Monday, May 31, 2010

Five Years

Guys, do you remember this song? Kids, were you even born when this song was released?

Earlier, I thought, "Ano kaya kung may videoke ang Five Years? Ganito itsura ng screen:

"Huuu uuuu huuuuu. Huuuu uuuu huuuu... Huuu uuuuh. Huuu uuuu huuuuu. Huuuu uuuu huuuu... Huuu uuuuh. Huuu uuuu huuuuu. Huuuu uuuu huuuu... Huuu uuuuh. Huuu uuuu huuuuu. Huuuu uuuu huuuu... Huuu uuuuh."

LOL!!! Sobrang natawa ko mag-isa. I was so amused by my own wit, lol! (OK, I'm a dork, haha.)

Anyway, did you know that Five Years by Sugar Hiccup is now 15 years old? It was released in '95. *gulp*

I think it's a beautiful song, like one of those choose-your-adventure books. Pwede mong ilapat ang sarili mo'ng kwento sa kanta. Anong nangyari sa iyo na five years?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Gaga and the home of the Little Mermaid

Ok, I love Glee again. I realize we need all the help that we can get to end the hate for and discrimination against gays. The Lady Gaga tribute episode showed some powerful stuff, and I do hope the young, straight generation sees the lesson in this:

Finn eventually redeems himself, dressing up in the red rubber suit Gaga wore when she met Queen Elizabeth, protecting Kurt from the school bullies. Hurrah!

* * * *

In other news, I saw an episode of Oprah earlier and I was floored by how advanced Denmark is. I'm not talking about technological advancement, although I'm sure it is doing well in that department, but of how well its society works.

While Danish people tend to be one of the highest taxpayers in the world, they get the most benefits out of it. They have free health care AND education, and that includes college. In some cases, university students are even given an allowance.

Employees get off work at 4pm. Women are given one year of paid maternity leave. If you lose your job, you will get a monthly allowance of up to 90 percent of your previous salary—for up to four years.

There is little discrepancy between the rich and the poor (in fact, there is no middle class since everyone pretty much stands equal). Also, because of the socialized tax system, where the highest earners pay as much as 60 percent, people aren't driven by salary considerations in finding work; instead, they find work which they love and have passion for. After all, Denmark has the world's highest minimum wage.

Because of this sense of security, Danish women feel no need to marry for economic reasons. Also, crime is almost zero: people leave their babies outside their homes or cafes in their carriages for some sun and fresh air, and there has been no report of a baby ever getting stolen.

According to researchers, Danes are considered the happiest people on earth. And in this conversation Oprah had with some of the locals, they say they are also the least religious. I think it makes perfect sense.

Watching this made me feel like we've been duped by politicians (and religious groups) for far too long. I can't believe Denmark is a First World country and the Philippines is Third, or just a one-figure gap.

The true gap, it seems to me, is more than 50 years.

Friday, May 28, 2010

My national costume for Miss Philippines, 2010 edition

Last year, I designed a Philippine national costume based on the Sarao Jeepney. Since that was high fashion (lol), I figured that for this year, it would be best to have a costume that is a little closer to earth, and which summarizes Philippines 2010 the best: the year the Filipino people exercised their right to set the country's course to the rightful path. 

I turned to 1986 for inspiration, hence, the People Power National Costume, lol:

click to enlarge

Just to explain the details: she is wearing a yellow headband; an Our Lady of Edsa Shrine earring; yellow baller ID, and a simple tank top. She has a dove, the international symbol for peace; and a "Laban" sign, Cory Aquino's political battle cry, and of course, a call to action.

Her belt has a "1986" buckle; and her bubble skirt has a huge print of the Philippine sun and the words "People Power" that goes all the way around. To highlight that the sun is rising, it hovers over the three stars from the Philippine flag that decorate her knee-high socks.

For the record, Kris Aquino circa 1990s did not influence my design, lol.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sex and the City 2

I provided very vague descriptions to prevent spoilers—I made no mention of the surprises and funny scenes. However, if you're obsessed like Charlotte and would like to have absolutely no idea about the movie, then don't read this post. Otherwise, please go on and perhaps you can help me with the conundrums mentioned below.

When Sex and the City ended, people were stunned: we all wanted more. So the producers decided, let there be a film. And there it was.

