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Monday, July 30, 2007

Sports Rantsblitz

CNN featured a full report on Iraq’s winning the Asia Cup against Saudi Arabia last night, something not so unlike the coverage it gave to the Middle East Wars. This was because the phenomenon is so “extrooordinary”, as Rosemary Church repeatedly blabbered, Iraq being the unheralded underdog. But from my view, it appeared more like continuing propaganda for the US, as the reports focused more on the celebrations in the American camps, and the guest commentator’s plea to use the event as a leverage for the promotion of peace and democracy in invaded Iraq. With so much free goodwill, I guess George Bush drowned himself in tequila last night and may just accord the players a White House reception one of these days. Who says sports and politics don’t mix?

* * *
BBC on other hand never even recognized the event, as it did not merit even a roller in its screen. Why the snub? Is this an indication that the British are now trying to wean themselves from the trouble that is Iraq?

* * *

In the home front, our basketball-crazy brethren are still panting over the RP five’s win over China. Never mind if the losing team was composed of China’s second stringers and was even beaten by Jordan. No Yao Ming there, my dear wishful-thinking friends.

I don’t understand why until today, we still dream of making it big in the basketball world when it’s obvious even to the untrained that we don’t stand the slightest damn chance. Yes! That, e
ven if we cheat the entire universe by claiming that those representing the Philippines now are Filipinos, even if the shameful truth is that they are Pinoys only by virtue of the genes of their pet dogs.
(Note: Just learned that Jordan clobbered the Pinoy Dreaming Team. I rest my case.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Minding My Own Business

Employees like us have this eternally-burning desire to be in business. This we see as the window that will allow us to eventually be our own boss and finally earn income to as much as our perseverance and hard-work can bring us.

But for most, this aspiration remains and dies a dream. By just recognizing and assessing our chances against the known risks, backing out or never even bothering to start, is but a normal recourse. Filipinos, unlike the Chinese, have this pre-occupation with the safe side.

For good reason, I surmise. It’s not easy to simply forego assured income and throw away the comforts of employment. Not directly facing the vicissitudes of the market spares us the trouble of protecting our investments. We may not earn stratospheric incomes, but we still live simple, quiet and unharassed lives. To each his own drama, ika nga.

But I have long been wishing to get out of the mold. That’s why I’m now talking business with some very close friends. And as expected, we’re realizing it’s not for the fainthearted! Just at the planning stage, things could really get bloody difficult. For starters, we all cannot imagine gambling away our meager but sweat-stained savings!

I’m not quite sure if I have the acumen for business. I am convinced some people are born with it and I still have to check if I am in any way blessed with the requisite skills. Through all these time, I can only recall very few moments which can qualify as entrepreneurial ventures. And most of them happened when I was but a kid. I remember being an ambulant vendor of pineapples, pechay, eggplants and other garden produce. I may have earned a lot that time but I never really became passionate with making my own money.

But the biggest dampener must have been this incident which happened precisely on one of my birthdays:

The setting: high school in our hometown. Our teachers tried to train us to become adaptable to both home and farm work, so we exchanged places with our female classmates and had a home economics class. We were asked to prepare a vegetable dish and then sell it.

The cooking part was easy. It was more difficult selling the stuff to the town folks.

Pi-nak-beeeet!….. Pi-nak-beeeet! We shouted as our jolly group peddled around the town.

Midway, we passed by one man. The ever bubbly group-leader-me made his practiced pitch:

“Manong, bili na kayo ng pinakbet”, I coaxed him. “Siguradong-siguradong pampalinaw ng mata”.

After some more tries, he remained unperturbed. So we left him.

But after walking just a few paces away, he called us back! We ran sensing a sale.

But as we got near him, he grabbed me by the back of the neck with his left hand, then his right hand threw a quick upper cut. “Ayan, isang order”, he said.

I was bewildered. As he left, he threw a piercing stare.

There I realized what my fault was.

He was half-blind!

From then on, I never ever peddled anything again.

Monday, July 23, 2007

See Ya Folks at the (Indie) Movies!

I was in the middle of a dream during yesterday’s unusual Sunday afternoon nap when my cellphone unceremoniously blared out Chris Daugthry’s “It’s Not Over”. My favorite song alright, but hearing it at the time when the dream was reaching its climax (not mine, naughtyhead!) was definitely not enough to push me out of bed. So I grudgingly checked out who the intruder was, but I was jolted out of my semi stupor when I saw the caller ID – it was the most influential theater blogger of the decade, Gibbs Cadiz!

