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Showing posts from June, 2014

What national interest?

This is my column today, June 29, 2014. 


Having been reared by women– an aunt, a grandmother, and a yaya – who were diehard Noranians, I wasn’t surprised by the howl and the resentment created by the President’s decision to deny Nora Aunor the title of National Artist.  I grew up fully aware of Aunor’s magic among the masses, and consequently, learned to appreciate her immense talent as an artist.  She was and continues to be a cultural phenomenon by virtue of the fact that she rose to an exalted position on sheer talent, guts, and intuition alone – she wasn’t schooled and her talent wasn’t honed by academic discipline.  She also broke the mould of what a movie queen was supposed to be.  To many, therefore, she is the embodiment of what comprises a real Filipino artist.  The Presidential snub was therefore personal as it negated their personal choice and preferences. When I became actively involved in theatre and in the arts, I was exposed to many more intellectuals and professionals …

Much ado about garlic

This is my column today, June 22, 2014. 


There it was in the news. For almost a whole week, we were treated to various discourses on the economics and politics of what has seemingly become a matter of national import. The newscasts bannered the news of the shortage and the subsequent spiraling of its prices. Television reporters and crew swooped down on public markets to search for the elusive commodity, like it was gold.  Housewives lamented publicly about the adverse effect of adding a few pesos into their weekly budgets to cover the sudden spike it its price.  Restaurant and eatery owners talked about how they were coping with the problem; some talked about the creative and innovative things they were doing to cope while others delivered sob stories. Economists talked about the market factors that made a grave impact on the supply and demand of the missing commodity.  Ideologues screamed about the need for stronger government action to protect the rights of farmers and consumers.  …

The congressman as coach

This is my column today, June 17, 2014.


We all allow Emmanuel Manny Pacquiao a lot of leeway on account of the fact that he is the national boxing champ.  He has brought honors to the country, although it can be argued that there is so much to be desired insofar as his behavior and performance outside of the boxing ring is concerned.  Although he has supposedly turned his back on a number of vices that included gambling, drinking, and womanizing when he became a born-again Christian, he has also sadly turned into a Bible-thumping zealot and homophobe.  But because he is Manny Pacquiao, the boxing champ that is adored by many, we choose to see beyond his many imperfections including the giant ego and the seeming predilection to make rash judgment. It was confirmed last week that Pacquiao would be the Head Coach of Team Kia, the newest basketball team in the Philippine Basketball Association.  I am not qualified to judge Pacquiao’s qualification to become a basketball coach, although as…

Cinematic arrest and detention

This is my column today, June 10, 2014.  Are Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon Bong Revilla Jr going to be arrested and put behind bars anytime soon?  And if they are, how and where will they be arrested?  And more important for many people, particulary for those who are passionate about putting a stop to this predilection of putting powerful people on hospital arrest or on vacation houses, where will the three senators be taken after their arrest? There’s a clamor to have the three senators arrested within the grounds of the Senate of the Philippines, perhaps even during or in the middle of a session, and then hauling them to an ordinary jail where they would suffer all the kinds of deprivation a third-world jail offers from cramped cells, to unbearable heat, to lack of decent facilities.  The argument is that people in power should not really be given special treatment, particularly if they are accused of stealing gazillions of money from the public coffers. Som…

Endless cycle

This is my column today, June 8, 2014.

In the last few days the weather bureau has been telling people in Metro Manila to prepare for the onslaught of rains.  We are told that the rainy season is supposed to officially begin anytime this week, or this weekend, or next week; I’m not really sure when anymore and I’m not sure our weather men know either.  I suspect that it’s not just because the ranks of meteorologists in the agency have been reportedly decimated by piracy courtesy of other countries who have offered decent wages and benefits; weather patterns are probably harder to track and predict today.   In response to the clamor of many Filipinos who couldn’t stand another day of sweltering heat, our weathermen have been making all kinds of predictions about how thunderstorms and rains would be descending upon Metro Manila, but except for that freak downpour in some areas in Quezon City the other week, the rains have not materialized yet. I can’t blame people for being impatient.  …

Enough with the theatrics

This is my column today June 3, 2014. 


There has to be an objective, fair and less convoluted process to separate the proverbial chaff from the grain, the truth from the lies, in the ongoing national soap opera involving senators, congressmen, cabinet officials, fake non-government organizations, whistleblowers, and Janet Napoles.  No one among our leaders has been sent to jail, condemned in public, or openly harassed on account of the fact that their precious names and their supposedly priceless reputations have been dragged across muck courtesy of the dreaded list, err, lists.  But at the rate our leaders are bellyaching and caterwauling in public, it would seem as if their hurt egos and the supposed slur on their precious names and reputations are the most important issues in the whole crisis.  Excuse me, senators, congressmen, and cabinet members, but the real victims here are the Filipino people, not yourselves. I am not saying that people should not react with righteous indignat…

Let the annual circus begin

This is my column today, June 1, 2014. This column is a repeat of previous columns that I have written to mark what happens around this time of the year with stunning regularity: The bellyaching and screaming that coincides with the annual opening of classes.  It’s a ritual that we all go through every year.   It begins around May when media networks announce which universities and schools are increasing tuition and by how much.  School fees are always increased annually because they are subject to market forces.  Obviously, operating expenses including salaries of teachers and administrative personnel go up every year and schools pass on the additional cost to students.  Amazingly enough, many people in this country are still able to summon righteous indignation at our universities and schools for supposedly being heartless and greedy and lambast the whole educational system – every year!  Then it moves on to the search for cheaper school supplies and the many sob stories around how …