Showing posts from January, 2012

Foregone conclusion

This is my column today.
Many among us try to project this impression that we continue to have an open mind as to whether or not the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is guilty of the crimes for which he has been impeached by the House of Representatives and being tried by the Senate.
There are those who go through the motions of following the proceedings of the impeachment trial purportedly for the purpose of discerning for themselves the real value of the tons of evidence presented thus far, or conversely, ascertaining the real merits of the spirited arguments of the defense panel.

There continue to be many who pretend that they have not made up their minds yet about the guilt or innocence of the Chief Justice—and I am not necessarily talking about Senators Frank Drilon, Francis Pangilinan, or Ralph Recto.

Let us get real, people. Most of us who give a flying fig about the issue have already made up our minds a long time ago. And many of us made the decision based on party affiliation,…

Mamma Mia!

This was my column last Monday. I was sick yesterday; thus, the late post.
Some of my friends who have bought tickets to the local run of the touring production of the Broadway hit musical Mamma Mia are apprehensive.There is the possibility that the curtains at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, where Mamma Mia is scheduled to run starting tomorrow, will not go up if the local association of Filipino singers, the Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit makes good its threat to secure an injunction or a temporary restraining order against the local promoters of the show for allegedly not paying equity clearance.In fact, Elmar Beltran Ingles, Executive Director of OPM has issued a more ominous threat: OPM President singer Ogie Alcasid plans to bring up the matter directly with the President of the Republic of the Philippines himself, Benigno Simeon Aquino III. Oh, President Aquino is bound to listen regardless of how busy his schedule is or how preoccupied he is with impeaching the …


It took me more than an hour to get to my house from the main street about two blocks away. I had to go around and around like in a maze.
The reason? It's bisperas of the feast of the Holy Family, which is the fiesta of the whole San Andres Bukid area. And this means people take it upon themselves to erect platforms, stages, and play areas all over in the process blocking streets and pathways. I don't really mind if only the various groups or barangay chairmen coordinate with each other to ensure that people can still come in and out of the area without too much hassle.
Our house is virtually inaccessible at this point by transportation as all streets leading to it has been blocked. Behind our house there is a Miss Gay contest being staged. Two blocks away to the left is a singing contest. There's a disco at the street to our right. And our neighbors have also set up their own barbecue parties outside on the streets complete with karaokes blaring at full volume.…

Side issues

This is my column today.
If we are to believe the prosecution team, the issue is neither Chief Justice Renato Corona nor the Supreme Court. It is, as Niel Tupas whined publicly, about making officials of this land accountable to the solemn oath that they made when they assumed office. And yet, he heaped scorn at the man —who is not the issue at hand—and addressed him in the first person during his opening remarks.If we are to believe the defense team, the issue at hand is not anymore Chief Justice Renato Corona but the independence of the Supreme Court and the judiciary as a co-equal branch of government. And yet, the defense took pains defending the supposed honor and integrity of Corona, the same man who is supposedly no longer the issue at hand. The rally that was staged Monday morning at the Supreme Court was not also about the Supreme Court or about Justice per se, but about Corona.The networks also chose to focus their cameras on Corona so that a small window bearing the somber f…

Faith and love

This is my column today.
Perhaps people are saving up for Mamma Mia, or are still recovering from the mind-numbing fare that was the 2011 Metro Manila Filmfest, or probably bracing for the grandest of all soap operas that is the impeachment trial of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court that will be unveiled today at the Senate (and which I refuse to write about today on account of the bandwagon effect).Whatever the reason, Next Fall, Repertory Philippines’ season opener began its run last Friday at Onstage in Greenbelt 1 in Makati to a seemingly slow start; there were less than a hundred people in the audience when my friends and I caught it over the weekend.The lack of interest in the play is surprising. Next Fall was a smash hit off and on Broadway. Moreover, plays —and movies - that tackle relationships between gay men usually have a ready audience in this country. But then again, Next Fall is not really a gay play. It’s a meditation on faith and the dynamics that make love and re…


I finally finished updating this blog. All the columns I wrote between May 2010 and December 2011 (the period when this blog was in hibernation) have already been uploaded in this blog. It took me two weeks to do it, but I finally got it done.
Today is Friday the 13th. I don't really believe in that kind of superstition; besides, today was actually a light day at work, which was unusual for a Friday. My officemates and I descended on Sakae Sushi restaurant in MOA for lunch. I was expecting to have a grand time because I love sushi... but sadly, the experience was not something to rave about. Most of the sushi were 90% rice - and the rice was not even of good quality. Am not going back there.
Anyway, just wanted to sign in.

In the name of devotion

This is my column today.
The feast of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo is one of the very few religious events in this country that gets prominent attention both from media and the general public. It is easy to understand why. It’s an event that draws millions of devotees— mostly male—although the number of women devotees has been increasing through the years.The devotion has also started to attract the younger generation although there is heated discussion on what exactly is the motivation behind the resurgence of piety among the “younger devotees .” There is reason to believe that the bandwagon effect is the culprit; there’s a ton of anecdotal testimonies that illustrate how joining the devotion is a life-changing and affirming experience.Many, however, insist most of the groups of young people who have latched on to the tradition do so mainly out of a misplaced sense of self-actualization, believing that hurdling the Black Nazarene procession gauntlet gives them a sense of invincibility…

