Saturday, August 31, 2013

Insights From Francis J. Kong

August 31 - September 6

Oscar Obligacion 
Francis J. Kong 
The Aladdin Factor

Oscar Obligacion is a big star in the post-War vaudeville era. I got this from Romy Protacio's Balik Tanaw: The Filipino Movie Stars of Yesteryears while looking for Lou Salvador Jr. I get stirrings from old photographs and bygone times. 

Oscar and the great soprano Sylvia La Torre are the stars of Oras Ng Ligaya (The Hour of Happiness), a popular radio show in 1960 aired in DZRH, where I would write radio scripts half a century later in 2012. In 1961, Oscar and Sylvia got their own TV show, Tuloy Ang Ligaya (Happiness Goes On), with Chichay, Vic Pacia and Chris De Vera. 

I remember Sylvia La Torre in one of my favorite sitcoms when I was a kid in the 80s: Joey & Son, with Joey De Leon and Ian Veneracion, . 

Oscar's first movie is Tacio, directed by Bert Avellana, with Perla Bautista as the leading lady. Tacio is also part of my childhood memories: the big-toothed barber from a People's Journal comic strip, but I'm not sure if it's the same guy. 

Oscar is part of the successful Apat film series, like Apat Na Takas (Four Fugitives) and Apat Na Kabalyero (Four Horsemen), with Pepe Pimentel, Pablo Virtuoso and Dencio Padilla. Always there to support there movies are their friends Aruray, Hector Reyes, Teroy de Guzman and Lito Anzures. 

"Thanks for the memories, Oscar," writes Protacio. "You will always be in the hearts of many Filipinos who were blessed to receive the gift of laughter that you so generously gave."

Francis J. Kong, the top motivation guru in the Philippines, is my favorite columnist. 

Honestly though, I seldom buy newspapers. But when I get a copy of The Philippine Star, I go straight to his "Business Matters." 

I always find ideas that I can use for my own empowerment. He's not one of those social climbers with their prostituted PR crap. 

I'd get to tune in from time to time to his podcasts on a high-end FM station when I was in Metro Manila last year; I forgot if it was Crossover or Master's Touch. I'm glad I chanced upon him again on 98.7 FR around May 2013 here in Cebu. 

Words have power, I heard him say. So if you can communicate effectively, in speaking and in writing, think of "how much you will accomplish." 

We take life too seriously, so "Lighten up" because, so far, no one has yet "gotten out alive."

Success is the profit of your investments of time and effort to have a better life. I got that from his inspirational volume Being The Best You Can Ever Be, published in 2001 by Success Options Inc. 

"How about?" he asks. "Are you learning? Are you mastering new skills that can transform your own life? Are you reinventing yourself?" 

No matter what happens, he affirms, "It's never too late to have a brand new beginning."

Social media is about connecting, about building communities. Amusingly, there are those who make a big fuss about "over-sharing," where "netizens" would share details about whatever.

That's an issue?

How mosquito-minded we are, buzzing on their ears?

I think the question should not be "Why do people share too much?" Instead, it should be "Why do others get affected by trivialities?" 

Our Facebook friends would update the entire galaxy, in real time. We all do it, like playing nooky. So what if they tweet their lunch? So what if they're plastered? And so what if they got hemorroids? There's no social value, there's no practical application, there is nothing whatsoever to be gained from meddling in other people's private affairs. It only shows how empty one's life is

The Genie appears, summoned from the magic lamp. "I desire only to be recognized for who I truly am," says Aladdin. "I appear to be a poor beggar, yet what I know to be true is that I am a prince." 

Aladdin's wish is the Genie's command. "Sit at my feet, child, while I weave a tale of wonder and success about learning how to ask for what you want in life," says the Genie, thus beginning the stories in The Aladdin Factor by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. 

Jack's epiphany changed him. "All I had to do was ask? It was that simple? Why had I never thought of it?" he realizes. 

Before he learned how to ask, he trudged a "life of settling for less than what I wanted, less than I deserved, less than the best and less than what was possible."

The Genie showed Aladdin the five barriers that stops you from asking and getting what you what you want. We limit ourselves by our beliefs. Your success will not deprive someone else because there is enough abundance to go around. The world is a responsive place, even if your fortune cookie says "Your request for MSG was ignored." 

We are afraid to ask, and "Fear always springs from ignorance," says Ralph Waldo Emerson. 

