Showing posts from February, 2010

A turn for the worse

This was my column yesterday.
Elections in this country have been described as one mad giant circus. That’s because politicians and their supporters engage in unbelievably crazy stunts in an effort to endear themselves to the electorate.The stunts include relatively harmless antics such as performing song and dance routines regardless of the fact that they cannot carry a tune or do a simple shuffle even if their very lives depended on it. Some engage in really cheap gimmickry such as shedding copious tears in public or fabricating gossip just to gain media mileage or public attention. Others magnify whatever little achievements they have attained in their lives and gloss over their imperfections, pretty much the way magicians do their smoke-and-mirror tricks. Most of it is phony and tawdry and reduces elections to the level of entertainment but we have all learned to take these in stride as just one more indication of our joie de vivre as a people.Unfortunately, the circus often makes …

According to the stars

February 25, 2010 UPDATE. Someone who goes by the handle R left a comment, actually, he insinuated that I lied about the source of this post. It always amazes me why some people are quick to suspect the worse in others. I always make it a point to credit my sources when warranted; I always credit the sources of the photos that I use in this blog. I didn't know that this was first published in The Professional Heckler. I used to follow the blog when I still had lots of time. I haven't been able to do so for a number of months now.
Someone lifted the post and sent it through emails. I got this post three times last Monday on my inbox at work.
So in the interest of fairness, I am crediting The Professional Heckler now. This post originally appeared in his blog.

Somebody sent this to me through email and it made my day. I am truly amazed at how creative we Filipinos can be and how we are able to see humor in every situation.



This is my column today.
At the rate I am doing free lectures, demonstrations, and tutorials on the f eatures of a Kindle, I have half a mind to charge for promoting its product. Not that I really find it bothersome—I must admit that th ere’s a certain joy in being able to show people how a certain gadget works particularly since the gadget in ques tion encourages reading, obviously one of my main advocacies. If one craves attention and wants to show off, a Kindle is probably a good ga dget to have.But if one shuns attention and simply wants to enjoy quiet moments of privacy spent reading, then lugging around a Kindle in public may not be the perfect idea, especially in a country such as ours where a Kindle is not yet a popular gadget. To begin with, it was only made available to countries outside of the United States recently. Being interrupted many times while reading or being asked for a quick review on the Kindle has become a regular occurrence.On a recent flight to Cebu, fo…

Much ado over condoms

This is my column today.
At a recent forum organized by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines, the people who want to lead this country into the future took turns lambasting the Department of Health for distributing condoms in line with its HIV/AIDS prevention program last Valentines Day at the Dangwa terminal, Metro Manila’s main flower market.Some of the presidential candidates hemmed and hawed and tried to sugarcoat their objections. Senators Richard Gordon and Jajajajamby Madrigal said they were not in favor of distributing condoms without the benefit of information drives, supposedly to explain their proper use. I almost choked on the sandwich I was eating when I heard them say it. I hate being snippy but is there actually anyone 10 years and older in this country who doesn’t know what a condom is for? And if people actually bothered to check, condoms distributed as part of HIV/AIDS awareness actually come with their own packaging. This includes information abo…

Furor over a man in briefs

This is my column today.(Photo taken from

When I heard that Romulo Macalintal, big-shot election lawyer of the President of the Republic and of many other influential people in this country ranted against billboards last week, I heaved a major sigh of relief. Finally. Someone with clout in this country who is not known for calling attention to himself has spoken out against those monstrous monuments to consumerism that pollute our cityscape. I was about to sing paeans of praises to the man. Perhaps those things will finally get obliterated from the face of Metro Manila.Obviously I find billboards—okay, not all but many if not most of these billboards—a bane on our existence. They are serious threats to public safety. They can topple over during typhoons and natural calamities and kill people as they have done so in recent past. They also distract motorists on the road. Given the fact that heavy traffic has become a regular fixture in our lives and given the abysma…


FEBRUARY 16, UPDATE: Allen has contacted his family and is safe. The family has requested for privacy which means we're not supposed to ask anymore regarding what really happened. Anyway. I think what is important is that the guy is safe.
Just want to help out.
If you have any information about him, please call any of the following:
Pat Javier 09159435332
Rea Carpio 09163992674.
Bea Tabuñar 09173260415
Rose Tan 09178297673
Pat Mineses 09178597252
Des Tablante 09279677561
Lorenz Pangilinan 09151126751

Rewriting history and gloating about it

This was one of the things I feared the most.
It has come to pass.
And I honestly feel very disturbed by it.
Very, very disturbed.
Joseph Ejercito Estrada who is running for President of the Republic yet once again has come up with a television ad that sends shivers down my spine.
The deposed President who was convicted of plunder and spent a number of years in seclusion (I refuse to say he was in jail because what passed off as prison was actually a resort that had better facilities than some five-star hotels) is now rewriting history, proclaiming to all and sundry with a straight face and without batting an eyelash, that if EDSA DOS did not happen, "malayo na sana ang ating narating."
Thank you to the people who have been suffering from a lingering attack of selective morality, Estrada can now afford to be sanctimonious and to gloat over the fact that he has - in his mind - been vindicated. I can make a quick rundown of the many things we have seemingly forgiven Est…

