Monday, November 30, 2009

Sleepless in Davao

This blog has been idle for quite some time until I decided it's about time to post an update. Getting busy with work, on both paid and voluntary basis, have so much to do with this, not to mention getting caught by the usual cycle of that dreaded tardiness and unproductivity.

I knew I missed a lot of events that are worth writing on dozens and dozens of webpages, foremost among them the tragedy that Ondoy brought all over Metro Manila and the nearby provinces of Rizal, Laguna, and Bulacan, and the succeeding typhoons that turned many parts of Luzon into a virtual waterworld.

Finally, I found that elusive inspiration to be blogging again, this time in a cozy corner here at Las Casitas, a homey budget hotel here in downtown Davao. I'll try to capture in bytes the troubles and joys, and the estrangement and familiarity of the place, the people, and the culture of Davao.

Flying in late for two hours, no thanks to PAL's (Plane Always Late) legendary inefficiency, and being seated in the middle of the wide-bodied A330, I felt sorry to have missed the bird's eye view of the city, which was covered by a mass of unkind clouds that normally descend late in the afternoon.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Comic Side of the National Artist Award Tragedy

In defiance to the gloomy skies and faces of thousands of Filipinos who are still mourning, here I am in my corner of the office in an unreasonably gleeful state despite missing an important protest march, the threat of a cancelled movie date and the prospect of going home very late due to heavy traffic. This joyful exuberance has nothing to do with some future good luck such as hitting the lotto jackpot or of being inserted to the now much-derided National Artist Award. However, this has to do with the National Artist Award, yes, or how its honor was scandalized, disrespected, corrupted, and bastardized by ignorant, inutile, and reckless imbeciles whose passion and sole purpose of existence seemingly is to make our political and artistic life miserable.

We all know by now how those Fantastic Four--Alvarez, Caparas, Manosa, and Moreno--were inserted into the horror list courtesy of presidential prerogative, an exclusive power solely exorcised by the highest official of the land with the lowest moral wisdom and judgment, so far in history.

We all know by now also that two of the F4s, Alvarez and Caparas, have since broken their silence, them being the favorite ridicules apparently because they are the most deserving of the undeserving list.

Alvarez lawyered for herself, and rattled off her accomplishments in trying (in vain) to convince us she deserved the honor for being such a theater luminary.

Caparas, on the other hand, painfully lectured about the millions that flocked to watch his obra, the retake of the Maggie dela Riva rape saga, proudly his only one film with lesser relevance and contribution to the development of the local film industry because the rest of them have no relevance and contributes nothing at all. The four million he claimed to have watched his film watched not because it was a Carlo Caparas film; they watched because it was a Maggie dela Riva retelling, which was both fashionable as a story and as a genre during that period in the 90s when beautiful coeds in Metro Manila and in some parts of the country turned up in some canals badly beaten, raped, and shot to their death.

Arousing mere curiosity, as well as capitalizing on the penchant for flesh on the big screen especially among the male species, in all honesty does not and will never qualify for sensible, significant, much less critical contribution to the growth of the local film industry. Maybe Caparas is only referring to box office returns when he asserts his right to being chosen for the honor. While Viva could vouch his box office claim, it could not measure the real benchmark of a remarkable film simply because it had none, except perhaps for reminding that once upon a time, a beautiful actress was gang-raped by men who belonged to the elite members of the society. And then what? As we call it then, Caparas films belonged to a unique genre of 'pito-pito' films that had seen better days in the 90s. But it was gone too soon, much to the delight of the more discriminating taste of the moviegoing public that certainly deserved more than just the endless flesh-gun-and-knife formula of those 'pito pito' obras.

Alvarez may have some claim to fame, or honor for that matter. Maybe. Yet, credentials is not the be-all, end-all of the Order of National Artist. Credentials what? Will you please explain clearly, Ms. Vilma Labrador, if you can? Admittedly, I'm no fan of either Lumbera or Almario as artists, but I have no agenda in joining the furor except to question the logic, if any, in choosing these Singit National Artists, in the process abrogating the established tradition of collegiality in the selection process. Surely, nobody could explain the mess here, except for Labrador who, unlike her counterpart in the CCP, the eminent Emily Abrera, could never lose a sleep over her and her big, little boss' latest indiscretion. Her insistence smacks both poor and bad taste, not to mention it lacks an aura of delicadeza because there was none, there is none, and there never will be until she has summoned all the courage to decline the honor and save not only herself but the Order of National Artist itself as an institution. She had already declared it would be her joy to accept it and share it with her family. How could she, or you, or we, undo that? She can't, you can't, we can't.

