Showing posts from May, 2009

Imaginary Interview With Ninoy Aquino

Manila – Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., the greatest Filipino of the 20th century, talks to 2Rivers about the state of Philippine politics today and why democracy is still the best hope for the future. The questions are fiction but the answers are his direct quotes. Excerpts:

Q. Senator Aquino, there are those who say that what the Philippines need is a strong leader, like Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore or Mahathir of Malaysia. In this context, is democracy still relevant? 

      A. The struggle in the Philippines today is between those who have been mesmerized by the efficiency of authoritarianism and those who still hold that democracy, with all its flaws and inefficiency, is man’s best hope for betterment and progress. Man’s sense of justice makes democracy possible, man’s injustice makes it necessary.

Q. But don’t you think there is too much conflicting views in a democratic setting? 

     A. I agree that we must have public order and national discipline if the country is to move for…

Up Close And Paranormal

The essence of poetry is the sweet freedom of expression, which blesses both the giver and the receiver. Some poems are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and there are those that are totally out-of-the-box and unlabelable. But a sense of honor compels the admission that, after all is said and done, this is totally maverick and an original future cult classic – as all exquisite poetry should be. He: Hello, Dindo! Me: (surprised) Fernando? He: It’s me. Sorry, I didn’t mean to spook you; but I need to talk to you. Me: How do I know it’s really you? You could be a demon too! He: I believe in God Father Almighty – Me: Even Satan quotes the Bible! He: That’s not from the Bible! Me: Then you admit? He: Admit what, you nitwit? Me: That you’re the Devil! He: Jesus Christ! Me: Now you want to disguise! He: Will you cut it out! I’ll tell what’s it all about; Ask me anything but ask it nice! Me: Chicken, egg, which came first? He: Orgasm: The bird once, the eggs twice! But I …

Why Does The Arroyo Administration Value Money Over The Rule Of Law?

The Department of Finance's Order 17-09 is schemingly logical -- the government needs to raise funds for whatever they're planning for the 2010 elections -- but it's a perverted directive to the highest order. Order 17-090 imposes duty on impoted books. The Arroyo administration, with it's long history of insulting the intelligence of the people, now want even more money -- in violation of no less than an international treaty and local laws. No new titles has appeared lately in Philippine bookstores. There is still a significant number of Filipinos who love books, but they are thwarted by an even greater number of people who love money, and who customize the laws to gain even more. Since 1952, the Philippines has been a signatory to the Unesco Florence Agreement -- "Books, newspapers, periodicals, and many other categories of printed matter are granted duty-free entry." Order 17-09 also violates Republic Act 8047 -- The Book Publishing Industry Development Act --…

What Is It About The Presidency?

Today the ruling parties Lakas-CMD and Kampi (Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino) will officially merge in preparation for the 2010 elections, at the Manila Hotel. The move is obviously is in the pursuit of greater power, nothing less and with no limits. Which is not to say that political ambition is bad per se -- public office is a noble profession per se -- but how come people don't trust politicians anymore? Rober Langdon will enjoy today's issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The headline story says that one Lakas member, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, will bolt the party if he doesn't become the standard-bearer. He also said he is not forcing President Gloria Arroyo to anoint him. The main purpose of the coalition is to select the candidates for the administration's slate. Among their ranks, the leading contender for the presidency is Vice President Noli De Castro. One of those eyeing the vice-presidency slot is Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, as in a DeCastro-Pu…

Pax Vobiscum

Peace, such a beautiful world. A thing of beauty, though unseen, felt, by innermost soul. An idea, abstract perhaps, but like the highest peak of a mountain, it is there. To be reached by the mind, to be grasped, like a shining prize, by the heart. Peace I have known, brief moments in time, they glimmer like fireflies on a moonlit night. But to man, starved for truth, a morsel, alas, is not enough. There is more to this world, in our lives, than mammon’s lot There are to be served higher purposes – justice, truth, beauty, love, charity, hope, peace. Not the peace of the desert. There is solitude, but only wilderness. Not to commune with nature but to grapple with temptation. The battle of good and evil, we are told, is ultimately won – and lost, in the hearts of men. Not the peace of the graveyard. Hollowed ground, but surrounded by death. But death comes to all of us, The Dark Shrouded One to reap the harvest of souls. To slay, indiscriminately, whether a prince or a pauper, for, i…


