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Showing posts from September, 2015

Not just about numbers

My September 29, 2015 column. A friend who lives abroad sent me a message over the weekend, basically expressing amusement tinged with a bit of dismay that Filipinos were about to break another world record, this time for the number of tweets about a single event.  Like many other Filipinos, he was closely observing the mass hysteria over the Aldub phenomenon.  I empathized with him.  I told him he was in a better place compared to many others who got hooked into either hating, defending, or justifying their addiction to the Aldub phenomenon. I am not sure if Eat Bulaga was successful last Saturday; but if not, I am sure it will just be a matter of time before they succeed in breaking into smithereens whatever existing record there is on Twitter.  The phenomenon is just heating up and I am sure they intend to bring the couple to the altar in a grand wedding ceremony in the coming weeks or months.  I wasn’t really sure what benefits—other than bragging rights—could be derived from hitt…

Internet hoaxes

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My September 27, 2015 column.


Filipino Facebook users are the world’s most unintelligent people. This was the bold assertion made by an alleged study conducted by a Filipino graduate student from Harvard University last year. Highlights of the “study” found their way to various social networking sites recently. Among the supposed findings were the following: 80 percent of Filipino Facebook users click the like button on external links without even reading or opening the links first or being aware of what they are “liking;” most Filipino users share horrific images like accidents, killings, child abuse and other horrendous images that are not normally shared by people who understand the effects of these images; and Filipino Facebook users do not seem to understand the concept of human rights or etiquette. The “study” was backed by seemingly convincing data, citing statistics that appeared credible because they seemed empirically-based, such as total population of Filipinos and total num…

Heneral Luna - a must watch movie for all Filipinos

My September 22, 2015 column. There are movies that entertain, and there are movies that educate. And then there is the occasional movie that does both.  Heneral Luna, which is currently playing in movies nationwide (the number of theaters were reduced after a lackluster first week results, and then subsequently increased as positive word-of-mouth drove audiences to moviehouses during the second week) not only does a superb job of both entertaining and educating in a compelling way—it does a hell of a lot more.  In the two occasions that I watched the movie in the last two weeks, the audience broke into spontaneous and sustained applause as the credits rolled, something that rarely happens today, and particularly when it involves a local movie. There is absolutely no doubt that Heneral Luna is well-crafted movie.  It’s a period film, which usually becomes an occasion for nitpicking.  The people behind Luna tries hard to keep the production as authentic as possible, but whatever lapses…

10 Questions for Grace Poe

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My September 20, 2015 column.


When Senator Grace Poe announced her bid for the presidency last Tuesday, she also put herself out there as a target for scrutiny and ridicule. I was told that her supporters expected wild jubilation and lots of cheering from across the land, but it looks like the reaction was far from what was expected. There were some who were hopeful, but most of the reaction ranged from expressions of disappointment, to disapproval, to outright ridicule. It appears Senator Grace Poe’s journey to MalacaƱan Palace will not be an easy ride, nor is it an assured one.   I personally have not made up my mind as to who to support among the putative candidates. As things stand, it looks like it’s going to be about picking the candidate we least dislike. Poe, unfortunately, seems to be saddled with too much baggage. There’s just a lot of unanswered questions as well as unclarified perceptions about her overall qualifications. The following are 10 questions that I personally wish…

Two years for emergency assistance

My September 15, 2015 column. How do we know for a fact that government bungled the relief and rehabilitation efforts in the aftermath of the “Yolanda’’ supertyphoon?  There’s a report released by the government’s own watchdog —the Commission on Audit—which categorically states that the government not only failed to spend a large portion of the money intended for the victims of the strongest typhoon in history, but that tons of food and other relief goods have also gone to waste because government did not release them to the people before their expiration dates. Of course we have heard about all these for the longest time now, I have personally lambasted in this space the foot-dragging that characterized government’s response to the urgent appeals for help from the people, but it’s a completely different matter altogether when it’s written up in an official report.  It’s the kind of report that makes one’s blood boil, particularly if one saw with his own two eyes the extent of the dev…

Traffic Theories

My September 13, 2015 column. The theory that happens to be the current favorite of the apologists of the Aquino administration is the volume of vehicles theory. According to this theory, the monumental traffic that beleaguers Filipinos today is caused mainly by the fact that there are just too many vehicles on the road. The proposed solution, therefore, is vehicle reduction—something that was naturally met by a lot of caterwauling. There’s already a vehicle reduction scheme in place that grounds vehicles on certain days based on their plate numbers so yet another scheme would be a cruel imposition. 
There are many things wrong with the volume of vehicle theory, foremost of which is that it renders analytical thinking irrelevant. It’s like saying that the science and technology at our disposal and the combined intelligence of all the people in government are of no use—we might as well just replace everything and everyone with people whose only job is to count vehicles. But my main probl…

The Aldub Phenomenon

My September 8, 2015 column. Traffic around certain areas in Metro Manila and other key cities was unusually light last Saturday.  There were less people on the road; in fact, most were glued in front of their television sets.  No, there wasn’t a Manny Pacquiao fight on.  So instead of the usual cheers and boos, there was the intermittent shrieking and giggling as people swooned over the latest pop phenomenon to hit Philippine television: The Aldub romance, representing Alden Richards and Yaya Dub (Maine Mendoza). In case you have been living under a rock in the last two months, it’s a short segment of Eat Bulaga, the country’s longest-running noontime show. Eat Bulaga people have invented the term “kalyeserye” to describe the segment as most of the action happens literally on the street of whatever barangay the show is doing remote telecast from.  On the show, Richards and Mendoza haven’t met physically and are merely shown via a split screen, interacting mainly by lip-syncing snippe…

Post mortem on the INC adventurism

My column, September 6, 2015 at The Standard. It’s been a full week since the Iglesia Ni Cristo took over a major part of Edsa and most have moved on to more pressing and seemingly more important concerns, such as the horrible traffic jams that seem to become more monstrous with each passing day. But I do have a number of friends who are INC members and I have exchanged views with them on what happened. Most of them, unfortunately, have remained adamant about the rightness of the cause they were fighting for (although unable to articulate exactly what the cause was and therefore hid behind sweeping generalizations such as “separation of church and state,” “harassment,” “interference on an internal matter,” and “undue haste.” But one or two have kept an open mind and seemed receptive to the feedback I gave on what I thought caused the animosity towards the INC. First, the resentment didn’t actually happen overnight. It had been building up for sometime now. It got more pronounced when …