August 11-17

A law student named Marc Andrei Marcos (below, right) died from hazing a few weeks ago. His entire body has become a swollen, bluish pulp, left for dead by his fraternity brothers. Another law student, Marvin Reglos (below, left), also died from hazing just a few months earlier. You would think this country has learned something from that tragedy. I understand the idea of initiation ceremonies, and I respect it when I think of coming-of-age rites, when a boy becomes a man, among African and Native American tribes. I value brotherhood, but I can't grasp the logic of deliberately inflicting pain on others just so they can belong in a group. We've all heard stories about betrayals among relatives and best friends, so even a deep emotional bond can't guarantee absolute loyalty. How far can you trust a friend when the only thing you have in common is that you both nearly died from torture from the hands of power-trippers who command you to call them Masters?

The Philippines is virtually being kept economically afloat by the remittances of overseas Filipino workers from around the world. Still, we are inundated with news of OFWs being maltreated, or worse, murdered. Here's my first SMS to March 11 episode of Ibayong Pinoy, read by MaricelHalili: “Can the Philippine government run after foreign employers who abuse OFWs and violate labor laws? What legal protection does OFWs have?” They said they will discuss it in detail in a future episode where they'll invite resource persons. The government has come out with another stupid idea: closing embassies for cost cutting. Say goodbye to the embassies in Helsinki, Budapest, Dublin, Palau, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Saipan, Rumania, Venezuela, Sweden, and that's just the first batch. Here's my second SMS, read by immigration lawyer Mike Templo: “If the government wants to cut costs, the answer is to stop congressional pork barrel. Closing embassies is tantamount to a death sentence for OFWs.”

The late President Corazon Aquino is one of the most revered leaders in history, and the role she played is probably the most triumphant affirmation of faith and democracy in the annals of mankind. The following ode, Why The World Needs Cory Aquino, is a celebration of  Cory, Ninoy, Cardinal Sin, People Power -- and the Filipino people. 

Leadership and nationalism go hand in hand, Leadership is the art of making things happen by  bringing out the best in people. Nationalism is the love and fidelity to one's native land. President Manuel L. Quezon embodied these two great qualities to the hilt. It is all too fitting that President Quezon be introduced to today's generation. This special essay, 14 Leadeship Lessons from Manuel L.Quezon, is that introduction

It's funny and strange how people grow on you, even if they're TV characters. For about a month around June 2012, I got to follow the GMA-7 soap Luna Blanca, when Luna was still Jillian Ward and Blanca was still Mona Louise Rey. The love and sacrifices of their mother, Rowena (Camille Pratts), and their loyalty to each other, was heartwarming. They've been through hell. Luna was taken away and adopted by Boots Anson Roa, but she was framed by Divine (Chynna Ortaleza) for stealing and was banished. Rowena walks with crutches, and Luna is the butt of insults because of her coal-black skin. But they never once complained about being hungry, being homeless, and about how life can be so excruciatingly unfair. I want to believe that such transcendent characters exist in real life. Mother and daughters were reunited, finding themselves as scavengers in the cruel city's dump. Then one stormy night, an avalance buried Luna under a mountain of garbage

Photo credits: FlyInStyleDaily,blogspot (Cory); (Quezon); PaulJavierto.wordpress (Marc Andrei); showbizNest.blogspot (Marvin); (No to frat violence); AngBagongPilipino.wordpress (closure); (Luna); (raining)