As soon as the first film was made and audiences responded positively, the producers—even while the movie was still running in theaters—decided, let there be a sequel. And here it is.

Allow me to be direct: the sequel was a drawl. The storyline was made up of disjointed fragments, the adventures were watered down, plus the local distributor slapped it with a PG-13 rating WITH CUTS. Sex and the City had two chances to exit while it was on the top of its game. However, with this sequel—and you wouldn't want people to remember Sex and the City as a drawl—there better be a third installation. Another sequel however, is a problem, and I'll get to that later.

I was prepared to love this movie despite the initial stream of reviews that I read. There's Roger Ebert, who gave the film one star out of the maximum five and who begins his review with: "Some of these people make my skin crawl. The characters of 'Sex and the City 2' are flyweight bubbleheads living in a world which rarely requires three sentences in a row." I dismissed it. I mean, what does Mr. Ebert know about films, right? :-P No review will ever stop a fan from watching the movie; even non-fans might find themselves in the theater out of curiosity or spite.

In our postmortem discussion, as my friends sipped on their cocktail and I slurped my goto with tuwalya, Jill brought up a very interesting perspective: for a movie that touts itself for being consummately "New York," there was no New York; instead, it served as a tourist advertisement for the Middle East, the birthplace of those responsible for bringing down the World Trade Center.

And there lies the conundrum: Did the movie stretch a hand of reconciliation? Was it an attempt at magnanimity? Did it think it can change Arab people's perspective of women by bringing the fabulous four in the United Arab Emirates, specifically in Abu Dhabi, and not in the more progressive and accepting state of Dubai?

There were certain points wherein Carrie was almost at the brink of providing a feminist commentary about all the women surrounding her, Arab women, who were covered from head to foot except for their eyes. Instead, she held back and ran off to an adventure of her own.

High-strung Miranda turned into this wide-eyed Type A tourist, who was giddy about everything and reminded everyone to cover up. Charlotte somehow picked up after the old Miranda and became a sourly wife. I suppose she couldn't care less about the plight of these Muslim women; she is after all, Jew. One thing's for sure: these are not the Miranda and Charlotte we know.

It seemed that the burden of waving the flag of feminism fell on Samantha's shoulders: in fact, in a literal allusion, she wore spikes on them, as if she was geared for battle. Did she succeed?

There was a powerful scene, wherein she found herself taunted by the men, and in true Samantha fashion, she told them to go fuck themselves. She stood up for her rights; she made a statement for women everywhere. However, in a sudden turn of events, as if recoiling from having made this bold move, she and the girls found themselves gushing about Arab and New York fashion in a silly setup. I was frustrated at how it wasted an opportunity. I thought, Mr. Ebert may actually be right: these women are flyweight bubbleheads.

So again, the conundrum: Did the movie stretch a hand of reconciliation? Or was it made to spite its Arab fans: we're free, your women are repressed, and they look ridiculous in Western clothes?

I have to admit, intellectualizing Sex and the City is pointless—much like its plot. You're supposed to sit back and enjoy it, except that in this case, there are no memorable quotes, no memorable scenes, no memorable fashion.

I did understand the need to tone down the story. Seeing the women on the big screen with their ages showing in their wrinkles and saggy arms, their previous antics wouldn't work anymore—they'd look desperate.

Sex and the City badly needs to redeem itself and finally exit with a bang. But some of the characters are already married and have kids: what's there left exciting to do for women whom we embraced as perpetually single and fun ladies?

Sex and the City opens in theaters on June 2.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Things I Love: Modern Family

My television habit has slowly plateaued with what I find to be a lack of engaging TV shows:

  • I've stopped watching Gossip Girl because I swear, those kids are NY prostitutes masquerading as Upper East Siders.
  • Glee is starting to become a cliché, with a thin plot and repetitive theme. (Although I did enjoy the Madonna episode.)
  • I tried True Blood but again, as in Gossip Girl, there was just too much sex. (Yes, I'm surprised by my reaction too, lol.)
I never even bothered with American Idol this season: the finalists had the personality of a cardboard.

It was Tatin that gave a glowing review of Modern Family. She said it took one episode to convince her that this was a terrific show. So I figured I'd give its first episode a shot...

