Thursday, February 28, 2008

spot this!

was at V-mall with a friend the other day, when she pointed out something to me. i had to take a picture of it, it was too good not to share!

Monday, February 25, 2008

the day the world tunes in

today is the 25th of feb. 22 years ago, a people of island dwellers of malayan descent somewhere in the southeast of asia decided that they had enough. they decided they had enough of living in fear. they decided that they had enough of being dictated over by a man who thought he knew better. they decided that they had enough of people disappearing for the sake of freedom. they decided they had enough when their beacon of hope was mercilessly gunned down in the airport when he came back from exile, despite the threat to his life. 22 years ago, this barely known nation, fueled by years of oppression, injustice and repression, under the leadership of the housewife of its fallen hero, decided that they had enough. in a demonstration none the world has ever seen, the people took finally what was rightfully theirs.

that was 22 years ago. EDSA had so much meaning back then. it was the icon of the century for the filipino. a hallmark that rivaled that of other events in our local history. it was a historic moment and we were all part and witnesses to its making. but like all great moments, their significance over time wanes, its relevance slowly forgotten. year after year, the celebration of that triumph in EDSA that toppled the marcos regime felt more and more distant, more and more... irrelevant. true, there were many EDSA's that came after, seemingly instigated by the same cries for change and justice, yet, i believe, none could compare to that day when the nation stood in front of tanks with only prayers and courage in their hearts.

the memory of EDSA, 22 years ago, should be revered. it stood not only of the day when a cruel oppressor was taken out of power and power given back to the people of asia's oldest democracy, but it stood as a testament to its people. that we are all one once we let go of our personal interests and really care for the welfare of our fellow countrymen. there was no army, no church, no school, no institution, no politics, no men, no women, no children, no old, no young, just a people united towards achieving a single ultimate goal. there were no need of bribes, no need of grandstanding politicians deflecting from one side to the other, no need of dramatic speeches. all there was was a pure calling for change and an earnest seeking for freedom. that was EDSA. nothing more, definitely nothing less.

22 years later, people are happy they had a long weekend. 22 years later, the news channels carry on with regular programming. 22 years later, i am anxious as to who will win in the 80th annual acadamy awards. i cried when they read the winners for best theme song. i don't know why, must be getting hormonal.

Friday, February 22, 2008

things that go BOOM!

i was having another bout of insomnia last night, probably due to residual adrenaline and the fact that i was insanely craving for a big mac. since i could not manage to flirt with the sandman to put me out of my misery, i therefore sought comfort in my next best friend... cable TV. i spent the rest of the night watching the news which eventually conked me out.

by 330am, i was woken up by my brother ringing my cell telling me to open the gate for him. he works nights and comes home on the most ungodly hours. though it usually drives me nuts to have my sleep interrupted like that, over the years, i have gotten used to it and have learned to find again the warm spot in my bed to snuggle back into before i was snatched from la-la land. today however, i decided to stay up. kuya was flying out early that morning and i was designated driver. since he was going to be putting about in the room, i doubt i would get any sleep even if i wanted to. he at least made it my while by buying me big macs, two to be exact. both never lived long enough to see the sunrise since i devoured both like they were my last meal in the world!

though satiated, i was still rather groggy and wished that i could fall back to sleep. this however was not to be since my mom, in her frantic tone barged into our room saying that there was a fire in the neighborhood. my brother and i ran up to the terrace to get a better look and found that indeed, there was a fire. a big one for that fact. a wooden building down our block that served as a store house for a soft drinks dealer was totally engulfed in flames. since the building was old, the fire spread pretty rapidly. the fire for a moment seemed to get out of hand when part of the roof collapsed and air rushed in to feed the flames. thankfully, the fire fighters were able to bring the situation back under control and eventually, put the flames out a few hours later. i sure hope no one got hurt.

one, two, three... KABOOM!!!

on another note that i was hoping to relate to this early morning incident, but now can't seem to find the connection due to my sleeplessness, the US army was successful in shooting and destroying their rogue spy satellite that was dangerously revolving around earth, set to fall out of the sky and hit, weel, anywhere! technically, space garbage like that isn't really too much of a concern for the US since they already have loads of crap left floating up in our atmosphere. however, this satellite was a different little booger. apparently, the satellite still had a full tank of rocket fuel, hydrazine, a substance so poisonous, the pentagon had to keep medics across the US alert in case hydrazine poisoning occurs if and when the satellite falls from the sky. of course this was a concern to the US, i'm sure considering the amount of shit that they're in already as of the moment, the next thing that they need is more shit to bury them in. also, since this was a SPY satellite, it contained sensitive information that according to them, would be deadly if it fell on enemy hands... how james BOND!!!! so, rather than risk being responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians and having their peep show broadcasted on, well, youtube, they instead decided just to blow the sucker from the sky. a single missile shot from ship intercepted the satellite in orbit and blew it into smithereens! what made this particular mission unique according to the US is that the missile was not armed but instead just had a very "hard head". technically, it was the satellite that shot itself into the missile since the satellite was cruising at a whopping speed of 17,000 mph!!!! so now, instead of just having 1 piece of crap in the sky that can fall almost anywhere, we have a gazillion pieces floating in the sky and can fall anywhere. pieces as large as a football they say. something we shouldn't worry about since the chances of us getting hit is 1: 2,000,000. i don't know about you but i'm gonna keep my eyes up for shooting stars and pray that they hit someone deserving to earn a blessing form heaven... o well maybe some government official?