“Moment by moment, our lifetime goes on; ’til one day, our somedays are gone…” Lily Tomlin, Moment By Moment Half the world is sleeping at any given moment. You wonder sometimes what people dream about. Is it about the things they love, or the things they lost We sometimes think of days past, nostalgia attributing to them a certain magic that wasn’t there before. We dream about life. We want to do everything at once. There is so much to do in life, so many ways to savor it to the fullest. But time is never enough. They say that some good things never last but can we at least suspend a single, glorious moment? Like a photograph perhaps, but can we still feel the beauty of the moment when our hairs have already turned gray? A peaceful, nearly perfect moment in one’s life is a distinction not even the king’s gold can buy. It is more precious than fame. There are certain moments when you really feel at peace with yourself and with the universe. I’ve had my share of those times when th…

Remembering Jonas Burgos

Today the United States observes National Missing Children’s Day. Every year since 1983, the 25th of May serves to remind Americans of the importance of child safety. Why don’t we have that in the Philippines? Jacob, his brother Trevor, and their friend Aaron were on their way home, guided only by a small flashlight, biking happily along a lonely country road blanketed by darkness. It was the first time Jacob and Trevor persuaded their parents to let them rent a video from Tom Thumb, a convenience store in their town of St. Joseph in Minnesota, at night. Suddenly, a large man wearing a stocking mask appeared and blocked their way – threatening them at gunpoint, demanding their ages, peering closely at their faces. “Ten,” said Trevor. “I’m 11,” said Aaron. “Eleven,” Jacob replied to the intruder. The man ordered Trevor and Aaron to run into the woods – or he will shoot. The two terrified boys ran for their life. But when they looked back, the stranger – and Jacob – had already va…

Hello Darkness (Testaments In Solitude)

“Hello, Darkness, my old friend; I’ve come to talk with you again…” Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, The Sound of Silence Darkness, old friend of mine, once again you have come. In my life, your presence has ceased to be conceptions of childhood dreams. I have come to know you, constant visitor, like a brother of a sort. Your absences, however, are not missed, to give you an honest thought. But surely, you wouldn’t keep a grudge. As borne out of human experience, you have become larger than life. In my moments of grief, you have remained beside me, like a sentinel. Many times I’ve tried to banish you, like some do to a dirty old beggar. My dream is for your exile in a far-away land, never to return. I’ve tried to deny you, like Simon before the dawn. But still, your load bears heavily in my mind, like a gypsy wagon in the back of an old stallion. Like a restless ghost you haunt me, to cover my days in gloom, like a blanket over a sleeping child. Sometimes, you engulf me in despair, lik…

First Confirmed A(H1N1) Case in RP Already Contained

Manila – the 10-year old Filipino girl who is the first confirmed case of A(H1N1) in the Philippines is now under self-quarantine in her home, according to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. The girl has traveled to the United States and Canada. She returned to the country on May 18 on a Korean Air flight from the U.S. via Seoul with her mother. The next day, she began complaining of fever, cough and sore throat. Her swab throat samples were examined and confirmed for A(H1N1) by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine. Her mother tested negative. “The patient is now recovering well,” DOH Undersecretary Mario Villaverde told Manila Standard Today. “She no longer has fever and cough but still has sore throat.” The DOH is set to send a team to the girl’s house for a “More thorough assessment of the household contacts,” said Villaverde. In a related development, the World Health Organization is now hesitant to issue a pandemic alert. The WHO “was caught Thrursday between the…

Erap Grieves For "Hello Garci!" Star Witness Samuel Ong

Manila – “I admired his courage and love for the truth. Had it not been for him, the people will never know the cheatings in the 2004 presidential elections.” Thus said former President Joseph Estrada in an interview with the Philippine Star upon the death of Samuel Ong, the former deputy director of the National Bureau of Investigation who exposed the tapes of the phone negotiations between President Gloria Arroyo and Virgilio Garcillano, then a Commission of Elections official, during the canvassing of votes for the 2004 presidential elections. “He was a brave and courageous man whom we should consider a hero because he fought for the truth and for justice for the Filipino people who were deprived of their chosen President,” said Estrada. Ong died of cardiac arrest while in the Intensive Care Unit of the Chinese General Hospital for terminal lung cancer. Estrada had visited him 15 minutes before death. “There is one thing clear in the present administration,” said Estrada. “If y…

