frayed at the edges, yes - but quite interesting.  The hotel's main attraction is its chinese restaurant fronting Roxas Boulevard at ground level.  What I liked about the hotel is the collection of antiques displayed in its lobby.  The antiques - from porcelain figurines, to C…

Villar's intransigence

This is my column today.

There are always many sides to an issue and it is a given that the proponents or advocates of one side of an issue would insist vociferously that their side is the correct one. In fact, very often in this country, proponents are not happy with just claiming to be correct, they insist on being the only correct one.

We are in a democracy and everyone is entitled to espouse and defend a point of view regardless of how illogical, improbable, or even incomprehensible that point of view may be to others.

Thus, we often find ourselves arguing and debating the finer points of a sticky issue until everyone gets tired of it, or until something providential happens such as when another issue of greater importance or urgency comes along. At which point, the issues are conveniently dropped in favor of the new issues.

In fact, I have this sneaking suspicion that in certain instances, that’s exactly the game plan at play—people simply stick to their guns and quibble endlessly in…