you're outta here!!!

on another side note that was supposed to relate but can't. HK actor edison chen is giving up show business indefinitely, according to the press conference he held in response to the sex scandal he got himself into involving other chinese actresses in thousands of rather naughty pictures. now, in case you guys didn't know, sex scandals, though almost a publicity stunt in the west that even ugly, unpopular people have, are quite frowned upon here in the east. good luck if you think such a ploy would catapult your career like what it did to paris hilton and the like. here, getting into any scandal, is like getting the kiss of death. in fairness to chen, he handled himself quite well and apologized for all the harm he had done. he said the photos were private and were never intended to be made public. he said he was sorry for disappointing his fans and will leave the limelight for failing to be a role model. awwww, how sad. now, if only our local politicians were that honorable.

i'm sorry i was a horny, naughty boy.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

of magicians and fairies

the world is indeed a strange place. amidst all the hullabaloo that has been happening around me, very well contributed by local politics and over diligent political clowns, i decided that enough was enough. watching seeming reruns of the same faces, saying the same things over and over again to no resolution on TV and every other media portal for that matter has tired me so and made me long for something else. "i was abducted!", "i was bribed!", "i am innocent!", "she is EVIL!", please, tell us something else we don't know. we are not idiots and morons that you have to constantly repeat yourselves for us to get the point. we perfectly know what's wrong, we have known what's wrong for the LONGEST time! it's no longer a matter of blame, trust me, there is enough to go around, but the question now is, what do we do about it? mass rallies and prayer vigils and walks of support and walks of unity and mass outcries for resignation and demonstrations everywhere are all fine and good. all are great exercises of democracy but again, so what? would that put an end to "the problem"? would getting rid of a stubborn, little zit prove to be the cure for a bad case of ACNE? please.... that picture is just too small. take a few steps back and maybe you'll catch a glimpse of what we are really in for!

politics seem to be everywhere really, and there seems to be no escape from it. even my escape from this circus my country is in fell into its own little circus. i just took consolation on the fact that unlike the inescapable scandals and unpleasantness of my present environment, at least i can always choose to stop reading my book.

it took me a good long week but i was finally able to finish Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell, the first novel of british author, Susanna Clark. it was a long tale of the lives of two english magicians and their quest to bring magic back to england back in the 1800's. quite a good read if i may say so, though i think it be a tad too wordy. actually, it was VERY wordy indeed, just about 1000 or more pages long. though definitely no "harry potter", the book did offer some form of insight to what may have been, in my opinion, a more realistic depiction of magicians (the spell wielding, abracadabra kind, not the david copperfield/ david blane wannabes) if they were to really existed in human society. though there were no flying cars and post carrying owls or talking hats, there were however magical fairies and talking statues and ships made of water and Napoleon Bonaparte.... NAPOLEON WHA? o yes, an ingenious method employed by clark, making her novel more so believable was weaving in historical events, both actual and fictional to corroborate with her story. the extensive footnotes and cross references on the pages were quite a very interesting feature.

though there were no particular points in the story that was remarkably captivating, it is to my surprise that clark was still able to keep me engaged for that long. the story's tone was not really monotonous but undulated more along a steady range, never too high, and never too low. if ever events would veer towards a seeming climactic encounter, clark would, almost intentionally, divert the attention to some other detail, immediately diffusing the air of excitement, holding you on for more chapters to come. this tease-chase-tease scheme was her success in making me a fool to read through this utterly thick book, though as i look back, i certainly have no regrets.

the journey through the world of mr. strange and mr. norell was a true delight. a journey through english countrysides, english mannerisms, english dialogue, and also, english magic. indeed, clark's keen attention to the details of the times revealed the extensiveness of her research, giving the world she had created, though filled with enchantment, an unquestionable authenticity. though there were moments when reading felt rather taxing, especially since clark chose a voice that reminded me quite well of my high school days wherein we were forced to read the classics for book reports, i was appreciative that there were several "intermission" stories within the novel itself that cleansed one's reading palate, reinvigorating it again to carry on. it also helps to have a british reading voice in one's head, makes the reading definitely more entertaining! :)

in summation, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell was a welcome distraction. though the book was dark and full of despicable and vile creatures, it offered me of some brief salvation from my reality. a reality though devoid of magic and of utter englishness, is full of despicable and vile creatures as well.

