Thursday, August 31, 2006




Fresh na fresh in a crisp suit na darating si Angel sa opisina. Isa siyang bagong CPA sa kumpanya.

Pagdating niya sa kanyang cubicle, merong isang malaking-malaking gift box. Magtataka siya kung kanino galing. May card na nakasulat kamay na may first name niya. Sa loob, the note reads:

“Wear this and meet me at the rooftop.”


Close-up shot lang ng makintab na Italian leather shoes ni Angel habang mabigat ang mga yabag na umaakyat sa hagdanan. Medyo pagod na siya dahil mga three flights din ang inaakyat niya kasi hindi na umaabot ang elevator du’n.

Masikip pa yata ang sapatos niya kasi hindi pa niya ‘to nabe-break-in nang maayos. (Bagong bili kasi since he started working last week).


Darating si Angel sa rooftop. Close-up ng mukha niyang pawis nang konti at medyo humahangos.

May figure na nakatalikod sa kanya some 7 meters away. Pinagmamasdan nito an gang skyline. Parang naka-kung anong costume ‘yung tao.

Hello po?

Close-up ng figure habang dahan-dahang humaharap kay Angel.

Makikita ang look of surprise ni Angel. Close-ups pa rin lahat ng shots.

I wanted to bring you flowers. But I figured it’s better if I be the flower.

Reveal na naka-big flower costume si Ray. As in nakalusot ang ulo niya sa isang headdress na may nakapaligid na malalaking petals sa kanyang mukha. Ang buong katawan niya green na catsuit at may nakausli pang parang giant leaf sa kanyang tagiliran.


Mangingiti si Angel.

Reveal na siya ay naka-black-and-yellow bumblebee costume.



Son of a Preacher Man

My dad used to be a Catholic priest. Among plates and silverware in our cupboard are golden chalices engraved with my father’s name preceded by “Rev. Fr.” These were recovered from a neighbor’s house where Mass was held one time. Apparently they were lent them some time ago to another neighbor but were never returned. We’ve since kept them there never to be used again until high school sophomore year when we had to re-enact the Mass for Mr. Purto’s Religion class.

When I played Joseph at the Christmas Pageant at Michael’s Kiddie School, my costume was a green silk robe with an intricate design of the Shepherd Jesus. In fact, it was my dad’s priestly vestment altered by ever-resourceful mom.

There is a Papal Dispensation freeing my dad from his priestly vows. This document signed by the Pope himself is the difference between leaving the priesthood properly or just going awol like those we hear about in news magazine programs.

My mom tells the story of priests crowding around to see a genuine Papal Dispensation when they were applying for a marriage license. But the dispensation comes with some special terms. My father, a professor, could not teach Catechism, for one. He could not be a lay minister (he is, after all, dogmatically still a priest) nor could he serve as advisor to a Catholic lay religious group. He was also exempted from the marriage banns – the public announcement of the names of parishioners who will wed.

But Catholic dogma cites once a priest, always a priest so my father still retains his priestly powers. He can, for one, consecrate bread and wine and it shall become the body and blood of Christ. Only it would be “valid but not legitimate.” We were the only ones home when my grandmother, his mother-in-law, was drawing her last breaths. He said he sort of knew that she was going so he reached up to an upper cabinet where he’s kept his old prayer book and, miraculously, immediately got hold of it and opened it exactly to the page where the Blessing for the Dying is. My grandmother got her last wish of being blessed by a priest before meeting her Creator.

SIDE STORY: My grandmother, too, was able to wait for my mom and the rest of the family to come home from the mall before succumbing to cancer. She died peacefully with us gathered around her bed. Because of this, I would be able to see the testrals pulling the carriages if I were to visit Hogwarts. Testrals, you see, are magical creatures in the Harry Potter books visible only to those who have witnessed death.

As a boy I asked why he left the priesthood. He said it was because he dreamt that we will all be born as frogs if he didn’t start a family. (Interestingly, the Agapay siblings are used to house lizards, small rats and cockroaches running around their Marikina home but would all freak out at the tiniest frog.) But I think he joined the seminary because he was raised by a generation of parents who believe it a blessing to have a priest in the family. Being the obedient youngest child, he might have obliged. My mother’s eldest sibling was also a Catholic priest but is now a family man in the US though he still hears Mass, something we frown upon, so much so that gramma had two funeral masses – one celebrated by my uncle and another by a celibate priest.

On his 60th birthday, my dad said in his speech that when he became a priest he soon after felt that he made a mistake. I’ve heard of a story that he confessed his qualms to his superior who told him that if he were his age, he would also leave. So he left and started life anew (he was already in his mid-20’s by then).

He met my mother after he left the priesthood while they were both teaching at PSBA Manila. He was faculty adviser of a frat and she of its sorority counterpart. Mom says she didn’t like him at first because he was wearing green socks, besides she was engaged to someone else already. Her opinion of him changed when he carried her through the flooded streets of Manila. Mommy believes in praying for guapo and mabait husband because that’s what she did. Her fiancée who was already based in the US was asking her to get a Fiancee’s Visa (this no longer exists) but she somehow delayed getting one. Still the guy sent her letters everyday. Then she prayed that if he fails to send a letter on a particular day, she would break up with him to be with my dad. You can guess how that turned out. Now my mom swears she wakes up every morning and stares at my sleeping dad thinking how handsome the man she married is. My father, too, is satisfied with his decision. He said he’s lucky to have married my mom who is smiles easily and is always in a happy disposition no matter what.

My father thinks celibacy should not be mandatory for priests. Last year he asked me to send the Inquirer an article he wrote about this. A few days later Pope John Paul II reiterated the importance of celibacy for priests. Dad texted me not to send the article “out of respect for the Pope” but it was too late. I think he didn’t mind that it got published but the priest in him might have felt a tinge of guilt, as well.

Dad wasn’t particularly religious but I’m sure he prayed. He and mom hear Mass every Sunday and just like most of us he hates long Homilies (saying when he was a priest he wrote down his Sermon so he wouldn’t drag on and on). He also didn’t like it when my mom hung a bronze crucifix over their bed because he found it morbid. Amen.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Haunted Sinehan

You know the story about the movie house in Metropolis Mall? The one where a couple was watching in a packed theater but when the movie ended they realized that they were the only ones watching? Dati raw kasing sementeryo ang tinatayuan ng mall kaya mga kaluluwa raw ‘yung nakakakasama mo sa sinehan.

Na-experience ko ‘yan sa SM San Lazaro recently. Nanonood ako ng movie tapos may mga kabayo akong nakikita sa loob ng sinehan. Pero nu’ng tapos na’yung movie, mag-isa lang ako sa theater. Tumakbo agad ako sa takilyera. Miss, nasaan na’yung mga kabayong kasama kong nanonood?” She looked at me na parang gulat pero parang hindi na rin ito ang first time na may nagtanong sa kanya nito. Sabi niya, “Ser, wala hong mga kabayo sa loob.” Yaiks! Siguro mga kaluluwa ng mga kabayong namatay nang gibain ang San Lazaro Hypodrome ang nakita ko.



Extreme Shit!

Isa sa mga fascinating aspects ng mountaineering ay ang pagtae sa bundok. Sa mga first-timers, isa ito sa pinaka-inaabangan o dine-dread na experience. Nu’ng mga una kong climb umiinom pa’ko ng Immodium para hindi ako matae sa bundok. Pero siyempre for multi-day climbs tatae at tatae ka talaga. So paano nga ba gagawin ‘to? Madali lang…

Sa pag-akyat sa bundok ang trowel ay kino-consider na group equipment. Para ‘tong tent, stove, at cookset. Importante na ang isang grupo ay meron nito. Sa isang campsite, dini-determine kung saan ang CR ng lalake at babae. Doon ka pupunta to do your thing. Maghuhukay ka ng cathole na around 6 inches deep. Du’n mo isu-shoot ang tae mo pati ang tissue na pinampunas mo sa puwet mo. Pagkatapos ay tatakpan mo ulit ‘yung butas. Voila! Nakatae ka na!