Wala lang naman. He just wanted to check if I have read his recent post on Cinemalaya. I admitted I haven’t. So he just asked me to visit his popular blog and help him spread the news about his new pakulo - the contest on the reviews re the Cinemalaya entries (for details see this).

Hmm. The Gibbs Cadiz asking me to help spread the word? Parang sasampu lang yata ang readers ko a, and most of them I guess are also his readers. Spill over na lang ang napupunta sa akin. Sige na nga.

Tutal, I do agree with him that we should check out the independent film phenomenon and judge for ourselves if it indeed offers a better alternative than the run-of-the mill Filipino movies being rammed down our throats. As many pundits profess, we’re not running out of creative talent. Our brighter stars simply remain unrecognized and uncompromising with their ideals. But I heard many of them are now making their presence felt through this exclusive filmfest. So let’s give them the plaudits they deserve. Wag na nating hintayin na mapansin muna sila ng foreign audiences bago tayo sumilip.

So guys, if you have time, do try visiting the CCP for the indie film entries. I have passed up on previous opportunities due to my pursuit of another career, but this time, mukhang balak kong balikan ang pagiging mass comm ko. So see you there.

And don’t forget to write your 5 dollars worth of praise or diatribe. Basta blog lang kayo. Bahala na ang judges mamroblema. And since kasama na sina Migs at Mcvie sa judges, me pag-asa na kayong manalo, he he.

And to Gibbs, wag kalimutan ang pasalubong!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Highway Robbery

I met with some friends at the Alabang Town Center last night.

Going home, I passed through an unmanned toll gate going into the South Superhighway.

When I reached the Magallanes toll plaza, the teller asked for my entry card.

I had none.

I argued my case. No one was distributing cards at the entry point!

She said she can’t do anything. I have to pay as if I lost the card.

I wanted to stand my ground, but the queue behind me was getting longer. And it was getting past midnight.

It was useless arguing with the teller. It was not her fault.

I could hear the guerilla in my head grumbling and kicking - “Think of the many others on the same shoes! Someone must stand up for them!”

I didn’t. I grudgingly paid. Damn!

All I could say was “!#&@!!!-ina niyo! Ayusin niyo serbisyo nyo!” Then sped off.

As I arrived home, I tried fending off sleep. I was really pissed off.

So I brought out my long-kept dusty chest underneath my bed and got three black candles and five incense sticks. As I lit them, I muttered my most powerful incantations.

Magkabuhol-buhol sana ang bituka ng mga tao sa PNCC na nabubuhay sa panloloko ng iba”. Wushooooshhhh!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


As you now know, the Composed Gentleman nominated this site for Blog of the Week (Week #64) last week. I indulged. I also got curious how I would fare.

And by now you must have noticed na tinanggal ko na ang aking voting box sa sidebar. Pano, I got pummeled, clobbered and pulverized by the competition! Nye! Kakahiya! Wala pala talaga akong fans! Waaah! He he. Yun pang solid supporters ko, na disenfranchise dahil dalawang IP address lang ang pinagsasaluhan namin sa office. Nakalapit man lang sana sa frontrunners. Bwehehe.

Butsokey. For now, atras muna. I’ll try again when I have already gained internet celebrity status. Ten years from now, perhaps? :-)

Friday, July 13, 2007

"Teka Teka" Fighters

How would you feel if the weapon upon which you anchor your life turns out to be a dud? What would you do if at the approach of a determined enemy, your gun won’t fire? Won't you just shout “Teka, teka! Wait lang Boss!” and pray that you'll have Hiro's power to freeze time?

It would’ve looked like a scene lifted straight from a worn-out comedy movie, but nope. This seemed to have happened to our Armed Forces, ironically at a time w
hen other countries could boast of modern and ultra-efficient military gadgets.

Truth is, our men in the field are not asking for high-tech arms. All they need are functioning equipment. Just that, but that we cannot even provide them, thanks to the greed of some military officers.

I can only imagine the Marines cursing their superiors while trying to muster enough strength and courage to fight the barbaric enemies. Clearly outnumbered, they knew that a few feet away lurk the bullets that could take their lives in a snap. The only thing left with them is the consolation that they were fighting the fight of the brave and that when death stares them in the face, they could at least bring a few of the enemies to the grave.


The mortars that their government provided them turned out to be useless. As the enemies inch towards them, our soldiers had to do the “itaktak mo” jig hoping it would spark life to the dormant mortars.

It was a pitiable sight. And really scary.