Hayden Kho Breaks Breaks Silence Over Sex Video Scandal

Manila – Controversial medical physician Hayden Kho has issued a public apology and assumed responsibility for the videos of his sexual liaisons with different women, including actress Katrina Halili. But he also revealed that the videos were stolen from him, and he categorically stated that he did not upload them on the video-sharing site Once on the Internet, however, it was only a matter of hours before they were pirated on DVDs and sold on Quiapo and in sidewalks nationwide. It is now the national obsession in the Philippines, prompting statements even from politicians. Sen. Bong Revilla, an actor, gave a privilege speech in the Senate floor three days ago condemning Kho. “I deeply regret everything that has happened because of poor judgment,” said Kho. “Right now, I only feel deep remorse. I know it’s too much to ask forgiveness right now – someday people would learn to condemn the sin and not the sinner.” Kho, 29, first gained public attention for his May-Decem…

Since The World Began

We are told that everything happens for a reason. Even a falling leaf from a tree in the next field has a reason. Suffering can make a man stronger or bitter, it depends upon him. His character is his destiny. All of us have a reason for being. Sages of all ages have contemplated our true identities and the existence of God. Some questions that probe into the deepest recesses of our psyche: Who am I, we ask ourselves. To the philosophers and poets, we are the sun, the stars, the earth, the wind, the wind. We are everything yet we are nothing. We are the father, the son, the lover, the friend. We are everyone yet we are no one. Are we the sparks from an infinite light? Creations of a Supreme Being with our own freewill? Or are like puppets manipulated by strings, like mortals of Greek myth? Do we have freewill? Is a man the real captain of his soul, the real master of his fate, as it were? To write this piece in a solitary act of freewill. A conscious, deliberate decision. A random …

What Matters Most

“It’s not how long we held each other’s hand, what matters is how sweet the years together…” Kenny Rankin, What Matters Most Our lives have always been intertwined, like the vines in a forest, touching each other, for better, for worse, but always in consonance with the mysterious cadence of infinity. We learn to love, we need to love. Somewhere along the way we meet fulfillment and happiness. But sometimes also, we meet loneliness and despair. But to have loved and lost, is to be human, to be of humanity. Nothing could be of a more noble life. For it is through the subjugation of our frailties, when we set aside and rise to prove worthy of the elixir of life, the bittersweet taste of pure love, that we become blessed. And having been blessed, we find peace. To love is to be holy, for love is the most sacred feeling, for love, ultimately, is God. Love’s sting can cause the most excruciating pain, but love’s kiss is the sweetest pleasure, like the purest nectar from a thousand flower…


In his book Trial And Error, Teodoro M. Locsin underscores the constancy of an author’s work as compared to memory. Writing is an ode to posterity, and calls to mind the three philosophical cornerstones of immortality: planting a tree, siring a child and writing a book. For the next six days, let me share with you some reflections kept throughout the years, conceptions of a passionate youth, landmarks along a contemplative pilgrimage. Man, we are told, is a rational animal. The possession of an intellect raises him from the ranks of beasts. Thus, man has dominion over the earth. He lives for higher purposes, not merely to exist, like animals, programmed only to obey instincts. Man lives, and dreams. But does a sparrow dream too? Shirley Jackson, in The Haunting Of Hill House, says that “No live organism can continue to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality, that larks and katydids are supposed by some, to dream.” Let us suppose that the creatures of the animal kingdom d…

The Great Pinoy Magical Mystery Tour (To The Tune of Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire")

I Cory Susan World Youth Day Erap Chino GMA SONA APEC Walter Campbell Joker Jojo Joma Sanchez SINAG Gordon Angie Vilma Enrile Biazon Narco Leah PIATCO Villa Nani Lim Monsod II Bossi Barbers Miss Saigon DOJ Contemplacion Django Da King Inday Nida Reyster El Shaddai People Power Ang See Imelda ATOM Butz Ping Iloilo Eldon Garci Bayan Muna Jonas III Jovy Sotto Saguisag Dacer Expo St. Bernard Roque Villar Compañero Carpio Yorac JoeCon Esperon Janjalani Alston Danny Lim Tulfos Brocka Rona CARP IV Punongbayan Danding Bernas Bata Nick Joaquin Baby Hyatt Robin Ang Al-Ghozi Spratlys Rico Yan Deathrow MILF Ambubuyog IMF Impeachment Case Toxic Wastes Tolentino BF V Laurel Clark Doña Paz Keithley Maceda Black and White Subic Tsong Ducat Behest loans ULTRA Randy VAT Lebanon Ethanol Cullen Onyok Venable Jarque Ormoc Megadike Clarissa O Panlilio Mike VI Bro. Eddie H-World Grace Orly “Magnifico” DelaCruz DeCastro AirPhil Asi Agoo G2 NAIA3 Gringo Nayan Amari Gudani Flavier Roco Burnhams Pi…