Pero it’s really a fascinating experience kaya laging napagkukuwentuhan sa UP Mountaineers ang pagtae bundok. Personally, naalalala ko ang una kong akyat sa Mt. Pulag kung saan meron nang mga ginawang latrine which is really just a big, deep hole covered with planks of pine wood na merong butas. Fenced din ito on three sides. Meron tuloy semblance of privacy pero since parang savannah ang Mt. Pulag, kita mo na ang taong tumatae kapag nakataas-taas ka na nang konti. Naalala ko pa nu’ng unang akyat ko ru’n, marami yatang duleng na hindi mashoot-shoot ang mga tae sa butas. Kadiri tuloy. Pero nu’ng mga sumunod na climb ko, malinis na ang mga latrine.

Sa Pulag ko rin nalaman na hindi magandang idea basain ng alkohol ang tissue para maging mas malinis ang pagpupunas. Mahapdi kaya siya! So ang giangawa ko nagdadala na rin ako ng water para talagang nakakapaghugas ako. Iniingatan ko na rin na walang leaves o branch over the hole kasi baka may sumabit du’n at pag-reach mo to wash yourself, mahahawakan mo! Eeeew!

May maganda ring kuwento ng isang UPM sa Pulag. Tinamaan siya ng emergency in the middle of the night. So lumabas siya nang tent at naglakad through the fog. Nu’ng nakalakad na siya nang matagal-tagal ay umupo na siya at tumae. Biglang nag-clear ang fog at du’n niya na-realize na nasa gitna pala siya nang campsite!

Ang latest interesting story tungkol sa pagtae ng bundok ay mula kay Noelle Wenceslao (babae ‘to) na member ng Philippine Mt. Everest Expedition Team. Nagkaroon sila ng ilang buwang training climb sa Alaska. Doon siyempre hindi ka basta-basta maghuhukay sa yelo para tumae. So meron daw isang canister na may supot na du’n sila dumudumi. Isang canister for the whole team so nagpapatung-patong ang mga tae nila. Kadiri daw kung makalat ‘yung previous na gumamit kasi mahahawak-hawakan mo ‘to. Saka siyempre dahil maraming tae ‘yung canister, sasama raw sa’yo ‘yung amoy pagkatapos. ‘Yung canister na ‘to ay puwede lang itapon sa mga designated ditches na naging major mountaineering procedure pa para lang marating nila kasi may mga ropes and whatever gears pang kinailangan para lang makababa sa ditch para matapon ang canister.

Bilib na talaga ako sa Everest Team, kahit sa pagtae extreme!



Nu’ng nag-endorse ako ng Globe Super-Sulit, ang make-up artist ko ay si Nanay Norms. One time habang pinapantay niya ang complexion ko, tsinika ko siya. “Nanay Norms, gaano katagal na po kayong nagme-make-up?”

“Way back 1964…”

Inisip kong matagal nang make-up artist si Nanay Norms kasi mukha na nga siyang lola – ‘yung cute type na maliit, maamo mukha, ang sarap i-hug.

Kinuwento pa niya ang mga memorable projects niya like the Manila production of Cats sa Metropolitan Theater (an architectural gem in the heart of Manila na sad to say pinapabayaan ng Manila City government).

Nu’ng Martial law years, siya raw ang favorite make-up artist ni Marcos. Pinapasundo pa raw siya tuwing may TV appearance ito para siya ang mag-make-up. Nag-serve din siya bilang Make-up and Costume Director ng RPN! O, ‘di ba sosyal.

Ngayon rumaraket-raket siya kasi ayaw lang niyang nakatengga sa bahay. Napaka-fascinating talaga ng mga kuwento ng mga tao if we only take time to listen to them.


Operation: Bridal Shower

On September 8, magaganap ang kauna-unahang wedding sa Powerbarkada – ang Cindy-Mike Nuptials! At nu’ng Friday, August 18, naman ay naganap ang kauna-unahang bridal shower. Siyempre full force kaming magkakaibigan para sa surprise party na’to. Meron pa kaming tawag sa kanya – PROJECT: BRIDAL SHOWER (ang creative, no?) at dahil ako ang punong-abala, ang code name ko ay “Cherry Pie” (for Cherry Pie Picache, Best Supporting Actress for the movie “Bridal Shower.” Shet! Kelangang i-explain). Si Carlo na in-charge sa venue ang code name “Venue Navalta.” Si Thea na liaison sa sister ni Cindy na si Jackie ay si “Grace Addler.” “Meredith Gray” naman si Val na in-charge sa decors and games. ‘Wag n’yo nang tanungin kung ano kinalaman ng code name nila kasi wala lang ‘yun. Si Roy na i-charge sa paghahanap ng stripper si “Lady V” (siya ‘yung transvestite na may banda) bilang pang-asar kasi sinuggest niya na kung ako raw si Cherry Pie, siya dapat si Alfred V (Vargas). Si Celery na in-charge sa food si “Alice Kamatis” pero ayaw daw niya ang name na Alice (Ewan, ex yata ‘yun ng boyfriend niya) so bilang pang-asar ulit, ginawa kong “Kang Kong” ang code name niya.

Dalawang linggo lang ang ginugol naming preparation dahil siyempre nag-procrastinate kami nang nag-procrastinate hanggang sa na-realize namin na kelangan na naming mag-throw ng shower party dahil mid-August na.

Maganda ‘yung nakuhang 2-bedroom suite ni Carlo sa Astoria Plaza sa may Ortigas. For 4,800++ bargain na siya kasi malaki ang common areas, may separate kitchen talaga with service toilet at free breakfast for four pa. Nakuha niya nang mas mura kasi sa internet siya nag-reserve.

Nu’ng nag-first and last meeting kami about this party, napagkasunduan namin na Miss Universe ang theme ng party. So merong throne where Cindy will sit tapos meron siyang crown and sash, siyempre. Lahat ng guests meron ding sash ng mga countries. Ako si Miss Trinidad & Tobago. We also encouraged our guests to come in their national costumes. Dininig naman ito nina Miss Thailand at Miss Philippines. Si Candice (officemate ni Cindy) na Miss Japan ay hindi na kinailangang mag-costume kasi mukha na siyang japonesa. Beautiful!

Sa games mero kaming charades na huhulaan namin mga famous wives. Meron ding games na paunahang mag-unscramble ng mga wedding terms. Ang natatalo sa-shot ng tequila.

Siyempre hindi kumpleto ang shower kung walang stripper. Si Genecis ang nakuha ni Roy the morning of the party through Buy & Sell. 1,500 ang talent fee at dalawang sayaw na’yun – Don’t Cha at Like a Rose. All the way, ha! Bargain na rin to think 4,500 ang hinihingi ng mga stripper ng Adonis. Matangkad at maganda katawan niya pero hindi masyado maganda ang face (kaya pala nagre-request ng dim lights itoh) at nang nakasabay siya ni Thea sa elevator ang naisip niya ay “Last day ng rebond!” At nang pareho silang pinindot ng floor du’n nag-sink in na “Shet! Ito yata ‘yung nakuhang colboy!”

Mukhang happy naman si Cindy sa party. Can’t wait for when my Powerbarkada throws me a bridal shower! Invited kayong LAHAAAT!!!


All Work, No Play

Tinawagan ako ni Adrian Ayalin kahapon asking kung totoo nga bang sinabi ni Che-Che Lazaro sa kanyang Broadcast Journalism Class na “No story is worth your life.” Sabi ko I don’t remember Ma’am Che-Che saying that and that I took her Advance Directing Class, not Broad Journ. Anyway, hindi ko na inalam kung ano ‘yung dahilan ni Adrian asking. Siguro iba-blog niya, or naisip niya dahil a colleague of his, Hazel Receta of ABC-5, passed away recently while covering the Mayon beat.

As an Entertainment TV Writer, hindi naman talaga namimiligro ang buhay ko while on duty unlike my reporter friends. Pero kung totoo man na sinabi ‘yun ni Che-Che Lazaro, then we ought to heed her words. No story – no work for that matter – is worth out lives. Napakarami nang pelikula na nag-e-emphasize niyan (the last one I could think of is “Click”) pero parang taliwas naman ang actions natin dito dahil na rin taliwas d’yan ang kinagisnan nating sistema ng trabaho. A majority of us are stuck in the system where we devote a great part of waking hours at work. “No man ever said in his deathbed I wish I spent more time in the office” pero mukhang ganyan naman ang mangyayari sa atin.