To think that Trillanes and the men in Oakwood have already sounded the alarm bells for the purchase of substandard weapons a long time ago. To think that many lives and limb have by far been offered by our men-in-uniform in the altar of shameless corruption.

Now that he is Senator, the people expect Trillanes to confront his former superiors and hold them accountable for the carnage.

For indeed, no amount of ceremony befitting a fallen hero can bring back the wasted lives of the Marines who fought to keep the peace in this country. An honest-to-goodness overhaul of the system is in order to at least assure the military (as well as the police personnel) that we are not playing with their lives.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Stress Busting View

Our Monday flag ceremony speaker, a psychiatrist, reported that more and more Filipinos, including professionals are seeking medical intervention so as to handle and mitigate stress. Focusing on the workplace, she suggested that employers should exert effort to ensure that the working environment, both the physical and inter-personal, is pleasant and harmonious, as any deviation will ultimately reflect on productivity.

Our speaker highlighted the importance of having windows where employees could go to and provide respite to their computer-screen-harassed-eyes. In this respect, I guess our workplace more that meets the requisite. Our office walls are purely glass, so what we have is the widest view possible not just of idyllic Manila Bay but also of the hotels surrounding us where these sights greet you everyday….

How's these for stress busters, huh?

Monday, July 9, 2007

Resuscitating a Dying Friendship

They wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.

I have already blurted out all possible excuses from my deep reservoir of apologies, but nothing worked. Their instruction was for me to be at Gateway before 9:00 that evening. Little did I know that they were men on a mission.

Father Edwin and Kuya Jun, two of Taiwan’s more influential Filipino figures (grin) when I was there, were hell-bent on ending the four-year war between me and a former best friend. Maybe they got tired setting separate appointments each time they needed to catch up on either of us that they decided to put the matter into their hands.

What they were trying to patch up is a soured friendship – a friendship that looked quite strong in the beginning. We were two young expats, both representing government interests, who by virtue of work or circumstance, would normally go together to various Filipino gatherings. We were almost inseparable as we would later nurture a common set of friends. And since our pads were just beside each other, there really was not much room for privacy or individual pursuits.

It was when one tried to shield himself from too much intrusion that the knot was broken. He thought we were already invading hallowed private grounds (as in family affairs) when in truth we were not. You know how it is supposed to be with friends – there is more leeway for jokes and light banter. When one gets hot under the collar without understanding the context or real premise of the stories that get around, war ensues.

As a result, the sense of betrayal was high for both sides. And the resentment bred a mutual antagonism that was unimaginable early on. Your best friend can be your worst enemy, the cliché goes.

But time is yet the best healer. Looking back, it is now easy to recognize that the passions simply ran sky high at the time that we were actually over-reacting. Now, acceptably a more sober time, it is easy to let bygones be what they should and just move on with peace in the heart.

I’m thus thankful there are peacemakers. With pride running loose, it could only be through their firm intercession where the proverbial peace pipe can be smoked.

I’m glad I have regained or at least revived a friendship. Now I’m on a roll. I’ll make sure that my other broken bonds will soon be fixed.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Loose Bombs

Media reported today that actor Jay Manalo was arrested and will be prosecuted for violating PD 1727, which many now refer to as the “bomb joke law”. A few months back, John Estrada was in a similar situation, but he got out with a slap on the wrist.

I have to admit I felt a weird sense of happiness when I saw these airheads confess to their ignorance in public. But my self-satisfaction aside, I must say that I am quite concerned with the way the law is being implemented.

PD 1727 was promulgated during the Martial Law years “in the wake of recent bombings, arsons, and other terroristic acts committed by radicals and other lawless elements in the country” where “such radical and lawless elements, and "pranksters"” would convey, propagate or otherwise disseminate false information or willfully make threats regarding the alleged presence of bombs, explosives, incendiary devices, or any similar device or means of destruction” “for the purpose of causing or creating public confusion and disorder”.

However, section 1 of the said law which actually defined the punishable act says “any person who, by word of mouth xxx … willfully makes any threat or maliciously conveys, communicates, transmits, imparts, passes on, or otherwise disseminates false information, knowing the same to be false, concerning an attempt or alleged attempt being made to kill, injure, or intimidate any individual or unlawfully to damage or destroy any building, vehicle, or other real or personal property, by means of explosives, incendiary devices, and other destructive forces of similar nature or characteristics."

