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Showing posts from September, 2009

2 Lessons -- One Is Obvious But The Other Is Glorious -- From Typhoon Ondoy

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I cheered when a radio commentator, during the rescue operations for the victims of typhoon Ondoy, boomed: “Let’s set aside politics for the moment! Let’s forget about blame and just focus on how we can help. But, ah, when this is over, I already know the people I’m going to curse!” During the initial damage control assessment, the National Disaster Coordinating Agency, under the Department of National Defense, was forced to admit they had only 14 rubber boats nationwide. The prospects, if not the situation, improved when Greenpeace and the United States Navy stepped in to help.
Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross, naturally, was on top of the situation already – way ahead of the government – the de facto point man for emergencies. Gosh darn it, this man should be President!
That’s the first lesson from Ondoy – the Philippine government is not equipped for disaster management, not to mention search and rescue operations. I will not go into that but he…

Angel Locsin: "Darna" Rescues Ondoy Typhoon Victims

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Angel Locsin is at the peak of her showbiz career – she’s now one of the most celebrated actresses and celebrity endorsers of her generation. She once played Darna, the Pinoy version of a flying Wonder Woman created by the iconic Mars Ravelo. But what some don’t know – but they most emphatically should – is: Angel has initiated her own private rescue mission for victims of Ondoy. Her secret service was exposed when her studio, ABS-CBN, brought relief goods to where she was distributing her own, in Provident village in Marikina City That’s the thing about true stars – they shine brilliantly even away from the limelight.Video. Photo

Judy Ann Santos: From Blockbuster Queen To Real-Life Heroine

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Award-winning actress Judy Ann Santos and her husband, actor TV host Ryan Agoncillo, braved the onslaught of typhoon Ondoy to personally rescue Gladys Reyes, an equally highly acclaimed actress, who was trapped with her family on the roof of their house in Pasig City; her husband, actor Christopher Roxas, was abroad. This rescue was carried out without the knowledge of reporters nor the presence of cameras. But an even more amazing thing is that Juday and Ryan actually returned to the scene to lend aid to Gladys’ neighbors.Judy Ann and Gladys rose to fame together as children in their early 90’s soap opera “Mara Clara.” Juday is the star of Ploning, an independent movie shortlisted for an Oscar Best Foreign Film, while Ryan is the host of “Pinoy Fear Factor.” In their current sitcom, “George & Cecil,” they play characters very close to their hearts – a newly wed couple. I’ve been hearing consistent reports that Gladys is a real beautiful soul in person though she’s typecasted as a…

Face To Face With A Freak Storm and Flashfloods: What's It Like

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You get used to a lot of strange things when you live in the Philippines, like election frauds in showbiz awards. But nothing prepared anybody for typhoon Ondoy, a.k.a. Ketsana. On the morning of September 26, I woke up and found my room already half-submerged in muddy water; the whole dorm, the compound, even the street outside, were sinking. This was at the heart of the University Belt in Manila, mind you. I thought it would recede in a couple of hours – which is normal here. I was wrong. Meanwhile I had to go out and eat anyway, so I waded to the nearest restaurant, then went to Morayta to pass the time in an Internet café. But I couldn’t even cross Recto. Things got worse – quickly. The whole city is flooded with poisoned liquid, which was actually raging like a malignant river. Hundreds are stranded; some, like me, refused to be. I was slogging happily, like Gene Kelly in Singin’ In The Rain, but without the umbrella, much less the dance moves. But that was peanuts to what happen…

Is Moammar Ghadafi -- The "King of Kings" -- Insane?

