Monday, July 25, 2011

Ang Babae sa Septic Tank

UPDATE 073111:

Ang Babae sa Septic Tank will open in theaters starting Wednesday, August 3. This review was also picked up by Pam for Inquirer's Super yesterday, yey!

* * * *

rating: 8/10

If you are looking to see another Eugene Domingo starrer in the likes of Kimmy Dora or Here Comes the Bride, Ang Babae sa Septic Tank (directed by Marlon Rivera; written by Chris Martinez) might leave you a bit dissatisfied.

Not that it isn't funny; it's hilarious and I, who hardly react in the cinema, found myself roaring with laughter at the absurdities of independent (or "indie") filmmaking. However, I found the movie short: at 1 ½ hours, Eugene had barely enough screen time to satiate our appetite for her perfectly delivered comic timing and wit.

I initially found myself squirming during the first 15 minutes of the film. I thought, "Oh no, not ANOTHER indie movie about the poor and downtrodden," as images of the slums and squalid lifestyle of its residents were projected on screen. As it turned out, the movie was, in fact, a commentary on this "brand" of indie filmmaking, one that easily gains access to international film festivals, as characters Bingbong (JM de Guzman), a producer, and Ranier (Kean Cipriano), director, point out. Throughout the movie, they discuss strategies in creating an Oscar-worthy film, and also to one-up a recently lauded indie filmmaker, who is reaping acclaim in international festivals all over the world.

This self-mockery—the successful indie filmaker for example, seems to be a swipe at whoever Filipino have made it in Venice and whines over local coffee because he misses Italian "expresso" (just one example of his jetsetter complex; his character sketch is so hilarious, I'd pay to see him in his own movie)—is what makes Ang Babae both comical and enlightening: where does one draw the line between exposing and exploiting the truth? How do you present this truth in an honest way? And why not a musical? (OMG, major LOL on this one!!! My new LSS: Sabaw, Sabaw, Sabaw!)

I had just warmed up to this treatise when the credits started rolling—the ending felt stunted and I wasn't sure if that was another statement on the state of Philippine cinema. Perhaps, the film wanted you to continue that part of the debate as you leave the theater.

Ang Babae sa Septic Tank will be screened at the UP Film Center's Cine Adarna on July 26 at 8 p.m. (Details here.) The movie won Best Film in this year's Cinemalaya.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Galilean carpenter

Do you know who would be the last person ever to be accepted as a prince of the Church? The Galilean carpenter. That Jew. They would kick him out before he tried to cross the threshold. He would be so ill-at-ease in the Church. What would he think, what would he think of St. Peter’s? What would he think of the wealth, and the power, and the self-justification, and the wheedling apologies?

The Pope could decide that all this power, all this wealth, this hierarchy of princes and bishops and archbishops and priests and monks and nuns could be sent out in the world with money and art treasures, to put them back in the countries that they once raped and violated. They could give that money away, and they could concentrate on the apparent essence of their belief, and then, I would stand here and say the Catholic Church may well be a force for good in the world.

But until that day, it is not.

* * * *

Thank you, Carlo, for sharing this video with me. I've long heard of Stephen Fry, partly due to Christopher Hitchens, and in fact, I've heard about this debate, but I never ventured into watching or searching for the video.

Here is Stephen's speech:

The full debate can be viewed at The motion: "The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world." He special-mentioned the Philippines.

* * * *

Here's the part that made me teary-eyed:
It’s perhaps unfair of me, as a gay man, to moan at this enormous institution, which is the largest and most powerful church on Earth, has over a billion, as they like to tell us, members, each one of whom is under strict instructions to believe the dogmas of the church, but may wrestle with them personally of course.

It’s hard for me to be told that I’m evil, because I think of myself as someone who is filled with love, whose only purpose in life was to achieve love, and who feels love for so much of nature and the world and for everything else.

We certainly don’t need the stigmatisation, the victimisation, that leads to the playground bullying when people say you’re a disordered, morally evil individual.

It reminded me of the day I decided to leave the Catholic Church, when I read a Vatican document, penned by then cardinal Ratzinger, that defined homosexuality as an "intrinsic moral evil."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Quite a show, really had us going

Don't tell me you're sorry 'cause you're not
And baby when I know you're only sorry you got caught

- Take a Bow, Rihanna

Bishop who got PCSO funds was a top Ayala stockholder

A bishop who sought and received Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds for his retirement home actually had millions invested in one of the country's biggest conglomerates, data from the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) show.