It's funnier in the Philippines

This is my column today.
The Department of Tourism unveiled the country’s new tourism slogan “It’s more fun in the Philippines” last week.It’s a powerful commentary of the state of things in this country that the slogan turned controversial within a matter of hours. Someone was immediately able to unearth a photo of a 1951 ad from Switzerland, which used the same “it’s more fun in” tagline. A number of people found creative ways to derogate or reduce the slogan to a joke. Everyone weighed in with his or her own take on the slogan, whether for or against.And just like that, we turned what could have been an occasion for drumbeating into a free-for-all melee.What can I say; it’s truly more fun in this country.We are able to complicate the simplest of issues. Thanks to the management skills of our leaders, we are able to turn what should have been a well thought out and straightforward proposition into a national debate.Let me state for the record that I actually like the slogan. I like t…


I went to Quiapo today. I usually attend the Saturday anticipatory mass in our parish but since I was cooped up in the house the whole day trying to finish some artwork that I promised some friends, I thought I would drive all the way to Quiapo to bask in the purity of the devotion to the Black Nazarene that many people display. I caught the 6:30 pm mass; it was perfect time since the procession of Black Nazarene replicas was winding up.
The piety that devotees during the annual Black Nazarene procession has always struck me emotionally. You just have to be there to appreciate it.
It's... raw passion and emotion. The whole thing is like a dance that's always teetering at the brink of complete and total mayhem; but it never does. Somehow, there is method to the madness. There is poetry in the chaos. Sadly, this year's feast falls on a Monday. I would have gone on leave to be able to join the procession, but I have lots of important meetings. But I am hoping my meeti…

#It's more fun in the Philippines

The Department of Tourism announced today the country's new tourismslogan: It's more fun in the Philippines.
It immediately became a top trending topic in tweeter.
As usual, there was mixed reaction to the new slogan. Some attacked it ferociously. Others thought the new slogan was simple but more meaningful.
Someone very resourceful was immediately able to unearth a factoid the Tourism guys seemed to have been blissfully unaware of - another country has already used the slogan (Switzerland was first to use the slogan in the sixties). Really, how difficult is it to google a slogan to see if it had already been used by another country? And given what happened to the ill-fated "Pilipinas Kay Gandah" slogan, one would have thought that the DOT guys would be very, very careful this time around.
Anyway. We have been told the slogan is already THE ONE; it's not going to be subject to change anymore unless someone already has the copyright to it. Paninindigan na…

A showcase of inanity

This is my column today at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard Today.
Still ongoing until the weekend is the Metro Manila Film Festival, which features seven movies as official entries. The MMFF is an annual Christmas tradition in this country and sadly, also an annual showcase of inanity and vacuity.This year, the combined antics of Enteng Kabisote and Ina Montecillo proved formidable. Enteng Ka Ng Ina Mo emerged as the most watched movie of the filmfest. The film reportedly grossed almost P40 million on opening day, galloping way ahead of its closest competition—Senator Bong Revilla’s Ang Panday 2 and Kris Aquino’s Segunda Mano.Enteng Kabisote is Vic Sotto’s character from a defunct television situational comedy from the eighties entitled Okay Ka, Fairy Ko. Sotto has been rehashing the same tired and trite comedy routines for almost three decades now. Ina Montecillo is Aiai de las Alas’s character from the Tanging Ina franchise, which produced three successful MMFF movies includ…


This is my column today at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard Today.
I woke up at dawn on Tuesday last week to frantic text messages from my hometown of Abuyog, deep in the heart of Leyte.The messages were from various kith and kin—each one of them expressing increasing levels of alarm over the rising floodwaters in my hometown.My younger sister’s text messages were particularly distressing. She said our parents were stranded in our ancestral home—a split-level house in the middle of ricefields and they didn’t have a way to rescue them. My mother was able to send just one text message, riddled with typographical errors, which made it obvious she was on panic mode. Floodwaters were steadily rising, she texted; or at least that is what I thought she meant. Tatay, who is in a wheelchair and my hypertensive diabetic Nanay, had no way of escaping. And there was nothing anyone of us could do except pray—and worry.The flooding phenomenon has hit home and has become intensely personal …


I spent the first three hours of 2012 retrieving my columns from the archives of the Manila Standard Today and posting them here one at a time. It's a tedious job, but this is the price I have to pay for not being diligent enough throughout 2010 and 2011. :). In the interest of keeping this blog organized, I have decided to antedate the posts in this blog that contain my columns. It would be unwieldy if I post at least two years' worth of columns in just a couple of posts.
Was it just me of did anyone else notice that fewer people seemed to have bought firecrackers this year. In my neighborhood, the "explosions" were over by 1:00 am. The kids and I were in Mall of Asia until about 9:30PM and our trip back home was relatively uneventful in the sense that there was hardly any firecrackers exploding on the roads. Some pundits say this was because the scare tactics of the DOH worked this time around. Huh? What scare tactics? I didn't see any television ad di…

Happy New Year

Okay. This time I hope I can make it happen. As I posted in my Facebook account, my number one New Year's resolution is to resurrect this blog. So here I am again.
So many things happened since the last time I posted an update in this blog. I got elected national President of PMAP, the national association of human resource managers in the country and the post was more than a full-time job particularly since we didn't have an Executive Director this year. This, on top of my full-time job in PNB which is already stressful in itself and takes up so much of my time (naturally, they pay me full time as well, grin). And yes, I still teach evenings and weekends; and I still write a column Mondays and Wednesdays at the op-ed pages of the Manila Standard Today. Sadly we had to close down the clinic and drop in center of the Remedios AIDS Foundation although the foundation is still legally existent; am not sure when we will have the resources to re-open. It's really sad beca…