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United Nations – This is a tale of two maiden speeches at the General Assembly. If the leader of the United States “re-engaged the United Nations,” then the leader of Libya disengaged from reality. Moammar Ghadafi, with a mind-bending intro as the “Leader of the Revolution, the President of the African Union, the King of Kings in Africa,” took the podium and made even Ahmadinejad sound normal.The Great Ghadafi Extravaganza ran for 90 minutes, just a wee past his allotted 15, and “took about 17 minutes to get to the main point of his speech, which was a demand for an African seat on the Security Council,” says the New York Times.But that’s pedestrian. His other ideas are a lot more colorful:Move the U.N. headquarters to LibyaEstablish an autonomous emirate for the TalibanSwine flue is a lab-cooked WMDRe-open the assassination cases of JFK and Martin Luther KingIsrael and the Palestinian territories should merge as a single state – “Isratine” Video. Photo

My Favorite Patrick Swayze Movie

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I think I saw an old movie where a young Patrick Swayze was shaving Rob Lowe’s pubic hair, but the first Swayze film I really really liked was Road House, where he plays a beer joint bouncer highly trained in the mystic martial arts of the Orient. I love Ghost – who can forget the death-defying love story of Sam and Molly – and I would always associate Unchained Melody with She’s Like The Wind. My favorite Swayze film, to get to the point, is Point Break, where his Zen surfer and thrill-seeking extreme gamer and bank robber is a superb foil to Keannu Reeve’s undercover FBI agent. I am confident this film will be re-discovered as an overlooked cinematic gem: an original, pulse-pounding edge-of-your-seat action movie – the perfect popcorn fare for thinking audiences.Trailer. Photo

Dr. Hannibal The Cannibal Cordially Invites You For Dinner ... RSVP ...

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The power of literature is such that it can change the course of history, like the novels Noli Me Tangere and Uncle Tom’s Cabin. There is an indefinable something in books that even their authors couldn’t have created. I learned this firsthand when I read Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs. It was spooky, sinister and thoroughly enjoyable at the same time.The plot alone will perk all your senses: a young woman is tasked to obtain information about a serial killer from the most intelligent and brilliantly incisive sociopath that ever lived.Here are the dramatis personae:Clarice Starling is an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but she’s young and inexperienced. Buffalo Bill abducts women, and he kills them and takes their skins. Dr. Hannibal Lecter is a psychiatrist with an intelligence that is immeasurable by any standards known to man, but he eats flesh – hence the media-dubbed “Hannibal the Cannibal” – and he’s confined in the maximum security prison for the criminal…

Pax Vobiscum (Special Reprint Feature)

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Today is the International Day of Peace. Allow me to share with you one of my few surviving essays from my teenage years. Shalom. 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…

What I Admire Most About Francis Magalona

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FrancisMagalona is one of the most significant figures in Philippine pop culture, and it is only fitting that his fans pay tribute to the Master Rapper. I am one of them, but as a professional writer and blogger, whose works have appeared here, abroad and online, it behooves me to craft an article that will forever remain timeless. This new special feature is that article of enduring value

What I Admire Most About FrancisMagalona By Jonathan Aquino
I believe in freedom of expression and individual will. But at the same time, I have always believed that influence is a responsibility. It is right to use your influence for a higher purpose, and it is wrong to do the opposite – it is as simple as that, and the essence of simplicity is truth.

Francis Magalona, the Father of Philippine Rap – first, greatest, forever unequaled – was also one of the best songwriters in the history of local music. This is no exaggeration and it is patently obvious: most of his songs are already certified…

Oh My God, Look Who's Behind Noynoy!

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--> The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, the governing body of the Catholic Church in the country, does not, as a rule, officially endorse candidates for political office. It would so … secular. The entry of Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to the 2010 presidential elections might change that – unofficially of course. In interviews on the Church-run station Radio Veritas reported in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez said Aquino should be measured by his “uprightness, competence and platform.” Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco said, “What's important for Senator Aquino is to get a good circle of advisers. His openness is necessary but firmness should be exercised.” Borongan (Samar) Bishop Crispian Varquez said, “He has integrity. He should be firm and make a difference.” Pampanga Auxiliary Bishop Ambo David was less guarded – and thus more honest: “I feel we are seeing at work God's plan for our country which is greater than the…

Whose Side Are You On, Ping?

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All of us know open secrets – things you know are true but can’t personally prove like, say, those abducted aliens at Roswell. Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, in a controversial and highly-publicized Senate privilege speech yesterday, eloquently and mercilessly lambasted his political mentor former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada. Ping said Erap was involved, in varying degrees of participation, in smuggling and illegal gambling – on top of which he was the alleged mastermind of the double murders of publicist Bubby Dacer and his driver Manny Corbito. These are open secrets in the Philippines, but they also includes Ping’s role as Erap’s right hand man, first as task force head and then chief of police. If Pings proves them, although he has yet to show proof, then he can go to jail for being an accessory … unless he enter the Witness Protection Program … which, by the way, is controlled by another party he has repeatedly exposed and slammed in the past – the Arroyo regime. Can you say …

Have You Seen The Miracle Called "Life"?