I count myself among the lucky few who don’t get stuck in the office for most of my day. Ang pinakangarag ko lang na araw ay Sunday – for the live shows SOP and SFiles. The rest of the week, meeting-meeting na lang ako at konting sulat which doesn’t feel much like work since I don’t have to do it in the office. Puwede ko siyang gawin habang nasa mall o nasa bahay.

So tigilan na natin ang pagiging adik sa trabaho. It’s time we re-think our interpretation of good work ethic. After all, karamihan ng mga taong kilala ko na sobrang magtrabaho sobra rin naman ang reklamo sa kanilang trabaho, sa kanilang kumpanya, sa kanilang boss, sa kanilang mga katrabaho, sa kanilang suweldo… Ako, happy lang because I don’t immerse myself too much. People shouldn’t be forced to be in the office eight hours everyday kahit wala na silang gagawin. People perform better if they are given more lee-way with their time, allowed to do other things they really enjoy.

Well, siguro nga pinagtatanggol ko lang ang aking katamaran kasi naniniwala ako sa sinabi ni Eddie Garcia when he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Gawad Urian, “At the end of the day, it’s just a job.”

Thursday, August 17, 2006


And To Think He Was A Supreme Court Justice

After blogging about a wonderful Philipppine Daily Inquirer issue, isa na naman ang lumabas at pag-uusapan ng pagkarami-rami. Unfortunately, hindi ko nabasa ‘to so kung meron sa inyong PDI August 12, 2006 na nakatambak lang d’yan, ibalato n’yo na lang sa’kin.

I’m talking about the PDI that carried former Supreme Court Justice Isagani Cruz’s article entitle “Don We Now Our Gay Apparel.”

By now, much has been written about this kaya hindi na’ko magko-comment because so many have done so in ways far better than I could ever have – from Manuel L. Quezon III who proudly came out in his counter-article (Hmmm…maybe I should ask him out) hanggang sa mga tulad kong mumunting bloggers. Just yesterday a fellow Broad Ass alumnus Amiel Martin Cabanlig published “A Retort to Isaganiz Cruz” in his Manila Times Column (On the Prowl, 16 August 2006, The Manila Times, Life&Times, C3).

By this time siguro dugu-dugo na na’ng dila ni Retired Justice Isagani Cruz hehe kaya saludo ako sa inyong lahat at sa mga kaibigan kong tulad ni Nonie Tobias who once declared in her blog her “great respect for the homosexual talent” and another Broad Ass alumnus Delfin for helping spread these articles around through the internet. Cheryl Ingles also carried these articles in her Friendster Blog but I’m posting them here anyway.

Ang kokomentan ko na lang ay ang auxiliary issues na nauungkat sa usapaing ito:

1. Isa pang patunay ang opinyon ni Cruz na hindi pa ganap na tanggap ang mga bakla, tomboy at transgender sa Pilipinas. No less than the words of a learned, well-placed man of the law have proven this. Ngayong nakikita na nating nanunuot ang isipiritu ng bigotry at diskriminasyon maging sa mga matuturing nang edukado’t makapangyarihan, all the more na kailangang magkaisa ang LGBT community at ang kanilang mga supporters upang labanan ito.

2. Sa malayang palitan ng mga opinyon, naalala ko ang Philosophy teacher sa UP na si Prof. Agerico de Villa na nagsabing imposibleng hindi magiging great country ang Pilipinas, eh, we have a very strong Athenian concept of democracy – that all opinions can be expressed. Ang Gresya raw ay nagsimula sa mga watak-watak na city-states na ‘di naglaon ay naging pundasyon ng modern civilization dahil sa kanilang konsepto ng demokrasya (Incidentally, the Greeks considered homosexual love as the greatest form of love). Ang Estados Unidos din ay isa lamang struggling colony pero naging superpower dahil dito. Kahit dati pang Supreme Court Justice si Cruz, walang makapipigil sa kaninuman na ihayag ang kanyang sumasalungat na opinyon.

3. Hindi lang ang page-express ng saloobin ang demokrasya, maging ang mga pamamaraan ng pamamahayagan nade-democraticize na rin. Hindi na lamang ang mga kolumnistang tulad nina Quezon at Cabanlig ang napakikinggan. Dahil sa blog, kahit sino makakapagpahayag at mapakikinggan. Importante ‘to ngayon dahil bagama’t ang ganitong diskusyon ay bihirang matatalakay sa market-driven TV set-up sa bansa, hindi pa rin ito tuluyang nababale-wala dahil meron pang ibang media upang mapag-usapan ito. Ngayon, mukhang hindi na rin imposible na ang TV industry, balang-araw, matulad sa nangyayari ngayong democratization sa film industry. Nagiging affordable ang technology, nagkakaroon ng funding, at ang mga tema na dati’y hindi tinatalakay ng profit-oriented studios ngayo’y napapalabas na (albeit to limited audiences but we’re getting there).

Retired Justice Isagani Cruz aside, things are still looking up.

Below is ISAGANI CRUZ' chauvinistic, disgusting, narrow-minded, pompous, self-righteous hate article against gays and MANUEL L QUEZON III's vindictive reply.
Mabuhay ka Manuel L. Quezon III! Mabuhay ang mga bading!

Separate Opinion : ‘Don we now our gay apparel’
By Isagani Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 12 August 2006

HOMOSEXUALS before were mocked and derided, but now they are regarded with new-found respect and, in many cases, even treated as celebrities. Only recently, the more impressionable among our people wildly welcomed a group of entertainers whose main proud advertisement was that they were “queer.” It seems that the present society has developed a new sense of values that have rejected our religious people’s traditional ideas of propriety and morality on the pretext of being “modern” and “broad-minded.”

The observations I will here make against homosexuals in general do not include the members of their group who have conducted themselves decorously, with proper regard not only for their own persons but also for the gay population in general. A number of our local couturiers, to take but one example, are less than manly but they have behaved in a reserved and discreet manner unlike the vulgar members of the gay community who have degraded and scandalized it. I offer abject apologies to those blameless people I may unintentionally include in my not inclusive criticisms. They have my admiration and respect.

The change in the popular attitude toward homosexuals is not particular to the Philippines. It has become an international trend even in the so-called sophisticated regions with more liberal concepts than in our comparatively conservative society. Gay marriages have been legally recognized in a number of European countries and in some parts of the United States. Queer people -- that’s the sarcastic term for them -- have come out of the closet where before they carefully concealed their condition. The permissive belief now is that homosexuals belong to a separate third sex with equal rights as male and female persons instead of just an illicit in-between gender that is neither here nor there.

When I was studying in the Legarda Elementary School in Manila during the last 1930s, the big student population had only one, just one, homosexual. His name was Jose but we all called him Josefa. He was a quiet and friendly boy whom everybody liked to josh but not offensively. In the whole district of Sampaloc where I lived, there was only one homosexual who roamed the streets peddling “kalamay” and “puto” and other treats for snacks. He provided diversion to his genial customers and did not mind their familiar amiable teasing. I think he actually enjoyed being a “binabae” [effeminate].

The change came, I think, when an association of homos dirtied the beautiful tradition of the Santa Cruz de Mayo by parading their kind as the “sagalas” instead of the comely young maidens who should have been chosen to grace the procession. Instead of being outraged by the blasphemy, the watchers were amused and, I suppose, indirectly encouraged the fairies to project themselves. It must have been then that they realized that they were what they were, whether they liked it or not, and that the time for hiding their condition was over.

Now homosexuals are everywhere, coming at first in timorous and eventually alarming and audacious number. Beauty salons now are served mostly by gay attendants including effeminate bearded hairdressers to whom male barbers have lost many of their macho customers. Local shows have their share of “siyoke” [gay men], including actors like the one rejected by a beautiful wife in favor of a more masculine if less handsome partner. And, of course, there are lady-like directors who are probably the reason why every movie and TV drama must have the off-color “bading” [gay] or two to cheapen the proceedings.

