July 7-13

Sociologists invariably look at the show business of a particular country because it best determines the level of sophistication of its culture. Here in the Philippines, show business is a way of life for the average Filipino -- even if most of us never appear on the limelight, those who do have become part of our lives. This explains why we tend to call celebrities by their first-names even if they are complete strangers. There are, of course, certain celebrities who have defied time by the longevity and stability of their career. Who first comes to mind but Dolphy? The one and only King of Comedy in the Philippines, he is definitely a pillar, an institution, not only in Philippine show business, but also in Philippine popular culture as a whole. Why I Love Dolphy, my special feature, pays grand tribute to this iconic living legend. The title explains it all but can never really approximate the full significance of the contributions of this simple man at heart

If a body is fished out of the river, it has drowned and no need for an autopsy; suspected thieves are mauled by the police and thrown in the dungeon (Sounds like the Philippines). This was justice in 1799. Maverick New York Constable Ichabod Crane, way ahead of his time, challenged the status quo. He was punished by being tasked to investigate the creepy murders in Sleepy Hollow. A headless horseman was beheading people in the Dutch farming town! My favorite scene is when Johnny Depp was pacing his room, racking his brains, and jotting down key words like "conspiracy" with a great flourish. My favorite line is "Bible black tyrant, hiding in a mask of righteousness." This came from the nightmares of Crane's past. His mother, suspected of witchcraft, had been tortured and murdered - by his own father

Pastor Chuck Swindoll is part of my life. I listen to him every night (Insight For Living, weeknights, 8:30pm, Philippine time, 702 DZAS) Of all his stories, let me share my favorite, which I heard on April 16. (During that time, I was so blue I look a Smurf; it was comforting to know I could still laugh) In a Christian church, there was a busybody meddler named Mildred. She pokes at other people's lives, and everybody was afraid to stand up to her Then came George, a new member and a man of few words In front of other people, Mildred called him an alcoholic because she saw his pick-up truck in front of a bar George, to avoid a confrontation, turned his back and walked away That night, George drove his pick-up truck in front of Mildred's house Then he took the keys and walked back home, whistling

FBI Agent Fox Mulder has distinguished himself with his uncanny behavioral profilings, so was pretty much left alone to run the secret department for unexplained phenomena known as X-Files. Agent Dana Scully is supposed to debunk it. Their first case together was the unexplained death of kids in Colorado, all from the same high school class. When Mulder was a boy, his sister dissappeared in a brilliant flash of light. Vanished. Literally. No trace. He knows she's been abducted by aliens, and my favorite scene was his impassioned speech to Scully that their investigation is nearest he had ever come to proving it. Why, he asked in their first meeting, do we refuse to think beyond logic and science even when they both fail to give us the answer? Scully was a skeptic, but when she tested the alien implant, her certainty was shaken. It was made from no known material on earth

You know everybody’s talking about the end of days, right? Doomsday will come on December 2012, as some say. Before that, the end of the world was scheduled last July 1999. And even before that, there have been more a dozen predictions and prognostications; obviously they were false alarms, but here’s the clincher – they all have some basis one way or another. The lesson is this: people believe what they want to believe for their own reasons. This is the essence of my latest poem, A Child Of A Lesser God, the nearest thing that Philippine literature has in answer to the Asian movie classic Himala. It is based on a true story, which happened on the Texas-Mexico border, and it speaks in a language that is universal, making each and every one of one living witnesses and participants

A Child of A Lesser God

(Based On A True Story)

By Jonathan Aquino

It started as a revered spot,

This shrine, a piece of ground

Cradling the mementos

Of a young life

Taken away as if in a blink of eye;

She, an innocent child of eight,


Her body swept away

Vanished without a trace;

Those she cherished most,

Her family and friends,

Bore the unbearable pain,

Questioning the mysteries of Fate

Of why one

With no reason to die,


And disappeared;

Beside the River Pieta

They gathered in mourning

Vowing to one another

That they’ll never forget her,

The memories shall live on,

Always, if not forever;

Not long after,

A boy was cured,

Regaining his health

After a prayer for her

intercession, and soon,

The miracles spread,

Far and wide,

And her saintliness

Became known throughout the land;

The shrine became a grotto,

The quest of spiritual pilgrims,

The refuge of the sick and dying;

They all came

And were healed;

An old widower named Facundo

Was delivered from the evil

Of the claws of a malignant tumor

On his lungs, which had grown

Decades after he stopped smoking,

A reprieve perhaps, of good karma

Because he, a long time ago

Saved a little girl

floating half-dead in the river,

the memories from her past

banished from her life

and raised her as the daughter

he never had.