NCCA commissioner Elmar Beltran Ingles seems to be the lone sensible voice today, more sensible than that Malacanang twitter who is not as lovely as her namesake pet looks, he who acknowledged the critical nature of selection as it involves people's money and trust more than anything else.

These are unbiblical times yet we must lose no hope for a change of heart, as hoping for a miracle seems to be an exclusive affair of the umblemished souls, of angels, that are not on our side these days. Change of heart we make this a mantra with the following supplication that the Fantastic Four, most especially the beloved two of them, decline the honor. When everything else fails, then the other three awardees should do it for them, i.e decline the honor. I believe with this final act, the Fantastic Four, especially the beloved two of them, will live forever haunted by the ghost of a scandalous, disrespectful, corrupt, and bastardized award offered by ignorant, inutile, and reckless imbeciles with whom they are so beholden.

Monday, August 3, 2009

National Artists of Honor

I was trying to make sense out of the latest tragedy that has befallen the artistic community after it suffered, yet again, another blow when Malacanang, in its darkest bowel form, named its three proteges to the honor of National Artist, now officially named Order of National Artists.

The announcement of the latest batch of National Artists is normally less controversial because, normally, only the hallmarks of excellence in an artist’s craft—excluding producing violent komiks and films and society couture—are carefully considered. But in abnormal situations such as the one we are having right now, even the mention of an awardee’s name provokes fire, especially if that awardee has been nominated but rejected twice for two different categories. But thanks to that awardee’s persistent patron saint in Pasig, now he can finally bring him home his beautiful trophy, courtesy of a fellow National Artist, his medical and life insurance (assuming he is still insurable), and a sweet smile for the rare honor of a state funeral (if that is something to smile sweetly for).

As Bienvenido Lumbera, National Artist for Literature and chair of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines, confirmed in media reports, only four names have been submitted to Malacanang for approval, and certainly not for insertion: Manuel Urbano a.k.a. Manuel Conde (posthumous, film and broadcast arts); Federico Aguilar Alcuaz (visual arts, paintings, sculpture and mixed media); Lazaro Francisco (posthumous, literature); and Dr. Ramon Santos (music).

But Malacanang did what it was famous doing best: it did a Garci, in the spirit of the forthcoming elections. So now, we have the -1, +4 formula: it omitted Santos, and added Cecille Alvarez (theater), Magno Jose Carlo Caparas (visual arts and film), Francisco Manosa (architecture), and Jose Moreno (fashion design). This brings a total of not one but four insertions, very much like the fund appropriation for the road that traverses the property of a senator who wants to become the next president. On this note, Malacanang just bested Villar's best record of two. So who did the Garci? I have a suspect but as it is . . . a suspect. Perhaps we can share details through our private inbox here.

Caparas and Alvarez incurred public ire with almost the same degree by virtue of them being both close to Malacanang and having the same guts to leave decency aside for the sake of an honor that they don’t rightfully deserve. But it would be unfair to artists close Malacanang not to be conferred such an honor, right?

Caparas has been nominated and rejected twice—first for literature and second for visual arts—both acts of which we can rightfully construe as failed attempts by the same cabal of ignoramuses inspired by their equally moronic patron whose cerebral wavelength is as short as her frame. But Caparas’ dogged determination and audacity (of hopelessness) proves much more powerful than basic decency and delicadeza could even muster together.

On the other hand, Alvarez could have done better by choosing to be honorable enough to decline the nomination by virtue of a rule that bars members, officers, employees and staff of CCP and NCCA from being nominated. She is the executive director of the NCCA, whose duty among other functions includes receiving the names of the shortlisted candidates. Delicadeza? What the hell is that?

Alvarez defended her nomination by rattling off her previous awards, awards that her patron convinced were worth enough for her insertion. Surely, she had her fair share of artistic endeavors that brought her, her family and her country some good and these might have enriched her ‘body of work.’ Yet, wisdom would tell her to wait, as the time is not yet right. Yet it happened; she was named. There must be a higher wisdom that guided Malacanang’s insertion of Alvarez, Caparas and Moreno into the list with a sense of an urgency beyond reproach. This higher wisdom must have eluded the highly respected peers of Alvarez, Caparas and Moreno in counting them off from the final list of four. Whew! Higher bullshit is now the new higher wisdom!