According to PSE records obtained by GMA News Research, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Tuguegarao owns more than 24,000 common shares of Ayala Corp. currently valued at P8 million.

With those holdings, retired Tuguegarao Archbishop Diosdado Talamayan held about 0.0049 percent of the total shares of the company which ranked him 73rd in the Top 100 stockholders list of Ayala Corp.

The Archdiocese of Tuguegarao is just one of the Catholic archdioceses that hold substantial volumes of stocks in companies whose shares are traded on the PSE.

PSE data show that these own stocks in the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), Philippine Airlines, San Miguel Corp. and PHILEX Mining Corp.

In BPI, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila ranks fourth on the bank's list of Top 100 stockholders with more than 200 million shares currently valued at P17.3 billion, and represent 6.266 percent of the bank’s outstanding shares.
Company# Shares OwnedRank in Top 100Total Investment Value
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILABank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)222,843,6814th12,724,374,185
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MLA (REAL CASA DE MISERICORDIA)Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)41,408,8418th2,364,444,821
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA (HOSPITAL DE SAN JUAN DE DIOS)Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)22,072,18213th1,260,321,592
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MLA (HOSPICIO DE SAN JOSE)Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)6,016,62415th343,549,230
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MLA (HOSP DE SA JUAN DE DIOS)Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)4,285,57217th244,706,161
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MLA (MAYORDOMIA DELA CATEDRAL)Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)2,664,26621st152,129,589
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MLA (ST. PAUL`S HOSPITAL)Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)1,772,41826th101,205,068
CARMEL OF THE DIVINE INFANT JESUS OF PRAGUE, INC.Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)726,81949th41,501,365
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF JAROBank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)491,38564th28,058,084
CARMEL OF THE DIVINE INFANT JESUS OF PRAGUE, INC.San Miguel Corp (SMC)957,51679th105,326,760
ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TUGUEGARAOSan Miguel Corp (SMC)856,63981st94,230,290
CARMEL OF ST THERESE OF THE CHILD JESUSSan Miguel Corp (SMC)592,95691st65,225,160
THE DISCALCED CARMELITE NUNS OF CEBUSan Miguel Corp (SMC)451,86495th49,705,040
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILAPhilex Mining Corp (PX)3,221,13515th66,677,495
RELIGIOUS OF THE VIRGIN MARY - BPhilex Mining Corp (PX)3,125,77716th64,703,584
RELIGIOUS OF THE VIRGIN MARY-APhilex Mining Corp (PX)1,091,02769th22,584,259
ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TUGUEGARAOAyala Corporation (AC)24,01573rd9,289,002
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS FRATERNAL ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILS, INC.Ayala Corporation Preferred Shares - A (ACPA)60,0002nd31,800,000
ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TAGBILARANAyala Corporation Preferred Shares - B (ACPR)10,00064th1,015,000
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILAConcrete Aggregates Corp (CA)78,8469th3,469,224
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILAISM Communications (ISM)38,39948th126,333
SOCIETY OF THE DIVINE WORDFilipino Fund Inc. (FFI)6,00024th48,000
ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF BANGUEDFilipino Fund Inc. (FFI)1,50049th12,000
CATHOLIC WOMENS LEAGUEBenguet Corp. - A (BC)21553rd4,107

Full report on

* * * *

Well FINALLY, mainstream media took notice. What has been reported in Newsbreak in 2004 is finally snowballing: first, through the column of Elizabeth Angsioco in Manila Standard Today, and now, Sandra Aguinaldo's report for GMA 7.

In 2009, a friend told me to switch banks since she knew the Archdiocese of Manila is a major stockholder of BPI. Through research, I later learned it also invested in San Miguelbut wow, even in mining? And for a bishop to beg for P2,500 for government funds when he had P8 million worth of shares? (Arroyo ended up giving the bishop P200,000 through the PCSO.)

How about a round of applause? 
A standing ovation?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Coup d’eglise

For the record, I don't hate the Church, referring to the people who profess Catholic faith, unless they are just as bigoted and two-faced as its authority figures are. I never dissuaded any of my friends from attending Sunday mass, though it takes effort and I almost always have to bite my lip. I try my best to make this distinction clear in my posts, and if I do otherwise, please call my attention to it and I'll edit out the confusion.