We don't ask because we don't know what it is we really want or even what is possible, say Jack Canfield. "If our parents didn't teach us, if we didn't learn it in school and we never saw it modeled by anyone else in our lives, how were we supposed to know?"

"During your travels through this adventure, you have gained much wisdom, my son," the Genie beamed. 

"Thank you, Genie," says Aladdin. "I have so much to thank you for, I don't really know where to begin." 

"That is an important principle, Aladdin," says the Genie. "When you are grateful to the people in your life, the circumstances surrounding your achievements and the world at large, it completes the circle. You then live in a state of blessed reality." 

"What is your fondest wish, oh my Genie?" asks the boy. 

"I wish only for one thing," the Genie sighs. "I wish for my freedom." 

Without hesitating, Aladdin says, "I grant you your freedom!" 

The Genie vanished. 

Aladdin begins to cry. They have gone through a lot of together. Now Aladdin's friend, mentor and teacher is gone. Then he heard the familiar voice.

"Aladdin, I'm here!" 

But Aladdin was alone. "Where are you!" he asks, looking everywhere.

"Here, Aladdin," the Genie's voice says. "Look again. Look into the deepest part of your heart, into your innermost being. For I am here within you, your teacher and your friend. You will never be alone, for I am with you always. I am here inside of you." 

Here, the Genie tell Aladdin, is "where I have always been."

See Jack Canfield and some of the world's greatest motivational gurus in our Playshop Page

Friend Like Me
(From the movie "Aladdin")

Jonathan Aquino's Journal 

June 23, 2013 
10:39 p.m., Sunday 
Lahug City, Cebu 

Life is about action. It is the wisdom of the ages. 

Solitude uplifts my spirit, but I know now that retreat from the world is not the answer. I tend to stay away from "civilization" because I've seen how vicious some people can be. 

I yearn, with all my heart and soul, to attain detachment. 

I learned this from Krishna, in his guise as the charioteer, as he gave strength to Arjuna in the midst of battle. 

I care, but I now realize that my greatest folly is that I care too much. I face the world as me, but that is only who I am in my present lifetime. The real me transcends my physical identity, and I have lived for more than a thousand years. I came from the Source of All That Is. My agonies came from thinking that I'm who I am now. 

I learned this from Bagger Vance, whose true nature is never given justice by the film version unlike in Steven Pressfield's novel, which changed my life.

"I have learned to lead a life apart from all the rest..." I can't think of a better way to describe me. This is from Aubrey by Bread, the favorite song of my best friend and childhood buddy, Noel Belarmino De Los Angeles, where he got the name of his daughter, Aubrey. 

I still hurt when I remember July 7, 2007, the day he was murdered. I went on with my life, even if nothing was ever the same again. I need to achieve detachment, but I don't ever want to forget. 

I will see you again, my friend, when I return to where we all came from, where I can find my own Authentic Swing

"For a love 
that wouldn't bloom,
for the hearts 
that never played in tune;
like a lovely melody 
that everyone can sing,
take away the words that rhyme, 
it doesn't mean a thing..."

Photos Courtesy of:,,,,,,,,

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Movies of CineFilipino 2013

August 28 Special Midweek

ANG KWENTO NI MABUTI: Ramon 'Mes' De Guzman


PUTI: Miguel 'Mike' Alcazaren

THE GUERILLA IS A POET: Sari Raissa Dalena and Kiri Dalena

ANG HULING CHA-CHA NI ANITA: Sigrid Andrea Bernardo

THE MUSES: Janice Perez


BINGOLERAS: Byron 'Ron' Bryant


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Huggybear's August 2013 Diaries (1 of 3)

August 24-30 Edition

Jonathan Aquino's Journal

August 4, 2013
8:51 p.m., Sunday
Lahug City, Cebu

I'm in another transition. What an evanescent life. I seem to be a ghost, like the lead character in Man of Steel, though I'm living my life to the fullest that only a true artist can understand. I'm looking at the Waterfront casino building that looks like a Maharaja's palace from my French-style balcony.  I'm chillaxing, soothed by the sound of music from my radio on earphones, trippin' on songs I haven't heard for quite a while. Always brings a smile.

I'm a kid of the 90s, and I had this vision of getting married to Alannis Morisette. It's super nice to hear Hand In My Pocket again after all these years. And yup, I still love her.