And the schools are now fertile ground for the gay invasion. Walking along the University belt one day, I passed by a group of boys chattering among themselves, with one of them exclaiming seriously, “Aalis na ako. Magpapasuso pa ako!” [“I’m leaving. I still have to breastfeed!”] That pansy would have been mauled in the school where my five sons (all machos) studied during the ’70s when all the students were certifiably masculine. Now many of its pupils are gay, and I don’t mean happy. I suppose they have been influenced by such shows as “Brokeback Mountain,” our own “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros” (both of which won awards), “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” and that talk program of Ellen Degeneres, an admitted lesbian.

Is our population getting to be predominantly pansy? Must we allow homosexuality to march unobstructed until we are converted into a nation of sexless persons without the virility of males and the grace of females but only an insipid mix of these diluted virtues? Let us be warned against the gay population, which is per se a compromise between the strong and the weak and therefore only somewhat and not the absolute of either of the two qualities. Be alert lest the Philippine flag be made of delicate lace and adorned with embroidered frills.

----- o -----
The Long View: The Grand Inquisitor
By Manuel L. Quezon III
Philippine Daily Inquirer, First posted 02:39am (Manila Time) Aug 14, 2006
Editor's Note: Published on page A15 of the August 14, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

KURT VONNEGUT ONCE OBSERVED, “FOR SOME reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.” Vonnegut was pointing out the basic immorality of society’s self-proclaimed moral custodians. Hate the sin but love the sinner? But that opens to a possible debate on what is sin.
How much easier, more certain and eminently satisfying to decree, “Kill them all. God will know His own.” The result is the perversion of the finer instincts of religion into a false trinity—faith, hope and bigotry, setting aside charity which represents an inconvenient truth: Christ was friend to prostitutes and tax collectors, and He debated even with the devil. Must Christianity end with Christ?

Retired Supreme Court Justice Isagani Cruz says that his vigorous and vicious condemnation of gays, lesbians and transgendered people is not supposed to incite hatred and intolerance—or to be precise, that he is not invoking a blanket condemnation of all gay people. He only objects to some, not all. For example, he has nothing but the most generous and respectful thoughts for those who conform to what he finds tasteful and tolerable behavior. And what is tasteful and tolerable as far as his wounded sensibilities are concerned? A minority meekly and absolutely surrendering to the tyranny of the majority, a sub-culture reduced to the subhuman, in which the individual is instructed to live out, every day, a total repudiation of the self. Cruz demands the elimination of a diverse and rich culture—one that is as much a mirror of society’s larger complexities as it is an alternative to some of the worst instincts and features of the broader culture for which he has stepped forward as spokesman—because the minority displeases and disgusts him.

He would have me, and everyone else like me be a slave, a fugitive, a hypocrite and, most of all, a coward. And I find that disgusting. I find it neither reasonable nor acceptable. I do not even find it understandable. Cruz does not understand us, does not want to, would be unwilling to. Yet he says he hates only some, not all, of us, and expects “some of us” to embrace and thank him?

For what? That he reserves his scorn only for hairdressers and fashion designers? That he respects me, the writer, but heaps abuse on someone else because that someone uses slang I don’t use, speaks louder than I do, wears what I don’t wear—and those superficial differences are the things that guarantee me (and those who behave otherwise) Cruz’s respect?

I will not embrace him, not for that, much less shake his hand or offer him the opportunity for civilized disagreement. For he is blind to the civilization to which I belong, and to the fundamental identity I share with those he despises. Whether we have a little learning or not, whether we speak in the same manner or not, regardless of what we wear and what mannerisms we choose to exhibit, we are the same, for in the fundamental things—those we choose to love, to have relationships with and with whom we aspire to share a life marked by a measure of domestic bliss and emotional contentment—there is no difference. To permit Cruz to make such distinctions is to grant him and all those like him an intolerable—because it is fundamentally unjust—power to define myself and those like me.

When he casts the law as an instrument for prosecution, persecution and discrimination, he must be fought. That he discredits polite behavior by portraying civilized discourse as a fancy disguise for his uncritical obedience and intolerant enforcement of uniformity; that he defames religion by turning it into an ideology of hate; that he makes a mockery of filial piety by insisting that tyrannical instincts should be cultivated among the elderly and enforced upon their direction—these should inspire not pity for his moral dementia; these must provoke anger. And condemnation.
To be different is to be held in suspicion. The nonconformist is a subversive. Subversion and rebellion make societies become more generous, more diverse, more compassionate—and an individual more free. For the inability—or unwillingness—to see rebellion as a virtue and not a flaw is what provokes the uncomprehending hostility that makes the anxious herd stifle dissent and stamp out anything different. But humanity is not a herd, and being human demands a vigilance against the kind of provocations that start stampedes.

I will respect anyone’s convictions, but only to the extent you will respect mine. Goodwill inspires the same; tolerance results in cooperation. But I will not be told whom to love, whom to be friends with, what culture to represent, what mannerisms and interests to adopt and, much less, discard. I will not modify my behavior or limit my pleasures merely to please Cruz or bigots like him. The respect gays, lesbians and transgendered people experience is a brittle kind, but hard-won. Far more has to be won, in terms of actual legislation or in every sphere of our lives where discrimination virtually takes place every day.

The behavior Cruz finds so obnoxious is the price he and everyone else must pay for the pink triangles of the German concentration camps, the labor camps and prison cells of Soviet Russia and Communist China and Cuba, the merciless beatings and taunts endured by so many over so long a time. It is his punishment for representing a society whose instincts remain fundamentally murderous toward anyone different. If he weren’t such a hate-monger, he might realize it’s no punishment at all, and that society is all the better for the increased prominence of gays. 



Not even a deadline for a presentation can divert my attention from Cruz's appalling article. This will be my last post re the series 
though. Thanks! 


Raise Your Voice (A Blog Entry)
August 14th, 2006 at 9:54 pm (gay, hate, homophobia, mind fuck, 
discrimination, bigotry, pdi, philippine daily inquirer, isagani 
cruz, old fart) 

Dear Mr. Isagani Cruz,
I applaud you for your column entitled, `Don we now our gay 
apparel'. It's creatively titled I must say.

Your musings of the glorious past, a past where "homosexuals were 
still mocked and derided", is truly something to be missed. I can 
still remember with great fondness my elementary days when one of my 
classmates was always beaten-up to a pulp because he was gay. My 
classmates hid his backpack, took his lunch money, never allowed him 
to join in our games, taunted and ridiculed him until he'd go home 
with his tear ducts dried out for ceaseless crying. After that 
school year, he transferred schools and we never heard from him 
again. Come to think of it, my classmates never really knew if he 
was gay. All they knew was that he has always been a bit girlish as 
compared to our macho swagger. But we decided that he was, so we 
made sure that his life will be a living hell for being different.

But fret not, my dear respected ex-judge, for there's still hope for 
our future. Although you observed that homosexuals continue to 
recruit members to join their ranks, many also continue to support 
the long-held tradition that homosexuals are a menace to our society 
and must be eradicated with extreme measures.

As long as many hold on to the idea that men – real men – still 
reign supreme over all others, we are ok.

As long as our vagrancy laws are used by our allies – the policemen –
to book homosexuals and extort money, harass and humiliate them 
then we are more than ok.

As long as our current Philippine laws do not punish anyone who 
discriminate people because of their sexual orientation, then we are 

As long as companies continue to favor us – real men – for jobs not 
because we are qualified but because of being men then we'll 
continue to reign over those who are more qualified but are women or 
are homosexuals.

We must mobilize all the real men of the world (and of course we 
need women too to make sure that we'll be well-fed and taken care 
of) and raise our arms against this menace that tarnishes our 
otherwise perfect society.

But before we do that, what does it mean to be a REAL MAN again? 
Please enlighten me.

Yours in our fight for supremacy,
The Devil in Haste

A comment to Devil in Haste's blog:

After his long tirade about how homosexuality is now gradually 
gaining acceptance among the general (international even) populace, 
he then made the following conclusions:

1. Is our population getting to be predominantly pansy?

Non sequitur. How does tolerance and acceptance of gays tantamount 
to the nation "getting predominantly pansy"? I understand pansy to 
mean as a disparaging term for a man who is considered effeminate or 
to be blatant, a deragotory term for a homosexual man. This Isagani 
fellow seems to think that accepting homosexuals as REAL people, 
possessing the same rationality and feelings as anyone else, and 
giving them the allowance to celebrate their sexuality and gender 
orientation would cause the rest of the "normal" males to be less 
manly? Care to back up that bald assertion of yours using logic, 
reason, evolutionary psychology and sociology, and neuroscience, 
your honor?

