Showing posts from October, 2009


This was my column yesterday, October 28.
The old Filipino proverb “aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo” (literally, what good is the grass if the horse is already dead) is the title of an e-mail that is going around as fast as people can press the forward button of their e-mail programs.I originally didn’t want to write about it until I received the same e-mail four times in two days’ time. What caught my attention were the rejoinders to the original e-mail that people felt compelled to add, mostly condemnation for the government and the people at the Social Welfare Department. There are many people who are angry, very angry, and they are demanding swift action.I can’t blame people for being angry or for forwarding that e-mail indiscriminately without even verifying the veracity of its content. Everyone in this country is aware of the suffering that many victims of Ondoy and Pepeng have gone through and continue to go through still. The hundreds of thousands of victims need h…

Beggars at Baclaran Church

This is my column today.
I am sure that the people who produced that Sharon Cuneta television ad which shows the megastar wearing a forlorn expression on her face, falling down on her knees to beg for help for those affected by storms Ondoy and Pepeng meant well.I am sure that given the import of what they were trying to achieve, the last thing they had in their minds was to fuel a discussion on the moral implications of legitimizing begging or encouraging beggars in this country. It is highly possible, though, that they wanted to provoke some discussion on what it would take to get people to do or give more to the victims of these disasters.As we all know, political incorrectness is something that enrages a lot of people in this country so it is not surprising that there were quite a number who reacted negatively to that television ad. Fortunately, people seemed to have realized that getting all riled up about the issue would only deflect focus on the more important task of helping ot…

Furor over the word "nabubulok"

First of all, I would like to state for the record that I also find it annoying when people "shoot the messenger" rather than engage the issues head on. A blogger posted her story about how the DSWD is taking its own sweet time in distributing relief goods to the victims of the two typhoons that hit us recently. Read her post here.
The blog item soon found its way into mainstream media. As can be expected, the item got sensationalized. It had, after all, the elements that make for screaming headlines and catchy soundbytes. There's the possibility of incompetence. There's the possible angle of corruption. There's the possible link to some nefarious political schemes.
A visibly offended DSWD Secretary has denied the allegations of the blogger. She took exception to the comment "nabubulok." She has a point there. Wala nga namang nabubulok dun sa mga pictures na nakikita sa blog.
But the blogger has clarified what she meant when she used the word a…

Barangay officials get tricky

This is my column today.
There has been this mad rush to get people to register so they can vote in 2010. Apparently the rules for registration have been relaxed because it seems the registration is being conducted just anywhere—rom community centers, to buses, to churches. Just the other night, I saw a report on television about how representatives from the Commission on Elections conducted registration right at the television studios for the benefit of our local celebrities who were more than willing to mug for the cameras all in the spirit of civic mindedness and exercising one’s citizenship duties.Certain politicians have made voter registration their current pet advocacy. I think urging people to register and to exercise their right of suffrage is a commendable idea. I just don’t think pushing such an advocacy while being actively involved in one’s own political campaign is such a great idea because it smacks of vested political interest.I hope that the Comelec has safeguards in p…

Just another meme

I was tagged (dared is probably the more apt term) by quite a number of bloggers to do this meme. It's been quite sometime since I did something like this so I thought I'd give it a shot. So here goes.
1. What was the last thing you put in your mouth? A bunch of grapes. Not all at the same time, of course, though I've also done that.

2. Where was your profile picture taken? May this year at Caluruega.

3. Can you play the guitar?
I still have to meet a male person who grow up in the Visayas who can't strum the guitar.

4. Name someone who made you laugh today?
Someone at work we call Migs (long story). He was trying to be cute and well, he wasn't. Lol.

5. How late did you stay up last night and why?
Had to finish XXX because they showed something that involved the Bank I work for. Lonnggg story.

6. If you could move somewhere else, would you?
Yes. To Bangkok. If not, Tagaytay would do. Assuming I could afford it.

7. Ever been kissed under fireworks?
Nah. I guess the people I…

Listening with the heart

This is my column today.
There are people like my mom who cry at weddings. I am not one of them. There are people who cry at graduations. I was not one of them—at least until last Saturday.I recognize that graduations are occasions ripe with opportunities for anyone lachrymous to start bawling at the slightest provocation. But as someone who didn’t attend his own graduation ceremonies during college (although I did attend the Recognition and Awards Program the day before) I’ve always seen graduation ceremonies as a stuffy formality that can be dispensed with. Very often, graduation ceremonies tend to be overly long; they also more often that not feature speakers that regurgitate old hackneyed clich├ęs that quite frankly are tedious to listen to.But as a professor who is required by academic guidelines to don a black toga and wear a somber expression to match it at least once a year, I have learned to take graduation ceremonies in stride. I have learned to view graduations in a different…

Here we go again...