... and it was pure genius.

I got hooked and proceeded to download the entire first season via torrent. (It is on its second season in the US. Correction by Romel in the comments section. I'm not sure if it's shown on cable TV here; it's not on mine.)

Modern Family is a comedy TV series in a "mock documentary" format. It follows the lives of three couples: your "average" white American family; an interracial, May-December couple; and a gay couple with an adopted baby daughter. The comedy lies in how these characters are stereotyped—and justifiably so. None of the family members have a minor role (well, except for the non-speaking baby :-P), which means that each character is fully developed and therefore, well-written. All episodes end by imparting a life lesson without sounding preachy or overly sentimental.

Here's the trailer for Modern Family:

All it takes is the first episode. Try it :-)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Things I Love: M&S underwear

Yes, the letters are in the proper order, lol.

I'm not an underwear snob. I mean, if YC bikini briefs are your thing, I say go for it. If you like Bench, and it does have some pretty good designs, then why not? My only problem with the country's National Underwear—wait, so is that YC or Bench? LOL!—is the poor quality.

I've had Bench underwear and the colors easily fade and the garter easily become loose (read: bacon). I don't think I have a pair that lasted more than a year.

Enter Marks & Spencer. I chanced upon the brand's Climate Control line, which guarantees that it "keeps you cool when you're hot and warms you up when you're cold." And true enough, even if I got boxer briefs in dark colors such as black and gray, it feels airy down there despite our weather, lol. I'm just not sure how it would stand the test of an extremely cold weather. The fabric, which is very soft and breathable, just doesn't compare with those that are used for Bench.

Garter remains tight and colors don't seem to be duller. A pack of three costs about P1,800 but given the quality, I'd say it is ultimately less expensive than Bench.

It is for these reasons that I feel that I don't need to scrimp on my underwear budget, or go over it by purchasing say, Calvin Klein. Marks & Spencer is pretty nondescript and does not scream its brand name—just the way I like it.

I can't seem to find photos of the particular line online and I've no plans of modeling my pair on this blog either; hence, I've no photos for this post :-P

Monday, May 24, 2010

Things I Love: VMV

I was first introduced to VMV by way of its sunscreen, Armada. When I read its product description, I felt immediately secure that Armada is capable of blocking all sorts of natural and artificial light.

Afterward, I tried the Glykeros line: I have the facial wash, toner and treatment cream. The line, by the way, is for removing fine lines and is generally marketed toward the older set (lol) but what really sold me was the term, microdermabrasion. Basically, the products aid in the faster but safer exfoliation of the skin (as opposed to say, hydroquinone). I just find the entire regimen a little too... prissy, so I haven't reached the twice-a-day recommended usage. (For all VMV regimen, you start with a twice-a-week application for about eight weeks, then you slowly increase this until you reach the recommended twice-a-day application. I've been on the twice-a-week regimen for about a year already, lol.) With the type of weather we have, I just want to slab as little product on my face as possible. Nevertheless, this is a great pick-me-up for my skin and I love how my skin looks the day after I use all three: stretched without looking freaky, lol.

Recently, I've replaced the Glykeros toner with that from the Id line (targeted for those with problem skin): the Id Clarifying and Firming Toner and after Shave. I'm only on my first week and have used it twice so I still can't tell if it has made any difference.

In any case, all these VMV products are stuff I like. What I really, absolutely loooove is the Essence Skin-Saving Body and Bath Antiperspirant, the best deodorant I've ever tried in my life.

I was first dumbfounded about using a deodorant that didn't have any smell: I mean, if you sweat real badly, how would an unscented deodorant cover your odor? After using it under the the most armpit-distressing circumstance—37C weather + running/walking on my way to work—I've found the answer: there's just simply no smell! At the end of the day, even if I force my nose down there, I don't smell anything, except for the perfume lingering on my collar. And since it's an antiperspirant, my shirts stay dry so there are no awkward moments. It's also gentle enough for your skin so you get no discoloration or rashes; but tough enough to suit our weather and work the entire day AND night.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Things I Love: Miss Universe

I am jump-starting this week by blogging about the things that I love. After having read The Twins of Tribeca, I realized I may not only need a break from serious reading, but also from serious blogging (some of which are responsible for a wrinkle or two ;-P).