2. Must we allow homosexuality to march unobstructed until we are 
converted into a nation of sexless persons without the virility of 
males and the grace of females but only an insipid mix of these 
diluted virtues?

Look here. He calls the virility of males and the grace of females 
as "diluted" virtues. I am fairly certain this isn't what he meant, 
but he worded his sentiments incorrectly. Again, he erroneously 
maintains that homosexuals can change (by sheer influence, as 
implyingly alleged) a persons inate, natural sexual orientation 
configuration. The obviousness of sexual orientation being not a 
choice seems to elude many people. Besides, fusion of male and 
female traits can have good repercussions. A combination of a 
woman's hardwired ability to clearly articulate her ideas and 
excellent prowess in the language with the male's preset aptitude 
for mathematics and logic. There is no logical conclusions that can 
lead us to declare that such fusion of virtues would yield 
to "diluted" (corrupted) virtue from his stated premises.

3. Let us be warned against the gay population, which is per se a 
compromise between the strong and the weak and therefore only 
somewhat and not the absolute of either of the two qualities.

The black and white mentality lacks the flexibility to deal with the 
multi-colored facets of reality. Another flagrant logical fallacy he 
committed is to create a false dichotomy of strong and weak and 
equate strong with "male" and "weak" with female. This is what he is 
implying in those statements. My derivation is not unwarranted and 
is supported by his not-so-subtle implication that homosexuality "is 
per se a compromise between the strong and the weak and therefore 
only somewhat and not the absolute of either of the two qualities."
He calls men strong and women weak. Sexism anyone? Then he went on 
to say that homosexuals are somewhat in between. So homosexuals are 
superior than women for they are a little above the weak and a 
little less than the strong?

A question remains. What logical and evidential proof does he have 
that made him arrive to such conclusions? All he has are mere 
rhetorics. Loud rants posessing no substance. I can't believe this 
person, exhibiting such flawed logical deliberation, was even a 

4. Be alert lest the Philippine flag be made of delicate lace and 
adorned with embroidered frills.

Which I take to mean that the Filipino men are in danger of losing 
their manhood by accepting a person for who they truly are and 
allowing them to grow and express themselves honestly. Here's a news 
flash for you: gays can be REAL men as well without sacrificing 
their genuine identity. This judge values dishonesty by applauding 
those in the closet and discreet ones and telling them to remain 
that way. He would rather have them lie to themselves lest they 
trigger a cataclysmic pansy-fication of the nation… no I would dare 
say he thinks this too would have extensive disastrous impact of 
global proportions.

His honor apparently has no fashion sense 

Be glad that his illusionary "harm" purportedly caused by the gay 
community that would befell this nation is just that - an illusion.

- The Prize
A manly straight Filipino 

And one witty two-liner:

He refers to his heterosexual male offspring as 'all macho'. Geez, 
even a straight man like me can say that that statement is 'so 
frigging gay.'

Monday, August 14, 2006


Heard a Good One Lately?

Kahapon ang topic sa Hot Ten sa The Morning Rush nina Chico & Delamar (6-9AM, RX 93.1) ay “Hot Ten Best Insults at a Basketball Game.” My favorite was this:

The winning UST crowd was cheering, “We’re going to the finals! We’re going to the finals!” The Ateneans heckled, “Kung may jeep! Kung may jeep!”

Hindi talaga ako morning person pero natitiyempuhan ko pa rin madalas ang tail-end ng show at natatawa talaga ako sa conversations nila pero since radio, madalas nasa background lang sila ng buhay mo kaya hindi mo nari-realize kung gaano sila ka-importante pala sa’yo. I remember nu’ng lumipat sila sa KC nu’ng 90’s inabangan ko ang kanilang first show. Nu’ng biglaan silang naggu-goodbye nag-panic ako. At ‘di lang ako, ha. Tinawagan pa’ko ng headwriter: “Ano nangyayari? Bakit sila mawawala?” “’Di ko rin po alam, eh!”

Turns out magre-re-format pala ‘yung KC so natsugi sila. Nu’ng bumalik sila ulit sa RX, nakinig din ako. I gave a sigh of relief nu’n kasi may pag-asa pa’kong makasali sa kanilang live tea party (na I never bothered to join kasi mahihirapan lang akong gumising ng 6am at inisip ko na marami pa namang opportunity kaya laking pagsisisi ko nu’ng biglang naggu-goodbye na sila d’yan!) Sad to say, hindi pa sila ulit nagkaka-tea party.

The first time I texted an entry to the Hot Ten, Chico and Delamar not only rejected my “Worst Thing That Even Happened to You” they actually dissed it on air since ang tema nga ng mga entries mga freak accidents, ganyan, habang ang sa akin tungkol sa heartbreak. So sabi nila parang it is not at par daw. Buti na lang anonymous entry kung hindi double-whammy na shineyr mo na ang worst thing mo tapos sinabi pa nilang it’s nothing.

Pero I wasn’t discouraged. Once in a while kapag may naisip ako, nagse-send ako ng entry.

My first No. 1 entry was for “Best Celebrity Gossip” (a topic inspired by the Oprah-Michael Jackson interview that aired the night before). I sent the gossip “Na muntik kinain ng ahas ng Robinson’s si Alice Dixon pero nakatakas siya at tumakbo siya sa show ni Inday Badiday para magsumbong pero biglang nag-commercial break.”

There was also a time that Chico was teasing Del about her celebrity crush whom Del didn’t want revealed. But Chico hinted that he’s a Japanese-looking model. I immediately texted, “Si Kenji Marquez!” (Alam ko agad kasi crush ko rin ‘to! Weakness ko talaga ang chinito!) And then Chico said that people immediately texted and they gussed Del’s crush right! Eh, ang topic something like “Things to Tell a Holdaper So He Won’t Kill You” so ang aking No. 1 entry: FROM KENJI MARQUEZ: ‘Wag mo’kong patayin! Mabubiyuda si Del!” Siyempre, ang sabi lang ni Chico, “From THE NAME OF YOUR CRUSH…”

Nakakagulat nu’ng recently nag-celebrate sila ng kanilang 10th. Merong isang texter (actually ang official name naming mga fans ay Rushers) na nagkuwento na nu’ng una siyang nakinig umaakayt pa siya ng bubong para makakuha ng magandang reception tapos ngayon naririnig na niya ito over the internet kasi nasa abroad na siya. Well, wala akong ganu’ng kuwento pero gusto ko lang pasalamatan sina Chico at Delamara dahil sampung taon na nilang pinaliligaya ang umaga ko.





Madilim sa loob maliban na lamang sa citylights na pumapasok sa bintana ng apartment.

Lalabas mula sa kanyang kuwarto si Orenz. Naka-boxers at plain white t-shirt lang ito. Maglalakad siya papunta sa sa may ref. Kukuha ng isang 1-liter plastic bottle ng tubig at mula ru’n ay iinom siya.

Pagkatapos uminom ay maglalakad na siya pabalik sa kanyang kuwarto nang maririnig niyang nakahukot sa isang sulok ang kanyang housemate na si Kenj. May kausap ito sa cellphone.

Eto na naman ba tayo?! Sabing housemates lang kami. Not even roommates…You know I’m tired too…Fine! If that’s what you want, bye!

Kenj puts down the phone. Makikita niya si Orenz na padeadma namang aakmang bubuksan ang pinto ng kanyang kuwarto. Pipilitin ni Kenj na ngumiti at tatanguan niya si Orenz.


Oi…(Light lang ang tono na para bang hindi niya alam ang gravity ng diskusyong narinig niya) OK ka lang?

Oo naman.

OK…Hindi ako problema, ha?

Ba’t mo naman nasabi ‘yan?

Wala. (Silence) Sige tulog na ulit ako.

Bubuksan na ni Orenz ang pinto pero biglang magsasalita si Kenj.

Ayaw mo bang mag-usap?