While there is really nothing new about presidential insertions in the honorable roster of National Artists, the latest act by Arroyo’s minions—with her divine imprimatur, of course—effectively rewrites the rule and history of the Order of National Artists, a welcome change for those who could not make the cut. During the administrations of Ramos and Estrada, they made one insertions each on the list of candidates chosen and endorsed by their peers in the artistic community. Arroyo, ever the ebullient, feisty politico she has become in her almost two terms of office, is certainly in for breaking records: she inserted three. Now, that’s hard to beat.

The choice and endorsement by peers is not something to be taken against the person who usually makes the final choice—the president. Not that presidents know nothing about art, or that art such as poetry is far less exciting than pork, a presidential favorite and the official congressional diet especially these days when senators and congressmen are preparing themselves for 2010. Rather, this choice of and by peers ensures that those who are inducted into the so-called ‘academy’ are only those who have way, way satisfied the standards they themselves set, i.e. the hallmarks of excellence in their craft. For this purpose, we don’t have any need for a NCCA chairman or executive director who doesn’t understand, much more appreciate, the artistic milieu of our artists and cultural visionaries. And most certainly, we despise the guts of those whose sense of accomplishment, self-righteousness and self-importance could not even stand a preliminary selection process, if it were to undergo one.

We may ask if there's a way to restore honor in this process. Yes, there is. And I can only think of the most difficult yet the best solution to this. If the four stooges will cling on to their tainted honor, then the three should refuse to accept theirs. The challenge is now on the side of the right and reasonable. It is difficult, yes, but it is not impossible.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Substance, Packaging, Timing (or the lack of these among government communicators)

. . . are elements that define good communication, this Gary Teves learned the hard way, courtesy of his now unenviable and equally stressful job as finance secretary; a hundred times more stressful than his former post as president and chief executive of Landbank, confessed the gray-haired former congressman of Negros Oriental.

Gary Teves was the guest speaker and inducting officer at the annual general membership meeting of the International Association of Business Communicators Philippines (IABC Phils.) held at the Filipinas Heritage Library.

Though he admits to be far from being an expert in communication, Teves makes us listen whenever he responds to questions from the media, be it a calculated or a plain dumb question, with the latter in abundance. It could be because he is the finance secretary and whatever he says will have far-reaching market implications. But he certainly knows how to play the game here; he knows his SPT the way smart kids know their ABC. Personally, I prefer him to be the press secretary; his manner of speaking is both elegant and intelligent, his language sharp yet witty with trademark Gary Teves touch--empirical as it is relational. Yet, Teves proves to be too honest and straightforward for the job that is normally reserved for spinmeisters and euphemists. On the other hand, the job of improving revenue collection might be too challenging (and equally tempting as well) to be given away to those whose only mission in life is "to make more and more money for tomorrow we shall all perish."

Lest I be mistaken for selling Gary Teves to voters for next year's poll, let me make it clear here: I was there to attend the meeting and listen to him share his perspective and lessons in communication; lessons that I myself almost/nearly mastered but nevertheless need to be refreshed as learning never stops.

Lesson learned: government executives, especially those in the upper echelon, should learn how to communicate effectively. Certainly, there is a better way of informing us citizens where the hell our blood taxes go than just announcing it on oversized and expensive billboards and, in keeping with the forthcoming election season, on television via brainlessly thought-out commercials by political wannabes. F@#$%*g morons--by this, I mean the politicians and their PR handlers.

Essentially, the line-up of wannabes who are itching to replace Madam La Gloria Vda de Inutil are all UNSALEABLE items. They are all bootleg, pirated copies, much like the goods Edu Manzano is running after. Edu can only run after because he could not, and probably will never, run ahead and catch them. But at least he should run along, di ba? But these gremlin, fungus-faced (sorry Aling Miriam), white leghorn of presidentiables are willing to drop the price rock bottom, as in SALE at up to 70% off! Wow! That cheap, really. As in a big mall sale that is becoming famous this side of the world, people will flock to where the best bargain is. The cheapest gets the vote, er, bill. Needless to say, this is the best example of a worst communication practice--selling the unsaleable. It's like eating poison; since poison is cheap, go eat it! Now, I'll have more poison below:

I M P O R T A N T N O T I C E

ATTENTION: MAR, LOREN, ERAP, NOLI, GIBO, CHIZ, MONEY VILLAR

Lito Camo and Willie Revillame will be holding a political campaign strategy workshop 90 days before the election period. There will be song and dance sessions, speech clinic, and many more. Major PR and law firms will also participate in the workshop. Call Lito or Willie for more details.

