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Thursday, March 29, 2007


Everyone has his bagful of disappointments and frustrations with this country - with the way it chooses it leaders, the way its government is run and the total apathy of the citizenry to the unconscionable rape of the nation, etc, etc…

And if one were a true-blue patriot, with a deep concern for the well-being of this strife-torn land, it will not be difficult to understand why that person would end up making a loud statement, if only to arouse people from their shameless stupor.

But that is not the norm. It is one thing to be disillusioned, another to violently act on it. It’s one thing to love this country, another to threaten life and limb to inform the world about it.

Honestly, I don’t know which is worse: being a dreamer gone berserk or a totally apathetic jerk. The first doesn’t lack for passion for what is good for this country, only his means (normally taken when he reaches the end of his rope) is not acceptable to civilization. The second lacks basic civic consciousness, someone yet to get his share of civilization.

Jun Ducat versus the Pinoy man-on-the-street…. that’s the question.

I guess I’d have to grudgingly hand it down to Ducat, the dreamer gone crazy. At least, he had the guts to do something about his complaints. In my list, he toes the same line as Antonio Trillanes, who to me is good for the Senate.

I admit, I’m a coward and I truly wish I have their patriotism and conviction. Just let me think harder about the means they embraced.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Just got back from sickbay. I had a terrible four-day struggle with a persistent flu (am still feeling groggy as of this writing, but fine, I guess).

Cause? Physical and Emotional stress (that’s the Dr. House in me speaking).

Now, the cost:

Self-prescribed - P 500.00
Doctor prescribed – P 1,650.00

Electric Bill
(aircon, DVD, etc. P 600.00 ++

Fruits & other food P 1,000.00 ++

My gulay! That’s almost four thousand pesos down the drain!

Imagine. That money could have purchased cases of beer and plates of hearty pulutan in our sidewalk tambayan. Or it could have shouldered the weekend trip to Subic or Mindoro. Or a good massage and sumptuous dinner from a cozy spa. Damn! Damn!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Tired of Waiting

Everyone was all agog over the news yesterday: the Supreme Court has scheduled a special session to hear Satur Ocampo's petition for certiorari. So what about it? Well, the over-eager bar examinees saw something beyond it. The prevailing thought was that the deliberations on the release of the bar results will be inserted during the discussions.

That the hearing on the Satur case was later re-scheduled to March 30 simply fueled the speculations. "Lalabas na... lalabas na." With the whispers getting louder, some brave souls even started trooping to the SC.

But again, nothing.

"Bukas na naman daw." At 1:00 this morning, I still received a text message saying it could really be today. Damn!

Can't blame us though. We really are just tired of the continuing suspense. Everyone wants to move on, pronto! It's been months, for chrissakes!

"There's a session later today" said the latest note on my celphone.
"It's a jam session for the Supreme Court employees. Wanna come?"

Filipinos just have a weird sense of humor.
(Postscript: It's now being floated that the results will come out on the 29th. Or is it April? Whatever. Simply means another week/s of torture. I hate the suspense. Any suggestions on how I should spend the rest of the waiting days? I need to have a good diversion. Caveat: Nothing naughty please. I need to be saint-like until everything is over. lol)
P.S. to the P.S.
My "source" at the SC now says it's April 3. Confirmed na daw. Talaga lang ha? Game!!!
Another P.S.
Just a few seconds after I posted the last note, another "reliable source" from the SC texted that April 3 is for the decoding of the booklets only, not the release of the bar results. Ansaya!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


I had another "quickie" travel over the weekend, this time to the City of Pines. My last visit was probably about 2 years ago, and clearly many things have changed since then.

Traffic is evidently heavier (it can take you minutes to traverse Session Road), the climate's warmer and there is definitely more pollution (read: smog). In short, Baguio is exploding!

I guess it's time for lowlanders to search for a better, more pristine summer hideaway. Baguio just cannot accommodate the steady inflow of tourists. The place may not be as comfortable and as cosmopolitan as Baguio, but we'd certainly appreciate some place that will not exacerbate the stress in our already harassed lives.

Of course, Baguio still keeps its old charm. The question really is how long will it last?

I don't know, but with so much commercial activity plaguing the area, will attractions like the Strawberry Farm (below) sustain their freshness and cool atmosphere? Not in the next few years, I'm afraid.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

My Kind of Heroes

It was just a random pick from my friendly neighborhood video pirate - I've never heard of it, nor ever even seen it plugged on local TV. I was just looking for some stuff to fill my spare time.