The Girl From Avenida

Tonight I can’t ride my car because it’s Wednesday. But if it’s either Tuesday or Thursday, it still won’t make a difference, Because I don’t have a car. I was waiting for a jeepney ride; I felt cold like Love’s suicide. Everything dies: the plants, the trees Sometimes even the memories. You know it’s sad but true That sometimes even Love dies too. A young woman approached me. “Short time, pogi?” she asked. “I want to,” I told her, “but I don’t have any money.” That was a lie of course: I still have seven pesos and fifty centavos. This girl’s a dead ringer of Anne Curtis, Bob Hoskins and Phil Collins. She touched my shoulder: A part of me understood. She looked into my eyes: My hairs now all stood. I had goosebumps under my arms On my balbon chest And all over my Zanjoe Marudo body. I was shivering with all my might – first with pleasure then with fright. And she said, “He looked just like you.” Maintaining my dignity, I asked, “Who?” “Bernardo Carpio,” she said wistfully. “my hoodlum…

Forever Jung: A Study Of Jungian Pyschology In Pinoy Pop Culture

In 1913, a young psychologist had vision of a “monstrous flood” that had overwhelmed half of Europe, with the waves bashing his country’s Swiss Alps. Millions of people were swept away – than the rampaging waters were transformed into a gigantic river of blood. The young man was frightened for his sanity, but the nightmares continued, bringing more images of death and desolation in its wake. 
The August of the same year, however, signaled the advent of the first World War. And the young man, Carl Jung, instinctively felt a primordial link between man and mankind, that somehow, there exists a connection between one and everyone. It was then that he dedicated his life in finding it. 
Painstakingly, he recorded his dreams, visions, even his fantasies. Later on, he even made drawings, paintings and sculptures. He then discovered that his experiences had a tendency to assume human shapes: an old man, a little girl, a brownish dwarf. Jung felt he was in the frontiers of an uncharted region of…

Why Gloria Arroyo's Cha-Cha Could Be The Worst Thing To Happen To Our Country

This piece was originally written as a Letter to the Editor that appeared in the Manila Times [December 2006] and BusinessMirror [January 2007]. Unfortunately, it is still relevant. Some Filipino politicians are magicians. They use hocus-pocus on their elections and abracadabra on their term limits. Their oath to protect the Constitution is an illusion. The proponents of parliamentarism use misdirection, sleights-of-hand and nebulous chants like “Gridlock.” But there are also 6 concrete reasons why they should stop their tricks. 1. The problem is the people and not the system. Character has nothing to do with the form of government: a good citizen will assume responsibility for his actions whether he’s under a President, Prime Minister or Chancellor; a greedy politician will steal whether they call him Congressman, Assemblyman or MP. The best deterrent against abuse is responsible oversight with punitive sanctions .Another crucial factor is our cultural habit of contaminating on-pap…

Why Children Should Learn To Love Books

Literature is a world in itself As William Lyon Phelps wrote in his essay Owning Books, “You can at any moment converse with Socrates or Shakespeare or Carlyle or Dumas or Dickens or Shaw or Barrie or Galsworthy.” Although he made it clear that no company can really compare with live human beings, he points out that serious reading offers a perspective that shows men at their finest. “There is no doubt that in these books you see men at their best. They wrote for you…You are necessary to them as an audience is to an actor.” The development of reading as a habit elevates a man. He has a priceless advantage, like having a compass in the middle of a stormy sea. A young child nurtured by Dr. Seuss and Enid Blyton inevitably discovers the Hardy Boys and Huckleberry Finn. Time moves like an eagle atop mist-capped mountains, and one day, that child will find himself unhesitatingly plunging headlong into law jurisprudence or medical encyclopedias or volumes of engineering marvels, not unli…

What Are We Filipinos Like?