"What it all comes to
is that everything's gonna be
fine, fine, fine!
'Cause I got one hand in my pocket,
and the other one's making a high five...!"

The song that came next is David Lee Roth's version of Just a Gigolo (I Ain't Got Nobody). I'm thankful that my life is the opposite, though I really like the song. 

The weird thing is that it makes me happy 

"I ain't got nobody!
Nobody! Cares for me!
Nobody, nobody!
I'm so sad and lonely...!"

I always remember that scene in Mad Dog and Glory where Robert De Niro plays it on the jukebox while investigating the scene of a crime.

I honestly can't imagine anything cooler than that

August 5, 2013
2:11 a.m., Monday
Lahug City, Cebu

I just finished a cigarette on my balcony, with the ashtray on the sill of my French window, with only my underwear. I hope the city skyline won't mind.

My article, "Immortal Dictums From Rock Legends" got published in Panorama last Sunday, and I made a special blog page for the soundtrack: Rock Legends. I've just written some scenes for my latest screenplay. I finished reading a book about conspiracy theories and I'm going to write some blog vignettes about them before I return it to my buddy Harvey.

In a little while, I will meditate, having done my daily quota of squats and push-ups, though I haven't done my yoga moves yet. I need to purify my body, mind and spirit, and hopefully I can regain my ability to read minds, like Charles Xavier

I uploaded my short film, Cebu: City of Angels, on YouTube last week.

I'm slowly recovering from my encounter with Doomsday, my code word for a traumatic experience that's still too raw to share with anyone, though I doubt if I ever will. I found new friends who are bringing back my shattered faith in humanity. I'll be on the road again soon; after all is said and done, that's where I really belong.

I'm sitting on the floor beside my bed again, like Peter in The Amazing Spiderman, thinking about how easier life would be if I'm like everybody else, at the same time realizing that I wouldn't change a gosh darn thing if I had to it all over again.

10:22 p.m.

I just did my daily round of squats and push-ups. It's better to be consistent than to be burning with zeal one day and go POOF! the next. I'm about to go out when it starts to rain. I think it's a sign that I should stay home. I start working on a writing project instead, typing on my phone as I lay on my bed.

I'm on the radio again, and the first song is I'll Be Over You by Toto, one of my all-time favorites.

"Some people live their dreams,
some people close their eyes;
some people's destiny passes by..."

I'll make this moment special by jotting down happy thoughts while trying to finish my screenplay which I'll soon transform into the novel that will be my masterpiece, but I won't spend the night listing songs. Then came One In A Million, which I spoofed in a poem I wrote immediately after getting lost in La Loma Cemetery in All Saints Day in November 1, 2003, when I was living in Quiapo, Manila, which is one of the  places where I have set my short novel FisherboyI was in La Loma to pay my respects to one of my closest friends, Jimmy Locsin, who died that year. I was the only physical mortal in the farthest part of the cemetery where Jimmy's grave is. I wasn't the least bit scared even if it was in the dead of night, pardon the pun.

I'm not afraid to die. I treat Death as my constant companion, as I learned from the Yacqui Indian sorcerer Don Juan Matus from the books of Carlos Castañeda. Don Juan Matus is part of "My Most Unforgettable Literary characters," one of my earliest published stories, in Panorama on January 2005.

I think of Death, memento mori, and it grounds me and adjusts my perspective on what's really important in my life.

Just when I'm writing the love story of my character Alfonzo, a young man who will become a vampire, next came the Twilight theme A Thousand Years by Christina Perri, my favorite of all the songs I heard since I arrived here in Cebu earlier this year.

It's about immortality.

"I have died everyday
waiting for you,
darling, don't be afraid,
I have loved you
for a thousand years..."

11:09 p.m.

I saw three blinding lightning arrows come down from the sky above the Waterfront parapets. The dark sky is dancing in the spectacular aerial show. Wow, an electrical storm, and I have a front seat on my balcony! Awesome! Mother Nature rocks!

11:37 p.m.

On my story is a confrontation which will become a rescue scene in a 17th century public market. And on my radio is another song that's special to me: My Fair Share by Seals & Crofts.

lost as a child's first thought,
I must have arms to hold me,
lost without love and care,
I must have my fair share..."

After switching to another station, I happily stumbled across another long-lost gem: Something In Your Eyes by Dusty Springfield

"Something in your eyes I see,
is all I ever wanted,
and something in your smile for me
is calling out my name..."