Anyway. All that was to segue to Jose Ma. Montelibano's column for PDI today, titled The Bishop and the Gospels. It's the most sober opinion piece I've read on the subject of the SUV Bishops and it gives props to the tireless men and women who are true to their vow of poverty, and are still generous enough to serve the indigent. (Though I don't agree with his last paragraph, my arguments for which I wrote in my previous post.)

I'll only post the excerpt here, because I'm no Arianna Huffington, lol:

There was much ado about the term “Pajero Bishops” from a senator who appeared like trying hard to pander to the bishops in the senate hearing last Wednesday. It seemed that, as a politician, he was unaware of the real battle that was going on. The current controversy is not about the kind and brand of vehicles asked by bishops from the PSCO, it is about something most fundamental. It is about Catholicism in the Philippines which claims a flock of 80 percent or more of the population and the massive poverty of this same 80 percent or more. It is about this poverty in a country that has been controlled by the Church with the State for 400 years. It is about poverty that is deeply rooted in landlessness and a Church that has wallowed in so much land without buying it, and to a great extent, without making much of it productive.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Why did mainstream media call CBCP's pastoral letter an apology?

Here's the "apology letter"as mainstream media put it, issued by the CBCP. But before that,

*** I wonder ***

It's interesting how mainstream media have labeled what the CBCP headlined "Pastoral Statement" as an "apology letter." (See Manila Bulletin, GMA News, The Philippine Star, ABS-CBN News. Can't find PDI's report on it save for this one, Bishops to answer as group: Our conscience is clear, which does seem to be the true reflection of the CBCP's stand.) More of my point after the letter below.

* * * *
CBCP Pastoral Statement

Our Dear People of God,

Our Mother Church has been deeply wounded by the controversies in the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office that have erupted in the past two weeks. Some members of the Church believe in the innocence of the bishops involved in the issue, while others do not. There is no doubt that everywhere in the Church there is great sorrow. We your pastors are one with you. As shepherds struggling to love you like Jesus the Good Shepherd, we are sorry for the pain and sadness that these events have brought upon you.

We are saddened that many of you, especially the youth, the poor, our Basic Ecclesial Communities, have been confused because of the apparent inconsistency of our actions with our pastoral preaching.

As we express our sadness, we also ask you to be slow in judgment and to conscientiously seek the whole truth behind the controversy. Let us seek the truth always in charity.

We assure you that the bishops concerned are ready to accept responsibility for their action and to face the consequences if it would be proven unlawful, anomalous, and unconstitutional. We assure you that their action was done without malice.

Out of their sincere desire to help their people, they failed to consider the pitfalls to which these grants could possibly lead them. They have also expressed their readiness to do everything that is necessary to heal this wound so that we can all move forward in hope.

We also assure you, our beloved people, that we shall re-examine the manner of our collaboration with government agencies for purposes of helping the poor, making sure that pastoral sensibilities are respected and the highest ethical standards are observed. We shall examine our values in the light of our vocation to be disciples of Jesus Christ.

We commit ourselves to the long journey of personal and social transformation required of all disciples of the Lord. We plead with you to walk with us in this path of constant renewal.

We express again our deep sorrow for the pain that the recent events have brought to you our beloved people. The good Lord knows our love for you. The words of the psalmist come to our mind: “My sacrifice, a contrite spirit. A humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn" (Ps.51).

As the same Psalmist addresses the Lord, we take his words as our own to encourage and challenge us: “Indeed you love truth in the heart; then in the secret of my heart teach me wisdom."

For an "apology letter" with 416 words, the word "sorry" was only mentioned once. Let us put it into context:

As shepherds struggling to love you like Jesus the Good Shepherd [sic], we are sorry for the pain and sadness that these events have brought upon you.

Translation: We're sorry you're hurt and saddened by these events; they're part of our struggle to love you like Jesus does.

Never mind that the term "struggling to love you" is problematic enough to conjure images of a reluctant stepmother; what's funnier is that the CBCP managed to pass on the blame to Catholics:

"We're sorry you feel that way."

I don't need to launch into the rest of the letter to prove that it never apologized for any of the bishops' actions, not even for this impervious type:

"I hope you will never fail to give a brand new car which would serve as your birthday gift to me... For your information, I have with me a seven-year-old car which is not anymore in good running condition. Therefore, this needs to be replaced very soon."