Monday, July 20, 2009

An Inconvenient Truth (About Going to Ilocos These Days)


We trek up north Wednesday night for the MLE forum and launch of Sukimat. To save your precious time, let me just paste here the portion taken from the blurb for a preview. Here we go: " . . . Sukimat—the work of scholars, academics, and cultural workers committed to the exchange and diffusion of knowledge and information on Ilokano and Amianan Studies—offers a way to rethink of education to democracy and freedom."


A few weeks before, I had been to La Union on a related business, and thought the Ilocos trip was no different, except that it would take five more hours on the road. I took the Partas bus to La Union and it was relatively a good ride, except that, again, I could not and will probably never sleep while travelling by either bus, car, or plane. Maybe my insomnia or probably some unresolved psychological issue has something to do with this inability to sleep during travel, except by boat on a long trip.

I assumed then that the longer the trip takes, the more comfortable the ride is. I was darn WRONG! The four of us had purchased our ticket about 10 minutes before departure. It turns out we got the last four seats on the de luxe bus that was to take us to Laoag. Except for Dr. Agcaoili who had taken seat No. 24, Dr. Nolasco, Lucy, and I and a lady passenger from Paoay had the misfortune of occupying the last four elevated seats with defective backrests and recliners. WORST, the seats are too high that our legs were hanging like columns of chicken feet being drained in a Mongkok kitchen. The "ottoman" or the leg support was defective, too, making it extremely difficult to stretch our already tired hanging legs.


Minutes before rolling along EDSA, I had asked the conductor if he could lend me something to keep my back from being reclined too much and he was kind enough to part with his still unopened inflatable pillow that looked like he rarely used it. I had no choice but demand some comfort. After all, I paid not just the miles but for a comfortable ride. Remember it was "de luxe," whatever that means to Lakay Chavit. The defective seats, I learned from the conductor, had been left unrepaired for weeks already and I was given the lame excuse that repairs can only be done once the parts--purchased by bulk--arrived from Mars or Jupiter!


Will someone blow this bus into pieces, please? I'm sure, replacement will come faster that they can claim insurance.


That inconvenient seat had me behaving like a little boy who has yet to undergo deworming; I could not settle down my seat from Manila up to Rosario, La Union. I must have tried all possible seating positions just to make myself calm, collected, composed, and comfortable to my supreme frustration. I had to keep my cool although I could smell blood and gunpowder already!

After La Union, I thought my ordeal was over because early on I had psyched up for a sleepless day or two and kept telling myself to get a full doze in my bed on weekend. I was wrong again. As soon as we hit Tagudin, signs of more inconvenience were all over the roads.

A few months back, the region had been battered by storms, and its network of national and provincial roads took the beating to the worst. Bad timing!

The bad roads and the ongoing repairs along the southern stretch of Ilocos not only lengthened travel time by more than an hour; it kept most passengers awake as the bus negotiated with potholes and had to tilt left and right more often than we could curse DPWH and the bus company management.


By the time we reached Santa Maria for stopover, I was too tired to complain of my misery and resigned to the fact that I didn't have enough vision to appreciate the majestic Ilocos coastlines at sunrise. I had to give up taking shots of the mighty Abra River as it pours into Bantay. Though weakened by my misery, I still managed to take some shots of the inconvenient bus and its inconvenient seats that gave me my most inconvenient ride to date.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Few Good Men


Yesterday, July 14, was the feast day of an Italian saint from Lellis, who founded a society of young, privileged men who dedicated their lives to ministering the needs of the infirm--the sick (physically and otherwise). Today, his followers call themselves Ministers of the Infirmed, and usually attach a two-letter abbreviation M.I. after their names.

As customary in this predominantly catholic republic, feast day of saints are eagerly celebrated not only by their devotees but even by the most unsaintly among us for various reasons. And in keeping with tradition, we also held our own de facto feast--a feast made merrier by the retelling of stories and memories of days of innocence, of submission, of awakening, and finally, of realizing that we have had enough.

Most often our 'tragic' stories are intertwined, have the same plots, involve the same characters and persona, and would always end up a comedy. As one would recount a chapter of his own life story, we could not help but laugh out loud together, and curse together the character/s whom we love and hate together with equal fervor. It was this sharing of common feelings for or against certain character/s that we find ourselves united and unfied not just by our tragicomic experience but more importantly, by the lessons we have learned as we dealt with those who made our lives both heavenly and hellish back then.

In hindsight, life back in the hills of Marikina was a process. Whether it was designed deliberately or by sheer divine will is now less important; what matters really now is that the process has resulted in quantifiably favorable results.