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I am not a religious person, but I make it a point to lead a true Christian’s life as much as I can. I may be cynical about a lot of things, but I still believe that life is a miracle in itself. And in this world of contradictions, I think this is a good place to start. I was googling Madonna’s I’ll Remember, one of my favorite songs and the theme from the Brendan Fraser movie With Honors – then I came across this beautiful video. Have you seen a sperm actually penetrate an egg cell? Have you witnessed the glory of birth? You will love this video, not to mention the song.VIDEO

What If You Can"t Read?

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Today is the day after International Literacy Day. Yeah, I know, I should have posted this yesterday, but I was down with the flu after being submerged in freaking floodwater in Caloocan City, so please, give me a break.Let us stop and think for a moment. Have you ever thought – really, deeply contemplated – just how lucky you are because you can, of all things, read? Some books and magazine articles have become indelible part of our lives, stamped in our hearts and woven into our souls. Just like songs in Bread’s The Guitar Man, “You find yourself some message and some words to call your own and take them home…” Folks who can’t read nor write – like Robert De Niro’s character in Stanley & Iris – are trapped in the dark, and while the journey may not be as easy as ABC, the first step to the light is our understanding, and a helping hand, in our own way, one word at a time.TRAILER OF “STANLEY & IRIS”

Noynoy Aquino Challenges Gloria Arroyo

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If there’s one public official in Philippine politics today who wouldn’t dare tarnish his name, it’s Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III – the only son and firstborn child of Ninoy and Cory. Noynoy is now a symbol that there’s still hope for the country. Some say he’s not experienced, not in sex because he’s bachelor, but in politics. That’s exactly what they said about his mom – but the late great President Cory Aquino became the one of the revered world leaders in history. Why? To begin with, she was invulnerable to greed, which cannot be said under the present administration, which he rightfully slammed. If elections are held today, Noynoy would win, unless Malacañang rig the votes (Video.Photo. Link)

Matrix Downloaded: How To Delete Technophobia

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A ten year study by Dell Computer Corp. found that fear of technology was the 'in' thing in the 90s. According to an MCI-Gallup survey, nearly half of the white-collar respondents were “cyberphobic.”But that's copping out. If you want to study computers, no one's stopping you. Uncomfortable? You're uncomfortable around giant spiders too so that shouldn’t be a big deal. Remember the rubber shoes ad and forget grammar: “Impossible Is Nothing!”Ask for help. If you can admit you don't know everything, it means you're emotionally secure. It's a sign of wisdom. And getting answers to your questions makes you smarted than you were a minute ago. You may or may not know (or care) that my corny know-how is a combination of tips, trial, error and bugging shop crews (“Miss, I want to attach – photos I mean!”).Sometimes, the best person to learn from may not be the most knowledgeable,” says Kris Jamsa, author of Welcome To Personal Computers. Once, I was in an Inter…

Rasputin

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I remember the peasant I hypnotizedand submerged in the River Neva ice;but I don’t remember the feelingas I watched his silent screamwhile I drank some vodkalaced with fresh blood,a delicious red floodof TypeAB from some bloody commie.After that, I once again mesmerizedThat uto-uto Romanov to re-appoint me;for I believe I amthe one they call Genghis Khan.When I meet German spies I wear a mask,like all men do; a silky shawl my cape,’coz I’m Caligula too.Like Machiavelli, I have nothing to hide:If I manipulate the Powers-That-Beor sanction extra-judicial genocide,it’s because God told me to;I was destined to be a political appointeebecause it is my mission to save humanity.But they, Felix Yusupov and my other critics,or should I say, “Terrorists!” never visited,so I’ll send out my assassins instead;a peace gesture even Nero can do,as long as he remains trueto himself, though perceived to be demented,never to be corrupted,by the insane who pretend to benormal people like you and me.(Phot…