Monday, February 18, 2008

a lighter side of life

had a good start to the day that progressed to something not so good. somethings are just probably unavoidable and it is best, i guess, to assess one's situation with the most objectivity and optimism. it still doesn't help to make events less sucky though.

decided to cheer myself up with this video. hope it helps anyone else out there who's having a not so great day.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

museum dairies

it seemed to be a perfect day for some culture appreciation i said to myself! the sun was shining and the breeze was cool. i didn't mind that i was commuting today since i had no doubts that i was going to be comfortable in the jeepney. i dressed comfortably in jeans, a shirt and sneakers and with my trusty man-purse (i never leave home without it!), i set out to see the national museum!

i did my research the days prior to my little excursion. being the anal nut that i am, i naturally did not like leaving things to chance. i tried looking up the museum to see if it's open and where in manila it actually is. i had heard before that it was closed for renovation but have discovered that only parts of it still is. opening time was, according to the sites i found was at 8:30am. "perfect!" i then thought. entrance fee was P100, no problem, a small price to pay for a better appreciation of my country, i said, quite patriotically to myself.

coming from the ghettos of tondo, i decided to take baclaran via taft instead of taking the city hall jeep since i knew the museum came after it. i overshot by a block but thankfully, the walk wasn't as bad since the air was still pretty cool. got off at taft and started walking towards burgos to the front of the museum. there seemed to be buses lined up along the street so i figured there would be kids running about. no bother, i sincerely liked that fact that the youth is being exposed to art and history this early in their schooling. by the time i managed to get to the front, i found out that the museum was still closed. it was 9:30 already but it was still closed.... heh? turns out, they NOW start at 10am. grrr... (stupid site, can't even get the time correct!). i tried not to let this ruin my day though i do have a slight superstition that when things go wrong... they REALLY go wrong.

after finally getting in and surrendering my man-purse (they don't allow you to bring your bag in, lest you pilfer a CANON or any artifact for that matter. also, much to my dismay, taking pictures is also not allowed. have a story on that a little later), i made my way to the "main gallery". it actually has a proper name but sadly, my memory is bad and the museum doesn't have a brochure with a site map, only a floor plan in the main lobby. before i go on, i have to explain my original intention of going to the nat mue! it was basically going back to see an old friend, luna's spolarium. the last time i saw this behemoth of a piece was back when i was in 2nd year high school with my gang and my teacher in asian history, mrs. perez. we were doing research on how to go about building the social studies exhibit at school. being the perfectionist that we were, we wanted to blow the minds of the student body away with a fantastic exhibit! it was my first time to behold the luna masterpiece and all i could remember was how breath taking it was. its scale aside, the painting bore with it a power i could not explain. years later, i found myself standing in front of it again. i no longer feel the same awe and amazement. maybe such emotions are only reserved for first meetings. the painting still however generated a power, more than 200 years old and still it captivates me.

somehow, the rest of the paintings in the gallery failed in comparison with the luna masterpiece. though the entire hall only featured works by hidalgo and luna, all seemed unnecessary, even to a point, insulting, to share the same space with the spolarium. sorry, i am playing favorites here. you think i'm bad. i was in the gallery with an entire art class from DLSU and they all just talked about the spolarium, then left. the other painting must have been seething with envy!!!!

as the site that gave me the wrong opening time accurately said, some of the galleries were closed. i however did not realize that "some" meant "most". despite being the NATIONAL museum, it was rather sad that the state of the building, as well as most of it's exhibit did not bear any of that seeming high status. in truth, private collections like that of the ayala's fair so much better than this one. the building is currently undergoing a major paint job, but being a design graduate myself, i can definitely tell no amount of "make up" can hide the degree of wear in this building. the exhibits were not remarkable. besides the spolarium, all works within seemed almost like an art gallery for artists who sell their wares in megamall. i have to admit it was rather pleasant that the galleries adapted a more modern looking interior, but the quality of the pieces within, and how they are showcased, mmmm, i can't say i was very much impressed. to be quite honest, after going through all the galleries which were open that day, i found myself more intrigued by the architecture of the museum more than the pieces that were housed therein. sneaking out my cam-phone, i hastily took a snap of the beautiful staircase that wound along either side of the lobby.

