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Showing posts from July, 2014

When did dining out get complicated?

This is my column today, July 27, 2014. Because I am a regular working drone who must observe regular working hours and cannot watch morning television shows, I must admit that I don’t really know enough about what exactly the presidential sister (who must not be named in this column) is up to every morning in her popular morning show.   But I’ve seen some episodes of her show while waiting in some lounge for an appointment or for a flight and from what I gathered, she visits restaurants and vacation places, tries out the menu or the services, and then either raves about these, which I am told is most of the time, or dismisses these in her characteristic petulant ways.  Her opinion and subsequent endorsement of a particular dish or service is highly coveted as these translate into fantastic sales. Apparently, there are far too many people in this country who are thrilled by the idea of having sampled exactly the same food that the presidential sister ate in a particular restaurant; no…

Disconnect

This is my column today, July 2014.


I have always kept the belief that when a message is misunderstood by the receiver, it is not necessarily the receiver’s fault.  After all, it is the sender, the author of the message, that controls how the message is framed and how it is conveyed.  The hapless receivers—the audience, whether they are radio listeners, television viewers, or newspaper readers—rely on what they hear, see, or read to be able to formulate a judgment or an opinion.  It is unreasonable to expect the audience to do acrobatic mental deductions, conjure some mysterious alchemic processes, or burst a vein trying to decipher good intentions just to be able to understand a message clearly and accurately.  Besides, who the heck has the time to do all that?  But apparently, this is not the case anymore today if we are to go by the pronouncements of the people from MalacaƱang.  As far as the bright boys of the Palace are concerned, if the Filipino people misunderstood, it is the p…

Typhoon country

This is my column today, July 20, 2014.

I still don’t know exactly how our weather bureau people pick the local names of typhoons. I am told that they asked people to submit possible names with Filipino flavor in them a few years ago.  They presumably picked names at random.  But how is Glenda, or for that matter, Henry (the name given to the typhoon that has entered the country’s area of responsibility Friday) distinctly Filipino? I can’t believe these names were thought out by Filipinos unless of course some hapless individual out there happened to have a mother-in-law with that name and thought naming a typhoon after her would be appropriate.  But I guess most people have simply given up trying to put some sense into the way we baptize typhoons; perhaps because a typhoon by any other name would still wreck havoc. And so it came to pass that Glenda barreled through Luzon Wednesday - quickly but ferociously - leaving behind a swathe of destruction.  The weather bureau people said she…

Wishful thinking

This is my column today, July 15, 2014.

The President of the Republic was scheduled to address the nation on the Disbursement Acceleration Program a few hours after this column was due.  As I don’t claim to have powers of precognition I couldn’t  make presumptions about what else the President was going to say that has not be said before.  But like many others, I wish the President would finally choose to see things from a broader and more inclusive perspective.  I wish the President would use the occasion to show statesmanship and project the overall impression that contrary to what many people think, he is not petty, vindictive, and more importantly, his loyalty is to the country, the Constitution, and the people, and not to his friends and allies. So I wish the President—and his cabinet—would stop simplifying the DAP into a one-size fits-all issue;  it is unfair for anyone to equate criticism of the DAP as a blanket condemnation of his administration.   Anyone who is genuinely conc…

Notes on the 10th virgin labfest

This is my column today, July 13, 2014.


The 10th Virgin Labfest, the annual festival of “untested, unstaged”one-act plays officially ended the other weekend at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.  Unlike in the past, there seemed to have been very little publicity about this year’s festival.  Someone I know failed to watch any of the 12 new plays that comprised this year’s harvest precisely because there was hardly any mention of the festival in mainstream media; not that it affected ticket sales anyway. It was difficult to get tickets to the festival. In fact, we could only buy tickets for the second weekend when we trooped to the CCP when the festival opened. So first things first: After a decade, perhaps it’s time for the organizers to think about how to expand the annual festival.  I understand that fostering an intimate community of supporters (I’ve been religiously supporting the annual festival for six years now and I can honestly say that I basically see the same familiar …

Looking for someone to blame

This is my column today, July 8, 2014. 


My heart sank when broadcast journalist Ces Drilon of ABS-CBN’s late night newscast posed the first question to Aurelio Cesar Servando (father of Guillo Cesar Servando, latest victim of fraternity-related hazing violence) in his first live television interview last week.  Drilon’s first question was like an unexpected bullet that came from nowhere:  Will Servando make De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, accountable for the death of his son? My heart sank because the question, and the very direct way in which it was coached, was characteristic of the default reaction of many in this country every time something alarming happens that involves a young person: Search for someone in a position of authority to be made accountable for the problem; in this particular case, the educational institution.  If Servando, himself, were not grieving, he probably would have been asked if he thought he was not remiss in performing his parental duties.  Come to …

Getting our act together

This is my column today, July 4, 2014. 


Although media still tried to turn the whole thing into a circus, there was less of the usual hysterics and drama when Senator Juan Ponce Enrile surrendered to authorities voluntarily last Friday. There was a marked difference in the way the “processing” of the voluntary surrender of the aging senator was conducted.  Barely a few weeks ago, Senators Ramon Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada also underwent the same procedures – but in proceedings that were embarrassingly chaotic and marked with inefficiency and disorganization. Last Friday, everyone seemed to have finally gotten his act together.  Police authorities provided adequate security and put in place measures to protect the privacy of the senator and his family and the integrity of the procedures.  Although there were still lots of shoving and jockeying for choice spots among media people who competed for better shots and an opportunity to bag an ambush interview along the way, the whole proceed…

Celebrating courage and resilience

This is my column today, July 1, 2014.


Tacloban City celebrated its annual fiesta over the weekend.  As can be expected, it was a bittersweet moment as the city valiantly tried to rise to the occasion notwithstanding the many limitations and difficulties.  Taclobanons, as do most of the Waray people, are known for merrymaking; we are a people known for pulling all the stops to ensure that a fun time is had by all during special occasions, a trait taken to extremes by a former First Lady who during her reign was referred to as the favorite daughter of the province.  This year was the first time the city tried to celebrate its fiesta after the supertyphoon leveled practically everything that stood at its path as it barrelled across the Visayas.   The city tried to dress itself up and Taclobanons all joined in the effort as if to prove that nothing, not even the strongest supertyphoon, could vanquish the soul of the city.  The usual buntings and flags were strewn across streets, the usua…