Showing posts from March, 2010

Tall tales and the Holy Week

This is my column today.
The most forwarded email since Monday were the columns written by Solita Monsod of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and William Esposo of the Philippine Star facts around the death of Senator Manuel Villar’s brother and about his supposed poor background to boost his presidential bid. Monsod and Esposo presented incontrovertible documents that prove that contrary to the claims Villar made in his political ads, his brother Danny did not die because his family did not have money to pay for his medication nor did he live in abject poverty in the squatters’ area in Tondo.Villar has countered with a blanket denunciation of his critics. In an interview conducted Sunday at Naga City, he insisted that he and his family were once squatters, that he was born poor on Sta. Maria Street in Tondo, that the nine of them slept together on a single mat and mosquito net. He also insisted that his brother died because they didn’t have the money to pay for the treatment of leukemia. …

Trumping the law

This is my column today.

I have a suggestion. Let’s scrap Congress. Let’s save ourselves the time and the money in getting people elected into becoming lawmakers. Let’s get rid of senators and congressmen. What’s the point having them anyway when according to the Commission on Elections, the various political parties, the candidates running for various public office, and the many other people who have suddenly found reasons to pick on our laws as justification for their various transgressions, the reason why we are such in a mess today is because we have bad laws. So forget about the chest thumping, the drum beating, and the efforts at self-promotion of our various senators and congressmen. Forget about the much-ballyhooed accomplishments—volumes of books about them—of the various sessions of Congress that have been convened. As the cliché goes, the fruit of the pudding is in the eating: We are now being told that our laws are poorly conceived, broad, confusing. In short, we hav…

Thoughts on a graduation (again)

I was at the PICC (again) yesterday afternoon for a graduation (yet again). Okay. Let me explain that previous sentence - as professor at DLS-CSB, I am required to attend as many graduations as possible and the school holds one every term and each one is held at the PICC.
But yesterday was a bit more memorable because my son was graduating from College. Yay! The bad news is that he was part of around 1,200 new nursing graduates from just one school. I think we easily produced 100,000 new nurses this graduation season. But the prospects for nurses still look bright - daw. Besides, my son really wanted to take up nursing anyway. Am hoping he goes to Medical school but that's wishful thinking. He is typical of his generation - he wants things quick. He wants instant gratification. He has no patience for processes and for things he doesn't see practical use for.
Anyway. Because I have attended so many of these graduation ceremonies in the last ten years I have become q…


This is my column today.
Most of the attention in this election season has so far been focused on the so-called presidentiables so when I learned that ABS-CBN was putting together a debate featuring the candidates for vice president, I marked the date on my calendar and made sure I would be home to watch the telecast.Harapan (roughly, the face-off): The Vice Presidential Debate, happened last Sunday and featured (in alphabetical order) Makati Mayor Jojo Binay, former Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Bayani Fernando, Senator Loren Legarda, Senator Mar Roxas, broadcast journalist Jay Sonza, and former Securities and Exchange Commission chair Jun Yasay. Noticeably absent was former Optical Media Board chairman Edu Manzano.Harapan was instructive in many aspects.It showcased a different way of conducting a debate. We’ve gotten used to debates conducted in a very somber way, which most people have come to associate with or confuse with earnestness. People do have this strange not…


I was listening to the radio on the way to work this morning and heard that San Miguel Light beer ad again. It's the one featuring Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera.
The gist of the ad: He gets pissed because she broke his TV set. He orders a bucket of beer.
Thereupon he tells her that he broke her laptop.
She orders another bucket of beer.
There are two of them sharing two buckets of beer.
And they have the nerve to say: Drink Moderately.

Skin deep

This was my column yesterday.
I receive quite a number of press materials in my email inbox—data about certain products and launchings, answers to frequently-asked questions about this and that advocacy, even campaign materials from politicians and political parties—all sorts of information, most of which just get filed in various folders as materials for future columns.I don’t have anything against feeding columnists with stuff to be written about as long as there are no strings attached. I will state this for the record for the first and hopefully the last time: I only write about stuff that I care about so no amount of persuasion can make me consider writing about causes that I don’t believe in, or feel anything towards.But every now and then, someone does send material that strikes a chord such as the latest skin safety campaign of the Philippine Dermatological Society (’s a campaign that’s timely because it’s summer and in case you haven’t noticed, going to som…