So let's get this on!

* * * *

At this time of the year, the Miss Universe pageant should have been in full swing already. Unfortunately, due to what I assume to be a logistical mishap, it took the Donald Trump's organization some time to find a host country -- until no one actually wanted to host it. Hence, it is returning to its birthplace, the USA, after only four years of having been last staged there. The contest is scheduled on August 23 in Las Vegas.

Our representative, Venus Raj, finally got her passport. She may not have been my original choice but I still prefer her over what I deemed to be the boring would-have-been replacement, Nicolette Henson. Venus also grew on me, especially after seeing these smashing photos:


She looks awesome here, but I really think she needs to put on more weight. With her big hair, she looks scarily thin in a swimsuit.

I'm also apprehensive about Bb Pilipinas' next move, particularly after getting rebuked over its initial decision to dethrone Venus. For all we know, it might sabotage her chances by giving her even uglier gowns for the competition.

* * * *

Meanwhile, if you'd like to compete at Miss Universe, try acquiring a Singapore citizenship and join the country's local pageant instead. In a blog entry I made on last year's Asian delegates, Deepa's comment on Miss Singapore 2009 proved to be spot-on and somewhat prophetic, lol: "Ay trust me major triumph na ang tweetums for Singapore."

* * * *

To satiate my Miss U appetite due to this year's delayed schedule, I've been watching previous Miss Universe openings in the 1980's on YouTube, the first time I ever ventured doing so.

This has to be the funniest opening over. Camp kung camp!!! I hope they bring back production numbers like this, haha:

Miss Universe 1987, Singapore

I also liked this one, which looked really fun. I didn't know the song, Hot Hot Hot, was this old!

Miss Universe 1989, Mexico

And this opening was pretty dramatic (at least until the opening song) -- after all, it was held in China. I really hope they bring back this type of production numbers where you get a sense of the host country's culture. Today's Miss Universe production are very generic.

Miss Universe 1988, Taiwan

The 70's was the golden age for the Filipina beauties at Miss Universe, with two Miss Photogenic titles (back when it was still credible), two Top 12 placements, one 4th runner-up finish, and one Miss Universe title.

The 80's proved to be another good decade for the Philippines, with three placements in the finals, two of which were 3rd runner-up finishes. (I also previously blogged about what I think was the best ever evening gown performance by a Filipina, courtesy of Chat Silayan in 1980.)

That went down to two in the 90s: a Top Six placement and a 1st runner-up finish.

The Philippines never made it to the finals from 2000 to 2009.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Forgotten history

A few months ago, I began to wonder how private Catholic schools are able to reconcile their curriculum with Filipino history: the struggle of our ancestors against clerical tyranny is one that cannot easily be ignored. On a larger perspective, I also wondered how Filipinos have reconciled their religion with the sins of the Church against Spanish-occupied Philippines, thereby sustaining Catholicism in the country.

And then I came across the Catholic Church's statement during the centennial celebration of the country's Independence Day (which I blogged about) and I found the answer to be simple: the Church merely ignores its history and the people merely forgets it. (Confirmed here, The Spanish Friars, After 1898.)

On this note, below are excerpts from John Foreman's The Philippine Islands, specifically his account of the events that led to Jose Rizal's arrest and murder. I edited it for brevity's sake (ellipses show redacted parts) but the full version starts at this page.

Rizal avowed that he had been given to understand that he could return to the Islands without fear for his personal safety and liberty. He arrived in Manila and was arrested. His luggage was searched in the Custom-house, and a number of those seditious proclamations... were found, it was alleged, in his trunks. It is contrary to all common sense to conceive that a sane man, who had entertained the least doubt as to his personal liberty, would bring with him, into a public department of scrutiny, documentary evidence of his own culpability. He was arraigned before the supreme authority, in whose presence he defended himself right nobly. The clerical party wanted his blood, but Gov.-General Despujols would not yield. Rizal was either guilty or innocent, and should have been fully acquitted or condemned; but to meet the matter half way he was banished to Dapítan, a town on the north shore of Mindanao Island. I saw the bungalow, situated at the extremity of a pretty little horse-shoe bay, where he lived nearly four years in bondage...