So another typhoon is hovering nearby.
Of all the names in the world, they had to name it Lupit (Filipino for cruel). The local name for the typhoon would be Ramil, though. But many people relish referring to the typhoon as Lupit. Some people do have a twisted sense of humor. We already have more than enough misery in many parts in this country and we don't need anymore reasons to be more scared than we already are.
do we really need to be so alarmist about it? It's like all the media people in this country had this agreement to hype up reports about typhoons! I am not saying that we don't report about impending typhoons - just that we do away with the hyperventilation and the doomsday scenario reporting.

The power of hope

This was my column yesterday.  Late post. 
Like everyone else, I reacted with genuine surprise at the selection of United States President Barack Obama as this year’s winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. I have great admiration for Obama both as a person and as a leader. I think he epitomizes that one admirable quality that other leaders can only aspire for but which he is able to do effortlessly by just being himself, and that is to be an inspiration to others.As can be expected, the reactions varied from genuine elation to utter contempt. The Internet buzzed all over the weekend with all kinds of commentary. The whole gamut of reactions can be summed up in three points.First, that the award is premature since the President has not really had the time to produce results yet. Some issues about technicalities (mainly about deadlines and time frames) led many to suspect that the Nobel Peace Prize Committee adjusted the rules to accommodate Obama. The deadline for nominations was February and…

Ethical dilemmas

This is my column today.

At the height of the flooding in Pangasinan, hundreds of people were trapped inside the SM City in Rosales. Parts of the mall itself were submerged in floodwater and as can be expected, goods were floating around— obviously many of them hardly usable and practically worthless already because of water damage—and many found their way out of the building. If you were a security guard or an ordinary worker inside the mall and you know that these goods would eventually be declared as losses anyway, would you start throwing these goods out of the building in the hope that some people would be able to salvage them and derive some benefit from them? And if you were an ordinary onlooker and you see these goods floating around, would you start picking them up and carting them away for personal use? As it turned out, there were security guards and mall workers who did find ways to push the floating and therefore damaged goods out of the building. And many people from ne…

Temporary relief

This is my column today.
At the height of the hidden video sex scandals that preoccupied many people in this country a few months ago, the main character in the scandal predicted that “all these will be forgotten in a few months.” It seems he was right. The hatred and repulsion that people felt toward him seem to have abated already. I caught a news bit lately about how he and his millionaire-doctor-entrepreneur paramour have since then reconciled and the treatment of the supposed newsworthy item was one of undisguised amusement rather than dread.Actually I didn’t really want to write about the sex scandal per se. It just seemed like a good illustration of how even the most sordid and the most major of all controversies in this country automatically get swept away when a major disaster or catastrophe happens. Put another way, there’s nothing like a typhoon or a flood to cleanse us of our vexations and tribulations.I don’t know if there are people in this country who think watching endl…

Things I learned from Ondoy and Pepeng

This is my column today.
It has been said that experience is the best teacher. If we are to go by the way most people reacted swiftly to the impending arrival of Typhoon Pepeng last Friday, it seemed many have indeed learned some lessons in survival—some quite more painfully than others.Traffic in the Metro was hopelessly gridlocked in many areas late afternoon and early evening of Friday as most scrambled to get home as fast as they could presumably to prepare for the onslaught of the super typhoon. Lines at the supermarket at lunchtime were long, very, very long, as most stocked up on food and survival kits. My friends and I picked up the last remaining rechargeable lamps and batteries at a hardware store at the Mall of Asia and I personally am at a loss as to what to do now with the lamps I bought on a whim. I am sure there are many people out there with a surfeit of canned goods and instant noodles.Many among us grew wiser—and older—in the last ten days. For sure there are lots of …


I didn't quite know what to make of the text message that was being passed around this afternoon like it was, well, Gospel truth.  I am sure you got it too because I got it - and variations of it - a grand total of seven times.
The text message said that Pepeng was as of 3pm already supertyphoon and that the critical hour was 9pm.  I liked the part that asked for prayers but I wasn't so sure about the wisdom of the dire predictions.
Well, it seems that bit about 9pm being the critical hour was not based on fact.  In fact, PAG-ASA had just announced that the typhoon was expected to hit land by tomorrow afternoon Saturday if it doesn't change course, of course.  
But okay.  I do am grateful for the fact that people seem to be doing everything to be prepared.  Finally people are not taking chances.  Many are already evacuating to safer places.  Others are making sure that they have all the provisions in case things turn for the worst.
I was at MOA again today and I was suckered i…

Yet another test of our resilience and fortitude

The news that was going around late today was something that sent shivers down one's spine.  Typhoon Peping (international codename Parma) was generating more strength and as of 3pm was officially already a super typhoon.  
Given what we just went through last weekend, it was understandable that lots of people became paranoid.  I was at MOA after work today. I decided to drop by the Hypermart to buy some candles and a couple of flashlights and was stunned to see lots of people doing panic buying.  The lines at the cashiers were just too long.
I also received a number of text messages all expressing the same thing: A fervent prayer that Typhoon Peping spares the country.
I think a little rain would do some good.  We need nature to cleanse a number of areas of the mud and filth.  But let's hope the rains aren't as destructive this time around.
I join everyone in praying for deliverance.  Let's hope God is listening.