- February 2009 letter of Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo;
from Bishop asked GMA for new car as b'day gift

It's also worth noting that in addressing its letter to the "Dear People of God," the CBCP failed to explain itself to the rest of the Filipinop taxpayers, whose government chest the bishop/s siphoned off money from.

"The Catholic Church is way too rich to be a charity case and has more than sufficient resources to finance its charitable work without competing with countless indigent patients and legitimate charity beneficiaries."

* * * *

So imagine how aghast I was to find the Senate at yesterday's hearing practically keeling over in favor of the bishops, just because news reports have labeled them as "Pajero Bishops," when none of the identified clergy bought Pajeros but other types of SUVs. (So let's call them "SUV Bishops" then; will that calm you, Sen. Santiago?) And just for that misnomer, the bishops left the hearing unscathed, with CBCP supporters, such as Mike Enriquez in his radio show this morning, celebrating the bishops' apparent exoneration.


Even PCSO Chief Margarita Juico, who exposed these anomalies, apologized to the bishops.


Whatever happened to this?
“Certainly if it’s a criminal offense, nobody is above the law and nobody is immune from suit," (Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte) said on government-run dzRB radio, when asked about the possibility of bishops facing criminal charges.

She cited Article VI Section 29 (2) of the Constitution, which decrees that "No public money or property shall be appropriated, applied, paid, or employed, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, sectarian institution, or system of religion, or of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher, or dignitary as such, except when such priest, preacher, minister, or dignitary is assigned to the armed forces, or to any penal institution, or government orphanage or leprosarium."

(For the record, I definitely think whoever disbursed these funds to the bishops should face criminal charges, too.) I thought that was what the Senate hearing was for, not fight over the incidental term, Pajero.

Thankfully, not everyone is blinded by the shepherdly pretense of the bishops, particularly Pueblos's.
House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman on Thursday blasted the Senate's reverential treatment of Catholic bishops who received service vehicles under the Arroyo government.

In a statement, Lagman said the contrite demeanor of the concerned bishops, capped by an irrevocable offer to return the controversial vehicles, "mollified the Senators and the prelates got away with nary a parking ticket."

He said that while it is not surprising that the Catholic Church would get equities, he said the senators conveniently overlooked several facts and issues during the inquiry.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

All Out, All Heart, All Wet

Read the article on

When @FireQuinito asked me to review the opening ceremony of UAAP Season 74 for TV5's sports website, I immediately said yes because I knew it was a good gigI mean, come on, it was touted as an Olympic-style opening ceremony, something to look forward to. On the other hand, I also worried about how hyped this event was: if these superlatives were coming from the media, then I felt sorry for host school, Ateneo; if they did come from Ateneo, wow really?
Olsen Racela will carry the torch and will light up the cauldron when the Season 74 of the UAAP opens Saturday in a one-of-a-kind opening ceremony at the Marikina City Sports Park.

Close to 3,000 athletes competing in the 15 sports disciplines this season will march around the oval in an event with 600 more will be participating in the program with close to 8,000 students, alumni and fans expected to watch at the Marikina Sports Park.

Palou said that the idea of an Olympic-style opening rites began three years ago after they got the hosting rights for 2011. He added that project head Benjo Afuang started preparations in January while the actual rehearsals began April. 

 one of many stories touting the Olympic-style opening

Still, I did root for the opening to be a success. As I told @FireQuinito, I didn't want to be a 'negatron' or be branded as a hater because that's just ugly.

Unfortunately, it rained all day and it took its toll on the event. Performers looked confused, and I suspected this was because they had other things planned were if not for the nasty weather. However, the organizers did say they prepared for this event since January, a long period, and it's unfortunate they didn't appear to have come up with more effective contingency measures.

(In situations like this, I'm reminded of what Anderson Cooper said in the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina tragedy: Hope is not a plan. We cannot just hope for it not to rain, but we also need to plan for it.)

I was most disappointed by the fact that the event had no story or hook, the importance of which I explained in the last part of my story. Too bad. I did read somewhere on Twitter that one of the most important jobs of being the host school is to make sure that game officiations are fair, so hopefully, UAAP Season 74 will be remembered for that.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monte Carlo


Best movie of the year!!! Kebs na sa Tree of Life, this should have won Cannes Best Picture, LOL!