Ha? Hindi, OK lang. (Lalayo sa pinto at uupo sa may silya across where Kenj is) Do you wanna talk about your problem with...kung sinuman ‘yung kausap mo?

Hindi, wala akong problema ru’n. Matagal na rin naman kaming malabo nu’n. Bago pa’ko pumunta rito sa Singapore.

Ah… minsan ka lang magkuwento sa’kin tungkol sa lovelife mo, kung kelan pa wala na kayo… Ang hirap talaga dito, no? Pati mga bagay na dapat ginagawa nang harapan nauuwi sa telepono. Ang layo kasi natin.

Pero alam mo, mas mahirap ‘yung kaharap mo na pero hindi mo pa rin makausap.

Yeah. Kaya nga, well, gising na rin lang naman ako. Sa’kin mo na lang ibuhos ‘yan.

Wala naman na’kong ibubuhos, eh.

Alright, sabi mo, eh. If you wanna talk, kahit bihira lang tayo magkita, sabihin mo lang.

Hindi iimik si Kenj. For a while tahimik lang sina Kenj at Orenz.

O, sige. Maaga ka pa bukas. At wala pa’kong tulog.

Tatayo na si Orenz. Paglapit niya sa pinto ng kanyang kuwarto, magsasalita na naman si Kenj.

So talagang wala kang sasabihin?

Ha? Ano ba gusto mong sabihin ko?

Kung bakit tayo na’ndito.

(Magmamamaang-maangan) Sa Singapore? I’m in my dream job. And you’re on a study grant.

(Sasakyan si Orenz) At dahil tayo lang naman ang unang magkakilala rito, nagse-share tayo sa apartment na’to na medyo malayo sa pinapasukan ko.

You wanna move out?

No. I just wanna know why we’re here. I wanna hear it from you.

Magpo-pause si Orenz na parang kinakalkula.

Hindi mo pa ba alam, Kenj?

Alam. I mean, I kinda have an idea. I just wanna know for sure.

Hindi pa ba ako obvious? Hindi ko naman yata tinago ‘yun, eh.

Hindi mo tinago dahil totoo o dahil nagjo-joke ka lang? Lagi ka namang nagjo-joke, Orenz, eh. Hindi na’ko natatawa.

Bakit ka nagagalit?

Hindi ako nagagalit. Gusto ko lang malaman.

Dahil? If gagawin mo lang akong pang-rebound dahil bruised ang ego mo ngayon…Ewan…

Hindi ako on the rebound. Pero ‘di ba mas maganda kung honest tayo sa isa’t isa? Tutal magkasama naman tayo sa isang bahay.

Hindi ba puwedeng isa na lang ‘tong bagay na alam natin kahit hindi natin pag-usapan?

Hindi puwede ‘yon.

Bakit hindi puwede? I mean, alam ko at alam kong alam mo na alam ko na may boyfriend ka. Si Gil. At siya ‘yung kausap mo kanina. Never mo naman kinuwento sa’kin ‘yan. Pero alam ko.

Matatahimik si Kenj.

You think I’d go and put my ego and my feelings and lahat-lahat na on the line for the sake of honesty? Knowing na ikaw… Ewan ko… Basta, I have learned to be cautious about saying some things out loud.

So ganito na lang ‘to?

Si Orenz naman ang matatahimik this time.

Basta ‘yun na’yon. I never really felt the need to say it kasi mas madali ‘yun, eh. Nakakausap kita. You get to do your thing. I get to do mine. OK naman tayo, ‘di ba? Feeling ko rin naman, kahit papaano napapakita ko. Mas OK na’ko sa ganu’n. At least walang tension, hindi awkward, ganu’n. Ayaw mo ba nu’n?

Hindi ko lang kasi siguro alam kung ano talaga iniisip mo. Naa-appreciate ko naman ‘yung mga ginagawa mo. Enjoy naman akong kasama ka. (Parang mafu-frustrate) Hay, naku!

Ganito na lang. Hindi kasi ako prepared ngayon. Pero gustong-gustung-gusto kong pag-usapan natin ‘to. Just not now. But it’s a start, ok?

Yeah. It’s a start.

Sige, g’night na.

Tatayo na si Orenz at papasok na sa kuwarto. Maiiwang nag-iisa si Kenj.

After a while, tatayo na rin si Kenj at maglalakad na siya palapit sa pinto ng kanyang kuwarto pero babaling siya sa pinto ni Orenz. Akmang kakatok pero mapipigilan niya ang sarili. Mag-iisip siya.

Maya-maya ay marahan na siyang kakatok. Bubuksan ni Orenz ang pinto at papapasukin niya si Kenj.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006


The Final Performance

You know how back in college you dream of changing the world once you’re out there? Siyempre as broadcasting students wala na kaming ibang inatupag kundi batikusin ang mga kabaduyan at paulit-ulit na mga konseptong napapanood namin sa TV. Kapag kami na ang producers, directors at writers, babaguhin namin lahat ng ‘yan! At heto’ng ginawa namin…

Senior year, Finals ng TV Performance Class. Ang project: gumawa ng isang 2-hour variety show. Teacher namin si Malou de Guzman (Si Lukreng sa ‘Ober da Bakod,’ isa sa mga kuwela madre sa ‘Kampanerang Kuba’ at meron din siyang critically acclaimed performance sa ‘Baby Tsina’ na pinagbidahan ni Vilma Santos).

Sa lahat ng classes namin, ito ang least priority. Dagdag mo pa ang kanya-kanyang responsibilities sa mga org kung saan high-ranking officers na kami kaya the night before na lang nagkita-kita ang buong klase. Walang concept, walang script, walang rehearsals. Ang definite lang: mago-overnight sa bahay nina Candice Cuaresma (now with ABS-CBN Interactive, I think) sa Cubao at du’n na magbubuo ng show which we must present 7 AM the next day.

Pinuno ko ang backpack ko ng samu’t saring costumes. Dala ko pa ang isang de-gulong na hamper na puno rin ng kung anu-anong damit, props at backdrops para merong ready kung anuman ang maisip ng class na gawin (For example, may dala akong dalawang barong para kung sakaling kailanganin meron pa’kong mapapahiram.) So hayun, mga past midnight na nabuo ang class dahil galing pa sa ibang meetings, study groups at rehearsals. Sa garden ay nili-lead ni Toni Pua (once worked at GMA News & Public Affairs) ang opening dance number. Pero wala pa ring concept, ha! Infact hindi ko alam kung may nabuo nga kaming concept. Nagbatuhan lang kami ng kung anu-anong puwedeng production numbers para pampuno sa dalawang oras.

Kinabukasan. Dadaanin na lang namin sa projek. Kahit puyat, mukhang prepared na prepared kaming humarap kay Ma’am Malou. Nu’ng sinabi niyang, “OK, start setting up,” bumaba na kami sa studio at nagpapa-panic na ginawa ang stage using whatever materials we have (ni wala kaming plano kung ano magiging hitsura ng stage!) May iba naman na lumabas ng studio para manghagilap ng mga ibang estudyanteng libre para mag-crew sa aming show na walang maayos na script. Gulatan talaga sa mga pumayag mag-direct, mag-spinner at mag-camera person!

Ang labas: lahat ng mga ayaw namin sa mga variety shows ginawa namin. Mga dance number na hindi alam ng artista ang steps, lahat ng “song” numbers lip-synched, at meron pa kaming ka-cheapang birthday celebration kunwari nu’ng isang star at may surprise pang mga friends niya na bigla na lang sisingit sa kanyang pagkanta! Mga one-hour pa lang ang nakalilipas kakapusin na kami ng hinandang numbers so on-the-spot kaming nag-iisip ng mga gag para sa joketime portion kunwari ng show. Ay! Meron pa kaming ginawang “fashion show” complete with electric fan na nakita lang namin du’n para may wind-blown effect ang mga kaklase kong rumarampa-rapa nang salit-salit suot ang mga costumes na dinala rin nila just in case kailanganin! So much for idealism! In the end, sinalba kami ng ilan taon naming panonood ng mga kabaduyang sa telebisyon na binabalak naming baguhin kuno!