This means that for the act to be punishable, the person must:
1. willfully make a threat or
2. maliciously convey a known false information
3. the information must be concerning an attempt or alleged attempt to kill, injure or intimidate an individual or damage property by means of explosives.
Now let’s do the requisite legal exercise kuno:

When Jay Manalo said “O, may bomba yan ha” while handing his bag to the stewardess:
1. What act violative of the law did he do? Answer: Conveying false information, because he did not really have a bomb.
2. What was the information about? Answer: The existence of a bomb.
3. Is it the type of information covered by the law? Hmm. Let us see. Was it about any attempt to kill, injure or intimidate with the use of the bomb?

You decide. From my side of the fence, all I could sense is Jay hitting on the stewardess.

I have no beef with our security forces strictly enforcing laws to ensure that no life, limb or property is injured while we travel, but I have some reservation when the law is applied without any consideration for cultural nuances. We are a country of jokers and we always find something hilarious with all kinds of situations. While we submit ourselves to rigorous security procedures, there is always that urge to act funny so as to lighten the atmosphere.

I’m not saying we should not punish jokers – all I’m saying is that the law does not seem to cover the context with which many arrests have so far been made. If the intention is to be truly rigid, considering the times, then an amendment must be in order. Otherwise, loosen up guys! :-)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Transformers What?

Having read reviews from blogville and the papers, it dawned on me that much of the buzz generated by Transformers: The Movie particularly harbored on nostalgia. It seemed that most of those who trooped to the movie houses were there to relive their childhood. Everyone seemed to have been, at one time, mesmerized by the action-packed TV series or have played with at least one of the versatile toy versions.

I guess I felt a bit sorry that I can’t relate to their travel down memory lane.

For while I am indeed a child of the 80’s (?), my childhood memories are worlds apart from those of the people I commune with now.

Transformers and all other kidhood TV icons are admittedly greek to me. I was raised in a place where even a battery-powered television set is non-existent. I remember someone tried installing one by his veranda (hoping that the open space would be more conducive to receiving the signal) and its first run became a community activity, much like the inauguration of one grand project. Only that what came out on screen were nothing but dots and we all went home with stiff necks.

Thus, I really never had the chance to get acquainted with Flordeluna or Annaliza. We were introduced to the Sesame Street characters only through notebook covers. We thought Thundercats were pets.

Just imagine how boring I could get if discussions saunter into this territory.

But dare ask me about Magnon, Sisang Tabak, Tagani or Anton Diamante and I’d engage you in endless chatter. Who the hell are these people, you’d ask. They’re radio drama bidas who cultivated in us the same level of fanaticism as Chiz Escudero had for Voltes Five. They were the heroes of our rustic childhood, the idols that would make us dash for home from class.

Toys? I can’t remember of any that evoked a love affair similar to what city boys have had with Japanese robots. Our sources of joy were way simpler: a milk can cover attached to a bamboo stick already becomes a toy roller, a carved tsinelas with coconut leaf becomes an instant sailboat, and tingting with bond paper flies like any kite.

Not being able to declare my own robot story sometimes makes feel like belonging to an age eons apart from my peers. But in times of contemplation, I get convinced that there really is no reason to feel deprived because we did enjoy our rural upbringing. And given a choice, I would still recommend that today’s kids be exposed to the simple life, a life different from what the modern complicated world offers. I swear it will nurture a more austere and down-to-earth outlook, a deeper appreciation of the less expensive, more natural, less fussy side of life.

Monday, July 2, 2007

I Miss Travelling!

My Lakbayan grade is B-!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out at Lakbayan!

Created by Eugene Villar.

One of my earlier jobs brought me to various places in the country, especially the Visayas region. Being a Visayan myself, it was logical for the company to assign me in the implementation and monitoring of projects from Samar to Negros.

It was at first, exciting. I met a lot of people and I practically scoured the mountains of Samar, the beaches of Bohol and Cebu and the sugarlands of Negros. But the regularity of the trips (which could run for three weeks straight) eventually took its toll on my body. It became sooooooo tiring! I later hated the early morning trips to the airport and the sea trips no longer excited me. I felt so relieved when I changed job.

But now, having wallowed in the urban jungle of Manila for so long, I am beginning to yearn for some travel. And checking the Lakbayan map, I guess I really have to visit a lot more places. I still haven’t gone north – Ilocos, Batanes, Benguet. I now am lusting for an eco-tour of Palawan and a return to eye candy-filled Boracay. Would you believe, I have not even set foot at Puerto Galera? Pathetic, huh.

With the grade I got, I resolve to wander again in the next few months. I’m crossing my fingers here.