in about an hour, i was done. a sorry duration if i may say so, but what to do, there was nothing else to see. i decided then to move to the opposite building to the museum, the museum of the filipino people (MFP), to see if there was anything new. ah yes, i remember why i wanted to go there. there was supposed to be an iranian art exhibit currently on-going. having worked in the middle east, i felt it was a good way to reconnect with those memories. unlike the nat mue, the MFP had more people, kids primarily. there were a few foreigners as well. a blond girl who looked irked; a cute looking bald guy who looked like he was looking for the irked girl; and a french couple whom i felt were getting too frisky in a place where kids were running about (i'm pretty sure they had the undivided attention of all the CCTV cameras in the area). also, unlike the nat mue, the MFP's many galleries are sponsored by private institutions, thereby being better kept and by far more presentable. my first stop was the gallery where they showcased the entries for the PLDT yellow pages cover contest, submitted by art students from all over the country. it was rather amusing to see the work of the students, so fresh and quite ingenious in their use of different media. there was one entry that was entirely done using push pins!

if the nat mue was built to house the spolarium, the MFP was built to house the artifacts from the san diego, a spanish treasure galleon that sunk in pinoy waters centuries ago. discovered by the french, they i think struck up a deal to showcase the loot both in france as well as here in the philippines. the galleries containing the remnants of the doomed ship, as well as many of its cargo and supplies cover at least half of the display in the entire building. having seen this exhibit for the third time, i decided to browse through it rather quickly. i doubt there would be anything new to discover about crusty earthenware and broken pieces of china. i did however manage to find an interesting arrangement that i took a pic of with my cam-phone. though supposed to be prohibited, i noticed another guy who had a digi-cam snapping away at almost every piece. i naturally thought it was ok. needless to say, the guy was apprehended by museum security and his cam, confiscated. i almost got myself into trouble as well but got away by saying that i was texting. lying and looking like a korean tourist got me out of hot water! i pitied that other guy though, he definitely did not look as oriental.

what almost got me into trouble... thank god i had chinky eyes!

there was a display, similar to the dioramas of the ayala museum, in the third floor that i rather liked. by far, this gallery presents the best picture of the filipino people to the world, containing articles of the rich history of the country, as well as many contributions from the myriad of ethnic groups that are found throughout our islands. i however was not able to appreciate it as much as i wanted to since this is where i discovered the very amorous french couple and later on, the kids running around. i just hope they did not think the foreigners were trying to "contribute" to our culture.

i learned that the iranian exhibit was housed on the fifth floor, where they had the changing exhibit hall. upon reaching the fifth floor, i was quite disappointed with how the museum chose to accommodate these guest to our country. for starters, visitors are greeted by a piece of bond paper stuck to the wall, haphazardly written in markers pointing where the exhibit was. the gallery was bathe in sunlight, exposing all the works to the detrimental rays and killing all chance of creating drama. the display, though not so impressive, felt disorganized and was laid out like i was at an art fair in the souks. i certainly felt reconnected but i definitely did not expect it to happen this way. thankfully, there were some works that offered redemption. i had almost forgotten that the iranians were famous for their fine works of islamic motifs and mosaics. their choice of colors were stunning to say the least and it reflected beautifully in many illuminated works that studded many of the displays.

i ended my museum day with a thought. the national museum and the museum of the filipino people is our heritage in a box. stored within its wall are the details that tell us where we came from, and most possibly, where we are heading. yet despite these valuable treasures within, their halls remain empty, their galleries cold and lifeless. stories, relics and artifacts only bear significance when they are entertained and received. without a recipient, they merely collect dust, crumble away and eventually forgotten. the condition of our museums is ominous of what is the filipino condition today. it has been said that we do not advance because we as a nation are quick to forget. we are quick to unlearn our mistakes and thereby, like broken records, repeat them over and over again. we re-elect dictators, ignoramus actors, political puppets back to power. we repeatedly condemn the ill effects nepotism yet come elections, practice it nonetheless. we are a people who adapted a national form of amnesia and thereby greatly disrespect our history, rich as it may be. it apparently is easier for us to forget and regret. a sad though, a sad though indeed.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


daybreak is a story of love, lust, longing and lost. focusing on the final hours in the forbidden love between a married doctor and a boatman, the film is definitely an odd selection to watch during this valentine's.

the story was pretty simple. william, the doctor, is having an affair with jp, his lover. yet due to personal obligations, william has to finally choose between the two people who lay claim to his heart, a choice made upon daybreak.

gay love has been an interesting theme for many indie films nowadays. probably thanks to ang lee's "brokeback mountain" and to many of its counterparts, not only are gay-oriented films more widely accepted and even critical recognized, but more so, the subject between same sex relationships have surpassed the notion that such topics are taboo. proves to show that we are evolving into a society that is more tolerant in our attitude and more liberal in our thinking. though i am glad of this direction, i still however have my reservations, particularly as to how such liberties are handled.