I can only speak for myself and for a few good men who have not lost the candor in the face of the changing and challenging times when principles and honor become a commodity in the free market of lies and deceptions, as well as divine interventions. Not that I have morphed into someone with whom the world owes its inspiration to survive; nor I'm Salman Rushdie of the Muslim world. No. The quantifiably favorable results have to be found in those minority voices that, when they tell their stories together, command the attention of the world. This is far, far better than a voiceless, headless, nameless, candor-less, and ultimately, a useless majority.

The de facto feast therefore is a feast of and by the majority. A minority feast.

Friday, July 10, 2009

"Politicians . . .

like diapers, must be changed very often for the same reason: they're dirty."

--Tom Dobbs, the protagonist played by Robin Williams in the political comedy hit Man of the Year.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Nationalize or ban religion, take your pick

It's not an easy choice. In fact, even to friends, it's a crazy idea.

(to be continued)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Who's Afraid of Charter Change?



Not me.

It's been 23 years since Cory's ass-sungots (assembly of ingots) last tinkered with our Constitution, inserting provisions they claimed to have leveled the playing field right after the Marcos dictatorship that virtually left the country in misery after the massive plundering by the strongman and his minions.

Understandably, the 1986 Constitution endeared Cory not only to the masses but also to the select few with whom the dictatorship has wronged. These select few would, of course, include the Lopezes who were able to stage a comeback only after the vestiges of dictatorship had been cleared. Or, were they really ever cleared? Not only these people came back; they also expanded far and wide beyond our imagination. It's back to business, and big business at that.

But why change the Constitution?

Overall, the 1986 version seems to be working just fine. But for whom?

Okay, by changing the charter, it simply calls for tinkering/fine tuning only some of its provision that are deemed outdated and tend to favor particular minority interests to the detriment of the majority.

One case in point is the blatant disregard of the separation between church and state. We all know what the church has been doing all these years and what our political leaders have not been doing all these years. I believe that provision there is a nuisance if not a silly joke because it is never adhered to. We can always argue that we have the best law, or the best Constitution for that matter; yet we also have the worst implementation/implementers of such laws. Which is which?

(photo courtesy of artfromthesoul.com)

Which brings me to my second point. Remember the proposal of Gringo and Flavier before of taxing the church. I may not have the record or evidence to prove but businesses owned and controlled by the church rake in millions, if not billions, every year. Where do all the monies go? Not the coffers of the national treasury, of course, but to their Vatican accounts. Let us do the math here: think of how much De La Salle, University of Asia and the Pacific, Ateneo de Manila, and University of Santo Tomas make each year from those expensive tuition and fees they charge each student? How much of that money is actually returned to the taxpayers, who pay for their access roads, foot bridges, and even security? How much of it is remitted to Benedict XVI?

That no institution would survive these days by giving away its services for free is not an argument. The argument really is: How much does an institution invest on social development? Is it enough to transform lives and communities? We do not have an accounting of their investments, thanks to that constitutional provision prohibiting taxing on church businesses cleverly disguised as social services which by decent definition should be very affordable, if not totally free.

Another important change in the Constitution has to do with population. Again, the influence of the church and its robed flock seem to scare politicians to hell to debate on the merits of a sensible and strong population management program. In this republic, we can only count with our fingers politicians, nay leaders, who can square off with a minister on contraceptives and other means of reducing population. But all these really lead us back to that provision on separation of church and state, which goes like this: What is good for the church is good for the government, and the country for that matter; what is good for the government is not necessarily beneficial to the church.

That is what is going on here and now. And it's been going on since the invention of commerce.

What is more crippling is the inability (or total disability) of our leaders to stand up to this medievalization. And of course, the 1986 Constitution had, in two decades, spawned a new class of vampires, err, oligarchs who have been sucking the resources of this country as if they never run dry. These are the very vampires who are against changing their enviable lifestyle as guaranteed by the Cory Constitution.

Other than these points, I believe the Constitution is still worth adhering to. Term limits? No. In fact, the term limit for a president should be shortened to, maybe, four years. A shorter term limit puts pressure to deliver, and save the country from a collective heart attack over the misdeeds of whoever is in power.

Business and land ownership? Well, when the framers of the 1986 Constitution were debating and deliberating, there was no Internet yet. No Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, AOL, etc. So, their definition of strategic interests were mainly confined to the old bastion of agriculture and its related industries. But big business, rather global business, has always a way of encroaching into protected domains for and in the name of profit.

Part of being Pinoy is to accept the truth and the fact that many companies doing small, medium, and big business earning small, medium, and huge profits everyday are dummies.

How do we manage this? Maybe the anti-Dummy law can handle this? Of course, only partly. The ever growing and hugely profitable dummy phenomenon is guaranteed by the Constitution through its tacit approval in liberalizing sectors in the name of investments that are admittedly hard to come by these days.