Playing next is a song I find really cute: the piano solo Out Of My League by Stephen Speaks

"It's fright'ning to be
swimming in a strange sea
but I'd rather be here
than on land..."

I can't believe that what played next is one of my most cherished songs of all time: What Matters Most by Kenny Rankin.

"An early morning smile
we tearfully recall,
what matters most
is that we loved at all..."

August 6, 2013
12:07 a.m. Monday

I really like Where Are You Now by Honor Society. I first heard early last year on a bus going to Tanza, Cavite where I was living at the time, and the bus was getting passengers diagonally across the semi-deserted Uniwide Mall before entering Coastal Road.

I am me and I'd rather be me than be someone else. The song says everything I want to say to the people who had touched my life.

"Where are you now,
'cause I'm thinking of you,
you showed me how,
how to live like I do;
if it wasn't for you
I would never be who I am..."

August 9, 2013
4:34 a.m., Friday

I went to my barber downtown in Manalili. On Osmeña adjacent to Colon, I bought a bottle of Drakkar. When budget is short, I get by with baby cologne. People always tell me I smell nice.

Then I went to SM in Mabolo. I watched the players in a cafe with tables designed as chess boards.

There's a show in tribute to the revolutionary war hero Andres Bonifacio. The main audience are school kids.


On my pocket is a guitar-shaped keychain with real strings, emblazoned with "Cebu," which I bought yesterday in Ayala mall in the business district. That's where I also bought a couple of ounces of original Jovan Musk. My parents died when I was a baby and one of my few memories of my dad is that almost-empty bottle of cologne. The scent is special to me though I used CK Obsession during my "showbiz" days.

August 11, 2013
3:44 a.m., Sunday
Lahug City Cebu

I'm starting this day like how I want to spend the rest of my present lifetime: waking up at dawn, meditating and doing my yoga. Breakfast is hot chocolate with a local bread variety named Francis.

Yesterday I was with Chad, one of my closest friends here, who studied law at Ateneo de Manila and scion of one of the influential political families in Cebu. We were chilling, strolling like tourists downtown. I treasure moments when I'm with good people, unwinding from the stress from work, just shooting the breeze but with sense.

I've always felt like the modern-day bohemian Troy (Ethan Hawke) in Reality Bites. My favorite scene is when he was walking down the street with Lelaina (Winona Ryder) pointing out the many places where he had worked for a while and then had left.

"You see, Lelaina, this is all we need" says Troy. "A couple of smokes, a cup of coffee, and a little bit of conversation. You and me and five bucks."

Chad and I had lunch in the historic district of Colon, the oldest street in the Philippines. It was a open-air restaurant that's famous for it's mami, rice noodles in steaming hot stew. We also had ngohiong, a local vegetable dish rolled in lumpia wrapper and crispy fried. Finally, I got a taste of rice made from corn grains.

Beside a gigantic old-school metal electric fan is a radio playing Pusong Bato. I'm in the Visayas, and this popular ear-bleeding song is perfect.

"Akala ko ika'y langit,
'yun pala sakit ng ulo..."

We spent the afternoon in Plaza Independencia park in front of the 16th century Fort San Pedro. It was a beautiful day, the weather is just perfect.

I remember telling an American expatriate earlier this week that I fell in love with Cebu because the climate is fine and there's no traffic jams and floods unlike in Metro Manila. He agrees, saying the air is free from pollution.

Chad and I chillaxed in a bench facing the Malacañan Sa Sugbo port office and the sea beyond it. The breeze was heavenly, the sensation of its gentle caresses is worth the journey. I like Cebu, and I'm beginning to feel at home. But I don't belong here. This is not my home for the simple reason that I don't have one. I confessed all these existential musings to him.

We had dinner at the popular row of sugba grill eateries on Osmeña Avenue which only opens at night. The way to immerse in the Cebuano culture is to eat outdoors with your bare hands. I happily demolished the large grilled fish and pork barbecue, along with a staggering eight pieces of pu-soh, rice that was cooked while wrapped in strips of coconut leaves the size of golf balls. It was a delicious culinary adventure.

Sure, I'm an outsider in Cebu. I never pretended otherwise. But I'm glad to be here. Someday I will have to continue my voyage, but I don't want to leave just yet

8:39 a.m.

I just got back from having breakfast in Jollibee I.T. Park with some friends from my last company: CJ, Joanne, Jessica, Carolyn and Robert. Then we trooped to 7-11 beside The Walk for some choco-vanilla sundaes.

