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Showing posts from September, 2014

Petty tyrant at QC Memorial Circle

This is my column today, September 30, 2014.


It’s been ages since I last visited the Quezon Memorial Circle.  Someone told me that the QMC, which is a national park and shrine, has become very commercialized although the person also hastened to warn me that it is not exactly the safest (or cleanest) place in the Metro, particularly at night.  But I remember once listening to Charito Planas, former Head of the QMC, talk about a plan to transform the area into a genuine people’s park, heard about the many restaurants that have opened and the many activities that are held in the area, and I read about Mayor Herbert Bautista’s plan to redevelop the QMC - so I thought the park must be on its way to becoming a showcase of what Quezon City aspires to become. Well, apparently not.  A friend of mine, Romy dela Rosa, wrote a rather poignant letter about how parks in Quezon City have become so commercialized that it had become cheaper to go to an air-conditioned mall than to picnic at, say, the …

Crossing a thin line

This is my column today, September 28, 2014. Anyone who knows a little bit about me will never use the word “conservative” to describe me. I have, in fact, been accused many times of being overly liberal, or of harboring unconventional and even revolutionary ideas. Be that as it may, I must admit that I, too, was a bit taken aback by the in-your-face sexualization in the recent Bench underwear show held last week at the Mall of Asia Arena. I was shocked to watch the way a woman was tied to a leash and made to behave like a dog that begged to be rewarded by her male master. I also found the antics of certain male celebrities during the show risque. Of course I am aware that the biennial event has always been less of a fashion show and more of an adult peep show – it’s about underwear for crying out loud and it features the best looking people with the most toned bodies in this country who, incidentally, work even harder to whip themselves into better shape for the event. Anyone who ins…

Rewriting history

This is my column today, September 23, 2014.

The country marked last Sunday the 42nd anniversary of Ferdinand Marcos’ Proclamation 1081, which placed the whole country under Martial Law from 1972 to 1981.  The whole period was known as the dark years of the Marcos dictatorship.  The Marcoses were thrown out of Malacanan Palace in 1986 and for about a decade thereafter were the most vilified Filipinos and were blamed for most of the country’s woes.  But thanks to our short collective memory and the Catholic guilt complex which compels us to be forgiving even to those who hurt us, the Marcoses were able to come back from exile, run for public office, and reclaim their wealth and status in society.  More importantly, they have embarked on a quest to rewrite history mainly by reframing the horrible events that happened during the dictatorship.
This is my column today, September 23, 2014. The fruits of such efforts have started to become evident; proof perhaps that there is some semblance o…

Unprepared and inefficient

This is my column today, September 21, 2014.


It is in times of adversity - such as what most in Luzon and parts of the Visayas went through in the last three days - when we get a full appreciation of the complexities and extent of our problems as a nation, and at the same time, of the strength of character and resilience of the Filipino people.  Once again, we were painfully reminded of the dismal state of our overall capability and readiness to manage disasters and crises situations – even when the nature of the disaster and crisis is something that we have already experienced many times over in the past.  Massive flooding due to heavy rains is not exactly a new phenomenon in this country.  Even the crisis situation in the Bicol area caused by the restive Mayon Volcano is not really new – Mayon is one of most active volcanoes in the country.  We’re visited by typhoons many times a year, the people responsible for christening typhoons are running out of names and have resorted to havi…

Staggering genius

This is my column today, September 14, 2014.


The euphoria may have started to die down already, but it will take a little more time before Filipinos, particularly basketball fanatics in this country, would forget how Gilas Pilipinas surprised us, and stunned the world at 2014 FIBA World Cup.  The ironic thing was that the team failed to win the crucial matches and consequently failed to advance into the round of 16.  Anyone who was not tuned into the matches must have found the situation ridiculous.  Why were the Filipinos beating their chests and acting out like champions when the simple fact of the matter was they lost the games?  Perhaps at no other time did they find losers who were congratulating themselves and acting very proudly. People always like to trundle that old admonition about how losing or winning is not the point of the game but how one plays it, but this was the very first time that it actually sounded and felt true.  I’ve always thought the admonition was a convenie…

Yet another soap opera

This is my column today, September 7, 2014. Any attempt to expose corruption and to break political dynasties should be a welcome event in this country.  However, we wish the ones who spearhead such efforts bother to learn from the lessons of the past so we do not keep repeating the mistakes and we actually get to accomplish something. There are a number of things that are obviously wrong in the way the ongoing investigation into the alleged corrupt practices of the Binay dynasty in the City of Makati is being conducted.  And because of these, we can already safely predict the outcome of all the current exertions:  Nada, zilch, nothing.  Once people have become exhausted with the exchange of accusations and once media have directed the attention somewhere else, the investigation will fizzle out.  Vice President Jejomar Binay’s quest for the presidency will regain zest and who knows, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano and Binay might end up as the tandem to beat in 2016. The fact that the inv…

Runaway email

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This is my column today, September 2, 2014.


I found in my work email yesterday morning about 60 emails on a common thread from various people.  It was very easy to spot the emails because they all had the same subject.  It was an internal media mileage report generated by the public relations department of one of the top hospitals in the country.  The attachment was quite interesting as it detailed the peso value the hospital attached to its various media campaigns and gave a picture of the amount of money it spent on media campaigns.  It was meant to be an internal e-mail on an internal topic that somehow  found its way into the information super highway and became the cyber equivalent of a runaway email.  Apparently, one of the email addresses was compromised – either because of a glitch, or because of a virus – all emails that were sent to the email address got sent to everyone who was in the corporate accounts list of that hospital.  I presumed this list included the top executives…