Who defines what is strategic and therefore off-limits to liberalization. Man, who else, but the same vampires we identified earlier.

It's really a no-brainer. Change the Constitution to get rid of these suckers! This is the long and short of it.

Approve the RH Bill Now!


Frankly, I have not read the entirety and the fine(r)print/point of the bill, so that puts me in a bind. But no, even without reading it, I could tell why it has become so controversial that bishops and self-proclaimed moralists are moving hell and high water to block its passage.

As usual, these idiots of churchmen do not and will never understand what it means to eke out a living simply because they live in tax-free charity. In other words, L I M O S. Men, they would argue for such entitlement since after all, they are working for the glory of God and salvation of mankind! F&%@#!G S^%T! Whoever told them to work for free? A moron, perhaps. In France, many religious organizations do their part in nation building. Yes, they do work. Members hang up their cassocks and get their hands dirty in factories and some offices to earn their keep. Not in the Philippines. Priests are lords here, especially in the rural areas where neocolonial/neo-feudal systems are very much in place.

The church, meaning all denominations who oppose the bill for that matter, simply speak from a position of comfort. And they are not bothered because after all, members of their congregation defer to their authority, nay, ignorance. This may not go for the men of the cloth who lead "double life" by taking the vow of celibacy and enjoying great sex--either with a male or a female partner--discreetly and siring children (in the case of a female partner) along the way!

(image courtesy of http://images.thetimes.co.uk)

But why is the church so against it? The passage, no, even the crafting, of the bill exposes, or better yet, reveals that the teachings of the church of Gaudencio, Manalo, Mike Velarde and Bro. Eddie were great failures as far as alleviating poverty in this country is to be measured. Why a failure! Simply because their "teachings" are mere supplications to ensure survival and in the case of Velarde and Villanueva, good life of their offspring. That is why Villanueva is not giving up on the presidency because aside from the power and the financial rewards of the office, he can afford to bankroll an expensive campaign. It seems pseudoreligion, like entrenched religion, is immune to the threats and dangers of economic recession. It seems the coffers at JIL never runs dry. Bless you Pilipinas, bumangon ka, bangon! The same goes for Mike Velarde, who is still hoping against hope that the balding bishops in Intramuros would annoint him for the 2010 derby. Oh Lord, what the fuck is happening in this country?

I am not advocating abortion, which is also NOT the gist of the RH bill, contrary to the misreading and misinterpretation of the misled bishops and self-proclaimed moralists who are trying to mislead people by their so unbiblical antics.

RH bill is about choice, or making people choose responsibly if only to help them manage their family, their finances especially. It's population management, as Rep. Lagman has been trying to explain it to the deaf and dumb bishops and so-called prolife advocates, another misled class in this overpopulated society.

(photo courtesy of flick.com)

I have been advocating, on a personal capacity, a stronger population management by this government and the reason I believe Gloria will not make a difference in her presidency is precisely her inability to resist from licking the (im)moral asses that that have been hounding her adminsitration and the seven-point agenda, specifically the one on population management. La Glora, Madam, it's time to shove these moral asses aside and move ahead with a stronger population management program.

Okay, let's call a spade a spade. I want a more aggressive population control measure in place. This governmnet cannot and must never be held hostage by the antiquated tenets of the church and the self-serving agenda of its leaders. This is sadly what most of us mere mortals fail to appreciate, nay, understand, or better yet, refuse to understand.

That population is power is only true when that population in empowered. But how can a hungry nation of 90 million people can ever exercise, or even possess, power? Will the church share its power, or its millions stashed in banks elsewhere? Will a daily dose of the gospel make people empowered? Will the sermons of Velarde and Villanueva combined really make the a dying country rise, as in Bangon Pilipinas, Bangon?

(I have to pause on a hungry note.)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Pasundayag



Wow! Beautiful! Fantastic!



I would say it's wonderful! Or, as my Boholano friends would say, pwerti!




Indeed, the Pasundayag 2009, literally meaning show, was grander and far more sensible and worth attending than the ones going on in the senate these past few weeks. It was definitely more than a show by any standard. It was an experience that even experienced showgoers in the capital should not miss, or should have not missed as it was the closest thing to the real Bukidnon deal, at least for a Bukidnon like me. People, products, culture, life, art, traditions, beauties and charms (and babes, too). Name it, you'll definitely find it there.