I bought a copy of The Manila Bulletin. My article on Richard Feynman is published in the Panorama Sunday magazine today. Also, it's about time I learn about what's going on in the world. There was an massive oil spill in Manila Bay. There was also a bomb scare in the major cities here in the Visayas region. That's why I saw a S.W.A.T team in Colon in front of Gaisano mall yesterday.

August 14, 2013
7:16 p.m., Wednesday
Lahug City Cebu

I began reading Paulo Coelho's The Pilgrimage at the Cebu City Public Library around two in the afternoon. I finished a third of the book, until the waterfall scene, when they closed at five. I have to go back. Paulo is on a mystical quest in the San Tiago Compostela. His guide is Petrus, sort of a sorcerer.

"The good fight is the one that's fought in the name of our dreams," says Petrus. "Many times in our lives we see our dreams shattered and our desires frustrated, but we have to continue dreaming."

I'm now in my apartment reading The First $20 Million Is Always The Hardest by Po Bronson, one of my favorite writers whose style I find so sparkling and original. The hero of the novel, Andy Caspar, is having his exit interview.

"Can you give us some idea of why you are choosing to leave?"

"Can you give me a good reason to stay?"

Bronson also wrote The Nudist On The Late Shift and Other True Stories of Silicon Valley, which inspired my story, "Silicon Valley: Where Ideas Change The World", which was published in Philippine Panorama on  August 16, 2012.

I bought $20 Million yesterday in Booksale in Robinson's Fuente along with Como Hablar Con Sus Angeles by Kim O'Neill. What I'd saved for tuition for the Spanish class in Instituto Cervantes in Manila last January instead went to my magical mystery tour to Quezon, Bicol, Samar, Leyte and Cebu where I'm now.

During the ride home on the shuttle-style jeep, the man on my right kept looking at me. He seems to be pushing his legs next to mine.

"What time is it?" he asked.
"6:42," I told him.
"Is that advanced?"
"Yeah." I took out my mobile phone. "6:38," I said, checking the time there.
"That's correct?"
"Yeah," I replied. "Philippine Standard Time," I added. It is. I've synchronized it.
He said something.
"I don't speak Visaya," I said.
We were talking in Tagalog and cruising down Escario past the Capitol going to Gorordo.
"Where do you live?"
"I.T. Park."
"Call center?"

I'm used to strangers coming up to me. I don't even have issues with gays trying to make a pass. What I found uncomfortable is the way the other passengers were looking at us. They seem to find it fascinating. I find them parochial.

People who stare have no class.

August 15, 2013
5:47 p.m., Thursday
Plaza Independencia
Cebu City

I'm in the park doing a scientific experiment. I'm checking if it's conducive to writing. I'm sitting in one of it's few benches, near the Filipino-Japanese Memorial, and they're all too narrow. Plus there are strange insects over my head. So my experiment is not giving me positive results. But it's not a failure. There's no such thing as failure.

I started the day doing yoga and strength-training exercises. Then I spent the rest of it at the library. Physical and mental. Balance. Harmony. I thank my Higher Self for an idea that popped this morning. I can now turn my library times into something practical and enduring. I'll write magazine articles on everything I read starting today. My first is about the eminent theologian Harry Emerson Fosdick, with stories from an encyclopedia of the supernatural like the ones about the Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg and the Israeli telekinetic Uri Geller.Who else will do that?

A lamp post beside the bandstand casts its pale spotlight on the dimming grass. I take a stroll and sit on the steps around the statue of the late President Magsaysay. The spotlights hurt my eyes. Night has fallen. The V-shaped Veterans Memorial stands blazing in the darkness. I find it symbolic and fitting.

Heroes should never be forgotten.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Huggybear's Imaginary Interview With Ninoy Aquino

August 17-23 Edition

Ninoy Aquino 
My Simply Six 
Heath Ledger  
Roy Davies
This special reprint of Huggybear's "Imaginary Interview With Ninoy Aquino" first appeared in May 31, 2009 on 2Rivers. It was also published  May 30, 2009 in the citizen journalism site AllVoices 

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 forward, [but] The philosophy of democracy rests not on the belief in the natural goodness of man, but in his educability, not in the inevitability of social progress but in the potentialities of nature and intelligence. The essence of democratic faith is that through the continuing process of political education, men can be sufficiently reasonable to discover, with evidence and give-and-take of free discussion, a better way of solving problems.