daybreak offered in it a genuine story of the travails of love in its purest form. a thought so profound that a master is needed to bring it about into action. adding to the difficulty of the theme is that gay love brings with it a whole new dynamic. the film had many good points. it allowed people to see the lives of gay men and address the issues that plagues them, hopefully concluding that in the end, love is love, irregardless of its "players". coco martin's portrayal as jp gave justice to the boatman's simplicity. his outlook, his mindset, his behavior, all the manifestations of a man who loves because of love. interestingly also, though shot as if a continuous account of the events leading to daybreak, the film often breaks into shots of seemingly random and unrelated scenes, something that i could only explain as the director's way of describing the characters' sense of uncertainty, doubt and trepidation.

an almost beautiful work, the film however still sustained quite some misses. paolo rivera as william was very weak in conveying the inner conflict the character was going through. since william was the story's primary proponent, i would have expected that the actor to play him would be able to address this very important point. rivera's acting felt distant, disconnected and at some parts, labored and fake. having intimate scenes with the more sincere martin made rivera's mediocre performance even more apparent.

i also thought that the "love scenes" felt odd and almost detached from the central emotion of the film. rather than exhibitions of intense passion, the scenes seemingly dealt more on the carnality of the act. torrid kisses and anal sex doesn't always equate to love making, most especially anal sex that is physically impossible given the positions they were in (i apologize, anatomy was my favorite subject back in med school). i was mostly disappointed when the characters were supposed to be having their "break-up sex" wherein there was a failed attempt to convey a sense of urgency, almost a desperation to remember the moment as it was their last.

overall, daybreak comes out as a pass, though not really with flying colors, but a pass nonetheless. the brevity of the film keeps one engaged throughout and the highly focused plot helped to keep viewers from peripheral subplots that could potentially become a distraction. it was successful in airing out the complications of an extra-marital affair with the added "feature" of the characters living double lives. a slice-of-life film, daybreak will hopefully serve as an eye opener to people about homosexuality and that in the end, we all love and hurt the same way.

daybreak is showing at the UP diliman, cine adarna from feb. 13 to feb 14 with screening times of 3/5 and 7pm. its regular screening will start on february 20-26 at the robinson’s place IndieSine, then on february 26-narch 4 at robinson’s place - ermita, followed by its robinson’s bacolod run on march 5-11.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What is Neri afraid to say and Why?

this is an article i got from the blog of political analyst manuel l. quezon, III. it is an article written by jun lozada given to enteng romano, explaining in his opinion why romy neri is keeping his mouth shut, despite being under constant fire from the media, the senate, and now, the entire nation to speak up.

read on. it's sad.

What is Neri afraid to say and Why?

Many speculations have been made as to what Neri knows about the ZTE-NBN most particularly the direct involvement of Pres. Gloria Arroyo in this abominable affair. After his damaging “Sec. May 200 ka dito” demolition of Abalos, the discredited former Comelec Chairman, many were left disappointed when Neri suddenly clamped up when the Senators started asking him about the nature of his conversation with Arroyo, no amount of coaxing, cajoling and threats was enough to break his Code of Omerta. The question on many people’s mind was, What was Neri trying to protect when he repeatedly invoked “Executive Priviledge” during that gruelling 12 hour Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on live television?

We have known the Truth all along as one of the few people that Neri confided his predicament during those fateful days of April 2006, and how he wanted to resign his post of NEDA Director General and Secretary for Socio-Economic Planning over this incident where he lost all his moral respect for Pres. Gloria Arroyo.

We are doing this document to give the public an understanding of this predicament.

What is Neri afraid to tell the public? He is afraid to tell the public that after he reported the Abalos P200 million peso bribe offer, Arroyo casually told him to ignore it and work for its recommendation for approval anyway. That when he protested that it is too controversial and may attract the wrong kind of attention from media, Arroyo retorted back “Pakulo lang ni Joey yan and his father”. When he tried to reason that it may not be accommodated in the Chinese ODA package because it has been filled up with a list of projects already, Arroyo again ordered him to remove the low cost housing project and some water project to accommodate the ZTE-NBN deal in the ODA loan. That when he attempted to reason that it may not be approved in time for the Boao Forum which was only two days to go from that fateful April day, Arroyo with raised voice told him to include the ZTE-NBN project in the agenda of the following day’s meeting of a combined NEDA Board and Cabinet Committee, who as expected promptly approved the project paving the way for the contract signing between ZTE and DOTC in China the next day. Neri is afraid to tell the public that this conversation took place between him and Arroyo because it might spark another impeachment complaint against Arroyo.

Why is Neri afraid to tell the public about this conversation with Arroyo? He is afraid that another impeachment will simply result to more expenses of public funds similar to the Hyatt 10 impeachment crisis, because as DBM Secretary who replaced Boncodin, he was entrusted with the large scale DBM payola operation of Arroyo to Congressmen, Senators and Governors not quite similar to the crude Panlilio incident that the public is witnessing now. He is afraid with a more partisan Andaya at the helm of DBM, more public funds will be spent to buy the silence and favour of these greedy legislators and local executives. He is afraid that with Arroyo’s firm control of public funds she can buy all the necessary support from most sectors of society to keep her in power.