Dick Gordon, the senator, was right in coming and standing grand on stage at the Pasundayag than grandstanding on the senate floor. He was right in not joining Sen. Bobong Revilla in his stupid and idiotic appraisal of events, actuations, and disruptions by so-called victims, perpetrators, and spectators, most notably Abner Afuang with whom Sen. Bobong suspected to be Hidden Hayden's cohort. Gordon, after all, was the prime mover of the Department of Tourism's WOW PHILIPPINES (the opposite of which is, well, YUCKY SENATE!). Of course, Gordon remains to be the public face of WOW PHILIPPINES what with all those paper fans, pamphlets, brochures, streamers, etc., bearing the familiar round basketball-like face of this erstwhile Mayor of Olongapo, SBMA Chair and, as his pep squad would claim triumphantly, "the Savior of Subic and Olongapo" (bless us, small Dick, amen). 



My friend James Fajarito, Letran's Language and Linguistics department chair, joined me at the Pasundayag even if he was nursing a bad cold. It was nothing to fear, he assured me, because it was not the dreaded AH1N1.

I was at the Clamshell 1, the venue of Pasundayag 2009, a couple of minutes before 4:00 pm, the start of the show but had to while some time because Gordon was nowhere in sight yet. There's nothing new about VIPs coming to events fashionably late. After all, he was to cut the ceremonial ribbon formally opening the exhibit. Not wasting my time waiting for the opening, I surveyed and took some photos of the different booths representing the unique products of Northern Mindanao, specifically Region 10, the region where I come from.



Region 10 is comprised of the following provinces: Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental and Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Norte, and Camiguin. A few years back, the region included Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur, minus Lanao del Norte and Camiguin was subprovince of Misamis Oriental. But bad politics, no, bad politicians, have their way of arranging, nay, tampering with geography. So, in honor of the bad politicians responsible for such tampering, let's just call it bad geography or, well, bad geopolitics.

While the addition of Lanao del Norte may not be correct (geo)politically, it offers some refreshment to the cultural landscape of the region. The infusion of Maranao traditions--at least a good serving of it--is certainly a welcome formula towards adding more color to the already vibrant culture of the region, sans the violent past that Lanao and a tiny speck of its population have come to be associated with, thanks to media's self-serving interest and huge appetite of blowing things grossly out of proportion.

Now back to Pasundayag, which this post is all about. After about an hour, I covered the whole of Clamshell 1, having chatted with Bukdinon vendors and some tribesmen belonging to either of the seven tribal groups that originally inhabit the Bukidnon plains and the uplands: the Bukidnons, the Matigsalugs, the Tigwahanons, the Umayamnons, the Talaandigs, the Higaonons, and the Manobos. (I'll spare you the punishing discussion on these seven tribes. I can discuss these tribes in some future post.) 




I normally arrive at an event before it starts because being an early bird gives me the opportunity to meet with key people of such event, i.e. organizers, funders, resource persons, leaders, etc. I have an open (attention Hidden Hayden) agenda/idea of coming up with a coffee table book on everything Bukidnon, inspired as I am with the relative publishing (marketing, I don't know) success of the book I did on coconut. No, I have been nursing this idea long before the coconut book project landed on my computer table. At the moment, I only have the proposed cover of the book, and I have yet to draft the foreword and introduction before I can parade around my bare coffee table book plan. Momentarily, I had to forget my open agenda.

Gordon finally arrived, was led to the ceremonial entrance, accorded welcome ritual of good luck and cheers (for the long shot at Malacanang in 2010, who knows?), and then finally ushered to the front row VIP section. I had earlier parked my butt in a row for guests (yes, I'm a guest, minus the invitation, but I had to sign up the official logbook, he he) right behind the congressmen's (from Northern Mindanao, I suppose) row but had to yield it to curiosity that earlier had me scouring the food and dry goods booths and check their offering. 



When the show started at 5:00 o'clock, James and I were did not notice the passing of another two hours as we were glued to the awesome performances of the Impasug-ong Cultural Performers, the Bukidnon State University (formerly BUSCO, or Bukidnon State College), and several other groups representing various tribes in Northern Mindanao. I only knew it was supposedly dinner time when the hosts announced the break for some cocktails. Of course, we piled up for the long queue but we were not lucky this time. The caterer run out of plates, reducing us hungry mortals to mere witnesses in the gradual disappearance of cocktails on giant tables, including the delectable lechon from Cagayan de Oro, one of the best tasting this side of the planet. And there were not just one but two of these pigs (lechon). Whoooaaa! But God never abandoned the hopefuls as we managed a few slices of tuna sandwich and barbedogs (barbeque hotdogs). We had to comfort ourselves with the thought that what we came here for was not the food but culture! O, di ba? Ha ha ha!