... Reading between the lines of the letters he was allowed to send to his friends, there was evidence of his being weighed down with ennui from inactivity, and his friends in Europe took the opportunity of bringing pressure on the Madrid Government to liberate him...

... finally the Gov.-General of the Philippines, Don Ramon Blanco, was authorized to liberate Rizal... The governor of Dapítan was instructed to ask Rizal if he wished to go to Cuba as an army doctor, and the reply being in the affirmative, he was conducted on board the steamer for Manila...

... There were no inter-island cables in those days, and the arrival of Rizal in the port of Manila was a surprise to the friars. They expostulated with General Blanco. They openly upbraided him for having set free the soul of disaffection; but the general would not relinquish his intention, explaining, very logically, that if Rizal were the soul of rebellion he was now about to depart. The friars were eager for Rival's blood, and the parish priest of Tondo arranged a revolt of the caudrilleros (guards) of that suburb, hoping thereby to convince General Blanco that the rebellion was in full cry, consequent on his folly. No doubt, by this trick of the friars, many civilian Spaniards were deceived into an honest belief in the ineptitude of the Gov.-General. In a state of frenzy a body of them, headed by Father Mariano Gil, marched to the palace of Malacañan to demand an explanation of General Blanco. The gates were closed by order of the captain of the guard. When the general learnt what the howling outside signified he mounted his horse, and, at the head of his guards, met the excited crowd and ordered them to quit the precincts of the palace, or he would put them out by force. The abashed priest thereupon withdrew with his companions, but from that day the occult power of the friars was put in motion to bring about the recall of General Blanco. In the meantime Rizal had been detained in the Spanish cruiser Castilla lying in the bay...

... But the clerical party were eager for his extermination. He was a thorn in the side of monastic sway; he had committed no crime, but he was the friars' arch-enemy and bête noire. Again the lay authorities had to yield to the monks. Dr. Rizal was cabled for to answer certain accusations; hence on his landing in the Peninsula he was incarcerated in the celebrated fortress of Montjuich (the scene of so many horrors), pending his re-shipment by the returning steamer. He reached Manila as a State prisoner in the Colon, isolated from all but his jailors. It was materially impossible for him to have taken any part in the rebellion, whatever his sympathies may have been. Yet, once more, the wheel of fortune turned against him. Coincidentally the parish priest of Mórong was murdered at the altar whilst celebrating Mass on Christmas Day, 1896. The importunity of the friars could be no longer resisted; this new calamity seemed to strengthen their cause. The next day Rizal was brought to trial for sedition and rebellion, before a court-martial composed of eight captains, under the presidency of a lieutenant-colonel. No reliable testimony could be brought against him. How could it be when, for years, he had been a State prisoner in forced seclusion? He defended himself with logical argument. But what mattered? He was condemned beforehand to ignominious death as a traitor, and the decree of execution was one of Polaviejal's foulest acts...

... Fortified by purity of conscience and the rectitude of his principles, he felt no felon's remorse, but walked with equanimity to the place of execution. About 2,000 regular and volunteer troops formed the square where he knelt facing the seashore, on the blood-stained field of Bagumbayan. After an officer had shouted the formula, “In the name of the King! Whosoever shall raise his voice to crave clemency for the condemned, shall suffer death,” four bullets, fired from behind by Philippine soldiers, did their fatal work. This execution took place at 6 a.m. on December 30, 1896. An immense crowd witnessed, in silent awe, this sacrifice to priestcraft. The friars, too, were present en masse, many of them smoking big cigars, jubilant over the extinction of that bright intellectual light which, alas! can never be rekindled.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I'm nearing the end of Noli so I decided to buy new books for end-May and June.

I've heard only good, really good, things about Miguel Syjuco's Ilustrado. I had to blink twice when I saw the price—P280 at National Bookstore. New releases definitely don't go that low in these times.

I then proceeded to my favorite thrift stall in Glorietta, where paperbacks and hardbound books go for P99 AND are on a Buy One, Take One promo. It didn't take me long to find these two:

Reporting Back: Notes on Journalism by Lillian Ross. I'm hoping this will help me improve on my feature- and profile-writing, although a quick look at the reviews on Amazon show readers were unimpressed, if not irritated, with Lillian and therefore, found this book to be self-serving. I've never read any of her work so we'll see.