Manila – We Filipinos are famous for being hospitable. Sadly, we are also major-league nitpickers so “hospitality” can sometimes mean “spit” and “hostility.” The Philippines, Pearl of the Orient Seas, a gathering of 7,107 fiesta island (when it’s low tide) – the nation symbolized by the Three Stars and The Sun – is…strange. The Jemaah Islamiyah terrorists in Indonesia want to live in Mindanao. The people of Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon want to live in Manila. And the people of Manila want to live in America. We Filipinos have no racial discrimination. But there are those of us who, when we see white (Caucasians), we see green ($$$!). But then again, some of us are really color-blind, like that fellow who painted the National Museum a ghastly yellow. We Filipinos say, “We would rather die than become a U.S. colony!” Americans say, “And who on earth told you we want you, hmm?” We Filipinos love music. We express ourselves by singing, so much so that “Birthday parties” now mea…

Are You Willing To Be Possessed By An Inter-Dimensional Entity?

There was a time when Ruth Montgomery seemed the epitome of skepticism. She was an award-winning journalist – a syndicated political columnist and foreign correspondent; even having been elected president of the women’s National Press Club in the United States. “But a good reporter,” as she once told the audience in one of her consciousness-raising and life-changing talks, “must also have an open mind, and little by little, through my extensive investigations, I finally became convinced of the validity of the communication between the living and the so-called dead, who have simply moved on into a different vibratory level of eternal life.” These profound words came from one of the most celebrated telepaths of the 20th century, sort of like a female version of Prof. Charles Xavier in X-Men, and the incredible story of her life and transformation finally saw print in Ruth Montgomery: Herald of the New Age, written by Montgomery herself along with Joanne Garland. It is subtitled “The s…

Can You Be The Best In Your Field?

Lance Armstrong, instead of resting on his laurels, is maximizing his historic 7 Tour de France championships to raise funds for cancer research by leading the tour Down Under in Australia in Jan. 2009. A professional is measured by the results he delivers. Having an emotional commitment to superior performance is one of the ways to “power your reputation and career along the road to success,” says Tom Peters, co-author of the classic In Search of Excellence -- which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Here are the others. Remind others about your strong points. The trick is to highlight your track record with self-aggrandizement. This was how Barack Obama won over Hillary. “Done subtly, self-promotion is a potent tool,” says Peters. Share the credits. Secure people don’t hog the limelight. That’s why filmmaker DJ Caruso was telling the media how proud he was of Shia La Beouf’s success when they reunited in Eagle Eyes after Disturbia. “Giving credit costs you nothing and…

My Favorite Stephen King Novel

Somebody once said that nothing is original under the sun. I think it was Mark Twain and he probably got the idea from somebody else.

In novels, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is the inspiration for Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot – he said so himself – but that’s where the comparisons end.

The Master of the Macabre infuses new blood (pardon the pun) into the vampire genre. It all started with the morbid dinner-table question: If vampires infest a small town in the middle of nowhere, would the authorities find them?

The answer is apparently a chilling "No!" as vampires invade the town of Jerusalem’s Lot before the citizens even knew what hit them.

Stephen King is not the greatest literary phenomenon in the 20th century for nothing. Salem’s Lot is a feast of vampires – both literal and allegorical. Evil comes from without and within.

One of the most thought-provoking scenes is the battle between the vampire and the priest. Father Callahan was defeated and the vampire told him why – becaus…

Be A Happy Filipino and Win 200,000 Pesos

Manila – The search is on for “The most cheerful and optimistic Filipino who has remarkably exhibited resilience amid life’s challenges.” Cebuana Llhuillier Insurance Solutions is giving away PhP200,000 ($4,000+) for the grand prize winner of the nationwide Search For The Happiest Pinoy in the country, and PhP25,000 ($500+) for four other finalists each, and that’s no joke. A contestant should be a Filipino resident but he cannot nominate himself. He (or his/her nominator) should also show how the contestant “positively impact the lives around him,” says Philippe J. Llhuillier, Philippine Ambassador To Italy and chairman of the Llhuillier Group. There is no age limit but the contestant should be at least 18. Winners will be announced in October.