And gee, was I glad to find out what a gem of a watch it was!

I fell in love with it though, not at first sight (how cliche can I get?). I actually ejected it from my player just after a few minutes of initial intrusions. Boring, I surmised; convinced that the development was slow in coming.

But there was a growing buzz about it on the many blogs I've visited. Many claim elation that it's finally being aired on Channel 9. The curious cat that I have always been, I decided to give it a second chance to prove itself.

And swear, I was floored. It was one damn good show! Good plot, nice effects, wonderful mix of characters.

Of course, I'm not saying it's original. People who "thought they were like everyone else... until they woke up with incredible abilities"... Such premise is old hat, basic for all comic book greats. But why does it persist and continues being a hit among us, vulnerable earthlings? Because it feeds on one basic hunger -- to be super-human.

True, being one may have its own setbacks (talk of one's best gift as being his biggest curse too), but can we stop people from ever wishing that there lurks in his deepest recesses some hidden power, for good or bad? I'd like one, honestly. And I mean any power. I've got no specific preferences: telepathy, time travel, flight ... any thing will be deeply appreciated. Please?

I'm still just a few episodes through it but I sure am hooked. But much as I'd like to talk about the episodes in detail, am gagging myself for now, in deference to those following it from free TV.

But just this one thing: please let me give you this message from the future: "to my kindred souls, let's all unite and save the world! " (Whew! It actually felt good saying that.)

Monday, March 12, 2007


My room is now becoming totally uninhabitable due to the creeping heat that has invaded this equatorial part of the world. Even my old reliable electric fan seemed to have surrendered the fight. It has been helplessly egging me to turn the budget-draining aircon on, a request I regularly deny lest I bury myself neck-deep into bills.

Now, with the onslaught of summer, I’m beginning to develop a deep longing for the beach. It is the type of craving that triggers a rush of memories of childhood thrills – the simple yet lasting joys of being raised in an island.

Eat your hearts out city kids, but this I got to tell: when we were of school age, going to the beach was all but routine. It was part of our growing up, an ingredient of the daily grind.

I recall, our weekends were never complete without a trip to the beach. If city kids look forward to weekends for shopping, movies and other indoor activities, we look forward to these days for wild abandon - shooting waves, racing through the currents, riding motorboat floaters or simply basking in the sun riding inflated car tires (interiors) until one’s skin cracks from the blistering heat.

The beach then was an extension of school. Early Saturday and Sunday morning, the seashore is already filled with classmates, friends and childhood idols. To miss the fun would be mortal sin. Think of joining the line for the Monday morning flag ceremony and you knew nothing about what happened in the beach. You will be a virtual outcast. A life in kiddie hell!

Would you believe that as elementary pupils, our idea of play involved organizing our own picnics? Yes, no adults! We’d usually scrimp on our daily “baon” in order to buy beach food (normally pancit with hebi plus what whatever else we could sneak out of our cupboards). Nothing much, but that’s enough to cause incomparable bliss. Finding happiness was easy, then.

For as in all other retellings of things sweet and wonderful, the good times inevitably end.

When we were lured by the Big City for our studies, the view of the beach has become a rarity, as we’d see it only during summer break. And as the years passed, to our dismay, the gatherings we used to enjoy have all disappeared. The grounds we used to adore are now deserted. What happened to the kids who loved playing with the waves, I‘d wonder. Where are the young lovers who patiently build sand castles? Alas, modernity has savaged the simple joys. Kids have found happiness with gadgets, cable TV and other costly and less strenuous fun. Happiness now has a higher tag price. Communing with nature has become the exception rather than the rule.

I guess I succumbed to the same pressure as I too have fallen for urban fun. But as the soul gets weary, I know where to go.

Whenever I go home, I make sure that I take a plunge into the blue waters of the Pacific sea that kiss our island. It’s my simple homage to Mother Nature for giving me a wonderful childhood.

But I now prefer going to the beach late afternoon. There, I simply laze on the shore and listen intently to the sound of the pebbles swaying to the rhythm of the waves. That melody of nature provides a background to the skies slowly turning black, while the kingfishers and seagulls scramble towards their homes.

And as the sun finds its resting place, I too would find that familiar joy that only nature and the simple life could bring. Sans the hustle and bustle of the city, the beach indeed is one great sanctuary, the womb that brings me respite from the wear and tear of the years passed.