The Twins of Tribeca by Rachel Pine. I picked this up primarily because I liked the book design, haha. Eventually, I figured this will be my next read after Noli, just so I can take a break from the serious novels and non-fiction I've been reading since the start of the year. I took a look at this online review and I think I may have found a winner. The book is written by a former Miramax employee and the events and characters are allegedly based on real life. Characters that are identifiable to real-life actors and personalities include Steven Seagal, Billy Bob Thornton, Gwyneth Paltrow, Woody Allen, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, John Ritter, Larry Flynt, Woody Harrelson, Charlize Theron, David Schwimmer and Anna Wintour.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Philippine Islands

Happiness is merely comparative: with a lovely climate—a continual summer—and all the absolute requirements of life at hand, there is not one-tenth of the misery in the Philippines that there is in Europe, and none of that forlorn wretchedness facing the public gaze. Beggary—that constant attribute of the highest civilization—hardly exists, and suicide is extremely rare. There are no ferocious animals, insects, or reptiles that one cannot reasonably guard against; it is essentially one of those countries where “manʼs greatest enemy is man.” There is ample room for double the population, and yet a million acres of virgin soil only awaiting the co-operation of husbandman and capitalist to turn it to lucrative account. A humdrum life is incompatible here with the constant emotion kept up by typhoons, shipwrecks, earthquakes, tidal waves, volcanic eruptions, brigands, epidemics, devastating fires, etc.

It is a beautiful country, copiously endowed by Nature, where the effulgent morning sun contributes to a happy frame of mind—where the colonistʼs rural life passes pleasantly enough to soothe the longing for “home, sweet home.”

“And yet perhaps if countries we compare
And estimate the blessings which they share,
Though patriots flatter, yet shall wisdom find
An equal portion dealt to all mankind.”

Such is Americaʼs new possession, wherein she has assumed the moral responsibility of establishing a form of government on principles quite opposite to those of the defunct Spanish régime: whether it will be for better or for worse cannot be determined at this tentative stage.

I think we know the answer to that, but such is the price—and merits—of a democracy.

Excerpt from The Philippine Islands by John Foreman, published in 1899. The eBook is available here for free, under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Political fandom in the time of Twitter

My story was published in the paper yesterday; contains bits from my previous blog entries.

Political fandom in the time of Twitter

. . . Or why I chose Noynoy
THE CHOICE FOR PRESIDENT deeply mattered to me. I was duped once, in 2004, when I voted for Gloria Arroyo. She was good on paper and had a respectable legislative and government record. However, in a couple of years, she turned into a monstrous zit on the face of this country. It felt good to see her on TV on Election Day, dressed in turquoise, in shimmering polyester, with a giant ribbon on her breast. “Yes,” I thought. “She’s dressed like a going-away present.”

After months of research and deliberation with close friends, I chose Noynoy. I decided not to openly endorse a candidate by having posters outside my apartment, or wearing baller IDs on my daily commute to work. I didn’t want to be judged without having the opportunity to explain my vote. Instead, I decided to go all out online.

In this day and age of Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, showing your support for a political candidate involves the following: changing your avatar or profile picture to that of your candidate or his chosen icon; adding a Twibbon, or an icon in the color associated with your candidate, on your Twitter photo; and including a flash-based banner advertisement or logo on your website. Of course, you can also post as many status updates, Tweets and blog entries in favor of your candidate as you want. What we probably didn’t get to prepare for was the amount of online hatred we were bound to get from supporters of our candidate’s rivals.

In real life, it probably wasn’t bad. You see someone wearing a baller ID in support of Erap, and you keep the disgust to yourself. The anonymity or lack of physical contact online, however, has given people the license to be as horrible and ugly as they can be.

Noynoy supporters, including myself, have gotten used to the vitriol thrown our way. The most common accusation directed at us was that we were voting for a stupid president; ergo, we were not thinking. A stupid president? Uh, Noynoy was not the one who chose a former game show host as his vice president. We were not thinking? Our choice never worked for Estelito Mendoza; defended Danding Cojuangco and Lucio Tan in courts; impeached former Chief Justice Hilario Davide; and worked for Gloria Arroyo despite the Hello Garci, ZTE and Fertilizer Scam scandals. So please, don’t tell us yours were the smart vote. In any case, I felt that the hatred and anger is misplaced. You’re angry that we want an incorruptible president? The chance for an honest government?