Past cocktails, the show had just actually started. More talents, charms, and skills from the different groups, notably those from Bukidnon, were displayed to our delight. It was James' introduction (and mine a refresher) to Bukidnon culture and beauty (as in the lovely babes who were resplendent and equally beguiling in their colorful ethnic head gears and dress. 



The mostly-thematic numbers were both a retelling of the unique, rich cultural heritage of the region that lends it its identity in the face of changes and challenges that swept the entire cultural landscape of the archipelago, beginning with the Spanish intrusion and the continuing Westernization in the country and the rest of the world. To say that the performances were very educational would be an understatement. It did not only inform us of the many ways of using/wearing the malong in a rather fashionable manner as displayed by the Kagay-an dancers from Cagayan de Oro; it tells us to help promote the industry. The Impasug-ong cowboys and cowgirls did not just delight us with their witty cowboy number; they instruct us to revive the once dominant cattle industry in Bukidnon. The Talaandings who did breathtaking stunts on ultra-long bamboo sticks were asking not only loud applause from the audience; they want their land back that Bukidnon settlers and lowlanders took away from them in exchange of promises written in the air and a few gantas of salt.



The six hours I spent at Pasundayag 2009 was worth every minute, every second. For one, it reaffirms my love for that "far away Bukidnon land." It made me prouder that I was born, raised, educated, politicized (for the best), first fell in love, frustrated and almost gave up, moved on, and fought for my principles in Bukidnon. There's no place like Bukidnon My Home. How I wish I can sing here the song that keeps the moist in my eyes whenever I see something that reminds me of home. But here's the lyrics:

Wherever I may roam
the distant land to see
I long to go back soon
to sweet Bukidnon home

Her lovely mountains high
her forests old and grand
bring memories to me
the home I long to see.

There my heart, yearns to be
in far away Bukidnon land
Under its blue starry skies
where love and joy never die.

There is a Binukid (Bukidnon) version of this anthem but I couldn't sing it. Well, I leave to my Bukidnon brothers. Yet the message, the emotion, the passion, the conviction, the hopes and aspirations of a great people we are whenever we sing this remain pretty much the same.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Should Hayden Have Hidden?



I guess so, with at least two outed sex videos now playing on everyone's computer at either office or home showing him and Katrina Halili dancing in one video and &%^$ing in another. Holy shit! I don't know who's luckier between the two of them, that is before the videos came out on the Internet and presumably, in Evangelista. The ad below must have stoke some fire in their bellies (and between their legs).

But Hayden is just one of those guys out there: he also gets the hots especially from hotties like Katrina. Who wouldn't. We could not possibly which of the two videos was made first. But I have a theory: It was the giling-giling video first, then came what the self-proclaimed moralist senator Bobong Revilla called perversity, the second video (assuming/granting I guessed the correct order.) Only Hayden and Katrina could tell us for sure which act came first, right? With a bombshell like this one below, it's perfectly logical to have Hayden's testosterone levels shooting up (and down and sidewards) like they never before with you-know-who. Just oogle a second time and you fully understand what I'm trying to get through here.



The left photo (courtesy of asianfleshdaily) was taken it said during her pre-stardom days and that famous boobing tits may have been (or may haven't been) subjected to the masterful strokes of Doc Hayden's fingers, er, scalpels. We don't know. But any one with a 20/20 vision and a keen eye for details in digital imaging (and manipulation) could probably tell the difference, if they can.

But wait, did Sen. Bobong Revilla tell something about perversity in reference to Hayden Acts 1 and 2? But frankly, I find some senators more pervert than Hayden! Look at what they are doing, what they have been doing and what they could not do because they simply can't do it! It's disgusting! Just this morning over ANC, Pinky Webb had two of these perverts, er, senators, throwing shits at each other over another pervert. First on the phone was Madrigal, apparently itching to comment on the Hayden-Halili sex video circulating in cyberspace but was made to face off with Cayetano, who is ever loyal to his patron Villar. Why were the two perverts on the phone in the first place? Well, Villar invited media people to the controversial roads to show them there was no insertion--we might as well ask Hayden or Katrina about this--and Madrigal was asked to comment on the video. Cayetano, on the other end of the line, was asked to react to Madrigal's comment. 



And that started an exchange that would have gone haywire had Pinky not hung up on Cayetano. Madrigal stayed on the patch to field the now infamous Halili-Kho sex video which I shall call, for brevity, Halikho.

Lesson learned, this one Pinky should learn: Never put two perverts on the same spot.