As usual

This was my column last Wednesday. Sorry for the late post. This has been a really crazy week - my schedule is so hectic I feel like I am spinning out of control.
Last Sunday wasn’t supposed to be an ordinary day for Filipinos.Philippine boxing sensation Emmanuel “Pacman” Pacquiao was scheduled to beat the daylights out of Joshua Clottey in Texas, USA. In this country, any day Pacquiao goes up the ring is an occasion for national chest thumping. Of course we already know that such a day is also marked by low crime incidence as most thugs also go on some kind of a holiday. Too bad, really, that Pacquiao cannot fight everyday.But as things would have it, last Sunday was actually like any other day. It was a day marked by the usual display of behavior—many of them annoying and unsavory—that we have come to associate with ourselves as a people.As usual, the television network that cornered the exclusive rights to broadcast the Pacquaio-Clottey fight shamelessly milked the occasion to r…

Building a house

This was my column yesterday.
I am writing this piece in the midst of utter chaos. We have just moved into a new house that’s barely finished. There’s the lingering smell of fresh paint in the air despite the fact that the painting job was completed a week ago and we specifically used the type of paint advertised on television as odorless. And as if the chemical scent of paint isn’t more than enough already to bring on an attack of rhinitis, there’s the ubiquitous dust here, there and everywhere.Moving houses in this infernal heat definitely isn’t a good idea. But we couldn’t wait to move to this house that’s finally home sweet home—the first house that’s officially in my name. It was a house built around 30 years ago when the price of marble, glass, and steel must have been ridiculously cheap—there was just not other way to explain the architecture of the house when we first found it: A veritable aquarium cum fortress with huge sliding glass doors and panels and twisted wrought iron e…

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Of earthshaking significance

This was my column yesterday.
How exactly are people supposed to behave during an earthquake?I am not sure if there is now a standard drill being taught in schools on how to survive earthquakes. I personally don’t remember having gone through anything of the sort when I was a student although I reckon that the basic principles in managing calamities and crises also apply. Not that we, as a people, pay heed anyway.I have a very strong feeling that we’re simply not wired to be proactive in our approach to calamities and crises. Some experts attribute this to the bahala na (roughly, just leave it to fate or God) syndrome.For example, annual fire drills are standard in most organizations in this country. I’ve been through quite a number of them myself, including one traumatic experience that required climbing down 30 flights of stairs in a pitch-dark sweltering tunnel. I almost died from claustrophobia. And yet during actual fires we still see people scampering for safety in all directions…

In search of talent

This is my column today.

Now that the local franchise of the “Got Talent” television show is under way, there’s this whole preoccupation once again with the issue of “talent” and just how talented we are as a people. And luckily for all of us, even if we don’t get to watch the talent contests on television, there’s always a video of the performance on You Tube, which we can watch anytime. We all like to lay claim to being the most talented bunch of people in the world. If we are to go by the sheer number of Filipinos (or half-Filipinos if we must nitpick about it) that steal the show and end up as finalists in the talent contests staged in other countries, there seems to be evidence to back our claim. Why they end up as “mere” runners-up rather than as winners is understandable— most of these contests are decided by text voting by the general population who will naturally be partial to homegrown talents. Madonna Decena and Charlie Green created waves at Britain’s Got Talent the other …

In defense of Secretary Cabral

This was my column yesterday.
If I didn’t have my hands full with other pressing engagements last Monday, I would have been there at the Department of Health compound on Tayuman Street in Manila joining hands with women’s groups, non-government organizations, and people living with HIV/AIDS in support of beleaguered Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral.From what I gathered from friends who were there, the crowd turnout wasn’t bad. Certainly not huge if we are to use El Shaddai or Jesus is Lord standards—but being able to gather close to three hundred live bodies is already a feat given the level of demonizing the cause, and Cabral herself, have been getting from the Catholic Church. Rallying in support of condoms is not exactly something one would usually like to be known for. Also, getting people to rally around and in support of a cabinet secretary of the present dispensation does not sound like a wise move.But people did show up—and I am glad that they did. About time some people actua…

Up close, not personal

This is my column today.

Liberal Party presidential candidate Senator Benigno Aquino III recently expressed exasperation that the issues discussed in the series of presidential forums have become repetitive and tended to focus too much on populist shtick rather than on the more substantive issues hounding the nation. He then challenged Senator Manny Villar, the candidate who is widely seen as his closest rival for the presidency, to a one-on-one debate; a challenge Villar immediately accepted. Villar shot back: Name the place and the venue. A sidelight to that verbal scuffle was Brother Eddie Villanueva’s attempt to insert himself into the picture saying that if Aquino and Villar were going to debate mano a mano, then he also should be there even if only to serve as a referee. I cite this back story because it just so happened that the professional organization of which I am currently vice president, the People Management Association of the Philippines (the national organization of hu…