I dearly miss it.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Fly This Helicopter

Please bear with me on this.

You're free to say this is sheer stupity. Okay lang. Wala lang kasi nito sa isla namin.

Pardon my simple mind, but I swear I had fun flying this helicopter. I wish you'd try this. And please tell me how far you went.

Am not posing any challenge. Dexterity has never been a trait I could be proud of. So there really is no record for you to break.

Caveat: Don't play while at the office. I will not be responsible for your early retirement.:-)

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Who Paid for All These?

My otherwise peaceful morning drive to the office is always disturbed every time I reach the sidestreets of Manila. They may not directly affect me (I live in Quezon City), but I just can't help but get enraged over the assaulting presence of the preposterous posters of the father and son tandem of Lito and Ali Atienza.

I would have tolerated this insensitivity if these were just mere privately funded pre-election hoopla. But what's utterly revolting is the fact that it is being passed off as a government initiative.

The posters say:

1. "This is an inner city development project". You ask, what the hell is the project here, specifically ? The lamp posts to which these posters were nailed to? The walls of the buildings where they were unceremoniously posted? The electric cables where they hang?

2. "Project: Barangay Alley". This is what the logo in the middle says. Must be the name of the mythical project. But it was so written that the second letter "l" of the word Alley, is shorter than the first and the "ey" is blurred, thus reading "Ali" . Creative huh?

3. "Buhayin ang MayniLA". Yeah right. Manila is so alive with these expensive "banderitas" blocking our every view. And I will not be surprised if one of these days, more posters will invade Manila with a new handle: BuhAyin ang MaynilA - for the successor Ali. I hope just hope Manileños will not buy this stupidity.

4. "This is where your taxes go." At least these thick-faced politicians are honest. But despite this admission, why are they not facing charges for wasting government funds and using people's money for personal interests? If some public officials can be prosecuted for violations of the Anti-Graft Law for amounts as low as P 20,000.00 (remember Gov. Neil Tupas?), why are the Atienzas exempted when the evidence is all over the place? These posters and billboards, given their omnipresence in Manila, surely cost by the hundreds of thousands. Would I be wrong to assume that in this country, laws are imposed only to those who oppose the implementors?

I know I shouldn't have asked.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Busy, Busy ...

For good boys like me (ahem!), regular days are filled with nothing but home-office-home travels. Boring. I have become so used to this uneventful routine that my recent out-of-town trips seemed like a local Amazing Race episode. Taxing indeed, but the change of pace and environment was, to say the least, gratifying.
That's why I had a short blog-leave. It's just now that I have settled again and found time to face the computer. Hay buhay. So many things to do, so very little time.

Nothing extraordinary came out of these travels though. But I'd be glad to recount them here, for posterity's sake. This, in a nutshell, was how the travels went:

First stop: Manaoag. February 24, 2007
We've been planning this pilgrimage for some time now. And knowing how important our concerns were, there was really no entertaining reasons to back out. So even if there were only three of us, we proceeded as committed. Mahirap na. Baka samain.:-)

We just took the early morning bus going to Dagupan. We were planning to just take the jeep to Manaoag. But luckily for us, good friends took care of our transportation to Manaoag and back.

The church was not full when we were there. Well, it was twelve o' clock midday. And it was a Saturday.

After the Mass, we went to the petition area. And as the candles burned, we prayed like never before. As fervently as we could.

Like litigants in a court proceeding, we pleaded our cases. We silently cited the merits of giving us the blessings. We even probably muttered promises. But we were cognizant of the fact that everything depends on the great Judge, and the most we could do is beg for mercy. For the best results. And at no other time ... but now.

From Dagupan, we went to Malasiqui, Pangasinan where one of my companions had her roots. We braced for a bumpy jeepney ride, but again, luck smiled on us. Our hosts volunteered to bring us there. Ang yabang tuloy namin. Inihatid kami ng luxury car.:-)

But something funny happened on the way to Manila he he. We realized there were no airconditioned buses passing Malasiqui at the time we were waiting. Determined to go home that night, we took a regular bus.

Result? Na facial kami ng sandamakmak na alikabok -- at me kasama pang blower ng hanging galing sa labas!

Next stop: Cebu. February 28 to March 1, 2007

We went to Cebu to conduct a lecture. Everything went fine, except for my failure to see the City again in its full glory. We were there just overnight. And as I tried searching my phone for possible contact persons, I realized most of my friends are no longer there. Wala akong mahihila!