At one point, the vitriol had gotten to me real badly that I decided to dish one back. When it was clear that Noynoy had won, this girl on Twitter said, “People who voted for Noynoy only shows how many people are stupid and choose popularity over credibility. Pathetic.” I checked her profile and it read: “I’m exercising men, cigarettes and carbohydrates out of my life.” So I sent her an eloquent reply: “Bobita.” She responded by saying it was a quote from the movie, Bridget Jones’s Diary. I figured it was clearly not a typographical error, hence she was in fact, an idiot. She then tweeted: “Moving on from the very violent followers of the residing hairline presidentiable...” I wanted to correct her again and say that Noynoy’s problem was exactly that his hair has decided to seek residence elsewhere but she has since apologized to me and explained, “It was an opinion, not racism against Noy voters!” I agree, racism is bad!

Aside from deflecting the haters, the Internet did serve as a tool to elevate the debate and discussion beyond name-calling and the pointing out of physical flaws. On my blog, I wrote “A Case for Noynoy,” wherein I answered point-by-point the black propaganda thrown at him, and wrote about his strong points. This focus on the positive, a huge change from the online mudslinging, perhaps struck a chord among Noynoy supporters: it went around social networking sites and somehow reached Inquirer columnist Manolo Quezon. Two days before the election, he included my entry among a list of writers, bloggers and political commentators who have expressed their votes of confidence for Noynoy on his Tumblr account. I took a screenshot and would probably frame it: It is not everyday that I get to be on the same list as Jessica Zafra and Randy David.

Now that a landslide victory in favor of Noynoy is imminent, and after the gracious concessions of Manny Villar, Gibo Teodoro and Richard Gordon, the number of haters has significantly declined. Supporters from all colors say they will support the incoming administration, although they will hold Noynoy accountable for his promises of eliminating corruption and closure from the many issues that hounded the Arroyo administration. So would I. As a person who waged war in his honor, I will judge him from an even higher standard-I refuse to be duped twice.

The hatred has somehow moved away from Noynoy and is now being directed toward his youngest sister, Kris. There is now a movement in Facebook, asking her to keep a promise she reportedly made during the campaign season: that she’d leave the country so as not to cause her brother controversy.

I like Kris. I wonder if she has a Twibbon or a picture logo for my website.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I was supposed to write an overly dramatic entry on how offended/hurt I am by people who cast doubt on Noynoy supporters' intelligence despite the illustrious list of writers, public officials and political commentators who have expressed their votes of confidence for Noynoy. (And yes, I am excluding my name from the blanket adjective, although yep, my blog entry is part of the roster.) I can understand the boldness of strangers spewing vitriol online (one of whom I had to take down) but for actual friends to say it? I thought it was disrespectful and an affront to our affinity.

I wrote a sober yet scathing reply to said friend but I stopped myself short from actually sending/publishing it. I thought, was it worth the trouble? The energy? Straining the relationship? So I just deleted him from my online accounts. Perhaps, we'd still be OK in real life, but I'd rather ignore the online brattiness and smarter-than-thou attitude.

I couldn't understand the anger directed at Noynoy and his supporters. You're angry that we want an incorruptible president? The best chance for an honest government? Whoever is President, the government will continue to work. If it will work FOR the people, that is the question, and an overwhelming majority of Filipinos -- 12 million as of last count -- chose to elect their leader based on this question. Your hatred is misplaced.

And let me direct this to Gibo supporters because they have been the most bitter and venomous online, post-elections: Yes, Gibo would never cast the first stone (in reference to his PR on running a positive campaign) because he's not exactly the most moral of presidential candidates. He worked for Estelito Mendoza; defended Danding Cojuangco and Lucio Tan in courts; impeached former Chief Justice Hilario Davide; and worked for Gloria Arroyo. Gibo won't dare. So please, don't tell me Gibo was a smart vote. To me, it was an uniformed vote. Or if you knew about these things, it was a morally susceptible vote. You question our intelligence, we question your morals AND intelligence. Quits lang. And for the record, unlike that beauty queen-slash-philanthropist, I'm not dragging God into this.