He is afraid that even if the opposition knows about this conversation with Arroyo, he is afraid that the opposition will not pursue a serious impeachment proceedings against Arroyo, because it is not to their political interest that Noli de Castro becomes President in case Arroyo is impeached and becomes a more formidable political opponent in 2010. This insincere and unpatriotic goal of the opposition is already being manifested by the malicious speed that the Erap pardon is being cooked by Ronnie Puno together with the Erap camp to hastily put a united front of “Birds of the same corrupt feather” coalition against the emerging JDV led political opposition.

He is afraid that even if the Church knows the truth about Arroyo’s direct involvement in the ZTE-NBN deal, the Church will still not call for her resignation due to the closeness of Arroyo’s trusted lady liason to the Cardinal of Manila who was very effective during the “Hello Garci” crisis. That Arroyo’s Religious Affairs Operators have the Bishops firmly in their “donation” graces, as again manifested by the quick rebuttal of the Mindanao Bishops’ of the call of their fellow bishops in Luzon who where calling for the resignation of Arroyo just after Arroyo gave them a visit in Mindanao.

He is afraid that even if the military knows the truth about Arroyo’s direct involvement in the fraudulent ZTE-NBN deal, the AFP brass is much to indebted to Arroyo for their position and the perks that goes with their position, that they have demonstrated this twisted loyalty with their willingness to detain, remove from the service and even shoot their own men for voicing out their legitimate concerns regarding the corruption and moral authority of their Commander in Chief. It is a sad spectacle to see the respected warriors of the Marines & Special Forces rot in jail with their ideals, while their men are dying even without receiving the measly P150 per day combat pay that was promised to them by Arroyo due to lack of funds & generals gets a gift bag similar to those given to the governors and congressmen just for having dinner with Arroyo the day after that infamous breakfast & lunch meeting where bribe money flowed scandalously free.

He is afraid that even if the Media knows the truth about Arroyo’s direct involvement in the ZTE-NBN scam, Media will simply wither in the torrents of cash and favors similar to how the Hyatt 10, Hello Garci crisis were killed in the media headlines and Radio& TV coverages. Although he believes in the integrity of a handful of Journalist, he believes that a handful of these mavericks cannot withstand the hordes of paid lackeys of Malacanang. Especially that the Arroyo crisis team is now being handled by the best mercenary money can buy, from Ramos Sulo Operation, Erap’s DILG and now Arroyo’s troubleshooter, Ronnie Puno. Ably supported by the Media and PR money from PAGCOR being handled by Cerge Remonte to buy positive airtime, headlines and editorials.

He is afraid that even if the Business Sector knows about the truth of Arroyo’s direct involvement to defraud the coffers of the taxes they are paying, the businessmen will be reluctant to rock the boat of the current economic uptrend, especially with the very close personal and business relationship of the so called leaders of the big business like Ricky Razon of ICTSI, Donald Dee of PCCI and Francis Chua of the Filipino-Chinese Federation to Arroyo herself. He is afraid that the hard earned remittances of Filipino OFWs that is keeping the economy booming and that can keep the economy afloat even under any administration is being wasted under this unholy alliance of Arroyo and her favoured businessmen.

He is afraid that even if the Civil Society knows the truth about Arroyo’s direct involvement in the ZTE-NBN deal, that the Civil Society is now tired of mass actions after witnessing two failed EDSA revolutions, that Civil Society is now afflicted with a “Rally Fatigue” and cannot muster enough public outrage to denounce Arroyo’s “corruption with impunity”. He is afraid that the middle class is now indifferent to the corruption that goes around them, not realising that the middle class are the ones mainly carrying the burden of the loan payments for these corrupt deals. He is afraid that the middle class are more interested to become an OFW & to leave this country leaving their family and children behind, and may not care anymore about the crimes being committed against their country by its own President.

He is afraid that even if the Masa, the students, the workers knows the truth about Arroyo’s direct involvement in the ZTE-NBN deal to steal precious resources from public funds, that they are now too poor and impoverished to be able to afford the time to join mass actions against the abuses of the Arroyo administration, that these former vanguards of mass actions in the country are now completely dependent on financial resources of professional organizers and have turned themselves into a “Rally for hire” groups rather than a true and genuine political gathering shouting for reforms.