Ending. We spent our spare time in - of all places, the mall! Corny.

Last stop: Tagaytay City; March 2 to 3, 2007

This was supposed to be an office planning conference but we knew better. It was actually more aimed at fostering camaraderie and bonding among the employees. So we did just that.

Locked in our rooms, we watched a video of some magic show somewhere via the laptop we brought and at the same time watched Final Destination on TV. Of course, while the madness was on, Fundador was being served. Viva los Indios! :-)

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Understanding Joker Arroyo

It was painful watching the honorable and venerated Joker Arroyo making a lame pitch for his senatorial candidacy.

I refer to the proclamation rally in Cebu (that it was aired in full by Channel 9 clearly shows how government resources are being used to further the interests of Team Unity bets), where he delivered quite a short and crisp speech. From my standpoint, it was pretty obvious that he was not thankful for being there. He knew there was something wrong with his being there with the characters on stage.

Before he spoke (as with everyone else, I learned later), his television ad was flashed:

“Ipinagtanggol niya ang Konstitusyon; Ipinagtanggol niya ang Senado; Ipinagtanggol niya ang mga Karapantang Pantao ... Pag Bad ka, Lagot ka! – Joker Arroyo, for Senator!”

I admit, there were no misrepresentations in his ad. He did everything that he proclaimed.

But I guess we can’t stop people from pursuing this pitch with the question: “against whom?”

Who was trying to surreptitiously alter the country’s principal law that Joker had to stand tall defending it? Who was it who besmirched the reputation of the Senate as an institution so that it may no longer exist to block their shameless ambitions? Who was it who tried to stifle dissent, who tried to suppress basic rights of assembly and dissent so that the citizens may no longer have a forum for the discussion of their shenanigans? Pray tell me, against whose claws did Joker save us and our constitution from?

Answer: GMA and her cohorts.

So why is he holding hands with these b*st**ds now?

Funny, but I did see a twitch in GMA’s lips when the ad was being played. She is not stupid not to know she was the enemy being referred to.

In that specific rally, Joker spoke little. Maybe because he really did not have much praises for his allies.

He only highlighted the major reason for joining Team Unity – the failure of the Genuine Opposition to denounce violent means of overthrowing the present dispensation.

Ahem. Was he not the same Joker Arroyo who enjoyed the fruits of EDSA I, which was, for all intents and purposes a coup d'etat, gone successful? He did not say then that coups are a disgrace to nationhood.

Was he not the same Joker Arroyo who stood by GMA’s side when Erap was ousted (please spare me the headache of discussing the mythical difference between the succession issues of EDSA I and II)? EDSA 2 was also supported by dissident military and police officials and such would have been capped by violence had Erap not decided to leave in peace.

I am not saying I support coup d'etats, because, aside from the fact that it is a criminal offense, it really depends on the causes being advanced.

All I’m saying is that getting the Opposition to denounce the means will be useless, inasmuch the rebels are always heralded as heroes when the plot succeeds. If it fails, they very well know the consequences.

On the other hand, history tells us that the turn-over of governments became peaceful only because the subject leader had the grace to succumb to the people’s will.

My point? If there is anyone who should not embrace violence – as a means for perpetuating her stay in power, it is GMA and her minions. It is she who should swear to respect the constitutional processes and embrace her accountabilities to the Filipino people without resorting to the violence of numbers. It is she who should refrain from sowing terror to avoid meeting public scrutiny.

But with GMA foretelling that the world will not tolerate another EDSA, it is crystal clear that when the time comes for the swelling of another mass uprising, she will not have the magnanimity to concede defeat. That to me is more potent threat than the coup plots whispered in the darkness. With the former, violence is sure to happen while with the latter, violence is a matter of last recourse.

As to Joker, I still believe that he is needed in the Senate. No aspirant one is more qualified for the job. This hand-holding with the enemy is but a survival tactic. I’m confident that when he returns to his seat, the clasp will loosen and he again will be a pain in the administration’s fat asses.

Does GMA expect loyalty from her converts? I’m sure she does. But can she really rein the maverick? I guess not. He is not like Brenda who once frothed in the mouth denouncing GMA but later salivated in the latter’s Lilliputian lap. I still have to hear him glorify Gloria.

What is simply upsetting is to watch “the” Joker Arroyo kissing ass in order to be where he rightfully should be.

Either there’s something wrong with him ….. or with us, Filipino voters.