Of course, I exaggerate, but I've been wanting to watch a movie, shut off my brain and just have fun, things which I failed to experience in the awful Something Borrowed. (Perhaps it's time these roles are relegated to the kids.) It's nothing like Clueless, a movie which catapulted itself to popdom greatness, but it's a simple, wholesome teen movie that worksone that does not involve sex and fart jokes, murderers and molested pies.

It's a preposterous plot, with other preposterous situations, but what's not to like about Paris and mistaken identities and Blair Waldorf?! It's also funny how, when the trio of Grace (Selena Gomez), Emma (Katie Cassidy) and Meg (Leighton Meester) flew from Paris to Monte Carlo, our group went into a flurry of whispers:
"Sa'n nga ba ang Monte Carlo?"

"Di ba kailangan ng passport dun?"

"Mukhang sa France din."

"Hanep sa accent."

"Ang sarap nya!" LOL.

I weakly offered Monaco, which my googling this morning proved to be a correct suggestion. (Meron kasing Monaco sa Ms. World, lol.) In any case, it is still beside France, though I assume they should have still surrendered their passports.

There are gorgeous gowns, jewelry, hotel suites and men but unfortunately, you don't really get a full-on tourism advertisement for Monte Carlo, except if you count rock formations on the beach. Grace's doppelganger, the rich heiress Cordelia Winthrop-Scott, also makes a minimal appearance, which is too bad because she looked like such a fun character to exploit.

For that, I want a sequel :-P

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Where in the world is Manado?

“I like your former president, she’s very pretty,” said Katherine Situmorang of the North Sulawesi Tourism Board (NSTB), referring to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. We were trading fun facts about our homes–her Manado and my Manila.

The Indonesian province is nearer the Philippine cities of General Santos and Cotabato than the country’s capital, Jakarta, which is about 2,000 km away (compared to about 500 km from General Santos).

It may have been just as well part of our country: Manado, like our islands, is blessed with warm waters and a rich marine life that make it ideal for divers. It also has fertile grounds that grow cloves and coconuts, among others, for export.

In the late ‘70s, the agriculture industry thrived and the residents could afford brand new cars, until a former president’s son monopolized the trade. Today, remnants of its rich past are evident–the roads are littered with Daihatsu Xenia, the Toyota Avanza’s twin model, and sections of the city are lined with mansions. There are no street children.

Continue reading The new–but comforting–Manado.

* * * *

For a world geography geek in high schoolthanks to my budding interest in the Miss Universe pageant and the spectacle of the Olympics opening ceremony then held in Atlanta, GeorgiaI was befuddled when I was invited to visit Manado. The name sounded comfortingly familiar, rolling off the tongue easily like most Tagalog words derived from the Spanish, yet foreign to my internal database, which couldn't find a match. However, to Filipinos in the south, as well as Christian Bautista, who I heard have held a series of concerts there, Manado is as part of their vocabulary as other Asian cities are. 

Manado is the capital city of North Sulawesi province in Indonesia. (The editor of my article, having deleted some parts in my first two paragraphs, unfortunately made it appear that Manado is a province. Nevertheless, I thank him/her for ably whittling down my copy to a digestible lengthI originally sent in more than 2,000 words :-P) If you look at the world map, it's under General Santos, or further southeast of Kota Kinabalu.

View Larger Map

I was initially apprehensive about this trip because I was never keen on visiting Indonesia, particularly Jakarta, since I heard it's pretty much the same as Manila. However, the novelty of going to an entirely new and unheard-of place whetted my wanderlust.

It did not disappoint. I expected it to be like Cebu and Davao, but I found Manado to be more clean, orderly and peaceful. What didn't make the article was that mansions, the type you'd see in exclusive communities, like Dasmariñas Village in Makati, were built alongside rice paddies and more simple homes and that they were not barricaded by such high gates that go all the way up to the second floor. They were so open, that in most instances, one could actually see through to their living rooms.

I also thought that Filipinos have the upper hand in the region in terms of Western beauty standards, but wow, the Manadonese can certainly compete. Pang-Star Magic, lol! This may be un-PC, but they were definitely able to preserve the genes of their Dutch colonizers with their fair complexion, nicely bridged noses and strong buildcheck na check, lol! I did sense that these factorsan affluent population, a peaceful and majority Christian population, and colonial-looking featureshave given the Manadonese reasons to turn up their noses at fellow Indonesians. 