He is afraid that the public may not know the extent of corruption in this country and may wrongly believe that they can cure corruption by simply replacing Arroyo with another person. He is afraid that the public may overlook the systemic and institutionalized nature of the source of corruption in this country, he is afraid that the people will again opt for a regime change without concern or a plan to correct the root causes of corruption in the country. He is afraid that people may not realize that it is not bringing Arroyo down that is difficult, it is establishing a new order that is the difficult task.

This is the predicament of Neri which I want people to realize especially to those who are asking Neri to tell the truth.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

shame on you.

i was watching TV over dinner today when i chanced upon this local kids show on TV. on it, the kids were doing a skit, a spoof of the latest happenings in the socio-political scene, i.e., the jun lozada hearing. the weekend barely passing and trust the filipino sense of humor to kick it and trivialize everything.

i read an article written by a british expat here before saying that the filipino's innate sense of humor saves it, as well as condemns it. our sheer ability to make fun of our conditions make us optimistic and keep our spirits up, despite how hopeless or seemingly hopeless our situations are. when other people would probably see suicide rates sky rocketing, trust that filipinos would keep their heads and just laugh away the pain and get on with their lives. on the other hand, this same ability numbs us and makes us complacent. our problems, though serious, becomes inconsequential, and rather than taking up action to create change, we laugh away the pain and get on with our lives.

watching that skit made me hurt. it's not like me to get affected since i too have fallen into the defense mechanism of finding humor in all the mess my country is in. however, on this occasion, it felt different. the country is bleeding, and it is bleeding badly. democracy has given us the power to put our people into positions, yet ignorance and even stupidity has made us put the wrong people into power. they now suck the country dry and neglect their primary objective, which is to serve the people who put them. public office, which once was a service is now a career. it has become an industry, a main source of livelihood, and i am afraid, we are now seeing the work of very efficient "professionals".

how can the country heal when the healers are the parasites themselves? when the one's who can help don't, and the one's who can can't? it seems the cycle has been set and what one can only do is just sit back and watch a nation die of a cancer it is not willing to cure. that is unless someone is brave enough to speak up and start an end to this slow death. jun lozada's actions i believe is to inoculate the seed of recovery to this country. a deed, despite not coming from the best of candidates in nonetheless good and should continue. actions that should be praised over and over until it changes the nation's psyche that nationalism is not dead, and that there is glory in sacrifice. actions that should not be mocked by a stupid, insensitive skit by writers and actors just trying to find material for a good, short laugh.

Friday, February 8, 2008

who needs cirque du soleil!

after weeks of apparently being kidnapped and in hiding, political scandal star witness jun lozada finally surfaced and will now face the senate blue ribbon committee.

deja vu don't think? once again, the filipino people are glued onto their sets for what is the beginning of another political and media circus. a repeat performance involving money (lots of it, more than a billion pesos worth), corrupt government officials, idealistic and ignorant civil servants, and of course, the president and her entire clique!

the air is still rather clear as of the moment and the pandora's box, not yet been fully opened. i just hope that they handle this better than the last time. i sincerely think the world is getting sick and tired of our country going up in revolt every time something like this happens, but then again, we have always been good in theatrics.

Monday, February 4, 2008

wedding woes

it was decided. just moments after picking up kuya from the airport from his trip from boracay, not even warming up his seat in the car, it was decided that we were going out to have a "brainless sunday".

he originally wanted to see cloverfield since based on the previews, it looked good. however, according to reviews from both his friends and from what i've read about it, it wasn't that good. i guess since he was still rather exhausted from his trip, he left me to decided what movie we were going to watch. not even batting an eyelash, i succumbed to my darkest, guilty indulgence... chick flicks... shameful as it may be, i cannot deny that blossoming characters, light story lines, cheesy killer dialogues, awkward moments and all the lovey-dovey in between makes me giggle like a girl holding her first barbie.... not that i know what that feels like. ehem...

i went to the counter and purchased 2 non-refundable seats to 27 dresses starring katherine heigl and dreamy james marsden. definitely cannot go wrong with this movie. i mean, i've read and heard very good reviews about it, great story, lots of comedic potential, great acting and of course.... james marsden, haaaay. beautiful.

of course, my instincts did not fail me. the movie was definitely a blast. heart warming and very funny. katherine heigl was great in the role. she was strong and tough, yet weak and fragile at the same time. the supporting cast were great too like her sarcastic best friend casey played by judy greer, and of course, james. ahhhh....

definitely made my week. catch it with a friend or a loved one. i'm sure you guys would have a great time! :)

Friday, February 1, 2008

just for laughs

kuya and i were driving back home from lunch after my cousin treated the family for his birthday. on our way back, for reasons i can no longer remember, kuya and i got into little argument. i'm quite an emotional fellow and get pretty worked up during arguments, add to that the stresses of driving and you have with you a deadly combination. things could have escalated but thankfully, we had this "vision" of beauty to diffuse the air. all i could do was laugh and laugh and scream out a loud "OH MY GAAAAD!!!!" needless to say my brother scrambled to get my phone to take pictures.