Needless to say, naguluhan si Ma’am Malou sa aming produksyon. Pero we didn’t care. Nu’ng nagsesermon siya all we wanted to do was go home and sleep (lalo pa’t bumagsak na rin ang adrenaline from the performance). Ang maganda lang nasabi niya: “At least, ‘yung energy na’ndu’n.” Haha! Talagang dinaan lang sa projek!


May girlfriend pa’ko nu’ng panahong ito. That day, she traveled from UP Manila dahil meron daw siyang kailangang i-research sa Main Lib ng Diliman. Malabo na sa’kin ngayon ang usapan pero nagsulat ako ng note sa kanya sa isang poster na nakapaskil sa bulletin board ng Broad Ass saying na imi-meet ko na lang siya sa Main Lib. Sa Main Lib nakatulog pa’ko sa may steps waiting for her pero hindi rin yata kami nagkita. Umuwi na lang ako to sleep the whole day.

Kinabukasan, gabi na’ko nagkamalay. At heto ang nangyari habang tulog ako nang halos 24 oras. ‘Yung poster na sinulatan ko ng note eh para pala sa isang event ng student council ng MassComm. Nagalit ngayon ‘yung panget na girl na punong-abala sa event na’yon at nang nakita niyang “vinandalize” ko ang poster nila (na in fairness pinaskil niya sa bulletin board ng org ko nang walang paalam), sinulatan din niya ng isang galit na galit na note. I don’t know what pero alam ‘to ng mga Assers. At heto pa, nagsumbong siya sa boyfriend niyang panget pero proud na proud niyang sinasabing kamukha raw ni Romnick Sarmenta (of all celebrities to compare your supposedly guwapo boyfriend to, no!) so ang ginawa ng lalakeng ito eh tinawag ang mga katropa niya sa student council (And this guy was once a GMA Reporter, ha. Oh, shet! John-Ray Arrabe yata pangalan niya. ‘Yung girlfriend niya hindi ko maalala) at pinukpok nila ng baseball bat ang windshield ng Rav-4 ni Raz. Ka-org ko si Raz at taga-Katipunan lang siya so alam halos ng buong college kung saan siya nakatira.

By the time na nagka-ulirat na’ko nag-die-down na’yung issue at hindi rin naman masyadong nagpaapekto si Raz. Kung hindi lang ako bangag nu’n sa kangaragan ano kaya’ng gulo ang nangyari?


The Ride Home

“Buti bumisita ka.”

“Oo nga po, eh. Parang dinala lang ako ng mga paa ko rito.”

It’s almost midnight and I just came from a 20-minute bike trip from my parents’ home. Throughout the 7-kilometer ride home I was again reminded of how most of the most crucial turns in my life where serendipitous. Parang dinala lang ako ng mga paa ko sa landas na dapat kong tahakin.

Joining the UP Mountaineers which eventually led to an active lifestyle, joining the Broadcasting Association back in college which led me to a fulfilling a career and to my dearest of friends, just blurting out one gimik night that I wanted to move out to a friend who happen to know a vacant space and a week later I’m living on my own were all crucial junctions in my life that though there were some sort of pre-meditation, the actual execution just did not require thorough thought. Things just fell into place. This is probably why I could easily quell my fears and self-doubts that I’m not doing enough to pursue a most cherished ambition: because I know that I would be led to it one way or another. If not, it’s not what I’m supposed to do with my life anyway.

After several weeks na-miss ko na ang mountain bike kong pinahiram ko kay Haydee. Ewan ko, feeling ko buhay ‘yung bike ko at nagwo-worry ako na iniisip niya na inabandona ko na siya while parked in that strange house (in fairness, sa sala siya pinarada ni Haydee pero nagagalit na raw ang mom niya so lalo akong na-guilty dahil pakiramdam ng bike ko inaapi pa siya sa bago niyang tirahan). Besides, I felt I have to train despite the full training sched yesterday which left me sleepy the whole time today (nag-nap pa’ko habang nagmi-meeting ng SFiles).

Inisip ko pagkakuha ng bike pupunta akong UP at iikut-ikot lang du’n (mga 930PM na’to). Pero nanibago ako sa mountain bike since I’ve been riding my newly acquired road bike for a few weeks now. Nagpaikut-ikt na lang ako sa Santolan then nu’ng nasa Marcos Highway na’ko, instead of turning right to Ligaya, dumerederecho na’ko papunta sa bahay namin sa Marikina. Parang dinala lang ako ng mga paa ko.

Tulog na ang mga pamangkin kong sina Darryn, Dave-Dave at DJ pagdating ko. Iniwan ko na lang ‘yung pasalubong kong chocolates sa tabi nila para paggising nila akalain nilang dinalaw sila ni Santa Claus hehe. Pero nanood pa ng TV ang mommy’t daddy ko sa sala. I love it kapag nakakasama ko ang mga parents ko especially after I moved out kasi parang they ‘ve started to see me as a real adult at lalong lumalim ang mga conversations namin. My dad goes, “Buti pumunta ka…Ikaw na lang kasi ang hindi ko nasasabihan ng plano ko.” They will go back to the US in a few months. As immigrants they are given only a year to stay outside America – and for them, that expires October. “Dito komportable ako. I can write my books. I can paint. These are things that I enjoy pero tapos na’ko rito. My life has ended. Sa America may mga difficulties, may mga problema pero at least hangga’t kaya ko pa, may challenges pa.” Between the two of them, it is my mom who is more reluctant to leave his children and apos once again but as she told my dad oh-so-sweetly, “Alam mo naman ako, where you go I go.”

My dad’s in his mid-60’s, retired and fulfilled. But he just wouldn’t be “stuck in a chair infront of the TV.” He wants to go to the US where life would be tougher. He craves the challenge. Now I really wanna grow up to be like my dad!


Grasa and Another Modern-Day Parable


For years I have this joke in my head pero wala pa akong maayos na timing para ibato. It’s about jeepney drivers and their perennially dirty hands. As in ‘yung mahahabang kuko at magrasa-grasang mga kamay! Since I started taking the jeepney, hindi ko maisip kung bakit they never bother to wash their hands eh lagi kaya nilang pinapakita sa ibang tao ‘yun kapag nagbabayaran! My joke would even end with my ploy of pretending to pay para paglabas nila ng kanilang nakakarimarim na kamay, imbes na barya ang ihulog ko, iisquirtan ko ng alcogel para naman mapilitan silang maghugas ng kamay!

But I re-discovered the joy of cycling. Ang paglilinis ng bike, magbobomba ng gulong, pagpapalit ng flat, pag-aayos ng kadena ay mga bagay na nakakarumi ng kamay. As in magkakagrasa ka na ang hirap-hirap matanggal, manunuot pa sa mga kuku-kuko mo! Madalas na’kong pumasok ngayon nang marumi ang kamay. At mukhang hindi ko na ibabato ever ang aking dirty jeepney driver’s hands joke.


Kuwento ‘to ni Nana, a friend from college who is now editor of Chalk Magazine:

Even the things that I sort of regret, when I look back, turned out to be for the good.

Like this morning I was running really late. And I was hurriedly walking down the street when this coconut fell right infront of me. And I thought, thank God I was late because if I were just a few seconds earlier that coconut would have fallen on my head. Do you know people die that way? So I don’t regret anything. I just thank God for putting me where I am.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Impen Luga

The subdivision where I grew up borders a sort-of depressed area na tawag ay Daang-Bakal kasi noong unang panahon may riles daw ng tren du’n. (1978 pa kami sa Greenheights, one of the first residents there, pero hindi ko na rin naabutan ‘yung time na’yun.) Nu’ng bata kami bawal pumunta sa Daang-Bakal kasi delikado raw, maliban na lang kung bibili ng tinapay kina Kabayan (mga Batangueño sila) o kaya bibili ng kung anuman sa katapat na sari-sari nina Bulag na hindi naman bulag (at kung minsan nagiging Bingi ang tawag sa kanya, siguro dahil nakakailang “Pagbilan!” ka bago siya lumabas.) Kapag marungis kami o kaya masyadong magulo, papagalitan kami at tatawaging “parang taga-Daang-Bakal!”