Amid all the noise, I was reminded by the Kübler-Ross model for grieving. It says that it has five stages: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. This gave me a fresh and Zen perspective on the haters out there: I understand where your anger/vitriol is coming from; it's part of your grieving process.

And if you're angry, bitter and sour all your life? You must be in a perpetual state of grief.

Move on. The next stage is a good start.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Eleksyon 2010

The voting process itself was speedier that my previous experiences (and we can expect the counting of ballots to be much better) but I couldn't understand the inefficiencies surrounding it. One, we had to line up for a number, which we would use to line up to get our ballot: I mean, why not just directly queue for the ballots? We ended up in line for almost three hours, although I heard it was much worse for others.

Here's what greeted us when we arrived at the public elementary school: complete mess and chaos; people who just arrived (that's us!) had no idea what was happening and what to do.

Voting precinct from The Concierge on Vimeo.

We were told we had to sign up on a sheet of paper and we did: the dude standing on the chair then had to read our names one by one, which I felt was an absolute waste of time. Once our names were called, we then proceeded outside for the queue. While queued, we were given our numbers.

Inside the classroom, I decided to check what elementary kids are reading these days. Here's a page from their English and Grammar book, lol!

When I was about to enter the voting room, a poll watcher, for some reason, accidentally spilled his mineral water on my arm and torso. Strangely, I was calm about the whole thing, although I had to wait and dry myself because I didn't want to spoil my ballot.

Voting took me about four minutes because I was really careful with my shading. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when the PCOS machine finally verified my vote and congratulated me for it.

It took us less than three hours overall, but seriously, that's nothing compared the years we had to endure under the present administration.

*At this hour, election results are already streaming in. On that account alone, I think this entire exercise has been worth it all that trouble although I feel real sad about the election-related violence being reported in the news today and the past week.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

May 10

I'm afraid I will be suffering from withdrawal symptoms once the elections and counting of the votes are over. I've been bombarded by information in terms we have not experienced before: this country marks the first time it will be holding elections amid the popularity of social media, such as Twitter and Facebook.

I've never been this much knowledgeable about the candidates I am voting for on Monday, and the thought brings me immense pride and peace of mind. My vote is for my country -- the same presidential choice shared by an overwhelming majority of Filipinos, but also derided by many.

"In life, it is not criminals who provoke great hatred, it's honest men."

- Elías to Crisostomo Ibarra, Noli Me Tangere

At this point, I would like to thank the journalists and news organizations who have made me a highly informed voter: PDI, GMANews.TV, ABS-CBN News Online, PCIJ, and Newsbreak Online. Also, huge thanks to Felicity Tan, who turned the tide for me during my crisis :-P; my many new Twitter friends -- not sure if you'll all still follow me after the elections as I'd be very boring by then, lol; Aquino supporters, who re-posted my entry, A Case for Noynoy, on their social networking accounts, forums and websites; and non-Aquino supporters who have remained respectful of everyone's choices and who never used God's name in vain.

Looking forward to a corrupt-free and efficiently-run Philippines with Gloria Arroyo behind bars (yes, I need my closure).


Thursday, May 06, 2010


I thought I'd revert to pen and paper to re-post what Jessica Zafra wrote on her journal :-)

Monday, May 03, 2010

Who wants to be a millionaire?

I have long been disturbed by this news of a televangelist in Davao that claims to have 6 million followers, particularly because presidential candidates seemed to go out of their way to get his endorsement. I wondered why people give this man such power when he clearly sounds like a lunatic -- a ploy he used to get rich and uses to get richer.

This documentary by The Probe Team shows that Apollo Quiboloy now owns a high-walled compound; luxury vehicles that include a helicopter and jet; TV and radio stations; and real estate in Indonesia, Japan, Dubai, US, Canada and Europe.

Members of Quiboloy's cult pay tithes, sacrificial, love, wave (?) and even TV fees, among others. A mother also lost her daughter to the cult (watch Part 4 of the video below).

To see just how this self-proclaimed "voice of god," anointed one" and "king of the new race" is rich, watch below.

An excerpt:

Cheche Lazaro: How do you fund this?

Quiboloy: Through the obedience of all of the sons and daughters of the father almighty of the kingdom nation.

Amazing in the most disturbing way.

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