They do like the Philippines and know enough about our country to put mewho never heard of Manadoto shame. They followed news of Ninoy Aquino, who apparently spent time in Manado as a journalist (can't find this in my Google searches, though); have sporadic tendency to show off some Tagalog words; and professed to be fans of Tanduay Rum, San Miguel Beer and Christian Bautista.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Pacific Rims musings

I picked up Pacific Rims as a Father’s Day gift since my father is a huge basketball fan. I’ve heard fairly good things about this book and so, as I thought about how long I might have to wait for Pa to finish reading it before I can borrow it, the more I had misgivings about wrapping it and sending it to him as a present. Uncouthness won as I tore the plastic off the book, thinking that I could send it to him as a birthday gift this July anyway. (I also justified this behavior by thinking that I can write him a better dedication since I have already read it myself.)

It turned out to be a breezy read. I was initially apprehensive about stumbling over basketball terms or a roster of names and teams I never heard of—and sure enough, there were those—but it’s not really hard to find yourself engaged by Rafe Bartholomew’s simple and beautiful story: an American basketball-obsessed enough to live in the country and research about Pinoys’ love for the sport.

I am not a huge basketball fan—although who may be crazy enough to actually buy tickets to the games of UAAP basketball cellar-dwellers, UP Maroons, if not a sports fan?—but Pacific Rims did allow me to tap into childhood memories that have long been hidden since I discovered the world of beauty pageants. There were the dinners in front of the TV, cheering for the holy trinity of Purefoods's Alvin Patrimonio, Jerry Codiñera and Jojo Lastimosa as they went up against the foul-mannered Robert Jaworski and his Ginebra team.

* * * * 

Upon deeper reflection, I realized that to me, they were my first-ever real-life manifestation of the fight between Team Good and Team Evil. My father hated Jaworski; he’d always point out how dirty he played and my sister and I would nod our little heads in agreement to his assessment, and eventually, learned to hate him as well. If Purefoods wasn’t playing, we rooted for whomever Ginebra was playing against and rejoiced when Team Evil lost. Psychoanalyzing myself, I think this formed my dichotomous sense of judgement I mentioned here (and which I’m trying to undo): that one is either right or wrong; you cannot play for both teams.

* * * *

Rafe talks about the book.
There was also the time when my father proudly took out a piece of paper from his bag and ceremoniously presented it to my sister, who was a bigger Purefoods fan than I was (lol): it had the autographs of the trinity, along with other basketball players. Their handwriting and signatures were nice—too nice in fact—that I later suspected that maybe, it wasn’t the players themselves that signed them but a team staff. (My father didn’t witness the signing himself—a colleague gave it to him.) I never and still don’t have the heart to break this hypothesis to my sister or father.

A few years later, an uncle gave me a basketball with the signatures of Alaska players on it—and this time, they were guaranteed authentic—but by then I’ve lost interest in the PBA (and didn't care much for a team that wasn't Purefoods) to give it a place in my room. I have no idea whatever became of it—I may have given it to a cousin, hopefully, not my uncle’s offspring—but for some reason, I distinctly remember how that ball looked like as I write this.

Having undergone my father’s experimentations in what he thought were effective ways of gaining height—primarily, having to wear those foot insoles with cleats and studs—and actually having achieved it as I now stand 6’1 (whether that is by virtue of my genes, nutrition or those insoles, I really don’t know), I am sure that his biggest frustration in life was that I never became a basketball player. (And yes, I considered not being able to give him a grandchild in the traditional manner, :-P) I remember him waxing poetic about the glory of basketball superstardom, as well as the corresponding money involved, back when I was still floundering in college. I think I may have been able to partly waive that frustration off when I finally got my name published in the newspaper—a moment of self-glory, but definitely no money, lol.

So where is the book review? LOL. Pacific Rims was a trip down memory lane for me, and I have to thank the author for allowing me to reflect on parts of my childhood that don’t really resurface as I have pursued and continue to pursue other interests now. And I think that on a larger scale, this was also what Rafe set out to do: to allow Filipinos to pause and think about how the sport has given us an identity as a nation, something which no other book has done before.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Editorializing: what difference a few words make


End your ATV ride at the shrine of Cagsawa Ruins, which are remnants of a Catholic Church built by the Spanish in the 18th century. 


End your ATV ride at the shrine of Cagsawa Ruins, which are remnants of a Catholic Church ordered built by the Spanish friars in the 18th century.

Just giving credit to whom credit is due.

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