            Q. Senator, how would you characterize a democratic society? 

            A. A free society reconciles liberty and equality, rejects liberal freedom without equality and total equality without freedom. Its essence is the absence of special privilege. Its guarantee is an equal opportunity for self-fulfillment for every citizen. It is dynamic, not static, open to change, be it gradual or rapid, for no on does possess the last word, and the world of men and nature is in constant flux.

            Q. President Gloria Arroyo’s public trust ratings are even lower than those of Joseph Estrada during Edsa 2. Every year for half a decade, the opposition files for her impeachment, her allies would override it, and reports about Congressional bribery would leak to the media. But the idea is ‘Majority Rules.’ Would you call this democratic? 

            A. I believe democracy is not just majority rule, but informed majority rule, and due respect for the rights of the minorities. It means while the preference of the majority must prevail, there should be full opportunity for all points of view to find expression. It means toleration for opposition opinion. Where you find suppression of minority opinion, there is no real democracy.

            Q. Another annual phenomena in the Philippines are talks of coup de ‘etat. Would you condone a military take-over to force a change of leadership? 

            A. Why should I advocate a violent overthrow of our government? I am one of the lucky few who never lost an election – from mayor, to vice-governor, to governor, to Senator. Why should I want to destroy a form of government that has served me well? In fact, in 1972, I was within a stone’s throw away from the highest office within the gift of our people – the Presidency.

            Q. Since 2001, the Arroyo administration has been trying to shift into a unicameral parliamentary form of government with a new constitution because of the ‘gridlock” brought about by the political opposition, specifically, the Senate. Should we place limitations on the opposition? 

            A. An opposition party is indispensable in a democracy. The opposition should act the critic of the party in power, developing, defining and presenting the policy alternatives which are necessary for a true choice in public decision-making. It must therefore be guaranteed not only protection but existence, and must be allowed to speak freely and unafraid.

            Q. Politicians are always dismissed as “grandstanding” whenever they speak out regarding a major issue, such as the accusations that Ms. Arroyo rigged the 2004 elections and that First Gentleman Mike Arroyo took bribes from ZTE Corp. of China for the national broadband network project. In these cases, what should the responsibility of the opposition be? 

            A. To speak and denounce rampant injustices. Justice can only be realized only when those who have not been victimized become as outraged as those who have been. [The opposition’s] role is to fight for the people. Whether they will show gratitude or not, immediately, later or never, should not enter our calculations. That is our fate: to fight for what is right.

            Q. But some politicians over-react from time to time, to the level of name-calling and gutter language. For example, the feud between Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and Senator Juan Ponce Enrile. There’s also a word war between Senator Manuel Villar and Senator. Panfilo Lacson. Senator Bong Revilla took the floor and personally attacked a doctor who was involved in a video scandal, calling him names like “maniac” and “pervert.” Senator Jamby Madrigal cursed Gilbert Remulla, the spokesman for the Nacionalista Party and former Cavite congressman, on national radio. Where do you draw the line? 

            A. We believe we are the people of God endowed with reason – which lifts us from the brute – from which we derive our standards of morality, justice and rational method of ascertaining our duty to our fellowmen and community. [But] In the end we get the government we deserve. No social or political organization can be better than thequality of the men and women who compose it.

            Q. There are criticisms about how the media sensationalize issues to boost their ratings. Are those criticisms valid? 

            A. A free media is indispensable if a democracy is to function efficiently, if it is to be real. The people, who are sovereign, must be adequately informed all the time. These I hold sacred: the inherent dignity and worth of every human being, freedom of thought and speech and press, his liberty to choose – without fear or pressure – the public official of his choice, and the principles handed down to us by our forebears.

            Q. There are rumors floating around that the 2010 elections will be sabotaged to enable Ms. Arroyo to legally stay beyond her term. There are also reports that her Congressional allies are still covertly orchestrating a Constitutional Assembly – without the Senate – to write a new Charter. 

            A. So, we find ourselves again in a time of trials – kind that demands of each of us an unstinting, heroic response. Beyond the greed, the pride, the insolence and the pretensions of those who rule us through force and fear and fraud, there is a living Almighty God who knows the dark mysteries of evil in the hearts of men. I know His justice, truth and righteousness will reign and endure forever. History offer cold comfort to those who think they can do as they please and let the people go hang.