Wearing a red hunting hat

This is my column today. (February 14 erratum: A professor from Ateneo, Jonathan Chua, emailed to point out an oversight in this column. He is right, of course. Jose Garcia Villa was one of the first to be proclaimed National Artist).
I have a confession to make. More than two decades ago when the Internet was still incomprehensible to most people, when geeks and nerds still had absolute dominion over cyberspace, and when access to the net still meant having a telephone and a dial-up connection, I spent inordinate amounts of time lurking in Internet chat rooms.My initial handle or nick was Salinger, after Jerome David Salinger, the novelist. Back then, no one asked about who Salinger was and why it was my handle; which was probably a reflection of the demographic profile of the people who lurked in chat rooms then—people who knew JD Salinger and what he represented to those belonging to a certain generation.I tried logging on to a chat room the other weekend using Salinger as my …

Like betting on prizefighters

This is my column today.

The question that everyone inevitably gets asked at social occasions nowadays, whether surreptitiously as if it were a matter of national security or blatantly as if it were one’s obligation to announce it to all and sundry, is this: Who is your candidate for President? It is possible of course—although I highly doubt it—that the social circles I move in do not typify Philippine society. Based on my observation, most people who are asked the question are still unsure about who they are voting for. Of course there are those who have already made up their minds and proudly proclaim their choices but they represent a minority. But most people I know give non-committal answers—they often provide two names. “I’m choosing between this and that candidate.” Some provide stronger indicators by saying “I am strongly leaning towards this candidate.” But the sense I am getting is that people are still deciding; most people haven’t really made up their minds. In fact, I h…

Sick and sickening

As I write, I am watching The Bottomline with Boy Abunda. He has Marlene Aguilar as guest. I am totally blown away - thrown off the wall - by the sheer lunacy of it all.
The experience of watching Marlene Aguilar regurgitate what she thinks is wisdom and brilliance is akin to watching a circus freak show. It's riveting but it is also surreal. It's just so totally unreal.
What amazes me is that there are actually people who can't see through her; people who still cling to the notion that she is doing all of these things out of maternal love. She is doing it for herself. She is doing it because she cannot help herself.
She is sticking to this fantastic yarn about how America is behind her son's supposed persecution. She insists that all of these things - even the Maguindanao massacre, believe it or not - happened because of the supposed subversive content of her book.
I've read parts of her books (they can be downloaded from the net) and believe me, the woma…

Crab mentality

Like many others, I am also concerned about the way candidates, specially those running for national posts, are spending money on television ads like there's no tomorrow.
However, I find it extremely hypocritical when certain politicians and their lackeys begin criticizing other candidates for spending billions on ads and then announce that they will do the same. Okay, let's be more specific.
I think Senator Noynoy Aquino's handlers are being hypocritical when they complain about Senator Manny Villar's TV ads because they (Aquino's camp) are obviously out to produce more ads and give Villar stiff competition as one of the country's top advertisers. It's like the kettle calling the pot black.
I am not saying we shouldn't rant about things we believe are wrong. All I am saying is that when we do so, let's make sure we can't be accused of exactly the same thing.

In case you haven't noticed, my blog now has its own domain name although it is still on blogger platform. The change has been courtesy of a former student of mine (Allan) who has been egging me since he was in my class (three or four years ago) to harness the potentials of this blog. I never really meant this blog to be anything else other than a space for self expression so I never really give his suggestion serious thought. I must admit though that there were times when I wish I had the time in the world to make more posts, respond more to comments, make this blog more interactive. Unfortunately, there's just 24 hours in a day.
But sometimes things just happen when you least expect them. Allan called me yesterday to inquire if I was still writing. We did shop talk for a while. And then he called me again after 30 minutes to tell me he was able to get for me. Just like that. I was in the middle of a meeting so I never did get the chance to thank him f…

No to plastic bags

There was a news report published in the inside pages of this paper last week, which was sadly largely ignored by other media networks.The Muntinlupa City Council has enacted an ordinance banning and regulating the use of plastic bags, Styrofoam and styropor materials in business establishments in the city. The ordinance was signed by Mayor Aldrin San Pedro and will officially take effect next year. The one-year reprieve is meant to ensure that business establishments and the citizenry are prepared to implement the ordinance.What this means is that effective next year Jollibee and McDonald stores in Muntinlupa will no longer be serving spaghetti in styropor containers and softdrinks in plastic glasses. Stores in Alabang will no longer be using plastic bags.Finally, some concrete action to protect the environment! I commend the city council of Muntinlupa for manifesting political will. It’s really about time we stop using plastic and styropor materials in urban centers, particularly Me…