Maunlad-unlad na rin ang lugar na’yon ngayon at ang dating eskinitang lusutan mula sa Greenheights papuntang Daang-Bakal ay isa nang two-lane access road from Concepcion to Parang. At hindi ko na rin nakikita si Luga.

Isa siyang batang mga a year or two younger sa’kin at hindi ko alam ang tunay niyang pangalan dahil ang mga kalaro niya ‘yun lang ang tawag sa kanya - Luga. Payat, maikli ang buhok, bungi (tulad ko during that milk teeth, pre-Julia Roberts smile period of my life), at may, hayun, may luga siya. As in merong mala-stalactite na gray substance hanging from his ear canals - mga one or two inches of solid ear wax! At hindi ‘yun natatanggal ever!

Until after so many years naglalaro ng football ‘yung mga batang taga-Daang Bakal sa Spain Avenue na malapit lang sa bahay namin (hindi na puwede ‘to ngayon kasi daanan na ng jeep ‘yung road na’yon bukod pa sa wala na yatang mga batang naglalaro sa kalye ngayon, puro computer games ang inaatupag!). Nanonood sa sidewalk si Luga. Pinagulong ng “pitcher” ‘yung bola, sinipa ng kalaban, tumalsik ang bola! Tumama kay Luga! Tanggal!!!


Sisihin si Jim Paredes

I’m watching Reporter’s Notebook. It’s about Filipino nurses in the US. The stories of a Filipina MD-turned-RN-in-America, others who came before who are now living the American Dream, and reporter Maki Pulido’s closing statement “na naghihingalo ang health care system sa bansa…pero hindi natin sila masisisi” leaves a bitter, bitter taste in the mouth.

Eh, sino pala ang sisisihin natin?!? Ang gobyerno that has failed to provide adequate jobs for them… Ang mga magulang na pumipilit sa mga anak na pumili ng kursong in-demand as opposed to their passion… Ang pamilyang handang magkawatak-watak para sa maginhawang buhay… Puwede ring ang mga dayuhang nanakop at nagtanim ng “colonial mentality…” O baka naman si Marcos na ininstitutionalize ang OCW as a stop-gap program because of the weakening economy nu’ng Martial Law.

Ang totoo, halos wala na nga tayong sinisisi, eh. Ang isang stop-gap program eh tuluyan na nating kinarir. Pinaganda pa natin ang pangalan: OFW at nu’ng height ng Flor Contemplacion national tragedy naging “Bagong Bayani.” Hindi ba tama si Randy David nang sabihin niyang “hindi dapat nating tanggapin na habambuhay na lang nating kapalarang mga Pilipino ang mangibang-bansa para guminhawa ang buhay?” Hindi ito ang permanenteng solusyon. Like a tourniquet, it may stop the bleeding but if you use it for an extended period you risk losing the limb, or worse.

The Filipino Diaspora, despite the promise of greener pastures, the dollar remittances (which allows the government to create an illusion of a robust economy), is a big problem. People choosing to leave their own country for good is a problem. ‘Yun ang bottomline. May element of choice. And yes, maraming factors that may make a person make a particular choice pero it is the person who decides the course of action. At kung ang choice na’yon contributes to the problem, siguro safe namang sisihin ‘yung gumawa ng desisyon. So mali si Maki Pulido. Puwede nating sisihin ang mga Pilipinong nurse na pinilipiling magtrabaho sa Amerika. At puwede ko ring sisihin si Jim Paredes for romanticizing this.

I used to look up to this singer-songwriter-TV host-photographer. Nakaka-inspire ang kanyang nationalism. If I’m not mistaken, siya ang kumanta sa unang lines ng “Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo,” the anthem of People Power. Sabi pa niya nu’n, sobrang tindi ng pride niya sa pagiging Pilipino after 1986 that he gave up his Green Card. He went on to write more songs that make you proud about being a Filipino. He hosted Tatak Pilipino, a landmark TV show about the beauty of the Philippine culture. But his co-host Gel Santos-Relos eventually migrated to the US. And, what do you know, Jim Paredes packs up and heads for Australia. Ginive-up nga ang Green Card, pumunta namang Land Down Under! At ni-reveal pa niya na as early as 1988 ay pinangarap na niyang manirahan sa Australia balang-araw (a mere two years from his supposed People Power high).

This guy’s passion for being Filipino used to inspire me and now… It’s like your high school basketball coach leaving your team to coach the rivals. And to add insult to injury, he dares write about all his wonderful experiences as an Australian immigrant in Newsbreak (isa pa’tong nakaka-disappoint na publication). Fine, Jim Paredes! Your children has more options there “where your being you won’t matter as much,” and that the handbag and the wallet they left in the mall and in the bus were returned to them. Fine! Ang ganda-ganda ng Australia as opposed to this bulok, thieves-riddled, third world country! But after everything you’ve said about being a proud Pinoy you dare declare that “beautiful chapters about the Filipino diaspora will be written” in your new country!?! Pucha!

Siguro nga ‘yung mga doktor na gusto lang magka-bahay-at-lupa makikitaaan pa ni Maki Pulido ng excuse para hindi masisi kung piliin nilang mag-nurse na lang sa US. Pero Ateneo-bred, Loyola Heights-residing, American Junk-singing Jim Paredes?!? Isa ka sa mga problema ng bansang ‘to! Sinisisi kita!


Bayani sa Papel

About a month ago natiyempuhan ko ang final episode ng Friends sa ETC. Right after, natiyempuhan ko naman ang final episode ng Will & Grace sa Studio 23. Para akong nasa Couch Potato Heaven!

Ngayon naman nasa Newspaper Reader’s Heaven ako kasi ang ganda-ganda ng issue nga Philippine Daily Inquirer today (04 Aug 2006/Vol. 21/No. 237)! Nasa frontpage ‘yung sagutan nina Ramos at Miriam sa isang Congressional hearing. Tapos pinagtabi pa nila ang dalawang articles on the spate of political killings – one about the CPP forming a vigilante group to hunt the perpetrators and one about PNP putting up a bounty for any information about the killings. Ang witty! May article pa about a “disaster board game” invented by a high school student, an anecdote about David Sedaris (na hindi ko naman kilala pero mukhang napaka-fascinating lalo na nu’ng mabasa ko ang blog ng aking friendster Nonie), UP winning over NU, and a little known German woman setting a new world record in the 100-m freestyle. Pati ‘yung comic strips na binabasa ko mas nakakatawa today.

But it’s the main section I’m saving for the three gems of an editorial written by Michael L. Tan, Rina Jimenez-David, and Ambeth R. Ocampo. Unlike the juxtaposed articles sa frontpage, wala naman yatang editorial hand behind the three writers talking about a common theme in their columns. Well actually hindi naman common theme; more like a common feeling of “kilabot” they elicit. Tan talked about a doctor friend (Dr. Chandu Claver), whose and person and family are the latest victims of these political killings. This reminded him of the killing of another doctor friend of his who was felled during the Marcos regime. In his deathbed, the 29-year old Dr. Bobby dela Paz, Tan recounts, gasped to his mother “Masakit…Masakit…Bakit, bakit?” I almost choked up.

Ocampo unearthed a La Independiencia interview with Gen. Antonio Luna at the height of the Philippine Revolution. It was very inspiring reading verbatim the young general’s passion for a free Philippines. Come to think of it, it is always refreshing to hear any Filipino talk passionately about his country. Nevermind if the one speaking has been gone for almost a century due to, well, politically motivated murder.

Jimenez-David’s testimonies on the latest Filipino Ramon Magsaysay Awardees, Tony Meloto of Gawad Kalinga and Inquirer co-founder Tita Eggie, are also very “nakakapangilabot.” Meloto was cited by the Asian Nobel for believing and striving for a slum-free Philippines. Tita Eggie never tires from upholding the free press as integral in nation-building. (But none of these précis actually do justice to how wonderfully written these columns are, ha, so please, please try to get a copy the PDI and read them.)

Ayun! HEROES!!! ‘Yun ang common theme ng tatlo. Ipinakita nina Mr. Tan, Mr. Ocampo at Ms Jimenez-Magsanoc that one thing going for the Philippines is that no matter how dark the period we may be in, there are always patriotic and brave heroes who will never give up on the Philippines and the Filipinos.

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