OMG! from the back. what originally caught BOTH of our attention.

OMG! from the front. i'm seriously considering that they just ran over someone bringing flowers for the dead and the bouquet just got stuck on the grills! seriously!!!!

to the guys who got married in this monstrosity on wheels, i pray that your marriage be blissful and full of love. i believe you would need every bit of it if you guys started off in something like THIS. to the people who did THIS, thank you all so much for saving me and keeping me sane. i certainly would have had run over a street kid on a bout of road rage if it weren't for your rather attention-catching creation. maybe you guys should get jobs in war-torn iraq. i'm sure they'll appreciate the distraction. you guys might even force those rebels to give up!

driver for a day

i literally spent my entire day yesterday behind the wheel. to be honest, it was good to a certain degree since it has been quite a while since i had a day that was jammed packed with activity.

my day started early, 330am to be exact. i spent the night at my cousin's since he was going to catch an early flight to toronto on NW. needless to say he wasn't that enthusiastic about getting up that early, most especially since we got to bed past midnight. he complained about loosing his elite status with NW, thereby, had to line up with the rest of the regular members to check in. now, this shouldn't really be an issue but you also need to consider how filipinos are when traveling to north america. not less than packing the kitchen sink, pinoys can haul boxes filled with souvenirs with them, thereby making checking in baggage the most stressful leg of the journey. thankfully, cousin dear decided to check in online, in which case, he could fall on a different queue upon reaching the airport. rather than the harrowing hours he had to wait lining up with the regular flyers, he was done in a few minutes at the online check in counter. a valuable tip to all you NW flyers out there!

i dropped cousin off at the the international airport at about 515am. we said our goodbyes and well wishes and showed intentions of visiting each other in the soonest possible time, pleasantries to convince ourselves that life need not to be as difficult as it is. reality can be a bitch, both of us know this very well, but it doesn't seem to affect us that much when we are in each other's company. i watched him from my car as i drove away until i could not track him anymore, engulfed by the sea of people at the departure lobby, waving, laughing, crying, hugging, kissing... the sights and sounds of my country's diaspora.

i drove straight home after. i love driving at this time of the day. not many cars, not many people, not many on the road. though the darkness here brings out the most idiotic of motorists, it's a small price to pay for some smooth effortless driving. my brother was going to fly off to boracay in a few hours and he needed to be at the domestic airport at 8am. i managed to get home at around 530 and decided to catch some more sleep before heading out again. adrenaline however was pumping strongly thru my system and despite my efforts, i could not sleep. by the time i was ready to doze off, it was time to get up again and journey out to the airport, a good 30 to 45 minutes drive if traffic allows. it was bright out already and the roads were starting to fill up with the bane of my existence... other motorists....

after dropping off my brother, i headed to my dad's shop to hand him a cheque he needed which he forgot at home. then i was off back home, hopefully, tired enough to catch up on lost sleep. it was unfortunately not so. shortly after arriving home, my dad called and said that i had to dive back to the shop to pick up a treadmill he had purchased for himself. the store's, where he got the behemoth of a contraption from, truck broke down so they advised my dad to pick up the treadmill himself and assemble it himself. it was quite beyond me as to why my dad agreed to such a preposterous arrangement, and it's as if he's THAT eager to start working out. but the deal has been made. i then hauled my ass out again, and with a truck driver in tow, we headed off to pick up my dad's newest toy. a few minutes later, i found myself fuming as i realized how freaking heavy the toy was.

it was near noon when we got back home. i had a quick snack since i was famished, tired and fuming irritable. decided to vent out all of this energy of mine in the gym. i'll be off to pick up my grandmother in a bit and it wouldn't help to have so much energy stored in my system. i hit the gym and voluntarily had pain inflicted on me. all of that tension soon found its way onto iron and hard rubber, something i'm pretty sure they don't mind receiving.

got back home, took a quick nap and headed out again to pick up grandmum and my mom's friend. they were heading out to attend a wedding and i was chauffeur of the night . since it was going to be quite a hassle to drive back home and drive out again to pick them up when they're done, i just decided to linger and wait up. it was quite a long wait, 3 hours. i went around the nearby mall and took a stroll. harrison's plaza still looked the same as how it used to back when my dad would bring us there when we were kids, old and run down. as the mall closed for the night, i wandered back to the hotel where the reception dinner was being held and sat at the atrium lounge. i came prepared for the long wait with a book and treated myself to a pizza and a few drinks while being entertained by the live orchestra playing at the lobby. though the prices were ridiculous (713 bucks for juice and a pizza), i felt i owed it to myself to at least feel for that day that money was not an issue. at around 11, my folks were done and it was time to head back home, finally.