            Q. Last question, Senator. Do you believe that the Filipino is worth dying for? 

             A. I have asked myself many times: Is the Fillipino worth suffering, even dying for? Is he not a coward who would readily yield to any colonizer, be he foreign or homegrown? Is a Filipino more comfortable under an authoritarian leader because he does not want to be burdened with the freedom of choice? Is he unprepared, or worse, ill-suited, for presidential or parliamentary democracy? I have carefully weighed the virtues and the faults of the Filipino, and I have come to the conclusion that he is worth dying for.
The direct quotes of Ninoy Aquino are from “Ninoy: Ideals & Ideologies, 1932 – 1983 (The Benigno S. Aquino Foundation Jr. Foundation Inc., © 1993)

NINOY: The Heart and The Soul

I find serenity in living simply. I avoid information overload with my Simply Six. I've divided my life into 6 major areas, like "sports" and "writing" (which includes updating my blog when I go online to e-mail my articles to publications). I also have quiet time for myself, like when I curl up with a book while shutting out the rest of the world. Or when I when I'm up in a mountain or under the sea, or when I just want to watch the sunset. Then I have what I can describe as "discretionary time" for stuff with practical applications in my life to avoid tunnel vision, like when I try out new ideas. Now that I know my priorities, paradoxically it's easier to find time for my girlfriend, close friends and relatives. Anything outside is a waste of time

I saw only a couple of Heath Ledger's movies. I really like the one with the jousting knights, even if he says it was a studio quickie just to cash in from his publicity-generated fame.

But I saw Heath in a new light when he became The Joker. This guy, I thought, is one hell of an actor!

It was never about the fame, Heath Ledger says in a 2006 GQ cover story. A lot of his films, like Four Brothers and The Order, flopped, and he didn't mind. 

"It gives you space to sit back a little and get perspective on things," he says. 

Lots of celebrities are into "self-promotional blather in the guise of shoptalk" during interviews, writes Alex Pappademas. "But because he's genuinely humble and genuinely wary of coming off like a pretentious jackass, Ledger's reluctant to go there." 

Then came Brokeback Mountain, where the cowboy bromance angle was eclipsed by Heath's finely-tuned performance. It's only then that Hollywood saw just how good he was.

"I've never been in a movie that people like so much," he says, "so I'm really suspicious of it." 

Heath found himself on the verge of being swallowed by the system. "I needed to cleanse myself of this commercial filth that was being injected into me," he says. "I needed to be reborn." 

Heath left the limelight to find his bearings. "Things have been good, quiet, almost monastically calm, like he's pared his life down to a haiku" writes Pappademas when they met again a couple of weeks later. "He is doing his impression of late 70s John Lennon, holed up in the Dakota, contented baking bread. But you also get the sense that he is imagining a world in which he could keep on like this forever." 

Heath was happy living a quiet life. "I'm just so comfortable right now, really relaxed" he says. "I find I'm liking myself more for it and I'm learning more about myself. I have a lot more time to think. And when you do get a slice of freedom, you do something with it."

I saw an article on Ray Davies of the 60s group The Kinks also on the same magazine. I'm sort of intrigued. I remember first hearing their All Day and All of the Night in Sapang Palay, Bulacan, one of the many places I drifted to as I began my still-nomadic life at 14.

"To trust my instincts," he says about the greatest lessons he learned as he turned 61. "That procrastination is a bad thing. Prevarication is deception. Self-deception is really easy. I think that the truth comes from real instinct and intuition. Too much knowledge is a bad thing." 

Showbiz almost ruined his life because a lot of people screwed him. "My intention was to make enough money so I could go off and study and do painting and make films and do theater without worrying about going to college. I didnt get sucked in. I was lucky, I could write hits. The irony is that I wrote the hits, got a taste for it, then realized I didn't have any money because we had such crappy deals."

He became elusive, refusing to have his photo taken even while on stage. "As soon as I know it's a hype, there's something inside me that turns off." 

Fame doesn't impress him at all. "There's a part of me that would rather be living in an attic somewhere." The limelight "symbolizes you've arrived but it's very transient." He's learned a lot along the way. "I don't want to end up like the people who do what I do who've been misled by the lights and brightness of it all." 

My Favorite Ray Davies Quote: "Ninety percent of the people in the world are in need of emotional help, the other ten percent are crazy."

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